Showing posts from July, 2015

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Knowing and Doing Based on Faith Titus 2:11-15
Charles Abraham St. John's MTC, NY 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all

The book of Titus is a pastoral letter from Paul to Titus. Titus was a Greek believer, who Paul placed in charge of ministering to the island of Crete. The book, while it is a short epistle, reads like a “how to” guide for young leaders in the church. This passage in particular instructs Titus to counsel the congregation to live a self-controlled and upright life. 

The first point I would like to focus on in this passage is related to the gift of grace. Paul underscores the fact that the grace of God offers salvation to all. Time and time again, we are reminded that grace is for all of us. While we subconsciously try to take comfort in an exclusive experience, God has offered his gift of grace as salvation to all people. 

Secondly, the grace of God should teach us to say “no” to the world. I look back at my own faith experience at times, and I …

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The Ultimate Goal Philippians 3:12-21
Swithin Titus St. John's MTC, NY 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Many people set ambitious goals at the beginning of the year.  The most popular goals people set are to make “on the surface” changes.  Whether its to lose weight or put on muscle, or make more money the idea is that the present self is not good enough.

Goals are good to have. But motivation ultimately guides progress. When athletes achieve anything worth reporting, oftentimes, they credit a number of factors that influenced their success.  Many of them thank their parents who pushed them, friends who had their best interest at heart, and sometimes, just sometimes, they credit their faith and namely God.

As we are firmly moving towards the second half of the year, many take stock in where they have landed on achieving those goals set at the beginning of the year.  Studies suggest that only 46% of the ambitious goal setting crowd w…

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Consecrated Life Zechariah 14:16-21
Sini George Immanuel MTC, TX 21 and every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be sacred to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and use them to boil the flesh of the sacrifice. And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.

In this passage, we read that even the most common of objects, such as pots, will be holy to the Lord.  The theme of this devotion is a consecrated life, a concept that seems easy to understand but not as easy to truly live.  As I studied this passage, I began to look at myself and ask - do I actually live a consecrated life?  Is my life truly an example of worship and devotion? 

This passage made me think about three primary points as I tried to answer my own questions:

•    Every action, even in the most common actions, should be so that we may glorify the Lord.  I should find ways to worship in my everyday actions. 

•    The combination of my every day actions makes up my days…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Knowing and Doing the Faith Exodus 3:1-12
Sherine Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; 

Tis a season of transitions. Some are enjoying the fruits of their labor and moving onto the next step in their educational journey. Some are experiencing the joys of relationship and commitment and entering the realm of marital bliss. Some are enjoying summer time fun with their children and loved ones. However, there are some who are struggling to decide what to do next. There are some who are awaiting in anticipation and hope to see what lies ahead. There are some who are searching and seeking for renewed purpose and strength to keep pushing forward in faith and hope. It may be during this season of transition that God calls you out to something far beyond yourself, your dreams and expectations. It may be something that not only challenges your strengths but forces you to co…

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Knowing God Galatians 3:1-10
Jeeva John MTC of San Francisco, CA 7 so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” 9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

Over the past few years I have become intimately familiar with the struggle of finding a place for faith as my knowledge of the world, the history of mankind, the several philosophies of life and many more signs of my ‘worldly wisdom’ increase. I wrestle with questions as I become curious about how Christianity works in a world that’s constantly trying to prove it wrong. Fundamentally what is the ‘truth’? Is it truly what is served to me in the words of a translated Bible that over the years have been tailored to various populations, interpretations, and wisdoms of man as inspired by the Spirit?

In Paul’s letter to the…

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Knowing and Doing Faith 2 Timothy 2:1-13
Cyril Abraham St. John's MTC, NY 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

One of the most incredible aspects of our faith is the perfect and awesome God that we serve. He sits enthroned in heaven and has angels and heavenly being in a constant state of fear, awe, and worship. He created the world and everything in it, from the very basic laws of nature to the most complex organisms and had them work together in harmony. He is a God so powerful and loving that he foresaw our disobedience and failures and decided to give His only son as a sacrifice for us. Just by looking at the entire narrative of the creation, fall, and redemption of man, it becomes abundantly clear that we owe God more than we can ever hope to repay. Furthermore, our daily failures and shortcomings and His subsequent grace and forgiveness seem to continuously multiply what we owe God. 

