Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's really happening!

So, I was told today by my boss at the Manila church where I work that I may actually be released by the end of September to my original home church in Manila. I'm speechless; I don't actually have words. I mean, I'm obviously excited, but end of September? Really?

This feels so weird. I'm not exactly sure how to feel about it - probably because in the back of my head, I'm not sure it's really happening - but I just need to declare it to myself: this is God working. This is God paving the way for the next season. He told this to me at EN2010, and now He's making it happen.

Wow, Lord, You work fast. Just a heads-up, I'm going to rely on You more than ever, so please don't ever leave me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The week that was

Last week:

  • My mother ended up in the hospital. We shelled out a loooot of money in hospital fees and other mother-related expenses.
  • The Macbook Pro assigned to me by the church in Manila for which I work crashed, taking with it all my current projects.
  • I must've gained ten pounds by sheer stress.
  • I lost the stylus of my mobile phone. I now have to tap it with my fat fingers.
In the midst of all this, God is my comfort, my refuge, and my strength. The Name of the Lord be praised.

Listening to: Keith and Kristyn Getty, By Faith

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Butterflies in my stomach

Lately, people at Victory Fort have been paying me compliments. I wonder if they know.

I'm meeting with my boss tomorrow, probably over lunch. I pray things go well. It's time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Believing God for something greater

I was given a rare and welcome opportunity to sing with the worship teams of the church in Manila for which I work. We were challenged to sing Ashmont Hill's Show My Love, which is one of my favorite praise songs. I thank Him that, for the most part, the numbers went well, despite a steadily deteriorating voice. (No one would want to do six services in a row, much less an amateur like myself. But when we don't know how to say "No," well, that's the end result.)

Having said all this, I have to admit I sang Show My Love from a heart heavy with concern. Like I mentioned in a previous post, my mother has been in the hospital for almost a week. During that time, she's racked up hundreds of thousands of pesos in hospital bills. Even sans health card and senior citizen discount, with professional fees and all, we're still looking at almost Php70,000 in expenses. She wants to check out tomorrow, but I don't know or see how we're going to be able to do that because we simply don't have that kind of money.

This morning, I read out of Ps 25, and verse 3 stood out: "No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame." I hope and I trust in God's great providential power to provide for His children. What is Php70,000, Php80,000, Php100,00, for a great and mighty God, anyway?

It's always easier said than done, but in the midst of the trials, in the utter hopelessness of the dark, when God's light comes shining through, when God gives us that miracle, WOW. I await with an expectant heart. My God will not let me down.

Listening to: Jimmy Needham, Grace Amazing

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The past few days have been difficult. My mother has been ill, and we learned just now that what we thought were mere gallstones may be more complicated, because her liver is apparently infected. Meanwhile, my little three-year-old girl has a recurring fever. Couple that with restricted finances and a significantly heavy workload this week at the church in Manila that I work for, it all feels like too much.

It's times like these that I always have to remind myself:

The Lord is a refuge, a strong tower in times of trouble. He knows those who trust in Him. - Na 1:7

Lord, I trust You. Please help us.

Listening to: Audrey Assad, Restless (Thank you, Audrey, your song couldn't have come at a more opportune time.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Nobu No Good!

Last night, my wife and I were privileged and honored to stand as godparents to the one-year-old son of very good friends from our church in Manila. It was a short but memorable and meaningful ceremony; from the cake to the souvenirs, from the Biblical message about parenting to the message of gratitude from the parents, it was all so well-planned and organized.

As the saying goes, though, "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry," and the chink in this otherwise joyous celebration comes at the hands of the venue that my friends unfortunately chose for their son's dedication. The disastrous choice: Nobu Grill and Bar at the Blue Wave entertainment center along Macapagal Avenue. My friends reserved the entire second floor of the Nobu Grill and Bar, at Php299 a head, I assume. They had reserved for 80 guests; because of inclement weather, only around 60 arrived.

