ASI Conventions, 2016

Unfinished Business-A Conversation With Our World Church Leaders

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shawn Boonstra


Series Code: 16ASIC

Program Code: 16ASIC000008A

00:22 My role is twofold tonight.
00:24 Usually, you see me up here interviewing individuals
00:27 for a special segment offering an action.
00:30 Well, tonight my role for the first
00:33 is to let you know
00:35 and remind you that we have 38 projects
00:38 that have been prayerfully selected
00:41 to be recipients of this year's offering.
00:44 Throughout the convention,
00:45 we've highlighted a few of those
00:47 and hopes of us being able to share with you
00:50 their sacrifice and the amount of energy
00:53 that they expend to accomplish their ministries.
00:58 We also want to share with you a little bit of their passion
01:03 for the ministries that they are leading
01:05 and for their work.
01:07 It's our opportunity to partner with them.
01:10 Now you may not be able to go with them,
01:12 you may not be able to do the things they do
01:14 or say the things they say,
01:16 but there is a role that you can play.
01:19 For our offering tomorrow,
01:21 we need to give sacrificially
01:23 so that we can uphold their hands,
01:25 so that we can do those three words
01:28 that I shared with you each time I came before you.
01:31 We want to help them to enlarge their territory.
01:35 What can we do?
01:37 How much can we give
01:39 so that they can spread the net further?
01:43 What can we do that we can help them
01:44 to enhance their capacity?
01:47 So that they reach, their outreach
01:49 and their evangelism can be more fruitful
01:52 and more productive.
01:54 What can we do and how much can we give
01:57 so that we can encourage them
01:59 to continue fighting the fight of faith.
02:02 We may be in our own places of comfort,
02:05 they're out on the frontline
02:07 sometimes a little uncomfortable,
02:10 but knowing that we are there praying for them
02:13 and that we are upholding them
02:14 and that we've given them financial support,
02:17 they will continue doing what God has called them to do.
02:21 So we're going to ask you to pre-prayerful tonight.
02:25 When you go back to your room,
02:28 open up that guide and look at those projects,
02:32 consider each one and ask God,
02:35 "What is it that you would have me to do?"
02:38 And then the second prayer I would ask you to pray
02:41 is that you would ask God and I want to ask God
02:45 to give me the courage to trust him
02:48 and obey His leading
02:50 because we want this work finished, don't we?
02:53 We do, absolutely.
02:55 So that is what we want you to do is to pray,
02:58 be prayerful and intentional
03:00 and responsive to the Holy Spirit
03:03 for what God wants us to do in respect to the offering
03:06 that would be lifted tomorrow morning.
03:09 My second responsibility is to introduce the speaker
03:12 for this evening.
03:14 John Shin is a graduate
03:15 of Loma Linda University Medical Center.
03:18 He is currently pursuing or completing his Residency
03:23 in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic
03:25 in Rochester, Minnesota.
03:28 He plans to pursue a fellowship in hematology and oncology
03:33 so that he can have the opportunity
03:35 to be able to share with others
03:37 who may have a terminal illness
03:38 that there is hope in Jesus Christ.
03:42 Now I just told you what John Shin does.
03:46 Now I'd like to share with you a little bit
03:48 about who John Shin is.
03:52 I had an opportunity to speak with him briefly
03:54 and he told me that he was somewhat
03:56 of a cultural Christian.
03:59 He did everything right, he got good grades,
04:03 he was an obedient child,
04:04 best child any mother would want to have.
04:07 He went to church, he studied a Sabbath school lesson,
04:11 he did all the things that Christians are supposed to
04:15 and expected to do, but he said he was not converted.
04:21 And unfortunately, it was a personal tragedy
04:24 that brought him face to face with the Cross of Christ.
04:29 Tonight, he's going to share that testimony.
04:33 John is married to Alyssa, they have two small girls.
04:37 Sophia who is two and Carissa who...
04:41 Carris, who is four months.
04:43 Sophie seems a little sleepy, you will understand why.
04:48 John is passionate about Christ now.
04:54 Since having that confrontation
04:57 through that tragedy he understands now
05:01 what it really means to be committed
05:04 because he is now converted.
05:07 Let us pray that as he speaks to us
05:10 that God will reach down
05:12 and touch our hearts so that we too will remember
05:16 that we are called and chosen, but that we will be committed.
05:59 Rolling tide
06:01 Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
06:06 Tell to sinners far and wide,
06:10 Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
06:14 Bear the news to every land
06:21 Cross the waves Onward.
06:24 'Tis our Lord's command
06:27 Jesus saves
06:30 Jesus saves
06:34 We've a story to tell to the nations
06:38 That shall turn their hearts to the right
06:42 A story of truth and mercy
06:47 A story of peace and light
06:51 A story of peace and light
06:55 For the darkness shall turn to dawning
06:59 and the dawning to noonday bright
07:03 And Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth
07:07 The kingdom of love and light
07:11 And Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth
07:24 Onward, Christian soldiers
07:28 Marching as to war
07:32 With the cross of Jesus
07:36 Going on before.
07:40 Christ, the royal Master,
07:44 Leads against the foe
07:49 Forward into battle
07:53 See his banners go
07:57 Onward, Christian soldiers
08:01 Marching as to war
08:05 With the cross of Jesus
08:09 Going on before
08:13 With the cross of Jesus
08:18 Going on before
08:25 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:29 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:33 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:37 His truth is marching on
08:41 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:46 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:50 Glory, Glory Hallelujah
08:53 His truth is marching on
08:57 His truth is marching on
09:06 Jesus saves!
