My Journey as a Writer

I admit, I used to be a terrible writer. Period. I am not good at writing essays. I don’t explain myself well in texts. I sometimes send impulsive and unfiltered messages to friends. Maybe because of my background or experiences when I was growing up. 

I guess nobody taught me how to express myself properly, communicate effectively. But of course this has been my past and the Lord has healed me here many many years ago. 

I am a visual person. I am theatrical guy when I was in high school and college, and had directed live plays and short films during my early professional years. I best explain myself through stills and videos, through acting and extemporaneous speech. The only writing activity I enjoy is writing scripts for stage and screen plays. 

Until I encountered a great apologist who uses poetry and narratives in his teachings very very well. That’s the time I became highly interested in written text, and started improving my writing skills. I was captivated by the play and flow of words describing things, narrating scenes, visualizing atmospheres, captivating emotions and imaginations. This is creative writing. And this type of writing has encouraged me to treat writing as a friend. 

As I watched and listened to the world renowned apologist as he uses literary materials in his messages, I imagined his manuscripts so full and so alive, I was encouraged to improve my writing as a young preacher. With further learnings from inductive preachers, writing manuscripts started to become an expression of art as well. 

As years progress in my teaching ministry, the more materials and trainings I received on theology and Biblical studies, the more I became cautious in writing manuscripts. I would consume a lot of time in reading references and other materials to support or to challenge my every point in every sermon. I also became so conscious of my content, grammar, and future feedback of our church members. These would take days, that would lead to  a writer’s block until Saturday morning. Giving me a certain amount of stress in finishing a sermon. Sometimes I would try to just write simple manuscripts, but then a sense of guilt comes in after descending from the pulpit. I felt I could have given more. 

But indeed our service to God is through His grace. His grace has taught me somehow the proper preparation and writing disciplines in sermon making. A preacher can study his pulpit lessons extensively, as devotions, in conversations with other believers, personal or peer Bible studies, reasonable time with references, deductive and inductive methods, with the help of various expressions of art, music and films. These has helped me write enough, meaningful and content-rich essays for every manuscript that I do, for every pulpit assignment that I have.

The same discipline has helped me in my work in program development. Writing curriculums, project rationale, proposals and various materials. There are no more intimidations I guess from the vast content out there about my topic or training. But there’s a growing confidence that all necessary words and ideas will be put together as long as I remain in the discipline I need in writing. 

Writing will continue to be my task as a preacher. Both for big audiences, to small gatherings, my every lesson’s effectivity will highly depend on the amount of preparation I have given to it. I wish to constantly impart to my audience that I have prepared for them. I pray that God will be glorified in every chance I stand on the pulpit or sit in a chair in a small group Bible study. Thus it is a constant challenge to keep the discipline and dedication on effective writing.  

Potential Idols

All sorts of things are potential idols…If this is so, how do we determine when something is becoming or has become an idol? As soon as our loyalty to anything leads us to disobey God, we are in danger of making it an idol…An idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero… – Richard Keyes

On “Transformation” – part 2

There are two different kinds of repentance – the RELIGIOUS and the GOSPEL kind of repentance.

(an excerpt from T. Keller’s “The Gospel in Life”)

In religion, the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so He will continue to bless us and answer our prayers. This kind of repentance is self-centered. We are mainly sorry for the consequences of sin. Our only hope is to live a life good enough to require God to bless us, so every instance of sin and repentance is therefore traumatic, unnatural, and threatening. Only under great duress do religious people admit they have sinned, because their only hope is their moral goodness.

In the Gospel, however, it tells us that as Christians sin can’t ultimately bring us into condemnation (Rom. 8:1). We are really sorry for the sin itself. Furthermore, we know that Jesus suffered for our sin. We do not have to make ourselves suffer to merit God’s forgiveness. We simply receive the forgiveness from Christ. The knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit that we are flawed, because we won’t be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness. Our hope is in Christ’s righteousness, not our own, so it is not as traumatic to admit our weakness and lapses. The more we see our own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appear s to us. The more aware we are of God’s grace and our acceptance in Christ, the more able we are to drop our denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions of our sin.

The Christian Quest

Everyone is fascinated with a quest.

                The search for the end point.

                The search for a reward.

                The search for greatness.

Philippians 3:12

                Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

The Christian life is a quest. It is a journey. Every Christian is on a journey in his faith towards a direction, a destination, at a phase and ways God has orchestrated.

Understand the journey we all have.

  • Seek Christ above all
    • We are a selfie generation.
    • Narcistic, full of self-indulgence.
    • Pamper yourself, reward yourself is the entice of the world.
    • Chapter 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
    • Paul’s life is not a matter of seeking his own comfort or advancement. It is all about seeking the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.
    • Are our lives connected to God?
    • Are our dreams connected to God?
    • Are our activities connected to God?

And when we seek Christ above all, we will FIND life that is truly right with God. With everyday experience of God’s power.

  • Seek Christ like humility
  • Seek Christ’s appointed goal
  • Seek all things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy