Showing posts from February, 2012

The Journey 59: Transformation in my personal life

Read: Mathew 16: 13-20 Key Verse: “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” [ Mathew 16:16] A battle is being raged in Michigan as two candidate vie for the Republican Presidential candidate nomination. One is a native of Michigan, Mitt Romney while the other candidate is a former United States senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum who is also  drawing full media glare not only because he is potential frontrunner for the Republican nomination, but also because of some of the views that he has recently expressed with regards to issues like marriage, abortion and the institution of family. Both the candidate have distinct agenda in their campaign. One emphasizes on a certain conservative moral values while the other emphasizes on an economic agenda. Who will finally win,  only time will tell. But what caught my attention was the remarks made by Santorum with respect to the relation between church and state. Accordi

The Journey 58: Transformed Living

Read: Luke 5:1-11 Key Verse: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthy things, For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. [ Colossians 3: 2,3] The Oscar awards have been announced and I was surprised at the movie that won the best picture award. It was won by a French movie “ The Artist” But what is so strange about this movie or in other words, what is there in a movie that enables it to win the prestigious Oscar award?.   It is for the first time in the history of Academy awards that a silent movie has won the Oscar. Can we imagine how in 2012 a silent movie wins an Oscar?. In an age where people are obsessed with 3D movies, and with movies with all sorts of sound effects and wonderful cinematography, where you don't even have to go to a movie theatre to watch movies, where you only need a mobile phone or a tablet to watch a movie, a silent movie wins all the accolades. What a contrast in this age.  But then the movie “ The Artist” speaks to us about

The Jouney 57: Transformed Living

Read: Luke 5: 1-11 Key Verse: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” [ Mathew 5: 11] What does it cost you to practice your faith? For many of us who think we are practicing our faith there is nothing we have lost nor have paid any sort of price, on the contrary we  have only prospered, both in wealth and in health. But listen to the witness of a pastor in Iran—Youcef Nadarkhani. He has been in the news this week because  a trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, condemning him to be put to death for  being a Christian. Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old is a father of two, and he was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.  Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani never practiced the Muslim faith and became a Christian at the age 19, later becoming a pastor. But

The Journey 55: Transformation in my family

Read: Genesis 3 Key Verse: “And Adam named his wife “ Eve” because she would be the mother of all living”. [ Genesis 3:20]           Names; The most beautiful aspect about a person is his/her name. Every individual expects that others address them by their name. It is through addressing their name that we show the other person love, respect and also acceptance. Most often in the context of an Indian family even in the US, the spouses addresses each other in names that are very intimate like “Kutta”, “Mole” in Malayalam or names like “ honey” or some other names that only the respective spouses know. These names are very sweet to hear as far as the spouses are concerned but sometimes this can cause rift in an another family. A wife was heard complaining to her husband that the she felt jealous and envy of her friend in the church. When her husband asked the reason for her envy, she said that her friends' husband was so loving and would always address her as “Mole” and “Kutta”

The Journey 54: Transformation in the life of sick and suffering

Read: Mark 2:1-12 Key Verse: “ Which is easier; to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven or to say get up and take your mat and walk”. [ Mark 2: 10]                           “Silent Hospitals Help Healing”. This was a strange news item that caught my attention. Montefiore Medical Center in New York has started a program called Silent Hospitals Help Healing (SHHH), to address one of the biggest complaints patients have about hospitals:  they are too noisy. According to the hospital sources "Noise is not only an irritant, but an obstacle to healing,".   "Studies have shown a relationship between excessive noise and a slowing of the healing process.  Noise also contributes to increasing stress and anxiety." Where do these noise come from?. People who visited the hospital were least concerned about the needs of the patient and due to this hospital became the hub of all sorts of sounds and noises.  Carts that had squeqy wheels, mobile phones ringing, peopl

