Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
EDITORIAL Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Warm New Year greetings to you in the most precious name of our loving Saviour Jesus Christ! New Year- it's the season of hope, new dreams, new ambitions. It is the time to start right with God and trust Him more. As years pass by we are drawing more and closer to seeing our Saviour and Redeemer. Let us enter the New Year by ﬁxing our eyes on Jesus and moving ahead. 'Forget those things that are behind you and look ahead to the things you have to achieve.' Surely this is a good word for a new year. What are we to forget? Our worries, our fears, our failures, our victories, our defeats, our hurts and the disappointments life has brought us. What is our goal? Our goal is to reach heaven. We have heard this phrase many time 'it is not enough to start well, but to ﬁnish well'. Let us leave behind all the fears of the past and strive for the future with the boldness of God. When Dr. David Livingstone, the famous missionary returned from Africa to England, he was asked, “Where are you ready to go next?” “I am ready to go anywhere,” he replied, “provided it be forward." This must be the attitude of the child of God every single day. “Lord, I am ready to go wherever You lead, no matter where that takes me.” Nothing is more important in the life of the children of God than becoming fully persuaded that God does indeed lead his children on their journey from earth to heaven because He is a good Father. From our family to yours, we wish you a Happy New Year. May our Heavenly Father guide our steps towards greater things in the New Year as we share the love and message of Christ. We pray for God's choicest blessings in your life and may God's calling in your life come to fruition.As the New Year begins, I encourage you to start this year with the Lord asking Him to lead and guide you throughout the year and all of your days. God bless you!
Dr. C.V. Vadavana Founder & Chairman Sathyam Service Trust
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VOLUME 8 ISSUE 1 JANUARY 2018 Rs. 100/-
Reï¬‚ections on 39 Years of Full-time Pastoral Ministry : Dr. John Sweetman .........................6
Building Relationships : Dr. Thomas Kulanjiyil ..................................................................7
This We Believe : Dr. Alexander Kurian ..............................................................................9
Marriage and Morality : Dr. John Mathew .........................................................................11
Step Outside : Joni Eareckson Tada .................................................................................13
The Woman at the Well : Leonie Poole ..............................................................................15
Three Goals You Should Never Give Up On : Susan Chacko ..................................................17
How to Be Thankful in All Things : Dr. Billy Graham ..........................................................19
News / Events ................................................................................................................21
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3a. Ministry is deeply disappointing
Reflections on 39 Years of Full-time Pastoral Ministry (Continued)
Maybe not every pastor feels this as acutely, but I have found ministry deeply disappointing at times. I know that it's not just me, because I hear disappointment in Paul's lament at the end of his ministry (2 Tim. 4:9-16). There are times when your dreams are dashed, your heart is broken, your plans are in chaos, and/or your prayers seem unanswered. After a particularly bruising time about 12 years into pastoral ministry, I remember standing by the lagoon at Sandgate deeply discouraged and wondering whether I would still be pastoring in a month's time. Many visions I pursued have not borne fruit. Most plans have not worked out as well as I hoped. It's easy to get disheartened in ministry. It hurts because it's your life and passion as well as your job.
3b. Ministry is incredibly rewarding
Dr. John Sweetman
Yet I have found pastoral ministry to be incredibly rewarding. Partly it's because it means following God's grace call and there's no better place to be than pleasing God. But it's also because prayers get answered, lives get changed, suffering takes us deeper, inﬂuence grows, God turns up, people ﬁnd Jesus (or Jesus ﬁnds them), the broken get healed, the hurting ﬁnd comfort, and God builds his kingdom. I was
sitting in homegroup a few weeks ago as we shared our stories. Several said how they had found Jesus while I was pastoring Bracken Ridge. I sat back and drank it in. What a privilege to be part of that. Thankyou Lord. Ministry is incredibly rewarding. We get to see so much of God's work ﬁrsthand.
4a. God works slowly I remember Bobby Clinton (from Fuller Seminary) saying, “God works more slowly than you expect, even when you expect him to work more slowly than you expect.” That's true. Look at God's promises to Abraham. It took hundreds of years (maybe thousands) for them to be fulﬁlled. I say to my preaching students, “Expect God to work through each sermon, but remember that the greatest impact of your preaching is accumulative. Give God time.” I'm always in such a hurry, but I've found that God usually isn't. He will keep his promises and work in power, but he's not in a rush, despite all my pleading. I've never completely adjusted to this, but I know it's true.
