Tacloban, Philippines

4 Dec

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So many things have already been said by the other members whom I went to the Philippines with, that share my sentiments…

The Philippines Missions trip has been more than a blessing. It was spades of blessings, heaped on top of each other. This trip was such an incredible trip that my mind is still grasping to put it into words and context. Part of me does not want to put it into context for it may limit the meaning of the impact that this trip has had on me.

Over this year, there were themes that I was focused on. There were topics that God was speaking to me about. Over the course of the year, questions and observations had arisen. Some conclusions had been made, some were still yet to be figured.

In the week leading up to the trip, I decided to set aside an hour a day to really let God speak to me in preparation for the trip. I had written down topics, questions, issues in my journal and left it at that.

The Philippines Trip was a huge missing jigsaw piece I needed to be able to see what God was saying to me; through the things I saw, heard and witnessed.

Here are a few of the following themes

1. Praise and Worship

Praise and Worship was one of the biggest and most obvious highlights for us because of the way the Filipinos worshipped. They worship with heart, sweat and tears; without any restraint. Despite encountering tragedy twelves months before, they set their hearts focused towards God because he is their source of life. It is so easy to just cruise through worship and wait till the song ends; but there is nothing more satisfying than to truly worship God and thank Him for all He has done. This attitude really brings a heart of gratitude, humility to ourselves and also brings glory, honor and praise to God (and does he deserve it!

It was so incredible to see the filipinos praising God with such spirit and energy because it was so contagious! As that spirit infects others, it creates a culture of praise and honor for God and I believe there is no better atmosphere than that. It was cool to see that the filipinos were so good at praising God…that they didn’t want to stop! Every time they were at the scheduled ‘end’ of their song sets, they would sing another, then after that, the church would call for an encore! And then they would think about singing another one!

My intention is to package that spirit and let it come alive in my life, in my church and in my youth. Because I know that it is contagious. How are we praising and worshiping God? All I know is that it is to be done without restraint, amen!

2. Prayer/Speaking Out

Over the year, I have realized the necessity of speaking out in faith. Call me a slow started but I hadn’t fully embraced it to this point; it is possibly attributed to my laziness. However, God has been calling me to speak out, to pray, to declare, to claim because we have power through God. Coming to the Philippines and hearing their prayers, the way they declare things by faith only stirred my spirit more. To hear Ps Marty preach on “Live Bold” and Eric on “FULL Life” enhanced my revelations further. I want to be a prayer warrior, I want to be a man who knows that all he needs to do is open his mouth and God will move. Seeing the Filipinos pray and speak the way they do just allowed God to hammer his point into my head further.

Another thing I noticed was every person in the church had no shame in asking for help and to be prayed for. It is so easy to get caught feeling uneasy at the thought of having a bunch of eyes looking upon you as you walk the line to ask for prayer. But that is the total opposite of what should happen. People want to see people prayed for, people want to pray for others and it is a sure fire sign that YOU want to take action in your spiritual relationship with God and nothing is more encouraging to others than to see that. People left, right and center, all came up to be prayed for nearly every session because they wanted more of God, because they wanted to actively respond to what God was saying to them. That is the attitude us Christians ought to have as we follow Christ; to unashamedly call for prayer when we need it, because prayer unlocks power.

3. Simple Theology

God has been bringing me back to the thought of ‘simple theology’. It is so easy to get caught up in the logistics of everything and add so many layers that it all becomes ridiculous and we forget the simple meaning. Simple Theology that God has been embedding into my head and bringing me back to is the idea that love was the focus of Jesus; the power of words and prayer; and earnestly seeking God. I could see all these things at the forefront of what New Life Church was doing and speaking on. Their actions was driven by love, they sought out God in worship and they spoke in faith. It was all they needed and it was incredible. It further enhanced what God has been saying to me. I wrote in my journal during the trip “Simple focus = greater theology. If I can have a simple outlook of God, my life and my understanding – I can speak a more profound theology to impart wisdom through”

Funnily enough, the next morning Ps Steve Chase spoke at the Dare Conference on ‘Simple Satisfaction’. Again, God just at work.

4. The God Factor

Lastly, I have been thinking of this notion for a while. As I’ve complained in my situations, I began to take a pause these last months and say, ‘where is the God factor in this?’ because it automatically shifts my focus to God and look to make him more visible in my situation. When people came up to me and shared their struggle, I would ask them “where is the God Factor?” so they could reflect how much room they have given God to work with. Going to the Philippines, the God Factor was EVERYWHERE. He was praised and worshiped, his name was spoken out in conversations, he was evidently working in the lives of the New Lifers because they gave him room to work with. The God Factor is a big key of measuring our fruitfulness. More God, more fruits #simpletheology

Overall, going to the Philippines has been an incredible blessing and changed me permanently. I know God placed me there in that moment of my life so my eyes could be further opened to what God has been teaching me. I know that I am a better man for it and I pray I will keep these lessons in my heart as I continue to take up the call of God in my life. I praise God for what he is doing in Tacloban and I pray that his presence will never cease as the people in Tacloban continue to praise Him. I pray that more and more people will come to see the infectious and contagious energy the New Lifers’ hold and get to come to know you themselves. Thank you God for everything you do and thank you New Life Church for blessing me in spades! It is only the beginning, there is so much more.

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