Called Into His Wonderful Light

by Rev Lester Lim

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession,
that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

I was born in a non-Christian family. My father passed away a month after I was born. Thereafter my mother went to work in Singapore. She entrusted me to the care of my grandaunt before leaving for Singapore. A few years later, my mother remarried and had a new family in Singapore. Therefore, I grew up in my grandaunt’s house since I was a baby. As I came from a broken family, I was very rebellious during my teenage years. I mixed with bad company when I was in secondary school and as a result, I dropped out of school after my Form 3 PMR exams. 

I became a Christian in the year 2004, and the events leading to it was an amazing experience for me. After the Chinese Lunar New Year that year, I started having strong inclinations and thoughts that I want to believe in Jesus and to become a Christian. At that time, I could not understand why I had those thoughts because none of my friends and relatives are Christians; no one ever shared the gospel with me; I had never attended church; and I had never read the Bible nor any Christian books prior to this. I only knew about Christianity and Jesus through TV programs where I watched people attending church and Jesus hanging on the cross, and whenever I passed by the Catholic Church (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart) in Johor Bahru, I could see the statue of Jesus erected outside the church. 

I tried to seek for answers to justify why I wanted to believe in Jesus, and the only conclusion was that I had this inner peace in my heart whenever I thought of Jesus. Since young, I followed my grandaunt’s many superstitions, all kinds of Chinese taboos, and was involved in idols and ancestor worship, but I never felt the same peace in my heart. Instead, I was very fearful of death. The amazing thing was this fear disappeared whenever I thought of Jesus; this fear was replaced by peace that cannot be described with words. 

This feeling and inclination to believe in Jesus continued and was getting stronger as time went by. So, one Thursday in September 2004, I decided to go to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the coming Sunday (which was 3 days away), and I wanted to tell the person-in-charge there that I want to become a Christian. During this ‘three-day wait’, a cousin whom I had not met for a long time suddenly came to visit me to sell me insurance. After she told me the about the different policies, I shared with her that I want to become a Christian. She then told me that she attends Wesley Methodist Church Johor Bahru (WWCJB) occasionally.  I was very excited and asked her to bring me to church on the coming Sunday. After attending Sunday service for three months and baptism classes at WMCJB, I was baptized and received into church membership on Christmas day 2004. 

Before my conversion to Christianity, I could not stop sinning and my sins had put me in a desperate and hopeless situation. Although at that time I worshipped Buddha and other gods and tried to redeem myself with good deeds, I never had the assurance that I could be saved from my sins, and was always fearful of death and facing punishment in hell. I was exactly like those described in Hebrews 2:15, “Fear of death and were subject to lifelong slavery.” And I was a sinner without hope as stated in Ephesians 2:12, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” 

But after I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour and understood that he had paid the price for my sins, and that I have hope of eternal life in him; all the fears that plagued me for so many years disappeared, and replaced by the peace in Christ that cannot be described with words: “For he himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14)

After becoming a Christian, I started to enjoy my freedom in Christ and was no longer a slave to sin (Galations. 5:1). My new life in Christ has enabled me to choose to stop sinning, and has given me the freedom to live my life according to God’s will and to follow the teachings of the Bible : to love God and others, to live a holy life and do good deeds.

Not only was my life completely changed by God, He also called me into the Pastoral ministry where I am currently serving. As I look back, I realise that God had been calling me since the day I stepped into WMCJB. I recall that when I attended the English service that day, I had a very strong conviction that one day I would be like that Pastor, standing at the pulpit preaching – even though, at that time, I did not know what was expected of a Pastor. Furthermore, at that time my English was so bad that I did not even understand the sermon! But the desire to become a Pastor and to serve God full time remained deep in my heart over the years. John Wesley called this the “inward call.” It’s an inner experience by certain individuals, when they realise that God wants them to enter into the Pastoral ministry. However, having an “inward call” on its own is not enough because this calling may be the desires of the individual rather than from God. Thus the church has to evaluate, judge and confirm whether that individual is gifted for Pastoral ministry. Wesley called this the “outward call”.

From 2009-2011, I worked in WMCJB as an Office Administrative Assistant. During this time, the church was able to assess me to see whether I was suitable to enter the Pastoral ministry. I want to thank God that I received tremendous support from Pastors, leaders and church members, and they affirmed my calling into full time ministry and sent me to Seminari Theoloji Malaysia for my theological training from 2012-2016.

The decision to enter into full time ministry was not difficult for me. In fact, it was very easy for me to respond to and obey God’s calling.  The reason is because I have experienced God’s tremendous grace, and how much he loves me; therefore I am willing to serve him as an act of gratitude.”

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