Monday, 24 January 2011

Book Review: Sabbath, by Dan Allender

I selected this book “Sabbath” by Dan Allender because I was eager to know more about Sabbath. The author’s idea is Sabbath should be a day of delight instead of following a strict set of rules and considering is as a burden. This really made me think about the meaning and reality of Sabbath.
He starts of by asking us to consider three main assumptions
1.Sabbath is not a Good idea, but it is one of the Ten Commandments.
2.Sabbath is a day of delight and not a day off or a day of vacation.
3.Sabbath is a feast day that remembers our leisure in Eden.
With these assumptions he proceeds on to write about the Sabbath pillars, purpose and performance. The like what the author says about delight. He says, “Delight doesn't require a journey of thousands of miles away to taste the presence of God, but it does require a separation from the mundane, an intentional choice to enter joy and follow God as he celebrates the glory of his creation and his faithfulness to keep his covenant to redeem the captives... The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight.”
Many times taking rest and enjoying God’s creation is the not what we do on Sabbath. But this book calls us to rethink Sabbath and to slow down a bit from all busyness and enjoy God’s goodness for us each week.
I agreed that we should set aside this 24-hour and find joy in it and celebrate God’s creation.
Allender bases on the Hebrew word for rest, Menuha, which is best translated as “joyous repose, tranquility, or delight.” It is through this lens that he resurrects this lost definition of what it really means to rest. It was a good read and I would recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, 17 January 2011

Bonsai churches


As we were discussing about the churches in Tamil Nadu, the leader of a church growth organization said there are so many “Bonsai” churches here. I asked him what he meant by Bonsai. He went on to explain that Bonsai is a type of tree that is grown in Japan. They are trees that are grown in pot and it can be kept in your table. They are very much alive. They grow only to about 7 inches maximum. They even produce fruits. So whatever tree you want, you can grow that at your table. For instance, if you want to grow a coconut tree, you can buy one bonsai coconut tree and keep it on your table. It will grow up to 6 inches and it even produces tiny coconuts for you. Though these Bonsai trees are beautiful and bear fruit, they are useless. The real purpose of this tree is not fulfilled. These Bonsai trees are also very expensive. He went on say that most churches are Bonsai churches. They are alive, beautiful and expensive. But they are useless and they fail to fulfill its purpose. As he said that, his eyes were filled with water because he was not condemning any church but he was grieving over the state of many churches. He finally shook his head and said Bonsai, …that is not the way a church should be.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Blessed or MORE Blessed!!


Have you noticed how people use the word “blessed”. I have been observing on this for some time. I have been “blessed” with a baby, I am blessed with a good spouse, I am blessed this year because I got a promotion at work, and I am blessed with a job in an MNC. The basic point of all these statements is “I am blessed because I have received something”. Though I am not against this and I agree that all these are blessing from the Lord, this year I am going to strive to be MORE blessed. Do you want to know how? (Thanks for nodding your head, let me continue.) The secret to be MORE blessed is written in Acts 20:35.
“It is MORE blessed to GIVE than to RECEIVE” Acts 20:35 (emphasis mine)
These words were quoted by Apostle Paul and he says that these are the Words of Lord Jesus Himself. I think this is one of the words of Jesus that is not mentioned in the gospels. They are the unwritten saying of our Lord Jesus and Paul quotes them. I think he might have learnt this from the disciples of Jesus. So what does Jesus say? He says “It is MORE blessed to GIVE than to RECEIVE”. This is the simple yet powerful Words of Jesus. You might be blessed by receiving all these years. But this year, let us strive to be MORE blessed by giving more than receiving. Give you love, time, money, resource, talent, appreciation, encouragement, and whatever is possible for you to give and be MORE blessed.
Transform you life from being blessed to being MORE blessed. This month and this year teach your hearts and hands to GIVE than to RECEIVE. Be MORE blessed because these are the words of our Lord Jesus “It is MORE blessed to GIVE than to RECEIVE”
Some Tips to be MORE BLESSED
• Give someone a secret gift and enjoy the Joy on their faces.
• Spend some time with someone who is having a tough time.
• Be generous to appreciate everyone who comes your way.
• Write an email every week to encourage someone.

And you can add to that list.