Do the work of an Evangelist: Persist in your conviction!
Pastor Mathew Philip, Philadelphia, USA
The writer explains how Apostle Paul is exhorting Timothy (and all believers) the supreme importance of persisting in their conviction.
Apostle Paul writes to evangelist Timothy to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). The first work of an evangelist is to be faithful to one's calling (2 Tim. 1:1-2:13). The second is to be diligent in one's work (2:14-26). As a third work the evangelist must be prepared for the last days (2 Tim. 3: 1-9). Fourthly, Paul asks Timothy to persist in his conviction (2 Tim. 3:10-17). Paul persuades Timothy as a young evangelist to continue in what he has learned and believed (2 Tim. 3: 14). In our text Paul explains how we must persist in our conviction. How to persist in one's conviction?
1. By following the example of Paul (2 Tim. 3:10-14)
Paul asked Timothy to follow his examples which would definitely help Timothy to persist in his conviction. What examples do we follow from Paul?
(a) His life: Paul was very careful in living an exemplary life before his followers. He was transparent in his life and approach (1 Thes. 2:3-10). He was open before God and fellow beings.
(b) His teachings: Paul's whole purpose was to preach and teach God's Word. He was confident that he preached sound doctrines. Paul says in
1 Thes. 2:3-6 that the message he preached to them did not come from error or impure motives. He admonishes Timothy to keep as the pattern of sound teaching what he had heard from him (2 Tim. 1:13).
(c) His practices: Paul always practiced what he taught and preached (1 Thes. 2:8-9). He practiced faith, patience, love and endurance before his people which became a model for them.
(d) His sufferings: He talks about his persecution in Antioch (Acts 13:14), Iconium (Acts 13:51) and Lystra (Acts 14:6). Timothy knew very well about Paul's suffering in these regions, because he was from Lystra. He says in v. 12 that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Strong oppositions and afflictions did not deter Paul from teaching and preaching Christ. We must learn from the good examples of godly men and women. Our lives must be transparent when we serve God and the people. We must be example in our life, teaching, practice and suffering for the sake of Christ. We must continue in what we have learned and have become convinced of.
2. By knowing the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15-17)
Knowledge of the Scripture will help one have the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is because the Bible is the written record of God's revelation, that is, Jesus Christ. Paul says that from infancy Timothy had known the Scriptures. He knew it from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). Why should we know the Holy Scriptures?
(a) It will make us wise for salvation: The Scriptures will surely make us wise for living a life in the light of eternity. The study of God's Word will help one to work out his or her own salvation. It will generate sincere faith in Christ Jesus for one's salvation.
(b) It is God-breathed: God inspired His Word. The Holy Spirit illuminated the biblical writers. We see God's active involvement in writing of Scripture. So it is infallible and authoritative Word of God (2 Peter 1:20-21).
(c) It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness: God's Word helps one mature in his or her every area of life.
(d) It will also help people to be thoroughly equipped for every good work: The more fully we know the Scriptures, the more closely we shall cling on to it. Psalmist says, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psa. 119:103-104). Paul persuades Timothy as a young evangelist for the complete reliance on the Scriptures. We must rely on the Holy Scriptures for our spiritual food and guidance. God's Word is powerful (Heb. 4:12). It brings new life in people who learn the Scriptures. Having deep knowledge of the Holy Scriptures will help us to persist in our conviction. The Holy Scriptures must be the rule of our words and action!
Rev. Dr. John Cherian describes a Christian adventure organized by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on his historic trip to the Moon. The event is not very widely known. The article is a short summary of his sermon** preached some time ago on a New York TV channel.
Friends, my text is taken from Psalm 8, vs.3 and 4: "When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him and the son of man Thou visitest him?" On Sunday, July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped out of a lunar module and became the first man ever to walk the powdery surface of the Moon. History was made that day. Then a little later Buzz Aldrin, the module pilot did the same thing; he stepped down the ladder, and became the second man to walk the face of the planet. All the world watched their walk in astonishment. For days and weeks these men were the "talk of the town around the world. However, what is not known widely is a spiritual experience which had been part of this historic voyage. Let me tell you about it.
