Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dedication | Colin D'Cruz

This message was preached by  Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 21st  of September 2014. You can listen/download the  audio by clicking here

What legacy will you leave behind?  Who on their death bed said that they wished that they spent more time at the office? 










 Today we are going to have a dedication.What is dedication? What does it mean? Let’s look at God’s word.

Gen1:29 God created Adam and Eve. God put Adam to sleep and created Eve out of his rib. Gen1:23-24. When God created them He said that it was “very good”. This was before children. There was a perfect unit, complete. Children did nt complete them. God’s pattern for marriage was that this unit would start a family.

V25- One flesh-  an intimacy and connection that is to be shared with no one else. The man has to be the head of his family and home. The leaving and cleaving is emotional, physical, and financial.

Gen1:28 the first command he gave Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and have children. Today sadly men and woman are exchanging career for children. DINK couples – double income no kids.  People find children are inconvenient.
Ps127 :2 Children are a reward from God. We may have the desire for children but its God who blesses us. A husband and wife are complete without a child.

When we have children what are we supposed to do? We are to bring them up in the ways of the Lord as moral, responsive and responsible individuals.
This does not happen automatically. Just like a garden does not just happen. Parenting is so important and requires a lot of attention and intention.

We all leave a legacy behind. Mostly it is money, property. But to leave behind a spiritual legacy is a great thing.
A study of two families was one. One was Max Jukes and the other Jonathan Edwards both who lives in the 1700s..  Jonathan and his wife Sarah left a great godly legacy for his 11 children.
At the turn of the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship decided to trace out the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death.  His findings are astounding, especially when compared to a man known as Max Jukes.  Jukes’ legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him.
Jonathan Edwards’ godly legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.
Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts. 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses) 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living.
It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.

This is a powerful example showing how a parent’s leadership can have a profound effect on their children.

The most important thing after your marriage is your children. At the job you can be replaced and nobody will miss you. Nobody on their death bed said “I wish I spent more time at work” A godly family can reap amazing results.

Deut 6:4-7 impress them upon the children. Talk about the Word of God when you walk, sit, lie down. The primary responsibility of bringing up children and spiritually nurturing them lies with the parents. Sunday school is only an add on.
Eph6:41 Children ought to obey their parents. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline drives it away.

As adults we are expected to honour our parents but you are not required to obey. The Bible has instituted Two sacraments i.e. Water baptism and breaking of bread.

So where does dedication come in? It’s not as command but a good practice. Luke 2:22-24. Sons were presented before the Lord in the temple. This is not a law but a good practice. We come with thanksgiving and the parents commit themselves to bring up the child in God’s ways. Infant baptism is not even baptism because it is only sprinkling. There is no evidence of this in the New Testament. Baptism always followed repentance.



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, September 17, 2014

The greatest invitation of all | Bill Berry

This message was preached by  Bill Berry at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 14th Sept 2014. You can listen/download the  audioby clicking here




 Don’t confuse command with “demand”. It’s an invitation and not enslavement. It’s an invitation into a relationship to walk one with Him.







Matt 22:34-

Jesus knew that he was on the way to the cross; however the teachers of the law were looking for ways to trap him. They asked him questions to try and trap him with his own words. They asked him questions. They wanted a reason to put him to death.

The 4 gospels correlate to different writing in the Old Testament.
Matthew correlates with the first 5 books of the O.T
Mark – with the prophetic writings
Luke- Is a historical record
John – poetic writer

This is the amazing harmony in the writings. No one set out to do this intentionally but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. The Torah/Law was about living out a particular lifestyle.

Often when we hear the word “command” we think military. But in the Greek, Hebrew and English the first part of the word is “come”. So it’s come join in my mandate. Don’t confuse command with “demand”. It’s an invitation and not enslavement. It’s an invitation into a relationship to walk one with Him.

So the lawyers of that day ask what the greatest mandate to live this life is. Jesus said to “Love the Lord your God…”He is quoting Deut 6:14. They were to be constantly reminded that their lives were about living God. Why does God want us to love him? Does he need out love? But he invites us to live him because He first loved us and he created us.

In Gen 1:26-27 We are made in his image but that does not mean that we have every characteristic of God. We are to reflect God. God showed this love by sending His son to die for us. He wanted to defeat our greatest enemy, death. We are called Children of God.
1Jn. 4:10, John 3:16, 1 Jn. 4:19

God initiated and we responded.
How do we love Him?
With all your heart soul mind i.e with everything- give it all. Hold nothing back. Give your life away to him.

