From Ear to Heart-Sermons on Spiritual Formation

From Ear to Heart-Sermons on Spiritual Formation

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon (edited by Ms Tong Suit Chee) (Graduates' Christian Fellowship (2009))

The Graduates' Christian Fellowship (GCF) is committed to leadership in Christian thinking and initiatives and to be a Biblical voice that will impact the church and society. As such, the GCF has launched a series of books featuring sermons, messages or talks by its members since 2007. The first of these books “Living Wisely, Finishing Well – A Collection of Sermons”, which is a collection of sermons by The Right Rev John Tan Teng Wai, a former president of GCF in the 1970s. This is the second book in the series – “From Ear To Heart – Sermons on Spiritual Formation” by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.

Bishop Solomon is the Bishop of the Methodist Church of Singapore from 2000 to the present (2009). He holds a PhD in Pastoral Theology from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Divinity (Summa cum laude) from Asian Theological Seminary and a Master in Intercultural Studies (Honours) from the Alliance Biblical Seminary. Graduating as a doctor from the University of Singapore, he also served as a pastor of two Tamil Methodist churches and as the Principal of Trinity Theological College.

The 180-page book comprises 18 sermons preached by Bishop Solomon at churches, gatherings of professionals such as at GCF, ordination and wedding services. These sermons address the issue of loving Jesus and serving Him faithfully, and show the importance of knowing Christ and following Him as His faithful and courageous disciples.

The topics are – Everyday Spirituality in a Fallen World; Controlling Your Anger; Faith, Hope and Love; The Schooling of the Soul; Giving Without Giving Up; Living in Paradox; The Author of Our Stories; Pouring Our Hearts at His Feet; The Most Important Wedding Guest; Sacred Friend; Holy Saturday; Survival and Redemption; Standing in Awe of God; Being God’s Community, Being Christ’s Church; Watching Your Life and Ministry; Shepherds After God’s Heart; and Calling to Serve.

I found two sermons particularly insightful. The first is “Everyday Spirituality in a Fallen World”, where the author discusses how the book of Daniel can provide us with a good model of living in this fallen world – the model of a life in exile. To be an exile is to walk the streets of this land so that God’s purposes can be fulfilled and to be involved in this world and yet, not be affected by it. He shares three questions that Daniel and his men are asking – What do we value? What or who do we worship? How do we pray? The author points out the dangers in our efficient and pragmatic society, especially the danger of asking what works rather than what is the truth. We are called not to be pragmatic but to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ who is the truth.

The second sermon is “The Author of Our Stories”, which touches on how Jesus can transform stories of death to stories of new life, as seen in the story of Lazarus (John 11). Life is a story and each of our lives is like a storybook. The first chapter is most likely written by our ancestors or parents, followed by other chapters written by our school, job, marriage and so on. It is assuring that for Christians, the last chapter is written by Christ alone as He is the author of our whole lives. As a good author, He is already at work on all the chapters of our stories, and by the time our story comes to the beginning if the last chapter, it will be where the author wants it to be.

Other helpful sermons touch on being a good shepherd and minister of God’s Word, and offer practical advice on living such as controlling your anger, and giving.
Retail Price: $15 per copy. Discounted price of $13 for GCF/FES members (till 31 December 2009)

All books available at GCF Office (tel: 65-6338 6283) or email and selected Christian bookshops in Singapore.