There are tons of people like me. You may not know it but your son or daughter, your brother or your sister, your neighbor, your cousin – we are all somehow in the same boat, rowing on the same strange ocean, against the same tide. I was once a computer game addict. This is my confession.
Writer’s Note: To see the whole context of this post, I’d just like to share that aside from my day job as a web marketing officer, I run my own video game blog and moonlight (wow do people still use that term) as a game reviewer for an online web forum. Prior to this post I used to believe that since I work within the video games industry, being a gamer defines who I am, aside from being a Christian. Because of that mindset, I have formed my own beliefs around that fact and have acted accordingly, and because of this specific mindset I hurt someone who was truly dear to me.
While I was reading the book “What God Does When Men Lead” on the LRT while I was on my way to work. There was this part where Bill Peel (the author) Quoted Tony Dungy:
It was the first time I was able to look at football as something that God was allowing me to do, not something that should DEFINE me. I couldn’t take my identity from this sport; I had to consciously make sure that God was in first place.
Tony Dungy, in his book Quiet Strength, mentioned on page 47 of “What God Does When Men Lead”.
The statement struck a nerve since Dungy’s words reminded me of my stand when it comes to video games. Dungy’s realization after his subsequent inactivity for a season as a NFL player redefined his way of thinking as an American Football player.
The same goes for myself since I once claimed that video games is part of me and that it defines me.
It was when I read that statement that I finally realized and understood the folly of my thoughts. God allowed me to work within the grounds of the video game industry. God allowed me to have a passion on it because He wants me to go into it in His own way.
It shouldn’t have been part of me in the first place. I would’ve saved myself from heartaches and well, hurting someone else if I just realized that a year ago.
Christ should be the one that DEFINES me, not anyone or anything else.
So what now? All I can say is that my passion is still in the video games industry. Now I am firm on what defines me. While it may be hard for me to let this go since I have been so immersed in it already. But when the time comes to decide. I know and I will, let go of video games if He so tells me to.
Because above all else, I am His son.
This entry is originally from Vincent’s blog.
Just recently, I’ve been struggling to give my tithe to God – because I will be going negative. I’ve had this bad habit of waiting 3 months until I give God 3 months worth of my tithe. I’m not saying that it’s a sin to do so. All I’m saying is that it’s much better if I give God my tithe the moment I get my income for the month. This is my testimony about tithing and God’s great financial blessings to me.
This entry has been inspired by God’s blessings in my life – His molding of my character, and His recent prosperity test for me. To you oh Lord, I give my greatest thanks and praise. May this entry always glorify you!
And for the month of February, I’ll be going negative if I do give my tithe to God. Bad budgeting.
You see, I’ve been supporting campus missionaries. And there’s this specific campus missionary that I give a sizable amount to. My support for this person is charged via credit card. On November 2011, I cut that specific credit card due to bad service. What happened was, my support for that campus missionary got cut too – 4 months behind as of February 2012. I was only able to transfer the billing to my other credit card on Feb 2012.
That money isn’t mine. I pledged it to God to give to that campus missionary. Because it was 4 months already, it was an even bigger amount. I knew that I’ll be going negative on March’s credit card billing. I asked God if my support to that campus minister could be considered as my ‘tithe’ – apparently God said ‘NO’. Little did I know that God’s ‘No’ is because He wants to bless me more than that.
Let’s roll back a little bit – where I am now
I’m an internet marketer and SEO specialist. Right now I’m the proprietor and managing director of SEO Hacker – an internet marketing company. We offer a wide variety of best-quality services and we prove our worth by applying our internet marketing strategies to our own website. Right now we have 10 wonderful full-time workers (including me!) and a lot of part time writers and are looking for more people!
The company was started by God in my life through helping me test and experiment with this blog, God and You. I was not born rich. My family is not rich. I had no money to start a business. No capital at all – ZERO. And yet, God started the company with me from doing freelance SEO work – to signing contracts with big name clients. God is my provider.
The company earns a good amount each month and I get to keep a portion for myself – enough for me to spend for myself, my dates with my wonderful girl, my family, etc… It was a blessed amount. It was also more than enough for me to give and support other people in need. Which, I believe, God has called me to. And to top it all off, I get to save a fair amount at the end of each month.
All these blessings were brought to me by God just like that in the year 2010 when I graduated college. He just provides!
But last year (2011), I had no new contracts to boost up my savings and earnings even if I worked hard for them. Strange. Still, I gave my tithe to God and my support to other people.
But February 2012 was different – I was going to go red.
I didn’t want to go red.
I want to get married this year – and, I can humbly and honestly tell you that I’m VERY far off financially.
