So last week, I attended our church’s National Cell (Small Group) Leader’s Summit in Marikina City. The summit aims to gather all the leaders in our ministry from the different parts of the country to encourage everyone to continue in our walk with God and in our personal ministry to accomplish the vision entrusted to us. I believe God has really chosen this Church for me, so when I first learned about the vision that this Body of Christ wants to accomplish, I was already sold out to it and it has become my personal desire to take part in accomplishing this vision. The vision imparted to me is this:
“A multitude of disciples committed to evangelism and disciple-making, reaching the whole world for Christ.”
This vision was based on the promise given to our leader through Isaiah 60:22, ‘The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord, in its time, I will do this swiftly.’ God has made clear to me earlier in my Christian life that this vision is the ultimate purpose of my life. This is the reason why Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me in a very personal way. I am convinced that to accomplish this vision, I have to carry out our mission, which is, ‘
To fulfill Christ’s Great Commission by making disciples and reproducible disciple-making ministries’. I was also convinced of what my Bible Study Leader always tells me that I am a multitude so it has never really occurred to me, in all honesty, to leave this ministry.
Going back to the Summit, one of the things that’s really striking to me during the message was the message spoken by our national director, Kuya Boni Arzedon. He said that poverty is one of the consequences or results of SIN. In order to break this Sin, people need to personally meet and encounter Jesus so if we really want this country to prosper, we really have to disciple this nation, and I believe that this is really true.
As someone who is working for the government, particularly in the development sector, this message is relevant to me. One of the biggest problems of our country that our government really wants to address is poverty. This is very evident in the current Philippine Development Plan whose overarching goal is poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Though most people don’t really know it (maybe because of too much misinformation shared by the media), the government people are really working hard to address poverty but to be also honest, we are not actually doing well in this area. Even I, personally, am already starting to feel hopeless about it.
I know God has already revealed this insight to me before, during one of my quiet time two years ago, so I was really encouraged to work harder in discipling this nation when I heard it again from our Pastor. Why am I so convinced about this? Because I believe that what this country needs are not brilliant leaders and new strategies in addressing poverty but behavioral change among the people. I’ve learned this truth during my training in Japan last year. I believe that our country has better laws and policies compared to Japan. We also have better and more brilliant people and yes, we are more blessed with beautiful and natural resources compared to the Japanese but I think what makes their country more progressive than ours is the discipline of their people. The Japanese have a truly beautiful others-centric culture that’s why they are really obedient to the law and to their leaders, without even complaining, which this country is really lacking. Whether we accept it or not, the Filipino culture is far from being others-centric. Think about of how much we complain when a new law or policy is introduced when it doesn’t suit our tastes. And think about how much we blame our leaders when everything goes wrong, instead of becoming a part of the solution. So yes, this country really needs a major heart surgery. The Filipinos need a major behavioral change and this impossible without the help from Christ. The Filipinos need Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Our gracious and heavenly Father, just like what Daniel has done and prayed long time ago, I humbly come before you on behalf of my countrymen. Lord we claim and declare that Jesus is the Lord and God of this country. We confess that we have sinned against You. We have been rebellious by following other gods in our life and we have not keep your commands. But You are a loving and merciful God. So we ask for your forgiveness and we pray that you deliver this country from the bondage of sin. Lord, let your glory be revealed in this nation by changing the heart of our people. Let this be a nation who seek God and confess that Jesus is Lord. As what Daniel has said, ‘we do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear Your name. Lord, you are the God of this country. In Jesus’ name, amen.