Wrestling with Failure at Work

By Hunter Daniels

More than other idols, personal success and achievement leads to a sense that we ourselves are god, that our security and value rests in our own wisdom, strength, and performance. To be the very best at what you do, to be at the top of the heap, means no one is like you. You are supreme.
— Tim Keller in Counterfeit Gods

A month before attending the 2019 Global Cohort Gathering, in Saddleback, CA, (where Christian global leaders all over the world are gathered to learn, connect, and be challenged to make impact in their global cities) I was drafting the most painful document I have ever had to write; I was writing an incident report at work. The incident involved one of our most strategic clients; and I was on the hook for a mistake that I did not catch (picture an infielder missing a pop-fly). It is difficult to overestimate the toll this had on my spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. To me, writing that report meant that I was forced to admit that I had failed, that I was incompetent and that I was worthless. I had worked hard to be the best performer on my team, to be the guy you could rely on and I was proud of my “exceptional performance” evaluation. This failure stood in direct contrast of who I thought myself to be and, more importantly, whom I wanted others to think I was.


While at the gathering, I heard several speakers talk candidly about dealing with failure at work and I was convicted by their anecdotes. Bob Doll gave a lecture entitled “Failure- The Stepping Stone to Success” that provided me with much needed guidance. To provide context, Bob was the Chief Equity Strategist of a large asset management firm and has used his God given gifts to attain what many would consider a highly successful career. In his lecture, Bob discussed a time in recent history where he was asked by his previous firm to retire early and the impact it made on his life. It is difficult to imagine attaining Bob’s level of success only to be let go at what would be his “prime career years”. But his response was not to wallow in failure or to blame God for misfortune or engage in destructive self-loathing. No, instead he used his situation as an opportunity to further engage with Christ, his community and his family- what an amazingly faithful response! Ultimately, God blessed him with the opportunity to continue using his financial expertise, but his initial response represents the posture we, as Christ followers, should model in the midst of failure and success in work.


Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize how much my sense of identity was based on success in work. This realization came as a surprise to me (shocking I know). I didn’t think I was idolizing my work, yet it wasn’t until failure at work sent me into a spiral of self-degradation that I realized my priorities were grossly out of order. This, I think, is at the heart of Bob’s lecture; it is difficult to know we’re idolizing success until it is ripped away from us, which then forcibly creates the stepping-stone to success. Success in this context is not about promotions, bonuses or societal praise; it is the stepping-stone to further reliance on God for our joy and worth. We are free from performance evaluations because we can never be “exceptional” before God. We are all hopeless and complete failures when it comes to our worthiness of God’s love yet He gives it anyways. This is the radical promise God makes to His people that is the source of our joy, that God looks at us and sees his Son.

Hunter Daniels works in the finance industry and was part of our Chicago Cohort in 2019.

Complexities Living in a Digital Generation

Grace Liu

It is more complicated to live as a Christian in this generation. The life stages and challenges we face as humans are the same but the context has changed.

This generation is bombarded with so much information. Gen Z and Millenials will mature (in terms of knowledge) a lot faster than Baby Boomers, due to the rapid advancing of technology and the amount of information that is readily available.

There is a shift away from the importance of understanding who you are and spiritual maturity; there a shift towards accomplishments, financial independence, individualism and finding purpose within yourself (your personal passions). The Bible teaches us that purpose is found when we look outwards (upwards towards our Creator) and realize that we are part of something bigger; we are created to do more than satisfying our personal ambitions. Millennials are very experiential, self-aware and in-tune with their feelings. This is a good thing, however there is a tendency for millennials to be driven by their emotions; thus, causing them to float from company to company to find a place that will “keep them happy”. This heart attitude will influence their commitments to ministry, marriages, friendships, goals and other aspects of life.

Surveys comparing Millenials and Gen Z (from Barna)

Millenials and Gen Z have a rapid absorption rate towards knowledge, and it has created skepticism toward authority and structure. They are taught to speak up and develop their own thoughts, which raises more questions toward just ‘accepting faith’. This makes it challenging to build up resilient disciples of Christ within the young emerging generation. A position of authority is no longer good enough to “make them listen”; they value realness and authenticity in a leader in order to follow respect and follow after an authority figure.

Millennials want to belong before they believe. Millenials are experiential and want to be engaged, accepted and involved. They want to take an active role in experiencing how faith can play out into their everyday life (work, social life, ministry).

As spiritual leaders, we need to develop cultural discernment in how God is moving and shaping this generation of young adults. We need to stop complaining about what is wrong about this generation (entitled, flakey, emotional), instead let us figure out how to empower, support and build up this generation to navigate through this digital culture.

Grace Liu is our Jakarta City Director and has a heart for building community and empowering the next generation of leaders.

Familiar and Unfamiliar Territory

By Michelle Tan

I was part of the second Resource Global Chicago Cohort (2017-2018). And recently, I had the opportunity to participate as a speaker in one of the workshops at the LEAD conference in Jakarta. The vision for the LEAD Conference is creating better companies, lead to better cities, and ultimately a better world. This was an initiative that the Jakarta Cohort Alumni had proposed to help their own employees in Jakarta.

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Therefore, I had the privilege to talk about how to improve finance processes with technology. Preparing for the presentation was challenging because I realized that although I identify myself as an Indonesian, I have never worked in Indonesia and have limited knowledge about what the marketplace in Jakarta is like. 

Fast forward to the day of my workshop. My presentation went smoothly, but I quickly became aware that the business environment in Indonesia is so different. My audience consisted of mainly mid-management workers and below. And not till after my workshop did I realize that most of them only really used Microsoft Excel as their main technology tool and even some others who worked in family owned businesses still just used paper documentation. 

Although my main goal of participating in the conference was to give back to the people in Indonesia, I felt like I was the one who gained valuable perspectives. I started to understand what work life is like outside of the United States and learned about the roadblocks that are preventing businesses in Indonesia from advancing, ranging from financial to cultural reasons. Last but not least, I gained an appreciation for the values that we so often take for granted in the States, whether that be values of equality, fair pay or even general business ethics. 

In contrast, during the conference, I was also able to meet some of my amazing peer presenters who were working for corporations in Indonesia. These were young leaders (all from previous Jakarta cohorts) who were just a couple of years older than me, but many were leading billion dollar companies and affecting the lives of thousands of employees. I am amazed at the things that God is doing through these young leaders, and amazed to see their heart for the city of Jakarta. They were a real life example of Jeremiah 29:7 where God asked us to seek the prosperity of the city where we are sent exile, for its welfare will determine our welfare. Not to mention their incredible humility, courage and faith while taking up such challenging roles in a difficult business environment and climate. 

I am coming back to the US with an encouraged and excited heart; knowing that God has given me the strength to make a change that God has given my peers in Indonesia. My battlefield and challenges here may look different, but my heart for the people of the city where I live in remains the same. I am blessed to have been able to participate in the LEAD conference, my physical body is exhausted but my heart is so full!


Michelle Tan was part of our Chicago Cohort in 2017-2018. She is originally from Indonesia, but currently resides in Chicago with her husband Sean. She currently works for an consulting firm specifically in the finance and accounting area.

The Laborer and the Harvest

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:35-38, NKJV

When discussing the measure of a kingdom, Pastor Calisto explained that the Kingdom of God and God’s influence is not limited to demography or geography. As we see in the Bible, Jesus proclaimed the Good News and healed diseases and infirmity in all the cities, villages and synagogues. His work was not limited to the synagogues. Similarly, as co-laborers with God, we should proclaim the Good News and minister healing not just within church buildings, but in our cities, villages, and workplaces.

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A Professional in the Marketplace

Whenever I used to read this verse in Matthew, I dutifully asked God to send laborers. I prayed and gave generously towards ministries that increased the number of believers because in my mind, the solution was in numbers: the church and those in ministry are to lead people to Christ so we can have more people preaching the Good News. As a professional in the marketplace, I – myself, did not actively participate in the harvest. To me, my work was secular and my involvement in the church was spiritual. I worked to make a salary in order to support spiritual work.

Another way to put it is that I had adopted a dualistic view of Christianity; I was a part time Christian practicing my faith on the weekends. However, as ambassadors of Christ, Christians are always on duty. What does this look like? From Matthew 9:35-38, we learn that Jesus was moved with compassion for the throngs of people he met because they were weary, confused, aimless, harassed, distressed, dejected, helpless and scattered abroad like sheep without a shepherd. These adjectives are not limited to the people of Jesus’ day; they also describe the status of people at our workplaces.

