Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

New Members' Testimonies

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 09 January 2011

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Maverick Pang's Testimony

My salvation

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

I accepted Christ at the age of 18, just before entering the army for National Service. What led to this wonderful life changing experience was a series of events in my life, prior to my accepting Christ, that drove me to see the futility and a sense of despair in living a life of my own.

Having grown up in a non-Christian family, I was never able to get a satisfactory answer from my parents on the meaning of life, and where we will ultimately go after we die. However, as I grew older these questions did not seem as important as I got sucked into the pleasures of this world.

Ironically, the same things which I used to enjoy eventually came back to bite me. My hanging out with friends and staying out late for parties did not do any good for my academic results, and friends whose company I used to enjoy started to hang out less with me as we grew older. Due to pursuing our own goals in life, we each went our separate ways in search of fun and ideals in life. These were not the only things that made me depressed because at that point in my life when other things were not going too well, my dad, the sole breadwinner in the family also retired, and financially I was restrained and found it difficult to cope with a much lesser allowance. Having to change one’s companions, lifestyle and habits overnight is an extremely difficult and trying thing and furthermore as I was always home late I never felt close to my family for those few years.

Everything seemed to fall apart in my life, my relationship with family and friends, my academic results and my sporting achievements. The things that I used to enjoy and take pride in, I now find myself struggling just to stay afloat and if I just continue to keep at it I see myself getting overwhelmed by life’s challenges and life itself. I was sure there was no way out if I continue in my own ways.

One night (about a month before my ‘A’ levels and whilst studying) when I had all those thoughts in my mind and I did not know what to do, I came before God in prayer, in the way I learnt how to from observing how others around me do it. You see, for 6 years I was in a Christian school and it was compulsory to attend chapel once a week. To me, it was a rather boring “lesson” for the day. For a good hour, we will be listening to someone preach and before that, we will have to sing some good ole’ songs called hymns from the hymn book. These were initially quite interesting as the songs were easy to learn and sing along to but tuning myself in for the message quickly became dreadful, so I would find myself sleeping through the message in the comfort of the cushioned seats.

That fateful night, I prayed to God and told Him I would surrender my life to Him and accept the Lord Jesus as my Saviour if He would but lead me out of this dark path of life that I had trodden. If he would but merely show me a sign by granting me the ability to get decent ‘A’ level grades, I was willing to let Him take control of my life.

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

And deliver me He did because I have come to learn that we have a God who is faithful and keeps His promise. For the next 1 month before my ‘A’ level exams, I was able to focus my mind on my studies and not have any distractions which used to occupy my mind and cripple me from doing anything productive. I shared this experience with a Christian friend of mine and she encouraged me to keep to my promise of accepting Christ when I got back my results. While I was contemplating in my mind which denomination is the right one, which church should I attend, etc., God worked in a mysterious way by having a junior college schoolmate invite me to his church. I was never close to him in school and we never really talked much other than playing soccer together but when the invitation came, I took it as a sign from God and went to his church on the following Sunday.

The sermon I heard shook me and was an awakening of my spiritual consciousness. I realized I was a sinner and needed the cleansing power of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. But I held back and sought to escape from this terrible feeling in my heart. Very soon, the next week came and I knew I could not escape from the terrible reckoning that one day God would judge me for my sins, and this time without my friend’s invitation, I went back to his church. A second time, the message spoke to my heart and I knew I needed to repent of my sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, yet once more I hardened my heart and left for home without believing. Finally, the third Sunday came and again I felt compelled to go to church to see if the Lord would once more draw me to Him. This time, I finally relented after the message that was delivered spoke to me and when the altar call came, I raised my hand and acknowledged that I wanted to accept Christ as my Saviour.

Knowing His sure mercies and grace towards a sinner like me, I durst not venture to think what life would have been like had I not humbled myself to receive Him into my life. There was probably no more chance to turn back to God had I gone away not accepting Christ, and surely trying to find good in life again without God would have spelt disaster! So I thank God for saving an unworthy sinner like me and pulling me back from further destruction that I was heading for.

