Fr. Jose Poch

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


            This past weekend I had the pleasure of serving as Head Spiritual Director of a retreat-type program we call Cursillo or in its longer form Cursillos in Christianity. The name of the program comes from the Spanish word for  “small” or “brief.” It is a brief course in Christian living. It is a three-full-days retreat program that seeks to empower and encourage believers who attend the weekend retreat to serve in their churches and their communities at large as committed followers of Jesus Christ. The program in divided in such a way that men attend alone the first weekend and the women attend alone on the subsequent weekend. Later, there are many opportunities for the entire community of Cursillistas to come together for encouragement and service.

            One of my responsibilities was to close the weekend with a charge, in this case a charge to the men who just made their Cursillo and the men who served them in the team–the cooks and the speakers.

            The passage I used to close the weekend was Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon/money" [NKJV]. I focused on “What does a man who serves two masters look like?”

Because some of the men asked me if I had a copy of the message, which I did not, I decided to make it my blog for this week. Here are some of the points I made to them:

What does a man who serves two masters look like?

1- He is unsure of who he is, he does not know what he stands for and therefore stands for nothing that lasts, his values are in contradiction, as are his priorities and worst of all he is unsure of whose he is. His personality shows it.

2- He acts sporadically, one day he is hot and the next he is cold. Jesus said in the Book of Revelations that a person should either be hot or cold. The one who is lukewarm, He will vomit out of His mouth.

3- He is untrustworthy, because you never know how he will act and you can never depend on him.

4- He will ultimately betray one master or the other. His heart is compromised, as is his integrity.

5- He is useless to the Kingdom because his testimony cannot survive; he is in fact a hypocrite.

What does a man who serves One Master, Jesus Christ, look like?

1- He makes no compromise with evil, nor makes excuses for bad behavior. For him following Jesus is an issue of surrender and not of convenience. He has but one Lord and Master, whom he serves and follows.

2- He firmly attaches himself to Christ through daily prayer, study of His Word and service.

3- He lives in the world because that is where Jesus wants him to serve Him, because that is where those who need Jesus are and he is called to bloom where he is planted.  But he is not of the world, he belongs to Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom is his kingdom.

4- Such a man is true and trustworthy. His heart is firmly planted in the will of God.

            I pray you are as blessed by reading this message as I believe the men were by hearing it.

            Let’s Blog!

            Fr. Jose+

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Power of Word-of-Mouth

I have been reading an excellent book that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to communicate a message to someone else, advertise a product, or as in my case get their church known in any community. Our church just moved to a new community and I found myself interested in learning how to get the word out to as many people as possible in today’s world and with today’s tools. I found this book browsing through a bookstore in an airport. The title of it is Contagious - Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger.

Then I received the newest issue of Leadership Journal, summer 2013, and one of its many articles on communicating through social media declares that we are living in a post-website world although we still need a website. The author says: “A church website is still essential but the primary ways your church will interact with people are through numerous streams of communication, including e-mail, texting and social media. Some will find your church through its website, but more than likely, they’ll find it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter who recommend the church, points to a video or story on the church’s website, or some other form of word-of-mouth communication”

Another article in the same Journal categorically states: “Social media is here to stay, and it is already the norm. It’s the reason family vacations become global broadcast events via Instagram and every popular television series has its own #hashtag to allow people to see tweets from fellow fans in real time. If you are waiting for this “fad” to pass, you’ll be waiting forever.”

I am sorry for digressing from sharing about Contagious but I thought these articles were also relevant to the subject. Berger is not at all against social media communication, in fact he encourages it but makes a very excellent point that social media communication has its limitations. What he encourages, and I will need to continue reading the book to have the answers I am looking for, is to create a sufficient “buzz” about the product or the church to encourage word-of-mouth transmission of the message, not just written. People talking to people, people sharing with people. He states that only 7% of word-of-mouth happens on-line while much more happens off-line. He gives these excellent reasons:

Reason # 1 Word-of-mouth communication versus advertising is “more persuasive” - friends trust friends

Reason # 2 Word-of-mouth is “more targeted” – we tell those who are interested or we  think are interested in what we have to say versus a wider approach.

Reason # 3 Word-of-mouth is “available to everyone” everyone can be a conduit of the message and we all speak to a great number of family and friends daily about those things we are interested in sharing.

            Let me know what you think.

            Let’s Blog!

 (Image by Ed Yourdon available through Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaching Our Youth The Full Truth

            Last week most young people, as well as many underage tweens, witnessed a show of unadulterated nastiness on television. A rating of TV-14 meant that any child over the age of 14 could watch the show without parental supervision. Of course I am adding my two cents to the 2013 MTV Video Music Award (VMA) discussions. I am glad to say that I did not watch the show, however, it was impossible to later watch any news programing or visit AOL or Facebook without being bombarded with some of the images of Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and other so called entertainers nearly nude on stage. The images were nearly pornographic and most certainly for adults only or at least for those adults who like that kind of stuff on their television.

            There is enough blame going around. This blog is not intended to bash Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus, or even the VMA. They live in a different world than most of us. Their purpose in life is to shock through their entertainment. It seems that the lyrics of the songs are no longer bad enough; now they have to strip their rear ends on television and show as much of their privates as would be allowed and call it talent. My biggest concern as a pastor of young people, both boys and girls, and as a grandfather of a 16-year-old and two other granddaughters who will soon enter their tween years is the message they are receiving. Young girls today watching their idols on television receive the message that this is ok, that public nudity and showing your body in public is ok and that they also must do the same and learn "to twerk” or “twerking” when they dance.

            I want parents to recognize that their teens and tweens are being sold a bunch of garbage and lies that can only come from the enemy of their children. The behavior they see from some of these entertainers on television is not good and does not lead to the glamour or the success, or the fame they perceive in them.

            One of the things I taught my daughters, I have tried to teach my 16-year-old granddaughter and will teach the other two and all our youth is that every action and every decision we make has consequences–some good and some bad. Seldom does anything that begins with a bad decision end with a good consequence. See, this is the lie that these entertainers are teaching them; that there are no bad consequences to their actions. The form of life and behavior they are advocating to our kids and youth leads to a disastrous life–promiscuity, sexual exploitation and experimentation before they are ready, teenage pregnancy, children having children, drug abuse, pornography, sexually transmitted diseases, and a destructive way of life. Parents should sit down with their teens and tweens and explain to them that the glamour they see in these entertainers, such as the ones mentioned above, is just smoke and mirrors, fantasy, pipe dreams, and lies. Parents ought to explain to their children that the actions they take today will have consequences in their lives tomorrow.

            What say you?

            Let’s Blog!