Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking on a Tight Rope

Often times in our lives we have to juggle several things at one time, a balancing act between careers and families, work and recreation, or even catching enough sleep. I almost cancelled my trip to Perth last week because of what I knew would face me when I got back. This is my 3rd consecutive day of teaching and there are two days to go after today. In fact, I would have loved to rest for a few days since I hardly had 4 hours sleep a day in Perth over six days. The weather took a turn for worse the first day of the Conference and lo and behold from a hot and humid Singapore, I landed in a cold and wet Perth.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1 Year Older

I have entered my Jubileeth year without much fanfare in a foreign country. Tomorrow I am heading back to work and 5 days of lectures await me. I thank God that my health held up despite the cold weather. It is winter here and it rained whole day today. I made many new friends and a few will turn to be good friends in coming years.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Going Away with Hope

It's not always that I feel I should stay when there is an exciting Conference to attend. But much work beckons when I come back put a dampener on things. I will teach my regular classes plus 3-day intensive Certificate of Mission course. It's good that the preacher preached today that we should be not held by the past but look towards the future with hope. The love of God melted my heart once again this morning - Ubah hatiku seputih hati-Mu, setulus Salib-Mu, Kasih-Mu Tuhan.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Gospel of Matthew: The Jewish Gospel

I have been reading the Gospel of Matthew for the past couple of weeks and I find that it is one priceless theological gem. No wonder the early church placed it not only as the First Gospel but also the first book of the New Testament. It truly deserves its pride of place because Jesus Christ shines through as the King of the Jews. If there is any book that promotes that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah or Jesus the Jew was the Messiah for the Jews it is the Gospel of Matthew. Only in the first Gospel you have Jesus say, "I have come only for the lost sheep of Israel" and restrained his disciples from going to the Gentiles. Jesus' mission was first and foremost to his own people, the Jews and in his life-time restricted his ministry within his own countrymen.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Introducing the New Testament (Mark Allan Powell)

I am reading Powell's Introducing the New Testament (2009) and I have done 100 pages up to the chapter on the Gospel of Matthew. It is concise but yet informative and Powell writes well without being too academic or convoluted and this is another book I would recommend for NT Introduction, especially for first year Seminary students. I have been using Gary Burge's NT in Antiquity (2009) for the past three years and I am thinking of changing textbook in the first half of 2015. Burge's textbook is excellent but after using it for a while I am looking for something fresh (for me anyway).

Friday, July 12, 2013

Teaching New Testament Introduction

After a lull of a couple of years with declining numbers, my NT Intro class this year has 38 students plus a few more auditing. So it was thrilling yesterday to see to many eager faces as we began our journey in learning the New Testament. The NT is the most important book or collection of books (Gospels and letters mainly) of the Christian church - all of our foundation doctrines are derived from the NT - The Trinity, The Salvation of Humankind through Jesus Christ, the Future Judgement, Resurrection from the Dead, Everlasting Life, etc.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Connecting with the Divine

If I heard today's sermon correctly, the preacher mentioned that it was so hard for most people to connect with the divine. That statement touched a cord in my heart as I was reflecting for some time now why so many believers seem not to be able to connect with the divine during worship. As I observed in so many worship services in various churches as the songs were sung, only a few really worshipped God in spirit and in truth. Not that there is only one way to worship God but many I saw simply could not connect with the divine. Some were holding on the bench with both hands as if they are gripped by fear or a guilty conscience while singing. Some with hands folded; some with faces as if their loved ones had just passed away, contorted and distorted; some just stood there and stared at the words on the screen emotionless and lifeless. Very few showed the radiance of God's glory in their faces.

First Chapel Service of the New Academic Year

We have this wonderful tradition at TTC that the Principal would preach at the Opening communion service (the Friday before Lectures start) and the Academic Dean would preach in our first Wednesday chapel service where all the College community gathers together for worship. Today was no exception, though I felt strangely warmed in my heart as we sang "How great Thou Art".

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teaching Romans

It is always with a spring in the steps when the new academic year begins. It was so when I taught first up Romans yesterday, the first day of new Semester. About 15 students turned up and after some introductory remarks on the course syllabus and books/commentaries for the course, I went straight into expounding Romans 1:1-16. I did not expect more than 10 students as my elective clashed with a core course in Biblical Hebrew. When a few students asked me to change the time so that they could enrol in my course, I told them that they should enrol in Hebrew instead and take Romans when it is offered again in 2 or 3 years' time.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Richard Bauckham at TTC

I just attended the second lecture by Professor Richard Bauckham at Trinity Theological College. The Trinity Lectures started last night and will continue for two more evenings, tomorrow and Thursday. If you are around in Singapore or nearby (Malaysia), do come to these excellent lectures. It is not everyday that one of the top New Testament scholars in the world speaks live to an Singaporean audience. Yesterday's lecture was on "Individualism in John's Gospel" and tonight's topic was "Divine and Human Community in John's Gospel." Prof Bauckham will be speaking on "Glory" tomorrow night and the final lecture on Thursday is on "Jesus in John's Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Preaching Season Ends: Seminars & Church Camps

I started preaching the first Sunday of the year in Singapore and yesterday I concluded the first half of the year by preaching at Kuala Lumpur. I thank God for opening doors of ministry for me to speak His Word and to instruct many unto righteousness. The week-end in KL was full of unusual encounters. First, the headlines greeted me that Kuala Lumpur had clear blue skies and yesterday it was the same. There was no haze in sight. I was told that there was another session held concurrently with the Seminar and more people were supposed to attend the Post-13th General Election forum. But many more came to my Seminar by the grace of God. Sunday was eventful. I was led to a worship hall (the church has 7 levels with multiple worship halls) and I sat there for half an hour thinking that there was the service I was supposed to preach at. The youths sang a very beautiful worship song in Malay and I thought to myself, "Wow! This is an interesting Bahasa service with so many Chinese young people." But later a youth came to me and told me it was a Chinese prayer meeting and I quickly went to the place where I was slotted to preach. As my flight back to Singapore was 3pm, I kind of preached a shorter message (30 minutes) and I left the Hall when they were doing the collection and was taken to Subang airport.

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