09:09 Jesus saves!
09:13 Jesus saves!
09:21 Jesus saves!
09:27 Good evening, everyone.
09:29 Good evening.
09:30 Happy Sabbath. Happy Sabbath.
09:37 It is such an honor and a privilege
09:38 to be here today
09:40 to share with you all my story.
09:43 But before I do,
09:45 I'd like to begin with the word of prayer.
09:46 So if you would bow your heads with me.
09:49 Heavenly Father, we are so thankful
09:51 for the blessing of Your Sabbath hours.
09:53 We all had busy weeks in different ways,
09:56 but, Lord, now help us to just cast away
09:58 the burdens of the world and lay them at your feet.
10:02 And, Lord, as I share my story
10:04 of Your faithfulness in my life,
10:06 I pray that You'll please,
10:08 help those who hear my words to see a vision of You
10:13 and what is possible, if we would all simply commit
10:17 to having Your way in our lives.
10:19 So we thank You, Lord,
10:20 for this opportunity to talk about You.
10:22 In Jesus' name, we pray, amen.
10:28 So it is a real honor for me to be here tonight
10:31 to kind of share with you my story
10:33 and I really appreciate Debbie Young
10:34 giving me that introduction.
10:36 But I would like to classify myself
10:41 as one of those people who, you know,
10:43 would sit in the audience and hear testimonies of people
10:46 who have stayed far away from the church
10:50 and then talk about how the Lord brought them back.
10:52 And it would always inspire me,
10:55 but I realize that it didn't connect with me
10:57 because I didn't have that experience
10:59 where I fell away and then I came back
11:02 or at least I didn't think I had that experience
11:05 because you see...
11:07 Now looking back,
11:08 I realize truly that the most effective way
11:11 to be lost is to be sitting in a pew.
11:15 And my testimony tonight is a testimony
11:18 of how God had to wake me up in those pews
11:22 and show me that I had to have a living relationship with Him.
11:27 You know, Revelation 12:11 says,
11:29 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
11:33 and by the word of their testimony,
11:35 and they did not love their lives to the death."
11:38 You see, the word of the lamb, the blood of the lamb,
11:41 and word of their testimony are the two ingredients
11:43 that we need to stand in times of trial.
11:46 And so it is my privilege to share with you my testimony.
11:50 So a little bit about me,
11:51 I was born and raised in Maryland.
11:54 And as you heard from my introduction,
11:57 I'm currently in medicine,
11:59 but initially I had no interest in going into medicine at all.
12:04 I actually, in college I majored in computer science
12:08 and finance and in addition to some engineering courses,
12:11 I went ahead and completed my pre-med courses.
12:15 And for those of you who've been through college
12:17 that tells you that I was very confused in college.
12:21 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
12:23 And so I decided,
12:24 if I just did a little bit of everything eventually,
12:27 something should be useful
12:28 and I should be able to use something, right?
12:31 So when I graduated finally in 2006,
12:33 after 5 years of college it was so fun.
12:35 I took five instead of four years.
12:38 I even took the MCAT,
12:39 which is the Medical College Admissions Test
12:41 that you need to take before you apply to medical school
12:44 and I got a decent score on it,
12:46 but my heart wasn't in medicine
12:48 so I decided that I wasn't going to apply.
12:51 Instead, I started working at the Walter Reed Army
12:54 Institute of Research and Bioinformatics Research
12:57 because I thought that melded my passions of the dry sciences
13:01 and the wet sciences together,
13:03 but after six months or so of that,
13:05 the only thing that taught me was then,
13:06 I was not passionate about that kind of research.
13:11 So then to do something completely different again,
13:13 I went ahead and started working
13:15 as a patent examiner at the US Patent
13:17 and Trademark Office.
13:18 And at that time I got involved
13:20 in starting my own online business
13:23 and I didn't say it to myself in so many words,
13:26 but really at that time of life,
13:28 my goal was to simply to make as much money
13:31 as I could in as shorter time
13:33 as I could to buy back my time, to retire young, retire rich,
13:36 maybe write some checks with several commas
13:38 for good ministry causes
13:40 and to pat myself on the back and to live my life that way.
13:44 And you see, that's probably where I would still be today,
13:47 had not God intervened.
13:50 Because you see in May of 2008,
13:52 my father was diagnosed with brain cancer
13:56 and it came as a shock to all of us
13:58 because there's no history of cancer
14:00 of any kind in our family.
14:02 You know, he came down with a facial droop
14:05 and we thought maybe it was a mild stroke.
14:08 Went quickly to the hospital, we got a CT of his head done
14:11 and it showed a mass in his right parietal lobe,
14:13 and this is right around the time
14:14 that Senator Ted Kennedy,
14:16 if you remember, also was diagnosed
14:17 with a very similar lesion in his brain.
14:21 And when that happened,
14:22 when we had the cancer diagnoses,
14:24 it changed my life forever.
14:25 Suddenly, everything I was doing in my life
14:28 was unimportant, so I took a leave of absence from work.
14:30 I let my online business go
14:32 and I became a full time caregiver for my father
14:35 because I wanted to beat this,
14:38 I could not accept the fact that I would be losing my dad.
14:43 You know, this was the greatest test of faith
14:46 I had gone through up until that point.
14:50 And part of being a cultural Christian is that
14:54 you don't take the promises in the Bible to the bank.
15:00 Up until that point,
15:02 I had never really held God to the promises
15:04 that I read in scripture.