Compassion and Action

I cannot help but recount the number of times I turned a blind eye to the plight of my colleagues. My mistake was that I did not see my job as my calling and my workplace as God’s field. This was also evident in my attitude towards my work: One day I was asked to give a five-minute exhortation in church. I remember spending hours praying and studying the Word of God. I prayed that the congregants would be ministered to. However, when it came to my job, I only managed a short one-minute prayer before going to work. I rarely prayed for my colleagues and never asked for a harvest of souls in my workplace. However, I can only imagine the kind of transformation that will occur if I approach work in the same manner as a church speaking engagement.

Convicted by the passage in Matthew 9:35-38, I conducted a heart check, reviewed my priorities, repented for my hardened heart, and prayed for realignment to God’s heart. An effective follower of Christ must be moved with compassion and as such, I prayed that He would give me compassion for my colleagues. This compassion is not just about the heart; it also demands actions. As such, my priority has shifted from working to finance ministries executed by others to me being the one to actively minister to my colleagues, pointing people to Christ.  

Jesus asked his disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the field. God has answered this prayer! He has sent you and me into a myriad of sectors: into the fields of economics, education, politics, transportation, hospitality, media, entertainment, the arts, sciences, in the home, into church ministry, and so on... ALL these fields belong to Him! Out of compassion for those in our sphere of influence, He has specifically and intentionally placed you where you are to preach the good news and minister freedom.

So what do we do?

As professionals, we need to realize that we are full time Christians and co-laborers with Christ. – that our work is a calling and our workplace is a field with plentiful harvest. We need to understand that we are part of God’s Kingdom and we must submit to his agenda. When we consider our jobs, it should not only be about earning a good salary to live a comfortable lifestyle. Romans 14:15 states that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! Wherever we are, people should be set free and walk in right standing with God. However, this can only be made manifest if we change our attitudes towards work by praying and being led by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we will become effective and fruitful laborers implementing Kingdom agenda.

 Would you take a minute to consider the state of your heart? The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.

Veronica is part of our first Nairobi Cohort. She works in administration at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She studied Literature and Linguistics at the University of Nairobi Kikuyu campus and serves at her church in youth ministry, evangelism and discipleship. Veronica promotes marketplace ministries and shares the Gospel, particularly among women and the youth.

Redefining Beauty

By Reina Ang

On May 31 st , I had the opportunity to sit and listen to Jessica Rey in her session about “Faith, Hollywood, and Fashion” for Global Cohort Gathering 2019. I was personally incredibly excited to be in her session as I’m also working in both of the creative industries she’s involved in: entertainment and fashion industry.

Jessica Rey is an actress, mostly known from her work as White Wild Force Ranger in the TV Series Power Rangers Wild Force. She is also currently the Founder, CEO, and designer for her modest swimwear brand called Rey Swimwear. During the session, Jessica told her story about how while doing her MBA program, she got offered to do castings for commercials and TV series that ultimately led her to a main role in Power Rangers Wild Force. Her experiences in Hollywood and its lifestyle led her to see the need of different and wider perspectives on what is the definition of beautiful for modern women. After much struggle and rejections, she successfully launched Rey Swimwear, a modest swimwear based in Los Angeles.

The fashion and entertainment industry are two very unique industries that have so much influence on dictating what is deemed beautiful in society. But at the same time, within these industries themselves, diversity and inclusion comes especially slower. As I was listening through her session, I was very convicted on how much influence the people in these industries can bring in term of redefining what is beautiful and how much I could’ve done as the part of it. Two of Jessica’s statement stood out to me the most.

“Only 4% of women feel beautiful. My goal is simple, how do I help make it 100%?”

As heartbreaking as it sounds, it’s true. Beautiful is a big scary word for most women. We find ourselves constantly trying to conform to certain set standard unconsciously, never fully satisfied on how we look. The pursuit of improving oneself is good, as long as it doesn’t come from self-hatred. As someone in fashion and entertainment industries, am I doing my best to help this cause or am I actually further enforcing this habit of placing our identity in this unrealistic beauty standard through my work? Am I forcing my own perception of beauty onto others, rather than God’s perspective of it? That brought me to her other statement.

“Your mission is not to make others know who you are, but to make others know that they are made in the image of God.” My goal and mission shouldn’t be centered around me and who I am. It should be about God and according to God’s Word. And what is God’s Word about body image?

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” - Ephesians 2:10 God’s message is loud and clear. We are made according to His image and we are His masterpiece. God sees us that way and that’s the goal, to help men and women to see not only their true beauty, but also their God-given dignity.

Reina Ang is part our Jakarta Team. She is also a professional model in Jakarta.

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours: Reflection from GCG

By Esther Chengo

Global Cohort Gathering (GCG) 

Every year, cohort members from different countries gather for a global leadership retreat, where they participate in trainings and also get to be mentored and network amongst each other. The 2019 GCG was held in Los Angeles, and the theme was ‘Catalyst for Gospel Action’. Cohort members looked through the lens of Christian leaders and professionals who are implementing the hope and truth of the Gospel in some of the massive and well-known areas of their cities. 


Reflections 

Participating in the 2019 GCG was quite a wholesome learning experience for me. Listening to speakers such as Bethany Hoang talking about God’s passion for justice and for the vulnerable, and His invitation to join Him in the same space as He brings wholeness and restoration. 

As part of the program, we got to visit a mission in Skid Row, Downtown LA and do a prayer walk in the district. This was my first time to interact with homeless people living in tents on paved streets.

As part of the program, we got to visit a mission in Skid Row, Downtown LA and do a prayer walk in the district. This was my first time to interact with homeless people living in tents on paved streets. 

As we walked down the street from the Mission, we passed a set of tents, where in one tent, I heard a spirited shouting match between a lady and a man, with the lady pleading for the man to stop. 

While still taking this in, at the street corner, we walked straight into a birthday party! There was a young lady, turning 30, and she was dressed in a pink dress and a tiara, surrounded by her family, listening to music and dancing. When they saw our group, they asked us what we were doing, and we mentioned we were having a prayer walk in the area. So, they asked us to pray for them, and our team leader directly asked me to pray for the birthday girl. Incidentally, having turned 30 just weeks before, I felt that God couldn’t have mistakenly chosen me to be the one to pray. I thought about my realities, I thought about hers. Being 30 and probably wondering what the decade ahead would bring. And I prayed for her. 

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We continued with our prayer walk. Most of the people I saw in or around the tents were senior citizens. No young children were in sight that day. Some were sleeping in their tents, others were seated on mats outside their tents, others were listening to music, others were having a meal, others were deep in conversation, while others sat and stared into oblivion. The prayers continued. 

After a couple of blocks, we got to a street corner, and I saw my first ever soup kitchen. There was a church that was distributing food, and I took note of this particular elderly lady. She wore a tea-length dress that had seemingly seen better days. She was pushing a hand cart with one hand and with the other, she held onto her jacket potato meal. The hand cart probably held all her possessions, as she seemed to have a tight grip and sharp eye. 

She walked slowly toward our group, and stopped right next to us. And she asked if she could sing us a song! I looked her in the face, and immediately faltered. Half of her face, from her eyes to her shin, had been scalded. Yet, the beauty of her smile caused the rest to fade away. And she sang a song about how Jesus loves her. Could have been the renown “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me…” but I was moved. How could she sing about God’s love, yet her only assured meal was the one in her hand? How could she sing about God’s love, yet she has probably been judged by those she met even before she opened her mouth to speak? How could she sing of God’s love, yet her tomorrow was so unsure? How could she sing of God’s love, yet her family had probably deserted her? Where did her confidence come from? How could she sing the Lord’s song in a Strange Land?

As I asked myself these questions, before I knew what was happening, this lady opened up her arms and drew me in for a hug! It was so spontaneous, it could only have come from the heart! She then hugged two other people in the team, and turned and continued pushing her hand cart, as she walked away limping. I could only think about when her last hug had been, and when her next would be. And the prayers continued.

I see no better way to end this reflection, than to quote from one of the GCG theme songs that Sharon Ma led us in: 

“Heal my heart and make it clean, Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
Show me how to love like You have loved me;
Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause;
As I walk from earth into eternity.”
— Hosanna, Hillsong

Esther Chengo is our Nairobi Project Coordinator and works at HESABIKA.

Durian and the Gospel: Stinky Stench or Appealing Aroma?

By Sarah R.

Have you ever visited Asia and seen the “No Durian” signs in hotels and airports? Or have you had the chance to taste this “King of Fruits”, as it’s belovedly called here in Malaysia? It seems for those of us living in lands where this spiky fruit grows high up on trees, and falls to the ground only between 12midnight - 4am, one either clearly has an aversion to the smell and taste, or an addiction, never getting enough. In our own family of 7, we have 3 hard core durian “LOVERS”, and 4 that would prefer the fruit to be kept outside of the house when it’s consumed. One could go as far as to say that the aroma of durian is either an aroma that brings life, or an aroma that brings death.   

