Yearender: Best of 2014

Hi friends, few hours from now we’re gonna welcome 2015; and before we do that, I want to share to you my yearender blogpost featuring the best of 2014 (best song, album, book, and movie). In my two years of blogging, this is my first time to make a yearender post. I am hoping you’ll find it interesting and useful. Let’s get started!

Best Christian Song of 2014

Among others, this one is the hardest to pick. You know, there are lots of Christian songs that have impacted my life this years. Songs of faith and worship that are so irresistible. But this one song has captured my attention and has impacted me in a very different way, and that’s Kari Jobe’s “Forever”. This amazing track can be heard on her latest album “Majestic”. It is theologically-rich, and musically-brilliant. Hillsong United’s “Oceans (Where My Feet May Fail)” is a runner-up.

Best Christian Album of 2014

I have reviewed numerous Worship albums from different labels this year, and I must say 2014 was a good year for the Christian Music Industry. I did not write a review about this album, but Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff’s “Heaven Raining Down” is the best for 2014. I bought my copy of it at one of Cindy’s concert events, and hearing its songs live is the best. This ten-cut album was uniquely and brilliantly-recorded. A runner-up mention goes to Kari Jobe’s “Majestic”.

Best Christian Book of 2014

It was published in 2007 but only in this year I’ve had the chance to read this amazing, faith-stirring book; the story of a church that believed God for the impossible, “Prepare For Rain” by Pastor Michael Catt of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia is the best Christian book of 2014. Pastor Catt has a very big heart for 3 P’s: People, Prayer, and Persistence, and these things are wonderfully manifested in this book. “Prepare For Rain” is a must read, a story of faith and revival. 

Best Christian Movie of 2014

2014 was not only a year of beautiful things, but also of challenges. There are so many attempts to crush Christianity, but we serve a God who cannot be shaken. Pureflix Films’ “God’s Not Dead” is a very timely film, and is worthy to be 2014’s Best Christian Film. It tells of the story of a Christian College Student who defended God against his atheist Philosophy Professor. Because of its unique message, and huge impact to the viewers, many people have requested for a sequel.

Goodbye 2014

I hope I am not the only one who have enjoyed these bests of 2014, but also you. I pray for 2015 to be more abundant, faith-filled, and most of all God-centered, Jesus-revealing, and Holy Spirit-filled. If you have your own bests in these categories, I’d love to hear from you! Thank you and have a joyous and Christ-centered new year, 2015!
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#BookReview: The Book of God

Recently, CLC Philippines has published a series of comic books from Kingstone Comics. Today, I want to share to you my review of “The Book of God”, one of those titles, written by Ben Avery.

Truthfully speaking, I am not fond of reading comics. Actually, this is my first comic magazine ever, and I’m serious. I have never owned one since my childhood. What I love most about “The Book of God” is the author’s presentation of facts and ideas. He began by introducing the Bible, how it was written, how its books was selected, how it spread, how it survive the time, and its trustworthiness. Even my sister liked and enjoyed it.

The good thing about “The Book of God” is its entirety is a presentation of facts about the Bible. It is, I must say, one of the important aspects of the book, especially for the children and for all the people who have limited resources. You might think that it can be overwhelming, but since it’s a comic magazine, the facts were laid in a vivid, light, orderly and most of all, in an enjoyable way.

My favorite thing in the book is, it tells us that the Bible is trustworthy, not because it was taught to us, not because of tradition, but because it is the truth. We are living in a world that says Jesus never existed, and the Bible is just a book of fairy tales. See how Satan has distorted the minds of people. That’s why the world needs it more than ever. Though everyone knows of this book, not everyone knows what it’s about.

Overall, “The Book of God” is a brilliant book for all ages; a very good introduction to those who don’t believe in the Bible; and for those who just want to learn facts. I am telling you, you will enjoy and learn while reading. Do yourself a favor, grab a copy now.

“The Bible is not a man’s account of his efforts to find God, but rather an account of God’s effort to reveal Himself to man.”
– Dr. Henry H. Halley

Watch out for more comic book reviews in the coming year! Blessings! Jesus be revealed!
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#Event: Youth Factor 8 "Dominate"

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, and the National Youth Commission bring us the Youth Factor 8: Dominate. A praise and worship celebration featuring guest speakers: Pastor Ed lapiz, Bishop Efraim Tendero, Pastor Clem Guillermo, Atty. Winnie and Ate Maloi Salumbides, and Mr. Hayden Kho Jr. The worship celebration is going to be led by Pastor Rommel and Susan Guevara, and the Musicians On Fire.

