Discipleship, Funny Fridays

DC 2017

The Discipleship Conference 2017, entitled Engage, was a bunch of firsts for us. King was part of the team who handled the conference, so he had to be in MOA Arena a day ahead. That meant I needed my own ride going, which I don’t think I’ve done in terms of big church events, for the past 12 years. That also meant we would not be sitting together because he would be working during the event. Something I haven’t experienced in the past 12 years as well.

We’ve brought the girls to some conferences and convergences when they were younger, but this was a first for Danae, alone with me! We decided to bring her because she was going to be transitioning from Kids Church to Every Nation Campus (youth) soon, and we wanted her to get a vision of what God is doing in and through our movement. I’ve been casting the vision in our victory group (the girls and their friends), that our group is not just so we can learn more about God and grow as Christians, but so that they too can share Jesus to others and lead their own groups one day soon. This was the perfect time and opportunity to help open her eyes more. She was excited that Ptr Steve Murrell was preaching.

It was my first time to Uber! Haha, shallow I know, but I was pretty stoked. We rode with my friend, neighbor, inaanak, and Uber expert, Thine. We sat together as well in the event, along with Thine’s husband, Edrei, who is our (Every Nation Campus) South Hub Leader. I think the fact that they were our seat mates was just perfect.

In our Vios Uber….

Thine: Are you attending Unashamed (Every Nation Campus’ student conference)?

Danae: Yes.

Me: Yeah. But you can’t be alone yet. Either Daddy or Mommy will go with you.

Thine: Who do you want to go with you? Dad or Mom?

Danae: Mom! Coz Daddy will keep talking to people he knows.

Thine and me: Hahaha. (We totally got what she was saying! Our husbands almost always get held up by people who want to talk to them, and our husbands are basically always excited to see and talk to people.)

During the conference….

Edrei: How old are you?

Danae: says age.

Edrei/Thine: Where do you want to attend? Youth or Kids Church?

Danae: Kids Church (me, secretly: awwww, my baby is still a baby, yaaaaay!!! Haha, the struggle is real!)

But really, I love how they were encouraging her that she is an intern (future victory group leader), and that she will be helping them reach out to international students. I’m just being a needy mommy. 😉

A few days before Engage, I told Danae that she will share what she learns from Ptr Steve’s preaching to our victory group. She agreed and took down notes. With some help from me, she was able to download it to her victory group mates.

YOU – together, not alone, we.

ARE – not will be, might be, could be, should be. are. right now.

THE – no plan b. we are it.

SALT – lead others to Jesus. don’t lose your saltiness and cause others to stumble.

of the EARTH – your own community. the unreached in your community.

Jesus’ ministry was out of compassion and was extremely personal.

I can’t remember if this was before or during our victory group meeting that Sunday after Engage….

Noelle: Mom, why is ate (big sister) leading vg again?

Me: Training, love. You are also going to share the Word in vg.

Noelle: What? No!

Me: Yes, love. Remember, you are all going to be doing this one day with your own groups.

Noelle: But…. I don’t listen!

Hahahaha. Even if she’s distracted often, I know she picks up a lot.

What a privilege to witness how the Lord is working in and through our daughters. I pray that they will be as convinced as their Dad and I are of discipleship. That they be willing and eager to be discipled, and that they be willing and eager to make disciples. 🙂

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b]baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] Matthew 22:37-39

Just My Thoughts, Spiritual Family

Just Be Faithful

So last night was Every Nation’s Induction and Ordination Ceremony 2016, where new pastors were ordained and new campus missionaries inducted. Three of our own from Alabang were ordained as pastors — Ptr Ed Caducio who now serves in one of our Japan churches, Ptr Rein Tatlonghari who serves in Alabang, and Ptr David Bernardo who serves in Muntinlupa. Ptr David used to be part of King’s team of campus missionaries when King was Alabang’s youth pastor 10 years ago. Michelle Galarosa, who was once part of my victory group, was inducted as campus missionary as well. She serves in Sorsogon. Ptr Ferdie Cabiling, who was overseeing the youth in Ortigas during King’s Youth on Fire days, was ordained Bishop after 25 years of serving in church!

