Faith-Based Decision Making Part 2 (Pastor Tan Seow How)

It's Father's Day weekend! And aside from the yummy father's day dinners to fill my tummy the best thing to happen to me this weekend was to listen to a message that really lifted my thinking to a whole new level! I spotted so many things about the way that I currently think and make decisions that I need to change -- move from FEAR TO FAITH.

Pastor How preached Faith-Based Decision Making Part 2! If you are looking for Part 1 you can find it at "Faith-Based Decision Making (Pastor Tan Seow How)"

Not gonna talk so much... here's the sermon notes!


Faith and Fear are not just things that you feel.
Both Fear and Faith affect our decision making, and our decisions affect our destiny.

People don't make decisions because they are afraid to make wrong decisions or bad decisions.

Bad is worse than wrong.
Being wrong is normal. We can't be right all the time.
Being wrong is not wrong. 
Being bad is not good. This is a character issue.
Bad decisions come from bad character.

If you make a wrong decisions this is the mindset... 
If there is a situation where we need to make a decision.
And given the information, options and resources available, we weigh our options and make that decision.
If our decisions turn out to be wrong, there are no regrets.

You need to be willing to make a decision that could end up to be a wrong decision.
Leadership is about making decisions.

But a bad decision is... 
Bad decisions are made out of bad character... 
This means you make a decision out of things like anger, fear, greed, laziness, materialism, impatience, etc.

When you look back don't beat yourself up over wrong decisions. Hindsight is always 20-20.
BUT we need to make sure that we don't make decisions out of fear or bad character.
We need to identify FEARS so that we can overcome them. 


Intimidation is fear caused by other people.

Let's look at the classic case of intimidation
David and Goliath
1 Samuel 17:4-11
Goliath intimidates the armies of Israel and even the king.
Do you have a giant in your life who is intimidating you?

1 Samuel 17:48 (NLT)
Goliath will always attack you!
David quickly RAN OUT to meet him.

How to Overcome?
Confront your Goliath quickly.
If you don't overcome this Goliath, there will always be another Goliath until you learn.
If you are a timid person, you will always attract giants.
As a Christian, we need to be assured that when we have Christ in us, He is bigger than any giant outside.

Insecurity is fear caused by yourself.
While initimidation is caused by someone big on the outside, insecurity is caused by yourself feeling small on the inside.

We are insecure because we compare.

1 John 3:20-21
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

How to Overcome?
Stop condemning yourself and have confidence toward God.

Joel 3:10
"...let the weak say I am strong."

How to Overcome?
Let the weak say I am strong

The worst is the combination of both.
That's what happened to the Children of Israel.

Numbers 13:32-33 (MSG)
"We felt like grasshoppers"
"They looked down on ys as if we were grasshoppers"

If you always feel that people are looking down on you, then that is insecurity and paranoia.
It is not true that EVERYBODY is looking down on you. There may be some people who do but we need to rise up out of fear.

Anxiety (Worry / Stress) is fear caused by the unknown and the uncertain.

It's all in your mind.
The anticipation of death is worse than death itself.
You need to overcome anxiety by understanding it, knowing that it is not real.

Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Fear is also the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith imagines good things will happen to you.
Fear imagines bad things will happen to you.

Faith is illogical.
Fear is also illogical.

Fear is actually Faith for bad things.
"If both are illogical and in my imagination, then I would rather choose faith."

Your mind will always tell you a story.
It either tells you a good story or a bad story. 
For most of us, our minds tell us a bad story.
We need to be the directors of the movie in our mind. 
Reprogram your mind.

Anxiety is the misuse of your imagination.
Fear is the abuse of your imagination.
Vision is the right use of your imagination.

Use your imagination for good. Use it for God.

Philippians 4:6-8
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

How to Overcome?
Be anxious for nothing.
By prayer and petition.
With thanksgiving.

Let nothing bother or worry you.
Our reaction should be... whenever you feel stressed / anxious -- pray and petition
Be thankful -- count your blessings rather than the curses

Then the peace that surpasses understanding will come...
This peace is illogical. It goes beyond our statistics and logic. 
That is faith that beats fear.
It will guard your heart and mind.
It is not passive - it guards. 
Don't stop praying until you have the peace of God.

How to Overcome?
Focus your mind on these 8 things (vs 8) -- whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, praiseworthy things.

The Christian life is not stress-free.

But God has given us the tools to overcome.
We can fear God, fear sin (the Bible tells us to flee sin) ... then FEAR NOTHING. 

