Introduction to The Mission India Leaders

January 27th, 2017 by

We thank God for allowing 3 leaders from The Mission India to join us for Winter Conference. After the conference, they visited us at New Covenant. Let me introduce them to you:

Revd. Thomas Mundu is the leader in Jharkhand. He and his wife Sudha have a teenage son and two daughters. Thomas and Sudha started 7 churches in Ranchi District. His main Church has about 100 people in attendance. They also have a small elementary school that ministers to the local villages. Thomas was ordained a priest last year by Bishop Carl Buffington and Bishop William. His wife Sudha was ordained as a Deacon. There are 5 other Church Planters working with Thomas and Sudha. Bir Singh who has planted 2 churches is a volunteer in his ministry.

Revd. Chetan Digal is our leader in Odisha. His wife Lowryn and he started the work among an Unreached people group called the Kutia. This group now has 3 Churches and many other outreach activities. There are 5 other Church Planters who work along with Chetan and Lowryn. There is also a new work started among the Binjhal people group. Chetan and his wife Lowryn were both ordained as Deacons last year. They have a one year old daughter named Holy.

Revd. Vishal Nath is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Mission India. He served as the Jesus Film Coordinator for many years in North India paving the way for many Churches to be planted. Vishal and his wife Shuneela have 2 teenagers, a son and a daughter. Rajendar, our leader from Rajasthan was not given a visa to come to the U.S. so Vishal will be sharing about the ministry in Rajasthan.

We praise God for these men and their teams. He is using them to build His Kingdom in India.

Blessings for the New Year!

January 3rd, 2017 by
December 30, 2016,

Happy New Year!

The promise of a new year, with new calendars, new resolutions and new hope is with us. This new year holiday presents everyone with a community approved and socially permitted space to let everyone start again. Start a new exercise regimen in May and your coworkers may raise their eyebrows. But even I could make a January 1 resolution and people would say “Good for you!”

Whether it is a work-related focus, a family-fueled commitment or a search for a new opportunity to serve, each new start seems apropos at the common starting line of the new year. To aspire beyond how things currently are and imagine how they might be different and better gives us and our neighbors a chance to start again.

I hope you can see how well we and our neighbors have heard and connected with this January low-risk gospel. “The new year offers us a new start if we just commit.” And if we stumble, (or let our intentions lapse) there’s always next year.

Before we look askance at this winter plan for better living, we should notice how rare it is to have a “community gospel” that includes roles for both our will and the mystery of things beyond our understanding. This echo of grace and change is worth noting and affirming. Here are two articles that point in each of these direction. The first describes helpful ways to approach resolutions, preparing the reader for strategic goals and success. The second records the culturally recognized list of lucky foods, designed to bring prosperity by means of the grocery store.

Goal Setting for the New Year

Lucky Foods for the New Year

Followers of Jesus approach our lives with him with both determined engagement and mystery as well. While we may not be susceptible to believing that a plate of fried greens and ham (with vinegar) will guarantee the quality of the next twelve months, we do know that we are not in control of what will unfold over the next 365 days.  While we may make commitments in our faith and spiritual disciplines for the coming year, we have lived long enough to recognize that spiritual growth remains significantly hidden and that ultimately only “God makes things grow.” This doesn’t diminish our role; it reframes it.

This is where the good news of faith in Jesus Christ takes the fundamental step above and beyond the good news of the new year. In the promise of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, epiphany and Easter ministry, we are reminded that our new year’s security rests in him. Not finally in the tenacity of our willpower or in the dexterity of our menu choices, but in the kindness of Jesus Christ, who offers a new start at any point, durable enough to withstand, forgive and strengthen us even in our lapses. What relief and what encouragement.

Like our neighbors, we look for a starting line that offers a new start, encouraged and supported (actively) by a community also committed to becoming more than they already are, in the recognition that there is more to this world than we can map or master through will or magic alone.

So, this weekend ask your neighbors about their resolutions and new year’s customs. Listen for the good news they are hoping for:  desires for their health, security and joy. Then, pray for an opening to begin sharing the good news of God in Jesus. But don’t rush it. Let the fireworks fly and the Times Square Ball fall. Be an encouragement that there is indeed more to life than they are currently living. Remember that God is at work around them and in them and FOR them. Eat the Hoppin’ John set before you with enthusiasm. Share your own hopes for the New Year. And keep praying. (Have you seen it yet? STEP together)

But don’t rush. Remember, we have all year.

Christopher+

PS- Hope to see you Sunday,  January 1. Our services will be at 8 and 10.

Christmastide Blessings

January 3rd, 2017 by
December 23, 2016

Christmas blessings to you all!

Sometimes we manage to catch a glimpse of the presence of our Lord.  We just know it because what we are seeing is going directly to our hearts.  I sometimes think this is His grace letting us see what He sees.  That sounds presumptuous but perhaps not when we think of how our God loves to share.  When this happens to me, the ambiance of the moment is one of hope, and hope is the air I breathe for sometime after. The short video I have included here, HE CAME DOWN, was like that for me.  It’s the story of our Lord’s birth as told by some Down-syndrome children.  It’s between 3 and 4 minutes long and the mother’s comments are truly stunning.

He Came Down
He Came Down

The other video, a slide show really, is the story told by our parish family from last Sunday.  This, too, will touch your heart.

2016 Children's Christmas Pageant
2016 Children’s Christmas Pageant

Last I have attached some vignettes from you all on mature fruit and what His presence means and does to and for us, as a response to last week’s sermon and the request for “mature fruit.”

INCARNATION STORIES

Thank you for sharing,

PS As it happens I read this in my morning Bible Study.

“We steward the only message on planet earth that can give people what their hearts need most, which is hope.

Hope that sins can be forgiven.

Hope that prayers can be answered.

Hope that doors of opportunity, that seemed locked, can be opened.

Hope that broken relationships can be reconciled.

Hope that diseased bodies can be healed.

Hope that damaged trust can be restored.

Hope that dead churches can be resurrected…

Of all people, we must claim that hope and live in it and radiate it to others.

And we must proclaim that message of hope to everyone God gives us the opportunity to influence.”

https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy/commentary/2394/en