There are a lot of things we can dream about, but there are things we need to do to anchor ourselves so that we can go far and last long.

In the spirit of X4, I thought I would share four “Xs” that I’ve learned to turn our God dream into a God-glorifying reality. 

1. Examine your heart

Check in with God and examine your heart. If you’re in a ministry, joining a ministry or starting a ministry, the only good reason why is because God wants you there.

Don’t do it, if it’s for fame or fortune.

A couple of years before I finally went full-time, while I was still working in mainstream media, I approached the senior pastor of my church. I told him I wanted to go full-time and that I thought the church could really use someone like me.

We had a long chat over a meal and he told me at the end of the meal, “Edric, it’s great that you’re considering working for church. It’s great that you’ve got these gifts and talents. Maybe it’s best for you to stay in your job right now and shine for Jesus.”

I wasn’t running to something that God was calling me to. I was running it from something of the world. Check your heart. 

Savage, but I realised he was right. The truth is, I wasn’t called to full-time back then. I was just fed up with work. I was fed up with my boss. I wasn’t running to something that God was calling me to. I was running from something of the world. Check your heart. 

But in the years that followed, I got it. I figured out why Jesus brought me to work each day, and I worked with godly purpose. I was able to share the Gospel to encourage other believers in the newsroom and bring godly values to my work.

Fast forward three years later, when I was in full swing, I was walking with a purpose for God.

And now that I was in that place and I had fully consecrated my heart to God in the creative and media space, God told me I could leave. 

God laid in my heart plans for me to start, then Salt&Light, and so on.

To obey is better than sacrifice.

In 1 Samuel 15, Saul offered a sacrifice to God where he gave God some of the things he had, but not all of it. He wanted to keep certain things for himself, but that was not what he was called to do. The command for him was to obey and to give it all up.

Examining your heart means expanding your spirituality and continually growing in the Word and your spiritual life. You need to know the Word because you have to be able to discern the will of God. You must know what God speaks like and what God sounds like, and we know this best when we hear God’s heart in His own words. 

Examine your heart every day, all the way to the finish line. Don’t just start well – we must aim to finish well. Every day, check in with God about your heart. Get Him to renew that dream and that vision, that you may decrease and He may increase (John 3:30).

2. Expound on the vision

This means to articulate and explain and say something again and again until you are convicted by it and until you are confident and certain about what you are saying. If you are a visionary, that vision needs to be overflowing from you. The best way to do it? You’ve got to keep talking about it.

When I first started pulling the strands together to get going, there were so many people I had to sell the vision to. No matter who I spoke to, I would have the same elevator pitch.

Clearly articulate a “God vision” so that others can clearly see the God in that vision. This vision usually doesn’t come straight away – it takes some time to crystallise and articulate. 

Sometimes, you’ll get pushback. What do you mean, Edric? Why would anyone care? What I learned back then was to go back one step, examine my heart and humble myself in the process. 

For example, the names of the Thirst Collective websites – not a single one of these names was decided by me. Salt&Light was initially named “”, and 还好吗 was meant to be “行”. We had the URL and designs ready and eventually, a member of my team with no editorial, marketing or media experience came up with the title “还好吗”. 

It’s a humbling process. This is how I constantly learn and am reminded that these visions and dreams are not my own, but God’s. 

I’m the one who has to drive it. I’m the one who has to raise funds for it. I may be doing all the startup work, but someone else somehow always has the best idea for the brand name.

And that’s fine because it’s not my website. It’s not my brand. It is God’s and God brings the people to me who are going to point me in the right direction. 

He expands our vision; we are merely carriers and vessels of His vision. When I decrease, He can increase. After that, the key to expounding the vision is repetition. Say it a lot, say it often and say it constantly. You have to be so full of the vision that it is overflowing out of you.

In the Bible, Paul is a great example. When his calling as an apostle to the Gentiles is confirmed in Acts 22-26, he drives home the vision, and makes multiple speeches to all kinds of audiences like…

  • The Jews
  • The Sanhedrin
  • Mobs
  • Kings
  • Governors

After a while, you can see that he says it and knows it in his heart of hearts. It is instinctive, it is immediate. It is second nature.

Expounding your vision means to internalise what God has told you and to improve on it along the way. Make sure it is ingrained in you. Persuade yourself, and you have a chance of persuading other people. 

Real visionaries eat, sleep and dream the vision. You should be so soaked in the vision, so filled to the brim, that when someone bumps into you, that vision just pours out and spills over.

God’s vision is powerful. You are merely a vessel, but that big vision should be bursting out of you!

3. Expand your horizons

When first started, I thought all believers would have a common understanding of the word “Kingdom”, but I was wrong. 

