Monday, October 28, 2013

Beautiful Giving | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 27th October 2013. 
 Every year we have a Gift Day when we bring an Offering to help fund all we do in this nation and Regions Beyond. 
Why should we give? How should we give? Should the church be talking about money?
Read and listen to this  message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


When it comes to money, many are hesitant to talk about it. We consider it a very personal matter and quote “don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is giving”




But notice that Jesus felt no such compulsions and He spoke openly, intentionally on money and greed. 15% of what Jesus spoke about was on possessions and giving. The bible has more to say on giving than on prayer, heaven,hell and discipleship.
What does this tell you? Its significant and it matters.

Let’s look at what are God’s thoughts on giving.

Mark 14:1 the Alabaster Jar. Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and now he is visiting again. A dinner is prepared in his honour at Simon the leper’s house. Simon must have had leprosy but has since been healed. Mary comes with the Alabaster jar and breaks it at his feet. This got people’s attention.

What was the jar worth? One year’s wages (v5) think of how much you earn in a year. But she just took it and expended the whole thing on Jesus. She was lavish, extravagant and generous. This shocked the daylights out of everyone. The strange thing is that the others rebuked her and criticized her harshly.

WHAT DOES JESUS THINK ABOUT THIS EXTRAVAGANT GIVING?
John12:3  She is expressing adoration and devotion She was not thinking with her head but doing it with her heart.

1    .    Mark 14:6 “Leave her alone” She has done a beautiful thing to me. He did not think it was a waste but recognized it as worship. The poor you will have- but there is a time for worship.

2.    So it was not just beautiful but was a prophetic action and Jesus recognized it. She was preparing him for his burial. This happened two days before his death.

3.    Therefore our giving should be timely. Make 26, Luke 24 They went with spices to embalm the body of Jesus verse 2 there was no body to anoint now. They missed their chance. So let’s not miss out on the chance to give . You don’t know if you will be here next year.

4.    Mark 14:9 What she done will be told – she is immortalized for this act.

5.    But here we also have a betrayer. Judas. He feigned worship i.e a kiss of betrayal. Both doing acts of love: one was genuine and the other not.
We can go through the motions of giving but it’s not heartfelt.

2013  Beautiful giving. Is our giving beautiful? i.e we are giving our first fruits and not our leftovers. She did not give something she got in month. She must have saved this over some time and she gives it all.

Jer. 17:9 “the heart is deceitful” We need to put things in perspective. We can spend on ourselves, buy a phone worth 40,000 and give a fraction to the offering. Remember where your treasure is there your heart will also be.

A framer sows looking forward to harvest. 2Cor 9:6  So also as we sow, we will reap. God loves cheerful giving without any compulsion. Jesus will look at it and say it’s a beautiful thing. You can give via cheque, NEFT or an IOU that you will redeem in time. I want faith to rise in our midst this morning.


Jesus said we store up for ourselves treasure in heaven when we do this.


       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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Matters Part 7 | Marriage - 3 | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 20th October 2013. 
This is part 8 of a series called Family Matters. and is part 3 on Marriage.  What  is marriage? Why should we marry? What is the blue print for a good marriage?

Read and listen to this life changing message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


The last message in this series on Marriage we saw  how God created the entire universe and also created MAN, gave him MISSION. He then provided him a MRS, initiated MARRIAGE.


 A MARRIAGE is one of the primary building blocks of society. It’s so significant that Jesus says that it is a picture of himself and the church.  He calls it a MYSTERY. Marriage was God’s idea and today we are going to look at the creator’s instructions for MARRIAGE.

Marriage is not just a good thing it is a God thing. In our first message on Marriage, we saw how God was the one who initiated marriage by providing Adam the first man a suitable partner fit for him. When God placed Eve the first woman before Eve, Adam was all ecstatic and poetry flowed from his lips when he saw the companion God had given him.

So God created MAN, placed him in a beautiful garden, and gave him a MISSION to take care of creation have a relationship with God and to equip him to do that he gave him a MISSUS – that resulted in the first MARRIAGE .

In our second session we saw that the CREATOR gave certain instructions to this newly married couple on how to live harmoniously as Husband and Wife.
God commands a man to LEAVE his parents and be JOINED to his wife in
God's blueprint for a successful marriage: Leave your parents, be joined to your wife to become one flesh and be intimately connected in every dimension of life.
This is the divine recipe for success in marriageThe ingredients and the method, both are important, just like in a recipe.


