Friday, August 30, 2013

Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling"

"In order to pray there must be a God, there must be a self plus possibility, or a self and possibility in the pregnant sense; for God is that all things are possible, and that all things are possible is God; and only the man whose being has been so shaken in spirit by understanding that all things are possible, only he has had dealings with God." pp. 173-174. quoted from Abraham! Abraham! Kierkegaard and the Hasidim on the Binding of Isaac by Jerome I. Gellman (Ashgate, 2003), p. 37.

I concluded my lectures on Mark's Gospel yesterday without reaching the theme on prayer (what a shame!) where Jesus (only in Mark) said 3 times: all things are possible with God -

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Leading Songs in Worship & Congregational Leadership

I thought I should celebrate my 2nd year as a revived blogger with my 2.0 blog by writing a third blog-post for the day. I started blogging in May 2006 but stopped about 6 months last year, a kind of sabbath from blogging. I found I needed to blog if only to keep a spiritual journal of my personal journey in the Lord. I can look back 10 years from now and remember what I am doing right now on the 28th August 2013. Two-thirds of the year is about gone and after tomorrow, there will be 7 more teaching weeks and I hope by mid-November I can get all my marking of essays and exams done and proceed to my writing project. I have decided to remain in Singapore unless there is a late minute invitation to preach over Christmas. After travelling almost every month for the first seven months of the year, I hope to take a break from flying and do some solid research and writing. What I am experiencing in the past few days and weeks has been heavenly, by the grace of God. I can say like Job that when the fellowship of God is with you, you will feel no lack and be at peace despite great pressure from work and ministry. Just leading worship and prayers in Chapel for 20 minutes in 3 weeks' time already took a lot of my energy and effort.

Worship, Reading & Faith

Late afternoon when my concentration is fading, I would worship the Lord in my office with Youtube, while reading and today I needed to do preparations for Mark's Gospel by reading Yarbro-Collins' commentary on Mark in the Hermeneia series. By worshipping the Lord, I find my strength renewed and when the Lord's presence is near, faith rises to believe the impossible - for all things are possible for those who believe (Mark 9) and then Jesus repeated that in Mark 10 (nothing is impossible for God and all things are possible for Him) and in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours", Jesus taught that when we pray we need to believe, believe that we will receive whatever we ask because we worship a God who does impossible; in fact he delights in him who believes wholehearted, to believe He would do the impossible for without faith it is impossible to please God....O Lord I live to worship You

Greek & Bible Camp

I always take courage after listening to our Chapel's sermons. After last week's Day of Prayer and today's sermons gave me a lift in my spirits. If my colleagues can preach so well, sound in doctrine, evangelical with charity that comes from genuine faith and a good conscience, there is hope and a future for the College and the churches we serve. But what I want to share is this plan I have for sometime now, that is to get school leavers, O and A levels students, perhaps after their final exams to attend a Greek and Bible Camp for 3 weeks.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Uncharted Waters

I was moved in my heart yesterday in the presence of the Lord, waiting on Him and worshipping Him. God delights in those who long to see His face for God seeks after true worshippers those who will worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). I realized that by next week I shall be entering uncharted waters, never before in my life I have been in the same post or position or in one place for so long, that is beyond 5 years and 3 months.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Preparing to Lead Worship

God willing, I shall be leading worship at the College Chapel on a Monday service next month. For 20 minutes of worship and intercession, I have waited on the Lord in the past couple of days for several hours, worshipping and praying what songs I should propose to sing and how to structure the order of worship within a 35-minute service (sermon takes 15 minutes).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"None is Good except one, that is, God" (Mark 10)

It was intense but it was worthwhile to be at the presence of the Lord whenever two or three are gathered in His Name. Yesterday was our College's Day of Prayer. We prayed for about 1 hour at the most with 4 hours given to 3 sermons, sharing, 2 video clips and one sketch on persecution of Christians and an hour-long Communion service at the end. I was really challenged by the 3 sermons. Today was equally intense. I lectured right until the bell rang and stopped when I just finished on explaining the place of Psalm 110:1, The Lord says to my Lord (MT: neum Yhwh  la-adoni) and why Psalm 110 was a Messianic psalm and how Jesus despite being called the Son of David is greater than king David.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Did Jesus Pronounce the Name, YHWH in Mark 12:29?

