Tears that till our land

There are “thoughts
Too deep for tears”
That till lands where
Crops never grew and
Labours reaped no fruit
Save wounds that scar hands
To the plough.

In your mercy
Heal our land.

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Show us the way

Let this morning bring us word
Of your steadfast love and mercy
For we put our trust in you.

Show us the way from here
To the days of full messianic justice
For to you we entrust our life.

Teach us to do your will
For we pray your kingdom come;
May your good Spirit lead us
Through holy ground for
Your name’s sake.

Scholarship not approved for my PhD admission offer @ University of Birmingham Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies

Dear Friends

I know there are friends, concerned people, and interested readers out there— who would appreciate this update. Therefore, I thought would update you on the latest outcome of this past journey, regarding my earlier received offer to begin the PhD programme this September with the University of Birmingham Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies.

To avoid repetition, visit the following link to read my earlier March 2019 post, where I provide an overview to this whole endeavour:
https://monteleerice.wordpress.com/2019/03/03/have-received-formal-admission-offer-phd-programme-university-of-birmingham-centre-for-pentecostal-and-charismatic-studies

Hence, as I mentioned in my last March blog post, there was a scholarship I had applied for, and was waiting for the outcome. By early May, I received the answer; it was not approved. At that point, I thought maybe, the story now over.

Yet then in later in the month, it was pointed out to me that I became eligible for another new scholarship that just emerged— specifically for students from the Asia region; somehow, I qualified for that. Hence, I was advised to quickly apply and an answer would be made prior to the mid-July registration process. Which is right now.

So today I just received an email, detailing how to go about the registration to begin my programme in this coming September. Unfortunately, yesterday I received news, that once again: that scholarship possibility that might have substantially helped kick-start everything— was not approved.

Yet thanks be to God.
For as I posted the other day:
Thank God, for the air we breathe, the food we have, and my ever-supporting wife at my side.
Thanks be to God whom I serve with a grateful heart.

Meanwhile, also earlier last month, I was formally invited to apply for another PhD programme, closer to home here in Southeast Asia. A programme that would be radically less expensive. Yet, if was to do that, it would still have its financial mountains to climb every year, including the costs of a yearly two-month residential stay. And on top of that, I would then need to work through how an appropriate supervisor could be found for my doctoral project, and possibly revising my proposal at the onset; which is something I am not I have presently have the stamina or resolve right now.

Therefore, I am presently not sure about whether I should resolve trying again. Birmingham already represents the third time the past few years, I have been formally accepted into a PhD programme, yet unable to go forward because the financial means has just remained for me— a bridge too far.

Let me also say that I have held this aspiration for a few decades; ever since my mid-20’s. Yet the chance kept alluding me. Then I went off to what we called back then, the mission field. And for the rest of my life— I became a missionary. Then several years ago, I have wanted to write the dissertation in this area of Pentecostal liturgical theology (hence, spirituality) and get it published, and in the process— let it shape my message to the Church worldwide. All in the key of Pentecost.
I am presently wrestling with many things. And I suppose— wrestling with God, who has summoned me long ago to be His servant towards saving the nations and healing creation through preaching the Gospel of Christ our Saviour, Sanctifier, Spirit baptiser, Healer, and Coming King.

Hence, I remain increasingly passionate about one thing:
To preach the Pentecostal Full Gospel of Christ for renewing the Church worldwide, discipling the nations, and healing creation.

This sustained mission continually impassions with the desire to help foster Pentecostal spirituality and its theological tradition worldwide—for the unifying renewal of the global Church and the greater glory of God. This vision thus clarifies my identity as an ecumenical Pentecostal. I believe it is the cause that should navigate the ongoing outcome of my life.

How you can pray, and help
Over these past years, I have often asked the Lord for a new “Macedonian Vision”:
Show us Lord not a way, but Your way.
Grant us the open door that none can shut
For You have crucified us to the world
And the world to us.

So as you show us Your way
May we let your whole world
Set the horizons before us
That we may go and come
Wherever You send us
In the fullness of Christ’s blessing.
Amen.

So brothers and sisters, I seek your prayer for Jee Fong and I.
It is highly possible— that for numerous reasons, the “door” for achieving the long desired PhD aspiration has now passed for me. I recognise that. This may be over; or maybe not. I am not yet fully sure.

