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Richard Welsh

Lifehouse Hong Kong

My first responsibility

On December 9th, I was married to my beautiful wife for 1 year. It’s been the best year of my life.

I love my wife Janice so much. She is currently pregnant, and a week or so ago we found out that we are having a baby boy! I’m so stoked!

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She’s glorious!!!

Although I always wanted to have kids, I wasn’t really ever in a rush to do so and still kinda can’t imagine it? It’s a surreal feeling and I can’t wait to be a dad (not that pumped about changing nappies, but I guess no-one is?? Anyway… ). So as I go through this season in the lead up to getting to meet my son in May of next year, it’s caused me to think more and more about ‘family life’.

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Love building church with Janice

I think in life it’s easy to get caught up in building an impressive public world. You know, the parts people see when they look at your life? Your job, your status, your ministry, your skills, your connections, your achievements, your health, or what you own etc. Are you successful? Influential? Wealthy? Etc.

These things are all good (many are blessings from God!), but sometimes, with unhealthy priorities and focus, the advancement of our public world can come at the cost of our private world. The world most people don’t see. Our relationship with God, and our relationship with our spouse/family. Sometimes we make the wrong kind of sacrifices in private, in order to look good in public. I think this is dangerous.

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I surprised her with a proposal in Tokyo after Lifehouse Conference!

The verse that got me thinking about all this is found in 1 Timothy, and I came across it in my journaling. Paul is basically advising Timothy on how families should take care of each other. In this instance he’s talking about taking care of parents/grandparents.

1 Timothy 5:4 NLT
But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.

While I recognize that this is specifically talking about caring for widows, there is one sentence here that jumped out at me which I believe goes beyond just this context.

My “first responsibility is to show godliness at home”…. Wow.

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Our home: Hong Kong!

As I thought about this scripture, I felt that I wanted to make this principle something that I lived my life by.

Your public life can be stripped away from you in a moment. Getting fired, loosing money, people betray you, loose reputation etc. But if your home life is healthy and your relationship with Jesus genuine and life-giving, I think you can get through any public crisis! The reverse can not be said. No amount of public success can make up for the damage of a neglected private life.

Of course I want to be successful in both my private life, and my public life. However if I could have only one, I would choose success in my private life, hands down! I want my wife and kid(s?) to respect me and know that they are loved! I want God to be pleased with me. I want to have a godly private life!

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Pumped to meet my little boy!

The language I use towards my family, attitudes in the house, encouragement, honesty, showing love, working through disagreements, bringing God into our decisions, priorities, spiritual disciplines, time with God etc. I want those closest and most important to me (my family) to see that I live with integrity in my values, and in my relationship with Jesus. And I want them to know that my first priority, is to practice godliness at home. Being like Jesus at home. Forgiving. Gracious. Gentle with words. Loving. Encouraging. Spending time with them. Generous. Disciplined. Patient. Purposeful. Unselfish Etc.

I’ve got a lot to learn in how exactly to apply this over the coming years. I definitely don’t have all the answers now. But I’m excited about growing into this and becoming a great husband and Dad! And building a stronger relationship with Jesus. I wanna live by this principle; Making my first responsibility to show godliness at home. I believe that only from that foundation can our public world truly expand into all that God has destined it to be.

Richard

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My life verse

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,
he desires a noble task. – 1 Tim 3:1

This amazing verse changed my life.

Before God showed me this scripture, I didn’t want to be a leader in church. In fact, I REALLY didn’t want to be a leader.

I still remember when my first Lifegroup leader suggested that I might be able to lead a Lifegroup one day. I told him very frankly that I didn’t want to be a leader, and I didn’t think that I was the right person for the job.

You see, up until this point in my life I for the most part, had only seen the burden of leadership, with little of the rewards of it. I also felt the (God-given!) desire in me to be a leader was my own pride speaking, and so therefore was something that I needed to push down and reject in my heart. I was pretty messed up!

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Some Lifehouse HK champions!

But then I came across this scripture.

As I read, and then re-read this incredible bible verse, it felt like years of wrong thinking and misunderstanding were breaking off of me. I thought about my own leaders at Lifehouse. Ps Rod and Viv, my Lifegroup leader, and other team leaders and I realised how grateful I was for all they had done to help me grow over the last few months at church. In my head I already knew that leading was about ‘serving’ the people, but it was like my heart finally realised that it was ok to want to lead people to growth in Jesus….and actually it was more than ok, it was noble!

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Leading a Lifegroup is all about helping others grow!

The KJV calls it “good work”. And it is, isn’t it? Leading is serving. Its not selfish to want to serve people. And its definitely not prideful. Like the Apostle Paul said, its a noble task!

I also really like that this verse begins by mentioning that this was a “trustworthy saying”. This means that this was something they said often. Leading is good! Its a good thing to want to be a leader if its all about serving the people! This should be something we repeat often in church.

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Interviewing some of our funny leaders

If your heart is to serve Jesus, by serving his people, then there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a leader! In fact, I would encourage you to get a big vision of being a leader. The Greek for the words ‘sets his heart’ in this scripture literally means to “reach out for” something. Get a vision for it! Get excited to be a leader and serve Gods people. People are out there waiting for someone like you to step up into leadership and help them get closer to Jesus!

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This is my favourite translator (my wife!). We may/may not have been acting out a scene from Titanic…

As God has taken me on this journey of leading in church, it has been the most rewarding thing Ive ever been a part of. I’ve seen God really change peoples lives through the power of Jesus. I’ve seen God work through me even though I feel inadequate sometimes. Im not a perfect leader, but Im growing, and God loves to use imperfect people! Together we can reach our city for Jesus.

Get a vision for this noble task and join your local church in leading people to Jesus!

Richard

english mandarin preaching
Love leading alongside other great people who have the same vision to serve others!

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