I grew up in a Christian home. During the post-Japan War era, my grandfather pastored one of the first evangelical Christian church planted by God through the Holy Spirit. He started a missionary work in the bay area of Manila where we are currently living in. His son, which is my father, pastored this same church where I also live almost all my life. We are the second generation of believers in the family.
But this spiritual heritage did not guarantee my own spiritual destiny. Although in an early age, I was already considered a church leader because of my active involvement in church activities. Eventually, I got preoccupied with church work. What I do in church became what it meant to have faith in Jesus. I’ve been conditioned into this kind of living and I was not even aware of it. I thought I was living a life in true faith based on my personal relationship with Jesus but it has been reduced into the thing I do for the church. And inevitable came; I got frustrated and got burned with the entire thing because it failed to make sense to me anymore.
But the grace of God saved me from this kind of living. My spiritual transformation happened when I began to look pass the things I normally see and experience in church and allow myself to me moved by God alone. Through God’s grace, I was able to add a very important ingredient to my prayer life which is listening. You see, I have spent most of my praying for asking God about something or tell him about something that concerns me. While it is important to pray this way, I learned in my experience with God that it is also equally important to intentionally pray silently before Him and listen to what He has to say. And since these are all happening aside from what I do inside the church, I became much involved with God beyond the borders of our church. This helped a lot because in my journey I met other Christians who encouraged me to make my faith public and not just a private church matter. With this fresh encounter with God and his people, I began to see things in a new way. I began to see my life inside the Kingdom of God with Jesus as my Lord and King. It was the beginning of my new life with God.
A new creation was born. I began to realize that the more I immerse myself in God’s work, the deeper I long for His wisdom and understanding. Duty becomes delight, worship becomes a lifestyle, and God’s mission becomes mine.
Part of the change I’ve become aware of is that after some time the Word of God became a part of my healthy diet. Suddenly every scripture revealed so much about my life and others that the unimaginable has happened – I’m constantly being inspired by it. I was suddenly being consumed by the awe of its majesty. The more I read it, the more I get mystified by it. I was constantly longingly for it wisdom and power. And you what, it was then I realized what has changed – it was the presence of Jesus Christ who has been guiding me all along. It was the glory of Christ which illuminated everything and made every passage clearer. Jesus claimed that the scripture has been all about him and which he has fulfilled so that we can be understood it only through him.
The way I do ministry changed as well. My enjoyment of God became the only sane reason to serve Him. I used to believe that, in order for to genuinely serve God, I need to find enjoyment in the thing I do for Him. This led me to serve God in ministries where I have the most friends and where our talent is mostly recognized. I realized that these things, in which I thought, will bring me joy failed to meet my expectations. This is the point at which service to Christ replaces love for Christ. The inward reality of love for God, and absorption in what he is doing, is no longer the center of the life. I learned that none of the things I do in church fuels my passion to serve Christ because my services to Him only flows out from our relationship with Christ and not the other way around. Right now, I am the Head Elder of our church. I am also a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Discipler and P&W Leader. And for me, they are just outward expressions of an inward reality – a hidden reality that sees an invisible kingdom in the midst of all things.