Astronaut Aldrin made it a point to celebrate his trip to the Moon with a Christian adventure. He charted a plan for observing holy communion while he was on the surface of the Moon. He obtained permission to carry the communion elements with him to the space craft. Today the Lord's Supper is the symbol of nearness to God, to millions of people around the world. Aldrin conferred with his Pastor, Rev. Dean Woodruff at the Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, where he was a member. He then arranged to carry the bread and wine in a plastic packet along with a communion cup, after it was prayed over by the minister in a chapel service.
And so the day came when the selected astronauts were asked to travel to Cape Kennedy, from where the rockets were to lift off. Apollo XI was launched successfully with the three astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin for a landing on the moon. There was a sense of relief on the part of the three men after a period of extremely hard training and sleepless nights. To Aldrin it was a time of drawing close to God, because the very thought of reaching further into space, the outer expanse of God's universe stirred up within him a special sense of the presence of God. I am glad to say, good many of our astronauts are committed Christians. I could mention names like James Irwin who became a full time evangelist after his astronautic adventures. Verner Von Braun was a leader in this field, and was a fine Christian. Still another is astronaut administrator, Walter Burke. He was "Project Manager" of the Mercury-Gemini space missions. He received the "Christus Vivit" award from the Concordia Seminary a few years ago. When he managed the space missions he says he was among those scientists at the lauch pad who engaged in silent prayer with their eyes closed while their lips kept moving inaudibly.
So arrangements were completed for Aldrin to carry bread and wine to the Moon, after being prayed over by Rev. Woodruff. He felt that there was sufficient gravity on the Moon for the liquid pour from the container and he would be able to drink normally from a cup. Two communion services were then planned, one at the Houston Church where Aldrin used to worship, just prior to his trip from Houston to Cape Kennedy, in the presence of the congregation. The second one would be at the time of the actual communion on the Moon two weeks later, when fellow Christians would join Aldrin in space through radio contact. At this second communion Aldrin would invite believers from across the world to join with them in a prayer of thanksgiving.
At the Last Supper as Jesus ate with His dear men, He said: "This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also He took the cup after the supper, saying, this cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins".
And so Apollo XI was launched with the three astronauts on board for a landing on the Moon. On the day of their descent to the Moon, the space craft Eagle carrying Armstrong and Aldrin touched down at 3.30 P.M., Houston time. Armstrong was scheduled to step down to the lunar surface shortly thereafter. Aldrin took out the communion elements, and put them on a little table in front of the "abort-guidance-system-computer". Then he called Houston over the radio: "Houston, this is the Lunar Module pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own way". Then he took the bread and wine; he poured the wine into the cup. It flowed slowly down the cup in the one - sixth gravity of the Moon. He also read from the Scripture: "I am the vine, and ye are the branches"; then he partook of the elements, while his church in Houston joined him on earth .. It was a memorable communion service indeed.
The Apostle Paul says: "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one body". Jesus explained the lasting value of the communion: "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in the kingdom of God. Jesus retains His five wounds, and will retain them through eternity, so that we can for ever remember His death at His table in the heavenly kingdom. This is the only memorial our Lord asked us to observe in connection with his life on earth. Therefore may the communion table remain a significant means of grace in your life, dear friends! Amen.
Farewell to Oral Roberts
Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, USA
Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, a close associate of Rev. Oral Roberts for several years and currently the Dean of Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions, writes about the man of God.
Well known healing minister and founder of Oral Roberts University, Rev. Oral Roberts, passed away on December 15, 2009. He was 91. His son Richard and daughter Roberta were by his side in Newport, California at the time of his passing.
Oral Roberts was born in Bebe, Oklahoma in 1918 as the fifth child and youngest son of a Pentecostal Holiness pastor. He was diagnosed with TB at age 17 and was healed miraculously through prayer. A clinic in Ada, Oklahoma confirmed the healing. On the way to the prayer meeting where the healing took place, young Oral heard God's voice saying that he would be healed to take God's healing message to his generation. As if to confirm the voice he heard, God healed Oral's stuttering also.
