Some advice for young single people

Are you a single person who is struggling to get married?

I read this article http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2016/06/10-things-i-learned-while-everyone-else-was-getting-married.html and thought it could offer some help to some single people who are hoping to somehow be married as soon as they can so their lives could be better.

Any single person who needs some advice can post your questions and comments below so we can try to help you as best we can.

Just a reminder. Do not forget to like https://www.facebook.com/nuggetsinthenorms/?ref=bookmarks  on Facebook or subscribe to this blog to receive updates every weeks on different topics that might be of interest to you.

 

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A Narrative of Easter Saturday Evening Unit 2 Fellowship: Reflecting on the Messages by Dr. Clark Armstrong and Dr. Dan Behr.

Photo courtesy of Yumah Poangba

Every Saturday evening between 7:00PM – 8:00PM, we would meet in the living room of one of the families in our apartment for devotion and prayer. It is now almost two years since we started this fellowship. But last night was a very special time.  We did not meet for a prayer meeting but to revel the completion of our 2016-2017 academic year and remember the Christian message and meaning of Easter.

The preparation for the evening meal must have taken almost the whole day. In the morning some went to the nearby markets and shops to buy different food that they wanted to cook. Right after lunch, most of the families were busy with activities in preparation for the evening celebration. They cooked different dishes, baked cakes, made fruit and vegetable salads and prepared ice tea and orange juice. Passing by each apartment one could hear the clanging and rattling music coming from the sound of kitchen utensils as they are being used. The air was filled with the pleasant aroma of the delicious cooking. It felt as if air fresheners were not needed in the living room at that moment. While the mothers were busy at the kitchen, the men raked leaves, plastics and papers, dusted the cobwebs and lastly swept and washed the dust on the concrete floor. After a few minutes the warm dry summer air lazily squeezing through the spaces between the NCEE and VMC buildings swept across the wet concrete floor, and in a few minutes swallowed up the water making the place dry and clean.

Photo courtesy of Yumah Poangba

At 6:00PM tables and chairs were set and each family member proudly brought what they have prepared. You could see the humble gorgeous smiles on their faces and immediately sense the feeling of delight as husb
ands, wives and children began to gather together. The children sat toge
ther and chatted noisily playing cards as a cauldron of shrilling tropical fruit bats flapping their big leathery wings while trying to balance themselves upside down as they prepare to enjoy their evening meal of ripe breadfruits.

Photo courtesy of Yumah Poangba

The adults sat on their chairs conversing cordially with each other as they watched the children playing.

On the tables the food came in different colored containers –small, medium and big. At that moment, there is no feeling that can substitute the sentiments of a hungry group of people sitting around a long table colored with beautiful scrumptious food.  The food was special because there was an arty touch of Indian, African, Filipino, Papua New Guinean, Chinese, Korean and American charms on them. It felt like a little United Nations dinner time.

At around 6:45PM, we joyfully sang in different languages of the world the familiar chorus, “God is so good.” Our resident attendant then asked two of our three professors who were invited to share a short reflection on the message of Easter. One of them took four children and used them as an illustration of Jesus, the two thieves and Barabbas. The second speaker reminded us of the Easter story with a simple, yet profound question – “What would Jesus do” or “What do we expect Jesus to do?”   Though the gospel stories are familiar to many of us (seminary students), the reflection of the messages caused some of us to contemplate seriously on them. Below is a summary of what I gleaned from the messages.

Barabbas was a notorious criminal. According to some biblical scholars, the name Barabbas means “son of the father.” They assumed that he could have been the son of one of the scribes, the high priests or a member of the Sanhedrin. Jesus also called himself “the Son” of “the Father.” Jesus replaced Barabbas so he (Barabbas) could be free.

As we reflect on this story, we all can be identified as sons/daughters of the father. The law has been our father. We were condemned for willfully breaking the law (Rom 3:23). We were all religious prisoners.

This Easter we commemorate the significant moment in the history of humanity that Jesus the Son of God took upon himself our punishments so that we can be set free. He not only set us free but changed our identity from being the sons/daughters of the “father” to become the adopted children of the “Father.”

