Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can You Stand the Truth?

In most of my meetings I make sure I mention the danger some music imposes on us and I've noticed most youths find it really hard to believe in what  I'm saying. Some even think I'm trying to dictate their lives by telling them what not to listen to. Well, I decided to share with you what this secular pediatric website has to say. Even though it's from a physical point of view, the outcome is pretty much the same as of the spiritual one in the meetings.

Objective: To perform a comprehensive content analysis of substance use in contemporary popular music.

Design: We analyzed the 279 most popular songs of 2005 according to Billboard magazine. Two coders working independently used a standardized data collection instrument to code portrayals of substance use.

Outcome Measures: Presence and explicit use of substances and motivations for, associations with, and consequences of substance use.

Results: Of the 279 songs, 93 (33.3%) portrayed substance use, with an average of 35.2 substance references per song-hour. Portrayal of substance use varied significantly (< .001) by genre, with 1 or more references in 3 of 35 pop songs (9%), 9 of 66 rock songs (14%), 11 of 55 R & B/hip-hop songs (20%), 22 of 61 country songs (36%), and 48 of 62 rap songs (77%). While only 2.9% of the 279 songs portrayed tobacco use, 23.7% depicted alcohol use, 13.6% depicted marijuana use, and 11.5% depicted other or unspecified substance use. In the 93 songs with substance use, it was most often motivated by peer/social pressure (45 [48%]) or sex (28 [30%]); use was commonly associated with partying (50 [54%]), sex (43 [46%]), violence (27 [29%]), and/or humor (22 [24%]). Only 4 songs (4%) contained explicit anti-use messages, and none portrayed substance refusal. Most songs with substance use (63 [68%]) portrayed more positive than negative consequences; these positive consequences were most commonly social, sexual, financial, or emotional.

Conclusions: The average adolescent is exposed to approximately 84 references to explicit substance use daily in popular songs, and this exposure varies widely by musical genre. The substance use depicted in popular music is frequently motivated by peer acceptance and sex, and it has highly positive associations and consequences.

*Excerpted from: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/162/2/169

To be continue...

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Saturday, December 24, 2011


"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were... 

foolishstupid, silly, idiotic, witless, brainless, mindless, unintelligent, thoughtless, half-baked, imprudent, incautious, injudicious, unwise, ill-advised, ill-considered, impolitic, rash, reckless, foolhardy, daft; informal dumb, dim, dimwitted, halfwitted, thick, harebrained, crack-brained, crackpot, pea-brained, wooden-headed, dumb-ass, chowderheaded. - Matthew 25:1-2

Are the synonyms enough to make you understand? 

Perhaps you could attempt to read the rest of the chapter. 

Do you dare?

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wise Up!

Have you ever been in a situation where you do or say something and immediately after that you regret it? Young people often find themselves in this situation. Why? Because they act according to the impulses of their hearts, without wisdom.

What comes to mind whenever the word wisdom is mentioned is the image of an old man, full of experience and knowledge... this is the world’s image of wisdom. But there is a big difference between the wisdom that comes from God and the wisdom of the world.

The wisdom of the world often bears a lot of tragedy and problems simply because they act based on their own understanding. It’s equally easy to see the bad fruits of those who are unwise.

"Instead of kicking yourself every time you commit the same mistakes
seek wisdom from God that you may deal with things the right way."

For God, age or experience is not an issue. When Solomon asked for wisdom he was young, he had no experience of running a kingdom but he recognised that he wasn’t mature enough to deal with that responsibility and sought wisdom from God. He received it because his heart was after God’s own, meaning he wanted to do things right by God.

You may not be running a kingdom but you need wisdom to deal with family, finances, school, friends and the situation around you. Instead of kicking yourself every time you commit the same mistakes seek wisdom from God that you may deal with things the right way.

When you receive counselling from pastors or assistants, they don’t just sit there talking about things that they know. They are linked with God, they seek for wisdom and consequently God gives it to them in order to give people the right direction and advice.

Be wise.

If you want to grow in your faith, make sure you attend the last YPG Real Talk meeting of the year next Thursdays at 7pm.

Find your local YPG branch.

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Are You Known For?

In 2 Chronicles 26, we read the story of King Uzziah who was called to rule at the age of sixteen. When the people chose him to govern over them instead of his father, he grew from strength to strength and prospered in everything.

As he did what was right in the sight of God “…his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.”
(2 Chronicles 26:15)

So what caused this great and successful king to be remembered as nothing more than a leper?

Note here that it says he was successful until he became strong, in other words, until he became proud.

