I have not preached in the Mandarin service for some years. With the young preachers of the English congregation taking the pulpit regularly as part of their development, I thought it good to deposit something of myself in the Mandarin and deaf congregations. Pastor Edmund the Mandarin congregation pastor welcomed me to preach yesterday.
I began my preparation last week praying for the congregation and thinking about the composition of the group of 60 plus believers. The age groupings, the needs I could imagine such age groups would have, the actual needs that I know of, and the challenges the congregation was facing.
I looked at a few of the messages I preached last year in the English Service and prayerfully thought of using one of them. Truth is both timely and timeless. So I looked for a sermon with timeless truths that apply to their life situation making them timely!! I finally settled on one message and copied it and renamed the file and started editing it prayerfully. I call this a “microwave sermon”. The microwave is the prayer preparation and the modifications.
I had to change the number of verses to exposit from five verses to simply one verse. From three main points in the sermon, I focused on two. The message was interpreted so the time taken would be double. I did not want it to be a lengthy sermon so I shortened the passage, and the number of main points.
The applications and the conclusion had to change too. I had to share more illustrations and stories. This modification went on right to the time when the service began. As we stood and worship the Lord in the Mandarin congregation, thoughts flashed by and I had to change the introduction.
The heart of the message remained the same. It was like a house renovation.
In the end, I preached the sermon and enjoyed doing so. The Spirit was upon me to preach good news to the believers. I hope they enjoyed it and found it inspiring and that the message brought them closer to God.
After the service they had lunch. So I sat down and chatted with a couple there. It was a meaningful Sunday.
I was solemnising the marriage of two faithful members of the church when during the course of the dinner, I heard a unique name called out that triggered my memory. It was, “Mao Siang” (spelling uncertain).
Years ago, in 2005, I led some young people from the church on a hike to Mt Kinabalu. it included adults for sure. However, the youngest of them was eleven year old Mao Siang, one of our member’s nephew.
It was remarkable that at that young age he had the motivation, discipline and endurance to go through the rigours of weeks of afternoon training at Bukit Timah Hill and finally to summit the mountain. I was amazed. And with such a unique name, I simply could not forget.
So I asked the mother to introduce him to me and I learned he was studying in the second year in the National Technology University of Singapore. I could not resist taking a wefie and blogging about this.
If you are interested in hiking Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia have a look at the blogposts below:
Christmas is over. I am still meditating on the mystery of the Incarnation. God made flesh. Lived among us. Moved into our neighbourhood as The Message paraphrases it.
It fills me with wonder that Jesus had to be God-man: fully man and fully God. Fully man because only the life of a human, lived perfectly and sinlessly, could be spared the wrath of God and therefore be a substitute for another sinful human being.
Jesus had to be fully God too for his substitutionary death to be of infinite worth and therefore capable of paying for the sins of the whole world past, present and future.
And after Christ has died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life, and ascended to the right hand of God, he exists in that fully God fully human form. He had not shed aside his humanity like a used shirt. It has become a part of the Godhead.
He had taken on humanity so that we could take on divinity. Union with God in the newly renovated earth and heaven will demonstrate God’s purpose of healing and reconciliation that extends to the whole of creation, uniting all things to Christ.
Trying to find my own words to express this mystery as I see it thus far, and the panorama and vista is mind-blowing!