As you step out of seminary, dear brothers …

As you step out of seminary, dear brothers …

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The sacrament

(A note I shared with our younger brothers at seminary, on the eve of their convocation which was to be held on 17th March, 2017)

Dearest final year brothers at seminary,

We were privileged to be your mentors for a short time, within the limitations of our immaturity and inexperience. And we all are glad that the Lord has brought you this far, only by His grace, and not by our merit. We are happy that you have come this far. You are the last batch of the seminary that we knew well.

As you approach convocation, may the Lord bless you and fill you with His Spirit.The Lord needs servants who read His word and listen to His voice. May He keep you close to His heart just as you have kept Him.

May the humility of Christ in Philippians 2:6–10 be your trademark, your signature, your logo. May His commitment to give the very best to His people be the force that drives you in His ministry.

May the rest he has ordained into the rhythm of creation be rightfully claimed regularly. Don’t forget.

May your families be a blessing. May your love for your future wife be the love of the cross and nothing less. May your children receive the freedom and discipline which the heavenly Father has brought us up with.

May your commitment to the flock he has given you reflect that of David, who courageously tore away the wild animals, yet was gentle enough to play soothing music.

May a new language and new culture that you are placed in be readily adopted as God’s site of incarnation, and be embraced like a mother would embrace her newborn child.

Through daily quiet time, prayer and regular worship, may your ego melt away leaving only the heart and mind of Christ within you.

May gossip and slander be destroyed from your mouth immediately, the very mouth that receives His life giving body and blood.

May your hands touch only what He has given you lawfully. May your eyes see what He reveals to you.

May guilt from sin, be exchanged for eternal love, justified in His work on the cross for us, and a commitment to never repeat the same, in response to His forgiveness and grace.

There is a world out there waiting for a super human priest, but continue to serve him with all the limitations of a human priest — the very likeness of Him who chose not to employ His super powers.

Looking forward to seeing each one of you thrive in His ministry. Prepare well, there is a long journey ahead.

Welcome, my brothers.❤

Lots of love

George.

joshua-ness-136021
Pastoral Ministry : The Journey Ahead to be Fishers of Men

Consistency

Consistency

During my teens, my father, from time to time , would point out to my beard, the lack of it, or its partial presence, and say that a man ought to be consistent.  His voice still rings very clearly in my ears. Consistency is key.

To my surprise, I have come to learn that it’s the same thing that Robin Sharma, Tony Robbins and the Management Guru ilk would propagate. To have impact and to grow, one must be consistent. You don’t have to do great things over night. The small things that you do regularly, will bring about tremendous results, over time. Just like the yeast in the dough which works through it, steadily.

I just spoke to Cherian George, a friend of mine, who is an IT guy also working overtime as a gospel worker. He finds it tough but able to manage work, his passion for ministry and consequent assignments and family, together. He is consistently working hard.

Merin, my cousin, is able to write a small anecdote linked to the Bible everyday. Rev. Prince, another friend of mine, has been consistent in producing short, beautiful podcasts from the Word of God with an apt illustration each day for over 350 days now! Rev A. T. Zechariah and Rev. Abu have been putting in great effort towards preparing Daily Manna devotion series that goes through a book in the New Testament, each month. In addition, they have been recording it as a podcast and have been sending it around every single day without fail. There are people behind the scenes who get up everyday and forward these messages to the groups and friends who are waiting to listen to this. They are consistent. It seems as though I have not been working hard enough to be consistent.

I tried. I am trying. Been writing a short daily devotion named #JesusInMumbai everyday since Feb 28. It attempts to find Christ in everyday things and people in the city  of Mumbai. I have enjoyed it ever since I began and have been writing consistently over these days. Though I enjoy writing, it has been my principle of late to not look or wait for perfection – an attempt to fight with the perfectionist I am! What usually happens is that unless its going to be a masterpiece which requires time and a lot of effort, I will not attempt it, especially when time and effort come at a premium!

My solace in failing at attempts to be consistent is that, Jesus was instrumental in employing a flippant character like Peter and ilk for his kingdom’s. I hope to grow and become consistent in relationship with him, in the ministry he has bestowed upon me.

