Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Dealing With The Changes of Today

Due to COVID-19, changes have occurred that we are compelled to accept. Enumerate what some of those changes are that the youth are dealing with and show that we sympathize. But pandemic or not, there are things in our life that should never change, such as our devotion to our worship services. That is because worship is our life’s work, and it opens doors to God’s goodness. And having God’s goodness is a necessary advantage when dealing with the changes of today.


“Dealing With The Changes of Today” 

[Show open]

Brother Felmar Serreno: Due to COVID-19 changes have occurred that we are compelled to accept. These include travel restrictions that hinder us from frequently visiting our loved ones in different parts of the world, having to wear a face mask at work at the gym or at school, and in extreme cases, staying home practically 24/7 due to lockdown. 

[On-screen text graphic]

How do you deal with change?

Brother Felmar Serreno: How do young people deal with the changes of today? And pandemic or not? Are there things in our life that should never change? Stick around and let’s find out.

[On-screen logo graphic]

Vantage Point

[On-screen text graphic]

Despite so many changes and all that’s going on

keep the right mindset.

Let’s move forward together.

[On-screen logo graphic]

Vantage Point

Brother Felmar Serreno: Hi everyone, welcome to Vantage Point, a new show brought to you by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Here on Vantage Point, we have honest conversations about the challenges of today, what we face in life and see what the Bible says on how to deal with them. I’m Brother Felmar Serreno, a minister of the gospel, and joining me on the show are Natalie Fitzpatrick, and JR Dongalen. 

[On-screen text graphic]

Minister Of The Gospel

Bro. Felmar Serreno

Brother Felmar Serreno: Natalie, if you could please tell us a bit about yourself. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Hi, Brother Felmar! Hey, JR! How’s it going? 

[On-screen text graphic]

Graphic Designer

Natalie Fitzpatrick

Natalie Fitzpatrick: I am Natalie. Or you can call me “Nat” as most of my friends and family do. I am a full time graphic designer as well as a part time event assistant with a BA in Design for Marketing.

Brother Felmar Serreno: And JR, how about yourself? 

JR Dongalen: I’m doing well, Brother Fel, Sister Nat, how’s it going? I’m Brother JR.

[On-screen text graphic]

Content Creator

JR Dongalen

JR Dongalen: ..and I’m a copywriter for a pretty cool company that works with you know, top creators, top YouTubers. And you know, I work directly with brands and platforms like the NBA and YouTube. And it all started when I studied journalism and communications. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: All right, well, good to have both of you on the show. JR, since the pandemic hit, what is one of the most significant changes that you’ve had to make in your life? 

JR Dongalen: I mean, it’s a lot, right? I mean, I can’t go to the gym.

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Where do you start, right?

JR Dongalen: Where do you start? At the very beginning, I couldn’t go to the gym anymore. And Brother Fel and Sister Nat, both of you know that I practice mixed martial arts and, you know, you’re in a room full of dudes and hitting pads and roll it on the floor and then all of a sudden, you got to social distance and wear masks, and you can’t be anywhere near anybody. But you know, those are just one of them. But the major one for me was, you know, I lost my job during the pandemic when it first started. And I had to adjust and try to make ends meet from freelance work and contract work, like, you know, trying to find anything for me to make ends meet to support my family, myself. So that’s definitely one of the biggest changes I had to make since the pandemic started.

Natalie Fitzpatrick: All about that struggling artist’s life, huh?

JR Dongalen: No, it’s a struggling artist’s life. You know how it is, right? Whether it’s like social media, you know, you got to just go out there and put yourself out there, right?

Natalie Fitzpatrick: I can totally relate. Yes. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: You know, thanks for sharing with us, JR. You know, the ups and downs that you’ve been through, I’m sure it’s the same for everybody, as COVID-19 has been a roller coaster, to say the least. Right? There were times we thought that things might actually go back to the way they were. And then we get news of a third wave, variants, fourth wave. In other parts of the world, they got out of lockdown, but not long after had to go back into lockdown. I want to ask Natalie now, how have these changes impacted your plans for the future? Whether they be personal or family plans? Or work related? 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Where do we even start? Just like with JR’s struggles you know, when we originally went into lockdown at the very beginning of the pandemic, I was working two jobs at the time. So I was planning to save up to fly and visit some of my friends in other parts of the country. I had plans.

JR Dongalen: Me, too. Me, too.

