Are you a victim of the great big universal hoax?

Imagine living in a world where Joaquin Phoenix is just about the best-looking guy there is.

Photo credit: crosstalk.com
Photo credit: crosstalk.com

I’ve watched the short-lived suspense series “Wayward Pines” on Fox, and couldn’t help but notice its similarity with M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” movie which stars Joaquin Phoenix. No wonder, Shyamalan is also Executive Producer of “Wayward Pines”.

Both “Wayward Pines” and “The Village” are set in an idyllic community where everything appears happy and normal at first. Later on, one would notice a pervading atmosphere of weirdness in that no one is allowed to leave, and not even a single resident had ever set foot outside the village perimeter fence.

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The “Village” is situated in the 19th-century, a small town isolated deep in the woods. The community is virtually one big happy family and everybody’s dream neighborhood. They have regular picnics, outdoor social gatherings and stuff, the ladies wearing their fancy dresses with fancy parasols, and everybody seems to have a great social life. Yet no one dares to venture beyond the village’s boundary towards the forest. Life goes on normally within the confines of the neighborhood, but beyond that lies mysterious beings – “those we do not speak of” as the villagers refer to them, monsters or unknown creatures that leave frightening warnings in blood whenever any resident tries to step out of the village.

 As a village citizen, one could easily settle into the cozy, familiar, predictable life you’ve always known since birth. No one would risk appearing crazy among his friends by going beyond what everybody’s intelligent thinking accepts and believes. At “Wayward Pines”, people were required to embrace the motto “Work hard! Be happy! Enjoy your life in Wayward Pines!” so they could order their lives and step into blissful routinary ignorance.

“The Village” ends with the revelation that it wasn’t the 19th century after all, but the modern present-day. The village inhabitants — the younger ones at least — were being shielded by the elders from the “cruelty” of the outside world by keeping them cloistered within the village at all costs, and they effectively pulled that off through the monster stories. Having been taught since birth that beyond their village dwelled the “evil ones”, the village youngsters had lost whatever sense of curiosity they may have had to explore beyond their “world”.

This reminds me of yet another movie, “The Truman Show”, which starred Jim Carrey, where the world as the main character knows it was actually just a deceptive creation, a virtual reality where everything that happens was an orchestrated weave of deceTrumanshowption. Unknown to Jim Carrey’s character, he was the subject and lead star in one big, elaborate reality tv show religiously followed by millions of viewers since the day he was born. He had no idea that his family, neighborhood, friends, and everything else were not real but mere concoctions of the reality show producers. He was completely unaware that his every mo
ve, every emotion, every event in his so-called life is captured onscreen and seen by the entire world. Can you imagine the shock, the utter sense of betrayal you would feel if that had been you and you’ve just found out the truth?

In “Wayward Pines”, the shock factor came with the scenario that they were actually living 2,000 years into the future, and that the world as they knew it outside Wayward Pines was completely gone. It’s hard to imagine the ultimate shock of waking up one day to this kind of “reality”.

Somewhere along the streets of Wayward Pines somebody had placed a grafitti of this famous saying on a wall: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”.

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What if, at the end of your life, you find that everything you’ve ever bet your entire existence on was in fact far from truth?

Death, or the end of this present life, or the transfer from this life to the next, is the grand ending in this great movie of a life when every question, every mystery, will finally find its answer. Every idea or philosophy would finally either be proved or disproved. It is the point where all arguments about God or religion would cease to exist, because by then the truth will be staring us all in the face.

And what if – at the threshold of eternity, you seek out what you thought were your life’s solid anchors – your knowledgeable friends who seemed to know the answers, the life philosophy you cling to, your version of reality, only to find out you’ve been duped? You’ve always believed there was safety in numbers. But nope, in the end, you find yourself going through the consequence of your life decisions ALONE. And worse, in the end you find out there was only One Life Decision that actually mattered.

One Decision that spelled your destiny for billions and billions of years, for eternity.

You couldn’t help but wonder how anybody could pull off such an elaborate universal hoax so great and so clever it could only be diabolical. You search deep within your soul and realize it was actually the attitude of your heart that opened your life to deception. It wasn’t the brilliance nor the power of the big lie, but YOUR heart, that sealed your fate.

 “He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” – Jesus (John 8:44)

 

Para Kanino Ka Bumabangon?

What motivates you in life? What inspires you to get up in the morning and do the things you do? What moves you to go the extra mile?

[Transcript of my brief pep talk for the VCA Invaders (young professionals of the Victory Churches of Asia), June 29, 2014 at Rigel’s Café, QC]:10463902_265447573639538_232984795998644833_n-2

Many years ago, I was among hundreds of yuppy office workers running the “rat race” in Ortigas. If you had asked me back then “Para kanino ka bumabangon? (For whom do you wake up each morning?), I would have answered, “I don’t know”. I just knew I had to work like most people. That was expected of me.

“I’ve got a job to do. I’m doing this for my family and for my future”, would be a fairly common reply among yuppies. In all honesty, though, I was doing it just to survive and be like everybody else.

