Everybody say this with me: “Change your story.”

I want you to tell somebody beside you, “Change your story.” Do you know why you’re here?

To change your story.

I want you to understand this: When an event happens in your life, that event does not carry meaning. It is you who gives meaning to the event. Storytellers are the ones who give meaning to an event. Put your hand over your chest and say, “I’m a storyteller. I’m a storyteller.”

The reason you’re able to live your life is that you tell stories about what’s happening in your life. Your stories are the ones that make life coherent, understandable. You make sense out of things.

The problem is this: We make errors when we make stories.

When we tell our stories, we give meaning to our events. And sometimes those meanings are not helpful.

We Tell Stories…

Parents, raise your hand. How many of you lost your temper and shouted at your kids once in your life? I’m sure, maybe more.

And then when we do that, you know, we tell stories about ourselves and our children. The children that we shouted upon, they tell stories about what happened. And you see, what children do is that they go to this one tool that they have.

And the tool is self-blame: “There’s something wrong with me. What’s wrong with me? Why did my mom, who’s supposed to love me, shout at me?”

Then the mother is also blaming herself, saying: “I’m a horrible woman. I’m a horrible mom…”

And so, we tell stories like that.

The reason we come here is so we can change our stories. Because when we meet God, the God who knows everything, and we hear preaching, and we worship, and we go to Mass, and we receive Jesus in Communion, asking, “What happens?”… we get the meaning from God’s perspective.

The God who sees everything. The God who sees the past, the present, and the future, He changes the meaning, and He changes your story.

You see, Brothers and Sisters, when you change your story, you change your life. That’s the way you change.

And God says to the child, “No, you’re not to blame. Mom’s having a rough day.”

And listen: God speaks to the mother, and God says, “You’re not a failure.

You failed, but you’re not a failure. You’re my daughter.”

My dear friends, please listen. If you’re having a rough time right now… You know, I came from a pilgrimage, and I rode a plane coming here.

There was this baby freaking out, like freaking out, you know? You know when the plane is landing, and the baby’s freaking out, you know why, right?

Pain in the ears, right? Very painful. And the baby does not understand what’s happening.

The baby is thinking, “I’m going to die.” And freaks out.

All the adults, are they freaking out? No. Do they feel the same pain? Probably. But they’re not freaking out. Why? Because there’s another story in their mind…

A Brand-New Story

The baby has a story, and the story is, “I’m dying. What’s happening to me?”

The adults are telling a different story, and the story is this:

No. 1: It’s normal. No. 2: It’s temporary.

And No.3: It’s necessary.

If you want to land this plane, you’ve got to go through that pain. It’s normal.

It’s temporary. And it’s necessary. Because there’s a purpose behind it.

If you’re going through pain right now and you don’t understand what’s happening,

I’m going to ask you: Grow up. Stop being a baby. Stop freaking out. Because that pain that you’re going through, it’s normal.

And No. 2: It’s temporary. You’re not going to die.

And here’s No.3: It’s necessary. Because God, He’s going to tell you a new meaning to that story.

He’s telling you: “That pain has a purpose. It’s going to bless you. It’s going to make you better. But you need to trust Me. And you need to follow Me.

And you need to obey Me. And you need to give your life to Me.” But this is the story, the real story…

We’re making a decision right now. Do I hear a loud Amen?

You come here every week. Why? Because you want to change your stories according to God’s perspective. That’s why. Because that’s how we change our life.

We’ve come to worship God– but does God really need our worship? We need to be here.

Because if I’m left to my own devices, I’m going to be telling wrong stories: That I’m a failure, that I’m giving up, that this is the end of it all.

No. We’re hearing a brand-new story from God. We’re going to start a brand-new series today. We’re going to talk about Gratitude.

Gratitude is really the story from God. God is going to give you

His perspective. He’s going to give you the meaning of the different events that are happening in your life.

The plane is landing, folks. You’re going to go through some necessary pain.

You have to. So that you can land and arrive at the destination that God wants for your life.


I was so touched by that message. May we raise our hands to the Word of God:

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet And a Light unto my path.

We’ll be reading a verse from Thessalonians. St. Paul wrote this letter to them, giving this specific instruction. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Do you know that gratitude is connected to changing your story? Amen.

