|A periodic Letter to my Friends / 7 May 2007|
Greetings with love and regards! I am encouraged beyond
measure that God uses these Periodic Letters to motivate the recipients
so highly to intercede regularly on my behalf before the Throne. I send
out these letters in printed form, in English and Tamil, to a few hundreds
only. But several thousands receive it by e-mail or read it on my website.
Many recipients forward these letters to the circle of their friends and
thus a huge prayer force is mobilized. I thank God that the contents of
these letters also encourage many in their struggles and sufferings as
they walk with God and work for Him. Praise God for this fellowship.
I sat to write this letter on the 23rd April but could
not complete it for want of time. I completed 11 years after my heart
surgery on that day. I fell prostrate before God thanking Him for extending
my life on earth. Several of you might not know what happened in 1996.
My wife and I were in Dehra Dun in North India where I was addressing
the students of a Bible College. A sudden discomfort I developed in my
chest alerted my wife. She took me to Delhi where a Cardiologist examined
me and advised immediate treatment. I was brought to the Christian Medical
College Hospital in Vellore where an angiogram revealed three critical
blocks in my arteries. The doctors straightaway posted me for the bypass
surgery. Prayers from everywhere ascended to God for His mercy. There
were some who even prayed, “Lord, take me but spare him!”
With the realisation of living in borrowed time I keep doing my level
best to complete the task God has assigned to me. According to medical
science I am guaranteed just another couple of years. But I remember what
Rev. Selwyn Hughes of Every Day With Jesus used to say to the servants
of God: “You will not die before God’s appointed time!”
I would add, “You should not live one minute beyond God’s
appointed time!” I am indebted for all your love and prayers. I
join the Psalmist to pray, “Lord, teach us to number our days that
we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psa 90:12).
I considered it an honour to have my Cardiologist and
my Surgeon listening to the Lenten messages I delivered in the Chapels
of the Christian Medical College as well as the Hospital from the 1st
to the 8th of April. I am sure they felt rewarded. I preached the following
8 fortyfive minute sermons in English on the theme, Daily Cross.
These 8 talks are available on 4 DVDs as a single pack for Rs. 300/- Order your copy, adding Rs. 50/- for forwarding. I would urge you to watch these video messages in order to understand practically the basic condition of discipleship laid down by Christ in Luke 9:23—
“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny
Self-denial and Cross-bearing are not popular subjects of the modern pulpits. This explains why Christianity today has become so shallow and superficial and merely sensational.
My weeklong stay with Brother Augustine Jebakumar, the Founder-Director of Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS), in Bihar during early March enriched my own spiritual life. He had invited me to address the Pastors Conference in Patna with about 1500 delegates. I was thrilled to see so many Christian workers from the Northern States. Mr. Henry Pillai from Malaysia was the other Speaker. The State of Bihar, which was once considered as the “Graveyard of Missionaries”, has become the “Vineyard of Missions!” This is but the Lord’s doing! He has more than honored the sacrificial labours of hundreds and hundreds of missionaries who ventured to work in remote and risky places.
After the Pastors Conference I spent a few days in the HQ Campus of GEMS at Sikaria, Dehri-on-Sone to share God’s Word to the staff and their regional leaders. I first visited the GEMS work in this area in the early 70’s when Brother Augustine had just started the work. The growth of this ministry in just three decades has been phenomenal. I was very impressed by the multifacetedness of the GEMS ministry—Evangelism, Education, Medical Work, Children’s Homes, Polio Rehabilitation, Vocational Training, Disaster Relief and so on. Their South Indian Missionaries number 256 whereas the North Indian Missionaries are as many as 385. Of the total workforce of 1614, those from the North are 80% whereas the South accounts for the balance of 20% only. This is quite unusual among Indian Missions, most of which including GEMS, were born in the South.
The secret of the strength of GEMS is its four pillars of virtues engraved on the administrative building—Sincerity, Simplicity, Sacrifice and Service. The threefold financial policy of Gems is stated as:
In an age of fast-track commercialisation of Christian ministries, this kind of faith is truly refreshing. Pray much for this organisation and its leadership to stay faithful till the end. A visit to their fields will transform you. You can contact Brother Augustine at GEMS Campus, Sikaria, Indrapuri 821308, Bihar, India, Tel: 06184-234567, www.gemsbihar.org, <firstname.lastname@example.org> Besides his leadership responsibility in Gems, he has a worldwide itinerant preaching ministry in English, Tamil and Hindi.
The two weekend meetings I addressed in the USA between the 13th and the 22nd of April were testified by the participants as a time of visitation from God’s presence. The meetings were in Dallas and Oklahoma. Around 500 Christians gathered in each city. My daily devotional, Better Everyday, now in its 8th edition, was sold like hot cakes. Several Pastors attended the meetings because these were organized on an inter-church basis by the Oasis Ministries International and New Life International Ministries. These are US based Organisations with extensive Church-planting and Training ministries in India.
My main attraction in States whenever I visit that country is the Bible Bookstores. I frequent them and spend several hours to find out what’s all available, old and new, as aids for Bible Study. It has been my burden from early years to introduce reliable study materials to Christians, because in a world of Christian literature people are not clear as to what to buy. Most of the Indian Christian periodicals do not publish book reviews as a regular feature. Rarely do the Pastors inform their congregations of the worthy new arrivals. God enables me to spend a sizeable portion of the offerings I receive in States for ordering Study Bibles and Study aids for my friends and fellow workers in India. I urge Preachers and Pastors to do all that’s possible to equip God’s people with sound study materials. God will be pleased.
The shooting incident of the Virginia Tech University on 16 April shook the entire country and the world. The instant loss of 32 students from the cream of the intelligentsia made the hardest of hearts to weep. Our hearty condolences to the bereaved parents and family members. Does education really civilize the youth? Is there any place which is really safe on earth? These and scores of other questions haunt us. America is struck with one blow after the other. What’s the role of the millions of Indian Christians in the USA? Are they really doing their best to bless a Country the wealth of which they are enjoying so much and so long? 500 Indian students at Virginia Tech University form the largest number of foreigners on a US campus.
Newer and newer translations of the Holy Bible in English are coming up in the recent years. I refer to many of them and they are really helpful to people like me who never studied Hebrew or Greek. In my opinion, no translation is superior or inferior to the other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Some translations are “Word-for-Word;” several others are “Thought-for-Thought;” and some in between. The Word-for-Word translations are ideal for memorisation. The Thought-for-Thought translations are helpful for meditation. Mr. Eugene H. Peterson, a pastor, scholar, poet and writer, has given us the Bible recently in the contemporary language. It’s called THE MESSAGE. Youngsters are falling in love with this Version. It is an easy-to-read, modern-language paraphrase. Adults like it too, because of its freshness. Get a copy for you from any Christian Bookstore and enjoy reading it.
The Message, Genesis to Revelation, as the entire Bible, is now recorded on 5 MP3 CDs. With a desire to make this thrilling audio experience available for Indian Christians, I have got the licence from the American producers, paying a licensing fee of Rs. 25,000/- for reproduction in India. The copies of these MP3 CDs are now ready with me for sale. It’s an attractive pack of 5 Sony CDs. Approximate running time is 75 hours. Price Rs. 300/- only, plus Rs. 50/- for forwarding. You can now experience the life-changing power of God’s Word in your car, on your mobile device or anywhere you want to listen to Scripture!
The 44-DVD set as well as the 66-VCD set of Rev. David Pawson’s Unlocking the Bible are moving fast into Christian communities. Those who watched this video teaching testify of a new experience in the understanding of the Scriptures. I am glad to inform your that this 65-hour teaching is now available on 11 MP3 CDs so you can listen to the talks even while you are travelling. It’s in an attractive single pack for Rs. 750/- per set. Order your copy from me today. Forwarding charges Rs.100/- (The 44-DVD set costs Rs. 2000/-, and 66-VCD set 1500/-) The second consignment of the book, Unlocking the Bible, 1350 pages, has also arrived. If you cannot regularly sit to watch the video teaching, you may get a copy of this book for serious reading. Even if you have the DVD or VCD set, you can keep the book for easy follow-up. Price Rs. 750/- per copy, plus Rs. 100/- for forwarding.
The series of Talks I delivered in the Bible Seminar of the Living Word Missionary Church, Germany, in 2000, are now made available on 4 MP3 CDs with a total duration of 17 hours and 30 minutes. The theme is Ready for the End! The Return of Christ is drawing near. The end of the world is fast approaching. Under the following 7 topics I have taught how we must live as we approach the end of endtimes—
I thank God as He continues to enable me to equip God’s people as much and in as many ways as possible. Eventhough the work is hectic, your testimonies boost up my spirit and I rejoice in the Lord. If only those who purchase materials from me are prompt in payment, the financial strain will not be there.
The 3-day Lenten Meditation Meetings in Vickramasingapuram of South Tamilnadu, 23-25 March, were well attended both by the local Christians and those from surrounding towns. My visit this time to this place was after about 25 years. The audience testified that such messages had become rare. To God be the glory! The one day Retreat in Udumalpet on the 5th instant witnessed a deep work of the Holy Spirit. In the forenoon session I spoke on “Spiritual Superlatives.” When I saw so many young people in the audience I was moved to share my personal testimony in the afternoon. The number of participants was 700. The tireless and enthusiastic efforts of the Power Prayer Fellowship in organising this programme needs mentioning. Most of God’s work the world over is done by volunteers, the so-called laity! My previous visit to this Town had been in the early seventies.
Right now I am at the final stage of preparation for the Preach Better Seminar. I could not limit the number to 200 because the applicants were about 350. I have increased the number of seats to 300. Pray much for me and all the delegates. Uphold in prayer Brother Hastings and his team in Tiruchy as they go on with the ground arrangements. Summer travel is not easy, especially for those who come from the North. Pray for journey mercies and a good climate during the Seminar. I covet your prayers a lot for a fresh anointing on me as I go about with this extraordinary assignment. I tremble before God on my knees. Please organise chain prayers and fasting prayers during those three days that the Holy Spirit would minister to each delegate as they learn to preach better. Thank you!