Days 8-12: Farewell Hong Kong

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They say that good things must come to an end. This has got to be the quickest trips to Hong Kong ever! It is also the first time I have experienced Hong Kong during the Easter break, which was of a cooler temperature (like mid-20’s, usually mid-30’s). Nonetheless, my face still melted from the hot temperatures! Usually, we parents try to travel when time and money permits, but due to circumstances that would typically involve Mum and Dad to travel together, I stepped in for my Dad this time, while he continues to recuperate in his health… (from his double bypass) and the fact that his travel insurance is very expensive.

I also apologise in advance for condensing the last 5 days of our trip into one blogpost. The reason for doing a super blogpost is purely because Mum and I have been busy lately every night, and I have been unable to visit the local library to edit and upload some photos. You think we’ve been going to raving parties, but we’ve mainly been enjoying the company of friends and family.

We feel blessed that Mum has loving friends and family who are so generous and hospitable. And it’s amazing that despite the hard-working culture here in Hong Kong, they have been able to spend a day or two to keep us company, either guiding us to new places and pick up the odd bargain here and there, or to help us with our luggage en route to the airport.

Dad has generously paid for my flights (as it would have been Dad’s ticket anyway) and he’s even given some spending money, as he knows I’m still without work at present, but he wanted me to keep Mum company, especially when I haven’t personally seen Mum’s side of the family for 8 years. In a way, I feel embarrassed, as I want to be able to afford things myself, but of course, circumstances in life can take a sharp detour… and suddenly you find yourself pleading with the LORD in prayer demanding a firm answer.

Speaking of prayer…

Dad took ill-health when we were away, coincidentally within the first 24-hrs of Mum and I leaving the country. One thing led to another, and all is well in the end. Dad had a kidney stone that caused much pain, but the stone has left his body. It’s a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ locally back home in Scotland and even overseas pray for his health and recovery. The LORD is good.

I also don’t have a calling to work or serve in Hong Kong. I know I could force myself to work in East Asia, purely for the sake of finances and my single marital status. Teaching English overseas is a lucrative career, something which comes and goes with my mind. Visa-wise, I can legally work in HK. However, teaching English overseas is not my current passion. It is still the Church that still screams out. Funnily, I still have a heart for Scotland too!

Will I return back to Hong Kong soon? It really depends on the future… whether the central path opens up to new doors of opportunity, and even with Scotland’s Future regarding Scotland’s Independent Vote.

Now that I’m 8 years older than I was last time round, I have been brave to venture among the locals buying groceries and go my own way. I can often understand family-oriented conversations better than everyday conversations with complete strangers. I don’t feel 100% confident when speaking Cantonese with the locals, especially when the Scottish accent pierces through the mixed Asian appearance.

Overall, I wish to thank you for your well wishes, welcoming back to British soil and prayers for our safe journey there and back again, and I hope some of the pictures posted so far give a bit of a taste and flavour of Hong Kong. I have exactly 1,569 photos captured and I hope to start sifting through the collection and host a selection via Flickr and use 500px to host some artistic photos.

~Richard

Day 7: Church

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Church is something that is still growing on me. I have transitioned some of the smallest and experienced some of the biggest in the world, and I think I can say that I am not overreacting. I guess there’s a benefit from being raised in a village ghetto and having had the opportunity to travel overseas.

Once again, I tallied attendance at another church in East Asia. This time, I chose to visit Island Evangelical Community Church. It was an interesting experience. It was different. Like SaRang Community Church in South Korea, there were multiple services. Well, two morning services, unlike SaRang that had around 3-4 morning services – and that was only for the English-speaking services. There was at least half a dozen Korean-speaking services at SaRang, so two morning services at Island ECC was ok.

Back home in the UK, we think the concept of an extra morning service is totally alien to us. If you want to see church growth, change needs to occur in some shape or form.

