Makes All the Difference

April 23, 2008

“…As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit…” (John 15:5)

I gave exactly the same talk (same anecdotes, same punchlines and same jokes) on two different occasions before two different audiences, but the results were entirely different. Let me tell you why…

The first talk was powerful. The audience was receptive. The crowd was moved. Tears flowed. Joy overflowed. Everyone gave their lives to God that day. It was simply awesome.

The second talk was the exact opposite. My stories weren’t moving. The punchlines had no punch. My jokes fell flat. The audience was bored. I was uninspired. Not a single soul offered their life to God. Even the one who invited me to speak stayed on her seat during the altar call. It was downright embarassing. 

What could have been the difference?

My guess is this: I was not as reliant to God in the second talk as I was in the first.

You see, the first talk happened early on in my career as a preacher. When I was still inexperienced. When I spent fewer minutes giving the talk than praying about it. When I had to literally go on my knees begging for God’s anointing for weeks prior to the talk.

The second talk, on the other hand, happened years later when things about me were much different. I was already a semi-veteran preacher whose confidence bordered on the extreme. A bit arrogant, I spent less time on my knees than on stage. Instead of preparing for the talk, I simply unearthed my re-hashed talk from my files hoping the same material would be enough to produce the same effect. I was dead wrong.

Reading today’s Gospel makes me recall vividly those two experiences.

“…As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit…” (John 15:5)

Friend, remaining in Jesus in everything we do makes all the difference. Whether at work, or in our relationships, or even when it comes to our service, remaining in Jesus is crucial. For without Him, we cannot bear fruit.

Our best diagnosis will not remedy the illness of our patient.

Our best legal remedy cannot acquit our client.

Our best business strategy cannot keep our business open.

Our best sales plan cannot close that deal.

Without God, you can do absolutely nothing.

Today, re-affirm your commitment to remain with God.

Pray to God daily. Listen to Him regularly. Ask for His anointing. Plead for His blessing.

Remain in Him. It makes all the difference in what you do. It makes all the difference in the world.

I remain, your friend, in Christ,

Bobby Q.

 

Being Honest with God

April 12, 2008

“…Lord, to whom shall we go?…” (John 6:68)

Recently, I heard of a friend who has decided to seek the Lord in his life again. I say “again” because there was a time when he was practically living in their parish serving God as one of the leaders in their youth group. But somewhere, somehow, he fell by the wayside. 

Death of a loved one. Tragedy at school. Family crisis. All these contributed to his anger — anger with life and with God. For years he avoided the Lord and anything related to Him. Resentment clouded the mind. Pain mired the heart. Anger burned from within as he could no longer believe in the loving God he once served.

Until a few days ago, now much, much older, my friend attended a bible study again. I don’t know exactly what transpired during those years of self-exile, but one thing I believe is this: he is now making peace with God.

The words of Peter in today’s gospel is applicable to my friend:

 “…Lord, to whom shall we go?…” (John 6:68)

It wasn’t a question but a statement. A statement of conviction. A statement of faith. That even if we shall run away from God. That even if we shall seek other paths to take. That even if we choose to resist the promptings of our hearts. Our feet shall still carry us back to Him. Because when all have been said and done, we know in our heart of hearts that the world can never offer to us what God can.

Today, I invite you to be honest with God about your disappointments with Him. Be honest with Him. Tell Him how sometimes it becomes so hard to trust. Speak to Him about that frustration. Or that long-standing unanswered prayer. And when you have poured out everything to God, immediately echo what Peter said. That even if you should hurt within, it is never enough to barter God for anything in the world.

For you, God is and always will be your only option.

I remain, in Christ,

Bobby Q. 

 

The Right Reason

April 07, 2008

“…Truly I say to you, you look for me, not because you have seen the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied…” (John 6:26)

I enjoy playing only two sports: basketball and bowling. Why? Because it is only in those two where I excel.

Believe me, I tried racket sports: badminton, tennis and table tennis. The only similarity I have with John Mcenroe is that we both destroy our tennis rackets quite often.

I tried baseball. For some reason, I earned the intimidating exclusive monicker “Strikeout”.

I tried chess. I hold the record of having my King cornered right after my first move.

No wonder I stuck with what I am good at. But I know of some people who play any kind of sport regardless if they are good at it or not. You call them “sportsbuffs”. They play not for success or the high they get out of it, but simply for the love of the game.

In following Jesus, do we follow Him in the same way? Do we follow Him because we love Him or because of what we get from Him?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was direct enough to get to the heart of the matter when he said to those who were following Him:

“…Truly I say to you, you look for me, not because you have seen the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied…” (John 6:26)

I cringed while reading and re-reading this passage. Am I really following God for the right reason?

Or do I treat him like basketball or bowling where I enjoy the applause for every basket made, or strikes performed? Maybe I stick with God not because of Him but because of what I derive from my relationship with Him.

…the usual applause after I preach,

…the wonderful company of brothers and sisters from my prayer group,

…the security of His provision,

…the confidence in His sure healing whenever we get sick.

How about you? Are you with God because of what you derive from having Him in your life? Like an ATM or a vendo machine, is God a convenient source of blessings or a time-tested rescuer to bail you out in tight situations?

Or are you following Him for the right reasons — because of Him, and Him alone?

Today would be a good time to check the quality of your relationship with God. Sure, there are many benefits in following Him. But all of these should just be bonus. Make sure you follow Him not for what He gives, but for who He is — loving, faithful and incredibly marvelous God.

Work for this. Keep this in mind. Inscribe this in your heart. What will make you hold on to Him in the midst of trying times aren’t the blessings or the answered prayers. It is when God is silent or seems distant when your resolve to follow Him will be tested. It is only then when you are purified. It is then when your motives are chiseled to perfection.

And when you stand by Him in the face of your woes and in the absence of His consolation, only then will you know that you are following Him indeed, for the right reason. 

Have a blessed week ahead!

I remain, your friend in Christ,

Bobby Q.

 

Pentecost Power

Dear Friend, 

I would like to invite you to attend “Pentecost Power: Unleashing the Spirit’s Power in your Prayer Group“, a workshop/seminar designed to help you utilize the different Charismatic gifts towards a more life-giving and spirit-filled prayer group.

This will be on May 24, 2008, 8AM to 12NN at the Ligaya ng Panginoon Formation Center in Taguig.

I will be leading the event together with dynamic songwriter and worship leader Marlo Valencia.

For only P200.00/head, you get to experience a re-awakening of your spiritual gifts, learn practical tips on how to lead and participate in life-giving prayer meetings, as well as utilize music to have spirit-filled worship in your gatherings.

Plus, you get a discount of only P180.00/head if there are at least ten of you coming from one prayer group.

We don’t accept walk-ins so be sure to reserve your slots now.

For reservations, please email us at lampstand_inspirations@yahoo.com

Thanks and see you there!

I remain,

Bobby Q.