Oral Roberts preached his first sermon two months after his healing. Later, the Pentecostal Holiness church ordained him and he pastored several PH congregations. He received theological education at two institutions - Oklahoma Baptist University and Phillips University. Leaving the pastorate in 1947, Oral started an independent healing ministry called Healing Waters.
Oral's tent meetings of the 1950's were well known. Some meetings attracted 15000 people to the largest known evangelistic tent that seated 12500. God used him to minister many healing miracles. Soon his ministry was brought to millions of living rooms through television. Oral was the pioneer of televangelism. During the 1970's, 64 million people were watching Oral Robert's programs through 525 TV stations. During the 1980's he was receiving five million letters per year, a great number of them containing money to support his ministry.
He started Oral Roberts University academic program in 1965 with 300 students. It was formally dedicated in 1967 with Rev. Billy Graham giving the inaugural sermon. The University was also a pioneer in promoting the whole person philosophy of education, claiming that education must cover the totality of a person, body, mind and spirit. Even today, physical exercise and disciplines are required of all students at ORU. Thousands of ORU graduates are serving God today across the world.
Oral Roberts served as the president of ORU from 1965 to 1993. His son Richard L. Roberts became president of the University in 1993. He had to resign due to financial and governance struggles. Following two interim presidents, Dr. Mark Rutland became the third president of ORU on July 1, 2009.
The City of Faith Medical and Research Center opened on ORU campus in 1981. This was an effort to develop the concept of whole person medicine. The massive 60-story building with two million square foot floor space was dedicated to offer medical treatment through healing teams consisting of physicians, nurses and chaplains called prayer partners. Unfortunately, the City of Faith and the related ORU School of Medicine were closed in 1989 due to financial problems. Currently, the City of Faith building belongs to ORU, but as a rental property that provides financial support to the University.
Oral Roberts married Evelyn Lutman, a school teacher, in 1938. They lived an exemplary married life for 66 years until her death in 2005. Two of their children passed away before their mother died. Oral Roberts has twelve grandchildren and many great grandchildren.
Oral Roberts impacted many spheres. He brought forth a paradigm shift in global evangelism by introducing healing evangelism through tent meetings and the media. He pioneered the concepts of whole person education and whole person medicine. He was a pioneer of the charismatic movement and developed theological concepts such as "seed faith" and "point of contact". He popularized slogans such as "Expect a Miracle" and "Something Good is Going to Happen to You!"
Oral Roberts was loved and respected by God's people all over the world. At times he was a controversial figure, but even his critics respected his integrity and good testimony. Like Rev. Billy graham, he was known as one of the two great religious Americans of the 20th century.
It has been my privilege to know Oral Roberts personally and to be a part of the Oral Roberts University since 1981. I am grateful to God and to Oral Roberts for the confidence the Roberts family placed in me as I was appointed a decade ago to lead the ORU School of Theology and Missions as its dean. I will miss Oral Roberts. I look forward to seeing him again. Farewell, Man of God!
From the pulpit: Heavenly home
Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese, Dallas
"For here we have no continuing city but we seek one to come. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
A world famous, triumphant captain was returning to his motherland of Italy with his soldiers. They had traveled through hills, mountains, rivers, valleys, and meadows. They finally came to the valley of the Alps mountains. After such a long journey, the tired soldiers had a sigh of relief when they saw the Alps . They were thinking how they could climb it. The soldier's hands were drooping and legs were weakened because of the long journey. They reached the bottom of the Alps Mountain .
The soldiers' courage was lost. They sighed while looking at the peak of the mountain. "How will we overcome it? They thought that it is not a good atmosphere at all." After having 2 days of rest, they again started their journey to climb up the mountain.
