Last week I received a message from a victory group leader asking what the Bible teaches about dreams and visions. We know about people in the Bible having significant dreams (like Joseph and Daniel) but does God still reveal things to us that way?

One of the fascinating books I read more than a year ago was Nabeel Qureshi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” where he recounted his dream of standing outside a narrow door and not being able to get into a wedding feast; a dream he later realized was taken straight out of the parable of Jesus in Luke 12:22-29. Qureshi was a Muslim who had been wrestling with the decision to accept Christ but was held back by so much intellectual doubting. Seeing a series of three dreams was his final confirmation of the divinity of Jesus. Today, Qureshi is one of the itinerary speakers at the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. (Edit: In September 16, 2017, Nabeel Qureshi died of stomach cancer).

More than a year ago we did our first post-Yolanda discipleship training here in Tacloban. There were only 15 of us but we were hopeful that the Lord will grow the seeds we were planting at that time.

This Saturday, we will have our fourth Victory Weekend with 25 participants. By the time this week is over, we would have baptized close to 100 people in less than two years, over 90% of them are locals. That is amazing. The first time I came here in early 2014, almost half of those who attended our services were foreigners. Every week we would pray for more locals to be plugged into the church. We conducted discipleship trainings, did One2One and formed victory groups even if it seemed like nothing was happening.

We know of shock absorbers.

I first came across this word in college when the seniors ahead of me wrote in their thesis acknowledgments the names of people who were their shock absorbers. These were close friends who listened patiently as they ranted about professors and thesis advisers who gave them academic hell.

Then of course there’s the shock absorbers for cars and other vehicles.

The point of shock absorbers is to lessen impact, to make collision less painful, less damaging. A bit similar to what Jesus was saying in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He offers wide open arms to those who have heavy loads to carry, those who have untold griefs bursting in their chests.

Why do we talk about money every year? Two reasons come to mind:

First, because our spiritual maturity is most obvious in the way we spend money. I’m sure there are people in your life who you really admired until you saw their attitude towards money. Some, you admire all the more. Others, well, you just shake your head and wish you hadn’t seen them acting that way.

Second, you will know who you love the most by just looking at the receipts of your purchases. I forgot who told me this but about nine years ago, this was revolutionary to my ears. Back then, I greedily stockpiled all the [pirated] DVDs I could find in Quiapo and St. Francis Square. Having been deprived of TV shows and movies in my childhood years, the sight of all the affordable DVDs thrilled me. I bought everything I wanted: Smallville, Lost, Koreanovelas, Terminator Series, Back to the Future, and James Bond, to name a few. Then someone told me that receipts are paper trails of love. The person or thing you spend most of your money on is the true love of your life.

Seth Godin:

In a race to go faster, cheaper and wider, it’s tempting to strip away elegance, ornamentation or subtlety. If you want to reach more people, aim for average.

The market, given a choice, often picks something that’s short-term, shoddy, inane, obvious, cheap, a quick thrill. Given the choice, the market almost never votes for the building, the monument or the civic development it ends up being so proud of a generation later. Think about it: the best way to write an instant bestseller is to aim low…

Paul’s letters always start with the same greetings: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3).”

To our modern ears, that sounds like nothing but mandatory politeness. In Paul’s day, however, those few words carried so much theological and cultural weight. “Grace to you” was a standard Greek greeting; “peace to you” was its Jewish equivalent.

In the first century world, there were three relational hostilities: the Jews looked down on the Greeks, and the Greeks despised the Jews; men were dismissive of the women, and women were embittered toward men; free people saw slaves as sub-humans, and slaves resented the free people in return (Scott Sauls, 2015; Galatians 3:28).