A Short Sermon on Peace

The world is waiting. Yes, the world is waiting for a day when there will be peace. It is amazing how, in spite of great technological advancements, there is unrest in human hearts like never before.

Worry over individual and family needs by itself alone drives men and women to despair. Not to mention global concerns like wars, natural disasters and refugee problems. As if problems here are not enough man is desperately probing outer space to find out a dwelling place in future.

But that future is far away. Our question is whether we can enjoy peace now in our lifetime? Perhaps the honest and truthful answer is NO! Before you call me a pessimist, let me say that I am a realist. Because the greatest realist I have ever encountered said, “In this world you will have trouble.”

There are two thoughts here. One, the presence of trouble is expected. Two, the emphasis on this world strongly underlies that there is another world where troubles are going to be absent. That gives us hope that someday we can have peace. But then that does not solve our present day problems.

Now let me take a look at the quote in full, because I quoted it only in part first. It says, “I have told you these things that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Well that is a new way to look at peace! Instead of saying that you have to sign peace treaties or sport olive leaves in emblems or fly white balloons or doves; someone is saying that to find peace you have to look to him. Who is this person who is so bold to make such a statement? And what is the basis on which he has made this claim.

It was at the birth of this child that a mass angelic choir sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”* His name is Jesus, the Prince of Peace!

You need not believe his claims. Nobody compels you to do so. But if you desire to have peace, God’s own peace in your life, you can ask him to give you his peace.

This peace that he gives does not depend on circumstances. Storms can rage around you and waves might rise sky high; yet when he is in your boat it will not sink. For he is master over all.

This peace that he gives will not be taken away from you even when people misunderstand you and reject you and say all kinds of evil against you.

This peace that he gives you will not be absent when you lack so many basic needs of life and there is trouble inside the family and pressure at your workplace.

And then there are pressures that come without warning. Sudden disasters. Accidents. Loss of loved ones. Prolonged illnesses. We are shaken like leaves shaken in the wind. We cry our hearts out. We question the very meaning of life. We rail against God.

Can this peace hold true then? If it holds it is beyond human understanding.

He has made peace real–peace between God and man and peace within our hearts and with fellow men–through his shed blood on the cross. On the cross he was pierced for our sins, mistakes and shortcomings and he was crushed for our wrongdoings. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him.

Therefore why remain without peace? Let his peace rule our hearts and home.

Amen.

2 Minute Speech on the Meaning of Death!

(A sequel to 2 Minute Speech on the Meaning of Life!)

Hi friends,

Life is all that we have.

One life, and then what? is a big question. If man’s philosophies offer some light when death’s call is sounded then certainly man has no need of God. But are all men and women confident that they can face death’s final call? It is a debatable question indeed.

Now let us move to the beginning. The Bible makes a simple and profound statement as its opening line. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1). A person’s knowledge of God begins or ends here. If he finds it hard to believe that God is the Creator of what he sees and experiences around him; then he can only believe in chance and in evolution.

Now for a moment let us believe that everything evolved. How does it explain decay and death? Why is that man does not live for ever in spite of the fact that most efforts of mankind are directed at extending the quality and longevity of life?

Why is it that no better statement than one made by Moses in the Bible portrays reality like no other: “The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10)? The truth is that death is the reality that all confront.

You might say there are reasons for death. But my question is why does death happen? It is because God exists! Just as surely are there laws of nature like the law of gravity there are moral laws that God has set in place in this earth. It is the violation of God’s moral laws that has brought death to man.

And here is how the death sentence was pronounced on man. God said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19).”

In other words, death came into this world because of man’s rebellion against God. It is a fact that God created man to live for ever and also he intended man to live in dependence on him. The Bible again says, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:3).”

The fall of man came about because he yielded to the temptation of doubting God’s word. For the first temptation came in these words, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b). Death resulted when God’s word was doubted and when man chose to run his life independently of God.

