Monday, May 6, 2013

My Conversion Story.

My Conversion Story.

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

A wretched sinner saved by the grace and mercy of Christ.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

The following is a brief account of my conversion story.

I was first introduce to Christ by my tuition teacher when I was about 14 years old.

At that time I didn't really know who Christ is. According to my tutor, Christ is someone who can help chase demons away when you use the command: "In Jesus name I command you to go away!"

I was then young and naive and often tried using that "spell" when I was afraid...
I could still recall my tutor call me to read the book of John... But after reading it I am still not sure who Christ is...

At that time I am still following my mum worshipping idol praying to get good results..
On and off I went with a classmate of mine to a neighbourhood church where they... well gave us food to eat...

I remember I was introduce to "daily bread" from my tutor. I love reading that book and started signing up for it.

From then on I spend lots of time reading it. I even brought it to read during the army days where I still could remember my army friend advice me that I am suppose to only read one chapter a day because I was trying to complete it as much as possible in a single day...

From then on I think my knowledge of Christ grew. Reading the daily bread thought me who Christ is. The Love of Christ never failed to fascinate me. As always I was very move and inspired by the story told in the daily bread..

Who is this Christ! Wow! Such a loving God! How bless will I be if I can have Jesus as my God as well.Than I start making a comparsion with the idols I am then worshipping.. Why are they even call god? They look so fierce and are always carrying a huge saber with them. Unlike Christ a loving God whom you can easily approach.

At that time of my life I was awaken to lust and was struggling big time with it.. And often fall into sin. I some how knew what I was doing was wrong. I felt miserable and ashame with what I am doing. I felt funny approaching the idol to seek forgiviness and since they were so stern looking, I am not compel to pray to the idol for forgiviness of sin.

It never came across my mind though why suddendly there is this heavy guilt in me whenever I sin. And praying to Christ for forgiviness seem to be the natural way to dealt with this misery that is eating onto me. And so I start praying to Christ for forgiviness and reconciliation to Him.

I even resort to inflict punishment upon myself whenever I sin. I told myself for the first time I sin, I will slap myself in the face for 10 times and then ask forgiviness for my sin. And I resolve in my heart to increase the punishment to another 10 times when I sin again. I remember once I slap myself a hundred time in my face.. because it is the tenth time that I fall into the same sin again.

Feeling helpless against my sin.. I quit inflicting punishment upon myself anymore...
As I progress in my ITE days one of classmate Fyonne ask me to go to CCC... I rejected her invitation because of a girl I meet while working as a waiter in mandarin hotel. I was hopelessly in "love" with this girl. But she believes in buddhism.. And I found out that she visits the temple regularly.

Some how I knew probably from my mom that a christian cannot be with a buddhist. Since young my mom have been warning me not to be a follower of Christ so that I would not betray my ancestor. If I want to be a christian I cannot follow her to the temple.

But I was so in "Love" with her...
I went home one day and I pray to God... "Dear Jesus... I knew deep in my heart that you are the one true God. And I will not deny that you are the One. I knew that if I follow her to visit the temple, I will end up in hell. But I would rather go to hell because I am so mesmerise by her..." I didn't know what I am talking.. I am so blind..

So I went and pursue her. Did many many silly things trying to win her heart for I thought hard work and sincerity equals gaining her affection... But I was rejected badly.. I was in great despair.. I came crawling back to God again in prayer asking for forgiveness and reconciliation..

Then I enter the army.. and came to know a christian name Joel. I ask if I could go to his church. The church was Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church. It was very far but I was quite determine to follow Christ.

I was still recovering from the "hurt" then... As I was on my way home after renewing a book title "How to get what you want and want what you have" (*Not recommendable... And you probably know why I borrow this book...) from Hougang mall library, a guy name Alvin from CCC reach out to me. Since I was still seeking God and new to Calvary Church, I went ahead and visited Central Christian Church. I have been warn by the brothers from Calvary Church that CCC is a cult.

They passed me many document pertaining to the court case CCC have gone through. I was not theologically incline so I don't know what they are talking about..
Halbert from CCC was very warm and persistance in reaching out to me. I was very touch by his sincerity. So eventually he win me over. I thought to myself... they are not as bad a bunch of people after all...

In a blink of an eye I have been worshipping in CCC for 10 years. CCC is very work driven and authoritarian. We are discipline to read and pray daily. Our mentor keeps a record of our bible study progress. Since we are Christian, we cannot lie. So when we miss our quite time with God, we will get challenged. However I think their approach have since mellow down.. God is working all these while.

