My journey with Christ has been a pretty exciting one. I have been going to the Baptist church ever since I was 9 years old. I got saved when I was about 10 years old. I want to share my testimony with my new brothers and sisters in this family. In this testimony, I want to use the different roles of God to explain my journey to 123.
God my Saviour
Like many Christians nowadays, I was stuck in the period of “God my Saviour” for a long time. I was stuck here for about 10 years. This period started when I asked God to be my Saviour. I remembered I believed that He’s my Saviour and He forgave all my sins, yet I thirsted for more knowledge of Him. I was seeking very hard for Him, but I did not know how to find Him. I remember reading about the mustard seed, and Jesus telling His disciples to have faith. I clung onto the few of His Words and Promises I came to know such as: have faith, and “seek and you shall find”. However, nothing really made sense to me as a big picture. All I knew for sure was that I did not have to spend my eternity in Hell, and that I could spend eternity in Heaven with other people that believe.
God my King
It was not until Cape Town that I discovered such a powerful epiphany. God is my King! As a team, we all woke up early and drew near to God. I did not use the Precious Prayer because I was not used to it. I appreciated it, but because God had opened my mind, I needed answers/food: His Word – the Bible. It is because Abby said something that helped me to thirst after God’s Word. She said to everyone that God talks to people through His word, and so many people only know Psalms 23, so we are limiting ourselves to allow God to talk to us only through that one chapter.
I was determined to know more about God my Saviour. I remember reading Hebrews, Psalms, and 1st and 2nd Samuel. I was especially attracted to God as a King. I never knew my God had such might and power.
For the First time ever, I saw Him as my King, my Creator. He reigns and is in control of it all. Though He is King, He is so gentle!
After coming home from Cape Town with my new found “knowledge” that God is my King, powerful and might, I knew my life from then would be changed forever. I was even more passionate than before. I was like a child who discovered the power of a sharp sword. The Bible says the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17). My new found knowledge of God was my sword; like any kid who just discovered the power of a sword, I started practicing using the sword: on brothers and sister, on my parents, on everyone. Even though I did not know much, I used the parts I do know to practice sword fighting with those around me. I was so in love with God! I expected everyone to have the same love and passion for God. I was quickly disappointed by the brothers and sisters around me. Soon, I found myself bitter and angry at everyone around me because they would not even pick up the “sword” and “practice sword-fight” with me. Instead of learning to be meek and loving, I started hurting people with the sword Abba and the Lord gave me.
God my Father
I knew something was wrong. I thought it was due to the people around me not being “holy enough”. While it could be true, I did not use what God gave me to help them and attract them to God’s grace and truth. On the contrary, I think I discouraged some people due to my unwise way of talking to them about God.
What amazed me now is that Abba and the Lord did not punish or frown at me. Like a loving Father who has a child running around crazily not knowing how to express his love, He slowed me down. Through some issues my parents had, He brought my out of my old church and placed me in Willingdon Church. There, I worshiped with thousands of other people every week. I felt good at first, but it seemed like God did not plan for me to stay there as I tried so hard to serve there, but was never given an opportunity from God. I was there for about a year and a half.
Slowly, I was being revealed a very obvious role of God. I always knew it, but I never fully realized it or experienced it. After I came back from Africa, I felt like Peter. I thought I will live my life for God since God did not want me to die for Him yet. I did not factor in the possibility that I would fail. However, I did. Not meaning or wanting to, but I did. I sinned against my brothers and sisters by not loving them and maintaining peace within God’s Church. I regretted what I did. This is when I felt God my Father forgiving me like the prodigal son. His love overwhelmed me. All of my shortcomings and weaknesses forgotten, because I was embraced in Abba’s bosom. I came to know the Father’s love for me.
Coming to 123 (the meeting place of the Church of God in Vancouver)
Near the end of June, I was in a lot of distress, spiritually. I was in a new position at work, I felt a lot of pressure. At church, due to my unstable schedule, I was not able to serve or attend gatherings outside of Sundays. I felt the distance between me and God grew further. Not that He was far from me, but barriers of distractions grew like weed. I felt the devil was using everything such as pressure of everyday life to push me into wanting to relax and rot my brain. Slowly, the worldly concepts creep into my head as I watch more and more TV shows to relax after work.
One Wednesday, somehow, I felt like coming to 123. Miraculously, Violin was in town. I was invited to attend the Friday meeting. I came to this meeting place. For the first time in awhile, I felt the presence of God. My spirit was relieved. It was so hungry, hungry for the presence of God and for other spirits of brothers and sisters in Christ.
