Jacob John

Jacob JohnInterviewer: My guest speaker is Jacob John. Jacob, tell us a little bit about your background.

Jacob: My mom and dad actually worked in India. We have 98% Indian blood and 2% Jewish blood. My dad traveled to America to work on his Master’s and PhD degrees. Dad wanted to work for a World Health Organization, but they wouldn't let him because he was too young. So he decided to have a stopover in Singapore and ended up living there. So we born and bred in Singapore.

Interviewer: And you served in the Singapore Navy.  

Jacob: Yes, that's right. All Singaporean males have to do national service.

Interviewer: We're in a dangerous area there.  

Jacob: I served two years in the Singapore Navy. Some incidents happened opened my eyes to who I was and about God. One evening, I was going on patrol and the salt was so bad that it was so harsh on my face. I felt an invisible push me down three decks of stairs. Everyone thought I was dead. All of the sailors rushed over to pick up a dead body. But I realized that someone held my arm and protected me. I was unhurt and everyone that walked toward me appeared to be in shock. They wanted to make sure that I was alright. I knew at that point that something held my arm.  

Another time was on military maneuvers in the South China Sea. The sea was choppy and I was a gunnery officer. We were given orders to fire, and we heard a shell. We had two shells in the chamber. This mistake could blow-up the ship. When nothing happened, I was thanking God for His divine protection. I was only nineteen years old and didn’t want to die.

Interviewer: So where and when did you actually come to have a personal experience with God?

Jacob: When I was young, I was born into one of those families that didn't know anything about the church. My mom and dad brought us to a Christian church service. I understood every word of the service because it was spoken in Syrian. I decided that it'd be a good idea to learn this message by heart because then all the fathers would say, "We must follow Jacob." And all their daughters will say, "Oh, this is a nice guy." He's doing all the right things. So you were in the right place. We continued our education about the faith in Sunday school. It was competitive.

At thirteen years of age, we were at a crusade. There were thousands of us in the stadium. At the end of the message, I was determined to go down the aisle during the altar call, and give my life to Jesus Christ and make Him my Lord and Savior. I felt a stirring in my spirit, and I expected to feel something more and nothing happened. I expected my faith to suddenly be life-changing.  

I never did drugs. I never did anything spectacularly wrong. So there was this continuation of life and in some ways, you go back to what Jesus said in His word, which was, "If you did something completely bad and you were completely good, you sort of see the spectacular change." So in a way, mine was that sort of middle ground where nothing actually happened. So when those two incidents in the Navy happened, there was a time I thought, "Yes, God is looking after me."  

Interviewer: During your time in the Navy, you were dating a Chinese lady, and your mom and dad weren't particularly happy about this. What happened? Jacob: Well, actually, it wasn't planned. We knew each other. But we knew that there would be challenges. We came from different cultures sometimes that presents other challenges that you don't probably need. We both decided that maybe it's a good time for me to go out for a few years and practice an accounting career. So I was in the United Kingdom for two years.  

Interviewer: When you decided to change your accounting career and pursue a new career in IT, what obstacles did you experience?  

Jacob: I was always interested in business and become an entrepreneur. My dad was an entrepreneur and a business person. So I think I found the initial part of the accountancy quite boring. And it wasn't as challenging as I wanted, so I got into IT. I started my company at that point.

Interviewer: Was this was after your marriage?  

Jacob: Yes.

Interviewer: You're married to Ethel and live here in the UK?

Jacob: That's right. Just let me go back to the marriage. So while waiting here in the UK, Mom and Dad were very interested to know if I was still interested in Ethel. I was very keen on her. My parents gave us permission to get married, and they just really loved Ethel. And now she’s like a daughter to my mom.  

Interviewer: Was moving into IT your first step as a young entrepreneur? Tell us a little bit about that.  

Jacob: IT was exciting. The personal computer (PC) market was exploding. I think it's interesting at this point to ponder about how one works with God. I was so excited about doing something for God and then bring God into it afterward. Not seeking first and say I'm like, "I want to do this." And I've just said, "God, please bless this." And this was a blessing for me and to grow in faith.

Jacob John FGB UK and Ireland Life Stories of Men in Business from FGB UK on Vimeo.

