23 Dec 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
“I thought if you lead a good life, be a good man, do good things in life, be nice to people, attend a church, go through religious ceremonies… that’s what being a Christian is about,” said Addison, guest speaker in the FGB of PJ Damansara Intan headed by Raymond Phang on 18 Dec. “But that is not what it is, because to be a Christian, you need a fundamental thing. And that is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Hailing from Wales, Addison is the head of leisure services in North Wales, the chairman of Wales in Bloom, and a judge for both Britain in Bloom and Europe in Bloom. Although he has visited Malaysia 17 times, he humorously confessed that he still experiences traffic-anxiety in this country.
Addison shared that the Christmas season often brought images of shopping malls with blinking lights, sales and promotions, and even Christmas hymns playing in the background. While we treat Christmas as a season for spending and making money, Christmas represents far more than these commercial antics.
He shared that a Christmas tree, which is an evergreen represents the everlasting hope we have in Jesus Christ. The star represented the bright morning star the led the wise men to the manger. The presents represent the free gift of salvation that Christ gave to us.
In the midst of all these symbolism, Christmas ultimately reminds us of God’s starting of a rescue plan for us by sending baby Jesus Christ here, to die for us so that we can be with God for eternity. Why do we need Jesus to die for us? When Adam and Eve sinned against God, we who are their descendents inherit their sinful nature as well.
“If you look at the world, you see the devil advertizing very effectively because we see many bad things going on outside. But if we look at ourselves, we also have done bad things to ourselves and to other people. Sin actually rules the world,” said Addison.
And because one of the major characteristics of God is He is holy, He cannot relate Himself to sin. In other words, if we are sinful, we cannot get near God. Romans 3:23 says, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ that is the meaning of sin. What this verse means is that no man has reached that standard of holiness except for Jesus Christ who never sinned. Hence, when Christ died, He was able to take our sins upon Him and suffered in our place for the punishment we deserve.
“When we accept Christ, God sees Jesus in us. It’s like taking the front cover of Jesus’ book of life and placing that front cover on our book, so that when God sees us, He sees us (clothed) in Christ,” said Addison.
Growing up, Clive did not have a personal relationship with Christ. In fact, he thought going to church was boring and stopped going to church when he became a teenager. But when he turned 34 years old, he was invited to join a group of men for an intellectual discussion about Christianity, over homemade coffee and cakes, which latter he thoroughly enjoyed more sometimes!
In one of the meetings, a man came and shared his Christian life experiences—how he involved Jesus in every aspect of his life including family, leisure, and his job as a County Treasurer. Doubtful of his experiences with Christ, Addison wondered whether this man was lying, insane, or hallucinating. However, upon speculating, how could this man be mentally unsound when he was in charge of government plans worth millions of pounds?
At the end of the meeting, this man invited Addison to a FGB dinner, attended by 250 people. There, Addison had the shock of his life. Coming from a traditional Anglican church, their expressive prayer and lively worship were new to him. “Now, not only this man is mad, everyone’s mad in here,” Addison thought to himself.
The speaker ended the dinner by inviting people who never had a personal relationship with Christ to come forward to be prayed on. Addison immediately knew that the speaker was calling for him, though he was adamant to not move. Some people went forward but the speaker made the same calling three times, to which Addison remained stuck at his seat, hindered by his pride. But the Holy Spirit did not let him go. When he went home to read the book of John, the Holy Spirit spoke so powerfully to him that he had to invite Jesus into his life.
Nevertheless, he felt no different after saying the sinner’s prayer, until he realized after a few weeks that he had miraculously stopped swearing cold turkey even without trying. One day, a staff that was working with him had to take an emergency leave because his mother had committed suicide. Sitting in the office with this staff, Addison was asked out of the blue, “Mr Addison, tell me this, do you have a faith?”, to which he had no choice but to share about his recent faith with his staff. And when he shared, like how the wooden pieces of a globe puzzle would fit into a click, the pieces in his mind suddenly ‘click’ when he answered him. “At that moment, I know, I know, I know… that I have received Christ’s promises in God. They became personally true to me,” said Addison.
Not only that, after accepting Christ, his career progressed tremendously. At 34 year old, Addison applied for a Master’s in Leisure Management at a competitive university receiving an average of 300 applications a year. Two weeks after the interview, he called the director to find out whether he was selected to enroll into the course. Strangely, the director replied, “Yes, you’re the man who did not have the qualification to go to the course.” Without a university degree, Addison should be immediately disqualified. But the director continued, “It’s fascinating you called me today. I just wrote to the Senate to waive the level of requirements to get you into the course.” What favor from God! Due to Addison’s 12 years of experiences in leisure management, the director wanted him to be enrolled into the one-year Master’s degree, to which the Lord faithfully supplied financially although he was a young married man with two children then.
After he graduated, he asked the Lord where he should apply for work. God replied, “Apply for the top jobs!” At 35 years old, from a third-tier worker, he applied for director positions and was hired the third time he applied for a director position at a multi-disciplinary government department. “I really needed the Holy Spirit even with an academic qualification because you’re sandwiched in between the politicians and workers, you can get squashed in the middle. But the Holy Spirit guided me and strengthened me,” said Addison who was eventually promoted over the years to become the chief officer of the legislature department of the leisure activities, heading over 600 staffs.
Not only the Lord has promoted him at work, He promoted Addison to be start a FGB chapter where he invited pastors and ex-criminals to share their life stories. While he was listening to their exciting testimonies, he thought that his walk was boring compared to them. Hence, Addison asked God, “Could you make my walk more exciting?”
Three months later, he went to a convention centre to hear a man speak about a high-risk pioneering work, which required a high level of faith. All Addison could feel were the Holy Spirit stirring him to join this man. “I prayed, ‘Lord, if it’s from you, I will sit on the other side of the dining room, somehow that man has to speak to me directly,” Addison said. When luncheon came, Addison sat at the far end of the room, at the very last table with his back facing the incoming crowd. He could hear the speaker walking down with his group of friends, seated a few table away from him. But as soon the speaker sat down, he left his friends and came to sit right opposite Addison. So, the call was confirmed and for eight years after that, Addison was involved in an adventurous road of faith with God.
“I have seen good time, I have a blessed life. But I also have difficult times. Up to the age of my son being 16, he had leukemia and passed away at 19 years old. I asked, ‘Why Lord did you take my son?’
“We will never understand what God is doing fully. He never said that He will give us an easy ride but He did say that He will be with us,” said Addison. His daughter got married later and became pregnant with a baby boy. Ten years after his son’s death, Addison was blessed with a total of five healthy grandsons. The Lord gives and takes away.
“I just want to challenge you, men and women, boys and girls, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? … The best decision I have ever made in my life is to ask Jesus into my life,” said Addison having experienced peace of heart and an absolute knowledge that God is with him in every aspect of his life over his 32 years walk with God.
Indeed, nothing is more powerful than a man fully submitted to the Lord’s way, where every breath and vein speaks about our Lord Jesus Christ.