Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Commentary Progress

I thought I should blog for posterity’s sake since I am writing my first commentary after 12 years of my first and only monograph. At least I can report on my progress if indeed there is progress. I must say this past fortnight has been an exercise in discipline, joy of discovery and at times an endurance test of writing when one does not feel the inspiration and anointing. O Lord how I need Your anointing as You did when I despaired on finishing my dissertation 15 years ago I plead for Your help so that your saints may learn of the great mysteries found in John’s Gospel. I have exceeded 20,000 words, a minor dissertation length of the Otago University’s postgrad diploma thesis.

Friday, November 24, 2017

John 3:16 & First Love

I have reached John 3:16 though I think I might need a miracle to complete the commentary by year’s end. But at least I have my holidays preoccupation that is to write and to keep writing. It is interesting that as I wrote I felt the Lord revealed new things or least things I have not seen in the text. John’s Gospel is one book I have loved and studied all my life almost 35 years in all. I guess it is as close to me as the Psalms which could be my next commentary project. Wow I am getting the commentary bug. I better finish one first as they say the first one is always the hardest just as it is the hardest to forget one’s first love. First love for God means doing crazy things for the one you love.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

40 Days Left

There are just forty days left before 2017 comes to a close. Have you borne fruits for the Lord this year? Are you satisfied that you have accomplished most of your goals which you set out early in the year? Time waits for no one. Everyone is a year older. I suppose no one who is above 40 years old wants his age creeps up quickly year after year. From 40 onwards we march on to middle age relentlessly. From 50 onwards we are right in our middle age whether they want it or not. From 60 onwards we are thinking of our retirement plans and whether we can truly enjoy the fruits of our labour in our sunset years. From 70 onwards we have reached old age and if we are strong this decade of the 70s can still be fruitful and significant. But by the time we hit 80, frailty sets in and even if we are granted long life, our dark days will be long as says the preacher in Ecclesiastes. So what have you accomplished this year for the Lord?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ongoing Commentary

After just over 5 days I have finished commenting on John 1 all 51 verses in 25 pages of 8,500 words. It is reasonable progress but I realised that writing a full commentary is no 2-month work. I needed needed to comment on almost everything including names of places, history, OT background, politics and social backgrounds of the narrative.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Blessing to the Nations

I have often appropriated God’s promise to Abraham. I will surely bless you so that you may be a blessing to the nations. I don’t doubt God’s calling for me for a moment. Sometimes even my loved ones asked why I am based in such a far away place and teach students with limited skill and knowledge. Last year after being laid off for two months when I was reappointed to the College I told my students that “I came back for you”. Well at least they don’t have to go to Singapore to get solid biblical teaching. I remember David’s 400 men. They were outcasts refugees from the law debtors and rough necks but under David’s leadership they became mighty men. Today I am elated in the Lord. The church sang the song I sang last Sunday. I even managed to read 6 chapters of Hosea in the LXX. Then I called my student who informed me that his wife had given birth early this morning at 2am.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Concise Commentary

I am excited. It dawns on me only yesterday as I started writing that it was time for me to write a proper theological treatise. Three years ago I wrote a 190-page semi-autobiographical of my life and missionary work among the peoples of Borneo but it has been 12 years since my first and only book was published based on my thesis on the book of Revelation. I would not dare to blog unless I have really started not wanting to say something before any proof is given. So I have written 9 pages, commenting on the prologue of John's Gospel from vs 1 to vs 18. If I can write 5 pages a day, in 40 days I can reach 200 pages and by the end of the holidays, the first draft of my book should be ready. I have at most 40 days before the new academic year begins since I have to travel to a couple of places for Christmas preaching. It's good that I am only going to two places this December in contrast to my almost weekly travel November and December of last year. For a commentary, 200 pages will be considered short and that's why I intend to be concise as all good commentators are according to John Calvin, the biblical commentator par excellence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Greece & Greek

The timing was perfect. As I reached home last Saturday evening after the graduation ceremony in Ranau, three of my last books arrived from Amazon. So I have five new books to read plus a few others that I have read in parts but left unfinished. As I may be making an epic journey to Greece next year I am re-reading Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War and I will make it a point to visit Sparta, if schedule permits. Another book by Barry Strauss on The Trojan War also provides some light reading on Greek history. If it comes to pass (egeneto) this will be my first journey to Europe and it will replicate the first cross-over by the apostle Paul in answer to the Macedonian call (Acts 16). Imagine that 3 out of 7 major churches Paul wrote were found in Greece: Philippians, Corinthians, and Thessalonians (5 letters in all) and Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians (Turkey) and Romans (Italy). If one counts Titus in Crete (island of Greece), you have 6 out of 13 Pauline letters sent to Greek churches.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Preaching Struggles

It is now past 48 hours since I preached on Sunday. It was amazing how it turned out by the grace of God. For a full team of worship and angelic voices I just couldn't get into the mood. The church is normally warm though aircconditioned but on Sunday I felt the chill perhaps an indication of the spiritual condition of those inside. So I decided to warm things up a little before I preached. I ascended to the pulpit before being asked a rather unusual move which caused some discomfort to the song leader. The song I requested was being sung but it was sung in a way without understanding the lyrics and moving along with the Spirit. So for 5 minutes I took over as worship leader and exhorted the congregation to draw near to God and be filled with the Spirit.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

By the grace of God I preach

I don't know how I am going to do this. For the past week after returning from a weekend ministry in Labuan I was engaged fully with College activities until we ended our year with a 3 and a half hour long convocation ceremony yesterday. Then after lunch with invited guests I drove down to Kota Kinabalu and took a student to town who came along with me. I had about 4 hours sleep and in 2 hours I shall be preaching and I find my mind drifting back and forth from the events of the past 10 days.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Come Holy Spirit Fall on Me Now

I sang this song as preparation for my preaching on the 2nd night in Labuan and I felt the anointing strong. I managed to preach 3 sessions on John 17. The first session from 17:1-10; 2nd session from vv 11-21; and the third and final session from 17:21-26. At the end of the Sunday service as we stood I made an altar call and about 50 or 60 people came forward to the front. For the first time in 3 years I had preached to a crowd of over 600 people from three local SIB churches in Labuan.