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Recent Research on Revelation

In a crowded field of scholarship, I am delighted to see my name mentioned along with 40 or more scholars by Russell Morton's Recent Research on Revelation (Sheffield Phoenix, 2014; see here). If I were earning Singapore dollars I would have no hesitation to order the book for my library. The last book I ordered was last August when I was in Singapore, also on Revelation by C. Koester (Anchor Yale, 2014) and according to google scholar my book was cited 4 or 5 times in Koester's 940 page-long commentary (in fact it was cited 7 times!). I was invited by Asian Theological Commentary series to write a commentary on Revelation and I am still sitting on the invitation for the past month, not knowing whether I could find time to write. My Monday rest is take up with catching up on sleep. I wished I had a 2-day weekend.

Celebrations & Milestones

Yesterday I had a wonderful time of worship and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was in a small church that I had preached 3 times this year, more than in any other church this year. When we sang the worship song before the sermon, "Kusiapkan hatiku untuk mendengar FirmanMu" my tears flowed and I had to bow my head and wipe my eyes dry several times. This song was one of my favourite some 30 years ago especially when I first started my ministry 25 years ago. The line in Malay means, "I prepare my heart to listen to Your Word". It encapsulates my life and ministry, often times waiting to hear God's Word either as preacher or worshipper before the sermon is preached. Speaking of milestones and landmarks, I had the privilege of sitting beside a senior leader of our denomination who had served as Vice President and Secretary General in the 1980s. He told me that he had been in full-time for 50 years having begun in 1969!

Blogging as Solace & Meditation

I have been at it for 12 years now. Since May 2006 when I started blogging I have found my niche. If I did not stop one year in 2011 I would have a lot more readers now. But I am content. The few that come on my site I hope that they are blessed and encouraged by what they find here. Today I saw in my daily stats that there are three countries from South America, Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia. Two from Middle East including Iraq. On occasions even from Africa. But the most frequent readers are from Asia, North America, Europe and this year more and more Australians.

Preacher & Scholar

It's hard to focus on writing when one has preaching to do. No wonder most scholars don't preach and most preachers don't write and publish. Each to his calling and gifts. Yet I know in my life things are not so simple - not so black or white. I can preach well because I am a scholar. I write well and comment on Scripture because I am a preacher. I remember that it was in Sabah in my 2nd year of my PhD when I was invited to preach a series of 7 sermons on the book of Revelation that the main thesis of doctoral study came to fruition. Writing and preaching should inform one another. In my extended Sabbatical, sometimes I wish I could just go away. Perhaps spend a fortnight in Europe, sitting and listening to papers on the Bible. Perhaps fly away to New Zealand and spend some time with my son.

European Bible Conferences

When I saw the full programme of IOSOT (International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament) I felt a tinge of regret that I withdrew my paper accepted for presentation at the said Congress in Aberdeen next month. I saw a host of scholars from all over the world and some of the big names are presenting short papers. I can still go as an attendee but not as a presenter. It's been three years since I attended an academic Conference. It was almost a perfect symmetry of sorts when I started in 2006 at Peking University where I presented a paper on Father-Son relationships in the book of Genesis: Foundations for a Harmonious Society. Then in 2010 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and in 2013 at Murdoch University, Perth for the SNTS Society of New Testament Studies. In Perth, it was most enjoyable sitting in the same seminar room as Tom Wright (yes, NT Wright) and John Collins of Yale University. And then to top it up I sat next to Prof Richard Hays (author of the famous…

Trinity Lectures 29.7.19-1.8.19

When I got the news of the Trinity lectures a couple of months ago I have been praying to the Lord to open the way to attend the said lectures. I actually had lunch with the speaker, an Oxford University Professor in Biblical Exegesis 7 years ago in his previous visit to TTC. The topic about the absence and presence of Jesus in Paul's understanding is fascinating.

Being Bilingual

I don’t have a gift for languages but I am a bilingual. To be a true bilingual one has to not just speak but write well in two languages. In Singapore I only preached thrice in Malay in my 6 years there in two Indonesian services. Now back in Sabah I have only spoken twice in English but with more than 200 sermons in Malay over 5 years. That makes me by God’s grace a true bilingual. I have written many lectures notes in Malay and have taught in seminaries in Malay for 5 years. Now I am into chapter 12 of John’s gospel commentary, all 60,000 words and counting in Malay. Last Sunday I preached in Malay as I have always preached in Sabah for 19 years. I did not miss a beat. When the anointing flowed, my Malay is as good as my English perhaps even more so because Malay is a very direct and impactful language.

Record of Documents

I tend to be a keeper of records and documents. I have 7 or 8 large files filled with documents from 20 years ago. Though I have very few documents which I kept during my time as Treasurer General except for the final two years of audited accounts which showed a 49% increase church income in 1996-1998. Even during the financial crisis of 1997-1998 the Lord poured out his blessings on His church. I often tell people that God's servants are recession proof and God's church is always protected from the economic downturns of the day. But last night and this morning I searched high and low for a document which I needed but could not find.