The uncounted count - Christine Caine, UNSTOPPABLE
John 6:10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
The boy who had five loaves and two fish was not counted among the five thousand. But it was the boy who was uncounted who was used to be the channel of blessing for everyone—–the five thousand men, the accompanying women, and children, with twelve baskets of leftovers!
In the spiritual relay you are in, you don’t have to do everything. You just need to recognise the part that you are supposed to play, and do it faithfully whether big or small.
You count. You matter. Do whatever small thing you know God is asking you to do. That could be the very thing God will use to be a blessing to many!
Photo from this site
My iPhone amazes me sometimes for the many things it can do. It’s like a mini computer, music player, camera, alarm clock, etc. But when the battery’s dead, all those capabilities are useless so I don’t want it to go dead. Every so often, I’m checking my battery level. I’m seeing a mental picture of my charging wire and I’m longing to plug my phone to the wall because I don’t want my phone to shut down while I’m in the middle of something I need to accomplish.
If I don’t plug soon, my battery will die down. The more apps I need to use, the more urgent I need to charge.
I am like that phone. I need to plug into The Source of All, God. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. The more I need to do, the more urgently I need to be running on God’s power, not my limited kind. As I long to plug the phone, I long to plug myself to God to restore, refill, refuel me. Because just in case I forget, apart from Him I can do nothing if I missed understanding that fact the first time I recalled it.
Jesus is like that wire through whom I can be connected to God.
Do you see the very powerful promise tucked away in the above passage?
Lord, I praise You for Your limitless strength and power. Thank You that You give wisdom to those who ask without finding fault. You are the Source of strength, ability, wealth, position, and everything else. Help me to remain in You. I know that fruit-bearing is a function of remaining in You. Help me to be fruitful in things that count with You. Much love, Your little child in me.
Link to Part 1: Declared Pure and Innocent
Kata Inocencio felt called out of her fifteen-year enviable job at the high profile TV network, ABS-CBN, to become a missionary in Israel. Hard to understand such a move but Kata had already surrendered her life to the Lord by this time. Highly competent and proactive as she is, she was already at a stage in her spiritual life where she was convinced that God knows best so she was ready to obey when she got instructions from God through reading His Word.
GOD’S CONFIRMATION THROUGH SCRIPTURE
KATA INOCENCIO (KI): I had a Word from God at that time. I struggled about leaving ABS-CBN of course. Lord, how will I feed my three children if You want me to be a missionary, I’m a single mother. He gave me Psalm 127. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you wake up early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—and yet I want to give you sleep. Sons are a heritage from the Lord. Children are reward from him. Like arrows in an archer’s hand are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies at the gate.”[Kata recited these verses from memory.] The Lord was telling me, “Build My house, I will build yours. What you’re going to be doing for Me is precisely for your children’s future and welfare. Do not be afraid. Your toiling and sweating for something that I’m not the foundation of —is in vain.” That’s when I had to decide to go. Three times in one week, I saw Psalm 127 (in different ways… from a book I was reading, when I looked up and I saw a signpost…).
Those are my guides e. its’ really the word of God. Many times I say, “Lord, I will not move unless I have a word from you.”
PROMISE OF RETURN TO BROADCASTING JUST AS SHE LEFT IT
So I left ABS-CBN, going for broke as a missionary not knowing exactly what will happen. We started a ministry in Israel. There in Israel I learned many things from the Lord. He shared with me about Him restoring me; God giving me horns of iron and hooves of bronze in Micah 4:13 which to me referred to broadcasting pa rin (still). In Psalm 96 that I will be proclaiming His praise daily. He also gave me a word in Isaiah 62 that I’m a watchman on the wall. Watchmen watch and observe, and then proclaim… broadcasting di ba (right)? And that I will do this daily 24 hours. I said, “Wow, You just took me out of the biggest network and then You’re telling me that? How will I do that, I wonder?” In 2004, Brother Eddie (Villanueva) ran for president. I didn’t know him. I went to a meeting just to find out what was going on. I came early. Bro. Eddie asked me, “How long have you been a Christian? How long have you been a broadcaster? I didn’t know he was interviewing me because at the end of the meeting, he said, ‘I want Sister Kata to take over my show, Diyos at Bayan.’ So I hosted his program while he was campaigning. He didn’t win. When he came back, he wanted me to stay and co-host with him. Hence, ten years since, I have been co-hosting Diyos at Bayan with Bro. Eddie. When I was interviewed by Cito Beltran on his show, he asked me what was I doing in Zoe TV, I was already in ABS-CBN, para bang, “ba’t ka nagpa-demote?” (as though asking “why did you agree to be demoted?”). I was shocked but I said, ‘You know, Cito, the honor comes from God. Who am I to have been chosen to replace Bro. Eddie in his program and now sit beside him on his program? Other people are more qualified than I. But I’ve been chosen. The promotion comes from God, the honor comes from Him.’ Good answer Holy Spirit [with a wide, satisfied smile, looks up with a thumbs up sign] ’cause I didn’t know the answer before that e.