When they climbed higher up, they were suffering from the cold wind. The snowy wind was flowing powerfully. When the captain looked back, he saw the hopeless soldiers. He shouted loudly to them, "Brothers, if we finish climbing this mountain, we will reach our motherland, Italy. Italy, it is the land of fields. It is a land of gardens." In Italy, their parents, their beloved wives, children, and their sweet are waiting for them. The home that is in all their lives.
It gave strength and energy to the lost heart of all the soldiers. Their drooping hands and weakened knees revived with courage. They marched forward and reached their home after completing their course on the mountain.
Let us see another vision in our imagination. If we think of King Emmanuel's army around the whole world, they all fought with sins and sufferings and became triumphant. The way was so hard. The intensity of the war made them tired. They started their journey to their home a long time ago. Now, they are facing mountains of obstacles that were as high as the sky.
Poverty, sickness, pains of separation arise before them. Start straight. No more allowance of the inner mind to speak. To these soldiers, their captain of salvation is proclaiming, "Oh, Christian soldiers…now, you are near your home, the heavenly paradise. It is full of evergreen trees and beautiful fruits."
We can find the streams of pure crystal waters and the Tree of Life….there we can find our parents, wives, brothers, sisters, and children awaiting us eagerly on the other side.
Meditation: "There I will give you my love"
Reading passage: Song of Solomon 7: 9 - 8:4 - "There I will give you my love" (Song 7:12 - RSV)
Song of Solomon has been interpreted in many different ways. Of course, it portrays the physical expression of the love of a husband and wife. However, its best expression is found when it is illustrated as the love relation between Christ and His Church.
In this book, we see a shepherd boy who is the lover and a Shulamite, his beloved. In addition, we see a king in the scene, who wants to mug the love of the Shulamite. The king brought her to his chamber and the city girls (daughters of Jerusalem) describe the majesty of the king and his love for her. Even the king describes how he loves her. However, the Shulamite reserves her love just for her beloved.
In Chapter seven, the Shulamite is a captive in the king's chamber. Either the city girls, or the king himself describes her beauty (vs 6-9). But many Bible translations make a division for v. 9, including NIV, NKJV and NASB. Half of it is spoken by the king and the rest by the Shulamite herself.
The king says: (v. 9) And the roof of your mouth like the best wine.
The Shulamite says: The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved, Moving gently the lips of sleepers. (v. 10) I am my beloved's, And his desire is toward me. (Song 7:9-10 NKJV)
The shulamite hears the king's description, but she said, "the wine goes to my beloved, not to the king. I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me!"
When the world tries to distort our love, remember, your beloved's only desire is for you! "Come, my beloved," says the Shulamite, "Let us go forth to the villages… There I will give you my love."
She somehow wants to escape the vanity of the city. Her soul longs to be with her beloved in the serenity of the village! "There I will give my love," she says.
We all should keep this kind of resentment towards the conceit of the modern world. Only in solitude, can we pour out our love to our beloved.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be discontent with the vain splendor of this world. Let me be alone with you, and I want to pour out my love towards you! Amen!
God uses ordinary people to do great wonders, to glorify His name. He has given each of us some special characteristics and gifts. He wants to make use of them, says the writer
There is something about Esther which is inspiring and teaching. Esther, an ordinary captive Jew, an orphan being brought up by her cousin Mordecai suddenly becomes the Queen of a very vast empire. But why did it happen? Because God wanted to use Esther to deliver His people from the hands of evil Haman. To rescue, God worked through Mordecai to uncover Haman's plan! God loves His children so much that no ocean is big enough to hold the love that He has for us. Such is His love that He always helps us in times of trouble through some person or the other.
God uses ordinary people to do great wonders, to glorify His name. Just like Esther, Jesus' disciples too were just ordinary fishermen but God chose them to spread His gospel, throughout the world. As it says in 1Cor. 1-27,28: "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of the world and the things despised and the things that are not to nullify the things that are".
God has given each of us some special characteristics and gifts. He makes use of them to glorify His name. God used Esther's beauty and Mordecai's understanding and knowledge to rescue His people. We find in the book of Judges too a similar situation where God uses ordinary people like Barak and Jael to defeat Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, and rescue His people.