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Yeah, see. It was so sad to know that, you know, all these plans we had, like I wanted to go on a summer road trip with some friends, couldn’t because we were all trapped in our own regions, right, with all the restrictions. And then I also wanted to start a custom t-shirt business. I wanted to find a nicer apartment to rent. I also wanted to see a lot of my friends get married in person, which unfortunately, I did not get to do because they had to conduct their weddings through online services or with really intimate gatherings with only their close family or households involved. So I had all these bucket list items, I’m sure JR had a lot too. 

JR Dongalen: Yeah, I feel you. Like, you know what, I never actually mentioned this, I actually tried to start like a merch line and it fell through unfortunately, just because..

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Why didn’t we work together? 

JR Dongalen: I know, we should have, we should have. It was like it was a fitness line that we were trying to do and it just never came to real fruition just because of like COVID-19 and, you know, obviously it stems from being in the gym and being around gym rats too. So, but we couldn’t do that because like not really anyone could go to the gym. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: I know.

Brother Felmar Serreno: We’ve heard from the both of you regarding the changes that you have had to accept and adapt to in light of the pandemic. Now, I want to ask, are there things in your life that did not change? And if so, why? 

[On-screen text graphic]

Are there things that did not change?

Natalie Fitzpatrick: All jokes aside, yeah, lots.. lots.. lots of bad stuff happened, things got taken away. And little things in our day to day routine obviously changed too, I went from working in an office to suddenly working from home. 

JR Dongalen: Me too. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Yay, there you go. Perfect example. I mean, even though that happened, you know, one thing that never changed for us being in the Church Of Christ was that we never missed a worship service. You know, like, the one thing that we could always count on was that worship service would never stop. 

I mean, I remember, I don’t know, JR, if you saw these two, but all across my newsfeed or online, I’d see all these articles or headlines even of just saying, “this church has closed their doors.. this denomination is struggling to figure out when their next worship service will be..” you know, worshipers all over the country, or even the globe, actually, for a lot of different places around the world were struggling to figure out how they would be able to worship, where they could gather, when they would be able to gather again. 

But then in the Church Of Christ, that’s not something we ever had to worry about. Because I remember, even a couple of years ago, we had already started doing, you know, video streaming worship services, we were used to this online platform. And we were so well prepared, because the Church Administration had already, you know, helped us figure out all of these different ways to have our gatherings online, we had our worship services streamed to us, and we never had to stop. And then I guess, for places that maybe didn’t have that same accessibility, they were also able to have the worship services, maybe not by means of the internet, but they were provided instructions on how to do household gatherings. So even then, not not a single family, not a single person was exempt from these ongoing services, which is amazing. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: On that note, I’d like to read one of the bases on why worship matters a great deal to us. Here in the book of 2 Chronicles, chapter 29, verses 10 to 11 in The Message translation,

 “I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with us. Children, don’t drag your feet in this! God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship—this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.” 

[2 Chronicles 29:10-11 The Message]

Brother Felmar Serreno: What should we notice about how servants of God regard worship? It is a covenant or a holy obligation to God. How else do servants of God regard worship? It is our life work. 

[On-screen text graphic]

Life Work

That’s why worship service is a high priority for us. Why else is worship important to us in the Church Of Christ? We find the answer here in the book of Psalms chapter 34 and the verse is 9.

Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. 

[Psalm 34:9 The Message]

Brother Felmar Serreno: I want to ask JR very quickly, you know, since the pandemic started, was there ever a time that you missed worship service? 

JR Dongalen: Worship Service with WebEx and video streaming, the way we’ve done, I think it’s made it easier. Short answer is no. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: Okay. Well, according to the Bible, worship opens doors to all God’s goodness, do you agree JR that this is true? 

JR Dongalen: I do believe that worship opens doors to all His goodness. Like I mentioned previously, you know, I lost my job when the pandemic started. Prayed, hoping that, you know, I’d be able to find a job and you know—staying patient, staying devoted to worship, holding devotional prayers, all those things were answered, and God gave me those things. And in the moments, you know, I spent praying devoted to worship, I felt like it was all worth it. 

Brother Felmar Serreno: So, the pandemic was not a hindrance for God’s goodness to find its way into your life?

JR Dongalen: No, not at all. God’s goodness has affected me in such a positive way. And all I can say is, I believe that’s a result of just staying devoted and committed to prayer and worship service. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: You know, I can relate to JR 100% too, you know, God’s goodness isn’t just covered by huge events like work opportunities, or promotions or a raise or a new this or that. But God’s goodness is so much more than that. It’s like what was written in the Bible, worship opens doors to all His goodness. And for me, God’s goodness has been proven in the strength that I received when I didn’t  think I could make it on my own. 

