Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Proof of His Goodness (Psalm 86:17)

If there is any similar pattern in my life, it is that I have gone out or step forth in faith despite circumstances to the contrary. I remember well my first job in ministry as a lecturer in Melangkap, Kota Belud, in the interior of Sabah, with no electricity or paved roads but armed with the certainty of God's presence because Jesus said, "I shall be with you until the end of the age"(Matt 28:20). My first test came about a month into my ministry as in early January 1995 I received a letter from the University of Auckland University awarding me a 2-year Masters scholarship (MTheol) with all fees paid plus living allowances which trebled my meagre salary as a Bible lecturer (RM700.00 per month).

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

“Do not Cast Your Pearls before Swine” (Matt 7:6)

I received a surprise email from a good friend asking whether I had published my book. When I first read his text, I thought to myself, "which book?" He meant my "Departure Points" which came out in December 2019. That shows I have somewhat lost contact with this friend from overseas with whom I had a conversation about publishing my book perhaps in Sept of 2019 and then we were separated by the pandemic and only now he could return to Sabah. But I also received advice (sometimes unsolicited but I take all advice as well-intentioned) as to how to promote my books and a friend in KL actually did the posters for me for the Malaysian and Singaporean "markets". If I had used a commercial term, it is meant to be parabolic and an irony since the last thing I have in mind is to make a profit. In fact, I might just give my friend a surprise and show him my three books, instead of the one in his mind which was not even published when we last spoke. I am reticent and reluctant except on my social media platforms to promote my books for the sole reason that the contents are precious - "John's Gospel (1-12)" and "a Woman in Love" are both commentaries on the Word of God, one in the NT and the other in the OT. Since these are precious things, it is not good to cast your pearls before swine and the preceding parallel clause in Matthew's Gospel has "do not give dogs what is holy".

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Three Strikes You are Out

For a third week in a row I stood outside the church door. This time I did not enter as most congregation members had already left. I met the Chairman and his wife at the stairs on their way down. Then I had lunch with the Secretary and we had a long chat over several matters concerning the Church, our denomination in general. For a third time on a Sunday, I was out and not in the church. Although I might be on annual leave, I did want to enter the church premises but I watched the online service and when the sermon ended I drove to the church. Was it a prophetic act that the pastor remained outside the church? Did not Jesus say, "You have eyes but do not see; you have ears but you do not hear". How often people including those who claim to be Christians go on acting as if they are sheep led to the slaughter, without question, self-evaluation and self-reflection.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Landmarks & Milestones

"All my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be..." (Psalm 139:16). Is there a verse that speaks more of predestination of the elect as this? David had a sense of destiny, knowing that his days were ordained by God and all things that happened to him were known to God before one of them came to be. David ruled for 40 years when he was in Hebron and he died when he was 70. The number of 40 appears to be a most significant number in the Bible. The children of Israel wandered in wilderness for 40 years. Moses' life was divided into three 40s - the first as his early years in Egpyt as a son of Pharaoh's daughter, the second, his 40 years in the wilderness of Midian before God called him again when he was 80 and he led the Israelites for 40 years before Moses died when he was 120 years old.

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Fight Goes On

Often we are impressed with the rise of human leaders among the nations. Having owned Tony Blair's auto-biography since a decade ago I read the first chapter again and watched a recent video on the rise of the Labour Party under Blair and Gordon Brown. These two were comrades-in-arm as they shared a small office space in Westminster Hall of Parliament. But Tony Blair was a much more charismatic figure who won the hearts of the British and won three consecutive UK General Election. I almost had a tear in my eye when Blair stood for the leadership of the Labour Party at the sudden death of John Smith.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Spiritual Appetite Waning?

It is the tough that keeps going when the going gets tough. It's a struggle to keep going when many are not so interested in spiritual things. After several lockdowns and many more regulations and SOPS, I find that spiritual appetite is on the wane. I have started this Adult Bible Study more than two months ago and it is now the 7th edition where we will be looking at Genesis chs. 8 and 9. If you think that there are 200 church members, at least those who watched the online Sunday services regularly, yet for the Bible Study we are getting between 20 to 40 people, at the highest. If we speak of 20 adults, it means only 10% of the church members are interested in more in-depth study of the Bible. As for me, it has been a wonderful journey of teaching the congregation, but spiritual appetite is not great and sometimes it is tough to keep going.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

My Books (Once More)

Without solicitation both my books, "Departure Points" and "Tafsiran Injil Yohanes" (John's Gospel commentary in Malay) have received many positive feedback and commendations. I am not in anyway promoting myself but these two books have great spiritual treasures. Departure Points is the story of my life and mission in Sabah, East Malaysia and John's Gospel commentary is a commentary written in Malay, which I think is the first-ever publication in the Bahasa Melayu or Malay language in that commentary genre. I am pleased with both of my works.