Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stress and Unordered Life

Stress is a major issue today. We all feel fried at times not knowing what to do. Many times unordered life makes things more complicated. Everything in life will look like a mess. At times the current of stress can be felt and we get pulled in different directions. Then come the big question- how can we find quality time for God and our family?

Recently we discussed this topic in our Men's Fellowship and I was greatly encouraged and challenged. I can't share all points we discussed in this post, but I want to share two articles which helped us in our discussion and conclusions. They are :-

  1. FRIED
  2. Just Say "No"
One of the main challenge was to prioritize and say "No" to things. May the Lord help if you are dealing with Stress. We will continue our discussion next month and if possible I will share more points.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Parable Lessons - The Persistent Widow

Parable:-  The Persistent Widow

Scripture Portion:- Luke 18:1-8

The main observations:-
  • Jesus told his disciples a story.
  • To show disciples that they should always pray and never give up.
  • There was a judge in a certain city.
  • He neither feared God nor cared about people.
  • A widow of that city came to him repeatedly for justice.
  • She had some dispute with her enemy.
  • The judge ignored her for a while.
  • Finally the judge was tired and he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
  • Jesus told them to learn a lesson from this unjust judge.
  • Judge gave a just decision in the end. 
  • God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night.
  • He will not keep putting them off and will grant justice to them quickly.
  • Jesus also asked a question.When he returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?
Interpretation:- Always praying does not mean that you have to sit and pray all the time. In this context, it has to do with a particular matter for which you are praying. If its under God's will then you should continue to pray in all situations and in a consistent way. It is not about repetition but quality and consistency in prayer. There are many reasons why we get distracted in our prayer life. Some of them are:-

  • Lack of faith in God
  • We lose focus after sometime
  • We get discouraged
  • Sin can also diminish our passion and vision. It will reduce our prayer life
  • Bitterness in heart can also stop our prayer
Jesus compared God to an unjust judge. If unjust judge came under pressure and gave window justice, we have a loving God. We can be more confident in our prayers knowing that we have a righteous God. 

When Jesus comes back, how many will have faith. We are called to finish our race. In the last days there will be lot of things to turn people away from faith.

Practical Lessons:- I have to be persistent in prayer. Even when I don't see any answers I need to have faith in God. In good and bad times I should pray. I should never give up prayer matters. Sin can diminish my prayer life. I have to be careful about that. I also need to hold on to my faith till the end.

Parable Lessons - The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Parable:-  The Pharisee and the Tax Collector 

Scripture Portion:- Luke 18:9-14

Some of the main observations:-

  • Jesus told this story to some people who had great confidence in their own righteousness.
  • They scorned everyone else.
  • Two men went to the Temple to pray. 
  • One was a Pharisee.
  • The other was a despised tax collector.
  • The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed like this - "I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income."
  • But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. 
  • He beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 
  • Jesus told that the sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. 
  • Jesus also told that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Interpretation:- There was nothing wrong with the things the Pharisee was doing. In fact they were good things. But he had spiritual pride. Some people may think that we are sinners are we can never do good things. Jesus calls us for a transformed life. Standing for the word of God is different than having spiritual pride. If you see Elijah then he was standing for truth and he was not having pride. The Pharisee's prayer was all about himself.  The tax collector was not fake but was humble and true. He was pleading for God's mercy. I believe this parable has a big lesson about our hearts attitude when we pray and also when we look at others. Jesus warns against Self Righteousness and arrogance. He is also teaching about value of humility. To be justified in the sight of God, we need humbleness. 

Practical Lessons:- I need to examine my attitude in prayer as well as towards others. God hates proud but humble people receives mercy from his presence. I should do good works but that's not the basis for my justification in the sight of God. I should not remain in a sinful state. If I fall, then I should have the sincerity to ask God's forgiveness.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Parable Lessons - Two Builders, Wise and Foolish

Parable:- Two Builders, Wise and Foolish

Scripture Portion:- Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49

Observations:- The parable follows what Jesus told about last judgement when many will come say about what they did and Jesus will not accept or acknowledge them. They did miracles and wonders. They drive out demons and prophesied in Jesus name. Jesus says that those who hear the words and put them into practice is like a wise builder who built his house upon the rock. When wind and storms came against it, it stood still. Those who hear and not practice are like a man who build his house upon sand. He is called a foolish man. When wind and storms came, this house fell with a great crash.