Jn14:18-24If we love Him, you will obey His commandments. Obedience has a negative connotation todday. It’s a virtue in life where self will is sacrificed and the individual comes in union with God at the foot of the cross. Obedience is relational and thus active in nature.
Commandments and obedience is relational and not judicial. Obedience is joining in the will of another.

Phil 2:5 Jesus gives himself to be one with the Father ‘s will and not coming under the  will of the father therefore becoming one with the fathers will. That is what God wants from us – an act of love and not an act of slavish love.

It’s the same ones s in marriage- mutual submission.
Parenting – the reason we want them to obey is out of love rather than fear and or positional authority. It’s an expression of love.

Jn 7:17 The way we show that we love God is also loving our neighbour and our enemies. It’s not about those who are easy to love. We have to go beyond that. Jesus died even for those who opposed him and for those who were not on his side.

Oh if the church could learn this – to love God and to love one another!!

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, September 10, 2014

Which one will it be?Yes or no?

This message was preached by P. J Smyth at GodFirst Church titled "On mission contextually".  We viewed it at Word of Grace because it reflects our vision and values. P. J is a friend of Word of Grace and leads Godfirst which is a part of the family of churches we belong to (Newforntiers Intl.)

The link to the video can be got by clicking here



Church- Is it even worth finding out about? Paul in Ephesians gives us a high view of church. If creation is the wheel, the church is the HUB. The manifold wisdom of God is demonstrated through the church.

When you come to the Life Group, Church you are entering into the center of the universe.
What is the church?

 A community on a mission – not just a family or an army. But a family that is an army on a mission. God sent Jesus on a mission, to rescue us. We are on a mission to help people cross that line of faith. Is 54 – A church should strong and long, ever growing.
God wants to build community and to make us one. Not just that, but to make us GO – to the ends of the earth. We need to be a strong community and going community.

 The Apostle write a lot about strength and about going community, Paul wanted to go to unreached regions i.e your neighbor, your office colleagues. We see it in Acts – the richest community life, looking after one another, sharing stuff, and money food but on a mission.

But this is fraught with challenges, in the OT and the NT . Nehemiah experienced this too. He rebuilds the wall using family units - he wanted community doing the mission.
Jesus himself at his most poignant moment on the cross felt neglected.

Other problems faced by the NT churches and that we could face. When we have growth and there are strains and tensions.

Acts 6 The mission was going so well that it took a strain on the community. There could be a lack of leaders, life groups, and musicians. Theirs was food. etc. The leaders gathered and said the solution is not to stop mission. “Ministry of the word of God”  i.e. the advance of mission happening not just Bible teaching. They came up with  solution – chose 7 men from among you. The result is  the number of disciples increased rapidly. When they strengthened community the disciples increased. When you grow there are tensions, and some feel neglect especially the older ones.  We have to be a warm loving community.

Church will be done differently because culture is changing. The message never changes. We are here to make not yet Christ followers become Christ followers.

Solutions

1. Not right to stop mission. We are not a hospital though we care for you. When you are needy we put you on a mobile stretcher and care for you while we keep moving.

2. Increased honesty – they complained. This is good. It’s ok to say you are not doing well at all. Get help. You may be complaining about yourself or the church. We are not perfect. Complain with a good attitude if you can, complain with a bad attitude but let us talk and know what you are passionate about.
Sometimes we will take your suggestions, and sometimes we may not. What you must not do is seethe because you will blow up.
Increased honesty keeps the community together

3. Increased Organization.  Its not an enemy to church life. We do not want to be too organized either. We may drop the ball here and there but we want to be organized.

4. Increase the number of leaders. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. There is no problem with the harvest but with men and women not stepping up to take responsibility. The harvest stays unharvested because there are no leaders. God will not give us more harvest if we don’t grow more leaders who will train others and become fishers of men. This is critical.

Whether we go or stay we are all on mission. WE need more leaders why? We need pastors – one analogy is we are a flock. You may say I can never be a pastor. If you care for people you are a pastor It is  loving and caring for people, not about using the microphone. It’s helping shepherd develop and love – that’s what a pastor is. 