Two times in my life, The Lord made me choose…. between the man I loved and my career. Both times I chose Jesus. Then The Lord showed me John 15 and He said, “You did not choose me. But I. chose. YOU. Oh my God. Ang yabang yabang ko pa (I was so proud) by saying, “I chose God over him… I chose God over ABS-CBN. Hindi pala ako yon. Si God pala yung nag-choose sa akin. Kaya (I wasn’t the one choosing after all. That’s why) again, I was , “Why did You choose me? What have I got to offer You? When I tried to think why… I have nothing; I’m so flawed… Is there anything in me that You see that pleases You at all that You have to choose me?
The Lord showed me ‘It’s your pure heart that genuinely wants to know Me.’ I’m saying this because I think many people should know this ‘cause some people think they have to be beautiful, excellent, wise, intelligent for them to even be trusted with the big things of The Lord. It’s really just your pure heart which only The Lord can see that will qualify you even to work for Him.
I’m not saying qualify you to be loved by Him because nothing can qualify us. The only thing that qualified us to be loved by God is Christ (nothing of our works).
GOD’S PROMISE FULFILLED
(KI): Yung Word Nya (God’s Word) came to pass. I became the Head of 700 Club. Sabi Nya (He said) kingship/ headship. CBN [Christian Broadcasting Network] first called in 2001 (same year I left ABS-CBN). They had watched me on my show. At first they offered me to be host but I had no confirmation from God. It took another two years. At first, they just consulted me…how to improve the show. Apparently, they appreciated my professional opinion and they offered me the job as Head. This time I prayed about it. This time, [God's Word confirmed] “yes”.
I asked God. “What’s the difference?” I think it was I who was not ready. I needed to be prepared.
My prayer was, “Lord am I broken enough for this responsibility?”
Lord said, “There, I will break you some more.”
BITS: What do you mean by “I am broken enough?”
KI: Am I humble enough? Have I dropped all my baggage already? Am I the right person to take such huge responsibility. At that time, 700 club was just a weekly show (for) thirty minutes. Now it’s daily, one hour. The mandate was huge. I didn’t even have that kind of responsibility in ABS-CBN. I’m also not technically prepared, I thought. Even with my hosting with Bro. Eddie I was also not technically prepared for it. I never did a live talk show in ABS-CBN. I was doing news, taped “Bantay Bata”(Child Watch), live newscasts, but not a talk show. So even that one with “Diyos at Bayan” (God and Nation) was a new thing for me even if I had been in the industry for fifteen years already. So even that, I was afraid. I even get shocked when people say I’m magaling (excellent), I say, “grace lang ‘to (this is purely grace)”
BITS: Is it your lifestyle now to ask God for His confirmation before you act?
KI: Oh yes definitely, especially if it’s a major decision. It could be life-changing. It has to do not just with work opportunity but with ministry. Is it my assignment? There are many things I discovered that are good, that are godly, that are for God, but it may not be your assignment. There have been missteps along the way thinking something is a call from God and then suddenly a door slams at you because it was not for you. You get hurt in the process but you learn a lesson, to sharpen your spiritual hearing, faith, spiritual instincts… Is this from God, is this not from God… until I reached a point that I inquire, I pray, there’s a Word. Godly counsel is important also. Open doors, smooth anointing, you find yourself in that situation. Sometimes when you’re in that situation, there are still giants that you face like Joshua in Jericho. It was difficult for them to enter Jericho. Once they were there, they still had to continue fighting the giants, just like David who daily inquired of God; Abraham, Jesus…daily inquired of God… so that you know that what you’re going to do is as God directs you… so you won’t make mistakes.
How far ahead do you plan?
KI: There are things that the Lord can give you a vision about so you have to learn how to determine whether that vision is for tomorrow or next year or ten years from now. That’s why the daily inquiring of God is important. The problem I think with visionaries is the mistake of jumping it; it’s for ten years pa pala. God orders things in steps. That’s why we’re taught by Paul about the soldier who disciplines himself, the farmer who sows and does these things before he harvests, the athlete. There’s a process. Not everything happens overnight. I’m also of the belief that the bigger the vision, the deeper the foundation also; the taller the building, the deeper the foundation [needs to be]. Before you even show a semblance of a building, you have to dig deep first. Normally, the Lord does that to us first in our souls, in our way of thinking, in the way we do things. He cleanses us, He purifies, sanctifies us before we can do anything.
