October 30, 2011

posted 28 Oct 2011, 07:19 by C S Paul   [ updated 29 Oct 2011, 07:14 ]

October 30, 2011


SERMON OF THE WEEK 
                                        (Prepared by: Rev. Dr. V KurianThomas Valiyaparambil)

Provided by Mr. K. Kuriakose

This Sunday is "Koodosh Eetho" Sunday. It is the beginning of the church calendar year. 
 
Gospel reading
 for Sunday is from Mathew 16:13-20. " 

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 

14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 " But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ,[a] the Son of the living God."


17 
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 

18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 

20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ."

Message:  Koodosh-Eetho means sanctification of the church.  It is the process of becoming holier by taking divine properties of God. Man does not become divine, but in Christ he can partake in divine nature. It restores God's image in man. It is in close union with God that the image is restored..

As the church year begins, we are to reflect on the sanctity and grandeur of the church. The church is founded, sustained and sanctified by God.  According to the doctrines of the church, each believer is suppposed to be a rock of faith and such faithfuls constitute the body of the church. It is in communion with God that brings moral perfecion in man. For the church, it is the ability to produce and secure holiness in its members. On this Sunday, the faithful attempt to become holier by restoring God' image in close association with Him.

Church and its Foundation:  Church is God's creation and design. It is God's method of providing spiritual nurture for the believer and the community of faithful through which the gospel is proclaimend and God's will is advanced to every generation.

The English word "Church", according the Webster's dictonary, has originated from the Greek word "kuriakos", meaning "belonging to the Lord" and came to designate the place where God's people met for worship. So the church is "a group of people called out to a life belonging to the Lord and regularly gathers with the intention of worshipping, discovering and doing the will of God." The church is the influencing agent for God.

 In the gospel, Jesus and his followers entered the district of Caesarea Philippi. There Jesus looked at the disciples in a moment of reflection and asked, "Who do men say that I am?". The disciples began sharing with Jesus what they have heard from other people. "Some say you are Elijah, oters say John the Baptist, still other, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Many people in the area spoke of Jesus as a prophet, teacher, holy man or a spiritual leader. However, people did ot consider him as the Son of God.

Then Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" That's where the truth about Jesus' divinity is revealed. Peter answered, "You are the messiah, son of the living God.' Jesus was delighted to hear Peter's answer. Then Jesus said to Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for it was not revealed to you by man, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are the rock, and on this rock I will build my church."

Jesus recognized Peter's faith that Jesus is the messiah and the son of the living God. Jesus was saying this truth was revealed to Peter by the holy spirit. Jesus says it is on this rock, meaning Peter's faith, that Jesus' church will be built. The gates of hades, meaning the power of evil, will not be able to overpower God's hold on His people.

Peter's response that, "You are the Christ - the annointed one, savior, redeemer, the son of the living God" is the foundation of the church.. When Peter said he is the Son of God and savior of the world shown in the flesh, Jesus affirms the spirit of God was in Peter to have said it correctly. This is the  foundation of faith upon which Jesus built his church.

 

The Church was founded by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord named Peter the future leader of the church, when he said to him "Thou art Peter (Rock), and upon this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys of the kigdom of heaven. (Mathew 16:19)

     

Did You Know ?  

  • The "you are here" arrow on maps is called an ideo locator.
  • 60% of all US potato products originate in Idaho.
  • The longest words in the English language with only one syllable are the nine-letter "screeched" and "strengths".
  • An average American will spend an average of 6 months during his lifetime waiting at red lights.
  • Percentage of bird species that are monogamous: 90
  • Percentage of mammal species that are monogamous: 3
  • The international telephone dialing code for Antarctica is 672.
  • The average chocolate bar has 8 insect legs in it.
  • Fleas can jump 130 times higher than their own height. In human terms this is equal to a 6 foot person jumping 780 feet into the air.
  • Snakes are true carnivores as they eat nothing but other animals. They do not eat any type of plant material.
  • There are no venomous snakes in Maine. 
    