When we first left our hometown for a predominantly Muslim, metropolitan city in Asia 15 years ago, a friend prayed that we would “spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him” among those we befriended and did business with. Our friend was referring to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ amongst those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”

As we assist Resource Global this year in exploring what God may have for the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we are praying that future cohort members would carry the aroma of Christ amongst the leaders and influencers of this diverse and strategically poised land.  Recently in a conversation with a top Malaysian marketplace leader here who has worked high up in one of the most prestigious and powerful companies of this country, he made the comment that too often “faith and work initiatives in Malaysia can use the lingo of conquering the marketplace for Christ.” He went on to share how he feels this perspective could be a mistake.  Instead of aiming for conquest, should we instead ask for God to make us an aroma?

In this very religious country, what is needed is not necessarily simply preaching of the gospel but living out the gospel in our daily lives, before our co-workers, neighbors and friends.  It means showing with our actions, more than with our words, the love of One whose love never fails. It means having the aroma spread out in unexpected ways, pointing to an integrity, a sense of character, small choices that speak loudly.  To some the gospel will always be a stench, perhaps like durian is to those who don’t like durian.  But to others, the gospel shown and “smelt” through devoted lives, will be the aroma of life.

Sarah and Jesse R. are our City Directors in Malaysia to see if we can start a Resource Global Cohort in 2020 or 2021.

Modern mentoring: Why is it important and how is it different?

By Christine Gorz

Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide. 

The number one thing employers can do to demonstrate their investment in a young person becoming a leader is to train and develop them, including coaching and mentoring,” stated Lindsey Pollak, The Hartford’s Millennial Workplace Expert. 

Many millennials seek purpose in their work. Helping them to explore their God-given vision and the talents they possess early in their career increases their job satisfaction and enables them to make an impact throughout their life.  

Lifeway research found that 68 percent of church-going young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important. Young adults place high value on connecting with people who have more life experience than they do.

As we find regularly at Resource Global, today’s emerging leaders of faith frequently desire to make a difference through their careers and in their communities, cities and the world. They long for a like-minded guide who will come alongside them and help them think through strategic questions and provide relevant resources as they navigate the marketplace. 

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Is mentoring biblical? While you won’t find the word “mentoring” in the Bible, we see many examples of mentoring relationships taking place throughout scripture. Jethro mentored Moses, Moses mentored Joshua, Naomi mentored Ruth, Eli mentored Samuel, Samuel mentored Saul and David, Elijah mentored Elisha, Elizabeth mentored Mary, Priscilla and Aquila mentored Apollos, Jesus mentored the disciples, and Paul mentored Timothy. In Titus older women are instructed to train younger women and Paul implies that older men should teach younger men by example.

So how is modern mentoring different from traditional mentoring?

First, the focus is on what the mentee wants to learn, not on what the mentor knows. Mentees bring their most important questions and mentors engage with them to help foster growth in the desired areas. Mentors may recommend resources, assignments, and contacts in their networks who have particular expertise or experience. The mentee is an active participant throughout the process.

Second, the relationship is characterized by authenticity. Mentees are seeking a more experienced person who will share their work and life experiences with transparency—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This occurs when the relationship is a safe place to discuss ideas and both parties share experiences that include stories of successes and struggles, how they have processed them and what they learned.

Finally, mentors benefit in the process. Mentors aren’t just giving, they also receive. In my own experience as a mentor I am inspired nearly every time I connect with my mentees—by their heart to make a difference, their lives of faith and by their thoughtful engagement with God, their work, and the world around them. I learn new things as I engage with different perspectives and experiences. Time flies and I am always thankful for the opportunities I have in mentoring. 

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and become a trusted guide for an emerging leader in your organization, church or community. You’ll be providing a valuable service and you may just find you receive much more in return. 

Christine Gorz helps Resource Global with connecting and developing our mentorship pool for our cohorts. She formerly was the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Moody Bible Institute. She has also done marketing in the Christian music industry in Nashville, Tenn. She and her husband, Chris, live in Chicago and she loves mid-century design and a good cup of coffee.

The Unexpected Leap: Trading My Strategic Ideas for God’s Purpose

By Joi Freeman

Have you ever taken a professional leap of faith? Was it like Naaman taking several dips in the water or Peter’s fearful steps as he walked on water?

I have experienced both. Yet, my most impacting leap of­ faith was not a leap at all. It was more like an abrupt, unexpected plunge down a cistern which was followed by what I can only describe as a series of “be still” moments that felt more like spending my young professional years stuck in an Egyptian prison for a crime I didn’t commit versus feeling like a season of growth.  

“But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” -Joseph (Genesis 40:14-15 NIV)

These moments of solitary confinement with God have equipped me with a new vocabulary. I learned that “leaping” is not always an action verb. In the Kingdom of God version of the dictionary, to “leap” is often passive. In this season of my life, leaps of professional faith are lessons on how to allow God to unfold his purpose for my life. My professional mentor Joseph (yes, the one from the book of Genesis) has taught me incredible lessons about the art of staying put in faith and trusting the vision God planted in me even when the road is unpaved and full of detours.

Like Joseph, God gave me a vision at a (relatively) young age. In 2010, while reading a foreign affairs magazine article about the predictions of population growth, God painted a clear picture that I would help open doors for the next generation to positively impact the world and major industries. And through this amazing bold view of what He called me to; I saw all the ways that I could influence this next generation, and especially youth of the African diaspora, to be the force for positive change and restoring what God intended when he gave us dominion in Genesis.

A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life,
but only the designs of his purpose will succeed in the end. -- Proverbs 19:21 TPT

So as any driven, passionate, talented professional would do, I took it upon myself to convert God’s vision into an action plan.

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The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. –Genesis 40:23

This revised journey in which God designed for me includes moments of professional disappointment, frustration, and pain. Yet each of my “Egyptian prison” moments helped create a conviction that God permits us to undergo difficult experiences; and it is those experiences which develop our character, increase our endurance, and prepare us for the journey ahead. Without Joseph facing the cistern, the false accusations, the prison sentence, and delayed parole; the people of Egypt and surrounding regions would not have survived the famine. Joseph’s family would not have been spared, and the vision he saw at age seventeen could not be fulfilled.

When I started this leap of faith, I was certain that I could change the world. Yet, inspired by Joseph, I now understand that it is not my plans or ideas that will carry me. Rather, it is my willingness to sit at the center of God’s will for my life and with that posture his purpose for my profession will prevail. And as I learn to imitate Joseph’s work ethic and outlook on professional detours, I believe this new outlook on leaping into faith will ultimately lead me to my original Step 6.

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ – Jesus, on Stewardship & Investment (Matthew 25:21)

Joi Freeman is part of our third Chicago Cohort. She is currently doing some part-time consulting work and also in a leadership MBA program in Chicago .

Meet our Singapore City Director - Poh Yu Khing

By Yu Khing

Born and bred in Singapore, I’ve grown-up and lived here all my life. I love this country. Singapore is nothing short of an economic miracle, and God’s blessing has been on this nation.

Having worked for 19 years in government and private sectors, in 2017, I took 3 months off work to attend the School of Leadership programme at Tung Ling Bible School Singapore. This turned out to be a spiritual milestone and a life-changing event for me.  

During the course, I found myself asking God: “How do we win Singapore for Christ?”, and “What role do you want me to play?” Later in April 2018, I left my corporate job with these two prayers still on my heart, seeking God for what’s next. 

Today, 13 months after that faithful (actually fearful) step of leaving my job, God has confirmed and brought to fruition prophecies that I received over the last 2 years. He has opened the doors for me to be involved in an exciting portfolio of marketplace work – seemingly random, but fully integrated. A freelancer, but fully employed by God. 

The first area is marketplace consulting work – helping to bring Kingdom into the marketplace by working with small business owners on their vision, strategy and organisational development. On the flip side, I also seek to help bring the best of marketplace practices into Kingdom organisations, to help them do God’s work with a level of excellence and efficiency.

The second area is marketplace outreach. I’m the coordinator for the Alpha Everywhere campaign 2019 in Singapore - a nation-wide effort in the Year of Evangelism to provide more opportunities for non-Christians and new-Christians to learn about the Christian faith through Alpha. I also serve as the Workplace Coordinator for Alpha Singapore, helping to seed Alpha Workplace runs.

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The third area is in marketplace education and mentoring. This year, I’ve started teaching an elective module at Tung Ling Bible School on Our Calling as Marketplace Christians. And recently, I started my appointment as Singapore City Director for Resource Global, which I am extremely excited about.

Work is such a dominant part of Singaporeans lives. People are our country’s only resource and we work long and hard. It’s our people who have made Singapore into a thriving city and first world nation. Singapore is a global player and regional hub for many spheres of economic and societal development. I truly believe that if we can bring Kingdom into the marketplace starting in Singapore, we can see God’s global mission of discipling nations being spread through the marketplace from Singapore to regional cities.