The Journey 53: Transformation in my parish

Read: Nehemiah 2,3 Key Verse: “But as for me, I will enter Your house through the abundance of Your steadfast love and mercy; I will worship toward and at Your holy temple in reverent fear and awe of You”. [ Psalm 5: 7 ]   A church in New York “ Bronx Household of Faith ” is asking people to pray for them as they have lost the space to worship. This church use to worship in a school building but now, because of a landmark decision of The United States Supreme Court,  they have been denied permission to use space or halls in school for worship. There are many church’s not only in New York but also in other states who uses halls and spaces in school for the purpose of worship. The Supreme Court had declined this month to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision to uphold the New York City Board of Education’s ban on holding worship services in public schools.  Now this church and host of other church’s have been evicted and they are now desperately seeking some space so that they

The Journey 52: Transformation in my community

Read: John 6: 1-15 Key Verse: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” [ 2 Corinthians 9:8]   Recycling- Everybody thinks recycling is all about waste products. Read the news report of John Ostapkovich of the CBS Philadelphia News.  He reported yesterday of a South Jersey couple who has been involved in a very innovative and life giving source. Forming an enormous kidney donation chain, thus bringing hope to untold people in the community suffering from kidney failure, thus instilling in them a sense of hope. This kidney donation chain is called kidney paired donation. A donation chain works like this: On behalf of person A, a kidney is donated to B, who has someone donate to C and eventually back to A. In this particular episode, The couple in this picture was Danny and Debbie Giaquinto of Bellmawr, who contributed to a chain of 30 kidneys. After a first kidney transplant d

The Journey 51: Transformation in my work place /school

Read: Daniel 6 Key Verse: “ Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul, rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” [ Mathew 10: 28 ] Lin-Sanity–Part Two : The latest Time magazine dated 27th February, has brought out a small feature titled “ The Christian Nerd High Five” and it is about a hand shake between two New York Knicks players. Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. Lin is from Harvard while Fields is a Stanford. According to Allan C Lu, the marketing manager of Jeremy Lin reports that there is a story behind the handshake. Both Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields are good friends and not just because of their high academic pedigree but also because they are both Christians. The hand shakes starts with both Fields and Lin exchanging high five using opposite hands. Then they pretend to put on glasses since the nerds wear glasses. Following this Fields  presents Lin with an invisible Bible, Lin whizzes through the Bible, both the ne

The Journey 50: Transformation in my personal life

Read: Luke 5:1-11 Key Verse: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways, you will eat the fruit of your labour, blessing and prosperity will be yours” [ Psalms 128:1,2]                 Being in Philly, I am supporter of Philly Sixers. But yesterday their dream run this season is running into rough weather as they lost a very close game to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 92-91. But in NBA circles, there is new phenomena that everybody talks about today “Linsanity”. It is all about an Asian American Christian, named Jeremy Lin, a Harvard product, who plays today for New York Knicks. A  month ago he was nowhere, no future and he was sent to the minor leagues of the NBA. A few days later he was reinstated with the Knicks as a benchwarmer. Two weeks back on February 4, at halftime in a home game against New Jersey, injured Knicks star Carmelo Anthony suggested to coach Mike D'Antoni that he play Lin more in the second half. That game was when people noticed Lin, where h

The Journey 48: Transformation in my family

Read: Genesis 2,3 Key Verse: “O Lord you have searched me and you know me, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I go from your presence” [ Psalms 139: 1,7]               The office of the President of United Sates is always considered as an icon of position and power. Bu there are times in history when that icon looses its dignity and power. There is an incident in US history which records an event like that and it is about the former President Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was the first President to resign from the office of the president. His resignation was after a prolonged cover-up of the what became known as the Watergate scandal. The scandal began when members of the Nixon re-election committee were caught in a breaking at the offices of the democratic party in the Watergate building. The crisis slowly deepened as when President Nixon tried to cover up the involvement of his staff in the break-in. During the investigation it became known that Nixon had made tapes of

