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Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

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Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

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Podcasts – incmedia.org

Latest release on Jun 25, 2020

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Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Why Did God Create Us?

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We are here for a reason and God created us for a specific purpose. Get clarification on what God’s plan is in creating man through the words of the Bible

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[Show open]

[Music starts]

Brother Bob Pellien: Do you ever think about what your purpose in life is? Or why did God create us? What is God’s plan for us? Well, with the help of the Bible, we’ll find out what God’s plan is for us all. You’re listening to the podcast version of God’s Message Magazine, and today’s topic is “God’s Plan In Creating Man.” 

[Music ends]

It is a widely acknowledged religious belief that God created all men. But some people, the atheists and the agnostics so called deny and doubt respectively, that God created them. Despite this negative attitude towards the Creator, the truth remains, God created mankind. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not aware of God’s plan in creating man and not even interested to know about it. So what is God’s purpose in creating man? Ephesians 1:4 states:

Even as [in his love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before him in love. 

[Ephesians 1:4 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: According to Apostle Paul, God has chosen man, even before the foundation of the world to be holy, and without blame before Him in love. Why does God expect love from mankind? Because he had already created one who was perfect, the anointed cherub, who lifted up his heart or exalted himself by wanting to be God, and covet God’s place and power, instead of being dependent on him. That’s in Ezekiel  28: 14-17. Isiah also records in chapter 14 verses 13 and 14. What then did God do so that man would depend on Him for His love to be manifested? Matthew 26:41 states:

Stay awake and pray that you won’t be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.

{Matthew 26:41 Contemporary English Version]

Brother Bob: God made men weak. What then became a man as a result of his being weak?

For God has made all men prisoners of disobedience, so as to have mercy upon them all. 

{Romans 11:32  Goodspeed Translation}

Brother Bob: All people have disobeyed God, and that’s why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this so that he can have mercy on all of them. That’s Romans 11:32 CEV rendition of the Holy Scriptures. The proof that all men, except for our Lord Jesus Christ became prisoners of disobedience is that all men sinned. I Peter 2:21 and 22. What punishment would be, will be meted out to whoever commits sin, because of his weak nature? Romans 6:23 states, thus:

For the wages of sin is death. 

[Romans 6:23 ASV]

Brother Bob: The death awaits those who commit sin. Is it only the cessation of our breath, which will complete God’s punishment? Revelation 20:14 gives us the answer I “Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” The second death in the lake of fire is the fullness of God’s punishment. Therefore, man by himself is hopeless, and helpless. What did God do? Because men were created weak and are prone to commit sin, and consequently suffer eternal damnation in the lake of fire. Romans 5: 8-9 states:

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

[Romans 5: 8-9 AMPC]

Brother Bob: Therefore, since we are now justified, acquitted, made righteous and brought into the right relationship with God, by Christ’s blood. How much more certain is it, that we shall be saved by him from the indignation and wrath of God? God gave Christ and made him the manifestation of His love to us. He will, that Christ died for us so we can be justified through his blood. How can men be justified by the blood of Christ? In Romans 6:5, this is written, “For since we have become one with him in dying as he did. In the same way. We shall be one with him by being raised to life as he was.” If we shared Jesus’s death. By being baptized we will be raised to life with him.

Man ought to become one with Christ in His death, to be justified. What procedure is prescribed by God for man who wishes salvation to become part of Christ? Ephesians 2:10 declares, 

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus [born anew] that we may do those good works, which God predestined, (planned beforehand) for us, taking paths which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, [living the good life which she rearranged and made ready for us to live.]

[Ephesians 2:10 AMPC]

Brother Bob: According to God’s own way men must be created in Christ. That is what he had ordained. This is his plan in creating man. How can man be created in Christ?

By abolishing in his flesh, the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two of us making peace.

[Ephesians 2:15 New International Version]

Brother Bob: So the one new man is composed of Christ being the head, and the body, the church, Colossians 1:18 states, “And he is the head of the body, the church.” So the church is the Church Of Christ. Romans 16:16 Membership therein means then being part of Christ’s body. That’s How Men can be created in Christ. Therefore, it is God’s purpose for men to be in the Church Of Christ. This is in fact the manifestation of His love to mankind. This is the scheme by which men can be saved from the punishment of all sinners. Thus, we shouldn’t blame God for His having created men weak and fallible. We cannot even accuse Him of being unjust because He already provided us Christ and His Church as the scheme of salvation and the remedy for frailty. 

So, if one refuses the Church Of Christ, and to become holy, would be impossible for him. Rejection of the church is totally against God’s plan of creating men. What is Christ’s invitation to everyone who wishes salvation?

I am the door. If any man enters in by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and will find pasture.

[John 10:9  Conservative Version]

Brother Bob: Man should heed Christ’s call. Enter in by him. What happens when one enters in through Christ? Again:

Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part separately and distinct [each with his own place, and function] 

[1 Corinthians 12:27 Amplified Bible]

Brother Bob: One enters Christ by becoming a member of his body. The body referred to is the church, the Church Of Christ. Colossians 118:20-28. Therefore the Church Of Christ is indispensable for the attainment of salvation. Why should all men strive to become members of the Church Of Christ? What evil consequence should befall those who refuse to join the Church Of Christ?

The words of Jesus, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me and I in him, that same brings forth much fruit for without me, you can do nothing. 

[John 15:5 The Good News Bible]

Brother Bob: Christ said that unless man abides in him and Christ abides in men, men can do nothing. What is it that men cannot do outside the Church Of Christ? 

Remain in me and I will remain in you no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

{John 15:4 NASB}

Brother Bob: If one is not in Christ or does not abide in Christ or in his church, he cannot bear fruit. What fruit can anyone not bear if he does not abide in Christ, or is not in Christ’s body or Church Of Christ? 

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

{Philippians 1:11. King James Version]

Brother Bob: So the fruit that one cannot bear, if he’s not in the Church Of Christ is the fruit of righteousness or holiness. This one cannot be holy and eventually cannot be saved from the horrible end on the Day of Judgment unless he is in the Church Of Christ. This is the evil of not being in the Church Of Christ. It is therefore imperative that for men to become holy and attain salvation, he must be a member of the Church Of Christ. Because it is in this church where men can be sanctified, which is God’s plan in creating man. So let us bind ourselves and begin to walk in the right path God offers us to make this plan a reality and become members of the Church Of Christ. Only then, can we be sure that our faith will not be eternal damnation in the lake of fire. But life everlasting in the kingdom of God. 

To find more articles like these, get your copy of God’s message magazine, from a member of the Church Of Christ. You can also find the podcast version, on INCmedia.org. Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Bob Pellien. God bless!

The post Why Did God Create Us? appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 25 2020

13mins

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Is It OK If I’m Still Single?

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How do you deal with being single and is it okay to be alone? Ever feel lonely? Is it ok to be pressured by society to find someone and settle down? 

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[Audience applause]

[Music plays]

Martin Zerrudo: Welcome to Heart & Soul! For our podcast listeners around the world, we’re doing something different today. We’re in the San Francisco Bay Area in a completely jam-packed INC Media Studios, in front of an energetic live studio audience. Let’s make some noise!

[Audience applause]

Martin: And we’re here to talk about the topic of: What does it mean to be single in today’s world? Is it okay if I’m still single?

How does one deal with the pressures of society in settling down? Who’s timeline should we go by anyway and what can a single person do to find contentment and happiness in their future? Let’s have a heart and soul conversation.

Joining us for the first part of our conversation, we have Joey Uban. Joey is 31 years old and works at our very own technology and research group here at INC Media Studios and is single. We have Angelo Baluca who is 26 years old and works for the navy, and is also single. And last but not least, we have Juan who is 32 years old, and is a manager, and is also single. Let’s give them a round of applause, guys.

[Audience applause]

Martin: Now, I’d like to start off our conversation by looking at a quick study from Barna Research Group and for our audience, you can take a look at the screens. We’re going to be talking about the actual increase in single people, specifically here in San Francisco. Let’s take a look at what that study has to say.

INCREASE IN SINGLE PEOPLE (1:33)

From 2000 to 2016, the amount of single people in the 25-29 age range rose 9 percentage points, from 50% to 59%. The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 and 29 for women and men, 23 and 26 for men and women in 1990 and back in 1960, the average age of marriage was 20 and 22. Back in 1960, 72% of all adults, ages 18 and older, were married already. Today, that number is down to just 52%. And here in San Francisco alone is one of the top 10 cities in America with people who identify themselves as practicing Christians and are also single. So clearly, there’s a lot of single people around us going through a lot of different things. So, I’d like to ask first, Joey, what’s the best thing about being single?

BEST THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE (2:16)

Joey Uban: The best thing about being single, from a practical standpoint, is generally, you save money. If you go out to eat, you’re generally just paying for yourself.

Martin: Unless you order twice.

Joey: Unless you order twice or you’re paying for friends. But when you are in a relationship, generally, you do end up paying for both. But the best thing is, from a practical standpoint, is being able to save money and even get ready for that next step, for when you are ready to be in a relationship.

Martin: Right, right. Angelo?

Angelo: I think the best part about being single is, like you said, you don’t have to pay for anything.

Martin: And Juan, what’s the best thing about being single?

Juan: I think the best thing is…I know it’s going to sound bad, but not remembering birthdays or anniversaries.

Martin: You know, birthdays are once a year.

Juan: I know that but you know some of us guys do tend to forget. 

Martin: Anniversaries also––once a year.

Juan: Exactly. But being single, you might––it’s okay for not––we won’t be remembering any birthdays.

Martin: Right, right. And when’s your birthday? 

Juan: December.

Martin: December…?

Juan: 26.

Martin: Alright, well I’ll remember it’s December. Now, I’d like to actually ask the audience members who are single and male––single men––hands up please, real quick. Nice and high.

WORST THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE (3:33)

Martin: Joey, what would you say is the worst part, or the hardest parts, about being single?

Joey: The hardest parts about being single is yes, you do get to go out and pay for yourself but then, you’re sometimes by yourself. Maybe your friends are already in a relationship and they’re off having couple-like activities, watching movies with other couples, and you’re by yourself or you’re being the fifth wheel. So, that could be hard, as well as maybe there isn’t someone for you to talk to. You’re really self-reflecting a lot and if you’re not comfortable with that, that could be hard as well. 

Martin: Juan, what’s the hardest part?

Juan: I think like how Joey said, there’s times where you go out with friends and some of them might be in a relationship. There’s times where I’ve been in that situation and I get a little bit uncomfortable because they’re having their interactions. They’re talking about stuff that I don’t know because they only know the inside jokes, stuff like that. So, it’s a little tough. I know I’d go just to support both my friends but…

Martin: Right. It’s not your choice if you’re the third wheel. 

Juan: Yeah, I don’t want to decline and say, “No, I’m okay,” and if I do want to go, I’ll just go. I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m down to go.” 

Martin: Hands up! Anybody who’s ever been a third wheel? Nice and high! Have you ever been a third wheel? Round of applause for the third wheels!

[Audience applause]

Martin: It’s not your fault! It’s not your fault. You know, for me, I was actually recently married last October but the hardest part for me about being single in my 20s was the heartbreak. I went through so many relationships because I would never get into one thinking that––I would always go into it thinking that, “I’m going to marry this person” or “This person is somebody I could live the rest of my life with.” But every successive relationship that failed, I kept thinking, “What is wrong with me? Am I just going to be single forever?” 

The hardest part of being single was totally the heartbreak because I felt this pressure, like, “How many relationships am I going to have to go through before I settle down and find the one?” I felt like I haven’t reached maturity yet. And that actually points to our next statistic here from Business Insider. It’s an article that talks about the perspective of men and whether or not they’ve achieved a certain level of maturity. 

So there’s a perception that a married man equals a mature man and one that is taken more seriously in the professional setting. It’s almost like an item in your career advancing checklist. Now, I’d like to ask Juan since you’re the oldest one, settling down, have you ever felt that pressure? Do you feel like now that you’re 32, you’re not considered as mature or as “adult” because you haven’t “settled down” yet? 

Juan: Honestly, I do feel a little pressured. I know my mother and my sister especially, they’ve been asking me, “Hey, when are you going to get married?”, “When are you going to meet the one?” or “When am I going to get grandchildren?”, “When am I going to become an aunt?” So, I hear that from my mother and my sister the most.

Martin: Is your sister here today?

Juan: I believe so. I don’t want to make eye contact if she is! So, I’m not going to look for her. So, anyways…

Martin: She just told me she wants to be an aunt. Sorry, go ahead.

Juan: Well, for being 32, again, I’m the oldest out of my siblings. So again, there’s a lot of pressure for me especially, again, because I’m the oldest. So, I do reply back to them, “It’s God’s timing.” 

Martin: Of course.

Juan: Again, I’m not trying to be in a rush, trying to look for someone to get married.

Martin: But you do feel a little bit of the pressure?

Juan: Exactly. I do still feel a little pressure but then again, I just want to concentrate on myself for now, until I’m ready. And then, once the significant other comes, then again, that’s when I’ll know for sure I’ll be probably ready for the next challenge. 

Martin: Angelo, we had a conversation before the show, when you told me about a recent loss in your family. Condolences, I’m sorry for that. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how that relates to you thinking about maybe it’s time to settle down?

Angelo: Yeah, so I lost my grandpa about a year ago and I had to fly back to the Philippines and I just saw a lot of family there that I haven’t seen in years. Especially my aunts and uncles, and my grandma’s sisters––or my grandpa’s brothers and sisters as well. And you’re at the viewing and you see all this family and they always just come up to me, like, “When are you going to get married?”, “Oh, I want you to meet this girl.”, “Oh, I have this girl for you. I want you to meet her so much.” I’m like, “I’m okay, Auntie! I’m okay, Uncle! It’s all good, I’m not really looking for anyone right now. I don’t think this is the right time to meet someone.” After that, you see all your family and your relatives, and you see your cousins, and we’re all grown up now.

Martin: You used to be those kids.

Angelo: Yeah, I used to be that kid running around everywhere and then it was like we really need to settle down soon and carry on the family generation.

IS BEING ALONE THE SAME AS BEING LONELY? (8:13)

Martin: Sometimes, I guess it could kind of be that they think because you’re alone, they think you’re lonely. Like,“Okay, you’re spending all your time working on yourself but you need to find somebody because when you’re alone, you’re lonely. I don’t want you to be lonely.” Is it true, Joey? Would you say that being alone is the same as being lonely?

Joey: No, I feel that being alone––that’s a state. You’re not around other people. You’re in the presence of just yourself. And being lonely is more of a feeling. You could be around other people but you still have that feeling of sadness, of emptiness, that you’re searching for something that you need. And as members of the Church Of Christ, it’s a big part of our faith that there are times that we can feel lonely but we have our Almighty God to turn to. And so, even if we’re alone, without other people in the world around us, we still have our Almighty God.

Juan: Being alone, of course, also, you get to work on yourself––find yourself, who you are, work on yourself, being a better person for your family, friends, co-workers, of course, when the significant other comes. So, on my part, I do tend to like being alone at times, because then I get to do my own thing. I get to work on myself, I get to work on projects––prepare myself for projects at work without being interrupted by going out to, if I did have someone, going out to eat or something.

Martin: Some people say that alone may not be the same as [being] lonely but I would like to have somebody because having somebody makes me feel happy. Do you believe that, “I need somebody to be happy”?

Juan: There’s a part of me that does. I do want to wish I had someone but then again, it kind of goes back to maybe––I know it’s not the right time for me so again, I want to just prepare myself, focus on myself first, until she comes. Then, that’s when I will be like, “Okay, so now that somebody else is in my life now, maybe this is where we could take the step further up,” and continue on in the relationship and just work on from there.

Martin: Right. Joey, do you need somebody to be happy? And also, what would you say is one of the loneliest times in your life and how did being active in the Church Of Christ––returning to God––help you get through it?

Joey: You don’t necessarily need to be with someone to be happy. For us, as members of the Church Of Christ (if we have any guests here), our true happiness is being able to be close to God; is to be able to serve Him. And so, you don’t need to be with someone in order to serve God. You can serve God. In terms of your other question, one of the loneliest times of my life, my––just like Angelo, I did have a recent death in the family

Martin: I’m sorry.

Joey: It was my older brother, late last year, [he] died suddenly. We were blessed that he was able to live a full life in a sense that he had children, I have nephews. Yay! But it was sudden, he was young, he was about 40. 

Martin: I’m sorry.

Joey: So, for me, it felt lonely. I’m thankful for all the support from family and friends, from Church Of Christ members who offered their support. Full disclosure, even during that time, I did have a girlfriend at that time and she tried her best to support me as well but I just didn’t know what to do. I was devastated, I was lost. Honestly, I just didn’t know where to go. 

Martin: How’d you get through it?

Joey: God. Honestly, it was God. It was the fact that I was a member of the Church Of Christ that, before my brother passed, I learned all these teachings in the Church Of Christ. It taught me that when you go through those times, you’re not completely alone. We have our Almighty God.

Martin: Right, right. Thank you so much, Juan. Thank you so much, Angelo. Thank you so much, Joey. Let’s give them a round of applause, guys.

[Clapping]

Martin: Thank you for having the courage to talk about your feelings. And up next, we have three new panelists: single Christian women to talk to us about the pressures they face and whether or not it’s a little bit worse, or if it’s harder, than the pressures they face when compared to men. And later on in our show, we’re going to hear if there are Biblical verses or guidance to kind of help us navigate the modern-day minefield of emotions. Stay with us.

[Audience applause]

Martin: Welcome back to Heart & Soul LIVE, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the INC Media Studios with our live audience! 

Now, earlier in our show, we got a chance to talk about the ups and downs that single men face as Christians in their lives and now, we’re going to be talking to some single Christian women about the pressures that they face. We have joining us today, Rose Menorca. Rose is, let me just check here, 33 years old, single and works as a faculty affairs manager in the University of…

Rose Menorca: Stanford.

Martin: Stanford! We also have Shalina Kroll. Shalina is 30 years old, single and works as a compliance analyst. What does that mean, compliance analyst?

Shalina Kroll: We basically make sure that my company doesn’t break any laws or regulations.

Martin: Got it. How are they doing so far?

Shalina: We haven’t gotten sued yet, so…

Martin: Okay, awesome. Good stuff. And last but not least, we have Joanne Badanguio. Joanne is in her 40s, single and is a senior chemist. Now, the guys earlier in the show, we asked them what’s the best thing about being single. I’d like to ask the same question to you. Best thing about being single?

Joanne Badenguio: I think the best thing about being single is the amount of extra time you have. So, you could use that extra time to spend with your family, with your friends, or most especially, use that extra time to work on yourself––self-care––and work on being independent, being able to do things to improve yourself, so that when you’re finally in that relationship, you’re ready.

Martin: Wow. Shalina, best thing about being single?

Shalina: Yeah, so I think you’re allowed to make decisions on your own. Part of that is also being able to really just learn how to do things on your own. And when you are able to do things and accomplish things on your own, you’re like, “Hey, that’s all me.”

Martin: What’s something you learned recently on your own?

Shalina: So, I don’t know how to do an oil ch––what is that, an oil change?

Martin: Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For those automobiles.

Shalina: Yeah. So, I still don’t know how to do that but I learned how to pull up to Honda, I was like, “Where’s the entrance? What do I do? Oh, the sign says ‘oil change’? Oh, that’s where I park.” So, that was a big accomplishment for me and I got the oil change all by myself. 

Martin: Yeah, they’re usually going to ask you, “Synthetic or not, olive oil?” Don’t choose the third one, always choose synthetic. Rose, is that true? Working on yourself, do you think that’s considered being selfish or…

Rose: No, I actually think it’s not selfish but more like self-care, and for me, it’s the same thing. The best part of being single is just having the time. You can make plans for yourself for things that you want to do. I go to the movies by myself all the time and I enjoy that. Like, winding down after a long day.

Martin: Those are some really good things as a single Christian woman but there are some challenges, some pressures, and I’d like to go to our first article here. It comes from a study actually done in Johannesburg, South Africa. They interviewed a bunch of single women there and this is actually what they found: 

UNMARRIED JUDGEMENT (15:49)

Unmarried women feel judged and scrutinized because of their marital status. In addition, the interviewees argued, the older one becomes, individuals are looked down on, as members of society assume that there’s something wrong with them because they are unmarried. 

Now Joanne, you’ve been courageous enough to be here to express and tell us your story. As the oldest one on this panel, is that true, that the older you get, the more scrutiny and judgment that you get for not having married someone yet?

Joanne: I think so because when I think about my friends that are around my age, a lot of them are married already and they have children. So, I think at this point in my life, I’m expected to already be married and to have a family. So, I think the pressure is there but as long as––I think when I was younger, like in my 20s and 30s, I was asked that question more. Like, “Why aren’t you married?” And then I’d think to myself, “Why am I not married at this point?” But now that I’m older and I think more about the positive things that I have in my life, I’m a happy person. So, I don’t like comparing myself to what other people have and what I may not have. I think about how I’m blessed in other ways and I think that maybe my friends and family, they see that I’m confident and I’m leading a happy life, so that question actually doesn’t even really come up anymore. 

Martin: Wow. What are some of the ways you find contentment?

Joanne: Performing my duties inside the Church Of Christ. It really helps me when I’m there and singing in the choir. And I really have a good career right now and I’m able to travel the world with my parents and my sister, so I really like that. That makes me happy in life.

Martin: That’s great. Shalina, when we were talking to the guys, the pressure was you haven’t settled down because you’re not––I guess you’re not mature yet but that was really the crux or the extent of that pressure. But here, there’s like a level of judgment that the guys don’t have. Is that fair and why do you think that exists, that we’re asking or at least this article is finding out people are asking if something’s wrong with women, but they didn’t ask that about the guys?

Shalina: I mean, I think, obviously as women, it’s like there is that expectation. There’s even the word…I don’t know if it’s common anymore but “spinster”, where it’s like you reach a certain age and you have to have XYZ. Obviously, it’s not fair but it really is just the world that we live in.

Martin: And this concept of a biological clock and that you’re racing against time, can you tell us about that? I know we talked earlier, you said you had an experience about that.

Shalina: Yeah, I did have someone ask me, like, “Aren’t you worried about your biological clock?” And I was just kind of taken aback by that because that was [the] first time someone had asked me that. But I think everything in God’s time and there’s other things that I want to accomplish and there’s other goals that I’m working towards. If it happens, it happens. If not, I have my success, my goals, my career; I have that to show for the life that I’ve built.

Martin: Absolutely. And Rose, your situation’s a little bit different. You said you have a support group in your family and in your friends. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Rose: Well, most of my close friends, like my best friends who are women are––they’re my age, they’re also accomplished and they’re all single and so, we kind of do things together. So, traveling together, going out and I don’t feel pressure at all from them. I also don’t really feel pressure from my family––well, my parents––because I think they like that they get me to themselves because all my money’s spent on them. I get to spoil them. So, really the only pressure I get is from my brothers who are in…

Martin: I think your brothers are in the audience.

Rose: Yes, they are.

Martin: Hands up, brothers!! There’s one…

Rose: The other one’s––he’s Buklod so…

Martin: Okay, got it.

Rose: But it’s really just from them because they’re in happy and healthy and loving relationships, so that’s something that they want for me.

