My Observations: The SUM International Virtual Campus Days session of May 30, 2020

My Observations: The SUM International Virtual Campus Days session of May 30, 2020

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Hey everyone! I’d like to share to you that I attended something special on the morning of May 30, 2020. It was an online event held via the now popular Zoom app and it was called the SUM International Virtual Campus Days session for that particular Saturday which I got invited to by nice friends of mine involved with SUM. SUM is in reference to SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary.

Before I begin, let me explain what SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary is. SUM is a bible-based academic institution with a purpose to raise up Pentecostal ministry leaders through the Jesus Model of Leadership. It equips indigenous leaders from America and the nations of the world by offering an affordable theological education, combining academic instruction with practical hands-on ministry and personal mentorship. SUM’s mission is to empower these leaders to be instruments of change in their communities. The institution was founded upon simple biblical truths in reference to John 3:16, John 4:35, Ephesians 4:11-12, Luke 9:1-2 and Mark 9:35.

When it comes to accreditation, SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary is highly credible as it has been nationally accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), the oldest Bible college accreditation agency, specializing in biblical ministry formation and professional leadership education. SUM is officially recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education. It is also one of the eight regional associations that make up the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), representing North America. SUM is also accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). To learn much more about SUM, visit www.SUM.edu

Now that things have been explained, here’s a look at what I attended on May 30, 2020.

The SUM International Virtual Campus Days session summarized

Early in the session there was this very welcoming musical performance by SUM-uniformed men and women, and among them were my friends. After that, SUM founder George Neau delivered his welcome remarks and made a reference to chapter 6 of the Book of Isaiah in the Holy Bible.

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SUM’s uniformed musicians delivered a fine and welcoming performance. (contributed photo)

As the presentation went on, SUM emphasized the Jesus Leadership Model, practical ministry and mentoring.

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SUM Visionary Leader Pastor Paul C. Mata on-screen. (contributed photo)

During his part of the presentation, Pastor Paul Mata (Visionary Leader) explained the online Christian schooling model of SUM and, more notably, he talked about empowering leaders for fivefold ministry.. The fivefold ministry is being done in line with SUM’s goal of bringing in a billion young people to Lord Jesus in His kingdom and this requires having thousands of pastors. That goal is undeniably global in scale.

Before the presentation ended, viewers from different parts of the world were invited to apply. SUM was transparent with regards on how to apply, how to pay, what courses are available and what the requirements are.

My thoughts

Considering the advancements of technology, communication and Internet access, SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary makes Christian, bible-based education more accessible than ever. It’s not just futuristic, it is the modern-day standard in more ways than one. Think about it…you attend a course of SUM online at the comfort of your home. No more having to spend so much time and energy traveling to and from the place of learning (note: I still remember the very stressful times I went through with traveling between home and school during my college days a few decades ago).

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At SUM’s website are the ways on how to apply. (contributed photo)

SUM’s model is very impressive and the bible-based education it offers means greater opportunities for learners to deeply learn God’s Word, find ways to apply the lessons in life and get to really know the Lord and be faithful with Him. SUM will also educate learners about the true meaning of being part of church.

Regarding future events, the next Campus Day of SUM is fast approaching. In fact, it will take place this coming Saturday (June 20, 2020) at precisely 9AM.

Before that happens, anyone who is interested to join must register now.

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At SUM, graduation is always special and memorable. (contributed photo)

Going back to the institution’s goal, the following powerful words are written in SUM’s Statement of Faith: the Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointment for the fulfillment of her great commission.

If you are serious about in-depth learning of Christianity, Lord Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, then SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary is the academic institution you should consider. Visit them now at www.SUM.edu

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SUM is always welcoming to participants and newbies. (contributed photo)

In ending this piece, here is a holy scripture from the Passion Translation of the Bible.

Every Scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness. Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you.

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (TPT)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved  and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Reject Halloween, Stand With God

In my old life, I used to be fond of celebrating Halloween. Having been Born Again, I realized my true purpose in life under God the Father and His Son Jesus. That being said, I realized how wrong it is to celebrate which is essentially evil and unholy for any Christian (including those who practice idolatry which itself is sinful). Halloween will take Christians away from the Lord and that alone is reason enough to reject it.

Halloween’s origin is Celtic by nature and it is connected with observing the sacrifices to gods under the Druidic culture. There is also Samhain, a dark lord who sends out evil souls to attack humans can only save themselves by disguising themselves with the images of those very evil souls.

Sounds familiar? It is because there are these modern day Halloween practices that are linked to the evil rites and superstitions of Halloween. In the modern world where Halloween gets celebrated, people (including many children) go out and around their local communities wearing costumes of horror figures like zombies, demons, monsters and pop culture-related villains (examples: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers). These costumed Halloween participants, looking horrific, would visit any household that offers candy for trick-or-treat. Wearing “non-horror” costumes like superhero attire or fantasy attire (example: dressed like a princess) does NOT reduce the evil that comes with Halloween. There is no such thing as an innocent way of celebrating Halloween.

And then there are those multimedia-related ways of celebrating Halloween like watching horror movies back to back or playing video games that carry strong horror themes. There is also the business aspect of Halloween as food retailers promote the season by linking it with selling candy and chocolate (clearly to take advantage of families or groups that intend to give away the sweets during trick-or-treat Halloween celebrations in the local communities).

Halloween trick-or-treat here in the Philippines even made its way to local government units. In October of 2016 and 2017, the City Government of Parañaque organized trick-or-treat at City Hall which attracted kids wearing costumes (including horror and superhero attire) who visited varied offices that give away candy. During those times, the City Government even organized special events at the nearby city sports complex celebrating Halloween which I find rather disturbing.

In my old life, I enjoyed celebrating Halloween and I used to ignore the claims that it was unholy and evil. While I never went out for trick-or-treat as a kid, I helped out in giving candy to costumed visitors. I also hiked around the local area photographing the Halloween activities flocked by participants, and then uploading those pics online for social media users to view. I also took time celebrating Halloween by watching horror movies.

Looking back, I honestly admit that celebrating Halloween was indeed wrong. Now that I’m a saved soul and a dedicated Christian with a living relationship with the Lord, I declare that Halloween is wrong, unholy and evil. Halloween is a popular tool used by Satan to take people away from God and Jesus. Halloween definitely should be rejected always and we Christians must always be with God. Let me discuss the following points.

“Is it okay for a Christian to celebrate Halloween?”

The answer is a definite NO. Let’s take a look at the Holy Scripture below.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (NKJV)

And now the Amplified version.

You cannot drink [both] the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons. You cannot share in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons [thereby becoming partners with them].

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (AMP)

Very clearly, there is no room to worship both the Lord and evil. If you want to be with the side of God and Jesus, you really need to purify yourself and free yourself from whatever form of evil thrown at you by Satan. Satan is a loser indeed, however he still exists because Adam gave him dominion (read about Adam’s Rebellion) and as long as he exists, he will do anything to take you away from God, to prevent you from worshiping the Lord and will use anything (including religion and idolatry) to prevent you from making progress with the Lord. Halloween is one of Satan’s weapons against Christianity. Halloween is also a long-time tool of the enemy to embrace evil.