God's grace comes like a diamond wrapped in rags. We must not think that we cannot be useful to God because we cannot preach or sing. Each person is given a different ministry. We all are like wet clay. We must allow God to fashion us according to His will and use us. We are instruments and we must let God play the music He wants on us. We need to save the souls that are perishing. And for that we don't need to be some one great, because our God is Great and it is He who is working through us and not we ourselves.
The world famous 'Duolos' ship of Operation Mobilisation (OM) was scheduled to be decommissioned at the end of the year, 2009. Launched in 1914 and taken over by OM in 1977, 'Duolos' is the world's oldest ocean-going vessel. It would cost more than $16 million of work before it can be certified fit enough to sail again. OM has used the ship, whose name means "servant" in Greek, to carry Gospel and educational resources to more than 100 countries. Fully staffed, the ship carried an all-volunteer crew of 300 people. OM is looking for a replacement for "Duolos' to continue operating a two-ship ministry.
We remember the crowds visiting 'Duolos' and browsing through the huge number of books in the various stalls and interacting with the multinational staff members on board the ship when it docked in Mumbai many years ago. It was also an exhilerationg experience to tour the decks of a large passenger ship. Farewell, 'Dulos'!
Americans' ignorance of the Bible!
American Bible Society has released some interesting facts about the ignorance of common American people about the Bible. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Bible Society. They found 54 percent of U.S. adults attributed a Bible verse (about caring for the poor and oppressed) to celebrities, politicians, and others including Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie rather than the Bible. A quarter of U.S. adults attributed the Old Testament verse "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy" (Psalm 82:3,4) to either Obama or the Dalai Lama. Only 13 percent correctly identified the source as the Bible. The American Bible Society is planning to release its new "Poverty and Justice Bible", which highlights verses pertaining to issues of poverty and injustice.
Religious education, prayer and anything pertaining to God are being systematically banished from schools and American society. Display of 'Ten Commandments' in court rooms is slowly coming to an end. But the fact remains that Biblical principles form the basis for civilized behaviour in any society whether one accepts it or not.
"The Manhattan Declaration"
The Associated Press reports that more than 150 Christian leaders, including Chuck Colson, George Weigel and Robert George have released a 4,700-word document, called "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience". The statement affirms traditional stances on marriage, pro-life issues, and freedom of conscience and says: "We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family".
It is heartening to see Christian leaders taking a stand on Christian values which are being sysematically eroded in modern world, even in the so-called "Christian" circles. Devil is frantically working hard to wean people away from their faith as his time is drawing to a close.
A hand written Bible
Bible publishers, Zondervan, have produced a three-volume, 2,200 page leather-bound, handwritten Bible. The book travelled 22,579 miles on the road and the verses were inscribed by 31,173 people. The volume was auctioned on eBay in November 2009. The retail version can be purchased online at bibleacrossamerica.com.
Janitor dies saving students
CNN reports that Pervaiz Masih, a Christian janitor of a Pakistani school, prevented a suicide bomber from getting into the girls' school cafeteria. The bomber then self-detonated, killing himself, Masih, and three girls. Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, the rector of the university said: "Between 300 to 400 girls were sitting in there. Despite being a Christian, he sacrificed his life to save the Muslim girls".
Our Lord wants us to do our duties diligently and sincerely and faithful in our work places wherrever they are. Apostle Paul writes: "Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ" (Eph. 6:5).
Personalities encountered by Jesus - 17: Demon possessed boy
"A man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water" (Matt. 17:14-15)
Some modern writers have asserted that the child was merely afflicted with epilepsy. However, the New Testament account is unequivocal in stating that the boy was possessed by an unclean spirit: He rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again". The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead" (Mark 9:25,26).
The child's father had previously brought the boy to Jesus' disciples to be healed, but they were unable to cure him. "I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
From the description of the boy's symptoms, related by the father, we know that he was not only given to seizures in which he foamed at the mouth, but that he was deaf and dumb. During his attacks, he often endangered his own life by faIling into the fire or into the river or lake.
