Saturday, October 27, 2012

We Wrestled: All Night Long

It was around 11 PM on Thursday night, the 25th October, 2012. A leaflet containing a list of 21 points landed in my hands. That’s for the first round of entreaty. These are points to last for at least 2 and a half hours. And the points enunciated was detailed, which of course leaves space for being elaborate in the actual execution.
To wrestle with God we have seven hours over the 21 points plus personal confessions and the expression of concern for the social and political issues. That’s quite a task! Almighty God is on the other side of the communication line though.
Except for the soft drone of exhaust fans dispelling carbon dioxide the atmosphere in the well lit Church basement was tranquil. Initially I was apathetic to the issue of the upcoming annual conference being prayed for. In fact I'd never expected 40 disciples to turn up. 
The 21 points within which the highlights ranging from the main speaker, the translator, the devotion leaders, the elders of the conference, the presentation of the Annual Report and administration of ordination and commissioning were encapsulated slowly made sense to me.
The fact that the duty of song leaders comes with opportunities liable to be misused calls for divine intervention. Similarly, the management and direction of choirs being presented before the spectators live, leaves room for intrusion of the evil one. So is election of all sorts, commissioning and ordination, the use of equipments, the weather, the hosting of, the delegates in and the beneficiaries of conferences of a large scale like the annual khawmpi lian of the EBCC in Lamka or of the Presbetarian Synod in Aizawl not free from the potential danger posed by the various departments of Satan’s syndicate. Hence the need to wrestle with Jehovah all night long.
James had wrestled with God and earned a new name. Truly night time is the right time for having fellowship with God even for the apostle Paul and Silas whence they got their freedom.
I had had a full dose of sleep since the departure of my brother’s family 24 hours ago. I was satisfied with the manner I help them during their stay in Delhi. God willing they’ll be reaching Manipur on Sunday the 28th October. So I was feeling fresh. Having myself equipped with these I was able to analyze everyone of the 21 points let alone grasp.
Soon I realized that my initial reaction on hearing about the scheduled night long prayer was immature.
I started to feel that the prayer might pick up tempo or it might not. It’s the act of physically showing concern that matters..

