Monday, July 30, 2018

Last-Minute Preaching

I was asked last night at 11pm to take over from a student who was supposed to preach at today’s chapel at 7.50am. I had one of the longest days yesterday getting up early for church and then driving back to Namaus late afternoon to attend a special service celebrating parents’ and teachers’ day. Last night meeting lasted close to 3 and a half hours from 7.45pm to 11.15pm. I said the opening prayers and before that the meal prayers where the whole community gathered together. As we lost 7 students including two families the numbers looked small. Our Chapel that can easily seat 400 people was less than half full with 15 or so visitors part of the Committee that organised the fund raising dinner 3 weeks ago. I am reminded that only 7 or 8 years ago we had the vision of 100 new students each year but it is all long forgotten. Jeremiah 3:15-16 tells us that when God raises shepherds according to his heart who will shepherd his people with knowledge and understanding the people of God will increase and there will be peace and prosperity in the land. I long to see the fulfilment of the Jeremiah’s prophecy, one key text that led me into the College in the first place.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

City Ministry

Last night I caught a glimpse of the promise and potential of Kota Kinabalu city. At 11pm the parts of the city where I drove were filled with people and the cars were bumper to bumper for several kilometres and even 12kms to my house it was slow traffic. KK has changed much since I left it for Singapore 10 years ago. KK has expanded greatly in the past 4 years since I went up to Ranau a rural town and soon I will be returning to the city for good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Amaziah and Amos

In barely a day I attended three meetings two of which I preached in one a full sermon of about 40minutes in church and yesterday morning for 22 minutes I expounded on what it is to stand in God’s council and to perceive and hear His Word? (Jeremiah 23:18). In the last 7 minutes I shared from Amos 7:14 about Amos in full irony denied that he was a prophet or son of a prophet. What he meant was he was no career church man like Amaziah who had charge of the Lord’s sanctuary but felt threatened in his position by Amos’ prophesying. I challenged my students whether they were here at College to be trained as pastors because they saw it as a career or was it truly a calling from the Lord? I told them out in the world it is hard enough to earn RM1,000 to work in a factory for 10 long hours a day six days a week. So be grateful that one has to preach one or twice in church within a week and conduct a prayer meeting once a while. I challenged them whether they had stood in the divine council and heard God’s Word.

Friday, July 20, 2018

I shall go in the way of no Return (Job 16:22)

The Lord can speak to us in the unlikeliest of places. For instance, in Job 16:22 "and when a few years are gone, I shall go in the way of no return". That perfectly sums up my situation at present. The few years alloted to me at College are about to be gone and I shall not return there for the forseeable future, at least not as a lecturer or even visiting lecturer. A few verses before that Job laments that even his friends scorned him (16:20), perhaps avoided him, refused to contact him, or perhaps in today's HP lingo, Job is blocked😔. Perhaps too there is a time for everthing - time to be friends; time to be alone and time to be scorned and forsaken by friends.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Punishing Schedule & Biblical Studies

Paul the apostle says that we will reap if we do not lose heart and that our labours for the Lord are not in vain. Perhaps as a response to the prophetic lament in Isaiah 49 that the prophet felt that his labours were all in vain and came to nought.  Yesterday I taught my third course in three consecutive days - Wednesday (Revelation), Thursday  (Malaysian Constitution) and Friday (Romans). In the 2nd session I was feeling the heat literally and spritually and felt weak until I had to sit down most of the time in my 3rd hour. I can see that most students are enthusiastic with learning but alas they will learn little when most of them graduate at of the year with a Diploma and a few will do the extra year for BTH.  For three years they would have learned only two NT books. Last year I taught them John's Gospel and this year Romans.  Fourth year students get to learn either Hebrews or Revelation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Leaders & Destiny

It is easier said than done. How many people in this life can say they have fulfilled life's destiny? Some people just retire from run of the mill job and fade into obscurity. From 2013 I have this strong sense that I can only fulfill life's destiny if I return to Sabah where I am now. I remember in 2013 at TTC chapel when I was leading worship and praying for the founding Prime Minister of Singapore in his 90th birthday on the day Sabah celebrated her union to form Malaysia on 16th September 1963. Yesterday uninvited I went up to the pulpit to lead prayers for the Malaysian PM who turned 93. For Malaysia it had begun a new dawn with the new government though helmed by the oldest democratically elected leader in the world.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Relentless Travels

I have been on the road for three days in a row. On Saturday I drove for 100km one way to preach in a former student’s wedding. It was a hard drive as 99 percent of the journey was on single lane. Another 100kms back to KK making it a total of 12 hours away for a 15 min wedding sermon. I would have declined if not for the student’s contribution to the College magazine 2 years ago which saw tens of thousands ringgit flowed to the College Fund. I met some former students who are pastoring churches in the Kota Belud District. Yesterday was a shorter drive 50kms one way but on village gravel roads part of the way. I lost my way several times. The journey of 1 hour took another 30 minutes and it was past 3pm when I reached KK again. And right now I am back in Ranau otw to my College in Namaus. I have clocked 55,000kms over 3 1/2 years and many of these miles are on dirt and gravel roads around the villages of Ranau and throughout Sabah.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Strategic Vision for Theological Colleges

It is not that I have not tried. If 2015 is counted as I taught part time this is my fourth year as a lecturer. But God demands fruitfulness, personal and corporate. What do we mean by College’s vision or advancement (kemajuan)? I venture to suggest that there are at least 7 criteria on which we can measure whether a theological College is progressing or regressing? First, the qualification of its lecturers. We hope for more qualified doctorates and research masters in our midst.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Open Doors

With a sense of relief and expectation I will survive the next four months though I may have endure many things with patience. The Lord has opened several doors.  I started my 5th year back in Sabah preaching in one church. I testified how I completed 3 1/2 years in ministry - 1 year and 3 months as church pastor and two and a half years as lecturer as there was some overlap earlier. Three and a half is a time of trial and tribulation. I have endured that with patience and I am moving on. This Saturday I will be preaching a wedding sermon something I have not done for 10 years since I resigned as Likas church pastor. Perhaps it is harbinger of things to come -  more wedding sermons to come since most likely I am moving back to pastoral ministry. Initially I was asked only to say the closing prayer.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tithing & Offerings

Today I preached about tithing as requested by the church leaders. I think that was one sermon that I had not preached for a long time. Neither was it easy getting there. The Tambunan road was equally challenging like the Ranau route only that it was shorter by 20kms. But the view was glorious in the early morning sunlight. I had to sacrifice the France Argentina match as I went to bed early to ride at dawn to my destination some 2 hours away. The traffic was light and I stopped over the mountain top restaurant with the thermometer reading 16 degree Celsius cooler than Kundasang near Mount Kinabalu. I preached to a willing audience of about 100 adults and the small church was about full. It was only 2kms from Tambunan town and the new church was built 12 years ago. One elder knew me from the time I was in HQ as Treasurer and perhaps that was why they invited me to preach about giving.