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CHRIST'S ÂĽO(J1H IN ACTION

"For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants •.. " (II Cor 4:5) December

1988

The Challenges to Evangelization by Mike Joseph, Jr. CYA National

TEN YEARS AGO, I heard a very gifted conference speaker define idolatry as "anyone or anything that you put all your hope in other than God." Today many Filipinos run the risk of living in idolatry. In the years before the peaceful revolution of 1986 (and especially right after 1983) more ~nd more Filipinos began to turn to God. The Marcos regime had failed in its promise to create a "new society". Graft and corruption were rampant. The economy was on a steady decline. Businesses were closing down, workers laid off. Multinational companies were pulling out. The foreign debt was increasing. The aftermath of Ninoy Aquino's assassination saw a weak and fragmented political opposition. The communist movement was fast gaining strength. The idols of money, political power, and the ~tatus quo were crumbling .. There was nowhere else to turn but to God. IT'S DIFFERENT TODAY The economy is again on the upswing. Discotheques are fuller than ever, even with exorbitant entrance fees. Politicians are jockeying for power; graft and corruption continue unabated. There is more money, power and pleasure available. There are so many "idols" that promise immediate satisfaction. A common spiritual attitude today is, "Who . needs God now?" The Dictionary of Biblical Theology points out that" idolatry is

not an attitude that is overcome once and for all. It comes back in different forms. Whenever one

Director

D Young people today are confronted with an increasing range of options and choices. How can we help them choose God?

ceases to serve the Lord, one becomes a slave of created realities: money (Mt 6:24),wine (Ti 2:3),the desire to dominate one's neighbor (Col 3:5, Eph 5:5), political power (Rev 13:8), pleasure, envy, hate (Ro 6:19, Ti 3:3), sin (Ro 6:6), even the merely material observance of the Law (Gen 4:8ff). Behind these vices which constitute idolatry is hidden an ignorance of the one God who alone deserves our confidence." Two characteristics of idolatry are lukewarmness and spiritual blindness. A CYA member recently shared about how she was dazzled by the wealth of one of her associates. But once, while flying in her friend's private plane, they flew into a storm. Everyone was terrified, especially the rich man. In the midst of this she realized that she had nothing to fear. She knew God loved her and her life was safe in his hands, no matter what happened. She realized that life was much more than riches, power and wealth. All of these things will pass and fade

away. God alone will remain for all eternity. So she began to pray and thank God. She had much more peace than that rich man. WHAT SHOULD WE DO? "Preach the word, be urgent in season

and out of season,

con-

vince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (II Tim 4:2, itals mine). God has not stopped loving the Filipino youth. He continues to work in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is shaking their complacent lives through personal problems and challenges. And he has put in their hearts an innate desire for truth and love. God also calls us in CYA to continue speaking his message of love, which is the Gospel, to them. During the last semester break, the CYA Staff took two days away to pray, receive teaching, and discuss the call the Lord has given us to evangelize the Filipino (Continued

on page 4)


2 Commitment and Loyalty:

THE FIRM FOUNDATION

PART II IN 3·PART SERIES ON "BUILDING CHRISTIAN GROUPS."

by Rogel Plata Senior Staffer "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it has been founded on the rock." (Mt 7:24·25) CONTRAST THIS SAYING of Jesus with these: "Ayoko na sa 'yo. Split na tayo! I'm not sure if I'll be.in the mood for it. Count me out!" Personal commitment and loyalty are two character traits that are fast losing their value in the modern world. People today tend to relate to each other functionally, not personally. They seek to satisfy their own desires, not the greater good of the majority. No wonder there are many groups today - even Christian groups - that are shaky and weak. They are built, not "upon the rock", but on shifting sand. FAITHFULNESS The Lord wants to restore the value of commitment and loyalty in Christian relationships. The scriptural word that best describes this is faithfulness. It's an attribute of God (cf. Ps 89:2) that exhibits his stability and trustworthiness, assuring us that he will certainly fulfill his promises and remain true to us. In Tagalog, it's being "matapat". For us to exhibit these qualities, it means making a conscious decision to remain faithful to God and to our brothers and sisters, through thick and thin, through tough times and good.

~ MISCONCEPTIONS Some people have a difficulty with commitment because they think it's repressive and restricting. Or because it's hypocritical ("What if I don't feel like loving that brother or Sister?") and unrealistic ("Who can be sure that he will persevere to the end?") They can then excuse themselves by saying "sapagkat kami'y tao lamang". WHAT'S THE TRUTH? In fact, commitment brings freedom. Making a clear choice for something or someone liberates us because it cuts through a lot of vagueness and ambiguity. It frees us from a lot of tentativeness that can hold us back. A commitment that's based on deep convictions, and not just on a sudden surge of emotion, can propel us to pursue what we believe is right for us. Second, "being true to ourselves" involves being consistent with the decisions that we've made in our heart. It doesn't mean obeying our feelings, but we

