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Introductions and Testimonies Please tell everybody something about yourself. Tell us a little. Tell us a lot. Its up to you!

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Old 01-08-2020, 08:17 PM   #1
JJ
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Default JJ’s Testimony

I was not raised in a believing family. Neither of my parents were believers. I have two brothers, one an identical twin and the other older than us. My parents didn’t put many boundaries on us, but took us to many beautiful places in the Western US for vacations. I heard the gospel of Jesus for the first time when I was 12 and went to YMCA Camp. The cabin counselor shared about Jesus with me and the other boys, but we really didn’t want to hear about it, just wanted to play and have fun. As we grew my brothers and I fell into many sinful behaviors, including cursing and pornography. I felt guilty but mostly I just felt empty, especially as I looked at some of the most amazing and beautiful scenery in the World on various trips. By high school my twin brother and I tended to hang out with many Christian kids (we didn’t know why, but they were more fun to be with). By the time I was almost 18 I had heard the gospel at several Christian meetings I had attended but had not responded. My twin brother and I would even argue with our Christian’s friends when they challenged us about God. Then one day my brother shocked me by telling me he had become a believer in Jesus. I felt betrayed, but he said yes, he had. We had both started college early, and I had started dating a Christian girl. And, I went to some gospel meetings with my brother, who had started attending local church meetings. Howard Higashi came and preached the gospel, and yet I still didn’t respond. However, I became curious about the books my twin brother was reading (some Watchman Nee books, and started to read some, and had also started reading the Bible because I was curious about what it said about life after death. I began to feel a heavy pressure to make a decision about Jesus, and knew my eternal fate was in the balance, and didn’t want to make the wrong decision. During one of those days I decided to believe in Jesus, and while traveling to Kings Canyon (in the Sierra Nevada mountains) I announced to my girl friend that I believed in Jesus. And, as I did He came in to me. She was surprised, but thrilled. She suggested that we attend church together. And, I agreed. I suggested we go where my twin brother went “the local church” in our city because they seemed to have something real. I had met one of the elders and had sensed the power of the Holy Spirit in him and wanted what he had. So, we began attending and jumped into “the church life”. I was convicted of my sinfulness and repented, I also was baptized and fell fully in love with Jesus, and His eternal purpose. The church was in the book of Ephesians that year, and I loved what Ephesians says about God’s eternal purpose (I still do!). Five years later I finished college at the same time as my girlfriend (we had put our love “on hold”), but it had come flaming back and we got married. We loved the church we were in and “the saints” and thought we would forever. I was fully bought in to Witness Lee’s ministry and had devoured all the books I could afford to buy. Then our church fell apart. The elder we were closest to was accused of molesting one of the teenage girls, which we didn’t think was true. The elder was asked to go to a different locality for “retraining”, and he just said “no” and stopped attending meetings. About a third of the saints stopped with him, about a third stayed, and about a third of the saints left “for the world”. Feeling betrayed, my wife and I stayed away from local church meetings, and we began to attend home meetings our neighbors had with their friends from other churches. And, sometimes we attended churches my wife’s brother attended. And, we continued to gather informally with some of the saints who left with us. After 15 years we moved to a different city, and my wife suggested we attend a community church there because our three children were growing up without much Christian instruction. While I had continued to buy and read Living Stream Ministry books, and a few times went to local church meetings and events, I had begun to see that our Christian friends in other churches were also filled with Christ and His Holy Spirit, and were growing and being transformed (surprise surprise!). We therefore attended a community church in the new city for about five years. I still thought “the local churches” was the best way of expressing the Church though. I then found out the new city we had moved to had “a local church”. We continued to attend the community church, but also sometimes attended “the local church”. The longer we did the less comfortable my wife and I were with the teachings and practices of “our local church”. I had begun to see many places that Watchman Nee and Witness Lee’s ministries deviated from the Bible. I said things about it, but wasn’t in a leadership position, and wasn’t listened to. Finally, when I attended “a blending conference” in the San Francisco Bay area, I was fed up with what I was hearing. I gave a testimony about “God’s Word” being my guide, holding up my Bible (it was even a Recovery Version). One by one the leading brothers also testified after that, saying that “we have the interpreted Word, The Ministry”, clearly contracting me. At that point, I decided TLR had exchanged God’s Holy Bible with Witness Lee’s ministry (something I had been reluctant to finally conclude).
My wife an I never attended another local church meeting after that. We were both fully disgusted with it. I told anyone who asked, including my twin brother, who remains in TLR, that I left because “The Ministry “ replaced the Bible as the authoritative word, and that was too scary a place for me. That was about five years ago. And, we do not regret it. We continued to walk with God together and continue to do so today. We mostly attend a community church in a third city we moved to and love to fellowship with believers from all sorts of churches.
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And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:07 AM   #2
byHismercy
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Default Re: JJ’s Testimony

