Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this space, I want to stay connected to our UESI community. Oh how I wish to stay in touch with each and every student, graduate and staff, seeking their prayers, fellowship and inputs!. Hence the letters in this space will be my effort to stay connected with you, briefing you on what’s happening as I travel and minister at large. So I request you to consider this space as a personal letter (than a message), as we call the space as Heart Talk…
Well, I took a journey from Delhi to Kerala early in Jan-2018, within days of stepping in to the new role. It was indeed a refreshing Bharat Yatra with a joyous fellowship time at different stations on the way, as several of our graduates /staff came to meet me at various stations. What a joy to see how God works across the country!
January was packed with meetings – the Golden Jubilee of Eranakulam ICEU (where Annie also served as a staff in the 1990s), Kollam EGF, UESI Kerela Staff Meeting, National Consultation on Finance & Compliances at Hyderabad (along with all our state treasurers), National Office at Chennai, participation in National Mission Consultation at Chennai, a personal visit to Bro Dennyson (a pillar of our ministry in Bihar) as he undergoes treatment at CMC Vellore, etc.
On 13th January, we were commissioned in a service led by our Vice Presidents Uncle LT Jeyachandran and Rev Dr Sundara Singh. It was a blessed experience being prayed for by the community of God’s people and receive the charge from God’s word again (as Bro Sudarshan Thomas, General Secretary, FMPB spoke from I Peter 5:1-4 as the commissioning message). Thanks for your prayers and assurances of continual prayers.
Who do you say that Iam
Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say, that I am”. Luke 9:18. Personal Bible Study & Group Bible Study enables us to know the truth of the passage by asking various questions. It’s nice to observe even Jesus employed the same method, asking questions often. The disciples after being with Jesus for almost 2-3 years (seeing Jesus, hearing Jesus preaching, teaching, doing miracles, healing the sick and also huge crowd following him often) were asked this question “What do people say about me?” Disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” Hearing this, Jesus asked the disciples the next personal question (application question?) “Who do YOU say that I am?” Peter replied, You are Christ of God (Luke 9:20). Soon after hearing this from His disciple, Jesus started teaching them that Son of Man
- must suffer many things and
- be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and
- that he must be killed and
- after three days rise again
Hearing this new teaching Peter got confused. He might have thought, “Now what will happen to me & about my survival since I left everything and followed Jesus?” He probably wanted to give an advice to Jesus but the response of Jesus was very strong. We see that there was confusion in his confession. Today we are in a world of Conferences, Seminars & Summits where the topics are Development, Economic Growth, Global Warming, Successful Leadership, Yoga and so on. People are becoming more health & wealth conscious. Balanced diet, regular exercise, gym and so on are taken care of but denial of self is neither a talk nor a walk. We might have declared personally or publically Jesus as Christ but do we understand what we confessed? Confession of sin is different from confession of the truth that Jesus is Christ.
Confessing Jesus as Christ means
- denying self
- taking up cross daily and
- following Jesus
Many a times we are ready to give money for charity, ministry, church and mission agencies but find it difficult to give up our self (anger, bitterness, impurity, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions). There is a rise in selfishness: selfies, self-absorbed people, superficiality, self-degradation, apathy, and self-destruction. Let us take initiative to change this programming by not celebrating the ego, rather putting the ego & celebrity culture to the sleep mode.
In some of our traditions, the lent season begins sometime this month, culminating in the passion week next month. In this season, Let us meditate on servanthood of Jesus Christ who being the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing and became obedient to death on a cross. Phil . 2: 6-8
Let us meditate on our calling as a disciple of Christ this season. Like Jesus who stood at the trail before the High Priest without any confusion after His Confession, (Mark 14:61-62) let us prepare to confess and witness Jesus Christ without confusions in our daily walks of life- Primarly as disciples os Christ.
Yours, in Christ