Showing posts from October, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith Formation through the Family 1 John 2:7-17
Yohannan & Achamma Jacob Long Island MTC, NY 10 Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling.

In this passage, the Apostle John emphasizes how the lack of love leads to darkness. He reaffirms that claiming to have the love of Christ but hating one’s brother keeps you in darkness. This hate blinds us from the light of Christ. The hate causes us to live in sin and prevents us from sharing the love of Christ, especially to our children. The lack of this light causes us to stumble and fall off the path of Christ. Truly knowing Christ causes you to not just see, but also to live in the light. This light enables us to see, rather than being blinded by the darkness of hate. This light should shine through you in the darkness.

The introduction of the Christ’s light, love and the faith by which we should live is the responsibility of the family and must start at home. From early childho…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Initiation of Children to the Faith and Practices: An Ear to God's Call 1 Samuel 3:1-21
Mereen Zachariah MTC of San Francisco, CA 10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 

The given passage talks about the young boy Samuel who is the son of Hannah and Elkanah. God answers Hannah’s prayers for a child and gives her Samuel. As she promised, Hannah gives Samuel back to the Lord and has him grow up with Eli, the priest, at the house of the Lord at Shiloh. “Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.” - 1 Samuel 2:26. It is during Samuel’s years growing up with Eli, that he hears the voice of the Lord. Samuel did not recognize the Lord’s voice initially, nor did Eli. But eventually, with Eli’s help and advice, Samuel gives an ear to the Lord and heeds to His call.

It is not only Eli or Samuel, but also Hannah and Elkanah who obeyed the divine call…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Spirituality of Youth in the Modern Age 1 Samuel 17:32-50
Gracious John St. Andews MTC, NY
37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!”

Modern day Christians face a difficult time explaining and understanding the importance of spirituality in a Christ centered life. It seems we are experts in becoming Goliath’s of our education, finances, families, and physical fitness but fall short of the greatness God has really intended for us. 

Spirituality takes trust. From a young age, David understood and knew that God was in control of his life and that only when he put his trust in the Lord, could he be certain that victory would be his. David trusted that God would be there for him when he needed it the most even when his leaders doubted to see God’s protection. How many of us rely on our own strengt…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith Formulation in the Family Psalm 128
Joseph C. Mathew Long Island MTC, NY 1 Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways. 2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

What is fear of the Lord? Fear is profound reverence or awe. It’s an attitude that leads to an action where it leads us to live our lives in certain ways.  It is obedience to God.  Psalm 128 exemplifies the life of a man who fears the Lord and walks in His ways. When we fear the Lord and walk in His ways, He promises us a blessed family with fruitfulness, prosperity and longevity. It’s not just one person, God blesses the entire family. Our off springs will be like olive shoots (They stem from the roots, sustaining life under the shades, eventually replacing the parent tree and bearing fruits for centuries, but maintaining all the qualities of the parent tree).  We all strive to secure a future for our children, but are we instilling a reverence f…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Promote Right Teaching Titus 2:1-8
Benson Babu Long Island MTC, NY 1 But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine.

The unspoken gospel

In the passage above Paul exhorts Titus to instruct his congregation to “promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching,” What does this mean?  In essence, Paul is emphasizing to Titus the fundamental relationship between words and actions. The sentence above implies that “right living” is what enhances or supports teaching of the gospel to the group of believers under Titus’ pastoral care.  Paul continues to go into detail to describe the conduct both men and women are to maintain in the church and outside.  For a moment, one can ask why would this be of great importance to Paul. We don’t see this being presented in some of the other epistles where he expounds on the mysteries of the gospel or where he exposes false doctrines or provides answers to troubling concepts of the Christian faith. We may not know for sure why this is t…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith formulation in the Family Ephesians 3:14-21
Sherly Thomas St. Thomas MTC, NY 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

Faith in God:

Faith is belief, trust and hope for things not seen. In this passage verse 14, we see how Paul kneels and prays before the Father. We need to have reverence for God, for who he is. In verse 15, Paul says Family is derived from the Father. God is our Father, so we can pray to God for all our needs and be confident that God will answer our prayers according to his will. Once we have complete faith in God we will accept whatever the answer is, because we know our Father will do the best. We pray to God to save us from our sins, through faith we accept Jesus Christ into our life, and from that time on the spirit dwells in our hearts.

