January 29, 2008  

“…Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me…” (Mark 3:35)

I thought it was going to be another ordinary dinner date. I was wrong.

I was in high school when I asked her out. She was about my age, studying in another school from across town. To be honest, she was quite mysterious to me. Unlike other girls I dated at that time, she seemed more confident of herself and was always cheerful. It was because of this that I decided to ask her out on a date. Little did I know that our short conversation that night was the beginning of my long journey back to God.

It was during that evening when, for the first time in my life, I heard someone speak so boldly about her relationship with God. No pretenses. No preaching. No sugarcoating. Just a plain and simple testimony of how much she exerienced God’s transforming power in her life. To be honest, I tried so many times to veer away from the topic but she seemed to manage to always insert God into the conversation. 

Our night ended quietly without much funfare compared to my previous dates. No, I would not even consider it a turning point in my life. But it was, I admit, the beginning of my search for this God whom she spoke of so passionately.

Honestly, nothing came out of that dinner date. The girl and I never entered into any serious relationship after that. In fact, we never went out on another date since then. I don’t know where she is or how she is doing nowadays. But one thing I cannot deny is this: that she was a catalyst in my eventual conversion from a life of sin to a life with God.

Today, I am a Catholic lay preacher conducting retreats, recollections and prayer rallies for the Catholic faithful. I am what I would consider a devout Catholic. But the girl who spoke to me about Jesus was not. You see, she was a born-again Christian. The irony, therefore, is this: The person who helped me become a good Catholic was not even one.

Because of this reality, I realize now one fundamental foundation of my ministry: what changes lives are not the labels of your denomination, but Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Catholic Church, and I will always do. But I love Jesus first and above all. This, my friends, is my bottomline. That you may be Baptist, or Lutheran or Evangelical. But if you love Jesus and live your life as his disciple, then I will embrace you as my brother or sister in Christ.

Rick Warren, author of the book “The Purpose Driven Life” once said when he spoke during his visit here in the Philippines two years ago: “A Catholic who loves Jesus is more of a brother to me than a baptist who does not.”

And this idea did not originate from Warren. It was Christ himself who said:

“…Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me…” (Mark 3:35)

The members of Jesus’ family are not just the Catholics or the Baptists, but each and every person who has made an explicit decision to live as His disciple. Before the cross of Christ, labels may not matter that much. It’s the heart that counts.

That, my friends, is His bottomline. Let it be your bottomline too!

Have a blessed day!

I remain, your friend in Christ,

Bobby Q.  



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