Reflecting back on Island ECC. The service is heavily media-driven, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it didn’t come across as a distracting way in communicating the order of service, or when it was streaming professional quality announcements. The media was professional and it didn’t come across as tacky, but it proved that this local church wanted to honour the LORD in every area of ministry as possible.

I was thrilled to have witnessed 8 baptisms (there are over 20 in total throughout the day), which was really good. There was a short professionally-made video that gave a tidbit testimony of each recently born-again Christian to how they came to faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. I was impressed by the quickness in the baptism itself. The stage for the baptism is behind the main stage, and it is designed in a way where a person dressed in a cool red baptismal tee would enter the pool from one end, and leave the pool at the other end.

The time of praise was interesting. We were singing CCM (contemporary Christian music) and it was refreshing to sing a new song of praise “Lord, I need you”, a worship song from Matt Maher (a practicing Catholic, CCM artist and songwriter). I personally like his worship songs, thanks to K-Love Radio (a popular Christian radio station from the States).

It was great to hear of local talent and seemingly both floors where the services took place had a separate band, but only the first floor would house the tech and audio desk, sermon delivery and baptismal tank. I wanted to experience in the all-in-one shop floor. I don’t know about you, but I feel blessed to belong to a local church that had at least 7 worship leaders, and at least 3 worship bands… and amazingly, we have just over 200 people. I also believe us Brits take pride in our healthy lungs, and being able to sing our voices, whether that be at football matches or in church. There is a resonating atmosphere in our singing. Of course, I exempt myself from the crowd, as I can’t sing!

The Word was very Scriptural, authentic, and empowering despite the senior pastor taking us on a journey in understanding the darkness of Jesus’ last hours to suffering and dying on the Cross. Mind you, that was only the first half of the message… next week is the more exciting message that I will be missing out, as it focuses on the Cross yet again, but this time – Christ is Risen.

I love that the church news has the structure of the pastor’s sermon, which is mainly the key references to Scripture that Pastor Brett Hilliard chose to share. There is even space to annotate, and fill in the missing words from the structured sermon, which is curiously categorised in the application section. It makes you wonder, if you want to take away God’s Word and apply it to your daily lives, write it down. I don’t believe Pastor Brett read from any scripts. He simply preached from the heart. He is either very literate in God’s Living Word, or he has a photographic memory. Either way, he is a blessing to Island ECC.

I had the opportunity to speak with the tech and audio team, not just to get a sneak peak behind the scenes, and drool over the awesome setup (see pictured), but also to encourage them, as it is often the most overlooked aspect of ministry. It’s amazing what money can do, as to make church look presentable and in ways professional, but as long as it doesn’t dictate what church should be, as to attract young people alone. Church should be the body of Christ, a fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ gathered to hear God’s spoken and written Word, not a platform to rake money from young adults.

It was also cool to meet some new faces, locally and abroad. I did find it a tad overwhelming, as anyone can go unseen (myself included). At least SaRang had an intros welcome at the start of the service to encourage visitors local and abroad to tell a bit about them themselves, often name and location is sufficient. Back in the UK, it is more obvious, and usually… not automatically, but usually people will approach newcomers during the course of worship service.

Overall, Island ECC is different. If given more time to stay here in HK, I would have liked to watch and listen to the Easter Sunday service, which no doubt I will try to watch online. Again, if given the opportunity and time, I would have liked to experience other evangelical churches in the region, including Watermark.

~Richard

Day 6: Grandparents

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These are my Chinese grandparents, who both reside in a residential care home in Hong Kong. They are also my only surviving set of grandparents.

They both tell a sad story. Their marriage was arranged by relatives, as they were both orphaned from their original families during the World War.

My Chinese Grandma is a devout Christian. She also has a reputation in being very animated in her facial expressions, multiple hand signals and spontaneous sound effects.

My Chinese Grandpa has recently gone through baptism. However, I cautiously believe (with optimism) that he is a Christian. I say cautiously, as he doesn’t reject the Gospel, but he neither outwardly practices his faith through prayer and Word (although he will participate in prayer). One may argue that his standing with God, brings harmony within the family. At the end of the day, only the LORD God knows the heart of man.

