Showing posts from April, 2015

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Community Formation Around the Resurrection Experience Isaiah 65:17-25
Chacko Varughese Epiphany MTC, NY 17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.

A community is a group of people living in a specific geographical area and sharing the same benefits. Christian communities share the same free gift of salvation through faith in Christ and Christ alone. We were lost and dead in our sins, but now we are found and made alive in Christ. The curse brought by sin is completely reversed. Now we live in newness of life.  We can grow together in our spiritual journey as a community plugged into His power outlet. Resurrection is the exhibition of God’s power and sovereignty. 

God called Abraham out of his father’s house and increased him and formed a community and nation out of him.  The nation of Israel strayed away from God and God scattered them all over the world. Here Isaiah is prophesying the restoration of Israel as well as…

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Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10
Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 

Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand!

In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resurrection of Jesus. 


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Witness of Death Acts 2:43-47
Rev. Abraham Kuruvilla,  Princeton Theological Seminary 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,

He obtained a PhD at 21 and at 24 he started teaching at the University of Berlin. Soon, he was put in prison by Hitler. On April 8, 1945 on the request of the prisoners, he celebrated communion and spoke on Old Testament text "by His wound we are healed.

On April 9, 1945 he was stripped naked and hanged on a wall and was left to die.
Who was he? He was a pastor, a theologian, a writer, but above all he was a witness of Jesus Christ. He was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was willing to die for what he believed, and he believed in Jesus.

We all believe in Jesus, but how many of us are willing to die for Jesus. Witnessing involves death.  The early believers understood this. To have a sincere heart (vs 46) means to be true. True to what or more specifically to whom? The early …

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Community Formation Around the Resurrection Experience Isaiah 25:1-9
Abraham Mammen Epiphany MTC, NY 9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Lord Jesus Christ, at the fullness of time, came into the world in order to complete God’s purpose for the human race. He fulfilled all the prophecies about Him foretold by men of God. He promised His disciples that He will be with them even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20) The disciples held on to His promise during their lifetime.

We also have the same promise given by our Lord. The resurrection of the Lord is not just historical, it is also the connecting link between the present world as we experience it and the far more glorious heavenly kingdom, yet to be revealed.

Mary Magdalene was the first among many to witness the risen Lord. However it took her a moment to realize that she was standing b…

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Community Formation Around the Resurrection Experience  Acts 4:32-37
Christin Mathew Epiphany MTC, NY 32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.

Resurrection is the central point behind Christianity. We may hear about resurrection quite often, but can we truly comprehend the power that it brings? When we look at the Early Church, we see how significantly resurrection impacted the lives of the early followers of Jesus.

Characteristics of the Early Church: As a side note, the early followers of Jesus were not called Christians. In fact, they were often referred to as “Followers of the Way.” The community of early followers that made up the Early Church did not live in a favorable time period. Jesus’ initial followers were considered a threat to the Roman government due to their uncommon practices and unwillingness to take part in Rome’s pagan rituals. For such r…

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Resurrection Experience Luke 24:13-35
Abraham Thariath Epiphany MTC, NY 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 

For the followers of Jesus who were troubled by his crucifixion, the Lord presented himself in different ways. For example, for these two followers who were traveling to Emmaus, Jesus appeared as a fellow traveler.  Mary Magdalene and other women, who came to the tomb to see the body, instead saw the living Christ. For the eleven disciples the resurrection experience came first through the report of the women and the travelers. But none of them believed, though they walked with him throughout his ministry. Then Jesus appeared to ten disciples staying in a locked room afraid of persecution, while Thomas was away. Later Jesus presents himself to Thomas.  Scared that their future livelihood is in jeopard…

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Paul's Vindication of the Risen Lord Galatians 1:11-17
Abraham Thariath Epiphany MTC, NY
15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased

Apostle Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road and his transformation came in a flash. When Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ’s followers, heard the voice of Christ, his eyes were instantly opened to the truth that Jesus is the living God, and he became an ardent disciple.

It appears he has not seen Christ in person, though he is very much aware of his teachings. He was an observant and conservative Jew and that is why he went out of his way and persecuted Christians. But when he heard His voice, he believed in Him and came to know that Christ is the way, the life and truth.

