Friday, June 15, 2018

Three Thoughts about Supreme Court Decision on TWU vs Law Societies 2018

Three Thoughts about the Supreme Court Decision

Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: June 15th, 2018

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its verdict on the issue of accreditation. After a series of back and forth between the TWU and the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario, the case was brought to the top court of Canada to decide whether the law societies should or should not be allowed to deny the university the appropriate accreditation for its new law school. This accreditation is crucial because without the approval by the respective law societies, one cannot legally practice law in the provinces concerned.  At issue was the “community covenant” which every student had to sign before one could study at TWU. This is totally consistent with the religious stand TWU had made in its 56-year history. Unfortunately, there are increasing number of dissent coming from outside and some say inside as well. Let me put in three thoughts about the decision and its impact on TWU and the larger Christian public in Canada.

1) It’s a reflection of changing times
While I am disappointed with the court decision, I think it is only a matter of time before TWU’s “community covenant” would be legally challenged and overturned by public opinion. If this case was brought up two decades ago, I believe the decision would go TWU’s way. Two decades later, among other things, there is a shift of moods and attitudes. Institutional religion is now seen with disdain. People are abandoning churches in large numbers. Throughout Canada, not only are more churches closing down every year, even the remaining churches are struggling with declining numbers. According to PEW research, since 2007, the number of  religiously unaffiliated people has been rising. The single largest group of people who believed but are not affiliated with any church or organization are the NONES, people who essentially answer “None” in the column about their religious affiliation. They could still be believers but they prefer to live without being attached to any religious institution or denomination. According to Leslie Williams, a professor of English at Yale Divinity School, she points out how things had changed. In the 50s, Baptists have the best Bible School and the Methodists the best Sunday School program, and lots of people still go to Church. These external signs hide an underlying discontent about the failure of people connecting with the modern culture. She notes in her book, “When Anything Goes,”
“Finally, after half a century of church squabbles, secularism, and Sunday morning golf games, we lost the people, our congregation dwindling along with most other mainline denominations.”  
She then adds: “The current age has not come up with a new label for itself but defines itself in terms of what it has lost: the influence of Christianity.” In other words, Christians have not updated their own labels. Perhaps, that is one reason why the word “evangelical” is also view negatively. In fact, the words, liberal, conservative, or whatever in between are labels of the past, struggling to maintain their grip on current culture. The frustrated who hold neither of these views too strongly like their ancestors would simply put themselves as “None.” New names are needed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Five thoughts about Malaysia's GE14

Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: May 15th, 2018

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  (1 Tim 2:1-4)
On May 9th, 2018, history was made in Malaysia. If you have been following the news, like me, you would have known by now, as far as the nation of 31 million people are concerned, the new has come and the old has passed away. A new government will lead the country into the new era. It was an exciting moment for me and my family to see history been created. Malaysia indeed has been reborn. Here are five thoughts I have.

First, Malaysians from all races have clearly rejected racial politics. For the past two elections, non-Malays had been fleeing their component parties; the Chinese from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Indians from Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). They saw the bigger need for unity and renewal. The leaders from the ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (BN) thought status quo was the better option. They were wrong. Dead wrong. They failed to read the signs and sentiments of a new Malaysian generation: For a free and fair Malaysia. For various reasons, many Malays took a little longer to do the same to UMNO, a party that was supposed to champion their racial standing. They had conflicted emotions within them, largely due to the way their leaders had said and done to them. At GE13, MCA and MIC were decimated, leaving only UMNO to hold BN together, barely. At GE14, the Malay exodus from the Malay-dominated party helped to tilt the balance of power, in a show of unity with the rest of Malaysia. This is most significant. For this, all of Malaysia would say: THANK YOU! For standing up for what is right. For standing up for our future generation. For standing up against greed and corruption of the ruling coalition. For standing up for the ordinary man in the street regardless of ethnicity.

Second, corruption is colour-blind and party-blind. Nobody is immune from the evil temptations of money and power. The more money there is to grab, the bigger the temptation of greed. The more power and fame there are to have, the bigger the temptation of pride. It is not simply a problem with the previous coalition. It is a problem faced by all political environments, some more, some less. So beware Pakatan-Harapan (Alliance of Hope). The Rakyat will hold you accountable, just as they had done to the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government. The Rakyat has the power to vote you in. The Rakyat also has the power to vote you out.

I like what Nurul Izah Anwar, daughter of Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview question regarding nepotism. She affirmed the principles of Reformasi and said that it doesn’t matter who is in office. She is first accountable to the Malaysian people, to make sure that the ones in power would “toe the line” of the Reformation principles. Such a leader is worth supporting. All of Malaysia must play their part to watch over the new powers. One important avenue is a strong, free, and responsible media. The press need to be independent to report on any abuses of power. At the same time, they need to exercise responsibility to weed out fake news. We must all help one another to “toe the line” of Reformasi, including ourselves. With regard to family members in politics, it is good to remember the English idiom, “Blood is thicker than water.” No matter how principled we are, when it comes to decisions between family and nation, emotions would complicate things. If possible, I would prefer to see family members not serve together in the same administration.  So that they would be spared the painful choices when family relationships conflict with national agendas.

Third, the Malaysian cause cuts across age divide. With the appointment of Tun Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, we now have the oldest Prime Minister in the world! Not only did older citizens voted for him, a lot of young people too. It's heartwarming to see former political foes putting aside their differences in order to serve a common cause for the common good for the sake fo the common people. Many young people are delighted with the chance for change. At the same time, they need a trusted guiding hand to help navigate the complex world of politics, a changing economic environment, and an uncertain social climate. I see parents and children coming together to vote for the same party. I see the young supporting the old and the old encouraging the young. That is great news. 

Fourth, we need a new identity. As long as we keep associating ourselves according to our ethnic group, we will remain focused only on the needs of our own groups. There are many young people whose only country they ever knew is Malaysia. They may be of Chinese origin, but they will never be fully accepted as Chinese in China. In the same way, citizens may have Indian roots, but they would never be fully accepted by India. Even today, some influential members of the political party (UMNO) are thinking of changing the "Malay" in their name to "Malaysian." That would be a move in the right direction, because the Chinese and Indians have largely abandoned the MCA and MIC, parties which historically stood for their races respectively. A new identity is needed urgently to forge ahead a new country. We need this new identity because the world we live in is changing rapidly. A greater identity will open up greater opportunities for the next generation.

(Photo Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday)
Fifth, we are all Malaysians. Imagine the pride when foreigners envy the New Malaysia, that it has new hope and new freedom. The power of the Rakyat (people) shown on May 9th, 2018 is something that resonates far and wide beyond the shores of Malaysia. For all the worries or accusations about foreign interference in local politics and so on, if something is good and reflective of the fundamental desires of the human spirit for goodness and peace, why divide it between local and foreign? We are all humans. We are all desiring a better future. We are all concerned for the new generation. We are all hoping that our children, and our children’s children will live a better life, and they would create a better children for their respective generations and beyond. Perhaps, the Malaysian spirit would become synonymous with what is fair and free; what is passionate and compassionate; what is good for all. I want to remind all that those in the previous coalition, the Barisan Nasional (National Front) are also Malaysians. They are also passionate and patriotic about the country. We need them too in order to build a new Malaysia. We need them to keep watch and act as a check against any excesses of the new government. I urge all to reset, to restart, and to renew our hopes about the ordinary Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh!

Malaysia is bigger than any one race, party, or coalition. The good news is this. I look forward to a Malaysia where it will become the place where people of all races would be proud to live in, to work in, to study in, and to be proud in.  Hopefully, not only will this stem the brain drain of talent from the country, it would inspire and encourage more overseas Malaysians to return home to build the country. A truly united Malaysia will not let anything or anyone divide them, including distance. A progressive Malaysia would welcome back overseas Malaysians with open arms.

I close with the thoughts of something often quoted by football team managers in the English Premier League. “No player is bigger than the club.” In the same light, I would say: “No single race or party or human differentiator is bigger than Malaysia.” May we all remember that.

Pray for our nation according to 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Progress for the sake of all our children. Persevere for the good of the next generation, and the generations to come. All for Malaysia and Malaysia for all. 


Copyright by SabbathWalk. This devotional is sent to you free of charge. If you feel blessed or ministered to by SabbathWalk weekly devotionals, feel free to forward to friends, or to invite them to subscribe online at . You can also send me an email at for comments or inquiries. Note that views expressed are personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any person(s) or organization(s).

Thursday, November 10, 2016


SCRIPTURE: 1 Tim 2:1-4
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: Nov 10th, 2016

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. - (1 Tim 2:1-4)

For many people, the unthinkable happened. If Murphy was alive, he would have repeated with an i-told-you-so look: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." For nearly half the population of America today, it has indeed gone wrong when their candidate failed to garner the required number of electoral votes to win.

