Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sunday was Surreal (The Call of a Pastor)

I preached a 57-min sermon with quite a bit left in the tank and the general atmosphere in the church was one of joy and peace. Many stayed behind with social distancing chatting away and for the first time a couple of church members gave me some feedback why they thought the church was growing and that they felt God's presence like never before. I opened my sermon by saying that in less than 14 years' time I will enter my sunset years but before that I will not consider myself old or even middle-aged. 14 years in biblical parlance is a number for a long time but in actual fact it is a rather short time, a double of 7 times/years. By that I meant, I had 14 more years to make an impact in the church and in the world before my Sunset years begin. I preached about the calling of a full-time workers, which is a rare species in my denomination now with 95% of students in the Bible College straight out of Form Five without any working experience or even aptitude for biblical studies, let alone more advanced theological discourse.

If you understand Malay, please listen to sermon in our the church's YouTube channel (@multimediasibip). For the first time, two listeners told me that they wept as I preached (one online listener and one in church). When the Holy Spirit anoints His word, it spills over and touches hearts and lives. I spoke about making the most of our opportunity in our lives since we only live once. The worship song that led to my sermon, "Hidup hanya sekali" was apt and I purposely chose it to make an intro to my sermon. I spoke about the new robes and the change of robes - Joseph's multi-coloured robe; Elisha tearing up his robe and taking up Elijah's mantle. I spoke about 4 things concerning the pastor's or full-time workers' calling. First, sacrifice and divestment. Elisha sacrificed 24 cows to follow Elijah. James and John sacrificed their fishing business and family to follow Jesus (Mark 1:20). Second, I spoke about equipping and empowerment. I spoke about the lack of quality and lack of biblical languages in Bible Colleges nowadays and how in Calvin's Geneva Academy, Calvin hired the best Hebrew and Greek Professors in Europe. I spoke about how in the 18th and 19th century, Harvard (17th century for Harvard) and some American colleges required Hebrew, Greek and Latin for entry into their Colleges. I spoke about the work ethics (Galatians 6:4) as Paul enjoined us to test our own work and not others' and how Elisha was busy at work (he was working with 12 yoke of oxen) and John and James were busy fishing with their father and hired hands when Jesus called them. 

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