And though I cannot fluently engage in a theological conversation in Cantonese with my Chinese Grandpa, he has indeed changed for the good. He has abandoned his Buddhist faith, and he even allowed the local church to toss ungodly idols, shrines and fake offerings. He was even willing for the church to sanctify and cleanse the apartment, before residing himself to the residential care home in Hong Kong. He no longer smokes too, and he comes across as very mellow.

It has been 8 years since I last seen my relatives in Hong Kong, and it’s great to see them once again. Time certainly flies.

I just pray that the LORD would continue to bless them with good health and happiness. And even though my Chinese grandparents both reside at a residential care home, and considering the challenging upbringing they both share, I do believe that they are in a good place, and it’s comforting to know that they can look after themselves and escape every now and again.

God willing, I also pray that I will have the finances to see them again soon!

~Richard

Day 5: Seafood

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I rarely play with my food, so I thought of taking a picture of a king prawn instead.

One of the cool things about eating out in East Asia is that everything is fresh, perhaps a little too fresh for some people! There is a local market nearby, where you can literally choose your fish, which the fishmonger will slice and kill for you. What a pleasant thought! Sorry to be so graphic, but where do you think fish comes from… a supermarket inside a cling-film package? Us western folk are simply too civilised (and in ways too privileged) that everything we buy from our local supermarkets are clean and gutted out.

It’s a bizarre concept to choose your own seafood, especially from the variety of fish and see it happily swim inside a cramped polystyrene box, awaiting someone’s dinner. The Chinese love their seafood. There is much variety that is beyond your common fish like cod, haddock and salmon fillets.

The same goes with other types of seafoods like your prawns, squid, shrimp and other things that swim in the ocean. As I walk along the Cheung Chau pier, I often see large shipments of seafood, which may be bought and cooked for daily meals, or dried seafood which is typically used for delicacies or snacks, or they even be used for Chinese medicine.

Because, Mum and I are not used to eating lots of high cholesterol seafood for our daily meals, we do have a stash of western foods including the humble porridge, wholemeal bread and tasty jam for our breakfast.

Of course, there is also a widespread of conventional fast food outlets from the States including the mighty McDonalds. There is also a number of Starbucks dotted around, which I have yet to try. I imagine they will sell the same menu of drinks, but I’m curious to learn if they do specialised drinks, as there is much fresh fruits over here like your mango, papaya and melons. How cool would it be, if you could order a honeydew melon Frappuccino?

Mind you, over here milk, sweets, chocolate, bakery and ice cream are fairly expensive. Almost double, if not triple in price as you would expect back home in western territory. I think it’s purely because Hong Kong is mainly a large fishing island, and there is no room to cultivate agricultural crops and cattle, and a lot of your major brands tends to be heavily imported from the States and Britain. The dairy products that we western folk take for granted is considered luxury here, hence the obsession to eat lots of rice, meat and seafood is considered the staple diet in East Asia. Although, it doesn’t stop me from trying the local delicacies of sweet bread and confectionary.

~Richard

Day 4: Rumble in the Jungle

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I have never been to camp. I have never slept in the great outdoors. And yes, I jump in utter awkwardness when I see creepy crawlies.

I am one of those people who will happily sing “All things bright and beautiful. All creatures great and small…” to suddenly start dancing with anxiety when I see a spider making an unexpected visit.

During our 12-day stay in Hong Kong, Mum and I are staying at my grandparents flat on an island just outside mainland Hong Kong. It is literally full of creepy crawlies. Things like grasshoppers, crickets, lizards, tarantulas, cockroaches, beetles are some of the things we get to see! A bit different to the usual dogs and cats back home.

There was one species of creepy crawlies that didn’t cause me to respond awkwardly, and I think I captured over a dozen photos of the humble butterfly. Fortunately, I didn’t need to chase my camera to snapshot a butterfly, as the thing found refuge on an abandoned plastic cup. It was pretty cool seeing the beautiful details of its wings and face. It was even more cool to record some video footage of the butterfly do its thing… whatever butterflies do for a living!

