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Gospel Talk Podcast – Prayer Life of Christians

Another episode of Gospel Talk Podcast is out. The topic is – Prayer Life of Christians
Some of the questions answered are: –


  • What is prayer? Why do we
    need to pray?
  • How important is prayer in a
    Christians life? What does a prayer life mean to a Christian
  • Should a Christian only pray
    in a church?
  • How many times or how long should a Christian pray?
  • Can a Christian pray for
    non-Christians, is this effective?
  • Should a pastor of the church
    be committed to praying for all believers, how can busy Pastors manage that?
  • How can a person be confident
    that God is listening to their prayers?
  • Do you have any experiences
    in your life where prayer impacted or changed a situation?

Gospel Talk Podcast – Bible Reading Habits & Plans

Another episode of Gospel Talk Podcast is out. The topic is – Bible Reading Habits & Plans.
Some of the questions answered are: –

  • Why should a Christian read the Bible every day?
  • How much time should be spent on reading the Bible?
  • Should we read other books and how to balance between reading books vs the Bible?
  • What do you think about daily devotions?
  • Which Bible translation should be used?
  • Any advice on following Bible reading plans?
  • What is the difference between reading and studying the Bible?

Gospel Talk Podcast – New Year’s Resolution and Life Management

Another episode of Gospel Talk Podcast is out. The topic is New Year’s Resolution and Life Management.
Some of the questions answered are: –
  • What is the New year Service Tradition in churches? Is it biblical?
  • Why do you think people make resolutions and decisions on New year timeframe?
  • How do you manage time which so many things?
  • How can we ensure there is regular family prayer?
  • How do you prioritize?
  • How do you decide when there are more than 1 thing scheduled at the same time?
  • What does the Bible say about the use of our time?

Gospel Talk Podcast – Christmas Traditions

The first episode of Gospel Talk Podcast is out. The topic is Christmas Traditions.
Some of the questions answered are: –
  • What is the origin of Christmas?
  •  One of the most exciting things about Christmas for kids is Santa Claus. Where does Santa Clause come from? I don’t read about Santa in the Bible.  Can you throw some light on it?
  • What is the actual meaning of the Christmas tree, is it truly symbolic of Christmas? Was there any particular tree associated with the birth of Jesus? Some people say “Jesus died on a tree” (cross) hence they use the tree as a symbolic reference for Jesus, yet others say it relates to pagan rituals or origins?
  • I noticed that at many churches, there are not many decorations up for Christmas, why is that?
  • In the biblical manger scenes, we see three Wiseman with gifts, were there actually three Wiseman because there were three gifts?
  • Are there biblical references on when Christmas actually is because no one truly knows the date, how does this relate to the advent calendar?
  • Why didn’t the early Christians celebrate Jesus birth?  
  • What is the best way to teach our children about the true meaning of Christmas, so they do not get confused with what they are taught in schools?
  • Why couldn’t God find another way to forgive the human race of their sins instead of sending Jesus down to die for us?

New Podcast – Gospel Talk

During December we did a Christmas program at Church in which two other people took my interview and asked me questions about Christmas and traditions. We felt it went very well and we sat down and came up with this idea to start a new Podcast- Gospel Talk. Our plan is to produce two episodes every month.  I am planning to add more details about each episode ion this blog as we make progress.

Individualistic View to Kingdom View – Full Paper

Last year I participated in a program at Bethel Seminary and, won the prize for the best paper. Now it is published on their website. Sharing it here since it will give you a perspective on some of my thoughts, struggles many shares, and my views.  I hope it will be a blessing to some of you and help you to view faith and work from a different perspective.

https://www.bethel.edu/seminary/about/initiatives/work-with-purpose/resources/tinku-thompson-colloquy.pdf

Individualistic view to Kingdom view

As a bi-vocational minister, the
difference between my Sunday and Monday is very evident and gets amplified at
times.  I see a move towards teams and
more collaboration at work. As I evaluate the messages we hear and songs we
sing at churches, I feel like we are somehow promoting and going in the
opposite direction.

Challenges with Individualistic view

We live in a culture
where independence is seen as superior to
dependence on others and people are becoming self-centered, individualistic and
have limited their community life to some events. This has affected the church
also and we see a struggle to develop deeper relationships or involvement in
others lives. Many times preachers are preaching messages which promote
individualism more than a community mindset among people. The songwriters have
also done the same and majority of the top Christian songs reinforce a me-and-Jesus
view of salvation and Christian living when compared to a kingdom perspective
with a broader understanding of Christ’s redemptive work and our call to follow
Christ in his mission of Shalom (Sherman, 2011, 
Location No. 699). The counsel of the community or others is no longer
valued and we see people taking big decisions on their own without consulting
anyone else.

Why do we need a Kingdom View?

