(The following is the copy of the testimony I gave during our chapel time early this morning. I skipped the first parts because I was told to speak only for three minutes.)
IGSL (International Graduate School of Leadership) played a key role in the two of the most significant things that happened in my life.
The first one is my marriage to Jodi. My classmates and their children helped me in my wedding proposal. Kuya Rod and Ate Malou, and other couples here, helped us in our pre-marriage counseling. We got married May 3 last year. Some of my classmates were there, even if it was during their Team Internship.
Staying here inside the campus helped me and my wife in our transition to marriage life. IGSL’s high value in marriage and the family challenged me to put my family first before my ministry responsibilities.
The second is the beginning of my pastoral ministry. My plan is to be a pastor after my graduation. But God has other plans. It was just last February 1 when I was officially installed as our church’s senior pastor, a few days after the leaders and members of our church affirmed God’s call to me to be their pastor. Some of my classmates and teachers were there that day.
The lessons I learned through my classes and the countless advices given by mentors and friends helped me in my transition to this new and challenging phase in my life. Until now, they are supporting me through their words, prayers and accountability.
Aside from those two, there were countless others – inside and outside the classroom – where I saw God at work to reveal himself to me, to draw me closer to him, and to shape me.
Through IGSL, I learned valuable lessons that will help me finish well in my Christian life, family, and ministry – lessons that I want to share with you.
Although you have many books to read for your research or your assignment, make sure that you are a student of only one Book – the Word of God. You may disagree with Erickson, or John Piper, or Steve Hobson for they may be wrong in some areas. But you can be confident that God’s Word will never err. As the psalmist testifies, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psa. 119:160). Master it (in Greek and Hebrew if you can) and preach it faithfully (in your own language).
Although you have many teachers, mentors, and spiritual heroes you look up to, make sure that you are a student of only one Teacher – the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who died on the cross for us. He is inviting us to “learn from [him], for [he] is gentle and lowly in heart” (Mat. 11:29). He wants us to be like him. Although he is rightfully the Lord of lords, he became the servant of all.
Although you teach and preach and speak to many people in your ministry, make sure that you are doing everything for only one Audience – the Father who desires that you experience him in amazing ways, the Father who called us into this ministry, and the Father who will one day welcome us into his presence and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant….Enter into the joy of your Master” (Mat. 25:21, 23).
With those experiences and the things I learned through them, I can say that I am studying in the best seminary in the world. Not because we have the best faculty or the best curriculum or the best learning environment, but because we have the Best Teacher, God, who is using his good but imperfect instruments to mold us to be the kind of servants that he wants us to be.
It is the best seminary for me because this is where God wants me to be.