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  • Adventuring in the Mission of Christ – A Testimony

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    When Christ takes something in His hand, it is different!

    When He took the mud and spitted and pasted on the eyes of blind man, it was different!

    When He took the five breads and two fish, it was different!

    When He took the twelve disciples for missions, it was different!

    This is what happened when we moved to Navi Mumbai two years ago. It was different! Not because of our talent or place, but we were placed in the hands of Christ. We moved to this satellite city of Mumbai which is 40km away from Mumbai  in April, 2010.  It has been a great learning and there were many surprises. As Bible college graduates and we moved in with hearts full of divine excitement. Team concept indeed proved to be a little giant.  Fellowship around the Word has been key in our Church life. Therefore, even before the church service started on Sundays, we started our Bible College classes. Awesome time of fellowship!

     

    In Colossians 4, Paul mentions seven specific team members by name. Likewise, when he travelled through Turkey and Greece, he picked up disciples who travelled with him and became in some cases pillars of various churches.

    On July 18, 2010 we started our first Sunday morning service with 8 people. We heard about “striving to enter into the rest of God”.  The same hall which was so big for 8 people on that Sunday, appears so small for the Church today.  Today we are having a Bible college mainly in the evening with about 30 people. New people mainly coming from traditional church background are excited about this education and committed to do it. We are having some amazing testimonies from the Bible College.  If we carry a spark, we can light a fire. Every believer, wherever he goes he carries the inborn capability of spiritual reproduction. We are enjoying the adventure of God’s Mission here. Our life is not primarily the mission-field or where we are, but rather joys, revelations, power and life of the Word of God. Amen!


  • Lost! Yet not lost forever

    Last year on the Good Friday Outreach, a young man followed us to the place where we gathered after the evangelism. That day he had heard the words which had drawn him to Christ. Kuldeep, was an immigrant to Mumbai from western India in search for a destiny in his business. On that day he found his eternal destiny in the salvation message of the Cross of Christ. It’s always amazing to see a childlike appetite of a previously religious hindu man after he gets saved and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. You could not have one rap session in the town which he would not attend.

    Just a few months later there were some major bomb blasts in the city of Mumbai. One of the blasts happened right at the workplace of Kuldeep where just fifteen minutes earlier he was havin 

    g tea with a relative. Kuldeep had rushed after the first tea in order to attend the rap, but his friend stayed for the second cup of tea, alas the last one in his life before he died in the blasts. We all worshipped the Lord in the realization of immanence of eternity and grace we have received in salvation.Some months later he disappeared never to meet us again. We could not trace our brother, he is lost. Yet we know he is not lost to God. He got saved. Saved from the blasts, saved from eternal fire, saved from being lost. Christ our Saviour – He saves.


  • Hallelujah, The Grace Reigns!

     

    Greetings from the Greater Grace Church in Navi Mumbai. We rejoice at the thought that the plan of God connects you and us as living stones of the house of God. We are blessed to be a part of the same mission as you are – taking the gospel of grace to the land where God has sent us.  Adam was charged to be fruitful and multiply, so was Noah, children of Israel, Jews in captivity, and eventually the Church. God’s plan has always been centered around the multiplication of His grace through the length, width, height and depth of love (Ephesians 3:18).  Romans 5:17 speaks about the grace that reigns much more through the One Man – Jesus Christ. In missions we see the work of God’s grace touching lives and reigning in the sin laden world. It is not a work of man; it is a mystery of God.

    Being sent out by God, out of a local assembly, into the field where God is turning a tiny seed into a fruit bearing plant, experiencing personal fruit of transformed lives and corporate revival of body life, it is a great privilege. In Hebrews 12:18,24, the author contrasts the old economy of the law as Mount Sinai and the economy of grace as Mount Zion. We haven’t come to the mountain that can be touched, yet no one could ever touch it. Rather our faith is such that appears un-touchable and yet we are touched over and over again. The man who tries to conform to some religious works has some things which may seem easy to define, yet impossible to attain. But we have Christ, in whom we fellowship with grace and the mystery of God and we are touched and we touch others with it. We don’t claim to fully understand it, yet we carry it in us. Transformed lives and discipleship of grace are the missionary’s privilege.