4b. God works quickly Yet sometimes God's breakthroughs come suddenly. The resistant seeker gets converted. The difﬁcult change is accepted. The church (or college) takes off. The prayer meetings come to life. The vision is rapidly achieved. Revival happens. For example, I've struggled with fear/anxiety for most of my ministry. It has caused many nights of struggle. Then two years ago I was abruptly released by God. No warning. God spoke and healed and everything changed. It seems that God just doesn't operate by our time frames (2 Pet. 3:8). He has his own agenda. But I've found that sometimes he moves amazingly quickly. When he does, it's very exciting. I could say much more about the healthy tensions of pastoral ministry, but that is enough for now. Retirement may allow more time to tease these things out. I thank God for the incredible privilege of 39 years of leading and shepherding. I look back in wonder at what he has done and celebrate his grace in allowing me a small part in his powerful kingdom work. I look forward to a new season of ministry at (hopefully) a slightly reduced pace. Thanks for reading (and hopefully pondering) my articles over many years. 6
Dr. Thomas Kulanjiyil
It is told that many people suffer today from something called Affection Deﬁcit disorder. Although there is no such professional classiﬁcation in psychology, it must be acknowledged that deﬁcit in relationships is a growing problem these days. Emotional closeness is vital to all relationships, and it is especially important to family relationships. Emotional warmth, acceptance, and understanding are decisive to building a functional family. Deeper emotional connections are needed between spouses, parents and children, and between siblings. How can we achieve this? Gary Chapman, an expert in family counseling, insists that discerning how to communicate love and acceptance appropriately and meaningfully to one another is crucial in building family relationships. He identiﬁes ﬁve different ways people experience love, and he describes them as the “Five Love Languages.” They include physical touch, words of afﬁrmation,quality time, gifts, and acts of service. According to Chapman, each individual person has a primary love language, even though it is possible that a person could have more than one love languages. An individual whose primary love language is physical touch might experience affection primarily through physical touch such as a hug, a kiss, or pat on the back. An individual with words of afﬁrmation as the primary love language would welcome words of praise such as “I love you,” “You have done a great job,” or “You can do it.” Listening carefully and spending meaningful time together with the family members would be signiﬁcant to someone whose primary love language is quality time. Someone whose primary love language is receiving gifts, would value special gifts as tokens of love and appreciation. Someone with acts of serviceas primary love language would appreciate receiving help or assistance in practical ways such as help with a particular task as house chores. Our individual differences even in the area of emotional connection make family life both distinct and challenging. The ability to recognize the unique ways in which each of our family members experience love and to communicate to them our unconditional love appropriately would deﬁnitely draw us closer to one another. 7
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Dr. Alexander Kurian
AUTONOMOUS AND INDEPENDENT
The Jerusalem Council and the Autonomy of the Local Church The council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) does not contradict the principle of autonomy of the local church. The immediate occasion of the Jerusalem council was the visit to Syrian Antioch of some Jewish Christians from Jerusalem, and their teaching that circumcision was essential to salvation. A team from the church at Antioch, consisting of Paul and Barnabas and certain others, was sent to Jerusalem to meet with the “apostles and elders” concerning this matter. So the so-called “Jerusalem Council” was basically a conference held between delegates from the Church of Antioch with the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. After discussing the matter and recognizing the vital importance of the issues involved, the Jerusalem church (“the apostles and elders with the whole church, Acts 15:22) sent two of its leading men with a letter to Antioch, clarifying the issues and undermining the wrong teachings of the Judaizers (Acts 15:22-29). Ryrie's summary of the circumstances leading to the Jerusalem council is very helpful: “The problems raised by the presence of the Gentiles in the Church came to a head. Peter had learned that no man should be called unclean – not even Gentiles (10:34), and the Jerusalem church had accepted the ﬁrst Gentile converts on an equal basis with Jewish converts and without the necessity of being circumcised. However, the ultra-Judaistic party went on the offensive and insisted that Gentile converts be circumcised. A parallel question was also being raised. Should there be unrestricted social contacts between Jewish and Gentile Christians? The Judaistic party separated themselves from those who did not follow the dietary laws and would not partake of the common meals. Chapter 15 is concerned with these two questions: circumcision and foods (socializing). Had the division over these questions prevailed, the unity of the church would have been shattered from the start” FROM THIS POINT ON I WILL FOCUS ON CONTENT NOT SO MUCH ON FORMAT Some salient features of the Jerusalem council are noted below: 1. The decision of the Antioch church to go to Jerusalem was purely voluntary. The Jerusalem church had no organizational authority or superiority that demanded their coming. 2. It was a special gathering (a consultation) for a special purpose. The apostles and elders were not meeting in permanent session, with Jerusalem headquarters, to discuss various problems in the assemblies and impose their verdict on all the local assemblies. The terms in which the elders wrote the letter are devoid of any authoritarian or imposing language (according to F.F. Bruce, “no strong verbs of commanding”). It was not a binding edict. 3. The decision of the apostles and elders was totally under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28). Since they humbly sought the mind of the Holy Spirit in this matter, fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers was strengthened. That the Jerusalem church addressed the Gentiles as “brethren” was signiﬁcant (Acts 15:23). William MacDonald offers this helpful observation about the Jerusalem council: “… this was not an ofﬁcial body with regulatory powers. It was simply a gathering of apostles and elders acting in an advisory capacity. The council did not summon the men to come from Antioch; the latter decided to consult the men in Jerusalem. The decision of the council was not binding on the churches; it was simply offered as the combined judgment of the group” (continued on page 10...) 9
continued from page 9
