Terrorism and the Christmas Child

“The biggest human tragedy Pakistan may have ever seen. No words can suffice. Even as a mother it haunts me to even try to relate. Allah Rehm” – Maryam Nawaz Sharif
 

man-16956_1280

Such expressions of grief & gunned-down dreams covered large portions of news. A tragedy that has left deep scars across the face of a nation, the massacre of 132 school children in Peshawar by a terror group has created waves of outrage and shock. To pay respect to what the dear ones of those victims are going through, I won’t even try to assume that I can feel their dark grief and fury. We as a church, Marg, are truly sorry and saddened, and are praying to Jesus for you in Pakistan.

People who heard this news responded in different ways. I steeled my heart up to not get depressed because I didn’t want the unbelievable shock to hit me- which it did eventually. Others in my church family had real, tough, questions –

What if this was MY child in a coffin?

How can God let a tragedy of this scale happen?

These powerful questions of grief & justice I will pass by,  for now is not the time.

Meanwhile, how does all this affect your Christmas?

rainy-83136_1280

Pause your happiness-coated, Santa-overdosed excuse of Christmas. Just as the original Christmas had tragedy in very real circumstances, let’s wrap this tragedy around Christmas’ message.

We are in for a subdued season with such terror attacks. It might surprise some that a terrifying act of murder of children is part of the first Christmas story.
Jesus’ parents on earth narrowly escaped the fate of Peshawar’s mourning parents when they escaped (Matt 2:13-14) from King Herod, a man vicious enough to kill his own family members. Herod was fearful-insecure- at the birth of a King worthy of worship (Matt 2:2) and orders the killing of every child, 2 years and younger, in that area.
It is right to expect justice and vengeance executed upon the perpetrators of evil whether in Bethlehem then or in Pakistan today. But let’s not forget that the Christmas child came to destroy the works of the devil(1 John 3:8). It is for that reason that as Marg we will rejoice this Christmas. If there is any real hope in this bleak season, it is in Him who rescues us from the same self-absorbed attitude & heart these terrorists have.

How would you make Christmas more meaningful in the light of the immense suffering that has happened in Pakistan?

Are there ways you could make Christmas a true gift to these hurting people?

Re-align 2014 : What was it ALL about?

Re-align 2014! At this year’s church camp there was tranquility, rejoicing & fun over the weekend with church family from across Marg, at YMCA Camp Lakeside, Nilshi.

collage-realign 14_2

Pictures courtesy – Romilla William

Below is a summary of the 4 sessions that helped remember and better understand foundational truths and Spirit’s expectations in church life.

Session 1 : A discussion of the Good News, which reminded us that there was bad news-the reality of God’s wrath for all of us- from which Jesus rescued us and, thus were made members of the household of God- something we never, ever deserved. Eph 2:19. Also, we learnt to make practical this family aspect by doing God’s will about it ; covenanting to participate in weekly church gatherings, discipling one another in small D.N.A groups and demolishing formality on Sunday gatherings.

Session 2 : A practical look at some commands of “one-another” service within the church body. Verses like 1 Cor 14:26 (each person looking to build the other through the week) and Eph 4:32 (being tender-hearted toward those who offend us inside the church family) were discussed.

Session 3 : Gospel truth impacts our financial giving. From God’s people in Exodus giving tons of gold as a free-will offering to the Lord, to the poverty-stricken Macedonian church pouring help to the Jerusalem church, people who saw God on their side and happily bid farewell to their wealth. We were encouraged to budget finances not with a concrete wallet, but with a wallet ready to give; to make wise investments but to not plan life around them; “freely we have received, freely we give”.

Session 4 : A topic to crown them all, we actively discussed three ways to pursue love from 1st Corinthians 13, part of a letter written to a largely love-less church family-
Keep love first among spiritual gifts, faith and knowledge.
In action, Demonstrate/show love in 2 specific ways Jesus did to you to 2 church folks you have not been loving.
Plan life around love and be fascinated by it and not around faith,knowledge.

This is Re-align 2014 captured for you. For more information, contact us and we will tell you more about our journey of re-aligning to our loving Lord’s purposes!

A Letter to a Re-conversion Candidate

postman-bike-174644_1280

Dear Re-conversion candidate,
There has been a lot of uproar over recent re-conversions that some Hindu groups conducted in Agra. There is word that more re-conversions from Islam and Christianity to Hinduism are coming in the near future.

As a fellow Indian & a Christian, I want to encourage you :if you wish to re-convert from the Christian faith to Hinduism, please do so – I support you!

If your faith in Jesus Christ has been unable to give you ration cards & a hassle-free life, blame it on our Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ!

He is unfortunately not like so many affluent Gurus our nation has harvested. He is the very Son of God, but He never chose a good life anyway and he didn’t even get a decent death. In fact he promised that we, His followers will face the same opposition & sufferings  He faced  (John 15:20). So why should you follow this troubled path to follow Him?

Also to blame are FALSE Christian teachers who may have TOLD you that you will get all you want in life if you follow Jesus- shame, shame– they seem to not even know that Jesus is not a wish-granting guru but the Final Judge (Acts 10:42).

It is also possible that you were part of a church where the brothers and sisters did not share their possessions with you out of love as Christ has taught us by His supreme example. If they have not done this, and if you are jilted & are moving away, I apologize on their behalf. There is no excuse, but I request you – please forgive us. We are hopefully, learning.

Finally, though I love you, the fact is – it becomes easier for me when so-called Christians choose to follow who their god truly is- money and comfort. Your “re-conversion” helps me see that your conversion was never genuine. It sobers me up and helps me when I know who is truly Christian and who is not.

Your friend & fellow citizen,
An Indian Christian.

Marg church camp : Re-align 2014

It’s that time of the year!

No, not Christmas, not yet.

Church camp!

What are your expectations of a church camp?

I don’t know about you, but I expect a lot of, weekend-tranquility, a nice break in the lap of nature and time to catch up with church family from across Marg, Pune. And one of the best places to have a church camp is YMCA Camp Lakeside, Nilshi. When did we last visit YMCA Nilshi?

collage-Realign

Re-align 2012!

After a bumpy and scenic ride, we spent 3 days full of fun and learning the very DNA of how a Biblical church community looks like, the characteristics of the organic structure based on the good news of Jesus our king. Looking at the life of Jesus and the first church itself, we studied our church community guidelines on –

How to identify ourselves – Family

How to be on God’s mission and not our’s – Missionaries

How to serve one another during the week – Slaves.

We learnt life-basics of rhythms, and committed to re-order our lives around rhythmic activities of life so we can use be on mission not just on a particular day, but throughout the week. It is good to take time to ponder and realign our lives with our Lord’s purposes- and to that end, church camps ROCK!! We also had a great time rock-climbing, kayaking down at the beautiful Andhra Lake Some of us even managed to turn our kayaks upside down in the lake. (Don’t worry, life-jackets!)

Expecting Holy Spirit to be at work mightily in us weak vessels for Him,

Re-align 2014.
YMCA Camp Lakeside,Nilshi.
December 5th- 7th, 2014.

“Life is a great adventure, especially on the journey to eternity.”