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 

Author: Lew Wallace

PART ONE

Biblical references: Matt. 2:1-12, Luke 2:1-20

Three Magi have come from the East. One, Balthasar, sets up a tent in the desert. Melchior, a Hindu, and Gaspar from Athens join him and as the three men each tell their stories and they realize they have been brought together by their common goal. As they prepare for the journey to come, they see a bright star shining over the region, and they take it as a sign that they are to leave. They follow the star through the desert towards the province of Judaea.

At the Joppa Gate in Jerusalem Mary and Joseph are traveling through on their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They stop at the inn at the entrance to the city but there is no room. Mary is pregnant and, as labor begins, they head to a cave on a hillside behind the inn and here Jesus is born.

In the pasturelands outside the city, a group of seven shepherds are keeping watch over their flocks. Angels from heaven announce the Christ's birth. The shepherds hurry towards the city. They are rebuked by one of the men supervising the khan but nevertheless, inspired by the angels' message, they enter the caves on the hillside and worship Christ.

They spread the news of the Christ's birth and many come to see him. The Magi arrive in Jerusalem and inquire for news of the Christ. Herod the Great is angry to hear of another king challenging his rule and asks the Sanhedrin to find information for him. The Sanhedrin brings out a prophecy, written by Micah, telling of a ruler to come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, interpreting it to signify the Christ's birthplace.

PART ONE - CHAPTER  IX

To understand thoroughly what happened to the Nazarene at the khan, the reader must be reminded that Eastern inns were different from the inns of the Western world. They were called khans, from the Persian, and, in simplest form, were fenced enclosures, without house or shed, often without a gate or entrance. Their sites were chosen with reference to shade, defence, or water. Such were the inns that sheltered Jacob when he went to seek a wife in Padan-Aram.

Their like may been seen at this day in the stopping-places of the desert. On the other hand, some of them, especially those on the roads between great cities, like Jerusalem and Alexandria, were princely establishments, monuments to the piety of the kings who built them. In ordinary, however, they were no more than the house or possession of a sheik, in which, as in headquarters, he swayed his tribe. Lodging the traveller was the least of their uses; they were markets, factories, forts; places of assemblage and residence for merchants and artisans quite as much as places of shelter for belated and wandering wayfarers.

Within their walls, all the year round, occurred the multiplied daily transactions of a town.

The singular management of these hostelries was the feature likely to strike a Western mind with most force. There was no host or hostess; no clerk, cook, or kitchen; a steward at the gate was all the assertion of government or proprietorship anywhere visible.

Strangers arriving stayed at will without rendering account.

A consequence of the system was that whoever came had to bring his food and culinary outfit with him, or buy them of dealers in the khan. The same rule held good as to his bed and bedding, and forage for his beasts. Water, rest, shelter, and protection were all he looked for from the proprietor, and they were gratuities.

The peace of synagogues was sometimes broken by brawling disputants, but that of the khans never. The houses and all their appurtenances were sacred: a well was not more so.

The khan at Bethlehem, before which Joseph and his wife stopped, was a good specimen of its class, being neither very primitive nor very princely. The building was purely Oriental; that is to say, a quadrangular block of rough stones, one story high, flat-roofed, externally unbroken by a window, and with but one principal entrance--a doorway, which was also a gateway, on the eastern side, or front. The road ran by the door so near that the chalk dust half covered the lintel. A fence of flat rocks, beginning at the northeastern corner of the pile, extended many yards down the slope to a point from whence it swept westwardly to a limestone bluff; making what was in the highest degree essential to a respectable khan--a safe enclosure for animals.

In a village like Bethlehem, as there was but one sheik, there could not well be more than one khan; and, though born in the place, the Nazarene, from long residence elsewhere, had no claim to hospitality in the town. Moreover, the enumeration for which he was coming might be the work of weeks or months; Roman deputies in the provinces were proverbially slow; and to impose himself and wife for a period so uncertain upon acquaintances or relations was out of the question. So, before he drew nigh the great house, while he was yet climbing the slope, in the steep places toiling to hasten the donkey, the fear that he might not find accommodations in the khan became a painful anxiety; for he found the road thronged with men and boys who, with great ado, were taking their cattle, horses, and camels to and from the valley, some to water, some to the neighboring caves. And when he was come close by, his alarm was not allayed by the discovery of a crowd investing the door of the establishment, while the enclosure adjoining, broad as it was, seemed already full.

