Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Have we lost the plot? | Colin D

This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on May 20th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.

I want to begin with a story. On a dangerous sea-coast, there was a life-saving station. It was only a hut with merely 1 boat but they were saving people. Eventually it got recognized and more people came to join. They built a building for public gatherings like a clubhouse. Saving lives and feeding the hungry, etc hardly occurred. They hired professionals to go and save people. They had life-saving images in the Club’s decoration, but they didn’t do much life-saving. Does this remind you of something? Yes, the church.  

The purpose of our gathering is worship Jesus, but also to build ourselves up for one purpose- it is to save people. Jesus has come to seek and save the lost. Next Saturday is Global Outreach Day (GOD).

We gather for prayer, but we also proclaim the gospel. We were not saved just for a Sunday meeting. We were saved to go and save others. This is our purpose. Imagine a cricketer who only does Advertisements and gives up playing cricket, he has lost the plot. Statistics show that 93% of Christians never share the gospel with anyone. There are very few who actually like evangelising. The rest of us would rather study the bible, worship, and pray instead. This is because we fear rejection.

This morning we need to realign our engine. Imagine if all of us here pray for the lost, engage with the lost, and then share the gospel.

Mark 2: 1-2  A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.

People heard that Jesus was healing people and he was mobbed.

Mark 2: 3-4 “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.
In those days the houses were not made of concrete, so they put him through that roof. It must have taken a lot of effort to get that person to Jesus.

Mark 2:5 – 12When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

There are different characters in this story- Jesus, the crowds, the paralyzed man and his four friends. They were good friends of the paralyzed man. They carried him and were committed to get that man to Jesus. So there was deep friendship there. They could have seen the crowds and said it’s not possible. But they did the unthinkable. They were optimistic.

Then we see the heart of Jesus! Can you imagine your roof falling through? How would you react? But Jesus saw their faith. He went beyond the external and addressed the issue. Then he tells the paralyzed man to get up and leave and he was able to do that. He received the forgiveness of sins

Q. Where are you in that story?

Are you in the crowds, enthralled with Jesus’ miracles but not really involved? Are you like the paralyzed man with a need that you cannot meet yourself and need Jesus to help you? Are we like the friends that we are so committed to making sure our friends’ are met? Are you like the Pharisees who are picking on the words and missing the miracle?

The paralyzed man is everyone in the world who cannot help themselves. We are placed there to be a friend to them. Jesus is looking for you to take them and bring them to him. That is our role. Over the years, we have met people and brought them to Jesus. We cannot convert anyone or heal anyone. But we can take them to someone who can.

The gospel is spreading greatly all over India. Each one of us can do this. We can share about Jesus, we can pray for them... we can take them to Jesus. Jesus has commanded us to do it. So can we take a step of faith and do it? When we take that step God will prepare a way for them to come to Him.   

Let’s pray!

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Jesus is Greater | Alex G

This message was preached  by Alex Godinho at Word of Grace Church on May 6th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.

In Nigeria, when I was walking with my colleagues, a friend of my stepped onto a pile of cowdung and slipped and fell on it. Sometimes, I think our life is like that- we are going along and suddenly find ourselves in a mess. It is not expected. We think we are all in control and suddenly something comes up. It could be a misunderstanding in a family- arguing, bitterness and we wonder how we got there. Maybe someone is in the centre of this kind of a mess. It is like an addiction that is fun at the beginning and suddenly you find that you can’t get out of it. Or a financial issue- it starts off as small loans and then one day you realise that you are in a huge mess. If you are struggling with this mess, the Bible has many words of encouragement.

The book of Revelation was written for our encouragement and not to scare us. Many early church leaders were killed for their faith. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, was stranded in the island of Patmos. Christians were really in a hard season and wondering if there was a God and someone to help them. This is where the book of Revelation comes to tell us that he is coming back. Jesus shows up personally through a revelation. Rev 1:1- “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place”. Revelation means unveiling of Jesus. The New Testament gives a picture of Jesus- in his humility, serving people, compassionate and loving. But in Revelation we see another side of Jesus. Jesus in his glory! We get a bigger picture of Jesus. He is a conquering warrior. When we see who Jesus is in his glory, we can let him take control. Jesus wins and he wins all the time! So through faith we can share in his victory.

We also need encouragement – so we need to remember that Jesus wins.

1.      Recognise the real Jesus- If look at the news there is total chaos. If Jesus is not at the centre of our lives, we too can end up in chaos. We could succeed but won’t be lasting success. Rev 1:4-5 “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” Of all the names that we read of Jesus in the Bible, this is the coolest to me- he is the ruler of the kings of the earth. This is significant because in the olden days, kings dominated every sector of society. They controlled media, arts, commerce, etc. When Jesus comes along in Revelation, he is called the ruler of the kings of the earth. Jesus is saying, I am Large and in-charge.