I found out I lived right across from Tuhien when she called me that night from the help of an ambulance that was passing by on our street. From then on, I had to privilege of learning to properly draw near to God with her. She took my to Central Park to draw near to God the very next morning. Wow, my spirit felt revived! Since I have not had a good habit of drawing near to God for a long time, it’s difficult to form this habit since it does take a lot of conscious and physical effort. I did not go every day. I understood that if my spirit is strong, my body is more likely to be willing. Therefore, I have to teach my spirit to be stronger. For me, I need to learn to have the spiritual discipline. I need a solid routine that could build foundation of my spiritual growth; something that I need to do every day, despite rain, storm or sunshine. This is why I give thanks that God knows my weakness. He put me right in front of Tuhien. I have no escape! 😀
I joined more meetings at 123 following my spirit revival. My spirit sure enjoyed the presence of the brothers and sister at 123; however, I still did not feel at home because it was never my intention to stay at this church. I thought I was just passing through. However, everything pointed to the fact that it is time for me to join a church family. The time of my solitude has come to an end. However, I found all kinds of excuses not to be at 123 because I was too used to not having responsibilities. I did not want to be accountable. I did not want to be tied down. I was too used to being at church for 1.5 hours per week. These are such worldly mentalities. I examined my heart in front of God. None of the excuses are valid–I did not deem myself worthy to be at 123 because I am not healthy enough, I am not spiritually strong enough, I was not disciplined enough… etc. However, I forgot the fact that all God wanted was for me to obey His will; His will for me right now is to be with my family at 123. I obviously refused.
I remember Violin coming back to Vancouver in August. I tried to avoid some meetings because I have made up my mind to not be at 123. The week of Aug 7 – Aug 13 was not a peaceful one in my heart. I went to Willingdon that Sunday deciding that I will stay there. My heart was still arguing with God. On Aug 14th, the Friday after, I felt as if I was tossed into the ocean and swallowed up by a big fish to force me to go to the right direction.
God had intervened my wrong decision. Surely, I was making a huge mistake. Just like Jonah.
I listened to Violin’s message that night. She was moved by the Spirit of God that night and therefore, was very passionate. Many things she said that night really hit me in my heart. I knew God was speaking to me through her words.
I went to speak to her that night right after the message. She reiterated her passionate message by saying, “Understand God’s will for you!”
I told her I know what God’s Will was for me right now, I am just too stubborn to follow it.
She then said, “Oh, then just do it [His Will], and the feelings will come after”.
I was surprised at how easy the answer actually is. All the complications and images that passed through my brain in the last month of imagining myself at a new church seemed unnecessary and too dramatic. All I had to do was to obey and do God’s will when He reveals it to me clearly; He will take care of the results!
I went home that night praying and asked God to change my “feelings” because I will obey Him to stay at 123.
The following day was a breakthrough for me.
Tuhien invited me to join the ladies for team time on Saturday morning. We shared what we gained at the Friday meeting the night before. I started tearing up. I could not stop my tears because even though I had disobeyed Him, and was literally fighting Him every night when I was praying if I should move to 123 or not, He still loves me so tenderly and still wants me to serve Him. He still wants to use me! I was so shocked and honored. The image of John 21 came to mind. Even when Peter denied Jesus 3 times, He came personally to the shore of where the disciples were fishing and prepared the BBQ to initiate the conversation that will not just take away Peter’s guilt, but empower him to serve Jesus for the rest of his life through His love and forgiveness.
After praying with the sisters, we went to lunch. I felt something strange that I never felt before. Even though I have not told anyone my decision at this point, I saw these sisters as my family for the first time. There was the Open House the day after, and my “feelings” are even stronger: I saw the brothers and sisters at 123 as my family.
Many people including Christians are taught by the world to go by their feelings. However, if we are true to ourselves, and are aware that we are not sensitive to what God wants, let’s not rely on our feelings, as most often they are purely physical feelings of the flesh.
Even though it took me a long time and many struggles to finally realize and obey God’s decision, I still give thanks because I trust He works ALL THINGS together for good for those who love Him. ALL THINGS include my failures and mistakes. How amazing is this God of ours.
God as my Lover
Since I have been at 123 for more than a month now, I realized I am learning about God as my Lover. I already understand more than I used to, but I am so excited to see this part of Him more. I think it will be another life-changing event for me, and I hope to share with my brothers and sisters here soon.
I feel like everything in my life happened for a reason: for me to know God face to face more and more. It did take this whole journey for me to realize what I realize now. I know it will take many more journeys for me to realize even more about Him. Right now, all I can say is, I am glad He is who He is: forgiving, powerful, loving, gentle…and I cannot wait to extend this list.