Friday, September 30, 2022

Thriving Talk - Good Habits

Episode 10 of Thriving Talk is out. The topic is "Good Habits." This is another Dad-Son edition in which Tim, my son, sits with me and asks questions about life, purpose, spirituality, faith, etc. 

The links mentioned in this episode are -

Details about Thriving Talk Podcast -

YouTube Link to the latest episode -

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

What do you say?

I want to share the sermon I preached last Sunday at my church. I spoke in Malayalam with translation to English. 

Main Points from the messages.

  • Main Verse:- Numbers 14:28
Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. 
അവരോടു പറവിൻ: ഞാൻ കേൾക്കെ നിങ്ങൾ പറഞ്ഞതുപോലെ തന്നേ, എന്നാണ, ഞാൻ നിങ്ങളോടു ചെയ്യുമെന്നു യഹോവ അരുളിച്ചെയ്യുന്നു
  1. What do you say to yourself? - Do you say many negative things against what God has already told you.  
  2. What do you say to others? - Do you spread things that build faith or destroy faith.
  3. What do you say to God? - Do you tell everything to God?

    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Finishing well as a Leader

It is claimed that Bible has around one thousand leaders listed. There is more data than just the name of about one hundred leaders. I heard that someone did a study and found that nearly one-third of these finished well while the rest failed. Most of those who failed encountered failure during the last half of their life.  

It was a little surprising to me as I thought that the chances of failure are reduced as people mature and grow. I was wrong, and the critical issue I found is “mature and grow.” Do we stop growing after a point as we realize that we have figured out the formula to keep things stable while giving the impression to everyone that we are doing good in all areas of life? Are we growing or just going forward based on experience and our wisdom? 

I heard a man of God say that “Strong leaders have strong weaknesses. The key is allowing God to control our weaknesses.” In my view, the life of leaders we find in the Bible and the recent history of leaders validate that statement. We have heard about leaders who were considered giants in faith and service fall. In some cases, it is a severe issue that may take a long to recover, and in other cases, there is little hope of restoration.  

It is humbling to see that God takes people with weaknesses and uses them to advance His kingdom. Our imperfections do not automatically disqualify us from God’s service. God is there to strengthen us, but we have to be careful that we follow His steps consistently if we have to finish well. Inconsistency is dangerous as it may be during one of the weak, inconsistent moments that we may end up doing or saying something which may ruin everything.

We cannot afford to stop growing and maturing in Christ as it is another danger zone from where we can quickly fail. Our relationship cannot become static, and our hearts should not be left cold for a long time. Sin will find its way back into our life, and we will encounter failure, which we may have never anticipated would happen to us.

Starting well is good but finishing well is equally important. We have an enemy who will try to distract and plant traps to make us fail. We must trust God, rely on His grace daily, and move forward. Our years of experience do not guarantee that we will not fail. Daily dependence and being truthful with our actual condition of heart and conduct in the presence of God is critical. Having anything fake or secret is a sure path to failure. Being transparent and truthful can guarantee a good finish.   


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Qualities of a Good Disciple

Discipleship is a key term we use and hear all the time in church and ministry. A few years ago, I was in a meeting where a person accused all the pastors who served his church that they never spoke or taught about discipleship. I was shocked to hear that since discipleship is core to Christian faith life. I just felt like this person was exaggerating, as I cannot comprehend how pastors can ignore discipleship without ignoring Jesus Christ itself.

The mission statement of the church I pioneered and serve now is “Making disciples who will make disciples.” There are two aspects: those who make or train others to be disciples of Jesus and those who are being trained to be disciples of Jesus Christ. You cannot teach others to be disciples unless you are a disciple.

I want to share a few things I noticed while going through some training. If you want to disciple someone, choose someone you know well enough to discern their weaknesses. Once you decide on someone, remember to focus on their potential and not their problems.

