Passion meets Purpose

Whatever you are passionate about, you do. If you enjoy cave diving, it becomes your passion. You enjoy travel, it becomes your passion.

You talk about it, think about it, plan on how to do it….you understand it, tight?

What about purpose? People are born with an inbuilt need to find purpose in their lives. The eternal question that we all ask ourselves, why am I here in the first place?

And we all instinctively realise that true purpose is tied to something outside ourselves, to something greater that our self.

Why do I say that? Read on to find out.

A wise man said: Blessed are you, if you find your passion and your purpose meeting together, aligning and building up one another.

There are some professions where this happens more than others.

For example, those who are passionate about healing and find themselves in healthcare. They find purpose i their lives daily. How blessed are they indeed.

But you may ask, what about cave diving? What purpose would it serve?

Recently a few boys got trapped in a cave in Thailand and the whole world was watching how the rescue operations were underway. It was very risky. The cave was submerged, underground and the boys were hundreds of meters away from the accessible entrances.

The world’s best cave diver had this to say after the rescue mission

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Passion and Purpose. I hope you are passionate about your purpose in life. God bless!

 

 

 

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The land of new beginnings

Hayastan. What a land!

As it is believed, all people who inhabit this earth today are descended from Noah and his three sons, who along with their wives were the only survivors of the great flood which happened over five thousand years ago.

The ark in which Noah and his family were kept safe landed in the mountains of the Ararat range.

After it was safe for them to go out Noah and his family left the ark and the very first steps they took was in the land presently called Armenia, or Hayastan by locals.

History tells us that their first stop after that was the place in present day Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. From there they continued to present day Iraq, and started multiplying. As recorded in the Bible, after the tower of Babel, people dispersed and settled all over the world.

The reason this account is so vital is that it shows that all humans are related. We are all brothers and sisters with one great great great grandfather, Noah.

We visited this beautiful land is Armenia and find that the people here are friendly, pretty and hopeful for a future where the Prince of Peace will bring peace through all who are called by His name.

Lunch at the art of Noah’s church in Ararat

At the church in Khor Virap where St. Gregory was incarcerated in the 3rd Century

Indians meet their distant cousin sisters in Armenia

At present Armenia as a nation has neighbours who are jealous of it and try to destroy it.

The Armenian genocide took place from 1915 when over two million people residing in western Armenia where killed and many forcibly converted to Islam by the Young Turk party. That was when western Armenia including Mount Ararat were given to Turkey.

Azerbaijan, again a part of Eastern Armenia was signed off by Stalin to settlers there who again went about destroying Christian monuments.

Inspite of such immature actions, Armenians continue to work hard, and their diaspora in various countries continue to help rebuild the nation as the new Prime Minister starts his mission following the Velvet revolution that took place in May,2018, a few weeks before we are scheduled to visit.

The country is beautiful and has many places worth visiting. It’s strategically placed between Europe and Asia and has many common features.

I wish this country all the best for the future.

Evolving controversy

Evolution theory. It has been a subject close to my heart for many years. Why is it controversial now?

For starters, recently [first week of Jan 2018] in India Union minister Satya Pal Singh , who is the minister of state for human resource development had stoked a controversy saying that our ancestors have nowhere mentioned that they saw an ape turning into a man, thereby casting doubts on Darwin’s evolution theory.

In January 2018, he stuck to his claim that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of man is “not scientific” and called for an international debate on the issue to decide if it merits a place in school textbooks.

Blaming the media for fuelling a controversy over his statement, Singh said the issue calls for debate and not controversy. “In the last 100 years, many evidences have come out against the theory, in favour hardly anybody. It is not my statement. So many world scientists have said it,” Singh, the former Mumbai Police Commissioner, said.

I felt this is  good time to try to clear the murky atmosphere of Evolution.

What do I mean by evolution? It may be totally different from what you understand, so let me explain by defining it as I understand.

Evolution is a change in the characteristics of a living being over generations. 

Sounds simple, right?

The problem starts when people start assuming or rather over estimating the degree of change that this simple process can bring about.

For example, let us look at the dog.

Dog breeds

If you call this evolution, fine. I would agree. Dogs have been selectively bred by intelligent human beings to give them desired characteristics over hundreds of years.

But look at this picture

animalsEvolution

Creative Imagination

The above picture is what I call stretching your imagination 🙂

It is okay to think that dogs can evolve, but to think a dog can evolve into a cat? It just shows how ignorant these people are about the complexities of life and especially about genetics.