Whether a creature is great or small (or even ugly from our own human eyes), all living creatures (including humans – yes, you and me!) are beautiful in God’s eyes. After all, the LORD God created with great precision and purpose. Such creatures should remind us to give God the glory for His purposeful creation, in a way that we should be reminded that we have an awesome Creator and Saviour who created the heavens and the earth, and that He longs for us to know Him and worship Him as our LORD and Saviour.

~Richard

Day 3: The State of Hong Kong and Self Identity

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Yesterday, we travelled to Kowloon (the famous place opposite of Hong Kong island) and visited three museums, purely because admission is free on a Wednesday. It was cool to be a kid once more and push buttons and interact with exhibitions at the Hong Kong Science Museum. We then travelled back in time to learn about the historical roots and cultural history of HK at the Hong Kong Museum of History, which is conveniently opposite of the Science Museum.

The photo captured for today’s blogpost is actually an old scenic landscape of Hong Kong back in the day taken from an old exhibit from the HK Museum of History. The landscape has changed dramatically in recent decades. Hong Kong boasts the most skyscrapers in the world, due to its hugely dense population for such a small plot of land. And of course, HK itself is one of the forefront financial centres in the world. For some, Hong Kong is considered a place of luxury, whilst it is considered by some as a haven for cheap technologies like cameras, mobile phones and computers. Of course, it helps to be loaded with money!

It’s also been interesting to learn that I seem to fit in with the locals, and though I appear taller than most Chinese people around here (which is a strange feeling), I share similar Asian features like the jet-black hair and tanned skin… except for my mixed European / Asian eyes and European build. It’s odd that I appear as a local in Hong Kong, and yet, I appear as a local back home in Scotland.

Lately, I have been led in conversation by relatives to consider working as an English teacher here in Hong Kong, which I qualify to stay without a visa. It’s a curious dilemma that I have started to wrestle in my heart.

Despite my former academics, primary work experience and my geeky nature towards all things computery, teaching in my opinion will always trump ICT any day! There is an awesome reward that pays off when investing in young people, as to see them excel academically and to be part of their lives in nurturing them. And yet, at the time of writing, I have no desire to teach overseas, despite it’s obvious lucrative benefits and my single marital status.

I still have a heart for Scotland, and I long to see a revival across this land of the British Isles, especially here in Scotland, which I call home. And yet, I feel compelled to look for work elsewhere in England, the United States and now possibly Hong Kong, purely because Scotland lacks the opportunity. The State benefits pays well in Scotland and we can boast the cleanest water, majestic landscapes, clean air and the wholesome variety of tartan kilts and selection of shortbread, but job-wise there is none – whether the work is specialised in building for the Kingdom of God at a local church, or simply hogging it as a minion for a Company.

Admittedly, it is something I didn’t expect to reflect on Day 3, but at least it’s good to be challenged in our hearts and bring to the LORD in prayer our worries, burdens and concerns of everyday life.

~Richard

Day 2: Island Locale

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It’s great to quickly adjust to the local waters. Seemingly drinking a carton of soya can help the chemical balance within the immune system to readjust itself, especially when travelling to East Asia. Anyhow, it would be a difficult couple of days if one was to experience a tummy bug, especially when we from Scotland take pride in our fresh and clean waters.

It was lovely to eat meals upon meals throughout the day and taste the flavours of the local Chinese delicacy, not your European Cantonese cuisines with funny restaurant names. Meals like noodle soup, rice soup, dumplings, duck… and other foods where you point and ask, “What is that?”

The cool thing about eating out here is that all foods are made fresh, hence it is often cheaper to eat on the go. Due to the freshness of foods around here, I was hoping to see a rotating pig’s head on a spit, as you would when travelling to Asia. Instead, I see a selection of roasted chickens and ducks showcased for take away meals. To any vegetarian readers out there, I’m sorry. To the rest of the meat monsters, it’s quite a scene… just don’t expect to see rotating ducks at your local Sainsbury’s.

