7th Sept 2012 , Natasha Kim , CM writer .
This is the story of Kelvin Lim but people often call him “Kel”. The story is not about his achievements but about the power of God’s grace and mercy when we realize that we have no control over our lives. Today, Kel has a beautiful wife and daughter, the Director of 1a.m. (One Accord Ministry) and co-founder of Change Your World.
Since his childhood days, he started attending church, attending Sunday school every weekend, performing it just as a ritual as his parents were Christians. Then a sudden change happened and his life began to transform dramatically, his parents got a divorce when he was only 11 years old. It was difficult for his mother as his mother was now single and working as a teacher at a school and having to take care of three sons including Kel. Even though Kel was very young at that time, he observed his mother well. He saw her having to struggle, to maintain the house they lived in and watched how she took care of them all by herself. At the same time, he also observed that she was very strong and able to carry herself. He discovered eventually from his mum that she grew strength from God. Desiring what his mum had with God, he began to follow his mum to various church meetings. During one of these meetings, he accepted the Lord as his personal Savior.
There was a big turning point for Kel at the age of 13 years old. During a youth camp held in Port Dickson, in one of the praise & worship sessions, he heard a very vocal voice and it said, “You will be playing for me”. Kel mentioned that he didn’t understand it and left it as it is. After the camp however, he shared what he heard with his mother. Funny enough his mother shared that she believes that it was God’s voice. Kel asked how did she know it’s God’s voice? She said “I was at the balcony in Singapore while you were at the youth camp and I asked the Lord what would you have Kel do if I were to offer you my son? She felt God spoke to her and said get him back into music.” He was surprised and amazed at the same time. What are the odds that signs were telling both Kel and his mother that he should move towards the path of music?
In short, he started taking music lessons and in return God gave him new songs, and he began to play and write songs. What amazed him was the fact that God was teaching him and leading him all the way. One fine day, Kelvin was asked to play the piano, he did not know how to because he learned the organ. But when he set on the piano, he felt the Holy Spirit gently taught him how to play. With the Holy Spirit guidance, he started playing the piano and then many more different instruments all without any vocational help.
During this continuous process, other significant matters came up in church one day. He made friends with a “gangster looking” boy in his church named Timothy Ong and found out that he could write songs. Both then had fellowship and started playing music together.
One day, Timothy’s uncle, prophesied on both of them and said to them, “You will be the Joshua Generation”. His uncle’s prophecy caused Timothy’s father to have interest in investing in them and that is how the Joshua Race Ministry (JRM) then came to birth in the 1990’s.
Life Journey Through Different Pit Stops
Kelvin says, “When God says something you don’t have to chase after it, you just have to be diligent to prepare yourself (in this case for me is taking music lessons and serving in the worship team) and God will bring you there, because a lot of times when there is a prophetic word people start chasing after the prophetic word and when things don’t happen you get disappointed. I was never disappointed because I never chased after it; I was just obedient and I just served Him. God then came, walk along side and work with the gift that He had given me.” From there God bless him with a few albums namely, Unity, Heaven Bound, and Experiment, all under Joshua Race Ministry (JRM).
JRM was one of the pioneer in English Christian music in Malaysia, most people at that time used to just practice choir singing in church. They had electric distortion guitars (those days some churches say it is the devil’s sound), contemporary songs they composed with high-energy performances. They were well received by churches all across Malaysia, seeing hundreds of people coming to Christ through their music and ministry.
Kel recalls one humorous scenario when JRM played in their home church, He says “I recalled it was a packed hall and our band was in high gear with awesome guitar frills, our lead singer mesmerizing the crowd, our drummer twilling his sticks with drum solos together with electrifying performance from our bassist, and of course not forgetting me going crazy on the keys. Our lead singer Timothy Ong was anointed that day and many were ministered later as we did an altar call. So what was humorous? The youth pastor informed us later that the deacons of the church were unhappy with our performance and we were not allowed to play in our own home church until further notice. That notice lasted for 2 years. We were curious as to why we were “banned”, is it our music with screaming guitars was too “hot” for them. We later found out that it was because our lead singers pants was too tight. Till today, I still wonder why do man look at a man’s pants?
