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Showing posts from October, 2018

Sunday Travel

I have always tried to avoid Sunday travel whether by road or flight. This morning a revelation came that Sunday travel could be an act of worship. Not that we intentionally miss Sunday services but there are times circumstances compel us to travel on a Sunday. When I was in Singapore three weeks ago I also travelled on a Sunday. I actually planned to stay in Johor Bahru but my hosts kindly offered accommodation for all the three days we were in Singapore. The original plan was to worship in JB either in an SIB or Presbyterian church. I had spoken twice in one of the biggest Presbyterian churches in JB and I thought of visiting them again.

Return & Recuperation

One of the folklores of our missionary beginnings is how Trevor White (Pendeta Asang) returned to England to recuperate for almost a year after his release from Japanese incarceration before returning to Borneo to resume his missionary endeavours after the 2nd World War. I returned to my Homebase for 3 days to recuperate from a slight flu and now fully recovered I plan to return to my mission field at Namaus. I have just over a fortnight before graduation. On Saturday night I plan to oversee the rehearsal for the convocation service - two songs before the sermon and one after when the collection is taken. It has to be supervised because everything is timed and must go according to the flow. I was told that only the organ  or keyboard is used so I have to find songs suitable for the occasion.

Good health & Energy

The work I do is the work of young men - driving alone for hours on end and preaching four long sessions in revival meetings. By the time I arrived back in Namaus it was close to 80 hours on the road, in and out of meetings, resting briefly in hotels and preparing for the next session. I did that for three years non stop when I was in my early 30s. Now more than 20 years I am still doing it but at a much relaxed schedule but no less punishing for me. These past two weeks have seen me covered close to 1,000 kms back and forth and thanks be to God for good health.

The End of Preaching Tour

I ended my preaching tour of Sabah today. I had been to the North (Kudat), South (Kemabong) and East (Telupid). At Telupid I spent a long weekend preaching 4 sessions from Friday night to Sunday morning with another session of Q&A in between. Just before I finished preaching yesterday morning  the electricity was cut off and for the next 2.5 hours I had to minister in the heat going through my sermon and another one and a half hours of answeing more than 20 questions on the End time. I love this quiet little township of Telupid where the people are very friendly. Yesterday I had fried bananas for free and today I actually had to tell the vendor not to give me too much of the same. But as I travelled alone I felt a sense of loneliness except the times when church leaders brought me for meals and the exciting times in church.

On the 3rd Day

It is the third day since I returned from Kemabong and Keningau. I only spent three hours on the podium over 2 days but after 3 days I can’t say I am well rested. Today I spent a whole day reading and commenting on a 70 page BTheol thesis on the Shema. I am glad that I insisted that the length is limited to 70 pages or 20,000 words. That’s already a minor dissertation for my postgrad Diploma in Theology at Otago though we could go up to 25,000 words. Tomorrow I am travelling back to the College.

Katonti & Radaph

I read an fascinating article this morning about rediscovering the lost art of reading biblical languages. I must confess that it was only during the University years that I was moderately good at Hebrew and I could memorise large chunks of Genesis, a few Psalms and parts of Isaiah especially for exams. My Greek was slightly better having gone through a year long course in NT Greek year 3 at Otago Univesity where we were examined on sight reading...all Greek and one translate into English to the best of our ability. Auditing one Semester of intermediate Classical Greek did wonders to my love and confidence in Greek. I got up in Dunedin autumn cold weather before 5am to prepare for my Ancient Greek classes at 9am. Then teaching Koine Greek for 5 years at TTC ensures one keeps in touch with Greek. I read that instead of “follow” one should translate the word radaph- “pursue” that the Lord will pursue his beloved with goodness and mercy all the days of his life as per Psalm 23.

Resting & Readiness

I read of Singapore Airlines’ relaunch of the 19 hour flight from Singapore to New York. Pilots get four days’ rest while cabin crew have 3 days before resuming their duties. I have had a hectic 72 hours ministry which involved driving, preaching, lecturing, praying and counselling church members and general fellowship. I sleep in budget hotels and not 5 star. I usually travel alone and eat out in hawkers stalls and fast food chains. Now I have a few days’ rest before my next trip to the East, 4 hours’ drive from KK. I will make a stop overnight at College before resuming my journey next Friday. I have with me stacks of essays, two sets from my Romans class, one each from my Revelation and Constitution classes. It will take at least two weeks to get them done but I will get started tomorrow.

