Archive for April, 2011


Your Story Can Change The World

One evening, I was driving my family in a city with the most circuitous road network in the world.

And I was completely lost.

My passengers were scared. It was late at night, and some roads had no street lamps. One of my passengers was my aging aunt, and she was a pessimistic person. She said, “Isn’t this the place were they salvage people and throw the dead bodies in the cogon grass?”

But everytime I asked for directions, people were very helpful. I think so many people have gotten lost in their streets already, some have made it a hobby to guide the lost.

The first person I asked said, “Keep going straight, and when you see a carabao on your right, turn left, and then…”

I interrupted, “Excuse me, but what if the carabao walks to another spot?”

“The carabao can’t walk. It’s a statue,” she said.

“Oh, I see.” (Malay ko ba?)

She went on, “Keep going straight, until you reach a Sari-Sari store selling Siopao, that’s when you turn left again…”

True enough, I found the carabao.

But the problem was finding the Sari-Saristore. Because there was a Sari-Sari store in every street corner. So I had to stop in every single one of them, asking if they sold Siopao.

But the second person I asked for directions was very different.

I stopped beside a guy sitting on an owner jeep. I opened my window, greeted him, and told him where I wanted to go.

He shook his head, “That’s a very difficult place. A lot of people get lost going there…”


He then did the unthinkable. He switched on the engine of his jeep and said, “Follow me. I’ll take you there.”

So there I was, following him through so many twists and turns, I stopped counting when I took the 26th turn. My aunt said, “That guy will kidnap us! And then he’ll kill us, steal our car, and throw our bodies in the cogon grass.”

But fifteen minutes later, he stopped the jeep and pointed to a house. It was exactly where I wanted to go. He then waved at us and sped off.

“You see, Auntie?” I told my passenger at the back, “Your kidnapper turned out to be an Angel. He didn’t kidnap us, kill us, and throw our bodies in the cogon grass.”

She said, “Hmph. Perhaps it’s his day off.”

That little incident made me realized there are two types of guides. The first one is a pointer. The second one is a bringer.

Many People Need A Guide

Friend, many people around you are lost.

They’re seeking for happiness but they don’t know how to go there. They’ve got huge problems but they don’t know how to solve them. And they want to grow closer to God but they don’t know what to do.

God calls you to be their guide. But you can do it in two ways. You can be a pointer or you can be a bringer.

Sometimes, because of limited time, you can only point. There are people you can’t communicate often.

But for the people who you see regularly, don’t just become a pointer. Be a bringer. Walk with them. Build a relationship with them. Share your life to them. And guide them towards God.

God is asking you today: Will you be their guide?

We Love Stories

Your story can change the world.

How can you bring a friend closer to God?

Answer: By your life story.

I believe your life story can change the world.

Stories are very powerful.

How powerful?

Around 2500 years ago, Plato said, “Those who tell stories rule society.”


Because we love stories so much, our hearts open up to the storyteller.

To this day, I read bedtime stories to my kids at night. Almost every night, my 5-year old Francis tells me, “Daddy, read me 3 books tonight!” Little kids love stories. And we never outgrow that love for stories.

You want proof? We paid $4.5 Billion to James Cameron so we could watch Avatar and Titanic—the two top grossing movies in the history of the world. But what are movies? They’re stories set in sights and sounds.

The best songs in the world are stories set in music.

The bestselling book (second to the bible) isChicken Soup for the Soul. They’ve sold 112 million copies. But what is Chicken Soup for the Soul? A collection of stories.

I reflect on my preaching ministry. The best talks I’ve given in the past 31 years were powerful stories too.

Even Jesus preached by telling stories about a hidden treasure, a great pearl, a mustard seed, a good Samaritan, and a prodigal son.

Why do stories have power over us?


3 Reasons Why Stories Are Powerful

1. Stories mesmerize. They grab our attention. When you hear a good story, all of a sudden, you’re ushered into a different world. You enter a different universe. Why does this happen? Because stories don’t just teach the mind but touch the emotions.

2. Stories materialize. A message can be a nice theory floating in the air with no legs on the ground. But a story will make you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell your message.

3. Stories magnetize. A personal, touching story will bring the hearts of both the storyteller and the story-listener together like no other thing in the world! They say the shortest path between two hearts is a story.

I repeat: Your story can change the world.