THIS WE BELIEVE Independent yet Interdependent Though local churches are autonomous and independent, they are interdependent for mutual fellowship, evangelization and other united ministries for the glory of God and the blessing of His people. They may seek help or counsel from neighboring assemblies, or invite visiting teachers from other assemblies. Decisions or actions of one assembly may (or may not) affect or inďŹ‚uence another assembly. They are not under obligation to any other assembly or group of assemblies. No one can impose or force one assembly to accept a decision by another assembly. Each assembly is totally cast upon the Lord for guidance and decisions. They must exercise their spiritual discernment in this matter. A healthy and balanced perspective is needed in the matter of independence and interdependence. These two truths must be maintained properly to give visible and tangible proof of Christian unity, love and service. Failure to act in cooperation and unity with fellow- believers, results in the church ceasing to give one of the most effective possible forms of testimony to the world. (to be continued...) 10
MARRIAGE AND MORALITY (Continued)
By Dr. John Mathew
REQUIREMENTS FOR STABLE MARRIAGE Types of Love What is love? Does it have different meanings in other languages? In the English language there is only one word for Love. Thus, not many are aware that there are different meanings to the word in the three languages used in the Bible, even though they have been translated into English as "love". In the Greek language, which comprises the New Testament, there are three different Greek words that have been translated into the English as the word "love". By understanding them, one can better grasp the meaningof the kind of love that is required for a fulﬁlling marriage. The ﬁrst word is "EROS". It forms the root of the English word erotic. However, in Greek, Eros is an important kind of love. It refers to a romantic sexual love. It is inspired by the physical attraction that humans have for their bodies. We were designed this way by God at creation. Of itself, Eros is not wrong. However, it is a kind of love that should never act alone. Unfortunately, it is the only type of love that many people ever experience. However, romantic,sensual love is only part of the God-given concept of total love. A second type of love comes from the Greek word "PHILIA". The name of the city of Philadelphia means the city of "Brotherly love". Philia implies friendship, companionship, the physical as well as emotional of time and interests. It shows a desire to co-operate. Eros is a face to face relationship, while Philia is a shoulder to shoulder relationship. When applied to marriage, it depicts a husband and wife working together. A friend is someone whose company you prefer, someone that you want to be with.Every good marriage has Philia type of love, such as husbands and wives that want to be with each other. There is yet another Greek word that explains the deep and spiritual meaning of love. The word is "AGAPE". Eros produces romance, makes your mate your lover. Philia makes your mate your friend. But Agape goes much deeper.Agape is a love of total commitment. It means "selﬂessness". Agape is total giving love without expecting anything in return. This is the type of love that God expressed when he gave his only begotten Son as a sacriﬁce for the sins of mankind. He had no self-interest in that act. In the human sphere, agape love is thoughtfulness, concern, and sensitivity to the needs of others. But agape is not a natural type of love. We were not born with it. Eros is essentially implanted in humans at the time of their creation. Philia comes naturally; we all want friends. But agape is different. The highest form of love we can attain is a gift that only God can give us. The very giving and loving nature of God can be put within human beings by a supernatural miracle. Paul wrote in Romans 5:5 "... the love of God hasbeen poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (NKJV)". Jesus said in John 15:13"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends (NKJV)." If and when you come to this point in marriage, you will give your life for your mate. Then, and only then, will you have experienced the penetrating meaning of agape love. Another relevant aspect to agape love in marriage was expressed by Paul when he said in Ephesians 5:28 "So husbands ought to love (agape) their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. Verse 29 For no one ever hated his own ﬂesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church (NKJV)." It is the intensity, intimacy, and bonding of agape love. Too many marriages are based only on the Eros type of love. That type of love usually will not hold up under pressure. Unfortunately, too many marriages don't even have Philia love, because manyhusbands and wives are not even good friends. One should not even consider marriage unless it is built on a relationship of growing love. It is not right to marry for convenience, security, money, or any other single reason; and never live together outside the sacred bonds of marriage. (to be continued...) 11
Step Outside By Joni Eareckson Tada
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” - Isaiah 30:15 It was a chilly night in Bethlehem. People escaped the cold, damp air and crowded into the little inn at the end of the street. They had left their donkeys and camels in the back stable, had shut the door, and were now laughing and chattering with distant relatives they had not seen in years. Family ties were renewed over bowls of hot soup and goblets of wine. People broke bread together, swapping stories about their long journey. A teenager boy strummed his lyre, and several fathers clapped their hands in time to the music. While balancing a tray of meats and breads, the innkeeper answered a knock at the door. A man calling himself Joseph stood outside with his cloak pulled tightly around his head. It was late, cold, and he and his young wife who was heavy with child needed a room. The innkeeper could barely hear Joseph speak with so much background noise, but he managed to explain that there was no room—only an empty stall or two in the back stable. The innkeeper quickly apologized and slammed the door shut against Joseph. Outside, Joseph stood and listened to the laughter behind the door. He sighed deeply, turned, and quietly led Mary to the stable. While a celebration of music and feasting continued behind the warm walls of the inn, yards away, the Son of God quietly entered history. Sometimes the most special moments of Christmas happen not during a crowded party but in cool, quiet silence. In the midst of bustling activity, God seeks out the quiet heart. What a contrast between the serene stable and the busy inn. If only someone had taken the time to peer out a back window, or leave the party to check on his donkey, just think what he would have discovered! Perhaps he would have seen the angels, the shepherds, and yes, even the Son of God. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, there's room in my heart for You.