Travelling, Ministry & Honorarium

It is almost 3pm as I sat down, arriving at my Homebase Kota Kinabalu. I have been on the road since 10am last Friday. This long weekend has been epic in miles covered and distance travelled and I have travelled from middle earth to the south right to the border of Kalimantan, Indonesia back to Keningau and through the Misty Crocker Range and thunderstorms in Papar - somewhat I have made back safely in KK.   I spent close to 8 hours in the car for about three hours on the podium. Two and a half hours in Kemabong and today preaching for 50mins. For all my exertions I received RM500.00 altogether from two places. I spent RM272.00 on two night hotel accommodation and I stopped three times to fill up my tank RM70 every time. Plus the five or six times I dined on my own I easily spent more than RM500.00. So this trip is a loss if money is a concern.

Eldership Seminar

It is part of my job, travelling alone. I drove for almost 2 hours from Keningau to Kemabong via Tenom before reaching the venue at 7.55am just as my session was about to start at 8am. I was encouraged by the number of participants as this place is remote but many eldership candidates came from far. I lectured forthwith for 2 hours on our denomination’s Constitution with a 10min break in between and I gave opportunity for questions twice and also at the end of my lectures for another 30 mins. When the denomination is statewide in an area 100 times larger than Singapore and roads not half as good it is not easy to hold every district or every church together with the rules and regulations so that everyone especially leaders are on the same page. This is the second time I was involved in this kind of seminar to prepare candidates for ordination as elders.

The Noble Plan Noble Things (Isaiah 32:8)

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I preached in the Chapel this morning for 25 mins, 5 mins longer than allowed but as lectures had ended we did not need to rush to end the Chapel service. It was the fourth time in 3 days that I had spoken the Word of God. I knew I was going to be busy after I returned from Singapore but this stretch of ministry takes a lot out of me. Last night I preached for 30 mins on Luke 22 where Judas betrayed Jesus for money and how the chief priests and scribes plotted to kill Jesus. Second, I spoke about how Jesus took care of all Passover preparations and we don't need to need to worry what's next for us in life and ministry because the Lord takes care of it all. It was a loving home fellowship with about 20 people present. This morning I preached about leadership based on Isaiah 32:1-8 passage. At the last few minutes I jumped to verse 8 and spoke about the need for planning.

Classes End, Itinerant Preaching Begins

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This morning over 2 hours I concluded my lectures on Romans. I spoke from the middle of chapter 15 to the end of 16 which is the concluson of Paul's magisterial letter to the Roman church almost 2 thousand years ago. Paul testified of his calling as the apostle to the Gentiles and how the fruits of his ministry are an offering pleasing unto the Lord. How Paul could boast in the Lord concerning his work in preaching the Gospel bringing many nations unto the obedience of faith. From chapter 16 I spoke about Paul's co workers and how he could connect with so many fellow workers, male and female.

Journeying the Journeys

I had this sense of foreboding and deep sadness when I journeyed back to my College this morning after a 3-day trip to Singapore. “He who increases knowledge increases sorrows” (Eccle 1:17). because one knows many things could be done better or greater things achieved for God’s glory. The journeying itself is a task, a cross that I bear willingly and at times unwillingly but pursuing God’s will in my life has led me to remote places. How else would my students learn the Bible from one trained and speak their language well? If one is not skillful in Scripture the blade is blunt and the Sword of the Spirit does not cut deep.

God's Providence

My time in Singapore is limited. I prayed often times to the Lord before my trip that I would meet the right people especially God's servants who can potentially partner with me in Christian ministry. Since my arrival on Thursday I experienced God's providence one after another. I went out to dinner late at about 9pm and bumped into my former colleague who is going to take over the reins of leadership of the College soon.

Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court?

I am writing in direct response to an NY Times article that the FBI might close their investigation on Wednesday (Thursday Malaysian time) and the Senate may vote on Friday for the confirmation of the Supreme Court nominee. If I were a Senator I would vote “no” to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. I just find his testimony last week over the top and compared to Basley Ford’s calm and respectful demeanour I would think Ford’s behaviour is much more suited to be a judge. I do not know the truth or veracity of the sexual assault allegations but if candour and facial expression count for anything I believe in Basley Ford over Kavanaugh.

A Week that Was

As they say a week is eternity in politics. But as for me, I feel just the same that this past week I have been totally engaged with many things. So I get a welcome reprieve with my upcoming trip to Singapore for a few days but upon my return to Sabah, I shall be occupied fully with various speaking engagements until the College graduation in the 2nd week of November. In the past week, I had watched the Senate judiciary committee hearings, sometimes live when Judge Kavanaugh made his response to Dr Basley Ford's allegation of sexual misconduct. I have been reading constantly since then up to an hour or two daily on different media outlets, conservative or democratic-leaning over this Supreme Court nominee. Ultimately, as far as I am concerned - is the nominee telling the truth? I will come back to that, God willing. But first my ministry for the past fortnight has taken me over 1,200 kms in all.