BITS: The daily inquiry, how long does that take.? How do you do that?
KI: If you read the Word regularly and you are familiar… it’s like sending a text message to God and a text response and you already understand. Just like parents. For the child, if you are with your mom everyday, you know her voice, her expressions, di ba isang nod lang ng head or wink of the eye or expression without a word, you know the message your mom is telling you. I think it’s the same with our relationship with God, if you’re with Him daily, you know Him, you know what works and what doesn’t work with Him, ang mga palusot mo (your alibis) that work or do not work. Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice.”
But sometimes God is quiet. Maybe you asked the wrong question. Or maybe your question is self-serving. Naka ganyan lang sya sa yo [gesturing God is expecting better] waiting for your to ask the right question.
BITS: Do you set aside specific time? Or does it just flow?
KI: I am privileged to be working in a ministry where our product is the Word of God and the gospel. So even in our line of work, it’s something we study, consult, and use as our product. Whether you have time to do it at home or not, when I get to my office, I have the opportunity to do that. And our ministry, CBN, is particular also about having our weekly chapel services, daily devotionals so it’s better than a church. We are immersed. It’s your product e. The Word of God is our product.
BITS: You come across as a very competent person and probably in your growing up years you found yourself with a lot of ability and proactivity. This daily inquiry you talk of is the opposite.
KI: Oh definitely.
BITS: How did this come about?
KI: When I was still in ABS, I found myself hungry for the Word of God that I read it until 3 am . I would even say, God we have to stop meeting like this because I have to work in the morning. So what did God do? He removed my work. [Laughs]
It started with a genuine hunger for God and I think the problem as we grow older and as we get used to the Lord’s presence and goodness to us is that we’re so busog (full), we’re no longer hungry. That’s where the danger comes because we do not anymore feast on the Word of God. Like I said, sometimes (just a) text message na lang. But if the Word is in you and you chewed on it, you’ve masticated it, I think it’s something that can be pulled out anytime or the Lord brings to your recollection. The Holy Spirit will remind you of what He has taught you. Even in inquiring of God, “Lord, I have to do this. Can I do this? What should I do?” If there are no answers, go back to your book. Study. Research … just like in business or any school. But if it’s in your computer file, then He brings it up, this is the answer for this, then you have a guide now what to do for the day.
BITS: How did you end up heading 700 Club?
(KI): In 2006, 700 Club asked me to head its production, to be producer, and host. Sabi ko (I said), “Lord, what now? He gave me John Chapter 4:34-36. He said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me… Do you not say, ‘four months more then the harvest’? I tell you, look around you and see! The harvest is ripe.” The rest of it talks about there are those who have sown and those who will reap. And then the joy will be shared by both the sower and the reaper. So what was God telling me? It’s a time to reap. People have labored many years to sow and now I’m appointing you to reap. I’m a reaper. When I joined 700 Club, it was already eleven years on the air so many people have shed blood, tears, and perspiration to sow into the ministry and then reap. When I first came in, 700 Club would receive calls from our Prayer Center from people praying to receive Christ. We used to be happy with ten people getting saved. On my second year, we had a new COO and one time we had only one [call] and then he emailed and questioned, “Kata, why is this figure only this? One salvation… Sandali lang, trabaho ko ba yon? Diba trabaho ng Holy Spirit yon? Sabi ko, (“Wait a minute, is that my job? Isn’t that Holy Spirit’s job?” I said) why am I being questioned?
“Can we do something about this?”
“Okay!” Siempre okay naman ako. (Of course, I said ok). I don’t’ know yet what we’re gonna do.
“Can we agree on ten every evening?” Kasi (Because) ten is usually the best.
Ok I met my staff. “Let’s tweak this and that.”
And then on that week, Fifteen! … Twelve! … Nineteen people called and got saved! Remember we agreed only on ten? Biglang nag-exceed! (Suddenly exceeded)
BITS: What’s the difference?
KI: Faith! I’ll tell you the story! Wow!! O, twenty na ha (already)! Let’s agree on twenty. The Lord gave thirty-plus. Every time we set the bar high, The Lord exceeded. He delivers and exceeds. Ngayon (Now), up to a thousand a night get saved… Five hundred to a thousand. Sabi ko nga, I think luluhod na tayo, Lord, 2000 na ha? (I said we’re going to have to kneel, Lord, make it 2000 ok?)