Mark, in his Gospel, points out that it was the father's faith which made it possible for his son to be healed. Jesus said unto him, "Everything is possible for him who believes". And in response to Jesus, the boy's father cried, out, with tears in his eyes: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
The result of this father's humble, but powerful faith, was the expulsion of the evil that controlled his son.
George and family lived in a twin row house. They were born-again believers who lived a godly life in obedience to God's Word. They had a neighbour who was not a believer of Christ. They always found reasons to start up a feud with George's family. But George and his family never retaliated to their allegations. They always calmly spoke to their neighbour and always dealt with them in love. There came a time when George had to move to a different place and as they vacated their house, they went to their neighbour and thanked them for all the cooperation and asked them to forgive if at all there was any grievance. This touched their neighbour's heart and they said they were always wrong and felt bad that they dealt badly with them and also acknowledged that Christians are indeed good people.
George and his family sowed seeds of love and forgiveness in the midst of misunderstanding and hatred and meanness. And they could reap the fruit of goodwill and praise to the name of Christ. If we sow seeds of goodness we will surely reap fruits of righteousness. If we sow seeds of laziness and indiscipline and a life contrary to God's will for us, then we are NOT going to reap the fruit of a righteous life. Today we are reaping the fruits of the seeds that we have sown in the past days and months and probably years. So we need to be careful of what we are sowing in our life as well as by our life in this world. There is a famous quote by Emerson Ralph Waldo which says "Sow a thought and reap an action; sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny." If the coming of the Lord tarries, we are entering a new year. Let us sow seeds of faithfulness, peace, love, forgiveness, sincerity, humbleness, patience, kindness etc. and live in obedience to God's Word, then we will be able to reap fruits of righteousness and also bring glory to God by our life. Gal. 6:7-8 says "A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life". God bless you.
Readers Forum: Can you answer this? - 1
Concept and Compilation: Johnson Thomas
Questions that challenge our culture, beliefs, traditions, practices. Respond and share your views with Christians around the globe.
Question of the month:
PROGRESS: What is 'Progress'? How to measure progress? Is progress necessary? Why?
Read what people around the world think.
(Also readers are invited to assign credit points to the views of each writer ranging from 1 to 10 points and send their evaluation by an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each point will be converted to money value
and credited to Christian Youth groups in India)
Beena Jeji, Homemaker, India
Progress is a positive change. One can measure progress only if we have a goal in our lives. Progress is reaching the intermediate milestones along the way to the goal.
Progress is vital especially for a Christian. Christian life is like a race (1Cor. 9:24-27, Phil. 3:12-14, 2 Tim. 4:7-8). The race begins with relationship with Christ and progress as we grow and mature spiritually as we continue to trust, obey and draw closer to Him. So we keep your eyes on Christ - the goal - and don't get sidetracked or slowed down until we win a reward in Christ's Kingdom.
Allen Nimmy, Student / Working, New York
According to me progress means advancement or an improvement or something better than what it used to be yesterday. I measure progress by taking time of my schedule… sit back… relax… and calmly look back into my past and compare it with the present… and think how much have I advanced or improved in my life..
Yes progress is very essential while living in this competitive world… as Charles Darwin talks about the survival of the fittest .. so if we don't progress it's hard to survive for long….
I personally feel progress in life acts as an indicator to show about how much we have achieved or yet to achieve in life…
Robins Abraham, Professional, India, Globe trotter
Gen. 1:28: "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." God never intended His creation to be static. He wanted Man to progress hence gifted us with intelligence and ability to think, create and move forward. But people misunderstand progress with "Change". Change is not progress, but there is no progress without change. Progress is "improving and moving towards a goal". Progress can be identified with improvements in public life, civilization, ethical behavior and spiritual maturity. The process of struggling for a goal is essential for a man or mankind to achieve progress. It is this goal that we all Christians need in our life, as Peter writes: "..like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow" in respect to salvation.