Thank you, JJ! How wonderful to hear how the Lord worked over you up until you made your choice. And how, at your declaration of faith, He came in. My experience was similar in the LC, faith in the word and Jesus was not enough. It was mandatory to 'believe' into the ministry, above Christ.
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:10 PM   #3
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Default JJ Testimony

Yes, I should have added, I had said in my heart “Jesus, I think you are real” privately and rather timidly first before I announced “I believe in Jesus”. Talk about a mustard seed of faith. Hardly a road to Damascus experience. My brother and I had left a trail of frustrated Christians for years who must have thought “what does it take with these guys”. And, I suspect we we’re on many believers prayer lists. I’m thankful for those faithful seed planters and prayers.

We got to return the favor with my older brother and mother, who became believers last year after 40 years of planting seeds and praying together. We wondered if they would ever sprout. A real lesson in perseverance and God answering prayers.
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Old 01-12-2020, 05:26 PM   #4
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Yes, I should have added, I had said in my heart “Jesus, I think you are real” privately and rather timidly first before I announced “I believe in Jesus”. Talk about a mustard seed of faith. Hardly a road to Damascus experience. My brother and I had left a trail of frustrated Christians for years who must have thought “what does it take with these guys”. And, I suspect we we’re on many believers prayer lists. I’m thankful for those faithful seed planters and prayers.

We got to return the favor with my older brother and mother, who became believers last year after 40 years of planting seeds and praying together. We wondered if they would ever sprout. A real lesson in perseverance and God answering prayers.
This is encouraging, JJ. My elderly mom told me recently, 'you will just have to give up on me. I will never be converted.'

I am encouraged to pray. It's not over until it's over. I also think the Lord had many praying for me before I met Him. In fact, I know, I glimpsed so many of the things He did to author faith in me.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:23 AM   #5
Sons to Glory!
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Default Re: JJ’s Testimony

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Finally, when I attended “a blending conference” in the San Francisco Bay area, I was fed up with what I was hearing. I gave a testimony about “God’s Word” being my guide, holding up my Bible (it was even a Recovery Version). One by one the leading brothers also testified after that, saying that “we have the interpreted Word, The Ministry”, clearly contracting me. At that point, I decided TLR had exchanged God’s Holy Bible with Witness Lee’s ministry (something I had been reluctant to finally conclude).
Wow - they actually said "We have the interpreted Word, The Ministry"!?
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:26 PM   #6
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Wow - they actually said "We have the interpreted Word, The Ministry"!?
Sure! I heard Francis Ball say that on the podium in Anaheim.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:43 AM   #7
Sons to Glory!
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Sure! I heard Francis Ball say that on the podium in Anaheim.
Wow . . . and to think we left the be-all, end-all regarding scripture.

That's astounding that someone would say that, but I put that up there with, "Some say we're following a man (WL). Well I'll follow that man right into the kingdom!" (an elder proclaiming that at the top of his lungs)
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