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.



The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned from Being a Boss

For the past 8 years, I have been the person I never expected to become: a boss. Before that, work was something I actually enjoyed doing 😛

Here are the top ten things I’ve learned from all those years (not including the controversial ones that might end up in tabloid news) 😉

1) There is a good reason why a boss’ office door must be kept closed at all times. And it isn’t to keep anyone from seeing him with his feet up on his desk.

I used to take pride in being able to work in the middle of utter chaos. But when you’re a boss, the chaos is right inside your head. Too many issues and concerns vie for your attention at any given time. My cellphone was a hotline, and with the numerous phonecalls, text messages, emails and walk-in visitors, there is hardly any chance to hear yourself think. Keeping the door closed is the least you can do to keep your sanity.

2) A boss should appear intimidating enough to create a comfortable distance from his employees. Otherwise, they will take too much liberty with your time and attention. On the other hand, if you seem too unapproachable, you’ll find yourself outside the loop of small office talk and miss out on what could be very interesting or useful information, or chit-chats that might eventually lead into wonderful friendships.

There was a time when I sent text to my staff that said: “All employees who need medical help may approach me for referral to free medicines and hospitalization”. And, just so that they wouldn’t think I was such a softie, I added : “However, DYING is STRICTLY prohibited. Anyone who dies during my term will be dealt with horribly”.

My subordinate had one utility personnel who was the worst case of insubordination I’ve ever seen. While attempting to explain her side to me, she was all sobs and tears. After a long tale of woe and drama, she must have slipped and said, “This dude told me I should cry my eyes out in front of you because being soft-hearted as you are, he was pretty sure you would forgive me and get me off the hook!”. I fired her right on the spot.

3) You’ll never see it coming, but the daily VIP servings of office refreshment is meant to make a boss really look like one, i.e., fat. One could get used to the never-ending supply of delicious cholesterol-laden food served to you on the dot every mealtime, with snacktimes in-between. The idea that your office kitchen helper could be feeding you to death will cross your mind, but being a boss numbs you from caring about it.

In our place of work, one could actually tell which supervisors have the highest degrees of stress from the size of their bellies.

4) No matter how wonderful you are, to your big boss you’re only as good as the people under you. Your admirable efficiency, competence and sheer genius won’t do you any good if your final output depends heavily on a large group of office workers who are not really keen on anything else except getting their money every payday. Even more so if their only qualification to the job is the fact that they were friends with the previous boss. No wonder cabinet secretaries look stressed all the time.

5) The time you put in your office has nothing to do with real output and actual results. In my first four years as The Boss, i was clocking in almost 16 hours every day! I was in the office by 9:00 am, and never went home as long as the Bigger Boss was still in his office churning out orders until the wee hours the following morning. One can blame it on the so-called learning curve and the huge time needed to become familiar with complex procedures, but at least now it can be told: I hardly got anything done working twice the regular office working hours. In contrast, these last three years when I consistently had high blood pressure and only put in an average of five hours in the office, I actually got a lot of things accomplished– considerably a lot, since by then I could do my work even with my eyes closed.


6) The more stressed you are, the more Facebook (and Candy Crush and other mindless games) seem appealing. But then everybody knows this. This is the real reason why Senator Enrile chose to play on his ipad rather than pretend to listen to Senator Miriam Santiago in front of live television.

(For the record, i don’t have a single game app on my iPad, except for the driving simulation apps. I don’t know what it is in driving apps that i find so interesting, except perhaps because I don’t drive in real life?)

7) Contrary to popular thinking, when you’re a boss, weekend vacations will do little to decrease your stress levels. No matter how much your blood pressure has gone down after dipping in the pool or shopping during weekends, it is bound to shoot right up when you get to the office by Monday.

8) Next to the computer, the cellphone is the most important piece of office equipment ever invented. With two departments under me, and six sub-offices under one department, i couldn’t imagine doing my job without the cp. How my predecessors managed to work effectively during the pre-gadget stone age is beyond my comprehension.

9) In connection with #5, if you’re working for an elected official who is eligible for only three terms at three years per term, chances are that by the time you’ve effectively mastered your job enough to really make a difference, your term is up. Election season every three years gets in the way. So this partly explains why the Philippine government is in a mess most of the time.

10) A boss’ level of stress and headache intensity is inversely proportional to the number of his staff who are qualified, competent, and actually cared about their job.