Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Holy Communion Service 16.09.2012

The worshippers have five minutes of quiet contemplation.
David’s song breaks the silence when the Pastor reads aloud Psalms 46:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”.
The scripture appeals to the gathering in the wake of the threats against the North-East Indians and also violent protests against the anti-Islamic film ‘Innocence of Muslims’. Each member of the Church being susceptible to such violent attacks, he praises God for His loving cares and begs for their spiritual and physical wellbeing.
With the selected hymns, “Krist sisan pha vang a..” , “Lamdang lua sa in”- My Savior’s Love (BNL 168) and “Gamla pi Mual tung ah” – The Rugged Cross (BNL 87), the worshippers immerse in the spirit. The power supply being pathetic, the lead by Worship Team (WT) with an unplugged music consisting of an acoustic guitar and traditional drum makes the worship inspiring in a different way. The disciples pour out to the Lord in prayer.
The congregation rises to the 4th hymn, “Kalvari Mual tung tua zingsang khat”- Blessed Redeemer (BNL 121) as the offering bowl was brought in. Upa Thiankhanmuan dedicates the same to the Lord in prayer.
After a brief report on the ‘Spiritual Retreat’ in Hyderabad and his subsequent tour to Bangalore which was extremely blessed with remarkable levels of attendances, the Pastor comes to the topic of the day, ‘Spiritual Warfare’.
As in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ there is no amplification of the natural pitch. And as in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ the message somehow gets across.
The Whole Armor of God-Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV) is read out by the Pastor.
The life of a victor is not absence of wars and battles. It is crucial to know the strategy adopted by the enemy. ‘Knowing the enemy’ forms a whole topic that is being elaborated in the next Sunday.
The Pastor prefers to give guidance on the desirable equipment protocols in the fight against the enemy i.e. Satan. For the forces that a Christian fights against are not of flesh and blood, but are the evil spirits that controls the world. There is a unique way of fighting against such forces. Head of the Catholics, the Pope himself has once observed that the elements of disruptions in the world need to be fought with love. Thus fine tuning of one’s thinking and conduct with God’s ways is indispensable.
The strength to ask forgiveness of our tormentors while being tormented is a challenge a Christian must take, in the accordance with the example set by Jesus. All Christians are perpetual warriors in the Spirit. In fact the great counselor Joyce Meyer states that the mind is a battlefield. So the fight has a target standard worth achieving which is victory over the World, the forces of which in that context always manifest itself through human imperfections and frailties like making of worldly choices, greed, arrogance, etc.
An eminent Christian evangelist once played video game with his son. In the course of playing the game, under pressure of certain situation in the game, his son happened to utter the ‘F’ word. While he was battling against emotion of anger, God said to him, “Satan is trying to snatch your son”. So, hugging his son he pleaded, “My son, Satan has tried to snatch you away from God. We should not give him a chance”. With this story the pastor underscores the need to ask oneself how far one takes the struggle against Satan.
Hence the indispensable need of arming oneself with God’s complete armor:
(i)                The girdle of Truth. While writing the epistle to the Ephesians, Paul was in prison, always exposed to the sight of full armored guards. Sheath is attached with the girdle worn by the guards. The sheath moves about freely without causing discomfort to the wearer, even though the knife or sword comes in handy. Therefore the girdle should be a belt of truth. As Jesus himself has said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’.
(ii)              Breastplate of Righteousness. The heart of this matter is found in the honesty of God fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Putting faith in Jesus Christ endows one a share in God’s honesty.
(iii)            Feet shod with the Gospel of Peace. The feet is mentioned even in the Romans 10:15 in connection with the gospel.
(iv)            Shield of Faith – to ward off fiery darts.
(v)              Helmet of Salvation- this is also certainly for protection and better sight.
(vi)            Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(vii)          Supplication in the Spirit – In the absence of prayer, the rest will come to naught. Prayer should be consistent, focused and unselfish.
Concluding the sermon in prayer, the Pastor goes ahead in serving the Lord’s Supper.
Holy Communion – is done in obedience, in remembrance of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s also part of witnessing and propagating the gospel.
One who decides to take part in it is advised to retrospect oneself. For the  Lord ‘knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished’.  Fundamentally no one is good enough to partake of salvation, except through faith in the Son of God, by grace. As such discretion is recommended in partaking of the Holy Communion.
The Minister reads out Mark 14:22-24 New International Version (NIV) as the elders come forward to assist
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
Althrough the Minister quotes noteworthy lines and phrases of Christ and reminds the partakers of the significance of the Lord’s Supper. George Bennard’s ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ (BNL 87) is sung till all the 200 worshippers have had their share. Thereafter the Minister prays for grant of a life of victory to the partakers of the symbolic flesh and blood of Christ.
The congregation rises to the last hymn, “Simlei haksatna tuang nung siah in” Beyond the earthly anguish (BNL 466).
The tea fellowship and customary greeting that follows benediction, is a washed with a reprise by the WT of the last hymn.