15:06 So when my father was diagnosed with cancer
15:08 I was determined that for the first time in my life
15:11 now I was going to put it to the test.
15:14 Mark 11:24 says, "Therefore, I say to you,
15:17 whatever things you ask when you pray,
15:20 believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
15:23 Have you ever truly prayed that prayer?
15:27 Because I know I hadn't up until that point,
15:29 but I was praying then.
15:32 James 1:6-8 says, "But let him ask in faith,
15:35 with no doubting,
15:36 for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea
15:38 driven and tossed by the wind.
15:40 For let not that man suppose he will receive anything
15:42 from the Lord.
15:44 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
15:47 So I prayed and I exercised my faith like never before
15:50 and I was determined to not let my lack of faith be the reason
15:54 why my father wasn't healed.
15:58 Have you ever prayed really earnestly
16:00 for something only to see the direct opposite
16:03 of what you prayed come to pass?
16:06 Because that's what happened to me.
16:08 I prayed for healing every single day,
16:11 but week by week I could see my father's body deteriorating.
16:14 Something else was going wrong.
16:16 He was getting weaker
16:17 and I refuse to admit it in words,
16:19 but I couldn't help shake the feeling,
16:21 "God, are you there?
16:23 Are you really listening?"
16:24 This Bible that I've told everyone
16:26 I committed my life to, is it really trustworthy?
16:30 Are these pretty verses just that, just pretty words?
16:37 So one morning, my father saw me
16:40 doing my devotionals and he looked over at me
16:43 and he said, "John,
16:45 how do you do your devotionals in the morning?"
16:48 And that struck me as a really odd question
16:49 because my father...
16:53 Well, he had been a Christian all his life as well
16:55 and an elder in the church.
16:57 And so I asked him, you know, "Dad what do you mean?
17:00 You know, I read scripture and I pray."
17:02 And he said, "You know, I'm ashamed to say it.
17:06 I've been in the church all my life,
17:09 but I don't know what it means
17:10 to have a personal relationship with Christ."
17:14 And when he said those words,
17:16 it really struck me because my dad was my hero
17:19 and I looked up to him for everything
17:20 and I just assumed
17:21 that he was a spiritual pillar of our family,
17:23 but when he confided that to me it really shook my world
17:27 and I decided at that point that every morning
17:30 when I do my devotionals I would do it with him.
17:32 So from that point on, we would pray together,
17:34 we would read scripture together,
17:36 we would sing hymns together.
17:38 And some of you may be able to relate to this,
17:40 but my father was a very stoic man,
17:43 a man full of dignity.
17:45 And up until that point I think I've seen him cry once,
17:49 maybe twice at most my whole life,
17:52 but when I started having worship with him
17:54 in the mornings
17:55 after every prayer I would open my eyes
17:58 and I would see tears streaming down his face.
18:01 We would sing a hymn and he would cry,
18:03 we would read a verse of scripture
18:05 and he would cry.
18:07 And it was as if those words had new meaning for him
18:10 for the first time in his life.
18:16 I remember there was a time when he was hospitalized
18:19 because he was having
18:20 intractable brain tumor headaches
18:22 and we were at Johns Hopkins and it was communion Sabbath.
18:26 And because we couldn't be in church,
18:27 our pastor brought the bread
18:30 and the grape juice to have a private communion session
18:33 just for my dad.
18:35 And I remember he gave the bread to my father,
18:37 read the scripture and prayed.
18:39 And we were all eating, but my father wouldn't eat it.
18:41 He would just stare at it.
18:43 And I looked over at him and I asked him, you know,
18:45 is something wrong?
18:48 And he looked at that piece of bread and he said,
18:49 "You know, this is what I've been missing all my life."
19:04 It was as if the meaning behind that beautiful symbol
19:08 was coalescing in his mind for the first time.
19:13 And I can tell you, witnessing that,
19:19 it really took on new meeting me as well.
19:26 So although, it was evident
19:28 that the cancer was ravaging his body
19:30 and that his physical health was declining in a strange way,
19:35 his spiritual life was blossoming
19:38 in front of my eyes.
19:42 You know, up until that point,
19:44 all the physicians who took care of my dad,
19:46 I wouldn't say all,
19:48 but the majority of them had me convinced
19:51 that I have made the right decision
19:53 in not choosing to go into medicine.
19:55 And I realized that they came in
19:56 and they're interested more in the disease than the person
19:59 and I was so jaded about medicine.
20:02 But towards the end of my father's illness course,
20:05 the last doctor who took care of my dad
20:08 was a true Christian physician and he was an Adventist.
20:12 And what he would do is
20:13 he would sit at my father's bedside
20:15 and he would talk to him more than about his disease,
20:18 he would talk to him about his depression.
20:20 His trust in God, his faith and his hopes for the future
20:24 and he would end every session
20:26 by kneeling at my father's bedside,
20:28 taking his hands in his and praying for him
20:29 and our whole family.
20:31 And it would bring us to tears every single time.
20:34 And even though
20:36 what this physician did didn't cure my dad,
20:40 there was a lot of healing taking place,
20:44 and because of his influence,
20:46 my father decided to rededicate his life to Christ
20:49 and to be re-baptized.
20:52 You know, unfortunately,
20:53 the day before he was scheduled to get re-baptized,
20:56 he actually suffered a grand mal seizure
20:58 that hospitalized him permanently.
21:01 But, you know, like the thief on the cross,
21:02 God knows the heart.
21:07 My father and their passing away
21:08 on October 18, 2008 at the age of 54.
