Grace For Each Day

Josh here. 

Haven’t posted in a while,  but I hope everyone is doing well today. I can’t express how thankful we are for all the new friendships we’ve formed over the years. It is truly a beautiful thing to see the Church across cities and nations around the world. We as a team want to do all we can to help build the His church, and that means being there for our brothers and sisters through prayer! So if there’s anything you would like us to pray for. Don’t hesitate to let us know! Feel free to contact us through Facebook, Instagram (@zealteam) or Twitter (@zealteam). 

I wanted to write today about the encouraging experiences that the Lord has led me through recently. As He blessed me with a new job last September, naturally life had to go through a bit of an adjustment phase. Yet, coming off some transforming events in the last few years, it was evident that the Lord was just continuing the work He began. After an intense spiritual journey that started with our Philippines trip in the summer of 2015, I began to see many things in life through a new lens. I came back from that trip absolutely wrecked, broken, and desperate for Him. And one word set the tone for my spiritual growth in the past months – grace. He showed me grace for my shortcomings, grace for my sinful past, even showed me how to give grace to myself when I live in doubt, when I feel inadequate, never good enough. 

The beauty of grace is that it never gets old. Its not limited. It doesn’t get washed up or wasted. The Bible says – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…”

Through His grace, he blesses us with new joys and opportunities to see His grace each and every day if we just pursue His goodness. The more we seek Him, the more He will reveal Himself to us. As the Bible says in Romans 8:28, He makes all things work together for good, for those of us that love Him and live according to His purpose. Seek Him today and His purpose for the day and you will find Him. 

Today I encourage you to pray for His vision. Ask the Lord to make you more aware of His presence in your life, and the boundless grace of our Father will become more and more evident. 
Be blessed my friends!

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Countless revelations.

In the midst of the fast paced action of the first couple weeks of this trip, I struggle to completely process what God has been doing during this time. Don’t get me wrong, I believe, completely, that God has done a great work through this trip, and by His grace, we were able to used as vessels for His glory. My struggles have been finding time to really sit and meditate on what God has been revealing to us, the team, and to myself. Because of how amazing our God is, we have had several amazing experiences during this trip where we have seen certain things happen in ways that only God could work.

Certain obstacles have come up to add to my struggle. This time my conflicts were internal. I have been reminded, time after time during this trip that I cannot consider myself a “mature Christian”. No matter how many times I have experienced missions and ministry, I can never be fully prepared for what God will test me with, because during these times, God only expects the best from His people.

Once again, I have proven unworthy, because of a prideful perception of who I was.

With this confession I encourage those who are reading who feel called to ministry or missions to never overestimate yourself, to humble yourselves COMPLETELY before God before pursuing His call to action. And it all starts with being honest with yourself. Being real with yourself, accepting the fact that we are never good enough, is the first step towards humility with God.

With this said, I give all glory and honor to God for the amazing work he has done through this trip. He has prevailed in every situation and once again I witnessed broken hearts and lives changed for Christ. Although the enemy tried to take me down from the inside, the Lord used my struggle for good, allowing me to be used completely for His purpose.

Dumaguete. – Tim

Tim’s blog – Dumaguete

I praise and thank God for everything that’s happened in Dumaguete. It’s been crazy, I had no idea what would happen here. Our whole visit including our fellowship with UCCP Dumaguete was so touching and spiritually uplifting. These things are a reminder of the great love of God and how He uses His people in His mission of touching lives.
On Monday, the day we arrived in Dumaguete, we visited The Little Children of the Philippines (LCP), a Christian orphanage where my Uncle Roy serves as a pastor. It’s a place for kids who have experienced hurt, brokenness, or utter loss in their families. LCP actively seeks out these children to take under their care. They are provided shelter and, as they go through the LCP’s Bible education program, they receive scholarships for college. It was a very homely place with dorm rooms, classrooms, playgrounds, and decorated walls painted by some of the older youth.
UCCP Dumaguete showed the fullness of Filipino hospitality to us and a reflection of the love of Christ. We’ve never personally been there, but they seemed to anticipate our visit very much. From the very start of preparing for the concert, we saw their eagerness to help us out. Pastor Fred and some church staff did a lot helping us set up by lighting up the stage, hiring a sound expert, and, for me, stabilizing my drum set and even offering to replace it with a better one. Uncle Roy filled in for bass. The youth president was also there the whole time playing a big part in promoting. They treated us out each time we were there with them. UCCP Dumaguete went above in beyond in showing us hospitality, which the team and I are so grateful for.
Concert night was just … crazy. The youth came out with so much energy, we couldn’t have asked for any more. I felt the Spirit speak through us and the message of our songs in such a powerful way. It was great to hear the church’s youth also perform a couple of songs and to hear the message from Pastor Oliver about where our hearts should be as God’s people. I had such a memorable time hanging out with the youth afterwards. They were just awesome people filled with positive energy, and they expressed how they were inspired tonight. I definitely wanna come back here.
All glory to God for what went down at Dumaguete.

Here comes the countdown.

Midnight just hit here in California. It is now July 2, exactly a week from our scheduled departure date for the Philippines next Thursday. (Some will be leaving on Tuesday) I don’t know exactly how to describe the week I’ve been having so far. Each sleepless night this week came with new thoughts and new revelations.

