Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The 17th Time

I have moved from one place to another for 16 times since I gave up my legal practice and entered into full time ministry. I shall be moving again in 3 months' time. It is not the first time staying at the Seminary as I stayed there for 2 years when I was completing my PhD thesis. But this time it is different. I am entering on my own terms and what I can offer to the College and I am glad that the College's management saw the potential and gifts in me.

Biblical Scholar at the Doorsteps

If I had wanted to be a lecturer I would have stayed back in Singapore with much more comfort, convenience and compensation. I returned to Sabah to answer God's call, especially to serve among the indigenous peoples of the land. Perhaps my new posting at a Seminary with first class facilities will fulfill such a calling as many Malay speaking pastors cannot go anywhere else besides Indonesia.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Looking towards the Future filled with Hope

It is not easy for me to describe the events of the past few weeks. On Lunar New Year 22nd Jan 2023 when I preached in the same church as I preached yesterday, I had nothing to look forward in the near future. What a month of events could change one's life directions for good. The Board of my new employers met on 11th Feb and on the same day I received news that they had unanimously approved my appointment as lecturer beginning 2nd Semester of this year. But the formal letter came a bit later and many things happened in between. Many of my denomination's senior leaders at the district level (delegates who could vote in AGM) had hopes that I would continue to serve in my own denomination. But it is out of my hands, I told them frankly that since 1st May 2022, I had no indication that my appointment would come any time soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

A Reservoir of Goodwill

When I think about the events of the past couple of days, I am astounded by God's works and how He has granted me His favour and from his holy heaven given me mighty victories. Now that I have an appointment in hand, though I start only in June, I have time to think about what I want to do in the next few months. When I thought about my ministry in church last Sunday, I realised I had a deep reservoir of good will among church members and leaders. Many members stayed back to chat with me over drinks and later the pastor with four elders took me into the pastor's office and we had a lunch fellowship lasting more than 2 hours. I don't remember having a longer lunch being served coffee twice and buns at the end after a hearty lunch offering. When I spoke the elders listened.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Preaching is Intense

No wonder Jesus felt power had gone out of Him when the woman with a bleeding issue touched Him. To be a blessing and God's vessel of His power touching people with His Word requires much energy by the Spirit of the Lord. Even as I write just before noon 24 hours since I ended my preaching yesterday I felt extremely fatigued. I could not rest yesterday until 6.30pm in the evening and had an hour's nap before going out for my dinner at 9.30pm.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Looking on the Bright Side

Sometimes events and people's chattering could overwhelm one's peace and constancy. I have learned to react with extreme caution even confronted with great provocation and lies, ane slander. I believe God is on the throne and He is on the side of the right. Hence, we can look on the bright side of things no matter how pessimistic or hopeless the situation may be. There is always a silver lining after the dark clouds. Even during the height of cyclone Gabriele on Sunday I told my son that dad had prayed and the cyclone would move away from Auckland and he would be able to land if his flight would go ahead as scheduled.

The Footprints of the Righteous

There has been intense speculation. It's been a fortnight since news came concerning recent happenings at former College and there has been non-stop texts and messages, either sent to me or conversations among other groups about the possibility of my return and appointment. But I refused to comment or talk about anything, except what I know to be hard cold facts. There is a need for a cool head and this is the time. Since I am out of the loop for such a long time, I did not want to add fuel to fire or comment without factual basis. I often replied by saying that we should leave everything in the Lord's hands. Yet, I am astounded and somewhat encouraged that people are still talking about my ministry, here and there. My good friend told me that, "you are a high profile person". But as for me, "I am a worm in Jacob". But when I think of it, no wonder in less than an hour of my appearance at our AGM last November after four years of non-meeting with delegates, I was nominated for the top post, not by one District as was before but by two Districts. I then realised that whatever influence that I had had was due to the footprints of the righteous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

1,200 books Sold

Yesterday, for the first time I could not supply what my buyers demanded, my commentary on the Paul's letter to the Galatians. I had to reserve a few copies for sale in my forthcoming speaking engagements. SO I only sent 5 copies to Sarawak instead of 10 that they requested. Then, I did a quick inventory on the number of books sold. I realised I had sold more than 1,000 books in three years, probably closer to 1,200 books altogether. Leading the list is my Malay commentary on John's Gospel with 700 sold (perhaps 600 sold and 100 given away to church members and pastors who could not afford to pay for them). Second, is Departure Points just over 200 copies sold and my publishers told me that my book is one the few books still getting sales in his bookstore. So many other books could be left on the bookshelves for years without a single buyer.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Nothing is certain until it is certain

I have learned from past experience that nothing is certain until it is certain. I have experienced that an appointment seems certain but literally at the last hour it did not happen as planned. In the last few months I have lived some much uncertainty, not so much of myself since I look to the Lord always and rest in Him, but many friends and so called friends have asked me about my future direction. Until early December when my final printing of my book is released I was occupied with my commentary writing the whole of last year from Solomon’s Song in English to Galatians in Malay. But my friends were more anxious than I am about my future ministry. Hardly a week would go by and in recent weeks, hardly a day would go by without someone texting me or asking me what I was doing and my future ministry would be. 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

A Feeling of Shalom

Peace is what only God can give. True peace is what Jesus Christ could give (John 14). Lately, I have been feeling this sense of shalom. I feel contented and joyful in the Lord always. Though I was resting from one of the longest journeys I ever made last weekend, I had this feeling of shalom. I feel shalom in my house. I don't have to rush out to "work" or "office". I still get up at 5am like this morning. I feel shalom resting in my house. For almost 55 years of my life, I never really felt the sense of shalom. I went to Singapore when I was 13 years old, then to JB for the next two years, onwards to Melbourne for my Year 12th and then to Christchurch New Zealand for tertiary education.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Epic Journey

This was not the longest journey that I undertook as it is only 200 kms from KK to Lawas. But it was epic as the road conditions were really bad on the Sabah's side. There was much road works and repairs going on every where but markings and signage were poor. For both journeys to and fro, it was bright day light but yet we lost our way several times because there were no signage for old and new roads and we missed several turns into roads closed but then had to go back into the right lane. Many a time we did not know whether we were heading the right way back to Kota Kinabalu.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Lawas here I come

After 5 hours’ drive with two short stops in between, we arrived at Lawas just before 2pm and checked into the Hotel. It is my first time crossing the border between Sabah and Sarawak. After countless times preaching in towns and villages at the south of Sabah near the border more than 27 years ago, it is about time that I went across and see that as spreading my wings of ministry to the State of Sarawak. I already liked the vibes of the town. I sat in a cafe and enjoyed my latte and waffle with ice cream.