Friday, July 29, 2016
In Luke 13:32-33, Jesus' cryptic saying about I must go on today, tomorrow and the next day has been a lamp post as far as my ministry is concerned. These three days represent the three phases of the Lord's ministry in Luke's Gospel - Galilee's, the journey to Jerusalem and His passion. For ordinary mortals, these three days represent the three phases of our lives and ministry in the Lord. I am entering the phase of tomorrow in my middle age, truly into my second half of life and it could last for 15 or so years. Then my final stage will be brief - a few short years and then it's quits or in a more spiritual tone, I would have run and finished my course. In Mark 4:28-29, another enigmatic parable concerning the growth of a plant - first the blade/stalk, then the head/ear and the full grain in the head - again three stages of growth as mysteriously as it is the growth of a seed buried in the soil, there are three discernible growth spurts - three stages of life for a plant.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
My book tentatively titled, Memoirs of a Modern Modern has gone past 72,000 words. I am finishing my Ranau chapter, ch. 11 and the final chapter will be on my time as Acting Principal in Namaus, ch. 12. I thought 12 chapters are just about right, the number 12 being the number of the people of God and this book is meant to be read by the churches, the Church of Jesus Christ, the people of God. I don't know whether it will reach 90,000 words but I will try to keep it short and manageable. I have been writing furiously in the past couple of days when I felt inspired.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
When my former student texted me and wished me God's blessings on my preaching, I realized that it had been 3 Sundays since I last preached in Singapore on 26th June. My last Sunday sermon in Sabah was in a nearby church from College on 12th June. This is like an eternity without rising to the pulpit. Last night I preached an impassioned message from 1 Tim 5,17-18, Eph 4,11-14 and Jeremiah 3:15-16 to a cell group of 14 adults, most of whom are my contemporaries belonging to my homechurch in KK. I spoke about three things as pastors or elders. First, to lead or rule well and the 2nd and 3rd things are ways by which leadership or rulership of the church is carried out, namely through preaching and teaching. I shared how I rejected several job offers in Singapore when the churches only asked me to preach occasionally like once in 3 weeks compared to what I had been doing in the past 18 months that is on average preaching 3 times a week. But suddenly I am taken away from the land of the living and now dwell in darkness of non activity.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
Yesterday I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. When there is a high a low will soon follow. Perhaps this is the pattern of human experience, even spiritual experience. Yesterday during worship I experienced one of the sweetest highs in my life. As the song was sung, Tuhan pasti Sanggup (God is able) I was caught up in estascy of the Lord's embrace. I had just read Jeremiah 13:11 about God's people clinging to the Lord as a linen sash clings to a man's body. I saw exactly that in a vision of the Lord. Where the Spirit is, there is freedom. I felt such a sense of liberation, not bound by anything temporal or worldly concerns but only wanting to do God's will. I remember how I worshipped the Lord as a 17-year old, my first love in Christ in the city of Christchurch and yesterday I worshipped the Lord in abandonment like before-times. O Lord there is no desire on earth besides Thee; in Your presence is fulness of joy and at Your right hand pleasures forevermore.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
We are truly into the 2nd half of the year, more than half of July is gone. I am in the 5th day of my self enforced break from active ministry. After returning from College with my books last Monday, I rested fully for 3 days before rousing yesterday to begin planning and praying for my future. I read an old post titled 9 months and 9 days and I did not realize that my term of service had taken 18 months and 9 days until 9th July 2016 when I returned from Korea where I presented two papers in an International meeting of the SBL. Time doubled in no time and I shall be writing my last chapter of my book "Ranau & Namaus". I have already reached 70,000 words but perhaps because of the significance of these past 18 months my book will reach 100,000 words.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
We are living in exciting times. It is exciting times in the United Kingdom. It is exciting times for what remains of the European Union. The doom and gloom sayers will be proven wrong. Continental Europe will only grow stronger without the British Isles. France and Germany are negotiating a common defence force, unthinkable with UK in the EU. Britain has a new PM. No matter how polished a politicIan David Cameron was, I have never been impressed with him. Few years ago Cameron's speech on interference in Libya was the last straw. He is not too dissimilar to Tony Blair rushing to war and interference. Theresa May on the other hand looks prime ministerial. I like what I see in her first hours as PM. Appointing Boris Johnson as foreign secretary was a masterstroke.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Sometimes we hide our feelings from others. I felt a part of me went numb when I finally uprooted myself from the College that had been my life for the past 6 months. Two days before flying off to South Korea I went up to the College to clear my room and came back to KK with a truckload of personal belongings. Two days after returning from Korea I went up again to bring my books kept in my makeshift office. A close friend accompanied me on my final trip to Namaus yesterday and we spent less than 1 hour before leaving the place for good. It was tough as I put up a smiley and cheerful exterior, as for the pain in the heart who knows? Some students caught the sight of me and when lesson ended at 11.45am came out to greet us and extended assistance to quickly move the boxes of books onto my pickup truck.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
My soul finds its rest in God. As there was no rest for me in Seoul it was good that for a whole week I have not thought much about my future nor the events of the past weeks. But returning to Sabah will bring back memories of recent past and my waiting period will begin afresh. I met someone at the SBL conference from Malaysia and he has been doing the same job for 30 years and he kind of sympathised with me when he heard I had left Singapore (old news) and now back in Sabah but without a ministry position. It is difficult to know where to begin if I had wanted to tell him of my experience of 18 months in Ranau and Namaus. This is an God ordained break for me. I will for sure read more of the Bible especially Hebrew and Greek versions which is always a good thing, no matter what the circumtances.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
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 ...