Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ready 4 War

Today I read all four passages meditatively upon which I shall preach 4 consecutive sessions from Friday night to Sunday morning. The first session is the toughest since I would have travelled for 7 hours and normally the welcoming and hospitality from my Christian brothers will consume most of my time when I reach the village. I am expecting at least 500 people to turn up from the surrounding villages. It is getting ready for war, a spiritual warfare to call God's people back to God and to rededicate their lives unto Him. It can only be done in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. O Lord anoint your servant afresh with your mighty power.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Return to Base

After a 5-day foray into Namaus and Nahaba, I returned to base today. It seems that KK is like an army camp mahanaim where I rest for a day or two before joining battle again. This time I have a few personal things to settle tomorrow and by Tuesday I hope to write my papers for Seoul's SBL International meeting. Early Friday morning I will set out on the longest journey yet, 7 hours from KK into the border of Sarawak and Kalimantan. I will reach the last outpost of SIB just a few kms from where the District level meeting will be held. It will be the first time since I returned from Singapore that I will be preaching 4 times but at least the titles and passages are already set by the organizers. It will be among Lundayeh and Murut communities and we are going to have a ball (if I am not preaching).

Friday, May 27, 2016

Table Talk

I have Martin Luther's book, Table Talk which consists of records by Luther's students and boarders in his house taken down almost verbatim during meal times. There are certainly many nuggets of wisdom from Luther while he enjoyed dinner with his fellow believers. I have similar privilege this Semester as I dine with students, three times a day at the College Dining Hall. In the beginning no one dared to join the Pemangku's table but very soon, the students came over and I was having a great time chatting with them over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The girls seem to take the initiative more often than boys but at the end the boys came along and in the past month or so I would have 4 or 5 boys and girls at my table almost every meal. Often times, lunch or dinner goes overtime when they asked me deep theological questions. Usually it is only small talk but I shared my ministry experience and testimonies which I think will be beneficial to them. Yesterday, we talked about the denomination's recommendations for couples to be engaged not more than 6 months and after that they should marry.

Finale

It was an apt finale. We started at 7.45pm and ended our Semester's Closing Service at 10.15pm. No one moved until the closing prayer despite wearied by exertions during the 3-day sports carnival. A few people were nursing bruises and aches but all came with a smile and we had a celebratory service. I gave my closing speech at the start and I must have spoken for 15 minutes, one of my longest speeches since this could be my farewell address to my colleagues and students. I spoke about the tug of war event the day before and how that taught me a spiritual lesson that it was by unity of purpose and each giving his utmost in focus and strength that we could achieve success and victory.  I could see that it struck a chord with both faculty and students when I mentioned that. I shared a verse from 1 Cor 12,26 that if one member is honoured the whole body rejoices and how important it is for us to rejoice in our victories when God exalts his servants especially the leaders of the College.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

6 Hours

In about 6 hours' time my job is truly over. But could it be really over so soon? I am now attending the rehearsal of the End of the Semester's Closing service. As usual the students are still very energetic and we expect much to happen tonight. I was told that it is customary for the Principal (or Acting) to give a speech and so I have prepared my script for tonight with powerpoint. I don't want emotions to get better of me and forget what I want to say. As I peered through my office window into the Chapel, I felt a tinge of sadness mixed with joy even as I read John 16 this afternoon. This could be my last service with my College community.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Second Last Day

Tomorrow is the last day of the College's Semester. We have mopping up or a cleaning exercise to do after a 3-day sports carnival. I came back just in time to join my colleagues for the tug of war. Just a couple of minutes of pulling worked up a mighty sweat. I have mixed feelings now that my tenure is really coming to an end. Everyone is asking where I am going next or whether I am staying on at College. No signs until the last day of College. But I must soldier on. My job is practically done. Tomorrow I will chair one last faculty meeting, basically saying good-byes to my colleagues and tying up loose ends. I will miss them. At the evening we have a College gathering with community dinner followed by end-of-the Semester service. I have asked the worship team to play a Dusun song (most of my students are from the Dusun tribe, the majority tribe in Sabah). I have played the song countless times for the past few days and in a way I am somewhat confident that my future still lies with this Dusun community.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Marvels of Modern Printing

