Just My Thoughts

Public Speaking Workshop

Last month, our group of pastors wives had a basic public speaking workshop led by our church mate, Tisha Timbang, who is a member of the Toastmasters Club! To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of speaking in public. I get too nervous even when it’s just a classroom setting, and I’m the student and not the teacher! Maybe it brings me back to when I was a child and my teachers would choose me to represent my class in elocution contests. I don’t know why I ever agreed to any of them when I was never really good at it and I never placed, let alone won. Maybe I could speak English well, but that was it. Always awkward, always nervous in front of a crowd.

Dont get me wrong. Now I love teaching, especially alongside my husband (he makes me feel more at ease in front of other people), and I consider it a privilege to be able to do so. It truly is a testament of Gods grace, because even with my awkwardness and my anxiety, He uses me anyway.

There are two important things that I learned from our guest speaker, Neb Perez, on day 1. (Wasn’t able to attend day 2 because Gianna was sick that week.) The first one is pretty basic. At first it didnt make much of an impact on me, but the more I thought about it, the more I got it. He said public speaking is for the public. Pretty obvious. But what he was trying to teach us was that when we speak to an audience, it is for their benefit, not the speaker’s.

As speakers or teachers or victory group leaders or with whatever speaking/teaching opportunity you and I are given, our focus should be the people, not ourselves. What they need to hear, and not what we fear about how were going to appear. How they can understand the topic better, and not what would make us look smarter or more skilled. Knowing our audience is key. Of course Ned also said to stay true to who we are, to talk how we normally talk, which is liberating for me as I have zero acting skills. Our main goal is to make sure our audience understands what we are trying to say. Its not about showcasing our talent or our amazing life, or impressing them with how much we know or how fast we can talk or how eloquently we speak. It’s about informing them, sharing to them, teaching them, influencing them, inspiring them, imparting to them. We cant stay in our own heads either and just go on and on until we finish what we have prepared to say. We need to make eye contact, observe, connect with, and in our case minister to, the people listening to us.

I also realize that when we get feedback, we must still have the public in mind. To enable us to set aside our egos and focus on their needs. When the focus is off of ourselves, it enables us to receive critique, not reject it. We need feedback to continually improve in getting the message across to people, clearly and correctly, especially when the message we carry is Gods Word and the work He does in our lives.

Ned also gave us 4 questions to ask ourselves before speaking, to adjust our mindset. He said that the moment you think you don’t need to ask yourself those questions is the exact time you need to. For me though, it wasn’t so much the questions he gave, but the practice of checking oneself. In other words, heart-check. What a great reminder to realign ourselves with what God wants us to do right before we actually do it. Remind yourself why you’re speaking. Remind yourself who its for. Remind yourself who gave you the ability and the opportunity. Remind yourself to whom the glory belongs.

In one word, HUMILITY. Public speaking is a privilege and a big responsibility. It may be earned based on your skill or your story, but definitely it is still God who places you there. Definitely it is still God who gave you your abilities. Definitely it is still because of God that you have a story to tell. Let’s remember this well and remain humble. Public speaking is just another tool. Jesus is still the goal. Jesus in you. And Jesus through you.

 

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 

 

 

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

I’m Sorry

Is it too late now to say sorry? I don’t particularly like the Biebs. I do like this song of his. But that’s not what I want to write about. 🙂

The other day, I was driving home from church with my daughters. It was after 5pm so traffic on Commerce Ave was building up. I was approaching the block where Jollibee and McDonald’s are, in front of Acacia Hotel. I don’t remember what we were talking about in the car, but I do know we were talking (you know how girls are) so I was not able to pay attention to the pedestrian lane in the middle of the road, not at a traffic light, that allows people to cross from the fastfood joints to I guess Commerce Center. Traffic suddenly halted, so I was right on the pedestrian lane. To my dismay, I saw a dad pushing a stroller while holding his toddler son by the hand. The stroller was empty, thank goodness. But the dad was not happy with me at all. He looked at my car, paused in front of it and scratched his head. He made sure to show me just how annoyed he was at me for making it hard for him and his son to cross the street, without really looking at me. I knew from his facial expression and body language that he was completely annoyed. I was blocking his way. Who knows, maybe he was stressed out. My blunder didn’t help. I’ve had those days, too, for sure.

