Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LENT
(5th March 2014)
During the 40 days of Lent period, in most of the churches, believers fast, pray, study the scriptures etc. Immediately after this there is the Day of the Great Sacrifice (Good Friday) followed by the Resurrection Day when Lord Jesus won victory over death and came back alive. This tradition was set because Lord Jesus fasted and meditated for forty days in the desert before starting his ministry on earth. The first thing he did was to demolish the Devil who came to tempt him. This period is a very important part of our life for self-introspection to find out if we are walking according to the will of the Father or not? His will is that none should perish and that all should come to the knowledge of truth. 2Peter 3:9; 1Timothy 2:4
Good news is that during this period tens of thousands of Christians invite fellow Christians into their homes for prayer, Bible study and table fellowship etc. but the sad news is that very few Christians invite people of other faiths with the result that they do not come to the truth (Jesus) and get saved. This is mostly because Christians do not feel confident to engage peoples of other faiths in a dialogue. Scripture compels church leaders to equip the saints for the works of the ministry to be effective and productive in their homes as well as in their work-places. Every believer should be equipped to be always ready to give a reason for his/her faith and to give an appropriate answer to those who oppose. (Eph. 4:11-13; 1Peter 3:15; Titus 1:9). Training in apologetics must remain the top priority of any church because the true church is wherever disciples are made. The training should be imparted by those who are already involved in reaching peoples of other faiths. If this is done then tens of thousands of people will be discipled and a house church movement will be ignited and Christians will become a blessing to the nation and soon the kingdom of God will come to India.
It would be very fruitful if during the Lent period this year we could invite our friends, co-workers and neighbors of other faiths into our homes and tell them about the Mahabalidaan (The Great sacrifice) that Lord Jesus made for the redemption from sin for all human-kind regardless of their caste, class, race, gender or religious affiliation. The least we can do is to show them Jesus film. Then we need to disciple the seekers in a convenient and secure place rather than take them to the church which can cause problems for them.
Just before his ascension into heaven, Lord Jesus gave the Great Commission as his last command to all his followers: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them and make them obedient to all My commands and send them to the ends of the earth” (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Lord Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). If we are not following his example, then how can we be called his followers? We need to reflect and urgently take necessary steps to change our lives.
What better opportunity than the forthcoming forty days of Lent, starting on the 5th March 2014, to be obedient to our Lord’s command and fulfill his last wish to see India reached for Christ.

Shalom.

WORK-PLACE MINISTER

A Church In The Work-Place

1.       Adam was the first work-place minster whom God appointed to work (Hebrew Abad also means worship) and to guard it. Since there were no other predators, Adam was to protect his work-place from the Devil. Sadly he failed and lost his job as well as his inheritance. Genesis 2:15
2.       Noah was a work-place minister who preached for 120 years while building his ship.
3.       Abraham had several encounters with God while grazing his sheep and built altars and made sacrifices on them to mark out Canaan, his inheritance.
4.       King David never forgot his priestly function, girded himself with priestly Ephod and danced before the Lord (Ark of the Covenant) all the way on the road from Perezuzzah to Jerusalem, a distance of seven miles while offering an ox and fatlings every six steps. 2Samuel 6:8-15
5.       Queen Esther was an orphan girl, a refugee in a foreign land but through her dinner diplomacy at her residence saved the Jewish nation from genocide.
6.        John the baptizer was so busy doing his job that he never had time to set up his kitchen and instead lived on wild honey and locusts, excellent sources of energy to stand in the cold water all day and hurl brutal truths at the religious Jews.
7.       Jesus never took anyone to the synagogue for healing or salvation; he met their needs right wherever they were, on the street, in their homes and in their work-places.
8.       Of the 52 parables of Jesus, 45 were in the context of their work-places. Of the 40 miracles by the disciples in the Book of Acts, 39 are in the context of the market place.
9.       Paul was a tent-maker and preached while making tents wearing his work apron (Greek- simikinthion). He told new believers to stay wherever they were. He did not encourage them to leave their vocation to be preachers but to be like him. 1Cor. 7:20; Acts 19:8-12; 20:33-35
10.   Priscilla a tent maker, Lydia a seller of purple clothes, Phoebe a multinational business woman and Dorcas a social worker were work-place ministers who never gave up their jobs.
11.   The church leaders are not there to give motivational sermons from the pulpit that do nothing to expand the kingdom but only tickle their ears. They are there not to teach information either but to impart discipling skills.  Like all jobs, however menial, require on the job training and making disciples is no different. Coaches are not to do the work but  to equip the saints for the work of the ministry wherever God has placed them. Eph. 4:11-13
12.   97.5 per cent of churched Christians are unable to share their faith even with their best friends for lack of training in apologetics. The Scripture commands that you should always be ready to give an answer for your faith and be instant, in season and out of season, to answer people of other faiths using their own cultural norms and religious texts, just like Paul did in Athens.  1Peter 3:15; 2Timothy 4:2;  Acts 17:23,28
13.   Instead of involving the members in the church-based ministry of buildings and budgets, the two biggest obstacles to disciple multiplication, the Pastor should be involved in the members’ ministry of planting “work-place churches”. Training ordinary believers to be extra-ordinary defenders of their faith at their work-places, where they spend most of their prime time, should be the top priority of the church. Even “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” How else can we work (worship) and guard our inheritance which for the present lies under the control of the evil predator and turn it into the kingdom of God? Prov. 22:6; 1Timothy 4:6; 1John 5:18,19; Psalm 2:8
14.   Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil and to establish the kingdom of God on earth. How else the kingdoms of this world can become the Kingdom of Lord and His Christ? Except through a “Church in the Workplace.” 1 John 3:8; Revelation 11:15

15.   A mature Christian is one who can convince and convict those who contradict and is sent to make disciples, baptize and make them to be obedient to the commands of Jesus to go and multiply more disciples and plant healthy reproducing churches. Titus 1:9; Matthew 28:18-20; 2Timothy 2:2; Acts 16:5