After resting whole day yesterday I came down at 5pm and lo and behold a parcel caught my eye. No wonder Amazon founder is one of the richest men on earth. In less than 2 weeks my new UBS5TH Greek and NIV edition arrived at my table. I marvelled at modern printing. It's more than 1,700 pages but I can hold it in one hand and the Greek text and English NIV read side by side. I have been reading it non stop and NIV for beginning English readers is definitely one of the easiest to read translations in the market. I can now teach both Greek and English by using this handy edition.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Job Done

My job is done. I preached the 2nd and final 51st College anniversary sermon yesterday on Isaiah 30,20 "Your eyes will see your teachers". The Hebrew moreyka could be singular or plural; if it is singular it may refer to God as teacher or if it is plural, a restoration of prophets as teachers of God's people at the end time. I preached from Isaiah 29,11 and pleaded for the College community to read God's word with God's help and cited 1 Cor 2 where Paul says that the Spirit will interpret spiritual things to spiritual people. My job is done. I lectured on the One and Triune God on the Open to about 200 people including a few Central council members and District Superintendents.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

College Fund, Tambourines & War Dance

This morning I spoke on several things concerning the College. First, I gave thanks to God on behalf of the College community for His blessings on the College. When I was praying early this morning before Chapel I received a message that a church which we visited in KK several weeks ago would donate three grass cutters and RM2,000.00 for the purchase of books for the library beside the love gift they collected for the College during the service. Last week, another person donated RM2,000 to the College where I invited him to the Open Day. Our visit to Sandakan where three of my colleagues and I preached in 4 SIB churches also brought more than RM3,000.00 for the College Fund. I wonder how the College had survived for 51 years without regular income or contribution. It has been living by faith of all these years but I intend to see to that the financial state of the College is strengthened to accomplish the many things we have planned for. Next I spoke about restoring worship by citing the verse on "restoring the tabernacle of David" in Acts 15:15 a quotation from Amos 9's prophecy. I noted that in SIB churches we are fond of tambourine dance but it has become almost ritualistic and practically a show without much purpose and passion.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sandakan Trip

As the Semester draws to a close, a hive of activities brings the curtain down on an eventful first half of the year with my College community. We drove 4 hours from Namaus to Sandakan on Saturday for Sunday service and back on Sunday evening, another 4 hours' drive. But the joy of the Holy spirit sustained me and the 4 students who traveled with me. We had close fellowship with the SIB leaders over afternoon tea and dinner on Saturday and over breakfast and lunch on Sunday. But the service went a bit wayward but praise God that I did not let it distract my sermon. At the end the whole church was blessed. I preached on the Pentecost Feast from Deut 16 and highlighted that the people of God were reminded to take care of the Levites among others on the said Feast. Then I looked at Ezekiel 44, 30-31 and wondered what might have happened to the priests if God's people did not bring the first fruits and offered them to the priests.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Feast of Bible Reading

Yesterday, having been stirred by the level of Bible knowledge seen during the International Bible Contest in Jerusalem, I read my Bible with some ferocity. At the end of the day, I had managed Exodus 23; Numbers 21; Nehemiah 1-2; Psalms 101-102, Isaiah 42; Ezekiel 44; Luke 1; Acts 7; Gal 1-2; Heb 1; and Rev 1.

Friday, May 13, 2016

International Bible Contest

While reading a couple of Jewish newspapers in honour of Israel's Independence Day today I came across an event organized to celebrate Independence Day, namely the International Bible Contest.  I was challenged to see how I myself will fare in such a contest and was stirred to read my Bible more thoroughly from now on. I will read a chapter from all 7 parts of the Bible each day. Three parts from the Old Testament and four parts from the New Testament.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Next Year in Jerusalem

I have this 33-year dream of visiting Jerusalem and it is still the wish that next year I shall be in Jerusalem, if possible on Jerusalem Day, 28th Iyyar commemorating Jerusalem's Unification under Israeli rule in 1967. Next year is especially significant as it will be Jerusalem's Golden Jubilee, its 50th Year. What a time to visit Jerusalem and spend at least a week or two in the city of the Lord. I have a whole year to plan for this. I shared with my students last night on our intercessory prayers from Psalms 37 (Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall grant your heart's desire; Lord, my desire is to visit the holy land). Tonight at sun set, Israel celebrates her 68th Year of Independence on 5th Iyyar (Western Calendar 14th May 1948).