"We cannot reach the door," Joseph said, in his slow way. "Let us stop here, and learn, if we can, what has happened."

The wife, without answering, quietly drew the wimple aside. The look of fatigue at first upon her face changed to one of interest. She found herself at the edge of an assemblage that could not be other than a matter of curiosity to her, although it was common enough at the khans on any of the highways which the great caravans were accustomed to traverse. There were men on foot, running hither and thither, talking shrilly and in all the tongues of Syria; men on horseback screaming to men on camels; men struggling doubtfully with fractious cows and frightened sheep; men peddling bread and wine; and among the mass a herd of boys apparently in chase of a herd of dogs. Everybody and everything seemed to be in motion at the same time. Possibly the fair spectator was too weary to be long attracted by the scene; in a little while she sighed, and settled down on the pillion, and, as if in search of peace and rest, or in expectation of some one, looked off to the south, and up to the tall cliffs of the Mount of Paradise, then faintly reddening under the setting sun.

While she was thus looking, a man pushed his way out of the press, and, stopping close by the donkey, faced about with an angry brow.

The Nazarene spoke to him.

"As I am what I take you to be, good friend--a son of Judah—may I ask the cause of this multitude?"

The stranger turned fiercely; but, seeing the solemn countenance of Joseph, so in keeping with his deep, slow voice and speech, he raised his hand in half-salutation, and replied, "Peace be to you, Rabbi! I am a son of Judah, and will answer you.

I dwell in Beth-Dagon, which, you know, is in what used to be the land of the tribe of Dan."

"On the road to Joppa from Modin," said Joseph.

"Ah, you have been in Beth-Dagon," the man said, his face softening yet more. "What wanderers we of Judah are! I have been away from the ridge--old Ephrath, as our father Jacob called it--for many years. When the proclamation went abroad requiring all Hebrews to be numbered at the cities of their birth-- That is my business here, Rabbi."

Joseph's face remained stolid as a mask, while he remarked, "I have come for that also--I and my wife."

The stranger glanced at Mary and kept silence. She was looking up at the bald top of Gedor. The sun touched her upturned face, and filled the violet depths of her eyes, and upon her parted lips trembled an aspiration which could not have been to a mortal. For the moment, all the humanity of her beauty seemed refined away: she was as we fancy they are who sit close by the gate in the transfiguring light of Heaven. The Beth-Dagonite saw the original of what, centuries after, came as a vision of genius to Sanzio the divine, and left him immortal.

"Of what was I speaking? Ah! I remember. I was about to say that when I heard of the order to come here, I was angry. Then I thought of the old hill, and the town, and the valley falling away into the depths of Cedron; of the vines and orchards, and fields of grain, unfailing since the days of Boaz and Ruth, of the familiar mountains--Gedor here, Gibeah yonder, Mar Elias there--which, when I was a boy, were the walls of the world to me; and I forgave the tyrants and came--I, and Rachel, my wife, and Deborah and Michal, our roses of Sharon."

The man paused again, looking abruptly at Mary, who was now looking at him and listening. Then he said, "Rabbi, will not your wife go to mine? You may see her yonder with the children, under the leaning olive-tree at the bend of the road. I tell you"--he turned to Joseph and spoke positively--"I tell you the khan is full. It is useless to ask at the gate."

Joseph's will was slow, like his mind; he hesitated, but at length replied, "The offer is kind. Whether there be room for us or not in the house, we will go see your people. Let me speak to the gate-keeper myself. I will return quickly."

And, putting the leading-strap in the stranger's hand, he pushed into the stirring crowd.

The keeper sat on a great cedar block outside the gate. Against the wall behind him leaned a javelin. A dog squatted on the block by his side.

"The peace of Jehovah be with you," said Joseph, at last confronting the keeper.

"What you give, may you find again; and, when found, be it many times multiplied to you and yours," returned the watchman, gravely, though without moving.

"I am a Bethlehemite," said Joseph, in his most deliberate way. "Is there not room for--"

"There is not."