We looked at the importance of LEAVING our parents. When you tie the knot, you cut the cord. Just as a newborn baby is detached from the mother and is a unique person, so also a newlywed couple needs to detach from both sets of parents and forge a new unique identity.
So many problems are caused when the couple or the parents do not realize this and follow this.

Q. What does it mean to leave?
At one stage we were all in our mother’s womb. At that stage we were one with our mother. Then comes a time when the baby is born and the umbilical cord now needs to be cut. The umbilical cord is tied and the cord is then cut.

Tie the knot and cut the cord”. At marriage we tie the knot and we have to cut the cord. For many years we were connected to our parents but now you are a new unit. The relationship dynamics will now change though we still love each other.

·        Physically: not necessarily living in the same house under the same roof. How do we do this? In case of old infirm parents we do look after them but we must establish who is in charge. Often the husband sides with his mother.  Mothers can play the emotional card and emotionally blackmail the son. This causes a lot of conflict. When a husband stands up for his wife 9 when it is needed), it gives great security to the wife and forges unity. Sometimes the in-laws try to dominate on other issues as well.

·        Financially: when you get married, you should be able to provide for your wife.  It is the responsibility of the man to provide for his family. Your wife may or may not work- she only supplements the income you bring in. Men must study hard, work hard and get a good job to be a good provider. In India often we see a reversal of roles where the wife slogs it out while the husband drinks and gambles all the money. Don’t depend on your in laws either.
      Dowry is a big curse in our country just like child marriage and Sati was. Sadly many Christians also give and take dowry. Can I challenge you to stop this evil practice? Young men, can I challenge you not to ask for dowry at the time of your marriage. You can stop it and change the culture.
     Another curse is the Big fat Indian wedding. Lakhs of rupees are spend on this one evening that often leaves the wife’s family in a huge debt. Let’s change the culture. We need to be thermostats in our nation where we set the tone in our culture and not be thermometers that merely reflect the cultural trends. Let’s be Biblical in all we do.

·       Emotionally: Whenever there is a problem, we are not running back to dad and mum. In all this we honor our parents but we are separate. Remember your first priority is not your mother or sister, but your WIFE. You need to learn to share with your spouse and lean on each other and not anybody else. Your best friend now is your spouse, not another man or woman and certainly not someone of the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean that you can never talk with them again. What it does mean is that your allegiance needs to change. Your loyalty now belongs to your spouse -- your partner should never have to compete with your parents – or anyone else for that matter.

You have to leave your college buddies, your girlfriends, and everything that can come between you and your new best friend.
Don’t do anything that will put a wedge between you and your wife.


·       Spiritually: Now the husband must lead the home spiritually. So men, build yourselves up in the faith. Even how you bring up your children is the responsibility of the parents and not the grandparents. Men must be able to lead their wives spiritually. Often wives are more spiritually inclined. Husband you need to shepherd your family. You need to pastor your family first.
    Remember you are not a really man by what you consume but by what you contribute. It’s not whether you can hold your drink but whether you can hold your job.

Women – look for a man who can lead you and feed you.
Men – look for a woman who will respect you and follow you.
Today we will look at the aspect of being united together to form one flesh. What does that mean?

Be United

24 So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.
Genesis 2

The word “united” literally means to be glued together -- “to melt 2 separate entities together to form a permanent bond.” The word you may hear in some weddings is “cleave”. It has the idea of being bonded or welded together. The union is so strong that it takes something extremely violent to dissolve it.
There are four bonds that are to be nurtured between a man and a woman.

What is joined together?
(1)         A man and a woman- today this needs to be over stated.
(2)         A believing man and a woman 2 Cor 6:14, 1 Cor 7:39 A relational prohibitions
 The Message Paraphrase says it this way: “Don’t become partners with those who reject God.”