Do you have a friend or loved one you’d like to bring closer to God? Here are three steps to take…


3 Steps In Guiding People Closer To God

Step #1: Know Their Story

Step #2: Share Your Story

Step #3: Merge Your Stories


Step #1: Know Their Story

When you’re trying to guide someone closer to God, you have to hear their story before you share your story.

Why? Because you need to know the person’s felt need.

Perhaps he needs healing. Or perhaps a family problem is the thorn in her flesh. Or perhaps she’s broken hearted. Or perhaps he’s angry with God for taking away his baby.

I remember sitting beside a man on the plane. After introducing ourselves to each other, I asked him, “How is life treating you?”

Instantly, tears welled up in his eyes and he told me that a fire burned down his house. In the fire, he lost his wife and two daughters. I didn’t say much. Because I didn’t know what to say. But I told him, “Can I pray for you?” I put my hand over his shoulder and asked God to comfort and strengthen him. It was a Divine appointment. God wanted me to meet that man.

But what if I didn’t listen first? What if I told him, “Let me tell you my story. When I was a child, my parents and I—including my 5 sisters—were always together. We were one close family. We always did everything together…” Wouldn’t that be rubbing salt on his wound?

It’s always important to know their story.


Step #2: Share Your Story

Share what God has done in your life.

It could be a before-and-after story.

Or it could be an event where you saw the hand of God in your life.

My important suggestion: Expose your weaknesses.

Don’t give the false impression that because of God in your life, your entire life is all sweet and perfect. Share your current struggles. Share your warts.

Everytime I do this, not only do I feel better, I feel that people actually appreciate my authenticity. They believe me more.


Step #3: Merge Your Stories

After sharing your story, invite him to journey together.

Invite him to regular coffee time with you, so you can continue to build the friendship.

You can also invite him to your prayer gathering like the Feast.

Or a small group or caring group.

Or a spiritual retreat or a Kergma conference.

You can give him an inspirational book. Or forward him an article that will help him grow closer to God.

Let me end with the true story of Ryan. This is a perfect example of how life stories are powerful and can bring many people closer to God.

I’m Ryan and I’m 29 years old.I was such a mess a long time ago. I didn’t take school seriously, I lived a very promiscuous lifestyle, I abused substances, had a hateful relationship with my father who at that time was battling depression. I didn’t go to Mass. And when I prayed, I prayed hate prayers to Christ, questioning what it was he was doing to make life better for me.And then my dad died. Life was much more complicated, I continued to live a life of Godlessness, my relationships were poisonous, and at one point, I entertained thoughts of ending my own life, to end my so-called misery.

And then a friend invited me to a small youth prayer meeting. I was at that moment when I completely turned my life around. I got to know Jesus more, and how He was working double time to soften my hardened heart and receive his blessings.

11 years after today, I am a completely changed man. I wake up each day picking up a bible and reading God’s word, I hear Mass every Sunday, I have a loving relationship with my family and my girlfriend. I have a job that doesn’t feel like a job because I’m in love with it, and this coming June, I will send my first of many scholars to school – a dream I’ve had in my heart ever since.

I am work in progress. But I believe I’m blessed now with a better life because a Jesus invited me in His love, and I let Him enter my heart, my life.

I’m blessed with a better life now because a friend invited me to a small youth prayer meeting, where I was reintroduced to Jesus, my best friend.

What’s your story?

What’s your experience of God?

Use it to share God to others.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez




Are You Known By Your Kindness?


Do you want to be truly happy?

Be kind.

Let me tell you a story.

One day, a plane hit a storm and was about to crash. The problem was there were 4 passengers and only 3 parachutes.

The first man took one parachute and said, “I’m a brain surgeon and my patients need me.” And he jumped off the plane.

The second man took the second parachute and said, “I’m a rocket scientist, one of the smartest men in the entire planet, and the world needs me. And he jumped off the plane.

The third man was Pope Benedict. He took the last remaining parachute and gave it to the fourth person who was a young boy. The Pope said, “Son, I’m an old man. I’ve served God enough. Go ahead and take this last parachute.”

The young boy smiled, “Your Holiness, it’s okay. There are still two parachutes left. The rocket scientist, the smartest man on the entire planet, jumped out with my backpack.”


The Pope won because he was kind.

The Rocket Scientist lost because he was not kind.

Kind people, at the end of the day, will always win.

Let me tell you another story, this time from the Bible.

