Culture Work and Faith

Four Horsemen of Financial Ruin - Revelation 6

By Pastor Oscar Muriu

Chapter six of Revelations talks about Paul’s vision of the apocalypse. In this vision, God judges the world by opening seven seals of humanity judgement. The first four seals are horsemen that God releases on the world in order to bring death and destruction. This led me to consider if there are horsemen that bring financial ruin upon us. Right away four came to mind: hustler, enslaver, desolator, and devourer.

Horseman Called Hustler

A hustler is someone who is barely making it. He is scrounging around, and hustling back and forth. Life is hard for the hustler, he lives hand to mouth and has no financial security. He is very hardworking and busy, but has little to show for it. A hustler may have wishes, but no vision. There is a difference between a vision and a wish. A wish does nothing but dream. A vision on the other hand does three things:

  1. Develops an action plan

  2. Defines a deadline

  3. Exercises discipline

Remember that a road to financial hell is paved with good intentions but no concrete plan.

If you believe you are a hustler, then you will be stuck a hustler the rest of your life. Without a financial vision of your future, you will perish. You need a clear goal of what you want; wealth begins in the mind.

I want to share these plans with you to help save you from the fate of a financial hell:

  1. Financial goals

  2. Pray

  3. Have a spending plan

  4. Benevolence, or tithe, plan

  5. Emergency plan

  6. Investment plan

  7. Insurance plan

  8. Retirement plan.

Horseman called Enslaver

The Enslaver brings financial ruin by driving you into debt. He comes with three sets of chains:

  1. Credit card debt

  2. Consumer debt

  3. Golden handcuff debt

Let me go into a little more detail on the golden handcuff debt. This chain is referring to those of you that ‘sell your soul’ to your employer. They pay all your fees and you are unable to break free.

Debt can be addictive because it encourages instant gratification. But beware! Debt will rob you of your credibility and can destroy your relationships. The best way you can manage your debt is to avoid it all together and live a debt free life.

What do you do when you are in debt?

  1. When you are in a hole, stop digging. You need to cut up all your credit cards and atm cards. The temptation is not safe, this will help you to stop spending.

  2. Start living strictly by your spending plan.

  3. Sell off some of your stuff.

  4. Make a debt repayment plan.

  5. Make your payments automatic.

  6. Invest in your debt.

  7. Focus on one goal at a time.

Jesus said that no one can serve two masters. Therefore you cannot serve God while you serve money. As long as you have debt, you are a slave to money. Remember, the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Horseman Called Desolation

The horseman of desolation attacks you in two ways:

  1. It attacks you through emergencies and crises, and keeps you from being able to create wealth.

  2. It encourages you to eat up everything you have so that you have nothing to invest.

It is important to keep a separate fund that is kept in an easily liquidable form so it can be accessed immediately in case of emergency. This is known as your emergency fund, which is different from an investment fund. How much you set aside in this account depends on you, however much makes you feel safe. I recommend taking precautions so that you do not use up your emergency fund. You could set up a joint account with your spouse so that the two of you need to be present to withdraw. Another option is to open a group account. A group account is nice because you need signatures of all group members before money can be withdrawn.

There is no fast way to become rich. So prepare, don’t panic. Remember that time is your friend, and follow my four rules of investment.

The first step is to clear all debt. Set up an emergency fund, and then an investment fund. Follow by investing your seed in business, shares, etc.

Be careful not to become greedy. Greed is when your desire for more is unchecked and it feeds off your imagination, becoming an obsession. Rather, contentment is key. Contentment is when you know how much is enough.

Horseman Called Devourer

The fourth and final horseman is the devourer. The name of this horseman can actually be found in the Bible, in books such as: Malachi, Deuteronomy, and Haggai. This horseman consumes your wealth. The devourer strikes when you steal God’s tithe.

Why do we tithe?

  1. Tithing is an act of worship.

  2. It is a sign of how much we love God.

  3. It is a sign that we trust God more than we trust money.

  4. Tithing shows who our real master is.

  5. It is an antidote against greed.

  6. It is how God calls us to participate in His eternal work.

  7. Tithing shows our real character

  8. When we tithe, we say, God, I am trustworthy with little. So you can trust me with much. (Luke 16:10)

  9. God has commanded us to give

  10. God knows we are afraid and has called us to trust Him.

Now, not every trial that comes your way is the devourer. God will send trials our way because they refine and grow us. Satan will also send trials as a means of attack. So, if you are unsure that it is the devourer, ask the following questions:

  1. Have I been faithful to the Lord, and in my vows and commitments?

  2. If it’s not that and I have been faithful. Is this the attack of the evil one and I need to bind the spirit of the evil one and command the name of Jesus over him and engage in spiritual warfare?

After you have asked these questions, you may say, Lord, if is it you trying to get my attention, I just want to open up my heart so that you can speak to me.

Do you think the devourer is on your case? It’s actually not difficult to answer that question. If you’ve been stealing God’s tithe, then right now the Holy Spirit is convicting you. Then yes, the devourer is on your case.

Live your life without the financial ruin brought upon by the four horsemen: the hustler, the enslaver, the desolator, and the devourer.

Pastor Oscar Muriu has been the Senior Pastor at Nairobi Chapel since 1991. Nairobi Chapel has over 3,000 people and 26 church plants across the world. He holds a B.Sc. (Zoology) from the University of Delhi in India, and an M. Div. from the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST). Pastor Oscar and his wife Bea have four daughters; Chiru, Chiku, Wanja and Janelle.

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.


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.