People who are disciples trying to learn must have some essential qualities to be successful. Some of the key attributes are: -

  • Faithful – There is no need to explain this. Without faithfulness, it is impossible to make much progress as a disciple.
  • Available – You must be available to become a disciple, which means you must prioritize and let go of a few other things to focus on. If you cannot be available, then forget about becoming a good disciple.
  • Initiating – This is a critical aspect that many people ignore. To me, this is very critical, and I feel like people who do not have this quality will not make much progress in ministry. You cannot be passive and lazy; you have to be active and take the initiative to make progress.
  • Teachable – If a person is not teachable, there will be challenges, and we cannot expect much progress.

Making disciples is exciting, but we cannot do it unless we ourself is committed to a committed disciple of Jesus Christ. To be a good disciple, we must be faithful, available, initiating, and teachable.


Thriving Talk - Christians and Missions

Another episode of Thriving Talk is out. The topic this week is Christians and Missions. 

Details about Thriving Talk Podcast - 

On website -

Links to different podcast platforms -

YouTube Link to the latest episode -

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Daily Commitment

 Sharing the sermon, I preached this Sunday at my church. It is in English.  

YouTube Link -

Summary of the message

Main Verse:- Luke 9:23
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 


  • The call of Jesus is one of daily commitment.
  • If you do not plan to live the Christian life totally committed to knowing your God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don't begin, for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegiance. If you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget Christianity; it is not for you. - Kay Arthur

1. Following is optional.
    1. Lk 9:23 - If any of you wants to be my follower
    2. There is no forced conversion, and it is unbiblical.
    3. We preach or share the message with an invitation, and people can accept it freely. 
    4. There is no indication of any trick or scheme to make one accept Jesus or obey His commandments.
    5. Follow God
      1.  Heart, soul, mind, and strength.
      2. Mark 12:29-30 - 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
2. Deny - Themselves
    1. Not a life of self-satisfaction
    2. Self vs doing the will of God
    3. Hebrews 10:32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.[j] Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!
    4. Heb. 11:13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
3. Take up cross - Daily
a. Absolute Surrender
b. Cross was not a glorified symbol. It meant one thing- Death.
c. Willing to die
d. Discipleship involves sacrifice
e. It is a daily commitment and not a part-time or Sunday thing.
4. Three people and response (Luke 9:57-62)
a.1st Person - volunteered- "I will follow" - No place- It is a walk of faith.
b.2nd person was called by Jesus - He wanted to put off until he was free from all obligations.
c.3rd person- Volunteered- "I will follow" - But he wanted to go and say bye to everyone.


  • If Follow-> then Deny and Take up cross Daily.
  • A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret. - Pandita Ramabai

Thursday, September 15, 2022

When I decided to quit!

God created humans as relational beings. We are created with emotions; at any given moment, we can experience different emotions and behave and act based on what we feel. We could be feeling angry, anxious, ashamed, hopeless, lonely, concerned, disappointed, hurt, jealous, stressed, annoyed, bored, calm, confused, tired, curious, confident, excited, focused, happy, ambitious, determined, grateful, included, proud, etc.

Many types of emotions are defined, and if we do not learn to understand and control ourselves, we could make decisions or actions we will regret later. There is a saying that broken glass can be taped together but will never be the same as old. You can try to repair the damages you caused due to your childish attitude or carelessness, but it won't be easy to regain trust. Thinking before you say or act in a particular way is better. The hurt you create may last your entire life.

One of the common human reactions to show displeasure or protest is to withdraw or quit. You try to become passive initially and then try to get out. When we do it, we often want to be back and do it to get attention. If I have to put it plainly, I will say we try to threaten others. Then there are other times when we are serious because we are tired and cannot handle a situation anymore.

In my life, I remember a few incidents when I wrote a resignation letter. Two times, my managers were able to make me withdraw it by giving me a raise in salary. I was serious, but I was taking that step because I felt underpaid. When the issue was addressed, I was back. On another occasion, I decided to move on and my manager asked me what my demand was and offered even to double my salary. At that time, my answer was a plain "NO." The reason was not salary but my goal for life.

