Reflections: Guitarworks Journey

Starting Guitarworks was never my plan in life. As the years goes by, the creator reveals His plans as I stride along the path laid by Him. Today it has become my calling in life.

This was my list of initial plans in chronological order (as accurate as I can remember):

Plan A: Upon entering national service, I dreamed to become a fighter pilot. Completed BMT. Got into pilot selection course. Subsequently, I failed the basic airgrading course. Thus not qualified to enter next phase of training.

Plan B: Next alternative, I would settle for Weapons System Officer (UAV). The plan failed when I withdrew from the training phase due to my uncertainties in prospects for the future. I was only a diploma holder.

Plan C: After I completed national service, I wanted to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering. Got rejected because my grades were not good enough to secure entry into our local university.

Plan D: Started first job in Oct 2008 with the intent of getting some experience. Didn't work out, quit after 9 months. Showing signs of stress and anxiety. Broke up with my ex-girlfriend at the same time. Shall not go into details.

Plan E: Tried to pursue further studies just to get any degree. Withdrew from the course 1 month later. Started experiencing more signs of panic attack, insomnia and anxiety.

Plan F: Tried to do part time job in July 2009 but had major relapse. Had to quit within 9 days. That was the time when my emotions totally collapsed. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder on 23 Aug 2009 at IMH. From then on, I knew I was not suited for further studies and the work force anymore. I really thought this was the end of me. There were thoughts of ending my life.

It seemed misfortune has plagued my life unknowingly and I had no power to stop it. If you have read my testimony in the previous page, this was how I got started in life. Pretty bad? Definitely not something that the most of us would have expected.

Can I still dream?

Plan Impossible: Start teaching guitar. You know the story by now. Of all the plans I made prior to this, they all had one thing in common. Me in the centre. Whilst "Plan Impossible" had God in the centre.

Guitarworks was never in the list of dreams I want to achieve. I'm sure most of us have dreams. If someone were to ask you, "What is your dream in life?", what would your answer be? In this article, I will discuss this topic from a personal standpoint as a Christian as well as a dreamer myself. After all that mess I've been through, I would like to to share my thoughts and the lessons learnt. May I leave with you 7 points, with each to be discussed in detail.

Before I begin, I emphasize that this is not a "one size fits all" situation. I'm only sharing what I have experienced and the lessons learnt. It would greatly warm my heart if this serves great benefit to you.

1. The Dream and the Dreamer

God has deposited gifts, skills and talents in us when He created us. As we ride on the journey of life, we gradually discover them. If you have not discovered yours, perhaps it is the time to ask God to reveal to you or help you discover them. When you are operating in your gifts and talents, you have an edge over others who are not. It could be a natural talent, flair or passion towards certain things. This makes you unique because not everyone can do it as well as you do.

Take my example. I picked up and understand guitar much faster compared to others who are learning through lessons. God has given me the gift of natural rhythm and hearing sense. This enables me to figure out the chords and rhythm of most songs without much difficulty. However, I was not aware of this gift until the age of 17 when guitar entered my world by accident. For some reason, I was attracted to this instrument before I even started playing. Years later had I knew God was preparing me for the work I am doing now. I discovered my forte and the rest is history.

Here is an important principle. I did not force myself to learn the guitar. It came naturally to me and I was very receptive of it. If you are trying to force yourself to do something in an unnatural way, it is likely not your gifted area. The gift is more "discovered", "realized" and "mutually accepted" rather than intentionally sought after or forced to learn.

However, possessing the gift alone is not enough. We need to know how to use and apply to maximize its potential. This leads me to psychological and character development. You need to know your personality, strengths and weaknesses. This would give you a clearer view of the role you are most suited to play.

Take my example. My brother and I have very different personality traits. Overall, I'm more introverted and patient person. I like to impart knowledge, teach and bring the best out of people around me. My brother on the contrary finds teaching tough and draining. He enjoys doing gig events, wedding performances and YouTube videos compared to teaching. Thus, he leans towards being a more extroverted person. There is no right or wrong. It is just what you are naturally made of.

Both of us play the guitar well, but I would fit into the role of a guitar teacher better than my brother. My brother would fit into the role of a performer better than me. I prefer being low profile and influence my students one at a time. The satisfaction of seeing my students grow in character and improve in skill means more to me than the applause I receive by an entire audience. This is my personal view of success.

2. Biblical Perspectives

The story of both Joseph and Daniel were relatively similar in the bible. Both of them had something in common, which is the gift of interpreting dreams. Let's dive into each of their stories.


