There is no Plan B

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You are Plan A, and there is no plan B.

This was the key takeaway that I got from this year’s Discipleship 2017 held earlier at SM Mall of Asia Arena. This is a gathering of at least 12,000 Victory group leaders and interns to talk about engaging more people to know about Jesus.

This is my first time in this kind of gathering and attending as an intern for leading a group of my own (hopefully this Q2) and again, I didn’t prepare much into the details. I do this on purpose so that I come empty and just expecting for an encounter with God, as He has done to me in the past.

It was Victory’s founding pastor, Steve Murrell who shared to everyone this:

You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

I personally love how these five words packs a lot of punch in terms of explaining the role we have here on earth. Jesus explained the role of His followers as salt. Back in the day, salt’s use is vital in the Jewish community, with it being used as preservative for meats, fish since they didn’t have the technology we have now. That’s how important salt is.

The power of this message too lies in its context which starts with YOU.

Yes, you. The one reading this text. The one who’s broken, who’s life is a mess, who can’t plan well for the next week or even the next day. Yes, you.

Remember, the audience back then weren’t the most educated, the most sophisticated yet Jesus called them the salt of the earth. They knew how important salt is and to be called that is just… unbelievable.

Yes, you are plan A, and there is no plan B.

Was Jesus in His right mind when He went up to heaven and left the Great Commission to his disciples, with their staring at the heavens, guessing almost blankly? Really, to these disciples who just almost few days ago were scattered across towns afraid of their lives? These men who were called uneducated, with no regal background were entrusted to share the Gospel, a news so good it still resonates until today. See, Jesus gave us the command, regardless of background, but it is He who qualifies the called. There wasn’t any life stage requirement; He just called people. It wasn’t when you’ve achieved some status, have some money in the bank, or any category–He just needs the you now. The present you to move and share the Good News that one is saved by grace, through faith, not  by works so that no one can boast (Eph 2:8).

You are the salt that Jesus called to preserve this earth from rotting. You are important, and you are called to move. Jesus addressed this to every single one of His audience back then and He made sure it reaches us, thus we’re here, and we are to show who He is, even in our messy, broken lives.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

And it will never be our power. May this serve as a reminder, that is it by His Grace that we stand, and we are empowered. We are to engage people, much like how Jesus did it–with extreme compassion and doing it extremely personally, like to the soldier, a woman with multiple relationships, and even to a demon-possessed man. To places that no one dared to touch, Jesus went and changed situations. That is becoming salt.

And that’s leadership too–we move according to our call, and act upon it. We cannot abdicate our role; if we do, others will suffer.

May we be reminded, that there is no plan B. You are plan A and we better be working our role as salt of this earth.

I used a clear stage photo. Sure, with all the glamour of the event, lights, sounds, and even confetti, may we be reminded too that this is all for Jesus. No one else will and should be glorified. In the middle of all the wonderful songs, and powerful words spoken, if the core is not Jesus, all of that is in vain. Clear the stage for Jesus alone.

Now, how do we engage? By living out our role as salt of this earth, just as Jesus said and did it.

You are plan A and there is no plan B. 

With the end in mind.

Single-minded: /adj/ having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose.

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Last night I attended Victory Alabang‘s event, Single-Minded and I like how for me it has double meaning or purpose.

From the outside, it is indeed packaged as a “Singles” event, targeting single people, with raging questions on love life and what not. To make things better, the speaker is one of my favorite writers/bloggers, David Bonifacio.

I like David and his no non-sense, almost tactless style of speaking in his blog. From my perspective, he’s like that impatient boss yet he walks his talks, and he might be like that because all he wants is excellence. Last night I got to listen to him. One of the reasons why I also wanted to see him speak is I try to learn a lot from the speakers I listen to and apply what I can in my life, and to speaking engagements I do (which is mostly I Saw Design only, for now).

He started off with his disclaimer, and right there I got something already. He said he doesn’t like being idolized or being put in a pedestal and that the audience is very much welcome NOT TO take what he says word per word, that we are given a brain to countercheck with people, and most especially, the Bible.  Continue reading “With the end in mind.”

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

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I don’t usually start these blogs with quotes but I just think it’s very appropriate, and this one is very simple and beautiful; it’s an advice from an old carpenter to his apprentice:

“Measure twice and saw once.” (taken from Maxwell’s “Think of These Things” book)

It’s amazing how simple this quote is; it’s about building a house yet applicable in how we should go about life. Measuring twice is about planning, ensuring that we thoroughly think on what we do now as it is critical and if we don’t, the repercussions are more expensive when we don’t.

I am writing about this because I recently have an experience that showed the importance of planning ahead and planning well, or else it’s going to take toll on you. Though I have more experience before because I know I wasn’t a planner before, this one I took note because it’s just timely and expensive at the same time. Continue reading “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”

#MayForever , really?

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Spoiler: There really is a forever, and you know it.

Victory Malate, the local church I am going to, just had a singles event earlier entitled #MayForever which directly contradicts the popular hashtag #WalangForever, spurned by a lot of stories of heartaches and broken relationships due to several factors.

The idea of forever has always been present in the human psyche ever since. That’s why we have always been fascinated by stories of immortality (vampire stories), elixirs, fountain of youth, and with the change in time, the common view of forever now is in the context of love, or companionship.

Humans have a vacuum, a void inside us. We may not readily admit it, but we do, that’s why we try to fill this void with a lot of things, like the next adventure, newest gadget, or say… relationships. The classic “You complete me” line brings chills to us yet in reality, it falls short to our expectations. It’s romantic to hear, but when we fill ourselves with someone who’s also finite, things could and actually WILL fall apart. We’ve seen this with countless stories of failed relationships; I know because I have been in one.

Going back to the event, the speakers are Malate’s own power couple (or it’s just me saying that as I look up to them), Charlton and Vanne Maderal. Continue reading “#MayForever , really?”

Gleaning on Grace through a Gown

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The Philippines is a big Miss Universe fan and recently had a dose of it when it was held here. It was an event filled with glitz, glamour, and women with seemingly effortless grace. Personally, I am not a follower of it but this headline sure caught my attention.

Before leaving, Miss Universe Bulgaria Violina Ancheva decided to give away her gown “to a girl in need that can’t buy a dress for her prom next month.” She got great and positive responses from Filipinos right away, and she picked Issay Gallano, a single mom who gave it to her precious daughter (photo above from CNN).

This is when it became sad for me. Some netizens quickly turned sour and cyberbullied the girl, saying things to her, with main point as “she does not deserve it.” The great thing about Miss Violina Ancheva, she quickly defended Zyra Nicole Cifra.

“It’s hard to believe that it is possible (for) somebody to write negative and rude comments to one 15-year-old girl. The decision to give this dress to this girl was mine and you have to respect my decision,”

Now, what can we learn about grace here, as demonstrated by Miss Universe Bulgaria? Continue reading “Gleaning on Grace through a Gown”

The Natural Law of Respect

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I find this post a bit funny because I felt like it was a late reaction, a connected learning from last time’s post.

To expound, in the Head Teacher’s equipping, we had two group exercises that checked our dynamics in working others. Of course, these games aren’t just games but also character and attitude tests for us. How do we cope in working with others, and how do we think and move under pressure. Our group MO-ONE-NA (yes, puns, because we are group ONE), lost the first game but it did help us bond together because of the ‘record-setting’ number of failures in that game.

What’s cool about that is that I am, again, an “outsider” in this group; all of them are head teachers but some of them while even in the same ministry, they don’t know each other because of different schedules, but still, by grace we are bonded.

Come second game, we came out with more strategy, and this is what surprised me: I was nominated as the leader of the group and they told me that they will listen to what I say. That caught me off-guard and I was really hesitant, but because they had confidence in me, I tried my best in directing what to do and amazingly, we won this round (but I don’t think it was because of my leadership, still).

Now let’s pause for a moment to check what just happened. Continue reading “The Natural Law of Respect”

Shaping the Next Gen Shapers

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Maybe I haven’t been vocal about it, but I am now trying to be more active with local leadership in the church family I am going to, which is Victory Malate.

Last weekend, though I am signed up with the Communications team of the church, I was invited to be in the Kid’s Church Head Teachers equipping. As I have said, I am no teacher, and sure no head teacher so I was baffled, but it was our coach (I call him that because of the support he gives us) Leovic who invited me. He oversees the operations of the Kid’s Church and he really has the heart for the kids. Continue reading “Shaping the Next Gen Shapers”

A New Hope

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I had the chance of watching Rogue One last week and it’s my last movie for this year. Admittedly, I am no Star Wars fan. I know I have watched the old ones before but I have no recall of their storylines. I probably was too young back then to understand.

