Last Aug 2-3, about a hundred people attended our retreat in the CCF Prayer mountain (also called Mt. Makiling Re-Creation Center). We faced so many obstacles that should have made us stop:
a) We lost two main speakers – Edric’s sister and parents came over for the US and had planned to go out of town, then Juancho had a call from work.
b) We didn’t have a worship team – we were so confident that everything was coming in packaged and it turned out since we were now just doing this on our own that we had to fend for ourselves.
c) weather wasn’t cooperating – you know the story. Glenda, Inday, Jose…. one storm after the other. There was 90-100% rain on our retreat day.
and d) the biggest reason of all — we didn’t have any collection and it was a really bad time for Imagine Nation and Wang who barely had enough to make it through the month. Post Ad on the other hand was given surprise projects the past 2 weeks and the funds were totally depleted.
To be honest, the temptation not to push through was not only there, it was very strong. However, here is where all the conferences, the books, videos and bible reading comes in… and these words echoed in my mind “If you are being attacked, it means you are about to do something big for God. If you are not attacked, it means you need to do more squats!”
So the bottom line we pushed through… and it turns out, everyone needed a retreat. we were either of the 3 Bs (busy, bothered or simply bored) that we need this to jolt our senses to life.
Come baptism, I got scared. I thought I did a really poor job that I doubted if anyone even did understand me. I didn’t want to ask who was ready to be baptized but my wife pushed me. 14 people surrendered their lives to Jesus and I had the privilege of blessing and baptizing them. A huge privilege that I cant imagine missing had I given in to the fear the devil cast upon me.
Sometimes, we just need to follow blindly. Even when things look dim and the odds are against you. The way to grow your faith is to constantly go through testing… It’s like a roller coaster ride. The scariest is always the first time because you don’t know yet if it’s safe or not, then there will come a time when you ride it over and over, you’d think it was ridiculous to have ever doubted it in the first place. Same as faith in God… and I guess I’ve gone through so many more difficult situations to doubt Him in a time like this.
If I may just add as a final note:
It’s a sad fact, many people proudly call themselves a Christian but have never really opened the Bible at all (meaning you don’t know really who Jesus is aside from what school or other people tell you). Less than half of those leading Bible studies have actually finished reading the Bible. It just puzzles me that the God who repeatedly says multiple times in his word “Love God”, “Follow me” and “obey my commandments” are being worshiped by people who have no idea of His word at all. How do we expect to grow? How can we claim His promises? Has obeying Jesus and giving glory to His name just become a cliche? And yet when we face problems in life what do we say?- “God isn’t listening”, “God doesn’t love me”, “God doesn’t know”, or worse, sometimes we even curse God…
After Glenda, I drove around to take pictures of the devastation and I was shocked that not only the small trees were uprooted. Even decade old trees whose roots were strong were uprooted. I remembered this sight during the retreat. More than anytime and more than anything, we need to strengthen our roots by diving into God’s word so that when storms come in our life, our fates will not be similar to these trees.
Wanna see how our retreat turned out? Part the participants task was to make a 30 second video. Like your favorite one here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=vb.800360886654391&type=2 and while you’re at it. Like the page so you’ll get notified whenever we have a new blog post.