One weekend in February 2011, in the middle of a one of our financial lows, CCF asked us to facilitate a retreat. Being good followers of Jesus we said yes. What caught me by surprise though was the fact that we as facilitators had to pay the registration fee. I struggled and even told my wife “Did they know that we did not want to attend this retreat? They got us not the other way around, why are we paying?” but my wife encouraged me and reminded me that we had already given our Yes. So blindly we just had to use some already allocated budget for this surprise expense.

Monday after the weekend retreat we saw a fax in our Post Ad office. It was a project for a Mega Sardines Sales Rally which we were asked to event manage. It turns out one of the couple in the group CCF asked us to handle was the COO of the company. One of the marketing officers asked me during the brief “Sir, how long have you known Sir Mark?” I replied “Just 2 days ago. Why?” she replied “because this project was actually supposed to be awarded already to another agency then we got the instruction to award it instead to you.” and at that time, I heard God speak his words in Isaiah 59:1 “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.”. I’ve forgotten how mighty and Big God is. God replaced what I had paid that weekend over a hundred times and if that is not a fulfilment of the promise to “Give, and it will be given to you a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” then i don’t know what is!
Thats not the Ultimate blessing though, the biggest blessing is this…. During the retreat was a couple who were in the brink of separation. They actually just attended out of courtesy to their kid’s swim coach Angelo & Pepper Lozada. Their original plan was to escape the first night and never come back. God however had bigger plans for them… Never in their wildest idea did they think that this weekend would change not only their life but their eternity. They received the Lord in their hearts, committed their lives and their family to Jesus and never turned back. The year after decided to re-affirm their wedding vows in Boracay which I officiated in front of crying families, yaya and friends. This year, they attended the 5 day Hillsong conference here with us in Sydney! I’ve just sent them off to their van going to the airport and turning sentimental. Separation anxiety really does kicks in after spending a week of breakfast, worship, lunch, worship, dinner… Did I mention already that this year alone we are traveling together out of the country 4x? It makes me wonder, What if I decided not to let go of my P6,500 registration fee back then? Would have been a different story entirely. I would have missed out on this great friendship we now have.
Great friends are hard to find. Monique, Jessie and Mags enjoying the Hillson conference 2014. Who would have thought?

Great friends are hard to find. Monique, Jessie and Mags enjoying the Hillson conference 2014. Who would have thought?

They don’t know it but they encourage me more than I encourage them. That whenever I’m spiritually down and giving up on God’s calling thinking nothing is working. I remember their lives and feel “It was worth all the sacrifice”. We’ve probably used their story dozens of times when we counsel people specially in the topics of “Hope” (which is their name of their business by the way even before they went to church). “Privileged” and “Honoured” don’t come close to description of what is feels to know you were used by God.
Then I remember the passive Christians who just sit it out waiting for Jesus coming doing nothing. Sad to think how they don’t know they’re missing out big time. Specially those who have chosen their careers, friends etc. over their calling. Thats why probably in Matthew 10:37 Jesus himself said:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Not that Jesus doesn’t want you to love your family. Nothing wrong with that but Jesus wants you to put Him first or to love Him more over all these things. When you put Jesus first, you’ll be in a better position to love those whom you love. Did you quite understand that? Let me say rephrase that… “When you love Jesus, you’ll be in a better position to Love others.” because until you know what is is to love God and feel his love, the Love that you feel and have is does not have the full potency of love.
So back to my main point, What is God calling you to do that you have not done? You might be just like me who almost allowed his physical earthly limitations like money and time to hold me down. If this sounds like you then you might miss out on the blessing. Blessing like Jessie and Magnolia David. (sniff) (sniff)

Here’s a picture that they just sent me before i pressed the “Publish” button. I guess the feeling is mutual. hehehe.

Bye Sydney.

Bye Sydney.