Marg Church Camp 2015 – Gospel Fluency

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Marg churches travelled to YMCA Lakeside, Nilshi on Friday, 18th December 2015 for our annual church camp. Our trip began slightly delayed, but finally all the saints from sundry workplaces arrived, all the children piled up into the LUV machine and all the adults stopped having pseudo-lunch. Soon, a convoy of cars was speeding towards Talegaon under the winter sun.

After a detour from the closed railway crossing near Kamshet (why do they have to repair the track when WE go to Nilshi, why? Last year, same drama!), we found ourselves sharing a badly maintained road with other vehicles and herds of buffalo. The road soon became better as it meandered splendidly between some hills and the Andhra lake.

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We arrived at YMCA Lakeside before sundown and settled down in our rooms that were surrounded by nature all around – literally. The rooms are underground and surrounded, even on their top, by grass and shrubs, making the campsite a natural green spectacle.

Over the next two days, we had three sessions based on the theme Gospel Fluency. You can read about the session details below. We also had enough time to go swimming and kayaking in the lake and to play some nail-biting and yet hilarious cricket matches. Some of us managed to play board games right into the night and sit in front of a bonfire under the constellation-studded, deep blue night sky. Nothing beats family time with one another in the church!

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One of the best things church camps can facilitate is the Biblical quality of reflection. Continue reading “Marg Church Camp 2015 – Gospel Fluency”

Why Should Any Christian Be Gospel-Fluent?

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Did you know that Christians can believe lies about God?

No Christian, I hope, desires to do so. But I am certain that whenever we sin, we have already believed something about God that is not true.

Lies and wrong IDs
We all live out the identities we believe in and find our purpose and satisfaction in.

A woman may claim to be a disciple-maker. She might say her aim is to be an exemplary employee and win souls for Jesus at her workplace. But if all that excites her is the monthly SMS notification about her account having been credited with a huge salary, God knows she has little to do with making disciples; she is living out the identity of a money-lover.

She has believed in the lie that money in her bank account will give her more pleasure or security than Jesus could.

A pastor might say he loves his wife and children to bits and might have provided a house, cars and all the snazzy gadgets they could enjoy in life. But at night when he has shut himself alone and his eyes and mind rove all over the dark side of the internet to get what his sexual desires want, God knows that he is living the identity of a pornography-lover.

He has believed in the lie that indulging in sexually impure fantasies will bring more pleasure to him than the presence of God could.

Scandal
It is possible that both these people are actually children of God. Oh, the scandal.

“How could you possibly say that someone so sinful is saved?”

Well, if you know me, I usually hesitate to say so. But to paraphrase John Owen’s observations – “Some lusts flare up over others… One lust can be greater in one man than another”. Chapter 6, Right Way to Kill Sin, Mortification of Sin in Believers.

We might be quick to say such people are definitely not Christians, who are supposed to be dead to sin and alive to God. I am tempted to say the same. And some might even be not truly Christian.

But I will fool myself if I promptly declare myself better than them. Selective amnesia is sinful amnesia. Surely we remember how we have easily repeated sins for years and how easily have swept them aside?

To continue- the people involved may feel “genuinely” sorry about their repeated patterns of sin and their self-absorption. They might feel the tearing guilt inside, the controlled-demolition of their conscience with the silent pleas of God the Holy Spirit in the background. They might fall on their knees by the bed, hands on the floor, saying through desperate tears –

“GOD, OH GOD I’M SO SORRY .. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. PLEASE FORGIVE ME, OH GOD OF GRACE!”

If the sins of over-spending, man-pleasing and lust had stopped, it would have made sense.
But maddeningly, this cycle repeats.

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Destroyed inside.

 

If you are a Christ-follower and are honest with yourself right now, you know sins can repeat in your life. Continue reading “Why Should Any Christian Be Gospel-Fluent?”

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!

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.”