Different in values, aspirations, compass pointing true north and the others is pointing south.
Affects every area of life – relationships with inlaws, bringing up children, handling money, what to do on Sundays, etc.
Deuteronomy 22:10 in mind when he wrote these words: “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” 
People have disregarded this command to their own peril and destruction. Their spiritual growth has gone down the drain and they are rendered in effective for the kingdom. Often they are not allowed to fellowship with believers and it’s a very sad situation. They are forced to compromise on what faith the children are brought up in.
(3)         What happens if you have married and unbeliever or you were unbelievers and you have now come to faith
1 Cor 7:12,13 – do not separate. Pray like mad. If you are not yet married please do not consider this as an option.


  
What does this unity look like?

Unity implies permanency. to try and separate it will involve damage to both . do not have a back door mentality. Measure twice cut once. This unit is a covenant.

Who does the joining? Matt 19:4-6. “What God has joined…” So it’s an amazing thing when a man and woman say “I do”. God is present and supernaturally joined them together.

How does this work out?
1 Priority – this relationship takes priority over every other relationship. Your spouse becomes your best friend. Its above your own children and parents as well.

2.Joint Ownership -  not my money and her money, it’s our money. This creates oneness and security. You need to foster that kind of trust. 

3.Its joint decisions, in marriage. Decisions making should shared. The husband is the head but he does not take unilateral decisions. Often the wife will have greater wisdom on the subject don’t let your ego get in the way.
This needs to be communicated to the children as well so they don’t play one against the other. This is true of the in laws as well. Do not let your mother ask you to keep secrets from your spouse. Protect your wife from wild accusations that may be thrown at her.
      When we take care of aged parents, we need to treat both the in-laws equally not just the husbands’ parents.
    Imagine if India began to put this into practice. Can you imagine men all over taking their rightful place in the family, what a difference it will make to the entire society and to the nation?
    Let’s be thermostats and not thermometers and change things in our won families, our culture, community and nation. Amen! 

       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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!







Monday, October 14, 2013

Can I become wise? | Inder Pawar

This message was preached by Inder Pawar at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 13th of October 2013. 

Read and listen to this life changing message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE


How wisdom is critical for decision making !
Decisions require great wisdom. It begins with the most important decision, i.e. acknowledging Jesus and placing our faith in him.

1 Cor 4:14 tells us that the God of this world has blinded our eyes. And Eph 2:9 says that God makes us alive in Him.
1 Cor 1:30 says Jesus has become to us righteousness and we receive power for change and has become wisdom of God for us.

We have all made foolish and wise decisions and they have consequences. No decision is without consequence. To make Godly decisions we need help.

Wisdom is a skill needed for living with God and for God. Wisdom is taught and can be got. We need to pursue it. 

Proverbs 4:8 says, “Prize her highly- she will exalt you.” Solomon writes on how we can get wisdom and how to live wisely.
In verse 23 he writes, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.”(ESV)

Jesus always pointed to the heart- out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The battle to guard our heart is the biggest one.

There are 4 fences that we can use in front, behind, left and right.

1.      Personal responsibility for the state of your heart. Romans 12: 1-2. What we put into our hearts will come out. The world always wants to squeeze us into its mould. We need to take responsibility for transformation.

Irresponsibility started in the Garden of Eden. Men tend to abdicate this responsibility and need to be alert to it.

What are my motives; am I joyful or distracted and is my heart away from God’s purposes? Ask these questions. We expect the pastor to help us out- No. We have to take responsibility.  V. 23- “keep your heart”. The onus is on us.

2.      Be Alert- vigilant- there are times when we are tired or a season of success and we let our guard down- we need to be alert.

1 Peter 5:8- Be sober minded. Be alert. Don’t get carried away, neither get too disappointed.

Not being alert can cost us years and seasons of our life. The devil is no push over but neither do I want to frighten you. We need to know our enemy. Competitiveness is very subtle and can get to us. This will lead to striving and move us away from God’s will. This is true even for good things. Thank God that we have the Holy Spirit to help us. He prompts us all the time. So learn to connect to the Holy Spirit 24/7.

3.      The discipline of examination- Verse 26 says, “ponder” or make level paths. Think about what is the way you can go forward. The way we think shapes the way we live- that’s why we need to renew our mind with the word of God. 

     How do we do this?
This requires development and time. We need time to pause and ponder and think and pray and wait on the Lord. 

1 Cor 11:28- “examine yourself”- we are not talking about introspection but we need healthy examination. We need to hit the pause button in our lives. The Psalmist said, ‘search me O God, and see if there is any offensive way in me.”

