Victory U-Belt Every Nation. Every Campus. Sun, 04 Oct 2015 14:24:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nation. Every Campus. Victory U-Belt no Every Nation. Every Campus. Victory U-Belt Featured Gallery: Doodle Verses Fri, 28 Aug 2015 07:31:00 +0000 by Gielizza Calzado

by Gielizza Calzado

by Jose Chang

by Jose Chang

by Lorelie Gabas

by Lorelie Gabas

VEE - Jer 33;3

by Brian Vee

View the entire gallery here.

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Featured Gallery: Doodle Verses Tue, 11 Aug 2015 09:18:32 +0000 by Yoan Etcubanas

by Yoan Etcubanas

by Ran Carmona

by Ran Carmona

by Gielizza Calzado

by Gielizza Calzado

by Jose Chang

by Jose Chang

View the entire gallery here.

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(Doodle Verse) “The Substitute” Sun, 02 Aug 2015 03:02:25 +0000 RAN - 2 Corinthians 5;21

Artwork by Ran CarmonaView the entire gallery here.

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More Than Just A “Special Number” Thu, 23 Jul 2015 02:00:33 +0000 stepping-out-in-faithIf you’ve been serving in our Sunday Music Ministry long enough, you would know that right after Praise and Worship comes an exhortation, a transition, a few announcements, an offering message and then the “SPECIAL NUMBER”.

For the longest time we’ve known this segment to be, as the name implies, just a Special Number. A segment where we sing a song, the congregation spectates and the offering bags are passed around. We all know this too well.

But recently, you’ve probably noticed that our “Special Number” is being done a little differently than before. Now, more than just singing a song for the congregation, we ask them to join in and worship with us. If you’ve led or sang at any of our special numbers recently, then you’ve probably felt a little awkwardness because of the slight change done in that segment. I know, I did! At first, I wasn’t quite sold out in inviting them to stand and sing. In my mind, I was wrestling with the thought, “Isn’t this just a segment to burn time until all the offering bags are passed around?” But as I thought about it, I realized it was really more than just that. As I pondered about the new approach we’re taking to our special number, I was reminded of a truth regarding worship.

And that is… Worship involves everything, including, the “Special Number”.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

From the verse above we’ve learned that worship is the whole of life. As part of the Music Ministry, this concept is no stranger to us. We’ve all heard this time and time again, but how does it really translate? To put it simply, our worship is not confined to a place or time, but becomes the motive and essence of everything we do. Worship involves everything.
This means that every decision we make and every action we do matters. Worship is no longer boxed in the 40 minutes we spend on stage, but its part of us 24/7.

Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves:
• Am I worshiping and honoring God even when no one is looking?
• Am I worshiping and honoring God with my Finances?
• Am I worshiping and honoring God with my relationships with my friends, family & opposite sex?
• Am I worshiping and honoring God in my academics/job?

The list goes on and on and on……

Worship involves everything

So I guess there’s really more to our Special Number, huh? It’s no longer just a segment to burn time as we wait for the offering bags to be passed to everyone. Let’s shift our perspective. I pray that in the 5 minutes we have in singing the Special Number, we would all just worship! Let us give thanks to God in those moments. Let us remember all the good things He has done, and let our hearts respond.

Let’s not stop there…

In our finances, let’s give our tithes as a form of worship to Him. Let’s remember his faithfulness and provision.

In our every relationship, let us uphold love, patience and purity knowing that it honors the Lord.

In our academics/job let’s work hard and be excellent. Let’s remember that He gave His all for us.

Let worship be the motive of everything we do. This will not be easy and this will not be quick. But as we pursue to know who Jesus is, and what He has done, I know and believe He will change us from the inside-out.

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Kids Boot Camp: GEAR UP | U-Belt Hub Sun, 17 May 2015 11:43:27 +0000

Here’s a recap video of this year’s Kids Boot Camp: “Gear Up”. It was a fun & empowering experience for the kids as they learned more about the Gospel, the bible, prayer & evangelism.

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Me & My Dad: Greater – Recap Video | U-Belt Hub Sun, 12 Apr 2015 07:09:47 +0000

Here’s a recap of the Me and My Dad Camp last April 10 – 11. It was an opportune time for dads to impart faith and spend quality time with their children.

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God’s Grace Overflows Even in Parenting Sat, 28 Feb 2015 05:14:16 +0000 parent postbParenting.  I never thought it would be this challenging.

I have two lovely and vibrant girls. Keila and Kari.

When I got married, I imagined myself breezing through parenting. I thought I would just give out our schedules, communicate instructions to our children for their daily routines.

I assumed they would just obey and face the consequences if they did not follow accordingly. “This is going to be easy”, I thought.“How can it be so difficult?” … Till I became a parent. 