Monday, October 8, 2012

Singspiration 30.09.2012

The praise and worship service starts with mass prayer at 11 o’clock.   Sam Guite on keyboard, Upa Khamkhanpau on bass guiter and Muanlal with an acoustic guitar, the WT consisting of Sonkim, Lydia, Mung, Lun, Vumsuan, Remmawi, Upa Songzalian, Nemkhanmawi and Mankhodim with the Pastor at the head, steer the gathering away from the mental pre-occupation of sorts. The hymns “Phat din na ki lawm hi” – Thou Art Worth Praising, Charles Wesley’s “Aw Pau Sang Tampi’n Lasa Ding” - O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” and “Aw Jesu Tui Hing Lui Nahi” – Jesus Thou art the Living Water are sung in succession.
Blessed are the multitudes that drink from the fountain of divine privilege. It’s a matter of delight for which praise and adoration is all you can do.  David’s call for the sound of trumpet, the harp, the lyre, the tumbrel, strings and the pipe find a unique response through the hearts of the Zomis. “Ka Phat Zel Ding”- I’ll keep on praising, is an apt eulogy on the saving work of Jesus accompanied with temporal benefit to the believers. In discipleship living poses challenges like the darkest of nights. But the gloomy path is set to give meaning to the contrasting brightness that beckons the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Another inspiring worship song, “Khosiangthou Jerusalem”- the holy city of Jerusalem, born in the annals of the gospel in the North-East India stirs the spirits. The Pastor reminds the congregation of the need to dedicate oneself while undertaking the Christian Pilgrimage. The manner and extent by which God transmit the gospel through oneself ought to be assessed over and over again all through the entire journey. Do you have a genuine thirst for the spirit?
The gospel hit, “Ka Nunna In Toupa Ngai In” – My life thirsts for the Lord, drawing allegorical parallels between a ‘thirst for water’ inherent in a variety of deer found in North-East India with a peculiar Christian thirst for Holy Spirit, enchanted the congregation with rhapsody. Another mass prayer followed. In the moment of weakness Almighty God endows strength to a disciple. The Pastor thank God for giving strength to the disciples to wade through. Through the hymn, “Hong Leen Gige’n”,- Hold my hand, the congregation calls upon the Lord to help push through the turbulent waters of life.   As WT Mung takes the lead, the ushers bring in the offering bowl.  As the patriotic gospel all time hits, “Israel mite na pi bang in” and “A Hampha Pasian Mite” the worshippers sway in ecstasy . Dedication of the offering is done by Upa G. Khamkhanpau. Thereafter WT Lydia and WT Nemkhanmawi treated the audience with the inspiring item, “Kha Muanna Leh Lungmuanna Tou Jesu Kiang ah” – Jesus, custodian to peace in spirit and mind.
Upa Kam Suanthang takes the stand to conduct induction ceremony of new comers in the city: Due to various reasons only 9 out of 31 of the new inductees are able to make it to the stage. Encouraging them to keep in mind the purpose of their stay in Delhi and in Life, the Pastor prays for them.
As an expression of contentment in the loving arms of the Lord notwithstanding the geographical dislocation of any sort, the singspiration continues with “Lungdam lua ing Toupa”,  followed by “Pathian itna aw lian in sang”- The Love of God. WT Mung reminds the congregation about the value of redemption.     Looking forward to Paradise, and the day when one has the honor of holding the scarred hands of Jesus a Christian must keep up with true discipleship. The gospel song “Enven Ka Teen Nang Gamnuam”  penned by Evan Langh Do Khup, founder of Tears Gospel Ministry many years ago stirs up the soul. There the city of joy beckons disciples with ‘Tul Ngei Lou ding’ or everlasting joy. If the preceding hymns put the worshippers to absolute delight, the hymn, “Tul ngeilou” completely jolts out the as yet elusive arms and legs in rhythmic wonder.
As preliminary to inauguration of the documentary, ‘Acts of Worship’  by Worship Team, the Pastor enlightens the parishioners that it’s not about proficiency, nor a certification of oneself, but a simple message about the necessity of taking a step ahead even as we trod the path mission path bearing the Cross. There is bound to be discrepancies, which can only be done away with in subsequent efforts. He appreciates the fact that the WT has managed to come out with the product against odds like time constraint.   Facilitating God’s people to devote little bits of their precious time to the furtherance of the Gospel is a continuous endeavor of the Church. Some responsibilities in the Church are given through popular election, some through nomination. Success in any enterprise couldn’t have been possible in the absence of cooperation from all members.   The pastor specifically highlighted the need of a group of prayers. The system of volunteering has proven very encouraging, which is evident in Baptist Children Department. Volunteers need encouragement from each individual member as much as the same is required from the Pastor. Prior experience or qualification is not necessarily required. When you give your will, God qualifies you. He calls on stage the Worship Team to present the theme song, “Ka Mang Lenna” by the living legend .
The documentary is not for sale. The documentary which is a sweet piece of musical work is being distributed free through the church website. For God’s glory.   The Pastor formally inaugurates and tops the ceremony with prayer.   Thereafter website technician and member of Media Team Thangkhansiam Naulak, who has played major part in the making of the documentary, gives a highlight of certain shots of the documentary through multi-media display. The Pastor gives credit to the website technicians and Media Team of the Church in the making of the 90 minute documentary.   While the last hymn, “Leitung ka en kikhenna lungkhamna” is in progress Upa Kaithang emerges on stage. Before closing the worship in benediction he reads out the passionate music of David: 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him. Even as the worshippers are busy meeting the Pastor and Upas, the WT plunges back into another inspirational hymn to ring in the ears pending another assemblage of the disciples, another  Sunday, “Jesu hoih zaw hi”.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sunday School September 23, 2012

