MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY (7)
Again, I remembered something again significant during my time at Hillsong College. I arranged 2 Mission teams of students to Indonesia which were greatly blessed of God and we saw much fruit for the Kingdom of God. I had the opportunity to preach in an open air Crusade in the city of Kupang West Timor to an estimated 13000 crowd, and saw many respond to the claims of the Gospel.
Now I come to perhaps the most important step in my walk with the Lord and a new direction in my ministry.
During January each year when the Senior Pastor is on vacation, some of the staff pastors handle the preaching. Typical of preaching in January it was about New Year resolutions, and making every minute count in our lives for the Lord.
I sat in church on the Saturday night (as I was always away preaching on the Sunday) and began to pray a prayer that I can sincerely say changed my life. I prayed.
- Lord I want to love you more in 2005
- Lord, I want a greater love for S.E. Asia
I began praying it every day, and every weekend would publicly confess it as I preached. I did not realise what a dangerous prayer I was praying. In my heart I have always been critical of the “Confess it & possess it” preachers, although I came to see years ago the power of confessing the truths of God’s Word.
My confession, began to change something in my life, and I have no doubt stirred something in the heavenlies. In March I went to Vietnam to teach the underground church leaders, and came back and spent the weekend in Singapore. Kong Hee said to me, “If you want more ministry in Asia John I can open doors for you”. Previously he had opened the doors to two exceptional Bible Schools in Malaysia & Indonesia. So I added his offer to my prayers and continued to confess the 2 matters.
By April, I knew I would have to resign from Hillsong College, and conclude my ministry at the end of term 2(August 31). My plan was to meet with the College Director at the Staff Retreat. The Director did not arrive as his father had passed away. In the first or second session of the retreat Brian Houston stopped in the middle of preaching and in front of about 600 people pointed me out and said “John, you have a dream in your heart I release you to fulfil that dream”. Wow what a confirmation to all that had been going on in my heart.
I was almost 64 at this time, we had purchased a lovely home not many minutes away from the church, I expected my time at Hillsong College would have been my last full time ministry appointment until I would have had to eventually to “retire”. Margaret continued to serve part time at the College for some time following my leaving.
At the beginning of September 2005, I stepped out in faith without any salary to serve the Lord in Asia. My plan was (with Margaret’s full blessing and support) to go for 2+ months at a time to teach and preach. Remember our 2 sons and 5 grandchildren are all in Sydney so Margaret had plenty of support if she needed it.
I would fly into Singapore and spend the weekend there, and then fly off Sumatra, or Java or Sulewesi in Indonesia, or East or West Malaysia, or Taiwan or India. I would return to Singapore for a few days R&R and fly out again. I began to experience such anointing and authority and liberty in my teaching and preaching, far beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I also saw many people respond to the claims of the Gospel. City Harvest church covered my air fare costs and accommodation costs, and kindly gave me a love gift from time to time.
In this almost seven and a half years period, even though not on a salary, I can say with the Psalmist, “Once I was young, now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread”. The Lord mot and more than met all our needs.
Of course I missed Margaret greatly, and internet connections were not that good in many places in Asia in those earlier years. I expected this to just keep on going on from strength to strength. It all came to a screaming halt in December/January last.