I’ve been very blessed. I’m in a church that is very Kingdom-minded. In fact, we have a core value in our church that says the Kingdom of God is larger than the local church. So we are always doing whatever we can for the Kingdom. We place the bigger picture ahead of our smaller local church needs. We serve the King and the Kingdom.

However, I realised that not all parts of the Church in Singapore embrace this idea of a wider Kingdom and the Body of Christ beyond my local Body of Christ.

When I first started talking about being Kingdom-minded amongst my staff, a few of them stopped me and said: “You might need to explain that phrase to some of them, depending on which church they came from.”

For whatever reason, some churches are just not very engaged with the wider Kingdom. I’m not here to judge but I’m here to say this: if your dream has been given to you by the King, then we need to do it in partnership with the Kingdom. 

We benefit from the trust of the elders of the church and the various leaders. When we first started, it was important for us to let the other churches know that we were not a threat. We’re not here to steal anyone’s sheep.

So we came alongside them and we benefitted them as a resource by giving them stories that they could circulate and use as sermon illustrations. We came to the understanding that this idea of Kingdom work is mutually beneficial.

… if your dream has been given to you by the King, then we need to do it in partnership with the Kingdom. 

Indeed, we benefit from the networks of the churches. People sometimes ask us how we get so many stories. Salt&Light, for example, has published one or two stories every single day for the past five-and-a-half years. We can’t do this without the Kingdom and people letting us know who we should get in touch with and who has stories to tell. 

We need the Kingdom, and we benefit from the generosity of the Kingdom. Expand your horizons so you can see the Body of Christ the way Jesus sees it – beautiful in its variety.

We can benefit from the differences. We have many churches, but we are always one Church. If you serve the Church, serve the churches. If you love the King, love all of the Kingdom.

4. Execute with excellence

There’s a phrase I hate hearing about Christian creative endeavours.

  • “Oh, that’s quite good for a Christian movie.”
  • “Oh, it’s quite well-written for a Christian article.”
  • “Not bad, for a church thing.”

I hate it. It is condescending and patronising – it is a complinsult. But the thing is, there’s some truth to it – there’s no smoke without the fire. You kind of get where people are coming from. 

I can’t tell everyone what and how they should be doing but I can take care of my own home, creatively speaking, in terms of my own standards. This is the bar that I set for my teams – what we do must be excellent by anyone’s standards, Christian or non-Christian.

Our competition isn’t other Christian websites. Remember, we are one Church playing on the same team. Our competition is non-Christian websites, videos and social media that take attention away from the things of God. 

The thing is, as a church, we seem resigned to it. There are worldly standards for entertainment, and there are “Christian standards” for entertainment. But isn’t our God capable of making the most beautiful things?

He is the Creator. All of the beauty in the natural world, the flowers and the sunset, the rainbows and the waterfalls – His name is on the credit reel. He’s the executive producer, the videographer, the post-production guy… it’s all Him!

I think we can do beautiful things for Jesus. Whatever you do – do it excellently.

Last year the 还好吗 team held a big evangelistic concert for Christmas. We had two sold-out shows, and the official number of salvation recorded was 316.

But we also got some backlash for it – people asked why the Gospel needs to be so flashy, why we involved celebrities, and whether people were saved by faith or fame. 

I think back to how God instructed Moses about the priestly garments that were to be given to Aaron, his family and other priests. God said in Exodus 28 that the clothes were to be beautiful and excellent. Precious stones; fine fabric; made with skill. For glory and for beauty.

Do things beautifully so that it reflects the beauty of God — that’s giving glory to God. That’s why we do beautiful things and execute excellently. If God gives you a dream, work at it excellently with all of your gifts and talents. Make the world stop and stare, and make it so good that they can’t take their eyes off of it.

We need to constantly think about what the next bar of excellence is – how we can do even better and make even more amazing work.

This is not to boast or to pat ourselves on the back, but for glory and for beauty. We need to draw eyeballs to the beauty of God because beautiful work draws attention to the Saviour.

As a creative, failing to try is worse than trying and failing to get there. Experimentation is part of the road to excellence. And every creative here needs to know this: don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try things. No excuses, you have all been commissioned!

We’re going to turn that phrase around from “not bad for a Christian movie” to “that’s almost as good as a Christian movie!” 

5. Expect God

After X4 comes X5! We expect God. 

This has been my experience: you do everything, you check in with your heart and hands, and you do what God is telling you to do. You do it with 100% of the gifts and talents given to you… and then you expect God to work with you.

People can come to faith through your art. You might say, “You mean I can write? I thought writing was one of the lowest level skills in the working world out there.” But God says this is valuable because someone’s going to read it. 

Bring your dreams and visions to God. He is going to do something creative through you, and He is telling you to not sit on it.

These are the end times, and Jesus will come again as a judge.

God has given you a certain talent and creativity and His dream and vision. Don’t bury it. Don’t hide it under a bushel or a bowl.

Let His light shine!