One fine day Don and Dona woke up to a big surprise. Wow! Uncle, what is this?
I made this vehicle, called ‘Comet’.
Their uncle gave them several instructions and taught them to drive. Uncle, I want to show it to my friends.
OK. Remember all that I told you.
Don and Dona were enjoying their drive. Just then…
Hello, Aunt Beryl. How is our ‘Comet’?
Great! But, I think it’s going to break as both of you are sitting in this small vehicle.
They both were very excited to see ‘Comet’. Cool. Can I drive it?
Of course. It’s my gift to you.
So, Don & Dona got inside ‘Comet’ and started to drive. Kids, don’t be bothered about any comments on your way.
They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t want the vehicle to break. So… Push, Dona, Push.
OK. But, Don, I don’t think we are doing the right thing.
Turn to back inner cover to follow the story
GREETINGS to you in the Name of Jesus Christ who gave us this wonderful and comforting promise in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. This promise flows out of a command, what we call as the Great Commission. Though this promise was given primarily to His followers who had assembled at Galilee 2000 years ago to see the risen Lord, it is applicable to us even today. What the Lord was telling them then and is telling us now is this: When you decide to walk and work for me, you would not go alone or be helpless for My presence will comfort you. A child of God will always have the company of the Son of God and the indwelling of His Spirit. Why am I saying this? Because when you decide to walk and work for the Master, there will come moments of despair when everything around you will seem to be bleak and utterly hopeless – but it is in moments such as those that we need to remind ourselves that there is a Lord who will turn our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). The presence of the Lord and the guidance of His Spirit is great comfort. Remember this great comfort follows the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19. The Great Commission is not a helpful suggestion but a strong command for us to follow. By preaching the Gospel, we are to strive to win everyone for Christ. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’ The point to remember is going comes before making. You need to be ready to go! Go where? Go where the Spirit of the Lord tells you to. Not all of us are called to be missionaries, but remember you are responsible for your street, colony, village and town. It may not be possible for us to impact everyone for Christ but it is possible to pray for those around us, share an encouraging word
‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’ The point to remember is going comes before making. You need to be ready to go! Go where? Go where the Spirit of the Lord tells you to. Not all of us are called to be missionaries, but remember you are responsible for your street, colony, village and town. with them, help them in their distress and point them to the inextinguishable Light of the world – Jesus Christ. Most of the time, however, we do not do this. Some years ago, I met a man who is active in his church and prayer group. He had come to the railway station to receive his wife while I was there to receive my father who was returning from a trip to Kerala. He knew I was into missions and hence the conversation veered to evangelism. Midway through our talk, he dropped a bombshell. He said: “We have a maid at home. She is from a remote village in Tamil Nadu. We don’t thrust our faith on her. We follow our religion and she is happy to follow hers.” This man who was in his late sixties, who had been active in church administration as a layman for a good part of his life had simply not understood the basis of the Great Commission. He thought sharing the Gospel is akin to thrusting one's faith on another. Sadly, there are numerous such pulpit-lovers around us. They are regular at church, tithe often, vie with one another to host their pastors at home but would never open their mouth to share a word about Jesus to another. Isn’t that sad?
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ANY method that results in people hearing/reading and understanding the biblical gospel is a good evangelism method. Gospel tracts are small booklets that present the gospel, usually based on a specific theme. The theme may be a holiday, a timely issue, a movie or TV show, a book series, a musician, etc. – there are gospel tracts on virtually every topic imaginable. The goal of a gospel tract is to get the gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ into peoples’ hands in an interesting and easyto-read format. While the precise origin of gospel tracts is uncertain, there are records of them as early as the 13th century A.D. Gospel tracts were popularized during the Protestant Reformation, and the invention of the printing press made massproduction of tracts much easier and faster. The most well-known gospel tract is likely “The Four Spiritual Laws” written by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ. Gospel tracts can be a very effective method of evangelism. Again, if the biblical gospel is presented i n a c l e a r a n d understandable manner, God will use it (Isaiah 55:11). Any time God’s Word goes forth, it is powerful and effective (Hebrews 4:12). People who are not otherwise effective communicators can overcome such a weakness by use of a gospel tract. Gospel tracts are an excellent choice when you simply do not have time to stop and witness to someone. Gospel tracts can be left in strategic locations for people to pick up later and read. There are perhaps two primary weaknesses/issues with gospel tracts. First, there are several prominent gospel tract publishers who produce tracts in which the gospel is not as clear as it should be. Some of the pseudo-Christian cults are well known for having tract ministries. Before you Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
consider handing out a gospel tract, read it closely and do some research on its publisher. Make sure that the gospel is clearly presented. If the tract endorses a website or other source of information, ensure that the message presented there is biblical. Second, some people rely entirely on gospel tracts and purposefully avoid directly sharing the gospel with others. Giving someone a gospel tract is easier than personally sharing the gospel. While there are definitely many situations where giving a gospel tract is entirely appropriate, there are other situations where only a personal gospel presentation will suffice. We are all to be ready, willing, and able to share the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15). Gospel tracts can be an important and valuable aspect of sharing the gospel, but it should not be the sole means of our outreach.
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AUSTRALIAN ‘grandmother’ to 8,000 Ugandan orphans died peacefully on July 21 afternoon in Sydney after a 14-month battle with esophageal cancer. Founder of the Irene Gleeson Foundation (IGF), Irene Gleeson died surrounded by family and friends, a spokesperson for the family said. Gleeson will best be remembered as the courageous Australian grandmother with an unshakeable faith who traded her Northern Beaches home 22 years ago for a war zone in order to rescue children from the ashes of war. In 1991, Gleeson sold everything she owned, said goodbye to her four grown children and 13 grandchildren, and towed her modest caravan to Kitgum—a small, isolated community on the Sudan border and home to one of the world’s most terrible conflicts. Then, under the shade of a tamarind tree, she began teaching traumatized children to sing. Many of the children she rescued were former child soldiers who had been kidnapped by religious extremist Joseph Kony and his band of rebels. A trained teacher, she then added reading and writing to her repertoire, carving out letters of the alphabet in the dust. Eventually she began feeding the orphans, sinking wells and establishing building 8 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
works. But development didn’t come easy: Gleeson was the target of several rebel attacks, suffered bouts of malaria and depression, and dealt with extreme isolation. Despite the setbacks, the tenacious ‘Mama Irene’ never gave up on her dream of restoring hope and dignity to the Acholi people. Today her legacy remains: 8,000 children who wear red T-shirts symbolizing the blood of Jesus and who each receive food, clothing and medical care daily; three primary schools; a 60-bed AIDS hospice; a vocational training center that caters to 1,500 students; a community church and a radio station broadcasting to more than 1 million people in the region. Thousands came to know Christ through her ministry. Gleeson’s work has been recognized by the president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and by the Australian government. In 2009, she received the honor of Officer of the Order of Australia for ‘service to international relations, particularly through sustained aid for children affected by war and HIV/AIDS in northern Uganda,’ and media outlets began to dub her ‘Australia’s Mother Teresa.’ Her autobiography is due for release in 2014. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
SYRIA’S devastating civil war will force a generation of children to grow up illiterate and filled with hate, a UN envoy has warned as fighting raged on around the country. Leila Zerrougui, the special representative for children and armed conflict, said both sides in the Syrian conflict, now in its third year, continue to commit grave violations against children. Scores of children have been killed, injured, detained, and forced to witness or to commit atrocities as President Bashar Assad’s troops battle opposition fighters trying to oust his regime, she said. Zerrougui spoke following a three-day visit to Syria, where she met with government officials and rebel commanders. She said she urged both sides to spare the children. Once the war is over, Zerrougui said she told her counterparts, they “will have to face a generation of children who lost their childhood, have a lot of hate and are illiterate.” The fighting has destroyed thousands of schools across Syria while many of those still standing have been turned into shelters for displaced people, Zerrougui also said, speaking to reporters in Beirut. Before Syria, the UN envoy also visited Syrian
refugees in neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. She said children account for nearly half of the five million Syrians who fled their homes because of the fighting. Of those, half have not gone to school. And nearly 70 percent of those who do go to school drop out because they need to help support their families or for other reasons, Zerrougui added. During her visit to Syria, Zerrougui also urged opposition forces to stop recruiting children into combat and asked the government to consider children, who were forced to taking up arms, as victims, not as combatants. Aid groups have warned that some 2 million children in Syria are facing malnutrition, disease, early marriage and severe trauma as a result of the civil war. The Violations Documentation Center in Syria, a key activist group that keeps track of the war’s dead, wounded and missing persons, says 7,132 children under the age of 15 have been killed in the past two and half years, including 4,939 boys and 2,193 girls. More than 93,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict started in March 2011 as largely peaceful protests against Assad’s rule. AP
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BY SHANTHA KINGSTON OU may be a good Christian. You don’t miss Sunday services. You read the Bible regularly and take the lead in conducting family prayers. And, yes, you even offer 10% of your total income as tithe. Most importantly, several years ago you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Ever since, you have committed your life to Him. But, wait a minute! How often do you share your belief with others? When was the last time you spoke about how your life changed when you accepted Jesus? How many times in the past year or month have you led someone to Christ? What is your response to the Great Commission that the Lord gave His disciples in Matthew 28:19? To the uninitiated, Jesus Christ’s last few words to His disciples before He ascended to heaven as recorded in Matthew 28: 19 (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) is known as the Great Commission. Let’s leave alone other nations. Let’s think of our country, India. What have we done as Christians to spread the Good News in this land where you and I were born? Perhaps, you are in your teens or maybe you are in your thirties, fifties or even eighties. Can I ask you a
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simple question? How many people have known Jesus Christ through you after you were saved? Have you shared the gospel with the people who live in your street? What about those who study or work with you? Have you shared the good news with your maid, plumber, electrician or the pharmacist? If your answer to any of the questions above is in the negative, then it’s time you took the Great Command seriously. We’ll tell you why. The population of India is 1.27 billion. Officially, Christianity may be the third largest religion in India but when you look at the figures they show an abysmal growth rate. Approximately, there are only 24 million Christians in India, constituting 2.3 percent of the total population. More than 2000 years have passed since Jesus Christ issued the command (the Great Commission). Tamil Nadu is home to approximately 74 million people. Of these, 88% are Hindus. Christians and Muslims make up the rest among other religions. Kerala boasts of a larger number of Christians with 19% of the total population being Christians. Before Independence, the Baptist missionaries, Lutheran missionaries, Wesleyan Methodist missionaries and Anglican missionaries not to forget the contribution of the Catholic church did their bit Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
VOICES: (Clockwise) Rev. John Gnanaraj Evangelist Mohan J Jeyaraj Rev. Nallaraj Edward Dr. Santha Christopher
in preaching Christ in India. After the exit of the British and the East India Company, several inland missions were born. Even today, new missions and evangelical movements are being added in the country with several of them genuinely contributing to the extension of the Kingdom. So, why does Christianity remain a minority religion in India? Where have we failed, in spite of the rise in the number of evangelists, pastors, Christian workers, revival meetings and the mushrooming of churches in villages and cities in recent years? Believers, evangelists and pastors have their own reasons. Understanding them will help us in our efforts to bring more people to Christ. Rev. John Gnanaraj, Director, Jesus Guides Ministries, who has been engaged in the Lord’s ministry for the past 30 years in Chennai, denies there is any sense of complacency among believers. “We are not complacent. We are trying to reach all of India with the gospel. But my experience tells me it is the lack of unity in the Christian community that prevents us from reaching all sections of people. If all the denominations join hands and fervently pray for the Holy Spirit to pour His Spirit on our nation, a great revival will definitely take place and many will accept Christ,” he says. However, it is not just the lack of unity among Christians that is a deterrent. Lack of trained and qualified evangelists is also a cause for concern. Even where trained resources are available, Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
commitment and conviction are missing. Dr. Santha Christopher, Chief Administrative Officer and one of the founders of El-Bethel End Time Missions, says: “Quite often we are not able to convince the simple and innocent people living in remote area and villages because of the attitude of the gospel workers themselves. They do not set a good example. They are rude, impatient and unkind and even use abusive language. Since we have close contact with these people and follow up new believers, I can vouch for this truth. How can you tell people that God is all love and compassionate, when His followers prove otherwise? Of course, one should follow Jesus, not His followers, but to the new converts this may seem strange.” Evangelist Mohan who works under his own banner Mahima Unnki Hai Ministries also supports this argument. He says: “I come from a Hindu background. After experiencing the gift of salvation, I resigned my job after 15 years of service at the Indian Air Force to preach Christ. During the last 15 years I have been taking the gospel independently and along with other ministries both in the south and north India. But my experience with Christian leaders and pastors at large has been quite disappointing. We Christians preach Christ, but fail to practice what He said or did. It is this which prevents non-Christians from remaining as Christians after accepting Christ. What Gandhi said about our foreign missionaries AUGUST 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 11
decades ago, is true about our Christian leaders even today. He said: ‘Missionaries should live ‘Christian lives’. Instead of speaking about the Christian ways of living, they should live such lives and make their lives speak on behalf of their faith. I should say believers should mend their ways before trying to convince others about their faith.” True enough, there may be a few black sheep among Christian workers, but we can strive to set things right by being sincere and committed in our work. There are some evangelists who feel the job of the Christian worker is to plant the seeds because it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately works in the winning of a soul. Rev. Nallaraj Edward who has been in executive positions in various ministries including IEM (Indian Evangelical Mission) for several years says: “Whatever we do, it is the Holy Spirit who brings people to receive the gospel. Our duty is to scatter the seeds of salvation deep in the hearts of the people, presenting Christ as a friend, provider and Savior. We ask people to become partakers of His kingdom. The rest will be taken care of by the Holy Spirit.” However, most people agree that Christians have failed to show the love of Christ to the new converts. J Jeyaraj, Director and Founder of Today’s Children for Christ opines: “As Christians we have failed to show the love and compassion of Christ to our converts. Dr. B.R Ambedkar, who could have brought a large number of Dalits along with him to 12 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
Christianity, blamed Christian missionaries for not bringing about a change in the social status of the Dalits even after they embraced Christianity Further, caste system remains the same, with all its evils.” Ambedkar had challenged the Christians: “Can an untouchable after his conversion to Christianity take water from a public well? Are his children admitted to a public school? Can he enter a hotel or tavern which was not open to him? Can he enter a shop and buy things from inside? Will a barber shave him? Will a washer-man wash his clothes? Can he travel in a bus? Will he be admitted in public offices without compunction? Will he be allowed to live in the general quarters of the village? Ambedkar felt that the answers to all these questions were in the negative. Finally in 1956, Ambedkar and his followers embraced Buddhism, thereby setting a model for the millions of Dalits to follow. The Church is not truly redeemed until it brands its members as Dalit Christians, Nadar Christians and Brahmin Christians. Christians need to fully understand the import of 2 Corinthians 5:17 where Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” True, it may not be fair to blame the caste system on the Western missionaries. They were here only for a short while. It was the prerogative of native Christians to fight against caste discriminations and uplift people spiritually. When we have not been able to do anything to remove the rift among castes even after 66 years if Independence, as evinced in Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
Take care of your garden! Sadhu Sundarsingh, one of the greatest evangelists that India has ever known, tried to encourage south Indian Christians with this delightful parable to spread the gospel. When Sadhu Sundar Singh was in Madras 1918, he preached to large gatherings. Everywhere he exhorted the Christians themselves to carry on the work of European missionaries had begun, and not allow it to vanish. By a delightful parable, he tried to awaken them to a sense of their missionary work.
A man had kept a beautiful garden and took care of it. Then the man had to leave town for a while. Then he thought to himself, “My son is here and he will take care of it till I come back.” But the son did not bother and the plants withered away. A neighbor saw him sitting idly by the window and asked why he was neglecting the beautiful garden. “Oh, because, my father went away without telling me what to do,” he said. You Indian Christians are like this; your missionaries have gone away, and may not be back for a long time, and you look on and do not bestir yourselves. But if you wish to be true sons, then do your duty without a special command from your father. Source: The Gospel of Sadhu Sundar Singh by Friedrich Heiler
the recent case of Ilavarasan and Divya of Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu, it is not fair to question the Western missionaries. However, the situation is not as dark as it seems. The good news is the recent giant strides that we have achieved in communications and technology. The vast network of communication has had good impact on the educated who have access to PCs.
But there’s an important point to consider. To reach the common man who has no access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, we need men and women who can talk to the layman out on the streets. We need more foot soldiers for Christ who can win people through distributing tracts, presenting Bibles, sharing the gospel and living as true witnesses to the love of Jesus.
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To those who live in huts and slums, under difficult circumstances, it is a kind word, a smile or a pat on the shoulder when he/she is trouble or a little bit of counseling which would go a long in presenting the gospel in a Christ-like fashion. This does not mean that modern communication techniques are in any way not desirable or less effective, but following the techniques of Christ,
walking with friends from place to place, meeting those in spiritual and physical need and putting a hand around with concern will have terrific effect, too. Here you need to make up your mind to meet people; one to one. It may be your maid, a washer man, electrician or a neighbor. You may just win a single soul. Even then, we know Heavens would rejoice at the entry of that one soul!
Why do personal evangelism To evangelize means to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Christ. Jesus in giving the Great Commission to the eleven apostles says in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” Imagine that Jesus saying these words to eleven of us today and we were one of the eleven. What would be our reaction? Impossible? Incredible? Absurd? Or Lord don’t you see there are only eleven of us? Or would we think “Yes Jesus really means me also.” We are also under this obligation to teach others. Jesus had just commanded the eleven to go teach and to teach those who were converted to observe all things he had command them which included that we are also to be taught to go and teach. Paul says in Romans 1:14, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.” In like manner today we are debtors to every non-Christian because we have the 14 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
good news that can save his soul. This places us under obligation to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved. Because someone loved us enough to teach us the truth, shouldn’t we do as much for someone else? What if you were unsaved and doomed to Hell, wouldn’t you want someone to teach you the saving gospel of Christ? If people have not heard and learned the gospel they cannot obey it. In 1 Peter 4:17 the question is asked, “What shall be the end of those who do not obey the gospel?” The answer is given in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 which says when the Lord comes He will come “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We should not want to see anyone lost but as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.” People are going to be lost forever if we don’t teach them now! The Lord doesn’t want anyone to be lost. We read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord...is longsuffering toward Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” They can only come to repentance when they know what to do. We also read in 1 Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Because of what the Lord has done for us, we have the obligation to teach others so they can come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “Woe is to me if I preach not the gospel.” How are we going to answer the Lord if we haven’t bothered to tell the good news to others? Our Lord in teaching His disciples, tells them in John 4:35, “Do you say there are still four months then comes the harvest? Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields for they are white already to harvest.” Our Lord was speaking of the spiritual harvest of souls who would be lost in eternity if they are not harvested. There is an urgency to teach the lost for Jesus says in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” We must work in the Lord’s harvest because if we don’t then those we could have taught will be lost and we don’t want that to happen. In the first century the good news of the gospel caused such great excitement that “And daily in the
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temple and from house to house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus” (Acts 5;42). We need to be as excited today. And even when they were being heavily persecuted, some even to death, we read in Acts 8:4, “Therefore those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” What should stop us today? We are not being persecuted. We have many more advantages. We have the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, the Internet, and the printed page. We are without excuse. Teaching the lost is the work the Lord has commanded each of us to do. Successful evangelism is accomplished one person at a time. Evangelism is not only to be done in distant lands, but we must also teach those near us, our next door neighbors. God will be with us as we teach His word to the lost. We will be successful because we read in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When we do what the Lord says to do we will not fail. When we teach the lost we cause all of Heaven to rejoice. Jesus tells us that there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10). The joy of teaching one the gospel and seeing them obey it is beyond description.
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VANGELISM. Outreach. Missions. Conversions. These are all common evangelical catchphrases to describe the Christian’s call to The Great Commission, to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). And the Church has plenty of programs to show for it—from mission trips to neighborhood service projects to student evangelism training. But before any of these can happen effectively, something far more basic must be learned. According to Mary Schaller, president of Q Place, that first step is learning the basic art of conversation. The Church is undergoing a paradigm shift from one-way presentational evangelism to evangelism that looks more like a two-way exchange, and Q Place is a leading voice in this critical rethink of evangelistic practices. So, here, our team talks with Schaller about the “lost art” of spiritual conversation, and how the Church can move away from alienating Christian jargon to language that reaches those of other and no faith right where they are. Barna Group: According to Barna research, only 4% of unchurched adults were invited to church by a friend and actually went, 23% were invited but declined, and 73% were never invited at all. Why do you think this invitational model isn’t working? Mary Schaller: There are a number of reasons for this. First, not all Christians have relationships with non-Christians. Many people in the church tend to surround themselves with other believers and form a few deep relationships with people outside of church. Second, even when they do develop these friendships, many Christians lack practical conversational skills for talking about God. Christians often don’t have the skills or confidence to have even low-depth spiritual conversations with people who have different beliefs. So we’re asking them to make an invitation that does not have the relational foundation—it’s like kissing before the first date. It’s unnatural and awkward for all parties involved. “If you have not taken the time to get to know me, why do you think I’ll go to church with you?” Many people who are invited choose not to come—part of the 23% you referenced—because they have had negative experiences with Christians. Some are angry at God, or have unanswered questions. They often see church as a place where they are simply told who God is, what to do, and how to live (not to mention, where to give their money!). Ultimately, we need to ask whether attending a church service will really meet the needs of the 16 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
people we’re inviting. In our increasingly postmodern culture, people exploring faith want to discuss their questions about God on their own turf with people they know and trust, who will respect and listen to them. They really aren’t interested in going outside of their comfort zone to a church setting where they will simply listen to a presentation that isn’t likely to give them the opportunity to work through their own spiritual questions. Barna Group: So what is the alternative? What can Christians do differently? Schaller: The majority of Christians and nonChristians alike can agree on one thing: They are uncomfortable with the “E” word—evangelism. It’s one of the highest church values, and the least practiced. Perhaps there is a different “E” word that fills the need in this secular culture and lays essential groundwork for the Gospel—engagement. The key is to figure out how to empower Christians to engage in meaningful conversations about God with those who believe differently. This is not something we leave to the “professionals,” but rather something anyone can do on any day of the week. Everyone can have conversations, so let’s start there. If our conversations can build trust and prove that we care, then relationships grow, and disciples are made over time. We should strive to create spaces for safe and open spiritual conversations that pave the way for people to discover God for themselves at their own pace. Barna Group: What can Christians learn from Jesus’ conversation style in Scripture? Schaller: The small stuff really seems to count for Jesus. Mustard seed faith; a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread; the widow’s mite. The small things, the ordinary things, really count. Jesus used the Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
small things to engage with people and demonstrate his love. Jesus noticed people. He prayed for them. He listened. He asked questions. He loved them. He welcomed. He facilitated good conversations. He served with people with him. And he shared the good news about the kingdom of God. Christians can follow Jesus in engaging people where they are with those nine simple, everyday conversational practices. We have developed a set of resources on this, which we call The Arts of Spiritual Conversation. Often those practices lead to ongoing discussions about God, and then people we know begin to make discoveries about Jesus. Barna Group: What practical ways can Christians intentionally detach themselves from the conventional church language, or “Christian-ese,” when conversing with their unchurched friends, to meet them where they are? Schaller: Simple. Talk less and listen more! Many people are really looking for someone to listen to them, not to hear an uninvited apologetic argument. In fact, it’s listening—not talking—that needs to become the Church’s new evangelistic method. When we approach people with the intent to tell them what we know, yet don’t really try to understand where they’re coming from, they will put up defenses. When we demonstrate that we are truly seeking to understand people and not change their point of view, we create a safe environment for them to open up at a deeper level. As they feel genuinely understood, they also begin to better understand themselves. In a society full of people who would rather talk than listen, people are starved for someone who is willing to move into their life as a listener and learner. It communicates love. Eventually, they become more open to what we have to say, if we’ve listened well to them. Barna Group: Something you mention in your study is the value of “holy curiosity.” Can you explain what you mean by that? Schaller: The “Q” in Q Place stands for “Questions,” because we recognize the value of cultivating a place where it feels safe to discuss the big questions of life. The starting point is with openended questions that are motivated by authentic interest in another person’s life. They open up conversation and create a dynamic learning environment. And the path to a good question is using our God-given curiosity. It all starts with curiosity ... otherwise questions will feel loaded, formulaic or insincere. It is “holy” curiosity, both because the curiosity is God-given, and because the questions are Spirit-led and sensitive to the need of the moment. Holy Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
curiosity invites interaction, leads to greater connection and transparency, and opens the door to new opportunities. Barna Group: Over the years, Barna research has charted the rising occurrence of spiritual conversations happening online, especially among the Mosaic generation (young adults). What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of spiritual dialogue in the digital realm? Schaller: The obvious advantages to digital spiritual dialogue are its convenience, flexibility, accessibility and anonymity. Yet our culture is caught in a problematic paradox: Despite the increasing digital interconnectivity, people continue to grow more socially disconnected and lonely because most of the conversation is superficial. Can you have meaningful, life- changing digital conversations and relationships? I believe to a certain extent you can, but they don’t take the place of being in the same room with people. That’s why people still travel so much for face-to-face meetings with co-workers, and to get together with family and friends. As far as the disadvantages, there are implicit dangers of having eternity-affecting conversations in a virtual world. Do people really know who they’re talking to on the other end of the conversation? Can you trust each other with so many relational cues missing? Ultimately, online relationships need to be scrutinized and can only be fully validated in person. God knew we needed a face-to-face human encounter with Him and others. That’s why the Incarnation, God becoming man, is so powerful. We still long for the physical presence of God, others and community that our digital relationships will never satisfy. Perhaps we are “hard-wired” with that need for the physical presence of others. However, digital tools can get the conversation started.
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UNTIL the mid-20th century the term manner to fulfill the Great Commission. There is no ‘missionary’ was enviable and honorable as stereotype missionary. For convenience the term ‘missionary’ has come someone willing to give up everything in their life to carry the gospel to a tribe or an unevangelized to mean many things, even doing an errand for country. Now the term in the Western church has neighbor. Patrick Johnston defines the term, “The taken on unfortunate baggage of association with Christian missionary is someone commissioned by a paternalistic colonialism and dependency practices local church or denomination to evangelize and to encourage conversions to evangelical religions. disciple people outside his or her home area, and Many do not want to use the term or be identified as a often among people of a different race, culture or “missionary” for political and security issues in language” (The Future of the Global Church, p. 226). some countries. We are all called to Christ in salvation with the The term ‘missionary’ is a creation of the Western Latin Christianity from the translation of the Greek task of becoming a witness of His grace and word for ‘apostle.’ The etymology of the word salvation to unbelievers around us, but a simply means ‘a sent one’, but the word usage in the ‘missionary’ is to take this mission of evangelism to NT is very specific referring to where Christ has never been the original apostles or twice know. This is certainly a deeper Those who take seriously refers to a group sent from a local commitment requiring a broader the Great Commission to church on a specific short-term cooperation and facilitation of win and build groups of task (with no reference to a the local church. disciples in every people spiritual gift or official office of The role of the local church apostleship as 2 Cor 8:23 and group without preferences, cannot be minimized in this Phil 2:25). Some who claimed global task. Gifted godly prejudices or personal the title of “apostle” were disciples must be identified, interests will take the time trained and mentored in their declared to be “false apostles”. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:13 to equip themselves for the development to fulfill God’s thus: “For such are false purpose for their lives (Eph ministry. apostles, deceitful workers, 2:10; 4:12). The diagram below transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (See also Rev. 2:2). They were called false apostles because of their deviation from Pauline or other apostolic writings. Do we need the term ‘apostle-missionary’ today? The biblical apostles were multi-gifted leaders of the early church who laid the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20). Once the foundation was laid followed the apostle’s foundational teachings tenaciously (Acts 2:42). The different spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12; Eph 4:11; Rom 12:3-8) can manifest themselves in different servants to collectively fulfill the expansion functions of the apostles, i.e., evangelists, teachers, exhorters, prayers of faith, sacrifices of service, etc.. There is no “call” to be a missionary in the NT, rather as God gives spiritual gifts to individuals for effective ministries, these gifted persons can be recognized by local churches who can partner with them as they commit their lives in the most effective 18 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
gives some idea of the areas of preparation needed to fulfill this task. In a globalized world of multiple ethnic peoples and cultures the following functions need to be learned and adapted to multiple cultures to establish and strengthen local groups of disciples around the globe. Those who take seriously the Great Commission to win and build groups of disciples in every people group without preferences, prejudices or personal interests will take the time to equip themselves for the ministry. This six-fold ministry will require multiple partnerships in order to be accomplished. The Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) defines the mission of the church; the vision (Matt 24:14) is to complete the basic mission of building some disciples among the last people group on earth (“nations”). If God’s people can team together to combine our efforts, we can finish the Great Commission in our generation. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
I say “non-Christian” because for many reasons, Christian culture looks down on them. They have not been considered traditional Christian behaviors. But one of the big reasons we’re losing our voice in today’s culture is that we don’t understand and master these critical habits. Here’s the list: 1) Confrontation: Old Testament prophets and early church leaders weren’t afraid to call people out. When it comes to the gospel, the stakes are too high to settle. Paul trained Timothy to be gracious, but be firm. It’s time we got back to raising the standard in our behavior, our commitment, our attitudes, and our excellence. Be gracious and be loving. But when evil happens, or a brother’s behavior is out of line, we can’t be afraid to confront. 2) Conflict: Speaking the truth invariably creates conflict because someone won’t like it. So we have a choice – either stand up or shrink back. We don’t have to be jerks or control freaks. But there are times when we do have to be bold. Just ask the CopticChristians being persecuted in the Middle East. The Bible says that “Iron sharpens iron” – but that only happens when the two pieces of iron slam against each other. 3) Be Ruthless: Be ruthless in one important area: Yourself. Be ruthless about your commitment to Christ. Be ruthless about your intellectual growth. Be ruthless about finishing well. One of the biggest areas we should be ruthless about is our time. How much time do you spend complaining about your problems to people who can’t help you solve them? How much time do you talk when you should be doing? When it comes to others, be gracious. But when it comes to you and your time, be ruthless. 4) Judge: We’ve really screwed up this one. When the Bible talks about judgement, it’s talking about people, not behavior, quality of work, or results. We can’t possibly judge the motivation of someone’s heart or their standing before God. But can absolutely judge external results. In the false name of “not judging” we’ve allowed employees to do shabby work, projects to be ineffective, and doctrine to be compromised. Perhaps most of all, we’ve allowed pastors and Christian leaders to flaunt moral standards without reproach, which erodes the Church’s moral authority within the culture. 5) Say No: Warren Buffett says “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be ruthless in one important area: Yourself. Be ruthless about your commitment to Christ. almost everything.” Obviously, you can take it too far, but when you don’t say no, you spend your life focused on other people’s priorities, not your priorities. Certainly we want to help people and be servants. But if God has called you to accomplish something with your life, you’ll have to say no to many things. In fact, learn to say no even to good things, so you can accomplish great things. Obviously, in all of these areas you can be extreme and exhibit negative behaviors. But just read the Bible to see how each of these areas were mastered in ways that allowed people to follow God’s call and accomplish great things. (Warning: I take no responsibility for any selfrighteous critics you may encounter as you demonstrate these habits.)
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TO those not familiar with Isaiah 17, the chapter foretells the utter destruction of the Syrian city of Damascus, the suffering of Jacob (Israel), and the remnant of Israel returning to God their Savior. Subsequently, because of a possible Middle Eastern regional war looming, Isaiah 17 is getting a tremendous amount of attention from theologians, scholars, prophecy buffs and analysts like me. The questions many are asking are; do conditions exist to facilitate such a devastating attack on Damascus, and what might occur after Damascus falls? To begin with, Syria can purportedly deliver bio/chemical warfare by way of aircraft, missile and artillery, and Israeli analysts believe the current ruling party is capable of using the weapons against Israel. In preparation, Israel has had many national training drills on bio/chemical warfare emergency recovery (and is still ongoing). In addition, they are updating domestic bomb shelters and providing the public with gas masks. Therefore, if Syria, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey or any single country or a combination of countries strikes Israel with bio/chemical/nuclear weapons, for any reason whether it is rebels, terrorist, or retaliation of Israel preempt strikes, most analysts believe Israel will immediately counter-retaliate with a nuclear assault (Despite that it is not confirmed Israel has nukes, most believe Israel does). This Israeli military behavior pattern of action is partially supported by past history as supposedly verbal warnings of a nuclear strike were issued by Israel to certain enemy combatant countries in the height of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It is rumored that Israel threatened to level both Cairo and/or Damascus with nuclear weapons during the conflict. Consequently, it is not a stretch by any means to suggest or expect Israel to follow their same formula of clandestine nuclear deterrence or potential usage against an enemy who poses a threat of mass destruction particularly during this dangerous, destabilizing, ongoing Arab anarchy. In other words, if Syria uses bio/chemical weapons against Israel, I have a strong opinion Israel will instantaneously nuke Damascus which is where a substantial Syrian government/military command structure is located. Now that a plausible nuclear strike scenario on Damascus has been established how might the rest of prophesy be fulfilled? Well, the precise locations hit by bio/chemical 20 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
The questions many are asking are; do conditions exist to facilitate such a devastating attack on Damascus? and nuclear weapons, and the immediate area would be contaminated for some time. But, not necessarily the whole region, possible just the areas hit, and then the land would take time to heal. This in turn would easily explain the death, ruins, unoccupied locations and relocated populations in Isaiah 17 as bio/chemical/nuclear weapons would pollute impacted land areas for years. As a result, the natural aftermath of a bio/chemical/nuclear conflict whether in Syria or Israel (or in the whole region) most likely would grossly affect water supplies, crops and health in general. In turn contribute to pervasive famine and pestilence (which is Biblical). Much of the land would lay idle as some people would steer clear of the infected areas until it recovered and it was safe to return. Likewise, the Damascus destruction prophesy may also correlate with Ezekiel 34-38:8, 11, and 12 as this predicts widespread Arab punishment from the Lord, Israeli leadership incapacitated, someone in the ancestral line of King David ultimately ruling Israel, Israelis returning to the Lord, Israelis returning to the land, rebuilding the ruins, and the land eventually recovering from war becoming like a garden of Eden (which in due course is followed by an attack from Gog and Magog). Yet, some suggest the King David ancestor is actually Jesus Christ. Although, at this point in my research I disagree because in Ezekiel 34:24 the word prince begins with a small â€˜pâ€™ (although translations over the years could be corrupted), but most importantly, Ezekiel chapters 40-42 describes in detail the altar and the Temple (the Third Temple) and the priests sons of Zadok ministering to the Lord. Besides, in Daniel 12:11, Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 the abomination of desolation, the Beast (commonly known as the antichrist), stands in the Temple to set himself up to be God. This happens before Christ returns. As for the Third Temple, this is also highly debated but we know this; there is a building (most accept as the Third Temple), there are priests and sacrifice. But why God allows sacrifice when Jesus Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
Christ died as the final sacrifice when he said “it is finished” (John 19:30), we don’t know. The rest of this proposal is speculation but may be an explanation as we do not know the mind and ways of God. Nonetheless, the sacrificing may have something to do with God’s new covenant with the house of Judah and the house of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8. Possibly because, as the Lord accused some of the Jews as being a ‘synagogue of Satan’ (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9), too much of our Christian leadership has decayed and corrupted into an alleged ‘church of Satan’ for the sake of public acceptance, popularity, money, satanic powers and self satisfaction. However, returning to Isaiah 17, if in the near future a remarkable miracle happens and the Arab mayhem subsides for a few years I would then reevaluate the ‘Damascus destruction’ timetable, and would also re-evaluate the aftermath. Don Davis has over 20 years experience in analytic research particularly regarding Israeli, Middle Eastern culture, behavior and historical patterns. Don is based in Israel, from where he monitors and evaluates worldwide information on finance, technologies, industries, and the military/political environment for a US consulting company.
