Saturday, April 30, 2016

Time to Work Time to Relax

I am down in KK for the Labour Day weekend. I look forward to worshipping at my homechurch in Likas tomorrow. After 5 days of non-stop activities at College it is time to relax and reflect on what is meant to be a labourer in the Lord's vineyard. There is time to work and there is a time to relax. Yesterday I preached the sermon for Chapel replacing a student who called in sick. I woke up at 4am to prepare for it. Even a short message of 20 mins it is absolutely necessary to prepare well when one speaks as the oracles of God.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"From Jerusalem, Judea to Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8)

The preaching theme for the month of April at College has been Acts 1:8. So for almost a whole month, I listened to 3rd and 4th year students expound on that verse. I have in my office, a map of Ranau on my left and a map of Sabah on my right. Fulfilling the Lord's command in Acts 1:8 has been my life and ministry goal. Ranau is my Jerusalem and Sabah is my Judea. My Samaria are neighbouring States and countries - Sarawak, Singapore, Semenanjung (West Malaysia), Philippines, and Indonesia.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happenings at College

I have to rush to complete my lectures on Trinity as my next writing assignment focuses on the two papers for SBL International in Seoul. Yesterday I chaired a 3-hour long meeting as there was much to discuss from the time-tabling of courses for 2nd Semester to the Open Day/51st Anniversary celebration. I want the Time-table out by next week, two weeks before the close of the Semester. Previously, students have to wait to find out when they return for the next Semester. Planning well in advance is not a strong suit for some, and I have to push a few things through seeing that my time here at College is nearing its completion. I hope to continue to serve at the College but it is not in my hands to determine the outcome. Many are the plans of men but the Lord's purpose will prevail. As we are celebrating Labour's Day and it is customary that we show appreciation for our full-time workers or pastors in churches or College.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

34th Year in Christ

I thought I was going share my testimony how I came to the Lord exactly 34 years ago today at a church which I had not preached in for 19 years. But I skipped it as my message centred on the theme given to me, "Experiencing miracles through faith" based on Jesus' healing the woman who bled for 12 years in Matthew 9,21. I shared three testimonies how the Lord worked miracles through prayers as I expound the verse,  "whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Mat 21,22.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

One & Triune God

It has been a fascinating couple of days as I attempt to write an essay in Malay on the topic the One and Triune God. In this essay I try to show how the New Testament God is also the Old Testament God, the God of Israel is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and how the oneness of God is not compromised by what Christians believe in the Triune God. I have reached 3,200 words which I try to limit to at most 3,500 words given that it will be delivered over two sessions of 40 mins each, perhaps 40 mins on the oneness of God and 40 mins on the Triune God.

Friday, April 22, 2016

SBL International Meeting in Seoul

All good things come in twos. I checked the SBL program book online and saw my name appears twice, once in Writings (Psalms) and the second under Apocalyptic Literature. I thought my paper on Psalms just missed the deadline as I did not get a response from the organizers. Now I have two papers to write instead of one. In the past two days I have been busying myself in writing two lectures in Malay on "the One and Triune God" for the College Open Day on 21st May. If you are nearby or can fly to Sabah for the holiday weekend, 21st and 22nd May, please take this as my open invitation to our Open Day and College's 51st Anniversary.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mission Impossible

One of my students in my home group used the illustration of the movie Mission Impossible as a type of the Christian ministry. How apt! My mission is about to end. Today my HQ leaders brought me to an established seminary in KK and with some restraint on my part I had to do most of the talking and negotiated on behalf of the College and our Church. This could be my last act as the teaching Semester has come to an end (next week for some courses) and all I have left is the Open Day's lectures on the Trinity on 21st May and then that's it. It is very likely I am elsewhere come July or August. I have a trip to South Korea the first week of July to present a paper on the book of Revelation thanks to a Singaporean friend who sent a love gift a few months back.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Burden of Leadership (2)

