|Baptism Defined (10/05/2014)||Pentecost & Baptism of the Holy Spirit (10/05/2014)|
|My Testimony (27/06/2013)|
Growing up in a Christian family, I have attended Clayton Church of Christ since the age of three. I have been a part of the church’s kindergarten, Sunday School (7 years), youth group (Youth AsSalt, 6 years), local uni students (FOCUS, 7 years) and since 2007/8, the young working adults ministry (Surge). Christian values have been instilled in me from the very beginning.
From an early age, as long as I can remember, I have never really ever doubted God’s existence; His presence and reality have been a constant throughout my life. At the tender age of three-and-a-half years old, I lost my mother to cancer. Her suffering was a lengthy and traumatic process for both my Dad and I. Many people over the years have commented that I was fortunate to have been so young so as not to remember — but I truly do not know. What I do know is that I worked really hard (and probably succeeded) at suppressing all childhood memories from that time…
During my years of primary schooling, I endured perhaps a higher level of bullying by the other students; it may have been racist in origin, but to me I did not see myself any differently — after all, we were all the same — having grown up here in Australia. I was (and remain) a ‘banana’ — white on the inside but yellow outwardly. The ABC (Australian-born Chinese) moniker is part and parcel of who I am. The memory verses taught in Sunday School helped sustain me as I grew up in this climate. Further, I still have to this day, a large print Children’s Bible and some of the illustrations are recalled whenever I read dramatic passages from the Old Testament books of Joshua or Judges.
My walk with Christ had a clear salvation event in Year 8. It was during a Youth Outreach Camp that God called me to accept Him as Lord and Saviour. God spoke through the atmosphere of speakers, leaders, His Word and directly. I still faced challenges and life continued somewhat ‘normally’, but it is the knowledge that I am one in Christ that strengthens me in my walk. I gave my life to Christ, accepted Him into my heart at that camp event, surrounded by fellow brothers- and sisters-in-Christ.
My walk in Christ has not been a bed of roses – there have been several ‘thorns’ along the way, all of which have helped to refine my opinions and beliefs. Baptism was first raised in Year 10, but it was not until some five years later when I fully appreciated and understood the meaning of baptism. This journey and the ‘debate’ on baptism that played out in my mind deserves a whole other article. I was finally baptised on Sunday, 3 December 2000, as a act of obedience to God, which made official my place in God’s kingdom as a child of God.
The core components of this testimony (above) were first written in preparation for and publicly declared as part of my baptism. Even before baptism and church membership, which came in 200x, I have always been serving in church, predominantly in the worship ministry; but I have also served in other ministries/capacities: kitchen duty as part of regular church lunches, and assisting my Dad in the video library ministry (now defunct in this modern digital age).
Through the influence of my Dad’s intellectual mindset, I, too, began my Christian walk living and thinking through this paradigm. This was particularly evident during my high school years, when intellectual and scientific thought, my leadership aspirations and ambitions created a sense of internal conflict with the teachings of the Bible. It was through the dedicated teaching and bible studies from my time with FOCUS that I really began to grow deeper in faith; and slowly, over those years, my spiritual journey matured as I submitted my will to God’s. The foundations of my faith were continually strengthened throughout my university days, and the freedom of becoming an adult enabled me to engage with and serve in my church’s worship ministry. It was some time during these years that I made the transition from piano- and keyboard-playing to singing as my main contribution. Nowadays, that ministry has further evolved to a blend of technology and music, as documented under Creative Technology in my blog.
The twice-yearly camps organised by FOCUS were pivotal events where I encountered God, felt His presence, and delved even deeper in my relationship with Him. I remained connected with FOCUS during my initial years of commencing work. In particular, serving dually in worship for both Sunday services as well as for the Friday night FOCUS sessions ensured that I remained committed to God’s cause (The fact remains that this period of transition makes young people vulnerable to walking away from God.)
Having key people in my life constantly challenging and questioning my spiritual walk forced me to take my faith seriously, and the constant reassessment ensured that I was continually refining and purifying my commitment to God. Throughout various trials, God has remained faithful. As I worked out my faith, I have continually raised the bar higher as part of my personal development and spiritual walk. I strongly believe that God uses people to achieve His purposes; I have always had aunts and uncles in my life whom I consider to be pillars of faith, helping to guide me and support my spiritual journey.
The following are belief statements, which I have proclaimed for myself over the years:
- I believe in You, Lord God — Father, Son & Holy Spirit, a perfect triune God.
- God, I have felt Your presence; Your Holy Spirit living within me; help me to not grieve Your Spirit.
- God, I have encountered You; You are with me always, even in my darkest hours.
- God, I belong to You; nothing, no one, no temptation in this world can ever take me away from you.
- Jesus, You are the rock of my salvation
- Jesus, You are my strength — in You alone do I trust and rely on to help get through life.
- God, You are all knowing and powerful — there are things in my life that I was not meant to understand, but I trust You and that is good enough for me.
- Lord, I am nothing and You are everything. All that matters is Your love, grace and mercy.
- God, I am here to serve You; use me that I may help glorify Your name
My favourite bible passage is a similar declaration of faith: Psalm 27:1-6
The topics I (plan to) write about under this X-Factor section of XBOP all reflect areas of thought that I have had to deal with extensively as part of this process of spiritual refinement. It is my prayer and hope that the articulation of all this material will collectively encourage other believers and also present a portfolio of my beliefs as a follower of Christ.
July 6 update/edit: Thanks to my cousin and her business — Christine’s Edits — for editing this article.