The song "Approved in Every Way" was written in 1982. I was 22 years old then. The song was specially written for Full Gospel Tabernacle's (FGT) annual camp in Cameron Highlands. I can vividly remember writing the music and scribbling on a piece of paper the draft lyrics of the song and passing it to Pas. Voon Yuen Woh. Pas. Voon rewrote part of the lyrics and this song was introduced to the church for our camp. It a became an instant hit.
There were only about 30 people in FGT at that time. Most of the church leaders were in their 20's and were considered young and inexperienced. However, there was something common among all of them. They all knew how to sacrifice and serve the Lord with all their hearts. So this song reflected the hearts of the pioneers of the church. The lyrics of the song goes like this.
APPROVED IN EVERY WAY
(Lyrics : Wah Lok , Voon Yuen Woh, Music : Wah Lok 1982 )
I want to be Your servant Lord,
To serve You each and every day
I want to give my best to You
Approved in every way
Make my life a living sacrifice
The way you want me to be
To serve You with all my heart
Whatever the cost to me
Take me, break me, mould me, Lord
As the Potter shapes the clay
Pleasing you in all I do
Approved in every way.
I'll stand before Your righteous throne
To hear "Thou good and faithful one"
"Well done" from the Master's lips
Approved in every way
© 1982 Wah Lok, Voon Yuen Woh
At our first meeting in FGT in 1981, we needed to raise RM 13,000 to pay for the fixtures of our rented church premises. This looked like a small amount today. But at that time, with 30 people who were mostly students, this was a large amount. So many of us emptied our bank accounts. Even with this, we managed to raise only RM 6,000.00. So we had to pay the balance by installments. It was in those years that we learnt how to sacrifice totally to God's purposes. This song "Approved in Every Way" is a true reflection of the lives of the pioneers. They gave their all for God.
As the years passed by, one by one of the pioneers of the church left their high salaried jobs to serve God full time. Our Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng was a Senior Manager in a Finance company. Pas. Voon Yuen Woh was a Financial Controller in the Arab Malaysian Group and Pas. Goh Hock Huat was a manager in Credit Corporation Malaysia. They all left their jobs and are now serving God in full time service. Pas Voon, in particular, relocated to Seremban with his family to plant a church there. This was our first daughter church outside the Klang Valley. Later in the years, other pioneers like Pas. Yoke Poh, Pas. Clarence, Pas. Gaik Sim also reponded to the call of God.
In 1998, I received my call to full time service. At that time, I was the Senior General Manager at the Soon Seng Group. It was a struggle to obey God because of the financial sacrifices. Nevertheless, I obeyed. In 1999, I came out full time and became the Principal of Tung Ling Seminary. Today, most of the pioneers of the church are in full time service.
Another significant event happened between the years 1997 to 2000. FGT had embarked on a building programme. Our land had been purchased earlier for RM 1.5 million and was fully paid. However, we needed to raise approximately RM 5.5 million for our church building. In 1999, we commenced building with only RM 2 million in the bank. There was a shortfall of RM 3.5 million. Over the next 2 years, the church members rallied behind the vision to build the church and covered this financial shortfall. Some sold houses and cars to pledge to the building fund. By early 2001, the entire building was paid in cash. We raised almost 7 million for the land and building. This is a financial miracle for the church as FGT has only 600-700 members. Most of our members are from the average working class. There are no multi millionaires in the church. We praise God that the next generation of church members also had chance to make their lives as a "living sacrifice" for God.
In year 2001, we celebrated our 20th anniversary. By this time, the church has grown to over 700 members, with services in English, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil and Filipino. We have several branch churches across the country. I am often humbled that such a simple song written from our hearts can have such an impact on the destiny of a church. In the end, all lives are "living sacrifices" for God.
"Approved in Every Way" is recorded in my debut album entitled "Every Time I Pray" and can be downloaded free from my website (www.tabernaclemusic.net) Also available free for downloads are 5 other songs, including some of my best worship songs, "Every Time I Pray", "We're Here by Grace" and Flow Holy Spirit'. The lyrics of the songs with chords and many articles on worship, music and songwriting are also available free.