MILLENIALS ARE PRESSURED TO MARRY (19:35)

Martin: Right. Yeah, it’s a lot and I think about it––varying ages, our audience, varying ages. It’s something and it’s the kind of pressure that people go through, and a recent study actually found that the millennial generation are receiving it a lot and sometimes, they’re getting pressured to get married for the wrong or for different reasons. Let’s take a look at this article that we found from today.com:

Millennials are 177% more likely than those of other generations to feel pressure to marry. Surprisingly, 54% of millennial singles said that they feel pressure because they want family and kids, while 50% feel pressured to make their parents happy, and 35% feel pressured to wed to keep up with their friends. Now, I’d like to go to Shalina. On social media, I guess you see everybody’s lifestyle, what everybody else is doing. Is that true that maybe some people––do you know of some?––who get married because they feel like, “Oh man, my parents want me to get married!” Or, “Everybody else in my circle of friends is getting married. I guess I have to do it now too.”

Shalina: Right, well I would hope not. Let’s hope not but yeah, I think with social media, it’s in our face, it’s every day, it’s always there. It’s in shows, it’s in movies, it’s our friends. And so, there is that constant pressure and it’s something that we are constantly exposed to. So yeah, I totally agree that there is a heightened pressure for millennials.

Joanne: I’d like to add too that maybe because of social media, they’re seeing pictures of their friends with their significant other and their family and kids and you’re posting pictures just of yourself––you’re posting selfies and you don’t have your family. So maybe that’s, in a way, they’re feeling that maybe I need to someday post a picture of me and my family. So, maybe that’s the pressure there too.

Martin: Right. And you kind of look at the comments, like the family ones are like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so awesome. What a mod––“ and then your picture, like, “That’s nice.” Right? And then you get less likes but you’re just as happy. Right?

Rose: Sorry, can I just add to that? I just find it interesting because my colleagues at work, a lot of them are also single women but they also––and they’re millennials––so I find that statistic kind of interesting, that it is so high that so many people aren’t feeling pressure but I can definitely see it because single people that I work with tend to have––people kind of tell them, “You’re not a mom so you don’t understand.” So, I could definitely see that.

Martin: I actually want to go to pursue that a little bit more. We know on the news that in some countries, not only here in the west, but for women, they have to choose. It’s either you’re going to be a wife and a mom or you’re either going to follow your career or you’re going to be single. You can’t have all of that. As somebody who works in a university, do you see that? Where women of all ages kind of have to make that choice, that “I can only do one and not the other” or that they’re trying to do all those three things and it’s very difficult?

Rose: You know, it’s surprising because I work with a lot of doctors and so, those that are on the administrative side, they are with families, they’re married. But the residents that we have––the male residents are married and they have children but our female residents, not all of them––they’re kind of waiting because then it’s going to––there’s going to be a pause in their training versus the males because…

Martin: Why is that?

Rose: Well, because if they decide to get married and get pregnant, then they can’t operate.

Martin: Oh. Yes. Of course. That’s why I’m not a woman. Okay. And if you look around in our audience, we have a nice mix of different ethnicities but I do like to relate to the Asian community with this statistic, unfortunately, that we found from an article from DPK News that talks about how Asian-Americans are perceived. 

PARENTAL PRESSURE TO MARRY (23:12)

Many Asian-Americans are accosted as young adults by nagging relatives who want them to commit to one of the most important relationships of their lives. Traditionally, marriage represents an essential step into adulthood. While cultural norms are slowly shifting, many young Americans, especially women, still feel pressured to marry and uphold a responsibility to their parents. Is it really that bad, Shalina? 

Shalina: Yeah, well my mom, she got married at 21 and I’m 30 now, so I think there definitely was that expectation from my family, my relatives, like, “Girl, you’re 30 now. It’s time to settle down.”

Rose: But you’re thriving.

Shalina: 30 and thriving! But yeah, I think it’s just a constant. I’m sure it’s out of love and they want to see us have what they have, but you know…in time.

WAITING FOR THE ONE (24:06)

Martin: In time! In a conversation we had earlier, you said when it comes to finding somebody, “you would wait––“ I’m missing [inaudible]. I want to get this right. “You would wait on Him for him.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Shalina: Yeah, I think it’s just really waiting on God to place that person in your life at the right place, right time because obviously, a spouse, we know, comes from God.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (24:35)

Martin: Right. And Rose, we’ve been friends for a while now and you told me this one story about the one that got away and that kind of idea that there was somebody that was there and they’re gone now sometimes makes people feel like they’re going to be single forever––that they’re never going to find anybody––because there’s that one person that got away. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Rose: Sure. So, I think now that I’m older, I look at the one who got away as a representation of my idealistic youth, where I had this timeline of when things were going to happen in my life. Like, I’m going to go to college, I’m going to go to med school, I’m going to get married at 27, have my first kid at 30 and then there was this person at the time who I felt was––who fit those plans for me and then, it turned out that he wasn’t the one. And so, that person––I lost that person but then––and I really felt alone and lonely. 

You talked about that earlier with the men that were here. And I didn’t really know who to go to so I really tried my best to be better. And so, even if I had this person who got away and I lost that person, what I gained was much more because then, I had a better relationship with my brothers and my family, and a closer relationship with God because after that, I just focused all my energy in serving our Almighty God and I feel so blessed because I was part of so many milestones that the Church Of Christ has reached. That’s what the one who got away represents for me.

Martin: Definitely. Let’s give her a round of applause. It’s very courageous for you to open up. Joanne, Shalina, that concept of the one that got away, it really doesn’t mean anything. There was somebody in your life that came and they went, right?

Joanne: Yeah, we always go through––all of us have been in different relationships and there’s reasons why those relationships didn’t last but then we see in ourselves that it actually made us a better person. So then, we’re ready for the next relationship that comes in our life and maybe the next relationship will be our perfect match.

Martin: Absolutely. Shalina?

Shalina: Yeah, I think that’s actually one of the perks of also being single and when you go through those things, you are ready to take that to the next relationship and you get to meet new people and make new friends. I think that’s actually a nice way to transition and move on to your next someone.

Martin: Your next someone or “the one”. Now, before we wrap up: Rose, I’d like to give you the final words. For anybody here who went through what you went through or is going through what you went through, what words do you have for them to kind of help encourage them with your own experiences?

Rose: Sure. I mean, this is ten years later that all this has happened and I had all these plans for myself that didn’t really happen. And so, my biggest lesson for that is really that it’s God’s plans that we have to wait on and we don’t know what those plans are but those plans are good. So, continue to trust in Him, that He will bring the person for you. 

And also, I know a lot of us, especially those that are older, are praying for that person. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that we have to do our part in looking for someone, right? So, I know there’s a lot of introverts here but I think putting ourselves out there and saying, “You know what, I am interested and I do want to meet someone.” I think opening up in that way is also important. And also, maybe you meet someone and that person isn’t for you, maybe it’s for your friend. So, I think that’s when…”You know, I have someone for you.”

Martin: There you go! Okay wingwoman, right on! We want to thank you all so much for coming. Let’s give them a round of applause. When we come back to Heart & Soul, we’re going to Minister of the Gospel, Brother Richie Juatco, join us and finally answer the question: Is it okay if I’m still single? Stay with us.

[Audience applause]

SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE (28:40)

Martin: Welcome back to Heart & Soul Live. Earlier in the show, we got a chance to talk to six single Christians about the challenges that they face. Joining me now is Minister of the Gospel, Brother Richie Juatco. Brother Richie, is it okay if I’m still single, for those who are?

Brother Richie Juatco: For those who are.

Martin: For those who are! I’m married! But is it okay, for those who are single, if they’re still single?

Brother Richie: You know, as we were listening, we got the opportunity to kind of observe the panel, to observe the conversation, and we heard a lot of different questions posed, like: “Whose timeline is it anyway?”

We saw some statistics, we heard from the panel: the family and friends, they want them to get married, they’re pushing them, people have different ideas of marriage. But really, to answer that question straight off before we get to “Is it okay to be single?”, the answer of “Whose timeline is it anyway?” It’s really God’s. The proof that we know that it’s His is something that we can read. We’ll read here in Jeremiah, the chapter is 29 and I’ll read verse 11. And it says:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and the future.

[Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version]

Brother Richie: So, the one that really knows the best for us is God and that’s why when we want that guidance, when we want the answers of what should I do in my life––at this point in my life––what’s the right decision, it should be, “What plan does God have?” Because He’s the one who has the plan for––isn’t that comforting? To know that God has a plan for each one of us? And it’s a plan to prosper us. Right? It’s a good plan for us. So, that’s what we’re going to do, to answer that question. 

But to answer the question, “Is it okay if I’m still single,” just with a simple “yes” or “no”, because we know so many people have different ideas of what’s good, they have ideas of what is successful, if we just answer straight “yes” or “no”, that would be an unwise answer because we know everyone has a different frame of thinking. So, we need to contextualize it.

The first thing that we need to do is determine what that individual––how they consider marriage, so that we’ll know how they consider being single. Nowadays, there’s a lot of people that think marriage is a bad thing. They think that marriage is just a piece of paper, that marriage is not something that’s really that important. So, let’s go to what the Bible teaches. When it comes to marriage, how should we understand marriage? We’ll read here from what’s recorded in the book of Proverbs, chapter 18 and the verse is 22. It says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

[Proverbs 18:22 New King James Version]

Brother Richie: So, according to the Bible, marriage, having a spouse, that’s a good thing. If someone is married, if someone has a spouse––a husband, a wife––it means the LORD is looking upon him or her favorably. So, of course there are those who say, “Yeah, when they’re married, that’s a good thing.” Right? Maybe to just married people, it’s what should be considered good, but we have to answer that question. Is it just those that are married that should look at marriage that way? 

So again, we’ll go to what’s recorded. So, notice the guidance that we want is in what’s recorded in the Bible. We’ll read here in Hebrews, chapter 13, we’ll read verse four. It says:

Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other.

[Hebrews 13:4 Today’s English Version]

Brother Richie: So, the Bible teaches that marriage is an honorable thing. Marriage should be honored by all. So, being married is something that we understand is, like we read earlier, it’s a good thing. People should not avoid getting married or remain single because they think, “Oh, that’s a better way of life.” We know that our God, He designed us. He created us. And He designed marriage as a good thing––as an honorable thing––so no one should demean marriage. No one should disrespect marriage. All the more––all the more, no one should stay single because they only want the benefits of marriage without the commitment. 

There are those that might think, “I just want to have multiple partners. I want to be able to come and go as I choose.” Kind of somehow, pretending, “That’s my husband,” “That’s my wife,” without that commitment. That would be a dishonorable way of thinking. That would be an immoral way of thinking. We know that there are people in this world that think, “Well, that is––“ It might be a masculine way of thinking––macho-ism––thinking that if you have multiple partners, that makes you a man. But in actuality, that makes you a coward because you’re not able to do what God set in order to have a true spouse––that blessing from Him. 

So, if that’s the frame of mind and one asks, “Is it okay if I’m still single,” then the answer is: that’s not okay because the basis of why they’re doing that is not okay. Okay, so that is––we just want to clear that up, just in case––maybe not anyone here but we know there’s a lot of different people in this world they have a lot of different ways of thinking and they’re trying to teach others, but we want what is actually the truth written in the Bible. So, that is that one of thinking.

So, let’s go on the other side. Let’s say someone understands. They value marriage, they honor it. They just don’t have anyone right now. Is it okay if one is still single? Now, we ask that because there might be some that think, “Is there something wrong? Is there something wrong with me? Is God not with me?” So, the advice we want to give is the advice that Apostle Paul gives. We’ll read that advice here in I Corinthians. We’ll read chapter 7, the verses are 6, we’ll read down to 9. It says:

I say those things to you as my advice, not as a command. I wish all of you were single like me. But you each have your own gift from God. One has this gift, another has that one. I speak now to those who are not married. I also speak to widows. It is good for you to stay single like me. But if you can’t control yourselves, you should get married. It is better to get married than to burn with desire.

[I Corinthians 7:6-9 New International Reader’s Version]

Brother Richie: Now, we want to make clear, Apostle Paul is not preaching here a Biblical command. He’s not preaching here a disciple of the Church. He makes very clear that this is his advice. But we know Apostle Paul, he was single; he was not married. But we also know Apostle Paul is very close to God. Our God chose him, not only to be part of His people inside the Church, but He used him to administer others, those in the Gentile nation. 

So, if one is single, in no way is that evidence that something is wrong with that person. In no way is that a proof that God is far from them, especially if one is going to focus their mind on doing God’s will; on helping His church; on working closely with its Administration. If that’s the case, well, according to the advice of Apostle Paul, that’s okay. That’s good. That’s fine. 

Now, even though it is okay to remain single, the advice is if one can’t exercise self-control when it comes to their physical desires, he says it’s better to get married. So, we see that we have two opposite ways of thinking. We could, on the right side––the right way of thinking––we could go even farther into that.

Let’s say someone is understanding all of that. Right? They say, “I understand marriage. I understand it’s okay if I’m still single. But I want to get married.” Right? “I want to find that person and I’m looking! I’m actively searching for that special someone, that perfect match for me.” But what should one understand if they’re in that aspect of life? Let’s read. Here it says,

House and land are handed down from parents, but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.

[Proverbs 19:14 The Message]

Brother Richie: What should we understand if one is looking for someone to be their spouse? Well, “a congenial spouse comes straight from God.” Since that perfect match comes straight from God, one should approach God when they are looking for their match. 

So, if one is really serious, they’re serious, they come to the point that, “I want to find that perfect ma––” Not a perfect person, we want to make clear. Right? It’s not a perfect person. It might be a perfect person for us––that perfect match. If they are serious, they are going to start holding devotional prayers. Members of the Church Of Christ––a characteristic of a member of the Church Of Christ is he or she is prayerful. That is something that’s taught, that’s something that’s encouraged. 

So, if there is one that has come to the point in their life that, “I feel I’m established, I’ve done those instructions that God gave in order to hopefully receive this blessing that will come from Him.” They will start holding devotional prayers because their belief is––the faith is––it will come straight from God.

We can take it just one more step further. Let’s say someone is at that point and we commend those that were on the panel. We could see the conviction that they have; the faith that they have. Many of them say, “Well, we are putting it in God’s hands. We do believe that will come from Him.” Well, let’s just say one is at that point; they’re asking, they have their devotional prayers but no answer yet in the form of a partner. So what does one do? Does one just say, “This doesn’t work.” There are those that, when they ask for something that they want and it doesn’t come right away––it doesn’t come when they’re hoping––well, their religion’s done. 

There are others that say, “Well yeah, I don’t believe in this at all.” There are even those that, because they feel that, “I want to be happy.” In fact, we were able to hear one of the questions earlier is, “Do you need somebody to be happy?” We’re able to hear the brave examples of those that felt when they had someone, they lost them, they weren’t happy anymore. So according to the Bible, how is it that one can handle that? What should one understand if they want something that they desire? Again, let’s go back to what the Bible teaches. We’ll read here in Psalm 37, verse 4. It says:

Seek your happiness in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desire.

[Psalm 37:4 Good News Bible]

Brother Richie: You know, that happiness that one wants, the Bible says, “You want that happiness? Seek it in Him.” Right? Not in a person, not in something that you are looking for. It says, “Seek it in Him.” What will happen if that’s the case? Then He’ll give you your heart’s desire. 

How many of us here have had something, a goal, in their mind and thought, “If I achieve that goal, then I’m going to be satisfied. I’m going to be happy.” Right? Since we’re on that topic now, “If I have a husband,” or “If I have a wife,” or “If I stay single,”––whatever they decide––and then if they get that goal, they realize, “Oh. That really didn’t satisfy that desire,” God is the One that knows. God is the One that knows what will satisfy that. So, what does the Bible say? Well, seek that from Him. So, how does one do that? We read verse 4, let’s just keep going:

Give yourself to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will help you; He will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun. Be patient and wait for the LORD to act; don’t be worried about those who prosper or those who succeed in their evil plans.

[Psalm 37:5-7 Good News Bible]

Brother Richie: How is it that we’re able to seek our happiness in the Lord? The Bible says, give yourself to Him. Trust Him. Trust Him. How? “Be patient and wait for the LORD to act.” If one wants to live their life based on God’s teachings––everything that they do, every decision they make, they’re going to consider, “What does God want? What is it that He teaches?”––if that’s the case, disappointments, hard times, difficulties, that’s not uncommon. If someone wants to base their life on God’s words, how will they look at those situations? Well, those are just tests. Those are just tests of faith. How is it that it’s a test of faith? How do I pass? The Bible says trust. “Trust in the LORD.” 

So, if one looks at it that way, they look at their life and instead of looking at what they don’t have, they’re counting their blessings. Because we read earlier, it says that some, God gifts people with this, some with that. They’ll start to realize, “Wait a second. If I really am focused on what God wants, He is going to comfort us. He is going to give us the confidence that we need.” Whatever situation He decides is going to be the best for us. That’s why there’s many times that there’ll be those that once they relax, once they say, “You know what, my situation, at my time, however God wants it. If this is how He wants it, then I’m fine with it.” Then, all of a sudden, they’ll find somebody. It might be that way or all of a sudden, they relax. The life that they have is fine. It is because the Biblical truth is, “Seek your happiness in the LORD and He will give you your heart’s desire.”

Just one last thing. I did hear in the panel, I think, is really good is when someone asks, “How come you’re not married? Why are you not married yet?” Instead of saying––and this is just in case someone wants to be married, they’re just not married yet. Right? Because if you don’t want to be married, you have a lot of reasons or answers you could say honestly. But if you want to be married, and they ask, “Why are you not married?” Instead of saying, “Well, I don’t want to,” as though that’s all in our control, one of the best answers that I heard is, “Well, God hasn’t given me one yet.” Because if that’s the case, that frame of mind, and even letting others know, watch how others will back off if they say, “How come you’re not married?” “Well, God hasn’t given me one yet.” Now, they understand how, “That’s the angle that they’re coming from.” Okay, well if they want you to get married, “We’ll pray for you.” 

Martin: “Let’s pray right now!”

Brother Richie: Yeah, then all of a sudden, they’re like, “Okay!” So, the thing is: Is it okay if I’m still single? Well, the answer is yes, if you trust in God.

Martin: Right. Thank you so much, Brother Richie, for those amazing verses and the spiritual guidance. 

Earlier in the show, there was that stat that said now is the time for people navigating these types of challenges to turn to faith-based answers or faith-based guidance to help them because a lot of people in the world think that there is no solutions in the Bible for these kind of things, and yet you just provided some to us. So, what does it say about the Church Of Christ, that we’re able to provide these answers that research institutes are saying people should look for?

Brother Richie: Well, when we see that statistic that they say, “faith-based”, we all know that faith––although faith is very important––there’s a lot of different faiths in this world. Just because one says they have faith, or just because one says that they are religious, when you lump it all together, you could see that’s not the way it should be because everyone is different. 

We hope that everyone here has noticed that every piece of advice, every answer to the question, doesn’t come from me. Who am I to give advice on my own? We’re all limited in the experience that one person has but it all comes from the Bible. It always comes from God’s words that are written in the Holy Scriptures. So we know that’s His advice. So, when it comes to the right way of living, when it comes to one’s faith, it should always be based on what is written in the Bible. 

If there’s anyone here that it might be their first time––not their first time here in our podcast because this is the first time we’re having a live podcast with a live audience––first time here just being introduced to the Church Of Christ, keep coming. Keep listening. You can sit into one of our Bible studies, you can observe one of our worship services, and the one thing that we will guarantee at all times is that anything you hear, you’re going to have it read to you from what is written in the Bible. And that is what will give us that proper guidance we need.

Martin: Thank you so much, Brother Richie. Thank you so much Joanne, Shalina, Rose, Juan, Joey and Angelo. Let’s give them a round of applause, thank you so much.

[Audience applause]

Martin: And thank you so much to our live audience! Thank you so much for coming here today. And to all of our listeners all around the world, thank you so much for listening. We want to thank all of our listeners around the world for joining us and we hope that you learned something, we hope that you were inspired and we hope that we were able to connect with all of our heart and soul. Take care.

[Audience applause]

The post Is It OK If I’m Still Single? appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 25 2020

49mins

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How to Deal When Friends Have Different Faith

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Do conversations about faith and religion have to be awkward? Is it possible to respectfully agree to disagree over something as important as salvation?

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Martin Zerrudo: Tell me if this has happened to you before. You’re at work, at school, or maybe even at home, and the topic of religion comes up. How does it make you feel? Do you freeze and nod along to everything that they’re saying? Or do you let them know just how different your religious views are? 

It can lead to some awkward situations, especially when it’s with a loved one or friend, which is why sometimes people find it easier to avoid the conversation altogether. But should we avoid it? Is it possible to agree to disagree over something as important as salvation? Let’s have a Heart and Soul conversation.

[Show open]

Martin: You’re listening to Heart and Soul, a podcast from The Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ. I’m your host Martin Zerrudo and I’ll be interviewing young adults from across the world who are living Christian lives but are also dealing with real world problems. This is Heart and Soul. 

Today we’ll be talking about how to handle conversations with our friends or loved ones who have different religious views than ours. Our first guest today is Alejandro from Montclair, California. Alejandro is 22 years old, single, and is a college student studying law enforcement. 

He’s a former Catholic and recently joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ in 2017. He’s here today to talk to us about the conversations he’s had with a friend that actually led him to find the true Church and the difficult conversations he now has and tries to have with his own brother, now that he’s found the truth and is trying to share his faith. Hello, Alejandro, how are you today? 

Alejandro Pena: Hello, Brother Martin. I’m pretty good right now. Weather is great. Enjoying life.

Martin: Thank you very much. So, you said weather’s great over there.

Alejandro: Yeah, pretty good.

Martin: Not too cold, I’m sure. And our second guest today is Mark. Mark is from Toronto, Canada right here. He’s actually sitting right in front of me. Mark is 30 years old, single, and works full time at INC Media Services. He actually sits right behind me in our office and he’s also an established wedding photographer and loves to work out with friends and eat out with friends, too, that is very much true. 

He’s here to talk about his experiences in sharing his faith and what happened when one of his good friends actually decided to sign up for Bible studies, but unexpectedly changed their mind. Hello, Mark, how are you today?

Mark Diaz: Hey, Martin, how’s it going?

Martin: Doing well doing well. Alright, so our topic for today is about the difficulty and differences we encounter when talking to our friends or loved ones about religion. Now when talking about our religious differences, does every conversation have to end up with someone being right or wrong? Is it okay to respectfully agree to disagree without feeling like you’ve given up? 

Well, we’ve actually asked our listeners on Instagram using our hashtag,  #heartandsoulconversations. And we asked them when they’re confronted with conflict, how would they handle it? Will they fight or will they flight? And here’s what some of them had to say.

Kristine: If I cherish the relationship, I always try to address the conflict, even if that makes it uncomfortable at times.However, my silence is a clear sign that I do not care. And if I receive that I read it the same way.

Martin: So that was Kristine from the United States. Up next, we have John Kevin from Switzerland. And this is what he had to say.

John Kevin: Depends if I think something good and useful can result from it. If I don’t really care about the reason of the fight, or if the person is really closed minded, and it’s useless to try and argue, then I would just avoid it.

Martin: So again, that’s John Kevin, and lastly, we have Iris from Paris, France, and this is what she had to say.

Iris: It really depends on their situation, if it’s worth fighting for or not, because on the moment, sometimes it’s really hard to control your feelings or your emotions.

Martin: So again, that’s Iris. Listening to our responses it’s clear that it’s not an easy conversation to have when you hear those experiences from other people around the world. Alejandro, how does that make you feel when you hear their sentiments about when they’re engaging those kinds of conversations.

Alejandro: You kind of have to be careful what you’re going to say to those people. Because there’s many emotions going on. So, you’re going to have to tiptoe to get your point across, but even then, it can still eat up the conversation and cause you to have problems with that person, maybe.

Martin: Is it awkward? Does it feel awkward? Would you rather not have those kinds of conversations about faith?

Alejandro: I actually would rather have the conversation. But of course, I would try to do it in a place where it’s more appropriate.

Martin: Right, right. And Mark, you know, when you hear people who say, the conversations kind of going south, I’d rather just avoid it, and I don’t want to deal with it. Can you relate to that?

Mark: I guess, to me, it just really depends who I’m having a conversation with. I know it might not be a factor, but it could be depending on their age, their maturity level, if that’s the topic that they’re willing to have and be open about. Because I know sometimes when we’re a little bit younger, we’re just afraid of what everyone thinks about us, right? And the whole idea of being vulnerable in a faith aspect, not everyone gets.

Martin: Or wants to do…

Mark: Or wants to do, exactly. And I know that for us to growing up in the Church and having friends who don’t understand what that is, for them it’s kind of, just, it’s foreign right? So, for someone like us to express that, that side of our life, I can understand why people are afraid because they don’t want these other people to think that we’re this group of people.

Martin: That’s different.

Mark: That’s different. Exactly.

Martin: Right, right. And speaking about that, because you grew up for most of your life in the Church. For Alejandro, what religion did you grow up in? And what was that like Alejandro, the teachings as a kid, what were those teachings like? What made sense to you? What didn’t make sense to you?

Alejandro: My parents have been Catholic before I was born. I was baptized in it when I was an infant. But years later, my older brother introduced my parents to a Christian church. It was a denomination. We’re going from one church to another when things just didn’t seem right. I remember that the leader of the church was married and he divorced her to marry a younger one. It just didn’t seem right. There was also a time in the same church where one of the pastor’s married a couple, and the groom was drunk.

Martin: The groom was drunk?

Alejandro: Yeah, like literally drunk.

Mark: Oh my gosh.

Martin: In front of everybody who, in the ceremony?

Alejandro: Yes, he was at the front with his wife.

Mark: That’s crazy.

Alejandro: And then after the ceremony had ended, he went around to where we’re eating at. And really, he just didn’t have that sober way to walk.

Martin: And how old were you when you were seeing all this crazy church stuff?

Alejandro: I was already 17 or 16?

Martin: Wow.

Alejandro: Honestly, I kept going. But I told my mom after. Look, I went to church, this is what happened. And even she was thinking about, why are we going to that church then? If this stuff is happening.

Martin: Right, right. It just didn’t feel right going back?

Alejandro: It didn’t feel right. Now after some time, there was nothing there for me to keep going for.

Martin: So, after that experience, did you ever try and look for another church?

Alejandro: No, actually I stopped after some time before I was invited to the church I stopped going there. And going thought was I’ll try to look for God my way. Self teach myself what the Bible try to learn what God wants me to do. And then from there just live my life like that. Not go to church anymore but still obey Him.

Martin: Right. How did you go from trying to teach yourself through the Bible and then eventually learning about the Church Of Christ?

Alejandro: So, since that was my thought, to just self teach myself, my friend Lanuelle he contacted me through Facebook. I was posting verses of the Bible there. He messaged me, ‘Bro you know, I’m gonna just tell you straight forward. I want to invite you to Church, can you go?’ And so by that time since I wasn’t going to another church, I just said, ‘Yeah, sure. When?’ So, he said ‘oh, let’s do this Monday.’

Martin: Wow.

Alejandro: After work, I get home and he picks me up with his brother, and then for sure we head to Church. I remember the lesson was about the love of the Brotherhood. It made total sense to me from that point, but my main concern was about salvation.

Martin: I see.

Alejandro: I wanted to know, what did I have to do to be saved?

Martin: Now before all this, had you and Lanuelle already been friends? Or did he just randomly add you on Facebook and said, hey, man, you want to come to my church?

Alejandro: No, we were friends in high school.

Martin: I see, I see. And had religion ever come up in your conversations?

Alejandro: Yeah, they came up. Sometimes during lunchtime. There was this other guy with us. He believed in the Trinity. And Lanuelle would talk to him about it to like, no, that doesn’t exist. Or there’s just one God.

Martin: Mark in high school did religion ever come up in conversation in the cafeteria?

Mark: Oh, many times, actually. Because there were a lot of us in my previous locale that went to school together in high school. So, our mix of friends, were our Church friends and then we had our friends just from school, but we all sat together. So, everyone would always ask us how do you guys know each other? How are you guys so close? And we would always just tell them we grew up at Church together. They asked all what church do you go to? And we say, oh, the Church Of Christ. And then from there, they’d be like, oh, what do you guys believe in? And we would tell them that we’re Christian, and we follow what’s taught to us in the Bible. And usually it would drop really quickly because after that, after we would mention the Bible, they’d be like, “Oh that’s cool.” And then they go on to the next topic. But then there would also be times when we would invite them to Evangelical Missions. And then that’s where they would learn a little bit more about us. So that’s usually how it went around for us.

Martin: For myself, actually, in high school, also a lot of members of the Church Of Christ in the same high school that I went to. But it was very cliquey, not that we wanted to separate ourselves, but the sections of the school and the cafeteria were split up. But you know, we all lived harmoniously in the four years in high school. Alejandro, what made you decide you know what, this is the Church that I wanted to join?

Alejandro: Actually, I started seeing how people conducted themselves more inside the worship service.

Martin: Wow. What was different?

Alejandro: The worship service was very calm. It wasn’t yelling, or jumping, or people babbling stuff out of their mouth. It was all done in order and I’ve never seen before. That’s something that really caught my attention.

Martin: Right. So you eventually joined the Church. And we now get to the heart of the topic where you’ve now been able to actually share your faith with your parents. And I believe your sister, right? And they’ve joined the Church Of Christ as well?

Alejandro: Yes.

Martin: But your brother is a different story. Tell us about your brother, your relationship with him.

Alejandro: So my brother he would try to encourage me, to pray to God, but I’m going here to the Church Of Christ. I’ve noticed that he’s actually more just trying to attack more towards us. For lack of a better word.

Martin: You mean, he’s not too fond of you being a member of the Church Of Christ you mean? Like your discussions about faith was more civil before, but now that you’re a part of the Church it’s not so civil?

Alejandro: Yes.

Martin: I see.

Alejandro: It’s something that I’ve never seen before, even when we were going to the other denominations.

Martin: Right, right. Is he your older brother?

Alejandro: Right now, he’s the oldest one that I have here close.

Martin: I see, I see. Would you consider your relationship with this brother close?

Alejandro: Not too close. When we have topics of religion and stuff, I still try to invite him to Church.

Martin: Tell us about a time Alejandro, where you’ve had a conversation with your brother about religion, that didn’t go so well.

Alejandro: So, one day my parents and I got back from Church. I don’t remember too well, exactly. But I think he did call me. And these were the early days of us being members of the Church, and my parents as well. So, we started getting into a debate about the Church. He kept on telling me that God is not looking for you to be in the Church, he just wants you to obey Him. And so that’s when I told him, well, it’s in the Bible that we have to go to Church. So, by going to Church we are obeying God. So, I would quote these verses from the Bible to him. But he would just keep cutting me off. And that got me frustrated to even keep trying to talk to him about it.

Martin: Right now your conversations with your parents and your sister and trying to explain to them why they should join the Church Of Christ. How did they differ from this kind of conversation with your brother?

Alejandro: In regards with my mom?

Martin: Yeah.

Alejandro: I came back from a Bible Study, at 10 at night because I had some questions I wanted to ask the minister. And so, I got home. My mom was still awake, and I explained to her look, this is right here in the Bible. Jesus Christ is not God. And these are all the verses that lead to that point, that Jesus Christ is not God.

Martin: Yeah.

Alejandro: That night she went to sleep mad, but after some time that I kept going to Church, she just actually started accepting the fact that yeah, it’s in the Bible. I can’t deny that.

Martin: Right.

Alejandro: If this is what I believe in, I can’t deny it. So, she started going. Coming with me to Church. And then my mom, little by little started pulling my dad as well. And then he started going to Church as well.

Martin: Wow.

Alejandro: Which is something that he hasn’t done in a long time. And that really, that really got me happy that he started going to Church as well. So, once a mom and dad started coming with me to church, that’s when I approached my sister.

Martin: How did she take it?

Alejandro: The way it happened was she invited us to her church. We weren’t baptized yet. We went to her church. And I try to note down as much verses as I can, because I would note down the verses that the minister would give. And I didn’t get as much, and his topic was just bouncing from one to another. And then there was some things that he would say that was contrary to what the Church Of Christ teaches. And so, after the worship service at her church, I explained to her, look, this is what your pastor said, and this is what the Bible says. Now, what your pastor says, does it coincide with what the Bible says? And she would say, no, it does not. It doesn’t make sense. So, I say, okay, I went to your church. Now, I’m inviting you to mine. And that’s when she started coming to the Church Of Christ.

Martin: Right. You know, I myself, I wasn’t born in the Church. And I remember we were raised Catholic and Baptist, I believe. And I just remember going to church as a kid in those churches or those religions and it was just chaos. Kids running around, adult’s kind of shouting or yelling, sometimes clapping. And in my head, okay, I guess this is what worship is supposed to be like. 

But it really didn’t make sense to me. And then eventually when my mom brought me and my older brother to the Church Of Christ, just in the Children’s Worship Service, I said, wow, this is so different from the Sunday school that I used to go to where everybody’s just running around. And then the adult worship service was super solemn. And it was such a new thing for me. And I was 11-10 years old, wow, this is actually what a Worship Service is supposed to be like. So, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. But knowing that your brother did not take to what you were talking about the way that your parents did, the way that your sister did, how did that make you feel that he wasn’t seeing the things that your other family members were able to see?

Alejandro: It would get me mad. Sometimes I think that it’s probably just his stubbornness.

Martin: Right.

Alejandro: Or his ego, that blinds him to not want to come to the Church Of Christ. And so, if that’s the case, then I can’t do much there. That’s something that he just has to deal with.

Martin: But what made you so angry? What was it that you needed him to understand? What was the urgency there?

Alejandro: My urgency for him, it really is regarding salvation.

Martin: You want him to be saved, and you’re worried that he wouldn’t be?

Martin: Yes. I’d like to go to an article now from the Reno Gazette Journal. And they actually pose this question, on talking about having nonreligious friends or friends who have different religion than we do. And it says if our religion is the only right way, why should we be friendly with someone who is surely going to hell? How can we reconcile when we know that our friends’ worship is to a false god? As friends is it not our duty to bring him or her to the right path? 

And so, the journal is asking this question that if we have friends or family members who are not believing in the things that we believe in, and we know, and we believe that what we’re doing will lead us to salvation, shouldn’t we try anything and everything to make sure that our friends and our family members find the truth? Because, like the journal said, one person is going to go to hell and one person is going to go to heaven. It’s a very uncomfortable prospect to pose to somebody who either isn’t religious or believes in another religion where they think they’re the ones that are going to be saved. 

And now I want to bring Mark into the conversation. Mark, you’re a member of the Church Of Christ. You were born and raised in the Church. I’m sure you’ve had many opportunities to share your faith with a lot of different people. One person in particular your friend Andre, tell us about how you guys met how you’re eventually able to invite him to Worship Service.

Mark: So Andre, and I, we met through kickboxing. And I was fairly new to the activity. And usually in the classes, you partner up with someone, and so we were partners, and you know, he was just asking where I was from what I do for a living. And then when I mentioned the Church, he was like, oh, I do know some brethren from your Church. So, he actually invited me out for dinner one time and he was he said, maybe we should grab a bite sometime after working out or something. So, I told him, yeah, absolutely. So that time we did end up going out to eat. He was the one that actually asked all the questions, and I didn’t even bring it up at all, other than the fact that I work for the Church now.

Martin: What were some of the questions that he had?

Mark: He just said, ‘Oh, when do you go to Church?’. And I told them I usually attend on a Thursday early morning on a Wednesday night. On the weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. He said “Oh, so you go twice a week.” And I said, “Yes, there’s a midweek service and we have a weekend service.” And then he just straight up asked, “Would it be okay if I came with you sometime?”

Martin: Oh, wow.

Mark: And I said, “Absolutely.” I asked him too, “What faith did you grow up in? Where do you come from?” And he told me that he grew up his family’s Catholic, and that that’s what they grew up in. But he told me that they don’t always go to church together, it’s just depending on their work schedules. But at that time, too, he hadn’t attended in a very long time. And I asked him, you know “What do you believe in? What’s your faith?” And he told me that “You know, I I’d like to think that all good people will go to heaven. You do good to those who need it and it’ll come back to you.” So, I said “Yeah, you know, whenever you do want to come, the door is open.” So, he asked me “Okay, when is the next time you’re going to go to Church?” I said, “Actually, I’m going to Church tomorrow morning.” And he said, “Is it okay if I came with you?”

Martin: Wow.

Mark: And I said “Just letting you know, this is at 5:30 A.M. in the morning. When people are usually sleeping.”

Martin: Right.

Mark: “I’m not forcing you. And I know that’s a very early time to commit too. So, if you wanted to go to another time, absolutely.” And he said, “No, I want to go with you in the morning.” So, we did.

Martin: What was his reaction to the worship service?

Mark: Well, his first reaction after service was, “Wow, I didn’t know there were actually people that woke up at that time to go to Church in the morning.”

Martin: Right? It’s probably packed.

Mark: It’s fairly full. I remember the worship service at that time, it was about Thanksgiving.

Martin: Right, right, giving thanks.

Mark: Giving things and remembering our blessings throughout the year.

Martin: Oh that’s a great lesson.

Mark: And bringing it all back to God. So, I remember sitting there and I thought, wow, this is a really, really good lesson. Afterwards I asked him, “What did you think?” And he, the same thing as Alejandro said, he mentioned that it was very solemn. It was very peaceful. He actually for a moment was like, “I never realized what it felt like to just sit with your thoughts in a place where it was quiet. And I could just hear myself.”

Martin: Right. And that’s the great thing, just pause right there. For our listeners who maybe are not members of the Church Of Christ, who have never been able to experience, worshiping God in a house of worship of the Church Of Christ. Say the worship services at 6 o’clock at night. Doors are open roughly around half hour before. And you really have an opportunity to sit in the sanctuary, like Andre said, “with your thoughts to just meditate.” 

A lot of studies out there that says, the mindfulness aspect of it, the mental benefits of just being able to reflect peacefully and affirm yourself positively is so beneficial in all aspects. In your work, in your mental health, in everything. And so being able to do that, like you said, twice a week. You get to worship God, you get to pray and you get to sit there in your thoughts and meditate. So, when did he decide he wanted to join the Church?

Mark: He didn’t decide that he wanted to join the Church. But he did decide that he wanted to learn about the Church.

Martin: Oh, I see.

Mark: From the beginning I told him you know, “Whatever questions you have, or if there’s any time that you need some clarification on something, we can always talk to the minister.” And that led him to coming to one of the evangelical missions. And it was after that, that first one that he attended that he said that I’d like to learn more about your Church. “Can I sign up for Bible studies?”

Martin: Right. Now when we say sign up for Bible studies, that just means for those who aren’t members of the Church, that it’s 28 lessons. Completely free, with the minister or worker of the local congregation that’s nearest to you. Which I’m sure they did for Andre.

Mark: Yes.

Martin: Works around your schedule on when you’re able to attend the Bible studies. And at the end of the 28 lessons it doesn’t mean that you automatically become a member of the Church Of Christ. It’s a really great way to continue your spiritual journey. How did that make you feel that your friend who you met at the gym, was so eager to learn about the Church? And then signed up for Bible studies. 

Mark: I felt great. I’ve actually never experienced having a friend, thankfully a close friend now, interested on their own to know what we do in the Church and what the Church is all about.

Martin: Right.

Mark: So, for me to not even have to push anything on him, but just kind of be there with him and have him listen. It was nice to know that maybe God is using me as an instrument to let him at least learn about our faith.

Martin: Right. I remember, because we’re also good friends, you’d bring him to our hangouts. We’d all have dinner together, we’d hang out. He’d help us out with some of our shoots here in the studio. Really, really nice, great guy. Still, today we hang out sometimes. But then something happened. He changed his mind. What happened.

Mark: Halfway through the lessons, I want to say he maybe got through five or six lessons and he sent me a text message unexpectedly after one of the Bible studies. I had dropped him home. And then when I got home I had this really long text from Andre. And in his text, first he thanked me and he said, “I really appreciate our friendship and you’ve been so kind and bringing me to all the lessons and helping me whenever I needed it, and I’m so thankful to know that I have someone that is very faith driven.” And then near the middle of the text message he said, “unfortunately I’m gonna have to put a hold on learning about your Church, not because I disagree with it or I’m upset about anything but I don’t feel ready to keep going.” And he mentioned that a big part of it is that he felt like he was betraying his family who he actually did mention that he was going to church too, and there wasn’t any factor of them stopping him. They kind of just said, “whatever makes you happy, then we’re there for you.” But I think a part of him from what he was saying, he just said that he was abandoning I guess the roots of his family. So he said that he wasn’t ready to fully commit and he was hoping that we can all still be friends. “You’ve introduced me to a great pool of brethren and community that I never thought existed.” 

Martin: Right, right. 

Mark Diaz: He said “I hope that I can still hang out with you guys.” He said “If there’s another opportunity for me to want to learn or to continue on in learning” he said “I hope I can come back to your Church and I hope that this doesn’t end anything or change anything.” And I said “Oh absolutely not. The doors will always be open for you and the friendship and everyone that you’ve met continues. And it doesn’t make us think any less of you” because I think he was worried too that…

Martin: He’d be ostracized.

Mark: Exactly, for believing something else.

Martin: Alejandro I’d like to ask. This concept of betrayal; do you feel like your brother made you feel like you joined a different Church than what he was used to when he used to go to with you. You were able to get your parents to join the true Church, and then your sister. Do you feel like there’s that element of “you kind of betrayed what we used to have as a family because you converted everybody to a different Church than what we grew up in.” 

Alejandro: Yeah, that could be a possibility too. He probably feels isolated from us, in a way. For that reason that could lead him to think that this is probably not the right Church.

Martin: And that’s a difficult thing right. It becomes, not just a difference of belief, but it comes very “your team versus my team.” 

Alejandro: Yeah 

Martin: Which is why I think some of our listeners, they kind of stray away from it. You can even hear from the social media comments was that “it’s not worth my time. I’m gonna share my faith but if I know it’s not going to go anywhere. If they already seem very adversarial than I’d rather not.” Thankfully for Mark, you were able to have a friend who was eager to learn; who, even though they were very much entrenched in their family’s faith, was willing to be open minded about it. But you know unfortunately not everybody is. Mark did you feel like you failed when he said he wasn’t gonna join or that he wasn’t ready to fully finish all the lessons yet?

Mark: I didn’t feel, I wasn’t discouraged. I think I was more hopeful. It wasn’t completely an end to something because at least in a way I was able to share something that’s been a part of my life. 

Martin: Right

Mark: That’s huge to me. So no I don’t think I failed in that sense.

Martin: Actually my dad, who eventually became a member of the Church Of Christ after 20 plus years of having conversations similar to the conversations you have Alejandro with your brother, he very much criticized why we went to Church, why we spent so much time there, why we had to go to Church and not just be a good person and be saved. And again like your situation Alejandro, it was me, my brother and my mom.  It was the three of us that were members of the Church Of Christ and he was not. So he very much also felt isolated. 

I’m sure there was a level of betrayal there where we would always choose worshiping God over anything else. But the thing is like you Mark a no now is not a no forever. And despite maybe the difficult conversations you’ve had, Alejandro, the difficult conversations I’ve had with my dad and for any of our listeners who are members of the Church Of Christ, who have had multiple difficult conversations with people who we care about, who we wanted to share our faith with, it’s not a no forever. And like Mark said, don’t feel so discouraged that because it’s not happening right now that it won’t ever happen. 

Mark: Exactly. 

Martin: There’s still value, very much so in just being able to share our faith in those kind of conversations. Now, I’d like to play one more clip, and this is from Ian from the United Kingdom, and this is what he has to say about having conversations with those who have different religion. 

Ian: When I’m speaking to someone about my faith, and they don’t agree, I try not to get too worked up about it. As a member of the Church Of Christ, it’s my duty to share my faith. And if someone has a different opinion, then I tried to have an open mind about it, just so I can avoid causing drama. At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to have their own opinions. But I know that once I try, then I’ve done my part.

Martin: Now I’d like to bring in Minister of the Gospel and show favorite of course brother Richie Juatco. Now, Brother Richie what spiritual advice would you give to our listeners who do find themselves in a similar situation. How do we share our faith, stand up for our faith without seeming like we’re judging others or as Ian would say causing drama? Is there comfort in knowing that even if they don’t see eye to eye in how we believe and how we will attain salvation that we can still respectfully agree to disagree knowing that we’ve done our part in sharing our faith?

Brother Richie: To respectfully disagree with someone, we always want to do it in a way to where what we’re merely doing is following what is written in the Bible. That’s why it’s interesting to hear the conversations, hear some of the experiences of Alejandro and Mark and even yourself Martin. There is a lot of work to put into it. 

When you speak about your religion, when you speak about your faith. And it is also interesting to hear some that maybe say that they don’t want to put in that effort if they feel that it’s not going to go anywhere. Now, engaging in conversation regarding religion and faith is something that is not only encouraged for us, but rather instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to those whom He recognizes as His disciples are those inside His Church. He’s the one that describes us in a particular way, as Christians and what our responsibility is. And because we want to be driven by our faith, I will read what is recorded here in Matthew chapter 5, 14 to 16. What is His instruction? What is it that He describes us as? Our Lord Jesus Christ says:

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives a light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.

[Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV]

Brother Richie: So, it’s not only encouraged. It’s not only something that we can do, an option. No, it’s an actual instruction. Our Lord Jesus Christ says “You are the light of the world, let your light shine.” And the best way for us to shine is to share our faith; to tell people what we’ve learned, to tell people the Biblical truths that we were able to hear. But in our sharing, we should not disregard the Bible’s instruction on how to conduct ourselves. Because it’s true, there might be some who, when they hear it, they might respond in all different ways. They might be angry as we heard in some of the experience of those that are on the panel. But what is it that we’re taught? How is it that we conduct ourselves? I’m going to read again, also what’s written because that is what is our guide. Here in First Peter chapter 2, the verses 17, it says:

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor, the emperor.

[1 Peter 2:17 NIV]

Brother Richie: Now here we have a set of instructions, a set of guidelines and notice it says, show proper respect to everyone. So the term, everyone, includes even those that don’t agree with our beliefs. As I heard in Alejandro’s, when he explained about his friend Lanuelle, he was able to notice that even though people were not agreeing with what he was saying he was able to keep calm. He was able to still show respect. And that caught his attention. There might be others that get really frustrated, get really angry if somebody doesn’t agree with them, but the Bible makes clear we should show proper respect to everyone. 