Faith in the Family:

By faith we are born into the…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith Formulation in the Family Luke 19:1-10
Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla Director, Mar Thoma Counselling Centre, Thiruvilla When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”

The institution of  family plays a very vital role in the growth and development of every individual.  But over the years the place and importance of family is being underplayed or if you put it in other words, the world today seems to take the role and importance of the family very lightly. It is in such context that when we think of faith formulation in the family we realize that today, it is the nurturing of faith that has taken a back seat as far the role of the family is concerned. Why has this deterioration happened?

The Bible portion that we are using for our devotion is from Luke 19:1-10. This passage describes the life and times of a tax collected, Zacheus. When we look at the lifestyle led by Zacheus we can see some of the fac…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Progress not Perfection 1 Timothy 4:11-13
Devin Abraham St. Johns MTC, NY 11 These are the things you must insist on and teach.12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.13 Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.

Do Something.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, is encouraging him as he is a young servant of God leading the church. Timothy faced many obstacles, as many were looking down on him as he was young. But Paul exhorts Timothy to set an example. We, as the the Mar Thoma Church are in a new phase, where more younger generation of families are called to take up the call to lead the church. As the younger generation, we have to keep up faith and hope, as Timothy did. From paying keen attention during our general body meetings , to taking part in our church outreach / mission, every church event we attend will be a small echo to the great sound we hop…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Spirituality of Youth in the Modern Age Psalm 111
Tinu Thampy St. John's MTC, NY 2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

In this passage, the Psalmist opens up with praising God and offering thanks in verse 1.  The word extol is used to mean that the praise is so enthusiastic.  When was the last time we praised God enthusiastically?  It can be really difficult at times to praise God for the bad moments in our lives because we might feel we don’t deserve it.  Often we may be shortsighted to God’s bigger plan.  At times, we don’t praise God for the good times because we feel entitled. We must praise God through all things as its God’s true desire for us.

Verses 2 through 9, the Psalmist acknowledges God’s deliverance and the works of his hands.  In verse 2, it states “Great are the works of the Lor…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Spirituality of Youth in the Modern Age Philippians 3:1-16
Alex Mathew Long Island MTC, NY Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Growing up, the youth of today has had access to nearly everything at their fingertips due to the advancement of technology and the accessibility that computers, phones, and tablets provide. It is so easy to get caught up in these things and forget about the world around us and, more importantly, forget the reason why we were placed in this world in the first place.

Paul tells the Philippians to not put their trust in worldly things and to not receive pleasure from them but to serve the Lord by proclaiming His name. We are constantly surrounded by people who are so consumed by wealth and possessio…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Spirituality of Youth in the Modern Age Genesis 41:37-43
Leena Abraham St. John's MTC, NY
38 Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

Many of us know the context of the story of Joseph and his journey. A son favored by his father but hated by his brothers. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and we see how God found favor in Joseph and took him from a place of bondage to being in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Those that came in contact with Joseph were able to see the purity of his character and the spirit of God that lived within him. Josep…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith that has to be Formulated in the Family Joshua 24:14-22
Michele Mathew Epiphany MTC, NY 15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve theLord.”

A common verse to us all, Joshua challenges us as he did with the Israelites, to fear and serve our Lord in sincerity and truth. This verse places the decision solely up to Israel. They must choose between serving the pagan gods of their early ancestors, or the living God. Joshua also understood that as the priest of his family, he was held with the responsibility to see that his whole house served the one true Lord. He had the job of representing his house before God.

Many times in the midst of the busyness of life and all of its demands, we often fail to serve our Father in the way He commands us to do so.  We often take the free wi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Spirituality of Youth in the Modern Age 1 Timothy 4:7-16
Priya Kolath (Kochamma) MTC of Baltimore, MD 12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

After Paul left Timothy as the leader of the church in Ephesus, Paul provides instructions to Timothy for being a good servant of Christ.  During this time, Timothy is believed to be in his late 20s or mid 30s. While emphasizing the need for being grounded in the Word and continuing to teach the Word, Paul focuses on the importance of ensuring that the Gospel is transforming our hearts, which is reflected in a change in our behavior.

As youths in the church, God has provided us many opportunities to learn the Word of God through Sunday School, Youth bible studies, conferences, etc. The teachings that we receive are to transform us, mold us, and shape us to become more like Christ. This involves a change in our hearts that leads to a change in our behavior. This transformat…