"You may have heard of me--Joseph of Nazareth. This is the house of my fathers. I am of the line of David."

These words held the Nazarene's hope. If they failed him, further appeal was idle, even that of the offer of many shekels. To be a son of Judah was one thing--in the tribal opinion a great thing; to be of the house of David was yet another; on the tongue of a Hebrew there could be no higher boast. A thousand years and more had passed since the boyish shepherd became the successor of Saul and founded a royal family. Wars, calamities, other kings, and the countless obscuring processes of time had, as respects fortune, lowered his descendants to the common Jewish level; the bread they ate came to them of toil never more humble; yet they had the benefit of history sacredly kept, of which genealogy was the first chapter and the last; they could not become unknown, while, wherever they went In Israel, acquaintance drew after it a respect amounting to reverence.

If this were so in Jerusalem and elsewhere, certainly one of the sacred line might reasonably rely upon it at the door of the khan of Bethlehem. To say, as Joseph said, "This is the house of my fathers," was to say the truth most simply and literally; for it was the very house Ruth ruled as the wife of Boaz, the very house in which Jesse and his ten sons, David the youngest, were born, the very house in which Samuel came seeking a king, and found him; the very house which David gave to the son of Barzillai, the friendly Gileadite; the very house in which Jeremiah, by prayer, rescued the remnant of his race flying before the Babylonians.

(To be continued)


Just For Laughs


Daddy's Sermons

A pastor tried to prepare his two children for what he thought might be a boring high school graduation ceremony. "Graduations are sometimes long, boring events," he said. "I want you gus to behave and not constantly ask when it's going to be over."

"Don't worry, Dad. We'll live", his daughter replied. "We last through all of your sermons, don't we?" 


Leftovers

Sitting down to supper one night, the daughter complained about having to eat leftovers. Her father decided that she should say grace to show her appreciation.

His daughter bowed her head and prayed, "Thank you for this food... again."


How Can I Get There?

There's the story of the new Pastor in town who got turned around on his very first Sunday on the way to the new church He stops the paperboy and gives him the street address and then adds "you know that's First Baptist Church."

The kid wants to help so he very politely says, "Oh sure, down three blocks, make a right, 2 blocks make a left and it's in the next block on your right."

The preacher is moved by this kind of friendship to a newcomer like himself so he says, "son, how'd you like me to tell you how you can get to Heaven?"

At this the kid laughs slightly and says, "How you gonna do that, you can't even find First Baptist?"


The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 3

How to Have Constant Energy 

A MAJOR-LEAGUE baseball pitcher once pitched a game when the temperature was over one hundred degrees. He lost several pounds as a result of the afternoon's exertion. At one stage of the game his energy sagged. His method for restoring his ebbing strength was unique. He simply repeated a passage from the Old Testament—"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Frank Hiller, the pitcher who had this experience, told me that reciting this verse on the pitcher's mound actually gave him a renewal of strength so that he was able to complete the game with energy to spare. He explained the technique by saying, "I passed a powerful energy-producing thought through my mind."

How we think we feel has a definite effect on how we actually feel physically. If your mind tells you that you are tired, the body mechanism, the nerves, and the muscles accept the fact. If your mind is intensely interested, you can keep on at an activity indefinitely. Religion functions through our thoughts, in fact, it is a system of thought discipline. By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind it can increase energy. It helps you to accomplish prodigious activity by suggesting that you have ample support and resources of power.

A friend in Connecticut, an energetic man, full of vitality and vigor, says that he goes to church regularly to "get his batteries recharged." His concept is sound. God is the source of all energy—energy in the universe, atomic energy, electrical energy, and spiritual energy; indeed every form of energy derives from the Creator. The Bible emphasizes this point when it says, "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." (Isaiah 40:29)

In another statement the Bible describes the energizing and reenergizing process: "...in Him we live (that is, have vitality), and move (have dynamic energy), and have our being (attain completeness)." (Acts 17:28)

Contact with God establishes within us a flow of the same type of energy that re-creates the world and that renews springtime every year. When in spiritual contact with God through our thought processes, the Divine energy flows  through the personality, automatically renewing the original creative act. When contact with the Divine energy is broken, the personality gradually becomes depleted in body, mind,  and spirit.