Fortunately, the weather over in Hong Kong doesn’t melt your face away, which is a relief, as I find it quite unbearable. The temperature so far is like our warm summer day in Scotland at around 19° – 21°. The weather looks to peak at around 26° by the end of the week.

Overall, I do feel at peace to be able to switch my brain from studies. It’s a strange concept for me not to glue myself to a computer, despite blogging from an iPad here and using the local library to upload some photos, but it’s good to find rest for the body and mind, while life is zooming past you. I’m also happy to be connected to the Internet, using the official Hong Kong Tourist SIM chip for the iPad. It comes in handy. Now I just need to find out the scores of the fantasy football from the past weekend!

~Richard

Day 1: Hong Kong My Love

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Firstly, thank you for your prayers for our safe arrival in HK. Although, there was a delay to fly out from Glasgow, we were able to secure our connecting flight from Dubai to Bangkok by 30 mins, and to finish our roundtrip in Hong Kong. Baggages arrived with us from start to end (praise the LORD), and we had a fantastic crew team with Emirates en route throughout, whom I still enjoy flying with. And I still argue that Emirates are the safest airline to travel with.

I hope to blog on a daily basis, even though I am without my trusty MacBook Pro laptop, but I have my camera gear for capturing the sights and oddities, while my iPad should allow me to connect to the Internet on the go. And it’s handy to be in East Asia, as HK is touted to have good Wi-Fi connectivity, which I will find out later today. I decided against bringing my laptop last minute, as I felt the LORD convict me to relax, enjoy a holiday and to be still and know that He is the LORD. It will be a nice feeling to let go of grounding myself to a computer these days!

I will attempt to record some video, and I am keen to do some post-production when I come back, before deciding to upload it to YouTube. Who knows, if I capture something ridiculous in nature, it may be a viral… and my finances will be sorted through the crazy in-ad revenues.

I think I have defeated the jet-lag already, and it’s only Day 2. Even though I hardly slept on the plane due to the awkward sitting positions and cabin noise and pressure (we were well above 30,000 feet in the air at over 550 mph), I took the opportunity to self-indulge in the food. Though it was the usual astronaut food in localised ovens, it is still fuel for the body and I knew I needed the energy to help carry the luggages. Mum has struggled with a poor appettite, but Mum is like that when flying. I reckon it may also be an age thing too. Shhhh!

I am glad to be back in Hong Kong, despite not craving with excitement to fly out. 18 hours in the air, not including connecting stopovers is a test of endurance for anyone’s body. Overall, it has been 8 years since I last travelled to Hong Kong, and 7 years since I last flew overseas… and we are not talking about a ferry trip to the Isle of Bute or a car ride to England. Who knows it may be a place to return, and it’s a cool feeling to pass off as a HK citizen. Time will tell.

~Richard

Steadfast Gospel Witness

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Source: Mohsen Kamalzadeh (http://imaginion.wordpress.com/)

My time in Edinburgh during the first week of February was very fruitful. I stayed with a lovely homestay family in Edinburgh, and I was based at a local independent evangelical church, as part of our Missions Week at Cornhill. One of the benefits of being out of work is the ability to commit to Missions Week for a full week (otherwise it would defeat the purpose of such outreach). I was strangely reluctant to see through a full week, purely because I didn’t know what to expect. And yet, I wanted to learn with an open heart. Looking back, it has been the highlight of my year so far!

I honestly wish more churches from mainstream denominations can bother themselves with sincerity and enthusiasm to set aside time, resources and if need be – money and prayer support to open their doors to students from theological seminaries, and those generally exploring a call to pastoral / vocational ministry.