WE need more leaders and pastors. There are different kinds of pastors – some do it one on one. Leaders are critical for community and for mission. You don’t get advance without leaders. WE don’t get advance without leders breaking rank and saying “I’ll do it”. When you take lead out of leadership we get “er”..!!!
We always need to go for three times the number of leaders. To grow, and to give away.

5. Increased responsibility.
Are you involved or committed. The chicken is involved the pig is committed. When you do this you move from “that church” to “my church” from them to me. A man can’t really live unless he find a cause to die for- Martin Luther. We have a cause to live and die for!!! WE are here to plunder hell to populate heaven.

Can you learn to say “YES”. When you say “no” let it be a considered no with a clear conscience. But be in the habit of saying “yes” to God.  Saying yes to God often comes through requests that come from your leaders. God will give you strength and grace and your spiritual muscles will grow and your joy will increase as you do the good works you were meant to do.

6. Increased faith – for one another. I believe that you can do it because God is amazing and God is in you. We must have faith for one another and spur one another on toward love and good work. Have faith for your local church mission. This is not just for the leaders and some.  But, for YOU as well.

God responds and honours faith. If we have corporate collective faith it moves God’s arm. God loves faith so stir it. When wind blows on a field of wheat all the stalks sway in the wine. When Gods word comes we all should respond.

7. Increased Spirit – The spirit comes to empower, joy to obey and makes us sensitive to know who to talk to. Also we all don’t need caring for all the time. Some need it at specially times and we need to ask God to show us who needs special care.

8. Increased hospitalityThis is very basic to being a Christ follower so much so both lists of what a church leaders should look like  has hospitality on the list. If you don’t get how hospitable God is to you, sought you out and took you into his family, if you don’t practice it, you need to check how much of a Christ follower you are.

It’s about opening your home up. How many people do you have in your home? Something great happens when you open your home up. Hospitable – listen more; give yourself even if it’s for three minutes after the meeting talking to someone new.

It’s about where you are sitting now – where your church meets on a Sunday. Your meeting place is your personal lounge and we are a family. This is our home so we should feel relaxed and make people feel at home. There are new comers and we should be very alert to them.

Are we late when we have visitors at home?  No that would be inhospitable. So we want to be here at the meeting before your visitors come in so you can welcome them. Be open and look out for them. Then there will be a strong community and mission vibe. If you are shy still do it. God was not shy with you. Do it your way but do it.

We are God’s solution along with other local churches in this city for any problem any person has a high view of church – a community on a mission.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1 What is your view of Church? How does it fit in with this view expressed here?
2. Do you feel you are well connected to the community here? Have you seen your neighbourhood, job etc as a mission field? Are you reaching out to people there?
3. What are the strains and tensions of growth at Word of Grace ( ask this of your local church)?
4. What do you feel you want to complain about but have not done it yet? Can you talk to one of the leaders please?
5.What responsibility am I carrying at Word of Grace. How am I serving? Has your default been “no” or “yes”? Can you say “yes” more? Is this “that church” to you or “my church” ?
6. How can we express corporate faith better? How can we grow in being sensitive to the Holy Spirit?
7. Are you are harvester in God’s mission field? Who are you caring for in the community?
8. Hospitality- What are your thoughts on this? Have you received hospitality from Word of Grace? Are you practicing hospitality? Is your home open? How many people from church have you invited to your home in the last 3 months /ever? Singles have you taken any one out for a meal/coffee?
Are we welcoming to first time visitors – do they feel welcomed, cared for? Have you made the effort to invite them to your home? Are we welcoming to people new to the city: do we help them settle in and feel welcomed? One way is to get their contact number so maybe you could catch up with them mid week.
At the church meeting: Are we on time to the meeting to welcome our guest or are we habitually  late for the meetings?

Remember :
We are God’s solution along with other local churches in this city for any problem any person has a high view of church – a community on a mission.


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, September 3, 2014

The secret to true success | Colin D Cruz


This message was preached by  Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 31st  of August 2014. You can listen/download the  audioby clicking here


Imagine if you had a huge task before you or a challenge. Something you have never done before, what would you do?






Joshua was in that situation. Moses has died and he has taken up leadership of 3 million people. His job was to take them into the promise land; it was a big job because they were a difficult bunch. It wasn’t just taking them from A to B but in B there were enemies!! However God said that he was giving them the land. The promise of God was there in and for a difficult situation.

