EMPTY MINDS

In today’s world entertainment has become probably the most important thing in the life of many people. It is not like during those years when people wanted to create, discover, invent, etc, people utilized their time thinking about their projects, and studying materials related to the matter they were investigating.  We do have today some people investing time and theirs lives being leaders and innovators. But not many. Everywhere we see more complacency, somehow it feels like the joy of thinking of something new has been stolen.

When we finish our tasks, or work, it is like suddenly this idea of mind-wandering is convenient. Kids and teenagers are pretty good at that. But responsible adults know very well the danger of an empty mind, an idle mind. There is nothing wrong with resting or finding ways to entertain ourselves. In fact it is necessary for the wellbeing of our minds and bodies. For the sake of our relationships at home, and in the workplace, we all should invest time relaxing and thinking of some other things other than working all the time.

However, the entertainment in this world is becoming more brutal, disrespectful, nasty, antiBiblical, and immoral. People without filters are easy victims of all those bad things available today in social media, apps, tv channels, internet channels, etc. Kids and teenagers can be assimilated quickly by that sort of entertainment, youngsters assume without problem the vocabulary, behavior, attitudes and horrible examples shown, and they laugh about it like it is not that serious. 

Parents are responsible for being those filters for minors. Teachers and leaders in the community also play a very important role influencing inexperienced ones. But the worse thing is when we, adults, are entertaining ourselves with bad stuff, and we don’t have a problem watching, listening, reading, viewing, even participating online through chats, text, audio or video, with individuals who have no fear of God at all.

Every time you have the opportunity to suggest a good movie, book, magazine, internet website, channel, radio, do it. One fight today is against what is being poured into people’s minds. Also, if you see a kid or teenager talk to him, or her, about the dangers of evil entertainment. You never know when your message will come in the perfect time to save their soul. The future is already here, young people are the future. My contribution is through my website https://www.mygiancarlo.com where so far you can find 30-minutes audiobooks. It is your responsibility to guide, influence, inspire and even correct those youngsters that don’t have a clue that “idle mind is…”, well, you know the rest of the sentence. Don’t say there are not options today, because there are. You need to search for it and you will find great ways to entertain yourself in a decent and healthy way.

Money

MONEY

Rev. Gian Carlo Villatoro Founding Pastor
VICTORY CHURCH ODESSA https://www.vchurch.us

This is one of the things going through our minds everyday. Whether it is for basic things like food, gas, medicine, utility bills, insurances, car payments, house payments, loans, taxes, credit cards, etc., to entertainment, savings, vacations or retirement. It is fact: money is very important in life! Therefore, money management should be one course everyone should take periodically.

Budget is one word that most people hate, and when I say “hate”, I mean, dislike with the utmost intensity! Because that word -budget- basically means “be responsible, and stick with the plan”. Most people have a big problem with doing what they say they will do. But, if we do not have a budget, or if we don’t stick with the plan of how we are going to use the money in the following week, 2 weeks, or a month (whatever method you are being paid), the truth is: you will be broke.

There is an old song, “Girls just want to have fun.” I tease people telling them that the singer’s name is Cindy Lopez. I know it’s not. It is Lauper, actually. That song talks about a simple idea: How fun it is to have fun! That was the amazing thing when you were a kid, teenager or young adult: You only wanted to have fun! However, with the pass of the years you saw the big difference between those who only have fun and those who were accomplishing great success in life: in their studies, career, marriage, family, etc. And that is one thing: Fun or Budget.

You now, a total grown up adult with tons of responsibilities, know that only having fun is extremely dangerous. It is fun, though! It is really fun to have fun. I love to have fun. As a matter of fact, if you ask me what I would like to do today, my immediate answer would be, “Let’s have fun!” Because how fun it is to have fun! Unfortunately, not everything in life is fun, we know that. That is why we teach our kids when they are little to assume responsibilities in the house, with their chores and school homework. We remind our teenagers the same thing, and we continue telling our children the same thing all throughout their lives: be responsible! Wow, that is so sad, right? It is! I would prefer to say to my kids, grandkids, and my church members, — come on guys, let’s have fun— but the consequences of that route are a total disaster, not just financially, but physically, mentally, and in our relationships.

In your budget, you need to consider your income and your expenses. Remember that the source of all blessings is our Lord God. He is the One giving you that business or job. He is the One who gave you life, intelligence, and the strength to make money. He should be the number one in your budget when it comes to start making your payments. There are many promises of abundance and provision in the Bible, but honestly, God loves those who give with a grateful and cheerful heart.

Hygiene helps you to be healthy

HYGIENE HELPS YOU TO BE HEALTHY

Rev. Gian Carlo Villatoro Founding Pastor
VICTORY CHURCH ODESSA https://www.vchurch.us

Many people have discovered the wonders of a healthy life by keeping good hygiene. When you visit your family or friends, whether it is to their homes or work places, there is always something that you will like: Cleanliness. Every time you get into a car, a clean car always makes you feel good, even if the vehicle is not new. When you are ready to start your day, clean clothes will always make feel better. Clean socks, clean shirts, etc., are some things that just make you feel really good. When you take a shower, it is awesome when you are all clean, it makes you feel even cleaner. Using a clean towel is sensational. The same thing applies when you want to brush your teeth. Having a new clean toothbrush and putting your toothpaste from a clean tube is just great. Using a clean comb or hairbrush makes you also feel very good.

Think about your food. A clean pantry, clean kitchen utensils, clean stove, clean microwave, clean refrigerator, clean plates, clean silverware. All that simply makes you feel good. It does not matter if your home is simple or fancy, it does not mater if you will cook a superb meal or a simple plate. Having clean ingredients, clean tools, it will always make you feel better.

Spiritually speaking it is the same. In order to feel good within ourselves, we need to be clean. That is why we will never get tired of proclaiming the great news of the GRACE OF JESUS. The Salvation that anyone can experience for free. It is free for you. You don’t have to pay anything to be saved. Read this passage in Romans 10.9, “If you openly say, —Jesus is my Lord— and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved.” © ERV.

In order to become a child of God, all that is required is to believe. Faith that comes by God, by hearing his Word. It’s like now how you just read that passage. Could you please read out loud that passage? “If you openly say, —Jesus is my Lord— and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved.” Becoming clean is matter of accepting the gift of Salvation. Do not listen to any other person, or group of people, telling you otherwise. Only believe God’s Word, and let the Holy Spirit guide you to take the next step. Areas that He will guide you in are: Joining a church, getting baptized, becoming an active member in your church by doing volunteer work for God, or making financial contributions to your church, but more importantly is the change in your heart. You will start to feel the need to have cleaner desires, cleaner thoughts, cleaner words, and in general you will begin to long for a much better relationship with our Lord God, and with yourself, and everyone else who wants to have a clean friend.

You now see that Hygiene definitely helps you to be healthy. Remember, God can clean you so well that you will be able to live a life with purity, good conscience, and spiritual good health.

Am I a Victim of Myself?

AM I A VICTIM OF MYSELF?

Rev. Gian Carlo Villatoro Founding Pastor
VICTORY CHURCH ODESSA https://www.vchurch.us

Yes, I am. But, it is also true that others have offended me and hurt me throughout my life. However, when I think of all the problems that I have faced in the past, and the ones that I am facing now, for some reason I keep thinking I didn’t handle this right.

I do not particularly enjoy beating myself up every time I make a mistake. But my personal history teaches me that if I would have applied wisdom in each case, most of the problems that I had, and the ones that I have now, would not have been as bad, because the direction of my life and certain circumstances would have been different.

I know this to be true because I have accomplished many wonderful things in my life, and I had success in the past in many areas, and today I am successful in many areas. All that is because of the grace of God and the wisdom that I have received through the Bible, as well as my mentors.

I am 56 years old. I am the oldest sibling out of six children. My parents are in Heaven. I am a pastor. My wife, Tracy, and I have four children and one grandchild, and one more grandchild will be arriving into this world in November, in the name of the Lord.

Every day I communicate with many individuals, in person, on the phone, etc. I have the privilege of speaking with many people, and they share with me their personal challenges, which is an honor for me that they choose me as a friend and confidant.

Based on all I have said above, and knowing what the Scripture says, I know that quite often I am the victim of myself. So are you. But what is the real challenge? It is to admit that I have done something wrong. That I am wrong. That I need help. The biggest challenge is to accept that I am weak, that I am not that smart. That I need God. That I need the help of anyone who is able to guide me in the particular area that I am struggling with. Even in cases where I am the victim of any kind of abuse from others, even then, I have to learn how to defend myself, how to protect myself. Basically, I need to acquire wisdom. The wisdom that comes from God is the solution to all problems. I always tease my friends, telling them that chocolate is the answer to all questions. Therefore, I can say that wisdom is like chocolate.

Where can I find it? In the hearts of individuals around me that love God, and who love me. That is your choice. Get it. Do it. Learn to become accountable to them.

Broadcasting & Newspaper

BROADCASTING & NEWSPAPER

Rev. Gian Carlo Villatoro Founding Pastor
VICTORY CHURCH ODESSA https://www.vchurch.us

For years, I have been filming many videos. I have chosen wonderful backgrounds, outdoors, as well as indoors. I also have invited people to be with me on screen. Recording video is a fun experience for anyone, especially when you make mistakes.

Every single time when you are in front of a camera filming a video, inevitably, you are going to say something wrong. Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s the expression on your face. Or sometimes you are not looking at the right camera, or the person that is with you is not paying attention to what you’re doing. You should have so much fun when you are recording videos! I know I do. Sometimes I would like to go back and check all the mistakes I made, and create a video just about all the errors, to laugh at myself. I think that would be fantastic!

However, if recording a video could be tricky, imagine how difficult it is to broadcast LIVE. That, my friend, is absolutely complicated. I am not talking about the complexity of all the technology that is required. That, in itself, is a super complicated animal. I am talking about the level of tension that everybody involved can have in that broadcast, while we go LIVE.

My wife, Tracy and I, go LIVE on our church’s broadcast five times a week, and we need to properly prepare for such a task. Anyone that could be around us during the two previous hours before the broadcast, you probably would be laughing at us! I’m sure you can imagine the kinds of conversations that we have with each other! From the outsider’s view point, I think it’s hilarious.

Bringing a positive message to our audience is extremely important to us. The main goal of our job (which to us, is a calling), consists in delivering inspiration to people, but not just any kind of inspiration. It is the inspiration to believe in God, and to believe in God‘s Word.

In these days, we can use so many resources in order to deliver the message coming from Heaven. By the way, the name of our program on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m., is “Vitamins From Heaven”. We are taking advantage of all the technology available today, but we definitely couldn’t do what we are doing without the faithful support of our church members, and the outstanding technical work of our team.

In our church, we work as a family. We all see each other as brothers and sisters, for real. And we all help each other. As a matter of fact, our IT expert is our son, Sebastian. We do believe in working as a family together. We find it a great pleasure in doing this. Undoubtably, the existence of newspapers is needed in our community. I am honored to be a part of the Odessa American newspaper. While I am writing this article, I am saying a special prayer for the directors and managers of this noble institution. May our good Lord continue blessing you, each one of you, dear friends!

Hands to Work

HANDS TO WORK

Rev. Gian Carlo Villatoro Founding Pastor
VICTORY CHURCH ODESSA https://www.vchurch.us

These are days to put our hands to work. Certainly we can be thinking of many things that are happening around us, but we will not get anything done if our hands are idle.

As a matter of fact, wasting time is the worst thing we can do now! We need to understand that life continues, and, with it, everything else keeps moving like always. Our hair keeps growing, we need to eat, clean and take care of trash. Clothes must be washed. Cars need to be clean. Yards, doors, windows, driveways, patios, furniture, indoor and outdoor, must be clean. Pets. Air filters. Etc.

Payments are expected by our providers. Bills have to be paid, or at least renegotiated. Phone calls need to be done. Emails need to be sent. All medical issues need to be taken care of. Issues with cars, equipment, computers, etc, must be resolved. Life continues, and now more difficult than ever.

Precisely for that reason we need to put our hands to work. Doing nothing will take you nowhere. You need to see the reality and get the motivation that you need to do what you need to do. If you don’t have the money to make many payments, make phone calls and talk to those companies. If you can’t afford many things, stop using certain services.

Now is the time to save money and time. Now is the time to work harder than ever. Now is the time to stop watching some much TV or social media stuff, and find something to do in your home and in your workplace, if you have a job. If you need a job, you need to put more effort now that ever before to get that employment.

My friend, it is time to put your hands to work. It is time to have faith. It is time to get up and do something because nobody will show up at your door to fix your life and your problems. Every and each one of us have tons of problems and all of us must do our very best in this season. The free ride is over and now is the time to pay.

Do whatever you need to get motivated, double espresso without sugar, louder music, anything and everything that is needed, just do it because this is crunch time and only the strong ones will survive. Put your faith in our Lord God, say your prayers, read your Bible and put your hands to work.

Reading and Listening

It was in the second decade of the 1900s when the invention of Radio brought to America a new term: “Broadcasting”. It was just fascinating. Old people, young fellows and little ones were impacted by the sound of voices and music, literally coming into their homes via the waves of a wireless signal. People were incredibly attracted to the radio. That invention made a huge impact that transformed many things in the world. People then used to learn and get entertained, among other ways, mainly by reading.

