Viet Nam’s 40th year of reunification

Today, Viet Nam celebrates her 40th year of reunification- the day that South Vietnam fell under the Northern regime and re-uniting the country under one communist rule after 21 years of separation.

I believe this 40-year milestone as a re-united nation is significant for Viet Nam from a spiritual perspective.

Learning from Israel

Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness after being released from Egyptian slavery. That Israel led by Moses could have entered the Promised Land much sooner but due to their stiff-necked and disobedience, God withheld that from happening.

Before, that’s how I saw it. I interpreted how God was using that period of time in the wilderness to discipline the Israelites and in a sense punishing them for their disobedience. Although this is somewhat true, but I discovered later that what I saw was just a glimpse of who God is and His intentions.

Looking at this episode with New Testament lens, I discovered how God’s love and grace was in abundance towards the Israelites. I saw God’s real intention for withholding the Promised Land from the Moses-generation Israelites was because He was protecting them from total annihilation.

God knew that the enemies that were residing on the Promised Land would have easily defeated the Israelites if He had led them to cross over. Those Israelites then were not ready to do battle with external enemies as they were battling with their inner enemies.

Hence, it is truly grace that kept them from entering the Promised Land.

God’s grace for Viet Nam

Similarly, God loves Viet Nam and His grace has protected and guided this nation this past 40 years in spite of her disobedience and weaknesses.

Although Viet Nam has flourished materially, but instead of improving lives the reverse is more true with other social issues such as divorces, youth delinquency, vices and etc… arising as quick to destroy its society and social fabric.

Interestingly, Israel then even in the wilderness was also materially better off. They left Egypt with their gold and silver loot surrendered by the Egyptians. However sadly, this resulted to idolatry, self-gratification and self-vanity of misplacing their confidence and trust on their own efforts.

Likewise, the past 40 years of reunification for Viet Nam has been a journey of ‘wilderness’ and battling of their inner enemies of finding their identity as a unified country and people.

Without identity, one can never truly grow and achieve significance. At best, drift along and achieve mere survival. Because one’s vision, purpose, values and confidence stem from one’s identity. And discovering one identity ultimately leads one to know God as the Creator and Source.

Hence, the past 40 years for Viet Nam has been a bumpy ride of finding her identity towards her journey with God. All these trials, necessary in preparation for the ‘crossing over’.

The future for Viet Nam

Like Israel, with their new found freedom, the Moses-generation or pioneering generation of Viet Nam carried many emotional and spiritual ‘baggages’ that had prevented them to truly know God and follow Him towards progressing as a nation.

However, His love and promises to this nation remain unchanged!

In His great grand scheme of things, God has prepared and is raising up a new generation of believers with the ‘Joshua’ mantle and mettle to lead His people to truly know God and follow Him.

The future of this nation now hinges on this Joshua-generation of Viet Nam to cross over into the ‘Promised Land’ and lead the progress of this country into her destiny.

And to see this happening, we need to forget (but learn the lessons from) the past and focus on investing in this Joshua-generation for the ‘Promised’ future!

Today, I’m excited for what lies ahead for Viet Nam. And I’m believing that the next 40 years will be a glorious one with Viet Nam saved, transformed and prosperous for His glory. Will you believe with me?

If you do, please pray with me and together let’s reach to love and disciple the Joshua-generation around you!

Commit all things to prayer

praying-man.jpgMeditated on this while jogging: “COMMIT ALL THINGS TO PRAYER”.

Usually it is after we exhaust all our human wisdom, ways and attempts that we start to look up for some form of divine intervention.

Why don’t we start all things on the right note? Even if it may seem like a lost cause, its never too late.

Commit ALL things (marriage, relationships, family, work, finances, health, struggles or burdens etc) in prayer and allow Him to show you how you can have a different approach for a different result!

My life’s vision and mission

reflect

This morning I was reflecting and reviewing my life’s vision and mission.

I looked back at what I had written 8 years ago and at where I am today, that vision is taking shape. And my mission and values are now pretty much part of who I am and how I live my life.

Although not me, but the GRACE of God which which was and is with me.