Faith-Based Decision Making Part 1 (Pastor Tan Seow How)

Over the whole week everyone was talking about the Sabah earthquake... the whole church was really sad... I mean Heart of God Church has a lot of young people and we always talk about loving young people so what could be sadder than the news that 7 students died... they were just 12...

I was quite shocked at the people who rubbed salt in wounds and started using this chance to criticise and point fingers... Pastor How wrote an article that put this into an even bigger perspective that I never saw - that all this finger-pointing will cause us to shrink back and start making decisions based on fear. So, last weekend Pastor How also taught us about making faith-based decisions. It was really an eye-opener for me. Made me reflect on how I make decisions...

But before I go into the message, I thought to share a part of the article that I really like. You can read the rest at

"We can’t stop the falling rocks but we can stop throwing stones." - Pastor Tan Seow How
The rocks have done enough damage. Don’t allow it to further kill the spirit of adventure and discovery in our youths.
The last thing we should do is to shrink back and start bubble-wrapping our kids.
We must not succumb to fear and start playing safe.

We must not over-react and over-compensate, allowing Mount Kinabalu to cast a looming shadow over our next generation. Let the avalanche come to a halt at the foot of the mountain. Don’t allow the fear to cascade down into the hearts and minds of our youths... 
“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hindsight is always a perfect 20/20, but it does not paint a glorious vision of the future... 
If this inquest continues, it will cause our schools’ decision-makers and MOE’s policy-makers to play safe and coddle a fragile strawberry-generation.
So please put down the stones.
The decent thing to do now is to commemorate the dead, comfort the living and celebrate the heroes.
So true... 

Anyway, here's my notes from the message.. 
Stay tuned for Part 2 this week.


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR
We need to decide whether we make decisions based on fear or faith.
Fear is not just an eerie feeling when you watch a horror movie
Faith is more than just positive thinking. It has to be based on God's Word and His character.
Faith and Fear affect our decision making

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Fear renders us powerless, loveless and mindless.
Fear takes away the power to act and advance.

When people are threatened, their natural reaction is to go into self-preservation mode. 
It makes us selfish, thus loveless.
For example, if a colleague is afraid that they will lose their job, it will make him political and selfish.

People make illogical decisions out of fear and insecurity and jealousy.
When we are afraid that bad things will happen to you, you will begin to make bad decisions.


Faith is not about being super-spiritual.
Some questions are obviously right or wrong.
Other times, we need to use the brain God gives us.
But there are some decisions that are difficult, where after thinking through you are still not sure. Those are the decisions that we must make in faith not fear. 

Question: Is there a faith environment in your home?
Do you tell your children "Study hard or you will fail your exams and become a road sweeper" or "Study hard, you can do it. I believe that you can change the world and make a difference"

Don't exchange opportunity for security.
There are 2 groups of people - those that have nothing to lose and those that have too muh to lose. Those that have some kind of success will be afraid that they have something to lose. 

Fear causes us to preserve and conserve. 
People who have a lot to lose are always afraid.  

Job 1:1-12
Beyond Job's suffering, look at verse 5:

Job 1:5 (NLT)
5 When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

Job was a man who has it all but his prayer for his sons was "If my sons have sinned please forgive them, protect them" -- he does this regularly.
He was praying to protect what he already has.

There is nothing wrong with praying for protection - but this is a man praying out of fear.
Imagine every day just praying for your kids, "if they sin, please forgive them"?
When we pray for our kids we should pray "I pray that they will stand on my shoulders and do more than I ever did. That they will be men and women who will change the world for You!"
We should pray in faith!

Some people make decisions on the defense and preserving the lead.
When you have a lot to lose, you end up guarding what you have instead if launching forth to gain what you don't have.

Story of the 4 Lepers
2 Kings 7:3-8
These people have nothing to lose.
They said "why are we sitting here until we die?"
If we go back, we will die.
If we sit here, we will die.
If they kill us, we shall only die.
Then they went forth.
When they moved forward, God gave them breakthrough.

Make a decision based on faith not fear

The economy of the Kingdom of God is quite simple. Every new step in the Kingdom costs us everything we have gained to date. Every time we cross a new threshold, it costs us everything we now have. Every new step may cost us all the reputation and security we have accumulated up to that point. It costs us our life.
“A disciple is always ready to take the next step. If there is anything that characterizes Christian maturity, it is the willingness to become a beginner again for Jesus Christ. It is the willingness to put our hand in His and say, "I’m scared to death, but I’ll go with you. You’re the Pearl of great price."

We may not be Job, but we all have something to lose. 
We need to make decisions based on faith.

Dead Start (Garrett Lee)

It's been a pretty busy week, so this is coming a bit later!


Dead Start - Garrett Lee

Ezekiel 37:1-10
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.