The Woman at the Well By Leonie Poole One way in which I consider myself fortunate, is that my work as a mobile physio with a community service organisation, brings me into close contact with a broad range of people. People I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. I get to interact with the rich and the poor, the educated and some who have never learnt to read or write, those with supportive families and those without. The wellknown, seemingly successfuland respected within society and others on the fringe, marginalised. There are a number in hints in John chapter 4, that the Samaritan woman was quite likely in the latter category – possibly well known, but for all the wrong reasons.
wasn't well accepted by the other females in town. Jesus gets her attention by telling her that if she knew who He was, SHE would be the one asking HIM for water - living water. Living water- this must have sounded very strange to the woman, and she certainly didn't get it. From where we stand, with the new Testament to read, we can appreciate 'living water' as God's Grace ﬂowing out to humanity, giving eternal life to those who respond to Jesus in faith and repentance, but this was beyond her comprehension at this point in time. She was CONFUSED, but never the less, a CONNECTION had been made between her and the Traveller. Jesus then gently CONFRONTED her “Go call your husband and come back” and then astounds her with His knowledge that she has in fact already had 5 husbands and is wasn't married to her current partner.
We read in the opening verses of John Ch 4, that Jesus' ministry was getting unwanted attention from the Pharisees and Jesus decided to head back up north to Galilee. The route He chose took Him through Samaria. Whilst Galileans were regarded as country bumpkins by those Jews down south in Judea, Samaritans were held in absolute contempt. It all went back to 721 BC when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and took thousands into exile. They then brought foreignersin to resettle the land and this resulted in a people of mixed ethnic origin and syncretistic religious practices. The Samaritans only recognized the ﬁrst 5 books of the Old Testament and worshipped at Mt.Gerazim instead of Jerusalem.
Now we are at the heart of the passage. Jesus points forwards to the new covenant – a covenant in which it will not matter WHERE we worship but HOW.
But Jesus was in the business of breaking down barriers. He parted with convention whenever He saw ﬁt to do so. Jesus started a CONVERSATION with the woman – much to her surprise. It was around midday and a hot time for locals to be at the well drawing water. Perhaps this woman was there alone drawing water in the heat of the day, because she
“Yet a time is coming & has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit and His worshippers must worship in spiritand in truth.” This is certainly food for thought and requires a bit of 'un-packing'. (...to be continued)
The woman is impressed ('I can see that You are a prophet' she said). Understandably though,she would rather change the subject. She then diverts attention from her chequered past to a theological debate: the correct location to worship – Jerusalem or Mt.Gerazim.
Three Goals You Should Never Give Up On By Susan Chacko The New Year has arrived, and many of us have made at least one new resolution or goal to try and keep for the next 365 days. If you have read what's trending as the most popular resolutions for 2018; living life to the fullest, losing weight, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle tops many lists. These are great goals to achieve, and a few of them top my list as well, but they are easily broken by month two of the new year. Let's take a closer look at 3 very important personal goals that you should never give up on this coming year, or anytime in the future. 1) Do not give up on spending time with God. This tops the list for almost any Christian. How many of us church goers, moms and dads, college students, have said “I want to spend more time with God” at the beginning of the year, every year. We shopped around for the perfect devotional, we signed up for the daily bible reading plan, and we said we will attend all the church services of the week. But when life starts moving along, we fall short just as quickly. I too am one among the many that received a reminder email from “YouVersion Bible App”: “Hello Sue, When life gets busy, sometimes it's hard to keep up with everything. But when we make time for God's Word, it has a way of putting all of that activity into perspective. It looks like you're a bit behind on your YouVersion Bible Plan.”
