Saturday, December 13, 2008

The deserved moment of Glory

Sis. Lula Baird has gone home to be with the Lord yesterday (Dec. 12, 2008, Malaysian time). This is her moment of deserved glory. I could also hear the heavenly choirs of praises affirming her return to the Lord's blessing. As a centurion she has left with us an impeccable story of a life well lived.

To the Malaysian AG churches the presence labor are still felt when she return to her homeland and now to glory. Landed in Singapore as a missionary in1937, she came over to help relief Carrie P. Anderson. She contributed much to the then Kuala Lumpur Assembly of God Church which was later named 1st Assembly of God, Jalan Sayor, Pudu. She was the 1st secretary of the early movements here. She organized the first youth camp. She was just full of energy. Between Singapore and Malaya (then), she has help in various churches.

She left the Malaya –Singapore field for a short period of time, as all missionaries were directed to leave. She came back and in 1957 she started the work in Ipoh. She helped the Church in Ipoh to acquire a piece of land and completed the Church building in 1962. She also pioneered the Raub Church in 1960. She was such a blessing. Having not mentioned of her contribution to the Singapore Churches.

After she left the mission field in Malaya-Singapore, she was back in San Francisco and she pioneered the Chinese work there. She has labored all her life for the Lord.

The last I saw her a few years ago, she just returned from a mission trip in China, preached in some churches here and she also handed me some documents for the National AG archive, Malaysia. Talking to her and just being with her for that moment was inspiring. She had such a zest for life and ministry. She had run her race, finished the course, and now is installed for her a crown of glory she well deserve.

I am not sad of her demise, in fact I am glad for her, it is her well deserved rest and glory. Thank God for you Sis. Lula Baird.

See this website dedicated to her :

Sunday, December 7, 2008

After half a century

In a matter of few hours I will cross the half century mark in my life. How well have I lived my life? During our younger we live to fulfill people expectation of us, trying hard to make our presence felt by others. Along the way made bountiful of plunders. Bruised and buffeted along the way. These were the moments I tried to live for others.

As I journeyed on I learn to live. I have often tell others it is not how long we live but how well we live that matters. I can only say that I have nothing to proof but a life to live. I want to live it well.

After passing this mark, I will probably have another one third of the journey left to travel. I pray to age graciously. I want to do significant things, things that I can leave a legacy behind. I want to leave behind my thoughts and reflections after spending more than half of my life serving God.

I have no regrets serving Him. In fact if not for Him, I have very little reason to live for. I just pray that I may be faithful till then end. I asked not for riches, nor fame. I just want to live a fulfilled life. I was asked a question my reply to that question was "I like to be simple". Simplicity is not being naïve. It is living life graciously and meaningfully. I want to make grace available for others as I needed them myself.

I have discovered that life can be simple and meaningful. It is in the entrapment of wants that we often lose our simplicity. Our fame and riches are warehouse in short term memories people but our gracious deeds of humility and a life well lived are etched permanently into people's heart. I hope that I have been and will continue to be able to live life, to inspire life by the grace of God. The only epithet I pray for when my journey is over is "A life well lived"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Heart or Head?

What I experienced today may not be new, but each time when it happens I wonder what I have done is appropriate? When I was preparing the message, there was nothing emotional about it. I was rather technical about. I had it all sort out what to say and no feeling was attached to it. In my preparation homiletically (The technicality of preparing a sermon) I can rate myself that I scored well. Exegetically (interpreting the bible) I am happy with what I have done.

As I begin the sermon I was classically a preacher, then an unusual wave of feelings and emotions took hold of me. I kept my outline and the content. As I preach I saw so much of myself in the sermon. I shared my heart. I felt very vulnerable. I open my life and heart like an open book to my congregation. At the same time my emotions got the better or me. It was so free flowing that I couldn't fake it.

In that same moment I felt my pains and the pains of the people that were so dear to me. I just let the best of my heart took over. I preach and shared my heart out. I tear through the whole sermon. This is when I technically flawed. I should be compose and not let my emotion run away. I wonder am I right to let my heart take the best of me? Or should I step back and take a breather and get technical and hold my composure?

I seek not pity or understanding from those who heard about my struggles. All that I have done was to be real to them and I am a person like them with head, heart and emotions. Pastor or not, I share a common humanity, with them we walk through the maze of life. Often buffeted and battered alone the journey of life we all must travel. As a pastor I feel for them. I pray for them. I wish I could shelter everyone under the pinion of my wings. Yet I am so limited and sometimes as frail as them.

I could only look to God, I could only wish in the deepest recess of my heart for the grace of God to cushion these love ones in their vulnerable moments. Head or heart? Does it matters? All that I can say is I have preached my heart out, I opened my life to them. I love them from the deepest of my heart. They are my family, my love ones.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do we need Theology?

Having pastor, preached and taught for 30 years, I still hear about the bad press of ministers and Christians labeled on theology. It is saddens me more when preachers bad mouth theology. Theology is the study of God, if the study of God is bad they why are we preaching and teaching about Him. Is theology bad?

Many of us struggle with theological engagements. Sometime it is hard to grasp and understand. Our disenchantment with something we cannot understand does not make that something bad. We cannot bad mouth something just because we cannot understand that something. It only suggests to us that we have much more to understand and we need to put in more effort to ruminate and reflect on such things.

Theology by nature is good, it is bad theology that is bad. Bad theology has hurt the Church of God many times over. Bad theology leads to bad practice. It has divided the Church. It had lead well meaning Christians astray.

Good theology builds the Church. It takes the Church to a deeper engagement with God. It promotes a responsible expression of faith and life. It rightly proclaims God as He is. Paul urges the Christian to preserve sound doctrine and sound doctrine edifies the Church.

Theology's principal desire it the pursuance of God and the engagement with truth. In the process it engages with the different fields of studies. Sometime it gets intense and murky. But is need not be necessary so. The primary task of theology is diligence and right dividing of the Word of God. I can tell you it requires hard work and a sincere heart.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Can we ever do enough?

Our relationship started 13 years ago. We picked her up from a dog pound. She was a deserted puppy pick up by one of the committee member of PAWS. We wanted a dog for our boy as Christmas present. We adopted her into our life. She has been part of the family since then. She was our friend, guard and companion.

Loopsy has finally given her last breath. It is both a sense of relief and sadness. Relief, because she need not suffer arthritic pains anymore. Sadden because of the many years of relationships. She is one of the best dog one can have obedient and faithful. As we lay her to her final rest, a sense of regret plagued my heart. Have I done my best for her?

The last few years there were quite a lot of changes in the family. Each episode of these changes affected her in some ways or another. She had taken all these in silently. The last change episode was the toughest one.

With my eldest son leaving to serve in Singapore, we have to force her to live alone. We visit her regularly to feed, clean and groom her consistently but humanly we forgot sometimes. Spending time with her was even more difficult as we are all kept busy by the demands of life. Was it fair to her? Have we done enough for her? Or can we ever do enough for anyone? These questions pricked my heart in my last goodbye. Sigh!