This event is happening on the 18th of April 2015, at Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City, Philippines. For more details on how to register, refer to the poster above.
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#AlbumReview: Planetshakers' This Is Our Time

Before the year ends, Melbourne, Australia-based worship band Planetshakers released their newest live praise and worship album, This Is Our Time. Boasting 15 tracks available in Standard and Deluxe editions, this new record is their second album for 2014. But it is no longer surprising, for they have done this a lot of times before. Their diligence and gift in songwriting is wonderfully shown through the years.

It is undeniable that “This Is Our Time” marks a new season for Planetshakers City Church, for the message of the songs on this record shows just that. Their music is like no other; and it has captured the hearts of people across the globe. Their mission to empower generations, to win generations, is prophetically manifested on their projects.

The title cut, “This Is Our Time”, opens the album with an energetic praise which has become the signature of the group. More than any other Christian artists, Planetshakers have resourced the church with a plethora of praise songs which the people, especially the youths love to sing. Celebration continues with the singing of the next track, “Joy”, and “My Heart Is Alive”. These songs offer a variety of instrumentation which will surely awaken your senses and lead you to dance for Jesus.

Previously heard on their Endless Praise album as a studio recorded track, “Leave Me Astounded” marks the first worship song on this project. Being one of the prime cuts on the preceding album, this new version is a very congregational one unlike its first release. Worship Pastor Sam Evans has given the song a ‘churchy’ treatment which is good.

“Covered”, the fifth track, is one of the simplest songs on This Is Our Time yet the most theologically-rich. Written by two big names in the field of worship songwriting today—Israel Houghton and Planetshakers’ very own Joth Hunt, this song declares Christ’s atonement and His grace given to humanity. Being said that it’s a co-write with Houghton, “Covered” is the carrier single of his upcoming 2015 album, “Alive In Asia”. And speaking of God’s amazing grace, another Hunt-written song by the same theme is “It’s Your Love” which for me is the album’s most congregation-friendly song because of its familiar and easy to learn melody and lyrics.

One of the tracks you don’t want to miss in this new album is the faith-stirring “The Water Is Rising”. Instrumentally and lyrically-brilliant, this is one of the album’s prime cuts. It speaks of God’s power and ability to do miracles and bring healing.

Born out of a spontaneous worship, Natalie Ruiz’ “Kiss Towards” on their “Endless Praise” album is one of my favorite tracks; and I believe This Is Our Time’s “Holy” is also a track birthed out of the spontaneous worship. Though lyrically short, its different atmosphere captivates the very heart of the people as they sing: holy…holy…holy. And if you’ve been carried away by the ethereal moment brought by “Holy”, their cover of the Gaither classic “He Touched Me” is simply magnificent. Surely, your spirit will be filled with joy and your heart overflow as you listen to it.

Joth Hunt’s gift in songwriting is so astounding. As a matter of fact, he has written the majority of the songs on Planetshakers’ recent releases. “Look To You” is just one of the tracks in the album that catches the listener’s attention at first listen; and it’s Hunt-penned. This is, I think the most appealing and catchy track on This Is Our Time, and also my favorite. Before the album ends, Joth’s co-write “Abba, Father” leaves the message of our Heavenly Father’s love towards us.

Overall, This Is Our Time is an excellent album to end 2014 and to start 2015 with praise. I must say that this album is one of 2014’s best releases, and Planetshakers’ best, so far. They always set the bar high. There is just one thing that I pray their team would work on for their future releases, that is to write songs that are more theologically-rich. I believe people today need songs that are sound and full of theology, songs that will draw them closer to God, to the knowledge of who He is.

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#Event: Let's Talk About Worship

The National Worship Convention presents “Let’s Talk About Worship”, an event full of fellowship, sharing, teaching, and worship, hosted by Pastor Rommel and Susan Guevara.

Happening on the 12th of June 2015, at Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City, Philippines, the worship conference also features some local and world renowned speakers including: Andrew Yeo, Haydee Sampang, Bob Fitts, Maloi Salumbides, and Roman Guevara.