The Journey 47: Transformation in the life of sick and suffering

Read: Mark 2:1-12 Key Verse: “ Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God and smitten by him and afflicted” [ Isaiah 53:10].                            A news that caught national and international attention was in 2003, was when two kids Bency and Benson, aged five and nine,  were denied admission in a local school in Kollam district of Kerala, in India, because parents of other students studying in the school protested against admitting both  Bency and Benson to that school. The reason for their protest was that both the kids were HIV positive. The siblings were orphans, [they who had lost their parents , who were also HIV positive], had no one to support them except their grand parents. Society shunned them and they were discriminated in every way. Even when the government tried their level best to get them back to school, the literate society of Kerala blocked their way to live a honorable life and a life where they could

The Journey 46: Transformation in my parish

Read: Nehemiah 2 Key Verse: “I appeal to you my brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be united in mind and thought”. [ 1 Corinthians 1: 10]                      Group, Groupism, are two words that we normally talk when we talk about the issues that a parish is facing. But take a impartial approach, whether you like it or not every church has groups. These groups sometimes are a positive aspect in the functioning of a parish but at times the very nature and objectives of the group members could be liability to the growth and proper functioning of a parish. Groupism in the parish could arise out of the cold war between members of two dominant families in the church, or it could be a rift between two dominant factions in the church, which could be based on language or the region from where the members come from or it could be a rift between two dominant organizations in t

The Journey 45: Transformation in my community

Read: John 6: 1-15 Key Verse: “ In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [ Acts 20:35]. In the fall of 2009, a family was reading an article in a tennis magazine which described how athletic shoe manufacturers were using recycled material from old shoes to make soles for new footwear. McClain Hermes , now 12, and her father Matt Hermes who was reading that article suddenly had an idea and told McClain,  Why cant we collect the shoes and give them to people who are in need rather giving them to a large company who was interested only in  making money out of these shoes”. McClain was thrilled and she embarked on the idea that her dad instilled in her and they  started “Shoes for the Souls,” a project to collect gently used footwear for the Atlanta Mission , a charitable organization that provides emergency shelter, employment

The Journey 44: Transforming your work place/school

Read: Daniel 3 Key Verse: " But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” . [ Daniel 3: 18]                       Music lovers all over the world is mourning the tragic death of Whitney Houston. A singer who dabbled with drugs and was constantly in and out of rehab, she leaves behind a legacy where success without any values has a price to pay. In fact according to John J Thomson who in “Think Christian” states that  "She had a history and a relationship with gospel music and faith that informed her work and endeared her to her fans, yet she mostly steered clear of specifically Christian ideas. She deftly referenced these in the service of deeply intimate inter-personal love songs". One of her close friends was Cece Winans who on the contrary was a singer with Christian values. They both recorded one of the most memorable songs about friendship, "Count on Me". But

The Journey 43: Transformation in my life

Read: Luke 5:1-11 Key Verse: “Then Jesus said to Simon “ Don’t be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” [ Luke 5: 10]                           The New Jersey Turnpike is a highway that we all travel. But as you come from New York towards Philadelphia on the entrance of the New Jersey Turnpike on  I-95, you will have a very small space for deviating to two different roads, soon after you pay the toll. It is within that small stretch of road that the people who drive needs to decide whether to turn to I-95 North or  to I–95 South. In my first year we clergies of the Philadelphia church’s were returning back to Philly from New York, and I was driving, but then as we were in fellowship and laughing at the jokes that was being shared, we came to entrance of the New Jersey Turnpike, and I had the confusion whether to take I-95 north or I-95 south. Boldly I took the one of I-95 deviations.  Philip George achen who was with me asked in between are we following the correct route  and I

The Journey 41: Transformation in myl ife

Read: Genesis 2,3 Key Verse: “ But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [ Galatians 5:16]                 Empowerment was a catch word for this decade. Every institution both in the secular and the religious world adopted it as catchword. Hence you had seminars like empowerment of the work force, empowering the individual, empowering the woman, empowering the managers…...the list goes on. Empowerment is a positive action and it  brought about a renewal in people’s life and avenues where each person felt that they could be better citizens and individuals by their creative contributions and role in an organization or in an institution. Today everyone claims to be a empowered individual. But has the correct perspective  of empowerment transferred to all areas of our life. We live today where the attitude of people have become more self centered, focused more on individual goals and accomplishments and whose prime objective is “I will do what