Affidavit of Life

“But these were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31; NIV)

One of my close friends recommended that I watch this movie entitled “The Encounter”. He said I would like it because the main character of the movie was Jesus and that it would make me cry. Well, I didn’t, it just made my eyes sweat.

The movie began with five people who got stranded in a mysterious diner during a storm. Among them were a young runaway girl, a successful businessman, a married couple, and a young woman on her way to meet her boyfriend to surprise him. Apparently, the owner and sole operator of the diner was a man named Jesus. As these people—strangers to each other—had various problems and issues on their own, Jesus started telling each of them about themselves and addressing their problems. He said that all he wants is for none of them to be lost and all of them to spend eternity with him in heaven, echoing what the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:4.

In the same way, God gave us His written Word, the Bible, in order for us to know who Jesus is and to come to a saving knowledge of Him. The Hebrew word used for “knowledge” or “know” (yadah) in the Bible connotes not only information but an intimate relationship. Now, this intimate relationship with Jesus results in faith in Him. Likewise, the Greek word for “faith” or “belief” (pistis) as used in the Bible connotes not only intellectual assent to a set of facts, but also includes trust. We believe facts but we trust a person. The apostle John said that he wrote his account of Jesus’ life in order for us to believe in Jesus. To believe in Jesus means to trust Him and the efficacy of His redeeming work on the cross for our salvation.

Fear not!

Jesus Walking on WaterBut he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” (John 6:20 NIV)

I remember a story of a pastor on a long flight between church conferences. It turned out to be a very turbulent flight. To make matters worse, a violent storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash. Then, he suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world.

When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.

The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, the pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. The child replied, “Cause my Daddy’s the pilot, and he’s taking me home.”

When Jesus’ disciples were alone on a boat one stormy night, they too were afraid, especially when they saw something or someone who they thought was a ghost. However, when Jesus informed them that it was Him, He also told them not to be afraid. Just to make sure, Peter asked Jesus to let him come to Him by walking on water and walk on water he did!

As Christians, we still encounter a lot of storms in life in form of financial, relational and physical problems. God, however, did not promise us a storm-free life but a storm-proof life. Just like the apostle Peter, if we focus our attention on Jesus, we will be able to walk on water regardless of the storms that that hit us.

My Journey to Christ

During my elementary days, I was very religious, coming from a Catholic school. I was even a member of the Knights of the Altar and served in our school Masses. However, due to the influence of my dad who is still an agnostic even up to now, I became an agnostic from my college days until my second year in law school. I did not believe that the Bible was the Word of God, instead, I formed my own worldview from the different philosophical systems and ideologies that we studied in college. For me, pre-marital sex was normal and not sinful.

My sister was invited by Ms.  Roca Cruz, the manager of pop rock musician Kitchie Nadal whom she was a fan of, to their group Bible study meetings (they were still called cell groups at that time) at Greenbelt 3. After several weeks of driving her there, they invited me to join them and just listen. At first, I was still doubtful of the veracity of the Bible, but then, I decided to give it a chance and “tried” to believe what it says. My interest was especially piqued when I first attended a worship service at Victory Christian Fellowship-Fort Bonifacio after being fed up and bored of going around the mall while waiting for my sister. The sermon series then was on the Ten Commandments and the sermon topic on that particular Sunday was “You shall not commit adultery.” The same was explained quite well by Ptr. Steve Murrell, the preacher on that fateful day, and thus, I began my search for the Truth. Then, by God’s mercy and grace, I surrendered to the Lord and got saved at the age of 23.

Being a law student at that time, I continued my study of Scripture in order to be able to explain and defend my newfound Faith “to those who would ask me for the reason for the hope that I had” (1 Peter 3:15). I continued doing that until my passion for theology and apologetics was ignited by the Holy Spirit. Even while I was reviewing for the bar exams in 2007, I felt God’s call to be a minister of the Gospel, although when the right time was, I didn’t know yet. Now as a lawyer, as more opportunities to teach, speak, share and lead came my way, together with my personal devotions and study of the Word, I knew that the time has come for me to formally equip myself and pursue full-time ministry for the purpose of making disciples and equipping the saints for the work God has prepared in advance for them to do.

My personal involvement in the ministry started about a year after I became a Christian. The first ministry I joined was the Music Ministry for the main services. I thought of joining the same because prior to surrendering my life to Christ, I was doing the vocals for an alternative rock band wherein we had gigs in bars and restaurants. Moreover, I really enjoyed singing in weddings, parties and family reunions as singing karaoke used to be a weekly thing in our home due to my dad’s insistence. After passing the auditions, I started joining the worship team practices before the service in which I was assigned to. My first role therein was doing back-up vocals, then after some time, I started doing some solo stanzas and leading for entire songs. I then took a break from ministry when I started reviewing for the 2007 bar exams, which, by God’s grace, I passed. The results were released on March 29, 2008. I served in the music ministry from early 2006 to late 2007.

In 2008, I volunteered in the Every Nation Campus Ministry (now known as “LifeBox”) for the outreach at the University of Makati (UMAK) lead by Ptr. Robert Gonzalez. I was one of the pioneer volunteers. At our first youth service at UMAK, I served as the worship leader. During that year, I decided to apply as a faculty member therein in order to reach more students for Christ. I got hired and taught business law for two semesters. I also enrolled in its Master of Public Administration program. During that time, I was able to lead some students to Christ and invite them to our campus services or “LifeBox Events” as we called it. After successfully raising up local leaders therein, I resigned as an employed faculty member but continued to teach Personal Development and Public Relations at UMAK as a LifeBox volunteer while pursuing my masteral studies therein.

The next ministry I joined was the Kids Ministry-Primary (Ages 7-9 years old). I started therein as a “door man” or the guy who serves as an usher and at the same time in charge of accompanying the kids to the toilet. After about two weeks, I assisted in leading children’s small groups after the preaching. About a month after I started leading the children’s praise and worship. That went on for around two and a half years or from 2009 to early 2011, at which time I got married.

From 2010 up to the present, I have been a volunteer teacher at our Victory Weekend Retreats speaking on the subject of Victory Over Spiritual Error, being an aficionado of apologetics. Meanwhile, I have also been invited to speak or preach by other churches, ministries, clubs and schools on topics such as leadership, apologetics and hermeneutics. In fact, one of them was even a Roman Catholic parish church, namely, Holy Cross Parish in Makati. It was during one of their seminars about Sacred Scripture wherein I lectured on the topic of Bible Reading and Interpretation. Their pastor at that time was Msgr. Dennis Odiver, who was recently succeeded by Fr. Jason Laguerta in 2011.