Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

My Personal Testimony – Pursuing Christ, Living the Church Life, and Enjoying the Ministry

It’s my personal testimony — pursuing Christ, living the church life, and enjoying the ministry of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. It’s my story and I’m happy to share it with you.  I only hope that you could share the same blessing I have—and fortunately, you can!

My personal testimony — pursuing Christ, living the church life, and enjoying the ministry

My Personal Testimony— pursuing Christ, living the church life, and enjoying the ministry

The early beginnings of my Christian life

My personal testimony began with a heritage of godly parents. I thank God for this! (2 Tim. 1:5)

I grew up in a loving Christian family, to parents who were devout believers. Through them,  I received a pattern of prayer and reading God’s word in the morning, at meals and before bed. We also attended church services every week.

Before I ever set foot on a school ground, I had already prayed to receive the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior (John 1:12).  Over the years that followed, I also  made a number of altar calls to dedicate my life to Christ.

I didn’t despise this kind of life in the least. Rather, my teen years became a time of actively pursuing to follow the Lord as the pattern I had seen in my parents. Especially, sharing my faith in Christ with my classmates and neighbors became my joy (2 Tim. 2:2).

However, the more I went on, the more I longed for something deeper. The evangelical message was wonderful, but only took me so far. I longed to have a more personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus, to be filled with Him in my daily life, and to know the greater will for which He created me.

Reading through the Bible, I became enthralled with its message. I longed that what I read on its pages would become my personal experience.

However, the more I sought, the more I became dissatisfied with where I was at. 

Touching the church life in my teen years

In my senior year of high school, my Christian friend began his freshman year of college.  At the university he met some brothers in the church in Los Angeles and visited some of their gospel meetings. What he told me about those living meetings intrigued me. But I wasn’t so quick to respond.

However, my Dad also knew him and quickly responded to his invitation. When my Dad attended one of the gospel meetings in the church in Los Angeles he was really impressed. He loved the gospel message and saw sinners receive Jesus. Then he encouraged me to go with my friend to visit the meetings there in LA.

 Shortly thereafter,  I went to a meeting with my friend.  It was near the beginning of the Life-study of the Bible. I was deeply touched by the opening of the Scriptures as I had never heard before. I saw God’s eternal purpose from the book of Genesis to Revelation. The Word became so living to me! 

After one of my first meetings, I went over to brother Howard Higashi‘s home for some dessert and singing. As we were singing hymns, the Lord Jesus became so precious to me. I began to sing these love songs to Jesus in my personal time.

One night as my friend and I were driving home from a meeting we began to call on the name of the Lord Jesus. The Lord became so rich to me (Rom. 10:12-13).  I felt that I was not just appreciating the divine story, I was now a part of it.

Choosing the way of the church life

I tried to fit my new found enjoyment of Christ into my previous Christian practice (Matt. 9:17). But there was no way to reconcile the two. My fresh experience made the people in my congregation feel that I was a candidate for the clergy. But that was not what I wanted. I just wanted to stay in the sweet enjoyment of the Lord Jesus that I found in the church life in Los Angeles. 

After a few months, I was supposed to move away to begin college at a private Christian university. But I had experienced too much of Christ in the church life to leave. I could only be at peace to  stay there to enjoy Christ with the saints. So I moved in with some of the brothers by the nearby state university.

It was a real suffering to me though, because my parents received negative speaking about Witness Lee and the local churches from people in their congregation. But I knew from my enjoyment of Christ that this was the way the Lord was leading me and I had to choose this way even if meant misunderstanding and suffering.

Enjoying the ministry of Witness Lee

My personal testimony could not be complete without sharing my life-changing experience of enjoying the ministry of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.

Living in southern California during Witness Lee’s public ministry is one of my greatest blessings. I am so grateful to have directly received the greater part of the Life-study of the Bible first hand.

Many of these messages are eternally inscribed on my heart (2 Cor. 3:3). For example, during the Life-study of Hebrews training in 1975, I was so overwhelmed with the Lord’s person and presence.  I could only express my love to Him with tears of love and praise. 

Witnessing the beginning with the Life-study of Genesis to the completion of the Life-study of the entire Bible, more than twenty years later, I feel eternally grateful to the Lord.  I have to be faithful to testify of all the rich imparting of divine life I have received through the ministry of Witness Lee to this day.

I treasure my daily times of studying the Bible with the help of the Life-study messages and the riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8) I receive through the ministry books. Even though I was in many of the message meetings, I am freshly touched by what I read. When I pray over the light I have received, I enjoy fresh supplies of the Lord’s grace.

Knowing Witness Lee – my personal testimony

I also like to give my testimony of knowing Witness Lee personally.

I am so thankful for the privilege of knowing Brother Lee in a small personal way. As a young adult, living in a nearby city, I had the opportunity to visit Brother Lee in his home a number of times. Along with some other young brothers, I had meals with him in his home, went to McDonalds with him and his wife, and even worked a little with him in his yard. I even enjoyed his musing on the Lord while we were pulling weeds together.