The movie was really nice. The visuals are really stunning and the storytelling is fantastic. The major plot resonates so much with what is happening with the world right now, and this just gives us hope.

Countless deaths because of wars, famine, celebrity deaths (sadly, more people were moved by these rather than the nameless people in the warzones), and leadership issues have crushed our souls this 2016 and most of us are either wanting for 2016 to end already in hope of a better 2017 or anxious for what could still be in store. Where do we place our hope then?

Like many, I started 2016 with a renewed hope. Of course, like many again, I listed down some goals to aim for this year, with the theme verse

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, love, and self control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

Most of my life I was timid and passive, that is why this 2016 I committed into making things happen. I have written so many goals under different categories, only a handful happened, but there were some things unwritten yet has given me so much lessons. Let me use this moment as a marker for small victories, and a place to be thankful.

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  • the eleven (11) I Saw Design classes. I only planned four yet this has opened new doors for me, and also allowed me to meet new people. The I Saw Design movement has helped me gain confidence in speaking, renewed the heart for teaching. It has also pushed me into the place where I need to learn constantly if I plan to make others better and share the vision in terms of design.
  • Because of I Saw Design, was invited to speak/pitch the idea in Ayala Museum and in the 3rd Graphic Artists Philippines meetup held at Microsoft Philippines.
  • Had my first time in supporting a person for 121 (discipleship tool), and him going through Victory Weekend.
  • Wrestled with integrity and manhood issues (the fight for standing on what is true, founded on God’s word)
  • Finally, was able to register myself as a business, leave corporate life, and now pursuing projects on my own. This is linked to the previous line that tackles on integrity. Introducing, Full Manger Design Studio.
  • Done with Kairos, a missions course, that really brought me into another worldview in what Christ wants to do, His plan of salvation.
  • Now able to serve in our local church as part of Communications team.
  • Met so many interesting individuals!

With all of these victories, there are still some things that pulled me down. Failures that gave me tears and nights of struggles yet made the victories even sweeter.

Life will always consist of pain and failures, but it is through these pain points that we learn the most. We have two responses: wallow in suffering or overcome it and claim it as part of our success story.  Be reminded that no pressure, no diamonds.

With some foundations already made this year, looking forward to 2017 with a new hope.

  • To more collaborations, and meaningful relationships (discipleship)
  • Still, strengthening foundations and ensuring it’s ground on God’s truth and ways (Psalm 127:1)
  • Creating graphic designs with reason and passion, aiming for excellence and impact.
  • Health goals.  If I aim to serve more people this year and in the long run, then I need to be responsible with my health. I plan to help others become better, to serve them to visualize their purpose.

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So, I go back to my initial question: where do we get our hope then? There are ups, but the downs seemingly outweighs our hope (for me it’s global leadership shift). But I remembered, this is something I cannot control. With that I always go back to what I can influence.

This reminds me of Rogue One’s plot, that even (spoiler alert!) when the Death Star seemingly is too big for the rebels, this did not faze a small group of believers of the cause, to press on and continue to do the work that they can actually do. And they did, even with a cost. It’s sticking to the plan, through thick and thin. I love this line from the movie:

“Rebellions are built on hope” 

Reminds me of another rebellion about two thousand years ago. A small group in the middle of the desert, a man with his twelve disciples, went against a system, bringing in a new hope for everyone who chooses this path. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, gave us His life for a new hope, and this is where I chose to plant my hope on. He rebelled against a system that was once on God’s Word yet twisted to cater to a special group. And we can still feel that rebellion resonating until today.

I leave you with this, to you who’s disheartened with what is happening.

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25 ESV)

Hold on, this is not the end. You are still alive; a testament that you can still bring upon a new hope, which for me, is more than enough. As for me, I hold on to the premise that God isn’t finished with me, and I hold on to the character of being like Jesus, who came here to be like a servant, so that we can have a new hope.