JRM was so popular that in Kel’s opinion pride started to creep in and JRM unknowingly began to put their priorities in ministry while the church became secondary. He believes their theology and fundamentals were not right. On the positive side, those ten years together as a band had implanted worship in their hearts, though their music were more main stream and more inspirational at that time. In the mid 1990’s he realized that and started writing worship songs again, one of the songs he recalled writing was “Holy Spirit Come”. He wrote that song because he felt he missed the Holy Spirit as his comforter and friend. JRM were together until the year 2001 and then everyone went on different paths.
On the personal side, Kelvin got married in 1994 and had a child in the year 1996. Two years later after his first born child, he got divorced and this was the biggest turning point in is life. He went from having a family to having no family. His wife left him and he gave her custody of his daughter to her family, as he did not have the capacity to look after his daughter at that time on his own.
In this time of sadness and desperation, John 10:10 was a verse that spoke to him and it says, “The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy but I come to give you life and life abundantly”. He felt his life was utterly destroyed and killed by the evil one. He began to write a song based on that scripture declaring in faith that God would give him life and life abundantly.
Little did he know, that the next 7 years would be the years of God’s turning what has been stolen and destroyed to a life of abundance. In those years, Kel went through chronic depression without realizing it. What he knew was he did not really bother about how his business was going till it almost went bankrupt. “But God is so good,” Kel says as he took care of him mentally and physically while he was struggling. God always provided for him, and soon a new business prospect came up, a big project, to build a sound system for a church. “That happened by God’s grace and every year from then on without fail, I would have a big project that would help sustain the company”, he says.
During this time, Kel started to attend a church called Eaglepoint. At that time, Eaglepoint was a small but vibrant church situated in Old Klang Road. For the first time he realize how important a church is though he has been attending church more than 15 years. He felt the grace of God that the church was willing to learn from his experience as a musician and worshipper though he felt that he is not worthy. That began a relationship that made Kel realize how important a Church is.
God’s Abundance Fulfilled
Kelvin had always felt a desire to start a worship ministry and with the support of the pastors in Eaglepoint, he was able to start this ministry in the church which he called it 1a.m. which stands for One Accord Ministry, “It takes unity within a church and the body of Christ to see the Gospel reached. That’s why I called it One Accord Ministry”. 1a.m.’s motto is “Worship brings change”.
“I believe true worship will change you to know the heart of God and to fall in love with Him. When you fall in love with Him, you will do it out of love not duty”, he says. He added “I will say in theory that to worship God in spirit and truth is simple as it’s all about dying to oneself but practically not many are willing to die to self”
The next turning point was when Kel found out on the 7th year through a psychiatrist that he was going through chronic depression, he discovered through Isaiah 61:1, that God has anointed everyone of us believers to have the faith to bring healing to ourselves through His power.
From 2005, Kel began to understand the prophetic songs that he wrote to God during his cry of desperation to God. He understood what it meant when God said “I have come to give you life and life abundantly.” God’s timing is always perfect as Kel realize that if he received it sooner, he would not have learned or understand the full meaning of abundance that Christ spoke about.
To date, God’s has bless the ministry with 7 worship albums and opportunities to minister to 3 continents such as South Africa, New Zealand, Philippines, Middle East and Singapore.
Modern Day Slavery
“It’s fascinating how God works”, Kel says. I thought Isaiah 61:1 was for my healing from depression but God was working in my heart even in 2005 preparing me for what He has planned for me.
In the year 2008, while 1a.m. main team went for a retreat as every year they try to hear from God as to what change does God wants from them as they beleive “Worship Brings Change”. Without his knowledge, his fiancé, Cathryn Loh, brought a DVD that showed the slavery in India and Cambodia and how children as young as 3 years old was sold for sex or forced into the labor trade. He then says, “God began to reveal to me that, this was his heart, that is for the oppressed, the voiceless, the poor and the prisoners as Isaiah 61:1 says”. He did some research and found out more about modern day slavery in Malaysia and found a NGO named Tenaganita that fights human trafficking here. It was an eye opener for him and with that he said, “I was so ignorant to think that Malaysia is a fine country but I discovered that modern day slavery is happening in our own homes, where we work, eat and on the streets we walk.”
With that knowledge (as the bible says in James 4:17 “if you know the good you ought to do and do not do it, to him it is evil” ) and feeling God’s heart for people, Kel together with his wife Cathryn founded Change Your World to combat against modern day slavery by using creativity.
To find out more about Kelvin Lim and 1a.m. or Change Your World you can visit their website at http://www.1am.com.my/ or www.changeyourworld.com.my