For more details on how to register, refer to the poster above.
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5 Mistakes People Make When Reading the Bible

As someone who grew up going to church, I’ve often viewed the Bible as both fascinating and daunting, but somewhat inaccessible. Hearing about all the stories in Sunday School was definitely entertaining, but they were harder to make much sense of once I got older and read them for myself.
When I began reading the Bible on my own initiative, I found it difficult at first to get much out of it. I knew there was a lot to unpack, but it was hard for me to believe I’d be able to make much sense of what I was studying unless I decided to attend seminary.

Over time, I was able to learn how to read the Bible and become familiar with it, but it took numerous changes in how I approached it before I was at a point where I could read it daily and make some sense of what it was trying to tell me.

I work primarily with teenagers, and I find them repeating the same mistakes I did when reading my Bible when I was younger, and after talking with some peers when doing this Bible study for myself, I realized these mistakes are also common among most adults as well. I’m pretty convinced that, without some guidance, most people fall victim to the same traps when reading the Bible, and unfortunately lose their enthusiasm for God.

for believers, simply reading the Bible for information is not enough if we want it to have an impact on our lives.
There are a lot of things you can do to learn how to understand the Bible better, but first, here are a few common mistakes to avoid:

1. Looking for Insight Rather Than Personal Application

The Bible is a fascinating book, there’s no question about it. Even if you’re coming at it from a completely atheistic perspective, there’s enough historical and cultural significance, as well as action-packed sequences, to keep you occupied for days.

However, for believers, simply reading the Bible for information is not enough if we want it to have an impact on our lives.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:22-24).
Just about every verse you read contains some kind of direction from God on how we can change our lives for the better and open up to His transformation in our lives. The Bible is applicable to situations we go through on a day to day basis (Hebrews 4:12), from dealing with stress to loving those around us.
It’s a huge temptation to only read the Bible with the purpose of gaining more knowledge. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, you’re missing the whole point of the Scriptures if you never once sit down and read it with the intent to let it guide you to change something in your life.

2. Failing to Research Context

The Bible is one continual story, from cover to cover, about God creating us and doing whatever He could to build a relationship with us. While many verses work fine when read in a vacuum (most notably Proverbs and Psalms), most Scripture is meant to be understood in context. You can learn a lot more about the verse you’re reading by examining the details surrounding it, including:

Author - who wrote the book, and why were they writing it? What else do we know about this person?

Date - when the book was written can tell you a lot about the verses in the book you’re reading. For example, knowing that the book of Ruth took place in 1300 BC tells us that they lived during the time of judges, when Israel was at one of its most darkest points in history. This makes the story of Ruth and Boaz that much more inspiring and powerful.

Recipient - who the book was intended for can give you more insight on how the Scriptures were meant to be processed. This is especially true of the letters in the New Testament, most of which were written to different churches who were in various spiritual states.

3. Sticking to the Same Translation

If the only version of the Bible you’ve ever read is the one sitting on your shelf that you’ve had since you were a kid, there’s a chance you’re reading a translation that may not be right for you.

A lot of people make the mistake of sticking to the same Bible translation, either refusing to change because of tradition or because they’re unaware of the other reading options available. Since each translation is slightly different, reading a different version can give you more insight into the Scriptures, and can make an otherwise confusing Scripture more accessible.

The Bible is one continual story, from cover to cover, about God creating us and doing whatever He could to build a relationship with us.
Order another version (such as the New Living Translation or The Message) and see if it helps you understand a new perspective on the Scriptures, or clear up any confusion you may have previously had.

4. Reading in a Distracting Environment

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people I talk to who read their Bibles with the TV on, while playing iPhone games, or while friends or family are nearby asking for help. While those scenarios may work for homework or paying the bills, they make it close to impossible to really read the Scriptures and hear what God is trying to tell you.

As I mentioned in the first point, reading your Bible can (and should!) be a very personal affair. Eliminating distractions could mean the difference between reading a cool verse and finding the passage that changes how you view your life.

5. Thinking the Only Way to Read the Bible is By Looking at Words on a Page

In today’s modern age, there are countless ways to digest information. This is no less true for the Bible. Many people get stuck in a box and feel intimidated by the sheer volume of Scriptures, and end up never giving the Bible a shot. And while the fear is understandable, it’s completely avoidable.

If you’re feeling bored of reading, or perhaps have a disability or learning challenge, try listening to the Bible (via a full audio Bible, or a read along feature like the one found in the Tecarta Bible app) or watching the Bible (The Story is a great example of a visual presentation of the Bible).