Uh-oh. How embarrassing. Spending alone time with God will allow you to pursue a closer relationship with him. You see the typical Sunday school answers of “read your Bible and pray every day” IS the right answer. Set a schedule if you need to, and pick a time of day to read and study His word. Pray throughout the day, in bed, in the car, in the shower. Constant communication with the Lord will make it easier for you to keep this goal REAL, and opening up the Bible will keep it tangible. Do not wait to get the email reminder that you are behind- keep up at it and your friendship with the Lord will become much sweeter. 2) Do not give up on spending more time with family. In this day and age, where both mom and dad are working full time, babies are at daycare, children are at school and at after-school activities all week, it is hard to gather everyone at the dinner table without one person missing. So how would you put this goal into action?
Wives, make more time for your husband's this year, Husbands, do likewise! Go out to eat, go shopping together, take a road trip, RECONNECT. Being one in marriage will create oneness in the family. Moms and dads, make more personal time with your children, (without looking down on your phone, computer, etc.)! Be present in your children's lives. Ask questions about their day, ask questions about their future goals, listen to their struggles. Give them your undivided, focused attention. Spend the necessary time with your children while they are small, so they will enjoy being with you when they are older. Guide your heart and mind to enjoy these moments given with your husband, and children. If you feel like giving up, go back to goal #1, and leave it at His feet to make a change. 3) Do not give up on pursuing your dreams and aspirations. We all have a passion in us that we may not be currently pursuing. It may be photography, crocheting, writing, playing an instrument, etc. It was my dream to always become a pharmacist, but when I was in college, I fell ill during my ﬁrst semester of pharmacy school. I had to drop out that semester but I knew I had to strive a little bit harder to accomplish my goal. I chose to be determined, and to persevere in my aspiration. At one point I had taken 21 credits in one semester to catch up with my fellow classmates. I did not give up, I continued to pursue my dream- I graduated with the class I entered in with. The same way, hurdles may come across when you're trying to pursue a passion, but stay focused and strive to complete it. Your passion will one day turn into a blessing to others- you may be a photographer for your best friend's wedding, you may be crocheting hats for cancer patients, or you may be writing a book to share hope to those who are hurting. If you give up, you may unknowingly lose a chance to serve others. Are any of these three goals on your 2018 list of to-dos? Be encouraged by reading Galatians 6:9- And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. I pray you will persevere in accomplishing the goals set before you this year! Put God ﬁrst, spend time with your family and friends, and pursue your aspiration and may you be blessed! Originally published on www.mamaofthreeboys.com. 17
How to Be Thankful in All Things
Dr. Billy Graham Are you thankful no matter what? Perhaps you have lost your job recently, as the economy has continued to struggle. Or you may have lost your health, or a loved one. Such circumstances can be tremendously difﬁcult. But even so, we all have much to be thankful for. Look with me at the story of a man who had every right to be bitter—but wasn't. The next footsteps in the corridor, he knew, might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone ﬂoor of the dank, cramped prison cell. Not an hour passed when he was free from the constant irritation of the chains and the pain of the iron manacles cutting into his wrists and legs. Separated from friends, unjustly accused, brutally treated—if ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man, languishing almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his lips rang with words of praise and thanksgiving! The man was the Apostle Paul—a man who had learned the true meaning of giving thanks, even in the midst of great adversity. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV). Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything—no matter the circumstances! The giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ. We must not allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden our heart and chill our relationship with God and with others. Nothing turns us into bitter, selﬁsh, dissatisﬁed people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness. In the ancient world, leprosy was a terrible disease. It hopelessly disﬁgured those who had it, and it permanently cut them off from normal society. Without exception, every leper yearned for one thing: To be healed. One day 10 lepers approached Jesus outside a village, loudly pleading with Him to heal them. In an instant He restored them all to perfect health—but only one came back and thanked Him. (continued on page 20...) 19
continued from page 19
How to Be Thankful in All Things All the rest left without a word of thanks, their minds preoccupied only with themselves, gripped with a spirit of ingratitude. Today, too, ingratitude and thanklessness are far too common. Children forget to thank their parents for all that they do. Common courtesy is scorned. We take for granted the ways that others help us. Above all, we fail to thank God for His blessings. Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible. One of the Bible's indictments against rebellious humanity is that “although they knew God, they neither gloriﬁed him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Romans 1:21, NIV). An ungrateful heart is a heart that is cold toward God and indifferent to His mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything. From one end of the Bible to the other, we are 20
commanded to be thankful. In fact, thankfulness is the natural outﬂowing of a heart that is attuned to God. The psalmist declared, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7, NIV). Paul wrote, “Be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NIV). A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian. Why should we be thankful? Because God has blessed us, and we should be thankful for each blessing.
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BANGALORE NEWS Prayer & Faith Conference Pr. Anbubalagan and Pr. Yeshwanth Kumar, are conducting a Fasting Prayer in partnership with New Creation Church, YWAM, BPF, Forerunner, Jesus Calls, Salvation TV CSI, and Global Out Reach Day. It will be held at Campus Crusade For Chris t Lingar ajapur am on Saturday, 6 Januar y 2018 from 10.00 am To 2.00 pm.The theme of the fasting prayer is Revival Of India. All are warmly welcome for this special event. For more information, please call 8147804319.