It’s the last quarter of the year. May I do a quick survey? Who among you here is having a great year so far? Can you smile? Who among you here are reaching targets? Who among you here have found the one for them? Who among you are reaching their financial goals this year? You want to know St. Paul’s recommendation? Be grateful. Amen.

Two Paths

I love it that St. Paul is teaching here to be grateful in all circumstances – no ifs, no buts, no conditions. Be grateful.

You want to know why? Because we need to learn to be grateful regardless of what’s happening in our life. That is the path that will open to us the blessings of God.

Because if you don’t do that, you will lead to the path of grumbling.

There are only two paths that you go to in life.

One is the path of grumbling, and one is the path of gratitude. So, will you be grateful for what you have now? Can you look at the person beside you? Will you be grateful about that person? Or will you grumble because that person prepared so long today and you’re late? Or, you had that hard time at the parking.

So, look at your life now. Will you grumble or will you be grateful?

St. Paul advises us to be grateful.

Do you know that human beings are creatures of habit? Yes. Do you know that the person beside you has already a predetermined response for a given situation in that person’s life?

For example: Put that person (especially if that’s your spouse) beside you in a stressful situation. More or less, you could already identify the response of that person. So, human beings are creatures of habit.

A classic example is this: I know of someone who, if that person gets stressed, that person automatically wants to eat out. And that person already knows the set of restaurants to go to. Or if that person is craving for ramen, chicken, or Chinese food: “I know the restaurant. I know which restaurant.”

And not just that. They know the specific type of restaurant and they want it at a certain place or a certain mall. Because you know what?

You already know where you will sit. You already know the waiter who will serve you, you already know what you will order. You already know the taste of the food, how it will relieve you from stress.

And what forces us to behave that way? Habits.

Let’s look at the other side of things. Who among you here are not having a so-good of a year? The targets are not being reached. The relationship still needs reconciliation– you are still not on speaking terms.

You want to hear a recommendation from St. Paul? Be grateful.

How To Change Habits

Who among you here has a habit of exercising?

I’m sure for some people, at the start, exercise is hard. You will push yourself to do it. But believe me, a time will come when you’re already used to it. When your body is used to exercise already, your body starts craving for it — because it’s a habit already. So, if you don’t do any exercise, you will feel like something’s lacking.

I need to do exercise because it’s a habit already. And why are we talking about habits today?

Because in this series, we want to teach you good habits. Because we know also that habits can work either for your good or for your harm. So, you have to choose.

So, I love it that St. Paul was saying that you have to be grateful regardless of the circumstances– because he is telling you that gratitude must be a habit. So, regardless of your situation, you must thank God for it, for what’s happening. Because if you don’t do it, you might default to the other thing – it’s grumbling.

How do you change a bad habit? By doing a good habit instead. So, gratitude is your good habit to battle your grumbling. For us to properly identify grumbling, so that we could properly address them– here are two forms of grumbling…


1. Complaining. One time, a man was eating in a fine dining restaurant. When he was done eating, he asked for a toothpick.

He asked the waiter, “Waiter, can you give me a toothpick?”

So, the waiter comes in, brings a toothpick in a nice bottle with gold embellishments.

The moment the man used the toothpick, it broke. It got him angry.

So, he called the waiter: “Waiter, come here. I hate your toothpick. It’s of low quality. This is a fine dining restaurant. Why did it break so easily?”

The waiter politely and apologetically answered, “Sir, I beg to disagree.

This toothpick is actually of supreme quality.” The man asked: “And why is that?”

The waiter said, “Sir, of all the customers that had used this toothpick, you’re the only one who broke it.”

What We Don’t See

Complaining is dangerous — because complaining prevents you from seeing your blessings.

The man was already blessed– eating at a fine dining restaurant– yet he chose to complain about one simple thing.

Because, by default, we notice what’s wrong, what’s lacking, what’s missing— and what’s good, favorable, must be a given. And that’s okay. But you have to put in the lens of gratitude to see that sometimes, complaining prevents you from seeing the blessing

2. Comparing.  The next form of grumbling is this: comparing.

You know what? It’s human nature. I do that at times. Do you do that? That you look at your peers, you look at your classmates from high school. Where they are now? Where are they living? What are the cars they’re driving? What are the brands that they are supporting?

And then you sort of compare yourself with them, and then you see, “Oh, we’re at the same level, so I’m doing fine.”

Comparing is not bad per se. But the danger lies when you get your worth and security in knowing that you’re at par with other people around you.

Because right now, the real challenge is social media. Have you noticed?

It’s difficult — because, back then, the only people you could compare yourself with are either your colleagues or neighbors and the people close by. Now, because you have social media, you see your kindergarten classmate and your elementary classmate, and you see that classmate driving a better car than yours, and you are saying, “Pinapakopya ko lang sila dati. — I used to just allow them to copy my test answers.”

You compare, and then you feel sad immediately. It’s difficult.

Kill Joy

I remember one time there was this husband and wife.

The wife said, “Oh, look, oh, our friends, they’re going to Norway. They’re visiting and checking out the Northern Lights.”

“Honey, do not worry, I have a plan,” the husband said. “We will go to the mall, and we will check out the Christmas lights.”

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Amen?

I believe that if comparing

has been a path for you, it has been a habit for you, it prevents you from appreciating your own unique journey.

Single people… Who are single here? I remember when I was still courting my wife, we went to a place, and she pointed out a fine dining restaurant.

My heart thumped, I said: “Doon ba tayo kakain? Wala akong budget. — Are we eating there? I don’t have the budget.”

She just told me, “Oh, do you know that one time, I had a suitor who brought me there?”

“Oh, wow. So, that’s really expensive,” I said.

That suitor actually owns STI (Systems Technology Institute). If you know STI, that’s a chain of college schools. So, there I was. Napalunok na lang ako, guys. –

I just swallowed the lump in my throat. Never once did I have an STI college my life. UTI—urinary tract infection– I had. I even drank antibiotics for it.

But immediately, my joy on that date night disappeared because I became insecure, because I started comparing myself with that suitor. She did not intend to say it for me to compare– but that comparing habit has destroyed my happiness and gratitude that night.

Hold the hand of the person beside you. Grip it tight and tell that person: “Stop comparing. Stop comparing. Stop. Stop complaining.” Amen.

Treat for Grateful Living

So, today, to change that habit, we will give you a treat for grateful living. And I want to start with this verse from Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I love it that Paul repeats it to a different set of people– the people in Philippi.

Earlier, we read that his message was for the people in Thessalonica. But I guess he reiterates the same message. That it must be a habit for you to be in thanksgiving:


1. Be grateful for what has been. It means, be grateful for your past. I love King David as he says in Psalm 103:2:

I love David because David is one of the most transparent persons in the Bible.

You can read it in the Psalms. If he’s angry, you can see him praying angrily.

If he’s frustrated, you can see him communicating with God that way. And I guess it’s an invitation for us to level up our conversations with God in that way.

But I specifically love the verses in Psalm 103 because they talk about how grateful he is for his past: “Lord, thank you because when I was young, you have set me apart. You taught me to defeat lions so that now I could defeat greater enemies.

What To Change

Why am I sharing this to you? Because a lot of people are caught up with the past. They have regrets– not just the things they did–but also some things their parents did. They have regrets about those.

Some people would say, “I wish my parents had this. I wish my parents bought this. I wish we lived here. I wish they sent me to this school. I wanted that school.

They did not allow me.”

And for some, it’s taking away your joy if you keep grumbling about the past.

The past is past. Let it go. Because here’s the reality: you cannot change your past anymore.

But like Bro. Bo was saying earlier, you can change the way you are looking at it. You can change the way you’re looking at your past.

I want you to examine your past now. Are you looking at it negatively?

Are you blaming your past?

This week, my wife and I were jogging, and then we came across a building, and I suddenly remembered…

I told my wife, “Oh, my mom used to work in that building as a research assistant. She would go there 8 to 5.”

And I remember during summer vacations, I would help her. We would leave the house around 5:00 a.m. We brought two bayongs because those bayongs contained rice and viand—in Tagalog, ulam at kanin. Because we had to peddle those to the other employees in the other buildings before she goes to work.

And all of those memories started flashing back in…

What’s Important

You know how memory works?

