Gratitude is the seed of Contentment

Written by Joel Mo

What is gratitude? 

Gratitude is counting your blessings, being thankful, and acknowledging everything that you have received. It shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the richness that is already present. As simple as it sounds, gratitude is a complex emotion that requires self-reflection, the ability to admit that one cannot do things alone, and the humility to realise one’s own limitations. It requires contemplation, reflection and discipline.

Thanksgiving for 6 months with YWAM.

As I look back in this past year, I just can’t help but be filled with gratitude and wonder at what the Lord has done in my life.

The year began with such expectancy when my wife, Joanne, and I enrolled ourselves in the Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Perth. For 3 months, we studied the Word and deepened our understanding of who God says He is and who He says we are. We walked the streets and applied what we learnt in the classrooms, speaking to strangers about the Good News. We were embolden by our daily revelations and shared with such conviction and authority. How can one be a witness, if he is not fully convinced in what he believes?

When put into perspective, the things we held so dear suddenly didn’t seem to matter as much. For example, the incessant need to receive honor was ingrained in us as a pillar of our Asian culture. To give honor is a beautiful thing, but having the need to receive it? If we live on the praises of people, then naturally we die by their criticism. We learnt much and we unlearnt much. It was a truly life transforming 3 months.

After we graduated from the classroom, we went to Nepal and India for our outreach for the following 3 months. It was such an eye-opening time where we partnered with the local churches and ministered to the people. We educated the locals on the dangers of human trafficking, we provided simple healthcare and taught them how to detect and treat simple diseases, and of course we shared the Good News. We prayed for, prayed with and worshiped with our family from a different land. We saw wonderful miracles, we prayed for a paralysed man and he sat up and clenched his hands. He was so amazed that his eyes went wide with wonder and his wife piled us with so much food that we had to ‘escape’ from her.

Many times, I’ve seen material lack in the villages we’ve been in, but the people always seem so full of joy. After reflection, perhaps it is not the material lack but something lacking in our hearts that leaves us unsatisfied. Contentment is an inner sense of peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us. Many of the local believers are working hard to better their standards of living, but they are also living life full of joy. There is much to learn from them.

I guess if I were to compress what I’ve learnt and experienced into a sentence. It would be this – I’ve experienced the reality of God in every area of my life and the more He reveals Himself, the more I’m compelled to obey Him. I’ve experienced this, and there is no other way I would rather live.

We’re back. Now what? 

After coming back home in July, I intentionally took my time unpacking the 6 months with YWAM. We kept things real, fellowshipping with like-minded friends, encouraging and spurring each other on. A sharing here and a gathering there, we shared our experiences with friends and family. I started to work again with the company, and the gears needed some oiling. Thankfully, I didn’t need to take long before things were in full swing.

One of the reasons why Sarah and I started Genesis Consulting & Solutions Pte Ltd was because we noticed that there was a disconnect between the christian life and the marketplace. There was an unspoken but generally accepted view that christian values such as humility, meekness or contentment might not have a place in the marketplace if you want to succeed.

But now that I’m back, surely things would be different? Surely I’ll be able to effect some sort of change around my social circle? I believe to see real change, we need to first pray. To act first is an admission that we don’t need God. Even Jesus Himself said ‘the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.’

The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Fervent. How hungry are we to see Jesus displayed gloriously in the marketplace? Are our prayers desperate or are we just giving lip service without truly believing it can come to pass?

Righteous. How hungry are we to be always giving glory to God in the marketplace? Are our actions as heavy as our words?

I truly believe that the christian life can and should be lived out in the marketplace.

2018 in a nutshell.

I’m really thankful that God has led me through this journey of faith this year. Imagine this, you’re not earning an income for a good 6 months and yet have been in 8 countries in the span of 12 months. God’s hand of provision was always with us and we saw how we never had any lack.

If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. (Isaiah 1:19)

Trusting an invisible God does not come naturally to anybody. A trust relationship grows only by stepping out in faith and making the choice to trust. The ability to believe God develops most often through pure personal experiences. “I found Him faithful yesterday. So He will not be unfaithful tomorrow.”

What’s going to happen in 2019? I’m hopeful and expectant to see the hand of God leading and guiding me to a greater intimacy with Him!

What are some things you can be thankful for in this past year? As you look back in gratitude, may your hearts be filled with hope for the future!

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Purpose, discipleship and everything in between

Written By Joel Mo

 

I want God, not my idea of God. – C.S. Lewis

Joanne (my wife) and I have always known that whatever we knew about Christianity and God — His nature and character, the price He paid for us, what our appropriate response should be, how does that response look like practically, etc — was so limited, in the sense that there is so much more to discover and understand. Thus, there was a sense of excitement when we finally decided to enrol ourselves in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) for 6 months starting January 2018, in Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Perth.

When we were dating, Joanne and I knew God had called us to serve in missions, and we have nursed a kindling passion in our hearts for the nations and people groups who have not heard the gospel and are suffering under terrible circumstances. However, we had heard God’s guidance on the ‘what’, but not the ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’. It would be a journey of almost 6 years, to come to this point and we know that it is going to be a lifetime journey of growing in understanding and relationship with God, learning how to trust Him and His ways.