21:13 And although, it was one of the saddest moments
21:15 in my life,
21:16 it was also one of the most sacred
21:19 because I realized that up until that point
21:21 I kept asking God to heal my dad
21:25 and I was so frustrated with God
21:27 because I thought he wasn't listening to me,
21:30 but before my father passed away,
21:32 the Lord helped me to realize
21:34 that he had healed my dad on a far deeper level
21:38 than I had known to ask.
21:40 Amen.
21:41 And so when that happened, even though I lost my father
21:43 and it hurts so much I couldn't help,
21:47 but to bend my knees and thank God for his wisdom
21:51 because truly Isaiah 55:8-9 says,
21:55 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
21:57 nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
22:00 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
22:02 so are my ways higher than your ways
22:04 and my thoughts than your thoughts."
22:06 And I said, "Lord, thank you for not answering my prayer
22:09 and for looking deeper and giving me something better
22:13 because I know I will see my father in eternity."
22:18 So, friends, what this convinced,
22:20 this experience convinced me that God is a God of love
22:25 and that he has our best interests at heart
22:28 and that he is so loving and so merciful
22:30 that in his mercy,
22:32 he sometimes refuses to give us what we ask.
22:35 And I said to myself, "You know what?
22:38 I can trust a God like that.
22:42 I can dedicate my life to serving a God like that."
22:47 And seeing the impact
22:48 that his last physician had on his life
22:51 and my life, I thought to myself,
22:55 I need to reconsider this whole field of medicine.
22:58 So I've owned more copies of the ministry of healing
23:02 throughout my life then I cared to recount,
23:04 but I've never opened it and read it.
23:06 So for the first time after my father passed away,
23:08 I read that book and it changed my life forever.
23:12 Through that book,
23:13 I became convinced that God was calling me into medicine,
23:17 but I was very nervous at this point understandably
23:19 because I was three years out of college
23:23 and I said, "Lord, I don't know
23:25 what my chances are of getting into medical school,
23:27 but if you are calling me down this path,
23:29 I will go ahead and apply."
23:31 So I went ahead and cast,
23:33 find it wide and I applied to 24 schools
23:35 across the country
23:37 and I figured that should cover my basis, right?
23:41 And thankfully, what I was most concerned about was that,
23:45 remember when I graduated in 2006, I took my MCAT
23:49 and I was concerned that at that point
23:51 by MCAT might be too old for these schools to accept,
23:54 but thankfully, they all accepted my MCAT.
23:57 They said, "It's just old enough.
23:59 We can still take it."
24:01 And every school told me that except one, Loma Linda.
24:09 It was six months too old for them.
24:13 And I said, "Lord, thank you, for narrowing it down to 23."
24:18 Because if that's not a clear sign
24:20 and that's not the school,
24:21 I meant to go into, I don't know what it is.
24:25 Have you ever made a decision in your life
24:27 and then felt like God was looking at you
24:29 from heaven just shaking his head.
24:33 That's how I felt.
24:34 I couldn't shake the feeling that,
24:36 you know, I said, "John, if you are praying for God
24:40 to choose your medical school for you,
24:42 but you don't put in to the running.
24:44 The only medical school that has medical ministry
24:46 as his foundation and that at one point
24:49 had used the ministry of healing
24:51 as his text book,
24:52 how can you honestly say
24:53 that you're giving God every opportunity to lead you
24:56 and I'd be like, be quite, don't think thoughts like that.
25:00 You know, but finally, I couldn't denied anymore,
25:05 and I had no rest and I said that,
25:06 "Lord, okay, fine,
25:08 if you want me to retake the MCAT,
25:11 you know, what's gonna happen."
25:12 If I don't score at least as high
25:14 as I did fresh out of college
25:15 when I was at the top of my games scholastically,
25:19 it would spell certain doom for my application.
25:22 "So I will retake the MCAT, but this is in your hands."
25:27 And it filled me with terror and peace right afterwards.
25:31 When I said amen and I gave it up to God,
25:35 I had such relief.
25:36 That restlessness that had dogged me
25:38 for weeks went away.
25:41 So up until that point, my plan,
25:44 because we all make plans.
25:46 My plan was to continue working at the Patent Office,
25:48 as I interviewed for medical schools
25:50 and if I didn't get in, no harm done.
25:53 I still have a stable job, life is good.
25:56 Well, this through a monkey ranching those plans
25:58 because in order for me to be able to brush up enough
26:02 to retake the MCAT,
26:03 I would have to study full time for over a month,
26:07 so I had to quit my job
26:09 and I had to just study like crazy,
26:10 and that was burning the bridges.
26:14 But, God, let me know that he was being faithful.
26:16 You know why?
26:17 As I was studying my practice MCAT
26:19 and taking these practices ends,
26:21 I realized that I was actually scoring higher
26:25 on my practice tests then
26:26 what I had scored fresh out of college.
26:29 And I had no idea where this was coming from.
26:32 I said, "Lord, I cannot believe I recall this material
26:36 that I would sure had decade
26:37 somewhere in the far recesses of my brain.
26:39 And when the time came to actually take my MCAT,
26:41 it was tough, but I had that calm sense of peace
26:46 to let me know that God was near.
26:49 When I walked out of the exam,
26:51 I said, "Lord, I don't know how I did on the test,
26:53 but I know you are with me.
26:54 So I thank you, no matter what score I get,
26:57 I know you are with me.
26:59 So thank you."
