When “Bethany Cell Group” (from Klang Gospel Hall) was initially commissioned to plant a church in Taman Klang Jaya in January 1998, there was a great sense of excitement. There was also the gnawing fear if this entire endeavour was indeed God’s leading?
Then a week before the scheduled inaugural Worship service, I was bombarded with questions from several well-meaning people whom I loved and had partnered happily in the Lord’s service for many years in church. Their concerns were certainly understandable. With about 25 people, a few of them ministry leaders, moving to the newly planted church, the ‘Mother church’ would surely feel the loss in terms of resources. Their protests were well-intentioned and understandable, but the timing was a little awry. Everything was set for the inaugural Worship Meeting in a few days.
I came home from the party very troubled. Had we erred in listening to God? I tried sleeping but the questions I was riddled with kept resounding in my ears. Doubts developed and I was desperately in need of God’s reassurances. As I got up and paced my room, I cried out to the Lord to affirm His plans with me in no uncertain terms. It was vital to know with certainty that we were on God’s schedule. I remembered Moses’ plea with the Lord in Exodus 33:15, “Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” and I made the same impassioned plea. None of us had any experience in church planting. We were in dire need of the Lord’s Presence and if this wasn’t His agenda, we certainly did not want to go where He did not lead! In my despair, I pleaded with Him for affirmation and then did something I’d usually not recommend – I opened my Bible randomly and told myself that I will claim as God’s word to me, the verses on those two pages.
My Bible opened out at a page that initially seemed to say nothing. It was a page of introduction to the Book of John. No verses, just some notes in my Study Bible. Disappointed, I was about to close my Bible and agonize some more, when my eyes fell on the left hand page next to it. It was the last 3 verses at the conclusion of the Book of Luke. I stared at the verse that seemed to jump out of the page at me, my pulse racing, “When He had led them out to the vicinity of BETHANY, He lifted up His hands and blessed them.” (Lk. 24:50)! It was incredible! The message of reassurance was unmistakable – with even our cell-group, BETHANY, identified by name! Joy replaced agony; peace replaced doubt. I was so excited I awoke my wife from her rather sound sleep to share with her God’s reply to the questions I carried to Him. We rejoiced in the word of affirmation together.
The decade that followed of being the church at Klang Jaya has certainly been an exciting one, full of possibilities and miraculous happenings. But we still yearned for more, a greater measure of God in our church. We were praying for revival and urging God to grip us and set us ablaze. Then it happened …
In a back-to-back series of happenings beginning in mid-May 2013, God began to do a work that only He could do. It was what we were praying for; what we desired. God showed up and breathed into a church that longed for MORE! We saw and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit up close. Joy and a great sense of peace and purpose were a common experience among the believers who sought after God.
Coming from a rather conservative denominational background, there were some who could not subscribe to what God was doing. Hence, on mutual agreement, the leadership of the church, Bethany Chapel, decided to hand over our premises to those whose preference was for the church to continue as it has. We decided to move to Bandar Botanic in our own pursuit of the new spiritual frontiers that God was leading us into.
2014 was spent consolidating on solid Biblical foundations which, we believe, will eventually serve as a springboard to catapult the church into a new era of engagement with God and impacting the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We see 2015 as the dawn of a new era. We have spent a year consolidating at a rented premises at Bandar Botanic. In that one year, the Lord has brought new members to partner with us in our pursuit of our God-given directions. We are now on the verge of buying a spanking new place – a factory lot at a new residential suburb called Canary Gardens. The church is now ready to move on.
As such, the Leadership believe it necessary for a complete makeover … a re-launch as it were, so that our Vision and Mission and the way we do church would reflect our pursuit. With that, we decided to change our name from Bethany Chapel to BethanyLIFE. We are now a part of INC (International Network of Churches), a movement that began in Australia forty years ago and now has spread throughout the world. INC is a growing movement of churches committed to leading people to Christ and training men and women to significantly influence nations toward God. At BethanyLIFE, we believe that God is raising us for such a mission. This is a church believing we are BORN FOR MORE!
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
Together for Greater Things!