Sometimes, when you see a place, all the memories connected to the place suddenly rush down.

And as I was recalling those memories, and I was telling, retelling the story to my wife, I was thanking God: “Oh, my! My mother did everything that she could when she was in her prime to provide for me!”

And why is that important? Because you know what? Sometimes, I grumble when I compute my expenses– because I’m a provider and a breadwinner for my Mom.

So, I tell myself: “Sayang, kung hindi ako nag-poprovide sa nanay ko, baka dalawa na yung condo ko ngayon.

Baka nakabili na ako ng ganito. Pag binigay ko to, sayang laptop din ito. — What a waste… If I were not providing for my mom, perhaps I already have two condos…I have bought this…I can’t give her this money, it’s for my laptop…”

But now, in changing the perspective of seeing the past, I realize, “Wow, sayang kasi hindi nagkaroon ng financial literacy yung nanay ko. — Too bad, my Mom did not have financial literacy…”

But now, looking at it, wow thanks be to God!

And that was the setup. My Mom did everything that she could. I know that had she had a chance to work on her finances back then, we would not be this way. But now I’m thankful because this situation was set up by God so that I could be conscious about my own finances– so that I can provide for her while providing for my family as well.

That’s changing the viewpoint of your past in the lens of gratitude. Change your past by changing the way you look at it. Amen.

Our Season Today

Second tip is this: Be grateful for what is.

You know what this is. It talks about the present.

I love the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:


There is a time for everything. And I think the reality is this:

Sometimes, it’s not that your life is not blessed. It’s just that sometimes you are not aware of the current season where you are in.

Is that speaking a message to you now?

Thank You for the Present

My wife and I, we love exercise.

I remember, we had more exercise-dates than eating-out dates.

Back then, when we were still single or newly married, we didn’t have a child yet, our usual exercise routine was four- to five- times a week, one to two hours exercise, either going to the gym or jogging.

But when our baby came and the Pandemic came, it was all taken away. And suddenly, when that was taken away– a very good habit—

we noticed that there’s a problem with our laundry– because our clothes were shrinking. :)

It was difficult for us at first because we missed that routine in the past.

But later on, towards that journey of saying Thank You to God– because we knew that taking care of our child is time well spent also– we discovered that it was a season that we could not go back to because we are now at a different season in our life.

So, instead of complaining, we started thanking God: “Thank You, Lord.

Thank You, Lord, that we have this time.”

And you know what? We discovered ways how to do our exercise still.

My wife takes a 20-minute walk from our house to get to the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station. So, every day, she gets to walk.

And she shows me her phone: “Look: I have 7,000 steps today.

Look: I have 13,000 steps because I went to Landmark and bought this…” So, it’s like that.

And I did what Bro. Bo is doing right now: push-ups anytime, anywhere— on demand. Shakira (Columbian singer) style. You want to know why it’s Shakira? It’s Whenever, Wherever (title of her hit single), you know?

So, I do those pull-ups. When my child is at the playground, I see the monkey bars. I do a pull-up. I do. I started with just one or two. Now I can do 3 sets of 8 because I’ve appreciated our current season and time.

Be grateful for what it is, for what is. Because it’s the present. Be grateful always for your present situation.

Another Story…

You know, for preachers like us, Monday is our day off. So, we usually schedule all of our errands on a Monday. So, the laundry happens on a Monday. The wet market trip happens on a Monday.

The grocery trip happens on a Monday.

So, just last week, Monday night, all of those errands were done. We went to the lobby of our condo– only to find out that four elevators, all four of the elevators, were not working. Imagine the fury and the chaos inside. Imagine the poor little receptionist taking in everything.

So, instead of grumbling, instead of complaining, I told my wife, “Let me check the situation.”

I went to the receptionist and asked her, “Do you think, Miss, this will be fixed within 3 to 4 hours?”

“Sir, it’s unlikely,” she said, “because they have to call the elevator supplier still by office hours tomorrow. So, the fastest time may be lunchtime tomorrow.”

So, I was like, “Oh, okay. We know what to do.”

I went to my wife and told her: “What do we do? Basically, I have to go up 26 floors… Because we have to bring up the grocery and everything.”

And I said, “Thank You, Lord, for the present. This is exercise.”

I was grumbling about exercise earlier. Now, God’s giving me exercise. “Okay, I will take it.”

Then my wife told me, “Do you know what? We have a travel envelope. We haven’t used anything yet, because Pandemic, we weren’t able to travel. So, let’s book a hotel tonight.”

“Oh, we could do that?” “Yes!”

A Present from God

You know what? To add icing on the cake, I was already going up the stairs.

By the time I reached the eighth floor, I was so tired…

And beside me was a muscular guy, Caucasian.

I told him, “Dude, good exercise.”

Fist bump!

Yeah, fist bump. Because the dude was, like me, also carrying something. He was carrying a sack of rice. How many kilograms? Not one, not two, not five— but 10 kilograms.

So, I said, “Good exercise, Bro.”

And I asked him, “What floor are you going up to? “40th floor.”

And immediately, I started thanking God: “Thank You, Lord. Our unit is just on the 26th floor.”

So, we proceeded to our a mini-vacation. And then, later, after we checked out of the hotel, when we returned to the condominium, the elevator was fixed already.

Be grateful for what is.

It’s called the present because it’s a present from God.

Unless you change the way you view the present, you’ll never appreciate what’s from the past and from the future. Amen.

“So, yeah, let’s book a hotel.”

So, there I was thanking the Lord: “Yes, Lord, thank You. I have exercise going up and going down, and we will have an instant vacation because the elevator broke down.”

Whatever Will Be…

Third tip is this: Be grateful for what will be.

Ah, some people are caught in their worries: “What about tomorrow?”

I think after every time you work hard, you must surrender and be grateful to God — even if the future is uncertain.

I always hold on to this verse–Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

So, is it your waiting season right now, Brothers and Sisters? Are you waiting for a promotion? Probably you’re praying for a child, a financial breakthrough, a restoration of a relationship.

God is telling you today: “Don’t worry. Be grateful for what is to come.”

Can you put your hands on your heart and say this with me: “Thank You, Lord, because you have planned ahead. I know my future will be great because it’s in Your hands. Amen.”

I remember a time, about 15 years ago, I brought my nephew to the house of my Dad– his Lolo. And it was an unannounced visit.

So, my Dad was surprised and told my nephew: “I’m so sorry, apo. Naku, hindi ko man lang alam na dadating ka. Wala man lang akong naihandang regalo.—

I didn’t know you were coming. I have not prepared a gift for you…” You know what my nephew answered?

He said,“Okay lang po Lolo, kahit wala akong gift. Ang mahalaga meron akong Lolo. — It’s okay, Grandpa. It’s okay to have no gift. What’s important is I have a Grandpa.”

The Truth

That day, a little boy changed my perspective.

Sometimes, we yearn for things and we expect a gift from God because we are confident, He will give it to us. But what if God doesn’t give that gift? Will you choose what’s more important?

I love it that we get to preach the truth here in The Feast. And today, I’ll preach a certain truth that I want to sink in your heart today.

Because the reality is this: There are blessings that you want that you will never receive in your lifetime.

That’s true. There are things that you desire that are not meant for you. If that happens, what will you do? Will you grumble? Will you complain? Will you compare?

Or will you start telling God, “Lord, thank You. Thank You still.

I love it that when you look at Matthew, even Jesus was not exempt from that dilemma. Because He was to be crucified the next day. He was already contemplating and praying to God. I think He was already seeing how excruciating and painful it would be.

So, Matthew 26:39 says: “He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will be done, not mine.’”

The greatest form of gratitude is surrender.

You surrender — not because you’re defeated. But you surrender to the greater power that will lead you to victory in your life. Amen.

I want you to think about every blessing that you have in your life now, every person that you have in your life now. Thank God for these.

And also, truthfully thank God today: “Lord, thank You for everything that I don’t have. Lord, thank you for the prayers that You have not answered.”

You may not understand now, but I want to implant this truth to you today: One day, you will thank God for the prayers He has not answered. Because He knows best.

So, in the end, in every circumstance, be grateful.

Let’s now worship God. In the Name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit Amen.

We come to You today, Lord, in worship, in gratitude. Thank You for Your goodness, oh Lord. Thank You for Your love.

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (October 15, 2023)


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