It’s faith, also action… We are supposed to work. We are workers. There are things that you have to do, strategize, fix, so that people can be drawn. First of all, get a compelling story so people will watch and can be drawn, cause them to call so that we know that they got saved, that they prayed. Amazing! Kaya (that’s why) when people ask, “Do you like what you’re doing?” Absolutely! Kasi (Because) imagine ha, the thousands that are in heaven already! For me it’s a scorecard e, it’s a grade. Everytime… Chiching! Chiching! Chiching! Kasali ka do’n sa chiching na yon di ba (You took part in that Chiching, right)? Pag pasok mo sa (When you enter) heaven, “Yehey, thank you, nandito kami kasi tinulungan mo kami (Hurray! We are here because you helped us).” Hello, babalik pa ba ako sa ABS-CBN? I’m sorry pero hindi na, di ba? (Am I going back to the biggest network? No right?)
BITS: You had no idea before?
KI: About this? Yeah! Di ba blind? O Sige Lord, Obey obey obey lang. O sige. Dito Ok Lord. (It was just blind obedience. Wherever the Lord led, I just obeyed.)
Tapos every time magrereport yung Prayer Center, ilan… ilan…(Then every time the Prayer Center reports how many, how many) Yes!! Hallelujah! More Lord, more! Yes! People who get healed di ba (right)? People who are blessed… encouraged.
BITS: Malu (Ortiz)was telling me that you gave her a word to encourage her while she was watching a 700 Club episode you hosted?
KI: (Because) One thing kasi that 700 Club moves in is what we call the Word of Knowledge. It’s something that we pray for and The Lord reveals to us and then we release through the program. We don’t know where it’s going to go or who’s gonna receive it; that’s why we encourage people, “You just receive it by faith because the Lord really wants to heal. And sometimes there’s specific illnesses that people have and then suddenly The Lord courses it through us and then we release it. And people get healed. Without going to her [Malu] first ha. I was shocked myself that … alam mo ba nakapagpalakad na ako ng pilay? (Do you know that I’ve been used to make a lame person walk?)
BITS: Through tv?
KI: Oo, na-shock din ako. I mean hindi ako (Yes, I get shocked, too. I mean it’s not me. It was God)
BITS: Yes, you were instrumental
KI: Yeah! I didn’t even know kasi tumatawag sila sa Prayer Center so ifa-follow up namin sila, tatanungin. Nalaman ko may isa talaga, lalo na nung nakikita ko na, dinramatize na namin yung storya nila… Ininterview. Nanood daw syang tv, tapos nag pray daw ako. Sabi nya, hindi ka makalakad. Baluktot yung paa mo. Sabi ni Lord iderecho mo raw tapos tumayo ka, maglakad ka. Ginawa nga nya. Lakad sya. Tapos may isang prayer ako no’n, parati kong nakikita na ang daming nabuntis. Isang prayer lang, “Maraming barren women ngayon nanonood. Sabi ni Lord maniwala kayo. Mabubuntis kayo this year. (because they call the Prayer Center so we follow them up. They are asked. I find out… there really was one, I saw it, their story was dramatized. They were interviewed. They were watching TV and then according to them, I prayed. I said on the air, “You can’t walk. Your feet are twisted. God said, ‘Straighten them and then stand up. Walk.’” He really did it. He walked. And then one time, I would repeatedly see many getting pregnant. Just one prayer: “Many barren women now watching, God is telling you, believe, you will get pregnant this year.”) At least three for that particular one prayer only. And they call.
It’s their faith. You have to believe it. You won’t receive it if you don’t believe it. No matter what you release, what you say, if it’s not received in faith, it will not happen. Ako nasha-shock kasi siyempre Yay! Sabi ko, it works pala talaga. (I get shocked of course, Hurray. I tell myself, it really does work!). But you see, you also have to move in faith. Prior to that, I was afraid of doing that. How does it work? You pray, ask. “Lord, how do You want me to minister to these people?” He will answer you. “How, Lord? How do you want? What is Your Word for them? Noong una nakikita ko word. Halimbawa (At first, I see a word. For example) “lungs”, “bleeding”. Word kasi (because) I operate in the word. That’s my business that’s my language or my learning ability. But I pray, “Lord, I wanna see.” So lately, nakikita ko na sya. Yung tao umiiyak. Minsan nagpapareho. Minsan nakita ko tapos pag pinapagpray ni Peter [Kairuz, EVP and COO of CBN Asia], nakuha rin nya (I see the vision. The person crying. Sometimes it matches. Sometimes I got the vision and when Peter prays, he got it too.)
BITS: Sabay kayo? (You and he got it at the same time?)
KI: Yes, God also gives it to him.
BITS: Is your program also shown abroad?
KI: Yes it is playing abroad in GMA Pinoy TV. We get a lot of calls from OFW’s and then we also have a webcast so it’s also on the web.
BITS: Whats the website?
KI: Www.cbnasia.org/mediacenter so you can access the programs.