I’m sure you know the tale of the Good Samaritan. But I urge you to read it again with fresh eyes. And expect God to speak to you in a new and powerful way….

Jesus answered, “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead. It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by, on the other side. In the same way a Levite also came along, went over and looked at the man, and then walked on by, on the other side. But a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity. He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them; then he put the man on his own animal and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he told the innkeeper, ‘and when I come back this way, I will pay you whatever else you spend on him.’ ” (Luke 10:30-35)


Three Ways To Show Kindness

As a kid, you heard this story before.

It was a nice, sweet story.

But let me tell you how controversial this is.

In the story, God gave three men a major exam.

The exam wasn’t written or oral, it was “actual”. The exam came in the form of a half-dead man, lying in the pool of his blood, in the middle of the dusty road. (You wish God gave normal exams. “Just recite the Apostles Creed, agree to every doctrine, and bingo, you’re cool.” No such thing.)

Here’s the controversy: The two guys who should have been exempted because of their sterling credentials, whom everyone expected to be board top-notchers, failed big time. But the third guy, the class nincompoop, someone no one expected to pass, didn’t only pass; He passed with flying colors. He was summa cum laude.

Here’s my message for today: If you want to bring someone closer to God, you need to be kind to them. Because the kingdom will be known by your kindness.

Here are three ways of showing kindness:

1. Be Accepting

2. Be Available

3. Be Affectionate


That’s what I’ll share with you today.

1. Be Accepting

Why did the Priest and Levite not help?

Because they weren’t accepting.

A lot of people don’t know this little fact.  The Priest and the Levite didn’t help because they were afraid of being ritually unclean.

During their time, religious people lived in a world divided as Clean and the Unclean. Things are clean and unclean. Actions are clean and unclean. People are clean and unclean.

And according to their Law, anyone who touches a dead body will be “defiled” for seven days. And during this time, both the Priest and the Levite wouldn’t be able to perform their religious duties.

But the Samaritan didn’t think in this way. Because according to this world of clean and unclean, a Samaritan was already unclean. (Samaritans were half-breed Jews who were looked down upon.)  According to them, he was, by birth, already ceremonially defiled.

In other words, it was the “unclean” man who helped another unclean man.

Here’s my point.

After 32 years of ministry, I’ve realized that the best people who represent God in this world aren’t the most intelligent, the most eloquent, or the most gifted. The best representatives of God are the kindest and most humble people.

Those who know they’re not perfect.

Those who deeply respect people, no matter what they have done in the past.

Those who don’t have an air of spiritual superiority and religious arrogance.


But Alas, Christians Today

Are Seen As Arrogant People

Let me share with you some sad news.

A huge survey was done among young people ages 16 to 29 in America. They were asked what they thought of Christianity.

Here are the results: 87% of them said that Christianity was judgmental. And 85% said Christianity was hypocritical. And one out of four non-Christians said that modern day Christians were no longer like Jesus.

Mahatma Gandhi said the same thing many years ago. He said, “I like your Christ but I dislike your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

Why? Rick Warren explained it this way: “Christians are more known for what we are against than what we are for.”

In other words, we love to tell people what’s wrong with them. We do that to our kids. We do that to our spouses. And we do that to our unchurched friends.

If you’re a religious person, everyone instantly knows what you’re against. You’re against abortion and homosexuality and premarital sex and pornography and gambling and drunkenness…

That’s okay. But here’s my big question: Are you known for your kindness?

I give talks on parenting. I tell parents that correcting their kids without building a strong relationship with them will never work. It’s useless. If this is true of parenting, how much more with our unchurched friends?

If you want to bring people closer to God, you need to meet them at their level, speak their language, meet their concerns, and address their needs.


Is Your God Cruel?

When tragedies strike our planet, two types of religious people surface.

The first type is the religious person who rushes in and serves. The second type is the religious person who rushes in and shames.

The first one gives, helps, and cares.

The second one condemns, criticizes, and judges.

When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, devastating Zambales and Pampanga, I heard some religious people say, “God is punishing the areas of Olongapo and Angeles, both American camps, because of the many prostitutes in those areas.”

When a tsunami hit Phuket beach, Thailand, on December 26, 2004, I heard some religious people say, “That’s what those vacationers deserve for cavorting and partying on Christmas Day, instead of praying and attending church!”