Let me explain in simple terms:

There are millions of species of living beings on earth [and the numbers are fast declining every day]

Each species is unique and cannot breed or produce viable offspring when mated with another, no matter how similar looking.

I believe that an intelligent being, popularly called God, created species and defined them some time in the past.

He also gave the creatures he created the ability to adapt and survive in this physical world that we inhabit. This is again a testimony to his wisdom, his ability to see beyond time and space, into the future, where he knew that we humans would be altering the world due to our greed and mindless consumption.

This ability to adapt and survive is being stretched beyond its designed parameters and hence we see species getting extinct these days.

However many species do adapt and survive, some better than others. For example pests like flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes seem to thrive in these conditions.

But there is a limit to how much a species can adapt or change, and that is written in its DNA by the one who made it in the first place.

The problem with us humans is that we like to think we are gods. That we can decide what is true. That we can simply issue a statement and it will change the facts:

For example, the United States National Academy of Sciences states:

Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.

— National Academy of Sciences, Science, Evolution, and Creationism[24]

The confusion caused by the definition of Evolution adds to this. If you go by the simple definition that I gave earlier of dogs, it is nothing but adaptation. If you try to go by the definition proposed by some over-imaginative “scientists”, it would mean something like the Creative Imagination picture I posted.

That, dear reader, is what mainly causes the controversy. The degree of change considered possible by this process of ‘Evolution’.

And of course among other things the refusal to consider that there even exists a loving and intelligent being who could have created you and me and the entire universe.

The God who created you and me so wonderfully, has also given you free will to choose absolutely anything. You can decide what or whom to believe. Ultimately it is a matter of the heart.

I do not want to give you enough scientific reasons to make you realize the fallacies of the 2nd picture, but I want to plant a seed of a desire to find out for yourself what is true. Because in that way the faith you find would be truly yours.

 

 

 

 

 

A tribute to Jeremy Fernand

Max and Gillian went through a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

Jeremy was only 19 years when he fell off a running train on the 26th of November 2017. He succumbed to his injuries at Cooper hospital in Mumbai.

It was a shock to his parents and to all of us who knew him and the family. The pain was agonizing, the questions unending.

It was like being thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible. Gillian cried out to God, praying that if it is His will let Jeremy be raised from the dead. We all wept. Friends and family poured into their home that dark night to comfort them, shocked themselves. The people from their local church enveloped them with love and comfort.

But something unexpected started taking place almost within minutes of Gillian receiving the news at home. She started saying, “Lord if it is your will, I accept it. ” She started praising God at that most difficult moment.

Even Max who was at the Hospital, once he overcame the initial shock, was able to reach out and comfort his shocked friends who were gathered there.

What we witnessed was the triumph of the Living HOPE Jesus Christ, over death, the fleshing out of the victory Jesus won for you and me on the cross, defeating sin and death for ever, once and for all, for we know that after Jesus died, he did not remain in the grace for long but came back to life on the third day, a fact of history that his enemies tried their best to deny.

Max and Gillian have experienced this by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. They were able to live it out.

At the darkest moment of their lives, this light within them shone through.

This was real faith, this was Christianity at its most powerful moment.. They were able to sing and praise God because they made a choice in their hearts to believe in the promises of God. They knew for sure that Jeremy now was, not in a better place, but in the best place possible, as Gillian kept saying in the days following.

Death was defeated that day and we were witness to it. This was when we started to understand what was meant by the eternal verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The way Max, Gillian and even Gabrielle, his 11 year old sister, conducted themselves during the days following the death of Jeremy was I think the greatest testimony to the resurrection power of Christ. Many people have been touched including atheists witnessing this. One said, if this is what faith is, I want to experience this. At the funeral where over a thousand gathered, everyone was comforted by how the parents behaved. It was almost as if the parents were drawing from an unending well, springs of living water and hope and joy just bubbled out of them.

Jeremy’s blogs have inspired many.

Jeremy’s friends who worked with him at 40 Parables, a company in Bangalore, gave powerful testimony to his life and how he was so different in many ways, his maturity and his wisdom. He used to think out of the box. [He was home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle and turn into another opportunity for their company.

Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity for them to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.

All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. He knows you personally and his greatest desire is to bless you. Would you like to deepen your relationship with this God?

A tribute to Jeremy and his family

Max and Gillian went through a parents worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

Jeremy was only 19 years when he fell off a running train on the 26th of November 2017. He succumbed to his injuries at Cooper hospital in Mumbai.

