"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33.
Imagine growing up in a neighborhood where many of your friends don't go to school. Maybe, you don't go to school. At some point, re-enrolling in school may not be an option for you because your last grade was 4th grade and you're now a teenager. There are still some options for you, but the road of education is now very challenging because you've lost so many years of learning, diligence, and hard-earned confidence.
Possibly, you're one of the youth who has stayed in school. You push yourself to do well, but you really could use someone who is with you for the long haul. There are days when you go without lunch, or don't have money for a class project. You live with a relative, and you need an advocate, someone to assist you with your homework and help you stay on top of your studies.
God has given us a vision and a team to help youth find hope through Jesus Christ. We call this team Kinabukasan at Pag-asa, which is Tagalog for Future and Hope. We believe that through teaching the gospel, building relationships, and discipleship, youth and families can seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and Jesus will provide all that they need for a good, hope-filled future.
The difficulties of extreme poverty are wide-scale and insurmountable. Humanly speaking, they are impossible to solve, even for one family or one person, let alone a whole community of families. However, the Creator of the Universes is omnipotent. His name is El Shaddai, which means the Almighty One. His promise is that if a person centers his/her life on Him, that He will provide everything needed.
Our vision is that from the soil of discipleship, youth and families will grow up into a good future that is full of God's provision.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you. Genesis 49:22-25a.
2019 was a difficult year and one of the most blessed years of my life. I've read that pastors must climb the mountain of intense trials and experience first-hand Christ's victory over Satan. That characterized my 2019.
"Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility."
This past year, I experienced almost constant spiritual attack. And, I saw God's blessing poured out on our ministry. In His sovereignty, God has allowed a variety of attacks on me, which mirrored the trouble that people we minister to experience in greater measure. I've felt and fought some of the same emotions and thoughts that people I know feel and fight.
Through the pressure of attacks, I've learned some very important things:
1. God is infinitely good and is our salvation.
2. Quiet time with the Holy Spirit is the nutrition for spiritual battle.
3. Fear and distrust must be identified, rooted out, and replaced with trust and confidence in God.
4. Humility is of extreme importance. Wait on the Lord. Spend more time learning from other Christians and less time judging them and ripping them apart.
5. Act in Christ's authority at all times: This is key to freedom.
6. Don't tolerate any sin, evil spirits, or negative thoughts. Evict all of them.
7. A thorn in the flesh is not a permanent fixture, only a glass from which to drink God's grace and sufficiency.
We all have to learn through experience how to take every thought captive. We must learn how to cast large mountains into the sea with faith the size of a mustard seed. We must learn to submit to the Father's will and seek the Holy Spirit's anointing on the ministry that He's given us. We must walk in expectation of God's blessing on His ministry, as He brings His kingdom into the hearts, lives and neighborhoods that we're deployed to. We are His ambassadors, acting in Jesus Christ's authority.
This past year, we've invested funds and hours into a Biblical parenting book in Tagalog. Why? Why invest so much time and money into a Tagalog-language parenting book? It's about growing parents in wisdom.
Cultural Blind Spots
All of us have cultural blind spots in our parenting philosophy. By nature, we have our own false ideas about parenting. Every parent on the planet needs Biblical wisdom for raising their children. The definition of wisdom is to know truth and apply it. Ignorance is simply not know. Foolishness is to know the truth and yet choose a different path. Our Biblical parenting book in Tagalog is written to give parents the knowledge of God's truth for parenting and to give them the advice necessary to parent wisely. The book also has questions to help each parent formulate his/her own values and vision for truth-based parenting.
The Biblical Pattern
One pastor recently told me that he appreciated the book because it followed the Biblical pattern. God has a blueprint for parenting. We can change the future of many children for the better by sharing God's pattern for parenting.
Discipling Family Discipleship
God gives parents the primary role of bringing their children to Jesus through discipleship.
“For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” (Gen 18:19) God was saying that He would use Abraham's obedience in discipling his children to bring them into His everlasting covenant of grace.
God uses parents' discipleship of their children to bring many of them into His kingdom. But, how can parents do what they don't know to do? How can parents do something that they don't even know they're supposed to do? Parents must learn and own God's truth for raising their families. That is why we are thankful and excited to be giving away two thousand copies of Parenting Truth in Tagalog.
Equipping the Church
God's primary method for discipling parents is through His church. Equipping the local churches to disciple is critical. Last year, we sponsored a family and marriage conference for ministry leaders. If it's the Lord's plan, we'll provide another free family conference this coming November.
We chose to invest in producing Biblical books in Tagalog because there are very few Tagalog-language Christian living books available in the book stores. In fact, we've never found a Tagalog-language Biblical parenting or marriage book in a Filipino Christian book store. They may exist but they aren't common. (In a typical Christian bookstore, you might find 25 Tagalog-language books, sprinkled in with hundreds of English titles. There are also a couple of Navigators discipleship series available in Tagalog.) Additionally, many books cost about a half-day's paycheck for a typical parent. We are committed to empower pastors and parents by providing free Bible-based books in Tagalog!
God's Parenting Mandate
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." God in Deuteronomy 6:5-8
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.