It has been a few days since our Inaugural Sunday Celebration and I had some time to soak in and reflect on what God has been doing here in Indonesia. Here are some of my thoughts:
2) Staring a church is about relationships. Too often churches come with nicely packaged systems and curriculums to start the church. It is easy to think that somehow this will build up the church. But the reality is that no matter how good the packaging might be, it really comes down to the time and investment made into relationships. The Church is not a building or a program, it is made up of people; therefore we need to build up people and then the church will grow.
3) You have to be flexible and constantly listening to God. Things are so fluid and flowing that if we are so set on things (sometimes hard to distinguish between conviction and stubbornness), then there is a good possibility that we can totally miss God. I am learning the importance of listening to God at every moment. Sometimes God wants us to make a shift right on the spot, which drives people who are planners up the wall. But we only have two choices – either we stick with our plans or go with God’s plan. In all the years of doing ministry, I have come to the conclusion rather quickly that the latter one is always the best.
4) The more you focus on results, the more you will miss seeing Jesus. We have become a culture obsessed with numbers. As I have said many times before, there is nothing wrong with success or even measuring results. But the important thing to remember is the motive behind the obsession with results. Too often we define ourselves or find our significance in the results. This does not help the heart condition. In fact, I have been mentioning to people that we have to understand that results are in the Lord’s hand. But being faithful and doing our part is something only we can do.
5) God can use anybody, so be humble or God will move on to someone else. When there is success or when God does great things, there is a temptation to think that somehow we are either deserving of it or that it was brought about because of our own efforts. This always leads to pride and eventually we will start leaving God out of the equation. There are times when I know for a fact that I am not doing well, but when God decides to still use me, it humbles me. This is when I realized that God doesn’t really need me and that He loves His people so much that He would even use me even when I am not feeling 100%. There are many shooting stars but the key is to allow the light to burn brightly for a long time. This requires dependence and humility in the God who is the all-consuming fire.
6) There will always be opposition. First of all, nothing that is significant for God or His Kingdom is devoid of opposition. Whether it comes from people due to their insecurities or from Satan and his demonic influences, we all have to accept the fact that we are constantly under siege. This is why we have to take the words of Apostle Paul seriously and “stand firm.” When you except opposition to come your way, you become better prepared through prayer.
7) Enjoy the ride. I recently had a conversation with a surfer who enjoys surfing in Bali. I literally got an education on the topic of surfing. It was fascinating because towards the end of our conversation, we concluded that principles in surfing are so similar and analogous to things in life. Sometimes being patient and waiting for the wave to come might be hard, but once you hear the roar of the wave coming in and then you catch the wave, then it is one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever have. Hmm… I might have to experience this surfing thing first hand so that my sermon illustrations will have more credibility 🙂
Here are some pictures from the gathering:
We spent some time praying together as a church
We gave away free t-shirts to celebrate our inaugural international church plant
We were building community with one another by sharing a meal together
This was the official birthday cake for the church