I was getting quite involved in church and serving in the parochial church council (PCC). This is the executive committee of a Church of England parish that consists of clergy and churchwardens of the parish, together with representatives of the laity. While developing our IT program, we went into software with the search engines to specialized search engines. The company was actually really growing. We had a special distribution of the software. We had clients like Integrated Test Measurement (ITM) and Rugged Data Acquisition Systems (RAC) and other big clients. Which took us to one step further potentially going on a stock market?  

My work with God was getting more exciting, and I thought, "This is great." Maybe I should consider going into a sort of full-time ministry. And while this is taking place, and we're looking to go into stock market and then the year 2000 came.  And the year 2000 came and a lot of companies needed to revise their budgets or spend their budgets.  The problems that were predicted for 2000 never came. However, many of our clients canceled their contracts and then came September the 11th when Saudi Arabian citizens hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City.  

So we lost a lot of the clients and the company got smaller and smaller, to the point that I personally had to invest a few hundred thousand pounds into the company. The crunch came in September 2002 when both Christian and non-Christian businesses suffered. I needed to shut down the business. God takes us through extreme business conditions and will probably take us out of the difficult times. The moment I gave my life to God, I thought everything would be great. But Christians go through all the same pain, but what is important is we still have our joy.    

And I just want to share one particular incident. As the company was going down, I decided we need to close the company down. It was a hard decision because it was my joy, my pride, and I just felt that God said, "That's enough. Trust me; we're going on to the next stage."

And one day there was a guy was coming in to close the company. The first word of knowledge I had in ten years, I was terrified. I just felt an urging that the spirit was telling me to pray for him. And just before we signed the papers, I asked him, "Is it okay for me to pray for you?" He said why you want to pray for me. I said, "Look, I'm a Christian, and one of the things we do is pray for people." He said, "Okay, pray for me." So I prayed for him, but when I finish, I felt I should pray for your wife."  

And he said, "Go ahead and pray for my wife. Okay, pray for her. I prayed for God to heal her of anything that was needed to come. And receive complete healing. This really got him. He really got angry and said, "Enough of this and walked off. A few weeks later, I needed to get in touch with him. So I called him up and he wouldn't speak on the phone. The first few seconds he was silent. Then he asked, "What are you?"    

I said to him I am a Christian. I'm a leader in the church. He said, "Are you a psychic?" I said, "No, I'm not psychic. I pray for people." I asked, "What happened?" So that evening when we finish praying, he went home and while eating his wife started having stomach pains. The doctor said, "You need to take her to the hospital." So we went to the hospital. We went to the hospital and the doctor said, "Let's do some tests." They did that and two days later, your wife has cervical cancer. I heard God say, “Relax, I’m in control.”  

Interviewer: You basically lost your IT business, and God said, “Change the direction of your life.”What did you do?

Jacob: Isn't it great that somebody like Tiger Woods has a passion for golf and enjoys it. And what he enjoys, he gets paid for it. That's brilliant. I get excited when praying to God. If you enjoy business, it should just flow. And enjoy what we do. Wouldn’t it be great when people go to work and enjoy doing it?  In my new career, I help people to be debt-free and financially independent.  I thought, "Lord, this is not possible." I’m a corporate guy accustomed to going before a board of directors and give a presentation. That's what I'm used to. I'm not used to going into people’s home and talking one on one. That's not me. That's what I thought. And you have something we've got and this was really interesting. Sometimes when you're really angry and don't say anything. It just lets you go on with it.

 

Interviewer: How did you actually know that God will bring back to you things that you have forgotten through signs?  

Jacob: Okay, I think that comes with time. And it doesn't come automatically over a time period. You really must want to-- it's like sometimes you look at your wife and she says something and you don't even have to say anything.  I think spending time with God only comes through waiting for Him, praying, and seeking Him. And then it comes.  

Interviewer: So you probably read your Bible.  

Jacob: Yes.  

Interviewer: And you'll find that you should do what God seems to impress upon you.

Jacob: Absolutely.

Interviewer: But sometimes it is difficult to measure.

Jacob: Spending time with God is imperative and we need to get away from the distractions otherwise something you want so badly sometimes overrides what He wants you to have.  