By- Lianpu Tonsing
Media Team

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Emotional Sunday 09.09.2012

On reaching the Church the disciples were helped into rows of seats in the still air filled with soft music. Upa Songzalian, of the Worship Team (WT) took the stand and welcomed the congregation in the name of Christ.
With the first hymn, “Hong pai un...” - Come let us worship the Lord, the congregation praised the Lord for the saving work of Jesus. Then WT Songzalian dedicated the worship to the Lord in prayer.  That was followed by the second hymn, “Kris Sisan pha”-  The Precious Blood of Christ, then came up the third hymn, “Ka Jesu, Ka Honpa”- My Jesus, my Saviour”. The worshippers  shouted to the Lord whose promise compares with Nothing. From there the worship moved over to Prayer. The humble submission of the worshippers continued with tunes and music and the chanting of “Nang bang omlou” No one like you Lord!, until the Mass Prayer was concluded by WT Lydia. As praises continued with the fourth hymn, “Mikhial (sual) Siam tanna Kros”- The Cross of redemption, the offering bowl was brought by Ushers from BYF South Extension, which was dedicated in prayer by Upa Kamsuanthang.
Pastor V. Nenglian who is away to Hyderabad on the request of Eimi Christian Fellowship, in connection with their Summer Retreat extending till the 13th September, had requested Upa Damsawmthang to take the pulpit.
As a typical non-chaplain exposition, his was not as much a 'sermon' as a 'sharing' which has its own charm. The Upa who came down to Delhi in the late 1980s with his big family of nine (?) has more stories than could be related in a worship service- about how his family was crammed in a one-room flat in Delhi's Munirka, how he endured the trials and tribulations as an assistant through becoming a class I category officer in the country's Defence Headquarters and how his wife who stood behind him all through the years, was battling with diabetes. He was emotional about the rough and tumble of life he had to go through, and the eventual dawning of happy days.  Last year he was blessed with a daughter-in-law and a grand-son. And recently his eldest son joined as probationary officer in a public sector bank. Due to such worldly blessings he is at the peak of joy. What a joy it is attaining everlasting life, he intoned.
Based on the scripture 1 Peter 1:3-12, the Speaker focused himself on how hope has influenced discipleship
Praise to God for a Living Hope
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
Drawing special attention to verse 8, the speaker expressed his perception of the power of faith, even in the realm of darkness. Faith and love that spring from the hope stored up in heaven as written by Paul in his epistle to the Colossians, is the element that sustains disciples. Abraham and Sarah, who were as good as dead, moved to a place they never knew, became descendants of people as numerous as the stars and sand; Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau; Joseph spoke about the exodus of Israelites from Egypt; infant Moses was hid for three months, he grew up and chose to be mistreated with God’s people than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin; people passed through the Red Sea; the walls of Jericho fell; prostitute Rahab was saved; some face jeers and flogging, even chains and imprisonment. Faith is the element that fuelled such steadfastness in all these testimonies.
The speaker recalled the faith of, and love for God found in the life of a pastor, who sang, ..'deny me not Thy Kingdom and Righteousnes, whatever!'
Before concluding the session, the Upa welcomed the first timers.
Thereafter the congregation rose to the last hymn, BNL No. 336 Sa in Jesu Itna lamdang The session was concluded with benediction by Upa Tualzalang.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday Worship Service - 02 September '12

