Stephen Chan

The Late Home-coming Prodigal Son – Chapter 21

A translation from ‘遊子遲遲歸’

Chapter Twenty One       Spiritual Blessings and Bible Drill

Around age fourteen, I had a chance to attend a Pentecostal meeting with my mother led by my grandmother. Everyone at the meeting prayed out loudly, and my grandmother laid hands on all of us. I felt electrified and cried out Hallelujah. After the meeting many elders congratulated me for having received the Holy Spirit. When I entered the seminary, I always wanted a similar experience again because I wanted to know more about Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit. In hind sight, my life did not change much after that one time experience with the Spirit.

I longed to see Jesus face to face. The Lord had risen and had appeared to apostle Peter, Paul and others, why not me? Together with a few other schoolmates we pursued this experience by fasting according to the Bible – no food, no liquid during fasting (Deut 9:18, Est 4:16, Jonah 3:7). After three days and nights, the Lord did not appear to us, and we did not have any extraordinary experience either. We were quite puzzled at the outcome but later accepted it was the Lord’s will. From then on, I sought guidance and enlightenment on this issue: the filling of the Holy Spirit. Until sometime in the 50’s, I came to realize that many spiritual encounters were actually personal emotional experiences. (See my other books: ‘The work of the Holy Spirit’《聖靈的工作》; ‘To the End of the World’ 《直到地極》chapter 2, ‘Salvation to All generations’《萬世救恩》chapter 8).

Instead of answering my desire of being filled with the Spirit, God has answered my other important prayer: He gave me an earnest desire for understanding His Word and faith to believe that it is achievable. I did not know how to study the Bible. There were many courses at the seminary teaching complimentary studies of the Bible, but I benefited most from our teachers’ personal Bible study experiences. There were two female pastors from the Hua Xi Ling Gong Fellowship (华西灵工团), they were Miss Cui Ke-Shi (崔可石姐妹) and Miss Hu Ruo-Yu (胡若愚姐妹). Miss Cui left for Britain shortly after, so I learned basic Bible studies from Miss Hu. Even though she was already forty years old, she still could memorize many books of the Bible, and I was very impressed. When I took my internship that summer at the Church called Beipei Gospel Chapel (北培福音堂) (located opposite to Fu-Dan University in Xia-Ba夏霸), I followed her example and memorized the books of Matthew, John and Revelation. However, I forgot them all when I returned to my seminary. I found that memorizing is good, but it would be impossible to remember all in the long run. So I changed my study method to speed reading. After each speed reading, I would review the content of each chapter of the book. This I found helped me to retaining my memory of the contents. By the time I left the seminary, I studied each Bible verse and chapter every day using different methods like: detail study, meditation, and finding answer to difficult Biblical questions. I had corrected many of my wrong concepts, and gained a more complete understanding of the Bible as a result.

Deut 6:6-9 ‘These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbol on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.’ Every morning I wrote down the memory verses for the day on two pieces of paper and taped them to the headboard of my bed and my study desk. I also bought a mini Bible 2.5”x3.7” and kept it in my pocket. I reviewed my memory verses each day with my three meals, morning and bedtime prayers. I flipped my mini Bible at any available time I had, either during morning sessions, waiting for an appointment, or even going to the washroom, and reviewed all underlined verses continually.

However I was not a good student at the seminary. I strove for my personal achievements. As long as I could pass the course, I did not care for grades. This attitude probably caused by:

1. I had never gone through grade school or high school properly since childhood, therefore diplomas and degrees were not a priority to me.
2. Beginning from the second year at the seminary I was very much involved in leading church services, Bible studies, family meetings etc. I was so busy every weekend that I believed God was using me and gave me opportunities to serve Him. Therefore school assignments were not important to me.
3. Although I was physically studying in the seminary, but I spent all my energy in the Christian Assembly (聚会处). I used Mr. Watchman Nee’s ‘Review of Your Service’ 《工作的再思》and Rev. Yang Shao-Tang’s (杨绍唐牧师)‘Church and Servanthood’ 《教会与工人》as reference books, as principle directions for church administrations, and even argued with my professors about the church doctrines. I was full of zest, very daring and ignorant at that time.
4. I pursued charismatic experiences. I spent many nights praying on the hillside, returning to the residence at dawn. This of course affected my homework.
(These were my ignorance which was not a good example for others.)

Then I continued to pursue holiness. in Hebrews 12:4, the Bible says “without holiness no one will see the Lord.” I pursued to the point that I would feel guilty when I saved an unused portion of paper from a letter sent to me for my own use (paper was expensive at that time). I would reproach myself of being greedy. Such extreme demands on myself, I began to demand the same on others and became very arrogant. Later, through reading God’s word in Roman 12:4, I corrected my foolishness. God’s word has the power of correction as stated in II Timothy 3:16. Hence, anyone with little or partial knowledge of the truth of God or being too extreme in his pursuit, his thinking and behavior would be affected greatly. Therefore knowledge and ignorance both could cause one to fall into arrogance unconsciously.

Category: 未分類


Leave a Reply