Books will be always needed. We need to keep learning, and books are a great method to acquire knowledge. But the radio changed a lot of people. Still today there are many individuals that prefer radio to keep them company. Later with TV, computers, and videos, less and less people are interested in reading. Watching the screen with images makes easier to understand things and entertainment is even simpler. Your imagination does not get to work if you are watching a video.

For so many people there is a particular beauty on reading. My mother-in-law, mama Tina, used to say this, “when I read a book, I am transported to a new world, whatever the reading takes me.”. I always loved to hear her saying that, kindle and ebooks became her favorite pastime in her last years. When my dad passed away, he instructed us to donate all his books to a public library in a country town. He was a writer, among other things, he wanted others to enjoy reading.

Listening to music is also a wonderful way to enjoy a ride in our cars, whether commuting to/from work, or traveling for pleasure. But in July 2019 I decided to make a small contribution to my country and to the world. By the Grace of God, with the wonderful help of my team, including my wife Tracy, my son Sebastian and great musicians, editors, narrators, and the support of my Victory Church family, we have produced audiobooks to keep company to those who like to read inspirational stories but can’t do it while driving or walking.

We launched a website, a YouTube channel, and a Facebook page called “Gian Audiobooks”, where anyone with access to the internet can enjoy listening to free audiobooks. Today, on February 2020, we are very pleased to share with you 7 productions, each one is a 30-minutes audiobook with my original story and music. Anyone is free to go to https://www.mygiancarlo.com and listen to any of the following audiobooks: (1) Unmask, (2) Inadequate, (3) Tears of Joy, (4) Survive, (5) One Year Later, (6) Frankie,  (7) Made to Win, and (8) Year 2064. On the website you will be able to see the cover of each audiobook and read a short description of each book. All these books are available on iTunes and on the App Books, as well.

If you like to read but maybe one day you can’t, for whatever reason, I invite you to download for free these audiobooks and feel free to share them with your family and friends. Reading or listening, your brain is going to keep very active when you feed yourself with a cool story.

Max

I enjoy having fun with my dog. Over a year ago, in the Summer of 2018, I went to pick up my mail to my mailbox, half block from my home, and a puppy licked my leg… he followed me home, I said, “Tracy, someone is here to see you…”, Tracy and I loved the little one that now is almost 140 Lbs of pure energy jumping all over my home! Insane!

Here is a video of him today 3/14/2020.

 

 

Angels around us

You don’t have a clue how many times angels are sent by God have saved your life. Psalm 91.11 declares, “The Lord will command His angels to protect you wherever you go.” – Thanks to our good Lord for that! I remember many times that I have been in dangerous situations, occasions where I knew that only God and His angels could save me and protected me, and He did! Glory to God! But I wonder how many times He saved me that I was not even aware of the potential accident that could have ended my life?

On the other hand, I know that in innumerable cases I have been helped by individuals in many instances, places, and contexts. Whether it is in receiving help in doing God’s work in ministry, or it is on a personal level, those individuals were  just like “angels”, because somehow they were the answer to my prayers.

From the theological viewpoint, “angels” are part of God’s creation as beings with supernatural characteristics. However, today I am not profound about the concept, rather I am speaking to you just as a friend, like any other guy who can say to you that throughout the years, I have seen people doing wonderful things for others, that somehow they have acted like “angels” helping people.

I know that every time I have a need, I can go to the Lord in prayer to ask Him for His help, and I know that He hears me. I know that He helps me, always. But I have seen that quite often He uses someone to fulfill that need. I like to see God’s hands on everything good that happens to me. I also like to see that the one who helps me is like an “angel” to me, because of the service they are doing for me.

From that simple, and perhaps naive perspective, I say, “Many angels have helped me in my life.” I smile when I think of those who I have called “angels”, people like you and I, without supernatural powers, but all of them with one capability, the ability to be kind and nice to someone. Many of you have been an angel for others without your even thinking about it. Perhaps you could once again today be an angel for someone who needs something that you can give. Maybe it’s money, a jacket, or a meal, a name and phone number, an address, or simply directions to get somewhere. And all that happens because your heart is willing to do something for somebody without expecting anything in return. You do it just because God put love in your heart, and the kindness and willingness to share. Today you are the angel for someone, who tomorrow will be the angel for somebody else.

Ḡīāŋ