It was a shock to his parents and to all of us who knew him and the family. The pain was agonizing, the questions unending.

It was like being thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible. Gillian cried out to God, praying that if it is His will let Jeremy be raised from the dead. We all wept. Friends and family poured into their home that dark night to comfort them, shocked themselves. The people from their local church enveloped them with love and comfort.

But something unexpected started taking place almost within minutes of Gillian receiving the news at home. She started saying, “Lord if it is your will, I accept it. ” She started praising God at that most difficult moment.

Even Max who was at the Hospital, once he overcame the initial shock, was able to reach out and comfort his shocked friends who were gathered there.

What we witnessed was the triumph of the Living HOPE Jesus Christ, over death, the fleshing out of the victory Jesus won for you and me on the cross, defeating sin and death for ever, once and for all .

Max and Gillian have experienced this by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. They were able to live it out.

At the darkest moment of their lives, this light within them shone through.

This was real faith, this was Christianity at its most powerful moment.. They were able to sing and praise God because they made a choice in their hearts to believe in the promises of God. They knew for sure that Jeremy now was, not in a better place, but in the best place possible, as Gillian kept saying in the days following.

Death was defeated that day and we were witness to it. This was when we started to understand what was meant by the eternal verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The way Max, Gillian and even Gabrielle, his 11 year old sister, conducted themselves during the days following the death of Jeremy was I think the greatest testimony to the resurrection power of Christ. Many people have been touched including atheists witnessing this. One said, if this is what faith is, I want to experience this. At the funeral where over a thousand gathered, everyone was comforted by how the parents behaved. It was almost as if the parents were drawing from an unending well, springs of living water and hope and joy just bubbled out of them.

Jeremy’s friends who worked with him at 40 Parables, a company in Bangalore gave powerful testimony to his life and how he was so different in many ways, his maturity and his wisdom. He used to think out of the box. [He was home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle.

Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.

All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. God bless you.

Mughals, British and India

The Moghul vs British debate in social media reminded me of the words of Jesus: A tree is known by its fruits.

What did the most ardent Mughal followers of Islam do in India?

As Sadguru pointed out, “Building harems after making kafir women their slaves, destroying Indian traditions, destroying temples & building mosques over them, imposing Jizya tax on the people whom they hated the most & considered them kafir, carrying out mass scale conversions at the point of sword, killing brutally legendary Indians like Guru Teg Bahadur, Sambhaji, etc. etc. just bcoz they refused to accept their religion. These are only few examples of their brutalities. They were extremely intolerant & barbaric. Even Osama Bin Laden was nothing more than a child in front of them.”

That may be an extreme view no doubt but there is a lot of truth in the statement.

What about the British?

As Sadguru said, “they were interested in doing scientific researches & technological innovations & engineering.”

While most of the British were Christians only by name, [most were primarily businessmen and soldiers and some were openly against any faith based activities], there were a few, notably the Evangelicals, who could be called genuine followers or disciples of Christ. [A true disciple of Christ will never use force or inducements to convert anyone, because he believes that God who created us, gave us free will to choose, and He respects it. A genuine change of heart from within is what God desires for all of us.]

What did they do? They sincerely did what they believed was needed for the welfare of Indians.

They built schools, hospitals, orphanages, took care of widows and the out-castes of Indian society out of unconditional love, the same love that motivated Jesus to give His life for us. In general there was a lot of work in the field of public health done by the British.

William Carey, a missionary in Serampore, was instrumental in getting the practice of Sati banned after decades of efforts. The reformation movement in Hinduism also was sparked by those who came in touch with him in Bengal.

So as you can see, the Mughals and the British were very different in a few vital areas.

There is a common misconception about what are called the Abrahamic faiths. Christians and Jews are part of the Abrahamic covenant and worship Yahweh.

On the other hand, Islam is not an Abrahamic faith, and the God they worship, Allah, is in no way connected with the God of the Bible no matter how ardently the Muslims may claim it.

The fruits, I believe, are self-evident.

God bless.

Explorers kids Dance @ Christmas 2016

In celebration of the wonderful birth of Jesus Christ, King of Kings who became a human being and entered our world 2000 years ago, these children performed a beautiful dance.

Performed by children who are part of the Explorers club of Sunday school of Living Hope Church, all these lovely dance steps were conceptualized by the famous Gwendoline, their dance teacher. On site supervision was done by Divya and Racheal.

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Enjoy the wonderful performance!