Friday, December 30, 2022

Ready to Fly

I did not think I would come to this day at the end of 2022 that I would be ready to fly in a couple of hours. Exactly two years ago, in our leaders' church group, I told two deacons when they asked that I would seriously consider getting vaccinated (Sinopharm) if I needed to fly at the end of 2022. Two years on, the world has changed. The pandemic is all but over except in China. Most people either vaccinated or not, have been infected with Covid-19, at least with the Omicron variant and they have developed immunity against the disease. And again I praise God that for three and a half years (Nov 2018-April 2022) which is a biblical period of testing and suffering, I was kept away from harm's way and I was at the pink of health, never sick during those trying times. God keeps the righteous from evil and the pestilence He drove far away. Now I am ready to fly for ministry, of course.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Ready to Roll

After a couple of days' rest from my exertion in Ranau where I preached 50min long sermons on three consecutive days, I am back in ministry mode with preparation to preach in Sandakan on New Year's Day. I received an invitation to preach on 8th January but decided to turn it down as I might make a trip north that I planned for a while now, basically to promote my books in a few churches.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas Ministry

The first part of my Christmas ministry has ended yesterday on Christmas Day. We drove back from Ranau from 12.30pm and reached KK just before 3pm. We spent three days and two nights with three Christmas services and it was pretty well spaced put despite the early morning start yesterday after a Christmas Eve service. We managed to get all meeting ended within 2 hours with a couple of songs and dance by various ministry units. I told a joke that other churches may have a 10-minute homily but in our church we are used to have one hour long sermon. But I preached all three messages within 45 minutes and yesterday I felt the anointing the strongest when I was fairly fatigued preaching three days in a row. It was a powerful message on the first night and on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Seed Money

I just put some money into an interest earning account. It is my seed money for my European trip planned for 2024. Per chance I can save RM20,000 for the trip and  I know that’s not quite enough but at least there is something. We walk by faith and not by sight. I am praying to make a European trip soonest possible, even by next July which is exactly 3 and a half years after the Wuhan virus that hit the world. I hope to mark the end of the pandemic by travelling. If I can’t make it by 2023, then it is 2024. The Lord grant good health in the mean time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Travelling Again & Books

Both my Malay commentaries are self-published, understandably so as Malay Christian literature is new and I doubt any publishers would want to take a chance to publish literature that has a limited audience, namely Malay speaking and reading Christians. I have sold more than 150 books of my Galatians commentary and my last 50 will be gone in no time. I will take at least 10 copies to my former Church when I preach there this weekend from Friday to Sunday. After that, I plan to meet up with a couple Christian leaders in Sandakan, and perhaps visit one church that I preached in their combined meeting in 2017. It was 5 years ago and it's time to catch up. After that, I will travel to Kota Belud, to "bless" or pray for a new house of a former church member.

He shall dwell in prosperity (Psalm 25:13)

I suppose it is the attitude in life and towards life that counts. One wealthy person could live in poverty because he is a miser and does not know how to spend money. He saves and hoards but do not know who he will leave his millions and that is vanity as so says Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Yet there is one who is poor but live well because he sees whatever he has ss God’s blessings, giving Him thanks and enjoying every good thing in life and way better than that wealthy person who has multiple accounts and 100 fold richer in wealth but live much worse than that poor person. This is also vanity.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Among Old Friends & Books

Yesterday I had had a wonderful Christmas service. When I arrived at the church half an hour early, I was taken by an old friend, a former church member in Likas. We had uplifting conversations about family, health and keeping out spirits up despite advancing age. I did not know that he was there years older than me as I always thought I was one or two years older. He has 4 children, all scholarship students whom he was extremely proud of. One started work and his starting salary is more than RM 4,000.00, double my salary as pastor in my 6 years of active service in the field (2015-2021). I felt happy for him and his wife, both of whom were my close friends and after the service he reminded that he was one of my earliest cell group members. We go back a long time.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Preaching Christmas Sermon

After a short afternoon nap, I woke up with extreme fatigue due to my preaching this morning. It was an intense message. I did not once look at my watch but probably it went for 45 minutes. I started by explaining that chapter one of Luke's Gospel focuses on two women, one old and one young. Elizabeth would be probably in his 60s or early 70s because she was well-advanced in age. Mary was a young girl, a teenager of 14 or 15 years old. But God worked miracles for both. God answered the prayer of Zechariah, Elizabeth's husband and Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. I then proceeded to preach from Luke 1:13-17, a total of five verses on the angelic announcement to Zechariah of John's birth who later became the Baptist.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Fellow Pastors

