FATHER’S DAY

Father’s Day this year was quite special. Here are a few reasons why.

1. My family.

I simply adore my family. God has blessed me with crazy fun kids.

 

2. Me and My Dad Camp memories.

Chloe grew up in a single parent home. But as I’ve served as a kids pastor for many years, I have had the privilege to help, share, assist a few of the kids who didn’t grow up with a father. Here’s what Chloe’s mom sent me today.

 

3. Chocolate chip cookies.

Mica and Rapha Pineda came up after service and gave this to me.

The card actually came with a container full of chocolate chip cookies but I didn’t even get to try one because my kids finished it. Actually, Nathan did. Argh.

4. Power Truth.

Darlene also grew up in a single parent home. The reason why it was such an encouragement when she came up after the service was she reminded me of a lesson I taught (that I don’t actually remember anymore).  In Kids Church, we have what we call as the “Power Truth.”  The message is usually a one point message so kids can easily remember.  One particular Sunday, the Power Truth was…

Grace is something your absolutely need but definitely don’t deserve.

It was just so encouraging to hear that God’s word, as we speak it, will take root and bear fruit in people’s hearts.

5. Radio Guesting.

I was invited by Chinkee Tan to guest in his radio show “Chink Positive.” I was interviewed regarding my experience on how I coped up growing up without a father and how I am able to live by grace now as a father myself.  I am thankful for God who is able to cause all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28). What the enemy meant for evil, God is able to turn it around for our good. (Genesis 50:20)

6. Ferrero

My absolute favorite!

My lovely wife had this on my side table as I got home from church last night.


AWESOME DAD (guest blog by Diane Gabriel)

Can a father who grew up without one be a good dad? Absolutely. Here’s a testimony of a young mom who honors her husband for being an awesome husband and dad.

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At the time I first met my husband Gabe, he had not seen nor heard from his father in over 14 years. He didn’t have many great father-son stories, just little pockets of memorable moments, like playing remote-controlled cars, watching his dad perform, or hanging out at his recording studio. He once said that he felt he could never be a good father because for many years he grew up without one.

Fast forward a few years later, that morning after Christmas day I watched him cradle our new son in his arms for the first time, so full of emotion. To say that Gabe was a hands-on dad is quite an understatement — shortly after our first son was born I got hospitalized for hypocalcemia. I couldn’t walk, stand, sit, or even sneeze without feeling excruciating pain. In the following weeks as I slowly recovered, Gabe took on his role as a new and practically full-time dad with so much love and patience. Whatever challenge we faced as new parents was more than we expected or could have prepared for, but with God’s grace we pulled through. And now, with the birth of our second son, his excitement and joy on being a dad is all but diminished.

To my husband, on his second year of being a GREAT father — for fully embracing your role as daddy, for hugging and kissing them multiple times each day, for changing their diapers without hesitation, for playing with them, giving them baths and tucking them to bed each night, for always praying for them, for asking God’s wisdom on how to raise them, and for showing them how much you love their mommy — happy father’s day. :)

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them – Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)

WHEN A FATHER IS HARD TO HONOR

When my dad and mom split up, I didn’t see my dad for 15 years. They broke up before my first birthday. I had no idea then but looking through the pictures years later, I figured it out. Something was missing. Actually, someone was missing.

Fast forward to age 23, a year before I got married. I was sitting in a small group Bible study. The leader, Steve Murrell, had a simple point. The Bible says ‘honor your father and your mother, period.’

The Bible tells us to honor your father not because they’re honorable or perfect, but honor him, period.

It doesn’t say honor them if they are right but honor them for this is right.

In obedience to His word, I went for it.  I asked for prayer from my friends and then I called my dad to set up a lunch appointment.

It was my first time to actually sit with him one on one. Since the first time I met him when I was 16, I would see him twice or three times a year but that would always be in a group context. This time, it was just me and him.

Since he was a broadcaster, he filled in the first hour of our conversation with the current headlines of the broadsheets that time. After an hour, I cut him short and told him why I asked for an appointment.

“Papa, the reason I wanted to meet with you is that I wanted to tell you that I honor you as my father.  I know that things with you and Mama didn’t work out, but I just wanted to let you know that there’s forgiveness in my heart for you.”

