top of page

As a younger pastor


Back in Paya Lebar Methodist Church, God provided me with a mentor in the person of Roger Lee. He trained a group of us in the way that he was trained by the Navigators. I began to grow as a disciple of the Lord and very soon the sense of my calling into the full-time ministry began to surface again. I had also decided to enroll myself in the Institute of Education to be trained as a teacher.  My reason for being a teacher was simple. I had told God that if He spared me from full-time service, I would not pursue wealth but get myself into a career that would give me lots of time for ministry. I thought that teaching was a “half-day” job. I told God that He could have the other half of my day after work and all my school term breaks. 


My Rediscovery of the Things of the Spirit

At that point, I also became well-versed in cessation theology[1] and had even taught it in a few settings. I was familiar in explaining that tongues would cease when the New Testament part of the Bible was accepted as Canon. I could explain away all the incidences of tongue speaking in the Book of Acts saying that each incident was to mark the on-set of a different era in the church and there was no more need for tongues.


During this phase in my life, I also got acquainted with a great man of God. Although he was unknown to many, he was influential in my journey in the Spirit. As a worshipper, I do have my favorite seat in church. He and his wife were always seated right in front of me. He was a key leader in the Thomson Chapter of Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship (FGBMF) whose meetings were held in his home.


Because of him, I slowly became open to the move of the Spirit again. I began to yearn for the tangible manifestation of God’s presence in my life. During this time, the Lord had begun moving in the Youth Camps (the Combined Sunday School and Methodist Youth Fellowship Camps) in PLMC. In one of the youth camps in which I co-led with my good friend, I had a special encounter with God in the old PLMC church building.


I had skipped one of the camp sessions and had gone to the Upper Room behind the stage of the old school hall of our former building. There alone, I pleaded with God: “God, if the experience that I received at sixteen years old was truly from you, give that back to me again.” God came in a tangible way and I started to sense the tangible presence of God in waves. I started to speak in tongues again.  This experience restarted me on my journey in the things of the Spirit.


I became more interested in learning about the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Knowing that I was going to be a pastor one day, I decided to learn to move in the prophetic and in deliverance (the casting out of demons). The first time I witnessed a deliverance, I was so scared when the lady manifested a demonic spirit that I ran out of the house where the deliverance was being conducted. I stood outside praying fervently that the evil spirit would not jump into me. I now know that “greater is He that is me” than all the demons combined and that they cannot do that as I am righteous and victorious in Jesus Christ. I thank God for this servant of His that has taught me how to move in spiritual giftings especially in the area of deliverances.


A New Worship Service

As I grew closer to the Lord, I began to ponder over my calling into the pastoral ministry. I became more sure just before I graduated as a teacher. I gave myself two years to teach and after that I would go for theological studies in Trinity Theological College (TTC). During my studies in TTC, I was assigned to assist the associate pastor who was asked to start a charismatic service in PLMC. She recruited a few of us to help and it became a key influence in my life in things of the Holy Spirit.


An “Underground” Service in TTC

Many of us who were in church in the 1980s will remember the time in which the singing of Contemporary Songs (the Worship and Praise segment) had to be conducted before the normal service time. Then at the appointed time of the service, the Praise segment ends and the Call to Worship which signaled the start of the “proper service” begins.


In the late 1980s, the leadership at TTC was also not open to the move of the Holy Spirit. In TTC, we had chapel services every morning and on Fridays it was led by Family Groups. The Family Group is the grouping that students were assigned to for a more informal time of sharing and care led by a lecturer. It was liturgical services every day except on occasional Fridays. These exceptions happened only if the parent of the Family Group was open. The students in the groups would lead in a contemporary Prayer and Praise time. This was the time when the Scripture in Songs was popular in Contemporary, but they were frowned upon by many in the faculty.


Attendance at Chapel Services was expected of all full-time students. In our youthful exuberance, we did not think that the services were good models of how worship services should be conducted since the traditional liturgical churches in the west were largely in decline. We also needed a place to exercise the gifts of the Spirit and so instead of complaining about the chapel services, a group of us who were more charismatically inclined decided to have our own underground (literally and figuratively) worship services on a weekly basis. We used the Music Room which was in the underground basement of TTC which was then on Mt Sophia. Joyce, who is now my wife, was the pianist and my friend, Jeff Mok was the usual worship leader of those meetings. We would pray both with understanding and in tongues, prophesy and exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit in those meetings. It was a small group of students coming from different local and foreign churches and they include both foreign and local students. We were a group made up of Anglicans, Lutherans, Pentecostals and Methodists.


It was also during my TTC days that I stumbled upon books from the library and from Christian bookshops in Plaza Singapura that exposed me to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I became exposed to the teachings of Derek Prince, Kenneth Hagin and Smith Wigglesworth. The Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship held yearly convention and through these conventions I came to appreciate the teachings of many great teachers like David Pawson and Judson Cornwall. A Malaysian pastor, Peter Tan, was also holding weekly meetings to bring the attendees through the whole of the Bible. This was the period in which Ps Peter Tan was still moving in the gifts of the spirit and he had good sound teaching. 


