September 2020

Reflections on Sermon 7: “The Way to the Kingdom”

These days, many of us rely on GPS and believe it is the best navigator. But on occasion, I’ve doubted that claim. One day, I was heading toward my destination by following GPS directions. However, without warning, my GPS suddenly announced, “You have reached your destination” despite me being in the middle of nowhere! I could see nothing but open fields. This situation reminded me why, in my home country of India, we usually trust the direction of the locals, who know the surroundings and neighborhoods, much more than the GPS!

Reflections on Sermon 73: “Of Hell”

Oh, the agony! To this day, I vividly remember the scorpion sting as if it just happened even though it’s been many years since that day when I was a young boy growing up in India. Overcome with excruciating, unrelenting pain, sweat immediately saturated my clothes. Nothing I did brought relief. Never again in my life do I wish to experience a scorpion sting!

Reflecting on John Wesley’s sermon, “Of Hell,” I’m reminded of the unfathomable and relentless pain and agony awaiting those condemned to spend eternity in Hell, where neither pain ends nor death is a choice!

Reflections on Sermon 123: “The Deceitfulness of the Human Heart”

During my father’s first official visit to Mumbai City, he set out to do some shopping in this vast city before returning home after work. In one shop’s showcase, he spied a spectacular dress shirt. It was as white as snow. Although it was expensive, he bought it! When he arrived home, he was eager to wear his new shirt, but he thought he should first wash it before he wore it. However, as he pulled the shirt out from the laundry, he discovered the cloth had shrunk and the material fell apart in his hands. He had been deceived!

Reflections on Sermon 14: “The Repentance of Believers”

My wife and I serve as pastors to an Asian Indian ministry in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In our ministry, we find frequent opportunities to interact with others and discuss our faith in Jesus with our non-Christian student friends on the college campus of the University of Texas. Most of these friends are Hindus. Normally, we share our Christian faith and the importance of repentance; they talk about their faith as well. The Hindu concept of repentance, which is called Prayascitta, involves accepting responsibility for the errors and misdeeds they perform in this life.

Christ's Mission, Our Commission

In March 1972, my family moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Merriam, Kansas. I had just turned 1 year old. My parents had had a rocky start in their marriage. For my mother, a new Christian, and my father, still running from God, our move to Kansas City was both a new start and a last chance. Three weeks from the day we moved in, we received a knock on the door.

Neighbors Mike and Cindy Couch had walked across the street!

The Pursuing Power of Grace

Almost three decades ago, I had not understood God’s grace the way I recognize its power on my life now. The pursuing, transforming, enduring, yet mysterious and hovering presence of this unmerited favor of God is both capturing and captivating. In addition to the Word of God being the primary channel to a foundational understanding of God’s grace and its mysterious workings, my familiarity with literary works has brought a level of erudite awareness about the workings of grace.

A Call to Worship

My wife, Debbie, gave her life to Christ on the second Sunday of November in 1988. She had just graduated with a degree in communications, was working an exciting new television job in Seattle, and was preparing to marry her college boyfriend. For a 22-year-old, the pieces of life were falling into place quite nicely. Yet something was still missing.

An Undeserved Grace

God’s grace, and only this grace, can offer salvation to humanity. “So God created mankind in his own image…male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Humankind disobeyed and corrupted their original relationship with God. In our fallen state, we can do nothing by ourselves to recover this image and our original relationship with our Creator. No effort we make can restore the image of God in us. Only grace can restore us to a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Everything begins and ends with grace.

The Good News

Is “Prevenient Grace” Biblical?

The task of establishing the idea of “prevenient grace” from a New Testament perspective may be challenging because the term itself does not appear in the New Testament or in the whole Bible for that matter. The term is theological and presents a Wesleyan understanding of God’s grace that goes before, enabling (but not forcing) sinners to respond to faith. In other words, while Christians generally believe in God’s initiative of grace, Wesley opposes the idea that prevenient grace irresistibly brings a person to faith in Christ.

A Community Called by Grace

Interwoven throughout the fabric of the Old Testament is the life-giving and hope-filled confession of faith: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 145:8, ESV). From narratives (Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18) to prophets (Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2), from psalms (Psalm 103:8 145:8-9) to sermons (Nehemiah 9:17, 31), this testimony to God’s grace undergirds the faith of the Old Testament. The Lord’s freely-given, non-coerced favor was no mere afterthought in the testimony of our biblical ancestors.