What I said in theory is a different scenario in practice. I rattle when babies cry. I worry if they catch a cold or fever. I am always vigilant at the mall. I am concerned when I go out and leave them at home even with a guardian or household help. You really wouldn’t know until you’re there in that stage and season of parenting.

There are different seasons in parenting. From pregnancy to learning the ropes of taking care of a baby, and seeing them grow from being toddlers through their teenage years. That’s not counting preparing ourselves to be alone with our spouse when our children finally leave home.

Whatever the season we are in, there is always a new set of challenges and opportunities. 

Now I am in the season where my children speak their minds. Yes, they are only 8 and 4 years old but, “Oh my!” they mature and grow really fast.

Keila is the tallest in class or one of the tallest girls in her school. Kari is slim but she is very active and physically flexible.

Keila loves to teach Kari on subjects like English, Math and Writing and gives her rewards if she does well. My girls never forget what you say and will leave you accountable with it .

Keila asks me to go home when it is late. Wait a minute, who is the parent here by the way, huh?! They even watch our diet and remind us not to eat a lot and only take in healthy food. 

My current challenge now is in the area of obedience. We have been taught that delayed obedience is disobedience. “Girls, it’s time to eat.” “Keila, please put your shoes on the shoe rack.” “Kari, please take a bath and brush your teeth.” Argh!!! It will really get to you if they don’t obey immediately and when they always try to negotiate.

“Five minutes, Mama.”  Do I have to say it a zillion times in order for her follow? Oh good Lord, where was I when you poured out patience on earth? I never withhold the rod of discipline but our approach as parents should always be in love, gentleness and patience, first and foremost. And not being reactionary or shouting or being harsh. 

My husband always reminds me to be patient, kind, firm and gentle and that I am a Christian. Sorry, but sometimes I forget!

How can I be a patient and loving mother? Is this really an impossible mission? Especially when I was not brought up this way. Not much of a peaceful home but mostly it was a reactionary environment. Not much of a forgiving atmosphere but mostly living with impatient individuals. I give up! I feel inadequate a lot of times as a mother or maybe I am just hard on myself and setting a high and false standard. I feel like I am lost! 

One morning, I decided to go out and have breakfast on my own. It was my “me time”. I usually do this every now and then. I want God to speak to me most especially when I am in my about-to-give-up mode as a parent. But I came across this verse while I was reading a parenting book: 

” And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good work.”  – 2 Corinthians 9:8 

“All grace. In all things. At all times. With all that you need. so that you will abound or excel in every good work… including child-rearing.”*

God intends for us to excel and abound in every good work. Not just in our career or studies or business but in every good work which includes raising children.  Not just merely raising up children. Not just raising up good and responsible children. But raising up godly children who will love God with all of their hearts, embrace righteous character and make a difference wherever they are. Whew! This is not easy. The reward is not overnight and immediate. It will take years. Years of sowing, planting and investing but it would all be worth it, the rewards are boundless for the glory of God!    

It also says in the book of Ephesians:

 “… so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  – Ephesians 2:7

Amen! God has shown the riches of his grace. It is immeasurable! It is readily available for us. It never runs out. Abundant. Overflowing. 

If you are reading this and you have kids of your own, God has called us to be parents. And when God calls us, there is always an equivalent grace to accomplish just that. Woohoo! Now, is it really possible to be a godly, patient, firm and gentle and loving parent? Yes it is, by God’s immeasurable grace. I can do it! You can do it. We can do it!

Now, I can face this parenting challenge with confidence!! Yey! It takes one day at a time,  I will prepare myself everyday in word and prayer. To remind myself to be patient and gracious. Before I go out to my children and face them, I can take a deep breath and say “Lord help me, grace…grace ….” I claim this fresh grace everyday!  

May you richly enjoy God’s immeasurable grace in your life today!

*Hopeful Parenting – Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah

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Connecting with God: Discovering your Devotional Pathway Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:51:22 +0000 pathway post

Just recently, I had the privilege of visiting Victory-Los Banos for its 25th Anniversary. It wasn’t just another celebration service, it was commemorative of the time I entered UPLB as a college freshmen.

As I could vividly recall, three days after the first day of class, I was in the same place, the DL Umali Auditorium, at the same anniversary event where I came to know Jesus. With a surge of nostalgia and deep gratitude, I look back in amazement at how His faithful love has been revealed to me over the years.

I could almost hear the person who discipled me whisper to me, “You have it in your hands to be a Christian for either 40 days or more than 40 years.”

Just like any child of God, my prayer was to live for Christ for the rest of my life.