And when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, I heard some religious people say, “That disaster happened because Japan is a godless nation. Because 90% of Japanese are atheists…”

So sad.

And so cruel.

Religious people who worship a cruel god become cruel too.

We always become like the god that we worship.

My next example is even more tragic.


A Very Sad Story

One day, a man was writing to his parents a very difficult letter.

It was a very difficult letter because he had not been in touch with them for twelve long years.

The last time they talked was the day he told them that he was choosing the homosexual life. His parents told him that he was committing sin and that he was going to Hell. They asked him to pack his bags and never come back.

That day, he left home and lived life on his own terms.

Twelve years later, he was writing a letter of reconciliation to them. He was telling them that he had AIDS.   He said that his days were numbered. He asked if they could see each other one last time before he died.

One week later, the man received mail from his parents.

Excited, he opened the envelope.

And out fell small pieces of torn paper.

It was his birth certificate.

Plus a short note from Mom and Dad.

It read, “We do not know you. We do not have a son who is an abomination to God. From that day you walked out of God’s will, we no longer have a son.”

The young man wept.

A few days later, he died.

Here’s the irony of this story.

Do you know who helped him during his dying days?

His neighbors. His officemates. His old friends.

People who weren’t Christians.

Where were the religious people? Busy condemning. Busy protecting themselves from defilement.

So different from the next story I’ll share with you.


An Example Of Great Kindness

Celia (not her real name) got pregnant out of wedlock. And her boyfriend abandoned her.

At that time, Celia was a lost soul. She was far from God. She actually didn’t care if He existed or not. But something in her drove her to search for Him.

She learned that there was this small prayer group near her house. But she wondered if they would accept her.

In the entrance, a friendly woman welcomed her and said, “Welcome! Where’s your husband?”

Celia groaned. She braced herself for the rejection. She said, “I don’t have a husband.”

But the rejection didn’t come.  The woman hugged her and said, “We welcome you and your baby!”

She led her to the prayer meeting.

The first thing Celia noticed was that they were old women! “Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?” she thought to herself.

She told the leader, “I don’t believe in God.” And she answered, “It’s okay. We love you!”

For some reason, she kept attending that prayer meeting. It was their kindness that drew her back.

And during those prayer meetings, there was this old woman who would call Celia to sit by her side. When she did, the grandmother would press a small plastic bag of coins to her hand. “I saved this for your baby,” she’d whisper.

Celia was moved. This woman was poor. Yet she would save money for her.

A few weeks later, they threw a baby shower for her.

When Celia finally gave birth, it was a big celebration. And her baby was the prayer group’s baby. In each prayer meeting, the old woman would take turns carrying the baby.

Many years later, Celia became a preacher.

How did an agnostic, a lost soul, become a preacher?

It all started in a small prayer group of old women who showed her the kindness of God.


Why The Feast Accepts Everyone

Each week, I preach at the Feast, the main gathering of the Light of Jesus Family.

And in the Feast, we accept the sinners. Prostitutes. Adulterers. Addicts. Anyone!

Why? Because I was an addict for many years. I couldn’t control my urges. Yes, I was a great sinner (I still am). But God was kind to me. He accepted me. He forgave me. He loved me.

So how can I not accept others with the same kindness too?

The Feast is not for holy people. It’s for sinners.

The Feast is not for insiders. It’s for outsiders.

The Feast is not a museum of perfect people. The Feast is a hospital for the sick and the weak.

Because God is our healer!


When You’re Aware Of Your Weaknesses,

You’ll Be More Accepting

One day, a man had some puppies to sell. He even put a large sign in front of his house, “Puppies For Sale—P5000 only.”

One morning, as the man got out to pick up the newspaper, he saw a little boy looking at the sign.

He asked, “What do you want?”

“I want to buy a puppy,” he said. He then pulled out his little hand from his pocket and opened his palm.

On it were a few coins.

The man said, “I don’t think you have enough money.”

The little boy said, “Will this be enough just to take a look at the puppies?”

The man said, “Sure.”

He whistled and called out, “Here Dolly!” And out came Dolly from the doghouse. And following Dolly were the pups, like 4 balls of fur, running after their mother.

The little boy pressed his face on the fence, his eyes bulging, filled with joy.

And that was when he noticed something still moving in the doghouse.

A little puppy came out, much smaller, much slower.

It limped its way to its mother.

“I want that one,” said the little boy.