My personal mission now is to inspire & equip marketplace Christians to actively live out their spiritual calling as Disciples of Christ - bringing Kingdom into marketplace and community to impact lives, transform businesses, and bless society. The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. There is much work to be done.

 

Poh Yu Khing is our Singapore City Director and he (along with our team) is hoping to launch a Resource Global cohort in Singapore in 2020.

Invest in a Few, Impact the Multitudes

By Noah Chung

One of the common questions we get asked at Resource Global is... “Why do you choose to invest resources and time in young leaders that may already be wealthy and successful in the workforce? Shouldn’t our resources be given towards efforts in church planting, evangelism, or ministry to the poor or oppressed?”

First of all, there is no doubt in our hearts and minds of the continual need for resources, time, and efforts to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20) and to also remember the poor (Gal. 2:10). This is foundational to the mission and life of the Church, and we wholeheartedly stand by it. However, one of the temptations that we see in our Western evaluation of Christianity, is valuing the immediacy of results and numbers over the depth and discipleship that happens over time. How many people were saved? How many mouths were fed? How many Bibles were given? And so on...

Now don’t get me wrong, numbers and results matter in Kingdom work. But the question for us in America (or the West) is... How effective are our current methods and investments towards making long-term Gospel impact in global countries and cities? OR Are we settling for numbers and results over building up and training local leaders to carry the mantle of God’s mission even when we are gone?

The temptation with much of our investments and giving toward global missions is that we, as Americans, want to see immediate or tangible results to our efforts. But when we look at how Jesus decided to start the Church, it wasn’t through just healing people or proclaiming the good news in the streets; it also included the time and energy spent discipling the Twelve. Even with the knowledge that Jesus would not see the Church grow with his own eyes. In addition, the Twelve were not ministers or priests. They were tradesmen, fishermen, a tax collector, and political radicals. Jesus decided to start the church by investing in common people with professional skills, who would be future leaders of the Gospel movement after he left.

And the rest is history…

The early Church exploded. Even amidst harsh persecution, the Gospel took hold of Jews and Gentiles all across the Roman Empire, even outlasting Rome itself. Jesus’ investment in a few impacted the multitudes. And it still impacts us today.

So at Resource Global, we are passionate about investing towards the long-term leadership development of young professionals in global cities. There are many young Christians who are strategically placed in these global cities, who have the networks, are self-sustainable, know the culture, and are passionate about how to impact their spheres of influence with the gospel. They are Zacchaeus who has great wealth. They are Cornelius the Centurion who works in the government. They are Lydia who owns a successful business. They are the Ethiopian Treasurer who has access to powerful people. But these people of influence, still needed the guidance, support, and discipleship from teachers and leaders like Jesus, Paul, and Peter. And at Resource Global, we see young versions of these individuals as having the potential to make an impact 30x, 50x, or 100x more than we could ever imagine.

Already, with three years of working in Indonesia, we’ve seen gospel impact that would have taken way more resources or time if we did it ourselves. We have had a leader start floating hospitals to support those without medical care in the thousands of islands in Indonesia, because of her resources and networks. We have had leaders give abundantly to local ministries and churches that are gospel-centered and they are locally a part of. We have had leaders approach their companies and begin to implement wholistic change away from the typical corruption and bribery that is common in SE Asia. As our cohort alumni continue to invest in their sphere of influences, we see Jakarta, Indonesia, and even SE Asia being impacted with Gospel-centered professional leaders.

So at the end of the day, our goal is not to see immediate numbers and results that is attributed to our skill or our people. Our goal is to see the people we invest into be used for Gospel-centered work in all spheres of life. And one day, we hope that through their passions, skills, resources, and networks, they will impact the multitudes with the power, hope, and love of the Gospel that has changed their lives too.

Noah Chung is the Director of Impact and Communications at Resource Global. He’s been with Resource Global for about four years. He also is a pastor and lives in Chicago.

100% Jesus, 0% Me - Interview with Abraham Viktor

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During Tommy Lee’s last visit to Jakarta, in January 2019, he was able to meet with several Resource Global (RG) cohort alumni, including Bram. The two caught up after connect group, and shared the latest updates across Bram’s life (both professionally and personally) since his time with RG.  

Bram grew up in Jakarta, and received his accounting degree from University of Indonesia (UI). He always had an enterprising spirit so before his final year in school, he attempted to launch his first startup with a few friends: a Kaya jam company. They had a great formula, but struggled to find the right factory for production. Eventually, he had to make the difficult decision to move on. The experience would be the first of a couple of “professional failures,” through which Bram learned much about the world, faith, himself, and God.

After graduating, Bram found himself on his second startup - this time in the construction industry working on lightweight building blocks. However, after much time, and significant monetary investment, a series of unfortunate events lead to the closure of that startup too. This second failure was much harder on Bram. He found himself low on cash, and felt like the weak link in a group of friends who had gone into banking or consulting, were rising the ranks, and making good money.

Looking back, he recalls how this devastation was partially influenced by his own family’s financial crisis when he was younger. That experience had taught him to be driven by monetary gain in his own decisions. Desirous of more stability, he took a step back and decided to pursue work in investment banking and consulting. He went first for an internship with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), before eventually moving into investment banking. He remembers fondly that first paycheck, and the feeling of security it came with. However, he also remembers the disappointment he felt shortly into his tenure as he began to feel restless, thinking: What am I doing here?

Throughout his early career struggles, Bram recalls feeling God convicting him to rely not on his own desires and ego, rather on God’s plan and design. He also recalls how he always pushed those convictions aside, deceived by his own pride. However, the more restless he felt at work, the more he reflected on his failed startups, and the more he found himself turning to God.

In an act of faith, Bram asked God to purify his heart. In reconciling his desires to those of God’s for him, he found renewed clarity. Suddenly, he felt God impressing upon him that he should be working in financial inclusion. He took a leap of faith, and left his cushy investment banking job. That very day, he stepped into creating his next venture: Taralite.

Through much faith and hard work, Taralite is now a key mover for financial inclusion in Indonesia, providing micro loans and and micro funding to underserved people. They also lease their algorithm to banks for more efficient processing and greater financial inclusion across the country. Most recently, Taralite has been acquired by OVO - a large mobile payments player in Indonesia. Bram sees the move as synergic, allowing the team to work with mentors with more experience, as well as expanding Taralite’s own market share and impact on Indonesia as a whole.

Around the time Bram was working on Taralite, building it up into what it is today, he had experienced several other milestones as well. These milestones informed many of his decisions, and continue to shape his career and faith journey today.

First, he got married - to a woman he says is greater than his equal. “She humbles me,” he says - describing how his pride and self-righteousness often causes him to lack grace, whereas her own deep desire and honor for truth make her the opposite: humble, kind, gentle.

Second, he participated in Resource Global’s first cohort - an opportunity he credits for giving him clear and encouraging mentorship. The Christian guidance and focus on bringing the gospel into the business sphere helped him in many a decision, especially in the Taralite’s early days.

Third, he had a clear epiphany about finances. Whereas his upbringing and “the Old Bram” led him to focus on simply gaining wealth, the Bram of today who remains stayed on the Lord realized that money is a blessing from God. This blessing, he believes, is one that must be shared, and enjoyed. Ultimately, he says “my life and even my finances don’t belong to me. [They] all belong to God alone.”

And last of all, via redemption through, and trust in, Christ, Bram has received 2 priceless gifts from his turbulent professional experiences to date: humility, and trust in God’s sovereignty. Humility because, whilst he continues to struggle with pride, he remembers that he has never succeeded when he has insisted on doing things by his own strength. And trust in God’s sovereignty, because when he looks back at the last few years (his career trajectory, his marriage, his time with Resource Global, and his failures), he sees how God’s providence was upon him through it all.

“When I failed the second time, it felt like the lowest point in my life, it felt like I’d never get close to where my friends were. But somehow God just cared for me, equipped me, strengthened me. And it’s all God’s work. When I look back, it was 0% Bram, and 100% Jesus.”

I Am My Father’s Child

Veronica Nguti is in our first Nairobi Cohort in 2019 and works in administration at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Our February plenary session and pre-readings took me down memory lane. I realized that we all have the innate need for acceptance, approval and love. This need is amplified especially in the fiery kiln of the painful experiences that are part of life.  Although my father was absent for the majority of my life, I was raised by a strong, independent, loving and God-fearing woman who loved me, encouraged and accepted me. It never occurred to me that these three needs had not been met. However, a look at my decisions and actions in the past reveal a need for acceptance, approval and love, and I sought these things from outside.