Today also the scene is no different. Everywhere people are confronted with this choice. To chose to believe what God has said or to run his life as if God does not exist. But the reality of death compels us to think a second time about the meaning of life and death.

Of course, we do not have all the answers. But seen from God’s eyes life and death has meaning. For life becomes meaningful when you understand that God has a purpose in your creation. And death is a mystery that points out to you the misery, agony, pain and anguish of separation.

If separation from a loved one can give this much pain, it also points to the pain in the heart of God to see the crown of his creation–men and women created in his own image and likeness–separated from him through rebellion and sin. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death . . .” That is the bad news. But it puts things in perspective as to why death came into this world.

For the moment let us pursue the question of pain. Does God feel pain? At least there are two thoughts we can think about. One, the shortest verse in the Bible which says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). That was in front of the tomb of his friend Lazarus. That means God in flesh experienced the pain of separation of a loved one.

But greater was the pain of separation he felt when he laid down his life shedding his blood on the cross. He cried out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yes, God in human flesh died.

So when we think of ultimate questions of life–injustice, inequality, suffering, cruelty, war, disabilities, diseases, and death–we do not have all the answers. But we have the companionship of one who tasted death for us. That alone is our comfort. The knowledge that he knows what it feels like. The assurance that he understands the void and vacuum the loss of someone leaves behind.

Now let me come back to the good news. I quoted earlier, “For the wages of sin is death.” Let me now quote it in full. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

That gives it a totally different colour. It shows us that God tasted death so that we can have life. Not just life in human terms; but life which is the very life of God; of the same quality and unending. It shows us that those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead will share the same experience.

Yes, the good news is that there is life beyond the final curtain. And you too can have it when you trust and believe in the One who made this stupendous claim, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”(John 11:25, 26).

Life is too short. And it is unpredictable as well. No one knows when his call to meet God will come. For “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore prepare to meet your God!*
——–
All Bible Quotes are from the New International Version (NIV).
*Amos 4:12
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” — Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:17).
Speech on Respect
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Rise Up in God’s Strength!

(A motivational speech for those who are defeated and label themselves failures!)

Life is too short. You cannot afford to stay defeated. Rise up my friend. Today you are defeated. That is true. But what is not true is your belief that you are destined to fail. Who told you this lie? More importantly, why did you choose to believe it?

The moment you think that your resources are not enough, you are on the losing side already. Not many of the great achievers in the history of this world had much resources to boast about. But what they had was the desire–not just the desire; but a burning desire that never took NO for an answer. This burning desire to achieve was the lifeblood that helped them survive all odds and heartbreaks and make it.

Now I am not asking you to achieve something spectacular. What I am asking you is to stop telling lies to yourself. Why should you say, “I am not good enough?” Tell me honestly, isn’t that an excuse you have found out to stay in your comfort zone? Remember God created you unique with a purpose. If he created you to be a lamp giving light; you can never be comfortable hiding your light underneath a bowl. Let it shine.

The great promise of God to you is this: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” The eagle is a bird that undergoes a lot of change in its early years; its feathers change colour indicating growth as it matures and gains extraordinary strength to fly. God says that in this time of waiting and hoping even when nothing seems to happen, he is pouring out strength into you.

Photo source: https://leesbird.com/2009/09/25/b-o-b-eagle-renewal/

It is available to those “who hope in the LORD” as a modern translation reads. “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”*. Yes, God wants you to fly high. He wants you to move in the strength he gives. This is his promise. Would you dare to believe and act on it?

Let not your past failures prevent you from performing well in the present opportunity. Do not allow misgivings about your own ability stop your from giving your best at this time. God did not create you to be a failure. Maybe you have failed many times. But that does not make God give up on you. He is asking you to wait on him.

Now what does that mean? It means that you should stop looking to your friends to give the strength only God can give. No one else can substitute that. Again, waiting on God means to trust in God’s goodness, love and mercy towards you. It means to believe that God has plans, the best of its kind for you; plans to give you hope and a future.