On January 20th, 2017, the controversial and straight-talk tycoon, Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States. In a result that took many people by surprise, it was the Democrat supporters, the widely leftist media and pollsters who had to flee with their tails between their legs. Even today, some are still scratching their heads wondering what happened. Others blamed it on the complacency of the Democratic establishment while some analysts said many Democrat supporters stayed home and did not vote. Those who could not accept the result took to the streets and protested the outcome. I watched the media and saw a 180-degree turnaround in their reporting. All their predictions were wrong. Instead of Clinton winning by a huge margin, it was Trump who took in the majority of the electoral votes. Instead of the former First Lady and experienced bureaucrat sweeping into power, it was a boisterous and shrewd reality-TV personality receiving the prize. News agencies and reporters continued to analyze the results and the reasons. Some blamed, others shamed. Many people continued to talk about what happened on Nov 8th, 2016 where America elected her new President. Some people might want some guidance with regard to this event. Let me then offer five post-election thoughts.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day Tributes

Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: May 7th, 2016

Mother's Day is coming. All over the world, mothers are celebrated with a well-deserved meal or special dinners. Often, they would be given beautiful bouquet of flowers. Sometimes, they would be treated to a surprise that is out of this world. It could also be a simple hug from a loved one. As long as love is expressed and received, who cares what the present is. Who would question where or how much the item costs? It is more than the thought that counts. It is the heartfelt gratitude for mothers who had the toughest job in the world.

As a tribute to mothers all over the world, I would like to share five of the most touching videos I have seen this year. They have been made at various times but the effect is still powerful. Enjoy.

1) Toughest Job in the World (American Greetings, 2014) - Youtube
Created by ad agency, Mullen in 2014, this video shows several online interviews over a fictitious job. The results are heartwarming.

2) Mother's Day Tribute (Embridge, 2016) - Youtube
This is a beautiful reminder that all of us have mothers who will grow old one day. There's no better joy than to see loved ones visit and to know that one is never forgotten.


3) Thai Ad on Runaway Daughter (2015) - Youtube
The love of a mother knows no bounds.

4) Full-Circle (2012) - Youtube
A creative audio-visual video on the growing person.

5) Prayer For All Mothers by Rick Warren (2016) - Youtube
This prayer is all-encompassing and inclusive. Great prayer to learn from.

THOUGHT: "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:25-26)

Happy Mothers' Day!


Copyright by SabbathWalk. This devotional is sent to you free of charge. If you feel blessed or ministered to by SabbathWalk weekly devotionals, feel free to forward to friends, or to invite them to subscribe online at . You can also send me an email at for comments or inquiries. Note that views expressed are personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any person(s) or organization(s).

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's Still Easter!

Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: April 22nd, 2016

The Church is well-prepared for the coming of Easter. For 40 days, pastors, preachers, and Church leaders will call their flock to fast, to pray, to seek God more, and to observe a sense of holiness as one reflects on Christ’s journey to the Cross. Then comes Holy Week and voila! Christians are united with one voice to sing: “Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!” That was more than three Sundays ago. This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday.

Nice Summary of Eastertide
The same cannot be said for the periods after Resurrection Sunday. After all the excitement; the disciplines of the 40 days; the preparation for Palm Sunday; the solemnity of Maundy Thursday; the painful trials and sufferings of Good Friday; and the pinnacle of Easter, the days following the Resurrection Sunday remembrance seem to become an anti-climax. The traditional Church calendar puts out 7 Sundays (including Easter Sunday) as a season of Easter, or Eastertide. The 8th Sunday is the Pentecost. How then do we celebrate and live out Easter? One way is to search the Scriptures to learn how the disciples responded to the Resurrection.

1) Remembering the Promise
6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” 8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mark 16:6-8)
Jesus had promised that He would be killed, buried, and on the third day rise again. The disciples didn’t believe, let alone the women. That was why Mary Magdalene and Salome did not expect to see an empty tomb. That was why they were afraid. That was why they didn’t know how to react. They had forgotten what Jesus had said about Himself. If only they had believed Jesus meant every word He said.

Easter is about remembering that whatever Jesus had promised, He will do it. He proved it in the First Coming. He will do the same, and even more in His Second Coming. That is glorious reason for hope!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Finding Our True Need

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:19
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: April 9th 2016
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
This is a popular verse when we write encouragement cards to people. It is a marvelous verse to tweet quickly to one another to assure them that God is aware and God will do something. Moreover, it comes from God’s abundance and generosity. What more could we ask for? If God is for us, who will be against us? The question for this week is this: What is our true need?

A) Typical Hierarchy of Needs

The Famous 5-Level-Needs of Maslow
Those of us who are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs will remember the famous pyramid. Based on these, we all have the five levels of need. The first level is physiological where we need to provide food on the table, shelter for the family, and paying for our basic expenses. This is something all of us will understand. With jobs, we get some income to help pay for our housing, our food, our transportation costs, and the basis living expenses. The second level is the need for safety and security. We look not simply for a good house but a good neighbourhood. We do not simply buy food but healthy diets. We travel in a manner that is safe. When I was young, my mother kept telling me about the dangers of riding a motorcycle. Whenever there is an accident involving the two-wheeler, regardless of who is in the right, the motorcyclist will usually end up as the victim. I have known friends who had been seriously injured when they fell out of their bikes for various reasons. To this day, I do not have a motorbike license. I have heard lots of nice stories of people feeling a sense of freedom when they ride on a bike. Not me.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Faith and Contentment

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:12-13
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: April 1st, 2016

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13)

This week, I want to share three thoughts from my sabbatical.