27:00 And sure enough, several weeks later,
27:02 I got my score and I was shocked
27:05 because it was the lowest score I had ever gotten
27:08 on any MCAT practice or real, and with that score,
27:13 every school proceeded to reject me except Loma Linda.
27:25 It's funny how God works sometimes, isn't it?
27:30 Here I am at the start of it,
27:32 feeling competitive for 24 schools saying,
27:33 Lord, you picked the one for me
27:35 which of these prestigious schools
27:37 is it going to be?
27:39 And here I am knocking my knees saying,
27:42 "It's either Loma Linda or bust."
27:45 And I realize that this was actually good for me
27:48 because God had to humble me in this process.
27:51 You see, he takes us on a journey
27:53 to mould our characters
27:56 all throughout my life, you know.
27:59 I studied hard, I got good grades,
28:01 I had a competitive, you know, academic background,
28:05 so I felt like, I was God's gift to medicine.
28:08 Here's John, he finally decided
28:09 that he's going to pursue medicine.
28:11 You may all stand up and cheer now, yes, you know.
28:15 Which of your lucky schools would be able to accept me
28:17 among its membership?
28:18 You know, and that's kind of how I felt.
28:21 And now I was just desperate to get an interview
28:24 from Loma Linda.
28:29 So here I am,
28:33 all my hopes hinging on one school.
28:37 It made me think of the story of Joseph
28:41 and Potiphar's Wife
28:42 because when you pray for something
28:45 and it doesn't come through the way you'd wanted to,
28:48 you're tempted to thank God.
28:51 Aren't you listening to my prayers
28:53 because he can answer your prayers
28:54 in an unexpected way, right?
28:56 What happened when Joseph refused
28:58 to advances the Potiphar's wife?
29:00 What was his reward?
29:02 He got thrown in prison.
29:04 Now I can only imagine
29:05 what Joseph was thinking in prison.
29:07 He's thinking,
29:08 "This is what I get for being true to you
29:10 in a foreign land."
29:12 Can you imagine the things
29:13 that were going through his mind,
29:14 but he had no idea that he needed
29:16 to spend that time in prison
29:17 in order for God to use him in a palace, you see.
29:20 So The Desire of Ages, page 224 says,
29:22 "God never leads His children,
29:23 otherwise than they would choose to be led,
29:26 if they could see the end from the beginning,
29:27 and discern the glory of the purpose
29:29 which they are fulfilling as co-workers for Him."
29:34 So I realize that God knew what he was doing,
29:37 even though I couldn't tell yet,
29:40 but he let me know that he was being faithful to me
29:41 because first of all,
29:43 he granted me an interview with Loma Linda.
29:45 On the first day of the interview season,
29:47 when they only invite their top candidates
29:50 and I had no business being there
29:51 because my application was very late
29:53 as a result of being having to take my MCAT.
29:57 I also had two interviews there,
29:58 one with the student and one with the faculty member
30:01 and they both went fairly well.
30:03 So at the end of that, I said, "Lord, it's in your hands,
30:06 but if you choose to not open the door to ministry for me,
30:09 the only other...
30:11 I'm sorry.
30:12 If you don't choose to open the door
30:13 to medicine for me,
30:15 the only other option I can see myself
30:16 going into is ministry."
30:18 So I applied for The Amazing Facts Centre of Evangelism
30:21 four-month lay ministry training program,
30:24 also known as AFCOE, and I decided,
30:27 well, I'll do AFCOE and if God makes it clear
30:29 that he's not getting me into medicine,
30:31 I'll just go into ministry.
30:34 Well, my first week in AFCOE,
30:35 I got a phone call from Loma Linda
30:38 and it was very exciting
30:39 because if you know anything about medical schools,
30:41 they do not call you
30:42 to let you know you've been rejected.
30:46 They send you that thin envelop in the mail.
30:50 But to get a call from them, could only mean one thing.
30:52 So when I picked up the phone with a lot of excitement,
30:55 the voice on the other line said,
30:57 "John, we would like you to come back
30:59 for a second set of interviews."
31:03 And I didn't know what to think about that
31:04 because, you see, if they like me they wouldn't bother
31:07 with the second round of interviews, right?
31:10 But if they didn't like me, they would've bothered
31:12 with a second set of interviews, right?
31:15 So what could this possibly mean?
31:18 And rather than playing mind games,
31:19 I said, "When do you need me?"
31:21 And they said, "Can you come this Friday?"
31:22 And I said, "Yeah, sure, I can clear my schedule."
31:25 So here I am, headed down on the wings of much prayer
31:27 of my new AFCOE classmates
31:29 going down for a second round of interviews.
31:32 I went there, I met with two physicians,
31:34 they interviewed me back to back
31:35 and there's a lot of details in here
31:36 that time won't permit me to go into,
31:38 but I felt that God was guiding in those interviews.
31:41 And here I am, back at AFCOE and I told the Lord,
31:44 "Lord, it is completely in your hands."
31:48 Or so, I thought because you see,
31:51 I was telling God, "Lord,
31:53 medicine or ministry, medicine or ministry."
31:55 I don't care which one it is, medicine or ministry.
31:58 But as the weeks went on
32:00 and I didn't hear from Loma Linda,
32:02 I started getting very anxious
32:04 and I started wondering to myself,
32:06 "Do I need to take these Bible,
32:08 personal Bible study courses a little bit more seriously
32:12 because it seems like God is kind of closing that door.
32:14 And as I felt that, I could feel that in my heart,
32:18 I was really clinging to medicine because you see,
32:23 I had told him I give it up to you
32:25 whatever you want me to do,
32:27 but I realized that in the back of my mind,
32:29 it was Lord.
