Friday, February 10, 2012

Taking the Lord at His Word and Dreaming Big for the Gospel (Part 1)

"This act of mercy screams out loud to us to broaden our horizons beyond the limited scope we have at the moment and reach out for the world. Let us take the Lord at His word and dream big for the Gospel."

I read these words from Companion yesterday as I was having my prayer time. I’ve been taking the Lord at His word for years and yesterday, I took His word once more when He spoke to me through the Gospel. The Gospel was about the Greek woman who begged Jesus to heal her sick child. I could relate to her yesterday because my sons are sick. Like her, I’m praying for healing for my toddler and my baby. Like her, I was fervently praying for a big favor from God.

My eldest has been sick with cough and colds for around a month already and we are getting worried over his health since he has lost a lot of weight as well. He was given a medicine for cough and colds and an antibiotic. He also had a chest x-ray where we found out that he had pneumonia. His pediatrician recommended that we do a skin test to find out if he has primary complex. Just the thought that it’s a possibility caused me to worry a lot in the past days. How could he get sick with primary complex? Who could be possible carriers in our household? Suddenly, I was troubled and many thoughts flooded my mind last Monday evening.

We were supposed to go back to the pediatrician on Thursday morning to get the result of the test. My husband decided that our baby and I will just stay home to protect Mateo from exposure to disease-causing bacteria in the hospital. Only he and Yanthy will go to the hospital.

I was hesitant at first not to be present when the pediatrician shares the result but before arguing with my husband, I decided to pray and read our devotional with the readings for the day.

I found peace after reading the Gospel. I felt God’s assurance as I meditated on the readings and the words I quoted above from Companion. I decided to "take the Lord at His Word." I chose to have faith that in the same way that Jesus healed the child of the Greek woman, He too will rule out primary complex as the reason for my son’s sickness. Thus, I did not argue anymore with my husband and proceeded to do other things which are related to the second message God gave me that day. That is to "dream big for the Gospel."

So, I busied myself acting on God’s message "to broaden our horizons beyond the limited scope we have at the moment and reach out for the world." Then, as I was busy coordinating, responding to an email and brainstorming for the event I was organizing, God heard my prayer. I found out from George as I called him on their way home from the hospital that the test result was negative and that the pediatrician referred us instead to consult an expert on child allergies because it’s another possible reason for my son’s cough and colds. God is good! I called to Him in my distress and He delivered me from my fear!

Now, let’s talk about the other concern where I took God at His word again. This time it’s about bringing the Gospel to more people by organizing an evangelistic event for the youth in the community where I live. I had been brainstorming and refining the concept and details with the members of the Liturgical Committee in our community in the past weeks. Last Monday night, we talked about the detailed requirements for the event and budget was definitely a major consideration. What makes me want to push through with the event is the certainty in my heart that God wants me to do this. He wants me to organize this event and He wants me to preach in this event.

The readings in the past days had been my compass and they gave certainty to my every step towards mounting the event. Let me share the words I had been receiving from God about this project/event.

SUNDAY, FEB. 5 – The title of the reflection in Didache is Sharing Jesus. The highlighted Bible verse for the day was from Mark 1:38.

But Jesus answered, "We must go on to the other villages around here. I have to preach in them also, because that’s why I came."

I was struck because this answered my question if we should invite the other youth in our neighboring villages to attend the event. This verse also confirmed another message that I received as an encouragement the day before (Saturday) from a seminar I attended wherein one of the speakers said that "your assignment is geographical." God has a purpose for bringing me where I am right now. He placed me here for a purpose and one of them is to reach out and inspire the youth where I currently live.

The reflection in Didache further said: In Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life, he mentioned that evangelization is one of the purposes why we live. How much of your time are you using for this purpose?

I was amazed again for I had been spending so much of my time lately evangelizing people in our community. Sometimes, I ask myself why I spend so much time serving our community when I have very little sleep and rest every day since I gave birth. Why don’t I just spend my time napping or doing other things to relax? Why do more things when there’s already a lot on my plate? There is only one answer. I love the Lord too much, I can’t contain it; and I can’t help but proclaim His goodness to others. I have received much from the Lord during my youth and I feel the burden to share them with the youth around me today.

So I prayed the prayer in Didache that day: Father, I pray that someone may hear about Jesus today. May I do my part to make this happen. Amen.

That evening, I met with the members of our Youth Ministry in our house together with the other members of the Liturgical Committee.

TUESDAY, FEB. 7 – The title of the reflection in Didache is Don’t Be Practical. The Bible verse highlighted was from Mark 7:13.

You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.

I was struck with the Bible verse featured, the title of the reflection and the reflection itself because at the back of my mind, as I was planning for our youth event, a voice inside my head was telling me that having this youth event is not practical at all. Trying to invite professionals from the music industry especially the popular ones to be judges and performers in the evangelistic youth event we are planning isn’t practical. It’s true that we can invite those whose talent fee isn’t much or who aren’t as popular but if there’s a way to invite the popular ones and those who are really experts in this field, why not? It’s not practical but if God wills it, why not strive to get the best for the event?

And since it is within my circle of influence or within my network to get in touch with people who have connections in the music industry, I felt that God wanted me to seek the best for our event. So starting that day, I started asking friends and connections from the music industry to help me in this event I’m planning. I did not hesitate anymore to invite acoustic performers even when it’s not practical because we do not have the money to pay for their professional fee. It doesn’t seem likely also that they are available because the event is already too soon by industry standards. Most likely, these people are already booked for gigs or concerts. But never mind the impracticalities. I’m not trying to be practical. I’m doing this out of my great love for God. I’m doing this because I want to always give my best to Him especially when I serve Him.

THURSDAY, FEB. 9 - The title of the reflection in Didache was 10,000 Isn’t Too Much!
It struck me because last Monday night when we were meeting with the Community Development Officer of our community, she was telling me that the usual maximum budget granted by the Administration office of our Condo Corp. for unplanned events is P5,000 only. They are given P10,000 when the events had been calendared and allocated budgets in the previous year. Since the event we are planning is something that we just thought of recently, she was telling us that asking for a budget of P10,000 might be difficult if not impossible. But I asked her to try anyway. I said that we can try to convince the office and the Board of Directors that this could become a yearly event for the youth.

So when I read the title of the reflection, I was very encouraged to stick to our proposal to ask for at least P10,000. I felt that God was encouraging all of us in the Committee to ask in faith for nothing is impossible with God and P10,000 for Him isn’t too much!

The reflection and prayer in Didache further confirmed God’s message.

Reflection: "Have you shelved a dream since it has become too difficult, even impossible? Can it be that your stumbling blocks can be stepping stones?

Prayer: "Jesus, give me courage to keep on asking, seeking, knocking and working. I believe it’s never over until You say it’s over. Amen."

The big amount needed to stage this event may be viewed as an enormous stumbling block at first glance. But it can also be a stepping stone in receiving miracles from God. So I instructed the Community Development Officer to come up with a solicitation letter to the residents especially those with businesses so we could invite them to support our activity for the youth.

That is my big dream for the Gospel in our community now – to stage an evangelistic event for the youth called MusicLUVan: An Acoustic Night to Remember. There will be a talk/s on love and relationships to inspire and teach the youth and there will be a love song singing competition for acoustic groups. It’s barely two weeks to our target date and there are still plenty of things to do. But I don’t want to be slowed down by stumbling blocks. I want to focus on the opportunities and turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

This is just part 1 of how I’m taking the Lord at his word and how I’m dreaming big for the Gospel. But I will end here for now. I will tell you part 2 of the story after two weeks.

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