15 June 2017


By John Ollis

As a result of  receiving a particular email this week I began to think about some specific people who have influenced my life for good.  Most will be aware I am the product of an alcoholic home, there were no Christian influences there or in my wider family. I do remember the mother of a school/street  mate who was a gracious lovely woman, she was a Christadelphian, I did not know about their beliefs at that stage.
At the beginning of 1951 there was a knock on our door, the person was inviting people to attend their Sunday School, I attended for a few months but somehow didn’t fit in, I don’t know how but I discovered the Salvation Army (an extra mile’s walk) and began attending there. After a few months i was invited to receive Jesus as my personal Saviour, I was wonderfully born again (almost 66 years ago) there was a desire from day one to live a Godly life, only later was I exposed to the awesome Holiness teachings of the Army, and as a result of the call of God attended their training College. The Education Officer (Academic Dean) was a returned missionary from India & Sri Lanka,  his Godly life impacted me greatly, after I withdrew from the College he tracked me down pleading with me to return (this was not his job but he sure felt a pastoral concern for me).
Prior to actually attending College I came in contact with 2 Pentecostal ladies (spinsters) in hindsight in some ways extreme but they introduced me to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and receiving a prayer language, this was a major turning point in my life. I also saw the truths of Water Baptism and Holy Communion, I never completed my College training with the S.A. but later graduated from Commonwealth Bible College and entered ministry with the Assemblies of God. In the early years of my Pastoral Ministry I was greatly impacted by a now deceased international Evangelist who had a genuine signs following ministry.
From day one of our marriage  Margaret my wife  (the only person I am mentioning by name in this blog) has encouraged me to seek out truth and fulfil the will of God in my life. In the early 1970’s I travelled to New Zealand to see for myself the Renewal that was taking place there, and the rise in Praise and Worship (not knowing at that time the awesome  roots that this worship had come from. This eventually introduced us to a lovely N.Z. couple who taught and impacted us (and our last 2  hurches) with Biblical teaching on Praise & Worship.
I had heard over the years about a Bible Teacher who had a ministry that had taken him around the world, he had written many books, but had so many critics in the 1970’s including some who said he was a heretic.  I was very influenced by the critics and steered clear of this man. We eventually met around Christmas 1978 at a Convention in N.Z. The Lord softened my heart, and I was exposed to his teaching ministry and life, and it TOTALLY changed my life and ministry. I often use the term “building according to the pattern” and “having an eye for the cloud”  these are some of the truths he introduced me too that has so impacted my life and ministry. I am eternally grateful for the privilege of meeting him and knowing him.
In the early 1980’s I attended a Leadership Conference where I heard another excellent Bible Teacher who clearly taught on what I now call Biblical Discipleship. So much that had been in my heart (but not able to articulate with my head (mind)  came clear, and this has been the continued and developing ministry in my life.
I want to mention just one other person who’s life and ministry has impacted me. (we have known each other for at least 45 years) He is a Salvation Army officer now retired and living in Queensland, his Holy life, and hunger for the things of God and the work of the Holy Spirit has been such a blessing to me. (We still speak regularly on the phone).
The bible says the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and on our recent cruise I looked forward to meeting new people each time we went to the dining room for dinner. We met some very lovely people over the time, one Canadian man I sat next too who told me was a Reformed Pastor, He had studied under Eugene Peterson and Rick Watts (an Australian at Regent College), and also David Watson at Fuller. He made a profound statement to me that is still resonating in my spirit. UNLESS THE CHURCH EMBRACES RENEWAL IT WILL DIE, His  words have challenged me to seek to influence God’s people not to camp in the past, but to  have an eye for the cloud,  so that when God  moves, they will move with Him,  and be willing to change and recognise that truth is progressive, and that the Holy Spirit is still speaking to His Church today.
These persons  mentioned above stand out in my heart and mind because the Lord let them (or directed them) cross my path, and their influence has impacted me for eternity.  Of course there have been many over the years who have been a blessing to me, but those above are very special.
I trust my life and ministry has also influenced many people for good and encouraged them in their walk with God.  TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY.