Monday, August 31, 2020

Preaching Once

Suddenly I find my preaching burden cut by half as our second Sunday service met its demise due to lack of attendance. It was in the afternoon and most people are simply not used to an afternoon service with so many online services in the morning that they could follow including our own channel with live-streaming. So yesterday I gave my all since I knew I did not have to return to preach in the afternoon. My all means a total of 47 minutes of preaching with a couple of minutes' break due to a technical glitch at the beginning. I am pleased I brought my laptop with my slides on it and I proceeded to preach from it while waiting the multimedia people to fix the issue. I preached on Eph 1:11-15 and it has not been easy preaching on Paul's letter to the Ephesians since the Greek is fairly complex with long sentences. Eph 1:3-14 in Greek is one long sentence with more than 10 genitival phrases and clauses.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Penang Bookshelf

I just came across Penang Bookshelf, an online bookstore which has a good selection of local and international books including my own, "Departure Points".  But you can order direct from my Sabah's publishers, Natural History Publications (here). Or email me direct and I will send a copy to you anywhere in Malaysia for RM55.00 inclusive of postage. As for Singapore, it will be SGD25 a copy as postage cost a bit more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Singapore's Sojourn

I was thrilled and honoured to receive an invitation to participate in the online Induction service today for the 12th Principal of Trinity Theological College, my former place of ministry and employment. It's not easy to forget 6 years of residential college community with several stints as Warden and also one Semester as Acting Dean of Students. Friendships with colleagues were especially cherished and it was not for anything that I waited for the new Principal to take up the reins of leadership before I sent a copy of my "Departure Points" to two of my former colleagues there.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Degrees & Diplomas

I am forever grateful to be a pastor because I don’t have to gown myself anymore with academic regalia during graduation ceremonies. Only today I decided to make sure I knew where to locate my degrees and diplomas. It took more than 20 minutes foraging in my store room and many boxes but then the few scrolls were located in a drawer underneath the television. I took out my diploma for my Bachelor of Theology which I did not frame (regrettably) since it was already showing signs of moulding. That degree cost me more than RM100K over two years of study in Auckland and now I am going to invest in a wooden frame of RM35.00 in order to keep it clean or in its somewhat damaged state. For both degrees, bachelor and doctoral, I did not attend the graduation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Leaders make or break the nation and the Church

Last Sunday after I had preached twice with two different sermons we went ahead with our council meeting. According to our Constitution it should be monthly but due to COVID 19 crisis, meetings have been a bit haphazard. In a way I am glad I am not the Chairman, so that I could focus on preaching and pastoral work. Last Saturday for a second time in two weeks we visited a family about 15 Kms and we drove up a steep hill overlooking the city of KK. But I realised that in times of crisis, leadership is even more critical and essential for the advancement of the Gospel and the growth of the church. Some people out of fear refuse to restart church services on a Sunday and I saw few wondering about in their shorts and T-shirt’s on a Sunday when they should be serving in church. How ironic when times were good, often we hear exhortations to attend church services, but the pandemic has hit some of the churches hard. No wonder Jesus said that when the Son of Man comes to the earth, will He find faith? Even the prayers seem to be haphazardly planned.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Conferences and Revivals

It is almost three and a half years ago. Out of the blue I received a photo of me at one of the most interior places you could get to in Sabah, namely at Salarom Taka. In the middle of no where there is a huge SIB church that could seat 1,000 people but I was the preacher for 4 sessions at the Combined Youth Conference of the 9 Interior Districts. I remember that about 700 youths turned up and they told me that previous Conferences saw crowds of more than 1,000. Except for the State level Youth Conference it has been a long time since I preached before 1,000 people. Perhaps in Tongod, Kalibatangan, another interior place three hours from Telupid when I went there in 1997 to preach before 1,000 Anglican youths. It was unforgettable at Tongod as it was forgettable in Salarom Taka.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday Musings

I was still full of energy as the result of the anointing of the Holy Spirit when I reached home at 9.30pm last night. I taught for nearly 100 minutes with a few minutes' break in between. I pleaded with the teenagers that they should seek after the Lord and experience the Holy Spirit, as a gift from the Lord. Without the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist twice said he did not know Him. Why was that repeated? (John 1:29-34). At one level, John did not recognise Jesus at first, but like many things in the Gospel of John, there is always a deeper truth for those who seek it. John the Baptist did not know Jesus because he had not experienced the Holy Spirit that only Jesus could give. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, no one really knows Jesus the way He is to be known. I told the 20 or so teenagers gathered last night that it is in their hands to know this Jesus, called the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). Most of these youths are third generation Christians where the grandparents or parents are Christians, from the SIB church.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

One Year & One Week: Covid-19 Musings

I caught the full moon last night on my way to buy pizza take-away. By August's full moon, I had turned another year and another week. Now I am past mid-50s and soon I will turn 60, the magical number for Chinese as 60 is a complete cycle (12 animals in the Zodiac) multiplied by 5. I had preached three Sundays in a row, all 6 full sermons. For record, on 19th July I preached on the Fulness of Times in Ephesians 1:10 in the morning and the Day of Christ in Philippians 1:1-6 in the afternoon. Then, on 26th July in Ranau, I preached on "Redeeming the Time for the Days are evil" in Eph 5:1-17 and in the second service, "Numbering our Days, O Lord" where I expound on the Psalm 90 in 30 minutes. I made several points. First, the Lord is our refuge in these times of health crisis caused by the Covid-19. Second, man is a shadow, glorious one moment and gone the next. Third, counting our days which means recognizing the times which God gives us to serve Him until we are 80 years old. I made the point that many will wake up one day and realize that they are already 75 or 80 by which time they are too old or too weak to do anything effective for God. Now is the time. And I am counting since I turned 56 in Ranau that Sunday and I still have 24 years less a week now. Fourth, in Psalm 90, the Psalmist sensed that God's anger hovered His people and that they have to atone for their sins.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday's Sabbath & Youtube Channel

With Sunday afternoon services now,  I need my Monday's Sabbath rest more than ever. Often I can't do much whole day, catching up on sleep or just relaxing uploading my videos unto my Youtube channel. As I preach two different Sunday sermons and I try to record both sermons, morning and afternoon I have quite a few in store for upload. Even almost half of Revelation's class was recorded and I have uploaded a few since. And I am really pleased that my subscribers have exceeded 50 and the most viewed video is reaching 100 views (Rebuilding of the Temple). "Do not despise the days of small things".

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Month that Was (July 2020)

July is named after Julius Caesar, the founder of Roman imperial dynasty. It was a month full of surprises and significant events. First, earlier in the month my younger brother was appointed Judicial  Commissioner and we have a Judge in the family. My late father would be truly proud. I also conducted my second teenage class with about 40 people in attendance, the first after the lockdown. It was an encouraging sign that teenagers or at least some of the parents who brought them showed good interest. I started a series preaching on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians on 12th and 19th July. In the afternoon on 19th July I decided to preach on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Church has returned to some form of normalcy as the first session is nearly filled to capacity given the SOP. Then on the 20th July I travelled to my former College which I left in January 2019 to accept an invitation to teach an intensive course on Revelation.