We hear the phrase “Christianity is a relationship” so often that sometimes we get bored of hearing it. But the truth, cliché or not, is that it really is. No Christian can be a Christian without a personal relationship with God.
Being born into a Christian family does not automatically make one a Christian, and being born into a pastor’s family certainly does not make one a “good” Christian. In Jesus’ own words, anyone who wants to see the Kingdom of God must be “born again.”
One person who can personally testify to this is Ps. Mark Tan, the youth/associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Subang. At a recent young adult conference, he gave a brief sharing about the importance of having a personal encounter with Christ and how he came to know Jesus as his own Savior.
“There was a time in my life when I hated Jesus with every bit of my gut,” Ps. Mark said. Growing up as a pastor’s son, Ps. Mark was constantly faced with many unfounded suppositions and unrealistic expectations.
“Eh, you’re pastor’s son ar?” Was something he heard on a regular basis. “Yeah. Friends call me Mark,” he would respond. “Being called ‘Pastor’s Son,’ there are a lot of assumptions:
“‘Pastor’s son ar? I thought you’re supposed to behave? You’re pastor’s son ar? You should know where the chairs are. You’re pastor’s son, you should know how to use the AV. You’re pastor’s son? You should know how to run the church, basically.’”
The pressure was not helpful for young Ps. Mark. “That wasn’t me,” he said. “So I went seeking—where I could find a sense of belonging, where I could find my identity, and therefore my purpose, and therefore my direction.
“And so I searched. On Sundays after church for six months, I would climb 272 steps to Batu Caves to listen to a Hindu Guru teach. On Saturdays after my Boys’ Brigade meetings in Brickfields, I would walk over to the Buddhist Society next door where I learned Buddhism. I once ran away from a bunch of bullies and hid in a mosque where an Imam taught me to pray. And I went there every Friday afternoon for a while.”
But even after his exposure to all of these other religions, Ps. Mark still came back to Jesus. “The main thing that really hit—that made Christ above all of these—was just this very, very simple thing.
“One Easter Sunday, I heard this very profound statement: ‘While everyone is trying to use a GPS that was made on this earth to try and find a way to get to a place where no one has been before, Jesus came into this world and said, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me.’
“He gives us a definitive direction. A moral conduct that cannot be compared nor degraded. He gives us a position and place where we realize “Oh my goodness, we are in deep trouble! And yet He gives us this grace. And said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Believe in Me and you will never die.’ God’s love is so great that He gave us His only Son.
“From there, my trust and hope in following Jesus was no longer about how I came to know Christ. I came to know Christ not just through holding the hymnbook while I was still in my mother’s womb! I came to know Christ not just by sitting in the pews in church. I came to know Christ as Lord and Savior because I realized how much I need him.”
“There is a big difference between how and why; why I now confess Christ as Lord and Savior. Because while every other person is trying to give us “7 steps to your next best life, ”Jesus gives only two words; one step. ‘Follow Me.’
“So my hope, Ps. Mark said, “is that as you will encounter Christ and say ‘Yes. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and my purpose, my direction, my belonging—can be answered in that person that is Jesus Christ.”
|Share The Good News|