It's been 7 years since I attended my last Bible Conference in Seoul, South Korea. I do hope to attend one soon if not in 2024, then in 2025. There are a few Conferences that I would love to go next year at Amsterdam organized by Society of Biblica Literature of which I am a member for close to 20 years. Society of New Testament Study plans to hold its 2024 congress in Melbourne which is tempting due to the shorter flight time from Sabah, Malaysia. I attended the SNTS's Congress in Perth 10 years ago at which point in time I was already planning to return to Sabah after serving a time in Singapore.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
I am in the process of transitioning from itinerant for the past 12 months to a more stay-on-campus ministry of teaching at a Seminary. When one comes to a certain age, travelling is not so much fun. But I have one more trip to close up my itinerant ministry when I drive to a village at Kota Belud this Saturday. When I come back on Sunday I do not know which church I shall be worshipping in. That's the hardest part of transitioning from one community to another. I never thought this would happen, but I am reminded that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He has our best interests at heart (God's heart) and if we are in the centre of His will, we can't go wrong.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
I got a surprise when I read an email from Apple about buying gifts for Mother's Day. Has it been a year? I re-started my itinerant preaching ministry on Mother's Day last year in Ranau and surely now a year has gone past like it was yesterday. No wonder this morning I prayed to the Lord to make my life count and truly one single person is enough to make a difference in this world. If only we pay attention to the Bible, which is basically God's works through individuals whom He chose and still chooses today to make a difference in his created world. From Noah and Abraham and his descendants, to the first apostles of Jesus Christ, to Paul, the apostle, born out of time, and all his associates who made a difference in the landscape of Middle East and Europe in the first century. "Lord, fulfil Your purpose in my life, O God".
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
I attended an Anzac Day service in Dunedin many years back and during lunch I was told off by a Kiwi girl that I was pro-war. I was taken aback by her rebuke and I have thought long and hard about our Christian response to war, to honouring the war dead and war veterans who are still alive. Until I resolve this issue in my mind I will not attend any ANZAC Day service. The kind and pacifist Kiwi girl might just be right and Christians should not in anyway be seen as supporting wars, even indirectly. That is surely a theological issue that is worth pondering. But my love for New Zealand and Australia is founded not on wars or Anzac Day. Australia was my first “Western” destination when I attended high school in Melbourne as an AFS exchange student.
Monday, April 24, 2023
Forty-one (41) years ago the Lord Jesus appeared to me in my room at Ilam Flats Canterbury University Christchurch. For the past 40 years and 28 years of full time ministry I hardly ever spoke about my encounter with Christ except in broad terms. But since last year, I felt I should share what the Lord has done in my life in the hope that my story could persuade a few others to believe in Jesus Christ. Before I knew what was happening that fateful night, I was kneeling in my room, weeping. First I had a sense of guilt for my sins and I wept tears of repentance. All the while as I was kneeling and weeping I sensed a divine holy presence in my room all around me.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
In a couple of months' time, it will be 9 years since I have left Singapore and returned to Sabah to serve with my Church on the mission field. Within the 9 years, I have been in active service only for 6 years which shows how crazy the times have been, especially during the pandemic. Thrice, I had to wait for my next appointment with significant time lapse between ministry appointments. But did I relax or do nothing? Surely not! For during these times of "inactivity" I was most active in writing and publishing four books. Anyone would tell you that if one could write one book in three years, it would have been an achievement; but by God's grace I have been blessed fourfold. I realised that in the past year, my gifting has always been preaching like the 3 years when I served as Treasurer-General almost three decades ago, whereby I travelled into 66 villages throughout Sabah and preached 300 sermons.
Friday, April 21, 2023
Paul, the apostle has this great advice to forget what lies behind and press on and look forward to what lies in the future. The past is past and there is nothing we can do about it. No regrets, no remorse or however much reflection will change what has happened in the past. Man's heart is desperately wicked and no matter what one does, one can only look after one's heart and pray for the betterment of others. Quite often it is beyond our powers to change things, let alone the hearts of men.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
For the first time in three years I visited the library of the Seminary which will be my base of ministry for the foreseeable future. I chanced upon the chief librarian and she greeted me and told me that I was coming back. She is one of the most senior staff at the Seminary and I knew her since the mid-1990s. I was happy to see a few old faces in the library and I talked with another librarian and she said that she wanted to take one of my courses for her Master of Ministry course but her work schedule was just too tight. I still do not have the time-table or the actual dates of the forthcoming Semester. Just as I left I met the Principal briefly on his way to the Chapel and he forthwith invited me to the Seminary's 35th Thanksgiving Service early next month.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
After an itinerant ministry for the past 12 months, it is time to settle down and rest for a while, though just a week off without ministry seems unusual. I have about three and a half weeks before a short holidays and God willing, I shall start in a new place of ministry by 1st June. In the past few days since being informed of the papers that I shall be offering, I have been thinking about the courses in NT that I shall be offering. It's a good start to teach something that I am familiar with, though with four courses on my slot, it will be a busy Semester and Sundays are truly rest day. It is very unlikely I will take on much preaching if at all for at least 6 months until the end of November before the Christmas season begins.
Saturday, April 15, 2023
I am filled with joy and hope by the Holy Spirit. Two days ago, I renewed my passport and I was praying to the Lord in my car, asking the Lord what He would want to do in the 5 years of my passport's validity. Just as I prayed I heard a voice spoke and said, "I will open doors of ministry for you outside of Sabah". Late in the afternoon after I came back from the passport office, I checked my email and received an invitation to speak in a church in West Malaysia. In my spirit, I was asking whether the Lord's word to me at noon is now being fulfilled.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Last Good Friday-Resurrection services could be my last in a church setting for a while. The Lord spoke to me and said in April 2022, a year ago that I would preach every month when the SOPs were lifted on 1st May 2022. I have preached in 12 churches in Sabah and Sarawak and I heard there could be an invitation to preach in Sarawak again this Christmas. At the end of the month I will go up to Kota Belud one last time before taking one whole month off before moving into my new Campus accommodation in June. Behold the old has passed away and I will do new things, saith the Lord.
Monday, April 10, 2023
I slept two days at the side of Mount Kinabalu when at the top of the mountain there was frost and ice sheet and temperatures fell to -4 degree Celsius. But where I was, the temperature was probably only 14 or 15 degree Celsius yet by 2am I felt the chill and right through the morning. It was as intense a ministry as it could be. My former student who is now the pastor of the church who invited me and one elder noted that our relationship is like Paul and Timothy. I know I have to let the younger ones do the heavy lifting; the travelling does not do much good to me nowadays, especially like this Good Friday weekend, I had to drive to and fro from the church which was down in a steep valley 5kms from the main road. From my homestay it was only less than 10kms but driving in pitch darkness on roads not familiar was not for the faint hearted and I did that over two nights of ministry.
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Monday, April 3, 2023
Sunday, April 2, 2023
The elders of Bethlehem came and received the prophet Samuel with fear and trembling (1 Sam 16:4). I do not have such spiritual authority or charisma like Samuel but today almost all the elders of the church welcomed me as I entered the church unannounced and I quickly sat in the middle row but brought to the front. Just before the closing prayers I was asked if I wanted to offer a word or two and I went up to the pulpit and affirmed what I heard from the preaching today.
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