To Be Continued…
Today’s YouVersion Verse:
My aunt Lillian wrote this as her dedication on the book she gave over a decade ago which was a favourite easy-to-digest daily devotional, Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God Day by Day”:
It is today’s YouVersion Verse of the Day. Then, I understood it as: If I loved and obeyed the Lord, He would reward me with what I wanted. Today, I see it a little differently: If God is my Delight and Pursuit and I fully comprehend how His will and wisdom are perfect, I will look to Him to tell me what I should be desiring for my life. And that is what I will want as well.
It comes from this beautiful, comforting, stilling psalm:
Psalm 37 (NIV) Of David.
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future[e] for the wicked.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
[Text emphases my own.]
November 14: It’s another B1G Friday at CCF Main! Couldn’t keep up with the flashing words on the screen. “Magna Cum Laude. MA degree in Trinity College. Continuing Courses at Harvard University. Apologetics in Oxford University. Toastmasters Award. Something of the Year Award…” They were talking about tonight’s speaker, Francis Kong. But the emcee, Ickhoy de Leon, on his live intro, lauded him for this: “The one thing that really takes the cake for me is how he loves his wife.” Standing ovation for our speaker! (A virtual one.) This SRO event (not from the standing ovation but from an unusually larger crowd tonight) is his 299th talk for the year. I once paid P3,500 to listen to him speak several years ago at the Dusit Hotel. So tonight, I’m relishing the free entry.
Tonight, another time to be (as my friend Minnie would say) a “sailing cat” (English for saling pusa) as this event is supposed to be for singles. Hail to the organisers for allotting chairs in the rear for non-single sailing cats who want to get inspired about work anyhow.
If Francis Kong wasn’t getting the crowd to giggle or roar in laughter, you could hear a pin drop while he spoke as the young people—- me included :)—- opened our ears wide to hear what he had to say. He spoke about work, stress, targets, realities in the workplace; deprivation of time, attention, and sleep; leadership, the different pursuits in life (excellence, elegance, truth, what’s next, what if’s, value, results, relationships, knowledge, and something bigger than oneself: pursuit of purpose); He talked about the 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020, the 6 Drivers of Change; not wasting crises by pursuing the lesson in one’s loss. He gave over an hour of motivational speaking and truth telling to the enthusiastic crowd. Here are some excerpts from his talk:
Pursuit in itself is not bad. Pursuit of the wrong things, however, will get you into trouble… So many single girls make a mistake because of the wrong person they’re pursuing. (Take note dear ladies!! If they’re married, stay away from them, won’t you darlings?) Having a mindset focus of pursuit is so critical to leadership. Lacking this one quality can sentence you to mediocrity or obsolescence. At my age, I have to pursue more knowledge, more excellence, more information … not because I want to compete with other trainers but because God has not engineered people to be obsolete and useless… If I want to shine in the workplace because I want to show that the God whom I serve is the most excellent of them all, I need to improve myself all the time.
A leader’s failure to pursue clarity leaves him in a fog.
A leader’s failure to pursue creativity relegates him to the routine and the mundane. Failure to pursue talent sentences him to a world of isolation.
Failure to pursue change approves apathy.
Failure to pursue wisdom and discernment subjects him to destruction and foolishness. Failure to pursue character leaves a question mark on his integrity.
Failure to pursue purpose would keep him away from his destiny. What you pursue is that which you value… The question is “What are you pursuing?” …
I want to pursue excellence in the marketplace. Throughout the many years of doing this, God has shown me time and time again that this is where He wants me to be. That’s the purpose bigger than me… I challenge all my kids, “Be excellent in the marketplace. Be evangelists of God’s standard of excellence.” Now watch. This is the foundation: This can only be achieved if you pursue Christ first in your heart. The heart, in nature, [has] a vacuum. In the absence of God’s presence in that heart, it will be filled with something else that you will pursue… because what delights you will drive you.You know how many times I’ve failed in business? You know how many times I’ve made stupid decisions because of my own pride and stubbornness? But you’ll never find The Ilocana (his endearment term for his lovely wife, Lilia) say, “I told you so.” She will simply say, “God has a better plan for us. Let’s move on.” I’ve been cheated big time by business partners. But she will always say, “Don’t extract revenge. That’s God’s business. Let’s move on.” History is a good teacher when I look back. Part of being cheated and hurt is God’s plan in developing our character. It’s so hard to hurt and hate at the same time. You release your hate, you lessen your hurt. What’s the worst thing for you when you don’t release your hurt and you don’t forgive? You will become the person you hate.
Francis Kong shared much more. Some personal parts he shared on the condition that we wouldn’t tell. So you will have to get your own ticket to listen to him. Or catch him at a future event at CCF. Two more B1G Events in the “PRODUCTability – WORKability Series” coming up for the months of November. I will yet have to check who the speakers will be but I’m sure they will be great! Mark the dates: Friday, November 21 and 28 at CCF Tiendesitas. Come by 7pm if you want a seat. Admission is free.