We are in a similar situation. We have not seen Jesus personally. But we have heard his voice. His voice -the Word - came through our parents, Sunday school teachers, priests, eva…

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Identifying The Risen Lord In The Workplace Acts 9:26-30
Julie Vinod Salem MTC, NY 27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

Saul was in despair and experiencing loneliness when Barnabas took him to apostles. Barnabas had the trust and respect of the apostles. He knew Saul and his past but he did not allow this to affect his present. In fact, he said, this was the man whom we all feared, but today he is a new child of God, we must accept him as one of us. There could be couple of reasons why Barnabas defended Saul? First, he knew Christ as a savior and will change lives and secondly, the spirit of God was manifested through him. 

If we believe in risen God, we must identify him anywhere even in the work place. We must accept people the way they are. People should be able to see Jesus in us. God puts people into our life for a reason.…

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Witnessing Risen Christ in the Workplace James 2:1-13
M.C. Varughese Epiphany MTC, NY 1. My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?

Discrimination is a major issue of our culture and time.  In his book "Black Like Me", John Howard Griffin, a white journalist narrated what he discovered and encountered by living as a black among the white man's culture. The people were often treated as less than human.  Polarized conditions exist in all spheres of life in the society.  Favoritism, discrimination, preferential treatment, partiality, bias and sexual discrimination are very common. 

In today's text James warns the church against favoritism and the evils associated with it. Prejudice and preferential treatment in the church forced James to address these evils and had reasons to admonish them. We serve a Glorious Lord, the Risen Christ. The word of God tells us that there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncir…

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Identifying the Risen Lord at the Work Place 1 King 19:19-21
Abraham Mammen Epiphany MTC, NY 21 ..........Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

A few years ago, we had a meeting at our office regarding personal articles kept at work place. It was communicated to the participants that the office is public place and articles of religious faith should not be exhibited rampantly. It did not have the expected result because most of the participants continued to keep the articles dear to them on the desktop.

We live in a day and age where God is becoming an ignored entity in public place. Several civil debates and court cases have sprung from this very topic. The human race as a whole and Christians in particular, continue to overlook the omnipresence of God. It is in such a context that the presence of Risen Christ becomes relevant as a subject for discussion.

When we carefully examine the scripture for our study, Elisha did three things by which he identified Elijah as a m…

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Identifying With the Risen Lord in the Workplace Acts 16:6-15
Saramma Chacko Epiphany MTC, NY 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.

God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts.  We cannot comprehend them unless the Spirit reveals it to us. Paul and Silas were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach in Asia, though they were eager to do so.  When they tried to go Bithynia, the Spirit did not permit them. While they were in Troas, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian seeking help.

Encouraged and moved by the Spirit, they realized it was God’s will for them to go to Macedonia.  So they travelled to Philippi, a place in Macedonia.  On the Sabbath, they went to the river side, where women assembled customarily for prayer.  A business woman, Lydia from Thyatira, was there and she heard Paul’s message.  The Lord opene…

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New Year's Day!Encounter With the Risen Lord Matthew 28:1-10
Lisa Skaria Staten Island MTC, NY 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

In Mathew 28:1-10, we read about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The angel who announced the good news to the women told them that: 

1- "Do not be afraid" (v. 5) - Sometimes the reality of resurrection may bring on the emotion of fear and dismay, but rather it should instead bring joy and peace. When you are afraid remember the empty tomb and what the risen Lord has promised and has done. 

2- "He is not here" (v. 6) - Huh? What do you mean he is not here? You see Jesus is not dead and therefore is not to be looked for among those who are dead. Jesus is alive and with his people! He is ever present. In fact he is with you right now!

3- " Come and see..." (v.6)- In a world that needs to see things to believe it we are given the challenge to believe in Ch…

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Identifying the Risen Lord in the Workplace John 21:1-14
Mathew T. Mathew Epiphany MTC, NY 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

When the disciples under the leadership of Peter went back to their old profession-fishing- after their master Jesus was crucified, they worked all night, but caught nothing. Then early in the morning, the risen Lord Jesus stood on the shore. First they didn't know it was Jesus. He wanted to convince them the futility of their efforts without Him. With that in mind, He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” When they said no, He said to them, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they caught a large number of fish. Then they realized, it was the Risen Lord Jesus.  Through this incident, Jesus wanted to reinstate Peter & the other disciples to their intended profession of “fishers of men”.

In Mathew 28:19-20, the risen Christ is asking the disciples …