Yet what I sure is this:
I am the servant of the Lord.
Speak Lord, for your servant listens.
Here am I. Send me.

If you feel prompted to share or initiate with me any new relations, networks, or platforms for some new forward movement, or perhaps anything pertaining to what I have shared here— feel free to contact me.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit— increase and equip you with all good gifts of Heaven, that you may labour with God in His mission to heal the world.

The peace of Christ be yours through the power of God’s Spirit,

Monte

monterice@gmail.com
monteleerice.wordpress.com
linkedin.com/in/monterice

The Spirit of Jesus is filling
Sons and daughters of Pentecost
Who know their home at the altar of sacrifice.
From there they go, receiving from the Father
Many gifts for healing the world.
For the heart of God is an altar, where the burns the most flammable substance in all creation: His unfailing love. And this love generates— the fires of Pentecost.

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Aging from death to life

I have found this essay sobering yet also helpful; possibly, encouraging.

For me, it speaks about how through the desert way, the Spirit is delivering us from the devil’s pomp of false significance:

Our desire to achieve and gain things that the praise of people may feed our ego.
Our accumulated wounds from what we’ve not achieved as aspired, or painfully lost on the way.

Yet on the upswing, it speaks about the Spirit delivering us:
From death to life in Christ.

From our cravings for prizes and praises to a ruling affection of thanksgiving before God.

From false significance to sacred transcendence over this world’s cares.

From my mis-directed cravings to oneness with Christ and His healing mission to all creation.

From my stubborn independence to dependence on life within community.

From this present age via my coming death— to the coming fullness of God’s coming kingdom.

From the power of sin to fully healed humanity— becoming transformed into God’s likeness shown in Christ our Healer.

From the baggage that weighs us down, to leanness of weight— that we may resiliently finish the race the Spirit of Jesus lays before us.

To quote the writer, Arthur C. Brooks:
“As we age, we should resist the conventional lures of success in order to focus on more transcendentally important things.”

We have more than enough to practice thanks to God
Through the day we live
And the breath we breathe
Before God
Through the love of Christ
And the fellowship of His Spirit.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/work-peak-professional-decline/590650/

“I believe. Help my unbelief.”

“I believe. Help my unbelief.”
Against no seen hope, we hope in You, and ask— that you help us with our unbelief. Though our fig trees have no blossom, our vines have no grapes, and our olive crops fail— heal our unbelief, for we hope in You. Against our pens that have no sheep and our stalls that have no cattle: we hope in You and ask: Heal our unbelief.

Yes Lord, I will call to mind your great love. I will call to mind your great miracles on the way. In silence I will sit alone before You, and wait. All through the windy night I will wait at the high place and with my face between my knees and word that all there is before us is a cloud coming from the sea smaller than my hand, I will believe You— for coming rain. I will believe you for blossoming fig trees, vines heavy with grape clusters, and abundant olive crops that shall be more than enough. Against aging bodies and barren wombs, we believe You. Heal me from unbelief. And speak Lord, for your servant listens.

“I do believe. Help thou, my unbelief.”
“That is an almost perfect prayer because it is a prayer for help to keep on praying, to sustain the relationship of prayer, of advent . . . Help me to stay open to you, O Lord, because I keep closing you off, assimilating you back into the circle of the same.” (p. 297)

“So he looks to what is coming . . . He looks to what is coming through his tears, with eyes swollen and sore from weeping, with imploring and beseeching eyes, with prophetic tears, tears of hope and love.” (p. 329)
John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997), pp 297, 329.

Waiting on God

All through the night
Christ waited for the Spirit
Who raised Him from the dead.

When the night is long, may we learn to wait on God’s Spirit.
We can wait on God’s Spirit who gives life to the dead, and calls into being things that don’t exist— like offspring from bodies good as dead. As we trust the Spirit of Jesus, the God of hope fills us with joy and peace. For as we wait for morning, His Spirit kindles our hearts with God’s love.

Waiting

Like seven prophets in a field
Stand silent waiting trees
Beneath them I too wait
Like a disciple of their shadows.

And I wonder about the grey clouds
For I want to believe they work
Heaven here below where
The still small voice
Speaks promise
To wombs
Hushed

But waiting.
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