By this time, my eyes were sweaty (Men don’t cry. Their eyes just sweat.)

“I just want you to know that all that is in the past. And given another chance to choose another last name, I’d choose Punzalan all over again.”

“I’d like to rebuild my relationship with you and make up for lost time.”

He was silent. Not an awkward silence but a ‘brick-wall-has-been-broken-down’ silence.

You see, forgiveness is more than just a feeling. Forgiveness is actually a decision. A tough yet necessary one.

I needed to decide not for his sake but for mine. Someone said that “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”  I didn’t want that and I knew something had to be done.

With the grace of God, as years went by, God began to restore that relationship. Will tell you more in the next blogs.

But my point? I believe as God gave me the grace to obey His word to honor, His grace overwhelmed me to make the right decision to forgive.

The result? There was a turning.

Malachi 4:6 says, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…”

That was what He did.

God is a God of restoration.

He was for me and He can be for you as well.

 

ANOTHER DADDY

Growing up without my dad was a tough one.

Especially because I went to an all boys school. Father and Son days were the toughest. Activities like father and son 2 on 2 basketball was horrific for me.

I remember a time when I asked my friend Joel if I could “borrow” his dad so that I could play in the school event. I appreciate my teachers who let me play with my “borrowed” father just so I can play.

This left a gaping hole growing up that caused a lot of insecurity.

When I met Christ and gave my life to Him, it was not easy. God was introduced to me as my Heavenly Father. I had no concept of what it was to have one because Mama and Papa split up before I turned 1.

But when I did, God proved Himself faithful through the years. He showed me what it meant for Him to be my Heavenly Father.

His promise to me? “I will be a Father to those who don’t have one.” (Psalm 68:5)

Later on, God restored my relationship with my Papa which didn’t happen until 22 years after.
But that’s another blog. That one is a miracle all on a league of its own.

But to those who are growing up without a dad, it really sounds cliche-ish, but there’s no other father that will love you unconditionally and self sacrificially as your Heavenly Father.

He is here to stay. He will never leave nor forsake.

WHEN GOD LIMITS HIMSELF

Ryan, my 7 year old, and I were walking around in the mall one time.  He wanted to buy a particular Transformer Robot.  He had a budget but the one he liked was way beyond his budget.

As a father, I really (REALLY, REALLY!) wanted to go over the budget and pay off the extra so that he could get what he wanted.  I had to stop myself and limit myself from doing it because of several principles at work in parenting.

He is learning that he cannot get everything he wants.  I can buy him a lot of what he wants but I choose not to.

There are times it breaks my heart when I see he really wants to get something but I have to stop myself.  There are times I let him have it yet there are times I don’t.

Why?  Getting everything he wants may not always be best for him.

Then I had a thought… “That’s probably the same way with me and my Heavenly Father.  Getting everything I want is not necessarily what’s best for me.”

We all like Jeremiah 29:11 which says, I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Message).
However, the bottomline is that it still comes down to what God thinks is best for us.

God has the ability to limit the amount of power He releases in my life.  As Augustus Strong simply puts it,

“God can do all He will, but He will not do all He can.  Else His power is mere force acting necessarily, and God would be the slave of His own omnipotence.  God is not compelled to do all He can do, but uses as much of His power as He pleases.  Just because He is omnipotent, He doesn’t have to do all He can do.”

These are the times when God limits Himself.

PARENTING LESSONS FROM A SINGLE GUY

Me and My Dad camp was a blast.  It was one of the best Me and My Dad camps, if not the best that I’ve ever attended.  Kudos to Pastor Mark Tusoy and Glenn Quizon.

Pastor Joey and David Bonifacio did a Father and Son talk tandem.  It was nothing short of phenomenal.  You know when a person is teaching (from notes) and when he is simply speaking… speaking from experience and from the heart.

Quick run down on what I learned from David, a sharp, quick witted 26 year old single guy.

1. A father apologizing to his child is perfectly alright.  It doesn’t diminish respect.  In fact, it does exactly the opposite.

2. “The greatest inheritance I got was that I was ‘fathered.'”