The reason for the main photo of a surfer in the middle of the ocean is because that’s how I actually feel now. Being in the middle of that vastness, you feel so alone, naked, yet a sense of adventure and trust that everything would be alright. We must never lose the adventure in us. With the business just starting and ending a long-term relationship, I feel like being throwing in this ocean, and learning the ropes of surfing along the waves of life. You don’t go and pray for it to stop; you learn how to ride.

So that’s why people like the Star Wars saga. 

What’s Next?

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I started with TeleTech way back 2008. I had no job back then, for six months after trying and trying to become a designer somewhere. My portfolio was my university newspaper works and some side projects but with no luck. TeleTech accepted me in a customer service rep role or call center agent as most people would know.

It was here in TeleTech that I got my first real shot as graphic designer after serving one year and 11 months as an agent when I got accepted in the Business Communications Team; the internal comms team of TeleTech. They took me in not because I was really good, but I think because I was aggressive being one of their volunteers back then. It is in this office that I learned more on design, prints, web, video editing, positive scripting, being #TeamNoSleep, site resource, event management, budgeting, and a lot. Basically, this team really honed my corporate and design skills.

Then the creative services arm were transferred to a dedicated team of designers that has Cindy Chaifetz as the head. We became global after serving locally for the past years.

Then for a brief time, I went out to be under Jon Herrera, and designed for 7107 International Music Festival, and then was offered to come back to TeleTech, this time as a senior role, and focused on brand identity. Amazingly, this was about that time that I was slowly falling in love with brand identity. Gaining focus.

But today, I am tending my last day as a designer here in TeleTech. First time I left I had that sense that I was going to come back. This time, I feel its finality. And I think I have my time here has been spent well already and I am sort of ready for another adventure. Sort of because no one can really be so sure unless they take the jump.

I’ll be building now my own small design studio, Full Manger, focusing on companies and individuals or anyone who I can help craft and tell story. Uncertainties? Sure, there is a lot of risk and uncertainties involved but weighing my goals in becoming a great designer, this is a jump worth doing. As I have said, I fear stagnation more than uncertainty.

Have I figured everything out? No, but I do have had weighed my values over this decision. Some of the things that I know I need to work on is integrity and discipline, things that I will have to depend always on the Lord to help me with. At the core of it: I want to add value to people who I will be working with.

Here’s a quote too that really struck me, from one of my entrep heroes David Bonifacio:

“-it’s the employee who thinks that having good ideas for their company is the same as being effective and valuable, complaining about how the company stymies their growth, doesn’t let them try their ideas out, and hurts their work-life balance. If you’re so wise in business, you should be able to navigate business realities like politics and hierarchies, or better yet, go put up your own, and take on the responsibility of shareholders, customers, and employees. Follow what a lot of entrepreneurs do. When they’re not satisfied with something, instead of whining about how trapped they are, they either find ways within their company or they start their own.”

I also said in my last post that taking this risk is a double-edged sword. Sure, 50 chance of failure, but on the other side, 50% chance of success too. Some might think I might be romanticized too much by entrepreneurship but I fear not having a romance at all. That’s about having a life that is shaped by what you aim for, looking through the lens of faith not of fear. If this is a calling by the Lord then even when I am afraid, I have to do it. The question is will I have the faith to really step into the waters God has called me, knowing that He said He will be with us?

I thank all the people who have shaped me through the years and it’s going to be a long list, and they know who they are.

I will end with this, as this has been my verse for the year and amazingly, this was going to be my verse that helped me conquer my fear of jumping, and this is this blog’s core message too:

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I am leaving this time, light and happy. And leaving that samurai here too in this office, as a reminder that I fought a good fight here and I hope I was able to add value to each person who I have worked with. I fought until the end and I am now off for another fight.

So help me Lord. (Ps 127:1).

 

Seeing Design

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There are two school of thoughts that are always in conflict in my head: I knew I can go good graphic design, and second is that I can’t be great. With those premises, I always wanted to teach design but I always had this mentality too that I am not qualified.

I did not finish a graphic design-related course.

I don’t have teaching units, thus automatic disqualification in teaching in schools.

Seeing this, the biggest roadblock to fulfilling this was myself really. Creativity, as I have learned, is not confined to just the arts or design that is seen commercially, but design spills over to the realm of life; on how we will adjust to everything that hinders us. Thus, I Saw Design was born.

Continue reading “Seeing Design”