July is named after Julius Caesar, the founder of Roman imperial dynasty. It was a month full of surprises and significant events. First, earlier in the month my younger brother was appointed Judicial Commissioner and we have a Judge in the family. My late father would be truly proud. I also conducted my second teenage class with about 40 people in attendance, the first after the lockdown. It was an encouraging sign that teenagers or at least some of the parents who brought them showed good interest. I started a series preaching on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians on 12th and 19th July. In the afternoon on 19th July I decided to preach on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Church has returned to some form of normalcy as the first session is nearly filled to capacity given the SOP. Then on the 20th July I travelled to my former College which I left in January 2019 to accept an invitation to teach an intensive course on Revelation.
After that, I gave a lecture on Marriage and Divorce in my former Ranau church in Saturday night and it was significant this topic has become a hot button issue in our denomination with a number of elders and pastors who had divorced and remarried and their status as leaders being questioned. On Sunday I preached two sermons, and both went well. The first sermon started with two police officers outside the church door taking photos of our proceedings perhaps to ensure that SOP was being followed. I preached from Psalm 90 which was significant as I dwelt on the verse about the transient nature of man, one day flourishing but the next witherEd and decayed. I also dwelt on the verse that God has ordained men to live to 80 years old if he is healthy.
So I thought to myself I have 24 years to go since last Sunday I turned 56. But no one knew that it was my birthday in my former church though they had celebrated it five years ago when I was pastor. Pastors are easily forgotten and it was only the second time I preached in the Ranau church since I left it to join the Bible College early 2016. But my current church remembers and they held a surprise party for me. I brought a cake to celebrate with the teenagers after the class but little did I realise there were two other birthday cakes, making a total of three. Even the Prime Minister of New Zealand who had the same birthday had just one cake. When I told my good friend that I had three birthday cakes, he was not amused and said what a wastage. But my reply was “my God whom I served is not stingy”. And I went on to explain that in the Genesis 49 passage on Joseph, five times it was said Joseph was blessed. Does it go overboard a bit you may ask? But I say to you, the God of Joseph whom I serve is the same God today and when He blesses He does not refrain from showing generosity and abundance. When I reflected on why the three cakes were there, I realised that perhaps it was God’s way of telling me that though many people might not appreciate what I do, God does take notice and I had preached and taught his Word for a whole week with two Sunday sermons and a night class on my birthday!
Then on 28th July for the first time in the nation’s history a former Prime Minister was convicted of serious crimes and jailed for 12 years. The case is on appeal. On 30th July, news broke that the takeover of Sabah State government failed as the Governor agreed to the sitting Chief Minister’s request for the State Assembly to be dissolved to make way for snap Election within 60 days. The economy and politics of the day are taking a hit and many people are suffering due to the loss of employment. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and for the first time in my adult life, I may not turn out to vote, not because of safety or health reasons but I am totally fed up with the politicians that have caused all this mayhem and had put their own interests ahead of the people’s, thus betraying their trust in electing them. May God grant Sabah and Malaysia God-fearing politicians.