Now since we are discussing, so we want to show proper respect to everyone. Since what we are discussing in particular is dealing with friends that have a different faith than us, or even converting others to different religions, we need to understand how that’s done. How is conversion done or having faith or belief grow in someone, because if one doesn’t understand that it can lead to frustrations, it can lead to people maybe being angry with each other. If one shares their faith and the other person doesn’t believe or converts then they feel that they failed. 

What is that process of having a belief grow in someone who who didn’t have it before, the true faith. I’ll read here from First Corinthians chapter 3, verses 6, Apostle Paul clarifies he says:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plan, grow.

[I Corinthians 3:6 Good News Translation]

Brother Richie: So to have that grow in somebody, it is really God, that does it. Everyone’s just doing their part. If someone shares their faith, they’ve done their part, right? If that person believes, if that person joins the Church Of Christ, that will be part of the entire process and it will be God Himself, that will make that grow in them. So we have Mark, where he shares his faith, and then ultimately at the end of his story he said that his friend did not convert or did not join the Church. He did his part. And who knows? Maybe that that seed that was planted in his mind, hopefully will grow down the line. But then he was able to at least do what was instructed to him. We know that if one is going to join, they’re going to join the faith, they’re going to join the Church, which the Bible makes clear Church Of Christ, or the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have to understand, how is it that one is able to even join the Church. Again, let’s go to what’s recorded for clarity. I’ll read here in 1 Corinthians 12, 18. It says:

Brother Richie: “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” [1 Corinthians 12:18 (English Standard Version)]

Brother Richie: So it really is, it’s God. It’s God that is going to call someone to have the true faith. It’s God that’s going to add them to join the Church. Therefore no one should get frustrated. No one should get too angry or even the other extreme, where someone says “I’m not going to put the effort in any way because you actually touched upon something when you said sometimes people don’t want to judge. So they’re going to not say anything. That’s actually the opposite because if you don’t say anything thinking, “Oh this person’s going to, nothing’s going to happen anyway.” Now you have judged. You’re the one that judges if that person is going to have the faith or not. Leave it to God. 

How is it that you leave it to God? Just follow the instructions. What we do is we just do our part. We speak up. So we speak up we share our faith, and it will be God that ultimately converts people to have the proper faith. We just do our part. Now, there are times where beliefs, they’re going to contradict. That is the one thing that many people maybe have not observed. Everyone wants to do what’s right. 

Mark in his story he said that his friends said “all good people will go to heaven.” That’s his belief. Okay then great, but who is good? What some people think is good is different from what other people think is good. So there will be, and we can see there’s a lot of different churches. They all believe that they’re doing what is right, but they’re all doing things that are different. They have different names, they have different beliefs, they have contradicting ways of worshipping God. So there is going to be teachings that are going to contrast, are going to contradict. 

So in doing our part, should we be timid to tell the truth, if it is in stark contrast to what others presently believe. Or, a question that others have is should we join in what we know is already wrong just to help them come to the light? Well the Bible is clear regarding what our focus should be in shining as lights. I’ll read from Ephesians chapter 5 verses 10 to 11, it says:

Try to discover what the Lord wants of you having nothing to do with futile works of darkness, but exposing them by contrast. [Ephesians 5:10,11 Jerusalem Bible]

Brother Richie: So, like we said, when we do share our faith, if we’re trying to figure out what really is the truth, there are going to be times where we can avoid exposing what is false, by contrast of what is true. So the whole purpose is to do what God wants us to do. So we’re not just trying to please others. We’re not just trying to build relationships for any reason, but we’re actually trying to help others. 

In Alejandro’s account, he shared, he learned something himself, and that is natural. When we learn something that we feel is valuable, we feel is important, of course we want to share it with others. From any level of value, it could be a great restaurant, could be a great movie, whatever, all the way to “This is the way that you’re going to be saved” you inherently want to share that with others. So, we can see he shared it with his parents. He shared it with his sister. They were able to realize this is good. 

Now he shared it with his brother. His brother currently right now has not softened up to the idea of hearing but he’s still following. Alejandro’s following the teachings of God. That’s what we have to do. Leave that leave that to God. 

So engaging in conversations regarding religion, faith, is something really that strengthens our own faith, because if we engage in conversation, and if we’re talking about it, then it reinforces what we have. And why is it that we should do that.This instruction, and I’ll read here in 1 Peter 3, 15. It says:

Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are,

[1 Peter 3:15 The Message]

Brother Richie: The reason why we should be calm, the reason why we should not be frustrated, the reason why we should speak up is because we should know our faith. There are some that will get frustrated when we do engage in conversation with them, because they might not know their faith. They might know what they were taught, but the basis of it, they might. So that when we do talk about that, when we do speak about that, that can get frustrating to them. But we leave that to God. We do our part and we hope and pray that He will just as He has mercy on us, giving us the opportunity to actually know the truth written in the Bible, that they too will have a chance and they will have that best opportunity to answer His call.

Martin: Definitely thank you so much Brother Richie. And for our listeners who are eager to share their faith and are inspired of course by the verses that Brother Richie has read from the Bible, there are a lot of tools online that make sharing our faith and make those conversations that much more easier, that much more simpler. If you go to the website incmedia.org, right on the right side is a big red button that says questions

One of the main reasons why sometimes people avoid having the conversation about different religions is they don’t always have the answer. Well tell them to go to incmedia.org, put in their question and then they’ll get a response and it’s totally open to whatever interests or questions you may have about faith, about spirituality, about teachings in the Bible; it’s all there for you. If they’d rather listen to a podcast, there’s this podcast, the Gods message podcast. If they want to find something about their family or their kids if you’re a little bit older, there’s Faith and Family, a lot of content that shows why we as members of the Church Of Christ live the way that we are and how we act as Christians in the Christian family unit

If you have questions about depression about solving problems in their life that they’re trying to find the answers to, we have a show called The Solution. Everything that you find on incmedia.org is tailored to make that conversation that much easier. And it’s just more tools to Brother Richie’s verse that he read as the ones who are working on the field, there’s more tools that we use. You’re not just using your hands when you’re planting a seed, right? You have tools. You have other things that will help you to make sure that when it’s time for God to make it grow, that has been prepared the right way. And that website not only helps people understand our faith but also as Brother Richie said helps us in our faith to remind us why we ended up joining the Church in the first place. 

Now before we close the episode I’d like to ask two final questions to Alejandro. Hopefully you’re able to continue to have those conversations with your brother. Maybe he’ll have a chance to hear this podcast right now if you send the episode to him. If he was listening right now Alejandro, what would you say to your brother?

Alejandro: I would tell him, “Bro this is my faith that I’ve learned and I’ve really have held on to, and I know this is something that has helped me for the better, in my life. And so that’s the reason I share it with you, because I do love you like my brother that you are, and if God wills, I hope you one day join the Church as well.”

Martin: Thank you Alejandro. And Mark, if Andre were to be listening right now, what would you say to him?

Mark: I’d say “I know that you are looking for peace, and that you want to live a happy life, but what if you can take that happiness to another level.”

Martin: So we want to thank everybody for joining us today. Thank you, Alejandro for sharing your story, your inspiring moments in your life, and the challenges as well, giving us a closer look into the conversations that you’ve had in your life. Thank you so much Alejandro.

Alejandro: Thanks Martin, it’s been good sharing my life experiences here. 

Martin: It was a great conversation. Thank you Mark, for sharing your story as well. 

Mark: Thanks for having me. 

Martin: Thank you for joining us and for introducing us to your friend. Andre if you’re listening, door’s always open not only in the house of worship, but also in joining us whenever we go out. Thank you Brother Richie again. Most importantly, thank you so much for providing us and the listeners with spiritual guidance on how to navigate probably one of the hardest things that we have to face in life and in being able to be brave enough to shine as lights, to share our faith but confidently, and compassionately converse that with other people. Thank you so much Brother Richie. 

Brother Richie: Oh, thank you, thank you for giving us a chance to join.

Martin: And for all of our listeners, please follow our hashtag on Instagram, #heartandsoulconversations to stay up to date with all things Heart & soul. That’s it from us today. Depending on when you’re listening to this, hope you have a happy New Year. Hope we were able to help, hope you were able to connect and we hope you’ll join us next time, ready to listen with all your heart and soul. Take care.


The post How to Deal When Friends Have Different Faith appeared first on incmedia.org.

Feb 06 2020

42mins

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How To Love Your Body

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A conversation about how and why people struggle with loving their body, with tips from experts on diet and psychology, guided by biblical teachings.

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Martin Zerrudo: When you wake up in the morning, and stand in front of the mirror, how do you feel about the image that you see? What do you say to your own reflection? Is it a positive, confident conversation with yourself? Or is it something else? Your mind, body, and soul, what are they saying about who you are? And how is it different from what the world is telling you? Are they all working together to create an image and lifestyle that you’re happy with? Let’s have a Heart and Soul conversation. 

[Show open]

Martin: You’re listening to Heart & Soul, a podcast from the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ. I’m your host, Martin Zerrudo, and I’ll be interviewing young adults from across the world who are living Christian lives, but are also dealing with real world problems. This is Heart & Soul.

Welcome to Heart & Soul, my name is Martin Zerrudo. And today we’ll be talking about loving your body, and being healthy in mind, body, and soul. 

Our first guest today is Alison Pablo, an 18-year-old from San Francisco, California. 

Alison has struggled with acne and her weight since an early age, and has joined us today to talk about what she did to overcome some forms of bullying in her past, her self-esteem issues when it comes to her skin, and how a new diet and mindset has helped her, not only cope, but respect the body that God gave her. Hello Alison! How are you?

Alison: Hi, doing great, how about you? 

Martin: Very good! Now our second guest today is Dr. Darwin Buyson. 

Dr. Buyson is a psychologist from the United Kingdom, and is here today to provide insight on body image, the effects it has on the mental health of youth today, and how society has affected their perception of what it means to be healthy and beautiful. Hello Doctor Buyson! Or Darwin, how are you today? 

Dr. Buyson: I’m good thanks, how are you?

Martin: Very good Thank you again for joining us. I know the time delay, we’re in three different time zones right now and you’re kind of coping with the latest hour so thank you so much for joining us. And our third guest today is Lauren Famatigan. Lauren is a graduate of Dietetics and Food Administration with an option in Nutrition and Dietetics, from Irvine, California. She is here today to shed some light on diet, the food we eat, and how it can affect our bodies both in the short term, and in the long term. Hello Lauren! How are you?

Lauren: Hi, I’m good, thank you for having me!

Martin: We also have Jun Gopez, from California. He is 26 years old, an Assistant Lab Manager in a pharmaceutical research lab. As a young child, he struggled with his weight all his life, and has joined us today to talk about how he took control of his diet, his weight, and his life. Hello Jun, how are you?

Jun: Hi Martin, I’m good. Thank you for having me on here.

Martin: Last but not least, now that we have our body, and mind experts, onto the soul. We have joining us today, minister of the gospel Bro. Richie Juatco. A show favorite of ours. And it’s a perfect topic to explore a side of you Brother Richie that maybe not a lot of our audience know about unless they’ve met you first hand! Brother Richie actually lives a very healthy and active lifestyle and we can’t wait to hear how our faith and the teachings in the Bible contribute to a positive body image and a healthy way of life. Hello Brother Richie, how are you po?

Brother Richie: How are you Brother Martin? Thank you once again for having us all on this episode. And it seems like a very interesting topic this time.

Martin: Definitely. Let’s get right into it. A couple of weeks ago we posted something on our Instagram account, follow us #HeartAndSoulConversations and we asked our audience “How do you feel about your body? Do you love your body?” Here’s a clip from one of our listeners talking about how she feels.

“My body and I have a love hate relationship. It’s a struggle to maintain and it’s definitely something that needs lots of love. But not too much love. You know like, sweets. Because for me, that’s my weakness. Sweets. But you know, I know what I need to improve on, it’s just a matter to committing myself to making things happen in order to get to a healthier me.”

Martin: Now I’d like to start with Darwin. Doctor Buyson, when people say they have a love hate relationship with their bodies, what exactly are they saying about themselves?

Dr. Buyson: It’s probably useful at this point to remind ourselves that body image is defined as certainly from a psychological point of view about our thoughts and feelings about the way we look, the way our body functions. Which could include how we think and feel about our weight, shape, skin color, appearance. When I hear someone say they have a love hate relationship with their body, what that suggests is the person who gave that account, is highly pre-occupied and even anxious about their body image. And this level of preoccupation can become a problem as it leads us to constantly monitoring and evaluating our body image against standards that are difficult to attain for most of us normal human beings. So that’s something that I pick up from that statement of having a love hate relationship. Your body image is that critical and it’s that important to you that it elicits such strong feelings. 

Martin: Definitely. And it’s not limited to that one person. This study that you provided us: 60% of adults in the UK reported that they feel ashamed of the way that they look. Are you surprised at that number of people who are, have such negative views of their body?

Dr. Buyson: It’s a huge proportion isn’t it? I mean when you think 60% of people that’s more than half of the people we know. It does surprise me on one hand. On the other hand, I guess it’s something that is to be expected given the amount of scrutiny and the way the body is portrayed in the media as well. It’s very difficult to not pay attention to body image.

Martin: And to that scrutiny specifically with regards to women, a study from Dove Research Study: Only 4% of women around the world actually consider themselves beautiful. Now I want to go to Alison. Alison, as a young woman, when you hear those numbers, 60% in the UK they’re not happy, they’re ashamed with how they look, 4% around the world, that’s billions of women, only 4% of them feel beautiful. How does that make you feel when you hear that number? And have you ever, do you relate to that feeling of “you know what, I don’t think I’m beautiful.”

Alison: Yeah hearing that especially those numbers where 60%, that’s more than half of the population. It’s really really upsetting because no one really teaches you about how to love yourself. No one teaches you about this mental relationship that you have with yourself. So, no one really knows the right way or the wrong way, if there is the right or wrong way. But the fact that it affects billions of people or women like me, I can definitely relate to that. 

And I feel like I have my days. But definitely one part of my life I was a part of that 4% of the women around the world who don’t find themselves beautiful. Because there’s a lot of standards, beauty standards, especially in our society nowadays that contribute to that. And it’s unfortunate but that’s really just the truth and that’s what the world has come to unfortunately.

Martin: Definitely. Growing up, was there an instance either in the classroom, that feeling of standards, comparing yourselves with maybe the other girls in school. Is there an instance where you felt beside your peers “Oh man, am I supposed to look that way? Is there something wrong with me if we don’t’ look the same?”

Alison: Yeah definitely. When you brought that up, I immediately thought of, it wasn’t only in school but it was also outside of school like sometimes at Church. A lot of my friends they would borrow each others clothes because they were kind of around the same size. I couldn’t borrow any of their clothes. And it was hard for me to understand but at the same time I was like “Oh ok.” It was just something I had to accept in the moment. But, being I want to say 7 or 8, maybe even 6, you don’t really know much right? You just know that “Oh I can’t fit my friends clothes. But theirs are really really nice clothes that I can’t fit in them.” It was just a huge comparison game that I probably dealt with all throughout elementary school, middle school, and up until high school. And I think even still to this day, but definitely when I was younger it was whole, it was always competition of why can’t I fit my friends clothes, why can’t I fit this size, why can’t I fit these really really nice clothes? It was just always always just a game.

Martin: When it came to your teachers. Did you ever reach out to them, let them know how you were thinking? Did any of them maybe inadvertently reinforce that mentality that some of you guys don’t look the same?

Alison: Yeah! Even sadder to say but a lot of those kind of situations happen probably around elementary and middle school. Especially my PE teachers. Those were the really hardest. I mean 8th grade my PE teacher at the time, he looked directly at me, and said “the heavier weight class”. This was during wrestling and I was so scared for this cause like man there’s no girls who are like my size. No one I can really wrestle so am I even going to do wrestling? But I just remember how much it hurt me when he looked directly into my eyes and said “heavier weight class” and put me in that group. 

And I just remember dwelling on it for a really really long time. And I still really really remember that and it hurts, but I kind of laugh about it now cause it’s like, why was I so upset about it? But I think it was the fact that it came from someone who I guess I looked up to? Who I relied on who I put all my trust in. Who was like my teacher. So I think that’s what hurt more rather than what he said to me. 

Martin: And Jun, somebody who also went through something similar, was there an instance either in your childhood or growing up in your teens where you kind of looked at yourself and compared yourself to others and thought negatively about how you looked?

Jun: I think it’s funny that Sister Alison mentioned wrestling and being separated in PE class by weight cause something similar actually happened to me. Not necessarily that a teacher necessarily targeted me or singled me out. But we were told to organize ourselves by weight. And that was something that I tended to, I guess I was in denial about it. That the number doesn’t matter that much but then when it was brought up I was like “Oh, that is not what I expected.” And I feel ashamed because of that number and because of how I feel and how I looked. So it was definitely not the most pleasant experience then.

Martin: Dr. Buyson, when you hear that these two accounts, kids growing up not really being facilitated mentally in terms of how they’re supposed to look at themselves, in what ways do you feel like the school system, maybe some of the teachers, what should be able to help in that regard?

Dr. Buyson: I think there is a problem with awareness I think of the impact of what people say. Not just in schools but I think even kind of culturally we tend to say throw away comments about appearance. We can freely comment about people’s weight, about people’s skin color and not realizing the impact of that and how we are, as opposed to perpetuating some of these insecurities that people already feel. I think some awareness needs to be developed about how we inadvertently just perpetuate the stigma of body image.

Martin: Of what people are supposed to look like. 

Dr. Buyson: Absolutely. 

Martin: Brother Richie, as a Minister of the Gospel, when you hear that there’s so many youth, whether they’re part of the Church or not part of the Church Of Christ, that are suffering in silence, whether it’s because of a lack of awareness, a lack of support, is there anything in terms of the Bible or teachings that we can kind of rely on to know that we’re not suffering in silence or we don’t have to? 

Brother Richie: I did have one observation before we get to that question, because when you were reading the stats, the way I looked at it, because it’s, I think we’re very grateful that we do have some that want to share their struggles and many times when one is going through that they feel alone, they feel by themselves. What Dr. Darwin he mentioned that psychologically, it really is the thoughts that one has about their situation. So the feelings that they have in many times when it comes to image, what happens is naturally people compare themselves to others. It’s not only the people physically around you. It is not only printed magazines you can see on the internet. Now you have such a bigger scale of comparing yourself. 

But the statistics which was read to us earlier, it shows that it’s common. So it’s not something that is isolated, that “I’m the only one that’s like that” in fact from what we read, most people are like that. Most people feel that. So it is not that I’m saying it’s not a problem. It’s actually something that is more common of a problem thAn we actually might have known before seeing those statistics. 

So, what is it that we can do to help? Again, as Dr. Darwin said, get education. Be aware. Find out “How is it that I’ll be able to find some medium between ‘is there something that I need to change? Or is there something that needs to just change? Maybe mentally, my feelings need to change? Is it my body that actually has to change?'” 

So there is something that we can find out. Where is it that one can focus on to make them content, make them happy, make them peaceful with the situation that they’re in? Now, in terms of image does the Bible have anything to say with the image of a person? But we’ll start off right there in the beginning, just to answer that question here in Genesis:

…in the image of God. He created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27 English Standard Version]

Brother Richie: So in terms of image, when the Bible makes mention, is there an image, an ideal image? Here it says that God created man in His own image. Now I do want to preface, someone might think “Is the way that we look?” Because physically, we cannot be the image of God, because in the Bible, 1 Timothy 1:17 NIV, “God is invisible.” We’re not talking about a physical image. 

What is this image that we should be like God? If we read in Ephesians 4:24, it’s in righteousness, it’s in holiness, it is in love. So that is how we should be. God says “I’m holy, therefore you should be holy.” So that is where we should start. It says our feelings, our thoughts, and that will give us some basis, some direction. 

In terms of the body, does the Bible have an instruction? Because if our image should be “we should be righteous, we should be holy, we should make sure that we live periphery” then we’re going to follow God’s instructions. Does He have an instruction in terms of our physical image? I’ll read here in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 GNT:

May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being…

[1 Thessalonians 5:23 Good News Translation]

Brother Richie: Being; what is the whole being? It’s “…spirit, soul, and body.” So what is it that we should do to keep our whole being, spirit, soul and body? It says “Keep your whole being free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So there is an instruction. There is even our physical body, make sure we keep it free from any fault. That will give us some guidelines of our image, how we should we think of it, what we should do with it, physically, psychologically. And hopefully if we’re able to hold that, then we will find that peace. We’ll be content. “This is how it’s supposed to be.”

Martin: Definitely and those verses tie into exactly some of the things that, like you said Brother Richie, that Dr. Darwin was saying, that we wish a lot of people knew today that there actually is a guideline. There’s scripture to point you in the direction of where you want to go. Unfortunately, there [are] a lot of people, not only are they suffering in silence but it leads to certain things where instead of trying to do something good they end up doing something bad. 

I’ll point to another study. Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Now I want to go to Lauren as someone who’s taken nutrition, who has worked in the nutrition field of dieting. What role does diet play in a positive body image in our overall health?

Lauren: Like a way of life, in a sense, because it’s what we eat, it’s what we choose to eat and when to eat and how we, how it can affect our bodies, obviously depending on what we eat. 

When we’ve studied nutrition, our main focus is our relationship with food. So how we perceive food and that of course comes into play of what food choices that we’ll make. So if, for a lot of people who have unhealthy relationships with with food, it can lead to, just by seeing food as an enemy, or what have you, it can lead to things like psychological disorders. 

And so the nutrition, we want to kind of break from that and really bring people to have a healthy relationship for, once again, and look for more long term benefits and making good choices that will create good habits later on. And instead of like instant results. It’s better for us to make good choices so that our future, our lifestyle later on will be will be good and healthy and strong.

Martin: What are some examples when you we’re nutritionist where you saw bad eating habits or a bad relationship with food? What are some of the signs?

Lauren: One of our main things is to make sure we’re very balanced and portion control. I think it’s hard, especially in America. We see the portion sizes nowadays are much larger than before. So it tricks us into thinking “Oh this was probably how much we should be eating” and, different factors. Like if we’re eating out with friends and restaurants have big portions, things like that will tend to eat all those big portions and not realize, “Oh, maybe we’re already full” and maybe we might not eat as much. But you know when you’re in a social setting too, that comes into play.

Martin: Definitely! I’d like to expand on that. Jun, in those family settings or social settings where you’re kind of pressured, “Oh no, you should eat more. Have you eaten already?” For whatever culture you may be in, I guess that would be a common theme that when you get together with your family members, the expectation is that the amount of food that you should be eating, it should be in proportion to the amount of food that was prepared. 

Do you have any kind of thoughts to that and how maybe some of those social settings may be pressured you to kind of, “you know what this is okay I should probably be eating a lot more than I should be”?

Jun: Me, personally, I noticed, especially in retrospect that anytime that there was an abundance of food, like especially at family parties or other social gatherings. If it’s available then I should eat it. “I can get more because there’s food available.” And so even if I was physically full already, then I’d keep eating because I like the taste. So it wasn’t really healthy relationship with food that I developed.

Martin: Brother Richie, anything to add? 

Brother Richie: Having a good relationship with food, understanding how things were set up as if we’re if we’re going to use scriptural guidelines right how things were set up so that everything would go well for us. Sometimes it really is our own misunderstanding of what that good relationship is. And that’s where the problem comes about. That is something that we can actually use. We want a basis to find out everything that’s provided for us, things that are there for us, for our health, for our talking about body wise, image. 

Listen to what I’ll read here from Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 9:

Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.

[Ecclesiastes 7:29 New King James Version]

Brother Richie: When it comes to how our God made us, because some might say “That’s just not how I’m made,” the Bible makes clear God made people upright. So He made them the right way in order to live the way that they ought to, the way that was a plan. 

But it says that many have sought out many schemes. So they’ve diverted from that. And Lauren said diet is not just being on a diet. Diet is you eating, “What is it that you eat?” Many people use this as a barometer of what they’re going to eat; whatever tastes good. And sometimes that’s it. That’s the only rule that they have. 

That’s something that we have to be careful about. Because not everything that tastes good, is good for us. 

So again, we need to make sure that we keep ourselves free from every fault. It is going to be incumbent on us to want to learn. Again, I go back to what was mentioned. You need to be aware. You can’t just straight follow the crowd, follow what everyone else is doing. You need to make sure that you’re aware of yourself, of what you’re doing, so that you actually have a control of yourself, of your life, to make sure that you are following those instructions given to us by God.

Martin: Definitely, and when you were reading that verse, Brother Richie, about how God made man upright, before we recorded this podcast I was listening to other podcasts that were talking about body image and this one woman who was doing a podcast was, she’s very healthy, she lives a healthy lifestyle, she’s very healthy, but she had an issue because for whatever reason, no matter how healthy she ate, no matter how much she worked out, she couldn’t get the kind of abs that she wanted. 

She was super stressed out, and she’s an influencer and so she felt even a lot of the comments people were kind of making fun of her like “you’re somebody who preaches to be healthy and, live a healthy lifestyle but you have like a flabby stomach.” So she was really bogged down by that. And then she actually decided to do 23andme, which is where they take your saliva and then they give you your genetic readout to kind of give you, not only your ancestry, but what some of your genetic proclivities are when it comes to your body. And what I found super interesting in relation to your verse, Brother Richie, was that they found that genetically just for her body type and just how all of her genes have passed down, she’s likely to have five to 10% more body fat in that region of her body. 

So even if her and somebody else in her same family or somebody close to her family, or a friend of hers who lived the exact same lifestyle, who ate the exact same food and worked out the exact same time, she’s just genetically supposed to have that much more body fat just in that part of her body. 

It’s exactly what you were reading, Brother Richie, was that we’re going to try and do all of these things to look a certain way, but aside from being healthy, both mind body and your diet, if this is how God made you, that’s how God made you. We’re all going to have different genetics and we’re all going to respond differently to different lifestyles.

Brother Richie: That’s really interesting, that when they did scientifically research and say that “you’re more prone to have this much body fat,” that just goes to show that we’re all unique, that we all have our differences and try to make ourselves all look the same would not be natural. 

The one thing that we do want to do, all of us want to do, is to make sure that we are living the right way. We are living the way that the One that created us planned us to live. That’s where we focus on. Instead of trying to compete in the competition that we made up ourselves, just focus on what God instructs, what He intends.

Martin: I’d like to bring the topic of the keto diet at least once and I want to purpose this talking point. I know some of you might be smiling. Some of you might have done it or doing it. Some of you might not be doing it but I want to preface this by saying we’re not here to say it’s wrong or this right or that if you’re doing it you’re doing it wrong or if you’re doing it you’re doing it right. 

I’d like to get just to the panel reaction. I’ll start with Lauren. What are some of the things that you’ve heard about the diet? How does it differ from other diets? What are some of the you know positive things and maybe some things that maybe not a lot of people know about?

Lauren: I hope I don’t offend anyone. It’s kind of ironic, only because what I studied in school, and you can even ask other nutrition students, we don’t want people going on the keto diet just because the keto diet comes from the word ketosis. I’m sure those who have done keto diet know what that word means and it doesn’t even mention it in our textbooks. Our textbooks will actually say that we don’t want patients or clients, going into ketosis.

Martin: It was meant for those with epilepsy right, like that was what the diet originated from.

Lauren: Yes. And that’s what would help them. Those that do have epileptic seizures. But for the general public in general, the condition I guess we try not to recommend I guess the keto diet, I’m sorry, only because the diet basis itself is to go very low into the carbohydrates. 

I think one of the big things that we learned too, is our brain alone, the brain, what it functions on what it runs on is carbohydrates, as its main source of energy, and it needs at least 35 grams a day to function properly. But I know with the keto diet I’ve heard it said in just one day you can go as low as like 20 which is lower than what your brain needs so I guess from a nutrition standpoint, at least from what we learned, it’s crazy how like diets even come up like fad diets and all that kind of stuff. It’s funny because even though we say, keto diet or like all those diets, one thing is that we’re not saying that it doesn’t work, and it might actually work, people might lose weight fast, but like what we mentioned earlier with nutrition, we want people to build good choices and build good relationships with food, so that later on, they don’t have any other health problems in the future. That they’ll have a good long term. 

Martin: Dr. Darwin, has it exploded, that particular diet in the UK as much as it has in North America?

Dr. Buyson: I think what’s striking is the huge range of diets that have exploded. The keto diet is pretty big here. Then you’ve got all sorts of other, intermittent fasting, you’ve got the 16 / 8 the 5 / 2 the… all these things. And what strikes me is the length people go to, to look a certain way. I was just talking to a friend and we were just commenting on, people go to the gym primarily to change the way they look, not to become physically healthier.

Martin: Right. And you’d mentioned in our previous conversation that sometimes dieting will lead to extreme dieting or certain types of either binge dieting or binge working out. Can you kind of talk to us about these extremes that some of these types of ways of life can maybe lead to? 

Dr. Buyson: It’s probably useful to kind of contextualize some of the reasons why people have such an unhealthy relationship with food. Certainly what I’ve come across is people who find it difficult to have positive thoughts and feelings about their bodies usually have come from some sort of traumatic or really negative experience as a result of their bodies. You often hear people being bullied and victimized by the way look. So in such cases, fear is what their drive to maintain a particular body image. So if you’ve experienced receiving treatment or even being bullied because of your body, it becomes a matter of life and death to look a certain way. I’m sure you’ve come across in the gym. People who are there, you always see them there.

Martin: So there’s actually a thing of going to the gym, too much?

Dr. Buyson: Oh absolutely. You’ve got people who obsessively exercise, who eat, feel guilty or threatened, and they will try to exercise those calories away. Some people smoke specifically to, kind of, maximize their weight loss and minimize their weight gain and of course we’ve got the big topic of the use of anabolic steroids to maintain a particular body image, in spite of knowing the potential risk to our physical health. 

Martin: Definitely. I just want to put some more context for Brother Darwin. 50% of girls, 25% of boys, think that their peers have body image problems. Between 1/3 – 1/2 of young girls fear becoming fat and engage in dieting or binge eating. Girls as young as five-years-old are worried about how they look, like what Alison was referencing earlier. In terms of the difference in sizes of clothes, one in four seven- year-old girls have tried to lose weight at least once. 1/3 of young boys aged 8 to 12 are dieting to lose weight. Evidence shows that they’re pursuing activities of, like what Dr. Darwin said, “obsessive exercise, smoking to manage weight, obsessive dieting and the use of anabolic steroids.” Has this been going on for a while now, Dr. Darwin?

Dr. Buyson: As Brother Richie mentioned the huge influx of the media, it’s highlighting the length people go to, to maintain a certain body image. And it was quite sad is that we’re all striving to reach the unattainable. But we’re overlooking our positive qualities. We’re looking at the things that actually will make our lives worth living or more meaningful. We’re just focused on the show.

Martin: Alison, you’re shaking your head when Lauren was talking about diets and smiling a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit about why and what in some of your personal experiences with regards to changing up the way that you eat and maybe your lifestyle. 

Alison: I was just totally honestly I was agreeing with her, because I did the keto diet it did work for me. And it was probably the only thing that really over the years especially, like with sports and everything, I really tried my hardest to whatever I could to be healthy, to get in shape, for volleyball season or whatever it was. And I’ll never get it. And finally I did keto and it actually worked for me after so many years of trying. It was the only one that worked for me. But I understand what she was saying. If you read up on it, it’s a pretty skeptical diet. Why consume all this fat that will, raise your cholesterol and and all these other bad side effects? If anything, I don’t do keto anymore but if anything that diet, what I got out of it was definitely self discipline, because I thought I didn’t have a great relationship with food. 

Carbs were always my enemy, because I love them so much. Many times I thought they were like my best friend. And then other times that we think they were my enemy and I didn’t want to eat them anymore and I just felt so guilty every time I would eat it. That’s when I really developed “wow, it, maybe my relationship with food isn’t great.” 

It was also because when my skin would be really really bad dermatologists would tell me “maybe it’s your diet, it could be the carbs that you’re eating because of all the sugars and all this stuff.” I was like, “You know what? I’m not going to deal with carbs” for the purpose of my weight, but also my acne. 

When I did the keto diet my skin was super clear, I lost weight almost instantly. It allowed me to love food to an extent to where it wasn’t dangerous for me, but to where I could appreciate it more later on. Trust me, after I did keto over like how months, carbs are the love of my life.

Martin: Right into that brioche donut.

Alison: Right.

Martin: I want to give the final word to Brother Richie before we move on from this topic of diet. But I do want to hear from June because we haven’t heard his backstory as to what prompted him to change his diet. Did you do keto or what exactly did you do to lose all of that weight and what kind of made you feel like “Man, I need to change the way I look?”

Jun: For me personally, I didn’t do keto or any “specific diet”. So growing up I had been pretty heavyset and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think I really acknowledged that there was a problem with my health. But I did realize that I didn’t like how I looked in pictures or anything or I would come up with, like coping mechanisms. 

I tried to hide in the back of pictures or I tried to minimize how much space I was taking up because I was very self conscious. Especially as a male, there’s that expectation. Especially in adolescence, you’re strong or everyone’s competing like “Oh how strong am I?” or “How do I look?” and I did not match what that typical expectation was. 


Instead of confronting those feelings I guess I denied that there was an issue and I just continued what I was doing, blissfully unaware, I guess. And then it got to the point where I got tired of feeling tired all the time. My best friend he’d always encouraged me to try and improve my health and make lifestyle changes, but I didn’t seriously consider it until 2018, around last year when I thought to myself like “Okay, I don’t, I don’t like how I looked and need I really need to do something about this.” 

So he gave me some primers on how and what to eat. I didn’t realize that I was like eating so much more food than I needed. And he also got me into working out and exercising regularly. So he helped me structure some workouts and get used to going to the gym. And it just continued from there.

Martin: When you said you were tired of being tired, can you walk us through what that was like? What were you doing where you’re just like, “Man, why am I so tired all of a sudden?”

Jun: Yeah. I wouldn’t do anything strenuous or anything that required a lot of exertion of energy. But I realized that I didn’t have much energy to begin with.

Martin: Right, right. Brother Richie he said, his whole life he’s always been pretty heavy set. When you saw the change in your cousin, that “Oh man, this guy’s dropped a lot of weight. He’s looking great.” What did you think? 

Brother Richie: “Wow.” No seriously. It was great. What I liked was, he didn’t like the way that he looked. It’s not that somebody was telling him this or that. He’s the one that didn’t like how he looked and he did something about it. And what’s important is what you do about it, number one, you have to be more aware. Learn about it. If you want to change “What is it that I have to do to change?” 

We mentioned diets. There’s a lot of people that they want instant results. So if someone tells them something they’ll do it, not really knowing what is it going to do. You mentioned the keto diet and it’s hard for us to preach, anything that’s not in the Bible. So it’s hard for us to preach the keto diet. It’s hard for us to preach “Don’t do the keto diet.” What is something that we know very well, is that we have to be self controlled. 

There might be people that benefit from the keto diet. There might be some people that don’t benefit from the keto diet. And that’s why we said, everyone is unique. Everyone is an individual. That’s why everyone has to do what they can to see how they can better their own situation. If we’re talking about the way we feel the way we think, psychologically about the image, what June mentioned also is working out, training. Is that something that we can preach? Is that something that we can say physically, one should physically train or exercise? Allow me to read will reference what’s recorded in First Timothy, chapter 4 will read verse 8. It says: 

For physical training is of some value.

[1 Timothy 4:8 New International Version]

Brother Richie: So, yes, we can actually say physical training is good for you, if you want to stay healthy, if you want to stay strong. But we know how the physical body works, it will not get stronger if it has no reason to. If you don’t exert any stress or any sort of tension, it has no reason to get stronger. If you want it to get stronger it says well then you do some physical training. Now if you’re going to do physical training that is effective, what does the Bible teach us? We’ll read here in 1 Corinthians 9:25 it says:

Now every athlete who [goes into training and competes in the game] is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things.

[1 Corinthians 9:25 Amplified version

Brother Richie: That is something that across the board, everyone, can benefit from. So, in everything we should be self controlled. We should be disciplined. When it comes to our food, we should be self controlled and disciplined. When it comes to our physical fitness, we should do the same. We should make sure that our whole being is free from fault. 

Now, many of the problems come about because as we’ve mentioned, throughout our discussion, there are things that people come up with on their own. They have a competition. They want to look a certain way. And you can see losing control can go on the two different extremes. One doesn’t have the right diet or exercise, or they go too far the other way, and they get obsessed with those things. What is it that we can use as a guide that comes from the Bible? We’ll read Galatians 1:19 and then I believe in 21. It says: 

It’s obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time:…” Right, so it’s just a way that you come up with and then you’re just going to just going to want that way it says “uncontrolled, and uncontrollable addictions, might even lead into addictions, or the parodies of community, I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know,” and this is even the worst because Apostle Paul is actually giving this warning, he said, “if you use your freedom. This way you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

[Galatians 15:19, 21 The Message]

Brother Richie: That is the worst of all. So we need to make sure we are at the very basic lesson that we can learn. Be self controlled in what we do. We want to have that good feeling about ourselves about the image that we have? Be self controlled. Be disciplined in every aspect of our life, not only physically but even mental health, spiritual health, physical health. And if that is how we’re going to live, then that is how we’re going to be happy, knowing and understanding that that is the way that God has instructed us to be.

Martin: Now Brother Richie, an element of that too is finding time. And I don’t know if there’s any profession really that’s more time consuming or more important really than being a minister of the gospel but you find time to do these things. Is there any tips for our listeners? If you may have a schedule that’s super busy you may have nine different jobs you have to go to school all that stuff. But how are you able to find time to not only you know take care of your body but also your diet in the way that you live your life?

Brother Richie: When we all understand these things, it’s something that we do not just for a short period of time. It’s not something that we do for a while until we get a result. And then if we let go, then we’ll find ourselves back where we were in the first place. It actually just becomes a lifestyle, being self controlled being disciplined, making sure that we are aware of what we’re putting in our body how we use our body, are we, like naturally tend on thinking and making sure that we are controlled that way? Then it really just becomes not something that you’re fitting into your schedule, it’s something that just becomes part of your life. 

And that’s what we hope for anyone that is listening that get something from what they’re hearing. It’s hard because we don’t know everybody’s situation. So we can’t give very specific details you should eat this or you should work out like this but what we can do is say for everyone “Just careful, make sure that you are living that life free from fault.” But really the best way to learn those instructions is learn more about what is actually written in the Bible.

Martin: Definitely. I think that’s a very important point. I just want to go to Dr. Darwin before we close is that you know people who are listening who are not members of the Church Of Christ yet that might think “yeah definitely what Lauren was talking about about nutrition makes perfect sense, what we’re talking about about mental health and awareness and certain relationships that we have with ourselves and food yeah that makes a lot of sense.” 

I was doing some studies, or reading some studies doing some research before we did this podcast and another thing that a lot of experts pointed to was positive affirmations and mindfulness and how that type of relationship with oneself, that could be definitely linked to a type of spiritual way of life has really strong, positive effects on someone’s way of life, not only on their body image but how they perceive themselves and how they take care of themselves. 

When you hear Brother Richie reading those verses that perfectly kind of wrote a narrative to how we address mind, body and soul of how we should live our life, as a doctor and a professional in psychology, what role, the important role, what role does spirituality in that mindfulness play in having a positive body image and way of life?

Dr. Buyson: I think, just repeating again what Brother Richie mentioned about the theme that cuts across this whole discussion about awareness. When you think about mindfulness. The main theme of mindfulness is to be aware, and to be aware in the present moment of you know what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and to, just to question what it is that you’re doing and to kind of evaluate yourself. 

The only way really you can make a good choice is by being aware of what’s going on around you. And I think from there you can take action to change things. But without that awareness you you’re lost.

Martin: And that combination of mindfulness and awareness, but also a foundation in the Scripture. We’re so very thankful that everybody joined us on this panel. Brother Richie, the Church is continually tackling some of these topics that the world we know is trying to face these challenges depression. Now we’re talking about mental health and with regards to our body image. What does that say about the Church knowing that, whether you’re a member of the Church Of Christ or not these kind of programs these kind of platforms; what is our purpose? What exactly are we trying to do?

Brother Richie: Well first of all, it helps everyone that might know us that the way that we live, really, is by following what’s written in the Bible. For those that don’t know us, but they are struggling with certain problems, we also want to share that the solutions to those problems. And there are people that struggle with problems and they’ve tried everything. 

Well, the solution really is learning, being aware, being mindful of how you were intended to live. So if you get that, if you’re able to learn from the One that created us, and then you follow those instructions, the changes, sometimes people will describe them as miraculous. 

So we want to just share that we’re not, we can’t force anyone to believe anything or accept anything but we do want to share what our beliefs are and how we’re able to overcome the challenges that everybody is facing.

Martin: We want to thank everybody for joining us. Thank you Dr. Darwin, to Lauren, to Alison, and Jun and of course very special thanks to Brother Richie. And of course all of our listeners. Please follow us on our Instagram at INCmedianews #heartandsoulconversations to stay up to date. A lot of how we write our episodes and how we kind of get a feel for what our audience is going through is through our social media. That’s how we’re able to engage and interact with all of you. 

So that’s it from us today. We hope that you were able to learn something from us from what we were able to share. I hope we were able to help and I hope that you’ll join us next time on Heart & Soul. Take care. And don’t forget to subscribe to Heart & Soul available now on iTunes and Google Podcasts.

The post How To Love Your Body appeared first on incmedia.org.

Nov 27 2019

42mins

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Working College Students: Finding Balance in Life

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How do you get everything done? Where do you find the time? Are you too burnt out for friends? For love? For you?

“Show/HideFinding Balance In Life

[Music]

Martin Zerrudo: You’re just trying to get through the day. You’re barely able to keep up, keep everything together — work, school, friends, life, love, sleep. How do you get everything done? Where do you find the time? What about your friends? What about you? How are you supposed to balance life? It’s a question every young person faces day in, day out, as they struggle to find success. And what does success even mean anymore if in the pursuit you’ve given up so much? The world wants to take all of your time and all of your energy, and you have only so much to give, that at the end of the day, you feel like there’s nothing left for you. So, now, what? When the light at the end of the tunnel of finding of some form of stability and balance seems to get further and further away, dimmer and dimmer, what do you do? Where do you go? Well, there may be hope yet. And we’re here to talk about it. So, let’s have a Heart and Soul conversation. 

[Show open] 

Martin: You’re listening to Heart and Soul, a podcast from the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church of Christ. I’m your host, Martin Zerrudo, and I’ll be interviewing young adults from across the world, who are living Christian lives, but are also dealing with real-world problems. This is Heart and Soul. 

Welcome to Heart and Soul. Our guest for today is Phillip Secondez. Phillip is from New York. He’s 26 years old, and is in school, studying full-time to become a Physical Therapist. He’s also very active in his personal fitness, often going to the gym, and very active in his faith, holding multiple responsibilities at Church. He also happens to be in a very happy relationship, if he didn’t have enough on his plate already. How’s it going, Phillip? 

Phillip: How’s it going, bro? I’m trying.  

Martin: Thanks so much for being here. Are you excited? 

Phillip: Very! 

Martin: Have you ever recorded a podcast before?

Phillip: This is going to be my first. 

Martin: Awesome. Me too [laughs]. And our second guest is Shannon Santamaria, calling in from Hawaii. She’s 22, and was in school full-time, until she recently graduated with an AA (Associate of Arts) Degree. She’s working full-time at our very own INC Media Services as an editor and host. She is currently single, and is committed to multiple responsibilities at Church. Aloha, Shannon! 

Shannon: Aloha, Martin! 

Martin: How are you? 

Shannon: I’m doing good. It’s always nice to be here.  

Martin: Awesome. And we also have, joining us today, minister of the gospel, Brother Richie Juatco, husband and advocate of eating healthy, and staying fit both in mind, body, and spirit. Hello, Brother Richie, how are you? 

Brother Richie Juatco: How are you, Martin? Thank you so much for inviting me on this episode. 

Martin: All right, the topic of our episode is finding the balance, the success in the struggle. Now, we’re going to jump right in to our first article, and I’d like to get your thoughts, Phillip and Shannon, on this article. 

From the Boston Globe—“The millennial generation, the first to grow up with smartphones in their hands, is often stereotyped as lazy and entitled. But workplace experts actually say that they’re more commonly known as workaholics…among the 19-35 year olds, perhaps more so than the previous generations. And in an online study, more than 4 in 10 millennials consider themselves ‘work martyrs’—dedicated, indispensable, and racked with guilt every time they ask for some time off. And what’s more—nearly half of millennials want to be seen that way.” Phillip…Shannon… thoughts? 

Phillip: I think that the first statement you made about the millennial generation being stereotyped as lazy or entitled… I think it’s hard first off to make generalized statements in terms of generational gaps like that. There’s definitely lots of factors that play into that such as economic background, familial upbringing, social interactions… but I think it’s very individualistic. I think that the reason why 4 in 10 millennials consider themselves workaholics is because they don’t really have any other option. I think I was listening to this podcast the other day, where they’re talking about the majority of the money in the U.S. right now lies within the baby boomer generation. I feel like we have a higher mountain to climb versus these older generations. I think that’s where this hard-working mentality kind of comes from in our generation. 

Martin: Right. It’s like, “Hey go out and get a job, except your dad and your grandfather still have those jobs.” So…

Phillip: Exactly. There’s just less capital for us. 

Martin: Shannon?

Shannon: I totally agree with Phillip. Everyone has their own circumstances when it comes to socio-economics. Your lifestyle and how you go about achieving those, overcoming those challenges. But I think what a lot of the stereotypes, or how we’re supposedly stereotyped, is because of the amount of materialistic things we have now. I feel like the more we attain, the harder we have to work. And even a lot of the times, we have to help our families with that. I don’t think a lot of that are foreseen, or all of those factors are foreseen. So, being dedicated and devoting your time in work has actually become a lifestyle. I mean, if you’re considered someone who just stays at home, you kind of get a negative connotation, towards it… 

Martin: Right, right. 

Shannon: You just stay at home, you don’t have a job…

Martin: So, it’s true, you get guilted. Look at them, they’re out there, working 10 hours a day, and you’re at home. 

Shannon: Yes, I feel like that’s the common belief, like a lot of young workers in our working society have right now. And even in a lot of cultures, and the media that you see today, you see movies where, “Oh, he’s 30 and he’s not working. He’s at home with his parents.” There’s definitely a negative connotation. 

Martin: They haven’t moved out at 18, and they’re not living on their own, and working three jobs— 

Phillip: There’s a bunch of social expectations, you know? 