There are other times when you feel like quitting when going gets tough and you are disappointed with others' behaviors. You approach everything sincerely, and you have no idea why people react and behave in a particular way. You will question yourself and get a feeling that you may be the reason for the problem and that it is better that you go away. You will feel things will get better if you get out of the picture. It is true in ministry and mainly in pastoral ministry. I had moments when I decided to stop doing everything and then lead a peaceful life. Why take all these burdens of ministry and be a source of discomfort for others? The respect and appreciation you get at your secular workplace are often missing on the ministry side.

I had my moments like Elijah when I decided to quit. It is enough, Lord, and I am no better. Then something happens, and God reminds me of my calling and purpose. I have realized that my current location and assignments are within the plan and purpose of God. God has placed me and assigned it to me. The only one who should ask me to move or quit is my master, who appointed me. The enemy or others cannot decide my moves. I must follow God's instructions as long as I am in His hands. I do not have an option or opinion when I see the bigger picture.

The tree with fruit will face stones. The more fruitful you become, you will be a blessing for many, but also expect stones coming your way. You do not have to focus on the stones. Focus on the one who called you and continue to be a blessing. You will be rewarded for sticking around and not quitting before time.



Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Thriving Talk - Kingdom Vs. Individual View

Episode 8 of Thriving Talk is out. The topic is "Kingdom Vs. Individual View." This is another Dad-Son edition in which Tim, my son, sits with me and asks questions about life, purpose, spirituality, faith, etc. 

The links mentioned in this episode are -

Link to blog -

Link to paper -

Details about Thriving Talk Podcast -

YouTube Link to the latest episode -

Monday, September 12, 2022

Overflow of Heart

Sharing the sermon, I preached this Sunday at my church. It is in English.  

YouTube Link -

Summary of the message

Main Verse:- Luke 6:45
A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. (CSB)

• Keeping our hearts in check is very important.
• How far we go in conversations, and talk determines our standard. 

Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature. Simplicity is in the intention, purity in the affection; simplicity turns to God; purity unites with and enjoys him. - Thomas A Kempis

1. Do not judge others (Lk. 6:37)
2. Forgive others to be forgiven
3. Trying to correct others while ignoring our own needs (Lk. 6:41-42)
4. Tree and Fruits (Lk 6:43-44)
5. Overflow of Heart (Lk 6:45)
    • Desires of our heart placement- Mathew 6:21 -  Wherever your treasure is, the desires of your heart will also be.
    • Heart determines what we speak - Math. 12:33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
    • Heart can become hardened (Math. 13:15)
    • Heart can be far away. (Math. 15:8)
    • Heart can produce bad things (Mathew 15:19)
    • God knows our hearts. (Luke 16:15)
    • Heart can get dulled - “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, (Luke 21:34)
Don't worry about having the right words; worry more about having the right heart. It's not eloquence he seeks, just honesty. - Max Lucado

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thriving Talk - Life Management

Episode 7 of Thriving Talk is out. The topic this time is "Life Management." This is another Dad-Son edition in which Tim, my son, sits with me and asks questions about life, purpose, spirituality, faith, etc. 

Details about Thriving Talk Podcast -

YouTube Link to the latest episode -

Outcome or Process?

The end or outcome justifies the means” is a statement that many people use when you point out something that is not quite right or something fishy. People steal things, give them to the poor or needy, and may feel good. Recently I heard about someone who does things that are not legal, but he said he is doing a good thing as he helps others by doing what is illegal.

When it comes to spiritual life, something similar exists. As long as I am blessed and have no problem, God is happy with everything I do and is in my favor. In Psalms 73, Asaph shares his concern about a similar matter. Ps. 73:3-8 (NLT)

3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.

5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.

6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.

7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!

8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.


Asaph shares his concerns and finds an answer towards the end. Ps. 73:17 (NLT)

Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

Asaph saw wicked prospering, and he thought his integrity was in vain. He finally understood the reality. The main issue is not with people who do not know God but with those who claim to follow Jesus. They do not seem to care to follow the basics of the Bible and still think that since outcomes are satisfactory, it is all good. One example I want to bring up here is how Moses lost his chance to enter the land of Canaan. The issue was simple. He hit the rock when God commanded him to speak for water to come (Num. 20:12). Water did come irrespective of disobedience, but God was not happy and gave the verdict.