It’s still very surreal to me that we’re here once again, as a team, and even more that we will be returning to the Philippines. God is good. All the time. Years of ministry where God’s work has been evident has taken place in the mountains of Cebu, where I have visited several times. I was able to witness firsthand the growth of churches, the decline of some, followed by the rebuilding of most, as well as the journeys of new, young leaders responding to the call for the first time. Let me first acknowledge that it is ALL HIM. None of this is about us, Zeal, or the One More Village Foundation. Over these past years through several trips, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many people, meet new friends, and share stories. And although I am only able to interact with most of these people for a couple of weeks at a time, I’m thankful that God allowed us to form lifelong friendships even when separated by distance. I can’t wait to see many familiar faces next week. I think I’m starting to understand the significance of connection and creating community, especially in ministry. To know that there are believers on the other side of the world, on your team, working hand in hand to build the Kingdom, is such an encouraging feeling.

Preparing for this trip is different. So different. Although I feel like I’ve grown significantly in my spiritual walk since our last trip as a team in 2010-11, my faith has been challenged more than ever. I once wrote a song, “This is faith, that nothing is impossible through Christ who lives in me”, yet I find myself consumed by doubts with every little detail that comes with planning. Also, with this theme of “Light The Way”, I feel like God has made me more aware of the darkness. He opened my eyes to the brokenness, the pain, and the diminishing joy that surrounds us. I was made more aware of the stories behind the faces I encountered. I was made even more aware of the brokenness within myself. It’s been a humbling past few years for me as God walked with me through the refiner’s fire, a time when I felt so ashamed of the person I became, that I felt I could never sing a song for Him again. God placed me in opportunities to be used by him, yet I took it upon myself, countless times, relying on my own strength and knowledge.

I pray that God will have His way.  I pray for the the Holy Spirit to speak through us, to mold and shape us in preparation for this trip. I am forever thankful that God refueled my passion, gave me a fresh ZEAL to build His Kingdom again. There’s not a song I can sing, a prayer I can shout that can give God the glory and praise He deserves. He is good and I know he will light the way for us.

I can’t wait to see our friends again. I can’t wait to see God move again.

#LightTheWay

– Josh

A Lighted Path

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Hi everyone, Josh here, it’s been forever since anyone’s been on here, I think. It’s good to look back and see a glimpse of the past adventures we’ve been on through some old posts. It gets me excited about the next chapter and builds up the anticipation for what’s to come this year. First of all, if you’re reading this, I want to say THANK YOU for supporting us throughout the years! I know we haven’t been as active in the last few because of our increasingly busy schedules plus many of us moving on into new phases of our lives. One of us is married now, most of us have graduated from college and are looking to build our careers in various places, two of us are in school still with one entering college this year. The best part is that God allowed us another opportunity to serve him through this ministry and be able to follow up with many of our activities that we pursued starting 5 years ago. Yes, 5 years! Zeal is five years old, or almost 5 years old. I can’t believe it!

Looking back I remember one of our discussions as a team, back in 2011 in Cebu. We were about to leave for home and were discussing our plans moving forward. We thought about a name for the next album that would follow Break the Silence, and I remember Joyce just said “A Lighted Path”. It all just clicked. It just made so much sense. God’s hand on our mission was evident during that trip, and we felt that he made the way clear for us, everywhere we went. As a ministry team, we exist to reach out to and equip others to find their lighted path, the path that God meant for them to set foot on. As Christians we believe that it is not us who can shine the light on other’s paths, but we believe that God sent us on mission to reach for the lost and searching to help them see that God made a purpose for everyone, a path to follow. It is Him who lights the way in each of our lives, step by step, allowing us to experience Him here on earth until we eventually experience the fullness of His glory in Heaven, the end of the path.

With the Lighted Path project will come a new Zeal Album, coming this summer 2015, worship and prayer nights here in the U.S. and a tour in the Philippines which we hope to reconnect with many of you again as we plan ministry opportunities there! There will also be many more ways that you can be involved in A Lighted Path that we will announce in the coming weeks! We are excited to see what God will be doing through this project and we are humbled by this opportunity once again.

Feel free to contact us through this webpage, our Facebook (facebook.com/zealmusic), our Twitter and Instagram (@zealteam), with any prayer requests, comments or questions! We would LOVE to connect with you! It’s great to be back!

2012

Hi again, everyone. 2012 is here, as well as some new goals, insights, and other stuff as well. We start off this week with our Annual Mission Update for One More Village, which is, today. We might try to stream this live. We’ll post a link later!

PI film update – Josh

Usually the first thing I finish in a video is the intro, of course. Some people start differently and do the introduction last. But this time I couldn’t finish the intro first, it was hard for me to decide what will start of such a big project, one that means alot to us. The introduction of a video is what sets the tone of everything that comes after, start a video off good and viewers will take it seriously, simple as that. I’ve finished several scenes already but have not yet completed the introduction, which took me three months to decide on what it actually will be. I had so many ideas on my mind for how the film will start off, drafted three different introductions and just set them aside, until i figured out how I wanted to do it. I decided on a three part introduction, you’ll see when everything is finished. I’m just happy that I’m making progress on the intro that I’m sure I will be keeping for the film now.

The scenes are looking great, some of the videos from our youtube (youtube.com/thezealchannel), are going to be scenes in the film, but finished with added touch-ups with lighting, transitions, sound mixing, all that good stuff. I’ll be putting up a trailer soon when everything is just about done. I just can’t wait to see how it will all turn out!

More updates soon!

-Josh