It is in this context that the beauty of 2 Timothy 2:13 becomes…

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Theological Teaching:Understanding of Faith and Praxis-Sermon Points John 12:20-26
Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Episcopa Sinai Center, NY 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

1. Theology is God-talk and is meant for both ordained and laity. Theological discourses are for equipping the believers to be active agents of the liberative mission of God through witness, service and teaching. This is possible only by our constant intervention to understand God, fellow beings and nature in our search for God revealed in His creations. The Greeks were searching for it (Jn. 12:20, 21)

2. Christ is the meeting point of all theological exercises. The Greeks wanted to see Jesus who brought down the walls that segregated Jews and Gentiles (Non-Jews). E.g. John 4. The two disciples of John the Baptist wanted to know ‘the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’ (Jn.1:29, 35-37) Jesus invited them to…

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Consecrated Life Romans 12:1-15
Jason A. Varghese St. Peter's MTC, NJ 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 

Today we live in a world driven by the pursuit of wealth. Social norms are defined daily through digital media, which leaves a lasting impression on the younger generations. This passage leads with an important message in verse 2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is so easy for each of us to fall in to such norms that contradict our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The passage identifies two key themes that carry a valuable application to our churches today. The first theme is humble service in the body of Christ. The inherent struggle with being a Christian is having the ability to humble our hearts regardless of our surrounding…

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Consecrated Life 1 Chronicles 29:10-19
Shannon Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 17 I know, my God, that you search the heart, and take pleasure in uprightness; in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our ancestors, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.

In this passage, David had been addressing the gifts he had given for the building of the Great Temple. Despite the glory and magnificence of all the gifts that he had provided for the temple, it was not the focus for David and the Israelites. Even with all the splendor of the Temple, David had not forgotten to and give all thanks and praise to God. He acknowledged that all of the gifts that he had given for the building of the temple had belonged and come from God.

The beauty of the passage can be found within …

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Consecrated Life Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Gracy Suma Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin;
29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[a] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 

Do you get angry? How many of us get really angry when things don’t go our way or the way we plan? How many of us get really angry when someone drives slow in front of us or cuts us off without reason? How many of us have gotten into arguments  with our parents, siblings, spouses, friends, coworkers when we are not heard, respected, or acknowledged for our work, efforts or achievements.  How many of us have responded quickly, hastily, abruptly or without thinking to produce hurtful, inconsiderate statements or comments to our loved ones? I am sure that many of us have encountered these situations in many aspects of …

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Consecrated Life Acts 6:8-15
Jorge Wilson MTC of San Francisco Bay Area, CA 8 Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 15 And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Our passage is taken from the Acts of the Apostles and highlights the short but impactful ministry that is the life and death of Stephen. The book of Acts was a handbook for the growing church and included many stories that laid the foundation of the early church. Stephen is first introduced to us in chapter 6 and is identified as one of the seven men chosen to serve the early church. These men were of good standing, full of Spirit and of wisdom, and tasked to serve the church in tasks such as distribution of food to the widows (v.5).

Although Stephen is often remembered as being the first martyr for Christ, we must understand who he was and the stand he made for his faith. Stephen, as part of God’s sovereign plan, was se…

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When God Declares Jeremiah 23:23-32 Dr. Shaun Rajan St. Andrews MTC, NY 32 See, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and who tell them, and who lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or appoint them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the Lord.

We live in a world of competing truths. "It's only the truth if it feels right." "It's only the truth if it does not offend anyone." During a time when hot topics, such as same-sex marriage and faith-based & racial conflicts, permeate the public conversation and create a diversity of stances, the need to filter voices becomes paramount. Discernment is key. Who is speaking the truth? Who is leading down a path of delusion?

The Israelites, during the time of the prophet Jeremiah, were facing similar conflicts and confusions because of prophets who were "scattering the sheep" due to false prophecies and teachings (see Jeremiah 23:1…

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Consecrated Life Luke 19:1-10
Rev. Larry Varghese Horeb MTC, Los Angeles, CA 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Recently, a German court convicted 94-year-old former SS guard, Oskar Groening, for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews. He was stationed at the Auschwitz death camp. Though no one can know for sure, many estimate the number of deaths at Auschwitz to be between 1.1 and 1.5 million people. The acts of the Nazi’s are undeniably horrific.

But something else that has angered many is the act of one woman – an Auschwitz survivor. Eva Kor, now 81 years old, and her twin sister were just 10 years old while detained in Auschwitz. The cruelties she faced are indescribable. Eva had desired to come face to face with someone who was responsible for the atrocities. When she met Oskar Groening she knew what she had to do… she reached out her arms, hugged him, and publicly forgave him. Understandably, many of the victims of the Holocaust were deeply offende…

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Amazing Love, How Can It Be 1 John 4:7-12
Betty Vattakunnel Trinity MTC, TX 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

“I love this car!” “I think I’m going to love this class!” “I love you.” The word love in our society can sometimes be thrown around in a manner that ultimately clouds our understanding of what love truly is. When we refer to loving something or someone, our human love can be conditional, hindering our understanding of true love, which was brought into this world by Christ alone. Our human comprehension of love is limited when compared to what God’s love truly is to us, but once we are able to experience His love, it is one that we cannot deny.

You see, the beauty of Christ’s love for us is that He loved us when we were/are at our worst.  He looked at us and said, I want her just the way she is. It might be hard to comprehend such a love, but our God exudes that type of love for us on a daily bas…