Monday, July 30, 2018

Last-Minute Preaching

I was asked last night at 11pm to take over from a student who was supposed to preach at today’s chapel at 7.50am. I had one of the longest days yesterday getting up early for church and then driving back to Namaus late afternoon to attend a special service celebrating parents’ and teachers’ day. Last night meeting lasted close to 3 and a half hours from 7.45pm to 11.15pm. I said the opening prayers and before that the meal prayers where the whole community gathered together. As we lost 7 students including two families the numbers looked small. Our Chapel that can easily seat 400 people was less than half full with 15 or so visitors part of the Committee that organised the fund raising dinner 3 weeks ago. I am reminded that only 7 or 8 years ago we had the vision of 100 new students each year but it is all long forgotten. Jeremiah 3:15-16 tells us that when God raises shepherds according to his heart who will shepherd his people with knowledge and understanding the people of God will increase and there will be peace and prosperity in the land. I long to see the fulfilment of the Jeremiah’s prophecy, one key text that led me into the College in the first place.

So this morning having slept for barely 4 hours I woke up before sunrise to seek the face of the Lord for the 20 minutes homily. I preached from Psalm 103:1-4. First, how we need to encourage our souls to praise the Lord. Second, not to forget all his benefits. How often we can be forgetful about so many things but we must remember God’s goodness in our lives. Next, a God who forgives our sins and that we should forgive others. I cited the parable of the wicked servant whose huge debt is forgiven but he refused to forgive a small debt of his inferior and even cast him into prison. Fourth, how God delivers us from destruction time and time again. In Malay it was lobang kubur which means the graveyard. It could the graveyard of sin or financial debts. I talked about the dangers of getting into debt like paying zero deposit for a car and paying for it over 9 years. Fifth, I spoke about the renewal of youth. It happened that I celebrated my birthday last week and I felt my youth renewed and that my prayer is to serve the Lord until I am 76 years old. I told my students in about 20 years I will hold a retirement party and my students will be invited with those still in ministry then seated right and left in special seats but those no longer in ministry will be seated at the back on wooden benches.

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