Pastoral Letter 24 Jul 2022
My dear readers,
By the grace and mercies of God Almighty, Preacher Ko Lingkang was ordained to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ on 17 July 2022 in Sydney Bible-Presbyterian Church (SBPC), having been observed and examined since his graduation from the Far Eastern Bible College with the degrees of Bachelor of Theology (2009) and Master of Divinity (2015), as well as Master of Theology from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, USA (2017). The ordination Council comprised Rev Hien Nguyen of Brisbane Bible-Presbyterian Church, Rev Joseph Poon of the Bible-Presbyterian Church of Western Australia (BPCWA, Perth), and Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew of Calvary Pandan Bible-Presbyterian Church (chairman).
Lingkang served in his mother church Calvary Pandan BPC since 2009; and in BPCWA from August 2009 to September 2011, making trips of three months at a time to preach at the worship service and teach at various fellowship groups and Bible studies. The LORD then called him and his family, in His perfect time, to serve Him in SBPC in 2020, just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The message preached at his ordination was, “Be Thou an Example of the Believers” based on 1 Timothy 4:12-16.
Rev Ko Lingkang’s testimony of God’s call to full-time ministry is reproduced below for our blessing and encouragement.
Call to full time ministry
Though I was saved, the thought of entering into the full-time service was something entirely foreign to me. As a teen, we used to sit around talking about our ambitions and aspirations. I remember clearly one incident when a few youths from church and I were resting after a jog. One of them brought up the topic of answering God’s call to the ministry. I was about 16 then, and that discussion made me realise that pastors, missionaries and other full-time workers were “normal” people like me. However, like any average Singaporean student, I continued with the flow of academics and CCAs and soon forgot about that incident. I always assumed that I would go on through the system and get a “normal” job like anyone else.
I was not a zealous youth or a model of exemplary Christian conduct. I had my episodes of backsliding, periods of rebelliousness and willful sinful behaviour. It was only in my second year of National Service that the Lord drew me closer to Him through a series of incidents. It was that year in 2004, during the annual Church family camp in Kuala Lumpur (Sunway Lagoon), that I first felt the call to take up the cross and serve the Lord full time.
During one of the night messages by Dr SH Tow, he exhorted (as he often did) young men to come forth and bear the cross for Jesus, to repay our gospel debt and serve Him full time. Previously I had always assumed that he was referring to someone else, maybe the deacons, or some of the older men in church. Somehow, that night, it felt like he was speaking directly to me. “Ridiculous!” I thought to myself. How could one like me, whose testimony is so blemished with sin, whose knowledge of God’s Word is so woefully lacking, ever be able to preach to others? And what’s more, I was still very young. I had yet to even get a degree. I had other aspirations I wanted to pursue, there was still much in life I had yet to experience. It’s true I love God, and I want to be as faithful as possible, but full-time ministry? It seemed such a huge step to take, and too much of a mindset change for me.
However, that burden was not so easily pushed aside. It stayed on my mind throughout the camp and also during the bus ride home. Multiple excuses came up in my mind as to why I was unsuitable to serve the Lord in such a high calling. But God in His graciousness and patience answered each one of them in a most loving manner.
I did not feel apt to teach. Often in front of a crowd, when talking or praying, I would stumble over my words, or lose my train of thought mid-sentence and thereafter give a paltry conclusion to what I had in my mind. I found it difficult to even string together a coherent sentence in public. How could I ever last a 45-minute sermon? During my daily devotion some weeks later, I read the account of Moses’ calling in Exodus 4 where he made a similar excuse. God’s answer came directly to me, “Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” There and then, the first excuse was answered.
Another major hindrance I had in my life was the numerous sins I was still holding on to. I felt my testimony was far too blemished to be of any use to God. While God definitely was working in my life to change me day by day, I felt there was still a long way to go before I could say I was ready. However, this too was answered during my reading of Isaiah’s calling in Isaiah 6, where he too felt unworthy to face God, saying, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” The Lord then sent a seraphim who descended upon him, and cleansed his lips, purging his sin with a burning coal from the altar. Isaiah’s subsequent response to the Lord’s call to him was, “Here am I; send me.” However, at that point in time, I still felt very inadequate and could not bring myself to echo the same words as Isaiah, but the phrase still weighed heavily in my heart.
A few months later, having fallen back into the monotonous routine of army life, I was listening to a tape recording of a YF message that I missed. Dn (now Rev) Lek Aik Wee was speaking on Paul’s missionary journeys. The message that struck me was that of submitting to God’s will. He quoted the words of a song about asking God to have His way in our lives:
Let the Lord have His way in your life every day,
There's no rest, there's no peace, Until the Lord has His way;
Place your life in His hand, Rest secure in His plan,
Let the Lord, Let the Lord have His way.
As I heard this, I could do nothing else but stop the tape and sink my face into my pillow in tears. I remembered the calling, and God’s patient answers. I wanted to serve the Lord! But I still had some doubts. Have I really been called? Was I ready to submit my life fully for the Lord’s use? That Saturday afternoon I went to church early to search for books to answer my questions.
The final proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was at the then Sunset Bible Fellowship (now Sunset Gospel Hour) in March 2005, during which Rev Quek shared about God calling him to the full-time ministry. A song item by the FEBC choir before the sermon was the hymn “Channels Only.” The lyrics of this song stripped me of my pride, and made me realise that it is not any of my talents or abilities that God wants of me, but for me to be a willing channel for Him to use, from which His blessings will pour forth. The third verse especially struck me deeply: “Emptied that Thou shouldst fill me, a clean vessel in Thy hand. With no pow’r but as Thou givest, graciously with each command.” Many things shared during the message also weighed down on me, prodding me closer and closer to yielding my life to do His will. Finally, after the closing prayer, I bowed with tears in my eyes and prayed for repentance, and promised my life to service for the Lord.
With that prayer, I felt a large burden was lifted off me. I was certain that it was indeed the Lord’s will for me to serve Him full-time. I enrolled into FEBC that year (August 2005) and graduated in May 2009. Since then, it has been more than 10 blessed years that the Lord has seen fit to allow me to serve Him in His vineyard. Certainly, there were challenges and difficulties, and I made many mistakes along the way. But the Lord has been gracious and merciful to preserve me and has granted me many opportunities to learn and grow in my service to Him.
Please continue to pray for Rev Ko Lingkang, his beloved wife Serena and their three lovely children Alethea (7), Derek (5) and Zoe (1). May Rev Ko be faithful till the Lord Jesus returns as he cares for his family and God’s family in Sydney. The spiritual battle for the souls of men, women and children, the feeding and protection of the flock of Christ, and
the defense of the Faith which was once delivered unto the saints by the Lord as an ordained minister of Christ is before him.
May Rev Ko and his family continue to be a blessing to the brethren in SBPC and God’s people wherever the LORD opens the door for him to serve. By the grace and mercies of God and with the filling and help of the Holy Spirit, may God’s people in SBPC grow from strength to strength and remain a light to a world that is dying in sin till the glorious return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew