Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Travel's Experiences

I may write another blogpost about travelling in your old age in a few years' time. I met a truly remarkable gentleman who still remembered World War II vividly. He was born in 1938 and he is still travelling between Central Europe and New Zealand which is home to him now. If one is open to strangers and to strike up a conversation, one can learn much about different cultures, history and including a first hand account of WW II. My new friend told me that his father died during the War when he was 6 years old and life was extremely hard whereby until he was a teenager all he thought about was getting the next meal to fill his stomach. He asked me how I learned to speak English well and I told him I attended University in New Zealand. He told me he had only 4 years of formal education but he speaks good English as well and seems to be learned in many things, a life well-lived with many struggles and difficulties.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Connecting with Friends

My bonanza this time was to reconnect with all my friends who lived in Auckland. On previous occasions I would be able to meet one or two but others would be absent either being elsewhere or uncontactable. I started last Saturday attending Carey’s graduation and saw my former Principal (1993-1994). On Sunday I visited my friend’s church and we had lunch and wonderful fellowship. Then on Tuesday I met a former missionary who is 81 years old (my guess was that he was in his mid70s). I consider him a comrade in Christ and he had set an example for sacrificial service in Sabah for a decade or two when he flew from NZ to teach an intensive course for our College in Namaus in Sabah.,

Friday, May 26, 2023

God's Miracles

In John 11, Jesus said to Mary that, "if you believe, you will see the glory of God." This verse tells us that our relationship with God requires faith. And there are many verses besides. In the past week, I had experienced one miracle after another. Yesterday at the Bus Stop, a Kiwi stopped by and sat next to me and started witnessing to me about Jesus. It was powerful personal testimony and within a couple of minutes without waiting for my response, he asked whether he could pray for me. Before this, we had a bit of small talk and I told him that in the past week, I had difficulty in getting an errand done and I am running of time since I am leaving the country soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Unexpected Source

God's ways are as mysterious as they come. God's sending of His servants in the biblical narrative shows that God does wonderful things which not many men and women would perceive or understand. The sending of His prophets. Now we praise the prophets and preach from the prophets. If we lived during the times of these prophets I wonder how many would have listened to the prophets? Then God sent John the Baptist. Then God sent Jesus Christ his only Son. How many accepted and welcomed them in their generation? Even now God sends His servants.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Church & Graduation Services

Spending two Sundays in New Zealand may or may not be enough for me to get a feel of the Christian community in the city of Auckland. Attending a Graduation service last Saturday where about 300 people participated gave me a glimpse of Christianity in this land. If love is the greatest commandment, then my pastor-friend had done well because four or five people from his church came up to me and spoke with me. Whereas the day before during the graduation refreshment when I spent a whole hour until 90 percent of the people left, no one took the initiative to approach me. So I made the first move three times to converse with people there. Sometimes, theologians must be practitioners, just as the speaker at the graduation said that he had a few street degrees which meant he applied his theology on the ground and not just as an academic.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Five Days Away

Five days into my trip to New Zealand, I realised many things have changed over 10 years. It was about a decade ago I returned to NZ to see my son in Dunedin. Now he is into his 8th year of work and doing well by God's grace. At least three times I am convinced God answered our prayers. First, in his landing his first and current job 7 plus years ago and at least a couple of promotions, the last just happened late last year. I can see he is settled in his work, and respected by his colleagues. God does answer prayers. I am a believer and that's why we pray all the time. I pray that I could spend much time with my son in my fortnight here in NZ. Lo and behold when he met me at the airport last Tuesday, he told me that from the next day he would be working from home since his office near the city centre is being renovated and later, I was told that the renovation could take 3 weeks. I bow in worship unto the Lord. 

