Archive | December, 2013

Welcoming 2014

31 Dec

2014Time flies like an arrow. It’s only couple more hours before 2014 comes through the door and settles in. This past year, there are a lot of things that have been happening to me and my small family, and I am grateful to God for His favour throughout the past year.

If 2012 was an amazing year for me in general, 2013 was simply speaking, off the chart! The year started off strong with me and my lovely wife planning for the whole year ahead, things that we wanted to achieve, goals that we set, and resolutions abound. We planned our trip to Sydney for Hillsong Conference, and we thought about going back to Indonesia for year-end holidays.

My profession as a software developer/programmer also expanded as I was given more responsibilities in the areas that I manage, although I hadn’t been promoted yet. In her search for a full-time job, my wife also had several of her prospective employers interviewed her, and finally landed a temporary full-time job in an international company. We were never lacking in everything, and everything was good.

We had plans for our little family to be well-established in 2013, and we had a lot of things going on to help us achieve our plans. But it all changed when we came to the conference in mid year. God spoke directly to me about things that He wants us to do, and none of them are related to our plans. Our minds were changed radically, and our goals redefined to align with what He wants.

Things did not look up quite well for my wife, to be frank. After she was being let go of her position for unspecified reasons, she had a difficult time finding another full-time job for several months. I myself also given more and more responsibility in my workplace that I started having difficulties managing the balance between work and personal life.

However, God is faithful to us. I believe He had prepared us beforehand during the conference for the things to come. During our seemingly difficult time, never in a single second we doubted God. We tried to stay faithful to Him despite our circumstances, despite our difficulties.

And God poured blessings to us more than we can imagine. There is a term in Indonesian churches that doesn’t have an English equivalent yet, a term called “spiritual acceleration”. Basically, the idea is that when the time is right, God will propel you towards another level in an instant. You might be sceptic about the concept, but that is exactly what happened for us in the past 6 (six) months.

He blessed us with more and more blessings. Blessings that we didn’t expect at all. I was promoted into a senior position in my company, something I wouldn’t even dream of concerning my age and experience. My wife was also put into a position where she is being prepared for filling in for a more senior role as well. And by His grace alone, we were able to purchase our own car.

But the blessings didn’t stop there. God propelled us to an entirely whole new level and understanding about His words and love. We understood each words that God has spoken to us more and more each day, as each verse reveals something about His plans for us.

During our year-end holiday back to Indonesia, we visited several different cities, and attended different churches. We met with several pastors, both active and retired, and we listened to several sermons during our holiday. I didn’t expect it, but God’s messages keep coming right to me, revealing, convicting, confirming, and yet comforting.

As both me and my wife close the year with our family in our hometown, we are expecting bigger things from God in 2014. Not big things in terms of worldly gains, but bigger things in terms of the fulfilment of His plans and purposes for us.

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

There will be challenges to be faced and battles to be won, but I believe the Lord is with us. No matter what may come, we will still serve the Lord. And this is our commitment in 2014.

Keep calm, trust God, and stay blessed.

Redefining Success

6 Dec

ORedefining Successne of the most frequent buzzword that I hear very frequently is the word “success”. The word itself is not necessarily new, it has existed for quite some time in the English dictionary, as well as church sermons.

The sad part is that a lot of us equates success to wealth. Success somehow became synonymous with being rich for most people.

What does the word “success” means? According to Google and the interwebs, the word “success” comes from the 16th century Latin word “successus”, which means to “come close after”, and it evolves over time to the recent interpretation and meaning as “an accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. You see, it is nowhere near the term “wealth” unless if the aim or purpose is to gain wealth.

Why is it then, the word evolves to be almost synonymous with wealth? The reason why is that a lot of “successful” people is most likely wealthy and well-off. There’s a boom in the area of motivational speakers in the recent years, and most of them are divided into two types of seminars: how to manage your finance so you can be successful, and how to build your business so you can be successful.

In short, all of them are mostly talking about being successful. I do wish these people would just simply say “how to be rich” or “how to be wealthy” instead of a more generic, nicer-sounding, and not-greedy-looking umbrella term “success”.

But as children of God, what does it actually mean to be successful? I don’t think it deviates much from the true meaning of the word “success”. “Success” in God’s eye does not equate to wealth, it doesn’t even equate to being rich. It is more to how well we serve His kingdom purpose instead of our own will. It is more to how we accomplish the things that He has set in front of us, rather than simply not worrying about money.

In the past six months, God has been very good to us (as He always been, and always will be). For those who don’t know, I am currently married to a beautiful and wonderful woman. She came to Australia approximately 1.5 years ago, and has been trying to find a 9-5 type job, a full-time job, if you will. And when she finally found one, she was laid off after about a month for no apparent reason.

At that time we were in a church conference in Sydney, and there’s nothing much we can do about the layoff. But God is and always faithful to us. In just minutes, He comforted her, and spoke directly to me on the things that He is about to do for us. In a matter of weeks, suddenly I was being promoted into a senior role in my company, and my lovely wife got a part-time job.

But the best thing that happened after that day was not about the promotion, or the new part-time job. It’s how He transformed both of our minds at that time. After we went back to Melbourne, we were never worried anymore about our finances, money, and any other things that concerns our future, in that matter.

What does this have to do with “success” then? Well consider this, in the eyes of most people, we wouldn’t be what people call “successful”. In fact, most of my friend around the same age group are actually quite busy to establish their own brands and businesses, both Christians and non-Christians.

For us, we would rather be called successful by the Lord of lords, and King of kings, rather than by our friends and peers. We do not consider being wealthy as successful, and we have no desire to pile up riches in this world. As Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV) put it, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Does that mean money is not important for us? It is important, in fact, most of things in this world cost us money, but it’s not the most important things we are trying to gain.

Does that mean I’m not an ambitious person? If you talk to my wife and/or my parents, I’m pretty sure they can attest how stubborn I am and how I never gave up once I set a goal. I am a fighter, and will always be one.

Does that mean I don’t have plans for my own family? I do, and in fact, it’s probably more comprehensive than most people.

Does that mean I don’t want to leave my legacy behind? I do, and I think it’s important that we left our fingerprints in this world, but our view of “legacy” also differs from what most people would define.

And these are the things that God has changed in our lives. We are no longer focused on attaining worldly gains, but instead on what’s pleasing Him. In our own eyes, we would rather be called “successful” by God Himself, not by other people. And believe me, “successful” according to God’s standard is far more interesting and exciting compared to what the world sees.

“Don’t you want a house? Don’t you want to have your own business? Don’t you want to be financially independent? Don’t you want this? Don’t you want that?” Well, in fact, I probably do. But it no longer matters for us. What matters is what God wants in my life, in our lives. There are things that we know for sure God has prepared and set out for us, and that’s what we are aiming to accomplish.

You’re odd. You’re weird. You’re not ambitious. You’re not productive.” and I get that a lot. Even if people don’t say anything to me, I noticed from their look that somehow we’re odd. And again, to us, it doesn’t matter. Because as 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NIV) had said, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

So what do you want to be successful for?

Stay blessed.