I treasure those times so much. He was the same at home in his little duplex as he was at the podium before thousands of saints. He was very genuine and so proper in his living. When I was with him, I really sensed the weight of the Lord’s presence. To this day, Brother Lee’s pattern in the Lord, his strong spirit, and upright living shines over me (1 Tim. 4:12).

A personal testimony of my mother — “you know a tree by its fruit”

Sadly, for more than thirty years I was considered the errant child, the one who got caught in a mind-bending cult. But time proves things. Within the last seven years of my dear mother’s life, she told me that the Lord touched her that, “you know a tree by its fruit” (Matt. 7:20). She came to respect the church life.

She witnessed me growing up in my human life, maintaining a loving marriage, and raising a family.  After observing our living, after more than thirty years, she realized that what we had was real. In those last years before her death, she came to appreciate the dear saints in the church life who lovingly cared for her.

Continuing to enjoy Christ in the church Life

I continue to enjoy the daily church life both in and out of the meetings. More than forty-five years later, I treasure those initial experiences of Christ. But today I can testify that the Lord is more fresh, intimate, and personal to me both in my personal Christian life and local church life. 

His grace to me is so sweet, especially each morning (Psa. 119:147). I can testify with the prophet Jeremiah, “His compassions do not fail; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).

The taste of the Lord’s grace has been my real supply, not only in my personal Christian life, but also in the daily church life in a number of local churches. I have lived the church life in at least eight different cities, in three states and overseas. Through numerous trying times I can still  declare,

 “His glory broke upon us when we saw Him in the church! / For here are all His riches. Here we’ve given up our search; /’Tis here He satisfies  our longing spirits o’er and o’er / And everyday He’s dearer than He was the day before. ” —Hymns, #1152

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

10 Replies

  1. Brenda

    I really enjoyed your testimony brother Tom. You and your wife were so instrumental in our lives when the Lord first brought us into the church life. Now 21 years later we can say, with you, we love pursuing Christ, enjoying the church life and the rich ministry. Even though we never met brother Lee we have come to love and appreciate him. A brother so full of the Spirit, the enjoyment of Christ and a genuine love for Christ the church. A pattern of what a God man is. We are truly blessed to have been chosen by the Lord to enter through the narrow gate.

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. That is why so many of my posts come from my inspirations from reading the Word with the opener of the ministry books by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. The light I have received from their writings, fills me with burden to pray. Such prayer with the Word supplies me with grace to live the Christian life and church life. So I can only be faithful to share with my blog readers these same riches so they can also pursue Christ and live a normal Christian life and church life through this same bountiful supply. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Deanna Potgieter

    Amen brother, I so much enjoyed your testimony. I praise the Lord for this ministry of the age. For the truth, light, love we receive. I thank and praise the Lord for the opening of the Word, so that the Lord’s desire and purpose is revealed. In Him.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. I hope that many more believers would be helped to pursue Christ, live the church life and enjoy such a ministry that helps to enjoy Christ and grow in Him every day. Thanks for your comment.

  3. patricia greene

    Enjoyed reading about how the Lord moved throughout your life and how you continue to enjoy Him and more than 45 years later He is more fresh, intimate and personal. Everyday, He is sweeter than the day before! Praise Him!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. Because He is the eternal life (John 14:6), flowing as the Spirit out of our innermost being (7:37-39), whenever we contact Him we enjoy something so fresh, the eternal river of water of life. May we have such a taste to contact Him every day, to enjoy His sweetness. Thanks for your confirming comment.

  4. Ray Wiseman

    Amen dear brother Tom! We enjoyed your personal testimony very much. Words fail to describe fully how our whole life was changed in several key moments because of His mercy and grace in arranging everything for us to meet Him, to meet His church, our home and to meet the genuine New Testament ministry. Our story is very similar..I’m glad you’re trying to share with others. What a story! Perhaps this is the reason we will all need eternity to mutually share our remembrances of our enjoyment of Christ! Looks like the blog is off to a good start. Praise Him! Psalms 45:1-2

    1. Tom Smith

      Yes, it will take eternity for us to recount the the Lord’s wonderful ways in our lives and our remembrances of enjoying Christ personally and with the saints. I like your reference to Psalm 45:1-2, “My heart overflows with a good matter; I speak what I have composed concerning the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever.” This is my testimony. The more I speak well of Christ with the church and the ministry ushers us to Him, the more my heart overflows. I feel so blessed and more ready to write my enjoyment of this precious One. Thanks for sharing your encouraging comment.

  5. Jennifer (Chen) Lee

    Brother Tom! Somehow I never heard your testimony before! Praise the Lord! So wonderful! I still remember you and your wife’s contagious smile. So much joy you bring to those around you.

    1. Tom Smith

      So glad you enjoyed the post. Also so good to hear from you again after a number of years. We’re still pursuing the Lord, living the church life and enjoying on the ministry to be supplied for the building up the Body of Christ. Much grace to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your appreciation in a comment.

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