O LORD, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 8 

A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies,to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars,which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds,and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air,and the fish of the sea,all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth! NIV


CHRIST IS RISEN

“He is not here, but is Risen!” Luke 24: 6

Easter Sunday is the most triumphant and joyous day in the calendar of the Christian Church – and it should be!

For many people the resurrection of Jesus Christ is symbolized by new Easter clothes, or the bright color of daffodils and beautiful white lilies. But most of all, the wonder of His resurrection is symbolized in the hope that beats the hearts of believers everywhere as they sing triumphantly: “Christ the Lord is risen today.”

It is the message “JESUS IS ALIVE!” that lifts Christianity out of the dead superstitions and archaic religions and makes it the abiding faith of millions. The angel’s message is true: “He is not here, but is risen!”

And now God’s promise is for you: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10: 9.

Can I invite you to consider being part of the greater family of Christ Jesus this Easter, so that you may have eternal life. All you need to do is confess Jesus Christ as Lord over your life, and believe in your heart that He still lives, you become an integral part in the body of Christ.

God Bless!



Behavior and Belief by Stanley Arumugam

 

In modern Christianity, our beliefs trump our behavior. We are so consumed with our systematic theologies and doctrinal critique and defense, we lose sight of how we show up as Christ followers. This dualism is embedded in our identity: believers vs. disciples of Christ.

Believers of Christ

As believers, our theology of Christ is supreme. We can articulate what and why we believe a certain doctrine of Christ and boldly critique other doctrinal streams. We can make advanced apologetic arguments that make our beliefs impenetrable to counter argument. We can argue why Christianity is better than other religions. We can present a 3 step evangelistic formula for conversion.

In doing all of this we can lack love. Our theological astuteness comes with intellectual pride, denominational arrogance and an aloofness that denies the mystery of our faith. We do not have the humility to recognize that we don’t have all the answers; neither are we called to defend God and the person of Christ at every turn, especially when we cannot make sense of the paradox of belief and behaviour in fellow Christians.

Disciples of Christ

Or identity as Disciples calls us from our heads to our hearts and hands and feet.

Discipleship is personal. It’s commitment to and following of a person. You cannot be a disciple of a movement, a cult or a religious system. A disciple follows a person. We who are Christians are Christ followers. Like the first disciples of Jesus, we respond to His call. Our following is not first and foremost an intellectual, theological act. It is simply an act of obedience to a call greater than our imagination.

Discipleship is communal. When we become disciples of Christ through our public declaration in baptism, we immediately become joined with a community of believers. People we didn’t choose to be with; who Christ has chosen. We suddenly become included in a global community of diverse nations, people groups, language, cultures, gender and sexual orientations. Discipleship is learning to live in our local and global communities in all our diverse messiness.

 

 

This community is not a random group but is called the family of God. There is an intimacy of relationship. Added to this is the mystery that we are in communion not only with those on earth but also disciples and angelic beings that are in the heavens. Our communion is eternal.

For Disciples, what we believe is not separate from how we behave. The early disciples did not have volumes of systematic theology to make sense of Christ and his doctrines. They only had access to Him as the Living Word revealed by God to simple, unschooled fisherman. They learned what it is to believe in Christ through experiencing how he behaved and in obedience to the behaviour he expected of them – as His disciples.

Ironically, the learned teachers, Rabbis, scribes and Pharisees – the intelligentsia of the day was who Christ reserved his harshest criticism for. At every turn, he challenged their self righteousness grounded in their biblical theology. Jesus did not write any books on doctrine. He priorities what was important – that a small group of disciples experience Him and what his teachings of the new kingdom meant in practice. An experience grounded in love. Nowhere is Jesus espousing theologies of hellfire and the afterlife above love and grace.

He came to revolutionize not only our false thinking but to manifest a new way of living – of being. He came as the awaited the Jewish Messiah; unrecognized because He did not conform to the beliefs they had of how the messiah would show up.

Christ life was a radical life: challenging the economic and political system of the time; challenging pharisaical prescriptions that placed burdens on people; breaking barriers of exclusion in race, gender, social class and religiosity; reframing power and privilege; reclaiming justice for the poor and marginalized. In this new Kingdom the ones that mattered more were the poor, marginalized and persecuted. He came not as dictator imposing a new set of beliefs and enlightened teachings and doctrines. He came as a servant-leader, showing a new way that was possible but also costly.

 

Christ’s crucifixion shows the cost of discipleship. Sadly the crucifixion of Christ is romanticized in enlightenment art hanging in world galleries become a myth for many. His mission was not popular heroism. In reality, His crucifixion was an unjust, malicious, cruel and violent experience. There is nothing heroic in seeing a just man being crucified. Our theologies of salvation strip away the human indignity and trauma of the event for his disciples, his mother and family in our detached arguments of how his death satisfied the grand salvation purpose. We turn God the Father into a clinically detached and narcissistic parent who self righteously watches his grand plan play out – his child a victim pawn.

 

If our faith was based only on doctrinal belief, Christianity would have been extinguished by now like the beliefs in the invincible Great Roman Empire. Discipleship connects with something deeper that informs our beliefs and still remains a mystery – lest we become arrogant in our knowing and replay our first sin as in the Edenic Garden.

Paraphrasing the words of Christ – His disciples will be known not by their beliefs but by their fruit (behaviour). Woe unto us who like the cursed fig tree, having the form of faith with strong trunks of solid belief yet unable to provide sustenance for the weary traveler of faith.

It’s easier to belief than to behave. Behaving as disciples of Christ is no walk in the park. Jesus’ call to action is a radical, life changing and costly. This is why we cannot do this on our own. Any independent faith walk is doomed to fail!

 

 


FACING REJECTION

“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53: 3

Throughout His earthly life, Jesus was constantly exposed to personal criticism and rejection. At the beginning of His ministry, His own town folk at Nazareth tried to hurl Him down from the brow of the hill (Luke 4:29). The religious and political leaders constantly argued with Him and conspired to kill Him. At length He was arrested and brought to trial before Pilate and Herod. Even though He was guiltless of the accusations, He was denounced as an enemy of God and man, and not worthy to live.

How did He respond to criticism and rejection?

First, with steadfastness. He did not tone down His message, nor did He stop doing what He knew was right. Second, with strength. Ahead of Him was the cross – but He did not lose courage or shrink from what He knew was God’s will. Third, with submission. When Herod prodded Him to defend Himself, “He answered him nothing” (Luke 23:9). Only one thing mattered: fulfilling God’s purpose for His life.

HOW WILL YOU MEET CRITICISM?