Our whole family was there because King (along with other pastors who have served 10, 15, 20, 25 years) was appreciated for his 10 years of service in church. Gianna was relatively quiet for the first maybe 20 minutes of the program. I had to get her out of there when she started calling ate Jiggy, tita Iris and tita Janice loudly while one of the pastors was speaking! It was a good thing that I opened the door when I heard our senior pastor Ptr Ariel talk, because it was then that he called King on stage! I was thankfully able to take a few pictures of him up there. After that, I was outside with the girls, along with many other moms and little kids haha. I’m sure the bishops and pastors had great, inspiring messages. My season will come when I can sit, listen, and concentrate. 🙂

Proud of you, babe! 🙂


The Victory Alabang pastors and staff were so sweet and supportive. They gave more than 3 hours of their time, not including travel time, to be there. They even wanted to have dinner together, which we did in Army Navy.

Thank you for the photo Iris! 🙂


When they all had left, King and I got to talking. I was happy to support the hubby, but at first I didn’t quite understand the recognition. Neither of us has been counting his years of service. Like what King says, he’s just always “happy to serve!” But it dawned on me as I was articulating my thoughts that yeah, 10 years in the ministry IS a feat! I realized that through the victories, breakthroughs and all the good things that have transpired, through hardships and the uncertainties, through discouraging and disappointing situations, the Lord has been faithful AND King has been faithful. It’s easy to be encouraged during the highs, but my constant words to him during the lows are “just be faithful.” Even when it hurts me too, I would encourage him to just be faithful.

By God’s grace, here he is, still in the ministry after more than ten years. By God’s grace, he is growing and maturing, continually laying ambition and self at the feet of Jesus. He wakes up each morning ready to fulfill his God-given calling, thankful for the opportunity to do what he loves to do. With the trust given him by our leaders, he is able to lead and serve God’s people. With godly counsel, discipleship, and brotherhood, he remains a rookie, willing to learn and be taught. By God’s sufficient and enabling grace and for the glory of God, he is able to be the many things he needs to be and wear the hats he needs to wear, while being a loving and faithful #productivehusband to me and being a great father to our daughters.

Thanks everybody! It’s an honor and privilege to serve with this team. We love this church! 🙂


Wow. God is indeed good. We did not expect the recognition, but we receive it with humility and much gratitude. And we are so encouraged by it! So to the tune of Dory’s song, we will, only by the grace of God, continue to “just be faithful, just be faithful, just be faithful, faithful, faithful.” 🙂

 

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH, YOUTH MINISTRY

What’s The Point?

It was King’s birthday the other day. I was thinking all day what we could do for him when he’d get home from work, until I decided to use the money I had set aside, to give to him as our gift. Noelle told me to just buy him a gift, but I really didn’t know what King wanted. I knew that it was something he was not used to, yet he would appreciate.

I explained to both my girls that the only budget we had for our trip to the mall was for their dad, and that we were not buying anything for them. Danae immediately pointed out that she had money. Noelle also had money. We agreed that they would buy according to how much they had.

King was shopping in the clothes section, while the girls kept pulling me to the school supplies. Danae finally chose a set of oil pastels, which was well within her budget. Noelle chose an art kit, 20 pesos beyond hers. I agreed anyway, figuring Danae’s money would be enough to cover it.

Lining up at the counter, Danae realized that she had left her 200+ pesos at home. She was upset, but I had to remind her of our agreement. I really did not have extra. And it wasn’t the end of the world anyway. She could still get them another time. Noelle on the other hand, had her 100 pesos in her wallet, which she had placed in her bag immediately after we counted her cash. I asked King for the 20 pesos that she lacked.

The whole thing reminded me of what Pastor Steve Murrell shared at our church’s Metro Manila staff meeting regarding passing the baton, after connecting it to a funny experience he and his brother had when they were teenagers. You can run the relay the fastest, but it won’t count for anything if you leave the baton at the start.

Exactly. Danae may have had more money than Noelle, but she got nothing out of our trip to the mall. Since she didn’t have it with her, it was useless.

What’s the point of all this learning, growing, equipping, if we don’t bring it and use it? What’s the point of running the race fast, if we don’t bring the baton and pass it? What’s the point of knowing the Gospel, of experiencing the love of Christ, of learning to live life to the full, of being discipled, if we don’t GO share and teach it to others?

Let’s not miss the point. Let’s not miss our mark. Honor God. Make disciples. #Discipleship2013 #Victory #EveryNation

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, Spiritual Family

C.O.R.R.E.C.T.I.O.N.

Victory Alabang held a parenting seminar morning of last Saturday, July 14. Tired from our trip, the girls and I came late, arriving in time for the break-out sessions. I left the girls in one of the rooms to watch cartoons with the other kids, so I could attend the 0-9-years-old group with Pastor Ariel and Shirley Marquez, while others attended the 10-12 group with Pastor Sonny and Malou Oaman, and the 13-and-up group with Pastor Chico and Maryanne Peña.