The man knelt down in front of the boy and said, “Son, you don’t want that dog. He was born with a short leg. He won’t be able to run with you or play with you.”

The little took one step backward, bent down, and rolled up the leg of his blue jeans.

The man was surprised to see a steel brace on the little boy’s leg. It started above his knee all the way down and attached to a specially made shoe.

“I don’t run too well, sir,” the boy said, “and the dog needs someone who can understand him.”


What’s Your Limp?

I’ve got news for you: All of us are like that little puppy. Because all of us have a limp. We just have different kinds of limps.

What’s your limp? Accept it.

Unless you do, you won’t be able to accept the limp of others. You’ll always be judging, condemning, looking down, being irritated by the weaknesses of others.

Let me briefly look at two other qualities of kindness.



2. Be Available

The Samaritan had lots of things to do.

In fact, Jesus deliberately included that snippet—where the Samaritan had to go somewhere and so delegated the wounded man to the innkeeper.

To tell us that the guy was busy.

But despite this, he went out of his way. He welcomed this interruption. Why?

To show kindness.

God is calling you to go out of our way, break your itinerary, welcome this interruption, and show kindness to those who are along your path.


You need to get out of your religious ghetto. Start building relationships with people who aren’t religious.


Build Relationships Outside Your Church

St. Augustine said Christians are like fertilizer.


If you spread it out in a vast track of land, it’s wonderful. It will nourish the crops. But if you keep it in a barn, all bunched up together, it will smell really bad, or worse, explode. Because fertilizer is very combustible.

That’s what happens to Christian groups who never welcome non-members. They become a smelly group. And they start fighting each other. They begin to nitpick, holding microscopes in their hands, analyzing each other’s little mistakes and magnifying them.

Welcome outsiders in your friendships.

And one more thing…



3. Be Affectionate

Jesus said, But a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity.

Do you have compassion for those suffering around you?

If you do, that is a great and special gift from God.

There are people whose hearts are calloused.

Today, as you walk in the world, there are many wounded people around you. I want you to open your eyes and see their wounds and feel their pain.

One day, a woman told me, “But Bo, I don’t want to! I have enough problems of my own. I don’t want to take the problems of others!”

Ah, but do you remember what Jesus said about the Samaritan? He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them.

Tell me. Do you think this Samaritan was bringing a First Aid kit in his knapsack?

I don’t think so. Here’s what happened.  He tore his own clothes to bandage the man.

Here’s what I’ve realized: Kindness is costly!

Kindness is painful.

When you’re kind to others, you’ll lose something. You’ll lose time. You’ll lose money. You’ll lose your agenda. You’ll lose your convenience. You’ll lose your comfort. Yes, you’ll be tearing off your nice clothes to bandage someone’s wounds.

Are you ready to be kind?

And this is your great reward: The Kingdom will be known by your kindness. God will be known by your goodness. And the Lord will be known by your love.


Amazing God

Let me end with one last story.

A modern version of the Good Samaritan story.

One day, a man was travelling on a road.

And it was getting dark.

Suddenly, not seeing that there was a pit, he fell. It was such a deep pit that he couldn’t get out. He began to cry for help.

A priest passed by and saw the man in the pit. He shouted to him, “If you get out of the pit, I’ll teach you how not to fall into it again.” And he walked away.

After awhile, a preacher passed by and saw the man in the pit. And he shouted at him, “If you listened to me, you would not have fallen into that pit.” And he walked away.

After awhile, a pastor passed by and saw the man in the pit. And he said, “If you can reach for my hand, I’ll pull you out of that pit.” He bent over and reached out, but the man in the pit could not reach his hand.” And he too walked away.

And then Jesus walked by. Without a word, he jumped into the pit, and pushed the man out.

That is what Jesus did on the cross.

He took our place.


Serve Them

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the wounded man didn’t need someone to preach to him about God, or someone to debate with him about the right doctrine, or someone to teach him what’s morally right or wrong.

Instead, he needed someone to clean his wounds (yuk!), carry him to an inn (woe!), and pay for his food and accommodations (Oh no!).

He didn’t need a priest or a preacher.

He needed a kind person.

He needed a servant.

And that’s what the wounded world is looking for.

The Bible says, You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Are you known for your compassion?





I believe that’ll be how the wounded world will come to know the real Jesus.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez





Be Spiritually Contagious

Do you want to bring your loved ones closer to God?

A lot of people ask me, “Bo, please pray that my son (or daughter, or husband, or uncle, or friend, or classmate, or officemate) find God.”

What’s the best way to bring your family and friends to God?

What’s the best way to be spiritually contagious?

I propose three simple but powerful steps, which I’ll share with you for the next three weeks.

Step 1: Friend Them

Step 2: Serve Them

Step 3: Guide Them

At the end of this revolutionary series, I pray that you’ll be very spiritually contagious!


God Still Uses Imperfect People

To Share His Perfect Love

Read what Jesus said…

Matthew 28:19-20

Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.

I have a very big announcement to make.

Your mission in life isn’t to earn money.

Your mission isn’t to enjoy life.

Your mission isn’t to have a good time.

Your mission isn’t even to be happy.

All those goals aren’t bad. They’re good goals. (Yes, like any father, God wants His children to be happy.)

But they’re not the sacred purpose of why you were born.

Your mission, my friend, is to make disciples.

I can hear you now. “Bo, you’re crazy! I’m not a priest. I’m not a nun. I’m not a preacher like you. I’m an ordinary Catholic.”

Ah, there lies your mistake.

There’s no such thing as an ordinary Catholic.

Every Catholic has a mission, and that mission is to make disciples. Your mission is to bring others closer to God.


Jesus is your model.

Jesus made disciples in a very special way…



Step 1: Friend Them

Here’s my big message for you today: The most powerful way of bringing someone closer to God is through friendship.

Look at how Jesus did it…

Mark 2:15-17

Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s house. A large number of tax collectors and other outcasts were following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such people?” Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”

Are You A Friend Of  Sinners?

I remember Anna telling me this story.

Anna said that the moment she joined Light of Jesus (my community), she stopped having lunch with her regular lunch-mates, because they weren’t spiritually renewed. She ate instead with another officemate who was a member of Couples for Christ.

Anna said she lost interest in her usual lunch-mates because their discussion was worldly. But with her new spiritual friend, they only talked about God. They spoke the same language. They quoted the same verses. They shared the same stories.

But after one year, she felt like God hit her on the head. She heard God tell her, “Go back to your former friends. Love them.”

Anna realized she made a mistake. So she went with her former lunch-mates again. And they told her, “We felt hurt that you suddenly left us. That we were not holy enough for you.” She asked for forgiveness. And they welcomed her back.

Today, Anna is able to bring God’s Love to her friends. And some of them are now attending the Feast, our weekly gathering.


Annoyance or Acceptance?

Let me tell you a sad fact: According to surveys, the longer a person attends church, the more he isolates himself from the unchurched.

Christians like Anna stop attending civic organization. She stops hanging out with her officemates. She stops joining the homeowners meetings. She stops attending PTA meetings.

Instead, she meets only people from her church.

Because she gets annoyed at non-Christian behavior.


o   “I don’t like their green jokes.”

o   “I can’t stand their cursing.”

o   “They believe in New Age stuff.”

o   “My old friends smoke. I can’t stand secondhand smoke.” (Daniel and his three friends were thrown in a burning furnace because of their faith, and we’re afraid of secondhand smoke?)

Suddenly, the proof of spiritual growth is “annoyance”. How annoyed are you at non-Christian behavior? The more annoyed you are, the more spiritual you must be.

But this is nuts.

Jesus ate with prostitutes, tax-collectors, and drunkards. You can be sure there was a lot more than cursing and green jokes when they gathered. But Jesus made them his friends. That’s why religious people called him a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34).

He ate in the house of Zacheus, the chief tax collector.

He allowed a prostitute to wash and anoint his feet.

The proof that you’re spiritually growing isn’tannoyance but acceptance. Here’s the real proof that you’re spiritually growing: If you accept sinners.  If you’re non-judgmental to sinners.   If you’re friends of sinners.

Just like Jesus.


My Wonderful Friends Today

Today, I enjoy friends who are unchurched.

Today, I regularly meet with people who would never enter a Church. I have a woman friend who’s never been to Sunday Mass for decades. Two of my friends are lesbians. One friend is in an adulterous relationship. And then there’s a New Ager who’s into the occult.

I love them. And I enjoy being with them.

I don’t condemn them. Because I know that Jesus doesn’t condemn them.

Guess what: Slowly, because of our friendship, they’re coming closer to God.

Oh, it’s exciting to see that happen!