As we reflect again on how we respond to the saving grace of God made possible through Jesus, we turn to the question, “What would Jesus do?” The two thieves hanging on their crosses with Jesus asked the same question in a statement form. One said, “If you are the messiah, save yourself and save us from this painful and shameful suffering.” The other replied, “… Remember me when you come in your kingdom.”

Often we set expectations like the thief who expected Jesus to perform a miracle in the very darkest moment of his life. When we go through miseries and struggles, we already have a set of expectations of what we want Jesus to do for us. We try to dictate what Jesus would do now as an answer to our prayers.

image013Like the two thieves, we often battle with different thoughts caused by our own human struggles. Both statements are questions of faith. One deals with now and the other about the future. One seek answers to our current problems and the other looks to the future hope in Christ. One assumes that Christ should alleviate the conditions of poverty, stop violence and crime and maybe improve our current living conditions. The other assumes that some the sufferings we have are consequences of our fallen human conditions which we sometimes do not have control over them. But we can simply acknowledge his sovereignty and suffering and trust in his promises for us as we wait in eager anticipation of the culmination of his kingdom.

Golgotha (the skull) reminds us of the brain that is contained in the skull. The brain does a lot of thinking and decision making. Jerusalem is the heart (center of worship). Yet Jesus did not die in Jerusalem. Golgotha is no ordinary place. Christ has to die on Golgotha as a symbolic expression of his work in redeeming our minds (Rom 12:1-2). That is why the term “to repent” means, “to change one’s mind.” If our minds are renewed, our thoughts and actions will also change. Christ died on Golgotha and the curtain of the holy room in the temple in Jerusalem was torn apart so we can have access to the Father. If our minds are renewed, it is easy for our hearts to have access to God.

As we come to the closing moments of this Easter festive season, let us ask God for a transformed mind and a transformed heart as we meditate on this song, “The Power of your Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9_0jiO5ZRM

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”                                                                                                    (Heb. 13:20-21)

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– P.S. This article is written from my personal perspective and may not represent the opinions of everyone. I am writing this to remember the event on this special Saturday evening. Please feel free to comment if you want to.  

 

The Clash of Cultures Within a Developing PNG Mind

Papua New Guinea is changing very fast and the effects of it is felt in many developing areas in the country. Every Papua New Guinean understand how it feels to be caught in a culture clash. Yet wet often do not know how to express our opinions of the cultural clashes going on within us. Click this link http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/12/the-double-standard-riveting-poetry-on-pngs-cultural-clash-between-tradition-modernity.html to read the riveting poetry on the cultural clash within the developing PNG mind.

 

Are you doing something?

There are some people who go through life complaining about their situations without doing anything. They shift the blame over to the government, religious organization, company or to someone else. Others realize their problem and look for ways to do something about it. Click the link below to read more about the amazing story of the Hagen market taxis.http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/10/hagen-market-taxis-offer-an-important-lesson-to-our-country.html

The Power of an Inner Circle Relationship

FriendsThis week I was given an opportunity to speak in one of our churches in Taytay, Manila in the Philippines. I used that opportunity to share some thoughts about the importance of Relationship.

Relationship is a very broad theme and cover many different fields. It is one of the major themes in the Bible that runs from Genesis to Revelation. Relationship can be broken down into different categories and sub categories. One can develop a long series of lectures, sermons, or even write books about the different types of relationships.

Relationship is very important because nobody can avoid it. Everything that exist relates to one another in unique ways.

No human being is an island.  Relationships serve a purpose. No one or nothing goes into a relationship without a purpose. In anything we do, we seldom do without any form of relationship.

As Christians, we enter into a relationship with God, with God’s people and the nature around us. One of the important type of relationship is the relationship that exists between our inner-circle of friends. In that I mean we have many friends, but there are some we feel more close and comfortable with and maybe spend more time together, share secrets together and are easily influenced by them in some ways.