Pastor Ariel focused on teaching us about disciplining our YOUNG CHILDREN, by communicating with them and giving them the rod. He made it clear that giving our children the rod is NOT child abuse. It is not done to punish, but to correct. It is CORRECTIVE, not punitive. One of the verses he shared is one of the most effective verses we shared to our children, to further explain why we discipline them. I will never forget that night months ago, when Danae read it herself. She was genuinely surprised that not giving her the rod actually means we HATE her.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24

Our girls understand that we discipline and teach them because we love them.

Here is the acronym we learned.

CLARITY. Rules must be set. Rules must be clear.

OBEDIENCE. This is our goal: to teach them to OBEY without delay, without challenge, and without question. We need to teach them this based on mutual trust. We love them and have their best interest at heart, and they can trust our decisions for them.

RIGHT ATTITUDE. Do not discipline in anger. Have the right attitude when ministering with the rod. Cool down first, or if your spouse is present, let him or her do it. We aim for the rear end, and no other body part. Beware of hurtful words. The sting of the rod will quickly fade away, but the sting of our words can last a lifetime.

RESTORATION. After establishing guilt (ex: “Did you or did you not hit your sister?” – question answerable by yes or no only; asking them why will teach them to make excuses), tell your child that he or she is forgiven and loved.

EXPLANATION. Explain every single time why you are giving the rod. Bottom line: we love them and want them to grow up to be good people, and we are obeying God’s word to teach and discipline them.

CONSISTENCY. The same rules apply anytime and anywhere, and the same corresponding consequences apply as well.

THOROUGHNESS. Make sure you finish it. Complete the process from beginning to end, from establishing of guilt to restoration and prayer. Prayer teaches them that when they disobey Daddy & Mommy, they are also disobeying God (Deut 5:16), and therefore need to repent before Him.

IMMEDIATELY. Minister immediately. Do not wait till you get angry or till you get home. Do not let your anger build up. Do not let your child suffer in fear of his or her “impending doom” (haha). Go back to the car or go to a bath room if necessary.

OUT OF SIGHT. Keep it private. It should be just him or her and you. Keep your child’s dignity intact by disciplining him or her privately.

NEUTRAL OBJECT. Use a neutral object, such as a plastic ruler, a wooden spatula, or a rubber spatula, as your rod. Do not use your hand because we use our hands to express affection to our children, lest they be confused.

It was a good time to realign our disciplining ways to how God wants us to discipline our children. We realized when we got home that we already have old notes regarding the same topic, and yet we still needed to hear all of it all over again. It just goes to show BASICS are always important, and it never hurts to be reminded of them from time to time. 🙂

My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH

My Kids at Vacation Bible Camp

Danae and Noelle at Pandamania, May 17-19Danae attended her 3rd Vacation Bible Camp this summer, while it was Noelle’s first ever! Danae attended her first Me & My Dad Camp last April, an amazing time for her and King. She also wished for a Me & My Mom Camp and a Me & My Sister Camp after that haha. She joined McDonald’s Kiddie Crew and had piano lessons too. But because Noelle’s only 3 and she already had her summer school last year to sort of prepare her for Nursery this school year, we didn’t have anything lined up for her to do except VBC (though technically, kids have to be at least 4 to join).

I never had much problem leaving Danae in any class because she was almost always willing to stay even without me. Noelle is the complete opposite. Her summer school experience last year showed me just how clingy she was, and she was the same even in “Kids Church 3” (she means kids church for 3-year-olds) this year. When she was interested to go, she didn’t want to join Danae’s age group. She wanted her own age group, but she wanted me to stay with her, which I did.

One Sunday, however, I was able to leave her in her class room and I was able to attend service! I guess our never-ending pep talks, encouraging her not to cry in class because she’s a big girl, finally worked. The teacher only came to get me during the last 15 minutes because Noelle was asking for me, but with no tears!!! What a breakthrough! I knew then that I wouldn’t have problems during VBC. I was so proud of her.

All in all, my kids’ VBC experience, or I should say OUR VBC experience, was really memorable. As usual, Danae enjoyed her time with friends. There was no doubt that she would actively participate in the activities and learn from the shows, songs, and stories, which she did. Noelle, as usual too, did not participate as much. There were a couple of times I saw her just sitting with a teacher or a classmate, while others danced and a few more others ran around haha. She did her crafts and watched the shows, but I only saw her sing and do the actions during graduation (in her seat and with her teacher). But that didn’t really matter. The fact that she actually stayed in class for nearly 3 hours for 3 consecutive days already made me extremely happy! I also appreciated what Ptr Carlo said about Noelle, that she would approach and comfort any classmate who was upset (so cute). He also said that my two girls knew how to respect authority. Praise God for that haha.