Interviewer: You're right. You are a businessman and a leader in your local church.  

Jacob: I think what is important is I've realized having control and error. It's trial and error, just like the earlier part where you're saying. Sometimes getting wrong gets you to the right direction. I think when the company went through that stage, is then you know God is taking you to a different direction altogether. And this particular part of spending time with Him.

We talked earlier about the gift of word of knowledge. The Holy Spirit gives you a word that provides understanding about something. My strongest spiritual gift of revelation is the gift of the word of knowledge. God directs me to a place, and there'll be something that you say, or pray for a person, and about that particular ***circumstances, and they will go, "How do you know about this?" So it was sort of knowing about that, and faultless, and in all my 20 years as a businessman in work, and sort of my company, I don't have any chance to actually sort of be able to use this particular gift, but yet within months of being in this particular situation of this thing that I do at the moment, I use more of this gift. And it just flows.  

And that's what I sort of challenge sort of people out there today in terms of what they do. Are you flowing of what it is? Are you enjoying what you're doing? And when it isn't, go back to God and say, "Hey, there's something's not right here. I want to enjoy the gifts that you've given me. I want to flow with this."

Interviewer: So do you think it's a manly thing to be a Christian?  

Jacob: Very good point. In fact, the great thing of that Terry is because that's one of my passions. I think the world today, we need men to love and follow God. In the last ten years, I felt God put in my heart for men to step up to the plate and be men. Sometimes men in this world have gone through stages where their self-esteem is gone.  

The self-respect is gone. And I just believe God is raising up men to take responsibility and leadership again. And that's been my heart. And sometimes it's the very things that people say men shouldn't do. I believe there's a time that men should cry more. And I believe that these things that we want, we feel so strongly about, and I have to say, I cried more in these last few years than ever. But I feel stronger. It's not necessarily what the world thinks, but what we believe God is doing.

I see men becoming stronger. As I mentioned earlier about the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship, I feel God is using this particular group to mentor men. When we talked about companies going through difficult times, these men are encouragers and have gone through the same things. They would say, "Look, Jacob and put their hands around me." And say, "I understand what you're going through and cry with me." I thought, "Gosh." To have people to do that was something really encouraging.

Interviewer: It seems to me that a lot of men have are frightened to show emotion, frightened of appearing to be weak. But actually, it's like salmon going up to river against the current. It takes somebody with guts, determination to actually go against the current. Men should come back to a place of having passion with God. Because being a Christian means you really want what God has intended us to be? How do you work this out in your business situation? How do you work that out with your two sons? How are you a role model for them?

Jacob: You need role models. My role model is Jesus, and my other role model is David. David was a king, a strong person, and yet, in many ways, he was gentle. Strong people are emotional. Strong people are passionate. And passion sometimes takes different forms. If you want something so badly, you go for it. And strong character sometimes has feelings for this. Not going around and hurting people, but actually concerned about all people. I think that's where it's coming to the cross. So when I go with my two boys, I deal with them. They see that there's genuineness. It's not about sitting down and dealing with that situation. As an expert, how do I deal with it? And say, "Look, here's my own situation." I think when you share with them your feelings because otherwise men are always meant to be victorious. But when you share with people your failures and see your tenderness, they see that there are two sides. It's about having strength and showing your weakness is you’re your strength is going forward.    

Interviewer: I've met a lot of people in business that have been very successful. They have everything but are empty inside. They got their drives, they got home, and all the rest of it, and yet they still feel empty, but Christians can keep their joy.  

Jacob: God is practical. One of the things I challenge myself and I challenge everyone whose there and listening to this, let go. Because it means that when you let go, you're allowing God to take control.

The first few years of my Christian walk, I was not letting go. But I go up to God and say, "Here it is." I had to learn to trust God and not take it back. The second thing is about obedience and timing. What is obedience? And this is an important thing. Because sometimes in business life, something comes to you and you think, "That's a great situation." And then you pray and get counsel and you find that God is saying, "No, it's not right." And yet everything in the business world says, "Go ahead. This is the right thing to do." And you obey God and do not do it. And sometimes everything says, "Oh, God, you should have done it." The third thing is finding wise counsel. I have found a rich resource in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in obtaining their counsel.

 

Jacob's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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