As Christians, we must be wise in differentiating the fine line between the relationship we have with the people we minister to and those that we relate to as our inner-circle of friends. The purpose of the relationship we have with people we minister to is basically to serve our gifts from God to them. However, the relationship we have with our inner circle of friends is to relate to one another so that as iron sharpens iron, the relationship builds and empowers you to move forward to accomplish your goal or objective of something your want to achieve in life.

It is very important for us to use our freedom of choice to choose our inner-circle of friends wisely because relationship can make you or break you. There are no neutral relationships. Any relationship you have with anybody will either impact you or affect you. You have to know what kind of friends, you are spending time with or sharing your secrets with. You have to know if these kind of friends you spend time with are reliable or not. You also have to evaluate what you are getting out of this relationship. Is it helping you, empowering you to achieve your purpose in life or is it destroying your life in some way?

There are many people who are afraid to let go of some old friends and move on in life. Some people spend their entire life trying to please everyone and get lost, tired and stressed out. We have to understand the fact that in any relationship, you cannot please everyone. You must decide who to please and who not to please.

Most relationships are affected by situations in life. Bear in mind that the people who become your true friends at the peak moments of your life are not your friends but your fans. Fans are people who like you and follow you because of something that you do. Once someone does something better than you, your fans can leave you to follow them.

Sometimes, fans follow you not because of you but because of the cause or purpose that you serve. When you change your course to a different direction, they will leave you. That is simply because they were not following you but the cause that you served.

True friendship has to be tested in some situations in order for trust to be built. Some one who wants to be your friend has to earn your trust. You may have a lot of fans, but you  must know who your true friends are.

In any relationship, whether it be in family, work, education, business or any others, you cannot succeed in some things without good relationship. In order for you to succeed, you have to let go of some friends that do not serve the same purpose as yours and stick with the friends that will contribute towards your purpose in life.

One sign that your relationship with a person is coming to an end is when the other person cannot accept a change in your status. If they can’t celebrate with you regarding something good that has happened to your life or even encourage you to move forward in life, you have to let go of them and move on. They could be a hindrance to your progress.

Sometimes the problem we have with relationship is not caused by you or your friend but the other parties involved in the life or affairs of either you or your friend. If you see a sign of that, you have to do something to cut the relationship off from the third party that is affecting your relationship with your friend. If you don’t do something, you will suffer the consequences; not them.

However, if you make a choice because you hate someone, I personally think that does not spring out from a good motive. The reason why you have to choose to please some and not everyone is because everyone thinks differently; so as you. You have to choose what is best for you or for the purpose that is important to you. If you choose something that is different from what others might choose, that does not make you their enemies. It is just a difference in opinions and selection of choices.

Here are 4 tips you may want to use to identify who your right friends should be.

  1. Someone who walks with you through the darkest moments of your life and celebrates with you in your successes.
  2. Someone who is willing to walk an extra mile with you.
  3. Someone who is willing to sacrifice something of value from his/her life to add value to your life.
  4. Someone who empowers you to succeed in life.

Since I gave you some tips in identifying who the right friends are, let me also give you 4 tips on identifying the wrong friends.

  1. Someone who isn’t reliable. Friends who depart from you during any tough situations that you encounter in life. Friends who gossip about you. Friends who cheat on you.
  2. Someone who tries to influence you into doing something that will destroy you.
  3. Someone who uses you for their own gain.
  4. Someone who shows signs of jealousy when something good happens to your life or when your status changes to another stage.

Some actions steps you want to take in your relationship.

  1. Identify your goal or purpose in life
  2. Identify the right friends and stick with them
  3. Do not give too much of you too soon. Relationship must take time to grow.
  4. Learn to appreciate the relationship you have with your inner-circle of friends. Create a reciprocity to encourage a healthy relationship. If someone gives you something, try to give something back in some way to support him/her. If one person is always giving while the other person is always receiving without giving anything as a token of appreciation, that is not a good relationship. Relationship becomes a burden if that attitude is prolonged.

If you have time you can try find a Bible and read the stories of the following people and learn something good and bad about the different relationships found in these stories.

