Friday, May 5, 2017

Building Walls

How time flies. I have not preached in my home church in KK since October 2014, more than two and half years ago. I received invitations in 2015 and last year but both times clashed with my preaching schedule, so God willing I shall be preaching in the first Sunday of June. This June also marks three years since I have ended my ministry in Singapore and my two and a half years in active ministry back in Sabah. Early this morning I managed to get my sermon done for June with 10 slides on Nehemiah 2:11-18, with an interesting but difficult sermon topic "Activity & Objective" (Kegiatan & Matlamat).
I struggled a couple of days in prayer before the Lord how to approach such apparent non-spiritual topic but the book of Nehemiah, being one of my favourite books I simply can't let go of this opportunity to speak from this great leadership manual. I had given numerous leadership seminars based on Nehemiah and in my former College in Singapore I had taught a Master of Ministry course on Leadership based solely on the book of Nehemiah. I think in my June sermon I will just focus on the nuts and bolts of the given passage without going much into spiritual application or symbolic meanings in building walls.

The book of Nehemiah is a great book to have when one's church has a building project and passages from Nehemiah are usually taken to exhort and encourage church members to be involved and to contribute to the planned project. It happens that my church is embarking into a major refurbishment project first talked about 10 years ago during my pastorate and I believe soon this project will see the light of day. As the announcement was made a couple of months ago I was sitting in the pews and affirming what the Chairman was saying. For several years the church debated whether to go for a grand mega project of 8 to 10 million (in 2010) or a less ambitious one of extension, renovation and refurbishment. Thanks be to God that the latter plan wins as the mega plan would have cost almost double by now in the region of 15 to 17 million ringgit. As money is hard to come by, building buildings has to be justified for necessity instead of wants or preferences. RM1 million can pay 100 rural pastors for one whole year. Any money saved from spending on physical infrastructure can go into building or developing human capital either supporting the interior ministry with its many needs or scholarships for pastors to go for further theological study.

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