32:30 It's either this
32:32 or we're gonna have to have a long conversation.
32:36 Have you ever prayed like that?
32:38 Were you praying not so much to discern God's will,
32:40 but to receive affirmation of a decision
32:42 you've already made in your heart.
32:44 I am so guilty of that
32:46 and I realized that at that point,
32:48 but them February 18, 2009 happened
32:51 and what happened on that day,
32:53 it was our first day of outreach at AFCOE,
32:55 where 56 students who had little experience
33:00 descended on Sacramento to knock on doors
33:03 and ask for Bible studies,
33:05 and what we lacked in experience,
33:06 we made up them from prayer, believe me.
33:09 And as we fumble our way
33:10 through asking for Bible studies,
33:11 in the span of just three hours that afternoon
33:14 our little rag-tag class
33:16 accumulated over 160 Bible studies.
33:20 And at that time,
33:22 the coordinator for this outreach
33:24 was a Wes Peppers
33:25 and I believe he's here at ASI this weekend
33:27 at least he was presenting one of the seminars,
33:30 so he knows exactly what I'm talking about.
33:32 So when we came back from that event,
33:33 we spent that entire night just recounting testimonies
33:36 of how God gave us divine employments
33:38 on the streets and God has sees Bible studies
33:40 and poured out his holy spirit
33:42 and he would intersperses with hymns and songs
33:44 and it was a spiritual highlight
33:46 of my AFCOE experience.
33:47 The next morning I woke up, I got on my knees,
33:50 and I said, "Lord, I am so sorry
33:54 that in my heart I was insisting on medicine
33:56 because I realize that as long as you're using me
33:59 to touch lives like you did yesterday,
34:02 that's all I need.
34:04 I don't care if you get me into medical school
34:07 or if you use me as a minister
34:08 or a mechanic or anything in between,
34:11 just use me to touch lives for you.
34:13 Amen."
34:15 And it was the first time I meant it.
34:18 That morning I went to lunch with my friends
34:21 and as it's our custom, we've gathered in a circle
34:23 and hold hands and pray at the end of every meal.
34:26 And during that time, my phone rang
34:29 and after the prayer I called back
34:32 and before I called back I looked
34:33 and it was the Loma Linda number.
34:35 And I couldn't help, but to think,
34:37 "A third interview."
34:41 But when I called back, the director of missions
34:43 was on the other line and he said,
34:45 "John, I am happy to tell you that you've been accepted
34:47 to our school of medicine."
34:49 And that sent shivers up my spine
34:51 because, friends, I know that it was not an accident
34:54 that on the day that I finally gave up medicine to God
34:57 is the day that he chose to open the door
34:59 to medicine to me.
35:01 It was as if he was waiting for me
35:03 to learn this final lesson
35:05 where I gave it up to him and I said, "Lord, I don't care
35:09 how you use me, just that you use me."
35:12 And that's when he looked down from heaven and said,
35:14 "Now you're ready to become my physician."
35:17 And so he drilled that point home.
35:21 You know, as I began medical school
35:23 I realized that it could quickly dominate your life
35:26 and make you very one-dimensional.
35:27 It's intense to academic rigor of medical school
35:30 and many students sacrificed everything including health,
35:34 relationships, family and friends
35:35 and even their relationship with God
35:37 on the altar of academics.
35:38 I remember I was studying in the library
35:41 and I had one classmate who studied in the same area
35:43 with me all the time.
35:44 And one day he walked up to me and he said,
35:46 "John, I have decided that
35:47 I'm not going to church anymore."
35:49 And I said, "Why?"
35:51 And he said, "I'm aiming
35:52 for a very competitive medical specialty
35:54 and everyone else was aiming for the same specialty studies
35:58 around the clock, seven days a week.
36:00 I cannot be competitive and miss out one day."
36:04 And so that's the decision he made.
36:05 And he stuck true to in.
36:07 He got stellar scores
36:08 and he accomplished everything he wanted to.
36:10 However, at what cost, I wonder.
36:13 I looked at him and I saw him drifting away from everything
36:17 that's spiritual and I thought to myself, "What a high cost."
36:21 Because you see, regardless of what you do,
36:24 if you pursue success at the expense of your faith,
36:27 you'll be building for yourself a foundation of faithlessness
36:30 and you'll set a president of making things happen
36:32 by your own strength on your own terms
36:35 and you'll be unable to feel a need for God in your life.
36:39 And if this is the case, how could it not be pride?
36:43 Because when you attribute everything
36:45 you've done to yourself,
36:46 there's nothing left, but pride.
36:49 However, if you step on in faith...
36:51 And I really want to address
36:52 the young people in the audience.
36:54 If you step on in faith, especially when you study
36:57 and you ask God to guide you in every step of the way,
37:00 your accomplishments that come thereafter
37:02 will simply serve as testimonies
37:04 of God's faithfulness in your life.
37:07 And you'll be building for yourself
37:09 a legacy of faithfulness
37:10 and your ability to trust in him will grow.
37:13 Some outcome, competent physicians,
37:16 but two drastically different characters.
37:18 So in this sense, the journey is just as important,
37:20 if not more important then the destination.
37:24 So I decided, you know what?
37:26 I will never study at the expense of my faith
37:28 and from that moment on, I promise myself to always pray
37:32 before I cracked open a textbook.
37:34 To acknowledge that unless God helps me,
37:36 I cannot help, I cannot hope
37:38 to understand the material in here.