An electric clock connected with an outlet does not run down and will continue indefinitely to keep accurate time. Unplug it, and the clock stops. It has lost contact with the power flowing through the universe. In general this process is operative in human experience though in a less mechanical manner.

A number of years ago I attended a lecture at which a speaker asserted before a large audience that he had not been tired in thirty years. He explained that thirty years before he had passed through a spiritual experience in which by self- surrender he had made contact with Divine power. From then on he possessed sufficient energy for all of his activities, and these were prodigious. He so obviously illustrated his teachings that everyone in that vast audience was profoundly impressed.

To me it was a revelation of the fact that in our consciousness we can tap a reservoir of boundless power as a result of which it is not necessary to suffer depletion of energy. For years I have studied and experimented with the ideas which this speaker outlined and which others have expounded and demonstrated, and it is my conviction that the principles of Christianity scientifically utilized can develop an uninterrupted and continuous flow of energy into the human mind and body. These findings were corroborated by a prominent physician with whom I was discussing a certain man whom we both know. This man, whose responsibilities are very heavy, works from morning until night without interruption, but always seems able to assume new obligations. He has the knack of handling his work easily and with efficiency.

I commented to the physician that I hoped this man was not setting a dangerous pace that might possibly lead to a breakdown. The physician shook his head. "No," he replied, "as his physician I do not think there is any danger of a crack-up, and the reason is that he is a thoroughly well-organized individual with no energy leaks in his make-up.

He operates a well-regulated machine. He handles things with easy power and carries burdens without strain. He never wastes an ounce of energy, but every effort is applied with maximum force."

"How do you account for this efficiency, this seemingly boundless energy?" I asked.

The physician studied for a moment. "The answer is that he is a normal individual, emotionally well integrated, and, what is more important, he is a soundly religious person.

From his religion he has learned how to avoid drainage of power. His religion is a workable and useful mechanism for preventing energy leaks. It is not hard work that drains off energy but emotional upheaval, and this man is entirely free from that."

Increasingly people are realizing that the maintenance of a sound spiritual life is important in enjoying energy and personality force.

(To be continued)


Story Of The Week

Simple Prayer - By Peggy Porter

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad."

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby  car with his young,eager son. The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work.

And he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn't do. Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car.A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom).

Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning," the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race. Once there my little one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who  were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, Gilbert had "mom."

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide eyed, shy eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray.

The race stopped.

Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half.

Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, 'Okay, I am ready."

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh,Gilbert?" To which my young son answered, "Oh, no sir. That wouldn't be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make it so I don't cry when I lose."

Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race, he didn't ask God to fix the out come, Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn't cry out to God, "No fair, they had a fathers help." No, he went to his Father for strength. Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God's strength to get through the struggle. "I can do everything through Him who  gives me strength." Philippines 4:13

Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd  that he wasn't there without a "dad," but His Father was most definitely there with him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.


Bible Brain Teaser

There are names of 21 books of the Bible mentioned in the paragraph below (Really!). See how many you can find. **NOTE** The answers are hidden somewhere in this page.

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu, kept people looking so hard for facts. For others it was a real revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the names of the books are not capitalized. But the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. It should be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there are some books that will be a hard job to find, but those are the most fun. Can a human being really find all twenty-one of them? At the worst, you should find fifteen. No defect in genes is required, although I will admit it usually takes a minster to find one of them and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. What will keep you from answering this challenge? A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. How long will you keep working on it only you can judge, so long as you try to compete. Remember, we've had fun seeking out 21 books of the Bible, but it is by far more important to "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." It's always true, God love you.                                                                                                                Have fun!

**Some** Answers (not all :-) DO NOT SCROLL ANY FARTHER DOWN IF YOU HAVE NOT SOLVED IT YET.

(not in order :-)

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James, Ruth, Numbers, Lamentations, Hebrews, Esther, Job, Amos, Mark, Kings, Peter, Revelation, Acts, Judges, Luke, Titus

 

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