  1. Samson and his girl friends – Judges 14 – 16.
  2. Ruth and Naomi – The book of Ruth.
  3. Rehoboam and his friends – 1 Kings 12:1-20.
  4. David and Johnathan – 1 Samuel 18:1-5; 20:1-42; 2 Sam 9:1-13.
  5. Jesus and his disciples – You can read and understand the whole story of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples better if you take time to read the entire chapters of the 4 books – Mathew, Mark. Luke and John.

I would like to conclude here with this quote from CS Lewis who said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”

Thank you for taking time to read this article. I hope it helped you in some way. Please do not forget to leave a comment below if you have any suggestions or thoughts regarding this article.

 

 

Setting Your Priorities

“A Jack of all trade can be a master of none”

PENCLPADPriorities help a person stay in focus. Without clear priorities in life we can get lost spending time, energy and resources on other unimportant things that do not help us carry out our purpose and wish in life. As the saying goes, “A jack of all trade can be a master of none.” One might think that this statement is not important. But I have learned that to be quite true.

For several years, I wanted to be good at whatever I got my hands on. I grew up loving music and arts and developed a passion for it. I spent some time and a lot of money on that. Some years later, I lost the passion and decided to be a business person. So I went to a small business school to study retail store management. I also attended few business seminars. I went back home and tried different small-scale businesses like retail stores, public motor transport, screen printing and sign-writing, selling used clothes and poultry farming. I also cleared land planted cash crops like planted coffee, cocoa and vanilla and rice.

When I became a pastor, I struggled to take care of myself while ministering to my congregation. The struggles I faced in ministry forced me to do many things to survive. I drove trucks and cars and made some good money. I also did some basic computer repairs. I would stay up late at night solving computer problems, fixed old computers and felt like I wanted to be an IT. I sold laptops and computer peripherals. I did sign a lot of writing jobs after hours, I went into poultry business and raised chickens to sell, I also taught college students on part-time and full-time basis for a several years. Then came the desire to become a company owner so I registered a small business and went looking for opportunities for business with a mining exploration company which I never succeeded.

I was always praised by many people who know me for being a multi-talented guy. I could do a lot because of my experiences. Yet, as I look back, I wish I had set my priorities right and concentrated on one or two things which would have brought greater results than what I had acheived.

Maybe one reason is because I was always moving in life, I had to learn the basics of certain skills to deal with current situations in life. Yet, I regret that I was a jack of all trade and a master of none. I had a good practical experience about a lot of those things I had done, but I never mastered even one of them.

A few weeks ago, I was watching my 6-year-old daughter’s drawing on a blank sheet of paper and I suddenly remembered my past. I grew up with a passion for arts and showed early signs of becoming a promising artist in the future. People loved my drawings. I won a few art competitions in primary school. Over the years, I shifted my focus to other things and lost my concentration on my hobby. If I had concentrated on my artistic ability, I would be a great artist by now. I want to do it again but I feel it is too late. I have other important things to consider as priorities. If I were given back my past, I would set the right priorities and work hard to meet them.

Regardless of the regrets I have over my past, I still have some more years to live. Time is always on the move and does not wait on anyone; nor will it ever come back for anyone. With almost half of my life gone, I realize I have to set my priorities so that when I am old and my strength is gone, I will be satisfied that I have not not only accomplished some things in life but contributed something significant to the world.

Don’t let others dictate your priorities. Some people make other people’s problems and issues become their priorities. When you do that there is a danger that you will feel that you have to live to please other people. But the fact is you will never be able to please everyone.

You too can set your priorities so that you stay on focus to carry out your goals and purposes in life. Try to set a few priorities to focus on. If you set too many priorities, you will be divided and won’t have time to do everything. Life is short and you will never take back the time you have wasted. If you want to make good use of your time, setting priorities is a must.

Ask yourself simple questions to get you started in setting your priorities.

  • What are some things in life you value more than others and would like to set your priorities on? (Brain storm them and list them down in order starting from the most important one).
  • What are some goals or dreams in your life that you would like to focus on?
  • What are some things that you spend too much time or resources on that you feel are not important to you?
  • Is what I’m doing today a priority to me? How does this thing relate to my priorities?
  • Write them down on a piece of paper and paste or pin it somewhere you can see everyday and be reminded.