It was a relatively quiet Sunday. I felt a little relaxed since I was not preaching today but it is our tradition that before the Lord's communion is served there is a 5 to 10 minute exhortation before worshippers partake of the bread and wine. So I shared a short sermon on John 15 about the need to be humble and allowing God to prune us to that we can bear much fruit. In the Malay Bibles, the word, "bersih" came up a couple of times in the passage and in the 2nd service I made a passing reference to the ongoing Bersih street demonstration. But I took it as a foil to tell my church that we are all dirty in God's sight but now we are clean when we believe in him and his word. "You are clean because of the word I had spoken to you, says Jesus." At the end of the service I led prayers for the nation in this critical juncture of its history now that we are celebrating National Day tomorrow on the 31st August. In the first service I told the congregation that if I were invited to join a street protest I would not go since I still have my doubts on the wisdom and justification for street protest demonstration from a spiritual perspective.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Politics in Singapore is no less interesting than what we witness in Malaysia though in vastly different contexts and environment. PM Lee's call for Sept 11's Polling Day is a political masterstroke. Just barely 2 weeks after SG50 celebrations and 2 days after the National Day Rally, the timing of the General Election could not be more precise. This will be considered a snap Election as the previous parliamentary term (now dissolved) has another 16 months to run. I attended two political rallies in 2011. Exciting stuff, no less. At least all political parties are given freedom to campaign in venues around Singapore plus air time on television in contrast to Malaysian elections where television broadcast is almost totally controlled by the ruling party of the day. Nevertheless, Singapore's opposition could justifiably feel hard done by the short campaign period. It is difficult for most Opposition parties except perhaps the Workers' Party to get the candidates ready let alone the requisite time to campaign in this 10-day electioneering period. But this is politics where incumbency has a decided edge.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
By the time I clicked for a new posting Ringgit Malaysia had fallen from 2.99 to 3.01 to the Sing dollar. It was only 2.69 to 1SGD 3 months ago. I have reached my limits. It has gone beyond my comfort levels. I was half joking to my friends one month ago that should the US dollar reach 4MYR to the 1USD or 1 Sing dollar to 2.9MYR I will seriously consider returning to Singapore. I did not plan to watch PM Lee's NDR speech last night but when I checked today online, PM Lee was about 15 mins into his speech and I listened to the end. It was one of his better speeches in recent years. Less policy details and minutaes but more statesman-like, visionary, broad strokes and historical high points that connected with the audience, at least I was inspired. I had watched all NDR speeches live since 2008. Certain details caught my attention. By 2017, retirement age will rise to 67.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
After 6 months of expository preaching I finally finished Paul's letter to the Colossians. On Wednesday I spent 40 minutes preaching concerning 7 names out of about 10 names mentioned by Paul in his concluding remarks and greetings. Amazingly there is plenty of theology to mine when looking at these co workers of Paul.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
If my reading of early and modern church history is right, it is only when revivals happen that one gets to preach 4 or 5 times a week. I have been averaging that for the past 3 months and there is no end in sight. If truly a revival is taking place then I should be glad and rejoice. But it is hard to say. It could be an outcome of a traditional rural church having multiple services, at least 3 or 4 times a week and when there are special services like wakes, funerals and family celebrations then it could be as many as 5 or 6 times a week. With a double Sunday service it has become a herculean task for me just to be ready to preach. How am I coping?
Saturday, August 8, 2015
I will have to take this opportunity tonight to wish Singapore and my Singaporean friends a blessed Golden Jubilee, SG50 anniversary. As I will be busy tomorrow with a meeting in the afternoon it is unlikely I could blog until night time. You can be sure that I will say a heart felt prayer for Singapore during my Sunday services tomorrow. Just as I happened to pray for Malaysia for her 50th Jubilee on 16th Sept 2013 when I was in Singapore. I led Chapel service that day and specifically instructed my family group member to pray for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew on his 90th birthday. Whatever you sow you reap. Give a portion to seven and scatter your bread on the waters (nations) you never know when your returns might come (Eccle). Indeed Sabah and Singapore are bound together if not for his servants having one leg in Borneo and another in the island Republic. The earthquake last June that took Singaporean and Sabahan lives should bind both States closer in sisterhood, sister States, helping one another and exchanging missions for mutual upbuilding of God's people in both lands. Singapore could proudly celebrate her 50th anniversary of independence for 5 reasons.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
I have reached the final legs of Colossians last night after 6 months where on alternate Wednesday night I had expounded on Paul's letter to the Colossians. It's an average 3 sermons per chapter, on occasions four sermons to the chapter. I will wrap up Paul's letter to the Colossians in a fortnight's time with the call to vigilance in prayers and living in peace with one another. I did not touch on the political turmoil of the nation except that I said in God's Name according to Colossians 3:25, For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. No one can escape justice and judgement which is of the Lord. Nothing hidden will be hidden and all shall be revealed. It is in this fear of the Lord that we fear to sin or do any wrong that might incur God's righteous and holy wrath. I spoke at length on familial relations based on Col 3:17ff. I preached for 37 minutes which was longer than the usual Wednesday sermon of about 25-30 minutes. I spoke about doing our utmost and giving the best for Jesus' sake, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (3:23). Before the service started I managed to share with an elder studying for his MA in theology about a few Hebrew and Greek words.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
One of Jesus' commandments in John's Gospel is for his disciples to bear fruits and fruits abundantly, It is by bearing much fruits one is to glorify the Father. For the 1st time in my 8th month as pastor, I felt at liberty to speak about the church expansion plans before the congregation. I was distracted several times in the course of my preaching when worshippers came late and ushers had to find chairs or seats for them. Where else can you expand when every seat in the house (of the Lord) is taken? I have not seen the church so packed before. The 2nd service is not that full but it is rarely below 120 compared to double the numbers in the 1st service. When asked how many visitors were in church for the 1st time, 10 hands or so were raised? I told the church that it is not impossible for the church to grow to 500 worshippers within a year if we have a larger space, at least a double shoplot unit.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
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...
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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 ...