Religious priests oppose New Year celebrations in Bengaluru Religious extremists' priests are opposing against the idea of celebrating New Year in Bengaluru. They claim that the celebrating New Year is against the Indian traditions. January 1 st is not the beginning of the year, Ugadi should be considered as the beginning of the year, according to them. They have said that popular places such as MG Road should not be used as a party destination this year. They will demand to stop bars and pubs in Mahatma Gandhi road, they added.
The Glorious Women Conference 2018
Bangalore at the Glorious Promise Land from 19th to 21st of January 2018. The spirit ďŹ lled lady leaders are conducting the conference. All are welcome to this event. For more information, please call 9844140455 or visit the website at www.she31 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Delhi : Seven India Christians were granted bail on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 after being arrested for allegedly hurting the religious feelings of other religions 15 days earlier. The group, which included two pastors, was praying at a house in Mathura district of northern Uttar Pradesh state when about 25 religious fanatics burst in on them. A. C. Michael, a Catholic leader and former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, said that on December 4, 2017 there had been threats to burn down the house where the prayer meeting was being held. He told ucanews.com that the two pastors visited the area for the ďŹ rst time on the request of a local woman to pray for her sick husband. "They are accused of using certain words, which were never used," he added. Lawyer Pramod Singh, who appeared for the accused in the court, later referred to "frivolous and false accusations" made by political ideologues seeking to restrict freedom of religions.
Glorious Ministries is conducting a Women's Conference in 21
Christians in India demand increased security ahead of Christmas celebrations
75 FT. CHRISTMAS TREE MADE WITH BOOKS INAUGURATED AT SATHYAM PUBLICATIONS
Sathyam Publications inaugurated their 75 feet Christmas tree entirely made with books. The auspicious occasion took place on Friday - December 8, 2017 at the SathyaKoodaram Ground, Thiruvalla. Specialties of the event included inauguration of the special Christmas tree by His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan and Dr. George Kakkanatt (Editor of Azchavattom- Houston, USA), Christmas carols sung by students of the SathyaNikethan Special School and cutting of the Christmas cake. Dr. C.V.Vadavana (ChairmanSathyam Service Trust) presided over the event. The Christmas tree is the result of a month's long hard work of 25 people and is made with thousands and thousands of books and Bibles. Various people have already started to visit this wonderful Christmas tree which is a site to see.
Religious Extremists Beat Pastors, Stop Gospel Event in Chhattisgarh State, India Berating and slapping two pastors into signing an apology letter before police, religious extremists stopped a planned three-day gospel meeting in Chhattisgarh state, India minutes before it was to begin, sources said. Religious nationalists beat Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao minutes before the start of the ﬁrst meeting, where about 1,000 people had gathered at the Railway Grounds in Charoda, Durg District on Nov. 16, Pastor Amos James told Morning Star News. “Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao were receiving the people at the entrance,” Pastor James said. “Suddenly a mob of 70 religious activists encircled the entrance, and Pastor Jogi and Pastor Rao were beaten and summoned to the police station.” 22
The president of the Catholic Church in India has expressed concern over the rising number of attacks against Christians, and has urged the government to ensure their security. “Recent incidents in some states (in India) have created anxiety among Christians,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis told Arab News. In December, 30 Catholic choir singers were attacked in the Satna district of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by religious fanatics who accused them of practicing religious conversion. Local church leaders accused police of arresting the choir members instead of the culprits. “What happened in Satna isn't an encouraging sign for minorities,” said Cleemis.
Christian priest arrested by Indian police for singing Christmas carols and distributing Bibles Indian police arrested a Christian priest and questioned members of a seminary after an extremist group accused the members of trying to convert villagers to Christianity. The priest was arrested by authorities after a member the religious fanatic group, accused 50 members of a seminary of converting villagers to Christianity. The member said they were distributing photos of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and singing Christmas carols in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Reuters reported. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India said they were “shocked and pained at the unprovoked violence against Catholic priests and seminarians”.Religious conversion continues to be a sensitive topic in India. Hindu groups accuse Christian missionaries of using cash, kind and marriage to attract poor villagers to convert to their faith.
Religious nationalists warn Christian missionary schools they celebrate Christmas 'at their own risk' A Right-wing religious revivalist organisation has warned Christian missionary schools in northern India that they celebrate Christmas at "their own risk" as it claimed
children who follow other religions were being "lured" to Christianity. The provincial government has ordered the police to ensure a peaceful Christmas for Aligarh's small Christian community, many of who fear violence if they celebrate their biggest festival.
ruling even after conﬁrming from the housing authorities and the engineering surveyor that this was a mistaken raid. This is an outright breach of the law and it is done on purpose. The church is under siege and we are very disappointed," decried Pastor Yahiya.