Katherine “Kata” Inocencio is very likeable and easily loveable. She is lively and fun. Her FB photos and posts often make me smile or chuckle. What strikes me about her is her childlike (not childish!) quality. Later, I would find out that she is so aptly named because Katherine Inocencio means “Pure and Innocent”. And so she is in Jesus Christ! She has candid simplicity, contagious joy, passion for God, godly wisdom, and humility— a beautiful blend of seasoned spiritual maturity. She remains unaffected in spite of her God-given competence and stature as CBN Asia’s Vice-President of Programming and Executive Producer of the 700 Club Asia. “It’s all grace!” she declares.
I loved interviewing her because as I wanted to get the most content from her but did not want to impose a probe into her innards, her “TV hostness” instincts allowed her story —- God’s story— to flow out, with my mental questions coming out of her mouth followed by her answers to those questions.
With her permission, I share this lunch conversation with you hoping that you will be as blessed by her testimony as much as I am. Get yourself your own snack, sit back, and hear the mystery of her life unraveled as she speaks of her God unrivalled.
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): Can you talk about your journey of getting closer to God? How did that come about?
Kata Inocencio (KI):
JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR
I went with some friends to a Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) convergence activity in Quezon. This was March 1986… With the U.P Concert Chorus, we would sing (worship songs) in different churches…when this CCC retreat came, I went with some of my friends. That’s where I prayed to receive Jesus (as Savior). Part of that is submitting yourself to a discipleship situation, you study the Word—Bible study. But those are regulated. The Word of God is alive. It does something to your spirit, especially when the Word of God answers your questions, you start searching, asking, and receiving answers. Doon na sya nag develop (That’s where it developed).
CONTINUED IN SIN DESPITE BEING SAVED
In spite of the fact that I was supposedly “born again”, I continued a sinful lifestyle. Why? Because I was enjoying it. At this time, I worked in ABS-CBN in 1986 as a Production Assistant, became a reporter, a Malacanang Correspondent, News Desk Editor, Producer and Host of Bantay Bata, Head of our Training Unit in the News and Current Affairs. I hired and trained people, I did newscasts for TV Patrol, I would replace Mel Tiangco, I would do weekend news, etc.—–the works. But I continued a sinful lifestyle; I was living in with a married man. We produced a son.
On my second pregnancy, I miscarried. At that time I felt so sinful that God put death in my body and took life away from me. Why did I think that way? Because at that time I was already reading the word of God. I knew there was a penalty for sin and that was death. The wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life. One classic example was David and Bathsheba. They were in adultery and they lost their son. That sort of played like a warning for me. And then it happened to me. That’s when I realized oh my God, I offended God. I did something so bad that He had to punish me this way.
HELP FROM GODLY MENTOR AND ENCOURAGER
My sister [in Christ], Coney Reyes, reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11, that God knows the plans that He has for me, plans for my welfare and my good future and not plans to harm me. And yet at that situation I felt I was in a wrong place.
I DON’T DESERVE TO BE A MISTRESS
I was a mistress even if I don’t deserve to be a mistress. I thought I was a good enough person to be married. I was a beautiful enough person to be desired to be married. I studied naman in U.P. May pinag-aralan naman ako. Nasa ABS-CBN nga ako e. (I am educated and was in fact in ABS-CBN)—every young broadcaster’s desire. So why am I a second class citizen? Why am I Number Two? Why am I not official? Why am I illegal? I didn’t have peace. Until nangyari na (it happened that) I miscarried and I felt God’s punishment.
WAY OUT OF SIN : JESUS CHRIST AS LORD, NOT JUST SAVIOR
I realized, I don’t want this anymore. And the way out is 1. to repent of course of this sin; and 2. To finally surrender to Jesus…because until that point even though I already received Jesus as Savior in 1986, I was still the lord and master of my life. I made somebody here on earth my master. My world revolved around this person until I let go of that person and decided si Jesus na (Jesus will be my Lord) because Jesus has a good promise for me. And Jesus, I realized, really loved me. I separated from this man that I had lived with. And I decided, ayoko na ng (I don’t want anymore the) double life. I was claiming to be a Christian but I was continuing in my sin. Ayoko na (I don’t want anymore). I want to be true to myself na (already). I want to be righteous. And of course I had the fear of God, which, praise God, is the beginning of wisdom. So suddenly I had wisdom. In a few weeks I discovered I was pregnant… again. But God assured me that His grace was sufficient for me. I didn’t have to go back to the father of my children and God will take care of us.