Are we happy with the water coming out? If we are, then we are only focused on the outcome. In the Bible, we learn that obedience matters to God. Bible teaches us that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). The process of how we achieve something is critical. The outcome may look good, but how we got it matters to God.

We should not deceive ourselves by the outcome and should pay careful attention to the process of achieving it. Obedience to God’s word and commands should be fundamental, even if the result is not what we expected. Obedience will pay off in the long run. Good outcomes with a shady process will not last long and fall apart, and it will be like a house built on sand. Let us build on rock and ensure we do not ignore the process.  


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Reward for Faithfulness

Sharing the sermon I preached this Sunday at my church. It is in English.  

YouTube Link -

Summary of the message

Main Verse:- Daniel 1:15
    • At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. (NLT)
  • Faithfulness is a key principle in the Bible.
  • To be faithful is to be reliable, steadfast, and unwavering.
  • Faithfulness: 
    • an attribute of God, 
    • a positive characteristic of some people, 
    • a characteristic that many people lack, 
    • fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  1. Daniel and friends - Changes experienced 
    1. Geography/Location change - Jerusalem to Babylon
    2. Freedom - Now follow the instructions.
    3. Name change (1:7)
    4. New Learning - Language and Literature of Chaldeans (1:4)
    5. Circumstances change- 3 years of training
    6. Food change- Royal Food and Wine from King's provision (1:5)
  2. Daniel's Decision - Negotiable vs. Non-negotiable 
    1. Not defile with the food or drink the wine 
    2.  One step opened a series of Reward or supernatural provisions
      1. Health - (1:15)  - They looked better and healthier than others
      2. Relief from ongoing pressure to eat (1:16)
      3. Knowledge and Understanding in literature and wisdom (1:17)
      4. Daniel understood visions and dreams of every kind. (1:17)
      5. They were 10 times better, and no one was equal in matters of wisdom and understanding. (1:20)
  3. NT encouragement on faithfulness
    1. Luke 16:10 - “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 
    2. John 8:31-  Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
    3. 2 Tim. 4:7-8 -  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
    4. Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
  • So God uses people who are willing to serve Him in small things. The man God uses is faithful. - Chuck Smith

Cost of Disobedience

Sharing the notes of a sermon I shared last Saturday at church. After a long time, I spoke fully in Malayalam. This is in Malayalam and has no translation.  

Main Points from the messages

  • Main Verse:-  Deut. 3:23-27
    • അക്കാലത്തു ഞാൻ യഹോവയോടു അപേക്ഷിച്ചു: 24 കർത്താവായ യഹോവേ, നിന്റെ മഹത്വവും നിന്റെ ഭുജവിര്യവും അടിയനെ കാണിച്ചുതുടങ്ങിയല്ലോ; നിന്റെ ക്രിയകൾപോലെയും നിന്റെ വീര്യപ്രവൃത്തികൾപോലെയും ചെയ്‍വാൻ കഴിയുന്ന ദൈവം സ്വർഗ്ഗത്തിലാകട്ടെ ഭൂമിയിലാകട്ടെ ആരുള്ളു? 25 ഞാൻ കടന്നുചെന്നു യോർദ്ദാന്നക്കരെയുള്ള നല്ല ദേശവും മനോഹരമായ പർവ്വതവും ലെബാനോനും ഒന്നു കണ്ടുകൊള്ളട്ടെ എന്നു പറഞ്ഞു. 26 എന്നാൽ യഹോവ നിങ്ങളുടെ നിമിത്തം എന്നോടു കോപിച്ചിരുന്നു; എന്റെ അപേക്ഷ കേട്ടതുമില്ല. യഹോവ എന്നോടു: മതി; ഈ കാര്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ചു ഇനി എന്നോടു സംസാരിക്കരുതു;27 പിസ്ഗയുടെ മുകളിൽ കയറി തല പൊക്കി പടിഞ്ഞാറോട്ടും വടക്കോട്ടും തെക്കോട്ടും കിഴക്കോട്ടും നോക്കിക്കാൺക;
    • 23 “At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, 24 ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? 25 Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’ 26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. 27 But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. (NLT)