In one reading, the author mentioned that in western culture people draw their identity from within. In African culture this would be considered rebellion since we are trained to draw our identity from outside and by default, we learn to seek approval and acceptance from outside. Unfortunately, these are the three things that man can never give you in full and though he may attempt to, it will be flawed and will never satisfy. Acceptance, approval and love exist in the purest form in God and thus should be sought for and received from Him alone.

Names and titles are powerful. Bishop Dr. David Oginde spoke on “A Gospel-Centered Identify: Who Am I?” He shared that this is what distinguishes us from the next person. We almost always respond to the name we receive and the voice of the person or thing that named us. How else would you explain why cousin X behaves like the relative he was named after? However, we can refuse certain names and we have a choice to respond on not to respond. In my case, I chose to respond to what my friends and family called me, whether true or false and my world would shatter when these voices would turn against me or whenever I failed. Some of the words used to describe me were a strong, intelligent, hardworking and generous Christian woman who was passionate about youth and governance and did everything with excellence until I made a mistake and then I was made to feel like I was not. Until I got acne and suddenly, I was not beautiful.

The names and titles I had been given were true and still are true but back then, they were not my truth but served as masks. They hid the fact that I did not have the courage or the energy to pray every time I made a mistake because I felt that God had let me down so many times and would eventually leave me like my dad did. Every morning for about two decades, I would mask the low sense of worth with high achievement, I would mask the fact that I never experienced mercy for my mistakes with perfectionism and excellence.

Bishop Oginde did mention that our identity affects our service. I would mask my poor self-image with the latest fashion, and I would dread the night where I had to stare in the mirror and look at my naked self. Unfortunately, just like Adam and Eve, these masks or fig leaves I had sewn for myself in the form of people’s descriptions of me eventually became inadequate and I found myself crying to God for help.

Our true God given identity is not found from within ourselves or from external sources but in God through Jesus Christ. My journey started with confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in my heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). With that I became a child of God (Gal 3:26, John 1:12) I was important enough to die for (John 3:16). His word told me that nothing would ever separate me from His love. This assurance delivered me from the need to perform or do stuff to qualify for God’s love or acceptance. The more I read the Bible and talked to God, the more I realized that He did not want me to live in fear of being left, disowned or abandoned but that I was part of His family, not as a maid or a visitor but as a SON with an inheritance to boot since if we are children then we are heirs, heir of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17).

He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me, and He has been faithful. This also gave me peace about provision because God owns it all and as a co-heir, I need not fear lack for He shall supply all my needs. Bit by bit I began trust God to provide rather than rack my brain or lose sleep over money and provision.

I was surprised to learn that God thought about me (and you), nothing shady but that His thoughts and plans for me were to prosper me, were full of peace, hope and future oriented. That his thoughts were higher than mine. I was curious and I really wanted to know what these thoughts and plans were, so I began to seek God regarding my purpose. Some of the things He shared were mind boggling and fear would often creep in, but I found solace in the fact that He had not given me a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound mind. That all I needed to do was to trust and obey. Whenever I failed, I was reminded that He is a compassionate God (Psalms 103:3) and He is faithful and just to forgive.

Eventually, I had to redefine success and review my motives. I no longer look at success from the lenses of money, fame and all things shiny and expensive but from the lens of the word of God. To me:

  • Success is walking in purpose daily as a child of God. Doing what He wants me to do every day.

  • Success to me is transforming lives for God’s glory.

  • It is taking responsibility for my action rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame.

  • It is remembering to ask for forgiveness and extending grace when I have been wronged.

  • It is living a life of purity by God’s grace, receiving healing for headaches, being a good steward at my work place, sharing my faith with the cabbie, encouraging the neighbor, getting up and moving on despite the failures and remembering to thank God for the good, the bad and the in between. Money, fame, 5-year plans are good, but all these are by the grace of God and for his Glory.

Finding my identity has been a colorful journey. I now know who I am – I am my Father’s child, whose I am - God’s, and why I am – God’s purpose, and I choose to adventure with God, fully submitting to His good, perfect and pleasing will for my life.

All for His glory.

Why do you do what you do?

By Grace Liu, Jakarta City Director

It is crucially important to understand your identity before you figure out what work you should do. This does not only apply to career direction, this applies to actions/decisions you make on a daily basis. Understanding your identity is important before doing anything because in the same way creation is an expression of who God is, work is an expression of who we are.

Once you truly understand who you are, who you are created by, what are you created for; then whatever work you are doing is does not become your identity, but an expression of who you are as an image-bearer, as a co-ruler of this world, as a child of God.

When your identity is security rooted in Christ, you achievements will not hold as much sway over your emotions because your identity is no longer in what you achieve. If I am keeping it real, yes - it feels really good to be the best in what you do and get the applause of people around you. However, when you understand that your work is an expression of who you are in Christ, there is a humbleness that comes along with your success - where you give the glory back to your Creator.

At the same token, when things are not going well and you fail, you might feel sad, disappointed, perhaps even angry. However the situation will not shake you or break you down, because you are not defined by your achievements but by who God says you are.

What matters in deciding what to do (work, life decisions, directional vision) is where/what God is calling you and being able to be sensitive to where the Spirit is leading. In deciphering where our calling is in each season of life, we focus on the CALLER (God) than the CALLING (work). What matters is not the result of getting things done, what matters is WHO is calling us because that is what give us purpose, perspective and the ammunition to push forward when things get hard. Our performance is no longer based on other people but we work for the audience of one. You work to serve. You work in a manner that reflects who God is.

This changes everything. This changes the way you choose your profession, the way you treat your co-workers the way you lead your team, the type of company culture you want to build. This changes your attitude towards every task given no matter how magnificent or small it is.

When you go to work tomorrow, remember that work (everything that your do) is an expression of who you are. How does your current view and attitude towards your work express who you are?

Lemonilo: Adventures Beyond Expectations

On the afternoon of January 22, 2019, Tommy Lee paid a visit to past cohort member - Johannes Ardiant, at the Lemonilo headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia. Surrounded by the cheerful green and yellow murals, and beautiful paintings by local artists, the two sat down to catch up on faith, friendship, business, and responding to God’s call.

Lemonilo - the brainchild of Johannes and Shinta Nurfauzia, is a healthy home staples brand. Their hero product is healthy additive-free instant noodles in a country where instant noodles are King. This is, after all, the place that brought the world Indomie, and boasts street food dishes like InTerNet - a mixture of instant noodles, telor (egg), and cornet (corned beef). However, analogous to Johannes’ own eclectic background and professional journey, Lemonilo wasn’t always about food. In fact, its journey (from healthcare to health food), which closely mirrors Johannes’ (from engineering to politics to business and more), is a reminder that God’s call often leads to adventures beyond our own expectations.

Johannes was born and raised in Jakarta, but studied in Singapore for university at the National University of Singapore (NUS). From an early age, he had a passion for politics, but somehow ended up in degree programs related to Computer Science. The decision had been made in response to pressures from family and the market that demanded for more engineers. After university, he took on a PhD program again related to Computer Science, but found it lonely, and knew deep down he was meant for something else. After his struggle through the program, he worked at International Business Machines (IBM) for a time, before finally admitting to his own political passions and aspirations. After IBM, he took on more finance and consulting roles across entities such as Tusk Advisory and the Indonesia Infrastructure Finance, until which point he found an opportunity to go back to school.

From 2013-2015, he took his passion for politics with him to Harvard University, and studied a Masters in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Governance. However, upon returning to Indonesia, instead of doors opening in politics, he saw doors opening in other areas to help the public as a private citizen. With his friend, Shinta, he started Konsula then - a healthcare tech startup that sought to connect Indonesians with doctors. Public health was a cause that he felt the Lord impressing upon his heart, even as he wished for inroads into policy. It then occurred to him, perhaps serving the public from this private sphere, was actually an inroad. After over a year of building the company, he felt a strong call from the Lord to think of an area he could help that was more organic to the Indonesian people. Something that they needed everyday, but weren’t even thinking about. This is where the idea for a health food startup came.

The statistics were clear: in 2015 alone, Indonesians consumed 13.2 billion instant noodle packets. That is 55 packets per person, per year, as a general average (counting even infants). The logical conclusion was that Indonesian adults ate instant noodles multiple times a week, despite what most in the developed world might consider common knowledge of how unhealthy instant noodles are because of the preservatives used. In late 2015, reports were surfacing of people developing cancer linked to their frequent consumption of instant noodles. Considering Indonesians’ dependence on the staple food, Johannes saw an opportunity there to provide a healthy alternative. With that seed planted, Konsula slowly grew into Lemonilo.

Since then, Lemonilo has launched a second instant noodle flavor (now with both mee goreng [fried noodles], and curry noodle soup), and is well along the path to launching healthy cooking oils, and other pantry must-haves. Johannes has found himself in a leadership position yet again in an area that was not his initial expectation: health products, instead of politics. However, he’s clear that, while it may not have been what he expected, he is learning that “God is teaching [him] the hard way” that doors will open and close according to God’s will.

