Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exemplary. Different. Committed.

"Timothy's Gimpers" is the name of our church's youth group. It was established around a couple of years ago and is now headed by two people whom we call the "Elders."

But why the name Timothy's Gimpers?

The "Timothy" part was inspired by Paul's letter to, yes, Timothy, as our group verse is taken from there:

1 Timothy 4:12 -
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

The "Gimpers" part is a word that means the following:

"We are those who excel, are different, and are committed to the core. We set our sights high. No matter what the obstacles, we are committed to reaching our goals."

In short, the Timothy's Gimpers are expected to be:


But what does that mean?

The dictionary defines exemplary as:
- fit to be imitated, outstandingly good, excellent, commendable, admirable

Most of the time, we give our best when we are doing something we really enjoy doing. As long as it is something we truly care about, we are passionate, ut when it comes to school or work, even daily devotional times with God, we tend to become mediocre. We don't give our best.

A true Timothy's Gimper, however, chooses to pursue excellence in every part of his life. Settling for the "average" or "okay" is never acceptable. 1 Timothy 4:12 encourages us to be an example. How can we be good examples of Christ if we settle for something less than excellent, admirable, and commendable?

The dictionary defines this as:
- distinquishable, distinct, assorted, varied, not the usual

Blending with the crowd is such an easy thing to do. Teens today want to be just like other teens. They don't want to be unique. They don't want to stand out because they know it means that people will see them differently, and in some cases, maybe not even accept them for who they are. They want to match with the crowd, blend in, fit in.

In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." In his book Habitudes, Dr. Tim Elmore illustrates the difference between a Thermometer Christian and a Thermostat Christian. A Thermometer Christian is one who adapts to the crowd. A Thermostat Christian, on the other hand, is the one who sets the "temperature" of the crowd. He does not conform to the standards of the world, but rather, he sets the pace, makes the standards, and lives them.

This word is defined as
- dedicated, loyal, devoted, faithful, enthusiastic

In our culture (in the Philippines), there is this negative trait, the ningas cogon. It means that we are start things out, but rarely - sometimes never - finish them.
As Timothy's Gimpers, staying committed to God is important. Remaining faithful and devoted to His work should be the beat of our heart. Loyalty and commitment in itself, however, is not enough. It is important to know where your devotion lies, what exactly you are committed to. One of our Elders warned us against becoming loyal towards just each other, or as he put it "existing for just each other." Misplaced loyalty is not at all loyalty to God. It could be loyalty to man or to a certain group or cause. As Christians, we must remain committed and loyal to God 100% of the time.

Be An Example
Our youth group is not perfect. We are not experts who lead exemplary lives all the time. We don't always stand out, even if we know we should. We're not always committed, as sometimes we get discouraged and forget all about remaining loyal to God.

Paul tells us to be an example of the believers. In what areas? Word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. It is important that we be an example of these things.

In our church, I have heard people say "It's good that these youth aren't wasting their time outside but are here in church instead." It's sad because it seems as if we are expected to be like the rest of the youth in the world. Don't allow that to be the mindset of people. Be an example of what you know is God-glorifying and God-honoring.

I wrote this, not just for my youth group, but for everyone. If you are struggling against being mediocre, setting your standards to the low expectations of the world, let me tell you that you're not alone! God is by your side, and the victory is already yours, through Jesus

Pursue excellence! Stand out! Remain devoted! Be exemplary, different, and committed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Why Art Thou Cast Down, O My Soul?"

Psalm 42:11

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

We've been sailing through rough waters recently (I'm talking about school here). There have been issues, cases, problems that seem to be coming our way by the hundred. It has left many of us physically, mentally, and even spiritually exhausted. While it may seem like an ordinary problem in an ordinary day, we recognize that it is the enemy working and that we are fighting a spiritual battle.

It would seem so easy to sink down deep into the pits of despair because, yes, that is what we are feeling right now. Sometimes it sounds like such a good idea to give everything up, so tired are we with struggling against the enemy, the problems, the issues.

Psalm 42:11 came to me as an answer to a prayer. I was tired of struggling, tired of fighting, but unwilling to give up. I felt so troubled, so uneasy. "How much longer, Lord?" I asked. "What can I do?" During a devotional time, I read the verse in Psalms. "Why are thou cast down, O my soul? ...hope thou in God."

Instantly I was refreshed. I was reminded to hope in God, to trust in my Heavenly Father even if I have to face the issues, problems, even the world.

Yes, my soul is still uneasy, restless. The issues are still going on. We still face problems - daily, weekly, but we have the assurance that God is with us, and that all we need to do is fully rely on Him. He is our God, He will deliver us from these troubles, and He will cause souls to sing a song of praise to Him.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Redeemer Lives

A touching e-mail I got today:

There really is no limit to what one can do if you really love.

A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?. The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.

One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father said 'Yes' too. For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island.

Father and son went on to complete the race together.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Messiah College 2008-2009

We welcomed 26 Freshmen last month to Messiah College. A few are transferees from other schools, but for most of them, this is their first time to experience the college life.

For the first week, the Freshmen went to Rizal Re-Creation Center for a leadership training camp. There, they went through a series of activities and seminars that brought out their potential leadership skills. They even had the opportunity to witness to a neighboring town.

The Scholars

The Messiah Family: 4 Juniors, 23 Sophomores, and 26 Freshmen - 53 Students. God is good!