Suicide Attack on Church in Pakistan Darkens Christmas Celebrations
Somalia: Ex-Muslim Converts to Christianity and Now Leads Others to Christ
Terror struck Christians in Pakistan's Balochistan Province today as four terrorists allegedly linked with the Islamic State (IS) attacked a church, killing at least nine worshippers and injuring more than 50 others. Police and church ofﬁcials told Morning Star News that four suicide attackers stormed the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in the provincial capital, Quetta, in the southwestern part of the country. “There were around 400 worshippers inside the church when the attack began,” the senior leader of the church identiﬁed only as Pastor Samuel told Morning Star News, adding that the church was holding a “Sunday School Christmas Program” at the time of the attack. Pastor Samuel said that police assigned to the church's security reacted timely, averting a much larger tragedy, as one suicide attacker was shot dead after an exchange of ﬁre with police while the other died after detonating his explosive-packed jacket before being able to enter the main prayer hall. Their two accomplices ﬂed the scene during the exchange of ﬁre.
Two Sudanese Pastors' Evictions Upheld by Court
A former Muslim came to know Christ in the Muslimdominant nation of Somalia, and he is now sharing the Gospel with his countrymen, leading others to Jesus. According to The Christian Post, Somalia is 99 percent Muslim and is very hostile toward Christianity, but despite these odds, many Somalians are coming to Christ and boldly sharing their faith. Greg Kelley of World Mission, the organization through which the former Muslim came to faith, is encouraged by those who are turning to Christ in Somalia: "People are coming to know Jesus," Kelley said. “So that was so encouraging to us in and of itself but it's really at great risk and at great cost. The Lord is using our solar-powered audio Bible, called the Treasure, in the Somali language." Kelley went on to say that the Muslim man who converted and is now sharing the Gospel, knows the risks he is taking by being vocal about his faith.
Occult Groups in Nigeria Kill, Kidnap Christians
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Muslim judge upheld the court-ordered eviction of two Christian families from their church-owned homes in Omdurman, Sudan. Pastors Yahiya Abdelrahim Nalu and Siddiqe Abdallah of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) ﬁled an appeal against the eviction that was conducted on August 15, claiming that the property belonged to Hisham Al-Neel. This appeal was denied on December 3, 2017. "The house that was marked for eviction was not ours. Our house number is 772 and the house that should have been vacated is 574. The judge went on with his
Besides Islamic extremist Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, occult groups are also terrorizing Christians in Nigeria. Pastor Victor Kanayo of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was killed in a town in Lagos state on Nov. 26 by an occult group known as Badoo, a week after suspected Badoo members killed Iyabo Alaba and her two children, 4 and 8, at Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos city, according to local reports. Originating last year with a sole killer who called himself Badoo before authorities apprehended him, the Badoo group carries out serial, ritual killings rooted in the founder's methods. Pastor Kanayo was killed in Ofﬁn, Igbogbo, a suburb of Ikorodu town in Lagos state, and his wife, Gloria, and their 10-month-old child, Goodness, were seriously wounded, sources said; both were being treated at Ikorodu General Hospital. 23
WORLD NEWS R. C. Sproul, Inﬂuential Pastor, Author, and Founder of Ligonier Ministries, Has Died R.C. Sproul, the inﬂuential Christian leader who founded Ligonier Ministries on December 14, 2017.Ligonier Ministries made the announcement via Twitter. They included a picture of the notable Christian apologist, author, pastor, and ministry founder along with the sad news: “The Sproul family has shared the sad news with us that our founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul, went home to be with the Lord this afternoon. Please pray for the Sprouls. Further updates will be available soon.” Sproul was born on February 13, 1939. He was 78 years old when he died.
EU Will Not Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
Nations Security Council took steps to overturn the President's decision, forcing the U.S. to exercise its veto power. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, was forced to 'use the U.S.s veto power in support of Trump's recognition of Jerusalem. The UN resolution, which was even supported by close U.S. ally the United Kingdom, read that "all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions." Haley told the Council that the U.S. has the right as a sovereign nation to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move its embassy there. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the U.S.'s decision, and stated, “One defeated the many, truth defeated lies.”
Young Boy Gives up Xbox to Buy Blankets for Homeless This Christmas
President Trump and his administration have been taking steps to show their support for Israel, but the European Union is not following suit. President Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and that the U.S. was working toward moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. EU leaders do not support Trump's stance and action on Israel and rejected his announcement to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to The Times of Israel. “EU leaders reiterate ﬁrm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged,” EU President Donald Tusk tweeted after EU leaders from 28 countries discussed the matter at a summit in Brussels.