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As a leader in this new area in his life, Johannes says “the hardest thing is the draining work, the meetings,” but it is all worth it when rewarded with the blessing of mentoring others and sharing one’s values (something he feels he lacked as a young professional). He also credits Resource Global with a lot of the strength and confidence he has pursuing his work with a Christian perspective. For his cohort, their retreat exposed him to Silicon Valley’s challenges for people of faith - the money, idolatry, relativism, and more. He considers this an important component of his maturity today as a Christian business leader. On top of all this, to cope with the pressures of his work, Johannes says he leans on the personal mentorship he received from Resource Global with Ken Baugh (Saddleback Church), as well as time in the Word. “Being rooted in the Word, focusing on one passage per week, meditating on it…[also,] instead of just spending one prayer a day, taking short breaks throughout the day to converse with God,” these are the things he leans on most when times get rough. For him, now, he no longer mourns for his own dreams (such as a political career). Rather, he feels confident that God will open and close the right doors, at the right times, and his job is to faithfully heed the Lord’s direction.

Thinking Differently: Interview with Megan Adolph

Megan Adolph was in our first Chicago Cohort in 2016 and currently has moved for work in the West Coast.


Megan, can you explain what you are currently doing right now?

I live in San Francisco, just moved here from Chicago. I work for a company called Workday, which is an HR software company. So running a lot of finances and expenses for companies. My specific job is running design education. We have a very small design team and a very large company. I lead trainings on design thinking, how to conduct user research, and also how to facilitate meetings in a collaborative way, to help train employees of this organization on some of these fields.

For a good portion of your life in Chicago you were doing a lot of startup, and things like that. What has the transition been like from doing a bunch of projects, to now, staying and working with one company?

Well, it is easier to manage the details to only have one. In Chicago I was teaching at Northwestern, which I love doing. I helped students work on physical product design, and was also doing different client projects at the same time. There is a fun hustle and bustle, Tommy you mentioned that you love that too, doing lots of different things at once. There has been a sort of peace to have one specific company to work with, where I feel I can be really focused and go deep. I am not as worried about if I am going to book this project; I mean at the same time you are running a small business and making sure you have everything managed, as well as be a designer, run facilitations, teach, etc. Not having to worry about if I am going to have enough money to cover all my expenses as much this month is a nice relief to actually focus on the work that I am doing.

What about your spiritual life? From the change in to Chicago, to where you are, finding a new church, fellowship, etc. Where are you spiritually, and how have you seen God working through this journey during this time?

I will be honest, last week was the first time I really went to church and connected. In the midst of the transition it was just so easy for me to pull away because I was busy. I had such a good experience; I went with my friend Steve to Reality, two weeks ago. It was about two hours long, and I kept thinking, is it over yet? I was talking to him about it, and he says, actually they are really big on the response, and leaving the space. It was this really big call out to me, I haven’t been putting in that level of space in this transition. So coming this Sunday and spending the full two hours there, it was a freeing release; where the depth and the craving of what I really needed, was that time with God. I am really thankful for that. But in the transition it was so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of things. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was far away from God, but definitely not as prudent in communities. I took for granted in some ways, I was in Chicago for thirteen years, some of the bases of church all set up, so many friends, a depth of community. It was hard, and some ways still is hard, but recognizing that where you put your intentionality is where it will grow. Even just going to church yesterday, the girl who sat next to me works in Pleasanton, where I work, and we are going to connect. I am just thankful for that element of when you do put that foot forward, God will honor that. I am thankful for that reminder and connection.


Ever since I met you, you have been passionate about design thinking and training, when did you start realizing your passion? What is it about it that psychs you up?

I didn’t even know what these words were for a long time to be honest. I did a startup, about seven or so years ago, we hired a company to do design. I though design was just pixels, color, what it would be, but it had so much more to do with empathy and understanding people. I was doing more technical product management at the time, so I realized I liked their job more than mine. When we sold the company, I decided to switch careers. Since then I have just been loving the different angles. I started designing stores, I was doing physical product design with Northwestern. I love that it’s more of a methodology that helps you sort of understand what is a core human need and then what you’re designing; whether that’s a website, a store, a product, it doesn’t necessarily matter as understanding the process. I am not an expert in store design, I work with architects and interior designers to make stores. Or if I am doing physical product design, I also am not super great at welding things; but understanding this process I can come into and product and really understand the human needs and translate them into what will make a successful product.

What are you hoping for to integrate your skills with the gospel?

I have a core belief that everyone is creative. I think we can often confuse creativity with “I can draw.” I believe God is the ultimate creator, and there is a big part of me that loves creating space for creativity. If I am running a workshop for the day, and I can create conversations that can occur in a different way, or have someone think of a new idea, or just have fun in a way they haven’t done before. I guess I see how I want God to work through me as allowing other people to experience themselves as creative, or experience themselves in new ways. Being able to be a space for that is where I like to see my mission and work come in. Letting the reflection of being a creator show up in people, whether that is in their work, or brainstorming about their personal lives; I love to be a space for someone to think differently or to be more creative.

Serving God Faithfully in all Things

An interview with Lukas Limanjaya, Founder of Kalm. He was in our Second Cohort in Jakarta.


On Tommy Lee’s last trip to Jakarta from January 20-23, 2019, he had the opportunity to catch up with and interview past cohort members. One of these was Lukas Limanjaya - a sprightly, young business leader with a passion for counselling, improving mental health and well-being, and reducing stigma around mental health disorders.

During the interview, Lukas cited his past as formative in both his grounded faith, and his calling to help broken people cope with and heal from that brokenness. As a young child, he lived in Surabaya - the second largest city in Indonesia, and was raised by his grandparents. At around the age of 8, his parents - who were living in Jakarta, running the family businesses, decided it was time to move their children in with them. Lukas soon found himself and his siblings transplanted to the bustling national capital, and were immediately put into a Christian private school (Sekolah Pelita Harapan - known as SPH).

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During those first several years in Jakarta, the adjustment for Lukas was significant, and home life was not ideal. His parents fought often, and Lukas felt acutely the brokenness of the world. To cope, Lukas turned to school. He says, “God’s providence stuck him at home” as he struggled to run off and get up to shenanigans with his friends outside. Instead, he found himself holing up in his room and running to his books, and his studies, to avoid the stresses of his family life. He credits his teachers and counselors at school for their constant support. Most of all, he cites that the key determinant to his success today is how God’s divine purpose brought people into his life to teach him that “Option A” (what he describes as the obvious choice, or other people’s expectations, or the way you’ve been brought up) is not the only option. There is always an Option B. And often Option B is the true option God has for you: His true plan for your life, the one you neither want or expect.

Going for Option B, however, requires what Lukas calls both an external factor (a spiritual mentor, for example), and self-reflection. After all, these types of choices sometimes require a leap of faith. Especially if it’s not what you initially envisioned. To Lukas, the crucial element here is humility. “Being humble isn’t about low self-esteem,” he insists. To him, humility is about knowing who you are, and who God is. “God shows me how big He is as I know him.” Knowing God, and knowing who you are in relation to God (how big He is, and how small you are, and how He protects and covers you) humbles you, and prepares you for his plans for you.

“Being self-reflective comes down to being humble. Being self-reflective means being reflective on who God is. When I acknowledge that everything is a gift from God, it’s ok to be proud of the things I am good at. At the same time, when I acknowledge God is there for me, means it’s ok for me to admit my weaknesses too.”

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After university abroad, and a short stint working in the tech industry, Lukas returned to the United States to study a Masters of Arts in Counselling and Biblical Counselling from Westminster Theological Seminary. When he finished, he returned to Jakarta at the end of 2017 armed with the right tools to begin his new business venture: PT Sanubari Senantiasa Sejahtera. It was into this business that he took his passion for helping the broken. His journey starting this, coincided with his time with Resource Global - a time he credits for “emboldening him to keep moving forward in the path God has set for him.” The encouragement he received from his fellow Resource Global cohort members, reminded him that as young professionals, they were all in a similar boat. Whether taking on family businesses, working on new and challenging roles in their current companies, or venturing out on their own, all of them were experiencing many difficult firsts. The sensation that he was not alone, and that others were pushing themselves and supporting one another in Christ, gave him energy to continue.

“When I look back at my life, and I see my challenges and hardships, I don’t see wow look how great I am I went through [all this] and look at where I am right now. When I look back I see those ways that God tells me how I never was alone. I never walked through it alone. The only reason I survived, is that God brought me people, and He was there through those people, and that’s what brought me to my life at this point.”

Since then, Lukas and his business partner, Angela, at PT Sanubari have launched their app: Kalm, a mobile application that allows Indonesians to connect with counselors, offers tips for dealing with mental health issues, as well as encouragements to get you through the day.

