All posts by Virjil Selvan

05 Apr 2020

Overcoming – FEAR

The bible talks about “Fear” more than 500+ times and “Fear Not”, some believe it’s mentioned 365 times in the bible and could be used for 365 Days .

Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. “Keep calm FEAR NOT” the first explorer whispered. “Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run.” “Sure,” replied his companion. “You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?”

We are all like the second explorer .We all Fear about something but God says Fear Not and we need to overcome this fear. We are doing a 4 week series on Overcoming and Today we are going to see how to overcome Fear.

I believe that there will be transformation of Hearts. During this one month, with the help of God, NHC will become overcomers. We are going to look at this in 3 different steps:

  • What is Fear?
  • What has caused this Fear?
  • How to overcome this Fear?

We all have Fears in Life. Fear of Failures, Fear of lack of Provision, Fear of Persecution, Fear of Identity, Fear of Situation. We will face all these challenges, but we are called to be overcomers.

  1. Fear of Failures

What if we Fail, we are used to failures so much in Life that whatever we do , we feel that we will fail in our lives. We will lose things in life but God is saying this day to overcome this “fear of failures” and FEAR NOT.

Let us look from the Life of Gideon. Judges Chapter 6:12-13

12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

As per Gideon , The Lord has abandoned him , his family , his community. Don’t call me a mighty warrior, Gideon said. The Lord has abandoned us.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

Judges 6:

for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help

All there efforts were in Vain. They did not see any fruit of their work.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Today our God is promising us, Do not fear of failures. Continue , don’t give up and keep pursuing . The Lord God is going before you.

  1. Fear of Lack of Provision :

Provision can be anything, a lack in our daily needs. It can be a good Jeans or an owned house or lack of Food. To put it in a simpler way, it’s a Lack in our basic needs like FOOD , CLOTHING & SHELTER

Are we facing Fear because of lack of provision.

Let us look from the life of the Widow of Zarephath 1 kings 17: 12

12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug

Currently when we look at our provision , we feel so feared. It’s handful, what about our children fees, what about our EMI and we feel so feared.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.

There was a prophesy , There will not be any rain. So there was no way the widow had any hope of provision.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Luke 12:6-7

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

We need to trust God that he is our provider. We need to understand that all our provision only comes from him not by our work , our efforts. Is he who provides us.

  1. Fear of Persecution

We fear being persecuted . We fear losing our lives. A Fear of Death

Let us learn from the life of Disciples , Matthew 26:56

56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

3 Years they were all together but they deserted him.

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Fear of being recognised as the disciples of Jesus so they fled. They were afraid to testify that they were with Jesus or they believe in Jesus.

69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

All of them denied because of fear of death or being persecuted.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

We have to trust God that he will save us , protect us and we need to testify about Jesus wherever possible because God is with us.

  1. Fear of Identity

Fear of identity is caused when we are insecure about who we are. There is a fear which grips us, and we feel so insecure because of the other person. Maybe the other person has better talent than us, he/she is an influencer and we forget who we are in Christ. A unique personality.

Let us learn from the life of Saul, 1 Samuel 18:7-9

7 As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his tens of thousands.”

8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Fear of loosing his kingship & kingdom to David (verse 8 , What more can he get but the kingdom)

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

When he heard Praises from Others for David. He felt so insecure and there was fear of losing his identity.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Our Identity is in Christ Alone. We need to be secure in his calling , his purpose. We need to be more worried of what Christ thinks about us than what people think about us.

  1. Fear of Situation

When there are circumstances, challenges & difficult situations. We have fear of how to face it .

Matthew 8:23-25

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake. Everything was good but suddenly everything changed. All was well, the climate was well , things were so good and everything was so good in my family but everything just changed because of a situation.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

so that the waves swept over the boat. Initially there was a storm but now it started coming inside the boat and it started affecting them . The waves / storm started affecting our life , our family.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Faith in that Storm , however furious it may look like? We need to stand still and know that our God is in Control.

We can overcome this fear by Faith. Jesus said in that same verse . 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Let us Read Psalm 23 the backbone of overcoming all our fears. We always need to remind us about this Psalm EVERYDAY

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,[a]

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

29 Mar 2020

Being Sheep

Being Sheep, or rearing sheep

Peter was Jesus’ disciple. He was getting to know him. He was in a state of repentance and at the same time filled with passion. He had denied Jesus 3 times. Hence, he was all the more eager to spread the message of truth. We’ll look at the conversation that Peter and Jesus had. We are also very similar to Peter. We love Jesus. We are getting to know him. We are repenting for our iniquities just like Peter. Now imagine this conversation between you and Jesus.

John 21: 15 –

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

three things: Feed my lamb, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep

Who is a sheep? To make it easier, let’s look at the characteristics of a sheep and it’s rearer.

Sheep : The average lifespan for sheep is 10 to 12 years. Sheep are ruminants (multi-stomached animals) and consequently, they rely mainly on hay or pasture for their dietary needs. They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day. When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach. Sheep are suspicious animals by nature and will spook easily if you yell or handle them roughly. Handling your sheep too roughly will actually cause them to struggle more, so the best approach is to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while you work with them. We recommend allowing one acre of land for every three to six sheep. This acreage may vary, depending on the type of land available. In areas that experience hot weather, pastures should have shaded areas for the sheep to prevent them from overheating. Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather. Sheep need to have their hooves trimmed every six to 10 weeks. This is a very important task because neglecting hoof trimming can lead to lameness and infection in your sheep.During your daily contact with your sheep, always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes. Symptoms indicating illness include loss of appetite, weakness or staggering, labored or fast breathing, diarrhea, or lameness. If any of these symptoms occur, pull the animal from the flock and conduct a full health check. If you cannot determine the cause of the condition, consult your veterinarian.