Synergy

Praise God.

I am pumped  after a meaningful workshop that the game changer project could organize for young couples and those planning to become one.

The team work with committed youngsters made it, as one of them described, ” a great journey.” Praise God for them.

The highlight was that the young couples felt Christian marriage was a beautiful thing and GOD wanted it to be so.

Good enough to divine

(I wrote this on my facebook page and thought it should be part of my blog as well.)

The message that we are ‘never good enough’ floods our minds through the media, advertisements as well as work/peer/popular culture. It’s so powerful  that it’s a constant battle within oneself to accept and acknowledge that one is created with perfection, potential and for a special purpose; that one is capable of making one’s own as wells as others’ life meaningful.

Even pastors go through this struggle and find themselves in the presence of God with these thoughts.

We need to resist all the negativity, starting from ourselves. We must strip away the plastered walls of our hearts and minds of external powers  surrounding us as they attempt to
label us, to contain us, to disfigure our conscience, to maim our limbs of agency, to push us, into depression and hopelessness.

We need to place ourselves in a different story than the negative, market- engineered, media hyped, ad-varnished, seemingly permanent ones told to us by the world around us. That’s not our story, as real as it looks.

We are part of a divine, more human story. We matter. We are special. We are capable of helping people realise that they are special. We are rescuers of those whose “specialness” is tarnished by the world around us. We have a purpose. Yes, we make mistakes, but we can turn around correct them and resolve not to repeat. We are not meant to break down, but to hold one another close, in each other’s ups and downs. You are not just good enough, you can be … divine.

Mat,
Feast of Ascension.

My life be like… ooo aaa ooo – Part 2

Continuing from Part 1 ( of course) :

…talking about habits worth emulating!

Part-1 can be found  here.

( Picture courtesy:  http://dumbbellsanddragons.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/whatwerepeatedlydo-@allielefevere.jpg  )

 

Continuing…

2. Prefer phone calls to messages. Reminders can be text messages and email.

3. Advance planning and concretizing.

Rev. Shaji Thomas, whom I worked with for their parish camp,in Bangalore,  shared with me how he goes about his pastoral ministry. He plan many months in advance and brings out a list/brochure/ colourful something. Colourful somethings look great and people want a copy of them. Most important – you have sat down, planned and made the effort to route the way the year should go.

4. Contribute to your relationship through occasional phone calls like Kunjumon Uncle. He calls every Monday morning. Even if you aren’t that regular, call once in a while. For that you need to have a list of people to be in touch with.

5. Email/ phone/ text people at major occasions such as Christmas. It is a meaningful gesture. Especially people who hosted your stay, blessed you by driving you to the railway or bus station/airport, etc. Keep a separate list of such peoples’ phone number/ email address and note it down in Google Keep or Evernote under the title- ‘indebted’. If one has such a crunch of time, one may pre-set customized messages and schedule their sending time.

6. Post- programme ,   the next day or so, give a call to express gratitude and appreciate the way they handled the events. Positive comments on their hospitality means a lot to the organizers. I know, because I have been there.

7. Keep envelopes, stamps and notepads ready to write to people words of gratitude, wish them on special occasions, “ we remember you” notes. People still feel special when they receive a handwritten note. If you are creative, you can add a tad bit of art as well on the page. I can do so since my wife is gifted that way and enjoys that.

8. Write short devotions daily, like Saji Thomas achen and Jijo Varghese achen. Their discipline is worth emulating. Anyday! Prince Varghese achen’s audio devotions are similar disciplined efforts, which requires saying things precise and recording it without a glitch. His ability to speak clearly without ‘hmm’ and ‘uhhh’ and to have a  meaningful illustrations embedded in those precise devotions are really impactful. I hope to be there someday – not to be known for doing them – but just to get myself to be that disciplined. It’s something worth striving for.

So here they are! I am about to start practicing these. Slow and steady. One day at a time.

Do you see things in people that are worth emulating? Then share them here! Thanks.