Caution: Tithe only if you want to be blessed. Otherwise, spend it on what you want.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” – Malachi 3:10
There is no logic in tithing. How can I get richer than how I could be if I give 10% of what I have every month to the God who created this universe? Does He need my money?
No. Tithing is an aspect of complete faith in action. It is a no-logic act. Only people with real faith in God will be moved to tithe because they love God and want to honor the Great Provider with the results of their work.
How God said that my support cannot be considered as my tithe:
At first, I thought that my compromise with my tithe being my support for the campus missionary is alright. But there were three people who told me that I had to tithe and my campus missionary support cannot be considered as my tithe.
Aneglyn Co - She’s the girl of my dreams. And once, while I was driving with her after I’ve made that ‘compromise with God’, she told me that, for her, tithing should be different than my support for other people. Strike one.
Charles Sy - He’s the youngest brother of pastor Dennis Sy. A really good friend and ‘older brother’ to me. He suddenly just chatted me one night – asking me if I’m already getting married. Of course I told him about my financial status – and the first thing he asked me was: “Are you giving your tithe?” I was convicted even if I was giving my campus missionary support. It was a confirmation from God that my tithe is different – and I shrugged it off.
Bill Hybels - Senior Pastor of Willowcreek church. Powerful preacher and an amazing life-example of how he surrendered his finances to God. I was listening to Billy Hybels in his current podcast ‘Financial Series 2012′ – and I was strongly reminded of the real reason behind tithing. In this podcast he said “Is tithing like breathing to you? Is it the first check you write? Only those with a high view of God will answer a resounding ‘yes’.”
Right there and then, I knew that I had to refresh my perspective. I had to have a high view of God when it comes to money and His provisions. I didn’t waste any more time. I gave my tithe to God.
Everything I have right now is because of Him. Every talent, every skill, every teammate, every penny, every hair of my head – is because of His great love for me. Because our God wants us to enjoy life to its full even here on Earth.
What happened to my February?
By faith, I gave my tithes and paid what I pledged to the campus missionary. I’m expecting to have a big hit on my savings when March comes. Well, it’s March now. March 16, 2012 to be exact. In that 16 days of March, 3 contracts were signed. So much so that I do not have enough manpower to handle more contracts and I’m rejecting new clients who are looking to hire our services.
To top it all off, my offshore client gave us so much work on February, that this offshore client alone could pay for all my support and tithe to God! AMAZING! I didn’t go red – not even for a month! God is indeed faithful in seeing me through.
That small step of faith – of me giving my tithe even if I was going to take a hit on my savings (and will give up the idea of getting married this year), resulted into a big blessing. I cannot even begin to believe that three contracts have already been signed these 16 days (and 2 more on the way!). All praise and Glory be to God.
There is a Prosperity Test
And God gives it to each and every one of us. This is when God gives us the talents for us to grow or keep or spend for ourselves. I want to encourage you to let your talent grow and to give. There is no better way to spend your money than to use it to further God’s Kingdom here on Earth.
I know that whatever happens from this point on with my finances, God is faithful and He has miraculously helped me in this specific time of my life. May He continue to bless me and use me to bless others.
This is my testimony.
Note from Sean Si: This is an entry by Vincent Haoson. He is a good friend of mine from CCF. This is his testimony.
Before I start with this post, I’d like to say a very brief intro about me since this is my first time posting here. My name’s, Vincent, I’m 23, a writer/businessman/blogger. I met Sean through last year’s CCF Single’s Retreat: Now Boarding. We became friends since then and basically we got to talk about blogging and stuff since we were on the same line of work (so to speak), and well, the rest is history.
As my first post here, God has impressed me this morning that I should share my life, or rather how I got back my life after
I went of my way as a Christian. To start it all off, I’d like to say first that I was a very active Christian prior to that retreat. I had my own small group, I was part of my church’ LCD team, I was part of our church’ student ministry. So pretty much I was the typical thriving young christian back then. I was 4 years into the faith (became a christian at around ’04) and my church properly equipped me with all the doctrines and lessons that I would need to live my faith and defend myself against temptation.
However there was a chink in my armor. A desire that I ne
ver really gave to God completely, the desire to have a girlfriend, or to be more specific, the desire to have someone want me.
Of course being active in a church, Love, Courtship and Marriag
e (LCM) topics are a dime a dozen. In fact, in the 4 years I
was in that church, I got so saturated with LCM topics, that I practically knew what to do when one comes to me for advice. I was in control of myself when it comes to pursuing women. The problem was, I was never prepared for the opposite.
Who would’ve thought that someone would be interested in me.