As they emerged from the outermost lane (I was in the innermost), before the dad even saw my car, I noticed them already and I noticed where I was. Under my breath, I said “Oh no.” I knew I had made a mistake. I wanted to back up but there was a vehicle behind me. Danae asked me what was wrong but I couldn’t explain to her just yet. I was watching the father and son to make sure they were okay. As they clumsily made their way onto the island, which I doubt has a ramp, I found myself lowering my window and saying “I’m sorry.”

I don’t think he expected that. I didn’t expect that I would be quick to do that either. I hope he felt even a tad appeased by my apology. He did give me a glance and he did muster a tiny smile. I’m just grateful he didn’t hurl insults or yell at me for being a bad driver (ugh, I hate contributing to the bad rap women drivers get), even though he probably wanted to. I’m glad I apologized, audibly. I meant it.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to set an example for my kids. I hope that even when we’re not around to correct or remind them, they will take a position of humility when they make a mistake. I hope that they will not justify the wrong they do or blame others for it. I hope that even though they may feel and act defensive at first, they will not keep that wall of pride up. I hope that they will accept correction from others and seek forgiveness sincerely. I hope that they will care about people, and not be indifferent to their needs and their circumstances. I hope that they will look beyond the mess, so that they can see and appreciate the lesson. I hope for these now, not later. In their childhood, not to impress people or to prove something, but to honor God.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

 

Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8

 

Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Psalm 144:12

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

H.O.N.O.R.

King and I were invited to speak to the youth of Muntinlupa in their leaders’ summit last year. I had the privilege to share about H.O.N.O.R. to the women. And believe me when I say, I preach to myself as well.

H.UMBLE.
A person who comes from a place of honor comes from a place of humility.
Philippians 2:3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” It does not mean low self-esteem, like putting ourselves down, thinking that we are worthless — that is NOT humility. It means putting our egos aside and treating others with high regard, so that we can listen to them and consider that we can learn from them.

Humility is knowing who we are in Christ and knowing the gifts God gave us, but KNOWING OUR PLACE. It’s not about us or our abilities. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God, and the confidence we have in Him and through Him.

1 peter 5:5-6 says “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Humility is having a submissive spirit, giving an ear or taking heed to others’ thoughts, especially of those who are more mature and more experienced than us. It does not mean giving up your own ideas or beliefs, but taking into consideration that they may have a point and what they are saying might help you.

James 3:13 13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

The more we seek and know God, the wiser we become. The wiser we become, the more humble we become, realizing that it is He who makes us wise, that it is He who enables us to love, that it is He who is in control. It brings us back to our place — WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE NOTHING.

O.PEN TO CORRECTION.
The more we grow and mature, the more open we should be to correction, not the other way around. Sometimes we think that because we are older or because we are in a certain position, we think we know better or we know it all. We are not beyond correction. In fact, we need to hear it all the more. It is critical as our territories expand, as our influence grows larger.

And correction may come from anybody. It’s easier (not easy at all sometimes, but easier) to receive correction from authority figures. But when a friend, peer or even someone younger corrects us, we get defensive. Let’s ASSESS ourselves instead. Let’s not be so quick to judge the person giving us correction. Focus on the plank in our own eye rather than on theirs. It goes back to humility, knowing our place, having a submissive spirit, so we can hear them out and receive the correction.

Proverbs 10:17 says “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”

We are not the only ones affected when we do not heed correction. Not only do others suffer from our mistakes, we also set a bad example to them.

Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Let’s not be stupid. 🙂

Proverbs 15:12 says “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.”

Let’s not just wait for correction. Let’s consult the wise. SEEK GODLY COUNSEL.

N.ON COMBATIVE, NON-COMPETITIVE.
In any relationship, it should not be about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not a competition of who is smarter or better. What is important is the relationship, the person, not our ego.

Prov 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Prov 25:15 says “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Sometimes when we want to get our points across, we tend to be hard and harsh, but a gentle word and gentle tone is really more effective. LOVE IS MORE EFFECTIVE. Tough love, meaning not watering down God’s word and firmly sharing our stand, is necessary at times, but it does not have to be harsh and mean either.

Truth is good, but timing and tone must always be considered.

Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, PEACE. We give importance to these when we come from a place of honor.

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

When we come from a place of honor, we speak life, not death.

1 Peter 3:4 says “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

God wants us ladies to have a quiet and gentle spirit. It does not mean that we who have strong personalities, have to change our personality. God created us each uniquely and I believe part of that is our personality. He is, however, concerned about our character — that with our strong personality, we know our place, we have a submissive spirit, we don’t need to be aggressive to be heard, but we quietly trust in the Lord.

