Thursday, December 26, 2019

A Review of 2019

The Year 2019 is about to come to an end. It is time for a review and reflection of what 2019 has brought and what the year entails for me. The beginning of the year was filled with much uncertainty mixed with relief that I was about to leave my job at the Bible college in Namaus, Ranau where I had served for 3 years. Altogether last January brought to a close of my 49 months of ministry in Ranau after my return from Singapore in July 2014. So the beginning of 2019 was the end of my first phase of ministry back in Sabah. Waiting has been a hallmark of my ministry for 25 years as I waited for exactly 10 months until the end of November before getting my new appointment letter. So from the beginning of the year I wrote a 17 page long essay on NT theology, the subject which I taught for my last lectures in Namaus, and proceeded to write two books at the same time throughout the year. Although the impetus came late when sometime in early September, I received encouragement from my former MTheol student from Indonesia who wrote to me from USA, “Dr Siew, you are a good author; you should write books”. My part memoirs that had sat on my lap for almost 5 years got dusted and done within 2 months. On the day when President Trump got impeached 18th Dec (Malaysia’s time was 19th Dec) my book, Departure Points was finally published and received in good order.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Year 2020 Beckons

It is the time of the year. The year 2019 is less than 10 days more before it is gone. The year 2020 beckons and because it is the beginning of a new decade plus it is twenty twenty (2020), it seems to bring much promise for the new year and the new decade ahead. As for me, it might be the most important decade for me as by 2030 I shall be contemplating retirement though I hope to serve until 2040. While I have strength, may the Lord's will and purpose be fulfilled according to His righteousness. In the past days and weeks, I have been struggling mightily in prayers. Sometimes I get up before 4am and raise my hands to the Lord in supplication. Lord, where should I go? And what should I do?

Monday, December 16, 2019

My 2nd book is Finally Here

It was like Brexit. You know it was going to happen but is somewhat delayed yet the inevitable exit is near. Likewise, I have been waiting for my book for more than a month, hoping that it was going to be ready by my 25th anniversary on 1st Dec but it was somewhat delayed by the shipping across South China Sea. It is finally here in Kota Kinabalu but I am outstation after preaching over the long weekend of 4 sermons from Friday to Sunday. I can’t wait to see the 25 boxes of books on my doorstep and now I have to act to make room for them. Then with my 300 books from Singapore, I can be reasonably certain by the first quarter of next year, all my books will be with me and that they have finally found a home. Books are precious possessions because they mark the seasons of your life. What books one reads makes the man one becomes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Returning Home & Staying Put

It’s nearly 70 months since I returned from Singapore in 2014. If I make it to the end of January 2020 it would be the first time in 14 years that I have lived in my own house for a year without interruption. It is the fulfilment of God’s promise in the Jubilee passage in Leviticus 25 that in the 50th year one is to return to one own’s possession and land. Last Sunday a church member whom I knew well but had not the chance to converse with until on Sunday asked me whether I thought of migrating to New Zealand. Perhaps he has seen me around the church on and off without much to do.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Third Stint

I have to admit that I had my reservations. It will be my third stint as a pastor if God willing, I shall start again early next year. I had been pastor twice before, the first in my home church in KK and then 5 years ago in Ranau. Just like my teaching ministry as a lecturer I had gone through three different stints, the first when I first started full time ministry in Melangkap Kota Belud, then in Singapore and the third and final stint from 2016 to January 2019 in Ranau. Everything comes round and has a ring of equilibrium to it. I never planned it that way; it just happened as God so wills it, as we are obedient to the heavenly vision and do not turn back from following hard after Him.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

“I will prolong my words...” (LXX Prov 1:24)

Last Sunday I received double portion of blessings, as I preached twice in church, once in the Sunday morning service and again at night at the 25th anniversary thanksgiving service. It was as if the Lord reaffirming the calling in my life to preach the Gospel and His Word. In the morning service, I shared how the Lord called me into His service as an 18-year, a second year University student. I said, “you can say anything about me, I will forgive you” but one thing is this “I am convinced of God’s calling in my life to be His servant”. God is in control as I received my letter of appointment at the end of the denomination’s AGM last Saturday, 30th Nov exactly a year after I resigned as lecturer of the College in Namaus, Ranau.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

25th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service

I celebrated with 30 of my closest friends and associates in ministry along with 9 of my former students from Namaus and Melangkap Campuses. I appreciated that my "first student" from Melangkap in 1994-1995 came all the way from Labuan. He was in KK for the SIB AGM and had to return to Labuan on Saturday night for Sunday morning service and after service made his way (2 hours' ferry and 3 hours' drive) to KK to attend the function. He gave a wonderful testimony of his 20-year long in ministry and our times together in Melangkap 25 years ago. My other 8 students most of whom are pastors of rural churches came from their respective churches. With their basic salary of less than RM1,000 a month (one person told me that last year in 2018, she was only paid RM200.00 per month). They must have sacrificed time and money to come all the way and most had spent the night at a motel nearby before returning to their places of ministry on Monday. When you have nothing, you truly know who your true friends are.