Warning: Obviously, there are situations when you need to be careful. It may not be wise for a recovering alcoholic to spend time with his drinking buddies whilethey’re drinking. Or a recovering sex addict spending time with prostitutes. Be prudent.


What’s Your Greatest Evangelistic Weapon?

John 13:34-35

And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

How will people know that you’re a disciple?

Not by how long you pray.

Not by how many Bible verses you know.

Not by how many scapulars hang around your neck.

Not by how many rosaries hang in your rear-view mirror.

People will know you’re a disciple if you love like Jesus.

And surprise, surprise! This same love will be your most important tool in winning someone to Jesus. I repeat: Your greatest way of bringing someone closer to God is your friendship.


Eleven Years Later

When I was in college, I had a friend who I met for lunch almost everyday for two years. Let’s call him Bill.

During those lunches, I remember trying to share my faith with him.

But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to convince Bill to follow Jesus. He said he had a lot of doubts. He had many other problems and he wasn’t ready to commit. But even if we didn’t agree about spiritual things, we enjoyed our friendship a lot.

We couldn’t talk about spiritual things (because we disagreed about them), but we talked about everything else: sports, girls, cars, girls, music, and… did I mention girls? (After all, we were college guys!)

I dropped out of college and we lost touch.

And I never heard of Bill again.

Eleven years later, I was walking in a mall and guess who I saw—Bill! I asked him how he was, and he gave me the shock of his life. He said he was a Christian missionary!

I couldn’t believe my ears.

He then said five words that made my heart leap for joy. “Thanks for showing me Jesus.”

For those 2 years that I was having lunch with the guy, it seemed like nothing was happening.

But it was true.

What showed him Jesus?

Our friendship.


Who Introduced Me To God?

When I was 12 years old, my father told me, “Bo, let’s go to the prayer meeting.”

I walked in, liked it, and never left. As a 12-year-old kid, I fell in love with God, and my life has never been the same.

People ask me, “One invitation from your parents and you said Yes?”

Actually, I didn’t get one invitation. All throughout my life, Dad was already inviting me—in a very silent way—to experience God’s Love.

How? By the power of relationship.

When I was a small boy, I remember that Dad treated me special. Everytime he came home from work, he’d look for me.

Dad would invite me to jog with him.

He wasn’t a great jogger. We jogged around the car parked in our garage.

After the jog, he’d sit down and make me sit on his lap. He’ll read to me 4 comic strips in the paper:Tarzan, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, and Peanuts.

That happened every single night.

I remember how during the day, I’d look forward to evenings.   Evenings were special to me. Because Dad came home and spent that precious one hour with me.

That wasn’t all.

Every Saturday, my father would invite me out for a date. He’d bring me out for pizza. Or watch a movie. Or go to a toy store.

By relating to me in a loving way, Dad gave me a glimpse of who God is. If my father thought I was special, then perhaps my Father in Heaven thought I was special too. If my father liked spending time with me, then perhaps my Father in Heaven liked spending time with me too.

Note: Dad didn’t talk much about God. He wasn’t much of a talker. His favorite word was “Hmmph.” I’d greet him, “Hi Dad!” and he’s grunt, “Hmmph.”

But by the loving relationship he had with me, I was slowly being “discipled”.


Be Another Jesus In The World

You can bring your family and friends closer to God.

How do I know?     Because God gave you a mission: To make disciples.

You don’t have to be a preacher, a writer, a singer.

All you need to do is be a loving friend. By your friendship, they will experience God’s Love.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez




Born This Way

Nuntita ‘Bell’ Khampiranon hypnotises audiences on ‘Thailand’s Got Talent

The road to stardom of Lady Gaga and Nuntita “Bell” Khampiranon have something in common.

Nuntita’s idol: the famous transgender crooner Mum Laconic.


There was a time when the world wondered, “is that a man or a woman?” when Lady Gaga stepped into the music scene with her ambiguous sexuality, caused by the rumours of her being a hermaphrodite – not to mention her outrageously, out-of-this-world character. The same question was repeated when millions of viewers of Thailand’s Got Talent watched the performance of beautiful transgendered Nuntita who hypnotised the audiences for the very first minute of her act, with her dreamy voice that came out of a slender female figure and girlish complexion, until she KO-ed everyone after unleashing her masculine bass.