But don’t get me wrong. My job was good. I had a very good position in a government agency. I was very happy with my wonderful office friends. I got to travel all over the country for free almost twice a month, staying in nice hotels. It was all very ‘exciting’. But looking back, and comparing it to the life I have now, I consider those times to be my “dark years”.

Why do I call it that? Looking back, I realize I had no sense of purpose and direction in my life. At least, not in the way I do now. What I know now, thanks to God’s ‘intervention’ in my life, has tremendously changed my perspective about things.

God meant for me – for us — to live a life of purpose and meaning, a life that matters in eternity. God wants us to live a life of substance, anchored on the truth and not on the shaky foundation of the world’s expectations. A life lived from an eternal perspective. Unknown to most people in the world, God actually wants us to live a colorful life filled with adventure. A life of real thrill and excitement, which is starkly different from how the world views it.

The kind of happiness that the world gives, without God, is not real. It is superficial, and temporary. On the other hand, God’s idea of thrill and excitement for your life is more lasting and genuine. Not mababaw na kaligayahan as the world knows it, but REAL joy deep down inside, not plastic na happiness.

I love how our life today is called “the Christian Adventure”. The Bible calls it “the abundant life”. Living with and for God is the greatest adventure in the universe. God wants you to wake up each morning with this sense of purpose, thrill and excitement – a sense of anticipation for the awesome things in store for those who really believe and trust God.

But how?

I’d like to share 7 Points to Remember on How to Have the Right Motivation:

(1) Cultivate an intimate personal love relationship with God so that you can learn to see your life (and yourself) from God’s perspective.

God’s perspective is the best and most accurate perspective in life. It is not affected by human inconsistencies, philosophical errors, or emotional baggages and biases. Unless you see yourself and the world from God’s perspective, you will never experience the Christian adventure.

(2) (You can hear this over and over again in our church) Discover your destiny – God’s purpose for your life. Usually this involves something you really love doing that God has already placed in your heart. It involves your passion in life.

Sometimes it begins with you seeing a need, and a burden burns deep in your heart, and a passion is developed within you.

I believe there can be no greater passion in life than the passion for the cause of Christ. There is power in a God-given vision — a picture of something great and awesome that is larger than your life and circumstances. It is this vision that will give you the ability to endure anything and not give up.

(3) Know that the ‘battle’ (or everday struggles) is not about you. It is about the people who will be blessed through you. Think about this every time you go through your little ‘battles’. Para kanino ka ba bumabangon?

Try to observe people you know who only live for themselves. They usually end up having more problems than they could handle, which drives them to focus even more on themselves, and on their problems. On the other hand, those who dwell on helping and loving OTHERS do not seem to have the serious problems that the “selfish people” have….because God takes care of them. This proves that what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 is true: Seek first the Kingdom of God (the reign of God, the rule of God over your life), and all these things – everything you need – will be added unto you.

(4) Recognize that your potentials are limitless and the possibilities are endless. Our God is a God of unlimited possibilities. (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” said the apostle Paul). Think big because you have a big God. Jesus said “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” God said in Jeremiah 33:3:  ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Ephesians 3:20: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”. You are living in the realm of the impossible — a life with no limits. Recognize what you can really do IF you have faith.

(5) Know that you can change the world one life at a time. Almost every yuppy goes through this stage of wanting to change the world. And you actually can. You can make a difference one heart at a time. The little things you do matter a lot. Sometimes they could have eternal consequences.

The hour or so you spend each weekend discipling a fellow yuppy matters a lot, from the perspective of eternity. On the other hand, you could spend your time in something else, vain pursuits that would eventually burn to ashes in the end anyway, so you actually have a choice – either spend your time and effort10457861_265923126925316_7397938446856305472_n on what lasts, or what doesn’t.

(6) Recognize that you are in just the right time and age to do big exploits for God. You have the energy, the strength, the resources, to do what your heart desires.

[In contrast with school-age kids, or old people, or married people with kids to take care of]. Realize your advantage, your edge, over the other age groups. The time to move, the time to act, is NOW.

(7) If you must complicate your life, complicate it because of love, for your God-given purpose and passion.

Most yuppies in the world today complicate their lives for the stupidest reasons. But I’m talking about YOU, Christian yuppies working and spending your energy in the professional world everyday. For you, weekends are heaven-sent, a time to re-charge, a time to simply get away from it all. There’s something in you that would rather be watching 24 hours of non-stop movies or being on the beach with friends every weekend. But no, you had to “complicate” your life by leading a cellgroup on weekends, or helping a ministry, or practicing with the worship team, or doing tasks as part of the media team, etc., etc. And some yuppies tend to shirk from this so-called “complication” in their lives. They’d rather keep things things “simple” and “easy” by living for themselves alone.

But the question is, when do you plan to actually do these things? When you’re old and grey?

God wants you to wake up each morning with a sense of purpose, to feel the incredible thrill and excitement at the prospect of seeing Him move in your life everyday.

IKAW, PARA KANINO O PARA SAAN KA BUMABANGON?