My intention with these posts is to summarise the highlights of the year without boring you to tears. That said, the 2017 version is still in the Draft folder so there’s that (imagine crickets chirping). Oh well. Let’s get on with it.
Being a husband and a father remains challenging but extremely rewarding.
Being a Christlike husband to Amanda and being a godly father to Judah and Abi, is one of my greatest privilege and highest calling, only second to God’s calling on my life to serve Jesus. I am not as quick to anger as I used to be, though I have to try hard to not get angry (when my high expectations are not met by Amanda, Judah or Abi). I know this isn’t right and I continue to work on it with God’s help.
With number three on the way, I know I have to step up even more, providing for them in every sense of the word. It goes without saying that this is impossible without the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in me.
I DESPISE Christians who pretend their marriage and family is perfect, when reality is far from it. Amanda and I have our arguments and fights, which creates a stressful environment for the whole family. Both of us fall short as parents, getting angry/upset with the kids more than we should, often because we’re angry at ourselves and/or each other. Despite all this, as we enter the seventh year of our marriage, I believe we’re growing closer together, by God’s grace of course.
A major highlight for this year was when my parents were able to visit us from India for nearly a month. It was wonderful to have them here and be a part of our lives. It was also awesome that they were able to spend some time with Amanda’s parents in Sydney. I am grateful that they made the effort to come out here and praise God for the time we had together.
Without a doubt, this is (and will always be) the area of my life that will always undergo the most changes and face challenges and this year was no different.
Every year, one of my desires/goals is to read the whole Bible and this year, I fell off the wagon for a while there but by God’s grace, I was able to catch up and get right on track as the year ends. I don’t just read for the sake of reading but expect the LORD to speak to me and He continues to be faithful in that regard.
I believe I have continued to grow in my relationship with Jesus. That said, I continue to have trouble keeping my anger in check. While I believe that I have more control over it now, there are times where I don’t allow the Holy Spirit to intercede and let my flesh take over too quickly. Amanda and the kids will attest to this. It’s not something I am proud of but nor do I want to hide it.
I can’t go into details (and God knows why) but I can say in all honesty that I desperately need Jesus to walk on the straight and narrow every day. Anyone who thinks that I think too highly of myself or that I am too proud, simply doesn’t know me well enough. God knows how much I struggle and how I am dependent on His Spirit to keep me grounded.
Amanda and I opened up our home two years ago to start a home church. We were called Jesus Fellowship initially and had about four people in total most Sunday mornings (not a success if you think in worldly terms).
Calvary Chapel Brisbane
In August of 2017, we decided to move forward as a Calvary Chapel church plant and changed our name to Calvary Chapel Brisbane. This came about after I had a chance to speak to Pastor Derald, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbour when he was visiting Brisbane and following that, the opportunity I was blessed with (one I clearly couldn’t afford on my own) to attend the Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference in Hawaii. I was very excited and hopeful because I could tell that the pastors I got to know well were committed to Jesus, reliant on the Holy Spirit and preaching the whole Bible.
What was once a casual setting, changed into a typical church setting and for months, everything appeared to be going OK on the surface. Reality was different and there was lot of unrest (I’d rather not go into the details), toxic was the word Amanda used and I agree that it was. To put it plainly, some in the church had certain expectations of Calvary Chapel Brisbane and a different definition of what a growing/successful church should be and this wasn’t what the LORD had placed on my heart. The same folks called me a bully (apparently I speak over others?) and told me my messages are boring (sorry, I don’t believe in being entertaining). When I was told “there will be consequences if we leave”, it just confirmed to me what I had to do.
I regret I didn’t make the decision I needed to make quick enough and minimise the hurt. Nevertheless, I informed Pastor Derald that we won’t be continuing as a Calvary Chapel church plant and announced the same to church. We had between 8 and 10 people in attendance at this time and I knew that not all would return once this announcement was made and I was OK with that.
Acts like Church
We were back to our casual setting the following week and those I knew would return, did return, despite the split. We continue to meet at home as the LORD would want us to and we now call ourselves Acts like Church (a name that I came up with that everyone has allowed me to keep). I want our church to be like God’s Church, what He began to establish in the book of Acts. I also want to tell people who come across our church that we have a sincere desire to truly act like God’s church and not just be one in name or appearance (like many churches in Australia and across the world).
Recently, I asked those who are a part of our home church whether they were there out of pity or because God wanted them there. I knew what their answer would be but rather than making assumptions, I wanted to hear it from them. I was pleased to hear each one state their commitment. I reiterated the fact that we would have transparent communication about all aspects of church and that our greatest desire was, is and should be, obedience to the Holy Spirit, love and unity that He alone can bring about and to step out and serve in Jesus Name.
I thank the LORD for the work He has done and been doing in us since the split, with the regular Sunday fellowship, the fortnightly Bible study and the love He has for us and His love that is at work in us towards each other. We are all truly excited to see what the LORD has in store for us in 2019!
I am not going to talk about money but if you haven’t noticed already, you see that I have been using “F” for all the headings and I figured this was an appropriate heading to address my own business and other work I’ve been doing to support my family and I. I’m not ashamed to say that we don’t have a lot of money (we don’t even own a home!) but I thank God that He has faithfully provided and continue to provide for our every need. It amazes me that when things get VERY tight at the end of the year, He finds the most amazing ways to meet our needs!
Mustard Seed IT
I started Mustard Seed IT in 2015 and as 2019 appears on the horizon, I am grateful that the business is still surviving, though not a success by the measures of this world (which I am totally OK with). I haven’t paid as much attention to the business as I should because I am not interested in success, rather, my desire is to serve my clients and provide for my family. I will continue to invest in Mustard Seed IT and trust the LORD to bring me the right clients.
I was encouraged to become a tutor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2015 and I am so grateful that it worked out. I continue to be a Sessional Academic at QUT and thank the LORD for the opportunities I’ve had since. I not only get to exercise my passion for teaching, it has also been a source of provision for my family and I. While spending time at QUT does take away from investing time in Mustard Seed IT, I have done my best to give both ventures my time and attention so that neither suffers.
I am excited for our future and a little nervous too.
Judah, our little man, isn’t so little anymore as he starts prep in the new year.
God willing, we will be a family of five in 2019.
I pray that Mustard Seed IT will continue to grow and so will the opportunities and my standing at QUT.
I ask the LORD to keep building Acts like Church for our good and His glory.
Ultimately, our lives are in the hands of the LORD and He knows what is best for us.
Do I worry? Yes, I do. Do I wish we had more money? Yes, at times. Am I content? Yes, I am.
I ask the LORD to bless my family and I, to keep increasing our faith in and love for Jesus, to keep using us to further His Kingdom and to keep providing for us and looking after us.
May God bless you and your loved ones in 2019 and if you don’t know Jesus yet, I pray you will come to place your trust and faith in Jesus Christ in 2019.
in Christ’s love