28 May 2014


By John Ollis

It is often said that as  one gets older, the person tends to reminisce  about the past. Often the things that come to mind are the highlights in a person’s life, and some of the influences that have perhaps dramatically effected them.

Again, whilst I was in hospital recently I began to think of some of the people that have really effected my life. Before I get to personalities, I want to make some other comments. We are all aware there are many different streams within the Body of Christ, often based around Doctrine, or Church Government or a  Personality. In relation to Doctrine for example “Baptist churches” who believe in baptism by immersion, Church Government, for example Presbyterian (Government by Elders) and personality Lutheran churches, started by Martin Luther.

All the church streams also can have a mixture of the above as well. I have been exposed to at least 3 different streams  in the Body of Christ. Firstly, by the Salvation Army where I came to Christ as a 10 year old boy. The Salvation Army is know for many things, but its roots are very much in  what is called the Holiness Movement, (of which there are 2 main expressions. Over 2 hundred years ago ministries like John Wesley  began to preach about the “Blessing of Holiness” or Baptism in the Holy Spirit, as a second experience for Christians, then there is the Keswick (Belgrave Heights) stream which teach that Holiness is a progressive experience. I thank God for this influence on my life, as the emphasis is all about character and lifestyle.

Then, I was influenced by the Charismatic/Pentecostal world where the emphasis is on Charisma and power etc. Human beings find it so hard to keep these truths in balance, as it is so easy to overemphasise one of these aspects of truth. Or, to be more doctrine centred than Christ centred. You can have your doctrine right, but live a defeated unfulfilled life. Sadly, I know people who have a choice relationship with the Lord, but who hold teachings that are at least unbalanced if not contrary to the clear teaching of the Word of God. I am so glad God looks at our heart.

O how we need to have a teachable heart, and have Mentors who we love and trust who can speak into our lives and help us to gain balance in what we believe and how we live.

For the last few years because of choice and circumstances, we  have been part of a local Evangelical church (Baptist) which happens to have such a great mixture of all the good things I have mentioned above.

As far as personalities that have influenced my life, the first that comes to mind is a man called Milford McPherson who was the Education Officer (Academic Dean) at the Salvation Army College. he had been a missionary in India & Ceylon, he was a holy godly man and I could see Jesus in him. He is now with the Lord whom he loved with all his heart.

In the Charismatic world, I thank God for such people as Ruth Heflin, I mentioned her in Monday’s blog, I had the opportunity to meet her in her Community in Jerusalem in 1976, where the emphasis was on Worship, Prayer and Missions. I thank God for her. I am more committed to praying for the nations.

The condition I made for us to go to Singapore at the end of 1997 to become the Principal of the Bible College there was that I could minister across the whole Body of Christ, what an awesome blessing that was. I met and developed a friendship with the Rev. Kong Hee who pioneered and now Pastors the largest Christian church in that Island state. The list of effects and influences on my life would fill many pages, there is no doubt he is a modern Apostle. He was brought up an Anglican but had such a hunger to serve the Lord and an openness to seek out truth.

I also thank God for the privilege of meeting and knowing intimately Brother Kevin Conner who exposed me to so many truths and principles in the Word of God that literally changed my life and ministry. His son Mark is the Snr Pastor of City Life Church in Melbourne.

I said recently, Margaret and I celebrated our 49th Wedding Anniversary whilst I was in hospital. I have never doubted that God brought her into my life, and I will thank God throughout eternity for her. There are many things I could record here of the positive influences she has made  in my life. The one that stands out to me as I write this blog is that she would never let me settle down, but always lovingly encouraged me to seek out truth and blessing that would not only impact my life but my ministry as well. If I have accomplished anything in the Kingdom of God over the last 50 years  it has been because of Margaret.

There are many other persons I could mention in this blog including many of the saints in our local church who even by their lives bless me every Sunday when we meet together to worship the Lord.

May I encourage you to sit down and think about the influences and people that have touched your life. Unless we mediate on the past, we could start to think we have done such a good job, but in reality it has been so many other people and teachings and influences that has brought us to this day. To God be all the Glory.