Monday, May 9, 2016

"They had been with Jesus" (Acts 4,13)

The best theological education is not in the classrooms or libraries filled with books. It is living and walking with Jesus day by day like the 12 disciples. Even the Jewish leaders realized that the apostles' deed came about because they had been with Jesus. Now that Jesus is no longer with us physically though ever present spiritually by the Spirit, the next best thing is living and walking along a teacher or rabbi. For the past four months plus, it has been an intense community lIving for me, almost communal because we shared three meals together, worshipped together every morning, attend classes and then in the weekends some students will travel with me for ministry. The best theological education is through imitation of the teacher. How he leads prayers and is a man of prayer, a worshipper, a singer of the Lord's songs, a fellow disciple of Christ will do much more than theoretical discussion or scholarly books though both have their place and purpose.

Holy Spirit Come

Lord I am your handiwork the son of your handmaid.  How beautiful and glorious is God's creation. He makes all things perfect and beautiful, all in its place, shape and purpose. Today I sang my Greek song Kurie eleison just before my students took their Greek exams. I also sang Fall Afresh on Me Holy Spirit as I commemorate 34 years of my being baptised in the Holy Spirit in one prayer meeting barely 2 weeks after I encountered Jesus Christ as an 17 year old. Lord You sent Your Spirit and they are created.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Labour Day Message

With an overnight trip to KK to get my Trinity booklet printed I was back in College just in time for dinner last night. I prepared for Sunday sermon forthwith and since it was still early May and I did not preach last Sunday, I preached a sermon today entitled,  "The worth of a servant of God" Nilai seorang Hamba Tuhan. I preached from 1 Cor 9 and managed to expound several verses only before my time of 45 minutes was up. I took sometime to explain why the month of May was especially significant. For most years, May is the month of the Feast of Pentecost (next week). I shared how on the 9th May 1982 I was baptised in the Holy Spirit. The month of May is also the month Israel celebrates its independence Day on 14th May 1948, the nation Israel became sovereign once more after 1,900 years in the dispersion. The month of May is also the month when some countries celebrate Mothers' Day though I did not mention that in my sermon today as I wanted to focus on the worth of a worker in God's Kingdom.  I told my colleagues and students that we must have self worth and self respect though our pay may not be great since many people value a person by the amount of dollars he draws every month.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Booklet on Trinity

In the 10th year since the publication of my monograph on Revelation, I have published an essay in a book edited by two American Professors (more on this). But now I am waiting in a cafe for the printing of my booklet on Trinity, 12 pages in all of about 5,500 words. In it I looked at the passages on the teaching of God as One and God as Trinity. For every sub-topic I could write a long essay but this essay is meant to be delivered over 2 sessions of 40 minutes at the College Open House on 21st May 2016. So I entitled it in English (the essay is in Malay), The One & Triune God: A Brief Exegetical and Theological Analysis. If you around Ranau at that time, please join us. It will be a cracker, God willing.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Four Months On

Today marks my four months in office as I pressed on in service for several more weeks before my tenure expires. Yesterday I received news from my denomination's leaders that the College's proposed Curriculum 2017 has been approved and will be put into place by January 2017. At least our 9 sessions during our 2 full days' Retreat last March have not been in vain. I am polishing yet again my lectures on Trinity while trying to use social media to promote the event. As I don't have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, I am using mostly whatsapp and emails to friends near and far. We expect 300 people to turn up for our Open Day but we will be prepared for larger crowds by the will of the Lord.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Breaker will Break Through (Micah 2:13)

Lord You number my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle (Psalms 56:8 NKJV). The Lord knows exactly where I am and how I feel. How often I have wandered from one place to another in the space of 18 months. How often I have shed the tears of joy because the love of God is shed abroad my heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). One day the righteous will stand before You and rejoice for they will have arrived home and wander no more.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Labour Day Weekend

I have a restful weekend. Glad to be spared preaching after a tense Friday morning Chapel's service. I was surprised that there was no mention of Labour Day in church today. We used to have a tradition of honouring our pastors and full-time workers on Labour Day or the Sunday following it. I bought myself new NKJV Bible large print and inscribed on it Jesus' saying "The labourer is worthy of his wages." (Luke 10,7). Yesterday I did work half day, polishing my essay on the One and Triune God. I got some references from the local seminary library. Back in Namaus I could hardly find a single book on Trinity in English. But tomorrow being a holiday I will have a leisurely drive back to Namaus with my wife. It will be busy busy from word go.

Featured Post

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 Res...