Practical Lessons:- I need to make sure that I am building my house on the rock on a daily basis. Anyone who hears the teachings of Jesus and follows them is wise. Solid foundation will mean obedience on daily basis. Anyone who hears and ignore is foolish. So following the teachings of Jesus is key to have a solid foundation. This has also to do it the fact that if we will be able to stand during judgement. Some decisions included checking to see "if we are still building on rock" on a daily basis. Our personal walk with God should give us the sensitivity to discern if we are building on rock or sand.

Parable Lessons - The Sower and the Soil

We have started a new series on parables taught by Jesus in one of our Care Cell.  As we go through these parables, I am trying to find some practical application to make it more meaning for personal life. I want to start a series 'Parable Lessons' to share what we learn from each parable. I will try to add some observations also.

General information about parables-

Parable:- The Sower and the Soil

Scripture Portion:-  Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8

Observations:- The farmer went out to sow his seed. Seeds fell at different places. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away,because it had no moisture.Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times.Only the seeds which fell on good and fertile soil sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times yield. Jesus later explained that seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God's word and produce harvest.

Practical Lessons:- We all hear God's word and many times we also accept it. The challenge is that we forget and don't produce any fruit. Everyone faces this challenge. We concluded that we need to be consistent in our spiritual walk to obey and produce fruit. Some decisions people took included being consistent in prayer life, daily morning prayer, meditating on the word etc. Key thing to remember is that it does not matter how many messages we hear. Hearing, accepting it and allowing to word to grow in our life is very important. Then only the fruit will be produced from our life.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lessons from Ministry Trip

Note:-  I started this post long time ago and it was in draft.  Saw it and thought of sharing.

Last year I went on a ministry trip to India. I got the opportunity to meet and spend time with many people who are doing great work for the Lord. Wanted to share few lessons I learned which I also shared with my church.

  1. Hindrances cannot stop you from accomplishing God’s purpose.
  2. Give your best to God and you will enjoy God's peace and joy in your life.
  3. Challenges are there but God is in control.
  4. Prepared for Ministry in Jail? Someone told me this. You should be willing to go and do ministry in any place God sends you.
  5. God uses weak people also for His glory.
  6. God works beyond our imagination. There are things which are just beyond human understanding and explanation.
  7. Secret of faithful ministry- Prayer, Faith & desire to see hand of God moving among us.
I spoke about it in our church and audio link is

God Bless You!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thought - Christian Holidays Sidelined

Let me start by saying that I am not writing this to start any debate on this issue since it has many aspects and I don't think we need to waste our time looking into all aspects.

Last weekend was Easter weekend and many sites today had news items related to how Easter holidays are changed into Spring Bunny. On Easter Sunday, Google chose to honor an iconic figure on its front page –called the "doodle"– which of course is viewed by millions around the world.  Many would have expected that figure to be Jesus, or perhaps something related to Easter.

"Merry Christmas" is no more valid and its "Happy Holidays".  I heard a story that someone who came to US from a different country was asked to go for counselling because he was again and again using "Merry Christmas" and its offensive. Good Friday is no longer a holiday.  It's a holiday in a country like India but I worked on that day in US.  I don't want to elaborate on these points since it's a well known fact and my focus in this post is something different.

So as a Pastor and as a Christian what should I do? Am I concerned?  Am I worried that when my son grows up, Easter and Christmas will not be a holiday?

Before I answer all these questions let me share something here. When I became a real Christian, I was in a place where Christianity is in minority and it still is. Also my church was against celebration of Christmas and Easter. They argued that these two holidays has pagan origins and it was not celebrated in first century church. There are lot of materials on this subject and I don't want to elaborate here. I still believe that its true. Then I used to observe these days for others. It was a good time to share the message and love of Jesus with others. I just wanted to inform my readers that every Christian in the world does not celebrate it the way it is shown in television and other places.

So what should I do if Christian holidays are taken out from public life? I think this will do good for Christianity in long run. We will have to emphasize the gospel and resurrection every Sunday. I believe that's important since Sunday worship concept has its origin with resurrection day. As a Pastor I will have to make sure that important aspects of gospel is proclaimed through out the year and not only on some occasions. When church started on the day  of Pentecost, there was no holidays to mark any event. Holy Spirit had a big part to play and church grew. You take any nation where there is persecution and opposition, churches grow and quality is really high. I have personally seen that quality of churches under persecution and opposition is much better than churches in prosperous environment.  Commitment level of people is different. Miracles and demonstration of God's power happens more often since people are hungry and they can't depend on government or anyone for safety.