    We are enjoying the reign of Grace. We sense the shout of “hallelujah’s” in our hearts. Church planting is the mystery of God, a grace adventure and a unique fellowship. It is so rewarding. We continue to experience, the “Lo, I will be with you….” every passing week. God has a series of victories in every steps. Our battles are fought from the place of the finished work victory.

     

    Navi Mumbai is a city of 20 million people, ever growing in its immigrating population and ever adding new signatures of landmarks. We are believing that God wants to use us to have an impact. There are the busy business executives with identity cards hanging around the necks during their luncheons, and also the factory workers coming out of shifts in huge industrial areas, and the pockets of villages with men sitting in traditional white Marathi caps and also young irresponsible ‘taporis’ with hardly any sense of ethics loitering in street-corners. We count it an honour to minister them the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have seen that behind those faces are hidden real stories of sin and failure – of irresponsible men, deceived youngsters, breaking relationships, unquenching religion, irresistible habits, unhealed diseases and many more. We have a mission from God. It is simpler than we could imagine. Bible college, outreaches, rap sessions, prayer, worship – these never get old – these minister to every group of people. God becomes real to some of these people as they watch us do those things by faith as a lifestyle. We don’t understand the economy, but it happens. We are always telling stories – stories of God being real – stories of salvation, bible school, missions, home base, our pastors and missionaries. Some seem to get it – they get saved, or maybe healed. God shows to be real in some of these lives. Grace reigns. We get bolder.

     

     Recently, we met a young man while we were handing out tracts in the streets of Vashi. He got married a year back and two months later lost his wife, mother and father in a car accident. He himself suffered multiple organ failures, but after a brief spell of discouragement he received healings physically and emotionally. This man shared his testimony in the Church. He believes God has given him a new life and he desires to be walking in the perfect will of God in his remaining years. He has enrolled for his first ever Bible school semester just this week. As we heard the story of his faith, we had moist eyes and burning hearts. The grace message is a life transforming message. We let it flow, we sing, “Hallelujah, grace reigns!”

    Thank you for praying for us, thank you for being connected, thank you for singing with us. Gob bless!

    – P. Devendra Pandey 


  • Grace Refreshment & Revival from May’11 conference

    May 5-8, 2011 was a time of spiritual refreshment. We felt like we have been drenched by a shower of love, grace & mercy of God. Pastor Thomas Schaller brought in various profound messages and a rich time of fellowship and wisdom. The 4 days with the man of God and many other men of God from across the country and abroad may be used by God in our personal lives spiritually and in our ministry for the coming year. We have a fresh expectation from God and a deeper sense of brokenness and appreciation of the Body of Christ. Some key statements / messages :

    • One in Thousand – Job 33:14-33 – There are very few preaching the gospel of grace. God is working in the lives of people often as you continue being the one in thousand.
    • Unforgiveness in someone’s life may mean losing the power of God. eg. Saul
    • The lame (weak, undeserving) will have the prey. Wow! I see myself in that verse.
    • Jesus has long arms – goes deep into heaven and deep into our hearts. He touches God and touches us. What a Saviour. (Heb 4:13-16)
    • When God suggests stripping us off something, we submit and obey (Jesus, Job) rather than complaint and rebel (Lucifer) – Book of Job
    • 1 Samuel 1-3 God allows reproach in a believer’s life to teach us to stand with a heavenly burden in the middle of a personal crisis.
    • Radical grace produces radical change.
    • Grace contradicts morality.
    • Grace of God could deal with deceitfulness of Jacob but not with the bitterness of Esau. Let’s live a life before God free of unforgiving and bitter spirit and tongue.
    • Brokenness is a constant sense of my need for spiritual repair from God. It opens us and gives us an authority to minister to others.
    • Hebrews 1:9 We can truly love the garden (righteousness), only if we hate the weeds (sin).
    • Our outer man Aaron who talks and sometimes even gets involved in making calves has no real authority. Moses, the inner man has genuine authority. Let’s be occupied with the inner man.
    • Living in the sanctuary of God is the key to our ministry. Because Jesus entered the sanctuary (Hebrews 9), we can also. Psalm 27, 73. At the sanctuary, we see the beauty of God, not the filth of man.
    • We go to out pulpits not to correct people, but believing that they are already correct and we speak to help their joy in God.
    • All things (really ALL) work together (synergise) for good for all who….. (every believer). Amen