Even though I may not fully comprehend the bible. I tried to keep up with the bible reading legalistically. Slowly my knowledge in the Lord increases. And the reading of the scripture have drawn me closer to Christ.

As times goes by I got frustrated with the activity and teachings of the church. I felt I am going no where.. We are encouraged to "Speak the truth in Love" and I have often been reprimand in many ways not living up to the standards of being a disciple..

I am very burden and discourage to have been correct by most of the things I do..."I'm hitting the wall on every side.. I'm walking in circle..." I find life unbearable and was burden by the word of God..  Proverbs 15:5 A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible. Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

It was a pretty tough journey... I tried to rationalize.. what the leaders were doing is out of concern for me... My leader cares about me enough to even rebuke me.. This is what they have always reason.. I should be grateful that they even care... That leaves a very bad imprint in me. I tend to stereotype people as generally manipulative. I fear getting close to people for fear they would use emotional black mail against me...

I didn't really concern about the matter of doctrine. In my mind was Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for (B)they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. [a]Let them do this with joy and not [b]with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

I remember praying to God one time... "Lord what do you want to do with me? I am exhausted... If it is your will that I should continue adhere to the overwhelming programmes of the church and if my obedience would please you... May your will be done.."

Until recently... CCC have been teaching it's member self-help programmes. One of them is "Schema Therapy". The irony is that we learn this skill and apply it against one another... And so this arouse our interest in finding out more about self-help and lead us first to Joel Osteen.. I even brought a book written from Joel Osteen.. Haven't read it though. Didn't know it was properity gospel until a sister show us a clip on "Joel Osteen vs Paul Washer" where she found in youtube. She introduces to us Paul Washer as someone who is like our former pastor so full of fervent zeal for the Lord. Out of curiosity I went and watch the clip.

Tears well up in my eyes when I heard brother Paul preach. Who is this man! Such great love for God's people. Who even wept for the salvation of the disciples during prayers! This must be my brother in Christ! He must be the shepherd sent from God! This is Christainity! I'm on all ears ever since. And devour every sermon I could find that was delievered by Paul Washer. I am so hungry... I am ecstatic.. as if I have been starving for many years. I haven't tasted anything so good in my life! I listen for hours after hours.

Never in my life have I been so satisfied before and I gobble up all of his sermon I could possibly find online.
Slowly we begin to find out that brother Paul was from southern baptist and follow the teaching of Calvinism. We then learn that John Piper is also a Calvinist. And I started reading about the 5 point of calvinism in John Piper's website. My mind have ever since been renewed by the word of God. All that I have read from the bible in the past is not in vain. God is working all these while. Things that I couldn't understand now came to life! The word of God is living and active within me!

I am grateful to find out that I am totally depraved and am unable to please God with my works and that I am unable to come to Him unless He enables me. God is so divine in the eyes of a Calvinist! A great burden have been lifted off from my back just like the prigilm in the book prigilm progress.

Then we started studying the doctrine of different churches, visited some and found out that Shalom Reformed Baptist is the only Church that believes in the 5 point of Calvinism. And so here I am.

I am ecstatic and at the same time fearful...but I know I am in save hands. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death.

Had not been the mercy of God, I would still be wandering aimlessly. What an Amazing grace! By nature I am a follower. It would have been almost unimaginable that I would change a church. God works in mysterious ways.

How has my new relationship with God change my relationship with sin? Is there any mortification of sin within me? Am I still tempted... By and large... Yes... Sometimes I feel I am victorious over my sin at times I feel I am so weak and completely helpless. I am fearful... not knowing when temptation will strike again. I'm tired of fighting it. I have given up fighting it. Lust being one of the most disturbing sin in me. I dare not think of it.. There are so many others too that plague me like pride, self-pity, boastful, gossip, anger etc..

A wicked man sustain by the grace of God. My only hope is in Christ. Only Christ can help me win the victory over sin... Some times I fear I am not the elected one of God.. However even if God were to sent me to hell in the last day. I will still abide in Him. I will have no regret. For even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table and is satisfied. Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He (A)makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

The Lord is to be fear. How dreadful is he that falls into the hand of the Lord! But it is still better to fall into the hands of the Lord than to fall into the hands of man for the Lord is merciful and kind to those who fear Him.

And... that's the end of my conversion story... I hope Shalom Reform Baptise Church would shower me with grace and accept me as one of your brother in Christ.

Jeremiah Tan

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