decide to love our brothers and sisters despite our changing moods. (A note on "feelings": They will eventually support us as we consistently live out our decision.) Third, with faith and reliance on God we can persevere to the end. With the Lord nothing is impossible. When I first decided to have a daily prayer time ten years ago, I thought it would be a joke. With my busy school schedule, the only available time was 7:00 AM. I wasn't used to getting out of bed until eight! Today, through the Lord's grace and the support of brothers and sisters, my daily early morning prayer time ha. become a natural part of my life. OBSTACLES Commitment and loyalty aren't easy to live out. In pursuing them we run counter against some weaknesses and tendencies in us and in our groups: Superficial conversion. At a prayer meeting ten years ago, a friend of mine suddenly broke down in tears. Riding on the wave of emotions stirred up by the preacher, he shouted his enthusiastic promises of commitment to God. In a few months he was back to his old ways. Exclusiveness in relationships within the group. Every member should be a brother or sister to everybody else in the group. A member will eventually fall out in the poverty of relationships he experiences within the group. Fears and anxieties. These include peer pressure O[ anxieties about responsibilities (e.g. studies). In ou groups we need to help each other grow in faith and contldence, trusting in _QUf-m.utuaJLo.y..al.t.¥--and.lhe.all-_ sufficiency of God to surmount all difficulties. GROWING IN FAITHFULNESS Besides taking a concern for these obstacles, you need to take positive steps for growth. 1. Make it easier for yourself. A brother I know would tell me his difficulties in the Christian life. He wasn't making much headway; he was again falling into sin. He didn't realize that the source of his woes was his continuing to hang around with a neighborhood gang. Don't make it harder for yourself to live out your decision to follow the Lord. "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Lk 9:62).Abandon your old haunts. Reconsider old relationships. Let men and women who are also following the Lord be your closest friends. Attend activities that will strengthen your faith. 2. Regutarly express your commitment and loyalty. "Expressing love increases love" is a practical truth. (Continued

on page 4)


3

"GOD IS DOING SOMETHING IN THE DORMS!" (A Sharing by Rhommel Marcojos, a dorm resident and student at the Ateneo de Manila University.)

THE ATENEO DORMS ARE different now from what they used to be. I should know. I live there. When I went to live at the Cervini Residence Hall in June of 1985, changes were beginning to take place. The campus hotbed of drugs, alcohol, pornography and sex was simmering down. Eliazo Hall, {the women's dorm, was experiencing similar changes. . One reason for this was the CYA Prayer Group that quietly started the year before, and which snowballed into a strong spiritual influence for the dormers. God's ~resence in the lives of the m~mbers and their Christian r witness are slowly transforming the dorms. AS EARLY AS 6:30 in the morning, some of our brothers are already up and having their prayer time in the dorm chapel. There is so much grace when we spend time each day to worship the Lord! We also sponsor evening prayers that any dormer may attend. There we would either do a Bible sharing, or use some prepared pamphlet with a specific theme for reflection. Many dormers have been brought to a deeper awareness. of the Lord this way! ASIDE FROM PRAYER, we experience building brotherhood by putting a priority on "common times" together. Hence we have "Men's Nights", "Happy Hours", dinners together - in short, any good reason just to get a group of brothers together! A big help to our building brotherhood in the dorm are the so-called" Brothers' Rooms", in which all four occupants are members of the prayer group. A "Brothers' Room" would have some kind of common daily schedule, beginning with a short prayer time in the room each morning. Then, during the day we would have what we call "12-6 prayers": At twelve noon and six in the evening, wherever we are and whatever we're doing, each of us would say a short prayer for each other. Of course we close the day with evening prayers. Once a week also we have a "roommates' night". It's really another excuse to go out and have fun! "BEHOLD,0.0W GOOD and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unl y! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, Ii e for evermore" (Psalm 133). In my/years of being a CYA member in the Ateneo dorms, I've experienced living with brothers as a joy, a blessing, and an advantage. It's a joy to be reminded of my prayer time everyday. It's a blessing to be corrected of my faults, to be encouraged when I need strength. And it's an advantage to be supported in my decision to be holy and righteous, to live for the Lord, to love him and to make him loved .•

(An interview with Bro. James Dunne, S.J., Head Prefect of the Cervini and Eliazo Residence Halls of the A teneo de Manila University. CYA is supporting a prayer group in the dorms.) CY A

