Monday, July 2, 2012

GBC Day Worship Service

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Grace Bible College (GBC) Day for the year 2012 happens to fall on the first day of the second half of the year. So the occasion beckoned in the second half of the year as well. The first hymn,  ‘Toupa Nong Itna Lian hi’ – Lord Your Love for me is Great, rightly set the tone for the worship service. In the absence of Jesus Christ, life – be it the first six months of a year or ‘damlai khovel’ (one life in this world) as a whole, is just a worthless wilderness. Therefore the Worship Team (WT) led the congregation in pouring out the inherent spiritual emotion with the third hymn “Aw Pasian Nanglou Lawm dang nei keng” (No Friend Have I God, But You).  It’s a resolve to follow Jesus through the thorny and the barricaded path. Then the WT steered the worship to another medium, i.e., mass prayer.
The mass prayer was followed by the fourth hymn, “Aw Bible, Aw Bible” which was sang while the offering bowl was brought in by the ushers. The offering was dedicated by Upa Tuanmuanthang.
It was Upa Kamsuanthang, who made a report on the Church’s achievement its the ministry through GBC, an institution set up for academic and ministerial excellence 20 years ago.
-13 lecturers have taught in the college. Apart from the lecturers there are librarians, registrars and non-teaching staff working for GBC.
-130 regular students and 97 students through correspondence are enlisted with the college at the moment.
-3 courses are offered by the institution:
                Diploma in Theology offered to Matriculates
                Bachelor in Theology offered to Intermediates
                Master of Divinity offered to Graduates
The GBC has got accreditation from Asian Theological Academy for a period of 5 years from early 2012.
The college also conducted home based care in collaboration with The Evangelical Alliance Relief (TEAR) Fund, a Christian international aid and development agency. The project is specifically targeting HIV affected people. There is class room instruction as well as instruction given through house visits. Based on the model of care given by Jesus Himself, the team had also toured Thanlon and Singngat areas. Upa Kamsuanthang highlighted the dismal performance of Delhi EBCC members in supporting the GBC by giving the following statistics relating to contribution to GBC:
Category of Participation              Amount of donation       Number of EBCC  Delhi members
                                                                (in Indian Rupees)
Special Patron                                   5000/-                                   NIL
Group Patron                                    1000/-                                   1             
Individual Patron                              500/-                                     13          
Memorial Gift                                    400/-                                     2
Anniversary                                        400/-                                     NIL
Life Member                                      300/-                                     NIL
The Upa encouraged the gathering to come forward and diversify their ministry with such contributions.
Even at the moment of unsatisfactory participation, however the fate of GBC is so far so good. In other words it has never been in want.
It is customary to hold a pastoral prayer in the first Sunday worship service. The Pastor reminded the faithfuls about Lord’s mercy as he read out Psalms 23. Giving thanks for the blessings in spirit and in material terms, he intoned the Lords guidance and presence in the lives of the believers all through the month.
In a formal way the pastor instilled a sense of ownership to the church goers by asking them to rise from their seats under one pretext or another with regard to their involvement with GBC. At least 4 members in the congregation have attended, taught in, or made decision with regard to the GBC. And most of them have walked inside the GBC compound. Even a handful of the worshippers who have not, were encouraged to do so at least once in life.
The establishment of the seat of teaching, exchange and preservation of the word of, or truth about God is important. The Bible consists of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. About 40 servants of God authored it, which took 1600 years in writing. Literally Bible or biblio (as derived), in Greek, means a book. II Timothy 3:16 says the Bible is inspired by God.
The Bible is canonized in AD 180, is said to have no mistake in the Bible Saint John 1:18 says, God is a soul, no one has ever seen Him. On the other hand Exodus 24:10 says that the leaders of Israel saw God. Still there is no contradiction. You look at the mirror, what you see is you, but it is not you. Therefore the scholars find no contradiction.
Why teach and preserve?
i)                    The Bible is living and is powerful (Hebrew 4:12) The highly researched works of Plato are not read daily as a nourishment, while the Bible is. As a mirror, it’s telling us what we are and what our minds are. In fact, Bible reading changes life. (Psalms 119:9, Hebrew 11:3)
ii)                   It’s a leading light.(Psalms 119:105)
iii)                 It’s a spiritual diet. Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 4:12)
So the question is as to what extent you have given efforts in the teaching and preservation of the Bible.
After the concluding remarks the Pastor reminded the Church about the Summer Retreat scheduled to be undertaken during July 6-7, 2012 in Dehradun where at least two worship services are expected to be held. On return therefrom, the Church is looking forward to hosting a Guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Isak  Ahmed, President, NIBBCS, Silchar, on July 8.
In accordance with the tradition in the Church, the first timers were introduced and welcomed.
Thereafter the last hymn of the day, “A Sang zaw lam ka delh tawn tung” was sung invoking the backing of the Lord in endeavors to climb over higher and still higher planes in the gospel.
In benediction of the worship service Upa Chinsum acknowledged the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and called for Its blessings in times to come.                         
The worshippers shook hands with the Pastor and his team of elders in the gleeful air filled with the musical poslude of  ’Hong Phat ing Toupa’ from the Worship Team.