Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rural Communities in Sabah

One church in Singapore that approached me for a senior pastor's position had second thoughts when they saw my CV and thought I might not fit the demographics of their church. I wonder how I fit the demographics of the Ranau church, a rural indigenous community. I admired their faith and courage and I trust they will not be disappointed. On paper I am much more fitted for Singaporean Chinese English speaking community being an urban English speaking Chinese myself.  But I have learned to adapt and to be a Jew to a Jew, to be a Gentile to a Gentile, to be a Dusun to a Dusun, to be an intellectual to an intellectual,  to be a barbarian to a barbarian, to be all things to all men for Christ's sake.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Catching Up with Old Friends

Yesterday my wife and I had Lamb Masala in the Leaf, a restaurant owned and operated by TAR College. Tonight we are going to a dinner to witness the launch of a CD of songs composed and sung by church members from the church I preached last Sunday. This morning out of a sudden I went up to a dental clinic and reconnected with a friend I did not see for 10 years. We are going for Japanese dinner tomorrow night. This friend was the first SIB leader who welcomed me as a visitor and later visited me in my home in KK when I was 25 years old. I am still astounded and astonished that in my 6 years attending many churches in Singapore no one welcomed me as a visitor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paul the Traveller

I just downloaded William Barclay's Paul the Traveller from Paul, the greatest missionary and apostle was a traveller. For the journeys he made on foot and by sea, it was still remarkable considering that it was mainly in Turkey, Syria and Greece. Whether Paul went as far as Spain is still undetermined. But Asia Minor and Western Europe would never be the same again because of Paul. A Christianized Turkey for 600 years after Christ and with what is happening now in Turkey is worth pondering.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In a Lost World

Last night I gave a 3min testimony in my halting Hakka. It was awful but with a mix of English I managed to get the message across. Before that we sang a number of Hakka songs with Chinese lyrics which I just hummed along. I was in a lost world among Chinese speaking Chinese. I felt awfully uncomfortable throughout but for the sake of my neighbour I persevered. It was a far cry from the two meetings I spoke at in 2 SIB churches. The Malay-speaking Dusuns are my family and I felt very much at home.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preaching Twice

I preached last night in my homechurch's combined cell groups meeting. About 55 people turned up. Quite a few members went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I spoke about the 9 beatitudes according to Jesus' sermon on the Mount. This morning I preached in a church planted by my homechurch which was declared a local SIB church last Friday. Before the main topic of my sermon I spoke about how the Lord laid in my heart to plant the church. In fact, I bought my house in the vicinity just to minister to the potential church goers. Now the church has about 100 adult members and I challenged them to grow further to reach out to the nearby housing estate and university students housed in apartments just 5 minutes away. I read from Titus 1 on the qualification of an elder and why it was important to assess all potential elders in the light of Scriptural requirements, instead on judging by worldly standards. I praised the two elders already serving there since 2009 and it was a real sacrifice on their part to do the work of the ministry in this outreach which had just became a local independent church.

Friday, November 21, 2014

By Faith Moses Refused...

Not all things are beneficial, not even material blessings and the prestige of power. It was by faith that Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharoah's daughter and chose instead to be ill-treated in company with God's people rather than to enjoy for a time the pleasures of sin (Heb 11,24). Further Moses considered the insults of the Messiah something more precious than all the treasures of Egypt. Following the Messiah is bound with the cross of the Messiah who though did no wrong was often maligned by the world. "The world cannot hate you but it hates me for I testify that its works are evil." Moses' motivation was the reward, probably the reward of God's promise that he would be deliverer and judge of Israel despite being rejected by his people in the beginning. Moses had to leave Egypt and ventured into the unknown but he was able to be resolute in the barren wilderness of Midian because he was like a man who could see the invisible (v. 27).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Those who Tremble at my Words (Isaiah 66)

I have another 6 weeks before making a move once again. This Sabbatical will last 6 months, longest I have taken thus far. I thought I was going to enjoy my own home for a while but it is fated and ordained that I should not enjoy homely comforts for too long. I have never spent longer than a year in my own house before moving out for ministry. A pilgrim I am Lord for You know where You go I will follow, even to the ends of the earth. I have no doubt for those with eyes to see, lifestyle choices speak louder than words. Prophetic signs and gestures are open to all to discern but alas how many know what God desires them to know. Indeed it is to babes and sucklings that God has revealed himself. Whom the Son chooses to reveal the Father and those whom the Father chooses to reveal the Son. The proud He knows from afar but to this one I look to, saith the Lord, to him who is broken in spirit and trembles at My Words. The engagement with Scripture can only mean one thing. Either you bow before God the Word or you choose your own way of disobedience and rebellion. God is not mocked. Let no one think that he can approach Scripture simply for the sake of knowledge or study so-called. The Word of God confronts us like a fire shut in our bones, dividing soul and spirit and revealing the intents of our heart.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunrise in Sabah

What a beautiful day. Sunrise in Kota Kinabalu. You don't have to travel 50million kms from the earth and land on a comet to see the beauty of God's creation.