  1. Moses was a very humble man - Num. 12:3-8
  2. Moses followed the instructions in all scenarios
  3. Moses lost in one place - Meribah. 
    1. Num. 20:12,
    2. Speak to the Rock, but Moses struck the rock. 
    3. Water came, and that was what people needed, but it was not what God wanted. 
    4. God expected obedience more than water coming from the rock. 
  4. Moses' request was not granted 
    1. Deut. 3:23-27 b. 
    2. Moses begged, but Lord was angry.
  5. Jesus Warning
    1.  Mat. 24:10-13 - Endure till the end 
    2. Mathew 7:21-23 - Those who actually do the will of my father. It Is not to target false teachers. 
    3. Heb. 2:1- Chance of drifting away. Listen carefully to the word.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Busyness - Martha Syndrome

Busy, Busy, Busy. Most people are busy and have no time. I was like that for a long time. I had a lot of things going on and was on the move. Then I came across a few things which made me slow down. First, I had a class on Spiritual Formation in my college. Then I read some books on Spiritual disciplines and ordering private life. It all gave me the encouragement to evaluate my lifestyle.

Last year I experienced something different. As I was battling through my sickness, everything came to a standstill. All of a sudden, I had nothing to do except undergoing treatment.  Not going to work, no emails to respond to, no deadlines to meet, no messages to preach, no ministry assignments, and no shopping or other tasks. It allowed me to evaluate and learn to enjoy being free and not busy.

There are many things to be said about this subject. Let me share a few essential issues. 

Too many options with no boundaries

One of our significant challenges is that we have too many options. We have access to shopping 24/7. Nowadays, we can do most things online anytime. This has created a scenario where we have no boundaries and fail to manage time. We also struggle to focus and can get distracted easily. Social media can keep us engaged for hours without realizing the time lost.  Our phones are also active 24/7 with no downtime. We wake with many messages waiting for our attention. Most of them have no significance, but we still go through all of them to ensure we are not missing out on something.

Nowadays, even little children have a full schedule planned. They are enrolled in every activity and sport possible and are taught busyness from a young age. Too much focus is on managing time without asking if all those activities are valuable and need to be managed. Technology advancements also made us do many things that others did in the past. To save twenty-five dollars, we may spend five hours searching many websites. We fail to realize that time is a precious resource that cannot be purchased by money. 

People also work long hours while productivity has decreased. Some people do not shut down their work laptops and are always available. They do not follow strict work hours because they want to enjoy flexibility. In most cases, the flexibility they desire comes with a hidden cost.        

Busy with Spiritual Activities that result in unordered private life

Another area where people can fall into a trap is when they get busy with activities that are spiritual in nature while they ignore the care for the soul. The classic question is - "Are you so busy for God that you do not have time for God?" Are you so busy with church, ministry, caring for others, evangelism, etc., that your heart is empty and anxious? Your devotional life is not in order, and you are restless deep inside you. This is a dangerous zone as it can make you crash anytime.

Martha Syndrome

I have heard many people criticize Martha, and I have felt bad for her since she was also doing things to serve others. It was not like she was cooking and eating herself. She had a houseful of people and had to ensure everything was taken care of. We read about it in Luke 10:38-42. One thing I noticed is that the core issue was her distraction (Luke 10:40). When she complained that she was doing all the work and her sister Mary was not helping, Jesus gave her a response.

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NLT)

There is no need to be worried about all details when there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Sitting at the feet of Jesus is more important than all the distractions and other details. I do not think Jesus asked Martha to ignore all work, but it should not be at the cost of missing out on something more substantial.

All our busyness and distractions will prevent us from discovering what is most important. We should not ignore our relationship with God to accomplish or achieve something in this world. It is not worth it. Let us evaluate what is keeping us busy. Are we wasting our time on unwanted things? In general, is your life in order, or are you dealing with distractions and busyness?

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 ...