37:41 In the midst of my studies, I also got involved in ministry
37:44 because I thought this was my way of giving back
37:46 for my AFCOE training,
37:48 so I was teaching Sabbath school lessons,
37:50 I was giving personal Bible studies,
37:52 I even got involved in the school senate
37:54 as their chaplain and I thought,
37:56 "This is me giving back."
37:58 But at the end of doing that,
38:00 I realize it was actually God's way
38:02 of preserving my faith
38:04 in the face of a rigorous study schedule.
38:07 See, Steps to Christ, page 80 says,
38:09 "If you will go to work as Christ designs
38:11 that His disciples shall, and win souls for Him,
38:13 you will feel the need of a deeper experience
38:15 and a greater knowledge of divine things,
38:17 and will hunger and thirst after righteousness.
38:19 Those who thus devote themselves
38:21 to unselfish effort for the good of others
38:23 are most assuredly working out their own salvation.
38:27 And that was so true for me then
38:29 and it's very true for me now as well in a residency.
38:34 When the time came to do my clinical rotations
38:36 in medical school, my big question was,
38:38 "Lord, what specialty do you want me to go into?"
38:42 And through a long chain of events,
38:44 he convinced me that he was leading me
38:45 into internal medicine
38:46 because he brought me into contact with physicians
38:49 who practice whole person care, who prayed with patients.
38:52 One of those physicians I bumped into this morning
38:54 in the hallway here Dr. Axim Mortell,
38:56 I don't know if she's in the audience.
38:58 But I was so blessed to learn from these doctors
39:01 and I couldn't shake the feeling
39:02 because I had so many divine appointments
39:04 during my internal medicine rotation
39:06 that God was calling me into internal medicine.
39:09 So that's where I applied to.
39:11 So during my fourth year,
39:13 when I was putting my applications together
39:15 for residency,
39:17 I decided that I wanted my faith
39:19 to be the center piece of my application
39:22 and I prayed for God to use my application as a filter.
39:24 I wanted him to reject the wrong programs
39:27 and to make it appealing to the right programs.
39:31 But when my advisor saw my personal statement
39:33 and how I crafted together my application,
39:35 they said, "You know, John,
39:36 this would be great for Loma Linda.
39:38 Maybe catering, Florida Hospital,
39:40 but if you wanna have a shot at any other place,
39:43 you may wanna tone down
39:44 to religious verbish a little bit.
39:47 You know, one of my advisors also told me,
39:50 "Hey, your personal statement expands two pages.
39:54 No reviewer is going to take the time
39:56 to read two pages.
39:57 You need to really condense it to one page.
39:58 So there's this beautiful story you wrote about a patient
40:02 encounter you had, that was very meaningful
40:03 from a very spiritual standpoint.
40:05 Why don't you just summarize that in a sentence or two
40:07 and just cut that out."
40:09 But I talked to a godly physician mentor of mine
40:11 and he said, "John, reviewing your application,
40:13 this story is the only thing in your application
40:16 that serves as a testimony to those reviewing it.
40:19 So I would leave it in."
40:20 And when he said that, I said, "Done, it's stain."
40:22 And if they get turned off by it,
40:24 they don't have to read it.
40:27 So I had no impressive extracurricular activities
40:29 on my CV, I didn't do any impressive research.
40:32 All my spare time honestly, went to ministering.
40:35 But I was happy with my application
40:37 because it actually reflected
40:38 who I was and what I was passionate about.
40:41 So I ended up interviewing at 17 different programs
40:45 in 9 different states and that's a lot.
40:48 And time won't permit me
40:49 to tell you all the amazing things
40:52 that happened on the interview trial,
40:53 but let me just highlight one incident
40:56 and that was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
40:58 First of all, when I went there
41:00 and I spoke with the other interviewees,
41:02 I realized that I had no business being there.
41:05 It was very clear that I was the least qualified applicant
41:08 at least on paper.
41:10 And hearing them talk about the things
41:11 that they've been doing made me wonder,
41:14 "Why am I here?"
41:17 The first person who interviewed me
41:18 was an oncologist and because of his background
41:20 he was naturally very interested
41:22 in what happened to my father.
41:24 And we started talking about spiritual care
41:27 in the context of oncology and terminal illness.
41:30 And we had a great discussion
41:32 and that evening he emailed me back saying,
41:35 "John, after I spoke with you today,
41:37 I went to my clinic that evening
41:40 and I just took a mental note of every time
41:42 an opportunity for spiritual care came up
41:45 and I realized it was with every patient.
41:48 This is such a crucial issue in medicine.
41:51 I hope you will choose to come to Mayo."
41:53 That was his email to me.
41:55 My second interview was with the program director
41:58 and she started off saying,
41:59 "John, I just wanna let you know
42:01 that your personal statement was one of the most impressive,
42:05 well-written personal statements
42:06 I have ever read.
42:07 And trust me, I've read a lot of personal statements.
42:10 And she proceeded to highlight
42:12 actually my patient's story on the second page
42:15 and how it really touched her
42:17 and that's I couldn't help her to think at that point,
42:20 that was exactly the portion that I was advised to remove.
42:23 And in talking with this program director,
42:25 I realized that what impressed her most about me
42:28 was my conviction for spiritual care
42:31 and whole person care.
42:32 Much more than any research item
42:34 or extracurricular activity could've impressed on my CV.
42:38 And it really made me think of Jeremiah 9:23-24.
