Monday, October 5, 2020

Ask for Rain; Sheep without a Shepherd (Zechariah 10:1-2)

"Who is adequate for all these?, says Paul the apostle". Yesterday by 7.20am I was already in church for our 9am service after having about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. It was the longest 48 hours from Friday onwards with fake news and much happening around me. After my message that lasted about 32 minutes which was shorter than usual, one deacon asked me how I managed to preach and prepare my slides under the circumstances. I had to gather the leaders 10 minutes before the service started and spent about 20 minutes with them and we decided from next week we are ceasing church services once more due to the rising Covid-19 cases. In my sermon I mentioned that Sabah's cases could rise to 500 to 600 a day and just this evening we had news that Malaysia's toll now stands at 432 cases in 24 hours. Sabah's cases are not much more than yesterday but we expect the Covid-19 infections to rise in the next few days.

The State government has announced another round of CMCO (conditional movement control order) starting 7th October. All these did not stop me from preaching one of the more powerful messages in recent months, thanks be to God. I read first from Zech 14 about nations coming to Jerusalem each year to worship the Lord on the Feast of Tabernacles and how incongruent it was if we were not cease public worship again. Then I launched into Zech 10:1-2 about asking the Lord for rain and I interpreted that to be showers of blessings and that the people of God should ask the Lord's blessings on their farms and plantations and whatever that grows from the earth. I testified about my 4 years in Ranau and how in 2016 it was a drought lasting about 4 months and then the following year there was too much rain that Ranau township was flooded for the first time in recent memory when flood waters entered shops and offices. I told my church that in the light of climate change and uncertainty, we need to ask God for rain in its seasons for our crops so that our economic power is not reduced. I even mentioned the fact that despite Malaysia's economy suffering from 17.1% economic downturn in the 2nd quarter, the agricultural sector actually rose by 1%. Then I shared about how the people of Israel were like sheep without a shepherd (Zech 10:2) and that they were oppressed and wandered aimlessly because of poor leadership. I shared how important it was for leaders to hear God's voice and seek His counsel especially in times of crises and not react or act hastily without seeking the Lord's answer. There is so much fake or scary news out there and we needed to stay calm. I told my leaders and the church to be patient and seek the Lord in prayers before taking any action or decisions. Due to the uncertainty of the situation from Friday onwards, a number of leaders and church members did not turn up but they could still watch the online service that had 170 views within 24 hours (listen to the sermon here). 

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