Peter and Paul died for their faith and even John is exiled in the island of Patmos. But when we are in the darkest hour, we need to remember that God is still in-charge. When you look beyond your immediate circumstances, you will see that Jesus is bigger.

2.      Share in Jesus’ victory- Jesus redeems our mistakes. Jesus gave his life so that things could be put right. In Rev 1:5 “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood”. Our responsibility is to receive his grace and his mercy. We believe that God forgives. But has he forgiven me? It took me a long time to realise that God has forgiven me completely. If you put your trust in him, he forgives. Jesus was more than enough to pay for our sins. So we are here to share in his victory. Rev 1:6 “and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.” This phrase kingdom of priests comes from the Old Testament when the Israelites are brought out of Egypt and did not know their identity. So God gives them identity- that they are a kingdom of priests. We are the same. You are not what people say you are.  You are who God says you are. He says we are loved, we are a kingdom of priests, equipped to serve and follow him. Rev 2:17 “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” In Pergamum- white stone represents someone who won a victory. Athletes in that day would get a white stone that signifies that they are winners. We don’t have to wait to receive that stone because we are already victors.

3.      Look forward to Jesus’ return- we all go through rough times but we need to endure. I was pushed around at work and not given what I deserved for 19 years, but in 6 years I was promoted more than what I would have earned in those 19 years. We need to hang on to our hope in Christ, no matter what the difficulty in front of us. Look beyond the junk. Rev 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him,even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”So shall it be! Amen.” We will live with God forever. When he first came, he came as a baby in a manger, in meekness. But when he returns he will be the conquering king, the Lord of lords, seen by everyone, a judge, bringing peace to the world. Jesus wins and we share in his victory.

Your life is marked by your love for God and love for people. At the end of your life this is what counts. It is not more complex than this. Look at the people He has placed in your life and start valuing them. We need to start forgiving and understanding one another. Love God and Love others. Let’s pray.

 Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Power of Testimony | Austin K

This message was preached  by Austine Kudalkar at Word of Grace Church on April 29th , 2018. To listen/download the audio please click here

The gospel of John was written by an ordinary fisherman. This was the man who wanted to sit on the right hand of Jesus and wanted to bring fire down from heaven over a city. But his heart was transformed by the life and ministry of Jesus and he was known as the apostle of love.

       I.          Engaging people

John 4:1-4 “Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria.”

a.    Intentional: Jesus was intentional about going to Samaria because he wanted to encounter this woman.
b.    Initiate: Jesus initiates a conversation with this woman. Leaders always initiate.
c. Overcoming barriers: There was great hostility between the Jews and Samaritans. In our culture it is the caste system. Also women were not valued in society. So the Samaritan woman was surprised that a Jewish man would address her. So don’t let these barriers stop you from reaching out to people. 
d.  Identifying the real need: Jesus identified that this woman was thirsty for fulfilment and satisfaction. John 4: 14-15 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.””

People are always looking for something more. They want to upgrade everything they own. They want more and more- smoking, pornography, going from one relationship to another.

John 4:16-1916 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied.Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.””

This woman has gone through rejection several times. Jesus spoke to her knowing her past life but he did not mistreat her, reject her or judge her. There is great power when we speak with people and do not judge them.

     II.          Invitation to Worship through relationship

John 4:19-26 – Jesus speaks about worshipping God through relationship. The true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in Truth. This woman was more interested in the places of worship rather than the person to worship. Worship without relationship with the Father is not worship at all.

1.      Worship in Spirit:
John 3:4-7 ““How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” When you place your faith in Jesus, he adopts you into your family and fills us with the Holy Spirit which is out guarantee of eternal life.

2.      Worship in Truth: John 14:10 “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. Ephesians 1:13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Jesus is the word of Truth. John 1:14 “and the word became flesh and dwelt amongst us”. Jesus revealed himself to this woman.

    III.          Honoring women: Jesus demonstrated to his disciples how to treat women- to talk to them and converse with them. In the same way, people in our society are looking at us- how we treat people, how we honour women. This is how we can transform culture and impact society. So this is a call to Action. But why do we do this?

a.      The will of God- John 4:34 ““My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.John 6:38-40 “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”” The will of God is for us to be saved and not to lose us. He gave us eternal life. Here is an invitation to receive Jesus as your saviour. He will not lose us and nothing can snatch us from his hand.

b.      Sowing and Reaping: John 4:37-38 “Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”There is always someone who shared their testimony and the Gospel to you. But don’t expect immediate results when you sow. Romans 10:14-17How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message? 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ

    IV.          Share the gospel of Salvation- Many Samaritans came to believe because of the woman’s testimony. The woman accepted God’s love and did not feel judged. Many came to Jesus and put their faith in him. Revelation 19:10 “” When you share your testimony, you are prophesying into their life. Some may reject it and some may accept it. But we have the hope that can turn mess into a message, a test into a Testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into a victor!

  Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Center of Gravity | Story behind the song

Song by Lasya V

I wrote this song as a celebration of what God has been and done for me. A ‘centre of gravity’ is a point from which the weight of a body or system may be considered to act. I couldn’t think of a better description of the role of Jesus in my life.
 When He is my center of gravity, I gain his perspective. He gives me purpose and the boldness to act on it. Jesus’ perspective is so different from ours because He sees himself in every broken reality because He is the hope for every situationShame came into my life through many sources but He stood as a rock defending me.
 I wanted this song to be filled with hope because he does redeem the years the locusts have eaten. He had restored a relationship in my life that had nearly died and I had begun to see that promise unfold in my own life. It was in that season of joy that I looked back and realized that He would never let go of me. 
So before something else would overwhelm me, I wanted to build a testimony of His faithfulness through this song. And finally, the bridge is both a declaration and an invitation into this relationship with a relentlessly good Father.

Centre of Gravity- Capo 5 C (F)

C                                 Csus
You are my center of gravity
You're the fire in my veins
                  F                     G
You're the light of endless days

C                               Csus

You see the broken reality
But your eyes are full of faith
                 F                      G
For your death was no mistake

Em           Am            C
Jesus my wondrous savior
You wear down shame
On the rock of grace
Em           Am            C
You're a relentless father
Am                        F
You don't give up hope
On the lives that you hold


C                                    Csus
You're the redeemer of everything
From the years of loss and grief
              F                   G
To that promised destiny
C                               Csus
You see the end from the beginning
And your purposes prevail
          F                      G
Victory is in your name

                    C                       F
He’s the king- like no other king
                    C                  G
He’s the son - who will return
               Am                           Em
He’s the one - we have been waiting for
F                            Em
You are our hope - Your name is love
C                        Csus
Come know him now

©Lasya Vyakaranam March 2018


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

So how shall we live now? | Colin D

This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on April 15th , 2018. To listen/download the audio please click here

There was a time many years ago where people said Jesus is coming soon and lived irresponsibly. People are very intrigued about Jesus’ return.

Q. What does God say about his return and what is our response?

Matt 24:36- 39 ““But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

First thing is the Jesus is definitely coming back. But we are not called to speculate when he comes back because no one knows.

Q. So does it matter how we live?

Philippians 1:21 – 23For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far
Paul is saying that to be with Jesus is gain and is far better than anything on this earth. But in the interim, how shall we live?

Matthew 25:
“14For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

This is in the context of his return.  One talent is a lot of money- it was approximately 20 years’ wages. He gave it to them each according to his ability. Everyone doesn’t get something equal.

“16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.”
We have different responses to this money the master has given them. So the 2 workers were very diligent. The third one just dug a hole and kept it.

19 Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

The master commends the character of the servant. The servant was faithful with a lot of money from his perspective. But it was little to the master's eyes. In Luke, it says, people who were faithful with their minas, were given cities to rule. The reward is far more than what they have laboured with.

22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Q. How did the master respond to the one who had one talent?

He was reprimanded. He spoke about his character as well. There was punishment. His talent was taken and given to the one who had 10.

Q. How can we apply this parable to our lives?

These are the words of Jesus talking about the kingdom of Heaven. This is how it is going to be like at his second coming. Jesus is the master and the servants are people who have been entrusted with something.

Q. What are we entrusted with?

1.      They can be spiritual gifts- prophecy, evangelism, leading, giving, tongues... there are all kinds of gifts. The Holy Spirit gives according to his will.
2.      Skills and abilities- art, music, public speaking, etc. Jesus has given us all of these.
3.      Time and opportunities have been given to us. We don’t know how much time we have.
4.      Assets- money, vehicles, houses, etc. everything that we own has also been given to us by God.

While we are on earth we have to multiply all these things. God wants you to increase what you have. Jesus gives us this parable to motivate us to godly productive living. We can think we are not losing what God has given and that is enough. But there is no neutral in the kingdom. He who does not gather, scatters. We have to learn from the 2 servants who took the talents at once and multiplied them.

Q. What did the unfaithful servant do?

Verse 24-  He had a wrong understanding of the master. The master was generous and not a hard man. He accused him of being a thief. He rewarded the other 2 servants amazingly. In the same way we can have a wrong understanding of God. Salvation is an opportunity to put our talents to work so we can bring glory to God and Jesus can reward us.

Q. What are the talents God has given you?

Have you done something with the talents God has given you? Recognise your talents and do something with it. Rev 22:12Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”

In Phil 3:20 Paul writes about the second coming saying “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

But while we are waiting here, we need to work for the Kingdom. Titus 2:11- 14For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

In Matthew 7 he talks about 2 types of people:
1.      Professors- those who say Lord, Lord, but He never knew them.
2.      Possessors- those who knew Him.

One way we can confirm we are possessors of eternal life is by the fruit we produce.
God wants to reward you much beyond what we have today in this life and in the life to come. Do something! Jesus is coming back and is going to take an account of what we have done.

Let’s pray!

  Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.