: Can you tell us a little about the situation in the dorms? Bro. Dunne: Only a few years ago, students were rampantly using drugs in the dorms. One can already "get high" with the smell of marijuana just by walking in the corridors. In fact, a few dormers were kicked out beeause-e+druq problems- -CY A : When did things begin to change? Bro. Dunne: Around 1982, dormers started turning to Jesus and this had a significant effect on dorm life. Daily evening prayers were started. These taught the dormers to reflect on God's goodness throughout the day. They began to draw closer to God. Mass attendance increased steadily over the years. Dormers found time to join retreats and recollections. Finally, a prayer group was formed which drew many to a more personal relationship with Jesus. You could also see that less and less dormers were involved in drug problems. CY A : What do you think God is doing? Bro. Dunne: The spiritual renewal in the dorms is the work of the Holy Spirit. More dormers are voluntarily joining the evening prayers and the [prayer group's] meetings on Fridays. Some of those who joi n are not even the "type" of persons we call "religious"! That's good. I don't even have to initiate these activities. Students are challenged to say "yes" to a more personal relationship with Jesus. In fact, the CY A prayer group offers this challenge daily to their fellow dormers. Dormers now pray everyday in the chapel which used to gather dust due to lack of use. Examples of Christian dormers who live righteous and joyful lives are present. There seems to be a sense of fulfillment and joy in them. At the same time, they eagerly share Jesus, who is their true source of fulfillment. with others .•


4 CHALLENGES ...

Christmas Greetings from the CYA Staff! (From page 1)

youth. We saw that it was becoming more difficult to evangelize. But we were challenged to continue sharing the good news, trusting that the Lord would give them the grace to respond. This means that we're pressing on with our campus evangelization through personal friendships, retreats, days of renewal, bible studies, symposia and prayer meetings. PRAY CONSTANTLY We've decided to intercede more, not just for our personal cares or the needs of CY A, but for all the youth of our country. We're also praying more for the other Christian groups that work among the youth. During the Staff training days, we set aside a day for prayer, fasting and intercession. As we prayed together that morning, we experienced more grace in praying for the "bigger" needs: the nation, the youth. We decided to include intercession as part of God's commission to us in CYA. For the past month, some staff members have been meeting daily to pray and intercede. They agreed to pray for 15 minutes every morning for the students of the Oniversify of fhe PFlilipplnes. When classes resumed a few weeKs ago, doors began to open: Teachers allowed them to speak before their classes about the gospel. Two of the staff went to ask permission from a teacher, and she was so glad to see them that they ended up having a "mini-prayer meeting"! She thanked God for sending her "these angels"!

ing and sacrifice to God" (Eph 5:2). We can express this love differently from person to person, but everyone is worthy to be loved and respected. Recently a student turned down an invitation to a Bible study. But he readily accepted an invitation to go with a CY A group to work with the Sisters of Charity among the poor in Tondo. He may not attend a Bible study this semester, but he will encounter God's love in action. Many students are struck as the men and women of CY A continue to relate to them with genuine warmth and friendship, even after they've turned down countless invitations to a retreat or Bible study. Those friendships will continue, and one day they may decide to turn to the Lord. We want to be around to help them when that happens. If not, at least they will know that our God is a God of love, that he will always be there for them. There's much more that can be said about CYA's response to the challenges of evangelization. But God has given us three "building blocks": Preach the gospel. Pray and intercede. Love. Through these we hope to be like an irrigation system that brings the Living Waters to a dry and yet unfruitful an.. -

WALK IN LOVE Third, the Lord wants us to love people whether or not they respond to the gospel. "Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offer-

Aller reaching the far side, Tonga cui the i>rldge"""ding the outraged suburbanite' Into the river below. their Idol wos now his ... os _II a. n. curse.

.CHRISrS

YOUTH IN ACTION

Mike Joseph, Jr., Director SENIOR STAFF Ken Noecker, Francis Iturralde, Gil Galeste, Rogel Plata, Beth Melchor, Terry Savage, Jake Yap, Harvey Campos, Renee Punzal STAFF Lorna Santiago, Erwin Navarro, Raoul Roncal, Andrew Guitarte, Jun Cruz, . Landa Campos, Tisha Colayco, Tetel Fernandez, Arlene Macalintal

cumsr's

YOUTH IN ACTION (CYA) is a movement of young Christian men and women actively engaged in youth evangelism and apostolic service in dif- , ferent campuses in Metro Manila. CYA also serves renewal groups in the Philippines and Asia. For inquiries, call or write us at: 300 P. Guevarra St. San Juan, Metro Manila Philippines Tel. No. 708-095

FOUNDATION ...

(From page 2)

The more you express something you've resolved in your heart to do, the more it becomes natural to you. I know a brother who has decided to always greet brothers and sisters warmly. Over the past few years, I've noticed a tremendous growth in his love an\' service to others. He is a real model of commitment and loyalty. The convers-e rs-wvr ru"'e""": ""t1"n=~"""";rr--love is not love at all. 3. Protect and strengthen your rela¡ tionship with the Lord, The Lord is the reason why you are a Christian. It makes sense to be committed to a Christian group only if what you really want is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Guard your daily prayer time. Read the bible regularly. A firm love for the Lord can entrench you more deeply in your support group. To summarize: The Lord wants our Christian groups to be built on solid rock, and not on sinking sand. Jesus is the Rock; he is the sure foundation. But we also need to found our groups, and our lives, upon a clear commitment and loyalty to one another. Then we can experience personal growth, stability within the group, increase of members, and effectiveness in fulfilling the mission God has given to us.•

Action Update 1988 (December)  
Action Update 1988 (December)  
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