I still remember the day when I was in India and an uneducated village women came to me after a meeting and asked me to pray so that God will give her grace to get up early at 5:00 AM so that she can pray. In US, no one has asked me to specially pray so that they will grow spiritually.

I think gospel message becomes very dangerous and effective when it is opposed. Opposition brings a different dimension which cannot be explained but can only be experienced. History is witness to that and I believe it is because it is the 'Word of God' and no man can challenge or stand against God.

No political or man's agenda can stand against God's agenda of saving man through His son Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God so loved that world that He gave his son Jesus Christ. Holiday or no holiday, gospel message will continue to penetrate nations and people's heart. If name is changed or not, the message of cross will still appeal sinners.

So am I worried? No way! When apostasy and opposition increase, I believe God's time is coming to show His power. I can look forward for the move of Holy Spirit in this land also.

I am not worried if Easter and Christmas holiday will remain when my son grows up. My concern is to make sure that I pray and teach him the importance of the message of cross so that he will be a disciple of Jesus irrespective of circumstances.  With the current situation, I believe that opposition and persecution for faith will make him more committed and strong Christian, provided the gospel message makes an impact in his life.

I believe opposition and persecution will increase the quality which we badly miss now. We won't have any namesake believers who use God's name to justify their life style and compromise in every aspect of life.

So looking at the bigger picture, I am hopeful and excited!

MPA Bible Study 2013 Day 3 Conclusion

Summary of Day 3

  • God uses ordinary for extraordinary work. Example Moses, David etc
  • Your background doesn't matter for you to serve God. He can change you life.
  • Be an over-comer of the circumstances that stand against you.
  • When we take a step of faith, God will work in advance.
  • You have to move forward even when obstructions are there.
  • Be an over-comer of disappointments in your life.
  • Be an over-comer of doubt in your life.
  • Be a witness.
I can conclude that it was a great time sitting in God's presence and listening from the word of God. 

MPA Bible Study 2013 Day 2 Conclusion

Summary of Day 2 Session 1

  • You attitude in welcoming others and Jesus will make a big difference.
  • Going to church or meeting people won't change anything. Jesus coming in your life bring supernatural work of God in your life.
  • Sitting and listening at Lord's feet makes a big difference.
  • You presence at Lord's feet is more important that what you give.
  • Many have Jesus at home but their life is distracted.
  • Complaining shows our distraction and lack of sitting at Jesus feet.
  • When somethings ends in joy then God takes glory and victory.
  • When something end in fight and strife then enemy has taken victory.
  • Jesus will never become a problem after being invited. If you feel so then Jesus has the solution.
  • Sometimes God allows situation in our to reveal himself. Martha and Thomas only knew as a healer. But death and resurrection of Lazarus proved that Jesus can raise the dead.
  • People who have experienced resurrection power should be different.

Summary of Day 2 Session 2

  • Resurrection is fundamental to a Christian.
  • We should have hope of resurrection in our life.
  • After resurrection we will have glorious body.
  • Just like the birth of a person, resurrection will also be a display of the supernatural work of God.
  • We have a bright future
  •  We should ask God for wisdom before reading the Bible.
  • God observes and listens to our speech.
  • We need to believe in God irrespective of our circumstances.
  • God gives promise and fulfills them.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

MPA Bible Study 2013 Day 1 Conclusion

This weekend we are having a Weekend Bible study at our church. Pr.Biju Mathew from Oklahoma is with us and yesterday night we had a wonderful session. I wanted to post the summary of what we learned yesterday since I felt that the message had lot of things to meditate and learn from God.

Summary of what I learned:-
  • If God knows me and if I am in the center of God's will and if I am led by the Holy Spirit then God will take care of everything in my life.
  • We need to display the character of God in our lives.
  • Prayer alone won't work when it comes to saving people, we also need to speak to them when we get a chance. 
  • It's not based on number of people we have. We need to sow the seed and God will help us to reap at the right time.
  • We say God did not answer my prayers. In reality God answered many things which we did not even ask him. How many ways God opened which we did not expect.
  • We need God to visit us because when God visits our church, people will visit us.
  • We cannot depend on the belief we had yesterday,  we need to rely on God every day and walk with faith.
  • Yesterday's testimony is not going to help us today. We need to have faith in God today.
  • Many times we think God's work is over, but we never know. God works in His time and in His ways.
May God Bless You!

Be Alert: Do not fall into this trap!

Introduction Recently, a Pastor visited me, and I took him to the Mall of America, the biggest mall in America.  As we were walking, we met ...