Noelle’s the type who listens only to what she wants to listen to. When we’d read books, it’s like she doesn’t have time to sit and finish the story! I didn’t really expect her to understand or remember the lessons in VBC, but I was surprised that she was able to share with me the stories of Elijah (though a lot unclear haha), Moses and Hannah. She’s got a wild imagination, so some were accurate and some were not hahaha. Still, it made an impact on her, enough to make her remember.

If there’s one big thing I learned about Noelle this summer, it’s the fact that she listens, pays attention, understands, remembers more when we make the stories animated and acted out, not just read. Which means, the VBC volunteers did a great job conveying the Bible stories through their plays. They got through to a 3-year-old! All the volunteers were actually amazing. Their dedication, their energy, their heart….WOW!

I can’t tell you enough how great it was, except by telling you that I got so inspired to join and volunteer next year! It’s simply not enough for me to bring my kids there, wait and pick them up again. I want to be a teacher (and a dancer) too!

So to Pastor Carlo, Lea, Grace, Leni, Merlee and all the staff and volunteers who labored out of love for God and His children, thank you! You guys are the best! 🙂

FEATURED, Spiritual Family

Christmas Traditions 2

Victory Alabang’s November 18 Christmas Traditions event was such a fun, informative and inspiring time. The bibingka. The decor and the ambiance. The music from the choir. The home schoolers’ bazaar on the side and the younger home schoolers’ musical number. My Father’s House kids’ blessing trees. Prizes and giveaways.

Not only did we learn what Christmas traditions to start, how to start them and why we do them, nor did we just pick up gift wrapping and table setting tips, we also learned some simple delicious holiday recipes from Chef Len Santos-Ding!

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD
4 servings
Ingredients:
200 g glass noodles (sotanghon)
hot water
1/4 cup carrots, grated or cut into strips
¼ cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 Tbsp green onions, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup toasted chopped peanuts
Dressing:
½ cup oyster sauce
6 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp calamansi juice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
pinch of chili flakes or fresh chili

Put noodles in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, let it stand until just tender; drain and set aside.
In another bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together.
Toss noodles with the dressing, vegetables and herbs, leaving enough vegetables for topping. Arrange on a plate. Top with the rest of the vegetables and chopped nuts.
Salad may be served hot, room temperature or chilled.

COFFEE RUBBED CHICKEN
Ingredients:
Rub mixture: (good for about 4 kilos)
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c brown sugar
½ cup instant coffee powder
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Ground black pepper
2 Tbsp salt

1 k chicken thighs
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

Mix ingredients for the rub mixture and keep at room temperature in a well-sealed container.
For 1 kilo chicken pieces, use ½ to ¾ cup of rub mixture. Rub the spice mixture on the chicken pieces. Add canola oil. Marinade for about 2 hours or even overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Arrange chicken on a baking tray, skin side up. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through. Baste occasionally with the pan juices. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for five minutes before serving.

BANGUS PATE
Yield: 2 cups
Ingredients:
1 bar cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup all purpose cream
2 cans bangus in oil (or Spanish style)
fresh herbs like basil or dill (optional), to taste

Separate bangus meat from oil (do not throw away bangus oil). Remove skin and bones from bangus if any. Mix softened cream cheese, cream and bangus together. Mash well with a fork. You may also use a food processor. Add chopped fresh herbs. Keep the mixture refrigerated. Serve with crostini or crackers.

VANILLA PANNACOTTA
6-8 servings
Ingredients:
1 1/3 c fresh milk
1 cup heavy or all purpose cream
1/2 c sugar
3 tsps Knox gelatin
1 tsp vanilla
1. Prepare and measure all ingredients and equipment.
2. Mix the gelatin with 1/2 cup fresh milk.
3. Combine the rest of the milk, 1 c cream, and 1/2 c sugar. Cook over low heat until simmering.
4. Add fresh milk and gelatin mixture until completely dissolved.
5. Strain.
6. Cool for about 10 minutes. Add vanilla OR other flavors.
7. Pour into molds and chill (or freeze).
8. To unmold, dip in warm water.
*can be chilled (covered) for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.

