First of all I want to thank those who acknowledged my previous letter
with words of testimony and assurance. Several of you have forwarded
that letter by e-mail to your circle of friends. For a servant of God
there’s nothing like having so many thousands of praying friends
(Eph 6:19,20). May God use this letter also to inspire you to go higher
and deeper in understanding the ways of God. Oswald Chambers’
(1874-1917) phrase, “My utmost for His Highest!” should
become the motto of our lives. Your devotional exercises must not be
just for the maintenance of your spiritual life. Strive to climb higher
and dig deeper. Satisfaction leads to stagnation and you will begin
stinking instead of smelling sweet to God and man!
I write this letter while returning to Vellore by train from Davanagere
of Karnataka State where I just concluded a 3-day ministry. It was an
Inter-Church Revival Programme coordinated by the local unit of YMCA.
The attendance was 500, 700 and 800 respectively. I preached on Revival
and it was a time of visitation of God’s Spirit among His people.
My text was, “Can these bones live?” (Ezek 37:3). My Kannada
Interpreter, Bro. E. D. Chelladurai of Bangalore, mourned that Sermons
on Revival have become extremely rare though Revival is the immediate
and absolute necessity of the majority of Churches. Five out of seven
Churches in Revelation 2&3 were desperately in need of Revival,
isn’t it? I urge you to watch my DVD message, Another Revival,
a 2-hour Talk in English to the 90 participants of the National Consultation
of the Blessing Youth Mission on Revival and Literature Ministry in
Hyderabad, 28-29 Jan. Though the purpose of this Talk was to remind
the BYMers of their basic calling, any Christian who longs to see Revival
in his Church or Organisation will be encouraged by it to labour even
more intensely for Revival. Let me know if you need a copy, at Rs. 100/-
plus 30/- for forwarding.
One reason why prayers and labours for Revival are on the decrease
is that the leaders and supporters of each Organisation are overoccupied
with their own programmes and problems. They have little time to be
concerned about the Revival of the Church. I have a suggestion for you
to think about: Meet with a couple of friends in your town and form
a Revival Prayer Fellowship. Make sure there’s atleast one believer
from each of the Churches and Groups. Have a weekly or fortnightly gathering
for about two hours to spend atleast one-and-half hours exclusively
to pray for the Revival in your local Churches and the Church worldwide.
Limit singing and Bible meditation to the remaining one fourth of the
time. Church history tells us again and again that God puts His people
on their knees when He’s about to do a new thing! Claim in prayer
the Bible promises on Revival like—
- “I will send down the showers in their season; there shall
be showers of blessing” (Ezek 34:26)
- “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust
has eaten” (Joel 2:25)
- “If My people who are called by My Name shall humble themselves
... I will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14)
- “Repent ... that times of refreshing may come from the presence
of the Lord” (Acts 3:19,20)
Circulate among yourselves books on Revival. This will sharpen your
focus and heighten your passion for Revival. Missionary Evangelistic
organisations help build bridges between various Churches for the sake
of reaching the non-Christians. The Revival Prayer gathering I’m
talking about here will bring together folks from both Churches and
Missions for the sake of reviving the Christians. Such unity will create
streams in the desert.
There were 25 delegates in the National Faculty Retreat of the Haggai
Institute, India, held in Secunderabad, 26-28 last month. The theme
of the Retreat was “Dying to Self.” I delivered three Talks.
Several delegates testified that it was a prophetic word.
In my previous letter I had requested prayers for the recording of a
few short sermons on the 2nd and 3rd of this month. This was for the
DVD I was preparing as “Songs & Sermons.” My friend
and Missionary Singer R. Elisha sang 5 songs in Hindi, playing his guitar.
The songs were on the subjects of Salvation, Bible, Prayer, Worship
and Evangelism. Following each song I preached a 20-minute sermon relating
to these subjects respectively. What I preached in English was simultaneously
translated into Hindi by my friend, Rev. David Lal, who pastors a Church
in Jabalpur. This DVD of 2 hrs and 10 mts was released in Davanagere
on the 23rd by Father Clement D’souza. The target viewers are
nominal Christians and new believers. Several friends have commented
that this is a novel approach. Let me know your requirements. (Rs. 150/-
per copy, plus Rs. 30/- for forwarding). I desire to make this DVD in
other Indian vernaculars also. Pray that God would help us choose the
right singers and translators. Volunteers and recommendations invited.
“Tiruvalla has not heard such strong and corrective teaching
for many years!”—This was the testimony of several senior
Christians who attended the 15th Annual Convention of the IPC in the
town, 9th to 11th instant, in which I preached three messages. To God
be all the glory!
During my visit to Tiruvalla in Kerala for the above programme, I was
quite surprised to learn that a town as small as that has 42 Banks!
