Thursday, October 30, 2014
Just as I thought things were almost settled, there are further twists and turns. The Lord prepared me for this as I was reading Romans 8,21ff for Saturday's convocation sermon - "More than conquerors". Truly one can do all things through Christ. Nothing could unsettle one whose mind is fixed on Thee, Lord.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Deciding where to send my books has been the greatest challenge. My home destination is not the ideal addressee neither is my current location. Thus, I sent a box full of my most precious books to my son in New Zealand in the hope that he will make use of some of them, maybe not now but in years to come. A man is only as good as his tools. A quick glance of the pastor's library will tell me whether the pastor will go far in the ministry of the Word. He must know words in order to articulate the Word. No wonder Paul was chosen to write half the New Testament because he was learned than most. No wonder he was called to be the apostle to the nations because the nations were multilingual like Paul and Paul was an expert in Greek, the lingua franca of the day.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
It is the finale. In the next 36 hours I have to decide what to bring with me and what goes into the recycle bin. I am sorting out my papers for the 10th time. Already gave all my notes to one former student but I still have stacks of photocopied articles. Most will be thrown out just like salt that has lost its saltiness. Perhaps I will ship my last three boxes of books or maybe I will give them away. This is the third and final time I am bringing things back with me to Sabah. One lesson I have learned through moving houses in the past months is that moving is hard and that's why very few choose to move. Perhaps a spiritual analogy why very few truly follow Christ because it involves going and moving.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Abraham and David are among my favourite fathers in the Old Testament. Abraham went forth without knowing where he was going. The destination was not told him until he was on the way. Just before I left Sabah on Wednesday, my future was still totally in the dark. I proceeded to cancel my credit card and close my bank accounts except one for no man can escape the tax man and until next year I will still need to pay taxes for income earned this year. This time we bought return tickets to Sabah. But all these without knowing what my future holds for me.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I spent a sleepless night. I thought I escaped from the heat of the battle by returning to Singapore but alas when I received news from home I did not know what to make of it. I tossed and turned, seeking the Lord per chance He will speak in His gentle voice but when I got up I was nowhere near resolving what was going through my mind whole night. So I prayed to Lord, have mercy on your church. You are the King. Let your decree concerning Your servant stand. This morning I read half of Hosea. Yesterday before the news came, I read half of Esther.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
My 6 weeks in Sabah have been times of refreshing and times of hearing and speaking the Word of God. I had preached 4 times, twice in Ranau and twice in Kota Kinabalu. It achieved its desired effect that more and more people know that I am back in Sabah. Last night out of the blue, we were invited to a dinner by a former church member. They were some of my strongest supporters when I was pastor, and it saddens me that some of my closest friends had moved to another church. We talked for 2 hours on many things but it was mutually edifying. I have learned not to count the chickens before they hatched. Nothing is sure until it is sure.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I preached for 65 minutes, the longest sermon in 7 years. The text given to me was 1 Kings 17-19. Elijah and Jezebel and their conflict. I also spoke about the prophetic ministry in the New Testament from 1 Cor 12, 14 and Eph 2,20; 3,5; 4,7-16. The songs were mostly new to me but the song leader was one I worked with during my time as pastor. He is a wonderful song leader. I felt strong in the Lord as I had prepared for 10 days. Early Sunday at 4am I was already up. The Word was not easily contained as I spoke even as the oracles of God. I went on so long because I could see the church was ready for it. One visitor told me she understood little of what I said because it was in Malay. How did I learn to speak Malay? Well I told her I was Malay educated and proud to speak the national language well. I asked her whether she found the worship meaningful. She said Malay was a romantic language and the worship was touching. I couldn't agree more.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
One of the prophetic signs of sukkot is the ingathering of the nations and then salvation will reach Israel even as Paul the apostle said that when the number of the Gentiles has come in, then all Israel shall be saved (Rom 11,26). The appointed time is now. Gentiles from every nation are being gathered in and when this gathering is complete, God will turn to save His elect, the people of Israel. Evangelism should be hastened and preaching the Gospel should be given priority as we hasten the coming of the day of God.
