Friday, May 26, 2017

One Week

I am right in the middle of my Semester break and there are two weeks to go before the start of the new Semester. One week has passed quickly. Within a week, there are 7 days and the week is a basic unit in the accounting of time, even as we approach the Feast of Weeks otherwise known as Pentecost in about 10 days' time or on 30th May according to the Jewish calendar. The Feast of Weeks is also a counting of time, to be exact, 7 weeks after the Sabbath of the Passover with the weaving of the sheaves signifying harvest season is upon the people of God. From Passover (14th Nisan) when barley is harvested to Weeks (6th Sivan) when wheat is harvested we have 50 days, hence the Greek's 50 "Pentecost". Jerusalem is about to celebrate its Golden Jubilee (5-10th June 2017) but according to the Hebrew calendar it was celebrated 2 days ago on the 28th day of Iyar or the 3rd day of the 6-Day War when East Jerusalem was reunited with the rest of the city under Israeli control for the first time since Israel's founding in May 1948 or perhaps we can count further to almost 2,000 years ago in 70AD when the Romans razed the Temple of God in Jerusalem and the people of Israel and Jerusalem dispersed around the world (the diaspora) until their return to the land of Israel almost 70 years ago.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Noah Walked with God

Today we heard a sermon titled "Noah walked with God". An elder whom I had known since I joined my homechurch 28 years ago preached eloquently. He told us that the times we were living in now was even more evil than the times of Noah. Did not Jesus said the days of the Son of Man will be like in the days of Noah? As I read the text of Genesis 6 I thought to myself that there was no one else God could have spoken to except Noah. No one sought after God and no one walked with God. I saw that in my own life that it is a daily struggle to sit still before the Lord and let Him speak to our hearts and to our spirits. It is not just routinely reading His Word but quietly and expectantly wait on the Lord to speak.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Paul & Titus

It has taken me a whole week and it is only half done. I am preparing two sermons for a Pastors' Conference in two weeks' time. I am given a full hour to speak each session so I could go up to nearly 3,000 words. Since I was back in Sabah I rarely had time to write up sermons in full, preaching on average 3 times a week when I was pastor of a Ranau church in 2015 and perhaps averaging 2 sermons a week last year. Thank God in the month of May this year I have no speaking engagements and with the Semester break now I have some time to get into my sermons. I have been reading about Titus, mentioned 9 times by Paul in 2 Corinthians.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Silent Solitude

Perhaps it is a redundancy. One does not have to be in a desert to feel the silence of solitude. In the midst of a noisy crowd provided our souls are at rest with God and our spirits quietly and reverently worshipping Him we can experience silent solitude.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Time Markers

The moon is set in the sky as a witness and time marker. Every new moon in Israel was marked by the sounding of the trumpet. The first day of the month is auspicious as it begins a new month and with each passing month, a year is marked with either 12 or 13 Jewish months. Yesterday was the full moon for May also known as Flower Moon. As for me, every full moon I reflect on the month just past and plan ahead for the new month.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Closing Communion Service

I am now overseeing the Closing Communion service for the Semester 1. Exams finished at noon and the students were back for rehearsal at 2pm. Tomorrow is a rest day for third year students before they go to their field work in various parts of Sabah. Some students will be going to a sports carnival in Lawas, Sarawak and the rest will be going home to their villages for a 4-week break. On Friday I will be taking two of my students to Tuaran for their field work. As Chaplain I am also in charge of field education and I had chosen to supervise two students closer to KK. I need to overcome the mental block I suffered earlier in the year with too much travelling to far away places. During the break I hope to finish marking my papers and exams scripts within the week and then start preparing for my classes for the next Semester. I shall be teaching a year three class on Romans, a 4th year class on Hebrews and a combined third and fourth year for Malaysian Studies which will look at the Constitution and the nation's sosio-economic system.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

French Run-Off

This year is in many ways an epoch-making year. From the inauguration of the POTUS last January we will be witnessing the elections of three other great Western powers, France (today), UK (June) and Germany (September). In living memory I don't remember all four economic giants going through the installation of leaders or new leaders within a calendar year but I could be wrong. It is epochal as the President of the United States of America had never held elected office before being elected President and the same could happen to France in the early hours of tomorrow. Promotion does not come from the East nor from the West but it is God who puts one down and sets up another. With Brexit in full swing now, 2017 proves to be momentous and ground shifting as doing politics in the West will never be the same again. European Union could prove more resilient without Britain as the Franco-German axis will anchor the European project for years to come and we may yet see a more Federalist Europe taking shape and Brussels exercising more authority not less despite populism and nationalist movements across several European states.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Building Walls

How time flies. I have not preached in my home church in KK since October 2014, more than two and half years ago. I received invitations in 2015 and last year but both times clashed with my preaching schedule, so God willing I shall be preaching in the first Sunday of June. This June also marks three years since I have ended my ministry in Singapore and my two and a half years in active ministry back in Sabah. Early this morning I managed to get my sermon done for June with 10 slides on Nehemiah 2:11-18, with an interesting but difficult sermon topic "Activity & Objective" (Kegiatan & Matlamat).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day

Today for the 2nd time since I joined the College last year we had a short but meaningful Labour Day's appreciation for all the nine lecturers and five support staff. We took a Faculty as well as a Faculty plus staff photo. For the sermon I translated for a visiting speaker from New Zealand. The College also paid for our shirts, a kind of uniform which we wear on special occasions. I am not much into uniformity of dress but it does present unity as a team and if it is worn only two or three times a year that's fine by me. But May Day or Labour Day is special for us pastors.