Mango Sauce

1 cup mango juice
6-8 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in water

Boil mango juice with sugar. Thicken with cornstarch. Cook till it boils again. Strain. Cool. Transfer into a squeeze bottle. Serve as a topping for pannacotta.
*use within 1-2 days

ENJOY! 🙂

Parenting, Spiritual Family

EN2010 Through A Mom’s Eyes

We just concluded our 3-day Every Nation 2010 World Conference at SMX last Saturday. What an awesome time, coming together from all over the world as one church, hearing the most inspiring testimonies, learning from the most diverse bunch of speakers ever, and worshiping God in our own ways and languages! Check out the article on Inquirer.

When registration opened, we were out of town, and we asked a friend to register for us, including the kids. It was not cheap, I tell you, but we knew it was best to bring them along. Aside from the fact that we didn’t have a choice on who to leave them with, I couldn’t also bear to leave them for 3 days. The most we’ve left them at home was for about 10 hours, 4 hours of which they spent sleeping. Anyway, going to the conference last Thursday, I was slightly nervous about leaving Danae in Children’s Church by herself. She’s almost 5 and quite independent, but I guess my protectiveness prevailed a bit over my confidence in my daughter. Kids Pastor and our friend, Larry Uy, said  I was more concerned than my daughter was. I kept expecting to see Danae’s name on the screen haha, as they might need me to get her, but Ptr Larry was absolutely right. Danae was perfectly fine in Children’s Church!  She was there for 4 hours on Thursday night and around 7 hours (not continuously) on Friday. She even told me she met new friends. Ptr Larry’s presence there made me even more at ease, too. I’m so proud of her! The problem came only when it was time to go home and she didn’t want to be separated from her cousins. She loves them so much and misses them since they don’t see each other often, that she’d cry every time. Having said that, I am so blessed by the wonderful fact that King’s family is also part of our spiritual family. My parents-in-law served as ushers at the event even. 🙂

So where was Noelle? With King and I, of course! She was manageable enough, except when she started making too much adorable noise or when she started pulling me to walk around outside. It was a riot having her around though. She had really really funny moments! She danced, made friends, charmed everyone’s pants off. Every time she saw a baby at the back or outside, she approached them, pulled her shirt up and showed her tummy for some reason haha. She didn’t stop eating her snacks. When one session was over, her favorite “Aris” (Tito Francis), took a piece from her stash and just held it, asking if it was okay with her for him to eat one. She responded by staring at first, then putting the rest of the cookies in her mouth and taking the one that was in Francis’ hand! Hahaha. She didn’t want to share at all. I saw many dedicated dads and moms alike, taking their kids up & down the escalator to entertain them when they got bored or restless. Noelle loved that escalator! It was a long and fun ride for her. When she got outside, she almost always refused to go back into the huge doors.

Truth be told, I missed some of the preachings and testimonies because I had to attend to Noelle, but thank God for my husband who did not mind doing diaper duty when needed! And because there were times that Noelle was occupied with the music, with eating, or coloring or writing (on the chair even — sorry!), and quietly distracting others hehe, I was able to sit through many of the sessions. I learned a lot, got encouraged and inspired a lot, and my faith got stirred up a lot!

The first 2 days with the kids, however, were extremely tiring for me. I slept tired and woke up tired, especially since on the first night we ate dinner in Makati  really late (MOA was closed & other restos nearby were full) and got home around 2am thanks to SLEX traffic. Poor Danae missed school the next day, which starts 7:30am, because she was also bushed. We let the girls sleep longer so they’d be ready for day 2 of EN2010. But as you can tell from the picture, by afternoon, during the break as we had our early dinner with a friend and delegate from Victory Cebu, Noelle was out cold! We actually decided from the first day that we’d leave them at home on the last day. We wanted the kids to rest and I wanted to rest too. My muscles were aching from carrying Noelle, I lacked sleep, and I just didn’t have the energy anymore. It was the right decision, although we missed them and talked about them constantly, because we were able to spend time alone and I was able to worship and listen without much distraction. And I’m sure the others around us were able to do the same haha, although they did miss Noelle’s presence too.

Looking back at EN07, I remember bringing Danae with us as well. She was 1 year and 8 months old then. This year, EN2010, Danae is 4 years and 8 months old, while Noelle is 1 year and 6 months old. It was definitely inconvenient, but I wouldn’t change the fact that we brought our kids. Even though they don’t actually listen to the preaching of the Word or sing praises to God (well, Danae does now), I believe something supernatural happens in their minds and hearts. We are starting them early, exposing them to the huge, world-wide spiritual family that we have, to praying and worshiping together, and to appreciate the beauty of our God that resonates through and transcends the diversity of His people. We are sowing God’s Word, sowing seeds of faith in our children. That alone makes it worth it! EN2013, God-willing, here we, the Luceros, come! 🙂