Last Sunday, I attended the 11AM service at Victory Fort Bonifacio, the progressive church in Makati to which I belong. The Sunday message was delivered by 24-year-old Richard Blaylock, Victory Fort’s youth pastor, and I tell you, he knocked it – CRACK! – out of the ballpark.
Rich was amazing. He was eloquent, confident, and funny. He connected to old and young people in the church, and save for a poorly chosen video – yes, Rich, you liked Dodgeball, but we didn’t, and that clip was just cruel – it was a perfect message.
I was so blown away by Rich’s preaching that it struck me yesterday that many of the men I admire most in life are significantly younger than I.
Pastor Dennis Sy, pastor of Victory Greenhills, a church in Greenhills I used to attend until I started working for the Fort (I MISS YOU, GREENHILLS!), is only 27. Pastor Dennis Sy has it all: humor, passion, heart. Victory Greenhills is the growing Greenhills church it is because of the volunteers and the way he invites and inspires them to rise up to every challenge.
Pastor Carlos Antonio, Director of Every Nation Productions and one of the most imaginative, effervescent, charismatic people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, is 29. Caloy Antonio is a wellspring of ideas, a virtual library of creativity. Ah, his sense of humor! He was making fun of me this afternoon and I called him ‘fathermocker.’ He laughed his huge laugh; a Christian man who can appreciate a good, albeit slightly dirty, pun, is always tops in my book.
And then there’s Pastor Rich. I have the privilege of working with Rich daily; I often have lunch with him (Lord knows why he chooses to hang out with me). The depth of this man always astounds me; his wisdom and insight is unparalleled for someone his age. Despite that, when he gets to horsing around with Teri, our worship coordinator, or talking about Metal Gear or other videogames that go – WHOOSH! – over my head, his eyes gleam with a mischief that reminds me that he is also still a kid at heart.
In Timothy 4:12, Paul says, “Do not let anyone treat you as if you are unimportant because you are young. Instead, be an example to the believers with your words, your actions, your love, your faith, and your pure life.”
No matter how young you are, God can use you mightily. Age is nothing but a number; there are no handicaps with God. He has used the weak to chastise the strong, and he can use you – yes, YOU – to touch someone, regardless of how old you are. What matters is this: are you willing to be used and are you ready to do what it takes so you can be used?
I look at the young men and women of our church and I am so encouraged to raise my son Nathan well so he can join their ranks. I look at Rafa Oca, who’s making waves at Victory Greenhills even as a volunteer, so funny and so passionate about serving God. I look at young artists like Benjo Marquez, whose smile can light up a room and whose story about being healed from cancer has strengthened the faith of many an old geezer like me, or at pastor kids like Joshua Isleta or Nathan Punzalan, and I wonder what God holds in store for these guys. I know one thing: it’s gonna be so bright, we gotta wear shades.
(And with that post, I reveal my age. Cheers!)
Note: If you’re interested in hearing what Rich had to say, you can click here to download his podcast. (It’s still not up yet; I’ll give the link once it’s up.)