My friend, do not give up just because you feel that you are not capable. God is more than willing to step into your inabilities and make you achieve awesome victories even when you are weak. No longer are you a helpless victim! Know that for certain! No more excuses. No more blaming your circumstances. Not any more of finding fault with people for your own wrong choices.

Therefore rise up in God’s strength. The time of waiting is over. It is time to say goodbye to all those wasted years; because now God is ready to repay you in double measure for all that lost time and opportunities. Only if you are willing to rise up and obey God with all your heart and soul and strength! Yes, rise up in God’s strength and soar on wings like eagles!

*Isaiah 40:31 NIV Bible.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Speech on the Importance of English

——–

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

— Romans 5:5–8 NIV Bible.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

A burden becomes too heavy to carry at times. It is in those moments that we desire to have someone to carry our burdens.

But there are moments when all human help fails or falls short. And then we despair.

“No one seems to care. Each one is too busy,” we lament. It is easy to think like that when you are alone and lonely and there is no end to one’s troubles.

It is at those moments that you long for someone who has passed through such trouble to come and be with you. Perhaps speak an encouraging word. For only those who have experienced what you are going through can offer any help.

It is at this point that our burden-bearer stands at life’s darkest hours and crossroads. The man who “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering!”*

Not only does he understand pain and grief, he knows what it is to weep. He knows what it is to carry the greatest burden of mankind–the burden of sin and its accompanying guilt and shame.

The Saviour–the Man Jesus Christ of Nazareth who lived in an earthly home and was a carpenter earning his daily bread. He who taught through short speeches and stories was moved with compassion and met the needs of distressed individuals like no other man ever did!

He bled to death on a cross. But now he lives forever more to carry our burdens.

He can help. He is willing to. One cry for mercy from your heart, “O God help me!” is enough for his help to reach you.

He calls you his friend. More than that, he calls you, “My brother, my sister.”

He who carried the cross will willingly carry your burden as well. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”* That is his call and invitation.

Come. Won’t you?

———
My Valentine
* Isaiah 53:3, Matthew 11:28

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens” — Psalm 68:19

Because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” — Hebrews 13:5, 6.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” — Hebrews 4:15, 16.

But When You Pray
[Quotes from Bible, New International Version]

Speech on The Importance of English
Rise Up in God’s Strength!
Yes You Can!
Speech on Discipline
Run! Life Is a Race!
The Meaning of Life!

Compere Script for the Song Would You Be Free from the Burden of Sin!

The Book of Revelation says,

“they overcame him* by the blood of the Lamb.”

The precious blood of Jesus which he shed on the cross of Calvary for the sins of all mankind has tremendous power.

First of all, it is the innocent blood of the Son of God.

Secondly, this blood is the result of the perfect obedience of the Son and his submission to his Father’s will. And it is by this blood that God has opened a new way for us to approach his throne of grace with boldness and confidence.

Thirdly, there is cleansing and pardon for all our sins in this precious blood. Let us allow this cleansing fountain to flow over us; and in and through us, and allow God to purify us and cleanse us from all our sins.

Let us remember the slain Lamb of God and drink deeply of this blood. God draws near to us like no other time when we plead the blood of Jesus in our prayers.

Finally, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and his precious blood shed there is the final answer to our pride. The blood of Jesus tells us that man cannot earn his salvation through any other means. Our salvation is not based on our merit but it comes by God’s grace alone.

Yes, the blood of Jesus reminds us that we need a Saviour. It also tells us that the redemption of man is costly.

May the blood of Jesus cleanse, purify, sanctify and make your heart as white as snow as you listen to this song that celebrates the power of the blood of the Lamb of God.

May you find reconciliation with God and forgiveness for all your sins as you make this song your prayer to the God of mercy, compassion and great tenderness.

_____________________________
This script was used to introduce the song,

“Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood.”

during the Easter Concert by Melody Singers at the Christ Church Centenary Hall,
Thiruvananthapuram, on 10 April 2016.

Click here for full lyrics of the song.