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Israel must agree on borders, say Palestinians A stormy, high-level meeting of senior Palestinian leaders called to discuss US Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest peace proposal ended with a decision recently to demand guarantees that Israel agree on the general border of a future Palestinian state, officials said. The demand casts a cloud of uncertainty over months of US mediation efforts because Israel is weary of agreeing to preconditions, arguing it has not led to successful peace talks in the past. Palestinian officials said they wanted guarantees to ensure peace talks would lead to fruition. Hoping to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks, US President Barack Obama asked Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to work with Kerry “to resume negotiations with Palestinians as soon as possible,” according to a statement released by the White House. After two separate meetings, Palestinian officials said they decided to send top negotiator Saeb Erekat to meet with Kerry “and inform him that Palestinians want guarantees regarding the general border,” said Wasel Abu Yussef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, who was in the meeting. AP
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GRACE IDA RAJAN | BY HIS GRACE
Shortcut or narrow gate: Which way will you choose?
E know people who through short-cuts have achieved name and fame. Some people have become rich on money gained by exorbitant interests and cheating poor people. Once upon a time in India it was short-cut money through lotteries, now it is through share markets. In Christian conventional terms a short-cut can even mean a health and wealth gospel which is a heretic gospel. While short-cuts are unbiblical and un-ethical, narrow ways in contrast are the Biblical and ethical standards of living. I want to try answering these short-cuts to prosperity from the temptation account of Jesus found in Matthew 4:111 and Luke 4:1-13. Here we see it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days. We see prior to the temptation, there was this garland of praise from a voice from heaven who said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) The wisdom writer has put it right in Proverbs 27:21 that a person is tested by being praised. No wonder Jesus underwent these tests from devil after receiving those words of praise. Test 1: Physical need through shortcut: Forty days of fasting. God
narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Lazarus remained hungry and it was this small and narrow gate he found to get to heaven. So even if we have to die because of hunger or any other physical depravity, we cannot choose a short-cut. Test 2: Fame through shortcut: Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple and said, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Some temptations come to us when on one watches us. Some temptations come when many are watching us. This was such a situation in the life of
We cannot choose to yield to the needs of our body by stealing, sinning sexually just because nobody is watching us. There can be no short-cuts to meet our basic physical needs. Matthew 7:14 says: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”
who came in human flesh was terribly hungry. It was at that time that the devil came to Jesus with these words: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” To prove that he is the son of God, Jesus would have yielded to this, for he was alone and he was not going to be a stumbling block to any one by doing that! But Jesus did not want his physical needs to be met by a short-cut. He chose the narrow way to remain hungry. He replied, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ What do we learn from this? We cannot choose to yield to the needs of our body by stealing, sinning sexually just because nobody is watching us. There can be no short-cuts to meet our basic physical needs. Matthew 7:14 says: “But small is the gate and 22 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
Jesus. He could have performed a great stunt, a miracle and got a wider applause and received a celebrity status easily through this short-cut. But a God who can perform the utmost miracles did not choose this short-cut, but chose the narrow way of waiting for the perfect timing of the Father God. He also encountered devil who was trying to misinterpret the scriptures through scriptures itself. He said, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Even today, in heretic attacks,
a believer should use the same formula: “It is also written…..” and try to understand the whole truth of the Bible. Also just to become famous many use short-cuts like copying in academic settings, giving bribe and so on. Sometimes we can even go to the extent of spoiling other’s lives just to become famous. Joseph and Daniel in the Bible are known for integrity in their work places (Daniel 6:4). Joseph, a bachelor proved his sexual integrity even after he was repeatedly tempted by an influential person at work place. Their choices were narrow gates, resulting in loss of reputation, and finally had the former go to prison and the latter to lion’s den. But God saved them and in his own time raised them as rulers of nation. Narrow gate lead us to gruelling experiences. There is however no short-cut to Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
become famous at the expense of following the ways of God. Test 3: Power through shortcut: The devil then took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Devil is known for his lying and trickery all through history. He may be the prince of the world according to John 16:1, but true to 1 John 4:4 which says that the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world, Jesus said, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ The power of the word of God made devil powerless at this point. For want of power and status, people are always tempted to idolise human heroes and money. Jesus chose the narrow way by choosing the way of the cross and suffered and bled which led him to ultimate glory (Philippians 2:6-11). So even if it amounts to bear a cross, we are not to choose short-cuts to attain power and glory. The way of the devil is easy and always short-cut. It is broad and attractive. But it leads to death and eternal punishment. The way of God is narrow, difficult and unattractive. Yet Jesus has modelled us to choose that. Following God’s ways may either lead us to a punishment followed by a promotion in this earth like how it was in Joseph’s and Daniel’s cases or else a straight promotion from a beggar status to an eternal glory like how it was in Lazarus ‘case. Which way do you prefer? Short-cut or Narrow gate? “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way.” (Matthew 7:13)
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Have a little talk with Jesus Tell Him all about our troubles Hear our fainted cry He will answer by and by Feel a little prayer wheel turning Know a little fire is burning Find a little talk with Jesus Makes it right