Friday, November 14, 2014

10 Books & 10 Boxes

This time I will travel light. I realized during my six years of sojourn in Singapore I had accumulated too many things. Although I had thrown out or given away half my things I still had to send 10 boxes back to Sabah. I only had space for 10 books. But I will take a few boxes of books with me to Ranau. Two bags of clothings will do. I have not seen the manse or pastor's house but I was told that the office is downstairs, so I will save fuel from travelling to the office if I were in Kota Kinabalu. It is a beautiful land, one that I will soon discover by travelling to every corner of the State.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Food Necessary for Today

Yesterday I got up later than usual and I was just starting to read my Bible at 6am when I heard my neighbour called out to me and told me that his car was broken into. So I went out to talk with him and offered support. As a result my morning devotions were interrupted and I continued reading at 8.30am. By then my sense of calm and peace were lost and I felt my mind could not focus on the Lord as I was still thinking about what my neighbours went through. I realized that even for a day if we don't feed on the Lord we will go hungry for the day and things are not going to be the same just like someone who works with an empty stomach.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spiritual Stamina

Feeling weak spiritually is something every Christian experiences now and then. Even pastor or fulltime church workers are not immune from it. It is especially crushing when one has to minister when one is feeling weak. Spiritual stamina must be stored up for the ardous journey ahead. Yet after more than 32.5 years since becoming a Christian, I have not felt more spiritually alive. This Sunday I was especially keen to go to church. Perhaps like the early church of the first 400 years, it is good to have dawn services, starting 6am. I was out and about at that time and read the Bible for a third time and still it was 2 hours before 8am service. I was in church 7.45am and joined the ushers to welcome church members coming to church. It was a good sign that the 400 buletins printed ran out by 8.20am and today there must be at least 450 adult worshippers. I went inside the sanctuary when worship started and stayed until 8.45am to go to another church service. At this church I sang for another 35 mins but it was like a breeze as the joy of the Lord was my strength.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ready to Rumble

I was woken up by the moonlight and that reminded me that one month had passed since the Feast of Tabernacles. The new moons are celebrated in Israel to mark time, especially holy times or holidays. It has been a meaningful month for me. A month ago I had no idea where the Lord was leading me and there were many twists and turns. Now I am all ready for the next phase of my ministry, my fourth.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Next Chapter

I hope to add another chapter to my book, "The Wait". I waited exactly one year to the day to find out what my future ministry will be. I think I have passed the test. Just. There were times I thought I was still needed in Singapore especially it took so long for my Sabah's position to come through. Really my life has thus far been living on faith and I have a chapter worth of story to tell in my 12-month wait. If wait for another 6 months I will have a Ranau chapter to add and the book will never end, very much like our lives before God are always filled with surprises and hopes of God's workings and mighty acts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"I Got a Head Start in an Unseemly Hour" (LXX Psalm 118)

In MT Psalm 119, there is this favourite psalm of mine about the Law and God's Word. In LXX translation there is this fascinating verse about the Psalmist waking up before dawn at an unseemly hour. I have been experiencing this lately and if not for the OG Psalm I woud have thought it was just my overactive emotions at work. I believe it is the Spirit of God. For several days since my Ranau trip, I got up at unseemly hour, before dawn at 3am or 4am. I walked downstairs so as not to disturb my wife. I read the Bible, yes the Septuagint for an hour or two and worship the Lord for an hour or so. By 6am I am ready to go and today I went to do some banking early in town to beat the rush hour traffic. Everytime I feel the Spirit stirs I know the Lord has much in store for me. Humanly, it does not make sense.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Taking a Break

I have decided not to accept preaching invitations as for now as there are so many things on my mind in anticipation of my new ministry. My spirit is already in Ranau though my body is in KK. I can't wait to meet my church members and I trust it will be an exciting time for them as it will be for me.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ranau Again?

If I accept a Christmas' preaching invitation to Ranau, it will be my 3rd time there in as many months. It is simply incredible how this township and its surrounding churches open their doors to the ministry of the Word. I very much look forward to serving the Christian community there as pastor among the Dusuns of Ranau. For my denomination, Ranau is a historic place where the Gospel found its first converts in the late 1930s when a Baptist minister by the name of Trevor White (Asang) first preached the good news among the Dusuns.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

From Singapore to Ranau

It's confirmed. I have not opened the letter yet but on the way to Ranau yesterday afternoon I got a call from my HQ that my appointment has been finalized. I will be in Ranau, a small town two hours from Kota Kinabalu, 20 minutes from Kinabalu Park where Mount Kinabalu is located. This morning at 5.30am I drove around town, surveyed and placed it under God's authority. I was moved in my spirit, my belly quivered and out of it flowed a mighty force for God's presence was here:"Return home and I shall be with you and bless you." God spoke to Jacob and he had spoken to me. When I got the news from HQ I rejoiced and the wait is over.