Paul says in Eph. 4 that the very purpose of having apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ and then we will no longer be infants. This is what God wants from us. Progress in your Christian life day by day so that we can attain the goal of "the whole measure of the fullness of Christ".
The best way to measure progress is to check against Eph. 4:14 and 15: "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ". Are we still an infant, did we grow in knowledge of Christ? How much did Christ come in you? How much are we tossed back and forth by the false teaching and doctrines?
Pastor John Thomas, Doha
Webster's Dictionary defines progress as 'to move forward' or 'to develop to a higher, better or more advanced stage'. Every area of life needs progress. Every field or faculty of study needs progress for the betterment and development of the respective areas. But how do you see progress in Christian life? Progress for Christian life is to go a step further towards God's will in our life on earth in the light of God's word.
The Apostle Paul exhorts young Timothy to do his best to present himself to God as one approved so that his progress will be seen by all (1Tim. 4:15, 16). We can say we have progressed when we have identified ourselves with the perfect will of God. What is His will? His will is to become close to the praise of His glory and to be conformed to the image of His son. When the Church as a whole and each individual Christian grows towards that end you can call it progress. How can that happen? When the Church is nurtured by the word of God to know the will of God and encouraged and exhorted (systematically by the living word of God) to become like Jesus and to exalt Jesus, then there will be progress. When the word of God is obeyed and every effort is made to grow in the knowledge of His will; and practice His word so that we no longer conform to the ways of this world and be transformed by the renewing of our mind to do the perfect will of God, then we are on the road to progress.
Michael Larkey, Non Pentecostal friend, North America
Progress is improving upon yesterday. Being a better husband, worker, citizen. I think the tendency is to want others to measure it for you. The ability to measure your own progress, in an honest way, takes time to develop.
I do consider progress critical but worry that there's never a finish line. I hope one day I do not worry about the next step.
C.J. Samkutty, heads Church PYPA, India
Progress is necessary in all areas of human walks. Nobody can claim to have achieved something without embracing the terms and conditions of progress. Progress can be termed as a continuous process of growth with timely up-gradation in thoughts and deeds. In the path of progress, there are chances to meet with negative forces. If you continue to make a diligent effort to meet the goal, then there is no more desperation, but gradual stepping up to the peak. Actual progress can be measured by a standard scale, to see the distance to optimum level. But beware, don't use the scales which others used or that is thrown out by others. Beware of your advisers; they may be self styled intelligent, but foolish people. You can use your own conscience to measure the progress.
Spiritually speaking, God's word and your own conscience are the best scales to measure the spiritual progress. Other than God, I myself am the best person to measure my own progress. Never ever try to displease or hurt our own conscience, continuous hurting can cause error in the readings. As John says 'one's own spirit will talk to God's spirit whether he has right standing with God or not'. A child is born and do not have time bound growth, then he will bring sorrow instead of joy to his parents. Steady progress is always the source of Joy and Peace, which always gives you positive attitude. Again let me say, one's progress should always be based on 'Justice'. While stepping up through the path of progress, let us preach justice and practice it. What Jesus said is "if your acts of justice do not surpass the acts of Pharisees, then the dream of entering heaven will remains as is. So better to correct oneself before somebody accuses you.
One has to remember all great undertakings are achieved through mighty obstacles. So keep up the deepest mental poise, take not even the slightest notice of what the puerile creatures may be saying against you. Instead, arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.
Johnson Thomas: An alternate theory
When a person changes or moves forward, advances or achieves his goals, grows or improves: why does he call it progress? Progress seems to be a misleading and misconstrued English word. Progress could be 'any forward movement in a chain of events leading to a goal'. However it seems to have been misconstrued to be understood as a positive change for betterment irrespective of the end goal.
Let's consider the contrary!! The term progress brings to our mind a positive change/attribute. But, it could also be a progressing illness, a progressing deterioration in our situation etc. The end goal would decide if progress is necessary.
Question for the next month:
CAN YOU ANSWER THIS?
PASTOR: What is the role of a pastor? How is it different from that of a believer?