There are a few points that I understood that will help us. Peter was a fisherman and now God is calling him to take care of sheep (people). God has called us. We may be very different people. But there are few points that we can ponder upon.

Firstly, who is my sheep? Is this verse written for a church pastor only? I don’t think so. It is written to every believer and disciple of Jesus. Then you’d ask me, who is my sheep? Who do I feed or take care of? I believe, sheep is anyone under our custody or care. By God’s grace we have our workplaces, whatever position we are in, that work area is my custody. God expects me to pray for my area of influence, not only for promotion or an increment but for blessing over my work place. My family is in my custody, or care. They are my sheep. My neighbourhood, my friends, not only believer friends but mostly unbelievers, they are all my sheep. Can we think of five people whom you can call your sheep? People in your care. Think of 5 people  in your care. You may have more.

When Jesus says my Sheep, he knows them and wants our participation in helping them grow. So now, since we know our sheep, what is my action plan?

  1. They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day – in other words feed them

“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15

Feed them with the word of God

Feed them with a vision

Feed them with prayer

Feed them with guidance

  1. When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach, because they are highly suspicious.

This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1: 19

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15: 1

I need to watch my behaviour when I am with my sheep. If I need my sheep to listen to me, I need to build that trust in them. I need to show my concern and care. I need to keep stable, so that I don’t create a suspicious atmosphere for them. In other words, I train myself, I seek my shepherds help to shepherd his sheep. Sometimes the sheep can be really difficult. They can be hard to manage, we need to to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while we work with them. We need to know the impact that our words can make towards the other person. We need to be firm but not harsh or overbearing. At the same time we can’t let go, and say that I am gentle with them. We have to address the concerns / issues wisely and immediately or else it could have a severe side effect.

  1. Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139: 7

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4: 12

We need to keep ourselves available. Keep ourselves ready for mentoring and discipling. Fresh water means help them to get the revelation of God afresh. Keep them safe. Being accessible at all times is humanly impossible but we must teach them to run to the word of God. Teach them to run to prayer, and hear from him. The safest place in this whole world is the presence of God. Why I say that is because, wherever, I am only His presence can hide me from every danger and at the same time only His presence can comfort us. Therefore, we need to teach them to run into the presence of God for safety.

  1. Always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes.

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2: 4

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12: 10

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34 – 35

It says in our daily contact, LOOKOUT. Many times, we get so busy with our routine, that we forget to intentionally LOOKOUT. We overlook OR NEGLECT many symptoms that could lead to poor relationships. Jesus said take care of my sheep, means, I am responsible for their well being. Sheep are very susceptible to infections and other illnesses, which can be fatal. If we overlook, these we may lose them forever or it’ll be too late to heal. Checkout, be accountable, help them to open up to their problem areas. Let’s not be quick in judging but we need to take on the role of helping them out of the situation or helping them heal or help them identify the issue.

Shrek the sheep became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone having shorn (shaved) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds – 50 lbs more than normal and enough to make twenty men’s suits.

Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece simply because he was away from his shepherd. It took a professional sheerer less than a half hour to rid him of his burden.

Shrek died back in 2011, but his story has just recently resurfaced in news outlets and social media sites alike due to a new interest in the science of fleece growth: Modern Farmer an internet resource for the farming community was curious: can a sheep’s wool grow forever? Its writer, Jesse Hirsch, interviewed Dave Thomas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s head of sheep studies. Thomas says a Merino sheep like Shrek will grow wool indefinitely.

APPLICATION

Apparently, when God created sheep he had their need for people in mind. More specifically, their need for a shepherd. The same is true of us. Life involves the accumulation of burdens. Burdens that can’t be tended to without the help of the Good Shepherd.

One internet blogger had this to say of Shrek’s plight:

Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to indefinitely accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Are we willing to be that Peter?

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

22 Mar 2020

Hope , Affliction & Prayer

Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Hope, Affliction and Prayer

Paul the author, is writing this letter to the people of Rome, predominantly Gentile.

Most likely the place where it is written is Corinth.

Themes that emerge from this book are (a)Basic Gospel (b)God’s plan of salvation, (c)Jew and Gentile alike.

Let’s look at the specific verse in Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

He wants us to be rejoicing in Hope and be patient when we face tribulation and be constant / or be faithful in prayer.

Let us divide the verse in 3 parts, and see what God is speaking to us this day.

  1. Be Joyful in Hope

Romans 5:2-5

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There are people who are so optimistic , confident of future or success.(We know so many of them , our friends ..They are positive thinkers) In contrary to that, when we look at the bible, it is the blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.

When we first believed in Christ, the holy spirit poured out his love in our hearts and his love for us continues to dwell in us.

And this morning we carry that Love and it dwells within us. Therefore, we need to be confident, secured and be joyful, in this Hope that his LOVE will not put us to shame.

 

1 PETER 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Though we have not seen him, we love him and believe in him. We have this Joy in our heart. God has given us inheritance that can never perish. Can we say Amen.

So, we should be joyful of this hope because, his love dwells in us and we will have an inheritance that will never perish.

 

  1. Patient in Affliction

 

John 16:33

 

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Matthew 10:22

22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved

 

We need to stand firm when we face challenges / loss. It should not be a surprise to us that why we are facing tribulation. Jesus said we will face challenges; we will have trouble. We will face those challenges which no one has ever faced.

Enduring triumphantly is necessary for us.

 

  1. Faithful in Prayer

One must not only pray in hard times, but also always maintain communion with God through prayer .

Luke 18- 1:8

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give upHe said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

In verse 1 Jesus was teaching his disciples, that they should always pray and not give up. God will hear our prayers, who cry out to him.

Now what are the challenges which we face in our regular routine which doesn’t allow us to be Joyful in Hope, to be Patient in tribulation and constant in our prayer lives?

  1. Breakdown in relationship with God: How this happens? It is because of our sinful nature. God speaks to us about his Love but we don’t care about it, however, he pursues us each and every day, even though we may have gone far away from him.
  2. When things are stretched out of limit, we slowly start losing the Joy and Patience. We end up with no prayer life. And Who doesn’t want to be happy, we all want to be happy. Are we going to be happy when we lose a Job, lose something which is important? It depends upon circumstances or Lack of faith.

When we look at the life of JESUS , He knew what he’s going to do, it’s not an end.

I need to ask myself regarding verse 12, “Do these three phrases describe me? Is my life full of joy in hope? Do I joyfully persevere in tribulation? Am I devoted to prayer?” To the extent that you and I fall short of these qualities, we need to grow!

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

15 Mar 2020

Fear Faith and Me

Fear Faith and Me

Amidst all the news of Corona Virus, also known as Covid – 19, we are here today. Really appreciate us. While I was preparing this message, I was reminded of Noah and His Ark. Imagine just like this virus, the whole Earth was filled with water. In the news you could only see, one country being affected, then it comes to the other, and in this manner, it comes to us. Probably, Noah is blaring out his voice saying believe and come into the Ark. I am sure, the reactions of people those times would have been very similar like today. Creating memes, showing extreme confidence that it would not affect me, it’s only hyped or on the other hand we might be extremely fearful, wondering who the last person was, with whom we have shaken hands and think all his whereabouts. Extreme reactions. So where are we trying to get at? Some of us are already nodding with me. So today we’ll learn about how to respond in the midst of a global crisis. What you’re talking? do you mean to say, our response is not right? Nothing of that sort. It’s only, that how we need to learn from each other to respond to this global scenario.

 

  1. Let’s not Panic.

The US Peace Corps train their workers to deal with any kind of eventuality they might meet in the field, and since they work in the jungles of South America, it’s quite possible that they might encounter an Anaconda, the largest snake in the world. A full grown Anaconda is not just a snake. It is a telegraph pole with a temper! It takes 10 men to carry one — if it is in a good mood. Here are the instructions in one of the Peace Corps’s manuals, posted on the Internet:

1: If you are attacked by an Anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are. Don’t try to outrun it.

2: Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides and your legs tight against one another.

3: Tuck in your chin.

4: The snake will come and begin to nudge and will climb about your body.

5: Do not panic.

6: After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet, always the feet. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.

7: The snake will begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.

8: When the snake has reached your knees, slowly and with as little movement as possible reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth, between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake through the top of the head.

9: Be sure you have your knife.

10: Be sure your knife is sharp.

Of course, if you get to number nine, or even ten, and find you’ve forgotten your knife, or that it’s blunt, the rest doesn’t really matter!

So, yes, let’s not panic and cause others to panic. It only shuts down our capacity to think of practical ways of problem solving. We need to know exactly how to keep ourselves from such panic situations. We need to sharpen our knife and our mind.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim 1: 7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6 – 7

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 9

  1. Be equipped:

So here, I am also, not trying to say that we need to walk right in front of this Virus, and say, come, I am not afraid of you. Don’t invite it. Keep ourselves updated. Ask God, be wise, on how we should proceed with next steps. Noah did tell them to come into the boat. He did make an effort to make the boat. He did not rely on his swimming skills. He thought about himself, his family, community, the nature and everyone. We need to learn from this experience as well. Let’s prepare our self, our family and community. Take all the precautionary measures, just like we did today in the morning. We need to love God not only with our heart, and strength but also, with our mind. We need to practice our faith. Put it into action. We need to be alert on what the precautionary measures are. So we need not panic but at the same time have the presence of mind to proceed with given safety measures.

  1. L. Moody wrote the following words next to Isaiah 6:8 in his Bible: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.”

Isaiah 6:8: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 10

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6: 11

  1. Think for everyone:

Yes, I meant, think FOR everyone not think ABOUT, when we say FOR, we are putting ourselves into their position. Let’s not be self-centred. Faith is not operated by hurting someone else’s life. We need to definitely act in Faith but see to it that we don’t harm others. We may move out to showcase, how we can operate in Faith but at the same time, we need to think about all those people who might get affected because of us. Also, each one has been granted, with the capacity of their faith. Therefore, not only should we take caution for ourselves but also for others. We love enthusiastic believers, but enthusiasm channelized in an appropriate way.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6: 31

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2: 3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is near sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

Scripture speaks about faith, goodness, knowledge, self – control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.

  1. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. :- How do we get this knowledge of Him? Through His word, through people who are spiritually mature, through our time with God.
  2. …you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires:- Promises are given, so that we may participate in the divine nature and escape.. ESCAPE the corruption in the world.
  3. they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ:- These qualities will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive. So it’s not only faith but very evidently knowledge, also called understanding. We need to think, that’s what the scripture says. Think ahead, in other words persevere. How do we persevere? Only by planning ahead, understanding that this is going to take long.

So this is how we go about the situation at hand. We need to have faith, that God is in control, He is sovereign and He needs no direction from us. Every work of his is a testimony (those affected will have a testimony, those protected will have a testimony and those who couldn’t survive will have the biggest testimony when we meet them). We can witness it in our lives. Let’s spend time in asking God for his guidance, his direction into this situation. We need to read the bible, know his navigation plans, if we are in the Ark of Jesus Christ, we can’t sit idle. Noah never sat idle, I think he couldn’t. he had to feed the animals, clean them, and do all sort of filthy work. However, end of the day in a washed out world, he obeyed the voice of God. Let’s hear from Him who knows the destiny. He is the alpha and the omega. No need to panic and let’s not depend on our understanding of over confidence. Let’s think of each other. Protect and help each other. Let’s not be unaware or pretend to be unaware, but let’s gear up for this phase. Let’s pray, intercede, unite, read the word, and march on. Also, importantly, let’s encourage each other. We are God’s big family, all sailing in the same Ark, that is Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

08 Mar 2020

What is Grace?

GRACE

What is grace

 

  • The word grace in English means “smooth”, “pleasing” or “good will”
  • Usage of word grace in English is as follows
    • She handles her problems with grace and dignity
    • He has shown remarkable grace during this crisis
  • The above grace is a product of human goodness or of human spirit.
  • The original word “grace” taken from French mean “favor”
  • In the bible “grace” however means the goodness that comes from God’s Spirit “favor for undeserved”, “unworked for favour” or “unmerited favor”  from God to mankind.

 

What is the source of grace

  • Source of grace is Jesus Christ : John1:16&17 – Out of his fullness we have all received grace. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
  • Grace is gift from heavenly father given to us through Jesus Christ
  • Grace enables us to not only full fill the law but also to live a much higher standard of life enabled only by the Spirit of God who lives in us.

 

Grace explained through parable

  • Jesus explained grace through the parable of the Prodigal son

The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15)

  • 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
  • 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
  • 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
  • “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
  • 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
  • 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
  • This story represents a good family, father had two children elder one obey the father in everything, keeping the house clean, but the younger one, after playing football come in the and throw sox here and there, as he seems convenient. Father’s instruction on cleanliness, not able to spend enough time the way he wants, might has made younger son feel suffocated at home so he finally he said to himself enough is enough, and said to his father “give me my property, let me have the freedom”. Father being gentle, has given half the property to him, he went away, called friends “common guys” let us enjoy life. He went ahead and lived wild living satisfying his senses. But then famine struck unexpectedly, he was not prepared, no more money, no friends, he was forced to take the job of feeding pigs. He struggled, starved, one day he thought to himself “even servants at home are much better of than his present stage”, he came to his senses, decided to go back to the father. But while he was still far away, his father sees him, filled with compassion for son he ran to him, hugged him, ordered the servant to cut the calf, prepare the meal, celebrate son’s return, this shows heart of the father full of grace given to the undeserving son.
  • But the elder son who came in from field just could not take it…continue reading from verse 25,
  • 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
  • 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
  • 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
  • The elder son obeyed the father in everything all his life, so what was the problem? Since he has given all his energy to obey and honor the father as per the his order, he could not reconcile with this free welcome to the undeserving younger son, free party, he just could not accept it, he blamed and accused the younger brother as one who spend the money with prostitutes. This is what obeying the law does to us, it makes us proud and demanding and judgmental. Where as response to grace can only be “gratitude”.
  • What if the elder son demanded that father you have given half the property to the brother already remaining half belongs to him?
  • What flashed through my mind was that the father, being so gentle would have given the property to the elder son and now left with nothing to give to the younger son would have told him “ I have nothing else to give, I will give myself to you”, Abraham when Lot took the better portion of the property was discouraged, God told him “Abraham I am your reward, your great reward.
  • That is what Jesus did. He has given himself to us. John 3:16, God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that who so even believes in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
  • Salvation (Rom 3:23). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
  • We are saved by grace through redemption on the cross of Calvary

 

What grace is NOT

  • Grace is misunderstood greatly today.
  • Grace is free but not free since Christ did pay the price
  • Grace is not lawlessness. Lawlessness is sin not grace.
  • Grace takes away pride and does not boast of self.
  • Law was given for man to obey and pay the price if he can’t obey.
  • Grace is not work: But Grace is given by God himself making the payment so that man may go free !!. So If “God is not making the payment” and “you are making the payment” then it is not grace at work in you.
  • Grace does not promote sin: Should you use the freedom to indulge in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly “NO”. If that which is in you make you indulge in sin then it is not grace.
  • Grace not only make man go free but it also make him like Jesus in his image back again !!. As he is so are we in this world.
  • So grace in us is complete only when this transformation work of becoming like Christ is complete.
  • If that which is working in you, is not making you like Christ, then that is not grace.

  • Picture above represents todays Christians operating in mix of Law and grace
  • X-Axis is Law and Y-axis is grace
  • Many Christians give all their effort like the elder son to do things that the father want them to do and live along the D box
  • Many depend partially or 50% on God’s grace and 50% put their on effort to live good Christian life acceptable to all. This is good but we become partially judgmental with half God half me approach.
  • What about Box A ?. Looks Good but we put minimum effort to do what is right, possible that we may live so called believer life with almost 90% God and 10% our own effort.
  • We should live in the Y-axis which is the correct place to live where we know 100% grace and nothing of ourselves, it is possible only when we die to ourselves, as Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me”. This is where supernatural can become natural. This is where the Church should be, all of Christ.
  • Now should we obey the law when we live by grace ?. No, God want us to live Christ like living, anything less than that is not living by grace, It is a life much above law, since law does not say pray for your enemies, forgive, pray for those who persecute you. As he is so are we in this world. We don’t live to full fill the law but we are here to reflect Christ in everything we do.

 

How grace work in us ?

 

  • Grace of God teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness.
  • There are two ways to say no to ungodliness – by our effort or by applying the truth in the bible.
  • We are justified through grace (Rom 3:23) : Col 2:13-15 Christ took away everything that stood against us and nailed it to the cross
  • There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Rom 8: 1-12
  • Rom 8:2 “Law of the Spirit” which frees us is grace
  • Rom 8:3 Law which is supposed to give life was weakened and made powerless by my flesh
  • Rom 8:4 Christ did by sin offering. Sin is condemned on the cross so what Law requires is fully met in Christ hence I become free of wrong doing.
  • Rom 1:17 This belief imparts righteousness to us. So I know I am made righteous by grace
  • Rom 5:1-5 Therefor since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God
  • No only that we can live free of sin by the grace of God “PS 23 He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake”.
  • Rom 8: 33 Who will bring any charge against us ? (If you are feeling guilty, or accused of wrong about a sin that we have already said sorry to God, Tell the devil Rom 8:1 or 32/33 no more guilt and shame.
  • Rom 8:34 Jesus is interceding for us at God’s right hand.
  • Ps 32 : Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him, don’t be like the mule or horse which have no understanding but be controlled by bit and bridle, be a child , be a son, reflecting God’s glory

 

Conclusion

  • Grace is God’s unmerited favor to us
  • We are justified by grace
  • We are transformed by grace
  • No more condemnation because we are under grace
  • God himself intercedes for us (Rom 8:34)
  • If God does not condemn us we will not condemn ourselves
  • Psalm 23:3: He will guide you in paths of righteousness
  • Psalm 32 God will counsel you and watch over you

James Raj worshipping at New Hope Community .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

01 Mar 2020

Who is the Greatest?

We all want to be the Greatest and the Best. As Professionals, we all strive to be the greatest and best at our workplace, at our home and even in the Church. I still remember we used to have a KRA rating, in which we used to have rating for CE, ME , NME, OUT. It was given to all the individuals to rate themselves. Guess what each one may have rated “CE”. Everyone rates themselves as CE.. As the greatest in the team.

When we want to buy a product online , we buy the best product . We check reviews, cost, and so on. We don’t buy a product which is second best, we buy that, which is best , or good.

In our setup only the winners are remembered . No one remembers the one who lost a final match but everyone remembers the one who won the FINAL match. The one who is a winner.

Let us Read Matthew 18 :1-14 ..

(After reading is completed)

We see here 3 different parts in chapter 18

It starts with The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven , then Causing to Stumble , then The Parable of the Wandering Sheep .

The key theme in this chapter is who is the Greatest? And Jesus brings a child into a picture (context) and asks the disciples to be like a child (Little one).

Can the disciples become a child? It is to be childlike.

This question did not arise among JEWS but it was among the Disciples. So what made them ask this question to JESUS?

One of the CAUSE

What made some of them (Disciples) to think that they are greatest?

Let us read the previous chapter , let us go to chapter 17 ..where the transfiguration takes place.

..He wanted to be settled with others.

Let us look at their heart:

  1. Only three of them were taken along with JESUS (Peter , James & John)

(Kind of a mission trip where he selects only selective disciples (Peter, James & John) )

  1. Witnessed JESUS’ transfiguration.

(They (Peter, James & John) saw something Special / very different which no one among them saw ..Jesus’ Transfiguration)

  1. Moses & Elijah

(And also they saw two famous personalities from the scripture, that is, Moses and Elijah. Peter was so overwhelmed with this opportunity which JESUS gave him )

All of these happened , in verse 4

  • Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

It is good for us WE’LL ALL be here . we don’t want to go back. And question arises what about Others?

And after they returned , they may or may not have discussed with other disciples the privilege which they (3 of them) had.

In another scripture portion Matthew 20:21– A mother’s request:

James and John wanted to be seated on the right and left hand of Jesus

The dispute was about who was the greatest?

When the disciples were with JESUS , JESUS was building their character ,envisioning them.

Jesus addresses this question and it is one of the important aspect in our life.

Lucifer’s downfall was because of the desire to become the greatest or just a thought that he was greatest.

When do we think that we are greatest than others. When we have a checklist and we tick mark it in comparison with others.. Check , check , check and for the other person is cross , cross , cross.

Today Christians struggle with the same thing. We want to be great in the world’s eyes. We so desperately want the approval of the world / People

Jesus addressed this question in a different way, he does not say a parable. Instead he brings a Visual Aid. I.e. he calls a child and places a child among them. (Below scripture portion is just for reference)

Matthew 18: Part 1

  • At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
  • He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
  • And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
  • And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

So now the scenario is 12 disciples with a small child.

There are three parts here – 1: Willing to Change yourself 2: Becoming like a Child 3: Our behaviour towards people who are like a child.

  1. Unless you change (verse 3) : It is very clear , unless you change and become like them ( eagerness to learn, the innocence , the simplicity, enthusiasm, trust or love?,). Change our status, what we think, who we are, and develop a heart that is willing to Change. A heart willing to change is the first step.
  2. Become like little children (verse 3 : Willing to change and try to become like a child. Jesus is not only addressing the issue of pride (verse 4 Lowly position) but he is addressing the disciples’ character . To have a character like a child
  3. Welcomes one such Child (verse 5) : We have to welcome and respect those people as well who are childlike (No Pride, innocent , enthusiastic , Loving …etc) . Not only we become one of them but we welcome them , we honour them.
  4. Causing them to stumble (verse 6) : Don’t cause them to stumble . Love them , Care for them , Learn from them . JESUS warns them.
  5. DESPISE them (verse 10) : Strong dislike for someone , hatred

(10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven[11] )

God wants us to be Greatest. JESUS did not say that you can’t be Greatest .

