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9th YEAR OF PUBLISHING

The purpose of the news magazine is to report newsworthy religious events and activities within the local community, nationwide and around the world, to increase the awareness and activism of believers regarding the moral issues of today, to provide thought-provoking commentary, and to provide an effective advertising vehicle for Christian ministries and organizations, events and businesses that want to reach the Christian community. - Editor

The Team Managing Editor: Robin Sam Editor & Publisher: Elsy Robin Director (Strategy & Planning): Benjamin Ross Editorial Advisor: P I Samuel Production & Sales: S Saravanan Mission Fields: S A Peter, N Solai, (Tamil Nadu) Ashok Baghel, Yunus Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) Mohinder Lal (Jammu & Kashmir) Guest Columnists: Grace Ida Rajan, Joyce Braganza, Mathews George, Don Davis

ADVERTISEMENT TARIFF New Ad Tariff Effective Dec 1, 2012 COLOR PAGES Centre Spread :Rs.16,000/Back cover :Rs.8,000/Inside Front Cover :Rs.7,200/Inside Back Cover :Rs.7,000/BLACK & WHITE PAGES Full page :Rs.2,500/Half page :Rs.1,500/Quarter page :Rs.1,000/Advertisements for the next issue should reach us before the 20th of this month along with the complete payment. Payment can be made by cash or demand draft in favor of ‘Messenger Communications Pvt. Ltd.’ and sent to our address below. You can also email the advertisement matter as jpg, gif or pdf to us at christianmessengerindia@ gmail.com or ads@christianmessenger.in (Readers are advised to make thorough enquiries before acting on any advertisements. This magazine does not necessarily agree to the claims or representations made by any advertiser.)

TELEPHONE: 044-65145334 / 0-7299063345 / 7299063347 ADDRESS FOR COMMUNICATION The Christian Messenger, 20/20, Bharathiar Street, Srinivasa Nagar, Padi, Chennai 50.

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Owned and published by Elsy Robin from 329/4, Poonga Apartments, HIG Flats, II Avenue, Anna Nagar, Chennai 600 040. Printed by L Cyril Sagayaraj at VS Printograph Pvt Ltd., 1, Narasinghapuram Extn.., 1st Lane, Maduvankarai, Guindy, Chennai 600 032. Editor: Elsy Robin Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com

BY the grace of God, we were able to distribute woolen blankets to 60 families across 9 house churches in 3 districts of Chhattisgarh state where we have missions. The gifts and my trip were made possible thanks to a generous gift by one of my classmates who lives with his family in the Middle East. Thank you, Justus! God bless the work of your hands and may your tribe increase! I was in Chhattisgarh from Jan 30 to Feb 4 visiting our mission fields, preaching in churches, encouraging fellow believers and our mission workers. At the moment, we have close to 300 believers across these house churches who gather every week to worship the Lord and hear the Word of God. My colleagues in Chhattisgarh, Bro. Ashok Baghel and Bro. Yunus Kashyap visit at least three of these house churches every week and encourage them to be rooted in the Word and stay close to the Lord. I found that these first-generation believers are an energetic lot. Their worship style is infectious. Many of them walk long distances to reach the church. On February 3, almost 60 people gathered together for worship from 6 villages and most of them had traveled at least 50 km to reach the church. In at least three villages, people have come forward to donate us lands - they want us to construct churches for them. Most of these people are poor farmers or daily wage laborers who cannot afford to build a church on their own. A church building of their own gives them an identity among the people from other faiths who are watching them to see how their lives are transformed by their faith in Jesus Christ. Will you pray for this need of the people in Chhattisgarh? Tamil Nadu Mission Field (Tiruchirapalli): It's been almost a year since we adopted 15 villages in Tiruchi district in Tamil Nadu state. We go there once every month, stay there for three days, travel around the villages on foot, distribute Gospel tracts, pray for the sick, the needy and the demon-posessed and tell them about the freedom in Christ that they can enjoy if only they believed in Him and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. We are praying that we would be able to take a house on rent so a full-time worker can stay there with his family and reach the people. Please keep this need in your prayers. Our work in Ottakovil and Kiliya Nagar mission fields are progressing well. too. Literature Ministry: This year, we hope and pray that we would be able to bring out a magazine for children and the Hindi edition of The Christian Messenger magazine. We need people who can help us in translation of content from English and Tamil to Hindi. It’s a full-time job. We also need people who can draw cartoons and come up with story ideas to help us in bringing out the children’s magazine. If you know someone who fits the bill, please let us know. Thank you. God be with you! Robin Sam “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.”—Amos 9.13. MARCH 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 3


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One day a few frogs were having fun in a pond. After play, they were talking among themselves.

t fun Wha today! ad we h

. al. e , p som dies h a u Ye onto – st w rk N o s wo iou ser

The other frogs created a ruckus while learning their lessons.

I can’t concentrate on my lessons in the noise these guys raise.

are We g our . t n doi alrigh k r wo

p to wra I need stions and que . up all ers today answ

ou ill y up? W nk y! He s clamou thi y y gu do oing? d at Wh ou’re y

I hope t o learn well tod ay.

W wha onder t th lear ey are ning !

I should have done my work well instead of blaming them.

One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys, says Proverbs 18:9. Your examinations are fast approaching. So, concentrate in your studies now. Don’t come up with lame excuses to skip work, OK? All the best! 6 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

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MARCH 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 7


IN an age when just about any blend of spiritual traditions can be viewed as chic or trendy, one major exception remains, even 2,000 years since it was first observed: Jews who believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised by God in the Hebrew Scriptures generally are regarded as traitors by the Jewish community. Even in late 20th-century America, where a best-selling book and film, 'The Jew in the Lotus', highlighted the connections between Judaism and Tibetan Buddhism, the notion that a Jew could believe in Jesus remains incendiary. Across a spectrum of American Jewish belief that ranges from Humanistic and Reconstructionist at the far left to the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher and Satmar communities on the right, there is no room at the inn, so to speak, for those who wish to retain their Jewish identities, customs and worship styles while acknowledging Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus. Into that paradox some 60 years ago stepped Martin Meyer Rosen, better known as Moishe, the not very religious son of not very religious Jewish parents, who grew up in Denver among a group of friends who were not particularly religious. He married a young Jewish woman, Ceil Starr, who embraced Christianity through a neighbor's influence. Rosen soon followed, convinced, he said, by what he read in the Bible. He never stopped being Jewish — at least in his estimation — but his life had taken on another dimension. While he was ministering to Jews in New York, then in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Rosen came to realize the need to reframe a traditional evangelical outreach in a manner that younger, disaffected people could embrace. With that came the now-trademarked brand name of Jews for Jesus, along with distinctive, casual clothing and handdrawn and hand-lettered tracts, called “broadsides,” for witnessing. The life of Rosen, who died in May 2010 from complications of prostate cancer, is chronicled in “Called to Controversy,” a dramatic and compelling biography by his youngest daughter, Ruth Rosen, published by Thomas Nelson. She and Lyn Rosen Bond, her sister, followed their parents' Christian belief. After his conversion, Rosen began witnessing to everyone in sight, with some predictable consequences. His family essentially disowned him. Bosses and co-workers were hostile. And at the Baptist church he and his wife attended, various 8 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

elements of the culture were, to say the least, unfamiliar. After study at a New Jersey Bible college, Rosen spent nearly 20 years with the American Board of Missions to the Jews, the oldest such group in the U.S., now known as Chosen People Ministries. He eventually struck out on his own, seeking to be free of some of the barnacles that a decades-old ministry can accumulate. His new mission would capture media attention because of a catchy name, a distinctive flair and an in-your-face approach to what evangelists call “witnessing.” Jews for Jesus campaigners would target cities and neighborhoods where lots of Jewish people were likely to be found and offer their distinctive brochures to all comers. Much of the attention Rosen's followers attracted came from these unconventional steps. Even the name Jews for Jesus was meant to startle, much in the way the Salvation Army jarred others a century earlier. (Rosen's group happens to have its world headquarters in a former Salvation Army San Francisco command building.) When the opposition got rough, Rosen's troops often received lots of media coverage, which in turn generated questions from those who would be called “seekers.” Rosen's management style was iconoclastic. He often would administer a rather hard slap across the face as part of training for missionary recruits. This wasn't latent sadism, he explained, but rather preparation for rough-and-tumble street encounters. Unlike some whose leadership of religious groups gain them notoriety and public attention, however, Moishe Rosen didn't attain, or manifest, great wealth. Jews for Jesus has been open and accountable about its finances, and when the time came for Rosen to step out of leadership, an orderly process was in place to find a successor. What's more, Rosen seems to have maintained a good, happy family life along what must have been a bumpy road. The same can't be said for every other evangelical leader; several have fallen short of that standard. Like Salvation Army founder William Booth before him, Moishe Rosen led a career of preaching the message of Jesus that made an impact on his generation and far beyond. His Jews for Jesus organization says it “exists to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.” Washington Post Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com


Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com

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BY ROBIN SAM The genesis of the mission ONE day, after my morning devotional I was sitting in our drawing room and looking for something to read. My eyes fell on a newsletter sent by a mission agency based in New Delhi. It is one of the largest church-planting missions in India. Over the last 40 years they have planted 6,000-odd churches in north India. The newsletter in my hands had a report on their activities in Chhattisgarh. I realized barring two districts they had their presence all over that State. The districts where they had no presence were marked as Bastar and Dantewada. I looked at the map in the newsletter and wondered why they couldn't do much in those two districts. I had heard of both these places – Bastar was a major tourist destination while Dantewada was notorious for its Naxal activities. I laid my hand on the map and prayed that God will open doors for the Delhi-based mission in these two districts. Prayer over, I soon forgot all about it. A few days later I was reminded about these two places. I prayed that the Lord will raise laborers to work in His vineyard in these areas. Soon, Bastar and Dantewada were in my prayers more often than I thought. Every time I prayed for the unreached in Chhattisgarh, God would nudge me gently and ask 'Why don't you go or send somebody?' I turned to the 10 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

well-known passage in Isaiah that has recorded one of God's cries of the heart: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” It was OK for Isaiah to say that but can I truly say 'Send me, Lord'? It was not as if mission is an unfamiliar terrain for me. I have been involved in missions in Tamil Nadu. For a good part of my life, I have labored in various mission fields in Tamil Nadu. Since 2011, we were also working in a church in Jammu & Kashmir and involved ourselves in short-term missions in Jammu in the summer of that year. But working in the heartland of India is a different story altogether. Only the tenacious can survive the rigors of the mission field. It is tougher in the cowbelt area than in any other mission field. First step of faith Should I or should I not? I wrestled with God on this and He won! When I went to Chhattisgarh for the first time I did not know a single soul there. I went there without anybody's visiting card or phone number. Language was a stumbling block. Although I can converse in Hindi, I am not very fluent in that language. People in Chhattisgarh speak Halbi, Gondii and Chhattisgarhi besides Hindi. However, the Lord who was with Moses, the man who was slow of speech (Exodus 4:10), the Lord who chose Gideon, the least in his father's house whose family Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com


was the weakest clan in Manasseh (Judges 6:15), the Lord who ignored the excuses of Jeremiah and made him a mighty prophet (Jeremiah 1:6-10) was with me too. He took me to places that I never thought I will step in, He made me come into contact with people whom I never knew before and gave me the vision step by step. A vision to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached in Chhattisgarh; it was not a grandiose vision. The vision is not complete yet, it is being revealed little by little. In my first visit, God brought a man of God into my life. His name is Barnabas Bagh. We were together on a bus from Jagdalpur to Dantewada (a two-hour journey). On that trip, I shared my burden with Bro. Barnabas. He promised to pray about it. I returned to Chennai happy that God had shown me the first few steps of our mission. Days passed, nothing happened. I did not hear from Barnabas. When I called him a few days later, he said he had been praying for me and expected my call. He said someone by name Ashok Baghel will call me later that day. He was a young evangelist who wanted to get into full-time missions work. Ashok Baghel contacted me the same evening when I was on the way back home from work. We spoke. I shared my vision for Chhattisgarh with him and he volunteered to work with us. Earlier, when I shared my vision with Dr. WMS Johnson, a good friend and church mate, he offered to form a team that would pray for our work in Chhattisgarh and offer partial support to one worker in that State. Finally, things were falling in place. Missionary dedication On May 19, 2012, we commissioned Bro. Ashok Baghel to work in Chhattisgarh. Ashok had his own problems. He had been saved by the touch of the Lord as a youth. However, when he went out to distribute tracts or share the Gospel with people he found out that he lacked confidence. He trembled in fear when he saw people. He could not bring himself to speak a word of greeting leave alone share the Gospel message. He poured out his heart before the Lord for several days. And the Lord who does not shut His ears to His children's cries heard Ashok and strengthened him. Ashok prayed that God would give him a co-worker. He laid out his conditions before the Lord. 'This man must be older than me. He must be a joy to work with. He must be an outgoing person.' God heard his prayer and brought Yunus Kashyap into the ministry. By God's amazing grace, we now have 9 house churches in Chhattisgarh. They are all under Bastar division. Each house church is separated by at least 80 to 100 km. The mission workers have to travel enormous distances to meet the believers and Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com

Pray that at least one of our mission field workers is given a motorbike. That would give them greater mobility. The approximate cost of a motorbike is Rs.55,000/Pray that we are able to support three more fulltime workers in Chhattisgarh. Each full-time mission worker has to be paid at least Rs.5,000/- a month. Churches need to be constructed in four areas. We would need anywhere between Rs.75,000 and Rs. 1,50,000 to construct a building where at least 60 to 100 people can come together to worship. In all these four areas, believers have come forward to donate their lands for churches, so the cost of buying lands is eliminated. Pray that we are able to hold a mini crusade every month in one of our mission field areas. Each mini crusade will cost anywhere between Rs.5,000 to Rs.8,000/We need to print Gospel tracts in the local languages. Efforts are under way to translate at least the Gospels into one or more of these local languages. Pray that we get translators to do the work and supporters who would sponsor the literature work. Pray that the Lord of the harvest raises (Matthew 9:38) people to labor in His fields and people who would support the mission fields through their prayers and contributions. We need regular monthly support for the sustenance and growth of the missions. A monthly pledge, however small, would help the work go on unhindered. Will you make a pledge today? Pray also for peace in all our families, protection of all mission workers and their loved ones. 1 Peter 5:8 says: ‘The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ We need to be under the blood of Jesus Christ daily. fellowship with them. One of our mission workers needs a motorbike. In four places, villagers have come forward to donate their lands to build a church. The churches would also require a toilet and a baptism tank. Together, it would cost minimum Rs.1,50,000/- per church. Will you be one of the people who will come forward to help us build a church in Chhattisgarh? If you cannot provide the entire amount towards the cost of a church's construction, will you pray that God will raise more people like you who would support this mission through their prayers and contributions? MARCH 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 11


Mission field workers of The Christian Messenger in Chhattisgarh distributing woolen blankets to believers in a house church in the southern part of that state.

VISION 2020 WE have dedicated ourselves to win souls for Christ in Chhattisgarh. If the Lord's coming tarries, by 2020 we hope to disciple 81,000 people for Jesus Christ. We are praying that God will help us plant 30 churches in each of the 27 districts of that State. That's an astounding target of 810 churches in 7 years. Do I have the faith to believe that it will be possible? Yes, I believe it is possible. My faith comes from Luke 18:27 where Jesus Christ said: ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’ Like William Carey I would like to attempt great things for God and expect great things from God. Yes, 810 churches in 7 years. I know that not all of them would be proper churches with concrete buildings. Sometimes, a church may be just a small hut or a place that can accommodate 30 people in a 15x10 area. We are sure the Lord who provided wisdom and the resources to Solomon to build his temple will turn huts into concrete structures in His time. To disciple 81,000 people we need to mentor 270 leaders and raise 2430 elders. The stress is on making disciples because that’s the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). The vision is to disciple 81,000 people for Jesus Christ. Where will they come from? They will come from all over Chhattisgarh. Like you and me, they are the ones chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Will you pray along with us that God will give us the wisdom and the wherewithal to achieve this before He comes to take the elect with Him? Together we can claim Chhattisgarh for Christ! I would like to hear from you on this. If you decide to prayerfully support this mission, will you get in touch with us today? 12 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

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Since the beginning of 2013 people have been asking what these new times might bring in the Middle East region, specifically with the instability in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and looming Iranian nuclear ambitions. Secular folk wonder if the reinstated US President will pursue a stronger Middle East strategy. Will Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu PM Select be more flexible to US and EU demands? Or can Benjamin Netanyahu even create and maintain a government? Will Netanyahu and his cabinet give the order to attack Iran or Syria or will there be instead a civil war in Israel between the religious and the secular? Many individuals who read and/or believe in the Bible question if we are near the end times, however, this is not exclusive to Christians and Jews as Muslims and some of the public in general, dispute the significance of the occurrences. As for the direction of the US Middle East 'peace' policy and Israel's new government, we don't have to wait long to find out. Benjamin Netanyahu is rapidly negotiating partners for his coalition and President Obama is slated to be in the region in March. No one is wasting any time in getting organized for the new year's challenges. In the meantime, others pondering Biblical prophetic scriptures wonder if this world is teetering on the brink of total disintegration. Many question if the current US President is the antichrist (known as the beast in the Book of Revelation), the king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences of the Book of Daniel. Some popular magazines and web sites have already used the term and image of the President as a 'messiah' to purportedly cryptically further flame the theories. While others question if Israel's paramount security threats along with their inner secular/religious strife is an advanced sign to the attack of Gog and Magog in the Book of Ezekiel, or the gentiles treading the holy city under foot in the Book of Revelation (existence of international forces policing or maintaining order in Israel). Nowadays though, the statements above may seem like a joke or insanity to many people, but millions of others treat prophecy very seriously, maybe it secretly, and for that reason alone should not be ignored by the unbelieving. Therefore, all these events and potential events dramatically raise alarms to those who watch for the 'end times' while 14 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

they debate whether they should prepare for the worse. A couple things are for sure. The world is a much more dangerous place. Armies are rapidly modernizing, building and rebuilding in China, Russia, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and Christians and Jews worldwide are definitely being persecuted more often (America is no exemption). So does this mean anything? Based on the current conditions, I perceive four things could possibly happen. First, the Israelis will try to settle the secular/religious disputes by negotiation as the modern Israeli does not predominantly display physical-violence tendencies among themselves particularly while in danger from external forces. Second, there is a chance of a massive, coordinated attack on Israel from joint Arab and Muslim extremist militias and terrorists, reinforced by Russian, North Korean and maybe Chinese weapons and advisors similar to the scenario in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 38. Although, in order for this to occur, the Arabs would need to stop fighting themselves, and Russia, China and North Korea would have to have a contingency plan for USA intervention and Israeli retaliation that includes a nuclear confrontation on multiple fronts. Third, there could be a collapse of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and/or a surprise Israeli preempt strike on Iran (which is what the US President wants to avoid and rumored why he is coming to Israel). Israelis fighting against either Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or Iran could hypothetically, immediately plunge the Middle East into a regional war, combined with international forces, in which both Israel and the Arab countries sustain severe and traumatic destruction similar to references in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 34, 35, parts of 36, and 38:8. That is, if, the Arabs can stop fighting each other long enough to concentrate on Israel. Four, nothing happens. Or actually to be precise, exactly more of the same despairing state of affairs, attacks and retribution that have plagued Israel ever since they reemerged as a country, and the contentious conditions that have haunted the Middle East region for millennia. And unfortunately till now, circumstances haven't altered despite who the Caesar, Prefect, Proconsul, King, Sultan, Sheik, Prime Minister, President, General, Diplomat or leadership was. In fact, if someone does overcome Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com


the monumental odds and obstructions between the regional feuds, beliefs, religions, traditions and cultures, and does succeed in creating a peaceful Middle East region, maybe that is when we should be concerned about the 'end times'. Now, returning to the Obama and Netanyahu peace initiatives. I haven't included the Palestinian National Authority (PA) because, it appears for them, not inflicting the Israelis with terrorism is concession enough and no other compromises are needed. In addition, along with world demands the PA has great hopes the US is going to force Israel into more gestures and concessions. As a result, a lot of pressure is building against the Israelis to do something. Politians are already spinning concessions in a positive light. Surprisingly, some have changed their view and want to recognize the PA, while others talk of a State of Palestine without the right of return or strong military capabilities. Even so, I do want to point out a couple of things. There is no way, once Palestine becomes a state, to relinquish their right of return or to refuse them to have a comprehensive military. It isn't legal and won't stand up in court indefinitely to refuse a United Nation's recognized country, their sovereign rights. Besides, once Palestine is a state, Russia and

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China who are on the Security Council will (allegedly) vote or change their vote so all Arab Palestinians can return, and might even (allegedly) fully arm the State of Palestine in order to annoy the Israelis and the Americans and try to push them out of the region altogether. In conclusion, conditions in the region are getting worse and the colossal task of restarting the 'Peace talks' is a mighty undertaking. Majority of Israelis want an arrangement that will ensure their security along with the Palestinian Arabs. The chaotic environment, and the lingering historical mutual disdain related to bloodlines, failed talks, and bloodshed complicate the quagmire.

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DOCTORS confirmed only 10 months ago that my friend Benny Benson had a malignant tumor in his spine. He underwent treatment, but in the end more tumors appeared. Nothing could stop the spread of the disease—not radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. He died on Jan. 31, and I spoke at his memorial service in New Hampshire on Feb. 12. I still can’t believe Benny is gone. More than 500 people attended his funeral. Many of them were college students who had been discipled through Benny’s campus outreach, which he carried out with his wife, Cindy. Like so many of Benny’s other friends and family members, these students had prayed for Benny to be miraculously healed of the cancer. But in the end, Benny got the ultimate healing—by stepping into eternity. Whenever loved ones are taken from us we ask hard questions. Why does God allow cancer to ravage people’s bodies? Why doesn’t He always heal when we pray? Why would He let a guy like Benny, who was only 58, get sick with cancer when he was seeing amazing results in his campus ministry? Those of us who wear the charismatic label don’t do well when people die of sickness. We’ve been taught that God “always” heals, especially if we pray according to the latest 1-2-3 formula, if we break every generational curse, and if we bind every demonic power that might be lurking behind the surface. Miraculous healings do happen sometimes. But when they don’t, we assume we said the wrong prayer, didn’t exert enough faith or harbored some secret sin in our hearts. We trivialize the Lord by turning Him into a genie in a bottle. We think He exists to perform miracles for us—as long as we rub the lamp the right way and say the right magic words. But that is a silly and immature way to approach an omnipotent God. I didn’t have the answers to such heavy theological questions when I spoke at Benny’s funeral. I was mostly concerned about whether I would start sobbing as soon as I read my first text from the Bible. (Fortunately my voice only cracked a few times.) I prefaced my remarks by admitting that I have never been a fan of the book of Job. I don’t like reading about a righteous man who lost 16 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

Why would God let a guy like Benny, who was only 58, get sick with cancer when he was seeing amazing results in his campus ministry? everything—including his health. I don’t like reading about bad things happening to good people—mainly because I don’t want to face suffering myself. But the book of Job is in the Bible. And it is near the middle of the Bible for a reason. Just as the book of Psalms reminds us that praise will get us through the hard times, Job reminds us that we must keep eternity in mind when we walk through trials. Job had to learn to see life—and death—from God’s wide perspective instead of his puny human viewpoint. Job’s faith was tested like gold. After he experienced incredible loss, he was able to say: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take his stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26, NASB). Job made that ultimate faith confession in his darkest moment. He stared poverty, hardship, sickness and death in the face and declared that regardless of his circumstances, he would be resurrected and would live eternally with the Lord. He was so secure in his personal relationship with God that the assaults and accusations of Satan did not shake him. He persevered. He held on to faith. And instead of focusing on his bleak circumstances he looked at his bright future in heaven. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com


That’s how I decided to approach Benny’s death. I refused to ask whether we prayed and fasted enough, whether the healing anointing was strong enough or whether we strained enough in our faith to produce a miracle. The greatest miracle occurred when Benny stepped from this life into the next and began an eternity with Christ. He now fully understands the words of Jesus in John 11:26: “And whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. (NIV)” Of course we want our loved ones to be healed. Of course we should pray for miracles. But if God does not answer us the way we insist He should, we must rest in His all-knowing sovereignty and rejoice in the fact that Jesus has conquered death. Please don’t minimize the wonder of Christ’s resurrection power. Yes, cancer happens. Sometimes it kills people. But cancer doesn’t win when the suffering person is a Christian. If the victim of a terminal illness knows Jesus, they will experience the most powerful of all of God’s miracles when they die. We will know the power of that resurrection, too, and we will join them one day in heaven’s paradise. J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org). His latest book is ‘Fearless Daughters of the Bible’.

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MONEY! We love to make it, spend it, save it, give it … “Wait a minute,” you say. “Give it? That’s my money you’re talking about. I earned it and I will decide how I spend it, save it and do whatever I want with it. But just give it away? I don’t think so.” Money, sex, and power are three of the hottest of hot buttons for men. Number one for many guys is the almighty dollar. I guess it comes with the competitive nature with which many of us are born. We drive hard, sell hard and perform hard, all to get a buck. When done right, driving, selling and performing are very good things. Those things make much of the world go around. Money is good. Making it is good. In fact, Scripture talks about a day’s work and the importance of work. I Thessalonians 5:12, Colossians 3:23, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and Exodus 23:12 all talk about work, and that’s just the tip of the scriptural iceberg on the topic. Further, it talks of a servant being worthy of his wages in both Luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:18. Can making money be bad? Only if a man allows it to control his life. Normally when you make it to give it, you control it, not the other way around. Along those lines, here are some things I’ve observed about money and giving over the years: Stingy people are really unhappy. No Scrooges smiling in everyday life at the ballpark or over the backyard barbeque. Generous people are really, really happy! Rich and poor alike can give. When a person gets the bug to give, it can begin to be what they live for. Not a bad thing! Here’s a good one I’ve always dreamed of. Imagine if you had $10 million dollars dropped in your lap out of the clear blue. How much fun would it be to not just give a ten spot or $100 gift to a worthy charity or your church, but to give a major, major gift of hundreds of thousands or a million dollars and beyond to start something good for your community or for ministry that would not happen without your gift? I have to tell you, that can trip your trigger! Much has been written about a person’s responsibility to give 10 percent of their income to the local church. Scripture is clear on that matter in Malachi 3:10 and Hebrews 7:5-9 for starters. For 30 years I have worked for two churches, one parachurch ministry, and a Bible college. During those years, never has there ever been a question in 18 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

my mind where a man’s tithe belongs. It belongs to the local church. Here are questions and answers some men have about giving: Why should a person give the tithe? Scripture commands it. Keep in mind, it is the Lord’s tithe, not our money. It belongs to Him. Be obedient. Then give because much has been given to you. Besides, its fun! What if I don’t have enough money to give anything, let alone tithe? This is where faith comes in. When you follow the command of the Lord and give when you can’t see where it comes from, the principle works. I have a pastor friend who tells his congregation he would tithe even if he were not a Christian because he knows the principle works. What if I don’t like what my church does with my money? Give anyway to that church or change churches. Scripture doesn’t build exclusions to tithing. It says to tithe. However, on very rare occasions there are churches that are not responsible with their money. Your responsibility is to give. The church’s responsibility is to be a good steward of your money. When they don’t do their part you may be forced to look elsewhere for your local church. However, this is never a decision to be made lightly. Why does my church ask me to give more than the tithe? That is called the offering. Offerings are those gifts which are above and beyond the tithe. Those gifts in most churches cover the important ministries of missions, building fund, etc. The tithes normally cover the general operation of the church. The church desires to grow and reach out beyond the four walls in your city. Offerings provide to that end. Money! Wow, we love it and to give it away is one of the most fulfilling experiences for a man and his family. In poverty and in riches, relish all God has done for you. Give of yourself, work hard and give tithes and offerings. Do so and you will be glad you did. You can take that one to the bank! Dick Hardy is the founder and president of The Hardy Group, an executive consulting firm for senior pastors. Dick brings a wealth of experience to the table for pastors when dealing with the tough issues of the church relative to growth, organization, leadership, administration and change. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com


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I

F anyone asked me what I Word. Don’t miss church at any wanted to become, I would cost. I went to church every just say, ‘I want to be a Sunday even if there was a major doctor’ without giving it a test the next day. Always say a second thought. I was yet to word of prayer before you start discover the true purpose behind writing your exam. my desire to become a doctor. The advice of our parents and When you have a goal to their endless lectures on the achieve it is very much essential importance of studying might to put in your best efforts and to seem annoying right now. But it be determined and God will take is important to realize that care of the rest. everything they do is for our own In my tenth standard I was in a good and that they know better. I class where competition was would have never been the RACHEL PONNILA very tight and I had to work person I am now had it not been Devote as much time as for my parents’ support. There really hard to stay on top. Listening attentively in class possible to studies, at least have been instances when they will make it so much easier when now. Cut down on the time have stayed up the whole night you are learning that topic later. with me the day before my exam. you spend watching TV, It is necessary that you do your God helped me through all of daily lessons every day. I texting and talking to your it and I completed my board completed my x standard and got friends. Remember it’s just exams successfully. And finally the grade point -10! It made my the results came out and I got a for a couple of months whole family happy. massive score of 1180! I could and it will be over I did my eleventh and twelfth not have achieved it without before you realize it. in a different school because I God’s help and my mom’s changed from CBSE to State Board. I was greatly ceaseless prayers. It made my whole family happy honoured as I was offered full scholarship for my and I am proud to be the reason for their happiness. education there. I worked really hard to get a good The smile I got to see on my grandpa’s face that day score in 12th. There were huge expectations and I was is simply priceless. Then I thought I would study MBBS at some under a lot of pressure. Devote as much time as possible to studies, government college. I had always wanted to get into especially now when the exams are nearing. Cut a government medical college through merit but down on the time you spend watching TV, texting God had different plans for me. Never did I imagine and talking to your friends. Remember it’s just for a that I would get through the CMC entrance exam! Now I study in one of the most reputed medical couple of months and it will be over before you realize it. Have a definite time table and plan out institutions, which is a dream to many knowing that your studies for each day and make sure you stick to this has not happened due to my might or my the plan. Solve as many question papers as possible knowledge. God has given me the opportunity to study in a and try to finish them before the stipulated time and practice going through your answers quickly once college where His name is always being glorified and I hope my education here will help in instilling you are done writing. It helps you to get the hang of it and you can write values of kindness and service to the poor. God has been merciful to me, though I am most your final exams with ease. I remember writing three undeserving for his abundance of love and grace. I exam papers consecutively every day and it was that believe it is all according to God’s plan so that I may kind of determined hard work that helped me to fulfill the purpose for which He has sent me into this score well. But don’t ever let the time you spend studying world. I thank God and I owe all the happiness of my life take you away from God. It is not by your knowledge but only by the grace of God that you are going to to His kind providence. The writer is a 1st year MBBS student in emerge victorious at the end of all this. Pray earnestly for His guidance and meditate on His Christian Medical College, Vellore. 20 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

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A

T the outset, I wish to extend my heartiest wishes to all of you as you are gearing up to snatch the top slots in your exams that are fast approaching. The astounding success in your exams is going to bring great joy and pride not only to you, but also to your family, friends and the school. Here are few guidelines to help you face the challenge more confidently and pass the exams with flying colors. Positive Attitude