I have spent two extra days preparing tomorrow's lectures on Mark's Gospel. I plan to give one hour to the question whether Jesus when speaking in Hebrew (citing Deut 6:4-5) in Mark 12:29-32 pronounced the sacred name, YHWH. Obviously the Greek of Mark has kyrios but that is Greek likely following LXX Deut 6:4. But Jesus probably spoke Aramaic and when citing texts from Israel's Scriptures would have used Hebrew.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Use of the Name YHWH

I came across Sean McDonough's book, YHWH at Patmos (1999) when I just began doctoral study in 2000 and it is a delight to read it again today. The second chapter, "The Use of the Name YHWH" is especially significant where McDonough conducts a historical survey on how the Name was used throughout early Judaism to the NT time up to Philo and Josephus.

Is Jesus Yahweh?

I shall be lecturing on the name of God on Thursday when I turn to Mark's Gospel which records Jesus' recitation of the Shema in Mark 12:29. The name of Israel's God, the sacred four-consonant word, yod he waw he (Yhwh) pronounced by most scholars as Yahweh is probably the most misunderstood name as far as how the New Testament writers' references to the name of God are concerned. First, the NT was written in Greek and secondly when quoting the OT, the authors mainly used the LXX which in most places translates Yhwh as kyrios (Lord).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"No Longer Working a Single Day"

Yesterday I was told of a saying (Confucius?) that "if you found the job you like you will not work a single day". I can affirm this without reservation that if you walk according to God's calling in your life, you will feel as if you are not working for a living at all but a vocation or a calling in which one finds fulfilment and satisfaction.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Preaching Season Begins

I thank the Lord that I have a mini break from preaching for 6 weeks and I shall begin preaching again this Sunday. Yesterday, I have 2 speaking engagements confirmed for next year, one Saturday seminar in KL in March and a 4-day Church Camp in Singapore in June.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Gospel of Matthew in a Nutshell

I have been in some sort of dilemma and predicament for 6th year in a row, how best to teach four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in 14 weeks, 3 hours per week over the course of one Semester. Today I have just finished the Gospel of Matthew and I gave 3 weeks for the first Gospel.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Biblical Languages Galore

As I entered into my 6th year of teaching, I have become more insistent that students pay more attention in acquiring a proficiency in both Hebrew and Greek. The median age of students is 35 years old and unfortunately for some over 35 years, it is not ideal to start learning new languages when one is nearing 40 years old. I would want to suggest to Christian leaders and theological educators to shift in our thinking that biblical languages must be acquired by early twenties or even during high school years (Junior College).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Still on the Septuagint

I am immersed in the Septuagint today. I brought my Rahlfs' LXX version to Chapel and read LXX Genesis 15:1-10. Amazingly, it sounds so close to Paul's Romans when he spoke about Abraham being reckoned righteous by believing. On Monday, one graduating student preached an outstanding sermon and in his sermon he asked, "if a Tsunami is coming your way, what would you take? your laptop, smartphone, passport? In my mind, I saw myself taking the blue-cover, Septuagint.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Supersabbath & the Septuagint

Mark E. Biddle in his commentary on Deuteronomy in the Smyth & Helwys series calls the Feasts of Israel - supersabbaths.  Yesterday I had a supersabbath, resting without worrying about preparing for lectures but simply reading for enjoyment. I have finished reading Mogens Muller's The First Bible of the Church: A Plea for the Septuagint in three sittings over the week-end. Yes, I am a Septuagint fan.