Nowadays, we know the US pop icon is a “miss” and our Thai YouTube star is a “mister” – though, if you put their images next to each other, you might see things reversed. But, after all, the two stories shared the same ending: once they showed the world their musical talents, the gender issue had little to do with it.

One evening I was online and received an instant message from a pal in China. He sent me a link to Nuntita’s video on a Chinese version of YouTube. He begged me to translate the reaction of the judges, while sharing his excitement after watching the clip and shared how this petite Thai transgender became famous in China. Apparently, the original video of her performance was posted on YouTube last March and today has been seen by almost three million viewers.

“I am very happy about it. And, as a Thai, I am proud for Thai people for such good feedback; that people from around the world have admired my performance,” said Nuntita, who is the talk-of-the-town in Thai showbiz and everybody wants to know more about her. I was lucky enough be offered a phone interview during her trip from one studio to another.

A capture of YouTube video showing Robbie William puzzled with Nuntita’s real gender.


“As far as I could recall, I knew I was a woman trapped in male body,” said the native of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Being the only son of a father who served in the army, expressing her femininity while being a boy caused her troubles.

“Boys made fun of me at school. They picked on me a lot. At home, my dad used to beat me [almost] to death,” she said. “He wanted me to be ‘normal’,” she said.

Asking how she survived the bullying, Nuntita said that her growing passion for singing was somehow her saviour.

“I’ve loved singing since I was young. My dad loves karaoke. My grandmother used to be a singer. So it’s in our blood,” Nuntita said.

“During my teenage years, I tried to get involved in a singing club, as it is one of the activity I could do to fulfill my dream and to stay away from other boys.

“More importantly, it is much better to be acknowledged as a school’s representative in singing contests, than being referred to only as a gay boy in school.”

Talented Thai: Nuntita ‘Bell’ Khampiranon.


After completing her education at a vocational school, Nuntita planned to further her studies in Bangkok, but had to give up the plan due to her family’s financial problems.

“After I finished school, I got a job offer as a DJ for a local radio station and I also began singing in a pub,” said Nuntita.

One night a playful thought popped into her mind – Nuntita decided to please her peers with her two-voiced magic.

“Some of the guests realised that I am a transsexual when I did a male voice,” she said, laughing. “They loved it. And I have been playing this trick with my audiences since then.”

With such a unique talent, when asked who is her role model, Thailand’s most famous transgendered singer Mum Laconic was her quick answer.

“She is so talented and has always been my idol,” Nuntita said. “When you watched her perform, singing or talking to the audiences with her sense of humour, people fall in love with her. No one talked about whether she was a man or a woman, they talk about her beautiful voice and music.”

Not only was her talent discovered while singing with the band, she also found a boyfriend.

Nuntita crooning her magical voice during her on the stage of Thailand’s Got Talent.


“My boyfriend is also my band mate. We have been together for eight years. But things are getting rough since I decided to join the show in Bangkok.”

It was rather hard to blame her boyfriend for his growing jealousy, even former boy band member Robbie Williams thought that she was a woman with a male voice. A video appearance on a talk show on Dutch television captured his reaction after watching a video of Nuntita singing had gone viral on the internet since last week.

“I am glad to know I could fool a man, a famous one,” she joked.

When the door of opportunity opened, Nuntita quickly leapt in and followed her heart. There is one thing in particular she appreciated about Thailand’s Got Talent and that was the fact that the show offers an equal chance to anybody of any gender.

“The reason I decided to join the show was because it is open to people of all genders,” she explained. “That is the main reason why I think this is the perfect stage for me to show what I have got and who I am.”

The lyrics of the latest gay anthem, Born This Way by the unabashed Lady Gaga – “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life/ I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive” – have spoken to the hearts of many people with sexual diversity, including the talented Nuntita’s.

“For me, everything in this world happens for a reason. And there must be a reason why I was born this way. But I don’t bother asking ‘why me?’. What’s more important is that we know who we really are and must stay true to ourselves.

“To live happily, we should follow our passions or find out what is our hidden talent … and let it shine.”

After three judges gave her their unanimous votes, the last part of the video was when Nuntita talked to the camera and left a short message to her father that she loves him so much and she has finally made it. As I asked her whether she got to talk to her father afterwards, Nuntita replied “yes” and shared his words.

“I am glad to hear that he is now proud of me. And, no matter who I am, he said, just be a good person.”


Video of Bell Nuntita singing on Thailand’s Got Talent

April 2011
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