BAKIYARANI PRADEEP

“Your ‘I CAN’ is more important than your IQ.” said a world renowned writer. Your knowledge or brilliance doesn’t count, it is only your willingness to succeed that counts at this juncture. It is very important to approach the exams with a positive framework of mind. What you think is what you become. Start cultivating positive thoughts in your mind. Keep saying “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. When you practice this over and again and put in the required efforts, success is automatic. Self Discipline “Self-discipline is the master key to open the gates of success.” Have a well-defined time-table and systematic study schedule. Begin your day with a prayer and by meditating on the Word of God. Never waste time on non-productive activities like spending long hours before the TV, social networking sites, mobile phone etc. As you are at the fag end of your preparation zone, it is indispensable to divert all your energy, efforts and time towards the upcoming exams. Apply the principle ‘R-S-D-D’ Regularity, Sincerity, Devotion, and Determination. Then success is yours. Our God is the God of discipline. He will lift you up and set you on high places. Preparation “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Plan your time for thorough preparation and avoid procrastination since it steels your time and selfconfidence. Your time is like sandalwood. It should not be used like firewood. Avoid learning fresh topics that you have never attempted to study earlier. Make it a point to revise thoroughly whatever you have already learnt. It would be a good idea to practice previous years’ Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessengerindia@gmail.com

main exam question papers under strict exam conditions before writing your main exam. This will help you manage your time better and also gauge your preparation. Presentation Remember, your answer sheet is the only medium of communication between you and the paper valuer. Therefore, presentation in exams becomes crucial. Possessing the knowledge is one aspect. Communicating effectively in the answer sheet is another. You have to impress the examiner and

convince him that your answer deserves the top marks. First impression is the best impression. Answer the questions that you know thoroughly in the first few pages. Bad handwriting and overwriting will cause bad impression. So write legibly and neatly. Answer to the point. Do not leave out any question that you are required to answer. Remember, six average answers are likely to fetch more marks than 5 best answers. If you get stuck in a question, do not spend excessive time in trying to complete it. Move on to the next question, leaving adequate space to complete it later. Special Note to Parents Dear parents, Be of good courage. The Lord will do mighty things for your children. Give your children a good diet and spend quality time with them. Keep encouraging them; your motivation will do wonders in them. Do not compare their performance with that of peers for each child is unique. During the exam days, parents must take care that the child carries all the required stationery, hall ticket, ID card etc., and reaches the exam centre well before time. After the exams are over, never discuss the day’s exam, Give them adequate rest and ensure they start revising for the following day’s exam without wasting any time. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle; but the victory comes from the Lord.” Submit your life to Jesus, Walk with him hand in hand! He will set you in high places for His glory. Wishing you all a great success in the ensuing exams and the life ahead! All the very best! God bless! The writer is the correspondent of St. John’s Matriculation School in Chennai. MARCH 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 21


In wealthy Hong Kong, poorest live in metal cages FOR many of the richest people in Hong Kong, one of Asia's wealthiest cities, home is a mansion with an expansive view from the heights of Victoria Peak. For some of the poorest, like Leung Cho-yin, home is a metal cage. The 67-year-old former butcher pays 1,300 Hong Kong dollars ($167) a month for one of about a dozen wire mesh cages resembling rabbit hutches crammed into a dilapidated apartment in a gritty, working-class West Kowloon neighborhood. The cages, stacked on top of each other, measure 1.5 square meters (16 square feet). To keep bedbugs away, Leung and his roommates put thin pads, bamboo mats, even old linoleum on their cages' wooden planks instead of mattresses. "I've been bitten so much I'm used to it," said Leung, rolling up the sleeve of his oversized blue fleece jacket to reveal a red mark on his hand. "There's nothing you can do about it. I've got to live here. I've got to survive," he said as he let out a phlegmy cough. Some 100,000 people in the former British colony live in what's known as inadequate housing, according to the Society for Community Organization, a social welfare group. The category also includes apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments as well as rooftop shacks. They're a grim counterpoint to the southern Chinese city's renowned material affluence. Forced by skyrocketing housing prices to live in cramped, dirty and unsafe conditions, their plight also highlights one of the biggest headaches facing Hong Kong's unpopular Beijing-backed leader: growing public rage over the city's housing crisis. Leung Chun-ying took office as Hong Kong's chief executive in July pledging to provide more affordable housing in a bid to cool the anger. Home prices rose 23 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 and have doubled since bottoming out in 2008 during the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said in a report last month. Rents have followed a similar trajectory. The soaring costs are putting decent homes out of reach of a large portion of the population while stoking resentment of the government, which controls all land for development, and a coterie of wealthy property developers. Housing costs have been fuelled by easy credit thanks to ultralow interest rates that policymakers can't raise because the currency is pegged to the dollar. Money flooding in from mainland Chinese and foreign investors looking for higher returns has exacerbated the rise. 22 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w MARCH 2013

In his inaugural policy speech in January, the chief executive said the inability of the middle class to buy homes threatens social stability and promised to prioritize tackling the housing shortage. "Many families have to move into smaller or older flats, or even factory buildings," he said. "Cramped living space in cage homes, cubicle apartments and sub-divided flats has become the reluctant choice for tens of thousands of Hong Kong people," he said, as he unveiled plans to boost supply of public housing in the medium term from its current level of 15,000 apartments a year.

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Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (PHILIPPIANS 4:6)

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