One of the things that I do is to maintain friendship with my fellow pastors. To show to them Christ's love and to act with humility be it to seniors or juniors. All of us are equal in God's sight, His beloved children though our gifts may differ and our ministries too are varied according to God's calling. So today I spent more than 2 hours with three of my fellow pastors over lunch at A & W. The joint has closed for more than two decades but reopened a few weeks ago, not far from my home. I remember queuing up at Changi Airport for more than 30 minutes to get my order fulfilled. Likewise today it took about 40 minutes before my two friends who stood in the queue got our food and drinks. While waiting I read a book which I brought with me. We chatted over many things, our personal walk with God, our ministry, the future especially all the three pastors are under 40, in their mid-30s. They are not young but still working their way up in their respective churches.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Gos is Doing Great Things

The devil must have thought he had won when he saw Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. But that was the moment of the devil's defeat. It is just true to life that much that happens to us in full of irony. Imagine a young virgin receiving an angelic visitation being told that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit. Imagine Joseph dreaming dreams just as his name sake way back in the book of Genesis, the first Joseph also dreamt many dreams. God is doing great things. The devil thought he had won when I was suddenly cast out of my active ministry as a pastor. But within 12 months, I have revised my Song of Song's commentary and published a full commentary on Galatians. The Galatians' commentary is worth a hundred, if not a thousand sermons.

Things Happened

If one really seeks after God, one would know His will because God delights to show His people His ways. Jesus said that, "if anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether my teaching is from myself or from the Father who sent Me" (John 7:17). The problem was and still is that very few people want to do God's will, hence they can't discern His teachings. Sometimes they are deluded into thinking it is the truth, but in fact it is falsehood and deceit. A man's heart is desperately wicked and who can know it? And we go on as if we are righteous, but in fact we are like filthy rags in His sight. Our wickedness and hypocrisy have driven His Spirit far from us but we can carry on as if nothing happens, and presume to think that God is with us.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Three Years Ago

It's been three years that my son returned home. It was an eventful time early 2020 when he managed to return to New Zealand to his work just two weeks before the New Zealand's lockdown lasting more than 2 years. So I am looking forward to seeing my son again. The good news is that he is quite established in his job in the same place of employment, though he is still new in his latest role and the recent confirmation of a permanent post. So he is taking time to see his family during Christmas and also Lunar New Year before he heads back to NZ. If he can make it back by Christmas's Eve, he may drive up to Ranau to join me for Christmas services there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

100 Books sold in 2 weeks

Apart from the 12 books I sold during the pastors' fellowship on 17th November 2022, I had sold about 100 more books in the past two weeks. I brought about 15 books to church last Sunday including my earlier commentary on John's Gospel and all books were sold out within minutes. The church pastor texted and invited me to preach this Sunday or next, but I am occupied every Sunday until the first Sunday 2023. I have mailed about 20 books to individuals and a College in West Malaysia that bought my commentary on Galatians.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Joyful & Sorrowful Reunion

It was a joyous occasion and it was a sorrowful event. It was a kind of reunion of my former church which I pastored for nearly two years before the vaccine mandate put a stop to the pastorate. The chairman texted the invitation and it was hard to refuse. Quite a few leaders still follow my status updates and also Instagram. I could not reject such an overture. So I went with my wife and it was a joyous occasion. I was seated in the main table with all the elders, all four of them, all of whom walked hand in hand during the difficult 22 months of pandemic ministry.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

From Conception to Commerce

It has been a hectic two months of getting my book ready for publication and finally today a bookstore received copies of my newest book for sale. From conception of an idea of writing a book to the finish line, a commercial product sold in open market this has been my experience of getting four books published and sold within 3 years, from December 2019 to December 2022.

Friday, December 2, 2022

God Remembers

Yesterday was a special day. I did not realise it until about 7pm in the evening. I started out the day by delivering two books to a pastor who ordered it during the church's AGM but my books were sold out then. When I looked for him, another pastor showed up and bought another two copies. Then, another pastor asked for the books as well, but I did not bring anymore. I will deliver to the lady pastor in charge of children's ministry early next week. I felt happy as six of my books were sold. In actual fact, many people and churches still do not know that I published a commentary on John's Gospel nearly three years ago.