If you sinned by celebrating Halloween and committing other sinful acts in your past, you can still be saved (note: you need to be born again to be saved. Heed the words of Jesus in John 3: 3) because God is merciful and you need to be willing to repent, submit to Him and dedicate yourself to Him with an established personal relationship with Him.

Be aware that goodness comes from God and evil comes from Satan. It’s as clear as night and day. If you are a saved soul, then it is clear you should stand with God and His Son Jesus. Being dedicated to the Lord will spare you from evil, and that takes willingness and decisiveness from your end.

Learn from this Holy Scripture.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2: 1-10 (NKJV)

Each and every one of us was created to be loyal, faithful, loving and dedicated towards our Heavenly Father God and His Son Lord Jesus even as we were granted the freedom to think, act and decide. Even before we were even made, God established a plan for each and every one of us. Worshiping Satan, embracing evil, celebrating Halloween and living a life full sin and wickedness are obviously NOT part of God’s plan for us all.

By realizing the true purpose of your existence under God, you will realize that it is your destiny to be saved and to be faithful (not religious) to the Lord. Satan used a whole lot of tools to prevent God’s creations from being with Him. Satan used not only Halloween but also religion, idolatry, money, power, destruction, secularism, atheism, agnosticism, entertainment and a whole batch of other tools to bring Christians down and make evil stronger.

Going back to Halloween, that celebration of evil includes witchcraft which is an abomination! In our world, it is too easy for people to go out wearing costumes to look like witches and this alone spreads the influence of evil around. There are also filmmakers and other creative people out there who made witchcraft look cool or even a good custom to practice. The 1996 Hollywood movie The Craft is one such example of spreading Satan’s influence to the public and I personally recommend to you readers to avoid watching that movie (note: destroy whatever physical or digital copies you have of it) at all. Witchcraft and related stuff like sorcery, necromancy and magic are abominations as written in the Holy Bible. Read the Holy Scripture below.

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”

Deuteronomy 18: 9-12

Those abominations that look good in entertainment media are all made to deceive you and prevent you from achieving progress and purity with the Lord. From time to time, there are media reports about real life people who practice witchcraft, sorcery and other unholy customs that make this world a terrible place under the eyes of God. That is, obviously, very unfortunate because it proves how screwed up our physical world really is.

Even appearances can add to the influence of evil. You think going out in local community Halloween celebrations dressed as a witch, or as a magician or as a sorcerer (or even cosplaying as Marvel’s Doctor Strange) is okay with the Lord for as long as you don’t practice witchcraft and the like? Wrong! Imagery or appearances of evil spread evil and deceives others. Such imagery also will influence people to embrace idolatry which itself is a sin. Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Rejecting Halloween Effectively

You might be wondering: how are we Christians supposed to reject Halloween and its evil effectively?

First, we must realize our purpose as Christians from the following Holy Scripture.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in this world.

1 John 4: 4 (NKJV)

And the Amplified version…

Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].

1 John 4: 4 (AMP)

With that Holy Scripture in two versions, it is clear that as children of God, we are victorious for we believe in the victory of Jesus over Satan. With God on our side, nothing is impossible and we have the power to reject fear, reject evil and reject Satan ultimately. It is by faith in the Lord, not religion and not idolatry, that Christians are special and holy. Stronger than Satan too.

With God on our side, Halloween’s global popularity can be wiped away and its influence of evil on others can be removed and be replaced with the goodness and the biblical truth emphasizing the holiness and victory of Jesus.

If you are looking for practical ways to reject Halloween (and Satan), I would suggest the following:

Instead of watching horror movies or anything that carries the influence of evil, go watch YouTube videos of Christian praise-and-worship songs like the following below.

Instead of going out on Halloween trick-or-treat, pray to the Lord in your room with the door shut (refer to Matthew 6: 6 in the Holy Bible) and be aware that in this way, the Lord is in a secret place and when He sees in secret, you will be rewarded openly. If your church is open or has a holy activity at the same time as Halloween is being held on October 31, make an effort to go to church with the Lord in mind.

Instead of looking at evil images or reading materials that are related to Halloween, better read the Holy Bible or a Christian book.

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Christian books that you must read.

By now, it is clear that as Christians we must always maintain strong faith, trust and dedication to God and His Son Jesus. It also means we must be pure in holiness and there definitely is no room for us to accommodate evil in all its forms. As such, Halloween must be rejected always and its evil presence only means we must persevere more to meet God’s high call. We are all God’s creations and He made plans for each and every one of us even before we were even created. Obviously we were NOT created to worship nor magnify evil at all! We are destined to be saved (be born again) and live in holiness following Jesus. We pray to Him, serve Him, thank Him and dedicate ourselves to Him for the rest of our time.

Let me end this with one more Holy Scripture.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Colossians 1: 13 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Suicide Awareness Emphasized in Seminar

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Resource speaker John Santos led the discussion about suicide awareness during the seminar of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK).

On the afternoon of September 14 at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City, a seminar focused on the top of suicide awareness was organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) for fifty local youth (aged 15 to 30) who attended.

John Santos, who serves as the head of Information Technology (IT) at Paranaque City Hall, conducted a lecture about suicide awareness and engaged with the attendees directly. BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang and SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen were present to closely observe the lecture.

Early on, Santos mentioned factors that contribute to leading young people into thinking and even losing their lives by means of suicide such as peer pressure, broken hearts (due to the end of a romantic relationship with someone), confusion, fear, depression and the like. The resource speaker recalled during his youthful days when he had one friend who tried to take his own life but he ended up in the hospital due to a miscalculated attempt. That friend of his made a personal decision for suicide due to a heartbreak over an ended relationship and, as such, he did not go to his family for guidance.

“Real life incidents of suicide that happened from my past motivate me to speak out and help prevent youth suicide from happening,” Santos said.

Santos added that running away from the family and the community will not solve personal problems at all. He also advised attendees to be cautious when talking to troubled young people who are already leaning towards suicide as a final option of their lives. Even jokes or lighthearted words can push the troubled one to proceed with suicide.

With regards to the wide popularity of social media, Santos shared that he noticed that the youth are very expressive on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. At the same time, the vast amount of information, images and videos that the youth are exposed to make them vulnerable to being distracted and being influenced. Bad influence online can worsen the suicide situation.

“This seminar related to mental health awareness is our latest project in our effort to prevent youth suicide from happening as well as to keep suicide off the minds of our constituents,” BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang said.

Before the seminar was conducted, the BFSK organized the Zumbarangay which was a series of physical exercise (with stretching) that include dancing to music. Pretty much the same people who exercised attended the seminar.

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Youth wearing blue t-shirts (provided by the BFSK) follow the moves during the Zumbarangay session.
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A view of the youth attendees from the other side.

Before the Zumbarangay started, BFSK chairperson Tumang announced local events happening such as the Satellite Voters’ Registration process (to be done by COMELEC) on September 21 at the Pergola Mall, a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced that 400 kilograms of rice grain has been released throughout the local communities via the Waste-for-Rice project.

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Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang with the SK Kagawads on stage.