Monday, May 15, 2023

To the Ends of the Earth (Isaiah 41-49)

One day I hope to offer a course on the prophet Isaiah and Ezekiel of course. Much of my calling comes from Isaiah 6 as my initial vision of God's calling was mediated through a heavenly being like one seen by Isaiah and was later confirmed in the first few months from Isaiah 41-49. There is Isaiah 41 God calls His servant from the ends of the earth, from the rising of the Sun, namely the East. 41 years ago and three weeks I was born again in the city of Christchurch and spent 6 of my most formative years in South Island and 6 months in the North Island where I chambered and almost enrolled at St Johns Theological College in Feb 1988.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Stranger in all the Earth

I almost named my semi-biographical memoirs as "A Stranger in all the Earth". Perhaps in volume 2. This title is particularly apt especially in these post-Covid times. I am an itinerant and I am a wanderer. It is not what I chose but that's how it is. I am a man with no fixed abode, no permanent earthly dwelling and worse no spiritual dwelling. Love of many will grow cold. Many will betray one another. They will kick out of synagogues (churches) thinking they are doing God's service. It is an age of delusion and the age of deception.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Books for Reading

Fewer and fewer people read books. Since the advent of You-tube, the percentage of people who do serious reading has declined considerably. For sure, the internet is a huge source of information, education and knowledge. But listening and watching a video cannot replace or displace the book-format. If something is written, it is meant to be read. "In the beginning was the Word" as if to tell one and all that this God for the "Word was God" (John 1:1) requires much reading if He is to be known. Listening to a Bible reading is a blessing; watching a lecture on the Bible or theology is refreshing, but nothing beats reading a book. A book is filled with words explaining the Word made flesh. The early disciples said to Jesus, "You have the words of eternal life." (John 6).

Sunday, May 7, 2023

King Charles III arrived early

One comment on King Charles' early arrival to his coronation was that he has waited for this moment for decades and no wonder he arrived early on the first day of his job. When I read this I remember I arrived at Ranau township New Year's Eve at 7.45am having driven from Kota Kinabalu at 6am sharp. It was still dark when I left KK. And I was 50 years old already into my 21st year in full time ministry.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Currency & Travel

I despaired over the fall of the Ringgit. In the West, when inflation above 5 percent there is a big outcry, but here where I am prices had risen at least 20 percent and pork more than 100 percent over less than a year. If you are earning RM2,000 you will struggle to make ends meet nowadays wherever you are in even in rural towns and villages because kids need to go to School and busfare is sometimes more expensive in villages since the roads are not so good. Last night I did not weep.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Lunar Eclipse as Transition

My transition is almost complete. It will be complete by early hours of tomorrow when the Lunar Eclipse for May 5th-6th. Did not the Scripture say that I have put the sun and moon as "signs" in heavens? And Psalm 89:37 states "that the moon is established forever, a faithful witness in the sky". A witness to what? As a sign for the comings and goings, the times and the seasons. Even so in a human lives, there are times and seasons of life. One moves from one job to another. From being single to being married. From being married to divorced or widowed. From without a child to becoming a parent. These are new seasons of life and the moon marks them as a faithful witness in the sky. In normal times, I would be attending the full-time workers or pastors' Conference of my denomination which ran from yesterday to tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Pregnant with an Idea

The Bible is full of imagery of woman's anatomy including conception and pregnancy. Towards the end of the Bible, we have Revelation 12 that depicts a woman fully pregnant ready to give birth to a male child. As men, we can only understand it indirectly since men can't get pregnant literally (except in one or two odd cases in history). But men and women can be pregnant with ideas that are birthed much later. It's like writing a book. Even before one word is written, the idea of a book could have been in mind and heart of the person. When I wrote my Galatians' commentary, it was like being pregnant for a full-term of nine months because that was how long it took me to write a book of 170 pages.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

No New Book but with renewed Hope

 I thought I could start a new book before I start my new "job". But I doubt it now as I am going off for a holiday for a fortnight soon and then back from the vacation straight to work on 1st June. I reckon it was the itinerant ministry that took a lot out of me. The 55kms' one way journey which should take at most an hour turned into 1 hour 50 minutes on the return trip from Kota Belud as there were several traffic jams heading to the Capital city. But 6.30pm it was already dark and it was a tiring journey back home.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Into a Spacious Place (Labour Day)

Today I felt a new lease of life. It's Labour Day and I labour in the Lord's field and in His plentiful harvest. Yesterday in church I also felt a sense of joy. At the end of the service I was welcomed by the MC and what he added confirmed in my heart the Lord's leading for me. He said I was a leader and one he looked up to many years ago. I realized my time is up. I have been around for too long or long enough.