Sunday, August 28, 2016

Citizenship & Romans 13

After an 5 hours drive to the Entilibon and back to Namaus at 1am this morning where I preached a one hour sermon on Exodus 24 and 17 then on David as a worshipper from 2 Samuel 6 I preached again at Chapel this morning at 9am for about 50 mins on the Role of a Citizen based on Romans 13. First I explained what Roman citizenship meant in first century and in Paul's case in particular by looking at Acts 22 where Paul claimed citizenship to avoid summary punishment including possibly mob lynching. Then I explained what a Citizen in Malaysia entailed by looking at the Malaysian constitution and rights conferred on citizens. Then I went back to Romans 13 esp verse 5 and spoke about the need to heed our conscience despite our misgivings concerning our political leaders.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sabah, a Ravenous Wolf (Gen 49:27)

Today according to the NECF's prayer booklet leading to Malaysia Day on the 16th September, it is praying for Sabah day. This morning probably for the third time in a row I was asked by the student leading worship to say the intercessory prayers before the service started. I showed a flash of righteous anger as we were 3 or 4 minutes late when the doorkeeper turned up late with his keys to the Chapel. I reminded those given responsibility to keep keys to come to Chapel at least 10 or 15 minutes early before the starting time. Before I prayed, I spoke about the significance of Sabah in the scheme of things within Malaysia. First, it is the most Eastern State in Malaysia and many things happen in the East first.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Preaching on Esther

After a month of non-preaching hiatus, I have started preaching again. Last Sunday I spent 5 hours on the road to preach to the women's group of my home church in Kota Kinabalu. On Sunday I drove from Namaus at 6am and arrived in KK just after 8.15am. But the women's meeting was in the afternoon and I had a long wait for my sermon based on the book of Esther. In it I shared 5 main points. If the world ruled by a Persian king that men ought to be heads of the households how much should Christian men rise up and be leaders and heads of their households? Second, the removal of Queen Wasti was to make way for Esther and there will be times and in God's timing, persons or personnel will be removed to make way for those chosen by God to carry out His will and fulfil his purposes. Third, why did the king choose Esther above all the beautiful young maidens of the kingdoms and provinces under Persian control? Twice it was said only beautiful young virgins were taken and Esther was among those taken to the king's harems. Why did the king favour Esther above the rest? No doubt the 12-month beauty treatment had enhanced the beauty of the already beautiful maidens. Then they were tested whether they could please the king sexually by spending an evening with the king and returning to their chambers in the morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Way of Man is not in Himself (Jeremiah 10,23a)

The passage in prophet Jeremiah continues that it is not in man who walks to direct his own ways (Jer 10,23b). How true God's Word remains and it is settled forever in heaven. Only 10 days ago I have no idea where I was going, not a sign to indicate where my future lies. But now in less than 6 days since returning to College it is as if I had never left.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5 Books: Travel Lite

This time I purposed in my heart that I would bring the bare minimum. As I could not do entirely without books, I had to choose a few. I took only 5 books with me in my first trip back to College. The five are: NKJV (I do my morning devotions with this Bible) 2) UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader's Edition 3) A New English Translation of the Septuagint 4) an Indonesian/Malay Bible for work and ministry 5) A Hebrew-English Interlinear. I may bring a few more books in my next trip but I may limit them five at a time, five I can't do without.

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Journey Begins

If there is verse in the Bible that sums up my life and ministry it is Numbers 9,22-23 "Whether it was two days, a month or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. At the command of the Lord they remained in the Camp, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed...." I had remained in Kota Kinabalu not journeying since 11th July 2016 when I took all my books from College to Kota Kinabalu. But barely 35 days since I am journeying again. This morning I drove from KK at 5.30am and reached Ranau at 7am sharp. I stopped for breakfast and I reached the College at 7.40am about 10 minutes before the Chapel service started.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Singapore's Schooling

Singapore has finally found its soul in Schooling. It is in sports that could unite a whole nation and make its citizens brimming with pride. Singapore had won its first Olympic gold medal while her older brother Malaysia had just won silver. Even if Lee Chong Wei could win gold, Singapore had stolen the thunder. Joseph Schooling has reached unbelievable heights in 100M butterfly by beating Michael Phelps, the greatest Oympian of all time (22 golds) and others. All Singapore rejoices and I rejoice.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Faith that Moves Mountains (Matt 17,20)

The only time I had this mountain-moving experience was a week after the Ranau earthquake. I was driving from KK back to Ranau and my pick up truck was filled with about 20 cartons of mineral water as water supply was disrupted since the 5.9 tremor struck. A day before came the announcement from a government  minister that Ranau residents needed to be patient and it could take up to 3 weeks before water supply would be restored.  As I was driving past Mount Kinabalu, in fact facing that once majestic mountain, standing tall at 14,000 feet from sea level my spirit stirred within me by the Holy Ghost. The epicentre of the June 5th was right beneath the mountain and 18 people perished on the mountain top as they made their descent but never made it, some crushed to death by falling rocks. So I cried out to the Lord against the mountain and said, "Restore the waters of Ranau, Lord" on top of my voice and I spoke in tongues for 30 seconds or so.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Light at the End of the Tunnel

