Hi readers, Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful 2016 so far because for me, the year looks like it’s going to be amazing. In fact, I believe it might just become one of my best years yet. As for why, I will get to that in a while; but for now, let me begin my first post of the new year by sharing with all of you what Pastor How preached over the first weekend of 2016. For those of you who do not know, Pastor Tan Seow How & Pastor Cecilia Chan, more affectionately known as Pastor How & Pastor Lia are the senior pastors of Heart of God Church – my spiritual home.
And just this past weekend, Pastor How preached a practical sermon on how all of us can make 2016 the best year that it could ever be. Here’s my detailed write-up of what he had to say:
P.H.D – we should all get it.
LOL. I know what you guys are thinking. No, I don’t mean we should all get a Doctorate of Philosophy. And that wasn’t what Pastor How meant too. Haha what he was trying to say is that for us to have a great year, we need the following 3 things.
1) Make Progress
The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. All of us, no matter how capable, always have areas in our lives that can be improved. So if we are able to make progress in all these areas in 2016, I’m pretty sure the year won’t be that bad after all. Even Pastor How wants to make progress. And over the past year, he did. Firstly, he launched a website last year and started writing. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you check it out! There are articles over there that really shifted my mindset, and it can do the same for you too. Secondly, if you came to Heart of God Church over the past year, you would realize that Pastor How started preaching without the pulpit and physical notes! These are just some examples of how progressive our Pastors are.
And you know what? They are still making progress today! Pastor How told all of us that he hopes to preach in Mandarin one day, currently a daunting task for him. So this year, he plans to pick up Mandarin all over again. But what about you? Are you constantly pushing & challenging yourself? For me, even as a writer, I want to make progress! I want to be able to produce quality articles in a shorter amount of time this year. We got to move up to the next level. We got to have a relentless drive for progress.
The question now is “How?” How do we make progress? Well first of all, we have to turn our experiences, both good and bad, into wisdom. We have to take some time to reflect and evaluate about 2015. What are some of the things we did right? What are some of the things we did wrong? Did we repeat our mistakes? The thing is, mistakes are only mistakes when we make it once. The second or subsequent times we make the same mistake again, it’s no longer a mistake anymore. It is now a decision.
It is okay to make many mistakes, as long as they are different ones! But if we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, it shows that we have not learnt anything from them, and have made a decision to do it again.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
In the famous words of Albert Einstein, do not be insane! We can’t just hope for a better year. Hoping doesn’t make the year better or different. I mean, did you suddenly get all your desires when the clock struck twelve on January 1st? Exactly. You see, the world and the people around us rarely change, and most of the time, we have no power to change them too. The only person that we have power to change is ourselves. And it’s only when we change, do we affect change around us.
Next, don’t blame others! When we experience problems or make mistakes, it is easy to put the blame on everyone else except ourselves. But what we do not realize is that blaming others is as good as giving someone else control over our destiny. When we blame others, we will not take responsibility for our wrongdoings, and as a result not change. And when we don’t change, we don’t turn our experiences into wisdom, and without gaining wisdom, we don’t progress.
An example that Pastor How gave is a person who is always late for appointments and meetings. If this person always blames the traffic for his lateness, instead of seeing it as his own fault, he will never change! But if he takes responsibility for his bad habit, he will take the necessary countermeasures against traffic jams, train breakdowns and overcrowded transport. He will leave his house earlier and never be late again! Progress.
Another common example is a student who blames his teacher for bad results. I mean, come on. If we keep blaming others, we are effectively removing power over our own lives and handing it to those people or things that we blame. We become like a weak pawn that can be manipulated by anything and everything. For me, I want to be the master of my own life. I want God to be the Master of my destiny! How about you?
Another way to see if we’ve progressed as a person is to look at our problems. In life, there will always be problems. That is the hard truth, and it is especially true if you’re moving forward. It’s simple physics right? When you want to move something forward, there is always friction. If you don’t want problems, the only way is to sit still and do nothing! So in a way, it’s sort of good when we have problems. The only thing is – have our problems progressed?
Yes, we will always have problems. But if we have truly progressed as people, so will our problems. For example, a boss can have manpower problems in the first year of his company. But if he has this same issue in the fifth, tenth and fifteenth year of his company, what does it show? It shows that he never learned to manage his staff! He never progressed! In the same way, our problems have to progress. Or else, we haven’t learned anything. That boss can have manpower issues in the first year, cash flow difficulties in the fifth, and welfare problems in the tenth; it’s fine! At least he has learned to solve different problems and progressed. Similarly, we got to think what are some areas in our lives that we would like to progress in. Start the year with the end in mind.
2) Make History
P stands for progress, H stands for history. If we make not just progress, but also history in the year 2016, I am sure it will be quite an awesome year to remember. But what defines making history? Well, ask yourself a question.
Yes! When was the last time you did something for the first time? Making history does not necessarily mean doing something huge. It can be as simple as trying out something new! You’re making history in your own life. You can do something fun, something adventurous; don’t let your inner child die! Learn a new sport, a new language, a new instrument. Have a spirit of adventure and make milestones this year. For me, I am going to attempt to make a Lightsaber video, just for the fun of it! And also, I am going to read my Bible from cover to cover. But what is it for you? Start the year with the end in mind and list down some things you would like to do to make history. Don’t procrastinate and DARE to make history. As an example halfway through his sermon, Pastor How did something fun with all of us in church. He challenged us all to stand on our chairs. Now it may be something easy for you, but for some, it is history-making! Haha.
3) Make a Difference
Last but not least, for all of us to have an incredible year, we got to make a difference. Sure, making progress and making history on a personal level is a good thing. But life ain’t just about ourselves. Life should be about others. What will make 2016 even more significant is us going out there and doing something to love another person. If you have never done something like that before, maybe this is a good year to start. Besides, if you want 2016 to be different, you got to first do something different. If you want something you have never had before, you got to do something you have never done before.
So in summary, let’s get our P.H.D this year. I believe that as all of us make progress, make history, and make a difference, 2016 can be our best year yet. For me and the rest of my friends in Heart of God Church, this is probably already the best year for us. Oh I haven’t told you, have I? Over the past weekend, we just received the best news ever. After many months and even years of waiting, our New Home has finally been approved!
That is why I said this could be my best year yet! I’m so happy to start the year with such a victory and as a matter of fact, we will be moving in very very soon. On the 31st of January, we will be having our opening service in the new premise! It will be super awesome, so I would like to invite you to come join us (though you don’t need to wait till then!). Especially if you have never visited us before, it’s time to make history. Haha, you’ll be blessed. See you soon!