O.THERS-CENTERED.
Servant leadership.
John 13:12-15 says “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.””

It shows us what kind of leader Jesus is. He is not proud, not lording it over his disciples, not demanding to be served. He is God and yet he washed his disciples’ feet. This is the example He set for us. Serve, rather than seek to be served.

We need to think beyond ourselves and what we want or what we think we should have. We need to think about others even if we’re the leader. In fact, we need to think about others ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE ARE THE LEADER. Our position should not be a hindrance, but should be the MEANS for us to serve others.

Mark 15:33-39 says “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!””

He is God yet He allowed Himself to be sacrificed so that our sins may be forgiven and we may have access to the Father. He is God, yet He became last so we could come first. Sometimes, as spouses, as parents, as children, as teachers, as leaders or whatever position we may be in in life, we need to be last so others can be first.

R.ESPECTFUL
1 Peter 2:17 says “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Respect EVERYONE, whether they deserve it or not. Human to human. The way we would want to be treated.

Respect in speech and in action, whether behind their back or in front of them. No to gossip.

No to coarse joking. Be careful that we still show respect. Let us not over estimate our friend or loved one’s ability to take a joke. We may already be hurting them.

No to over familiarity. Even if they are our helpers at home, employees at work, or they are under us or they are younger than us, it does not give us the right to disrespect them. We need to treat them with respect all the more, given our position. We gain respect when we give respect.

Sometimes it’s hardest to show the proper respect to our family or closest friends because we think it’s fine, that they love us no matter what, that we don’t need to consider what they feel, that we don’t need to say sorry. Let us show them the proper respect, most especially because they are the people who love us unconditionally.

Notice that everything points to HUMILITY. It is what honoring others is all about. Couple it with INTEGRITY. Honor must not stay within church walls, among church people. It must be a LIFESTYLE.

PROVERBS 22:4 Nasb The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 29:23 Nasb A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

GOD HONORS THOSE WHO HONOR OTHERS.

Another blog on HONOR – Manny Pacquiao: A Man of Honor

Other blogs on RESPECT – Overfamilarity and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Another blog on CHARACTER VS PERSONALITY – I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

Just My Thoughts, Marriage, YOUTH MINISTRY

NO SECRETS!

IF YOU’RE ENGAGED, getting ready for this lifetime commitment with your fiance, with the wedding date set, knowing full well that God has brought the two of you together, here’s a tip for you that will save you a lot of heartache. NO SECRETS! If you have a dark or even not-so-dark past, you owe it to your fiance to tell them the truth. Why? Why do you have to dig up the past and share it? You’ve gotten over it, already healed from it. So why is it necessary? Exactly. You’re over it and are healed, so why not? Unless….. you’re still hiding something, or still unconsciously living in the past. Think about it. Yes it’s hard to come clean in the beginning and feelings may get hurt, but it’s the best way to let your future spouse know who you were and how far you’ve come (especially in cases like mine and King’s — engaged 6 months after meeting — click here for full story), and it’s the best way to test your own feelings, your character, and YOUR RELATIONSHIP as well.

Once your relationship stands the TEST OF REALITY, you’ll see that it’s the best way to prepare for your marriage. You are giving each other the opportunity to forgive one another, because like I said feelings may get hurt, depending on what happened in yours or your fiance’s past. You are creating a clean slate between the two of you. You are creating a CULTURE OF LOVE, honesty, trust, open communication, forgiveness, acceptance, humility, security/confidence, peace, unity — basics and essentials in a great marriage — as you enter into yours. You are laying down the groundwork.

I admit, I am no expert since I have been only married to King for a mere 6 years and 10 months, but this is something I personally felt I had to do before we got hitched. I had to swallow my pride and tell King the truth about my past. Because I have been completely transparent to him, there is none of the drama! No surprises, except the good kind. No reliving of the past, pointing fingers, counting of wrongs, or bitterness and resentment towards each other. Our marriage is not perfect, and like everyone else’s  it takes work and a whole lot of learning, but I believe in that aspect, we did good.

Having said that, I have an even GREATER TIP FOR YOUTH AND SINGLES. While you’re still young and single, or maybe even old(er) and single, BE WISE! Do things that need not be hidden. Have relationships that you need not be ashamed of in the eyes of men and in the eyes of God. Live a life that need not be kept secret. Imagine that you don’t have to come clean to your future spouse because you have NO SECRETS! The freedom, the joy! For both you and your fiance! It’s a great honor to God, a great gift to your future spouse, and the best gift to yourself. 🙂