John 12:24-26

  • 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
  • 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
  • 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

16 Feb 2020

Habits or Idols

Idols of the heart or habit

1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

So even as we look at today’s sermon, there are a lot of things that we need to check on. How are habits formed? We are in an introspection mode. In other words, why do we get so comfortable with somethings and with other things its very difficult to even start off. This message is for me as well. There are so many unhealthy patterns that I am inclined to do, which is causing me harm. It is only ruining my health, relationships, and maybe professional life. We will look at it as idols. Now you would ask me why is it an idol? An idol is anything that I worship, and I am obsessed about. We have the Indian idol for example.

Definition of Habits:

Habits are a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. – Oxford dictionary

something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it:

A habit is something you can do without thinking which is why most of us have so many of them.

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Samuel Johnson.

Today we will reflect and introspect on how to get good ones in and throw the bad ones out. Also, how to get the good habits to continue.

Deal with Habits Early On before they turn into idols.

Let’s consider this, poverty was not what I chose but I was born poor. Now eventually, God blessed me with enough provision, however, living in poverty has changed my attitude of being helpless, always thinking about money, etc. If I were to say that generosity should be one of our change. I need to start being generous, keeping the fact in mind that God is the one who helps me to be rich, richer. On the other hand being rich, spending lavishly, can also become a habit, which later on can affect the family or  work and then we are so used to doing it that even when we are unable to afford something, we want to spend, leaving us with too many debts.

Therefore, we need to deal with our habits wisely and early on. We need to be like Jesus. Grasp the culture of Jesus. He knew how our habits can ruin us.

An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest. Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand. The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree. The tutor said to his young companion, Pull up the first plant.’ The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers. Now pull up the second.’ The youth obeyed but found the task more difficult. Do the same with the third,’ he urged. The boy had to use all his strength to uproot it. Now,’ said the instructor,; try your hand with the fourth.’ The pupil put his arms around the trunk of the tall tree and couldn’t even shake its leaves. This, my son, is just what happens with our bad habits. When they are young, we can remove them readily; but when they are old, it’s hard to uproot them, though we pray and struggle ever so sincerely.’

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Unconscious Attitudes

It is a commonplace how easily a child of 3 or 4 picks up a foreign language if exposed to it without any formal teaching. Yet we are unwilling to admit that a child of the same age picks up our unconscious attitudes and prejudices without being taught–and often retains these longer than any of his formal education. Sidney J. Harris.

We need to make conscious efforts to recognize our habits which are slowly developing into idols. Are we expecting a call? or watch a YouTube video every time, I am free. There is nothing wrong to expect a call or watch YouTube videos, but we need to know that we are unconsciously looking into our phones several times, or watching that YouTube video when I have other tasks to do.  It’s like, I can’t live without it situation. When we make people our idols, children our idols, we are unconsciously moving God out of our hearts and placing that thing as priority and important. God can wait kind of, and that thing can’t wait. I can wake up at 6 for my work-related issues but I find it difficult to wake up to pray. Work is important. Unconsciously we are sending out messages that this ‘X’ thing is my priority, it’s become my idol.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

An important task before we move on with the sermon is to recognize our idols. Who is it that I am trying to please? My relatives will leave me if I don’t follow ‘…’ thing. Let me just do it once , and then they’ll be fine, they come only once in a while. If I don’t carry my phone to the bathroom, I may miss that important call. Only today I have to get done with this, so that my TL will be happy with me and she will praise me before my authorities, etc.

Changing our habits so that they don’t become our idols. We don’t worship it, and it doesn’t take God’s place.

Habits must be changed with determination and God’s help

I John 3:9, TLB. “The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him—he has been born again.”

Habits deserve no mercy

Deuteronomy 12:2-3, TLB. “You must destroy all the heathen altars wherever you find them—high in the mountains, up in the hills, or under the trees. Break the altars, smash the obelisks, burn the shameful images, cut down the metal idols, and leave nothing even to remind you of them!”

Fill your life with good habits

Titus 2:7, NKJV. “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility.”

Form the habit of focusing your thoughts on good things.

Philippians 4:8, TLB. “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Generosity as a habit

habit of worship, habit of prayer, habit of working hard, habit of listening that others can also be right(humility)

Luke 4:16, NIV. “He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And He stood up to read.”

Prayer

Matthew 6:5, NIV. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

At times God will tear open the curtains that are hiding our idols, and this will be even more painful, because he loves us. Our aim is to be more like Jesus and not ourselves. We need to work and walk towards it. Help each other to realise that …I think this has become your idol let’s work on it. Can we take off something without feeling the compulsion to go back to it. Ask yourself.

Habits of the heart

In Pulpit Digest William H. Willimon used this illustration:

“Philip Haille wrote of the little village of Le Chambon in France, a town whose people, unlike others in France, hid their Jews from the Nazis. Haille went there, wondering what sort of courageous, ethical heroes could risk all to do such extraordinary good. He interviewed people in the village and was overwhelmed by the ordinariness. They weren’t heroes or smart, discerning people. Haille decided that the one factor that united them was their attendance, Sunday after Sunday, at their little church, where they heard the sermons of Pastor Trochme. Over time, they became by habit people who just knew what to do and did it. When it came time for them to be courageous, the day the Nazis came to town, they quietly did what was right. One old woman, who faked a heart attack when the Nazis came to search her house, later said,;Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life when a person is asked to do something for Jesus. When our time came, we knew what to do.'”

True habits of the heart are there when they are most needed.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

09 Feb 2020

The Great Flood

The Great Flood : Judgement & Redemption

We all are aware of this story and we may have heard it so many times again and again “Noah & the Ark”. Today we are going to study the Great flood.