As he described his advocacy, Lukas highlighted the muddled view on mental health and wellness as a key point he’d like to change.

“In the business world, if a person has a heart attack from overwork we say ah he worked so hard, what a strong man. But if a person gets anxiety or burnout or depression from overwork we say, ah so weak. Maybe we shouldn’t trust him. And unfortunately, it’s a mindset not only in the business world, but in churches too. Pastors, elders, people serving. We say because they’re doing the Lord’s work they must be perfect. But they’re under immense pressure too.”

His passion for the cause is clear, and it is with these thoughts that he continues to lead the charge on destigmatizing mental health, and pushes forward to help Indonesians who struggle. Still, as with any new venture, days have not been without their uncertainties.

Lukas remembers talking to a fellow Resource Global cohort member who was giving him advice on what not to do when kicking off a startup. Some of the advice that came up included avoiding products that required one educate the market with something completely new. At that, Lukas was immediately dejected. He thought to himself: oh no all the things I was told not to do, I’m doing right now. When he expressed his fears, he was encouraged instead, reminded that: “if you know and feel God brought you and told you to do it, if you have to fail, just fail faithfully.”

“That really changed my mindset,” said Lucas.I don’t have to prove God called me to do this. Whatever I do, I just have to be faithful. Even in failure, fail faithfully that it honors the Lord. That lifted off so much burden from me. I don’t have to make my company successful. I just need to do things in a way that is faithful.

These simple, yet powerful, words reminded Lukas of the truth that as Christians, our success should not be defined by what the world considers success, but by our service to the Lord. Just as God is faithful to us, so should we remain faithful to Him in all things. This revelation freed Lukas to work without worry, and to know that regardless of how “successful” his company becomes, he needs only to go forth in faith and rest assured in God’s promise of love and grace.

For Lukas, in the end, it’s not about success today, tomorrow, or in this lifetime now. It’s not even about his success as an individual and the number of other people he helps with his projects. It’s about an eternal purpose that serves the Lord faithfully, and becomes part of a tapestry that weaves God’s plans together into one beautiful, big picture. “Even if you fail, fail faithfully. Everything we do is to honor God”.

Antioch's of Southeast Asia

By Rene Alvarado

In 1978 I was graduating from Blaine Elementary school and on my way to Lane Tech high School where a friend would introduce me to Billy Graham for the first time. While I was trying to figure out how to navigate my way to classes with a 4-minute pass, Billy Graham was having a crusade in Singapore that year prophesying that Singapore would be the “Antioch of Southeast Asia”.  A reference to the ancient city in modern-day Turkey that was a key apostolic base in the early days of the faith.

Here I am, 40 years later, working with Resource Global with a mission to encourage young professionals to develop their cities of Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur into “Antioch’s”. Specifically, encouraging them that there is no difference between the sacred and the secular and that the marketplace is the key to fulfilling Dr. Graham’s prophesy.

Missions work is much different than the vision of missions I thought of when I chose to accept Christ as my savior sophomore year in college. I had heard of the Jim Elliot stories of missionaries’ who had traveled to unknown parts of the world to bring the gospel to peoples for the first time. The way I interpreted “taking up your cross” meant disconnecting with the western world and living off the fruits of the earth.   

Our trip to Southeast Asia was different. Instead of the jungle, I was meeting people in Board Rooms, Shared Office spaces, and cafes. Instead of traditional places of worship, I was worshipping with others in high rise community rooms and leased office spaces in professional buildings.

Instead of meeting with indigenous people who had never heard of the gospel, I was meeting with people who had graduate level education and corporate world experiences. People who had better command of the language than I had. People who had heard and followed many of the faith leaders that I follow and listen to back home.

This missions work is more of investing in God’s economy of multiplication where the investment is placed into instructing others who would then be “qualified to teach others”. This missions work is about discipleship, or what contemporaries call mentorship. It’s about investing in a co-hort: A group of Jesus followers who desire to apply those teachings in the marketplace.

A model that provides shared experiences much like the disciples had with each other.

This missions work includes the work of Mentors. Much like Eli helping Samuel decipher God’s voice in 1 Samuel, mentors are helping to re-train the mentees to hear and respond to the voice of God and His voice only. Instead of helping young disciples apply God’s truths at home, this mentoring is intentional about the field where these disciples spend most of their time and interact with others the most. The field for this new mission is the marketplace that offers a substitute for what are taught from scripture where identity, idolatry and meaning are the ploys of the evil one trying to pull God’s elect from connecting to the “true vine”.

This missions work is about relationships. The same relationship that God offers us in the midst of our suffering and joys. God favored relationships at every turn. Relationships with a Field Coordinator who is applying his/her gifts in administering the program at a local city. Relationships with mentors who volunteer their time getting to know and encourage the mentees. Relationships with co-hort members. Relationships with other co-hort groups throughout the world. Relationships with Board members who have graciously given their time, talent, treasures to develop and implement a vision for each city. And, relationships with church and faith leaders who are willing to provide the teaching form God’s word on it applies Monday through Friday.

It’s a mission that has a “heart for the city” where each co-hort member lives. A heart that cries out for the shalom and brokenness of the city. A heart that desires its city to be like Antioch. It’s mission work that is looking to make in impact from the inside out. From the places of work where most spend the majority of their waking hours. Cities where Jesus followers are a remnant. Cities where more trust seems to be given to the government and officials. Cites that claim Christ but were much integrity is needed. Where corruption is more of a business practice than integrity and honesty. Cities where  trust of government is broken and that brokenness has become the operational norm. Cities where westerners come and go with a message of Health and Wealth and leave the locals with the broken pieces left behind. Cities on hills, shorelines, mountain sides. Older cities. Man-made cities.

Cities that have a disparate level of wealth. Cities where indigenous people are favored and are still not able to compete. Cities that employ and emigrate other peoples to do menial work and labor. Where these same immigrants seek community and purpose in their lives and work.

Cities that look beautiful on the outside with great buildings, malls and public places. Cities where sites of cranes provide much hope for the future.

But .. cities like my home town that need to hear the good news of the gospel to provide redemption and restoration from its own brokenness. Cities that are waiting for a hero to reconcile itself to what was lost.  

This new mission field, like old ones, still needs the work of the only “true vine” that says “apart from me you can do nothing”.  I am not sure that this is the kind of missions work Mr. Graham had in mind but I can’t help but think it would have made his heart glad to see that his work continues past his time here on earth.

Rene Alvarado is an independent management consultant who has been a long-time friend of Resource Global and has helped visit multiple cities as we have looked to start our leadership cohorts.

The Five Giants of Jakarta

Below is an interview with Suparno Adijato who is the Chair of our Jakarta Board and Tommy Lee, our President.

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CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?

I am an Indonesian, who has been living in Jakarta for thirty years. We have a family plantation and mining business. My wife and I are educators for preschoolers to adults. But my passion is in ministry, building up and discipling young adults so they can contribute to their cities.

WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE FOR THE CITY OF JAKARTA?

The number one word that comes to mind when I think of Jakarta is vibrant. Jakarta is full of life, even traffic jams represent the city’s vibrance. Jakarta, with a population of 30 million people, is the second biggest megalopolitan in the world, just short of Tokyo. Another word for Jakarta is improving. Indonesia used to be at the bottom of Transparency International. In 1998, we had one of the worst economic crisis, along with a change of government. But amidst the skepticism by many people, things are improving in the country. Many people thought Indonesia would go down the drain, but people have been praying for the country. There is a national prayer network that has millions of people covering Indonesia with prayers.

YOU MENTIONED THERE ARE FIVE GIANTS (PROBLEMS) IN THE CITY OF JAKARTA, WHAT IS THE FIRST PROBLEM?

Corruption is a big problem. It breeds inefficiency. By being inefficient, you get more money. Corruption also breeds uncertainties and risks. Foreign investors will not invest if the risk is too high due to corruption. With corruption, people can be bought. There is no security when you don’t know who you can trust. People don’t need to have integrity where there is corruption. So I believe that if our society can overcome corruption, then we would be on the right path.

WHAT IS THE SECOND GIANT?

The second giant is inequality. Not only are there minorities in terms of race and religion, Indonesia has one of the greatest unequal distributions of wealth amongst its people. There are three classes of people:

  • the few, who have a lot of wealth,

  • the small amount, which is considered is middle class,

  • and then the class majority of Indonesians fall into, those who are near poverty.

WHAT IS THE THIRD GIANT?

The third giant is vulnerability. A society works well if the law works to protect the people. The law is not perfect, but so is the implementation of the law in Indonesia. There are inefficiencies in the way the law is drafted. Due to that fact, a lot of times people feel that the law is against them. As a result, the people are wary and do not know who they can trust. There should be some form of social justice.