In Seoul there are many roads that go through tunnels and some of them through hills and mountains. In our Christian life sometimes we have to go through tunnels. There are many mountains to climb and when we see a way through we take it by the grace of God. Lord you let us escape like a bird from a cage....I have been waiting and waiting on the Lord for a way out. It has been 1 month and 1 day since I took all my books from the College. Since then I have been waiting to see what the Lord will do. Often as a foot soldier we depend on our generals to act for us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Singapore's 51st National Day

I want to wish all my Singaporean friends a Happy and Blessed 51st National Day. Having been born in 1964, less than a year after Malaysia came into being on 16th September when Singapore was still a part of Malaysia and just over year before Singapore's declaration of independence on 9th August 1965, I find myself frequently caught between the love for these two countries. Even now, I struggle to decide whether I should remain in Sabah or perhaps consider returning to Singapore for the second last leg and phase of my ministry. Singapore has many advantages, not least the strength of the Sing dollar and also the extended retirement age to 67.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Struggles of the Soul: Psalm of Solomon 16

I am not sure whether I want to continue meeting with my friends or people in general because they are bound to ask me what I am doing. Explaining my present circumstances may take time and not everyone including those close to me can appreciate what I had gone through in the past several months leading to the end of my ministry at the end of June. Last night I attended the Wira Pusat SIB Sabah Charity Dinner (SIB Men's Fellowship). I had the honour to sit next to the Chairman of the Wira SIB Sabah, an elder of my home church and he is one of earliest friends in SIB and were together with me in the committee when I was District Superintendent of KK District. Yet I found it difficult to relay what I have been going through and I hoped what I said gave grace to the hearers. In the meantime while waiting to see what the Lord will do for me, I have time to reflect on the state of my soul and it is good to realise within ourselves how weak and frail, how sinful and prone to iniquity we are. I read this beautiful Psalm of Solomon (ch. 16) from the Septuagint.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"I have much people in this city" (Acts 18,10)

Sometimes we think we belong to a tiny minority of the faithful and when persecution comes we feel we are all alone. It is perhaps how the apostle Paul felt in Corinth having preached there for 18 months with much persecution the Lord Jesus had to appear to him in a night vision to encourage him to continue speaking and preaching. Last night in the home group of my homechurch I felt a bit awkward speaking up as a former pastor and also not being present for the best part of 8 years, what right has an occasional worshiper to speak? But my close friend preached a powerful message. He was just an ordinary person selling cakes and mee for breakfast around the city but he loved the Lord. His message came from 1 Cor 12 where Paul teaches about being in one body but many members with each member different from one another yet needing one another and as part of the body contributes to growth and well being of the body as a whole. The head cannot say to the foot I don't need you. I recited this verse when it was my turn to share. I said in my denomination's heirarchy I am just a foot soldier but the general cannot say I don't need you. For the past 6 weeks since my tenure ended at the College I am left in the dark concerning my future and almost everyday now with social media and instant messaging technology I have friends and colleagues near and far asking how I am doing and whether I've received a new appointment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Power of Songs

I am listening to a song my former student sent me an hour ago. I listened to it for a third time overlooking the city of Kota Kinabalu. This is the third song I received from my students in the past weeks and each time I was greatly ministered to, so much so that I wept before the Lord. No wonder I like the Psalms which are the songs of the Lord that move the hearts and souls and bring us clsoer to God and into His presence. Last Saturday waves and waves of God's love were poured into my heart as I sang song after song, all Malay or Indonesian songs. Last Sunday I attended an English service where the sermon was good but none of the songs moved me a bit. I think it is a sign for me to remain in the BM (bahasa Malaysia) ministry. There is just something about the Malay worship songs , so moving so melodious so anointed it melts the heart and causes it to bow before the Lord.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

On the Way 2 Jerusalem

They tell me that if you are not careful you can come down with the Jerusalem syndrome. I would say let me catch it and have it, in greater measures! Today I worshipped the Lord with Hebrew songs (with English transliteration) and my heart breaks out for Jerusalem. There is this irresistible desire to step on the place where the Lord was born and called his homeland. As my middle phase goes underway as Jesus in his days, I am setting my face to Jerusalem.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Retiring without Regrets

The Washington Post has this interesting article on people's regrets when they retire (see here). So far I have not suffered from such mistakes and thus have no regrets. I have always gone for my dreams, with huge risks sometimes and it pays off handsomely at the end. I am at present at a critical juncture of my life. Into my early 50s now, do you play it safe or continue to go for your dreams and take risks? By God's grace, I will choose the latter though the former presses on one's soul sometimes...a whisper here and a whisper there telling you that your dream is too far-fetched, it is too late, it is time to recoup or it is time to worry about retirement and many such things that enter the minds of men and women and hence, their regrets when they retire. I have no regrets. I spoke powerfully on Saturday by the Spirit of the Lord. I joked with my Ranau congregations (plural as we have two distinct Sunday services) when I was appointed to lead the Bible College early this year that I had two wives.