“Stop for a moment and look at yourself…what are you known for?”

King Uzziah allowed pride to fill his heart and believed himself to know everything and lost the fear of God, just like many young people do today.

“…when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (2 Chronicles 26:16)

When the priests rebuked him for this, instead of humbling himself and recognising his mistake, he was angry in his heart. Consequently, leprosy broke out across his forehead. In those days, a leprous person was an outcast; they were seen as ‘unclean’ and would have to stay away from the rest of the citizens of that city. In that single moment of rebellion in his heart, King Uzziah lost everything and was ashamed and humiliated before all men.

Isn’t this what happens to many youths nowadays?

Like this King, many youths lose the fear of God and despise the many opportunities that He gives them through direction and instruction from the man of God (pastors/assistants). They refuse to humble themselves. Consequently they become ‘leprous’. 

Instead of being known for being successful, they are known for everything that is bad and shameful.

They become like those youths who are no longer known by their names but rather as ‘that girl that fights all the time’‘the boy who is an undergraduate’, ‘the one in the gang’, ‘the guy who ended up in prison’ or ‘the girl who got pregnant’.

Kind David was in a similar situation as King Uzziah. He was successful and also well known. At his greatest, like King Uzziah, he sinned when he sent his soldier to his death in battle because he wanted to be with his wife.

In comparison to King Uzziah’s sin, King David's seemed the worst of the two, so why is it then that today, he is remembered as the man after God’s own heart despite this big mistake? It’s because when David was rebuked by the priests for his actions, instead of being filled with pride like Uzziah, he humbled himself and repented of his sin.

Today, David is still known as a great king, a great man of God. Uzziah is known for being a leper.

Stop for a moment and look at yourself…what are you known for?

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Friday, December 16, 2011

Overcoming the 'Loser State'

Many youths, in spite of believing in God and having every opportunity to succeed, they are losers!

They are constantly defeated by their problems, situations and are constantly making the same silly mistakes.

They try to overcome this ‘loser state’ according to their abilities but the Bible is clear…

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17: 33)

When we give our life to the Lord Jesus, not just vocally but to the point of acting upon every instruction that's given, we can never lose because from that moment on our life is in His hands. We're safe.

This means that no matter what happens around you, even if it’s a situation that is against you, you can't lose because you already 'lost' your life the day you gave it to God. No matter what happens, there's no loss! 

How can you lose something you have already lost? Your life is His concern now.

If you are reading this and thinking, ‘I don’t want to be a loser anymore’, then do something about it! Give your life to God, with no reservations.

Only the Holy Spirit can make you complete.

Make sure you win the biggest battle of all battles, the inner one.

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where U Going? - Francis Kallon Testimony

Watch this amazing example of what is to be in control of one's life.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Your Spiritual Compass

How can we discern between good and evil in this corrupt and hypocritical world, filled with deception?

How can we know whom to date and marry 
according to the will of God?

What career should we choose in order to be 
more useful in the Kingdom of God?

What to do when home is in turmoil?

Which church is of God?

How to identify the voice of God and the voice of the devil?

Adrift in the spiritual ocean?

When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide into all truth.
John 16:13


Luke Castro
YPG National coordinator

Friday, December 2, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

U vs U - Part II

When countries are at war, their primary objective is to identify their enemies weak spot so they can point all their guns at the area.

It happens in the Spiritual realm too. Our enemy is always lurking around looking for ways to makes stumble, fall and even get killed.

He won't give up. He'll keep trying and trying and trying. 

That's what he did to Samson. You see, though he was the most respected and feared man at the time the devil did not rest. He kept devising plans to catch Samson. And he eventually succeed.

The devil teamed up with man's weakest spot, the HEART.

And in order to accomplish that plan he introduced Delilah, a beautiful woman by the way. Small detail.

Likewise, our enemy will also use girls, guys, 'friends', family, media, music, Hollywood and so many other things in order to weaken our defenses and get to us.

Friends, you are strong by nature. You are smart, clever, your mind is sharp and fresh. Our enemy knows that very well. He'll do everything in his power to overpower you.

Outsmart him. Make him look like a fool. Don't give him that taste. Remain strong in God and you'll beat him up, badly.

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Friday, November 4, 2011

U vs U

Do you know Samson, strong guy from the Bible? Many people think his power was in his hair. WRONG. It was in his pact with God. 

Also, many people blame delilah for Samson's fall. WRONG again. It was Samson himself. 

Let's go back in time.

Samson received his strength from God. According to bible, "the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him".