The first mention of Joseph in the bible was in Genesis 37. He was the youngest son of Jacob (Israel). Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age. Thus, Joseph's brothers hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Joseph had 2 dreams recorded in Genesis 37:7 and 9. This was a prophecy of what he would eventually become in his latter years. If you have read the story, you will know that incidents that followed thereafter in Joseph's life were seemingly very negative.

Fast forward to Joseph's turning point was in Genesis 41:9 when the chief butler remembered that there was young Hebrew man (Joseph) who interpreted his dream when he was put in prison. He told Pharaoh about this man. Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph immediately and had his dream interpreted. Joseph became a hero by preventing Egypt from entering a disaster. As you read on in Genesis 41, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to become the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt and set him over his house and his people.


In Daniel 1:17, the bible mentioned that Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. In chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams and his spirit was so troubled. The irony was he sought to find the interpretation of his dream by not telling his servants his dream. Thus there is not a man who could tell the King his dream and give the interpretation. As a result, the King was angry and gave the command to kill all the wise men of Babylon including Daniel and his companions. Having known that, Daniel and his companions went to seek mercies from God of Heaven so that they might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Then the secret of the dream was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Daniel blessed the God of Heaven. Through Daniel, God revealed King Nebuchadnezzar's dream to him. As the story continues, we know that Daniel and his friends were promoted by the King. Daniel was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel's companions were also set over the affairs of the province of Babylon.

The context of both stories

Have you ever wondered what could have happened if Joseph and Daniel did not use their gift of interpreting dreams? Egypt could be totally wiped out due to 7 years of famine. Daniel and his friends could have died and the name of God will not be high and lifted up in Babylon. In the bible, Jesus talks about the parable of the talents in Mathew 25:14-30. God has given all of us each a measure of talent. Some five, some two and some one, but each according to his own ability. Jesus wants us to use our measure of talent for His kingdom! Don't be like the one who hid his talent in the ground.

If you think about this carefully, the dream we want to achieve is already within us. God is the initiator of our dreams. He has already deposited in you whatever is required to fulfill the dream. God is faithful. He will not ask you to accomplish something He does not provide for. Both Daniel and Joseph know what gifts God had given them and they used it at the opportune time. They glorified God in their own ways.

3. The Steward and The Master

As the title implies, I'm going to discuss the role of the steward and the master in the context of a dream. First and foremost, let us be clear between two different points of reference, your dream (your will) and God's Dream for you (God's will). I hope my intentional emphasis helps you see the distinction clearer.

To begin, let us zoom in on the definition of the word "Steward". A steward is defined as:

1. A person who manages another's property or financial affairs;one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.
2. A person who has charge of the household of another,buying or obtaining food, directing the servants, etc.
3. An employee who has charge of the table, wine, servants,etc., in a club, restaurant, or the like.
4. A person who attends to the domestic concerns of persons on board a vessel, as in overseeing maids and waiters.
5. An employee on a ship, train, or bus who waits on and is responsible for the comfort of passengers, takes orders for or distributes food, etc.

As we can see from the dictionary definition, we basically sum up the role of the steward as a keeper, an overseer or a "person in charge" of something that does not belong to him. When you are a steward, your will is to do the will of your master. You are the person responsible for the carrying out of the tasks assigned to you by whoever is the authority over you.

In the context of your dream, I would like to ask "Who is the steward and who is the master?" More specifically, did you seek God for your dream? It could be through a word of wisdom from the bible or a specific revelation. Or did you instinctively to create your dream (your will) and asking God to make it happen? I hope this will not happen to you and I want to help you see the light.

As you have read at the top passage of my introduction, I really thought I was fulfilling God's dream for my life until I realize I was VERY wrong. All along, I was the Master of my dream, never a steward. God is the spectator. I was simply making use of God to help me achieve what I want and then give the glory to God. Do you see the irony here? God must be shaking His head in heaven saying, "I never gave this dream to you, why are you giving glory to Me?" Maybe a better illustration would be you asking God to sign your blank cheque. That is why you see the repeated failures that I went through in the process of accomplishing my dream. These failures are like big warning signs alerting me that I'm heading the wrong way.

When I realized how self-centered I was in the pursuit of my dream, I repented before God. The focus of my prayer took a shift. I asked God to reveal His Dream (His will) for me. The details of how I received my revelation is in my previous page entitled "Personal Testimony".

If you realize you had made a mistake, it is never too late to correct it. This could be something uneasy for you to accept now, but to live with regret in life is worse. I sincerely hope you will find the dream God has for you and see it fulfilled in this lifetime. Finally, let us be very clear. God is our master, and we are His stewards.

