Tuesday, 11 October 2011 18:07

Reflecting on the Last Ten Years

Written by  Rev. Ho Ming Tsui
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Reflecting on the Last Ten Years

Rev. Dr. Ho Ming Tsui
English Pastor of Richmond Hill Christian Community Church

I decided to write down some thoughts as I enter into my 3rd decade: A reflection of sorts of the last 10 years. When you read it, it may sound preachy - especially to those over thirty - but please extend grace to me (it's my birthday!) After all, you must understand I preach for a living. Also these are lesson I LEARNED (sometimes the hard way) in the last ten years. So here we go.

  • You can accomplish many things between the ages of 20-30 but what really matters is what happened to your heart, soul and character. If you're a Christian, are you closer to God or further from him?

  • You realize how much your family loves you. Friends can come and go (especially during university), but your family remains steadfast.

  • Don't be bitter if friends come and go. God sends some people to travel with you for part of the journey. And when that part of the journey is over, they leave. Be grateful for the time you have together.

  • Learning to embrace responsibility is a good thing. Don't buy into the lie that responsibility is bad. Graduate on time. Get a job. Work hard at that job. Serve the Lord faithfully at your local church. Get married. Have kids. Love your family.

  • Staying put in your local church, community and city is often God's way of maturing you. It forces you to deal with all sorts of problems and conflicts, but that is exactly how community is built.

  • Make sure you really understand the gospel - if you're a Christian. If you're grown up in the church, you may equate salvation with your good works. That is NOT the gospel.

  • Work hard (and excel) at your job. Don't give up so easily. If you're in ministry, you will not earn the trust of the people under your care if you don't put time in. There's absolutely no substitute for longevity.

  • The friends you had in your teenage years look completely different than the ones you have now.

  • Some people never grow up.

  • Some people do grow up.

  • Just because people don't act the same way as they did in their teenage years doesn't make them less mean or judgmental. They just find different ways to do the same things.

  • In your 20's, you will be tempted with consumerism/materialism more than you ever did in your teenage years. And if you don't figure out how to deal with it, it will eat away at your soul.

  • Be humble and gracious, especially when you graduate from university. Those who have been working longer than you actually know more than you. You are just being naive. And arrogant.

  • Make sure you have someone to keep you accountable about sex. If you're dating (esp. the Christians here), you'll face great temptation. Find someone who has permissible to speak truth in your life and ask you the HARD questions. If you notice you're trying to justify your behavior, you're probably doing something wrong.

  • Your words can be a deadly weapon. You can hurt someone without even knowing it. So shut up, listen better and choose your words wisely (this one is directly for me).

  • Making yourself look better/more macho/cooler than someone else is stupid. Let your character and actions speak for itself.

  • Make sure you exercise and set good habits.

  • Don't make an idol of your career, or your degrees. Nobody really cares. And if they do, they're focused on the wrong thing. Jesus didn't have any degrees. He didn't own a home. He didn't have money. He didn't have a "Dr." as a title. Think about that.

  • Start saving money.

  • I wish I did more things than study in high school and university.

  • You'll find many of your friends who have "lost their faith." Don't condemn. And don't give up on them. Speak the truth in love. And you'll find they will be much more receptive to you.

  • Make sure you force yourself to have a day of rest ("Sabbath"). Either you impose a Sabbath or a Sabbath will be imposed on you. The latter means your body/mind/soul will break down if you don't rest properly.

  • In the age of social media (twitter, FB, etc.), it's still better to have a few good friends than hundreds of acquaintances.

  • Give back to your local church. It may not be perfect, but it had a hand in raising you. Stop complaining about how bad it is. If you have complaints, make sure they are legit by pouring your time/energy into the church for several years. Then stay put and help change happen.

  • Find a creative outlet. Everyone needs to create and not just consume.

  • Don't tell people you care about the poor, the orphaned and the marginalized unless your life is for them. It's popular and cool to care about the poor (esp. in today's celebrity-oppressed, postmodern culture), but don't treat them like some kind of pet project. You don't serve them to feel good about yourself or to brag to friends. If you're always spending money on yourself - going to fancy restaurants, traveling to exotic place all the time, buying the latest technology and fashion - don't blog about how much you care about the poor.

  • Jesus is your 1st priority. Then your spouse. Then your children. Then the church. Then your career. Yes, in that order. It's a great temptation to reverse the order.

  • If you're not good at something, don't pursue it. Don't force it. Find something you're passionate about and you're good at, and excel at that.

  • Being a dad is one of the greatest joys in my life. I never expected to be a dad of two at 30, but God is very good to me. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • When you pray to God about something, keep going. Sometimes God takes a decade or more to answer. But He's got his reasons and his timing is the best.

  • Having doubts about your faith is okay. Just make sure you thoughtfully and faithfully pursue the answers. Shameless plug, visit the site I created just for this: SPLOXA ASK US.

  • Don't think you are invincible - which is admittedly what most people in their 20's think. Whether you are sleeping in bed or speeding in your car ... life is fragile. It's a divine blessing if you can grasp this truth at an earlier age.

  • If you're a Christian, stop accepting Jesus on your own terms. Accept him for who He is. Believe him that He was all that He said He was.

  • Live for God's glory, not your own. This is the only and best way to live. Don't waste your 20-something years by pursuing worldly glory. It doesn't last; it won't satisfy and it's boring. Risk your life for something that counts.

  • I have much to learn.

I want to take this time to thank all my friends and family, who have helped me grow in these last ten years. Thanks for your prayers, encouraging words and forgiveness. I also want to thank my wife for being my greatest support in these last ten years. There is no one who listens as well as her and who asks better/harder questions. She is an incredible wife with a big, kind heart. I humbly say that I would not be a better man in the last ten years if she wasn't part of my life. Thanks for reading, whoever you are. (Monday, 22 March, 2010)


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