Monday, June 30, 2014

24 Hours

This is my last day at work. In fact for the past 20 years I have not been working for he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his (Heb 4:10). It's exciting serving the Lord. One day you are working, the next day rest. I am in for a long sabbatical without distractions. I have just sold my largest possession, an 32-inch TV.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Fitting Conclusion

Those were the words that I spoke in the ears of the senior pastor who preached the final sermon on the book of Revelation. I started off the series on the Apocalypse 6 months ago and I had the honour to preach on 4 Sundays since last November. It was a fitting conclusion to me as I bid farewell to the Bukit Panjang community. I also returned the last book I had borrowed from Chua Chu Kang library.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Capacity to Love

Why was David loved by God? David was like God. David had a capacity to love just as God is love and anyone who does not truly love has not known what love is truly. David loved Jonathan and Jonathan loved David. The capacity to love is what distinguishes followers of Jesus Christ and nominal Christians. As I reflect my 6 years of life as a lecturer and if there was any impact at all it was my capacity to love. To go beyond duty and loved my students in Christ was no easy task.

I have Found a Home

For the first time in Singapore I needed to find a place to stay and the Lord provided in a miraculous way. After packing my books off to a seminary yesterday, I moved some of my stuff into my new flat at the West side, not too far from where I am now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Books Have Found a Home

Things are falling into place. In the midst of catching up with friends over lunches and coffee in the past several days, I have found a home for my books. The books will be kept at a Seminary library in Singapore for 2 years and students/faculty can access them including short term loans. Why 2 years? I just told my pastor friend when he noted that it was my Jubilee year (50th) and also my sabbatical (7th year) that I could afford to take 2 years off work.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This World is So Foreign

As I worship the Lord, I feel Him close, his angels surround Him and bring us near to Him. When you have this vision of the next world, this world is so foreign. That should be a cause of concern when most Christians spend their waking moments thinking about this world but not the world to come. Take me home Lord where You dwell eternally for in Your presence there is fulness of joy and at Your right hand pleasures forevermore. I have no desire on earth beside Thee O Lord. To be with You where You are is my only desire; to behold Thy face and thy beauty in thy sanctuary O God! Earthly matters tire me today.

After the Storms

Things are becoming calm after the various storms that blew my way. I plucked up courage this morning and put to an end negotiations of a possible ministry position in Singapore. I am glad that as least for some of the elders and deacons I have retained their good-will. Singapore is a small place and it is important to live in peace with everyone, especially fellow Christian leaders. I have preached in about 40 churches in Singapore and most of which I would think still accord me honour and respect. Lord I have come to serve and not to be served.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting for the Wave

I read something about surfing that "it is 90% of the time waiting for the wave" I think that aptly described my situation at the moment. I have been waiting for the next wave of God's Spirit to sweep me off my feet and take me where He wants me to go. I must admit 10% of my time was wasted entertaining several institutions about joining them. Once discussion is started, it seems difficult to end, and I am determined to put to end one such situation tomorrow. But overall, I am content, waiting and praying and enjoying this golden period of fellowship with God even as Job says, "when God's fellowship adorns my dwelling."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

David's Psalms & Preaching

When sorrows and fears beset me from inside and outside, David's Psalms have been my keep. I have read Psalms 55 to 63 for the past 2 days over and over again. Lord You know how I have lived in peace with my neighbours and I have kept my intregity and never played false to You and to men. Why have my sorrows been unceasing? Unless your comforts delight my soul I would have perished in my afflictions. LORD You know what comes out of my mouth is right before You. How can I do the contrary as many do when for the past 70 months I have declared Your holy words to thousands.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Church & Football

I went into McDonald's for breakfast at 7:50am and caught the last 60 seconds of the US-Portugal match. What a game! What a goal! Ronaldo's cross met with a bullet header to level the game in the dying seconds. What can the church learn from football? If the church allows the Holy Spirit to move in her midst, things can get excited. There could be last minute surprises, surprise conversions, people coming forward to confess their sins and turn to Christ with genuine repentance, godly sorrow turned to joy of salvation. Why do we not see that happening in most churches today? Too much of man's control, set liturgy, human manipulation and the Spirit is driven out for The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty there is freedom and the Lord who is the Spirit will work to transform lives into Christ's image from one degree of glory to another.. (2 Cor 3:17ff). What else can we learn from football? They put out the best players and they play as a team with star players shining and scoring goals. In the church?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Adversity & Betrayal

My student friend asked me to look at a passage for him in 1 Kings 1,17ff where David in his last days with his sons fighting for the throne had this to say of his life in God, "the God who delivered me out of all my adversity." Why one would wonder for one beloved of God and a man after God's heart, David had to face so much adversity, not only before he became king but also after taking rule over Israel? Perhaps it is precisely that God's favour and love upon David that caused other less spiritual persons to detest the one beloved by God. It is said Saul feared David when he knew the Lord was with David. Hence, the very fact of our Christian existence in Christ and that Christ is with us is sufficient cause for the enemies to hate and persecute the Lord's chosen ones.

NT 2 Farewell Photos

Just came across these photos put up by my NT 2 class taken during my final class, 24th April which happened to be my 32nd anniversary in Christ. I'm going to miss them (see here).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Taking a Break is Biblical

I think one thing my Singaporean friends find hard to understand is why I am not in a hurry to get myself into another position of gainful employment (paid job). The reason is simple. It is biblical to take a break, especially after 6 years of non- stop work of teaching and preaching. A Labourer deserves his rest and sabbatical.

The Process has Begun: The Cloud is Lifted Up

10 days and counting. The process of packing my books has begun. I have filled up 5 boxes of my books and more than half are still on my shelves in my office and my apartment. No wonder the Scripture says, the glory of young men is their strength as I could not lift the 20-25 kgs of books in each box. I need some young men to do the heavy lifting and may God answer my prayers! During Israel's wilderness wanderings, one key passage sums up Israel's faith in their God who moves from one place to another:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Astride the Causeway

I had this surreal experience being caught astride the causeway between Johor Bahru (Malaysia) and Singapore recently. It was 10:30 at night when the traffic was supposed to be less heavy. But we were caught in a jam because a bus broke down and that closed down one lane heading towards Singapore. For 30 minutes I was literally standing in the bus astride the causeway at the boundary of Malaysia-Singapore separated by the narrow Johor Straits. Perhaps at that moment, my feet were planted on both Malaysia and Singapore land/waters. I looked back - it was the southern Malaysian State, Johor and when I looked ahead - it was Singapore.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Between the Seas

People say that I am at a cross-road. But in reality I am between the seas. I dwell at two places separated by the seas, the South China Seas. I have two sets of almost everything, basic essentials. One in Sabah, the other in Singapore. I don't know where my fixed abode is.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Caiaphas' Prophecy

One of the most intriguing passages in John's Gospel is Caiaphas' prophecy about Jesus. Caiaphas prophesied that it was better for one man to die than the whole nation perished under the Romans. Further he prophesied that Jesus would die and as a result God would gather all the children of God. John's penchant for irony comes to the forefront here as Caiaphas seems to predict or know Jesus' destiny more than Jesus' closest disciples. Though Caiaphas had only murderous intent against Jesus but ironically he has spoken the truth about Jesus' mission and ultimate death. Caiaphas unwittingly became God's mouthpiece though he had no intention whatsoever to benefit Jesus with his pronouncement.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Charisma & Character

I have no time yet to reflect on the church camp but the 5 sessions have turned into 6 when the pastor asked me last minute whether I could do a wrap-up. I took some 20 minutes to sum up the salient points of the 5 sessions and the best line surely would be in the 3rd session on David's travails when I said of David, "charisma and character is a potent combination." God allowed David to go through hardships for more than 10 years as an outlaw in order to shape his character until he could really become a man after God's heart. I am glad that several young people came forward for prayers and not just the seniors, 40 years old and above. I thank the Lord that some of youths were moved by God's Spirit throughout the Camp and I trust in the Lord that their lives will never be the same again.