For Christians, the only major Feast that is left unfulfilled is sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God has been sacrificed on Passover and the Holy Spirit has been poured out on Pentecost, leaving Tabernacles as the prophetic Feast looking forward to the end-time. In Lev 23, a total of 7 Feasts are enumerated beginning with the Sabbath day. The 7th month lists 3 Feasts, Rosh Hashanah, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles which is the climax of the festal year. It is called the Feast of ingathering as crops and grapes and olives are gathered in the barns in late Autumn in preparation for the next year of planting and sowing. Hence, the prayer for rain, the early rain for the crops to grow and the latter rain for the crops to mature and ripen. We are into a season of the latter rain as the first Pentecost was the early rain while the end- times will see a double portion of the latter rain so that crops mature quicker and the harvest is large beyond measure. Speaking of rain, it has been raining 7 days non-stop in KK, a sign of the latter rain which the church will experience that will impact the world greater that the charismatic renewal of the 1960s and 70s.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Today will witness a convergence of events. The Feast of Tabernacles begins this evening, 15th Tishri (5775) and we will also witness a blood moon rising at 5.59pm Kota Kinabalu's time (Singapore about 7pm) - a total lunar eclipse, the second time this year (the first was on Passover, 14th Nisan). And it is also my 100th day in Sabbatical unto the Lord. I had stopped writing my book for a week since I had to prepare for my Atonement Day message but now today I have been writing the epilogue on "Pastoral leadership & Theological Education". It's up to 64,000 words. God's appointed Feasts are signs. Even in the Hebrew, it is God's appointed times, moed.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Kota Kinabalu is extremely hot throughout the day and night. But for the past 5 days it has been raining and for the first time I had to turn on the heater for bath. The rain has been good and refreshing, showers of blessings for plants, grass and earth. If the Father takes care of the grass will He not care for us His beloved children? The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit is the best gift to humans. Every person is looking for love.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
The song leader started worship by speaking Hebrew today and he repeated three times "hineniy", the Hebrew for "Here I" or "Here I am". Abraham answered God and the angel with hineniy, a sigh of readiness on Abraham's part to listen to the royal command. Much like the prophet Isaiah who also answered hineniy when he heard God asking "Who shall go for us?" This attitude of worshipful waiting for the royal command is especially precious as obedience is better than sacrifice. I have experienced 3 days of intense spiritual activity. On Friday I spent 12 hours in the Lord's presence before preaching for 30 minutes. Yesterday was Yom Kippur and we fasted. Today was the Lord's day and we worshipped and listened to His Word. Again I can't emphasize more the importance of preaching. If it is done well which the congregation listens to the voice of the Lord and not of man's, then God's will is done and He is exalted.
I got up way before the Muslim call to prayers. I had gotten used to the sound of the call as my house is surrounded by two mosques. I have always thought to myself that if my co-religionists could get up early at 4:30am to pray why not Christians? So this morning I got up before 4am and I was filled with a sense of peace which was indescribable. I was filled with a joy that transcends the many joys I had experienced before. I was filled with a sense of hope that words could not define for eyes have not seen nor ears heard nor the heart perceived what God had prepared for them that love him. What I am certain about is that a new dawn is coming, a new day which brings new hope.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
The only time fasting was enjoined on the Israelites is on the Day of Atonement. So it was fitting for my homechurch to hold a prayer and fasting day today. We broke fast at 4.30pm after we prayed from 9am. I was praying at home until noon before joining my church members. At the end, about 15 men and 7 women took part. The moment we finished prayers, there was a sudden downpour but it lasted a few minutes. We were just reading 1 Kings 17 where Elijah said that there would be no rain except at his word.
I preached a 30 min sermon last night at 9.15pm. I was supposed to preach at 7.30pm before dinner but the meeting was delayed so the chairman announced that dinner would be served first before the sermon. First the natural then the spiritual. It was a good move since for more than an hour I was wondering how to cut short the sermon as minutes passed without most of the guests present. But I had waited in the Lord's presence since 6.30am and I was filled with power and the Spirit of the Lord when I stepped up to the podium. I preached about 3 things. First, the Day of Atonement and Jubilee based on Lev 25, 8 to vv 13. Then, the acts of God towards men who love Him based on Psalm 91,14-16. The third on team ministry as it was a men's fellowship soccer tournament. I shared why it was important to mark milestones in one's life. Jubilee is only celebrated once in one's lifetime and it is important to make it count. Interestingly it was on the day of Atonement, 10th day of Tishri that the trumpet is blown marking the year of Jubilee. In Psalm 91, there are two states of men and one action of man but God acts in 7 different ways.
Friday, October 3, 2014
That's it! I have finished my book. I added a half-page Prologue and a full-page Synopsis. I have reached 61,000 words and 144 pages. I think it is a good number, even given the formatting, etc with photos and maps, the book will be not more than 150 pages, depending on the font size. Tonight I shall be preaching at a State-level Men's Fellowship. It has been raining since last night but I pray the turnout will be good with expected 40 tables to be filled. I will preach from Lev 25:8-13 on the Day of Atonement Yom Kippur and the blowing of trumpets in Jubilee. Menandakan batu peringatan dan pelayanan berpasukan (Marking Milestones & Team Ministry). It will be a fresh start for me. I will move on to another stage of my book project, sourcing a publisher and a translator of my book from English to Malay.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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 Res...
It is time to reflect on the first half of the year. The second half has just begun. What have I done for the Lord? It is good to have a rep...
I did not preach yesterday but it was one of the most fruitful Sunday I had for quite some time. I visited two of my students who are on...
For the first time for a long long time I served my own denomination's major events twice in a month. But it is good to know that there ...