This town stands first in the entire Nation, according to a study of
India Today magazine (15 Mar 2004), under Banker’s Best, with
the per capita Bank deposit of Rs. 4,61,000/-. The figure for the second
in this list of ten is just Rs. 1,50,000/- . As for Print Readership
per 1000 population, all the top ten towns or cities in India are from
the State of Kerala. The first town from outside Kerala is at rank 25.
Also under Radio Listenership per 1000 population, all the top 10 are
from Kerala, with Quilandy leading with a figure of 524. The India Today
magazine concludes that the newspaper and radio reach in the towns of
Kerala is atleast twice as much as it is in the other Indian cities.
I bear the above facts in mind whenever I receive an Invitation from
a Keralite group. If the Malayalee Christians can be sufficiently mobilized,
the total evangelisation of India will not be a distant reality. Pray
that this State which is so rich in material and knowledge will soon
experience an unprecedented spiritual awakening. Mr. K.G. Balakrishnan,
61, who has become the 37th Chief Justice of India hails from Kerala.
It is widely reported that he is the first Dalit to rise to this post.
He is said to have endured a tough childhood in this State. May God
raise many prophetic leaders from this State for the Church in India
and worldwide! The Department of Tourism advertises this State as “God’s
own Country!” I write these things to challenge Malayalee Christians
with what Christ said, “To whom much is given, of him much will
According to the traditional Church Calendar, the Lenten Season has
begun on the 21st instant, which day is called the Ash Wednesday. Many
Christians in the mainline Churches observe special days of fasting,
and forego some of the even legitimate pleasures of life, and so on,
during these 40 days prior to Good Friday. There are no commandments,
in the New Testament, pertaining to food or observance of days. I go
by the Pauline conclusion: “He who observes the day, observes
it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he
does not observe it... Let each be fully convinced in his own mind...
Let no one judge another in these matters” (Rom 14:5,6; Col 2:16,17).
However, setting aside a season to push back certain physical and material
enjoyments in order to increase concentration and devotion in spiritual
matters is a healthy practice. This is the philosophy behind fasting.
These exercises cannot impress God but they help us stay more sensitive
to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. In May 1995 I delivered the following
4 Talks in the Cross Bearers Conference of the Blessing Youth Mission—
1. The Cross & Personal Sanctification
2. The Cross & Interpersonal Relationships
3. The Cross & Christian Ministry
4. The Cross & Daily Living.
These Talks, English to Tamil, are now available on two MP3 audio
CDs, boxed in a booktype case, under the title, “Nothing but the
Cross.” The duration is 7 hrs 30 mts. A fresh look at the Cross
and its implications on our lives will be an edifying experience in
this Season. One pack costs Rs. 100/-. Add Rs. 30/- for forwarding.
Pray for me as I will be bringing meditations on the Cross of Christ
in the Chapel Services of the College Campus as well as the Hospital
of the Christian Medical College in Vellore, each evening from Palm
Sunday (Apr 1) to Easter Sunday (Apr 8). I wonder whether you remember
that I worked as a Hospital Engineer in this Institution from 1971 to
1975 before I became a fulltime minister. We thank God for this Institution
which stands first or second among the top 10 Medical Colleges of India.
Striving for excellence should be in the bloodstream of Christian individuals
and institutions. Through the Spirit of God, Daniel excelled in everything
he did, and that impacted a pagan nation like Babylon.
Since my retirement in 2003 from administrative leadership in BYM, I
receive several “non-official” personal letters from friends
who share with me details of their longings, struggles and victories
in their spiritual lives. Though I hardly find time to reply these letters,
I certainly read them with interest and concern, and use the contents
as illustrations in my sermons and writings. I share here one such letter
which greatly inspired me—
“I am nearing 80. I am a retired clerk. My means are meagre.
I wanted to attempt something great for God. I started writing the
Tamil Bible by my own hand from Genesis to Revelation in 2003 and
completed the work in 2 years, 4 months and 10 days. I am the greatest
beneficiary of this exercise. I am deaf. God spoke to me through His
Word while I was writing it. I now understand the Bible better. To
God be the glory!”
Here are some questions each of us can ask himself—
1. Do I spend sufficient quality time each day in the meditation
of God’s Word?
2. Do I use regularly the Bible Study Aids I have in my shelf?
3. Do I feel too lazy to write down the inspirational thoughts I receive
in my daily meditations?
My host in Tiruvalla, Mr. Eric, presented me a copy of The NIV Quest
Study Bible for my Birthday, 13 Feb. Though this Bible was published
as early as 1984, I have seen this only now. This is a Question-Answer
Bible which has answered over 7000 questions. There are 5 to 10 questions
answered on the margin of each page. The answers are both inspirational
and instructive. New believers as well as mature Christians have material
in this Bible for hours of delightful study. It’s fresh. The answers
are from great Bible Scholars who present various views in an unbiased
manner and let the readers choose. I recommend this Study Bible without
any reservation. Get a copy for you from Christian bookstores or order
from me. I may have some copies of the hardcover edition available for
sale in another month or two. Send Rs. 1500/- per copy.