The lively gathering of disciples sang about life after the departure of the mortal body and the eventual entry of the soul to the new life, which is metaphorically referred to as the New Jerusalem.
The WT consisting of Ms Sonkim, Ms Lydia, Ms Mankhodim, Ms Remmawi with Mr. Thangsuanmung at the head reminded the believers from Churachandpur district of Manipur, about the undesirable state of affairs prevailing at home, which spelt out the implicit need of God to take over. The hymn, Ka gam uah Nang vai hawm in”, the resort of the helpless Christians, which happens to be the most frequent prayer song, seems to have more and more relevance even in the 20th year of foundation of the Church. ‘Love’ and ‘Affection’ are gone. The Lord is begged for forgiveness, with entreaty in music, in songs and in Mass Prayer.
The WT led the gathering in chanting, “Kagam uah Nang Vai hawm in”. Mung made the final conclusion of Mass Prayer.
The wealth in terms of love, happiness, peace of mind and of course material that comes with Life in the Spirit, is anything but the result of human effort. The believers rose with the hymn, “Ka phu lou hi”- I don’t deserve. The worship in offering collected by the ushers from South Extension area BYF, was dedicated to God by Upa T. Tuanmuanthang. In terms of Indian Rupee (INR), whose exchange rate with the US Dollar comes to 55.6 for a dollar, average collection in a worship service, excluding tithes and other collections for specific purposes, comes to 5000/-  which is about US $ 90.
Drawing from the Psamist’s words, ‘I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the LORD's name for saving me’, the Pastor V. Nenglian took the pulpit for the service of Pastoral Prayer. The blessings in August, the birthdays and anniversaries in September and a host of challenges to be taken up in spirit and in body, were brought in prayer before the Almighty God.
Mr. Suakzathang and his wife Ms Muanching have contributed in the work of translating, publishing and distributing the word of God. The tradition of ceremonious handing over of certificates during annual conferences in Nagaland is relaxed under special consideration. On the request of Pastor Nenglian the tokens of honor received through courier from the Bible Society of India (BSI), were handed over by Dr. Rev. Luaichinthang, who attended the Church by chance.
That was followed by dedication to the Lord of the newly born child Jabase Lalmuan s/o Jose L. Thawnkhanlian, Secretary, Baptist Missions Committee.
Dr. Jamzathang, a pioneer in the missions, happened to join the worship service. The Pastor offered him the stand for a short sharing. The self styled missionary, who was in Delhi for personal reasons, has concern for fellow Zomis since 30 years. During his official tours he seldom put up in hotels to fulfill his desire for a fellowship in Christ with Zomi officers working in cities. The missionary who hails from Vangaitang and grew up in Bungmual, basically wanted to be a pilot. He attended a public rally in Lamka public ground and there, he changed his mind. A contemporary of EBCC Delhi members like Dr. Upa B. Langkham and Upa Kaithang Thomte, Dr. David decided to become a doctor in 1970. In July 1973 the apparently foolish decision of a fellow Mizo Mr. Lalchuangliana, an elite officer in the Civil Service, to leave behind the vehicles (garis), the swanky government residential accommodation (bangla) and the fat salary, in order to devote his full time in the service of the Lord, dealt a big blow to his spiritual life. Consequently David decided to study medicine to serve God and God alone. He had been in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, been in Evangelical Union, and when he was in Dibrugarh, he spread the gospel to his fellow students and as the years went by most of his fellow MBBS students in Dibrugarh became missionaries. After marriage with Dr. Didim, David went to Duncan, Bihar. Then he went to South India, worked for some time before being back to Bihar. The next time he returned to south India, he took charge of Van Allen Hospital as Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
Post retirement from regular service, David returned to Lamka in the year 2001. In July of the same year, he established a hospital in Gangpimual, Lamka, which is a non-denominational one. On the first day he treated four patients and earned INR 240/-. Today with a staff strength of 25 and an operation theatre the hospital earns a fair amount of income per working day. About stories of God’s guidance in his life, David said he could go on narrating for days.