For example, when I was in university, hardly sleeping, always anxious, because I’m trying to meet deadlines back to back, while working part time, and being in school full time. It’s stressful. And I know a lot of young people our age too, who may still be in school, or who are just starting university for the first time, are probably panicking when you add a pandemic on top of that too. It’s a struggle, but you know, even when all that’s going on, even when we’re trying to figure out how to balance life, and how or when we might be able to transition back to the things that we were used to before. I keep thinking about the worship service lessons that we’ve been having, 


Live Streaming Worship Service photos courtesy of Executive News

Natalie Fitzpatrick: ..and how every topic that’s covered every week, every service is so relevant to what’s going on. It’s like, one thing happens in the world. And everyone’s on that topic, and they’re so focused on it. But then in the worship service, as soon as that lesson comes up, you go, wait a minute, this was already brought up before, you know, we’ve been taught how to handle this.

Brother Felmar Serreno: Natalie, it’s great that you brought that up, highlighting the worship service lessons. You know what, while you were saying that what came to my mind is the piece of advice that Brother Eduardo V. Manalo gave, our Executive Minister, during one of his sermons. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect that when going into worship service, we should be asking ourselves, what does God want to tell me today? You know, what is His will for me? 

[On screen text graphic]

What does He want me to do?

Brother Felmar Serreno: What does He want me to do? Because when we approach worship service with that sincerity, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Like what you were explaining, we will come out of every worship service with the blessings that we need, right? God’s not going to leave us with nothing when He sees that we are sincerely looking for Him and looking for His guidance, and we want to hear His words through those lessons so that we can implement it in our life. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Oh, I completely agree, Brother Felmar. You know, that’s a really good point too, what Brother Eduardo V. Manalo said about what does God want me to understand or want me to do, because it’s not even just in the sermon of the worship service, but even in the hymn singing, or in saying our prayers, you know, if we’re just there, but we’re not really feeling it, it doesn’t satisfy, you know, it doesn’t satisfy the soul. But when you’re sincerely praying or saying it from the bottom of your heart, you know.

Brother Felmar Serreno: Right.

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Even in our deepest, darkest moments, like the one the moments we don’t talk about, with our friends or family..

[On screen text graphic]

The moments we don’t talk about

Natalie Fitzpatrick:  ..with nobody, the stuff we keep to ourselves all bottled up. Whenever that stuff happens to us. I know, even for me, whenever I just bow my head in prayer, close my eyes, shut everything out and just enter the silence or focus on speaking to God. It’s in those moments that I feel like everything just fades, problems, everything that I’m worried about, all that stress and anxiety that I feel.

Brother Felmar Serreno: And you get that blessed peace from God, right?

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Yeah

Brother Felmar Serreno: ..that He provides as well. It’s part of His goodness, during worship service. 

JR Dongalen: Yeah, for sure. I feel that you know, with how we are today, or everything we’re doing is centered at home. And for my situation, it’s like work is done here. You know, leisure time is spent here, you know, sitting at this very desk at my computer, but also the worship is done here right now as well. You know, some of us are back to in person services. But, you know, we’re still having to do the live stream worship services. 

And in the worship service, where I feel like I’m present, like my mind is just whatever happened before or whatever is happening after this worship service, everything’s just kind of gone. You know, and, you know, you spend so much time on the go here, you know, in your center, in your desk, doing whatever. But then when it comes to the worship service that hour feels so peaceful, 

[On-screen text graphic]

That hour feels so peaceful

JR Dongalen: your mind is at peace, your soul is at peace.

Brother Felmar Serreno: In closing all the more we appreciate the effort and the leadership of the Church Administration, as they have been guided by God to make a way for us that worship service would continue..


Live Streaming Worship Service photos courtesy of Executive News

Brother Felmar Serreno: spite of the pandemic and that is where we receive God’s goodness, His blessings and peace. So, I want to thank JR, and Natalie very much for joining us today in our discussion. See you again next time.

[On-screen logo graphic]

Vantage Point

[On-screen text graphic]

Bro. Felmar Serreno

Production Manager

Kate Concepcion


Jervy Serreno

Assistant Producer & Music

Camille Valencia

Production Assistant

Natalie Fitzpatrick

JR Dongalen

Writer, Editor & Co-host

Special thanks to:

Brother Angelo Eraño V. Manalo

CEBSI President & CEO

Special thanks to:

Brother Eduardo V. Manalo

Executive Minister,

Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)

Natalie Fitzpatrick: Want to know more about the worship services in the Church Of Christ? Check out our worship with us page on Give us a thumbs up below if you liked this episode, and share and tag us on Instagram and follow us for more content. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button for future episodes!

[On-screen logo graphic]

Vantage Point

[Show ends]

Available downloads

Dealing With The Changes of Today