We are going to look at this story of Great flood  with two different themes, which the Author is trying to convey, one is judgement and second is redemption:

We all are aware of the Author of this book, who was it? Moses, it was written in a time when the Israelites were in a journey from Egypt to Canaan.

Before, we look at these two different themes (Judgement & Redemption ). Let us look at who Noah was.

Chapter 5 : 21-25’

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Enoch , who walked with God ; then he was no more , because God took him away. He was the father of Methuselah , who lived 969 years (Longest ever lived)

Methuselah became the father of Lamech , Lamech the father of Noah.

Let us look at the first theme , which looks like the major theme when we read the story of the Great Flood:

Judgement :

God wiped out the whole earth in a matter of time. Why did he do that, and what made him do that. Is this punishment too harsh? Let us read

Chapter 6:5-8

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the timeThe Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubledSo the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Great is their wickedness , every thought was evil and God regretted.

Sin has taken hold of the entire human race.

And God said “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground”

Genesis 6 : 11-13

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth So make yourself an ark

Because of the sin of mankind , the entire creation is under wrath.

And God is going to Judge the face of earth.

Why this fierce Judgement , why there is no Grace for the entire earth ?

He is also a Gracious God, right?

I believe God may have given them  ample of opportunities.

  1. The Great Flood : Redemption

The second theme which is usually overlooked is the Redemption plan of God.

There was evil, and violence .

We read that Enoch was taken back to God . Why did God not take back Noah and destroy the whole earth and the creation ? We saw that it happened before the flood event . Why?

Because his love for his creation. And we read that God showed Favour to Noah.

Later part  when we see Noah drunk and lying naked , I don’t justify his purity and you can take a call on that.

What I want to covey is God showed unmerited favour on Noah and the entire human race

Genesis 6:8

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Because of one person the entire family is saved. Not only him all his entire family was saved because of him (8 of them survived )

For this Redemption, we need obedience .

Chapter 6 :22

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Noah obeyed and did what the Lord commanded. Obedience is a key to be part of this great redemption .

Noah Obeyed and followed Gods instruction and he built this great Ark (45 feet high)

He brought all the creatures inside and the entire family of Noah went inside, and the Great Flood came which swept the entire Earth.

Chapter 7:16

7:16 – God commanded Noah … The Lord shut him in ..

God gave the command but in his role as a redeeming God , He closed the door of the ark behind Noah and his family.

7: 22 breath of Life: God’s gift at the time of creation was taken away because of sin.

When we read chapter 7, which is about judgment, and then from chapter 8 , redemption takes place.

It starts with “God remembered Noah” an act of Love and care for them.

And we see the desperation of Noah, to come out of the Ark, he sends a Raven, a Dove. A dove brings Olive leaf, which does not grow on high elevations, it shows that the water was receded from earth.

After flood, it’s like a new beginning.

The Lord destroyed the earth because it was full of violence, don’t we see that happening today? Why is he not destroying the whole earth?

Chapter 9 :

In chapter 9, we see that God makes a covenant with us. A covenant which will last forever “a rainbow”, that conveys, never again will I destroy the whole face of the earth with flood. Never again will I curse the ground because of Man “even though his heart is evil.”

Do we foresee something similar in the New Testament :

It is the cross. Here the Ark was accessible only to Noah.

The Greater Ark of redemption, i.e The cross is accessible to everyone who ever believes in him , who comes to this ark will not perish but  live forever.

Jesus made that provision to us, to enter the ark, whoever we are, whatever background we come from, if we believe in Him, we will be saved.

If we want to be saved, we need to come to this ark.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

02 Feb 2020

Life’s Journey

Life’s Journey

Imagine if you would that you want to go to Oamaru on the bus, the buses run to Oamaru every day of the week and there are at least three different bus companies to choose from. The trick with all these bus companies is that they charge different fares and that they go at different times. You can pay as little as 22.99 on Naked Bus or as much as 42.00 on Intercity but to be fair Intercity does have a cheaper rate if you book early. In the middle is Atomic Bus Lines at 30.00.

So off you go with your packed lunch off to see the penguins and limestone buildings in Oamaru, hopping up onto the bus, you find a quiet seat and as you sit down you plug yourself into your MP3 player for those of my generation or older that’s like a tiny electronic portable tape deck that just keeps playing music, it doesn’t stop and you don’t have to turn the tape over.

So there you are plugged into a medley of classical music, a bit of Vivaldi’s four seasons, Lady Gaga, Hill Songs and Chris Rea. You are enjoying the music so much that you close your eyes and open them as you pull into Greymouth.

Panic. You were going to Oamaru. You are in Greymouth, I spent my last 30.00 on that ticket, I can’t get to Oamaru from here, I have no more money, I know no one in Greymouth! Where will I sleep, who do I go to for help.

You may see that life is like a bus journey, made up of many short trips to different places, often to numerous and exciting destinations, conversations with lots of different people and packed lunches.

Take a step back, take another look, just for the next ten minutes or so. Consider this your life’s one long bus trip. One bus, one fare, one destination.

GETTING IN/OUT OF THE BOAT

In our life journey with God, there are moments when we are to get out of the boat because our faith and trust in the Lord needs to grow. But, there are also moments when we need to get back in the boat because we need to rest and be renewed.

In both situations, we must listen to and for the Lord’s direction. –Jim Kane

Many times we get into situations off guard, we are not prepared. Eventually, as the situation becomes more grievous, we look to God in desperation. But the word of God says, even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil. Now to remember that I should have a background of knowing God, through his scriptures. It’s not enough that we read our bible or meditate on it only during my hard times. It’s very selfish. We need to get to know him. So that even before the situation arrive, I am equipped to handle it. Situations are inevitable. But God’s word should be the sword that we carry throughout the battle.