Nobu Blue Wave Macapagal is a grill and hotpot restaurant that opened July 2 at Blue Wave Macapagal. It affords diners the chance to cook four types of cuisine: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Brazilian BBQ. Since it's a virtually brand-new place - less than two months in operation, and there's a sign on its large display window that says it's still in "soft opening mode" - there are certain things we may have to forgive them, but in general, here is how I feel about Blue Wave's Nobu Grill Bar:
  • Food is unremarkable. We are supposed to cook the food ourselves, but given the nature of the party, we were served pre-cooked food, and the food was forgettable. From the sweetish yet overpoweringly spicy kimchi - we know kimchi, and Nobu's kimchi will rank somewhere near the bottom of our list - to the strangely tough samgyupsal, from the chewy deep fried meat - was it gizzard? chicken? pork? to date, it was still a mystery - to the disturbingly bland hotpot stew, no viand - NOT ONE! - was memorable for its flavor, taste, texture, and appearance.
  • Service was appalling. The ground floor wasn't particularly full, and the restaurant is largely self-service, so the fact that we had perhaps three waiters for our party of 60 was, in my opinion, oddly disturbing. Guess what? The entire duration of our meal, my refillable iced tea was refilled... once. The remaining four to five refills? I got up and refilled them myself from the three to four pitchers that stood ignored on a bartop counter at the far end of the room. It took a while after all pitchers were empty before waiters came to refill them.
  • Where were the grills? There was a significantly large display of fresh vegetables and seafoods waiting to be cooked on the portable grills or hotpot ovens that were in grand display on the ground floor. However, we on the second floor did not get enough grills. I counted three tables, mine among them, that did not get grills. My wife asked for one several times; none arrived. No grills, no food! I wonder what my friends did with all the leftover vegetables to which she was entitled (because they paid for them); they obviously weren't cooked that night.
  • The air-conditioning was broken. In a way, I guess it was a blessing that we didn't have grills, because it was HOT. Hot and humid because it was raining outside. My poor friends! My poor inaanak, who had to take off his adorable blue cheongsam because of the inclement weather and uncomfortable temperature!
  • It was tight. The tables were cramped so close together that it was difficult to move around. Not necessarily the fault of the restaurant, but if you know you can't comfortable seat 80 - we were only 60, what if the full 80 came? - you need to tell your clients so.
At the end of the evening, my friends had to pay the Nobu Grill & Bar Blue Wave Macapagal for the full 80 guests even if only 60 showed up. (That is fair.) However, they received far less than what they paid for. The unremarkable food, insufficient facilities, and inadequate service, mean two things: 1) I will not return, and 2) I sure as heck won't recommend Nobu Grill and Bar anytime soon to anyone who asks.

I'm listening to: Third Day, Lift Up Your Face

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Dream prayers

Last night, I had a dream about one of my colleagues. I was particularly struck by the dream because in it, I found myself praying over, for, and with him. This was highly unusual because we never pray together. I remember being somewhat conscious of the prayer, and was quite taken by it, because in that dream, I found myself praying for him all kinds of things that I wouldn't pray over him in "real life."

I don't get them much, but dream prayers can be interesting. We know that God can speak to us in dreams; we also know that dreams are a way for our subconscious to process emotions and ideas that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do in the waking world. (And I'll be darned if I let any of the fallacious ideas foisted by Inception take root in my subconscious.) So whether or not these dreams are "God-breathed," they certainly are worth praying about.

My relationship with said colleague is precarious at best. I have many issues with him, issues that I try to overcome or deal with simply with prayer and according him the respect and honor due him by his position and age. I've had difficulty with the whole honor thing, though, because, like I said, I disagree with him on a variety of issues.

In the dream, though, I found myself praying over and for him with a sympathy I'd not known before. The dream me - which I was very conscious of as being me yet not me - was praying things for him that I personally wouldn't have. They were honest. They were open. I was surprised, quite frankly. It was almost as if my dream helped me process how I felt about that colleague, and in God's mercy, allowed me to see how I should treat him.

When I awoke, the first thing I said, literally, was, "Wow, God, are you asking me to pray for ?" A few minutes later, after the sleep-haziness had gone from me, I asked more lucidly but somewhat jokingly, "Does my dream prayer count?" I knew it didn't, so I prayed for him, and I know that how I treat him now and in the future will have been changed by that dream.

I'm currently listening to: Phil Wickham In My Love