US Vetoes UN Resolution against Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital of Israel Recently, President Trump caused controversy with his bold announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Following that announcement, the United 24
Nine-year-old Mikah Frye from Beachwood, Ohio knows that Christmas is truly more about giving than receiving. Mikah knew his parents were going to get him an Xbox for Christmas--a $300 gift which he was excited to receive, but then he noticed that there were homeless people in his town who were in need, so he decided to give up his Christmas gift to help them. According to TheBlaze.com, Mikah told his family that he wanted to use the $300 to buy blankets for those who were homeless. Mikah and his family were able to buy 30 blankets to give to those in need this Christmas. Microsoft, which manufactures Xboxes, heard about Mikah's sacriﬁcial decision and planned to also spread some Christmas cheer.Representatives from Microsoft
coordinated with Mikah's family and planned a surprise for him at a local shopping mall.
Atheist Organization Demands End to Seminary Classes in WI Prisons
"Security forces are also planned to intensify proactive hits against terrorist organizations, as well as tightening security measures at border crossings between North Sinai and other governorates, to prevent any inﬁltration from terrorist elements into the cities," sources told MENA. Security ofﬁcers and employees will be stationed to the 2,626 churches in Egypt. Authorities are also monitoring public parks and tourist sites. Churches are beeﬁng up security with CCTV and metal detector systems after an uptick in terror attacks at Egyptian churches.
Church of England Appoints First Ever Female Bishop of London Held captive by a determination to keep religion conﬁned to churches and homes, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is demanding the Wisconsin Department of Corrections sever ties with an educational ministry that offers inmates a degree in Biblical studies. Modeled after the 22-year-old seminary housed at Angola Prison in Louisiana, the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association (WIEA) and Trinity International University (TIU) formed a partnership to create Operation Transformation, an educational program offering a Bachelor of Science in Biblical studies to inmates serving life or longterm sentences. After completing the four-year program, the inmates are reassigned to other prisons as “ﬁeld ministers.”The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) calls Operation Transformation a “grave” violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and claims in a letter sent to state ofﬁcials that inmates would be better served by a non-religious education.
The Church of England is making news with its appointment of Sarah Mullally as the ﬁrst female Bishop of London.USA Today reports that Mullally is a former nurse. She is married and has two children. She decided to give up her career in the medical ﬁeld and pursue a calling to the priesthood in 2006.The Bishop of London holds the third most powerful position within the Church of England. Upon accepting the nomination, Mullally said she was “delighted and slightly terriﬁed” at such an honor and responsibility.
Over 200,000 Security Personnel Will Guard Egyptian Christmas Services from Attack
Wycliffe Bible Translators Working to Reach Deaf Community with God's Word
Some 230,000 security personnel will guard Christmas celebrations in Egypt during the Christmas season after a string of church and mosque bombings in the country. "Holidays and vacations were canceled for security personnel and ofﬁcers at all security directorates across the country," security sources told Middle East News Agency.
The Bible has been translated into thousands of languages across the globe, but one people group that is often unable to read the Bible in a language they can understand is the deaf community. CBN News reports that Wycliffe Bible translators has been working tirelessly to ensure that the Bible is translated into every language. Recently Wycliffe 25
translators began work on reaching the deaf community with a sign language Bible translation. Chantel Pagan, the director of advocacy for Deaf Bible Society, explained that, although deaf people can read the Bible, having it translated into sign language communicates to them on a deeper level.
New Research Shows Increased Risks of Samesex Parenting
Contrary to the narrative pushed by academia and the mainstream media, there is increasing evidence that samesex parenting has negative effects on children. An article published last month by Catholic University of America Sociology Professor Paul Sullins found children with samesex parents suffer emotional problems two to three times as often as children raised by opposite-sex parents. Sullins' latest article joins other research, most notably published by himself and University of Texas Professor Mark Regnerus, showing children raised by same-sex parents have increased risks of certain harms, including emotional problems, depression, and sexual abuse.
Why Dystopian Stories Attract Today's Teens In a story aired in December on NPR, Elissa Nadworny explores the reason behind the popularity of dystopian books among today's teens. And it has to do with how they view their parents. Nadworny interviewed a group of teens in western Michigan to get their perspective on the literary genre. She writes, “When I asked the group why they think these types of
books are so popular with teens, they tell me it has a lot to do with relatability.” Teens seem to have an extreme awareness of the world's ﬂaws, she says. This awareness comes with a general angst and a sense that, in the words of one teen interviewed, the “whole world is so screwed up.”This is precisely where today's teens have to be careful.Just as Adam and Eve's rejection of God stemmed from the prideful belief that they somehow knew better than God, teens often fall into the trap of believing that they also “know better” than anyone before them. Although parents are far from equal to God, it still rings true that such an attitude only leads to an even more messed up world. The fact is that only God knows better and it takes humility to follow his truth through the grey areas and the messed up matters in the world.
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Published on Jan 9, 2018