The turning point of my life occurred on the eleventh of September, 2001 when God gave me an encounter which I often related it as a “Damascus” encounter. Though it was not similar as the direct encounter St Paul had with our Lord Jesus, it was the direct intervention of our Lord in our lives which I found so similar – an intervention which otherwise we could never leave our old worldly way of life. I recounted this encounter in my book, The Coming Economic Flood, and my faith journey from 2003 till recent years. In these 16 years since 2003 through God’s divine guidance, I planted or nurtured a few small churches, spent an inordinate amount of time strengthening the disciples in several countries, wrote and shared widely against false teaching and galvanizing the churches in the region to prepare for the coming hard times to be self sustaining as well as being able to help the poor in the churches.
When God first called me, I had no idea of the training and missions He would give and lead me. In hindsight and with pleasant surprise, I found much similarity with the ministry of St Paul :
- Evangelizing and planting churches (Acts 14:21)
- Strengthening the disciples (Acts 14:22; 15:41; 18:22-23)
- Overseeing the churches against false teachers (Acts 20:30-31)
- Helping the poor in the churches (Gal 2:9-10, 1 Cor 16:1-3, 2 Cor 8:13-14; 9:12-14)
During these past 16 years and 10 years prior, I learned to live in lack and in plenty just like St Paul as well. Similarly seeking no financial assistance from churches like St Paul, my own hands supply my needs. Acts 20:34. Saint Paul did not go right away into ministry after his encounter with the Lord. He spent some time in Arabia. Gal 1:17-18. Many scholars believe he was having a personal retreat to understand the significance of His encounter and calling. Likewise from 2003 to 2007, I spent day and night reading up the Bible and books on essential doctrines before I went on my first missionary trip to China. Though I encountered much danger in the missions, weaknesses, insults, and even calamities, God delivered me without much suffering, unlike St Paul who was given 39 lashes 5 times, encountered shipwreck 3 times, and faced hunger, thirst, cold, exposure, and sleepless nights.
Hope in the coming Millennium and beyond is so real to me, by the grace of God, that I am so eager to invest in the treasure above while I count everything here as rubbish to the surpassing worth of knowing our Lord. On that glorious day, we will be vindicated for turning our back to the world in this life and always looking forward to the city built by God.
St Paul was right to say that if there is no coming Resurrection, then our faith is in vain and we should just eat, drink and merry. But if Hope is real and coming, our Lord’s exhortation to be the wise virgin, the faithful servant of investing for the gain of the Kingdom of God, or the sheep in caring for God’s people cannot be taken lightly but should be resolutely obeyed.