4. Responsibility

When God is the giver of your dream, I can assure you, this dream will come to past. He will be responsible over every single detail in the process of your journey. I cannot recall how many times God has turned the tides in my favour during tough times when my income was insufficient. Being in pursuit of my dream doesn't exempt me from temporal moments of lack, stress and struggles. Whenever I go through these challenges, I simply let God take full responsibility of this business. Remind myself that I'm only a steward. If God has given you the vision, He will bring the provision. I will remember the revelation God showed me years ago of how He used Moses to lead the children of Israel across the red sea. The moment I do that, my trust in His provision is reaffirmed. My faith in Him strengthened.

Notice the difference how I handled the difficulties I encountered compared to what most people would do. For example, when one is not earning enough, the immediate solution is either to spend less or take up extra job to make up the loss income. When one is feeling stress, he would go for recreational activities, meet friends or exercise to relief it. What we often forget is that we can actually come to God with our needs. Think about the revelation He has given to you. Meditate on His promises regarding your life. Surrender the responsibility of making things work to God.

If your dream is from God, economic instability such as recession will not affect you. When I hear rumors of market activity slowing down and retrenchment, I simply stand firm on the Word of God that He will provide. Quite on the contrary, I have seem my biggest growth in numbers during times of slowing down. God proved He can do wonders even in situations when you least expect. Be still, and know He alone is enough for you.

5. Tests

Ever since I started Guitarworks, I was met with tremendous difficulties during the initial stages. My hardest hurdle was publicity, getting people to know I've started a business rendering professional service. I assure you it was super TOUGH! Besides advertising in local forums, I even learn to design my own flyers, mass print and distribute it. Till date, I have distributed over 12,000 flyers all over the neighbourhoods of Bedok and Tampines on a bicycle. A lot of sweat and hard work was put into it but the response was not good. Still, I decided hang on to what God has shown me. I chose to believe.

I went on to further discover new blog features and did a thorough revamp of my blog, which is what you are seeing now. I spent hours and days learning how to use its features to bring the best out of this website. That also includes basic HTML, which was like a foreign language to me. If you know me, Iam not a blog person. Blogging was the last thing I would do, EVER! Then again, change is the only constant in life. I learn to change my approach to suit my current portfolio. If there is a will, there will be a way. The critical factor is how desperate are you to make it happen.

Guitar lessons Singapore brochure
This was how the flyer looks like

6. Authority

This leads me to one important principle. If you can recall scriptures states that, "Paul planted, Apollos watered, but it is GOD who gives the increase." What does this mean? God helped me understand the meaning of this scripture when I was trying to make Guitarworks a success. I realized I was not in CONTROL of the growth of Guitarworks at all. This means I can work as hard as I could and yet not see the results because I was relying ONLY on my works. Only God holds the authority to increase and grow. I hope this you can grasp this important principle.

Even though God holds the authority, I do not imply you sit and WAIT for things to happen. Faith without works is dead. It is active, not passive. There must be some action taken on your side. We do what we can, God will do what we cannot. We do whatever that's possible and we trust God to do the impossible. With that, I conclude I am indeed very small, very limited, but I rely on God to make my dream a reality.

7. Faith

Faith is not faith when it has not been tested and proven.
Faith is not faith when you know where you are heading.
Faith is not faith when you know what your future holds.
Faith is not faith when things are within your control.
Faith is not faith when you have not gone through a certain degree of pain permissible by God.

Whatever I have just mentioned, faith it is actually quite the opposite of everything. It is also biblically true.

I had been a believer for more than 10 years but had never really understood the meaning of faith until I started Guitarworks. To put it very simply, if I had things within my control, I don't need faith at all. I simply carry it out with my own abilities that I already possess. I shall state an example. Let's say if you want to study in a prestigious university, you need to study hard and get good results (shall not discuss money factor). In a nutshell, whether you succeed or not is mostly dependent on how much effort you put into your studies. This effort directly influences your grades, which in turn grants you entry into the university.

Guitarworks was a huge test of faith for me. It took me 2 years before I knew this was the right direction God has called me. In monetary terms, I was barely making ends meet in the early stages. No matter how hard I work, I don't see the fruits. God does not work on the principle of A+B = C. Obedience is not connected to intended outcome. He delights in the faith of His children, however faith must be tested. Only from the 3rd year onwards, students start to approach me automatically.

It is not how smart or intelligent I am. He loves me and wants me to succeed on His terms, not mine. "For it is not by power, not by might, but by the Holy Spirit." I learn to yield even when situations don't look positive and submit to Him entirely, trusting that He knows it better than I do.

Today, Guitarworks is fully sustainable on its own. What amazes me more is people staying as far as Jurong East, Jurong West and even Pioneer are coming to me. I even questioned my students are they serious about committing to this in spite of the distance. To my surprise, they assured me that its perfectly alright for them. This is definitely the work of God, not me. Finally all glory and praise be to Him!

Last amended: 20 Aug 2012

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