Have you ever prayed that prayer, too? Have you ever feared that one day you’d wake up losing that fervent zeal and passion for Jesus? Have you ever been scared to stumble and fall in your walk with God?

Coming from a highly religious background, a part of me once sought a formula to passionate Christianity. But when the cross hit me, it made me see that a relationship does not require such formula.

The Bible says, “God confides on those who fear Him” -Psalm 25:14

This passage reminds me of how God relates to us not as a subordinate but as a friend, thus, revealing the beauty of a personal relationship.

But just like any personal relationship, I learned it takes a journey to discovering how you connect deeper, better and clearer.

Christian author and American pastor Bill Hybels mentioned in his book, Courageous Leadership that each of us are uniquely wired to connect to God.

He called it “sacred pathways”.

Imagine it like your own version of an ideal bonding with God. In a world of busyness and distractions, we need to guard our personal devotion and make sure we are fully engaged and fully ready to meet Him.

“Sacred pathways are like doors that open into a room where we can feel particularly close to God. Just as different leaders have many different personalities and combinations of gifts, so they have many different pathways.”

-Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels

Here’s an excerpt of a quiz I found online that helps us identify our most natural means of connecting with God. Try to take the quiz and discover how you can know God better.

LINK: Devotional-Pathway-Survey

Years ago, I’ve discovered I connect with God best, given I have enough time to think, pray and write everything that goes through my head.

My contemplative nature reminds me to have an unhurried time with God. My idea of a “perfect devotional time” with God, is solitude in a sweet spot, with a Bible study material and lots of paper so I can process the week’s happenings and meditate on God’s word.

What’s your main devotional pathway? What are some adjustments you could make so you could maximize your personal time with God? Whatever your result may be, it does not give us an excuse not read the word, pray, worship, and be discipled. It simply helps us identify how we can connect with God and add vibrance to our personal devotion.

Hope this has helped you in your walk with God today!

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Where is my True Financial Peace? Sun, 22 Feb 2015 10:10:08 +0000 financial post

Personally, November is a great month. It is the transition period to Christmas. It is also that time of the year when we have a great sermon series on what is truly essential in our lives.

Looking back over the past months, the lessons on the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible clearly stand out in regard to how we live our lives.

There are Three Critical Lessons from this book that I would like us to examine.

First, true financial peace has nothing to do with our capacities, inheritance or effort.

Second, true financial peace is allowing God to lead us.

Finally, true financial peace is about Knowing and Being.

In the movie Lucy, Morgan Freeman was a scientist who figured out that the human brain is only used up to 20 percent of its capacity. He concluded that the reason for this is that man is more concerned about HAVING than BEING.

Whether, the movie is true or not, the underlying statement says the truth about human priorities. We are concerned about having things. This does not excuse anyone – including people who follow Christ. For instance, usually, come November, people receive their bonuses. But how much of the bonus has gone into productive and long-term pursuits? The real challenge of having financial peace is the lure for material things.

A quick look at the book of Deuteronomy, we will find out that it chronicles the journey of the Israelites. The Israelites represent the modern-day journey of a Christian. The rescue from Egypt represents our rescue from the slavery of sin and death. The journey along the desert is the pruning and preparation part. While the “Promise Land” is the land of true financial peace. As Christians, we also face the same struggles of looking back at our “Egypt”. Yes, we may be slaves in our own “Egypt”, which we safely say, our “comfort zone”.

That “Egypt” can well be an old relationship, an old job, an old place or anything that holds us back from moving on – they represent our Egypt. We enjoy our Egypt because it is our own strength, our own capacities, or our own self that dictates our situation. But while Egypt may have provided for us financially or even emotionally – it is still a land of slavery.

This is the place where people, no matter how hard they try, they end up where they started. Working hard will only result to so much.

I remember meeting the man selling fish balls in our neighborhood when I was still in grade school. Today, he still sells fish balls, and that must have been 30 years later.

I asked him of any changes in his life, but he responded by saying, “I am used to this”.

I realize how much power the “poverty mentality” has robbed him of the best God has for him. But the truth is, people without Jesus Christ are tied helplessly in this mindset. For them, the solution to life is in their hands. But Deuteronomy 8:18 says:

“God has given us the ability to produce wealth”.

Without God, we will be facing unending toil while we live.

Second, Christians who look back to their Egypts are really those challenged by letting go and letting God.

When we get out of Egypt, there will be shaking and confusion at times. Taking that step to go with Christ also takes the same step in the area of finance.

In the wilderness, we tell God we want to obey you, but our heart refuses. There is that struggle. This is the reason why it took the Israelites 40 years to complete a journey that would have lasted 11 days.