Sometimes we find ourselves at a dead end, where we don't know what else we can do.
Sometimes an area of our life is dead - a situation or circumstance that has no more hope.
When we hit a dead end in our lives, sometimes that's when God starts.
God can bring something dead to life.

Let's take a closer look at the passage...

vs. 1 - set me down in the midst of the valley 
There is a purpose for whatever valley we are in.
Instead of asking "why" we need to ask "what" is it that You want me to do?

vs. 2 - they were very dry 
Sometimes God wants to use not just dead situations but situations beyond dead, beyond hopeless. The bigger the mess, the greater the miracle, the greater the message that points to glorify God.

vs. 3 - Son of man 
God reminded Ezekiel of his humanity. 
It is really about how powerful God is.

vs. 3 - O Lord God, You know 
Ezekiel was very wise because he did nt try to be smarter than God.
If we want God to move, we need to lay down our intellectual pride and commit the situation to God.

How Does God Bring Something from Death to Life

vs. 7 - So, I prophesied

The first use of words in the Bible is not for communication but for creation. (Genesis 1:3) God wants us to speak into the situations in our life.

Mark 11:23 - whoever says to the mountain... He will have whatever he says.
There is tremendous power in the spoken Word. 

vs. 7 - bones came together, bone to bone

God starts with the structure.
Before our miracle happens...
We need to start to picture and see the form of what God is reviving in our lives.
We need to start to plan.
We need to start to prepare for it so that we can contain the miracle.

vs. 8 - sinews and the flesh

We can move and have strength because of sinews and flesh.
God wants us to do something - miracles don't happen when we are passive.

Isaiah 40:31 - those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

vs. 8 - the skin covered them over

Skin enables us to feel.
We need to bring a new sensitivity to the situation around us.
Are we desensitized in the area where we want God to move?
To feel means we need to be ready to be hurt or disappointed again.

"skin in the game" - means that you have something lose
If you want to see a miracle, we need to come to a place where we have something to lose.

5. SPIRIT (Of God)
vs. 10 - breath came into them
Breath / Wind = Ruah (Hebrew) = Spirit
The Spirit of God must come into our situations.

4 Keys to Have When God Shows Up (Charleston Lim)

John 21:1-13 (NLT)
This is a transitionary chapter. It is the last chapter before Acts.Before this, Jesus told the disciples to go to Galilee to wait for Him.It was a tricky period for the disciples - they knew Jesus was alive but they had no direction from Him.

What did the disciples do? 
John 21:3 --- Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
Peter went back to fishing
When he was uncertain about his future, he returned to his past.
The boat was Peter's comfort zone.
It was what he was used to. 

When Peter went fishing. He worked all night but caught nothing. Similarly... 
Some of us may feel like we are going through the same struggles over and over again. 
Or maybe we work hard but we cannot seem to find a breakthrough.

vs.4 - At dawn, Jesus...Though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.
It is not a question of "if God will show up" because God will show up. God will show up and when God shows up our heart needs to be ready.

4 Keys to Have When God Shows Up

1. RECOGNISE His Voice (vs.7)
When Jesus came, no one could recognise Him, except JohnYou recognise a person's voice when you spend time with them.Similarly, only when we spend time in the presence of God do we gain intimacy with Him.John 10:27 - John wrote the words "My sheep hear My voice..."

2. REPOSITION (Allow God to)vs. 6 "Throw the net on the right hand side.."When the disciples repositioned their nets, then they were successful.We may doing the right thing but in the wrong direction. Allow God to reposition you.

The abundance of fish represents the abundance of blessing.
When we are repositioned, we are able to be successful. 

vs.7 - When Peter heard it was Jesus, he jumped into the water.It was out of the abundance of Peter's heart thay he responded.Even after the blessing, Peter was more interested in the Blesser.

When God blesses us, do we run towards the blessings or toward God?Our blessings should lead us TO God not AWAY from God.

John 21:9,12When all the disciples reached shore, Jesus was cooking breakfast for them. When Peter swam towards God, Jesus already had a blessing prepared for him.It is not about the blessing but the RELATIONSHIP.God is more interested in the relationship with us.

"God doesn't want something from us. He simply wants us." - CS Lewis

4. REVELATIONJohn 21:15-16After breakfast, Jesus asked Peter "do you love Me more than these?"..."These" - the blessing and breakthroughs

After this incident, Peter had a revelation and when he saw things in a brand new way...
That was Peter's last night on the boat. 
You will never read of him on the boat again. 
The first time Jesus called, Peter responded but he still went back to the boat. 
After this time, he and the other disciples went on to change the world.
God is asking, will this time be your last time on the boat?