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Call into the ministry

22 July 2008

A Testimony of God’s Gracious Call into the Ministry

Jan 2009

 

Since I received Christ in 1986, I have been greatly blessed by the mercies and love of God. I was led to worship in Life Bible-Presbyterian Church, Singapore in 1988, and I married Wendy Chan in 1991. The Lord blessed us with two boys, John and Marc, now 14 and 13 respectively. I have enjoyed sweet fellowship with brethren in the Young Adult fellowship and the Choir. I served in both fellowships, in Sunday School, and on mission trips. In 2002, the Lord called me to serve as a deacon. Through the years, I have had many opportunities to minister God’s Word to the various fellowship groups (Youth Fellowship, Teens fellowship, Newton neighbourhood Bible community), Sunday School classes, and the Filipina worship service. I also enjoyed chairing and leading congregational worship in the English Sunday morning services. Although I enjoyed serving the Lord, I did not know that He would call me into His ministry.

 

In September 2006, I was part of a technical team involved in a site inspection with the project consultants at Beulah House. Due to my carelessness, I fell from the roof of to the second floor. It happened so fast that my recollections are a blur. I landed on my feet but suffered neither sprained ankles nor broken bones, only a torn ligament on my ring finger and some bruises on my elbows. This escape I can only ascribe to God’s overwhelming mercy. “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits?… I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:12, 17.

 

Shortly thereafter, a brother told me about his fall from a similar height several years ago in which he sustained a serious head injury, went into a coma, and took many years to recover. While I was on medical leave, I read a news account about a construction worker who had died after sustaining a similar fall from a false ceiling to the floor.  I realized then that I had come close to death. The Lord used this incident to remind me of the brevity of my life. James 4:14 spoke to me most forcefully: “For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” I owe my life to Him, and I gladly humble and yield myself to serve the King of Kings, my beloved Lord and Saviour.

 

I am acutely conscious that at 44 perhaps more than half of my life has passed. God has placed in me a burning desire to spend my remaining days profitably in the ministry of His Word. Surely only God knows how long we will live, and I cannot assume that I will live to be 70 or 80 or that I could serve God fully following retirement. Should I not give God the prime of my life, my most energetic years?

 

I confess that I am a great sinner. My faith is weak. I am deeply humbled that God should choose me despite my many failings. I am inadequate in many areas. But then who is qualified to do God’s work? “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” 2 Cor 3:5. I trust my bountiful God to supply the gifts, wisdom, and strength to serve Him faithfully. My responsibility is to make myself available for the Master’s use in any ministry He should choose.

 

Only one Life to offer Jesus My Lord and King,

Only one tongue to praise Thee and of Thy mercies sing forever,

Only one heart’s devotion Saviour, O may it be

Consecrated alone to Thy matchless glory,

Yielded fully to Thee.                                                          – Avis Christiansen (1895-1985)
 

May we be encouraged to consider how we may be more consecrated to God whom we love and adore, yielding our one life for His glory. I can testify that the Lord has been my help and strength during my 20-year career in the property industry. The Lord has provided promotions and material wealth, and Psalm 95:6-7 reminds us that all has come from God’s loving hands, as He is sovereign and in control of the affairs of men.

 

Nevertheless, I must be a good steward in using my resources unselfishly and for His glory. I also must not look back or be half-hearted, and I will continue to trust His provision for my family and me. He is Jehovah Jireh–our Provider. He owns the cattle of a thousand hills, and He will care for me. He has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I echo the sentiments of Apostle Paul when I count material things but “dung” that I may win Christ (Phil 3:8). Is not the heavenly crown of life and the Lord’s commendation of a life spent for Him worth far more than all earthly riches? My fall at Beulah House and God’s gracious preservation is a reminder that I owe Him my life and that I need to commit myself to serve Him now. Having been through that near-death experience, everything else on earth has grown strangely dim in the light of God’s wonderful glory and grace. Everything I have, even the breath of life, belongs to Him. Therefore I will love and serve Him with all my heart, all my strength, and all my might. I seek that heavenly city whose Maker is God, and I desire to live a more consecrated life, submitting more and more to His will.

 

I shared my desire to enter the ministry with Pastor Charles and Colin and a few brethren several months ago, and I have received encouragement to continue praying to confirm this call. Having been convinced that this is God’s will for me, I am reminded by a BP pastor to follow Ezra’s godly example: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10. My knowledge of God’s word is limited, and I would benefit from systematic theological training. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 1:15.

I’m currently pursuing a full-time Master of Divinity programme at the Geneva Reformed Seminary (GRS).  GRS is located in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.  Their webpage is at http://www.genevareformed.org.   

 

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