God’s greatest counsel to David was to find out the need of the society, identify the talent and ability in his own self, and then only enlist the support of the masses. While at the same time calling for his fellow pensioners to toe the same line, he challenged the Zomis still in service to think about the state of anarchy in Lamka and make up their minds. “Aw lung in I gel ding uh”- Come, let’s think about it, he quoted the song sung a few minutes earlier.  
According to David, drug addicts and prostitutes in the contemporary Lamka, are, in relative terms, saints. He yearned for the days of the 1940s and 1950s when honesty of men was universal.
Apart from the many points he made, one passionate suggestion made by him was received with wild applause; instead of out casting elopers (lovers), the Church ought to outcast absentee Government employees.
Fully endorsing the report, the encouragement and the challenge of Dr. David, Pastor Nenglian emphasized the need for a follow up. He also highlighted the harmony of David’s message with the theme of the Church for the month of September; discipleship and the life of victory.
Victory, in the Christian context, has its essence i.e., (i) a sanctified life, (ii) a Holy life and (iii) a Christlike life.
To elucidate the topic of the life of victory, Pastor quoted Alban Douglas, who said, “the things that I most craved for when I was born again, was holiness and becoming like Christ. I went to Bible College and God said to me: do you think you are closer, by any degree, to what you crave for?”
Some are like Douglas, some have no craving. For believers, there are wars to fight even physically. It takes some courage to say, “Thy will be done”. Naturally you’d be having agendas. If you don’t, you better not start at all. A Christian zeal alone, according to the Pastor, is not going to take one anywhere. A true Christian ought to live above the worldly things. Post celebration of Gospel centenary, it’s not the best thing to try to attain a life of victory from singers or speakers. It only comes from God.
Quote: 1 John 5: 4&5
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
The scripture says that unless one is of God, believes in the Son of God, he or she cannot overcome the world. The Indian Parliament could not function, be it with the BJP or the Congress, no transaction of business, only disruption. It’s a classic case of people who don’t believe in the Son of God.
Three undesirable human characteristics: (i) Being impressed that one is perfect; (ii) Having no inclination to make effort; and (iii) Having never achieved what you longed for.
Man has a tendency to forget or overlook the power and swing of sin in this world, which results in a host of undesirable evils which could manifest in things like sleeping with a neighbor’s wife. And when one says that it’s the will of God and things are going to be fine, a question arises whether there is a life of victory.
Some people look for a standard/a benchmark, and ask for forgiveness, then sin, then ask forgiveness, then sin… a vicious circle. There are elements a Christian has to battle against.
The elements a Christian is set against, as stated in Ephesians 6:12 are being dwelled on in the Next Worship Service (probably the 16th). But a Christian needs to be battle ready first and foremost. Allowing God in one’s inner self, is the key. It’s about faith.
According to C.G. Trumbell, Faith does nothing; Faith let's God do it all. The life of victory is putting plenty of faith in God. It’s not trying to do so many things. In other words, it is trusting and not trying. Trusting in the Lord is to identify with God.
God has forbidden us to allow parts of our body to commit sin. And there is the divine assurance, as in the Romans that says that dying in and along with Him, in His death, certainly, means resurrecting with Him. Therefore a Christian has to kill what ought to be killed, reveal what ought to be revealed and be armed the way he or she ought to be armed.
The Pastor implored God to instill love for fellow Zomis among the disciples, and to help them to live a life of victory. That’s the last prayer in the Church before his return from Hyderabad, where he is scheduled to attend some official duty from 6 to 13 September.

The congregation rose to the last hymn, Tung Thangvan Gamnuam Ah Tatsa Te'n La Sa (BNL 32).

Thereafter, benediction from Upa Chinsum concluded the worship service