Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Very Long Weekend

If I don't record what I had gone through in the past few days it is very likely I will forget much of it within weeks. It has been a very long weekend but a very fulfilling one. After preaching on consecutive days on Tuesday and Wednesday, my long holiday weekend became more interesting. First, my youths were all geared up to serve in the District level Conference and they had several sessions of practice in church and in our meeting hall. As some of our youths are tertiary students on holidays it was fun meeting and getting to know them instead of the secondary school students that attend our church. With their dance routine that took them many hours of practice I saw how our youths put their energy and enthusiasm into what they do. At the end, it was the loudness of the music that spoilt the worship time but the dance routine went perfectly well. It was good to see several 20 years old university students gaining confidence in song leading and as pastor I could only feel pride for them. When I saw Dr Douglas Moo's video on Oak Hill College website, I felt confirmed in my calling as pastor and not professor. Dr Moo, one of my favourite commentators said early on he realized he was not going to be a pastor as he was not a people's person.
It dawns on me that I am a people's person as the intentional community here in Ranau somewhat revolved around the pastor. I don't see myself indispensable or important in anyway but at the looks of things, I have been at the centre of almost every church activity from baptism classes, post-baptism class, youth groups, secondary school students, adults, women's fellowship, family and main Sunday services. Unless I enjoy people's company soon a pastor will burn out or find himself unable to get up in the morning to go to work. But I felt exactly the opposite. On Friday the first day of Muslim holiday, I led my team to the Youth Conference, then went on to the pastors' fellowship rehearsal and enjoyed sweet fellowship with my fellow pastors. Then I preached a powerful message in an elder's home group that night from Mark 4:21-24. I talked about nothing hidden will stay hidden and whatever that is hidden will be revealed and applied that to Malaysia's current political situation. I also spoke about the need to seriously hear what God is saying to the church, hence Jesus' retort: "He who has ears, let him hear!" Even a short 20 minute homily blessed the 25 adults who were present. On Saturday I went into the zone, preparing for my two Sunday sermons while making sure all the preparations were ready for the church meeting after the second service. I attended as a matter of course the rehearsals for Sunday services and encouraged by the youths who despite their tireless ministry kept up their enthusiasm and sang a few new songs. It is never just rehearsal and in fact I worshipped the Lord often times during worship practice and sensed the Lord's presense strong. I went to bed at 11pm, still mulling over my two sermons. And today I surprised myself by preaching for only 16 minutes in the first service and we ended at 9.15am. I planned to conserve energy and sensing my energy level still high I preached a 40 min sermon in the 2nd service on Matthew 5:25-29. The Lord's anointing was on me to speak forth His words. I spoke freely on many things - the need to study God's Word. I reproached the parents for not taking seriously educating their children in Scriptural knowledge. I spoke about husband-wife relationships and cracked a few jokes about the difficulty in maintaining harmonious spousal relationships. It has to be worked upon. Several times I told my church that divorce is out of the question for marriage is for life for what God has put together let no one put asunder. I expounded on Deut 24 and how divorce and remarriage defiled the land as remarriage invariably involves adultery. No surprise that I received warm handshakes after the service. Despite a holiday weekend, we had about 250 adults in the two services. Three months ago holiday weekends' church attendance could be as low as 150 people over 2 services without the presence of secondary students. God has given growth and may God's Name be glorified. For the first time, I felt I was in control of the church business meeting. We managed to cover only half the agenda before we had to adjourn the meeting as a few elders and deacons had to leave early for various functions. It's still holiday weekend here with many open houses. I decided this evening I would rest despite a couple of invitations to visit friends' homes. I politely declined for it was a long enough day for me from a 4.30am start and ended at 3.30pm. This has been my weekend.

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