Jesus’ central teaching theme was the kingdom and the sermon on the mount was about
the ethics of the kingdom. Joining Jesus on his mission
of restoring all things will require us to reorder our priorities. This will require us to stop building and promoting the
kingdom of self. This will take away from time invested in accumulating more worldly wealth or acquire greater worldly status
(Sherman, 2011,  Location No. 1433).  Preaching the Jesus of Bible will require a
shift from being more individualistic to becoming more community-oriented.  
The Bible provides us a vision for life together from the
first pages of the Scripture. At the end
of the Bible, we again see people gathering in the New Jerusalem (Revelation
21:1-3). From Genesis to Revelation, we
see many examples of God’s intention for
us to live together in community. All the believers in Jerusalem were together
and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to
anyone who had a need ( Acts 2:44-45).  All the believers were one in heart and mind.
No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared
everything they had. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them such that
there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned
land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the
apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had a need (Acts 4:32-35). This gives us a totally different
view than what we see in today’s churches.

What has to change?

The messages proclaimed from the pulpits should have
the Kingdom perspective and should connect the faith and the workaday of the believers.
We should be careful that we are not presenting a too-narrow gospel which only
focuses on personal justification and does not talk about the gospel of the
kingdom. This self-focused or inward-focused gospel will never make a person
look out for justice for the poor and the needy. This will also result in
people not finding any meaning with what they do outside the church or their vocation.
This kingdom perspective cannot be
ignored in the area of finances and all the
resources which have been made
available to us by God.  We should be looking for practical ways to
help others within our community and should not be satisfied by doing things within our comfort zone. 

Conclusion

As we struggle to
overcome the pull from the culture to overcome an independent and individualistic lifestyle, we have to act with
a generosity which will result in our
world getting expanded. It is important that the Kingdom view is shared and
focused on so that people will start understanding
the biblical message about the Kingdom of God. 

Bibliography

Nelson, Tom. Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to
Monday Work
. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011.

Sherman, Amy L. Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for
the Common Good
. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2011.

Anticipation

A few days ago, I was waiting at the airport baggage claim to collect by luggage. As I was standing there, the carousel started and baggage’s started coming. I was anxiously waiting for mine to come. It did not come for some time and few thoughts passed through my mind. Will it come? Did the airline mishandle it? Is it lost? What will I do if it does not come? Will I have to buy some clothes and survive?
I had a baggage claim ticket with me but still, I had to wait. Finally, it came and I took it. Once I got it, I moved on and did not think about anything. All my doubt was gone and I was just going ahead.
Wait a minute – does it sound similar to what is happening with our waiting for Jesus Christ?  Yes, he is coming and we wait for him. Sometimes doubt creeps into our minds. Will it happen or it was a myth? Am I going to see it or not?
Well, Bible says in 1 John 3:2-
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (NIV)
I am sure we will forget about the anxiety and everything we faced while we waited. We will be with Him forever. Let us grow in hope and let our anticipation grow as we see what is happening around the world. We see many signs of Jesus coming around us.

Let’s anticipate and be ready, not with anxiety but with hope.

Teachable Spirit

Pastor George O.
Wood, who is the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God shared an incident
in one of the book written by him. In the book titled “Living in the
Spirit”, an incident is mentioned about a lady who used to make loud noise
during the church service which was creating disturbance for everyone. She was doing
it as if it was done for the God’s glory and in her view was a spiritual
manifestation. Finally Pastor George called her and her husband to his office
and told her to stop it as it was becoming difficult for others and also he did
not think that she was doing it in the right spirit. The end of the story is
that she left the church in few weeks. An important lesson he shared was that
the sign of maturity in a person is how much they are willing to submit to be
taught or for correction
. In other words do they have a teachable spirit?  
We see lot of people
who claim that they are spiritually mature but don’t have any inclination or
willingness to submit to instruction from others. They have a “greater
than thou” attitude and look down on others. Sometimes such people may be
gifted in some area and their focus is only on that. They think they have
figured out everything in life and nothing is left to learn. They are
rebellious to authority placed by God and will normally not submit to any form
of authority,  They will claim to be
under God’s authority and will not associate with people.
We read about a
person in the book of Acts, chapter 18. His name is Apollos.
Acts 18:24-28
Meanwhile a Jew
named Apollos, born in Alexandria, who
was an eloquent man and powerful in the Scriptures
, came to Ephesus.
This man was instructed in the way of
the Lord
, knowing only the baptism of John, but being fervent in spirit, he accurately spoke and taught the
things concerning the Lord
. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.
When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him and explained the way of God more accurately.
When Apollos intended to pass into Achaia, the brothers wrote to encourage the
disciples to welcome him. On arriving, he greatly helped those who had believed
through grace. For he vehemently refuted the Jews publicly, proving from the
Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. (MEV)
Apollos was an
eloquent man and he knew the Scriptures very well. He was preaching accurately and
taught about Lord Jesus Christ. He was bold when he spoke in synagogue. All of
these things easily qualifies him to be invited for the next special meeting as
our guest speaker. If it was today then he will be a very busy man flying from
one city to another preaching.
He had one problem
that he only knew about the baptism of John. When Aquila and Priscilla heard
him, they took him home and explained the way of God more accurately. I praise
God that Aquila and Priscilla had that attitude to correct an upcoming eloquent
preacher. That’s a great thing and we will focus on it some other day. Let’s
focus on Apollos and what did he do? It says that later also he was used by
God and he refuted Jews publicly proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was
the Christ. Apollos changed his message based on what he learned. He was
teachable.
If Apollos did not
have a teachable spirit then I am not sure what would have happened but the
Bible tells that he became a very effective preacher who was speaking truth.
The question is are
we teachable by God and man? In Psalms 25:4, David  prayed like this:
Make me to know Your
ways, O Lord; 
teach me Your paths
. (MEV)
We see lot of people
who are not willing to learn from others thinking they will only learn from God
directly. I am happy about such people. Then I see something else in the Bible.
The Bible talks about God selecting and anointing people to teach us the word.
You will see that God gave teachers also to the Church to equip saints
(Ephesians 4:11-12). We need a teachable spirit if we have to grow in Christ
and reach maturity in faith.

