Happy Birthday to Me – What Went Down When I Was 26

It’s my birthday today! While this blog is generally pretty serious stuff, here’s some random reflections on what year 26 was for me and some reflections moving forward.

What Went Down When I Was 26

Significant Life Events at 26:
Getting engaged. Only to be eclipsed by getting married 6 months later. Yeah, those are pretty significant.

My beautiful, awesome, godly, amazing, friendly, everything-I-could-ask-for wife Esther.

Favorite book read at 26:
A Tale of Three Kings by Edward Gene. A short, powerful book which served as a poignant reminder for me this year that the vicissitudes of life are often used by God to test our character and that we should despise the place of power else it should corrupt us like it did Saul.

Amazing book. Highly recommend.

Favorite New Friend at 26:
Probably Simeon Sham @simeonsham. whose birthday was a week before mine. We have great conversations together, and he is really talented, humble, and anointed worship leader. 

look how cute this guy is.


Favorite CD listened to at 26
Hillsong United Young & Free – Such a cool new worship sound


Close Second: Lecrae – Gravity A little old but I really enjoy this CD.

Favorite Wedding at 26
I think I went to 8 weddings? Of all of them, my favorite was.. my own. (A little biased? Eh.. whatevs)

But outside of that, probably watching my best friend Justin Gottuso get married!

Us praying for Justin and Ann for their marriage.

Biggest lesson God taught Me at 26
I felt that the largest lesson God was growing in me was about my character. He put me in a low place at 26. In the hiddenness, and in the desert, my character was formed. He showed me how self-centered I was, how much selfish ambition I carried in my heart, how prideful and religious I was, and as he does with his beloved children, he humbled me so that I could grow in love. I feel that the life lessons learned at age 26 will carry me in my ministry for decades to come.

Biggest spiritual decision at 26
Probably joining Epicentre’s Discipleship school. I am so humbled by the experience.

Favorite Restaurant Eaten at 26
I think this year I discovered how amazing Boiling Crab. It’s basically cajun seafood. They sit you down, put a bib on you, line the table with paper, and plop a bag of seasoned seafood for you to eat with your hands. So delicious and fun. (Picture of Simeon eating it above).

Biggest Regret at 26
Man I made a lot of mistakes when I was 26. Said a lot of sorry’s. I feel like, as always, I can think of very specific times when I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me to do something but I didn’t for one reason or another. Walking away from those moments, I would replay in my head what could’ve divinely happened if I said yes. I carry those regrets in my heart to teach me to say “yes” if the Holy Spirit tells me to do something.

Favorite Purchase at 26
Sold my old laptop and computer for the 15in Macbook Pro Retina on Craigslist for a great price. Best. Computer. Ever.

One God Story That Happened at 26 
One night I was hanging out with friends and saw this guy stumbling down the sidewalk with a (medical) boot. We decided to go up to him and pray for him and it turns out he was badly injured, in pain, and a bit drunk.  All 3 of us had powerful prayers for him and the Lord was touching him like crazy to the point of tears (this was a grown man). He said he felt no pain in his leg afterward! More importantly, he told us that his encounter with God literally changed his life at that moment as he was so down and out at that point. he was so thankful, still in awe of what happened.

A bit while later during dinner, he was so grateful, he snuck into our restaurant and payed for our entire meal. Yay to double blessings.

That’s us at the restaurant.

What’s 27 Looking Like?

All right this is the part that gets pretty serious.

More so than lately, I’ve been thinking about the end of my life. I have always said to myself and to others that we could always use a mid-life crisis.

What is 27? It’s just a number. To some, that’s old, to others, that’s young. The truth is, only God knows whether 27 is young or old for me.

What I mean is if God ordained 33 years for me to live, then 27 is really old. How old I will live to is in my Father’s hands. And what I do with my life is in my hands.

Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90 is appropriate for every birthday: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” A heart of wisdom is one which knows the difference between unimportant things and important things, between momentary things and eternal things.

I want to spend my life investing in important and eternal things. The rage of the world is about getting people distracted with meaningless pursuits. May 27 be a year spent with death in mind, that my life would not be weighed as insignificant or wasted. This year, I pray the prayer of the martyr Jim Elliot who said, “I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”

And so let it be. Cheers to 27. And cheers to a God who is faithful to make us blameless every year till we see him.

Phil Chan
Phil Chan
Phil has been writing for over 15 years. His passion is to help people see God and to live a life that matters.

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