Martin: Right, right. Do you guys feel like growing up, in your twenties, when you got your first real job… Did you feel like, “I have to be seen as somebody who’s always working all the time? The martyr who’s always taking the extra shift, who’s doing the overtime, who’s ready to say yes to whatever the boss wants?” 

Shannon: I definitely feel like, even at a younger age… I went to a school that was very well-privileged, so everyone at that school was very well off. And at a young age, I already felt the social pressures with that, where I felt like I had to have this financial means to be able to sustain that materialistic lifestyle. And it’s funny that you say that, actually, because with attaining and working harder, sometimes you’re just so focused on making that money or just devoting yourself to that job because you feel like it’s the only option you have—fitting in with the social culture of this world.   

Martin: Where did you grow up, Shannon?

Shannon: I grew up in San Diego…  

Martin: San Diego…

Shannon: …California…

Martin: Right. 

Shannon: I went to Olympian High School, so there were a lot of students who got Mercedes for their 16th or 18th birthday. And I felt like I had to compete with that. 

Martin: Phillip, where did you grow up? 

Phillip: I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. 

Martin: There you go. Similar to Shannon?

Phillip:  Yeah, very similar. I mean, I don’t know how many of our listeners have been to San Francisco, but it’s been like one of the up-and-coming cities, very expensive to live in. The cost of living is extremely high. I think, I just saw the other day, it’s almost $4 for a gallon of gas. 

Martin: Wow. 

Phillip: But, definitely, right up that same alley as Shannon, I was fortunate enough to live in a family with parents who supported me throughout all of my schooling. But I think most of the social pressure, or the pressure to work, is rooted into how hard they work, and to try and emulate how hard they work, and the example they set for me. So, I definitely could have gotten by without working, but just to instill that hard-working mentality for myself, I set out to get a job when I started college. 

Martin: Oh I see. And, Brother Richie, first of all, where did you grow up and did you have similar social pressures to get into the workforce and start climbing the career ladder as early as possible? 

Brother Richie: I grew up in the L.A. area. You know, every time I hear “millennials” or “millennial generation,” sometimes, as all three of you mentioned, sometimes it generalizes because maybe it’s not just those in that age. I think times have changed. 

Martin: Right. 

Brother Richie: So, technology is different… and, definitely, definitions of certain things change as well. Technology, as time goes on, normally, technology is used to help people, to make things more convenient. We’re able to connect with each other. We’re able to do certain things that we don’t have to manually do anymore. So, when it comes to work, or being a workaholic, sometimes that would be different from what 20-30 years ago—what a workaholic is, how much a person puts into their craft. The one thing that I do know, whatever generation, whatever age someone is, when it comes to work, we know that work is something we do not only do because we have to. It’s an instruction. God commands us to work for what we need, but there’s something that we should also understand. When it comes to everything that we need to do, when it comes to our different responsibilities, we can balance everything needed—and the reason why we say that is because that’s what is recorded in the Bible. 

And, in fact, I’ll quote what’s written here in Ecclesiastes 3:1. It says: 

For everything, there is an appointed season and there’s a proper time for every project under heaven.

[Ecclesiastes 3:1]

Brother Richie: So, we have time to do everything we have to do. It’s just it’s a challenge to make sure everything fits and everything balances. 

Martin: Definitely, and I think it was a great point that you mentioned earlier, Brother Richie, in terms of technology. I remember when I was 17 or 18, I was working retail, I loved it. I was at the mall, you’re working with your friends, discount on clothes, and whenever the Regional Manager would come in, you make sure the store looks great, they would come in and they would have this thing that was tied to their belt, and it was a small black device and she was clicking away, and I’m like, “Is that a—that’s not a cell phone?” But it has a keyboard and everything. And I asked my buddy, “What does she have?” And he’s like, “Oh, that’s a Blackberry.” And I instantly associated that somebody who had advanced in life, and who was in a position of power, and who was always working and was successful has this device. “Oh they’re emailing? And they can check the Internet and everything on this one device?” And I was enamored by this technology that allowed you to stay connected. 

And exactly to Brother Richie’s point, as you got older, you kind of realized that this technology, while it made it easier to communicate, it actually added more workload. You’re so accessible, and you have more access to so many things from the workplace that’s beyond the 9-5 traditional work hours, that you’re actually doing more work instead of balancing it out with other things, with more important things. 

I think there was a law somewhere in Europe where they banned emails. You can’t check your phone after 5 o’clock or something. It was one of the countries in Europe because they knew that if you’re always going to be on your phone, then you’re, technically, always working, which is pretty awful. 

So, it’s not just the Boston Globe. According to Buzzfeed, millennials or young people have now become what is known as “the burnout generation.” And I saw this on the news the other day that the World Health Organization actually classifies burnout as a medical thing. 

Maybe, Phillip, you can talk a little more about that, but the reason why we, as young people, have burnout is because we face more difficult an uphill climb socio-economically than past generations. So, this is what the article goes on to say: “Financially-speaking, most of us lag far behind where our parents were when they were our age. We have far less saved, far less equity, far less stability, and far, far more student debt—” which is something I’d like to touch on. 

“As American businesses become more efficient, better at turning a profit around… and the next generation needed to be positioned to compete, we couldn’t just show up with a diploma and expect to get a job that would allow us to retire at 55. In a marked shift from the generation before, millennials needed to optimize ourselves to be better or the very best workers possible.”

So, Shannon, Phillip, your thoughts on burnout? Have you ever experienced that before, where you just kept pushing and pushing and pushing ‘cause you felt like you had to meet those socio-economic expectations?

Shannon: Actually, I started living on my own—with my own rent—at a very young age. So, at 18 or 19 already, I was trying to pay off rent and working three jobs, just to maintain the cost of living in San Diego. It was actually really expensive, and even though my mom was living with me, she actually really, really needed help. We both needed to work together to be able to afford the place that we were staying [in]. So, there were times when I would go to school from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., then go to work, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., then have to go to another shift from midnight to 7 a.m. , then catch school the next day. 

Martin: Wait, when did you sleep? (laughs) 

Shannon: Exactly! I didn’t get to sleep. That was my problem—I didn’t have time to rest and take care of myself. 

Martin: That’s brutal. 2-3 jobs plus school, plus your responsibilities at church, plus paying for rent. How old were you at the time?

Shannon: I was 19, actually. So only a couple of years ago, before I moved to Hawaii, that happened. And a lot of my friends started getting really concerned because I just felt like I had to be the one to take care of my family as well. I had to be this independent person where I can’t really ask for help because I want to be the one to give the help. 

Martin: So, it’s like, you were experiencing burnout, but you just refused to acknowledge it or admit it. 

Shannon: Exactly.

Martin: Phillip, what about you?

Phillip: So, ironically, I feel that I experienced more burnout prior to starting this doctorate program. 

Martin: Oh wow— 

Phillip: Yeah [laughs]. And I think it’s because I kind of came into the game a little smarter. I gained a little bit more insight from other classmates, or other students who are already in the program ahead of me. A lot of what they said was to find time for yourself, and make sure that you have a life outside of school. But, I definitely experienced burnout. And a lot of that was, signing up for all the programs that I was, you know, trying to get interviews at. So, at one point, I had two jobs. I was volunteering plus all my duties at church. And then plus all of the pre-requisite courses. So, it definitely piles up. But, like I said, ironically, after I started the program at NYT, I took a step back and gave myself more time outside of school. I prioritized that time for myself. 

Martin: Right. What were some of those cautionary tales that your friends who were a couple of years ahead of you [told you]? Like, “Hey, if you don’t find time for yourself, this is what’s going to happen.” What were they telling you?

Phillip: Actually, I have a story. He was a kid in my actual class. I think we were maybe one week into Anatomy. He actually just ended up dropping out of my program, and we weren’t even one week into the class. It was Intro to Anatomy, and I think the reason why he ended up dropping it was because,  one, this was our first exposure to a doctorate-level course, and then, two, just the way that the program is set up. It’s a summer session, so everything is sped up. So, what we would learn in three months, we’re learning in a month and a half. And, so, I guess he wasn’t ready for that. He didn’t mentally prepare himself, and he didn’t take the precautionary measures. And, unfortunately, he ended up dropping out of the program. 

Martin: Wow. Can’t get that money back, eh? 

Phillip: No, definitely not. 

Martin: That’s brutal. I know, for myself, funny you mention the summer school. So, I was in my mid-20s, and we had just started volunteering and helping out a lot with INC Media, which is the media branch of the Church Of Christ. And we were able to really find ways in creating content and filming things for the Church. 

I was at some dead-end job, but I said, “That’s fine. The job pays for my bills, but I do want to go back to school?” I finished a degree in Paralegal law, but I wanted to take another degree in Communications and Marketing, because in my head, I thought, whatever happens I’m going to want to keep helping out in INC Media, so I need to be educated in the things that I want to help out with, so that at least I have some sort of educational background. And at the same time that I got accepted into that course, the school told me, ”Unfortunately, your government funding was denied. You’re not going to be able to take that summer course,” and all that stuff. And I didn’t want to wait—I said, well I’m helping out the Church now. I need to learn now, so I want to do it now. And they said, “Well, you can try to get a job, but you can’t do both. You can’t get a full-time job, and then go to school full-time, especially in a summer semester where everything is condensed.” It’s a semester put into a month or two months. So, that was brutal. But I said, “You know what, I’m gonna do it. I gotta give this a shot.” So, I actually got a job, full-time—the job was 9-5 and the classes were during the day. So I went to every single professor, and I said, “I already paid for all of my classes, or I’m in the process of paying for them.  If I just hand in the assignments and go to the mid-term and the final, is it okay if I miss all of the tutorials? You know, I’ll eat the participation percentage that you’re supposed to have in those tutorials, and if I submit everything that I’m supposed to submit, can I just do this?” And they asked, “Why would you do that?” I’m like, “Because I just need to graduate. I’ll figure it out.” They’re like, “So you’re going to teach yourself?” I said, “I’ll figure it out.” It was so important to me that I complete that portion of it and still be able to pay for it. I didn’t want to wait. 

So, I remember, I would go to my new job in training. And I was passing out. She was explaining to me the process of my job—I have this sheet. I’m writing with my pen, and then my pen would slowly trail off the piece of paper, and I’m dozing off. And I’m like, “Oh man, did she realize that I was falling asleep as she’s explaining to me my new job?” And then, later on, they did a review, and they’re like, “Okay, great, you finished your training session.” And then at the bottom it says, “Martin exhibited signs of sleepiness and was falling asleep during training.” I was like, “Oh no.” But it worked out. It worked out. I stayed in my job and I was able to complete the course. I was able to graduate with that Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. You know, there are people out there who are like, “Oh well, Phillip was able to figure it out…and Martin and Shannon.” 

Brother Richie, you know, does it always have to be that way? Does everybody have to throw themselves in it, and be like, “Oh, I’ll figure it out, and if I have to not sleep and if I have to burn out, then I have to burn out.” Is that really the best way to do it? 

Brother Richie: There are times when we do get burned out. But as we’re discussing how to balance everything, everybody has so many responsibilities that they’re trying to cram together… 

Martin: That’s true.

Brother Richie:  And there’s really only so much that we can do. There’s only X amount of time—There’s only 24 hours in the day, so there’s only so much we can do. Phillip mentioned you have to prioritize. If you can’t do everything, what are the important things that you have to get to. So if you are going to get burned out—there are some that they do get burned out because that’s the only choice that they have, or there are some that do get burned out because that’s a choice they made.  That’s the situation that they made for themselves. To make sure that we are balanced—the ambition that we have, the life that we want—there’s always guidelines on how to achieve that. We read earlier that there’s a proper time for everything. Allow me to read this in I Thessalonians 4:11. The advice coming from the Bible, it says: 

Try your best to live quietly. Mind your own business and to work hard just as we taught you to do.

[I Thessalonians 4:11]

There’s advice for us, so that the life that we have, we will be able to get to everything that we need. It says, try our best to live quietly, live a humble life. We don’t need everything that we see, because we will get burned out if we’re everywhere, or we need everything. There are some times when we may see others—what they do, what they have, and that’s also a desire that we have as well. But the Bible says, make sure that we mind our own business; we live quietly. And this is something that—it might be just a generalization—this is something that people don’t want to do, that’s why technology is helping that. They don’t want to work hard  when it starts to become difficult—some people aren’t used to that. Have you guys heard of the term, “work smarter, not harder.” That’s not half bad, because it’s only half true. You know, work smarter—great—but we cannot not work hard. 

Martin: Right.

Brother Richie: We have to work hard because that’s the biblical truth, that we should work hard. So when it does become difficult, we keep going, we endure, we plow through, but we make sure that what we’re working hard at is not something that we shouldn’t put our focus in. We have our desires, we have our ambition—we keep mentioning technology because that was the first article that we heard—

Martin: Right. 

Phillip: Right. 

Brother Richie: Many might not want to miss out on the latest thing. I think there’s a term for that, right? 

Martin: FOMO. Fear of…

Brother Richie: Fear of missing out. So they want to be everywhere? You will get burned out that way. Technology is fine. It’s not wrong, but we have to use it properly. In fact, one more comes to mind that can help us. Here in I Corinthians 7:31. Those things that are being developed, that is being used by the world, the Bible says—

Those who use the things of the world should not become all wrapped up in them. The world as it is now, exists, is passing away. 

[1 Corinthians 7:31]

So, that’s good advice for us to know. Live simply. Do our best to prioritize, and when we do burn out, it’s not because we boxed ourselves in a situation where we have no other choice. We do our best to handle everything. Just like what was mentioned earlier, we really prioritize. 

Martin: Right. Is it safe to say also, in that earlier verse [where it says], try to live quietly—to not always have to complain about every single challenge or roadblock along the way? Because what I remember in almost all of my jobs, trying to progress in my career in the past and in school, sometimes you have to put your head down and do the work. You just have to grin and bear it and get through it. 

Brother Richie: Yeah. 

Martin: There’s no such thing as a workplace or situation in life where there are no challenges or struggles. So, to complain about every single thing and say, it’s never going to work out, I’m burning out, I have no time—but are you spending more time, more energy complaining or actually getting the work done? Is there something to that as well?

Brother Richie: Yes, definitely. If you’re going to do your best to live quietly right? You live a humble life.

Martin: Right.

Brother Richie: It’s not something where, if it’s not exactly how you want it, then something’s wrong. Whose fault is it? No. We always deal with what we have. It’s says work hard, and difficulties–that’s part of life. That is actually part of everyday life. So, it’s something that we should be accustomed to,  should get used to. Maybe that might be the generational difference, right? Because, like we said, Millennial generation, it’s not that they are a certain way and no one else is that way. It’s just because of the times now, but there are those that lived in a time where maybe some of the conveniences weren’t around, so they did get used to things being not as convenient as it is now. And maybe, just maybe, that might be the gap where one is used to it being a certain way. Then, when it’s gone, they’re not used to it being that inconvenient.

Martin: Definitely. And I think a lot of people struggle with that, which brings us to another article from theblissfulmind.com, and it points to five reasons why some people kind of struggle with “Is this where my life should be? It’s not as convenient as I want it to be. How do I balance all of it?” And here are the five things that they state as the reason why you’re having a hard time. One, you haven’t defined what balance truly means to you. Two, you haven’t been practicing self-discipline. Three, you aren’t being consistent with your actions. Four, you don’t plan out your weekly schedule. And, five, you aren’t taking proper care of yourself. So, a lot of the things that we’ve already talked about, and definitely a lot of the things that the Bible verses have covered address a lot of these things. But, for Philip and Shannon, different career paths. What does balance mean to you guys, and how do you practice that self-discipline to make sure that you maintain that balance?

Phillip: So, I think that, just kind of first on your list, I think that you need to establish what is most important to you, understanding what your priorities are, and allotting enough time for those priorities. So, for us, it’s going to be Church, first and foremost. Our duties, and then it’s going to be school or work, what have you. And, if you have time, social interactions, and always make time for self-care. So, I think finding a balance where all of those things are met is what balance means to me. Brother Richie was talking about technology, and a lot of those needs can be delegated through technology. So, making use of technology with that I think could help. 20 years ago, if you wanted to hang out with friends, the only way you could really do it was you’d have to actually meet up in person. But now you can easily FaceTime or text,  so I think that’s one way you can save time and fill that social interaction need, and set aside time for yourself. Even with TV, you would have to wait a certain time to watch a certain show, but now Netflix or HBO Go, or whatever, it is just so much more accessible.

Martin: It’s on demand.

Phillip: You can watch it on your own time. Exactly. So just utilizing technology in that way, and not abusing it, and setting aside time for what is really important for you, I think that’s how you can kind of find balance in life.

Martin: And, Shannon, having graduated and being able to work full time, what have you learned in finding that balance, what did that balance mean to you?

Shannon: For me, it was a struggle finding balance at first. But, ultimately,  finding balance, it meant that my spiritual, my physical, and my mental state, my mental health was in line with each other. It was coherent. One wasn’t overpowering. I can plan out my whole day, but if that day is very stressful, I also understand that I need to take time away to make sure that my mental and my spiritual health isn’t going to be hindered or taken down from that busy schedule. And, of course, planning everything out. When it comes to balancing, I need to make sure I’m knowing my priorities. Knowing my priorities when it comes to balancing things is vital in knowing how much time you should spend towards something, and to limit yourself. Like everyone says, you just need to go full on, full force into it, and then you’ll get there. But it also comes with being able to learn when to stop, when to take a breather, when to understand that, okay, you’ve done enough, and you need to move onto something else. Sometimes you just need to focus on something else and then come back to your work. And being consistent with that mentality, that okay I’m working towards this. I’m making sure that all of these things are prioritized, and of course when it comes to meeting those deadlines. But also understanding that, okay, once I meet those deadlines, make sure that I can also focus on the other things that I’ve set for myself. And I know that lately I’ve been seeing on social media, actually, a lot of women, a lot of millennials these days, I know that you guys have social media, where they’re all about “you know you need to take self-care, you need to take care of yourself.” Of course, that’s very important, but I feel like social media and the society, the amount of importance they put on self-care can get carried away. It’s important to take care of yourself, of course, I’m not saying to not take care of yourself. But there comes a point where you’re so focused on taking care of yourself that you’re not focused on the other priorities you have in life. There’s a lot of women who, okay, I need to take care of myself, and then it comes back, biting them in the back in the butt. Where, okay, I’m going to do retail therapy, or I’m going to get a message, I’m going to get a facial.  

Martin: Oh I see I see.

Brother Richie: Retail therapy. That’s the first time I’ve heard that.

Martin: Guilty. Sorry.

Shannon: Also, understanding that there is a certain point where you take care of yourself, and taking care of yourself isn’t just your physical needs, but your spiritual and mental needs too. And that taking care of yourself shouldn’t be an excuse to not completing your work.

Martin: Great segue. It’s not just self-care in the material aspect. You don’t have to go out there, have some sort of commodity as a means of finding relief to the stresses in life. And that self-care always has to be associated with a monetary purchase of some sort of material good, right? So interesting to note because people who are listening right now might be thinking, “Hold on I’m in my 20’s, I’m trying to accomplish my goals. The articles earlier in this episode were talking about how we’re burning out. It’s hard to compete. And you’re telling me that your guests are successful because they’re prioritizing their spiritual needs?” Well, interestingly enough, if you go to Pew Research, they have a research study with regards to college students and their faith, and here is what that study yielded: 72% of college graduates believed religion was very important or somewhat important in their lives. 69% would attend a religious service at least once a week, or at least once or twice a month. And 51% would pray at least once during the day. So, Brother Richie, when we hear how Philip and Shannon and most members of the Church Of Christ who are trying to find balance as they try to carve out their own careers in this world, when they find their success and their balance by prioritizing their faith and their commitment to their responsibilities at church, and when we see the statistics that show that faith actually does play a key role in those who are trying to find success, what does that say?

Brother Richie: It’s actually very nice to hear that, with everything that’s happening with Philip and Shannon, they prioritized putting God first, putting their Church duties first, responsibilities when it comes to worshiping God. And it works out for them, that’s not only nice to hear, it’s a proof that what is written in the Bible is actually true. Because that’s the advice that is given because there are so many things that have to get done. Because there are so many worries that everyone has, like everyone is worried about making sure they have what they need. They have food on their table, they have clothes on their backs, they have clothes for their family. When you’re trying to prioritize all that, sometimes to many people, worshipping God, going to worship service, that’s on the back burner. But from what we are able to hear, that’s actually what is prioritized. Why is it that those that do that, they get what they need as well? Why is it that actually proves God’s words are true? Well, this is what is advised to us in Matthew 6:31-33. This is actually what the Lord Jesus Christ himself teaches. He says: 

So don’t worry at all about having enough food or clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and they are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.

[Matthew 6:31-33]

So, the truth of the matter is, if God is the priority, if we want to make sure that we’re living the way that he wants, everything that we need, we’ll get that as well because He will give it to us. In that priority list, if he’s number 1, he’s going to help us with number two, three, four, all the way down the list. That’s why, with all the other ways people can handle the different responsibilities, the stresses that they have, Shannon mentioned there are times it can be stressful, you have to learn, you have how to prioritize. There are those, what was that term that you used?

Shannon: Retail therapy.

Brother Richie: Retail therapy. Okay, I need to feel better. So ,I’m going to go buy some stuff. Is that basically what that is?

Shannon: Yes.

Brother Richie: Okay so there is a lot of people, because it is so easy to get what you want now a days, just like what Philip mentioned right, and that’s actually not bad. He was mentioning Netflix or HBO Go, you don’t have to wait for a show, you can watch it on your own. Technology is fine if you use it the right way. There is another way you can use technology, where it’s basically just what you want all the time, every time. In the article that was mentioned earlier, not having that self discipline, why is that dangerous? This is the danger that’s recorded here in Galatians 5:19, 21. It says:

It’s obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time. Uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions, ugly parodies of community, I could go own. This is isn’t the first time I warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

[Galatians 5:19, 21]

That’s actually the danger of not being self-disciplined. If one is used to getting their way all the time, the danger is not only just in this life, it says that you’re going to be uncontrollable, and one would not inherit God’s kingdom or be saved on Judgment Day. So, that’s something that we really want to take into account. It’s not just what’s happening, how we can get what we want. It’s really that priority list. Once we have that priority list, once thats squared away, and that’s actually the right priority list, then technology can help. Technology can come in and help us get the right goals that we need. But we really have to be careful that it’s not always what we want, but we’re actually prioritizing as we read earlier, what does God want? And if we always aline ourselves with that, then we’re going to be balanced. We’ll be able to get everything important in our lives that we need to. Once we have our priority list, if we mix up our list, that’s when problems come about. I’ll give you an example. If you say work and family right, which one should go above which?

Martin: Family.

Brother Richie: Family. Right. So, family is prioritized over work. If you put work over family, you’re going to have a problem with your loved ones. It’s your family that comes first. Actually, that’s why you work. Okay, when it comes to work and leisure, which one should be the priority?

Martin: Work.

Brother Richie: Work. Right. If you put leisure over work, you’re going to have a problem. So, God should be number one, right? Under God, is the family that He has given us. Number 3 would be the work that he’s instructing us to do. Four, five, leisure, everything else. But if you mix that list up, you put God under family, you put God under work, you put family under leisure, you will run into problems. But if you can keep that list clear, and you can keep that clear and concise, and everything that you have to do, because we will come to conflicts, that’s just how this life is, there’s going to come a time where we’re going to have to choose. But if we always remember our priority list, the choices that we make will help us moving forward all the time.