The same is true with Christians today. Our struggle to be our own boss will make us run in circles in our lives. In the wilderness, we will not recognize that God is providing. We long for more and we long to have. Today, we are more concerned about the things that we do not have than the things that we do have. But the question is, “do you really need that iPhone 6 when you have a fully functioning and working Samsung Galaxy Win?”

Do you really need a new car that is worth 1.5 million pesos when your 2010 edition Toyota Vios is as reliable as it can be? Look at your cabinets – do you find things that you thought you do not have? Or do you have any clothes that you have not used for the last three months? You can actually do a garage sale friend!

The best way to recognize that God has provided is to do a cleaning of the house and realize that you actually have more than what you need.

When we do this, we are telling God – please lead me. Let me see you as the cloud that covers the hot sun at daytime and the pillar of fire at night so I can go through the difficulties of life.

Below is a picture of a flower that grew on the road. I saw this flower and took this picture as I was walking from our apartment in Osaka to the University where I was studying for my PhD. It was a tough day. I have not made significant progress and it is less than a year for my scholarship funds. I was talking to God and telling Him to just allow me and my family to go home. This scholarship thing is putting a lot of stress on me, my health and my relationship with my family. I want to go home.

In short, I was in the wilderness – I was recalling the good days of just working in the Philippines with my family, friends and comfort zone. Here we are in Japan – everything is foreign and difficult! I was crying and telling God – Hindi ko na po kaya? All of a sudden I saw this flower across my path. It seems like God was saying, “You are to bloom where you are planted! Even if the situation is tough and difficult, I will be the One to ensure your success! For it will not be your own doing but Mine.”

“You are to bloom where you are planted!"

“You are to bloom where you are planted!”

True enough, two weeks after that – things started to work beyond what I can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I knew that I am at the home stretch of the wilderness. In short, I got my PhD degree on time – in His time.

Having gone back to Manila since 2006, I have realized that once I focused on KNOWING and BEING a Christian, God will take care of the HAVING. 

In the land of placement, God will make sure that your connection with Him is your passport to having an abundant and a fruitful life – a life of true financial peace. 

I do not deny that I still worry somehow in regard to money – but I am no longer shaken.  I have come to realize that John 6:40 is the purpose of living – this is eternal life to KNOW Jesus Christ. 

Knowing Jesus Christ has arranged my life in order.  It is not yet perfect – for perfection is not going to happen on earth, but we have the opportunity to live eternal life on earth by becoming what God wants us to be. 

Know that your financial peace is in God’s placement and in God’s placement, you will be fruitful and generous!

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Maximizing the Sunday Service Experience Sun, 08 Feb 2015 07:02:53 +0000 Filipinos generally spend their Sundays with their families.

And as part of this weekend culture, Filipinos make sure to attend church together on Sundays.

Growing in this kind of Filipino tradition, we hear something like: “come early”, “dress-up nicely”, “listen to the preacher”, “bring your Bible”, among others.

When I was young, I have done that roll-your-eyes thing at least once when I heard these so-called before-you-go-to-church-on-a-Sunday “rules” and still did when I was a teenager before I came to understand God’s love.

But when I finally surrendered my life to Jesus, I came to realize that paying attention to the Sunday preaching, bringing your Bible and coming early to church doesn’t have to be a Sunday ritual.

Instead, when you truly understand that God loves you deeply, these seeming Sunday rules become a natural by-product of our love for Him.

The following are some tips so we can better maximize what I would call our Sunday Service Experience:

11. Come to Church Early

Being punctual in your weekly time with God is a sign of respect. If we do this in our work, in our dates, in our gimmiks, then all the more we should do this for God as a sign of respect and love for how we spend our time.

22. Bring the essentials

For those who still can’t figure how to use an iPAD, you can bring a Bible, pen and a notebook instead. For the majority, that is one way to remember some of the “tweet-worthy” statements the pastor will say.

33. Be ready to socialize

More than just Sunday goers, we have to realize that the church is our spiritual family. And the service gives us an opportunity to gain new friends and establish relationships with the friends you have. This is one of the ways to grow in our relationship with God.

44. Get ready to party!

Maximize the worship experience. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up in the air and give your all to God as a sign of honor and respect!

55. Don’t surf the net or text during service

Yes, sometimes, we are guilty about this. But what’s one hour and a half in a week to worship with your church mates and listen to the word? It would be best to turn your mobile internet off and focus on God’s word. You will hear more from God when we do so.

66. Lastly, take charge of your emotions and be in an expectant disposition to be with God.

All of the things above are not rules but just suggestions on what you can do to prepare for your Sunday Service experience. When doing things for God, make sure the heart is right because the Bible says “…for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Happy Sunday!

* Illustrations by Yoan Etcubañas

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