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More About Me

 I was born into a so-called ‘nominal’ Christian family, meaning that my parents went to church and called themselves Christians but were in the words of the Apostle Paul, “holding the form of religion but denying its power.” I still pray that they will come to receive the LORD Jesus Christ as their LORD and Saviour.

Thus I was baptised as an infant by sprinkling and attended Sunday School when I was old enough. Strangely enough, whatever they may have been teaching me in Sunday School, I ended up being in fear and dread of death and hell.

In my teenage years, I lost interest in my studies and my grades suffered as a result. When I was 15, I failed my mid-year examinations and my parents were unsurprisingly displeased with this and I was grounded during the June school holidays. About that time, an evangelistic music group called The Crossroads performed at my school and I heard the performers share their testimonies about how they had received Christ in their lives and were now saved from sin and hell.

This was something new to me, despite being in Sunday School for a decade and I wanted it! So when the sinner’s prayer was spoken during the altar call, I silently recited it in my heart and received Jesus into my life.

No, there was no thunder and lightning announcing this momentous event though I am assured that there was rejoicing in heaven as the Scriptures tell us. Nor did I become a changed person overnight. But a seed had been planted that day which began to blossom and grow over the course of the next few years.

I became involved in the Youth Fellowship of my church and ultimately became a committed youth leader. Subsequently, I took on the responsibility as a Sunday School teacher and became the Senior Sunday School Superintendent. Together with a few mates from the Youth Fellowship, we formed our own Jesus Rock band called True Vine and served the LORD by performing at several evangelistic events, writing many original inspired songs in the process.

I did well in my studies as well, went to Law School and got my law degree. By the end of the 1980s, I had started working as a lawyer, was married with one son and things were looking good. Or so it seemed.

On the inside, I was drifting away from the LORD – using the excuses of family & work commitments – not to mention the political situation in my church, to spend less and less time pursuing God and His ways. By the end of the 1990s, I was barely recognisable as a Christian. I was uninterested in going to church, harboured negative judgemental thoughts against the church leadership and compromised my faith in many different ways. This situation was exacerbated by the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 which deeply impacted my own livelihood.

As our lives spiralled downwards, my wife suggested that we move to another church – Trinity Christian Centre – where my in-laws worshipped. I resisted the idea as I had been “born into” my church and was deeply fearful about leaving. But the LORD somehow convicted me to do so, despite myself. And so we did.

I remember telling myself on that first Sunday morning at Trinity CC, that I was going to hate every moment. I also recall telling myself that that the sermons would be very weak, after all, aren’t Pentecostals all airy-fairy and emotional without strong grounding in the Word of God?

Wrong thinking, as Trinity’s Senior Pastor Naomi Dowdy is wont to say.

What greeted me was a worship service that I likened to a rock concert (and to a rock music lover like myself) that was rather jarring and the negative thoughts were spinning in my overtaxed brain. It was quite an experience! Then came the message and I was rather impressed, to say the least, my misconceptions falling by the wayside.

Despite my reservations, despite my doubts – the LORD was slowly but surely working on me to bring me back into His flock but I still resisted. I would attend the odd service but that was it – no further commitment from me was the bottom line. We (my wife and I) kept ourselves safely within our own comfort zones. A good thing that God is not so easily deterred…

As mentioned before, due to the poor economic climate, my company was doing very poorly and this resulted in pay reductions and retrenchments and a gloomy office. Money had become a serious issue as the cost of maintaining a family of three boys often outstripped my financial resources. In February 2001, I turned 40 and the shocking realization that was my life was on a downward spiral become very very real.

Then one morning, whilst reading the bible (I had returned to spending time alone with God, thanks to the positive influence of Trinity CC), God spoke to me with the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 6: 33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I must have read this verse a million times in my Christian life and could recite it by heart. But this time around, God spoke into my heart and soul and it became a real promise from Him. If I would indeed seek first His kingdom and righteousness, He would take care of everything else in my life. I broke down and cried. The Word of God had cut deep into my spirit and gave me the resolution to my predicament as clear as day.

So I decided to take God at His Word.

But how was I to seek His kingdom and righteousness first? I was soon to find out.

Tithing is a Godly principle which requires Christians to return at least a tenth of their income to God. I have never really tithed my earnings to God, at the most, I gave Him one percent! Part of my refusal to do so (apart from selfishness, a distinct flaw of mine) was in rebellion to the manner my previous church used to present this issue. “You’re robbing God,” the pastor used to rail. And I cynically considered this a blatant attempt to guilt the congregation into giving a rich church even more money. Now in Trinity CC, our Senior Pastor Dowdy had a somewhat different (and unique) approach – “Why are you robbing yourself?”

“Huh?”

Pastor Dowdy went on to elaborate that tithing was not for God’s benefit but for our blessing. God wanted His people to be cheerful givers (to be a blessing, as God had spoken to Abraham in Genesis) in order to receive. In particular she highlighted two passages of Scripture.

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?'

"In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3: 8 – 12)

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6: 38

“You cannot out give God,” Pastor Dowdy stressed. This was no longer about my selfish desires; this whole issue was about honouring and glorifying God. But most of all, it was about trusting and yielding my finances totally over to Him. And so I did. And so, despite the difficult circumstances and not having enough, I gave God what was due to Him – my tithe.

Nothing happened for the next few months but in November of that year, I was informed that my company would go through another pay reduction exercise, to take effect in March of the next year. “That’s the wrong direction, LORD!” I complained but this time, I had the odd assurance that if I remained faithful, then God would provide for my needs as He had promised.

Contemporaneous with this announcement, my wife noticed a job advertisement and encouraged me to apply. I was not keen, I had been in this company for 12 years and I was too comfortable (despite the financial problems). Also, many doubts entered my consciousness – I am too old, I don’t possess the relevant experience etc. But I relented and applied, albeit with a self-sabotaging one-page resume which hardly communicated any value or worth to a potential employer!

In January of the next year, I was asked to come to an interview, attended it and within two days I was offered a job. By March, I was in a new work environment, with better status and most importantly, a remuneration package that was almost 50% more than what my salary would have been if I had not moved! HALLELUJAH!!!

God did not let me down! His faithfulness was amazing!

Since that faith experience, God has been changing me, from glory to glory, testing and shaping me into the person He wants me to be. Those years in the wilderness, out of His presence, seem like a distant memory now. I still carry Matthew 6: 33 firmly in my heart – it is God’s promise to me and my earnest desire is to see His Kingdom come and to live His Righteousness in my humble life.

If you’ve made it this far and God has touched your heart with His goodness and His grace and you want to experience this in your life as well. I would ask you to receive Jesus Christ into your life as LORD and Savour by saying this prayer –

 

God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross at Calvary, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Saviour. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in Jesus' precious and holy name. Amen.

 

If you just prayed that prayer, contact a nearby church and tell someone about your decision. They'll help you with your walk as a new believer in Christ. Also, don’t forget to drop me a line at kevin@powerofpop.com 

 

God’s grace and blessings be with you always,

Kevin