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Seminary mostly prepares one in theology of man’s opinion of the Bible, often subscribing to a particular denomination and/or leaning of Scriptural understanding, which may or may not be commonly evangelical.

Ironically, seminary tends to passively teach you the odds and ends of the complex and sensitive (and quite often, heartbreaking) nature when ministering to people. Funnily, a pastor spends most of his time preaching to the converted.

Therefore, since graduating from seminary, I have never considered myself sufficient in a growing experience (never mind any mentoring of *willing* leaders) that at the end of day, I feel inadequate to at least jump start my ministerial confidence (and “ministry”) in reaching out to people.

Curiously, I have learned in the last year or so, that the most able people who serve in ANY form of Christian or pastoral ministry, is typically a born-again Christian with a willing heart and a sensitive and passionate Spirit to serve. One doesn’t need a worldly academic transcript and glorified paper certificate to feel “certified” to serve and build for God’s Kingdom. Makes you wonder about the underlying purpose of seminaries in the first place. Ouch!

Fast forward my academic studies, and I strangely find myself compelled to be involved in a local Christian charity, where we ultimately minister and reach out to the poor and needy. I may not be doing overseas mission as the stereotype of doing missions and witnessing the struggles of an overseas orphanage, but I am indeed *convicted* of the real and growing need to reach out to the poor and needy – the lost sheep of today’s society (a.k.a. all non-believers), and essentially live out the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20, but also an active fishers of men.

I initially didn’t feel confident in serving the LORD among the poor and needy. In a spiritual sense, I feel like a headless chicken trying my best to focus my eyes and attention on the cross of Calvary, whilst my brain is trying to side-step and dodge God’s TLC (tender loving care). However, I believe the LORD has been instilling within me His sustaining peace and to simply be myself. I am also aware that the LORD wants me to express my love for Him and serve and come just as I am. I felt encouraged that whilst working behind the scenes, then the LORD will work in me through the anointing works and power of His Holy Spirit, as a result of His obedience in loving and doing as He is calling me to do.

Amusingly, the whole poor and needy theme of Christian service is proving challenging, as I feel the LORD is presently patient with me to follow through a vision that He has placed in my heart, whilst I was still at seminary to commit my life in the form of a potential “social enterprise” ministry. I even vowed to only pursue it when everything else fails (in my own human understanding and acknowledgement of failure), and all but remains is this vision. I didn’t expect my inner vow to result in an answer to a prayer either, which is perhaps handy to start writing prayers in a journal! If my memory serves me well, I think I was given this vision around 2008-2009. So around 6-7 years I have been treasuring, testing, praying and sharing selectively this vision.

My heart is sincerely excited of this profound vision, which I have carefully shared with some trustworthy brothers and sisters in Christ. When I do share, my Spirit within me is excited for God. I do believe it is of God, because I am not gaining anything in a selfish sense – and I am even protective of this vision, as it needs a team of godly and mature Christians to work together. It’s not exactly a one-man venture. And because of the exponential harvest and complex nature, I haven’t a faintest clue in how to proceed and test this vision further.

And yet, it is something I don’t want to tell everyone, for obvious reasons and fear of seeing God’s vision evolve into a personal vision, which I don’t believe is a wise move when sincerely striving to listen out for God’s voice and hear His authoritative and confirming Words, be it audibly in Spirit or through Scripture.

The LORD has certainly grabbed my attention. I am really in a testing situation, where I cannot run, even if I wanted to, which is why I an beginning to understand why ALL doors have closed over my nose and face. It is a testing situation, because the LORD is still allowing me an open choice (freewill) – either to follow Him to the very end and serve and build for *His* Kingdom, or build my own empire or earthly kingdom in worldly status and temporary materials.

As a born-again Christian, most believers know what is the compelling and godly answer. We all do! In practice, we often mask God’s plan with our own agenda, or twist it to suit us in some selfish way and gain. I wish to avoid the latter, and as a result I pray daily for godly wisdom, godly knowledge and godly guidance.

Why I personally keep returning back to this particular reflection? – Overall, I do not have a fully disclosed answer, other than I feel in recent weeks the LORD has been nudging me more and more towards a certain direction in life (which seems new to me, but is probably predestined according to God). I know for sure that the LORD is rekindling a passion within me – a passion that would honour Him and give Him the glory.

Will this opportunity last forever? – No. If I don’t respond to what the LORD may be truly calling *me* to follow through and trust in His provision, knowledge and guidance, then God can easily use someone else to do the job. The Scriptures are a testament to that. And of course, I want to be part of this exciting plan, especially through hindsight when it does prove to be of God in the end.

How am I currently responding? – By slowly treading on new ground and stepping out in faith with new opportunities that links with God’s bigger picture. Coincidentally, and as a result, I am receiving profound spiritual attacks, where I am supposed to give up life and accept failure, with the evil one wanting me to believe that God has abandoned me and that I have wasted my life.

Inspired by the Words of Scripture from Matthew 16:23. All I can say is, “Get behind me Satan. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.”

~Richard