Monday, April 1, 2019

Celebrating Milestones

Yesterday in my sermon, I mentioned briefly that this year marked my 25th year in full-time ministry and I gave glory to God for upholding me in His service. if I were going to hold a party to celebrate I would certainly invite my good friend, the pastor of the church to celebrate with me. He is one of my oldest friends in the ministry. It is incredible that I will reach such a milestone, a quarter of a century long in the Lord's service. I will say like Jacob of old did: Katonti katonti (I am not worthy) of all Your grace and truth. I am not worthy of all Your blessings but I can affirm the truth of God's promise - "If you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things will be added to you". I never sought financial security or material blessings in my 25-year ministry. A good friend over lunch on Saturday told me that it was financial folly (he later re-phrased that I could teach a course "financial dependence on God") in my first 15 years of ministry when I had less than 2 months' salary savings in my bank account.
No permanent dwelling, only a small car to drive around town. Obviously, my Singapore sojourn had helped, though my Singapore's ministry was something unplanned or sought after. To return to Sabah again to serve in 2014, I gave up my Singaporean permanent resident status. I could have clung on to a comfortable life, preaching alternate week in the many Singaporean churches but it would be a total "bore" for me. I was on a mission. After 6 years, when my time was up I was looking for a challenge. Soon after my return to Sabah, a Seminary Principal saw me at Chapel one day and he said to me, "From Singapore to kampung ya!" I took that as a compliment.

Yesterday, the church pastor and I had breakfast together before service and also brunch after the morning service. I went twice for these meals not because I wanted to eat but to spend time catching up with him since preaching in the same church 3 years ago.

I have another milestone to celebrate before my 25th anniversary in the Lord's service. I will be turning 55 years old in a few months' time. I have a Singaporean friend whose birthday falls on the same day. In the past 4 years, I had mentioned that I would love to celebrate our joint birthdays one year. Is this the year? But I am looking forward to the ministry milestone more than anything. I may rent out a Chapel or small church and hold a special thanksgiving service to commemorate the occasion just among close friends and fellow pastors. Katonti Katonti (photo caption: 1989 in Malaysia's Supreme Court, KL ; 2019, in the church vicinity in KK yesterday)

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