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Brandon Heath To Release "No Turning Back" Feb. 10

NEWS SOURCE: Rogers & Cowan November 26, 2014
Nashville, Tenn. (Nov. 26, 2014) - Multi Dove Award-winning, five-time GRAMMY® and AMA nominee, and Emmy Award winner Brandon Heath invites listeners to travel back to one of the most impactful moments in his life through his new project, No Turning Back. Heath's sixth studio album will be released on February 10, 2015 on Reunion/Monomode Records, Sony Music. The debut title track single featuring All Sons & Daughters is already in the Top 20 on the National Audience Chart and impacting Christian radio. With adds in major markets such as Seattle, Tampa, Minneapolis, Dallas and Los Angeles, "No Turning Back" is currently in rotation on key networks including K-LOVE/Air 1, The Fish and SiriusXM, among others. 
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#Event: Planetshakers LIVE in Manila

Planetshakers is coming back again to the Philippines!

We’d love to have you join us at the Planetshakers Live in Manila on August 13-14, 2015 | 7PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ticket Prices:
Patron (reserved seating) P1800
UpperA (reserved seating) P 1200
Upper B (free seating) P 600
GenAd (free seating) P 300

Visit for more details!
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Album Review: Wake Up The Wonder by Elevation Worship

A year ago, I discovered the music of Elevation Worship. They have welcomed 2014 with a new album, Only King Forever, and now, to end the year, they are offering us “Wake Up The Wonder”, their newest. I don’t know how they write their songs, but their passion for it is so stunning, that they have to release two albums in one year, having only nine months in between; where songs are all original and freshly-written.

Wake Up The Wonder is an album like no other. The musicality of the songs is unique and new to my ears. The messages of each cut are biblically-sound, and the vocals are perfect. Each track declares the salvation and victory in Christ which brings revival and hope. There are no album fillers, all 14 tracks are worth listening to—all prime cuts. “For The Lamb”, the twelfth track is my most favorite in the entire album. The theological truth found on its lines is so rich. You’ll surely love to sing it time and again.

I love how the album flows. I must say that there is no album that has ever affected me this way. The worship on “Wake Up the Wonder” is simply astounding and I don’t know how to express all of my feelings on this review. It’s unexplainable. I commend the whole team behind this project. Before the year ends, they have brought us new songs that will be cherished by the church for the coming years.

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My Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff Concert Experience

Last Saturday, 29th of November, I came to the second day of Harvest Youth Conference 2014 hosted by Cathedral of Praise Manila. This two-day conference was organized to gather and empower youths across denominations and organizations. What’s especial about this event is on each night of the conference there is 4REAL Worship Concert Event, where Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff is the guest artist. Yes, it is two birds in one shot. When you attend the conference, you’ll be privileged to attend the concert, and we did just like that.

The second day of the conference is empowering and full-packed. The speaker was Pastor Joey Pagadora of COP Cebu. He taught us that the people of God will never walk in shame, for God is our hope. After the plenary session, all the youths were encouraged to proceed to the parking lot for the youth fair. The youth fair is just fun and full of surprises, games, and activities.

To be honest, one of the reasons why I attended the event is because I want to see Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff in person. She is one of my all-time favorite female worship leaders. And that day, that dream came true. At 5:30 we entered the auditorium, and before that we first bought some albums of Cindy. At exactly 6:00 PM, the concert started with the front act, and then tithes and offering. After these, Cindy Ratcliff went up the stage for her turn, and it was also amazing to see her husband, Marcus, to speak about God's miraculous deeds.

What I love most about Cindy is not her excellent voice, not her music, those are just secondary, what I love most about her is her heart and passion, that I always feel when she worships and speaks. That night I felt it like never before, and most of all I felt God’s presence as Cindy leads us in worship. What a night!

The concert ended with the song Twenty-three, the title cut of her preceding album. The concert was fun, amazing, and most of all is anointed. My favourite part is when she sang “Break Every Chain”. The moment when she said, name every disease, bondage and curse, because there’s a name higher than those names, and that’s the name of JESUS. Just wow, I really felt the spirit of God moving that time, and breaking every chain. Hallelujah! I hear the chains falling!

As we leave the auditorium that night, though physically weak, but our spiritual strengths were so re-charged and replenished. I thank God for each moment He’s giving to live for His glory; to be unashamed for His name. We exist to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!


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