Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Floodgates Open

I received two invitations to preach last Sunday in two of the biggest churches in Kota Kinabalu. God willing, I shall be teaching an intensive course in Ranau at the end of June. Yesterday I grabbed an hour plus writing my Galatians commentary. It is up to the place where Paul rebuked Peter publicly. Nowadays who dares do that to a top leader in the denomination?

Friday, May 27, 2022

Another Appearance

I made an unexpected appearance in the night meeting of our Pastors' Conference last night. It was open to all church members and I thought I might attend the second and final night (which is tonight) but yesterday by 6pm I received several texts from my former students who are all pastors now and they asked me whether I would be attending the Conference. Let everything be established by two or three witnesses, says Scripture and if there was only one person I would have ignored the invite.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Times of Elijah

There is no doubt that we have entered into the times of Elijah. A time of spiritual apostasy. A time of apostate spiritual leadership. And suddenly Elijah appeared to rebuke King Ahab. And suddenly he disappeared once more. Elijah could only do that if he really believed that God was on his side and he was the one true prophet when many went backwards. Why do I say that now is the times of Elijah? Imagine for the past two years and three months. How many have gone backwards with wrong theology? How many churches have shut down? And when they reopened late last year, how many have put draconian conditions on church entry?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Rise of USD & SGD

In the past few weeks I have been keeping track of two currencies, namely, US and SG dollars respectively. The US dollar is still the global unit of exchange as most exports and imports are denominated in the American dollar. When it goes up, imports are more expensive and this adds to the rate of inflation across board including many essential items.  The SGD yesterday hit a high of 3.19 and soon it will be 3.25 RM to 1SGD. That's a remarkable rise since 2014 when I left Singapore for Sabah, as it was still less than 2.5RM to 1SGD. And also in August 2014, Ringgit Malaysia was doing reasonably well with the exchange rate of 3.15 to 1USD but now the rate is 4.4. The fall of the Malaysian Ringgit early 2015 coincided with the 1MDB financial crisis in Malaysia with billions siphoned off into off-shore accounts and personal accounts of politicians and other individuals. Until today we have no closure on 1MDB as the parties concerned are still on trial, some in USA and a few more in Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Teaching John's Writings

If things go well, I shall be teaching an intensive course on Johannine literature at my former College in the forthcoming Semester. The dates are to be fixed by mutual agreement and I do pray that it will work out by God's will. I was extremely reluctant to accept the invitation at first for various reasons, least of all, my reluctance to travel far. Ten days ago when I preached in Ranau was due to some persuasion from the Ranau's church to see their former pastor. But yesterday, a couple of my former students sent me Teachers' Day's greetings and both reminded me that my teaching had been an instrument of God's grace in their lives and impacted them until today.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Momentous Week

It has been a momentous week. Last Saturday the French President was inaugurated into a 2nd term after winning re-election with South Korea’s President Yoon inaugurated into his first and only 5-year term last Tuesday and on the same day, on 10th May news came that Ferdinand Marcos Jr had won Philippine’s Presidency in a landslide. On Monday 9th May Europe celebrated the end of WW2 and Russia’s Victory Day though this year brings much uncertainty as the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on. It has been a momentous week.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Church Attendance

Yesterday the church hall was almost full. No wonder last Sunday they announced that their former pastor was coming for a visit and when I wanted to pull out due to a family function I was told that many would be disappointed if I did not show up. So I duly went and it was only on Thursday night that I knew I was preaching with less than 2 days’ preparation. But overall my former church had lost at least 50 percent of its members since the pandemic. Before that we had two services and before I came they had trouble filling up half the seats. Lord, where have Your sheep gone?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Strangers & Prophets

Sometimes one has to keep an ear open even to strangers and mavericks in our midst. Knowing that today is the last day of holidays I drove to the city centre early and had breakfast. Then I went to my barber of 34 years (since 1988) and he is in his 70s. But a stranger came in and started talking in Shan Tong mandarin/Chinese which my barber understood little and I less. But he kept looking at me and said a few things like having a prominent forehead which led him to say that I must be a “ling dao”. I asked the barber what he meant but the guy told me something which I understood a bit, a ling dao is a band leader or tour guide, leading a group. When I heard about a tour guide (I could be wrong in understanding him), I laughed it off. My barber said “ling dao” means “pembesar” or a high official like a judge, so I said that’s not me but my brother who happens to be a judge. But then what this person said stayed with me for a while including that he predicted that I must be born in the year of the dragon and he got that right.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Rejoicing in the City

There is palpable joy in the city. Malls are full again. Streets and sidewalks are buzzing with people. With a stroke of genius, the Malaysian political leadership announced the day and year of release coinciding with major holidays. Only in church there was hardly a murmur of joy. If I were leading worship or asked to say a prayer I would have led the congregation to shout Hosanna and Halleluyah which I did on August 30th 2020 at the height of the pandemic. We will not fear but through our God we shall do valiantly. Do I feel vindicated with my decision?

Monday, May 2, 2022

One-Third is Gone

A third of the year is past. We have less than 2/3 of 2022 before 2023 comes along. Three days could bring much change and when the Government of Malaysia announced relaxation of the SOPs and allowing entry into premises, the first person who texted me was a close friend, a senior politician in the State. It appeared that he remembered what I told him during my visit to his place early in the year. I waited for three days after the announcement until late Saturday to gauge any reaction from church leaders, but there was none. It is indeed ironic it seems that tightening of SOPs receiving more attention but relaxation giving way for church entry like before, no one seemed to be rejoicing. "My people perish for the lack of knowledge".