When Sarah told me of her revelation from God to start a company to serve the christian community and help provide a platform for ‘tent-makers’ to support themselves, I was excited at the vision and purpose God had called her into. Yet, I needed to pray and seek God’s guidance on my role in this vision. I was sure that God was calling me into missions, but the timing and way that God placed this opportunity in my path was not to be brushed aside.

After much prayer and seeking guidance, the concept of ‘business as missions’ started to enter my life. I had never heard of it before, much less given it any thought, but the more I researched and studied it, the more it made sense to me. I realised that this could be a sharpening or focusing of God’s call in my life and without any hesitation, I agreed to partner in the vision.

But why YWAM, and why now? The company recently passed its first year mark, and there’s so much more we can do. Certainly, to many on the outside looking in, it looks irresponsible and unwise. However, when we look through the lens of God’s purpose and direction, it is precisely the right decision to make. We are serious in pursuing God’s purpose, not just for the company but for ourselves, and only by positioning ourselves in a place of humility and trust, then can we grow in our understanding of who He is and how we should respond to Him.

Every follower of Jesus has a unique ministry. The more we seek to hear God’s voice in detail, the more effective we will be in our own calling. Guidance is not a game, it is serious business where we learn what God wants us to do in ministry and how He wants us to do it.

At the end of the day, I am very thankful for how God has blessed me. With new and fresh revelation of His goodness and faithfulness, I am able to trust Him for His best in my life now and in the future.

 

Being Mission-Minded

Written by Sarah Phua

 

One of the reasons Joel and I embarked on this journey of tentmaking was because Joel & his wife, Joanne have a heart for overseas missions. As for myself, I feel led to work with churches and non-profit organisations.

In our previous work environments, the nature and schedule of how things were arranged simply didn’t allow for the flexibility of time to serve in the capacity we desired to. With the current arrangement, we are the stewards of a larger chunk of our time in the day, and have been blessed with the opportunity to serve others in the avenues we feel called to.

We took a company break during the month of December for a full week to join our church for their mission trip overseas. On one hand, I was struck with a realisation how blessed we were from having been relieved from the stress of leave approvals, work (we take our work with us), and having less preparation time before the trip itself. On the other hand, I did wonder how our clients would feel towards us being away.

By God’s grace everything went smoothly on the work front. Going on the mission trip reminded me how much we have compared to people who are happy even with their needs unmet. Even the time we have in this current phase of life, given to do what we want to do is a blessing. Some people don’t have that freedom of choice.

What does stewardship look like in our lives today? I would say they aren’t about Sunday sermons nor about church budgets or programs. We could do so much more with the resources with which we are given.

“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.

– CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

What does your resume say about you?

If you’ve ever cooked for yourself, you probably remember using a recipe. Eggs, butter, chicken, potatoes and a touch of effort. When it comes to job hunting, our resumes can sometimes feel like following a recipe – a little bit of Microsoft Office skills, an internship at a renowned company and a dash of “I am a huge people person”.

Most employers look at your resume to estimate your value. Some resumes look like a 10-course meal from a fine dining restaurant while others look like a plate of “Cai Fan” from the local hawker center. But is it your true value? Is the person reflected by my resume the same person whom I know I am?

We place the people with great accolades on a pedestal, forgetting that they too are human. Too often, we let our resumes define who we are. Yes, they  do give a glimpse about us, but they can never aptly describe who we are completely. They are simply like movie trailers. Thankfully, God calls us to be more than just our work and experiences.

Consider this:

Luke 18:10-14New International Version (NIV)

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector- if they each wrote a resume, how will their resumes look like compared to mine?

Pharisee – One of God’s chosen people, who is pure, undefiled, just, a keeper of the law, who prays, participates in leading temple services, reads the Scripture, does good works, keeps the Sabbath, is not a thief, not an adulterer, thinks he’s perfect and is thankful he’s not like the publican.

Tax Collector – steals, cheats, recognizes he is a sinner, attends temple services, is merciful, is humble, is ready to trust God by faith and seeks for God’s mercy.

Me – Child of God, Christian, Marketing Expert, Proficient in Microsoft and Adobe Suites, Creative, Leader in the church, Student Council, People Person, Servant, Friend.

We all want to be the one who is justified by Christ, but somehow, we end up with resumes looking like the Pharisee’s. No one would ever put their shortfalls on paper without decorating it to look good first.

And at the same time, our “resumes”, cannot possibly reflect the things we are called to do that are so integral to our identity. These important things are what God wants in our marketplace: being humble, making disciples, sharing our faith, practicing hospitality, giving to those in need, volunteering, tutoring youths who struggle in math, and so much more. Do we skimp on the things that often go unnoticed simply because they are not typically written on a resume?