42:43 "Thus says the Lord,
42:44 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
42:46 let not the mighty man glory in his might,
42:48 nor let the rich man glory in his riches.
42:50 But let him who glories glory in this,
42:53 that he understands and knows me,
42:54 that I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness,
42:58 judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
43:00 For in these I delight,''' says the Lord.
43:03 So, friends, if there is one way
43:05 that you want to differentiate yourself from others,
43:07 it should be in the degree of your love for God
43:11 and he will add everything else to you.
43:14 So after much prayer and fasting,
43:16 what happens is you take all the programs
43:19 you've interviewed at
43:20 then you make a rank list from the program
43:22 you like most to the program you like least
43:24 and you submit it to a computer.
43:25 All the programs do the same thing
43:27 with the applicants that they had interviewed
43:29 and they submit them to the same computer
43:31 and it's kind of like a eHarmony of medicine
43:33 in the background and try to pair you up
43:36 with the best match
43:38 so that a program you like and a program that likes you
43:42 could be paired up together.
43:44 And after much prayer and fasting,
43:46 I decided that God wasn't pressing it up on my heart
43:48 to rank the Mayo Clinic number one.
43:51 And I have to tell you, friends,
43:52 this took a lot of soul searching
43:53 because honestly, I was wondering
43:56 if I was putting that up there and ranking it number one
43:59 for the wrong reasons.
44:01 And I said, "Lord, is this me or is this you?"
44:05 But after talking to a lot of godly physician mentors,
44:07 I realized that I had peace within and I said,
44:09 "Lord, no matter what happens the glory goes to you
44:13 and if I'm misinterpreting you then override my rank list
44:17 and get me into the program
44:19 that you would have me to go to."
44:20 And he brought me to the point where I said,
44:22 "Lord, whatever program I matched to,
44:25 I know it's going to be your will for me.
44:27 So I thank you."
44:28 So then match day came, March 21, 2014,
44:33 my wife and I, we converged in the room,
44:35 we're passing out envelopes and what happens is,
44:38 every student gets an envelope
44:40 and then we do a countdown like, New Years Eve.
44:42 And at the same time, we all tear open our envelopes
44:44 and find out where we're going for residency
44:46 and as peels of screaming
44:49 erupted from all around the room
44:51 and my wife and I hugged each other
44:52 and we said a small prayer
44:54 and we held that envelope and we said,
44:55 "Lord, I don't know where you're sending me,
44:57 but I know that this is your choice for me
44:59 so we thank you.
45:01 Amen."
45:02 Then we opened our envelope and to my shock,
45:04 it was the Mayo Clinic.
45:06 And when I give this story a lot of people say,
45:09 "John, wow!
45:10 You got into the Mayo Clinic.
45:12 And when they say that,
45:13 I know they misunderstood the true point of my testimony.
45:17 Because the major point of this testimony
45:19 is not that God got me into the Mayo Clinic,
45:21 but that he brought my heart to the point
45:24 where even it was the most smallest unknown program
45:27 in the middle of nowhere, I would've been happy
45:30 because I knew that that was his choice for me.
45:33 So, friends, and especially young people,
45:35 dedicate your life to him,
45:37 be in full commitment to him and say,
45:40 "Lord, I give it up to you, I don't care where you use me,
45:44 I don't care how you use me,
45:45 just use me to add souls to your kingdom."
45:48 And when you pray that way, watch him be amazed
45:52 because your life will never be the same again.
45:54 Let us pray.
45:56 Heavenly Father, I thank you so much
45:57 for the beautiful testimonies that you give to each of us
46:00 and mine is just one of an innumerable amount
46:02 in this room.
46:03 Lord, I pray that you'll give us the faith
46:05 to cling to you and to your promises,
46:07 to completely give up our will to yours,
46:10 to let you direct God in our lives.
46:12 In so doing Lord,
46:13 may we be changed and be a light for you
46:15 so that others may come to know you as well.
46:17 In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
46:19 Amen.
46:48 Give me ears to hear Your Spirit
46:54 Give me feet to follow through
47:00 Give me hands to touch the hurting
47:06 And the faith to follow You
47:17 Give me grace to be a servant
47:23 Give me mercy for the lost
47:28 Give me passion for Your glory
47:34 Give me passion for the cross
47:41 And I will go where there are no easy roads
47:47 Leave the comforts that I know
47:53 I will go and let this journey be my home
47:59 I will go
48:04 I will go
48:20 I'll let go of my ambitions
48:26 Cut the roots that run too deep
48:31 I will learn to give away
48:37 What I cannot really keep
48:43 What I cannot really keep
48:50 Help me see with eyes of faith
48:57 Give me strength to run this race
49:04 And I will go where there are no easy roads
49:10 Leave the comforts that I know
49:16 I will go and let this journey be my home
49:22 I will go, I will go
49:28 I will go, Lord, where Your glory is unknown
49:33 I will live for You alone
49:39 I will go because my life is not my own
49:45 I will go,
49:48 I will go, I will go.
50:14 I want to invite you to bow your heads
50:16 for the benediction.
50:20 Our Father in heaven,
50:22 the testimony that we've just heard
50:24 reminds us of how you lead in each one of our lives
50:28 and tonight, I just wanna thank you
50:30 for bringing our ASI Family here together once again.
50:35 May the energy, excitement
50:37 and talent of our young people displayed this evening
50:40 and the music and message motivate each one of us
50:44 to share Christ in our homes, in our neighborhoods,
50:48 our workplace and around the world,
50:51 we ask in the name of Jesus, amen.


Revised 2017-09-11