Why I chose to join Gethsemane B-P Church

Before I came to Gethsemane B-P Church, I was in Jesus Saves Mission. There I learnt many doctrines that I have never learnt in the church I was saved in (Gospel Light Christian Church), and learning these doctrines also meant practising them. When it came to God’s Word, the KJV was always promoted as the most accurate version in the English language and this was taught by one of the pastors in the church during Bible study. Yet, in another instance when I asked another pastor about a certain disparity in the Bible, he explained that there were errors in the Bible. His explanation meant that the KJV continued to propagate such errors whilst other versions have addressed it. This came to me as a surprise and he then spent over an hour explaining to me about the origins of the Bible and how that through translation, errors would have occurred. These all sounded very strange to me because it seemed as if one was then left to question the integrity of the English Bible that God’s people have been using for hundreds of years. These questions were left unanswered in my mind for awhile. Not too long afterwards, an itinerant preacher preached over the pulpit that part of the verse from which the sermon was being preached can be omitted/deleted. This came as a huge shock to me as it immediately goes against the teaching of Christ that “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18) and “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18-19a).

These disturbing incidents led me to continue to seek for the truth and that led me to the B-P movement, of which I am still very new to but at least here, they believe in what they preach. When I first heard the VPP doctrine that it affirms the Bible to be perfectly preserved in the original languages and that it is faithfully translated in the KJV Bible, I took time to consider it. By faith, I understand that the Verbal Plenary Preservation of the Bible (VPP) is right; and I see that it takes a firm stand for God’s Word and does not allow God’s Word to be twisted according to the whims and fancies of naysayers.

Amongst the B-P churches, Serene and I decided to join Gethsemane B-P Church and be a part of this household of God as we find this congregation to be of a comfortable size where we can integrate into quickly and grow in faith. God willing, we hope to be married soon and grow up as a family in this church.

 

Serene Chua's Testimony

 

I was brought up in a Taoist family. Since young, I was told to worship idols and burn incense and joss paper. The first church that I went to, which I believe now, was a Charismatic church. It was my secondary school classmate who brought me there. At that time, I still did not know what is being Charismatic. However, I felt uncomfortable when I was there. They were speaking something which I did not understand at all. They were also quite hysterical and started to cry towards the end of the service. Thank God, He led me away from that church. I never went back again. With the Lord’s perfect timing, years later, He brought me to a church camp where I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. Looking back, I marvel at how God works in my life. Thank God for preserving my life so that I can have a chance to come to Him.

I went to a church camp in December 2006. After hearing a series of messages, the Lord convicted my heart. I said my sinner’s prayer on the second night of the camp. I was overjoyed at that point of time when I accepted Christ. It was a major change in my life. God has given me a new life. Old things are passed away, all things are become new. I really thank God for saving a lost sheep like me. I was once blind but now I see. A wretched sinner like me indeed needs Him.

When I went back home after the camp, it was time to break the news of my conversion to my parents. At first I was fearful and worried about what their reaction would be, but then I realized that I was actually not alone to face this problem. God was with me. I prayed knowing that He was listening to me and would bring me through this trial. He is faithful to keep His promises. If my Lord is merciful in accepting a sinner like me, He will definitely not leave me alone. With this assurance, I told my mother about my decision. She was very upset. She cried with much tears and asked me why I made this decision. She could not accept it and refused to let me go to church. She was very disappointed in me. I felt my mother’s grief. However, I also know that Christ has died for my sins and this is a good enough reason that I should persevere and not deny Christ’s love for me. I also cried and told my mother that I would not waver. It was really a painful experience for me. Everyone in the family was upset with me. That night I prayed to God again, asking Him for wisdom and strength to deal with this matter. It was a Sunday on the next day. I still wanted to go to church even after my mother’s objection. Then I did something which I knew I would not have the courage to do on my own. I know it was God who gave me the strength. I asked my mother again whether she allowed me to go to church. She was silent for a while before she finally opened her mouth and agreed. Praise the Lord! God answered my prayers. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). I prepared myself and with a thankful heart, I went to the church which organised the church camp that I attended earlier on. I was baptized in that church. It was through much prayer before I got baptized. God is good! My parents were reluctant at first but eventually they gave in. It was not easy for me to be in a family which does not put their trust in God. This leaves me to think how nice it would be to be born in a godly Christian home. However, I know that it is wrong for me to think this way. God has a purpose in everything He does. He has a purpose for me to be born in an unbelieving family. I just need to put my faith and trust in Him. Everything is within His control. I am also praying that my family will come to accept Christ one day.

I also thank God for bringing me to Gethsemane B-P Church where I can hear God’s Word and worship Him. The sound doctrines of this church is the major reason why I have chosen to stay in this church after visiting it. At Gethsemane, the messages preached are not about making one feel good about himself. The messages preached are meant to rebuke and bring one closer to the Lord and further away from the sinful ways. Praise the Lord for a faithful servant like Pastor Koshy who preaches the truth of His Word. This is the church where I know I will be fed with spiritual food.