The burden of leadership could be a crushing one. One can be left totally devastated emotionally and spiritually. No wonder Moses asked God to send some one else, perhaps knowing what he was getting himself into with the rowdy group of Israelites. Even 40 years in the wilderness could not erase the pain of rejection when he was a young man of 40 years old and trying to help his fellow countrymen but terribly let down. What Moses was getting into in his final 40 years is perhaps 100 fold more painful as individuals and groups of individuals continued to challenge his authority and leadership despite seeing all the great works which God accomplished through Moses' hands.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Power of Prayer

It is perhaps much easier to lead institutional change than worship. Leading God's people into God's presence is a privilege, honour and a high calling. We are priests in Christ offering of Himself to the world and we stand as instruments of His grace to lead others to worship Him. Last Sunday I led intercessory prayers at College after the usual Sunday morning service. Only half the College community was present with two colleagues leading their home groups on mission elsewhere and the rest stayed behind. We worshipped God. I led the reading from the set text of Isaiah 58:3-12. I read Scripture aloud and then 10 minutes were given to silent meditation which was followed by a 20-minute reflection within the small group. I then expounded the passage over 25 mins with the focus on praying and the meaning of true fasting. After the sharing, a student leader came up and he asked that we prayed for rain. It had not rained for 2 months in Namaus, Ranau.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Burden of Leadership

I am always surprised by the fact that some people are too eager to assume positions of leadership. Leaders are called by God to lead His people. This morning I preached from Isaiah 55,3-4 on the new David as witness to the nations and a leader and commander of God's people. I prayed the opening prayer at 7.52am and forthwith preached my 20mins sermon without the usual opening songs. Twice I had instructed the worship team to be ready by 7.50am sharp when no one went up by 7.52am I stepped up and preached. The burden of leadership could be a crushing one.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Transition & Travels

It has been a long transition. In my last pastorate that ended March 2008 I gave 5 months' notice of my resignation and this time it was only 2 months until 31st March 2016. I had no time to waste at College and I learned from the experience of a long transition as a pastor on the way out though I must thank for my home church in Kota Kinabalu for trying everything possible to hold on to their pastor including making a resolution at the church's AGM which never happened before in the church's history. Transition is never a pleasant period of time. One waits for the current to come to an end and the new to begin. Though for me this time I am already working full-time at College and transiting from the church to College was not difficult.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday Slot

I have been preaching every Tuesday morning at Chapel. Often the message goes beyond the 15 mins allocated and we break late for lectures. I felt strongly in the beginning of my term that I needed to speak regularly to the whole College community. Today I spoke from Ezekiel 17:22-24 about the parable of a young shoot taken from a tall cedar and planted by God on a high mountain. I took this parable to represent most students at College here. Some are barely into their 20s and most are under 30 years old. They are young shoots which God took from their villages and now they are planted at Namaus, spiritually a high place though we are on a plain.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Son of Man Saying

Sometimes I think it might be just coincidence but how often times the Lord will speak a timely word to me when I open my Bible for morning devotions. For the first time my wife and I slept in my college room last night and when I woke up at 5am it was all quiet. During weekdays I would hear students singing at 5am, but today on Saturday it was dead quiet and dark at 5am. So I went out to the hall outside my room so as not to disturb my wife. I opened my Bible and it fell to Matt 8.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The First Day

The last day for me proved to be the first day of a new ministry.  For the first time in some time I ministered outside the confines of the church context or within the four walls of a church building by speaking for about 80 minutes to a group of 35 students in one of the largest secondary schools in town. I was greeted by two church members who happened to attend the school but the event was meant for unchurched students though most came from Christian families.

The Last Day

I am sitting at my church office desk for the last time before handing over the keys to the church secretary. Today I have completed my work at SIB Muhibbah and it was good while it lasted, a total of 15 months perhaps a bit longer than the ministry of John the Baptist and half the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is finished, the cry of the Lord on the cross and I can say the same here for my local church. My wife spent the last day with a sister, a faithful member of the church and the feminine touch of the pastor's wife does help to elevate the status of the pastor in the eyes of the congregation. Indeed a wife is a helper, help meet for the times.