3. A father is a definer.  If a dad doesn’t define his children, the world will.

4. Discipline molds and sets boundaries.  A dad has to define the boundaries.  In return, a child learns to respect it growing up.

5. On discipline and the rod, pain communicates the consequence.  Comfort communicates love.

6. What is not seen in the flesh is redeemed in the spirit.

7. A child becomes weak when there is too much comfort and is not allowed to experience hardship.

8. The best form of security a child can receive is to see his father being fully devoted to his mother.  “Faithfulness is not not cheating.  It is complete devotion.”

9. The best thing my father taught me is that no matter what, RUN TO GOD.  When things are going great, RUN TO GOD.  When things mess up, RUN TO GOD.  When it’s happy times, RUN TO GOD.  When it’s disappointment times, RUN TO GOD…. RUN TO GOD!

PARENTING PITFALL

 

Tolerance is a dangerous word, especially when it comes to parenting. It has become a parenting pitfall to many and I am no exception.

When my son was about three, he loved spending his energy by running and jumping all around the place. This was carried over even when we were in church. He would run around and jump off the stage. After a few instances, one of our leaders sat me down and said, “Paolo, you are a great dad. And you have a wonderful son. But there might just be some instances when you have tolerated things that you shouldn’t have. If our children act they way they do, it’s either we’ve influenced them to do it or merely tolerated their behavior.”

BOOM! At that moment, I felt like I was hit by a bomb. I realized that certain things my kids do are not because they’re being rebellious but because of lack of instruction from their parents.

Gilbert K. Chesterton said, “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

We have to be deliberate in our parenting. We have to sow seeds of God’s Word in the lives of our kids. God’s Word has everything to say about how we can train, discipline, and raise our children.

Nobody said parenting was going to be a breeze. But we are not without hope. God will help. He will guide. He will bless. His promise stands true that if we train our children in the way they should go, when they grow up, they will not depart from what they’ve been taught (Proverbs 22:6).

WEWEGE PARENTING TIPS

I had dinner with our Senior Pastor from our Every Nation Church in Christchurch New Zealand.  Brian (who is one of our fine campus ministers at Victory Fort) and I listened as we learned a lot from Bernhard Wewege.

Here are some of the parenting tips we learned from him:

1. LOVE YOUR SPOUSE.

Your children will grow up very secure as they see Mom and Dad sincerely take care of each other in good times and bad.  They will not articulate how secure they feel especially as young tots, but this is going to be very clear as they grow into adulthood.

2. GET INVOLVED.

Know your kids’ friends.  Find out what they like and they don’t like.  Learn the things they love doing.  Study your kids and get into it.

Recitals.  Sporting events.  Graduations.  Exhibits.  Musical shows.

Be sure to be there.

3. LEAVE ROOM FOR MISTAKES.

As parents, we don’t like our kids to commit the same mistakes we committed in the past.  We try our very best to protect them so they avoid the pitfalls that life may bring.

Unfortunately, we can’t be GOD because we are NOT.  We can’t be there 24/7.  We just need to keep pounding on the principles we desire to lodge in their hearts and hope that when the time comes, they’ll have the wisdom to apply what they have learned.

4. MODEL FAITH.

We can’t tell them to live for God if we ourselves don’t.  Devotions in the morning can’t be forced.  They are modeled.  Prayer times are not mandated.  They are exemplified.  Believing God for greater things can’t be decreed.  They have to be exercised in front of our kids.

Model faith in Christ.  Remember, much of it is caught not taught.

5. PRAY.

There is no greater parenting tip than to pray for your kids everyday.

Pastor Bernhard talked about praying for your kids’ hearts to have a tenderness toward the Holy Spirit.

Why?  Many times, they actually know right from wrong.  It is the tenderness to the Holy Spirit, to listen to His voice and prompting, that will make them have a desire to obey God and do the right thing.

I am so thankful for mentors like Pastor Bernhard who we can glean from and learn from so we can become the parents God designed us to be.

WHY THIS BLOG

I grew up in a single parent home. Through the years, I’ve learned so many lessons. I’d like to share it with you and hopefully it might be of help to some.

Since then, I’ve also met my lovely wife.  We now have 4 children and by the grace of God, we have a happy and fulfilling family life.

Here’s my journey…