Few Friends & Family

David had his 3 mighty men and another 30 mighty men beside. I have my family and friends. A few friends have proven to be true friends not just words but deeds. Among the excellent ones is one kind soul who offered me free accommodation in his vacant flat and even offered to move my stuff when I am ready. I am ready, Lord. Where You go, I will go. Where You stay I will stay, I will follow You (How timely was the Church Camp's theme song). Others have called, written and texted how they could be of help. They are the mighty men of David. In Sabah I have a few friends that I know I could call on any time without being afraid that I might impose on them. One or two of these friends are willing to do all they can for me to help me fulfil God's purpose.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Occasional Sweet Psalmist

I am touched by one prayer among 7 or 8 prayers offered by the leaders of the church at the closing session of the Church Camp this morning. He thanked God that I was able to be "the occasional sweet psalmist" during the Camp, having spoken on King David for 6 sessions (extra morning session today with laying of hands and time for ministry) and I sang 4 of my songs, thus fulfilling my promise to sing a few songs during the Church Camp and also that David as the singer of Israel and composer of many songs is often a neglected theme in the study of the life of David:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Church Camp Melaka

I have just preached 5 long sessions in a Malacca Church Camp. Great turn out for a smallish church. 140 adults in all and the hall was packed. Great worship led by the youths. The theme was "will you be a woman/man after God's heart?" I preached on "God looks at the heart.", "David's exploits", "David's travails" and "David's leadership." There were three discussions after the two mornings and last night's sessions. We enjoyed late night fellowship poolside with tasty Melaka satays. Tonight we are having Peranakan dinner and I had durians for afternoon tea.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Choosing a Place to Go

"If anyone serves me, let him follow Me; and where I am there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my Father will honour," says Jesus in John 12:26. The key question here is the "where" of Jesus for each and everyone of us as his followers. Even in his closing address to his disciples in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus promises his presence with us, "I am with you" until the end of the age, but that promise seems to be predicated upon his followers doing his commission - "Go, make disciple of all nations, baptising them and teaching them all that I have commanded you..." If we are not doing the great commission, it is hard to claim Jesus' presence though hypothetically, Christ will be present with every believer every where in every situation but his presence or the Commission's presence is only available to those who do His great commission.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"I will go about the City"

It is one of those mornings that I could not get back to sleep after awakened at 4am. So after a short devotion, I left home at 5.30am and took a bus to tour the city of Singapore. It is still dark as I write but the dawn is just upon us. In the Song of Songs, the beloved rises in the night and goes about the city to find her lover until she finds him and brings him back to her mother's chambers. LORD, You are a God who hides yourself. I will seek you until I find you, even in the city where I live. The Lord hides himself betimes lest we take his presence for granted. He will arouse his desire in us to seek him afresh. "Do not arouse my beloved until he pleases" another line from the Song of Songs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Psalm for Every Situation of Life

There is a Psalm for every situation, for every circumstance of life. Today after I experienced great disappointment with those I thought would behave better, I opened my Bible and came upon this Psalm:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Convergence of Civilizations

Robert Kaplan in his book, Asia's Cauldron describes Malaysia as a "convergence of civilizations", a melting pot of three major cultures, Indian, Chinese and Malay. Not many people know that the Malay language is spoken by 300 million people in South East Asia making it the 5th most widely spoken language in the world. Nusantara or the Malay archipelago spans from the northern tip of Sumatra, Aceh to Timor Timor (East Timor) covering a vast expanse of 20,000 islands and 3 time zones. Listen to me, you isles the Lord has called me in his righteousness (Isa 49,1). Malaysia is truly a convergence of civilizations together with the indigenous cultures of Borneo, East Malaysia which makes the country the envy of the world in terms of its rich multi-culturalism.