It’s rather ironic that churches tend to overlook in nurturing the next generation of tomorrow. It’s no wonder that folk including myself in the 20’s and 30’s age gap tend to slowly leave behind the Church. And yet, we are often the generation that are enticed to stay to make a local church look better, but we are never really nurtured in any biblical discipline (compared with children’s ministry, marriage ministry, evangelism, local and overseas mission, and ministries that cater for the elderly).

Perhaps that explains why city churches are better at ministering to young adults, as they strive to fish for young people. However, even though city churches strive to unite like-minded Christian believers, it may also be a place to cash on young people starting out in their careers. One only needs to tune into a recent sermon to find out. Sometimes, the doctrinal and theological priorities surface on the pages of a church website and marketing outreach.

Going back to the lack of spiritual care towards the next generation of young adults. Perhaps it’s the pride of senior and associate pastors, who fear a sense of insecurity when a young fresh-faced individual knocks on the door with spirited-energy, formal theological education and a passion to grow and learn. I have experienced a similar situation in the secular workplace.

Churches in general strive to attract and source the younger generation to help “stabilise” a church with the use of ICT, social media and to lure young ones to serve at a local church (anything that typically involves modern technology and music). It makes you wonder the priorities of a local church, and what real vision is actually made to proclaim the Good News of the LORD Jesus Christ to the next generation, and it’s surrounding community. Perhaps that is why our generation will continue to struggle to be illiterate in the Holy Scriptures. We too need a Gospel-centred ministry, where we can grow in Christian fellowship to study God’s Word.

Anyhow, who am I to make such deduction?

Reflecting back on my time in Edinburgh. It was good to learn from a dynamic group of Christians who work among local high schools through the Scripture Union. Even more cool, it was good to sit in one of the sessions and mix with the smart cookies of tomorrow! These teenagers come as they are, often with fantastic questions about God, science and faith. And it is great that they can come to a safe place to ask such questions, without feeling judged or bullied. This is one area in todays ever-changing society, which the Church needs to pour out in a great labour of God’s love and sensitivity.

Teenagers need a sound theological doctrine to follow through and live out, as it will help them to be rooted in the foundations of God’s Living Word, especially as they enter college and university as a young adult, often being exposed to worldly views and damaging friendships. Teenagers and young adults are very vulnerable, because psychologically – they are evolving and growing in their thoughts, intellectual minds and in shape and size.

I also experienced youth work in the housing schemes (not quite 20schemes, but perhaps very similar in practice… and just for the record, I have reached out to 20schemes enquiring to serve, but with no reply back).

I sat with the young lads during our time of bible study. I was humbled by the theological thought by one kid in particular. He was the most disruptive out of the whole clan of teenagers who attend this church ministry in the middle of a housing scheme, in one of the roughest parts of Edinburgh. And yet, these kids (all of these kids) just needed God’s love, and you can tell they weren’t really getting love from their own family due to various reasons (family break-up, divorce, addictions, single-parenting, unemployment, etc)… nor were the kids getting the attention needed from school. But the local churches here in Edinburgh share in their resources and their love for the LORD to bring God’s love and God’s Word to these kids.

It was incredibly awe-inspiring, and I can easily pin it as one of my favourite moments, despite the roughness of the ministry. Unfortunately, due to the sheer roughness in ministering to these teenagers, not many people from the local church (or the Church as a whole) can commit to the anti-social behaviour. But if you step inside their shoes for a moment, you will understand that all they need is God’s steadfast love.

Another ministry that I was inspired from is the Basics Bank ministry, where a network of evangelical churches team up with a local City Mission, whose mission is to seek out the lost and minister to them. Dozens of churches help to donate food and toiletries, and folk from deprived backgrounds and even those affected by the economic downturn are served with the basics to survive another week of everyday things we take for granted… tinned food, toilet paper, ready-made meals, etc.

There are a few other ministries that I experienced first-hand that I may choose to share at another time.

Disclaimer: I have chosen to keep my reflection anonymous, as I respect the privacy of ministries and the impact it can have for obvious reasons, but I wanted to share God at work among churches based in Scotland’s capital.

