I had a special blessing from God this morning.
I spent 3 beautiful, spiritually enriching hours with Bro. Mike Velarde, Founder of El Shaddai. (Thanks to my friend Chona Velasco for linking us together.)
I know. When some people think of Bro. Mike, they think of him only as that funny TV preacher with an accent wearing a red bowtie who makes his audience jump up and invert their umbrellas under the rain.
Don’t be fooled. God is using him to bless the world in a mighty way. You may not agree with his style, his accent, his wardrobe, or even his theology–but millions are drawn to God because of him.
Believe me, I can’t express how much he inspired me this morning.
Finally, I now know why millions gather at his feet every Saturday night (either physically or through his Radio and TV broadcast) to listen to him.
It was Cardinal Sin who asked Bro. Mike in one Luneta Grandstand El Shaddai prayer rally, “What do you have that I don’t have? I can’t draw this crowd, but you can.” His answer to the Cardinal: “This is pure grace from God, your Eminence.”
And I experienced that powerful grace this morning.
As he spoke to me, telling me simple stories of faith, I felt drawn to the Lord. I wanted to trust God more, to serve God more, and to love God more. That was the effect he had on me. And yes, the same effect on millions of others.
Next month, you’ll be able to watch a video of our entire conversation together–here in www.kerygmafamily.com (If you’re not yet a member of the kerygmafamily.com, just sign in, and you’ll be able to watch all these great videos. Membership is free anyway, because donations are totally optional.)
But let me summarize what I learned from Bro. Mike:
1) People need to know that God cares for us–body, soul, and spirit
Bro. Mike believes that God is interested not only with our spiritual needs, but also with our next meal. He cares for our material and physical needs as well. This comes out in his talks. I use a different approach, but I totally agree with him and preach in the same way.
2) People need rest in God’s Presence
He told me that the only time he heard God’s audible voice was when God told him, “Build a center where my people can rest.” At first, he thought it was a physical center. So he designed it, even had the Pope bless the plans, even had Cardinal Sin in the groundbreaking ceremony–but soon, he realized it wasn’t a physical center. It was El Shaddai where people would get their rest. Because the crowd would never fit any enclosed building anymore! Here’s what I picked him from him: From a very tiring week of work, people need to go to happy place with God. And that’s what happens in El Shaddai–people go home from these meetings refreshed and happy. I’ve noticed that my gatherings (The FEAST) have the same effect in people too. Church should be a place of rest and joy!
3) You need simple faith to do His work
Bro. Mike has a simple faith. I feel that it’s because of this simple faith that he can do all that he does. I need to cultivate this kind of faith in God if I want to be used more by Him. Sometimes, I get too complicated. I need to learn from him.
4) Be generous if you want to succeed in life
Bro. Mike is extremely generous. At one point in 1981, he gave his seed money (P50,000) to fund a huge charismatic gathering. He wasn’t preaching yet at that time. He just gave away his money. Until God asked him to form El Shaddai. I believe God is blessing him because of his generosity.
5) Love people–like really!
Bro. Mike loves people from the heart. I felt it. He welcomes both the poor and the rich in his office. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Senators, and Generals seek his advice almost everyday. But in that same room, he also welcomes the poor, the sick, and terminally ill who need his prayer.
Bro. Mike Velarde is already 67 years old, but doesn’t look like it at all.
He still jogs everyday. Even when he travels, he sees to it that his hotel is beside a park for his daily exercise.
After 28 years of serving God, I asked him, “Do you ever feel tired?”
He smiled, “I feel that it’s just my first day with the Lord. I feel like I’m still 18.”
ut he also explained to me his weekly regimen, which is very sensible.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, he does his business–which is real estate. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he does his ministry work. On Fridays and Saturdays, he hides in Tagaytay to pray and prepare his weekly talk. On Saturday night, he delivers that talk to a massive crowd in El Shaddai. On Sunday, he rests at home–totally drained by the work he did the night before.
He adds, “Life is a choice. We can choose to be miserable, or we can choose to be happy in the midst of miserable circumstances.” I had to laugh. We almost use the exact words! It was as though I was hearing myself preach.
Hey, I’ve got to stop writing now. It’s 11:20pm and I’ve got sleep.
I have four meetings tomorrow. (Tell you about it.)
But watch for that video, okay?