I’m back to blogging after a 17-day vacation in the Philippines. My pastor friend, Fred Abad from Cornerstone Christian Church in Quezon City, Philippines asked me to preach at their last service on the first Sunday of the year. What a way to start 2008! Let me highlight that I am not a pastor nor a preacher, didn’t even go to Bible school or whatever. I am an IT professional focusing on Microsoft technologies (isn’t that what my profile says after all?), a part of the professional workforce. What am I going to share to the congregation? During the last Sunday service of 2007, Fred happened to be talking about “Taking Risks” which, apparently, was taken from the series by Mark Batterson of National Community Church in Washington, DC from his book In a Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day (well, I did give him the resources). Now, I didn’t know he was going to share that until I heard him speak. I guess God wanted me to share something from this book after all. I have been reading this series for more than a month now and I felt God telling me to share anything from this book with a touch of relevance. Like I said, I ain’t no pastor. This is what I did.
Let me first highlight that I am not a pastor nor a preacher, not an evangelist, apostle nor a prophet. I didn’t go to Bible school though I taught kids’ Sunday School and vacation Bible School way back. I am an IT Professional, working for a global company. I’m like most of you – working thru a 9-5 job (although in our case, it is often more than that) expecting a paycheck at the end of the month. That’s why when Fred asked me to share something, I just didn’t feel comfortable. But I believe God is doing something in everybody worthwhile to tell. I’m going to share about seizing opportunites this 2008. This was taken from the book In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. This book talks about Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:20 and how he ended up to be in the Scriptures. Let me start off by telling you a story of two very popular icons. First, Starbucks. Everybody knows what this is. You’ve probably had a cup or two this week. But what’s fascinating about Starbucks is it’s success history. Let me quote Howard Schultz from his autobiography Pour Your Heart Into It
This is my moment, I thought. If I don’t seize the opportunity, if I don’t step out of my comfort zone and risk it all, if I let too much time tick on, my moment will pass. I knew that if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would replay it in my mind for my whole life, wondering: What if?
He had an opportunity and he seized it. The next icon is very popular to all burger lovers. You wouldn’t believe that this giant burger chain was started by a multi-mixer milkshake machine salesman, Ray Croc. He mortgaged his home and invested his entire life savings to become the exclusive distributor of a five-spindled milk shake maker called the Multimixer. This became his gateway to McDonald’s. Imagine investing your entire life savings and venturing on a business journey. Now, let me frame the concept of seizing opportunities from a Biblical perspective. Enter Colossians 4:5b wher it tells us to “make the most of every opportunity.” I’ve taken these qoutes and lived by them ever since I’ve read about them. The first one is from
Whitney M. Young, Jr. (American social reformer, 1921-1971) who said, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. ” Over the years, I’ve come up with my own quote which says, “If you don’t have an opportunity, create one.” I like what Mark Batterson said about seizing opportunities, “Seeing and seizing opportunities is an underappreciated dimension of spiritual maturity.” And I thought spiritual maturity has something to do with simply praying and reading your Bible and going to spiritual meetings. I was wrong. God intend for us to experience life to its fullest. That’s what Jesus came here for. And seeing and seizing opportunities should be a part of our spritual life. But how do we seize the opporunities that come? How do we know they’re the right ones? I think the answer lies in Collosians 4:2 – PRAY. This gives us the sensitivity to see and seize opportunities, even if they mask themselves as problems or adversities. I pray that this 2008, may we see and seize opportunities as God wants us to. May we have the courage to step up and seize those opporunities that God has lined our way knowing that Christ intended for us to live life to it’s fullest.