~Richard

Defining Christian Worship

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Have you ever had that moment, where you unintentionally related with someone after stumbling across an article regarding Christian worship?

Can one be sensitive regarding the topic of Christian worship?

Some might say, “Why bother?” And yet, it is considered an important act (and response) of Christian worship in how we worship the LORD God, especially in corporate worship as a family of born-again believers in Christ. For the Church to truly function, the body of Christ needs to be “super-charged” so to speak with God’s Living Word, and through the anointing works of the Holy Spirit. A Trinitarian approach needs to be embodied in our inner selves as believers in Christ, if we are to be truly effective in building for the Kingdom of God – week in and week out.

These days, it seems that Church focuses more on the feel-good factor. My reflection isn’t intentionally a Reformed opinion, just something that I have been observing, and I am finding it hard to ignore the issue either!

Curiously, the article1 that I have withheld from reading (purely out of a lack of time in recent months) is by Al Mohler, which lately I have much respect, especially the work and ministry that he does behind the scenes to reaffirm the biblical foundations of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his leadership and role at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), something I am serious in pursuing a Master of Divinity (M.Div) one day… provided that it’s God’s will for me.

With regards to pursuing yet another degree, I do believe that paper certificates these days are superficial to the extent that employers value experience above academic achievements. This newfound truth applies to both secular and charity / religious organisations alike. I understand the lingering effects, but when it comes down to studying theology, I feel like borrowing Pastor John Piper’s response and the need to continually think of the LORD God above all things, not only to keep me sane in my personal walk and faith in the LORD, but there is a longing desire to continue to examine what is biblical truth, and what does the Bible say in response to everyday issues. I believe it is also a healthy response.

Anyhow, back to this article by Al Mohler. In short, Dr Mohler makes a strong and convincing argument that God’s Word should be the central focus of Christian worship. I actually agree outright. After all, it is through God’s Living Word that we come to learn of the Triune God.

At the same time, I know Mohler’s writing brings out a subtle agenda to emphasise the need to focus on God’s Word, which in effect, aims to recruit prospective students to the SBTS. I say this respectively and sensitively, as I actually agree with Mohler’s position here.

The Facts

I know today’s society is causing growing fear among certain pastors and preachers to withhold from boldly preaching the biblical truths of the Holy Scriptures. In the UK, we do not have the total freedom of speech, unlike our American brothers and sisters in Christ, who have the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which I now recognise as a wonderful gift (although it does cause controversy too with other things, as there are two sides of every coin).

But yeah, even society and political change is causing tension among churches here in the UK. Some are choosing to make a stand, and are willing to come under-fire, as they make a public declaration to stand out from the crowd (i.e. standing on a soapbox in the streets of Glasgow as a street pastor, or a local church choosing to leave a denomination due to doctrinal differences in gender status, etc).

Here in Scotland, we have another element that is likely to cause tension, and it’s the political battle to see through an independent Scotland. Will a potential independent Scotland give freedom for churches in Scotland? How will the government support local churches, if the nation chooses to vote a break away from a United Kingdom?

At the end of the day with regards to politics, politicians have an incredible gift in twisting the powers of the law under the pressures of society, as to win favour and support. The minority is squeezed out, much like the Christian church.

Christian Worship

I believe there is a lesson that we can still learn, while we have the time (though time isn’t exactly on our side).

It would be great to see a revival and focus of the biblical truths of the Holy Scriptures among local churches. A discipline and teaching, where believers in Christ can quote and memorise Scripture, as they can confidently use God’s Living Word to fend off and rebuke Satan in the spiritual attacks, but also use Scripture to evangelise to folk more effectively. Right now, we are waiting for society to dictate in how we should live our faith, and we are sure to slip away in the radar of society as a “religious” minority. And once that happens, some of those whom I call brothers and sisters in Christ, will simply fall away from God’s presence.

~Richard

  1. http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/08/19/expository-preaching-the-antidote-to-anemic-worship/ []
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