Pastor V.Nenglian conducts Responsive Reading: … Praise the Eternal Lord; My Life, Forget Not all the Good Things He Hath Done for You…
V. Biaklal a gospel musician in Central Lamka, Manipur, who happens to be in Delhi for personal reasons, leads the worship in praise. He emphasizes the importance of making oneself acceptable to God and being immersed in the realm of the spirit. With the selected hymns, “When We All Get to Heaven” (BNL 336), “The Love of Jesus” (BNL 187) the congregation sings about the wondrous love of Jesus, His mercy and grace. Through the hymns the Lord sure has a message. Opening up one’s heart is the least one can do. The sun rises in the morning only to disappear in the evening. But the love of God never left the believers. Man can only, in awesome, wonder the greatness of God.  Arr Stuart K. Hine’s “How Great Thou Art” (BNL 225) is an example of joy expressed through human comprehension.
Taking cue from Psalms 150 the WT Biaklal stresses the need of praise, which is not a request from God. In fact the scripture commands praise with varied kinds of instruments. He led the mass prayer with the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross”. That is followed by the fifth hymn, “Tul ngei lou ding” – The never wilting happiness, and collection of offering by the Ushers.
The offering is dedicated by Upa Thianzakham.
On taking the pulpit pastor dedicates in prayer to God three infants: (i) Ms Dina Niangremmawi d/o Thangkhansiam Naulak (ii)Mr. M. Muantansang s/o Lamlun Munluah and (iii) S. Lalkhanpiang s/o S. Thangbiaklian.
In response to the Sunday School test exam held earlier, about 70 solved answer papers have been received including 16 online. 12 of them who score full mark are honored with award of gifts, which are handed over by Upa H. Kam Suangthang. The recipients of the honor are:
Name                                            Name of Cell
1.       Chiinkhanniang                       RK Puram
2.       Nancy Chinghoih                     Munirka 
3.       Niangmanlian                          Vasant Cell-1 
4.       Nu Chingngaih                         Munirka 
5.       H. Thangsiam                           Sarojini 
6.       P. Nangkhanthang                   Bersarai 
7.       Piangrouding Ngaihte             Vasant Vihar 
8.       Rammawi                                  Vasant Kunj 
9.       Ruth Ngaihlun                          HUDCO Place 
10.   Suanching Tonsing                  Munirka 
11.   Upa T. Kaithang                       Vasant Kunj 
12.   Upa Thiankhanmuan              RK Puram
The Pastor also suggests that a second test covering the book of Saint Matthew chapters 21 to 28 is being conducted sometime in future.
For a very brief moment, the pastor helps the audience into memorizing the memory verse, Matthew 26:41 - Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
As different from the daily/or nightly worship held in Churches in towns and villages, the EBC Church in Delhi can afford to have one worship service in a week which begins at 11 am on Sundays. As such life enriching sermons given on such occasions has become the tradition. Sunday School lessons are incorporated in the Weekly DEW and the members are encouraged to go through such tutorials.
However certain Sunday services are dedicated for such classes. Due to the vastness of the lesson the pastor treats the church goers with a crash course on the Parable of the Ten Young Women-who went out to meet the bridegroom in a wedding (Matthew 25:5-13), the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus (Chapter 26), Trial of Jesus (Chapter 27) and the Resurrection (Chapter 28) with special highlight of certain noteworthy points as given below:
One The ten young women share so many things in common like the fact of having proceeded to the wedding, bringing lamps, having slept. How many of them are wise, really see the bridegroom and have fuel for the lamp? This question marks five of them out from the rest.
Two A house built on sand is destined to fall.
Three The servant either pleases or displeases the master in accordance with his/her treatment of the talent God deems appropriate. Closely aligned to the parable, Jesus told the disciples before His arrest about the separation of the sheep from the goat on Judgement Day.
Four On the anointing of Jesus by a lady the disciples suggested optimum utilization of the expensive perfume. According to Jesus, she has done a beautiful thing.
Five Jesus felt deeply depressed in the garden of Gethsemane. He said (watch and ) Pray or fall into temptation, the essence of a Christian life.
Six Pontias Pilate the Procurator or agent of the Roman Emperor ordered the crucifixion of Jesus on the insistence of the crowd. Much more than bread, his soul sure yearns for the admiration the hypocritic jewish people. 
Seven From the crucifixion of Jesus i.e. AD 36 to the writing of the book of Saint Matthew i.e. AD 50 the officials of the Roman Empire spread the rumor that the body of Jesus was stolen by the disciples.
Eight The final word to disciples- Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The pastor informs the congregation of the planned Singspiration next Sunday. Also some anti-plastic campaigners’ accorded permission to display products in front of the Church, may be cooperated with by willing buyers.
Thereafter, he concluded the service with benediction.
By- Lianpu Tonsing
Media Team