WHAT IS THE FOURTH GIANT?

The fourth giant is poverty. Unemployment is a huge issue. The government has made improvements, but there is still a lot of unemployed people. For example, people who work on a farm work for about six months and only about five hours a day. So if they get sick, there is no money. People here run into a lot of problems because of debt.

WHAT IS THE FIFTH FINAL GIANT?

The final giant is hopelessness. There is an overarching sense of hopelessness and oppression. But Jesus has come to help those that are oppressed; God has given us hope through Jesus and hope for the future. There is hope. I believe our society can and will continue to improve going forward.

ANY LAST THOUGHTS?

The Bible talks about David being the giant slayer. In our lives, we have Davids, but also men and women who can be Davids and support Davids. God can use everybody. Although we may not be a David, we can still help to bring back the kingdom. All of us can do something to slay giants.

Singapore, Christianity and the Marketplace

By Tommy Lee

The Gospel Coalition published an article a few months ago with the heading How the Gospel Takes Root in 'Crazy Rich' Singapore. The title nods to this summer's hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, but also recognizes the amazing strides this small nation has made transforming from a Third World island to a First World country in just one generation.

In 1963, Singapore gained its independence from the United Kingdom and joined with other former British territories to form Malaysia. Due to ideological differences, Singapore separated from Malaysia just two years later to became its own sovereign nation. The first few years were turbulent for the new country, but under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father, the nation began to stabilize and experienced rapid development. Just fifty years later, Singapore is now ranked very highly in numerous international rankings. For example, Singapore is recognized as the most "technology-ready" nation, the top international-meetings city, the city with the "best investment potential", the world's smartest city, the world's safest country, the second-most competitive country, the third-largest foreign exchange market, the third-largest financial center, the third-largest oil refining and trading center, the fifth-most innovative country, the second-busiest container port, a tax haven, and the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies (one of only eleven worldwide). (Wikipedia)

This remarkable accomplishment is due, no doubt, to the determination and ingenuity of its people. But can affluence and piety coexist? Unfortunately, the same attributes needed to succeed at nation-building—self-reliance, pragmatism, and materialism, for example—also make it difficult for people to accept their need for the Gospel message.

Pastor Guana Raman of Agape Baptist Church has been open about challenges in preaching the Gospel and making disciples in Singapore. On the surface, he says, Singapore looks like a well "Christianized" nation. There are more than 800 churches in 278 square miles. While several high-profile mega-churches have gained international fame and recognition, Pastor Raman fears that there are many churches in Singapore that are theologically weak and shallow. "Many churches preach heavily moralistic sermons or, on the other hand, proclaim "hyper-grace," subtly (if not overtly) proclaiming the prosperity gospel," says Pastor Raman. "There is a great need in Singapore for more theological depth."

While Pastor Simon Murphy of Redemption Hill agrees with Pastor Raman's experience that Christianity in Singapore often exhibits the extremes of hyper-moralism or hyper-grace, he also believes that the majority of the nation's churches are preaching God's Word correctly, but that there is a disconnect in the way that it is being received by the people. "While most churches earnestly strive to preach the Word and display the love of Christ, the Gospel is merely assumed in some churches, and the way it intersects with one's life and circumstances is not clearly grasped," says Pastor Murphy. "This disconnect easily leads to Christianity being seen as either a moralistic religion, where the approval of God needs to and can be earned, or as a contract between God and man, where faith and/or works results in security and prosperity."

The culture and history of Singapore may be a major reason why many of the country's people struggle to grasp the true nature of the Gospel. Christians in Singapore are used to an easy, comfortable life. According to Pastor Raman, because the nation has not seen a major catastrophe or major economic downturn, many Christians have not experienced suffering and have come to believe that God is a god of love but not a god of wrath. Many Singaporeans are more interested in a god that heals and blesses people than the true God of the Bible because the country's culture places value on things that bring in more money, more comfort, and more convenience. "There is little understanding of the doctrine of sin and, therefore, little appreciation for the work of the cross and the grace that comes to us from the finished work of Christ," says Pastor Raman.

Singapore's multi-ethnic and multi-religious society also has an effect on Christianity in the country. While the harmony that exists between different races and different religions is a shining example to the world of multiculturalism at its best, Pastor Murphy sees it as a double edged sword. "While this means there is a need to be extremely aware of religious sensitivities in the city's context, the tolerance for other religions actually forces a generosity of spirit and charity that is helpful as others seek to understand Christianity (and other religions)," says Pastor Murphy. "The downside is that the insistence on truth can, without proper dialogue, make Christianity seem intolerant, exclusive, and even detrimental to society."

In Singapore, as in most other Asian countries, great value is placed on the family unit, and individualism is often expected to yield to family honor, reputation, and harmony. "This can cause challenges for a Christian with unbelieving parents or a Christian trying to live by countercultural biblical principles," says Pastor Murphy. "Also, because Christianity came to Singapore through foreign missionaries of colonial powers, Christianity can still be perceived as a Western religion that is fundamentally incompatible with ethnic identity."

Pastor Huai Tze Tan of One Covenant Church uses just three words to describe Singaporean culture:  pluralistic, pragmatic, and secular. Pluralistic refers to the nation's multiculturalism, while pragmatic refers to the particular ideologies instilled in the people by their founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. A pragmatic attitude toward life means that Singaporean Christians tend to be more concerned about "the sensible thing" than actual biblical doctrine. "Oftentimes, it is what works, rather than what is true, that is of greatest concern," says Pastor Tan. While all major religions are represented in Singapore, statistics show that secularism is a rising trend. More than 18 percent of the population identifies as having "no religion.' There is also a growing view that religious institutions are ideologically regressive, disconnected from people's lifestyle and needs, and slow to engage young people. Other Singaporeans see high-profile scandals involving religious leaders as having compromised the credibility of religious groups as a moral voice.

Singaporeans work incredibly hard and are very busy, so many believers struggle to make time for church. When people perceive God as being irrelevant or inconvenient when faced with the other pressures of life, giving priority to their faith becomes a challenge. Being a pragmatic and materialistic society, Singaporeans take pride in being able to work things out for themselves and are often more preoccupied with the "here and now" than with reflecting on the meaning and purpose of their lives and their existence. Because society places so much focus on living a successful, convenient, comfortable life, Singaporean Christians are not prepared to suffer persecution and can feel like God is punishing them when tragedy strikes.

The pressure in society to build and maintain a certain image, reputation, or lifestyle makes the prosperity gospel appealing to many people. Singaporeans feel that their performance is being constantly assessed, and there is a prevailing mindset throughout society that what they have is what they deserve, whether good or bad. "Receiving grace and extending it therefore becomes extremely counterintuitive, countercultural, and even offensive in a culture that places so much emphasis on the idea that only the deserving are rewarded," says Pastor Murphy. Because Christianity is widely understood to be a religion based on moral values, even if the Gospel is explained and understood at the point of salvation, many Singaporeans slip into legalism because of the cultural mindset that it is only through their works, service, and behavior that they can become acceptable to God.

The nation's pastors have found that the message of God's grace is empowering to Singaporeans because it means that they can be accepted by God—not on the basis of what they have done right, but on the basis of what Christ has done right, in their place. While salvation by grace alone is countercultural, many people are attracted to a God who does not assess their worth based on their performance. Singapore's pragmatic society also leads people to hunger for deep, meaningful relationships. Through the Gospel, God promises to make us His children and we become part of His family. In a culture that is relationally cold, this promise is especially appealing.

"The harmony that exists among different races and religions is zealously guarded and ardently protected (both by the government and also by society itself)," says Pastor Murphy. The city's tolerance for religious diversity means that there is no detriment to Singaporeans for being transparent about their Christian faith. As countercultural as the Gospel and Christianity can be to the established lifestyle of Singaporeans, the nation's true believers are committed to living according to God's Word and encouraging other brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.

Many Christian networking groups for businesspeople in the city give believers opportunities for community and accountability. Several groups use Meetup to advertise their networking meetings. The "Young Professionals in Christ" group hosts young professional networking events, Bible discussions from guest speakers, and fun hangouts. They advertise themselves as a gathering of young Christian professionals who strive to know God and make God known. The "God and the Business" group is for business owners who are passionate about building God's kingdom together. Every two weeks, members meet to support each other through the daily challenges they face in their businesses. Some Christian networking groups, like City Harvest Church's Marketplace Ministry, are run by Singaporean churches, while other groups, like GBN Marketplace Ministry and FGB Gatekeepers Singapore, operate independently from a specific church or denomination. All groups share a common goal of impacting the marketplace for Christ and are committed to creating communities of Christian marketplace leaders that are supportive of each other and of being a light in their workplaces.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/gospel-takes-root-crazy-rich-singapore/