Martin: Definitely. And just speaking for myself, the way that you explained it, Brother Richie, I thought was fantastic because when you go down that comparison, they’re all mutually exclusive of one another. Spending time with your family has nothing really necessarily to do with work. Going to work doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with leisure or self-care. But the great thing about prioritizing God and our faith, and making sure that we involve ourselves in the activities at Church, is that my family is there, and that I’m having a great time spending time and volunteering time and worshiping God at church. And for those asking “Well, what does that have to do with work?” For myself, learning and growing as a person reflects directly with the way that I perform and the way that I act, in the way that I advance in my career. Every moment of advance and of every interview where I got hired was a direct result of the things that I learned and the character that I became, and the character that I was to grow because of the teachings in the church. 

Brother Richie: Right. If you will always have your priorities set, you will be one person. You will have that integrity. You’re not going to live a double life. You’re not going to be one way with certain people and another way with other people. You will just be you because it’s already set in your mind. It’s when that’s not set yet you know there are those that are kind of finding their way, they are kind of struggling with “Who am I? Which one should I be?”

Martin: Exactly.

Brother Richie: That’s what we want to help everyone understand. God, He’s going to help you, but you just have to make sure that He comes first. And when we say He comes first, all the instructions that He gave, because He gives instructions for everything. He gives instructions on how we should be with our families. How we should be at work. Even in school, when we study, a lot of times there are some that are hesitant to take on so much because they feel, and when I say take on so much, specifically like a church office or a church duty, because they feel like “I’m not going to be able to get to it. I’ve got too much stuff to do. I would hate for me to take it on and then it affects everything.” Not realizing that taking that on is going to help you in everything you have because that is what is going to keep you moving forward. That’s what’s going to keep you straight. When you take on more responsibilities in church, your office, you will keep hearing more of His words, which is going to always be the guide that you need when things are confusing. You recall, “Okay, wait a second what is it that I heard? What is it that I was taught?” And used that in coming up with decisions that one needs to make. There are many people that their focus on their goals. They have ambition, which is great. But there are times where they need to refocus, like the focus is in the wrong place. That’s why the Bible says give God first place. Let him be first, whatever He wants. Watch what happens.

Martin: Definitely. Philip, to what Brother Richie is saying, have you ever experienced where your colleagues your coworkers are like, “Wait a minute, you’re spending time at church?” But they’re noticing it positively? Like, “oh, wow, you actually spend time doing that, and that’s the reason why you’re able to do so well.”

Phillip: Yeah. A lot of my classmates know that every Wednesday I have to leave early, I can’t study with them because I have to perform for choir, and that Sundays I only have a certain amount of time in the afternoon because I’m at Church in the morning. And they kind of just say, “Oh, wow, you’re doing all of that in the midst of finals or whatever.” And they’re just surprised that I’m still able to kind of keep up with everything even with these other extra curricular activities.

Martin: Definitely. And Shannon, same for you? Any experiences where they’re like, “wait, you spend time at Church even though you have to do all this stuff?”

Shannon: Actually, my family has finally noticed. They’re not members but they finally noticed that, since joining the Church, my life has totally flipped and they’ve seen the change in me. And being able to have them see that in me is humbling because it sparks an interest about the teachings. It sparks their curiosity. “What is she doing? Why is this Church changing her life?”

Brother Richie: That is a beautiful thing when they haven’t heard anything, right? Have they observed the worship service or attended a Bible study?

Shannon: Nope.

Brother Richie: So, what’s great about that is they haven’t heard anything yet, and I know that there are many people that desire their family members to listen, to hear what they heard, so they could have the same opportunity to make the decisions based on the Bible. But just observing your progress, that makes them curious, what is it that is happening. Like, “What’s happening over there? I knew how you were before. How is it that you changed from this to that? And that is where you’ll have the opportunity to honestly say I’ll tell you exactly, I’ll show you, just come with me. Just listen.

Martin: 100% to that point and to Shannon’s experience, my dad when I was 16, I wanted to become a choir, and I wanted to be involved in the different Christian Family Organizations. And he wasn’t a member of the Church Of Christ, and he said to me, why are you spending so much time, you should be focused on school and work. You’re spending way too much time at that Church. And that was when I was 16, that was over 10 years ago, and now being able to be full time, and devoting my life to the Church, he saw a change, and he went from telling me you shouldn’t be volunteering your time and efforts in Church, to watching everything that I’ve done on incmedia.org, watching every episode of Stories of Faith, listening to the Heart & Soul podcast. Every time we go on an assignment, he’s looking forward to the stories of what happened when we go and we come back. And he eventually became a member of the Church Of Christ. So, it really is to what Shannon is saying, it’s definitely what Brother Richie is teaching. Prioritizing, and letting that be your actions speaking louder than words, it really does not only help you as a person, but the people around you to kind of see that there’s real value in putting God first. 

Brother Richie: Right. And that’s why we really have to be careful in who we choose to have in our lives because, as we know, it’s very important to come up with a proper priority list. There are people in this world, they also have a priority list, but we don’t know what’s number one, two, three. Like we said, there’s only 24 hours in the day, and there might be some that, within their priority list, leisure might be the biggest part. Maybe going to a bar, that might be part of their priority list, and the Bible cautions us and tells us why we need to be careful who we choose. Let me read that first here in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and 58 and we’ll see what the advice of the Bible is. It says:

Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character. So then my friends, stand firm and ready. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord. Since you know that nothing that you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.

[1 Corinthians 15:33, 38]

The advice is we have to be careful. It says don’t be misled, bad company ruins good character, so we do have to choose. So, who is it that we have around us? If we want to move forward, let’s make sure no one around us corrupts that forward thinking. And how is it that we should spend our time? It says, “stand firm and ready” from what we know, from what we’ve been taught, from what is written. And it says “Keep busy always in your work for the Lord.” That’s why, if we give more, if we’re busy, always there, none of that time is ever going to be wasted or useless. It says it’s never useless, and what we read earlier, it’s actually going to be for our benefit because God is going to give us what we need.

Martin: And so, I guess, the next question as we come to the end of our show is, “Well, where am I going to find good company?” Well, for our listeners who are not members of the Church Of Christ, we encourage you, go on our website incmedia.org and click Places of Worship. And there is a place of worship, a house of worship somewhere, where you’ll be able to meet members of the Church Of Christ, and be in good company, and be surrounded by those who are prioritizing God. We want to thank Philip and Shannon for coming on the show, despite their very busy schedules, to help us learn from their experiences, and hopefully to give motivation and hope to our listeners who are just trying to balance their adult lives. We want to thank Brother Richie Juatco most of all for providing spiritual guidance that has both spiritual but also practical value, and the things that we’re trying to tackle in life. Thank you so much, Brother Richie, and thank you to our listeners. We invite you to learn more about the Church Of Christ by going to incmedia.org. We have many events and activities that are of benefit and value to you to provide solace and peace during our daily struggles, especially when we’re in the worship services. Please follow our hashtag on Instagram, #heartandsoulconversations, to stay up to date with all things Heart & Soul. That’s it from us today. Hope we were able to help, hope were able to connect, and hope you’ll join us next time, ready to listen with all your heart and soul. Take care.

The post Working College Students: Finding Balance in Life appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jul 26 2019

44mins

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Choosing Friendships: Are Social Media Friends Real?

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Social media friends vs. real friends: what’s the difference? How real are online friendships, and can they be there for you when you feel alone?

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Martin: Let’s do a quick experiment. Think about the number of Instagram followers that you have. Now, add that number to Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter followers that you have as well. It might seem like a lot of connections with a lot of different people, right? But how many of those connections are actual friendships? And does that even matter? What is a friend these days? And where do you find them? Let’s have a Heart and Soul conversation.

[Show open]

Martin: You’re listening to Heart & Soul, a podcast with the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church of Christ. I’m your host, Martin Zerrudo, and I’ll be interviewing young adults from across the world who are living Christian lives, who are also dealing with real world problems. This is Heart and Soul.

Martin: Welcome to Heart & Soul. Our guests today are Amanda Santiago and Vince Cadigal. Amanda is a nurse here in Toronto, Canada, and Vince is an analyst for the Navy, based in Washington, DC. How’s it going, guys? 

Amanda: Hey, Martin.

Vince: Good. How’s it going? 

Martin: Going well. Excited for this topic. Now, we also have joining us today Brother Bob, ordained Minister of the Gospel and host of That’s in the Bible. He is a husband and granddad to five, former Air Force and forever Buffalo Bills fan. Hello, Brother Bob, How are you?

Brother Bob: Hello to Brother Martin, Amanda, Vince. Greetings to all.

Martin: We’re so very happy that everyone can join us today. And to our listeners, thank you so much for listening to Episode Two of our podcast. The topic of our lesson today is A Friend In Need, why we need less connections and more friendships. Our first question goes out to Amanda and Vince. When we reached out to you, we let you know that the topic of our conversation is being able to find the right kind of friends that you need in your life. What prompted you? What gave you that courage to say, “you know what, I’m going to be on the show and talk about what I’m going through.”

Amanda: For me, I think that it’s from my past experiences. I thought it would be a great idea to share and talk about it in hopes that other brethren out there can learn from my experiences.

Martin: And Vince? 

Vince: I was reached out to by one of my friends out in California, and he thought that my story would be able to do the same thing that Amanda has mentioned before.

Martin: Right on, right on. Was there any hesitation?

Vince: Not really, I’m more of a public speaker. If someone wanted to hear my story, then I’ll gladly tell it.

Martin: Awesome. For you, Amanda?

Amanda: There is a bit of hesitation just because I’m not much of a public speaker as Vince, but my experience, I thought it would be a great idea. So I just went for it.

Martin: Definitely. And I’ve known Amanda for a long time. This is a part of her story that I did not know about. So myself, I’m also super eager to hear about it. So, we’ll get right to our first source. It was from Forbes and it was an article about how connections are easy, but friendships are hard. And we’ll start off our discussion by reading an excerpt from that article. And it says, “What about real friends? What about people to watch a movie or go for a walk or talk about what’s new, what’s upsetting us make us laugh? Where are the people we can tangibly embrace? They might be in another city. They might have impossible schedules. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t there, Skype, email text; they all work to keep us tethered. The hurdle is to be happy and fulfilled with these new forms of friendships.” So, the situation that this article is talking about today is that that friend in front of you that you can hold and you can laugh with and have good times with, and then a friend that you have over social media, what’s the difference? And is it the same kind of happiness and fulfillment as a friend, or is it different?

Amanda: In terms of having friendships in person versus social media, for me is just how you can see them in person versus social media, you can talk to them, you see them through a screen. But when you have that, as you said, tangible  method of communicating, seeing person to person is much different, because you can see their visual cues, you can hear them, and you have a stronger connection. But through social media, it’s more difficult to sense their visual cues and so forth. So that’s the difference for me.

Martin: Vince?

Vince: Yeah, I think social media is definitely a great platform to maintain a friendship. Me, personally, I don’t really make friends over just purely social media, everything has been an in person communication, but the route is built on the in person communication. And from there on, you know, once we part ways, we’re still able to maintain that friendship through these different types of platforms like Skype, Facebook, Instagram, just to be caught up with what’s happening in their life.

Martin: For sure. They say when you meet somebody in person for the first time, they’re trying to give you the best first impression, so maybe not all parts of what they’re showing you is as authentic as it can be. Do you feel like that level of superficiality is greater online? Because they can curate everything that they show the world and curate how they communicate with you? Is there a danger? Do you feel like maybe not everything is as it seems, when you’re connecting with somebody online?

Amanda: Nothing is ever as it seems? Yes. Especially on social media, talking about myself included, people like to post pictures and videos about the good things, about what they’ve experienced, and they don’t really share they’re down. So if something happens, they don’t share that, they only share what’s good things about their lives. And so it’s kind of hard to see the whole picture of that person. And that’s one of the downfalls for social media is they paint a positive picture all the time, and you can’t really see the whole picture.

Martin: Is that true,Vince?

Vince: Yes, definitely. As for me, one aspect of it, because there’s also certain other areas in social media where you can private your account and really make it private, and really make it catered towards your closest friends where you can freely speak, and freely post things with your friends’ events. 

Martin: Vince, how old are you? 

Vince: I’m 24. 

Martin: And Amanda?

Amanda: 27.

Martin: 27. Growing up, there was no social media, there was no Internet in terms of making friends. Can you call back to how it was making friends back then versus now? And is it easier? Is it harder?

Amanda: When I was growing up we had IM messenger. So that was a form of social media that we would use to talk, kind of like text messaging on computer. It was actually easy to make friends when I was growing up, especially in the Church. I grew up at the chapel because my parents were choir members. So, they would bring my sister and I to Church during choir practices. And I would hang out with other Church members. So, that was great. 

Martin: So, you found it was easier? 

Amanda: Yes. 

Martin: What about you, Vince?

Vince: Yes, growing up, like pre-adolescent days, I felt like everything was easier. The world wasn’t as big and complicated. When you’re a kid, you just want to have fun and run around, right? You know, the other kids on the playground just want to do the same thing. So, I felt that it was easier. And then, the older you get, going through adolescence, I think it starts getting bit more difficult just because it depends on the type of person you are. If you’re an introvert, [an] extrovert, that’ll affect how you treat people and how you meet them. 

Martin: Definitely, definitely. I remember when I was a kid in the cafeteria, the talking point was lunch. You sat down beside somebody, “Hey, what do you have for lunch?” “Oh, I have this.” And it’s like, “What do you have?” “Oh, I have rice.” And it’s usually like, “Oh, that’s interesting” while they eat their sandwich. That’s pretty much how friendships were established versus now.

Brother Bob: I see people taking pictures of their food and posting, posting all of their best lunches and dinners and snacks and stuff on their social media accounts. That’s the modern version of what you were describing. When you sit down next to someone in the cafeteria and talk about what you’re having for lunch. Now,they’re doing that online. So, my question to you all would be do you really believe that these people to whom you’re sending pictures of your food, etc., are those friends, or are they acquaintances? It seems to me that the term “friends” has a different meaning. I think I’m quite a bit older than all of you. And I think that whole term for your age group has a different meaning than what it did back in the day. 

Martin: Definitely. 

Brother Bob: A friend was genuinely someone, not that you would just have never met or talked to on the phone or, in today’s case, on social media, it was really someone that was there with you for you and sharing your life. Different meaning of friends now.

Martin: Definitely. And, you know, when you think about it, people used to have pen pals. Right? They would write and they would send mail to each other, but I don’t know if they would be considered of the same kind of friend as a physical friend in front of them. And now, pen pals, to the degree that it is now on social media, is exactly that. You’re just  exchanging information and images and videos, but there’s no real physical meeting and interaction that would kind of establish the friendship, which is kind of odd. I do remember messaging though. I was on MSN. I was never on.

Amanda: Oh, yeah… 

Martin: There you go.

Amanda: That’s what it’s called. 

Martin: I know in the States, right, Vince, was AOL messenger. 

Vince: Yeah, AOL.

Martin: What was your handle? 

Vince: What was my handle? I think it was a it’s anThing, 

Martin: anThing.

Vince: I’m named after my grandfather. And so that’s what they called him. And so I just kind of took that.

Martin: Interesting. Interesting. Amanda, what was your username?

Amanda: It’s really embarrassing. But mind you, I made this account when I was 12. It was Baby Girl. But it was BAB3GUR1. 

Martin: There you go.

Vince: Sounds like a good password.

Martin: It’s optimized for search engines. There you go. Mine was… ready? I made this one when I was thirteen, it’s  phoenix with a Z, 007. Because, why not, James Bond and a mythical creature?

Vince: Yeah, that’s cool. I mean, you know.

Amanda: That’s really nice actually. 

Martin: And I guess that was the extent of trying to make friends online. How cool can your username be? And then the conversation starts. And now it’s like to the nth degree. Like, “How cool can your food look?” Forget talking to the person you’re having the meal with, I need to take a picture.

Brother Bob: I still think that’s one of the most absurd things I’ve seen happening. That’s a sociological phenomenon that I will never get.

Martin: Please don’t check my Instagram. I literally did that yesterday.

[Break/Music]

Michelle: Hi, this is Michelle Barreda, one of the producers from INC Media. I want to tell you about one of the shows we’re working on called The Solution. It’s a show that provides biblical responses and solutions to common family and life problems. It’s a conversation between guests and Minister learning from the Bible together. In our latest episode, we meet Mark. He’s a university student. And he talks to Donald Pinnock, a minister of the gospel in the Church of Christ, about his struggle with loneliness, and the challenge of making new friends as an adult. Watch this episode and more on incmedia.org/thesolution. Bye for now.

[Break/Music]

Martin: So, you know, Vince touched on something you know, as kids, it was so much easier. You’re put in a group of a class. Everybody’s the same age, same grade. You kind of progress through elementary school, middle school, sometimes high school together, and when families move away and that structure that you are so familiar with, that you rely on in terms of friends and community changes, you kind of have to redo it all over again. Vince, can you tell us a little bit about what happened when your family went through something similar, or when you went through something similar? 

Vince: So,my father was in the Navy for his whole career. We moved every four years, and every time we would move, it’s always a new place, new environment, especially new people, you have to make into your friends. You have to say goodbye to your old friends. Whenever I would move, it would be different. A lot of the time, especially growing up, I became more introverted. I was pretty much a quiet kid growing up. I wouldn’t really approach people, or try to put myself in a situation where it’d be easier to make friends, because I was always shy, always with my parents. So, it was really my parents pushing me to go out. And, for the most part, I would make friends through their friends. They would make friends with the other brethren. And then we would go to their place and then I would make friends with their kids.

Martin: When you describe yourself as an introvert, what does that mean?

Vince: Really shy, really quiet, just to myself. There could be levels of introvert/extrovert. Back then I, whenever we would go to these like area meetings and house parties, would kind of just stay to myself while all the other kids would just hang out because tI didn’t know how to approach it, I didn’t know how to include myself to be part of their group. And so I would just tuck myself away in some corner or hallway. And I remember people always ask me, “Hey, are you okay?” They would find me alone at these parties. 

Martin: Right. And when you would find these places to be alone, was it because you were trying to get away? Or you weren’t able to deal with the pressures of talking to people? What was that mechanism to relieve you of? 

Vince: Yeah, it was definitely like all the above. I was trying to get away, trying to get away from that social setting and trying to get away from that pressure of these cues of where I put on myself that I need to go talk to these people and be sociable. But I didn’t know how to do that. 

Martin: And that was growing up? 

Vince: Yes. 

Martin: Was that the same for you, Amanda? I know you mentioned friends at Church. But when it came to school, were you introverted? Extroverted? How was that?

Amanda: Well, when I graduated middle school, I went to a new high school. So, I had to make a complete set of new friends. And I knew I had to adapt. So, I’m kind of either, extroverted or introverted. It just depends on the situation. But when I started high school, that very first day, I had to adapt, so I had to make friends. I was in Drama class. It was my first my very first class in high school. And I just popped in, and first I observed and in my surroundings, looked at people, and then I saw another girl, and I approached her first. So that’s how I ended up building my friends and making friendships. I just had to adapt.

Martin: I remember when I was in Grade Eight. I grew up in downtown Toronto, my whole life, and then elementary school. So from kindergarten to grade six, same core group of friends. Then middle school, we have here in Canada, some grade seven and eight, right before high school. That was middle school. And so right after Grade Eight is when you go to high school, right? That’s kind of when you branch off from all of your childhood friends, but in the middle of my eighth grade in school, we moved. Literally halfway through the eighth grade year. So I couldn’t even end my elementary era or generation with them before high school where we all branched off. We were moving. Devastated. Totally, totally devastated. And when we moved to Scarborough, started at a new school had no friends. In my old school, I ran for class president, and in my new school, I was being bullied because some of the things that they were teaching, we’d already learned in my old school, they called me brainer, and they would take markers like Sharpies, and they would write on my clothes, they would write brainer. And I was like, man, this is not fun anymore. I went from a core group of friendsI knew my whole life to this new school where I’m being bullied, and I’m still the same person. How come I don’t have any friends? Vince, how old were you when you moved, and what was that experience?

Vince: I was about 10, 11 years old, moving into  middle school. And then…

Martin: Oh, similar? 

Vince: Yeah, similar. Even in the middle of my sophomore year, I moved. I didn’t really change high schools, But I did move away from my core group of friends, as far as in Church and the neighborhood. In this new neighborhood, whenever you move within an area, and you’re still at the same local, but you still move, the area groups that we have in Church. So, it’d be a different area group. And so I didn’t really know anyone in there. Being an introvert, I would always keep to my core group of friends, not really branch out from them, even though we grew up together, when we met new people, it was still those same people. And so I didn’t really give myself that option to meet other people. 

Martin: Did you resent the fact that you had to start fresh, or that you left your core group of friends?

Vince: A little bit. Definitely at first, when I was really shy. I was like, “Why is this happening? How come I can’t see my friends anymore? How come whenever I go to these Church events, they’re not there.” So definitely resented that fact a lot.

Martin: For sure. Brother Bob, growing up, did you just stay in one school? Was there a moment where your family moved away, and you had to start fresh with your friends?

Brother Bob: I think almost everyone in the military sees their children go through that. And even we in the Ministry, we often move a lot, so our children go through that. And when it comes to friendships, for them, there’s always a danger going into new schools, a danger going into new neighborhoods. You know, the Bible gives a warning about that. It’s recorded in2 Corinthians 11:26. It says this:

In my many travels, I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from my own people and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends.

[2 Corinthians 11:26]

So, here’s a long list of dangers, pretty serious dangers, and included in this list are all kinds of real danger, including false friends. So, going to new places, everyone has to be always alert that there may be those who may try to befriend you, but have ulterior motives. Something always to be alert about. 

Martin: Definitely. Amanda, growing up in high school, would you say your friends were a those who are from Church,  or ones outside the Church?

Amanda: In high school my friends were non-members.

Martin: Can you speak a little bit about those kind of friends, and in relation to the verse that brother Bob said. Were you noticing that maybe some of these friends weren’t necessarily good for you?

Amanda: I did have some friends that were not really good influences. They kind of fell into the peer pressures of experimenting a lot with certain things and trying to fit in with the status quo. And so it was difficult to hold back.

Martin: What would they say to you?

Amanda: They would often say, “Hey, why don’t you just try it? Or, why don’t you just hang out with us? We’re meeting up with these people.” So you don’t know if you don’t like it if you don’t try it, right? And so it was really hard. Peer pressure for me it was really hard in high school. And so I had to always have a constant reminder  this is wrong, and try to focus on my studies rather than focusing on trying to fit in.

Martin: Vince, any peer pressures in high school?

Vince: Definitely a lot of peer pressures around. Not really with my friends growing up in high school. I was kind of like the baby of the group because I was somewhat open about my faith. And so they knew that I didn’t celebrate Christmas, didn’t do Halloween, didn’t do a lot of the stuff that they would do. And they also knew that I was pretty active in the Church, you know, in the later years of high school, and they would respect that. I’m not gonna lie,  my friends also did those types of things, but they kept me away from that, and they respected my boundaries.

Brother Bob: Sounds like the friends that you chose are a little bit more wholesome than the friends that surrounded you, Amanda. There’s certainly all kinds of people in this world. Allow me, Martin, to read another Bible verse, if I may. James 4:4:

Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? If you want to be the world’s friend, you make yourself God’s enemy.

