For this second post within my Christmas / New Year mini-series, the focus shifts to highlights from 2014. The prompt for this began on WhatsApp, where a group chat discussion topic was initiated by a friend on sharing of highlights from 2014.
Christmas / New Year Mini-Series:
Overall, the year of 2014 has had a general thematic highlight that is founded in God and developing a greater spiritual awareness. This is reflected through various church and cell group activities, whereby we took a journey together to learn and discover more about the nature of God – starting with a mid-year study on gifts of the Holy Spirit. Specific encounters with God were part of this overall highlight. After the cell group progressed on into a six-week study on Hearing from God, the same material was then rolled out to other cell groups within the Surge young working adult ministry of the church over October – November. This in turn flowed on to the events documented under Street Outreach, which paves the way for 2015 and a continuation of this general awareness and increased connectedness to God.
The following six highlights that were shared in my WhatsApp post are shared here in greater depth:
It has been a great privilege to not just bear witness, but lead and baptise my brothers in Christ in 2014. The highlight here is not just about the baptism events themselves – but also the journey shared with my brothers in the lead up to the baptism, and how we all approached the occasion. The first was timed for Easter Sunday whereas the second one was held in August. It is quite intentional that I have given this the first mention as a highlight – celebrating the joining of brothers to the body of Christ and His Kingdom is all about giving God the glory and honour. It also emphasises just how pervasive the influence of God has been on 2014, general as well as through these specific events.
As documented in the articles, it is not just the one-off event that counts too – but also the follow-up and discipleship that continues beyond that initial baptism event. As both individuals continue their journey in growing their respective relationships with God, I keep them both in prayer.
As mentioned here, I have helped to organise and be a part of three friend’s weddings this year. Whilst each wedding was uniquely delivered and special for the respective couple, my contribution and service was predominantly in the music technology and delivery. Serving each pair of friends meant having to spend time in preparation and set-up, during the day as well as at each rehearsal. Giving each couple the gift of my time and effort was motivated and aligned to God’s calling, in that God saw it fit to use me to bless my friends in this way. All three weddings saw God infused into the marriages of each couple, and the resulting three-bind cords that have formed will see each marriage prosper under a Christ-based foundation.
3. Cell Group Journeying
Having stepped up to be a leader in January 2014, it has been a privilege to serve the cell group and journey with my brothers and sisters. My style of leadership and how God has led me in serving and loving one another has borne much fruit over the year. In part, this highlight overlaps with the general thematic highlight and from a fruit perspective, the first two highlights are manifestations of the group as a whole. Additionally, there have been specific occasions where I have seen God move within members of the group. Hearing the testimonies and visions flowing from the Holy Spirit are truly soul-enriching and it has ensured the prophetic realisation that our group has loved God and one another passionately throughout the year. In part the baptisms and weddings have helped to give additional purpose for the group in focusing our energy, and now with the Street Outreach opportunities, God is surely preparing us for an even greater harvest in 2015.
4. Work & Play
2014 began with a break that enabled me to recharge after a long work stint with the client. That 2.5 year period was capped in late 2013 with a 6 to 8 week period of 6 days x 12+ hours. Further, having finished my part-time MBA studies in September 2013 after three years, the overseas trip to Malaysia/Singapore for Chinese New Year was a highly anticipated time spent with family. The holiday was documented over February to March as a 7-part mini series: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 ].
Returning to work, I was shortly deployed back into Telstra to a new 6-7 month opportunity. The new work was a great opportunity to grow and learn; helping along the way to ensure the successful launch of the project whereby an old technology (BigPond 2-Way Satellite) was exited and majority of the customer base preserved and migrated onto the new product (Telstra Broadband Satellite). The new relationships formed in the Telstra Retail / Products group along with the tangible achievements of the successful project were all part of this highlight and the lasting memories.
5. Christmas & Meeting New Family
Christmas 2014 just past was a time of celebrating family. In the past spending a considerable amount of time with family can eventually run you down. However, this time, that never eventuated and the relaxed atmosphere and attitude of having family staying with you under the one roof did not tire out. Instead, every moment spent with the family was cherished, in particular the days when I got to babysit the nine-month old toddler. One of my favourite moments was when he was sitting in my lap and he was feeding himself – holding his own milk bottle and slowly drinking the liquid. A big highlight of Christmas was meeting and spending all the time with the newest addition to the family. Having followed him around the house as he crawled all over was a new but enjoyable experience. The only times when he cried was when it was his designated nap time and he would get all fussy from the tiredness. I look forward to visiting interstate to see the walking (and possibly talking) toddler in 2015.
6. New Car – Mazda 3 SP25
2014 highlights would not be complete without a mention of my new car – the Mazda 3 SP25 which I have now been driving for six months. Having become accustom to the in-built GPS and touch screen interface, sitting in older generation cars really helps to reinforce the little features that I have come to expect. With fuel efficiency levels averaging in the low 8L per 100km, the fuel price savings is a real money saver. Of late, the drop in fuel price has only encouraged me to “upgrade” and use 98-octane fuel.
In 2014, I was not the only person within my circle of friends to change for a new vehicle. Shortly after I changed to a new Mazda, a number of friends also traded in and acquired new vehicles – within the space of 3-4 months, six of us are all now driving brand new cars!
These are merely the top 6 highlights from 2014. The year has been a blessing from God overall. He continues to guide and mould me in His image. God is definitely working in me and through me for His glory. I will end with the prophetic word shared with me recently by a dear brother in Christ:
I see God causing you to grow deeper in Him in 2015 and there is going to be a cleansing and healing of the heart so that God can express Himself through you more completely and freely. I see Him increasing your spiritual vision and you seeing things from His perspective. And there is going to be a season of rest where you rest and wait on Him even more and as you do so, you will rise on the wings of eagles and be truly spirit led. You will cease doing things in your own strength and do it in His. And in 2015 you are going to be building. God is going to use you to build people up and build His people up. And I also see that you have been praying to God about a particular issue consistently and there will be a beginning of progress in that area this year. And I sense that this issue is in the area of relationships.
In Jesus name.