In our quiet times, let’s not rush into the word but pause. Pastors need to be careful and learn to press the pause button.

4.      The fence of community- this is becoming endangered in our individualistic world. Throughout proverbs, there is a practical intentional emphasis on community- verse 20- “my, son”.  Proverbs 13:20 – “he who walks with the wise will be wise.”

Word of Grace is a community, a family. Get into the life of the church and value it for however many months/ years you are in Pune. The community of God is precious because you get loved, encouraged, rebuked…

Make decisions that keep the local church at the center of what you do. When you stray from the community of God, you also stray away from the purposes of God.


   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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!


 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An apostolic people| Q& A Part 2 | Steve Oliver and Stephen Van Rhyn

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message  is a Q&A with Steve Oliver and Stephen Van Rhyn on what is the role of the apostolic and leadership in a church . This is part 2.Regions Beyond, is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
Q 6. What are the different roles of leaders in the church?/ what is the difference in the role of elders and deacons?
A. Leadership is a gift given by God. This is a great group of people that God gathers for a purpose.Elders- primary responsibility to set doctrine and practice in the local church. They govern, oversee the local church. The role of the elders is restricted to men. If the elder is married, there is a teaming that effects and makes an important contribution to the local church. So we appoint the man but pray for the couple. There is a one flesh we act and enjoy.
Deacons- can be men or women. In its essence is delegated pastoral responsibility. The elder oversees the whole. The deacon will oversee a section. In Acts 6 we think that it’s just waiting on table- but there is a huge pastoral issue and a potential split on ethnicity lines.

1 Timothy 2 lays down the requirements for an elder and deacon- they are almost exactly the same. Only the elder can’t be a recent convert and is required to teach.
Therefore, maturity is required for serious responsibility.
Women can be deacons- gives women a line on which women can run authorized by the elders.

Q 7. What happens when there are no elders?
A. Then the apostle has a big role in it. We need to raise up good leadership, or else we will multiply into weakness.

Q 8. There seems to be a lot of different requirements for eldership among us.
A. because we are at an early stage it will take time to establish it. Don Carson says an Elder is remarkable by being unremarkable. The requirements for every Christian is that which is required of an elder except for being a recent convert and able to teach.
The heart of being an elder is to be an example not an exception. In a celebrity culture we want our leaders to be exceptional. The call is to bring out normal Christianity amplified a bit.

Q 9. In a male dominated culture how does a woman step out and do what she should?
A. every culture has good, neutral and bad things. If your culture tells you that women are inferior that culture is communicating something negative and a lie which is not true.
Gen 1:27- Male and female he created them. We see radical equality right in the beginning. Both image bearers of God and both created for God’s glory. When we look at sacrificed death on the cross, we see that Jesus died for both men and women.
Women are co-heirs with Christ.
First we try and pioneer examples. For some that will be easier to do than others. An urban setting will lend itself more to this. Urban centers will become more and more open to women taking a vital role. As parents we look to develop our daughters as fully as sons.
Genuine submission can only take place in an environment of equality. Anything else is slavery. It’s the same in an eldership team and at home. The final leader takes the call and we all submit out of our relationship with Jesus.

Q 10. Can a woman be a leader in those 4 level?
A. Eldership is male but all women should conduct themselves as elders. Women have good ideas too. So the best idea wins. Women can be deacons. Women can advance the gospel.
Paul’s Macedonian man was a woman i.e. Lydia. Lydia was the door through which Europe was reached.
Within Regions Beyond we want to see everybody participate. Men make room for the women and be Godly. The woman issue has always been there. There are some circumstances where the women really need to be raised up.
French enlightenment undermined scripture and leadership outlined. The puritans did not like celebrating anything. We can swing from one extreme to another. The Post-modern culture tends to deconstruct truth. The way to go about this is to go back to the Bible- the truth. If we don’t run to scripture, we will miss it. So don’t let our culture answer the questions for us.

Q 11. Why did you bring Steve van Rhyn with you? Is he the only voice in Regions Beyond?
A. There are many other apostolic gifts that we look to for input. Steve theologically is one of our keenest minds. So I want to make sure that we are on a Biblical foundation- because one day I have to bring forward all that I have built as pure gold. This is how we ensure that.