Community: So as a community, let’s have this feast together. Many times we are involved in our own study, which is good. We should do that but if we move with the community, it causes us to learn so much and understand God’s heart. When I am in a wedding feast or for that matter in a community, it looks very odd to carry your own food. Unless we are on a special diet by the doctor. When we feast with the community, we share our convictions, thoughts, and our expectations. We learn so much. So let’s do this with the community. Community is larger, many who are not part have become a part, some have moved on, we have prayer walks with our community, we have fun and food. Then why not bible reading together.

Commitment: It’s a commitment. The character of a person is known by their commitment. I understand the time constraints but when I am committed for it, I will do it even if it takes that extra mile. It shows my character. In marriage, if we don’t commit to each other, then that marriage fails or it’s just meaningless.

Courage: it shows our courage to share the word boldly, even when I am not good at expressing it. It’s God’s big family, and in a family I don’t pretend. I am myself. I share my thoughts and opinions even though it doesn’t make sense or even when my language is not good. I am vulnerable only for God. To be a part of His family and fellowship. None of us are perfect. That imperfection shows up for some people very evidently whereas for some it is subtle, but according to God, both of us need to work on it. Unless we don’t show the error, we will remain there, and we will not be able to grow to the next level.

Let’s have it practically. I have taken a small portion from Friday’s reading. Let’s do it together. So that we don’t wait till tomorrow, if there’s any challenge we can help immediately.

2 Samuel 12: 1 – 13

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

 

ADORATION CONFESSION
THANKSGIVING SUPPLICATION

Let’s make it a habit / practice that we share and learn. As we do that we not only grow but we are able to face many giants in our life. Our life’s journey will be more interesting as we inculcate this aspect as well.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

26 Jan 2020

Little Vs Great Faith

We may have heard lot of stories about faith. In our lives , we may have met people of faith. We all may be knowing someone by whom we are overwhelmed with those people’s faith.

Once

An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout “PRAISE THE LORD!”

Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord!!”

Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD I NEED FOOD!! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!”

The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”

The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”

The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Praise the Lord!”

Another one, The

Flood was on its way, forcing everyone to evacuate. The police rowed up to the most pious woman in town and said, “Ma’am, you have to leave this house! People are dying out here!”

 

The woman replied, “No, I’m not leaving. God has always helped me before, and He will do it again.”

So as the water started to rise, she went to the second story of her house. Another boat came by, and the captain yelled, “Ma’am, you have to get on this boat or you’re going to drown!”

The woman replied again, “No, God helped me before, and He will do it again.”

The water rose even higher. This time she went to the top of the roof, where a helicopter came and hovered overhead. The pilot called into his loudspeaker, “Please climb aboard, ma’am. You are going to drown!”

The women sniffed and again replied, “God is going to save me!”

But the water rose higher, and soon she drowned to death. She went to Heaven, and there she asked God, “Why didn’t you save me, O Lord?”

And God replied, “I did help–I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”.

 

Today we are going to look at the two levels of Faith

Little Faith and Great Faith :

During certain events Jesus describes these two levels of faith. But before that, what is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”

This definition of faith contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust. Intellectual assent is believing something to be true. Trust is relying on the fact that something is true. A chair is often used to help illustrate this. Intellectual assent is recognizing that a chair is a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it. Trust is sitting in the chair.

Only Believing in Something is not Faith. Also, relying on the fact that the something is true is Faith.

Jesus talks about this Intellectual assent (relying on the fact that the something is true) and TRUST. That is what we are going to talk about this today,

The bible talks about Little Faith in many scripture portions we see that

Matthew 6:30

  • If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

(Do not worry about tomorrow)

Matthew 8:26

  • He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

(Jesus is with disciples in a boat , The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”)

Matthew 14:31

  • Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

(Jesus in a boat , Jesus walks on water , peter wants to try it out, so he asks Jesus, if he can join him to walk on the water, But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, was beginning to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”)

Matthew 16:8

  • Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?

(When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. , Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? )

Matthew 17:20

  • He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

(Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy , Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,

Let us see what is Great faith

Jesus identified only two people in His earthly ministry who He said had great faith; a Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5–13)and a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21–28).

For the Canaanite woman, it was her daughter and for the Roman centurion it was his servant.

Let us look at one of them GREAT FAITH Matthew 15 : 21-28

Interesting Chapter (let us read)

Before we discuss this, lets us understand who are Canaanites.

GENESIS 9:20-27

And God promised this land i.e the promise land Canaan .

Let us see the history of Canaanites

The indigenous people of the land of Canaan worshiped many gods but, chief among them, the goddess Astarte and her consort Baal (considered vegetative/fertility deities who then took on more impressive attributes earlier ascribed to Sumerian gods such as Enlil).

Women in Ancient Israel

  • most were restricted to roles of little or no authority,
  • they were largely confined to their father’s or husband’s home,
  • they were considered to be inferior to men, and under the authority of men — either their father before marriage, or their husband afterwards.
  • They could not go out in public, or talk to strangers. When outside of their homes, they were to be doubly veiled With all these challenges, she went to Jesus.

Why her faith was called / known as greatest faith?

  1. She showcased her Faith in real desperation

Matthew 15: 22

22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord

  1. Faith with persistence

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

  1. Faith with humility

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

  1. Faith beyond Insult

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Her Intellectual Assent on Jesus “22 crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

And her trust

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Both were in Place (Intellectual Assent and Trust). Where are we today? Are we people of little faith or God will say that men / women you have a great faith.

I believe that Faith need to be Built, We start with being people of little faith and sharpen it , practice it and we become people of great faith . God wants each one of us to be called people of great faith.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.