I’m not saying that I’m handsome, in fact I would be lying if I say to you right now that I think I’m handso
me. If me and Sean were standing together I’m sure the girls would look at Sean more than me. I had self-esteem issues. I grew in a home where my mother would put me down and call me ugly (in a joking matter acc. to her, but being a kid you don’t really understand those kind jokes so you take it to heart), during my elementary days I was emotionally bullied by certain people in my class, my High school was easier but I was still harassed a bit by some of the so-called “punks” of our batch.
So you can just imagine someone with that background hav
ing a girl, and a girl that isn’t so bad looking too to suddenly have an interest in me. She was even hinting at me that she likes me too, to which I responded in a wishy washy way.
I was in trouble, no wait, I KNEW I was in trouble.
So to make the long story short, we became a couple during her 18th birthday, just after her debut.
The first few months were rocky to say the least. I even contemplated on breaking up with her bec. I knew she wasn’t a godly woman but I never had the heart to go on with it. So we worked things out. I was still leading a small group and was still playing an active role on our student center. In fact, the first few months of our relationship was good for me spiritually because I was inspired. However, things turned for the worse as our relationship flourished.
I started to compromise. It started with skipping sessions at our student ministry to be with her. After that I compromised on my personal commitments to God. Six months into the relationship, one of the biggest compromise I committed practically sealed me in the carnal trap I have knowingly stepped into.
My christian life was done for. I was on a downward spiral due to sin.
Eventually we broke up, but the residue of that relationship became my reason to shy away from God. I used my work schedule back then to skip church, and even when there was a change in my schedule, I didn’t go to church because I didn’t want to. I lost my small group since my members went to each of their own province. I became less and less involved in the student ministry.
I became so disconnected with God that I started living my life out as part of the world. I never indulged in the type of sin you would often expect from someone with this story. Well, except for sex. I started hooking up with people who I met over the internet and even some who I personally knew.
I was wallowing in my own mud, dirtying myself more and more. I was indulging on physical pleasure, I kept on asking for more. I was empty and yet I persisted in my own way. Even if I knew I God would be the one who can fill me.
But I refused to come back to Him, at least in my heart. I was still attending the bible study group I was part off in my old church and while I still give insights on certain topics we had all I was doing was providing lip service and never really putting those lessons to heart.
I was two years (more or less) into this kind of life, when my relative who was an active CCF-er invited me to join the single’s retreat where I met Sean. At first I was pretty excited since she told me she could get someone to sponsor me because I was not going to spend money for a trip like that. A few weeks later she told me she wasn’t able to get a sponsor for me so it’s highly unlikely I’ll be attending, plus, the deadline’s already past. So I took that in stride and never thought about it anymore. A week before the retreat my relative called me again and told me she was trying again to find someone to sponsor my ticket. After what previously happened, I didn’t want to hope anymore, even if it was an opportunity to meet other female singles. My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I even wanted to say to my relative to give it to someone else.
Now, I can say that I’m glad I didn’t do that and attended the retreat.
It was during the retreat that I finally realized what happened to me. It was during that retreat that I knew I had to get back on the right path and go back to God. It was there that I rediscovered the saving grace of God, the love that endures forever and the fact that he has never let me go even if I strayed.
I felt I was the prodigal son during the retreat, unworthy of his father’s love. I spat at what He did for me, and I went my own way, realizing that I was wrong, that in fact he is still there loving me each day and hurting because I chose my own will over His.
I was teary eyed and grateful for God during those days I was in the retreat. I even hugged my relative who made sure I joined. Even if I know she wasn’t really the touchy-feely-showy type I just could not express through words the relief and thanksgiving I had because God used her to bring me back.
Even as I type this I’m starting to tear up because of how God has held me for so long even if I was a stubborn child. Words fail me as I describe the feeling of being relieved, of being accepted by a God who can easily kill me for what I had done and yet has decided to accept me, cleanse me and purifying me once again.
After that retreat, I have started to tread back into His path. I have learned much during my stray, but that lesson was taught at the cost of my own purity. I can never return to my old self, but I know that God has allowed me to go down this path to serve as a lesson and a reminder for people to always be prepared. To trust Him with everything, to put everything in His hands.
I am now planning to start my own ministry, and to do that I am still trying hard to change myself as to God’s specifications. I cannot say I have completely left my past since there are lingering “demons” that are still haunting me to this day. But I know God is above everything else and He has made sure I will be able to beat the ghosts of my past.
I’d like to end this very long entry (and I am sorry about that but I felt God wanted me to give my full account– well at least most of the details) with this verse:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
note: incidentally, the single’s retreat was God’s way of telling me that I am not ready for a relationship yet.