Writing a new story for my life

Today I had the opportunity to hear a simple yet powerful message in my church. It was about how to write a new story for our lives. The sermon was preached by guest pastor Jason Luiz. In this post, I’m going to sum up the message he preached.

The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

‘I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.’ ” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Requirements to write a new story:

1) We have to want to change – we must learn how to face the discomfort changes bring!

2) We have to be willing to forget the old story so that God can write a new story – we’re supposed to look ahead! Just like the apostle Paul did: “(…) one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13b)

The “chapters” of this new story include:

Move – we should be willing to move. We don’t need to live in the same place our parents do. What God had for Abraham required that he go somewhere else (“go to the land I will show you”). Abraham left not even knowing where he was headed. Here lies another teaching: God not always gives all the details in advance!

Relationships – not always should we take everyone with us. At times, it’s necessary for us to leave some people. God had told Abraham to leave his people and his father’s household. Nevertheless, he took his nephew Lot with him and ended up having some disputes with him later on. That can be any person we’re in a relationship with.

Transport – obedience is the vehicle, faith is the fuel, the Word of God is the maker’s handbook and the church is the gas station.

Behavior – Paul said to the Corinthians: “You show that you are a letter from Christ(…)” (2 Corinthians 3:3a). Our lives are open letters. What have people read in our lives? What attitude have they seen in us? Do they always see us grumbling and with a bad demeanor?

These are some of the chapters involved when writing a new story for our lives. However, no book would be complete without a publishing step. “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3). The editor is Christ, He is the one who wants to write a new story in our lives. And He wants to do that not with ink, but with his blood. His blood was shed so that: we could submit our will to God (Blood because of Jesus’s agony – Mark 14:36); be redeemed from our diseases (Blood because Jesus was flogged – Matthew 27:26, see also Isaiah 53); have the land formerly cursed by the sin of Adam restored (Blood because Jesus was given a crown of thorns – Matthew 27:29, 30); and be redeemed from all guilt the enemy tries to put on us (Blood because Jesus was nailed to the cross – Matthew 27:35). (There is just one sin which is not forgiven: that which is not confessed.)

To wrap up: you decide when your new story starts. Don’t forget the good is the enemy of the best and God is not pleased with complacent people.


Get to know your business domain

“The Financial System manages all of our financing contracts, comprising both assets and liabilities. It
registers operations on a daily basis, control balances and transfers, and generate the next installments
of all contracts.  It is heavily based on an event-driven mechanism that implements the usual concepts such as
interests and amortization. The system is able to perform
calculations using different amortization systems, including the French System of Amortization and the
Constant Amortization System.

In addition, the system also has an automatic interface with the Accounting System, which is responsible
to do all the business bookkeeping stuff: register debits and credits, allow cash flow management,
generate financial reports and data for audit purposes.

We´re launching a new product, the Investment Protection Fund (IPF). This fund is expected to minimize credit risks,
helping eliminate the difficulty of providing collateral, which is a major obstacle that many small companies often face.

Your job is to provide the Financial and Accounting systems with all the infrastructure to fully support the
new fund. Do you think we can do it with a good Time to Market?”

You, the lead software developer in charge of the project, look at your manager (trying to disguise the
rather puzzled look on your face) and say: “Well… ” (a little pause) “…yes, we sure can.”

And then you leave your office freaking out, in a rush to buy all the books you can on accounting and financing.

Well, since you first joined the company, two years ago, you knew all along you were in a company whose core business was all about financing and accounting. But, since then, you always managed to get by knowing almost
nothing of the business domain your software was inserted. Now you have to rush to catch up with the lost time.

What´s the point of this story? Despite being overly dramatic, the story´s bottom line is:  get to know your business domain! That´s one of the tips of Chad Fowler in his book (Understand Business Basics). However, let´s make it a little more challenging: get to know the nuts and bolts of your business domain. Read books on the topic, do courses, ask your clients to explain their work to you…

To be a great software developer for your company, you need to understand the business of your company. You need to speak the language of the domain in order to understand what your clients want (and many times they don´t know what they want).

I´m developing/maintaining software systems in those fields of finances/accounting used as an example at the beginning of this post. Since I entered the company, I set out to master the business domain of my applications. I still have a long way to go, but I´m feeling really excited to study those subjects and, as a consequence, work more effective, confident and efficiently.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings;
he will not serve before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29)