Painstaking study of God’s Word is disappearing among Christians,
especially among fulltime preachers and pastors. Administrative responsibilities
take away the chunk of their time. They have become too busy with activities
to spend unhurried quality time with the Bible. When Revival comes,
we must have enough of Bible Teachers to establish God’s people
on the rock of God’s Word lest they get distracted by pseudo experiences
or deceived by strange fires. Bible Teachers cannot be produced overnight.
Bible Teaching need not be always be from pulpit to pew. More often
than we think, effective communication of the truths of God’s
Word is by person to person. I urge every Revival-longing Christian
to prepare himself for the Day of God’s Power by giving himself
to the prayerful study of God’s Word. Ezra had thus prepared himself
for the Restoration he was labouring for (Ezra 7:10).
My friend Pastor J. Easterdoss was an ardent Bible-lover. He passed
away last month at the age of 75. He was the first fulltime worker of
the Blessing Youth Mission. It was he who stationed the BYM’s
first batch of Missionaries in the Sitteri Hills giving them the orientation.
He never missed to purchase any of the Bible Study materials I had recommended.
He bought one just two months before his Homecall! The last payment
he made through family people just a few hours before his death was
to me which was the cost of a Study Bible plus a love offering for me!
The Tamil Christian world is losing the stalwarts one by one. The death
of Pastor N. Jeevanandam and that of Sannyasini Ponnammal last year
are a great loss. Dear youngsters, the Church looks up to you that you
would be God’s Joshuas for this generation. Work hard! Away with
There’s leadership vacuum both in Churches and Organisations.
The founder-leaders can pass on the “baton.” With that you
can run the show, but that’s not enough. What you need is the
“mantle.” Prophet Elijah could have easily given his mantle
to Elisha just like the latter gave his rod to Gehazi. That won’t
work! Elisha can be prayed for, appointed and so on and so forth, but
he can receive the mantle only from “Above!” The mantle
cannot be “given” to anyone; it must be “fallen”
on him! Hear what John the Baptist, the greatest of all prophets, has
to say on this: “A person cannot receive even one thing unless
it is given him from Heaven!” (Jn 3:27). Mistaking the “baton”
for the “mantle” is the mistake of mistakes in ministries
these days. Besides being chosen by God, one has to pay the price to
receive the mantle. Self-denial and sacrifice are basic. There’s
no resurrection without crucifixion!
March, April and May are examination season for Schoolers and Collegians.
I desire to see top-rankers from Christians. See what Daniel, Ananiah,
Azariah and Mishael could accomplish in Babylon because of their academic
excellence besides spirituality! The number of IAS Officers from Christians
is on steady decrease. Let not a fat salary be your aim. Write competitive
exams for administrative services. Oh for more Josephs and Daniels—to
replace corrupt officials!
Numerous Christian marriages take place in the month of May during
Summer Vacation. If you marry in haste, you will worry at leisure! Choices
make us or break us! I have a Talk titled, How to choose your Life Partner,
English to Tamil, on an MP3 audio CD. I delivered this 1 hour 30 minutes
talk in a local Church in Vellore on our 27th Wedding Anniversary in
1997. I have raised and answered youngsters’ questions like: “Are
marriages made in Heaven? Does God guide in making choices? Is it a
fate or a choice? What about falling in love?” I have explained
the must factors for a successful marriage. Parents, Pastors and elders,
please gift this CD to youngsters who are contemplating marriage. It’s
in an attractive pack. Price Rs. 75/- plus 25/- for forwarding. Several
listeners of this Talk remark, “I wish I had heard this message
10 years ago!”
Efforts are there to have my videotalks available on my website also
for anyone to freely watch. Pray for Ashok Vedasironmani who is working
on it. This letter is also available on my website. If you register
your e-mail id on my website, any new addition of my articles or letters
will be forwarded to you straightaway.
We don’t get good videographers in several places where I preach.
The recording quality of some of my very helpful talks is poor. Should
I go for a regular crew? Should I buy the equipments? These questions
haunt me. I request your prayers and suggestions.
Thank you so much for your prayers for my programmes of January and
February. Here’s my itinerary for March and April—
Ministry to the Staff and Keypersons
of the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS)
in Patna, Bihar.
Lenten Meetings, CSI Church, Vikramsingapuram,
Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamilnadu
I am bothered by Menier’s Syndrome (Vertigo) now and then. I was
free from it for over 15 years. Pray for God’s touch. I need volunteers
from each State in India and from other Countries who can forward SMS
messages of my programmes to atleast 10 to 15 believers each who would
love to pray for me. If you would like to help mobilize prayer for me
this way, kindly send a note by e-mail to me alongwith your mobile number.
Don’t forget to mention the name of your Country and the international
dialing code if you respond to this request from overseas. Our God loves
to have His people pray, and more than that He desires to answer them!