It has been a strange sabbatical for me. After seven years of being in gainful employment, I took a 3-month sabbatical so as to take a step back from my routine, my regular work schedule, and my familiar activities. During this time, I preached at different churches. I traveled to the Far East. I spent more time with family and friends. When people asked me what I wanted to do during this time, I told them I wanted to write a book. That had not taken off. The ideas were there. The thoughts were there. However, the determination and discipline to do that were not there. After all, a sabbatical must be a sabbatical. Otherwise, call it a different kind of work or some activity-oriented break. One of the problems in modern society is that we have not really understood what rest means. We know how to work from 9 to 5. We know how to bring our projects home from the office. We know how to get connected to the Internet, carry our emails with us, and stay connected to work even when we are home. We have become so comfortable with working that we are increasingly uncomfortable with anything non-work. With such a work-saturated mindset, true rest is hard to find.

Many people have said good things about the sabbath. Let me share a few.
  • Seven days of work makes one weak
  • "It is not the Jews that kept the Sabbath but the Sabbath that kept the Jews." (Jewish Rabbi) 
  • "He who cannot rest, cannot work; he who cannot let go, cannot hold on; he who cannot find footing, cannot go forward." (Harry Emerson Fosdick) 
  • "As a man addicted to activity and anxiety, I could tell you story after story about how a restless lifestyle is everything from silly to stupid to soul killing." (Mark Galli)
  • "Test the premise that you are worth more than you can produce – that even if you spent one whole day of being good for nothing you would still be precious in God’s sight. " (Barbara Brown Taylor)
  • "No other behavioral change has brought so many unintended but welcome benefits to my life of faith and my work as a pastor." (Eugene Peterson)
This week, I want to share three thoughts about my sabbatical.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Were You There?

SCRIPTURE: Luke 23:44-49
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: March 25th, 2016
44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. (Luke 23:44-49)

This Holy Week, the following came to me:
God's tears were shed on Holy Thursday;
God's blood was bled on Good Friday
God's voice was muted on Silent Saturday;
God's glory was raised on Resurrection Sunday.

As far as man are concerned, they view Jesus not from God's perspective but from the world. On Thursday, the disciples were still oblivious to what was going to occur. They ate bread and drank wine together with Jesus. Their feet were washed. They were served. They were prayed for. Little did they know that among them was Judas Iscariot who would not only betray their lord, but would be the first of a long list of people who would desert Jesus.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What is Calling?

SCRIPTURE: Romans 8:18-30
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: Mar 16th, 2016
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

These days I have been thinking about calling. Maybe it is just that mid-life crisis topic, or just an impromptu moment. Maybe it is about transitions or some new adventure to embark upon. It forces me to go back to the biblical word, "called." What is it? How is it applied to today's context? These two questions will guide my reflection for the next two weeks. This week, I like to deal with the subject of calling.

What is calling?

Simply put, I believe calling is a journey. In Romans 8, we see how Paul describes his own call in terms of moving toward a final goal. Life for him as a Christian had been tough. He could have enjoyed the fruits of his Pharisaic achievements. He could have become a top solicitor for some rich clients. He could have earned enough money to simply go through life by sitting in positions of influence, reputation, and fame. Yet, he made that decision to turn back and as a consequence, had to suffer for his choice. He writes with boldness that "I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't Idle. Evangelize!

SCRIPTURE: Isa 43:18-21
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: March 11th, 2016

18“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 20The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise." (Isa 43:18-21)

I have brothers and sisters, friends and acquaintances in many different churches. Some of them are normal Sunday parishioners while others are actively serving in the leadership. Others are fellow ministry workers plugging along through the ups and downs of Church life. Indeed, one of the most difficult places to work in are non-profits such as Christian organizations. One is expected to do good, to be good, and to appear good even when the going gets tough and the emotions get rough. Without a proper way to vent frustrations, one can easily get burnout. An effective way to share the burdens is to find encouragement among people who understand the unique situations when serving in Church. One feels free to talk about the flock, about the leadership board, or even about fellow workers in the same Church. Usually, no names are mentioned. It is more about finding ways to support one another in prayer rather than to turn the meeting into some forum for complaining. From time to time, whether over coffee or casual meetings, we would talk about some serious going ons. One such question is this: "Why is the Church not growing?"