In Joshua Chapter 1 we see how God instructs Joshua how to be prosperous and successful.

Josh. 1:1 The Promise given to Moses is passed on to Joshua
Verse 8 He is given further instructions.

Think about it. Is God giving him a great military strategy? No!  All He tells him is to have his quiet time every day ! There is no iron dome to protect them. All he is asked is to do is to read the scriptures meditate on it and obey it and that will make him successful. Was it a command or a suggestion? It’s a command - a promise with a condition.

In life we face many challenges, in health, finances, relationships, unanswered prayer. What do we do, how do we overcome? The solution is the same - the one given to Joshua is applicable to us as well.

1. Do not let this book depart from your mouth. What book was he talking about? The first 5 books of the Bible, not some gurus’ Secret of success. Its talking about meditating, reading and obeying God‘s word.

Think about it. Depart from your mouth? What does this mean? The Words of the book should be on our minds, our lips: we should be able to read, recite and mediate.
2Tim. 3:16 All scripture is God breathed. It’s not been written by man, but God inspired even as men wrote it.

Psa. 19:7-11 - As you read God’s word it will revive your soul. As you feel hopeless or without faith, faith will come when you read the Word. We get wisdom from above from the Word. The Word brings joy to our heart.
If you are feeling faithless, hopeless, joyless, read the Word, it will revive you.

2.  Meditate on it day and night – its one thing to read, but reading is not enough. How many of us read something in the morning and forget what we’ve read by the evening.

In Hebrew there are two words for meditate – The first one is to “mutter” which is similar to worrying.  Muttering – instead of worrying about the situation, you mutter the word. You confess the promises in scripture. 2 Cor. 4:13, I believed, therefore I have spoken out. When we believe we speak.

Your situation may be bleak, but confess the promise and the truth. Can you talk and eat at the same time. When you confess truth, you keep negative thoughts away from you. We protect ourselves with the shield of faith.

The second meaning for meditate is "like a cow chewing cud". We read on the word, feed on it but throughout the day He wants us to think about it. You will not be able to do this if you don’t memorize it.  Memorize as you drive to work, go to the toilet, and have a glass of water. As you do this, God will give you new insights into His Word.
Psa. 1:2 Blessed is the man ... His delight is in the law of the law. Do I delight in it?

Why is this important? Prov. 23:7 As a man thinks, so he is. AS you think about the truths in the Word you will be transformed, and those things will happen in your life. What you fix your mind on, that is what will happen to you.
Day and night –  i.e.  all the time. Today when you go out for lunch – share something that impacted you from the Word. Let’s sharpen each other. Let’s teach each other.

3.  Be careful to do everything that is written in it – this is obedience. It’s good to read, recite, and remember but it’s useless if we don’t obey. What is one thing that we can obey? Think about Nike – “just do it”. Take one thing, not ten things and obey it. The Bible warns us about knowing and not obeying James 1:22.
If we just read and not do we are being deceived. V25 If we obey, we will be blessed in all he does. See how it connects with Josh 1:8.

This is a simple formula.  We are all weak but the grace of God is there. There is no condemnation, but if we love Jesus see what  John 15 says : If his words remain in us we can ask anything..
At Word of Grace we encourage everyone to have a notebook and journalize and as you do this day after day, you will see how you will grow in God’s word. If you don’t have a journal, can I encourage you to get one?

Then you will be prosperous and successful - God’s anointing, enabling and favor will be upon you. We will never be perfect in understanding, meditating or obeying the Word. But as we do it amazing things will happen. See what happened with Joshua – God asked them to do something and the walls of Jericho came crumbling down and they experience success after success.

At the end in Joshua 21:43- The Lord gave them rest and success. The Lord handed over all the enemies to them. Every one of the promises of Israel was fulfilled. WOW!!Wouldn’t you want that to be your testimony? I want that. If you are student, working, in our family, in our finances etc God want s us to be blessed.

What is prosperous – Some say it refers to success not money. I beg to defer.  Jos 22 :6 - Return to your homes with your great wealth..So wealth is also included, but its not only wealth. Some focus only on wealth.

Rom 15:4  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

If you want hope, meditate on what happened to Joshua and do what he did. God gave promises and instructions and Joshua obeyed. The result is success and prosperity. 

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.