*him in the quoted verse from Revelation 12:11 in the Bible refers to the devil.

Every Drop of Blood

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

The Joy of Lost and Found!

Have you ever been lost somewhere in a crowd? And you had to wait for someone to find you out. Then you might have experienced the joy of someone coming in search of you and finding you.

What a relief to know that you were thought about and not forgotten. What a joy to know that someone cared. What good news to be reminded that you belong to someone.

It is in this sense that Christmas is good news of great joy to all the people. It simply tells us that God remembers each one of us. It tells us that none of us is forgotten. It reminds us that in spite of all our failures, mistakes and sins; God is ready to clean up the mess. He is willing to dirty his hands to give us a new life.

This is the story of Christmas. This is the good news that God came down to us in Jesus Christ. He came as a baby, a tiny child who came to sacrifice his life by shedding his blood on the cross for all mankind. Through this sacrifice, God is ready to forgive all who come to him and cleanse people of all sin and impurity.

No one is excluded from this joy. People of all tribes and nations, languages and cultures are welcome.

The joy of Christmas is not in the festivity of the season. It is not gifts and stars, cake and wine, new dress and carols and Christmas trees and Christmas cards and not Santa Claus.

The joy of Christmas is that a Saviour came. And it is good news of great joy because it is for all people of the world.

It is for you and for me as well.

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Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

The angel said to the shepherds,

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby waite wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” — Luke 2:10–12 Bible NIV.

Never Yield to Despair!

Trust in God is one sure way to fight despair.

Here are certain promises that God has made which can give you a sure reason to hope when your heart is ready to worry in despair.

When people close to you forget you, forsake you or reject you!
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget I will not forget you”. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” —King David

When you are rejected by people you can trust in the One who came into this world which he himself created and was not recognized. He came to his own people but was rejected. You can approach him with confidence.

For Jesus Christ said, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away”. So when there is despair in your heart because of rejection especially from your loved ones, you have a refuge in Jesus. He will never fail your nor forsake you. So do not be discouraged.

When you lost opportunities in life and had wasted many years without any productive work!

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” is God’s promise to you for such a situation.

See, when locusts attack they come in battalions and even the sky is darkened because they fly together closely packed like a huge thick blanket. Nothing green remains in the area they have devoured. All is brown and barren when they leave.

So also it might have happened in your life. You might have made bad decisions, wrong choices, and engaged in projects doomed to fail. But God is able to redeem, restore, renew, revive and refresh your life. The only demand he makes is that you return to him with all your heart. Will you?

What if today you feel disheartened because you failed miserably yesterday!

It is interesting that the overwhelming impression about God that people have is of One who is ready to punish every sin, disobedience and mistake that we make. Of course, God is a Judge. And definitely there is a final judgement coming when all people in this world will be judged for the good or bad they did in their life.

But at the same time, God has given great importance to what we call Today. He gives multiple second chances for people to move in the right direction in life. “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

So if you are in a bed of despair, thinking that all is lost, why not stake your claim on God’s compassion toward you. They never fail. Moreover they are new every morning. God does not lie. He does what he says. He will still work a miracle in your life if you sincerely seek him with heartfelt tears and cries.

It doesn’t matter if nobody believes in you. God is still willing to invest in you.

Finally, what if all doors are closed! What if NO OPPORTUNITY exists!

God says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Yes, God is capable to creating a new opportunity for you. It does not matter who or what forces are against you. “What is impossible with men is possible with God” – Jesus Christ.

So dear friend, there is a better tomorrow for you. Today is a day of God’s mercy extending to you. Like a river flowing, it floods your heart and drowns all your despair. So rise in the newness of God’s strength and unfailing love towards you. You will live to see your heart’s longings and desires come true.

May God do it for you!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version.
(Isaiah 49:15), (Psalm 27:10), (John 6:37), (Joel 2:25), (Lamentations 3:22, 23), (Isaiah 43:18, 19), (Luke 18:27)
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Open Up and Say “Yes” to Life!