The Zumbarangay and the seminar were special projects of the BFSK supported by Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Idolaters Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God Unless They Repent, Disregard Their Idols and Submit To Him Willingly

I am a faithful Christian who got saved by Jesus through His Holy Instrument just over a year ago. I am no longer a prisoner of religion and no longer am I a lost soul. I am free to worship Father God and His Son Jesus. I left behind the useless acts of worshipping people, worshiping man-made objects, following rituals (that have little or nothing to do with the Holy Bible) and doing repetitive prayers.

Truly, the Christian life specifically requires reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons in life, praising the Lord, seeking and following His plan which was written even before the beginning of time.

We live in a screwed-up world. A world so divisive, there are many people who drifted so far away from the Lord and the sad news is that those people do not even realize they are spiritually lost. I’m not just talking about the non-believers but also the people who are trapped by religion.

Religion is mean and frustrating. It comes with a whole bunch of rules, traditions and rituals that truly hinder a person from establishing true faith and a true relationship with the Lord. Among the many hindrances that come with religion is idolatry.

Idolatry, in its simplest form, is the act of worshiping an idol. In the context of the Holy Bible, idolatry is the worship of an image or a created object or someone (a person). Truth behold, idolatry is a sin and no matter what religious leader would say to defend it, it is truly a sin and there is no exception for it!

The people who commit idolatry are idolaters. You worship a picture or a statue or a person you find charming? That makes you an idolater and also a sinner in the eyes of God whom we should all be worshiping directly and trust fully. Consider the following scripture.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Now this is not the first time I discussed how idols hinder people from establishing faith and trust in the Lord. The purpose of this article is to go even deeper about idols and why they are not only worthless but are elements that lead to sin.

In this messy world we live in, there are still many people who are trapped by religion and its rituals and that means they believe that God is not approachable. These unfortunate people have been misled and oriented by their religious leaders into believing that worshiping idol (be it a handcrafted object or an image or a person who is supposedly holy) is necessary to connect with the Lord. It’s simply not true!

The worshiping of a statue, or a painting or some man-made object is unnecessary. And then there is the religion-based belief imposed on people that they should see God in their worship leader which requires them to worship that particular mortal person just to connect to the Lord. This one is also unnecessary and not true.

The truth is God is approachable and He does not require believers to worship an object nor a person just to connect to Him. Worshiping the Lord should be direct (with the guidance of a worship leader who does NOT require worship of him) and free from the obstruction of idolatry!

Apart from worshiping the Lord, people (whether they trapped by religion or unbelief) are vulnerable because they easily get charmed by people whom they find charismatic, heroic and capable of making reforms happen for their benefit. A person trapped by religion who thinks he’s worshiping God through idols, can always fall for the charm of another person whom he perceives to be a carrier of hope and change that would feed his selfish desire. Above it all, these acts of idolatry make one a sinner in the eyes of the Lord!

If you are someone who had to look up to idols to worship God, be aware that you’ve been moving down the wrong path all this time. Learn from the following scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4: 3-8 (NKJV)

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20: 3-6 (NKJV)

Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19: 4 (NKJV)

Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Isaiah 45: 20 (NKJV)

Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.

Jonah 2: 8 (NKJV)

See? The holy scriptures I just shared above are clear and definitive. We don’t need idols at all! We don’t need to do any idolatry! We don’t need to worship people to connect to God who is truly approachable and we are truly free to not only worship Him directly but also repent to Him directly, thank Him directly and converse with Him directly. We don’t need those statues, statuettes, paintings, drawings, and all those other religious ornaments that are truly unholy.

On the topic of idols, an idol is not limited just to man-made objects, images and people. Even things like alcohol, drugs, sex, a relationship, a vehicle, a computer, a smartphone, a very immersive video game or computer software, a highly interactive artificial intelligence and a home can also become idols in the sense that they will take you away from the Lord. You prioritize playing a very immersive video game like Fallout 4 (where you create a character and literally live a 2nd life within the game) over praying to the Lord and reading the Holy Bible? That is offensive already to Him. As God Himself said, He is indeed a jealous God and that means we must prioritize Him with our time and attention!

To understand this, take time to read this scripture.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying ‘Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen tor incline to their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.”

Jeremiah 44: 2-6 (NKJV)

Those were God’s words above. That was His anger against His own people because even though His prophets did their best, the people refused to listen and ultimately, they disobeyed God. God’s wrath is not to be taken lightly and we can all avoid it by destroying the idols! No more worshipping objects and people! No more spending ourselves on vices or hobbies that take us apart from the Lord! We need to reform ourselves, change our lifestyles, repent to God for the idolatry committed and then dedicate ourselves to Him.

Along the way, there is the need for each and everyone of us to be born again. To learn about becoming born again, read the words of Jesus in John 3: 3 and follow the subsequent verses. Take note that in order to receive the Holy Spirit from the Lord and become a new creation, becoming born again is essential! You can also refer to the prayer on becoming born again at the end of my previous article about trusting God and disregarding idols.

So it is clear once again that we do not need religion, we don’t need idols and we don’t need rituals. Idols are clearly unholy! What we need is faith and a relationship with the Lord who is truly approachable. To be born again, one must willingly accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Along the way, reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons on our respective lives is essential.

The path with the Lord is clear! Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. The saved souls will.


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Participants Educated at Youth Forum in BF Homes

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A youth group discussion.

For the entire day of August 31, over sixty youth from varied developing communities of Barangay BF Homes had fun, worked together and got educated during the Youth Forum (full title: Edukasyon Para sa Lahat – Kaeskwela Youth Forum) held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City.

Under the watch of Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino (in-charge of the education committee), youth from Masville, Sampaloc and a few other developing communities formed seven groups and their respective members not only bonded but also learned new things. For fun, they took part in a series of games and contests.

In the afternoon, each group took on the challenge of getting their members together to discuss what issues they see affect the youth of their generation today, express what can be done to not only survive and progress, and express their suggestions on how the local authority – namely Barangay BF Homes – can help them through service.

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Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino talks to the youth.

During her address to the youth, Kagawad Espino announced that the Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is already being prepared and soon they will announce when and where exactly it will be held. Espino told me that the Youth Forum served as a prelude to the Youth Camp.

“Why are we doing these activities? We have objectives set. While we (the barangay) cannot always build the future for the youth, we can help the youth develop ways to prepare themselves for the future,” said the Kagawad during her address. “Local youth can learn a lot to move forward through the activities organized by the barangay.”

During the group presentation of the Youth Forum, common issues that affect youth include Internet addiction, social media obsession, drugs, avoiding or cutting classes, depression, obsession with video games and computer games, bullying, peer pressure, gender confusion due to LGBTQ propaganda, exposure to sensuality and the like.

As I watched the groups express themselves, I noticed how much of an impact social media had on the youth. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, young people of today are so exposed to lots of random forms of information or images, videos and sounds which are clearly distracting to them. Some youth participants admitted they had trouble resisting social media use while others said they experienced temptations while online.

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Youth brainstormed together by group.

Compared to what I witnessed more than twenty years ago (before social media was realized), the new issues that affected the youth was the rise of Internet access as well as the rise of computer and video games. Back in those old days, there were lots of concerns and complaints from parents/guardians stressing that digital games and Internet addiction made educating and nurturing their children harder. There was also a wave of concern that young people will become violent and obsessive with digital content.

Going back even further into the past – specifically just before Internet access became available here in the Philippines – sexual and mature or violent content shown in movie theaters, television and print media were the hot issues related to the development of young people.

By today’s standards, those old issues seem to pale in comparison to the wide and powerful influence social media has on the current generation of youth who now enjoy better access to Internet due to the availability of cheap smartphones and the numerous WiFi hot spots around the communities. Such a high number of opportunities to connect online means more exposure to videos, images, verbal expressions that could influence users and even impact their behavior. Even worse, there could be potential victims by hackers among these young users. Imagine yourself being the parent of these youth.

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The young people brainstorming as observed by Kagawad Espino.
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A youth signs at a tarpaulin confirming his part as a participant.

Going back to the Youth Forum, the event ended with a positive and promising note. I noticed several participants were already excited about the upcoming Youth Camp which could attract a potential five hundred participants. What Kagawad Espino told me was significant.

“Today’s event is very successful as it has been very challenging to reach out and convince these kids to decide to participate. It was also challenging to engage them and maintain their attention all throughout. Regardless, the fact that they attended until five o’clock proves the success,” Espino said. “This Youth Forum was the result of requests by the parents of these youth and this serves as a prelude to this year’s Youth Camp. We received feedback from parents who noticed that youth seem disturbed and they requested for another Youth Camp to be held.”

Supported by Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez, the August 31 Youth Forum was the latest youth-related achievement of Barangay BF Homes through the committee headed by Kagawad Espino. Prior to it, the Barangay BF Homes edition of the Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 celebration organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) became a major success attracting more than three hundred (300+) youth. Kagawad Espino congratulated the BFSK during her visit at the August 17 Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.

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More youth signed on.
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A large group shot in front of photographers.

For updates regarding the youth activities and developments of Barangay BF Homes, come back here soon.

While waiting, you can read my exclusive interview with BFSK chairwoman Mariel Angela Tumang here, my exclusive scoop on BFSK’s campaign against youth suicide here and my exclusive interview of BFSK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero here.

Let me end this piece with this scripture from the Holy Bible.

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,

To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

Psalm 14: 2 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero

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Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero.

To be a youth engaged in public service aimed at the local community is not a joke. For starters, youth here in the Philippines have their academics to prioritize. They also have to spend time with their respective families and obey their parents. As if that was not had enough, youth public servants have to do a ton of research youon participating in the democratic exercise (note: running for office and convincing voters to trust them), the legislative procedures and actual participation in projects and events.

Those are just some of the things that Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) Kagawad Jerry Dalmero went through. The 20-year-old has been serving in the SK (youth council in English) of what is the largest barangay in South Metro Manila since late June of 2018. He is in the same SK leadership with six other SK kagawads and SK chairperson Mariel Tumang.

This is my feature interview of him.

A guy named Jerry

Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero was born in 1999 in Masville which is a developing community within the said barangay in Parañaque City. He has yet to complete his academics. Apart from serving in the BFSK, he is also active as a coach in the Masville Elementary School Performing Arts Group where he teaches youth how to dance, sing, act and modeling.

Before even running for the BFSK, the Sangguniang Kabataan was reformed nationally through legislation in 2015. This made a series of changes on the SK system and as such the SK election (held per community nationwide) in May 2018 was the first of the reformed system. This makes Jerry Dalmero, his fellow SK kagawads and chairperson Tumang the pioneers of the reformed BFSK.

Dalmero ran in the May 2018 SK election of Barangay BF Homes as a member of the SK candidates team under the group of Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez. I asked him how he became a candidate in the first place.

“A teacher recommended me to ma’am Zeny Pascual who was working for Barangay BF Homes. I was asked if I were interested to run for a seat in the SK,” Dalmero recalled. “At first, I really did not want to run because I knew that politics is dirty. I also found disturbing the idea for running which requires a whole lot of resources such as funds, campaign materials, on-site campaigns and others. My teacher told me that my candidacy will be supported.”

Subsequently Dalmero agreed to run under the banner of Team Paolo Marquez in the 2018 election. To his surprise, he and his teammates received a whole of support, sponsors and other supporters.

During the campaign period in the summer of 2018, Dalmero and his teammates had to endure the challenges of physically campaigning around Barangay BF Homes which is known not only for its very high population but also for the high density of community population and vast physical locations.

“It was very hard for me to campaign. I really did not realize back then that Barangay BF Homes is very large and wide. We visited not only a lot of places but also the hard-to-reach spots where there turned out to be lots of residents. I had to learn a lot as the campaign went on. I even missed some meetings with my family,” he said.

Dalmero had to learn new ways in order to communicate effectively with the voters. His teammates also happen to be good looking and he even wondered if he was charismatic enough to attract the voters.

The election campaign engine of Team Paolo Marquez turned out to be efficient. Dalmero admitted that as he and his SK teammates struggled to reach out to voters, then candidate for Barangay captain Paolo Marquez took time out to convince voters to support their youth ticket. Marquez even raised the arm of Dalmero to the voters. Eventually Dalmero won.

Before winning, however, the stress and anxiety went really high as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) counted the votes of the SK election in May 2018. Dalmero and his teammates were at the Team Paolo Marquez campaign headquarters waiting for whatever updates would come in. As he was already exhausted from the campaigning and lack of sleep during the night of vote counting, he left to go home to rest. That was until something happened.

“I was on my way back home when I decided to ask someone for updates regarding the election results. Shortly after, I received an update that the counting was finished and that several of us had to go to the Phase 1 gym (along Pilar Banzon street) for the proclamation. As I was riding going to the venue, I was in tears as I was happy and felt very relieved to have won,” Dalmero recalled.

Even though he and others got proclaimed, Dalmero still could hardly believe his victory was real. He remembered that before even becoming a candidate with the team of Chairperson Paolo Marquez, a lot of youth were asked if they were interested to run. Considering the odds and challenges he went through, Dalmero’s victory was a hard-earned one.

As member of the BFSK, Dalmero handles the Committee on Culture and Tourism. The committee is in charge of organizing or sponsoring events dealing with culture and history, and engage the local youth to participate. Along the way, he served as judge in varied contests or special events in different schools within the barangay.

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SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero watches along with a group of youth during the Barangay BF Homes SK’s Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.

For the near future, Dalmero announced that his committee will organize pageants called Little Miss Barangay BF Homes and Miss Barangay BF Homes. The latter will serve as the basis for Barangay BF Homes on selecting candidates to represent them in the annual Binibining Parañaque pageant which is held each time the City Government of Parañaque organizes its Cityhood Anniversary events. The final venue and schedules of the two said events will be determined soon.

Also coming is a talent workshop to be organized by BFSK designed to train participants to sing and dance. Also part of it is a recital concert. The committee is also involved in the cleanliness and beautification efforts of the BFSK.

Message to the Readers

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Dalmero and BF SK chairperson Mariel Tumang with many youth during the 2019 Buwan ng Wika celebration at Masville Elementary School. (source – Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay BF Facebook page)

“I express my thanks to the readers of this website and I hope that youth, both online and in the real world, will become inspired to be more productive and more meaningful people for they are the future of our nation. That being said, the youth who do well will eventually inspire many other people.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

 

To All Single Parents, Be Happy Because God Loves You And Has Plans For You! (Part 1 – Hagar the Single Mother)

Long ago here in the Philippines, I noticed there were negative vibes against single parents. Specifically I’m talking about the individuals who became parents without getting married and also those who became parents (having at least one child while being married to a spouse) who became widowed (losing the spouse).

Decades ago, I noticed that there is this expectation within many families that getting married and raising a new family is a traditional goal which is expected to be fulfilled by the children as they grow into adulthood. This expectation, in my observation, is for the most part the result of religion-based traditions and rituals that influenced Philippine society for many generations.

As a result, there is a side effect caused by those religious traditions and rituals that emphasize marriage – discrimination towards individuals who became parents without getting married.

For the people who became single parents as a result of losing their respective spouses, they (as widowed individuals) often encounter expectations or suggestions from others to get married again.

In my experience, I noticed single parents get questioned harshly, get viewed with skepticism, and even get discriminated by others because most people got indoctrinated by the religious influence and expectations related to marriage. Of course, I am not saying that marriage itself is bad.

I personally know people who strongly believe in religious views of marriage and carry in their minds the false belief that single parents and their descendants are cursed and will always be treated as lower-class people. This belief, of course, adds to the discrimination against single parents. As such being a single parent is often challenging not only here in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world.

If you are a single parent reading this, fear not about your status. Do not let others put you down because what many of them do not know is the truth that God loves, cares and has plans for all single parents! That’s right! God values single parents and for as long as they keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, they will be blessed by Him!

The good news here is that it is all recorded in the Holy Bible and in this article, we will focus on the true story of Hagar!

Let’s look back at the Book of Genesis.

Hagar the single mother

Some time after God established the first blood-sacrifice covenant with Abram (Chapter 15), his wife Sarai had no children with him (Chapter 16). She told her husband, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16: 2 NKJV)

Sarai took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to Abram to be his wife. After getting involved with him, Hagar conceived. Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar who fled from her presence. An Angel from the Lord found her by a sprint of water in the wilderness.

The Angel, who called her by name and her occupation as Sarai’s maid, asked her where she came from and where she was going to. Hagar replied that she was fleeing from Sarai.

“Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” (Genesis 16: 9 NKJV)

The Angel’s message did not just end there. He further said (Genesis 16: 10-12 NKJV):

“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”

“Behold, you are with child,

And you shall bear a son,

You shall call his name Ishmael,

Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

“He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,

And every man’s hand against him.

And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

It was made clear to Hagar that God really has plans for her and her son with Abram. As she was not married to Abram and her involvement with him was the result of Sarai’s intervention (which symbolizes the dangers of taking God’s promises into our own hands), Hagar was illegitimate but God did NOT abandon her nor cursed her.

God really cared for Hagar and even before the birth of Ishmael, He made a plan for him as well. Eventually Hagar bore Abram his son. Abram, who was already eighty-six years old, named the baby Ishmael. At this stage, Hagar became a single mother.

Some time after Sarah (formerly Sarai) gave birth to Isaac, her son with Abraham (formerly Abram), Hagar and Ishmael’s time with them came to an end.

According to Genesis 21: 8-21, Isaac grew and was weaned and Abraham made a great feast on that very day. Then Sarah saw Ishmael. She told Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.”

This displeased Abraham. Eventually God said to him, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

In case you got lost, Hagar is referred to as the bondwoman. The single mother’s challenges continued but God still cared for her and Ishmael.

The fateful morning came when Abraham gave bread and a skin of water to Hagar, then he sent her and Ishmael away.

So did the single mother and her boy just get lost and died shortly after? Absolutely not! There definitely is more to the truth about them in the Holy Bible. As recorded in the Bible, the land promised to Abraham became Israel which was passed on to Isaac and Jacob. While Abraham’s line went on to become highly significant as God fulfilled His promise to him, this does not mean that Hagar and Ishmael ended up empty and abandoned by God. Now we go back to them.

Together Hagar and her son wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. Eventually the water ran out and she placed Ishmael under one of the shrubs.

Hagar went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot. She said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.”

Then she sat opposite him and lifted her voice and wept.

The God responded to the voice of the lad and He sent an Angel to Hagar!

“What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”

Then Hagar’s eyes were opened by God and she saw a well of water. She went to the well, filled the skin with water and gave Ishmael a badly needed drink.

As God had plans for him, Ishmael grew up and dwelt in the wilderness where he became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran and Hagar took a wife for him from her native Egypt.

Lessons learned

Hagar’s story in the Holy Bible clearly showed that God loves, cares for and made plans for single parents like her. This also means that blessings from God were extended to their children as seen through Ishmael.

While Ishmael did not inherit anything from his father Abraham, he still went on to live a life as an archer and as a husband as God fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham regarding his son with Hagar.

Along the way, God made clear to Abraham that He would establish his covenant with Isaac.

As recorded in Genesis Chapter 17: 18-20, Abraham mentioned Ishmael to God stating that he (son with Hagar) might live before Him.

God responded, “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”

Going back to Hagar, the single mother in the Holy Bible symbolizes the person who has been unfairly treated, deserted, and cut off with little provision. But even so, the Lord intervened with provision (both spiritual and physical) for her. She and her son went on to live longer as God fulfilled His promise of making a great nation out of Ishmael.

When Hagar was desperate and struggling to survive in the wilderness, she called out to God crying. Even in the worst of times (being put down by Sarah, getting banished by Abraham and the like), she still believed in the Lord and trusted Him. From Heaven, God sent an angel to her and the well of water that suddenly materialized right there in the wilderness was only the beginning that led to the realization of His blessing for Ishmael. This proves that God will never abandon nor forsake His children. All it takes is having faith in Him and putting our trust in Him no matter how bad or how challenging life becomes.

To put things in perspective about God’s love and care for ALL of us (including single parents), here is a scripture from Deuteronomy 31: 6 (NKJV)

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

In John 14: 18 (NKJV), Lord Jesus (the Son of God) said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

In Isaiah 41: 10 (NKJV), God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

To put into perspective God’s love, mercy, care and plans for all of His children, heed this scripture from Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV).

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Going back to the topic at hand, it is obvious by now that for as long as we keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, God will always love us, provide for us and accept us into His Kingdom. All of these apply to single parents and the story of Hagar and Ishmael is the biblical truth that can be lived with.

God’s love and provision for the single mother Hagar and her son easily kills the false belief that single parents and their children are cursed. If you know someone who still lives by that false belief and looks down at single parents and their children, tell that misguided person to read Genesis 21: 8-21 in the Holy Bible. The truth should set that person free!

If you are a single parent who has suffered a lot and you lived a life of religion or unbelief, and you truly want to establish faith and a relationship with God, then you must realize that you need to be born again because Lord Jesus said so (refer to John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses).

It is indeed true that by nature, religion is mean, it will frustrate you and prevent you from establishing a relationship with God. You may not realize it until now but you really do not need religion at all. What you need is faith and relationship with the Lord. I know! Religion and its believers frustrated me and kept me in prison (literally) and it even pushed me away from God and made me a lost soul for a number of years. After that, thanks to the Lord and His Instrument (my dearest friend in life) I repented, submitted myself to God and I willingly accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have been saved and been blessed a lot, and my life has moved forward a lot in a short span of time.

You have the power to decide to be born again. This includes repenting to God for all the sins you committed, submitting yourself to Him and then accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It is never too late to be born again and never too late for you to break the chains of religion (along with all the idolatry, rituals and traditions it comes with) or unbelief that has hindered you and your child (or children) for so long.

Think of the truth in the Holy Bible. Apart from the truth of Hagar and Ishmael who got banished by Abraham, there is also the truth of Adam’s rebellion against God which caused chaos and brought humanity downwards. Even with all the chaos that happened, God sent His Begotten Son Jesus into the world to spread the good news, died to redeem humanity (caused by the Fall of Man and Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden), came back to life, made His resurrected presence felt and ascended to Heaven with the promise of His return.

If you seek salvation right now by becoming born again, be prepare to repent to the Lord, submit to His authority, let go of all the elements that hindered you from connecting with Him (the idolatry, traditions and rituals of religion and other unholy elements) and be ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. No more worshiping people and idols in any form. It is only the Lord you should always worship from this point on.

Ready? Then pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations, reader! You are now a child of God! Praise the Lord and always be faithful to Him! The Holy Spirit is in you. As such, I encourage you – the born again single parent reading this – to read the holy scripture in Acts 16: 31. Grab the Holy Bible to read it as your first lesson and whatever new lessons you learned afterwards, do the Word of God by applying it in your life.

In the near future, another article about single parents and their situations in the Holy Bible will be discussed. Remember that God is not a tyrant and therefore nobody living in the flesh has the right to put you – the single parent – down. God is a loving, caring and providing father to all of us who believe in Him and have a personal relationship with Him. It is true that single parents like you who have faith in Him are welcome in His kingdom.

In closing this, here is a Christian music video for your reflection and faith in the Lord.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

With regards to Christianity, if you are within the BF Homes or Alabang areas of South Metro Manila and you are spiritually lost looking for someone to talk to or to join a Christian church that will welcome you, please feel free to contact me by mobile phone at 09053350831 or by email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com to schedule a meeting.

A Tremendously Successful 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan in Barangay BF Homes by the BFSK

A Tremendously Successful 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan in Barangay BF Homes by the BFSK

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From Left to Right were Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) kagawads Irene Juanico, Anne Corre, chairperson Mariel Tumang, SK kagawads Jerry Dalmero and Stephanie Sebullen.

As far as the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) is concerned, August 17, 2019 will be remembered for a long time as their 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan event held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City turned out to be tremendously successful in terms of youth turnout and participation.

According to BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang (read my exclusive feature interview of her here), the turnout was bigger than the two hundred and fifty youth they anticipated. For a whole day, youth from around Barangay BF Homes (Masville, Sampaloc Site 1 and 2, Clinic Site, and others) engaged in lots of activities such as parlor games, group performances, Tagalog literary contest, the Trashionista competition (models wearing gowns made out of recycled materials) and more.

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Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson Mariel Tumang (left) herself handled the registration of the many youth who lined up early.
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Many youth in line on the morning of August 17.

“The turnout and participation of youth to our Linggo ng Kabataan event went beyond our expectations. We targeted around two hundred fifty youth but by the time our initial count ended, it reached at two hundred and ninety-four. Then even more joined in pushing the count beyond the three hundred mark,” Tumang confirmed. “We are surprised and very delighted with the better than expected turnout.”

Filled with happiness, Tumang declared their Linggo ng Kabataan event a very successful one and no less than Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino expressed her admiration for the event (see below).

It should be noted that Tumang and the SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen as well as their SK secretary Darrenz Fabros and SK treasurer Jefferson Ching worked long and hard on organizing the event from the decorations to the registration of youth and implementing the program of the day.

Engagement and Achievements

 

 

Along the way, the youth also engaged with each other through socializing when they had their meals and breaks. Early in the day, I found time to approach some young people to get their perspective about the activities.

“I’m excited mainly for the parlor games,” said 16-year-old Hazel.

“The Trashionista looks exciting. I’m really curious as to how our fellow youth will prove their creativity on making gowns using recycled materials,” said Maria, also aged 16.

Another youth (age 18) I interviewed named Mark revealed that the socializing aspect interests him the most as he has always been excited to meet youth from other areas of the barangay through the BFSK’s organizing of events for them.

The activities include Palarong Pinoy which was composed of a variety of parlor games participated by teams and these games really dominated the day which gave the participants a lot of fun and socializing along the way.

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A group performs during the cheering contest.
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One of the candidates wearing a gown and a crown made of recycled materials answered a question during the Trashionista.

Trashionista was a fashion show and pageant-like activity highlighting dresses and accessories made out of recycled materials emphasizing creativity, recycling and usability. The Tagalog literary contest of poetry emphasized the use of spoken Tagalog along with the participant’s creativity and ability to express himself/herself.

By the evening, as the final activities took place, it was pretty clear that the youth were enjoying the action and themselves. The Tagalog poetry contest drew a lot of cheers from the youth-dominated audience and I noticed that many youth were still energetic and excited even at around 9PM.

“When we planned the poetry contest, we never anticipated that it would generate a lot of interest from the youth. After making the formal announcement and starting the search for candidates, the response from the youth wanting to join in was overwhelming,” SK kagawad Jerry Dalmero said during my interview with him.

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This young lady’s poetry performance drew some cheers.
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Little Miss Las Islas Filipinas 2019 winner Miarah Ysabelle Licardo poses with Barangay BF Homes’ Zeny Pascual. Licardo is a resident of Masville.
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Another poetry performance.

Ultimately, the achievements of youth – both individual and by groups – were acknowledged and awarded accordingly. The achievers per category are as follows:

Tula (Spoken Poetry)

1st place – John Paul Albiola

2nd place – Gia Fortes

3rd place – Francis Francisco

Trashionista

1st place – Francis Francisco

2nd place – Charlon Salazar

3rd place – Julie Betania

4th place – Leonel Rosales

Palarong Pinoy

1st place – Team Gray

2nd place – Team Blue

3rd place – Team Orange

BFSK praised by Barangay Kagawad Espino

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Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino. She leads the barangay committee on education.

Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino, who leads the barangay committee on education, graced the Linggo ng Kabataan event and stated she was really happy to see a large turnout of youth participating.

“I congratulate our Sangguniang Kabataan council for organizing this special event for our community’s youth and I am impressed to see the high turnout we have,” Kagawad Espino said on the stage. “I am so delighted to see so many youth who are not only attending but also are eager to make themselves heard.”

During my chat with her, Espino revealed it was very hard to reach out to the community youth and even harder to convince them to participate to events or activities meant for them. There were times that activities meant for youth empowerment got organized but attracted very few youth participants.

Furthermore, Espino announced that a youth seminar will be held for the young people of Masville on August 31 at barangay hall. It will start from 8AM and last until 3PM. She also announced the “Proud to be Drug-Free” project with a school in Masville which will be a one-day event.

What is Linggo ng Kabataan?

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For the newcomers and the readers from overseas reading this, Linggo ng Kabataan in English stands for Week of the Youth (or Youth Week for short). The celebration is not limited to the local community but in varied communities around the Philippines which have the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

According to item letter A on Section 30 (Chapter VI) of Republic Act Number 10742 (Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015), every barangay, municipality, city and province shall conduct the annual Linggo ng Kabataan on the week where the 12th of August falls to coincide with the International Youth Day. The Sangguniang Kabataan, in the case of barangay, and the respective LYDC in cooperation with the Pederasyon ng mga Sangguniang Kabataan, in the case of municipality, city and province, shall take the lead in this observance.

Item letter B states: The observance of the Linggo ng Kabataan shall include the election of the counterparts of all local elective and appointive officials, as well as heads of national offices or agencies stationed or assigned in the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit, among in-school and community youth residing in the local government concerned from ages thirteen (13) to seventeen (17). During said week, they shall hold office as boy and girl officials and shall perform such duties *and conduct such activities as may be provided in the ordinance enacted pursuant to this Chapter.

The Linggo ng Kabataan event in Barangay BF Homes was a special project of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan supported by Barangay chairman Paolo Marquez. Unsurprisingly, the tremendous success of the event drew praise from the youth participants and already there are many who are hoping for another edition of it to happen.

We’ll find out in twenty-twenty.

Finally, here are scriptures from the Holy Bible that youth and all of you, my readers, will find uplifting.

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4: 12 (NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, and will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4: 6-7 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: The Potter’s Hand

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the latest installment of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series which puts focus on songs that are not only great to listen to but are also holy and worthy of praising the Lord with.

Today, we take a close look at the song The Potter’s Hand which was released in 1998 by Hillsong Worship with words and music by the great Darlene Zschech. This is truly a beautiful song and at the same time, its lyrics are very meaningful and should make you reflect about your purpose and your existence.

Here are the lyrics…

Beautiful Lord, wonderful Savior

I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand

And crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently called me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

 –

And I’m captured by Your Holy calling

Set me apart, I know You’re drawing me to Yourself

Lead me Lord, I pray

 –

Take me

Mold me

Use me

Fill me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand

Call me

Guide me

Lead me

Walk beside me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand

 –

You gently call me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

So what does the song mean?

In my honest opinion, the clearest meaning behind the song relates to the creation of humanity done long ago by God and the purpose He prepared. In the song’s title, the word potter was used to symbolize the creator. The potter is the one who creates pots using raw materials and special skills (molding, timing, estimating, shaping, etc.). It was God, not some accidental phenomenon of science, who created the human race. As such, we need to go back to the very beginning in the Holy Bible starting with the Book of Genesis.

It was written on Genesis 1: 26-28 (NKJV):

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Take note that on verse 26, God’s words were “Our image” which turned out to be the Holy Trinity as explained in the New Testament. “Our image” most likely refers to such qualities as personality, reason and intellect along with the abilities to hear, see, speak and relate. In short, the human race was created with God’s characteristics and He really had a plan on establish the earth as a world filled with His creations that carry His traits. This truth alone is worth reflecting when we ask ourselves why God created us in the first place.

Part of humanity’s creation was for man to be God’s kingdom agent on earth. Man was meant to rule and subdue the rest of creation, including the aggressive satanic forces. God said, “let them have dominion,” which gave man the authority to execute and maintain His rules on earth. In return, it was expected that man be always obedient to Him for He is, after all, the Creator of everything. Man’s power to reign in life will extend only as far as his faithfulness to God’s law.

God’s creation of man and woman formed the foundation of the house of the Lord. Through them, He intended to manifest His character and authority, express his dominion over the earth, display His indisputable power over the works of darkness, and subdue His archenemy Satan. It was clear all along that God had plans for humanity. Those plans were created before each and every one of us were even born!

From the song was the line I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand followed immediately by And crafted into Your perfect plan. These two lines strongly reflect what God intended when He created the human race. As such, evil human traits like racism, extremism, discrimination, killing, idolatry, unfaithfulness, destruction, rebellion and abuse are clearly wrong and completely in opposite to God’s plans for humanity.

As recorded in Genesis chapter 3, humanity failed when Eve was tempted by the serpent (the evil one) into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which she gave to Adam who ate it. Adam, who was specifically commanded by God to never eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2: 15-17), committed rebellion against Him which led to an enduring series of chaos (wars, genocide, fascism, murder, crime, abusive governments and the like) in our world even until now.

Generations later, God sent to us His Son Jesus. It was Jesus who performed miracles, made people aware of God’s plan and love for them, set examples in accordance to God being a just creator, and ultimately redeemed humanity from Adam’s rebellion (refer to Hebrews 2: 14-15, Romans 8: 38-39, John 11: 25, Romans 6: 3-5, Galatians 3: 13 and Revelation 20: 6).

Clearly God had planned to save the flawed human race with Jesus! His own Son was sent to not only bring hope but also give humans the good news that God cares, loves and is willing to welcome them into His kingdom…and all it took was having faith in the Lord!

Jesus, who died for people’s sins, came back from the dead, made His return felt to several people and eventually rose to Heaven, achieved the most tremendous victory for humanity through redemption. He truly is the Messiah, the Redeemer and the Son of God whom we should all be thankful, faithful and obedient to. Jesus is the one we all should look up to for all time in our lives. Jesus is also God in the flesh which alone makes it important for us to reflect upon our creation. Creation itself is what The Potter’s Hand reflects.

To truly connect with Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, it is essential to be born again (this includes receiving the Holy Spirit into your heart) and this means breaking ourselves free from the chains of religion (along with its idols, teachings and rules that hinder people from establishing relationships with God) as well as the chains of unbelief. Being religious is NOT the same as being faithful to the Lord. Christianity is not religion but a way of life complete with faithfulness and a living relationship with the Lord. There is more to the personal relationship with God than there is to religion, and this is the truth that religious people don’t realize or have refused to accept as they allowed themselves to be trapped by religion. By becoming born again and receiving His spirit, you will truly become a child of God as well as a saved soul.

Trust me. I know! In my old life, religion ultimately led me to ruin and becoming lost. I was even hostile to Christianity during my lost years. After becoming born again, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and then a series of positive changes plus blessings (including love) followed. Thanks to Jesus, my life has moved forward by leaps and bounds! My true purpose in life has been realized and my faith in the Lord will never fade away. I have been saved, reformed and redeemed!

As Lord and Savior, Jesus is the true reformer and redeemer for humanity. Reform to be worthy of becoming part of the Kingdom of God is only possibly by having faith in Jesus. Reform led by Jesus is way beyond what any man could ever achieve. A man living in today’s age of social media and smartphones can arrogantly present himself as a reform-minded savior (or “reformer”, a fake one at that) and attract some fans (some of whom become obsessed by his charm and even commit idolatry) by using technology but ultimately he will NEVER match the impact of Jesus! People who seek salvation don’t need idols, don’t need to worship people and don’t need religion. They need Jesus!

Remember these very powerful words Jesus said in John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Going back to The Potter’s Hand, take note of the following lyrics.

You gently called me into Your presence

Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit

Teach me dear Lord, to live all of my life

Through Your eyes

 –

And I’m captured by Your Holy calling

Set me apart, I know You’re drawing me to Yourself

Lead me Lord, I pray

As His children, God called us and He has plans for each and every one of us since before the beginning of time. The true purpose of being Christian includes humbling ourselves, submitting ourselves to the Lord, learning and re-learning His lessons with deep dedication (this means intense learning from Him through the Holy Bible), realizing His plan for each of us, repenting our sins directly to Him, being faithful to Him, following His lead and meeting His High Call. The above lyrics symbolized these elements.

Truly God created us all with very solid purposes. By realizing our true purpose as Christians, we acknowledge the Holy Bible (not rituals, not traditions, not idolatry and not religion) is the ultimate authority as it is the true path to Lord, having faith in the Lord is sufficient for salvation, having a personal relationship with God is essential, spreading our Christian faith to help save the many unsaved souls.

All these lessons as confirmed by Holy Bible make The Potter’s Hand truly a very holy and meaningful song. As such, The Potter’s Hand is worthy of praising the Lord with, especially on Sunday worship at church.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Trust the Lord with all Your Heart! Don’t Hesitate and Just Do It!

I want to share to you a valuable lesson I learned during Sunday worship service at church.

The lesson was all about putting our trust in the Lord.

It clearly makes sense. As I learned from attending prayer sessions, holy seminars, Sunday worship, listening to our pastors and reading the Holy Bible, God is a just god who loves us, who cares for us, who is gentle with us, who is merciful and, at the same time, He is NOT a tyrant. God gave us His begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that we can all be saved and truly find salvation.

Those truthful descriptions about the Lord are some great reasons we need to put our trust in Him.

Why settle for less at all when we have the Lord? Why put our trust elsewhere or to someone who is inferior to the Lord?

Going back to the church lesson, the scriptures emphasized were in Jeremiah 17: 5-8 (NKJV).

Let’s start with Jeremiah 17: 5-6 (NKJV) which states:

Thus says the Lord:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man

And makes flesh his strength.

Whose heart departs from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,

And shall not see when good comes.

But shall inhibit the parches places in the wilderness

In a salt land which is not inhabited.

Here is my take….we should always take the words of the Lord very seriously. In the above scriptures, it is made clear that people like us will not prosper nor find happiness, satisfaction, peace and harmony if we trust in people instead of the Lord. As His creations living in the flesh, we need to have the Holy Spirit in our hearts and realize our true purpose under the Lord. This brings me back to what I mentioned before: people need to be born again and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

We live in a really chaotic and screwed up world. There are indeed many unsaved souls living around us and among them are secularists, atheists, agnostics and others who prefer to ignore God believing that they can live greatly and happily without Him. There are also those who are trapped by religion (many of them even propagate religion helping it trap others and prevent them from establishing a true relationship with God) and they have yet to realize their souls need saving. There are also people who don’t realize they are spiritually unsaved or even spiritually lost. Clearly there is a curse when people don’t trust the Lord and instead trusted their fellow humans.

Be aware that as you trust in people instead of God, God Himself is watching you all the time and there definitely is no hiding from Him (Proverbs 15: 3 NKJV). Don’t even think about running away or using the latest in technology to cover your tracks because God is almighty and you are better off coming out in the open, repenting to Him directly (this means NO HUMAN MEDIATOR and NO HUMAN INTERVENTIONIST between you and God) and surrender yourself to Him.

With regards to making flesh our strength, there are lots of people out there who end up being consumed by worldly developments. Instead of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, there are those who prefer to become part of social or political movements (look at all those rallies that disrupt society, the activists who appear on TV spreading their ideology, etc.), or engage in crime, or engage in obsessive acquisition of money and/or things (under the influence of covetousness), or engage in the endless wave of news generated by corporate media organizations whose agenda is to manipulate people instead of informing them properly, etc. And there are those who allowed themselves to get lost by exploring social media.

Without the Lord, we would end up suffering, get lost, experience frustration and make the world even more chaotic. This is the cursed life the Lord warned us about when we trust our fellow man over Him.

There is however hope for people who choose to trust the Lord and He Himself is hope! Learn from Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (NKJV) which states:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,

Which spreads out its roots by the river,

And will not fear when heat comes;

But its leaf will be green,

And will not be anxious in the year of drought,

Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

It is indeed true that a person who trusts the Lord gets blessed by Him. I know! I myself experienced that. Since becoming born again and placing my trust in Him, I have been blessed by the Lord a lot and, gradually, a lot of positive things happened to me personally not only financially but also socially, morally and within the family. I now have my own website, a new job, new business clients for freelance projects and I have prepared myself better for the future with regards to financial planning. Things have gotten better for me under the Lord and for as long as I remain faithful to Him, trusting in Him, honoring Him and applying His Word in my life, the blessings and favor from Him will continue to happen.

This bring me to my next point – the Lord cares! He is loving, gentle and absolutely blesses His faithful followers abundantly. All it takes to be blessed a lot by the Lord (and have a happier future complete with prosperity) is faith and the first step you need to do is to be born again and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Trust in the Lord is truly essential and the scripture above confirms that. Do not be deceived by others out there who would teach you the wrong lessons about trust. Do not allow yourself to be fooled or manipulated by taking inspiration from sources other than the Holy Bible. In my old life, I used to take inspiration from watching movies, reading comic books and playing video games. The result was a life of confusion, hardship and frustration for me. I certainly do not want these past experiences of mine to happen to you.

It took a very dear friend of mine to invite me to attend a holy seminar at her church and as the pastor emphasized lessons from the Holy Bible, I saw the light, and just a few days later, I repented and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

In my experience, trust in the Lord really started a series of positive changes in my life. It is normal for me to read the Holy Bible (applying lessons into my life), pray in tongues, practice faith by the heart, avoid worshiping idols (man-made objects and people), avoid doing repetitive prayers (religion’s deceptive practice), pray privately in my room with the door shut, give back to the Lord cheerfully, doing my part as a member of the spiritual family at our church and worship the Lord with them on Sundays. Becoming born again is truly the greatest change in my life.

Trust in the Lord and you will be reformed and get blessed. You trust the Lord, then chaos, curse and frustration will not affect you. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40: 31 NKJV). There is no denying that!

Eventually after that, you will realize the happiness that comes being blessed and being a blessing to others. This is part of true Christian living and I confirm to you, my readers, that I got blessed and became a blessing to others.

With Jesus and God’s kingdom in you, you will be blessed and become a blessing to others. With God on your side and with the Holy Spirit in your heart, nothing is impossible.

Here is another verse from the Holy Bible about trusting the Lord.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3: 5 (NKJV)

See? We are all better off trusting the Lord who created plans for each and every one of us before we were even created! Our true purpose in life is not about religion but it is all about the Lord! God has a high calling for us to realize, prepare ourselves by having faith in Him and to ultimately reach.

Don’t trust religion and other elements that will hinder you from connecting with Him. Go ahead to trust the Lord with all your heart and be more direct with Him because each and every one of us has a personal relationship with Him.

There is more to your personal relationship with the Lord than religion.

Let me end this piece with another significant verse from the Holy Bible for you all.

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16: 31 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com