When Kata surrendered her life to Jesus and made Him not just Savior but Lord, she chose to undergo public discipline at her church at that time, GCF. [Public discipline consists of the person’s public confession of her sin. The pastor then explains that with her confession comes God’s forgiveness and this sin will no longer be held against her. In effect, she gains the righteousness of Christ (declared pure and innocent in Jesus Christ, so to speak). The sin is publicly dealt with and therefore should no longer be discussed. The person submits herself for counselling after which she is eligible to serve in a ministry.]
HONEYMOON WITH GOD
That one year was a honeymoon stage for me and my God. Everything I asked for, He gave … I asked for a white car, He gave me a white Mercedes Benz. I asked for a promotion, He promoted me from Desk Editor to Senior Desk Editor which is of managerial rank. I was pregnant (my second full term). I asked for a daughter. Because earlier on, may nanghula sa akin (a fortune-teller told me) that I will have two sons. I already have a son, diba (right)? “Lord, give me a daughter.” And the Lord gave me a daughter… disproved the hula (the fortune-teller’s prophecy).
BITS: How many sons do you have now?
KI: I have one son and two daughters.
BITS: That disproves the hula (fortune-teller’s prophecy).
KI: There were many other little things in between that were happening. Nagpakitang gilas si God sa akin na pinili ko sya (God showed off His skills since I chose Him) biglang (suddenly) wow, okay pala ito (this is great after all)…Fiesta Package! Pinakita ni Lord na totoo pala Sya. (God showed that He was real). I made the right decision. Totoo Sya (He is real!)
After that (one year). I went thru the process of cleansing yung mga mali ko (of my wrongs). At that time nagmumura pa ako, alam mo naman sa industry, (I used to still curse, you know that’s the way it is in my industry). I’d get in trouble when I do wrong things, my attention is called. It was part of the discipline process. The Lord started purifying me. I was Senior Desk Editor. My boss, Dong Puno, called me and told me he was creating a Training Department that he wanted me to head. Sabi ko, promotion ba yon? Sabi ko e head na ako ng (I said, “Is that a promotion? I was already Head of) ABS-CBN News— Central. News. Gathering.—during that season 24 hours and he was taking me out of that and putting me in Training!… Training?! Nasa front door ako sa sala, main event, suddenly ilalagay ako sa kusina (I was in the living room and he was putting me in the kitchen). Is that a promotion? I sat in my chair I was crying ‘cause I knew it was a demotion.
FAILURE IN HUMAN EYES BUT VICTORY IN GOD’S EYES
BUT God reminded me about His own Son. Remember, Jesus… wasn’t He a total failure in the eyes of man. Imagine that: Born of a virgin mother, born in a manger, Herod wanted to kill him, they had to hide in Egypt, grew up as a carpenter’s son, no proper education, not a scholar, friend of sinners, claims to be king but was put to death on the cross. What a failure! If you were gonna report about Jesus today, how would you report His story. He’s such a failure. But 2000 years hence, people get saved because of Him, people worship Him. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Lord said, you see Anak (Child), what might be total failure in the eyes of man is ultimate victory for Me. So this shift that’s happening to you is not failure, it’s victory. I trusted God with that.
NEW PERSPECTIVE, NEW DIRECTION
I started loving what I was doing. I then realized that God was changing my mindset from just running after the headlines and being Number One News Network to looking after people, taking care of them, thinking of their good, promoting, helping, nurturing them. From news headlines to people because until then, I didn’t care about them. I was very competitive. Why was I head of that? Because I make sure we’re Number One.
Eventually our co-workers came to me not just for professional help but also for personal counseling. By that time I was a “Christian already”— I surrendered already. I had the Word everywhere. Sometimes people would come to my office just to (Sigh!) feel good because there’s a Word of God here… and here…. [gesturing left and right]. That was the start of my mindset change that what’s important is not the headlines but what’s more important are people. If Peter was fishing after fish and now he has to fish men, for me, this time “Don’t go after the headlines. Go after people with heads. Totoong tao ang hahabulin mo na ngayon. (Chase real people now). Is it failure or victory? In the eyes of God, it was utmost victory.
Five years into that, I had Bantay Bata for three years. Even that, the Lord shifted me to advocacy journalism, thinking of the children, not just headline, headline, nation, event but what’s really happening to real people. Until now I have the 4/14 advocacy. I find myself in advocacy work, my TV programs Diyos at Bayan (God and Nation) and 700 club, we advocate the Word of God, the truth, even though we tell the stories of ordinary people, we advocate the goodness of God in their lives, the transformation that happens in people’s lives through the work of God.
