Friday, January 31, 2020

Process of Publishing a Book

Brexit is done and my book is done. Altogether it has taken me five months to bring into completion two books which I wrote some years back. For Departure Points I spent about two and a half months editing, arranging the photos, proof-reading (Sept-mid Nov 2019). As soon as I finished that, I moved on to completing the Gospel of John (1-12) in Malay and that took another 2 months and this time in proof-reading as the book is purely text with no photos except the cover. For me, to put the price of my book at RM50.00 is cheap, not just the labour that went into getting it published but the years of writing and the skills and knowledge that go into producing a quality book. But I will let my readers judge except that I am encouraged to note that one reader had given me high marks on my Malay commentary on John.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

2 Books in 2 Months in 2020

Would anyone now blame Boris Johnson for not delivering Brexit on 31st October 2019? In fact, it was a mark of his leadership that he insisted that it should not go beyond 31st October to get most things done by such date and at the end, the landslide Election on 12th December delivered Brexit which is now ratified by the European Parliament. As for me, I had planned for my 2nd book to be published by 2nd February which to me is one of the most beautiful dates, however one writes it, 02022020.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Borne by Cherubim & Seraphim

If I ever needed assurance of God's presence, it was yesterday. After 36 hours of extreme pain, I did not think I could even settle myself down to preach yesterday. Thank God that it was a combined service and not two services as some members returned to their villages for the Lunar New Year holidays whether they are ethnic Chinese or not. The Scripture is true that as we are afflicted and as we suffer, we are also comforted and consoled. I did not have a single day break for the Chinese New Year except that I missed the Friday night's prayer meeting for the reunion dinner. The first day of the New Year was given to relaxation and after breakfast I actually bumped into a couple of lion troupes and witnessed some incredible lion dance. I put into my Status Update that at least this kind of lion does not bite, not like some human beings who bite with their tongues filled with deceit, trickery and violence. "Deliver me from lying lips, O Lord".

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Year of the Rat

It was deja vu. As I started my pastorate 17 years ago in my church, the SARS epidemic was about to break into the scene and I remembered praying with my church staff for 2 months and SARS never came to Sabah. Now the Year of the Rat ushered in a new virus originated from Wuhan. It was particularly worrying for Sabahans as there are direct flights between KK and Wuhan. Only last Thursday due to the Chinese government action, all flights were stopped. Why did Sabah state government not acted earlier was beyond me? But we prayed from a fortnight ago. Yesterday was prayer meeting but because of the reunion dinner, I skipped the prayer meeting but my spirit was present with the intercessors.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

3rd Book in 3 Weeks

I trust in the Lord that in less than 3 weeks’ time, my 3rd book will be out. I plan to launch the book on 02.02.2020 which is rather an auspicious date I reckon, almost a chiastic form with the zeros and twos. It will be a Herculean task to get it done just after Chinese New Year as the printers are working over time to meet deadlines before the Lunar New Year in less than 10 days’ time. Since I am printing this time locally in Kota Kinabalu, there is very chance I can get the books ready on 1st February 2020 for then to be sold on Sunday, 02.02.2020. It will be my first book in Malay after my two books in English.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Ten-Year Vision

This is the beginning of a new decade. Last Sunday I challenged my congregations to set goals or dreams for not only the year, 2020 but the whole decade until the end of 2029 or 2030. I have been thinking and praying myself. What are my goals for 2030? When I watched several of Robert Alter’s lectures and interviews, I have this dream of re-learning Hebrew and I hope to read the entire Hebrew Bible/OT in Hebrew in the next ten years. I can’t wait to have my lexicons and commentaries back with me next month. Most of my Hebrew and Greek texts are in Singapore but I am bringing them back with you in 6 weeks’ time. Then I could start my odyssey of Bible reading, going through the Hebrew text from Genesis to 2Chronicles. I will even follow the Jewish chronology of books, from beginning to end. Is it an end to itself? Yes and no. No, because in my next decade from 2030 to 2040 I will translate the whole Bible into Malay like what Alter did for the Hebrew Bible.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

First Week @Work

When I received the preaching schedule just because Christmas I realised I was in for a baptism of fire. Added that I preached last Friday and then two more sermons on the Sunday, it was a baptism of fire of sorts in my first week at work. One may think the pastors get Monday off work is a blessing but if you have to preach twice on Sunday, Monday is basically a straight out Sabbath of rest and you can’t run errands like most would do in their day off. I am feeling the tiredness even today and somewhat I have to pull myself together to start preparing for two sermons more this coming Sunday followed by a leaders’ meeting in the afternoon to plan for the preaching schedule in the 2nd quarter and seminars throughout the year.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Feedback on my Book

I received a boost from a young Australian doctor who came back for holidays and he read my book on his holidays with family in Taiwan over Christmas. His succinct comment was: “very insightful”. He is in his early 30s and this is my target audience, those in the 20s to 30s age groups, millennials (born after 1984), or in our SIB’s context, the groups that make up the third generation of believers. The first generation was those in 1940s to 1960s and the second generation are those now in their late 40s to 60s. It is my prayer that within this decade of 2020s and the next, the third generation believers will rise up to take up senior leadership posts. And my book is to fill the lacunae or vacuum in the history of church expansion and development in the past 30 years, especially in the last 25 years since I have been in full time ministry. The younger generations need to know the whys, whats and how of our belief systems, leadership structure and church growth came about.