The Kingdom of God is not made up of people who can build giant spreadsheets, make expert stock picks or create the next big mobile app. The Kingdom of God is made up of people who are more than what’s on their resumes; people who do not find their identity in their work (or their lack thereof) but instead, have their identities rooted in Christ and the work of His Kingdom. And He calls all of us to do that in different ways.

Thoughts on turning ONE!

We just turned one, a milestone in more ways than one, because of the significance of that number. We recognize that while the days fly by, one can so easily miss the goodness of God working through one’s hands & one’s obedience; and through this blog we want to build altars of remembrance and thanksgiving along the way – notwithstanding as a reminder of the passionate ‘why’ and the miracles of the ‘how’ but also as a way for you -our readers- to connect with us, and be a part of this beautiful journey that has brought you, and us, together.

As One.

Thanks from the co-founders to:

1. Francis & Deena Shin: On Journeying

Many people freely give advice from a ‘been there done that’ position (which we appreciate) but few spend the time and effort in to step forward to journey with a start-up so selflessly. One of the many fears we had was the uncertainty of growth and sustainability, and simply having the couple hear out our business plans and also intentionally help us with referrals was really such an encouraging and refreshing thing to receive. Words are cheap; the gift of time and presence is so much more valuable. Thank you for showing us that and we hope that we will be able to keep that spirit as part of our service to every client we meet.

2. Puay Hee & Jorris: On selfless Giving

In spite of their difficult times, they have found ways to show their care and concern for us in tangible ways. We were so touched by the gift of love. We see and emulate your commitment of nurturing the upcoming generation.

3. Fellow Colleagues at Genesis Consulting & Solutions: On trusty Companionship

We are Excited!

To see our dream – creating a space for discipleship, tent-making and to be a light in the marketplace. The tent not only symbolizes a safe place of comfort and shelter, but it is also a place of preparation (for war) – both a refuge, and for God to prepare us for the market place. We all grow to realize more and more each day that our local mission field is indeed the marketplace. How many people in our offices, factories, schools or work places, have yet to know God.

The encouragement of fellow sojourners spurs us on to build deeper relationships within the company and with our clients. Every meeting, real relationships are being forged within the company through our sharing and prayers. Recently, we have been intentional about praying for our clients.

Tent-making also conserves scarce church/mission funds. In 2 Thessalonians 3:8, Paul “worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you”. We envision that Genesis will be a platform for professionals to serve God in a greater capacity.

Elatedly Thankful (By Bryan Phua)

It is never a dull week with Genesis. Staff meetings and wonderful work days are a time of refreshment and clarity in what we are doing. I like the fact that our motivations are very different from secular companies. For most companies, profits seem to be the main driving factor. And while it is important to keep us afloat and expanding, what’s more important for Genesis is its integrity, and the time that we have, to serve God and people. It boils down to the choices we make. Do we have time to serve God and his people if we accept more jobs? Are we serving clients who need our help, or are we serving clients just for profit? I think that moving forward, balance of both is key.

I guess the currency for today is really Time, thus it is in our heart to honour and bless God with it. James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” For now, I’m just glad that I’m learning to balance work time, church/ministry time, and personal/family time.

Empowered (By Bryan Phua)

I want to thank God for horrible wonderful bosses. I have been blessed with the freedom to explore, to test, to try out different ideas. Though some ideas may “fail”, great lessons come out from it. Their trust and confidence in me even when I don’t have it myself empowers me to do my best in every circumstance.

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4. Our Church- World Revival Prayer Fellowship (WRPF): On a loving Community

A huge part of being where we are now is belonging to a home church where people believe in our vision and pray with us. We appreciate the support from the pastors in our endeavors and pray that through this, we may glorify the Father together.

5. Very importantly, Our families and loved ones: On a supportive Home

A major part of any start-up is that it isn’t just the journey of the individuals in the Company. For our spouses (Joanne & Barnabas) and our parents, this journey has also been a faith-stretching one for each and every one of you. Without your prayers, and the simple acts of not putting us down, you have lifted us up!

6. Most importantly, God: Our faithful One

We know that none of this is possible without God – from inception where he brought the founders together till turning one, His hand of provision has been evident every turn. Even when the going seems tough (which it definitely will), under the grace of God, we somehow seem to get through better than we thought we would. Thank you God, for slowing us down to enjoy you more, for fanning the flame in our hearts which we know can only be sustained through the work of the Holy Spirit, and thank you, for keeping us in the team united towards a common goal.

Closing Thoughts

On turning one, we are really amazed at how far we have come. What started as a passion to bridge the gap between business and ministry has evolved into a growing and sustainable entity that we can use to further His kingdom’s purposes. We are not bursting with profits, we are barely breaking even. But seeing as this is our first year, we are very encouraged for the future in which God has in store for us.

Money is, at its essence, the measure of a man’s choices. We want to be intentional in the way we grow our business, and that might not necessarily only be through maximizing profit. We have a vision to be a business with a mission and we are very excited to take concrete steps towards our goals.

So if you’ve stayed with us up till here on this post, do continue to pray with us, that God would grow the Company. May He bring the right people to the team, grow us financially, in our skills sets and eventually in our reach to the nations.