As I was praising and giving thanks to Him, I uttered these words ‘spontaneously’: “I do not need to be rich, all I need is the freedom to preach.”

I pondered on those words and thought deeply what it truly meant to me. And that FREEDOM in this context is:

  1. Having the upward mobility to interface and engage people at all levels and at any level.
  2. Having fullness of health where there are no physical limitations to impede or prevent me to be mobile in traveling places to people.
  3. Having the financial freedom to support His work towards advancing His kingdom when required.

Wow… those words surely weren’t from me, but the Spirit in me!

True Riches in Christ

B.jpgGreat fellowship with the ENZER man, Boyd Au who walked the holy grail of an entrepreneur by successfully taking a start up to IPO. More importantly, God ambushed and saved Him in that journey!

Boyd never fails to inspire me with his servitude in spite of his accomplishments, and not to forget wealth; pursuing true heavenly riches above worldly riches!

You may read Boyd’s story here>>>

Philippians 3:7-8
“But whatever were gain
s to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ “

Now I am Andrew

andrew-1Unknown to most, Andrew is actually my rebirth or baptized name. My birth name, which was given by my parents is Kelvin.

It was God who gave me the name “Andrew” during the period when I was due to be water baptized.

While spending time with God, I was reading the scriptures and came to the part where Jesus Christ invited Peter and Andrew to follow Him.

As I read my spirit was stirred, it felt as if Jesus was calling out to me as ‘Andrew’, “Come, follow me.” (c.f. Matthew 4:18-19)

I had an encounter with Jesus!

Although I knew He was calling me, ‘Andrew’, I hesitated to assume that He wanted to change my name. Thus, I told Him if it was His intention to change my name that He somehow confirm this to me. And boy did He!

The first confirmation

That same week at a church service, the passage that was preached was… YES you guessed correctly! It was about Andrew!

The preacher taught how Andrew was evangelistic who brought people to Jesus including his brother, Peter.

I didn’t really want to believe this as a confirmation and regarded it as a coincidence.

The second confirmation

The next following week at the church service. My younger brother joined me for the first time upon, he responded to receive Jesus Christ during the altar call.

As like most altar calls, my younger brother left his seat to approach the stage area to where the pastor was. I accompanied him. And after he prayed to receive Jesus with others as well, the pastor walked towards us and spoke to us.

He asked my brother’s name and mine. And we told him we were brothers. At that remark, the pastor shook my hand enthusiastically and affirmed me saying, “Wow! You are an ANDREW!”

Could you imagine that???

The final confirmation

If that was not convincing enough for me, God pulled another trick just for His own pleasure just to prove a point.

I have always been a huge fan of Manchester United Football Club and follow closely to their games and developments. Therefore, I know the names of every player of this team.

That following week while reading the papers on the team, I realised the name of their prolific star striker, Andy Cole had suddenly changed. And that was the name he was known as since he started his career!

Now make a guess to what name it now read? That’s right… ANDREW Cole!!!

Till today, there hasn’t been a clear explanation why Andy Cole changed his name from that time onwards. And it had to happen during that period!

What are the chances of that happening?! God truly knew how to get my attention and to convince me to accept the change of name!

My new identity in Christ

Now 15 years as Andrew, I understand and appreciate why God took all that effort to change my name.

Like how He did so for many of the biblical characters in the Bible such as Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter and so on, He did so to establish a new identity for that person.

The old me (Kelvin) is now no more and the new has come. Now in Christ, I am Andrew with a new mission in life ordained by God and I embrace His call.

I know for a fact the kind of person the old me called Kelvin is. And there’s nothing good in him. This new name not only reminds me that this new life that I have I now live consecrated for Him, but also to firmly anchor me in my new destiny in Christ.

I’m no longer looking back, I’ve decided to follow Jesus!

After 15 years…

mortons HKThis photo was taken with my wife at Morton’s Steakhouse during our trip to Hong Kong in this January.

I had made it one of the highlights of our trip to dine at this swanky american restaurant to celebrate my wife’s birthday as it was also at Morton’s Singapore that I had proposed to her on her then birthday.