As Assistant Pastor in Fairfield

Upon graduation, I had become more grounded in the teachings of the things in the Spirit. I was first posted to Fairfield Methodist Church where a group of young leaders were learning to lead the church in the things of the Holy Spirit. Together we learned how to move in the gifts of the Spirit. It was in Fairfield Methodist Church that I began my learning journey in the prophetic through the ministry of Pastor Amos Jayaretnam. Ps Amos has been a great mentor who has always availed his time when I needed someone to speak into my life. I thank God for him and for the people of Fairfield Methodist Church for the many ways that they have impacted my life.


An Associate Pastor in PLMC

After three and a half years in Fairfield Methodist Church, I was posted to Paya Lebar Methodist Church to be an Assistant Pastor and later Associate Pastor to Rev Wee Boon Hup (the present Bishop Emeritus Dr. Wee of the Methodist Church in Singapore). Although at that point, Rev Wee was not moving in the gifts of the Spirit but he was gracious to allow my other fellow pastor, Rev David BH Wee, and I to initiate meetings and services that allow us to move in the gifts and to bring in good teachers in this area.


During prayer meetings, the Spirit of God would move mightily and during ministry time, there were people who would have demonic manifestations and most of our Wednesday Prayer Meeting nights would end as deliverance sessions. People came from different churches for ministry. We even had someone drive all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for ministry. In those days Prayer Meeting nights ended only after midnight. It was an intense period and this season continued even during the building of the present PLMC and when we moved into the present building. Staff became exposed to the reality of the spiritual realm and she was also baptized in the Holy Spirit in those days. The fervency and love for God increased in many people and we would even meet at 6.00am on Sunday mornings to pray.


              It was also during this time that another mentor and spiritual father, Rev Dr Isaac Lim, came into my life to guide me in my journey as a charismatic Methodist pastor. I am grateful to the input that he and his wife, Dr Shirley Lim gave me during this period.


Some time during my time as associate pastor, the Lord directed me to go to a Camp Meeting in Tulsa. My faith was greatly stretched on this journey in many ways. As a result, I moved to a new level of faith and relationship with God.  I went with a friend and fellow pastor and a mentor and his who sponsored the trip. We were greatly ministered and when we came back, my mentor also sponsored the PIC and his wife on a similar trip. They went and they too, were greatly ministered


Another amazing journey of faith that I had while I in PLMC, was to the Indonesian part of the Island of Timor, to a town called Soe of West Timor. This was the place of an amazing revival that happened in the mid 1960s. The chronicle of the whole revival are recorded in two books: LIKE A MIGHTY WIND and THE GENTLE BREEZE OF JESUS both authored by Mel Tari.


Rev Dr. Amos Jayaratnam was invited as the speaker of a series of revival meetings to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Revival. He recommended me to be the speaker for the Youth Meetings there. It was a huge gathering of a few thousand people for that week.





This revival happened in a small GMIT Church (Gereja Masehi Injili Timor) that is the Christian Evangelical Church in Timor. The first 3 years of the revival briught about the conversion of 200,000 to Christ.  was significant in helping GMIT to grow from 200,000 in 1948 to 517.000 in 1971.[2] A group of young people and their pastor had been praying for the revival of Timor for a number of years. On one particular prayer meeting (26 September 1965), they heard the sound of rushing wind and they came under the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit such that they were not able to leave the church. On the outside people saw the church in flames. The fire brigade was called. The people outside were not able to enter the church as long as the fire engulfed the church. It was an unusual fire – it engulfed the church but did not consume it. It was like the burning bush that Moses saw.


After that incident, amazing things started to happen in the church and in their community. There were healings and deep conviction of sin. The love for God grew. Signs and wonders and angelic visitations happened.  The power of God was manifested as witchdoctors challenged the believers. It was a time that the church in Timor saw their faith grow as they saw the miracles of Jesus manifested in their hands.


Because of the revival, the numbers in church grew to such an extent that the church ran out of Holy Communion wine. You must understand that the church is in a remote place in this remote part of Indonesia. The pastor decided to serve water and bread for Holy Communion. As they conducted Holy Communion, water turned into wine.


At another church event, the meeting crossed meal times and the Holy Spirit prompted the pastor’s wife to feed the people. All that she had were a few pieces of tapioca (cassava) in a bowl. The Lord told her, “Use that!” In my conversation with her, she said that no matter how many pieces she scooped from her bowl, the number of tapioca remained the same. She started to weep as she realized that the miracle of Jesus was happening in her hands. She dared not stop for fear that the miracle would stop.


A group of young people felt led to minister at a village on the opposite side of the river. It was raining heavily and the bridge connecting both villages was swept away by the flood waters. The Lord spoke to one of them to step into the river, he did. He took another step then another step and he crossed over. The rest of the team also did the same. Other villagers wanted to follow but they could not. To my question as to what it felt like to walk on water. Pak Franz who is now a missionary to Papua New Guinea said that it was like walking on the ground except that the river waters never went above his knees.


Reading the two books on this revival in Soe, Timor already stirred a hunger in me. Having the opportunity to meet these people and to hear their experience first hand caused me to know that it was possible for such things to happen. To know for a fact that we will be able to do the works that Jesus has done and to be able to do even greater things because Jesus has gone to be with the Father (John 14:12). Although I was able to accept this fact in the mind but it had only been a distant prayer request. At that point, I know that I know that it can happen. I no longer need to theologize it away.


[1] The theology that speaking in tongues and spiritual gifts have ceased after the completion of the Bible.

[2] Gani Wiyono, Timor Revival, p271

bottom of page