Through his immense strength and power Samson tore down the gates of a city, he tore up a lion with his bare hands and killed 1,000 enemy soldiers with the swing of a jawbone of a donkey. The type of thing that you only see in movies today. But here is the thing, he actually DID IT. It was like Samson was the Thor, or the Superman at the time, but for real. No special effects. No fantasy.

He was a hero for the Israelites.

Now, as we already know, the devil is always looking for ways to get to us. No matter who we are, the position we hold, if we're rich or poor. He doesn't care. All he wants is to impede God's people from succeeding.

And that's exactly what he did to Samson. He found a way to get to him. And it was Samson's heart. The devil knows very well that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." 

You see, Samson was so strong, bold, courageous, audacious, but he was defeated by his own heart. Delilah was just an instrument in the devil's hands.

I'll get in to that next week.

Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jobs' Legacy

Jobs' legacy will live on.

We can undoubtedly say that he stood out
in the revolutionary computer market.

He is was an unequaled genius.

But that leaves us, YPG comrades, with a question: What about us?

What about us who fight for a greater cause?

What legacy will be left for those who come after us?

Computers will deteriorate one day, but not the human soul.

Stop & think?

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Thursday, September 8, 2011

WHEN... is the right time? (part II)

Let's do some math:

If when COURTING (dating) I come to the conclusion that the person I'm dating is really the one for me  then I shouldn't take too long to get married otherwise I'll surrender myself to temptation.

Okay. That's clear. Now, what if then I'm not planning to marry that person right now because I'm only 17 years old and also because I have barely started college? 

Does this mean that I'll date this person for another 3, 4 years? Isn't it dangerous to my hormones?

Moreover, I haven't accomplished much in my finances, got a decent job, nor built a solid foundation yet. 

Well, if I'm using my intelligence and not my emotions (you can't do maths using your emotions anyways), neither following the impulses of my heart, I can conclude that it's too early for me to commit myself to a relationship at this time of my life.

Ha-ha... gotcha! The question now is: Who is brave enough to use the MIND and not the HEART to solve this love equation?

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WHEN... is the right time? (part I)

In the last post we explained how to know who is the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with and avoid any type of surprises.

Today I would like to talk about WHEN is the right time to start thinking about your love life. Of course, to not think about it is quite impossible, I know. However, I hope to make you understand that it's not a problem to think about it, unless you think with your heart and not with your gray mass.

I'd like to start off talking about DATE and COURTING (you probably never heard of this one before).

According to the dictionary:

DATE2 informal a social or romantic appointment or engagement.

COURTING - be involved with romantically, typically with the intention of marrying.

Can you spot the difference? COURTING is no longer part of our street-like vocabulary. It's kind old fashioned. Hence the problems caused by DATING.

Today it's all about DATING. You meet, kiss, sleep together, have a baby and if so, you get married. It's completely the opposite from what we heard from our ancestors (I say ancestors because even our recent ones, such as our parents, failed on this one).

COURTING is all about getting to know the person so you can move on and get married, and not to kiss and roll in the sack. You're interested in what you two might have in common or any dissimilarity. This isn't cool nowadays, I know. Would rather be cool than be sure? It's your call.

To be continued.

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WHO... is the right person?

Everyone asks this question, at least once in life.

"How will I know who he/she is?" "Will we connect first time?" "Will I feel different?" "Will we have everything in common?" are questions that play over and over again in the minds of many young people.

There is only one solution to that, and this doesn't fail:

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,
He will guide you into all truth."
Jh 16:13

The Holy Spirit doesn't fail my friends. He is spot on. He nails it, big time.

If you have the Holy Spirit He will lead you to someone who is also spiritual. If someone who isn't of God intends to approach you in order to start a relationship with you, He will show you immediately.

And by the way, don't think that everyone in church is what they seem to be. Watch out!

Of course, if you're carnal chances are you'll attract meat, not spirit. Or do you think a spiritual person, filled with the Holy Spirit will risk his relationship with God because of you who is carnal? Quite hard to believe that.

Make sure that you first is filled with the Spirit of God. Then seek the qualities and attributes of the Holy Spirit in the other person. After making sure that you and the other person are on the same spiritual level, the next step would be checking the compatibility. It isn't enough to have the Holy Spirit and attend church. Future plans, career, even spiritual plans such us doing the work of God full time, must be analyzed. Even doing the Work of God as an assistant might be a deterrent in the relationship.

Don't hurry. Let Him guide you. That's why God has inspired the church to do the 21 Days Challenge. If the Spirit of God dwells in you, you have EVERYTHING.

Pr Luke Castro
YPG National Coordinator