Between God and I, Morton’s bears a significant role in my walk with God. It is a place where I hold precious memories and lessons that He taught me and made me the person I am today.

I’ve not told this story of mine…..

When I’d decided to wholeheartedly follow Christ in 2000, a lot of changes took place swiftly towards burning the bridges to my past life. One of them was my job.

Back then, I was a club DJ and had my own small business supplying manpower for pubs and clubs. I wasn’t making a lot of money, but it provided me a decent living. And as a school dropped out and an ex-convict, it definitely boosted my self-worth and ego that I was “somewhere” and “made it”.

The other perks of this job was it fitted well with my then lifestyle of music, booze, drugs and sex, So you can imagine how tightly I would be holding on to this identity. It was everything I knew and it gave me everything I enjoyed then.

But Christ saved me and spoilt the devil’s party…..

Not too long after, I was confronted with the inevitable. I knew I had to quit DJ-ing. The lifestyle and the environment was no longer appealing as it was before. And I recalled how I was having this casual and candid conversation with God…

God: I would like you to quit your job.
Me: Really? But this is the only skills I have and its my ‘ricebowl’ leh… How?
God: Trust me.
Me: Hmmmm…
God: *silence*
Me: Ok la… since You say so, I will do it!

Back then, there wasn’t much choice for me when I browsed the recruitment classifieds. Being a dropped out with no qualifications but just a secondary school studies, I could only look at the odd jobs section which mainly featured jobs for F&B or hospitality.

One day while browsing, a particular ad caught my attention with an inner prompting by the Holy Spirit to call the number. The job offered was as a server (or waiter).

I called and an interview was arranged for the next day. I just went with an open mind and heart and at the end, I got the job! However, I did not accept it right away and requested to reply the next day.

I can recall how I was both in awe and in shock! In awe in how God was moving and in shock because I was trying to accept the implications of such a change.

I struggled in making a decision cos…..

In the eyes of the world I was making a move backward. It obviously looks like a downgrade from where I was at that time.

“How would my friends think of me?”

“What would they say about it?”

“How was I going to explain this radical move?”

But I decided to follow through in obeying God. Hence, I chose by faith, to accept the job.

I reckoned it was more important for me to be bothered more by what God thought of me; what He would say about me and be more concern over His approval rather than man’s approval. And I saw in the spirit that this was a promotion in His kingdom.

After accepting my new job, I gave away my entire music collection and DJ stuff that could have easily been worth in the thousands. I felt like Peter and Andrew who gave up their nets to follow Jesus.

I was now going to be a “fisher of men”…..

My time serving as a server at Morton’s for more than a year was one of the best moments with God as that’s where I discovered my passion- serving others and making a difference.

God used this job to shape my servitude as His disciple which has laid a foundation for me where I’m now able to build on and carry with me wherever He plants me and in all I do.

More importantly, choosing to obey and follow Him allowed me to discover WHO I AM in Christ towards building my security in my identity as His child rather than in what I do for a living.

Amazingly, I later also discovered that this job in Morton’s was God’s arrangement in advance to provide for me when God led me to bible seminary.

As the enrollment was a full time stint, my work allowed me to switch to a part time employment when I requested for it!

Today after 15 years…..

I can look back at how that first step of obedience has led me to: a life of His abundance and goodness.

Now, if I need to browse for a job, I’m no longer confined to one section of classifieds. And He has graciously given me upward mobility to be His ambassador and influencer in the marketplace.

Now, I know God doesn’t lie as I have no lack and He has been my Provider at every stage of my life. Even providing the finances for me to further my studies and to eventually graduate with a bachelor degree. And also provided the means to be His ‘tent-maker’ while in Vietnam.

Now, I’m paired with a wonderful person I call my wife whom God has entrusted me to lead and love. If you told me I would be married back then, I would have laugh it off as I saw myself unworthy or unfit for such an enormous commitment. But God thought otherwise and I believed Him.

Now, because of experiencing how great and good God is from these past 15 years, I am expecting more from Him in the years ahead!

So to those reading this, never undermine the possibilities of how your simple obedience to God can take you to. Trust Him because God loves you and is faithful!