[James 4:4]

Brother Bob: So, there’s people that the Bible describes as being of the world orworldly. Their pursuits, their thoughts, their attitudes, their mindset is that of the pursuit of pleasures and the things that will merely and simply satisfy the whims of the flesh, rather than even considering spiritual side of life. And here, the Apostle James kind of presents friendship and the pursuit of friendship in two directions: choosing those who have that worldly mindset that would may then try to tempt you and lead you away as, Amanda, you sound like you may have experienced friends like that, or those who are attempting to be your friend had that kind of mindset, should you have chosen to live your adult life with them as your quote unquote, friends. The Bible says here that you would have been an enemy of God as they are, which of course is not not a good thing, right? So, you make good choices. Good for you, Amanda.

Amanda: Thank you.

Martin: What would you say would be one of those moments where you made that decision? You made the right decision, but it was the hardest moment, what would be a time that you were like, “wow, they’re really pressuring me, or I feel like I’m going to lose these friends if I don’t go along with them.” But you stood your ground.

Amanda: There are many times when they would invite me to house parties. And I know at the time, you’re trying to fit in, you’re trying to be with your friends. And there was one day where they’re just like, “Hey, why don’t you just come. It’ll only be a couple hours. You can leave whenever you want.” And I said…

Martin: Stay tuned to Part Two of A Friend In need, where we find out if Amanda actually went to that house party, and how a New Year’s Eve turned into one of Vince’s loneliest moments of his life.

The post Choosing Friendships: Are Social Media Friends Real? appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 08 2019

20mins

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Choosing Friendships: Being Accepted

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How to connect with people and social acceptance is what true friendship is built on, but where can you find true friendships?

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Martin: You’re listening to Heart And Soul, a podcast from the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church of Christ. I’m your host, Martin Zerrudo, and I’ll be interviewing young adults from across the world who are living Christian lives, but are also dealing with real world problems. This is Heart And Soul.

[Show open]

Martin: Hey guys, you’re about to listen to part two of “A Friend In Need.” In part one, Vince and Amanda talked about how it’s gotten harder to find the right kind of friends the older they get. We went over some articles that tackled the difference between online connections, their social media, versus the physical friendships that we can make in person. Now in part two, Vince tells us about the loneliest moment of his life, and how Amanda found the one place where she feels she can be her true, authentic self. Hope you enjoy.

Amanda: I said, “No, I can’t. I can’t do those things. I feel like it’s wrong. And who knows what could happen to us, right?” And they’re just like, “No, nothing will happen. You’ll just have fun.” And then I just kept saying no. And then, after a while, I could feel like they were being distant with me. And I was thinking in my head, “Did I say anything wrong, did I do anything wrong?” But I didn’t approach them about it. I didn’t bring it up. I just focused on what my priorities were, which was school and Church. And friends, people come and go in your life. And if they stay, that’s great. If they don’t, just move on, keep going forward. 

Martin: What was in your prayers during those times when they were really on you?

Amanda: During my prayers, I would always ask God for guidance and help in finding those friends who are true, who are genuine, and who won’t tarnish my faith and won’t tarnish my duties. 

Martin: Vince,was there ever a time that you prayed for the right kind of friends? Or to find friends?

Vince: Yes. Definitely, when I joined the Navy, and I had to essentially leave a lot of the things I had built behind. Granted, there’s social media, right? So you can still maintain that. But that face, what we talked about before, that face-to-face interaction really plays a huge role in that. And so I had to leave all that behind. And once I moved to my duty station in Virginia Beach, it was just me. I had to try to find rides to go to Church, and didn’t really have a ride because I just came out from boot camp. I was alone for the most part. I did have a friend out in Virginia Beach, who I grew up with when I was in Japan, and I thought I could count on her since I was there. And we were there, we had this connection back in childhood. But due to her own circumstances though, that didn’t end up working out. 

Martin: What were you hoping she was going to be for you? 

Vince: I was hoping she was gonna be there for me, be my friend be able to be that medium to integrate me into the social life at Church, but it didn’t happen. And so I felt really alone for the first year I was there, just because I didn’t have a ride. Sometimes the KADIWA (youth group in the Church Of Christ) would ask me to hang out. But I didn’t have a ride, and I was still in school for my job. That’s what I had to focus on. So I would just go home right after Church, and go home right after the meeting, because my ride was waiting for me. And so I didn’t really have that much of an opportunity to hang out with anyone. It just continued on like that. 

Martin: How long?

Vince: About a year, until I was finally able to bring myself to these activities and be more involved.

Martin: So, a whole year, you went pretty much on your own? 

Vince: Yes. Pretty much. 

Martin: What was that like?

Vince: It was difficult. I talked to my parents about it. I’m pretty open with my parents, I was asking, I really want some friends. It’s kind of lonely. Actually, for that New Year’s, I spent it alone in my room in the barracks.

Martin: No way.

Vince: Just watching on my laptop with apple cider and pizza, because I didn’t have anywhere to really hang out with. So it was pretty difficult. And so they advised me to pray, pray to God that He’ll guide you, and He’ll bring the right people into your life. So, that’s what I did. I prayed. And eventually, thank God, He was able to do that for me. 

Martin: What was running through your mind? What year was this when you were in the barracks by yourself?

Vince: This is about 2013 going into ‘14.

Marti: So, it’s 2013, you got that cold pizza in your hand…

Vince: Yes. My cold Pizza Hut.

Martin: Yeah, livestreaming the the New York City celebration?

Vince: Yeah. 

Martin: What is that like? What’s running through your head?

Vince: It’s just like, “Wow, look at all those people having fun,” and then, “Wow, there’s so many people that are together.” My family FaceTimed me for a little bit. I saw my family and friends on FaceTime. And I really miss it. I really miss home. And that was just kind of sad. And not really a…

Martin: Probably one of the lowest moments?

Vince: Yeah, yeah, about the lowest moments in my life. I felt like it was my fault, for not being a lot more extroverted, not being really sociable, because I’m a shy person before I make friends. I don’t put 100% of myself out there. I like to assess the situation first to see what type of person they are. And so I feel like that hindered me because I would have that mentality. And then I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t keep pushing myself to get to know people, to put myself in a situation where I would be friends with them.

Martin: Amanda, did you have a similar situation when Vince talks about “Hey, this is the lowest low, I was pretty much alone on a New Year’s Eve eating Pizza Hut”? No offence, Vince, we’ve all been there. Amanda, what would you say?

Amanda:  Especially going into new settings and new social settings, I always have that apprehension and that anxiety that if I talk to these people will they like me? And I know that everybody has their insecurities, including myself, and it’s hard to get over those negative thoughts. “Are they going to like who I am? Are they going to like what I say?” I’m always constantly thinking, what if?

Martin: What would those “what ifs” be?

Amanda: If I say something will they not like it? Will they get offended? Or if I crack a joke, will they say, “Oh, she’s lame,” kind of thing. So, yeah, I always had those thoughts running in my head. So that as well is kind of like a mental block for me to open up to people, talk to them, and speak to them. Yeah, I always find that difficult in any social situation. 

Martin: Is there a moment where you’re like, “Wow this is pretty rough”?

Amanda: Yes, because I know who I am and my insecurities. It’s always rough for me.

Martin: Oh, it’s not just one time? 

Amanda: It’s usually for every social situation, especially in big groups. If I go to a party or a large social gathering, even for  KADIWA activities (youth group in the Church Of Christ), I still get pretty nervous. 

Martin: What are some of those insecurities?

Amanda: For myself it’s “Will they like me for who I am? Will they think I’m cool or not?” Yes, it’s just my thoughts. It’s my negative thoughts. Not everybody’s going to say or think the same thing that I’m thinking about what they could say about me. 

Martin: But do you feel like, “Oh, so I’ve just had this my whole life,” or was there something that triggered or like, “Man, I just need to be more careful,” because I don’t know?

Amanda: For me, where it stems from is my insecurities about myself. Everybody thinks negatively about themselves at one point, like, “Oh, I don’t like how my hair looks,” or “I don’t like my freckles.” So, it comes from my own insecurities in my thoughts about myself. And it’s hard. 

Martin: For sure, for sure,  and I don’t want our listeners to feel like, “Oh, man. These guys, they have a hard time making friends. They don’t like to go out. They don’t like to have fun.” It’s not that at all, as referenced by Brother Bob, in the verse, we’re trying to find quality relationships, quality friendships with people who are going to help us not only in our day to day, but as people, and more importantly as Christians. Just because we’re not going to do certain things that we’re being pressured to do, it doesn’t devalue the friendships that we have to offer. It doesn’t devalue the time that we’re willing to provide, which is more valuable than a couple Instagram likes or shares on Facebook. 

And so if you’re listening right now saying, “Okay, well, where did these guys find the right kind of friends? Where did they go to have fun in a way where it really helped them?” I point to an article “Seven ways to make new friends as an adult,” because it’s not as easy as it sounds. Now, this article talked a lot about how, because there’s so much stuff happening online, people don’t know where to go. Well, okay, I know that I can’t make this quality friendship on any social media platform, where am I supposed to go to define these kinds of people? And one of the ways that they said was volunteering. From the article, they say volunteering is a total win win. If you do it regularly, you’ll meet people who care about the same things that you care about. And if you don’t meet people, you still use your talents to do something good for the world. Now, Amanda, can you tell us, knowing that, how did your involvement in volunteering your time with the Church allow you to find the right kind of people for you to get over some of those insecurities that you’re talking about? 

Amanda: Having the opportunity to volunteer for the Church really opened doors for me to have that setting where I can make friends, I can talk to people, as well as helping out in the Church. So, it allowed me to be more open and find the common ground where we all have something in common and can talk about, and that’s what allowed me to be more out there.

Martin: What did you notice in terms of the setting, the more you were involved in Church activities that was different from non-Church settings?

Amanda: What I noticed was that everybody was super friendly, everybody was super supportive. I felt very calm, and I didn’t have to feel like I’m trying to act in a way that they’ll like me. I felt very free and having conversations with them, and joke around not trying to be somebody that they would like.

Martin: There’s no judgment.

Amanda: No judgment. Yeah, exactly. 

Martin: How important was that for you? 

Amanda: For me, being able to freely express myself and be open is really great, it felt really awesome. Because it’s really hard to be authentic, and be genuine outside and be who you want to be, right? Feel comfortable in your own skin. And so that kind of helping out in the Church really helped me be more free and authentic. 

Martin: And, Vince, you did something similar, you started volunteering more time in Church activities. Tell us a little about that, and how that helped you kind of discover a new core of friends.

Vince:  Right. This is like about a year into my time in Virginia Beach, post New Year’s. And so I had my car, I can finally start performing again as a secretary (volunteer office work in the Church of Christ). And like Amanda said earlier, being involved in Church really gives you that visibility. A lot of the friends I have now, we’re also officers (in the Church Of Christ), and we would have that thing in common where we would spend time after Church to attend these meetings, attend these events, and be put in a leadership role for these events. And that was definitely the medium for me in making friends. Like a couple months later down the road, I knew from my past experiences in high school that the Christian Family Organizations like the BINHI organization (youth group in the Church Of Christ) when I was growing up really helped me in making friends whenever I would move. And so my thought process was that’s my medium to make friends. And so I took that upon myself to approach the KADIWA (youth group in the Church Of Christ) officers and ask, “Hey, is there a way for me to also become an officer?” Because when you’re part of a team, you get closer with one another, and eventually, hopefully, you’ll become friends when you’re on the same team. And so I had that thought process going into this, and got a couple of them they talked to me about it (about being more involved with Church). They let me go through the process of becoming an officer. And then at that time, the old KADIWA officers were actually transitioning, and so it was just going to be a whole new team. And we were going through these seminars and everything to get us ready to take over for them. And then we bonded through these activities that the officers would hold. 

Martin: Right.

Vince:  And so we’re able to get to know each other through these icebreakers and activities. 

Martin: What was that trigger for you that said, “I’m going to give these activities in the Christian Family Organization a shot, I’m tired of lonely pizza”?

Vince: I think that lonely pizza was the trigger. But the trigger was I was actually looking for something. I saw them having fun at the KADIWA meetings, cracking some inside jokes. And I know how that was, like being a BINHI officer. And so I was like, “I think they have the same mentality that I do. So, let me go ahead and approach them.”

Martin: So, the outside looking in, and you’re like, “I want in.”

Vince: Yeah, pretty much like I’m tired of eating this cold, lonely pizza…

Martin: Eat the pizza together, at least.

Vince: Pretty much.

Martin: Now for those of you listening who are not members of the Church Of Christ, we do have the Christian Family Organization, which Brother Bob can elaborate on a little bit more, but its organizations that are set up to foster relationships within different age groups within the Church Of Christ. Brother Bob, can you tell us a little bit more about how the Christian Family Organization helps the youth within the Church? And why, you know it happened to Amanda here in Toronto, it happened to Vince in Virginia Beach, and as a minister who has been assigned to multiple places around the world, why is that a consistent thing that he would see at any of these Church Of Christ locations, this kind of unity, this family organization that’s meant to foster friendships?

Brother Bob: Well, surely, a married couple with three children are not going to have the same time or wants or likes and dislikes, etc, as a single person who’s 18 years old. So, the Church Administration has always tried to cater programs, activities, where they would have an opportunity to get together relative to their own age group, situation in life. The younger than 18 youth group would be focusing at various programs that have to do with future college education, or study habits and things like that. Whereas those who are already a married age, those groups would have various seminars on proper Christian courting, and things like that parenting, symposiums and such would be undertaken by those who are married and having children, or challenged with their current parenting skills. So many different things we could mention. All of these are simply an attempt of the Church Administration to help everyone along their journey to serve God with faithfulness and with concern for their spiritual and family life.

Martin: Absolutely. I remember this story. So for myself, I wasn’t born in the Church. Later converted into the Church Of Christ, and grew up in my teens as a new member. And then, eventually, when I became 18, within that KADIWA Family Organization was very active. I guess, similar to what Amanda and Vince were going through. I wasn’t always at the Church activities because I didn’t have time, or I didn’t think it was for me to my foolish detriment. But eventually one of the officers, or somebody who was volunteering their time with the Church had said, “Hey, do you want to grab some coffee?” and I said “Sure.” But she didn’t take me to coffee, she took me to one of these, like a meeting of these other volunteers to kind of discuss an event that they were going to do for similar aged members of the Church as me and I was like, “Wait a minute, this isn’t Tim Hortons. This is somebody’s house, and we’re talking about like an event.” And that triggered, that moment where she brought me, (a) change my life completely. I didn’t give it a second thought. And then the moment I was there, I was like “This is where I need to be.” 

Brother Bob: By the way, Martin, it’s important to let your listeners know, Tim Hortons is the best coffee house, anywhere. You want some good coffee, go to Tim Hortons.

Martin: Tim Hortons in Canada. There are some in New York, but it’s not the same.

Amanda: And their Timbits are amazing. Honey cruller.

Martin: And that’s the thing is that these volunteers within the Church, if you’re a member, or if you’re a non member, as a listener, you go to one of our chapels, and you talk to the people who are of your age group or those who welcome you into the Church, there are events, there are activities, there are conversations at coffee places like Tim Hortons, where you get to know and feel like you’re part of this Christian Family Organization. Because that’s our goal is to make everybody who is wanting to learn more about the Church who wants to start their spiritual journey and those who are already a part of the Church feel like we’re all family. I remember now that I eventually became more active in the Church, I became an officer, a district officer like Sister Amanda in this district. So, I met this friend, his name is Bobby Soriano, he was already a member of the Church Of Christ, recently baptized, and I met him at one of these visitations. And so I would go to this visitation then I would see Bobby again. And I go to another visitation and see Bobby again. And you know, he could have just joined the activities in New York, in his area, in his district (geographical collection of local congregations), but he wanted to continue to feel what he was feeling and those activities in other parts. And then he became all more active, he eventually got married. Now, I believe he’s a Head Deacon, in the Local Congregation of Manhattan there. I think it’s Long Island. It just surprised me that I made a friend who I never would have expected to meet because I decided to volunteer my time. He decided to do the exact same thing, two people who would never have met, but decided to spend time at Church of all places to find a friend. And I made a lifelong friend, because of it. 

And so I urge our listeners, if somebody shares this podcast with you, and they’re a member of the Church Of Christ, and they say, “Hey, I want you to listen to this podcast to give our Church a chance.” You got to get to know what we’re all about. This is how we view friendships. Sometimes you might think we’re not fun, because we don’t want to do bad things. Sometimes you might think we don’t have time because we’re always devoting time to volunteering in the Church. But the payoff, like what Amanda was talking about, like Vince was talking about something life changing, where Amanda, you said, insecurities, no judgment. And for Vince, you said, “You’re no longer on the outside, you’re on the inside?” What is that, Brother Bob? How do we describe that feeling, I feel like I’m home?

Brother Bob: Well, actually there is there is something mentioned in the Bible about that, in fact, Martin. In Proverbs 18:24, it says:

Some friends are fun to be with. But a true friend can be better than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 (ERV)

Imagine making mentioned here in the Bible that’s even better than a family member. A true friend can be better than that. So, it’s not just having someone, an acquaintance that you have fun with. That’s not necessarily the definition of a friend. That’s an acquaintance you have fun with. But a true friend is something much deeper than that. And it sounds to me that that’s what Vince and Amanda, both of you have experienced when you came to the Church Of Christ. You felt a deeper love, trust, relationship? Or maybe just that kind of a genuine connection that was not superficial? And that’s what we invite all those joining here to be part of. Become part of the family of Church Of Christ members.

Martin: Definitely. We want to thank Amanda and Vince for coming on the show. I’m sure this is the first many conversations. Thank you so much for being honest, vulnerable enough to admit the challenges when it comes to making friends, and for the courage, the confidence and the faith that really goes long way. Now, if you’re looking to find real friendship, not only with Christians, but more importantly, with God, please you email us at info@incmedia.org. Day or night, you’ve got a friend in us there, we’ll be there for you. Please follow our hashtag for the show on Instagram, #heartandsoulconversations, which is on social media. But if you want that face-to-face real connection, any of are members of the Church Of Christ who listen to the show will be more than happy to continue this Heart and Soul conversation at any of our chapels around the world. That’s it from us today. I hope you’ll join us next time, ready again to listen with all your heart and soul. Take care.

[Show closing]

The post Choosing Friendships: Being Accepted appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 07 2019

18mins

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The Life Everyone Ought To Choose

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What kind of life do you want to live? Have you explored new adventures to figure it out? While there’s nothing wrong with exploring foreign countries or going outside of your comfort zone, It shouldn’t be the purpose we live for…We should live to serve God, But how? Keep listening.

The post The Life Everyone Ought To Choose appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 07 2019

17mins

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Let God Direct Our Life

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When decisions need to be made or when things get tough, let God direct your life. Listen to the reasons you need God how He can give you hope in life.

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[Show open]

Brother Bob Pellien: When it’s time to make a choice, who do you ask for advice? Family? Friends? Have you considered asking the One who has all the answers? After all, God created us, so He knows what’s best for us. Right?

You’re listening to the podcast version of God’s Message magazine and today’s topic is: “Let God direct our lives.”

You know, it seems ironic that the world’s lone superpower has 40 million of its citizens living in poverty. 40 million! That’s more the entire population of Canada, and more than one and a half times that of the Australian continent.

“The United States of America,” wrote Philip Alston of the United Nations, “is one of the world’s richest and most powerful and technologically innovative countries, but neither its wealth, nor its power, nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million Americans continue to live in poverty.” The Guardian online, dated December 15th, 2017.

Arif Husain, Chief Economist of the United Nations World Food Programme revealed that, for the first time in a decade, the number of people suffering hunger is back on the rise. That’s a quote from the Hurriyet Daily News online, December 17th, 2017. He disclosed that the number of people who go to bed hungry each night has risen from 777 million to 815 million today. What’s going on?

Although man has made great strides in food production and technology, hundreds of millions today are still suffering from chronic malnutrition. Around 22,000 children die daily due to starvation, according to UNICEF. And despite huge scientific breakthroughs in health and medicine, millions still die from various diseases and plagues.

It is quite obvious that, despite man’s persistent efforts to improve his life and living conditions, his lot does not seem to get any better. Why? Mortals cannot run their own lives.

It is, mortals cannot run their own lives.

Is it within man’s power to take charge of his life and put it in order? Can he chart his own course and steer his life toward a good end? The Bible answers, 

I know, GOD, that mere mortals can’t run their own lives, That men and women don’t have what it takes to take charge of life.

[Jeremiah 10:23, The Message]

Man on his own is incapable of running his own life. The Bible further illustrates his inability to take charge of his life by pointing out how completely oblivious he is of what lies before him. I quote the scriptures again: 

A person never knows what will happen to him next. He is like a fish caught in a net. The fish does not know what will happen. He is like a bird caught a trap. The bird does not know what will happen. In the same way, a person is trapped by the bad things that suddenly happen to him.

[Ecclesiastes 9:12, Easy to Read Version]

Try to recall some of the recent disasters in history. First, September 11, 2001: terrorist attacks in the US; 2004: Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed close to a quarter of a million people; mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017, and ask yourself, if the people who perished in those tragedies knew in advance what would happen, would they have gone to those places? 

Man, undeniably, is totally clueless on what the future brings.

Knowledge increases sorrow. What if man acquires immense wisdom? Will it solve all these problems and ensure that good fortune? King Solomon, a man of notable achievements regrettably says, “No.” I quote:

I spoke with my heart, saying, “Behold, I have acquired great [human] wisdom and experience, more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind had observed a wealth of [moral] wisdom and [scientific] knowledge.” And I set my mind to know [practical] wisdom, and to discern [the character of] madness and folly [in which men seem to find satisfaction]; I realized that this too is a futile grasping and chasing after the wind. For in [much] [human] wisdom, there is much displeasure, and exasperation; increasing knowledge increases sorrow. 

[Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 Amplified Bible]

If earthly wisdom were the cure-all to man’s woes as others may believe, then life would have been trouble-free for those who have acquired it. Sadly, that’s not the case for even people of notable educational achievements are not spared from life’s pains and sorrows.

It behooves us then to know Who alone can bring about what is good for man. The Creator Himself declares, I quote:

For I know the plans I have for you.” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

[Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation]

Only the all powerful God can bring man a future filled with hope. The Lord Almighty alone knows what is best for man and only He can direct man’s steps toward his ultimate good.

Sadly, there are those who think that they do not need God to show them the way. That they, on their own, using their own knowledge and faculties, can make their aspirations come true.

Should man even think that his wisdom is on a par with that of God’s? Are human thoughts the same as that of the Almighty? The LORD answers, 

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

[Isaiah 55:8, 9 New Living Translation]

A drop in a vast ocean. That’s how infinitesimal and inferior man’s thoughts are compared to God’s. 

Thus, it is futile and unwise for man to trust in his own power and wisdom in bringing about the good future he hopes for. Let God direct our lives

To find more articles like these, get your copy of  God’s Message magazine from a member of the Church Of Christ

You can also find the podcast Version on incmedia.org/podcasts or on iTunes or Google Play under “INC Podcasts”. 

Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Bob Pellien. God bless. 

[Show close]

The post Let God Direct Our Life appeared first on incmedia.org.

Jun 07 2019

9mins

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