Psalms 141:5

“Let the righteous man strike me; it shall be a kindness.
Let him rebuke me; it shall be oil for
my head;
let my head not refuse it. For my prayer is continually against their evil
deeds.” (MEV)

Do you have a
teachable spirit?

Construction Work Ahead

Summer is a good
time for travel, especially in places where there will be lot of snow during
winters. When spring season starts, it always a joy to see greenery everywhere
again. When Fall season starts, it’s beautiful to see all colors of leaves but there is a feeling that summer is over and it’s time to get ready for winter.
One thing we often
see during summer time is road work or construction. Sometimes you see miles of
road blocked on a highway because of construction. Lot of times construction
forces you to take detour. We normally don’t like detours because it longer than
the normal way. Construction most of the time slows us down. We get frustrated
and angry at times seeing the traffic jam. One day I was thinking how if there
was no construction done on the roads. We will end up having really bad roads
which ultimately will make our commute worse. Few days or weeks of construction
makes it usable again with greater comfort. It always feel good when you are
driving or use a road which was repaired or some work was done on it. We all
don’t like construction or traffic jams which result from it but we all enjoy
the outcome.
There is a portion
in the Bible which talks about work being done.
Jeremiah 18:1-4
The word which came
to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:  “Arise and go down to the
potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went
down to the potter’s house, and there he was making something on the wheel.  Yet
the vessel that he made of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he
made it again into another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it
.
(MEV)
Here the potter was
making a vessel but it was spoiled. He did not throw it away but made it again
into another vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it.  It’s so comforting to know that our God is
working on us. There are seasons of construction in everyone’s life. At that
time it will not be easy and we will feel frustrated and painful. He will have
lot of questions on our mind.
I want to encourage you by saying you that repair work and construction is not going to end in a bad
end result. It will always end up being a blessing for others. During seasons
when God is working on you, let Him work. Trust Him to do it the best way. He
will make you in to the shape that seems good to Him.

A real Christian is the one who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip. -Billy Graham

A real Christian is one who does not just act a certain way in front of some people, and another way in front of others. There are many so called Christians who only act in a Godly way so that others can see them but at home they lead a life of sin. A true Christian is one that acts the same around everyone and always endeavors to live a life that if filled with compassion and loved. So do not worry.
He’s still working
on me is a song by Joel Hemphill and I want to share the lyrics here
He’s still working
on me
To make me what I
need to be
It took him just a
week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the
earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and
patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still
workin’ on me
He’s still working
on me
To make me what I
need to be
It took him just a
week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the
earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and
patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still
workin’ on me
There really ought
to be a sign upon my heart
Don’t judge him yet,
there’s an unfinished part
But I’ll be better
just according to His plan
Fashioned by the
Master’s loving hands
He’s still working
on me
To make me what I
need to be
It took him just a
week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the
earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and
patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still
workin’ on me
In the mirror of His
word
Reflections that I
see
Makes me wonder why
He never gave up on me
But He loves me as I
am and helps me when I pray
Remember He’s the
potter, I’m the clay
He’s still working
on me
To make me what I
need to be
It took him just a
week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the
earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and
patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still
workin’ on me
He’s still working
on me
To make me what I
need to be
It took him just a
week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the
earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and
patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still
workin’ on me
God Bless You!
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