Saturday, September 30, 2017

Reading God’s Word

I just posted in my College WhatsApp group an article on reading habits of successful people. I followed up with another post on an Isaiah commentary with the caption those who seek out God’s Word day and night. It is a challenge in Seminary setting to get students reading and developing a reading habit and culture. They read when they had to do to finish essays and assignments. But alas how many take reading seriously and making it a lifestyle choice to improve oneself and one’s ministry.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Romans Class

I have 17 students in my year 3 Romans class. Most of them are enthusiatic students a joy to teach. Today we had our class photo taken but two did not make it. Today I lectured on Sin from Romans 7:13-25 in the first session and Romans 8:1-25 for the next two sessions. Next week I will finish up Romans 8 and will try to launch into Romans 9-11 on Israel's place in the plan of God. I have to add one extra class as I missed one week due to another intensive course a few weeks ago. With the additional one female student who came in this Semester I have 9 female students and 8 male students.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Up the Mountains Again

After 72 hours back in KK for a public holiday and preaching I am back up on the mountains. The drive this morning was not too bad from the hills of Tamparuli to the highest peak of South East Asia in about 60 minutes. One becomes a little dizzy or perhaps it is attitude sickness. I have never been a good traveller either by air or land. Definitely not by sea unless it is no more than 45 mins ferry-ride. I felt fine on the ferry from Singapore to Batam about 50 mins but I got sick on a slightly longer journey to Bintan island about 70 mins away. But travelling by land is fine if I don't get too nervous about journeying on my own. I had preached on the journey of faith based on Hebrews 11,6 and the lives of Abraham and Moses. I told the Chinese congregation that our life is a journey of journeys as within a life journey there are many journeys like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had to travel from one place to amother.  I started the sermon by a pun but I am not sure whether the Chinese caught it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wandering in Mountains (Hebrews 11:38)

I did not expect to return to KK within 72 hours. After attending the biggest event organized by SIB in its history where 35,000 turned up over 2 nights in a stadium I drove back to College last Monday to prepare for my lectures on 3 consecutive days. Lecturing on Romans then Hebrews followed by the Malaysian Constitution yesterday I was feeling tired and as I drove at 1pm from Namaus to Ranau town then up Mount Kinabalu which took an hour for 40kms due to traffic I was struggling to keep awake. It is dangerous to drive while feeling sleepy and four days of exertion took its toll and the 3-hour drive back to KK only made it worse. LORD why do I toil and wander around mountains?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Inheriting Wealth" (Provide 8:21)

In the ode to Wisdom the personified Christ, the voice of wisdom says, "I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice that I may cause them who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries". Yesterday in Chapel I preached a 25 min sermon. I touched on many things in light of Malaysia Day today which is in fact our National Day when all the components came together to form the Federation of Malaysia. But my main emphasis was to encourage the College community to give thanks to God for Sabah and Sabah's place in the plan of God. As our theme for September is "all the days of the righteous" from Psalm 37,18 I spoke about how the righteous is to inherit the land, in particular the land of Sabah for the glory of God. Not in the political sense but how the State of Sabah will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the seas. I talked about the peace that the righteous possess and that to have peace in our lives material blessings are important as well.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Romans Detour: Galatians

After reaching the middle of Paul's letter to the Romans I realized I had to make a detour to Galatians. So tomorrow in 3 hours I shall be expounding on the six chapters of Galatians especially Paul's insistence that the Gentile believers do not submit to the Law of Moses represented by the circumcision rite. Galatians is an amazing letter. Everytime I read Galatians I am fired up to stand up for the truth of the Gospel and say like Paul "if I still please men I am no servant of Christ". The truth of the gospel so vehemently defended by Paul essentially is the coming together of Jews and Gentiles as one people of God with the only mark of identity being faith in Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Paul's Upbringing

"...he [Paul] had learned a craft, he had probably been trained for ownership and management. He knew how to use a secretary...Paul knew how to organize and plan...This evidence of a relatively prosperous upbringing (what we may think of as good middle-class conditions) helps explains the degree he felt his poverty, and his previous prosperity is probably part of his laments in the Corinthian letters. This poverty, however, was voluntary, and in Paul's letters we do not hear the voice of the lowest level of Greco-Roman society, though sometimes he lived in abject conditions." Paul - The Apostle's Life, Letters, and Thought (EP Sanders, 2015), 144.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ardern's Ascent

I have been watching the NZ election campaign closely since 1st August when 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern ascended to Labour party leadership. Today's polls put her party at 43% and National with just 39% the first time National fell below 40 for many years. Ardern is also winning the Prime Minister's preference stakes over Bill English by a whisker but this gap is likely to widen after the third and final leaders' debate. What has caused the change in fortune for Labour? The short answer is leadership.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Romans & Septuagintal Studies

For the past couple of days I have been struggling with the concept of sin in Romans 7. No exegete can escape the complexity of Paul's argument. Time and time again I wrestled with the Greek text looking at several English translations and penning my notes in Malay with reference to the Indonesian Bible (and occasional reference to the Bahasa Malaysia version). Teaching in a Bahasa-medium College is not easy, no less the distance one travels from the biblical text either in Hebrew or Greek and with my familiarity with the English and Malay mixed together. I am no linguist but I have to contend with these four languages almost daily in my ministry as a Bible teacher.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Taking Delight in the Lord (Psalm 37,4)

Psalm 37 is a key Psalm in many respects. It teaches the righteous person to be patient when wicked are in power because the Lord knows the days of the righteous and their vindication will come. The Psalm also teaches that despite the bleakest of circumstances inward and outward one is to take delight in the Lord. We rejoice in the Lord in afflictions and in great difficulties. It is like Job's test...shall we serve the Lord only when things are going well and the road is smooth? Shall we not love the Lord in good and bad times?