MISSIONARY TO ISRAEL
In 2001, I resigned from ABS-CBN after a fifteen-year career so I could help start a ministry to Israel. It was a craaazy idea. My friend, Korina, said, “Kata, everyone wants to enter ABS-CBN; you have a nice office; you have a nice job. And then you want to leeeave. Sabi ko (I said) God called me out. What can I do? He picked me to help start this ministry to be a blessing to Israel. When I decided that, just like Abraham when he was called out of his home to go to a city whose architect and builder is God and he didn’t even know where he was going, he obeyed, believing that God is true to his Word and that He will fulfill his promise. I was in that situation and left Ur (his homeland) for the Promised Land. Literally.
To Be Continued
Part 2: God’s Word as Guide
When I was a teenager, Kuh Ledesma was the only diva I knew of. Always classy, elegant, and sophisticated, she is a multi-awarded stellar singer in the Philippines spanning thirty-five years (and counting) and over a thousand concerts around the world. She is also an actress, painter, fashion designer, businesswoman, and mother to singer, Isabella Gonzalez.
On this Wednesday morning, she came simply to share about her life and the Power of Words. Before she began, she walked to the corner of the room to talk to the house help who were sitting behind some of the ladies in the room. In a kind voice, she asked them to pull their chairs forward so they can hear her better because “importante itong sasabihin ko sa inyo” (What I’m going to say is important). She spoke in Taglish but here is the English translation of excerpts from her talk:
“I thank God that He allowed that very painful experience in my life. He has called me several times in my life to come to Him but it was only then when my face was down on the floor in utter pain, when I was like a dead person walking, feeling betrayed from the pain of becoming separated from my husband that I truly committed myself to God. Months later I realised, “Lord, You really allowed it so that finally I will come to You. There’s no turning back anymore. I had received Jesus three times before but at that time, my priority was still my career. When we make other things our priority, whether it’s our husband, children, career, material things, there’s no depth in our knowledge of God. Our number one treasure above all things is the Word of God.
That’s why in Hosea 4:6, it says, “My people perish from lack of knowledge.” In other translations, “destroyed”.
Take note it says, “My people”. It’s easy for us to accept God because we believe that Jesus died for our sins and we want to go to heaven but our commitment to learn the Bible is lukewarm, we get carried away by the world’s thinking that God’s Word doesn’t matter.
The truth is I wouldn’t be sitting here caring to share with you what I know if God has not transformed my life through His Word.
When we do not open our bibles, we are only filling our physical bodies, our bellies get big, but our hearts and minds are famished for spiritual feeding. Why do we feel empty, angry, hateful, why do we pray for people to die? Because it’s a spiritual matter. How can we follow Jesus or call ourselves Christians if we do not know what Jesus did and said through the Bible? A Christian is a disciple of Christ. Even if a person is lame, he can have joy and be fully alive as fruit of the Holy Spirit.
I once saw a sign that said, “Asking is the rule of The Kingdom.” When we ask God according to His will, He will grant that. How can we ask when we don’t read His will as written in His Word?
It’s a long process to be moulded by God that’s why I encourage my friends to receive Jesus Christ. There’s still the process of falling, His discipline on us as He shapes us.
Challenges come whether you’re a Christian or not. I ask my friends, “Would you like to face your challenges alone or with The God of The Impossible with you and you are thisclose with Him?
She went on to share that it is very important to declare LIFE words, edifying words, in alignment with God’s Word and will instead of DEATH words that tear down, that agree with the lies of the enemy, who comes ONLY to steal, kill and destroy.
This is the central verse of her talk on The Power of Words:
Dear Lord, Thank You for the passion that You gave Kuh to share Your Word. Thank You for her life. Thank You for Your grace manifested in her. Thank You for Your reminder through her the care we must take for every word we say, that they be worthy as we will account for every idle word we say. By our words we will be acquitted, by our words we will be condemned. Please empower us to seek and know Your Word so we would know Your will, we would know how to align our prayers to Your will, we would know what words are edifying to keep in our vocabulary and which words are from the enemy which we should stay away from. Thank You that Your Word is available to us and we have the freedom to read it in Jesus’s name amen.
It’s easy to dish out sweet honey words that edify people and to love the loveable with darling verbal hugs. The toughest test comes when a wrong chord has been struck or we have been grossly violated. That’s exactly when we need to go back to these pretty proverbs to remind us that we are God’s children who need to talk the walk becoming of God’s princesses.
Lord, apart from You we can do no good thing but in Jesus by the power of Your Holy Spirit, we ask You possess us and sweep us off our feet to the spiritual realm where You are Righteous Judge, where You command us to cast all our burdens to You. Help us to be tongue-tied if necessary, our lips sealed and zipped, our duck pouts muzzled until we are so washed by Your Word and Spirit that what will come out of our dainty mouths that praise You will be words from You that come with the seal of the Holy Spirit. God, help us when that time comes, please! We ask these in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen!