Sa larong Monster Rancher dati sa Play Station, mayroong dalawang bagay, liban sa pagsali sa mga tournament, na maari mong gawin sa labas ng ranch. Isa rito ang Errantry. Isa itong matinding training sa loob ng mahaba-habang panahon. Ito ay nakakapagod para sa monster at may kamahalan para sa trainer. Ngunit sa loob ng panahong iyon ay may pagkakataong lumakas ng di hamak ang monster, at may pagkakataon pa sya matuto ng mga bagong moves o techniques.
Ang expedition naman ay isang pagkakataon upang magamit ng monster ang kanyang lakas at talino upang maka-discover ng treasures and secret game items. Ang Errantry at Expedition ay parehong seasonal opportunities na nakaka-drain ng stamina. Parehoring may risk of injury for the moster. Sa worst case scenario, nawawala yung moster ng ilang buwan tapos hindi na babalik.
Sa madaling salita, ang Errantry at Expedition ay areas for growth and enrichment na may risks na kaakibat.
HIGH RISK, HIGH RETURN, parang Equities lang. Kapag mas handa kang harapin ang challenges, mas maliit ang risks at mas lalaki ang returns.
Sa Bible, may mga kaso ng ganyan, ilan na dito ang pag-alis ni Moses nang nakapatay sya ng Egyptian, at ang 40 days ni Jesus sa desert. Tulad ng mga monsters na momentarily na-displace mula sa kanilang ranch, may mga pagkakataon sa buhay na momentarily madidisplace tayo sa ating comfort zones, upang maihanda, lumago, matuto, at makipagsapalaran.

Parang ngayon lang…

Bilang isang mananampalataya, ang end-goal nito ay hindi para sa self-actualization, ngunit para sa Kingdom advancement.

(written March 7, 2011)

First Sunday of Errantry and Expedition.

I went to two churches today. The first one was a small, chapel-like structure amidst the vulcanizing shops and karinderyas in front of the Coca-cola plant. It was so small that the usher immediately noticed that I was new. The service started BEFORE the said time. Either that or my watch is just late compared to Sta Rosa Standard Time. There were less than fifty people inside. The feel was similar to DBC’s tagalong service, only the place was a lot smaller. There was an elevated, tiled stage, with an altar containing the offering baskets, flower pots, and an open bible at the center. Above the altar was a two-piece cross made from varnished, natural form driftwood, smoothened at the sides but with a naturally-textured surface. There was a keyboard, bass and electric guitars, a drumset, and an OHP with handwritten acetate lyrics. the sound system was more than enough to cover a radius of maybe 5 meters outside the small bulding. I couldn’t even hear myself sing during praise and worship. The order of worship and even the handouts looked strikingly familiar. Overall I could find only three noticeable differences:

1. About a fifth of the congregation were tambourine dancers. The other fifth made up the music team. One fourth was part of the council (there was a picture frame on the wall).
2. Their offering baskets weren’t passed around, and their offerings were placed I red, Angpao (?) like envelopes. I didn’t get one before entering so nahiya ako maghulog ng tithes.
3. The preaching was anything but exegetical. The pastor had a Poimen bible and was supposedly quoting from a “commentary”. His commentary comments sounded out-of-this-world, though, and were either contrary to my Bible’s commentary or non-existent. Imagine preaching on “three levels of obedience” using The Wedding at Cana (John 2) as text. Nonetheless, the concepts were biblical, just not from the passage.

I decided to eat lunch and scout for tables and chairs after the service. I ate pares at a pares-and-lugaw house near the grocery, and noticed their folding tables, which gave me an idea as to what I was looking for. The tables at grocery store’s furniture section were pretty nice-looking, but pretty expensive too (not to mention, heavy). I praise God for the wisdom he gave – later on I found myself inside a Chinese-owned shop – a trike ride away from where I ate lunch – that sells items at up to 1/4 of the price of the ones in the malls. I got a 24×32 inch table and two sturdy monoblocs for Php847. Guess I should have bought four chairs instead. Oh well.

After taking the stuff home (thanks to trikes that were conveniently parked outside the store – 5 meters away from the cash register) I set them up and did some laundry and rearrangement, then took my bike to the grocery again to buy some goods and check out the church that held service two floors above. The tarpaulins that lead to the staircase towards the unknown suggested that the place was a sort of a Pentecostal mega church. With groceries in hand and being 20 minutes early for the service, I waited near the staircase and observed the profile of the people who were going up. Finally, I decided to go up as well, and was greeted by an usher who again immediately recognized I was new. As I entered the worship hall (again, the service started BEFORE the calltime) I was greeted by unintelligible words resounding over the sound system – it was the lead singer, speaking in tongues in preparation for singing the first praise song. My hunch was correct.
The hall was about three times the size of our church’s (DCBC) auditorium, but less than a hundred people were there (it was the third service for the day). An eight-foot projection screen was at the center. The stage was carpeted and the walls were overlayed with ornate, asymmetrically patterned textured tiles (mahirap I descripe itsura eh, am at a loss for adjectives). The sound system looked like giant M-16 magazines, and the lights were multi-colored, like what you would see in a typical theatre stage. Roughly two thirds of the chairs were vacant.
1. The people were courteous and shook hands with you even if they did not know you. One person went overboard, saying “I missed you” to every single person she shook hands with, even me, whom she had never met before.
2. The pastor did not have a specific text, though his theology was very good, and his lessons were biblical. The topic was on wisdom, godly wisdom (in contrast to the other two kinds of wisdom – worldly and Satan’s), and he grazed the lives of Solomon, Daniel, and Joseph as examples.
3. Of all the modern songs we sung, I only recognized one: Sweeter by Lakewood Church. What surprised me about this church was the fact that all of their singers were singing super contemporary songs. (all their singers were at least forty years of age)

All, in all, I don’t think I’ve found the right church for me here in Sta Rosa yet. Maybe next week. I do praise God for still speaking through these churches. The first church’s topic was on Obedience, while the second, on Wisdom. Both pointed out that it does not matter how long you have been a believer, that what’s important is the depth of your relationship with the Lord.

I don’t think I’ve learned any new moves or found any treasures yet, but it was nice to be a “guest” again. That gave me an idea as to how to treat guests at church. Sincerity is always much appreciated, even more so when the guest is unaccompanied.

Well then, until next week!

(written May 15, 2011)

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