Posts

Showing posts from January, 2019

Pitch Darkness

I thought I had become an expert in packing for a mission trip. I have been on a long mission trip, my 5th year travelling constantly. But I forgot to bring a few essential items with me. I brought back my blanket to KK two weeks ago and it is now cold and rainy season in Namaus. I took a leisurely drive yesterday arriving in the early afternoon. But my tap was dry and I had to wait for about an hour before a student came to fix the problems. My water tank at the back of my house was also empty and  there was no water in sight. In the evening I drove back to Ranau town and decided on buying a sleeping bag as my blanket since I have too many blankets in KK. At 7 pm I returned to Namaus and I wa driving no faster than 50km per hour as the road was pitch dark and I could not even see the road divider or the side of the road except when the cars coming in the opposite direction with their headlights. I felt a sense of relief turning into the campus but I realised it was darker still as we…

One Last Chapter

Within this period of 4 years I have to bid goodbye for the third time. I seem to major in moving one place to another. Lord You know my wanderings and my tears are not hidden from You. The first time was saying goodbye to my Ranau church in March 2016. Then three months later  I said goodbye to my College community after my short stint as Acting Principal before being sent back to the College in the middle of the second Semester. Now another chapter is about to be closed with a third goodbye to my College though this time I will leave without fanfare. Maybe I will just go out for lunch or dinner with my 4 students in my NT theology class.

Preaching Invitations

I can’t get a third of the Districts to vote for me in an election but at least two thirds of them are open to my ministry of God’s Word. Perhaps I am not a politician but I am God’s messenger to speak the word of the Lord to whomever wishes to listen. In the past week I received three different invitations to preach from three different districts all spread out in Sabah. Two of them requires that I drive for more than 4 hours into the interior and one is just less than 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu. I turned down two invitations already on the ground that I may be appointed church pastor soon and can’t move around so easily especially on the weekend. Then a third invitation came this evening and I was going to respond like the other two with a “no thanks” but as I tried to type a reply I sensed a check in my spirit that perhaps the Lord does want me to continue preaching from place to place without being tied to a local church.

Counting the Cost

I am not talking about the spritual notion of following Christ when Jesus challenges his disciples to give their all in order to follow Him. But it is part and parcel of following Christ nonetheless even for those who have forsaken all to follow Him because we still live in the world and the cost of living in the world will only increase during the end times before Jesus’ second coming. Knowing that I may be entering a phase of my life as semi-retired or free-lancing, I needed to count the cost literally. So from 1st December I have been noting down every ringgit I spend whether it is at the petrol pump or ta pao lunch or dinner. After more than 50 days of doing that each day and trying to keep costs down and thinking about spending money just on essential items like food and petrol.

Falling on the Stone and Broken into Pieces

This morning I read this passage from Luke 20:9-19 for devotions. It contains one of the toughest verses to interpret “those who fall onto the stone will be broken into pieces and those the stone falls upon shall be ground to dust”. Jesus spoke this parable against his enemies who plan to have him killed. God’s vineyard is rented out to tenants and when the time comes to seek out fruits from the vineyard God sends his servants one by one (prophets in the OT) and when the time comes sends His only son (Jesus) into the vineyard. One by one God’s servants was mistreated, cast out and some killed. The tenants refused to give account of the harvests of the vineyard and asserted control over it as if they were the owners or landlords.

On the Trinity

I am not talking about Augustine’s tome on the Trinity of about 500 pages long. I spoke about 3 hours  on the Trinity to a group of students between 18-20 years old school leavers waiting for their O and A levels results. There were 54 participants with 6 coordinators so I have a 60 strong audience. I thought we were having the talks in an air conditioned room at the Retreat Centre only about 12kms from where I am but it was under a shed open air, a good enough environment but a little tough on the speaker who has to endure the heat from 10am onwards. I felt comfortable in the first hour but 2nd hour and the final session were hard to get through. But I guess it was a cost savings measures so I had to endure it in order to get the message across.

Riding on the Clouds

Early this morning at 6.30am I started my journey from KK to my former place of ministry and reached the Chapel at 8.45am just as they were singing the opening worship song. I was slightly late for Sunday service because thick fog blocked my way twice, first on the way up Tamparuli Hills and then from Bundu Tuhan to Kundasang past the foot of Mount Kinabalu. When I was driving up Tamparuli Hills, I saw the clouds covering the valleys below. For a moment I was above the clouds and in the midst of the clouds. Brought along the wind or spirit within the wheels of my car I sped along as if riding on the clouds.

Work b4 Play

My wife and I are planning a vacation somewhere nice this Lunar New Year. Having escaped Christmas ministry by not accepting speaking invitations for the first or second time in my 25 year ministry I will try to escape the busyness surrounding CNY by disappearing for a little while. But before that I am occupied with two speaking engagements. Having spoken last Sunday where 50 people came forward to be prayed for, I am now preparing for a series of lectures on Trinity for a students’ Camp organised for Form 5 and 6 students waiting for their SPM and STPM results. This camp is sponsored by Full Gospel Business Men and I still have friends there who issued me the invitation. Then by the last week of January I will return to Ranau for one last time.

Travails & Triumph

Amidst my travails and uncertainty of the future, the Lord showered me with much comfort. First, I realised if the anointing to preach His Word is present that is the most important thing. Without the anointing, all is gone. No position or wealth can buy God’s power. He anoints whom He chooses to do His bidding. I am also comforted that my book continues to create waves worldwide. One recent book published by Cascade Books just a few months ago “Models of Premillennialism” cites me and my book as the torch bearer of Asian renaissance of the historical premillennialism within scholarship and especially in South Korea which has 300 NT scholars with PhD.

Languages & mother tongues

I am severely limited by the languages I know or do not know. In Singapore more than once I was embarrassed by Chinese uncles and aunties because I could not speak Mandarin well. My mother tongue is Cantonese and as a little child until Primary school I spoke only Cantonese. My mum and grandma told me that I could speak as early as 1 year old while my son started to speak after 2 years old. But my Cantonese is at best moderate and when asked to pray in Cantonese I refused. My mum is Hakka and I picked up some Hakka in my younger days as my maternal grandparents spoke only Hakka. My grandad loved me a great deal and when I was in JB for my SPM he was already in his 70s but he would drive me to and fro English College where I attended school and played sports almost every afternoon.

First Sunday 2019

I received an invitation to preach today in the Sunday service about 10 days ago. At first they did not give me the topic so I prayed and came up with what the Lord laid in my heart. So today I preached in church “the righteous man shall live by his faith” from Romans 4 and Habakkuk 2:4. I had three main points in my sermon. How we are made righteous before God so that we can approach Him in boldness and rejoice before Him. Rejoiced I did today and the Dusun song moved me to dance along. Then one of my favourite worship songs was sung. Tears flowed as I worshipped the holy God. I told the Lord that I am entering my 25th year in ministry - a quarter of a century (suku abad).

Excitement & Hope

I have started the New Year with a dose of excitement. I sang on top of my voice when I drove to the city centre for lunch with a friend. The New Year’s Eve service at my home church threw up an awkward moment. Just 15 minutes before 12 midnight I was called upon to lead prayers for the Bible College. I reluctantly went forward and announced to about 100 members gathered there that I was no longer with the College and therefore not worthy to represent the College in prayers.

Good Start

It's always good to have a good start to the New Year. My neighbour called and took me out for morning tea and knowing him I know I would be in for some drive here and there. He is a businessman and everywhere he stops he seems to know many people. After ngau chap noodles in Inanam  he took me to one of his landed properties where he built a "rumah walit" (to harvest bird nests). It was a massive 3-storey building, much bigger than those I saw in Pitas a year ago. He asked me to pray for his worker who could be in his late 50s but his face had aged due to hard labour. I was told he struggled with alcohol and his wife had just suffered a stroke. He is Hakka and I spoke to him in my halting dialect. But when I prayed I used Malay, a language which he understood as I was not proficient enough to pray in Hakka.