HIS is one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s very true that when you have a little talk with Jesus, it always makes things right. But, what we need to find out is if our talk (our prayer that is) is right. Is there a right way to pray? Is there a right time to pray? Do you believe in prayer? I asked these questions to some of my young friends. Check out their response below: Derek (12) Prayer is talking to God and God responding to us. It is like talking to our mom or dad. Before we ask something to our parents, I think we should ask God first. I pray regularly every day but sometimes when we travel during holidays or when I am tried I sleep off. So, I miss my prayer time. Usually I pray in the morning, in the night, before and after an exam to get good marks. The longest time I have prayed is for half an hour. I prayed continuously for two years to have a sister and God gave me one little sister. I pray for my sister, parents, ministers, missionaries, pastors, preachers and for an uncle and aunt who do not have children. I have prayed with a non- Christian friend of mine who is studying in my school. His father has recently accepted Jesus. I told my friend about God’s creation and miracles and prayed with him. Now, he has also accepted Jesus. Bryan (15) I believe prayer is having a personal talk with God. It is a thank offering to God for all the good things He has done for me. Usually I pray when I wake up in the morning. But, if I wake up late then I miss my morning prayer. In the night I pray alone or with my family. I usually miss my prayer time because I get tired and sometimes I forget. I pray for myself, my family, my friends and as well as my teachers. Sometimes I even pray that I should not get caught in the class, if I do any mischief. I pray a lot during exams that God will help me to remember all that I have learnt. I pray in my Sunday school with my friends but so far I have not prayed with my non- Christian friends, but I do pray 24 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
for them. Rebecca (16) Prayer, according to me, is talking with God. Usually, I start my day with prayer. I don’t have a specific time. I pray for holiness, health, strength, wisdom and guidance. Many of my prayers were answered. Sometimes, prayers go unanswered. But, always it has turned out to be good. I usually pray for myself, my family, teachers and the people who are close to me. I have also prayed with my non-Christian friends. They always ask me to pray, when they are in any need. My friends do believe that Jesus can do greater things than their gods. The longest time I have prayed is for an hour. Jeba (24) Prayer is the special fuel that keeps my engine running, when I have to go through the hard paths. Prayer renews and revives reminding me that I have an Almighty Friend and Father who is in charge and control of my life. The moment I pray it reminds me of the sweet fellowship I have with Him and the truth that I am not alone and that gives me a new hope and strength which can’t be put out easily. Though I desire to pray every day, I fail on certain days when I get really tired. Usually I pray for almost 45 minutes and then I make sure I talk to Him whenever I feel like. I let Him know my need as and when it pops in my heart and mind. I plead with Him to give me the strength and the grace to do His will. I ask Him to shape my life into His likeness. I also thank Him for His salvation and His rich blessings and goodness in my life. I also pray for my parents, grandparents, friends, relatives for their spiritual growth and the worldly well-being. I specially pray for those friends of mine who haven’t tasted the Lord. OUR friends have listed down their views and understanding about prayer and what it personally means to them. Prayer definitely has an important place in all our lives. According to me, prayer is God’s appointed way of communicating with Him. The most important business of Christian lives is prayer. We as Christians might differ from each other in many ways but in prayer we all need to be alike. The Lord Jesus Himself set an example and showed us the importance of prayer. In the earthly life of our Lord, prayer occupied a very prominent place and played a pivotal role. In Mark 1:35 we read, ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
LITTLE PRAYER WARRIORS From top left: Derek, Jeba, Rebecca & Bryan
before day, He went out and departed into a solitary place and there prayed’. Turn again to Luke 6:12, it says,’ And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God’. Also, prayer plays the most important part in the ministry of our risen Lord. In Hebrews 7:25 we read, “wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them’. It is by His prayers He is saving the mankind. The ministry of intercession is glorious and mighty and we should all have a part in it. There are certain characteristics of prayer that every child of God needs to exercise in their lives. 1. Prayer is a bridge – It acts as a bridge to close the gap between us and the Lord. It helps to carry us over the river of trials. 2. Prayer is a tool – It is used for doing powerful works. It depends on the one who uses it. 3. Prayer is a treasure – It is something very valuable and you cannot trade that with something else. You should never lose it. 4. Prayer is a force – It has the strength or power that can be felt and by using it, you can achieve great Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
things. It definitely leaves a mark on what it is used. 5. Prayer is a secret – It is the secret which every child of God has. It is unknown to others or hidden from others but for us it is our secret strength. 6. Prayer is a practice – It is a predominant habit which each of us should have. Through repeated practice you learn to do it more and well. 7. Prayer is a hope – It gives us hope to want something to happen and have a reason to believe that things will be alright. 8. Prayer is a process – It is the way in which we do certain things to knock at heaven’s door. We learn the process of prayer and make it happen in our dayto-day living. 9. Prayer is a power – It gives us the authority or control over situations in our lives. With this power of prayer we can influence the environment around us. 10. Prayer is a weapon – It is used for one’s own defense against the negative events in our lives. Also we can use this weapon to attack the evil. Make prayer an indispensible part of your everyday life. Never forget to have a little talk with Jesus and he will definitely make everything right. Pray without ceasing. AUGUST 2013 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 25
26 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w AUGUST 2013
Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: email@example.com
Don’s friends saw them & they started to laugh at them.
Don and Dona were so tense that they forgot uncle’s instructions and were confused. Hey Dona, I have a plan. Why don’t you alone sit in the vehicle?
Guys, stop it. Why are you laughing?
You fools, why are you pushing it?
You should be driving it!
Dona was driving slowly while Don was walking beside ‘Comet’ and then… Good morning grandpa! Did you see our new gift?
They were very confused. So, they made a really stupid decision. Dona, I just can’t believe we are doing this.
What else to do? Everyone has something to tell us.
Mmm… it is nice. But, Dona why are you so selfish? Why make poor little Don walk?
Don and Dona carried their ‘Comet’ back home. They were tired and couldn’t enjoy their drive. Dona, we made a big mistake.
‘Comet' was created by their uncle. So, he knew precisely everything about it.
Yes, Don. We should have simply followed uncle’s instructions.
Listen, kids. You can’t say, ‘Yes’ to all. Learn to say, ‘No’ to certain ideas and advices. Always, remember you were created by God. So follow His instructions from the Bible to enjoy your life. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:20, “whoever gives heed to His (God’s) instruction prospers”. E-mail your comments and feedback about this cartoon to firstname.lastname@example.org