    Ordinations on Sunday Morning :

    On Sunday 8th May 2011, Greater Grace Church, Andheri, Mumbai ordained four of their pastors as ministers of the gospel affirming their call, skills, beliefs, and maturity to become the pastor of a church. Traditionally, Ordination is the process to validate God’s will for a fully qualified man to serve God and His people. Greater Grace Churches in India are affiliated to the world wide ministry called Greater Grace World Outreach (www.ggwo.org). Greater Grace World Outreach is a ministry that believes in the eternal purpose of God to glorify Him through making disciples and evangelizing the lost. God has been faithful to give them 487 churches in 69 countries since 1975. The vision is to plant churches in every country of the world, along with Bible schools and Christian schools with the purpose of training nationals.

     

    The laying on of hands (ordination ceremony) is a symbolic gesture of setting aside a person for the service of God and it is a symbolic gesture for identification. Often in the New Testament the ordination was used to appoint elders (pastors) and deacons in the New Testament Churches. In Acts 13:3 “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”   Here we see Paul and Barnabas are ordained so that they could go on their mission trips starting new churches.

     

    What we understand about the men who were ordained to be a pastor was that he met each qualification found in 1 Timothy 3: 1-7 and Titus 1: 5- 9. When reading the Pastoral Epistles ( 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) one will learn that the pastor was a student of Bible doctrine. 

     

    The ordination service was led by Pastor Thomas Schaller, the Senior Pastor of Greater Grace World Outreach, an accomplished missionary with influence over Churches, pastors, leaders and communities in many countries in Asia, Europe, America and Africa. In the message leading to the ordination charge, he preached a message from the Bible about man’s need for Bible to get an answer for His life from Philippians 3:10. He expressed the resolve of Paul to count every strength of his personality as useless before experiencing the excellency of the personal knowledge of Christ. Truly our knowledge of God must go from our head to the heart so that we may forget our past, run forward and experience God’s power, wisdom and mystery not just a religion which is man-made. Pastor Schaller was assisted by Pastor Karl Silva of Mumbai and Pastor Drew Wilchek of Tennessee, USA. The ceremony was attended by about 300 visitors and missionaries from India, Nepal, Ireland & USA including a renowned Indian Greater Grace Pastor from Bangalore, Pastor Brian Coelho.

     

    The men ordained at the ceremony are (from left to right in the picture) Pastor Devendra Pandey (Navi Mumbai), Pastor Atul Haksar (Andheri), Pastor Binu Zachariah (Navi Mumbai) and Pastor Shekhar V. M. (Borivali). Please continue to pray for these men and their ministry that they will raise up a new group of disciples under them according to the mandate of the Bible. May our Lord get the glory in all things!


  • Grace Adventures – On the rock that is higher than us!

    As we progress in our second year on this mission field, we are overwhelmed by what God has been doing amongst us. The Church has been growing; the Bible college registrations this semester have increased. This Sunday we saw our largest attendance until now. The hallmark of our week is a Bible class we have open air in the park under large halogen lamps, a group of 12-14 making a circle and discussing radical things from the Word of God. The sight is amazingly ministering to the hearts, because we do not understand how, but God does raise up His disciples everywhere.

    In our services we are hearing fresh Rhemas from the Holy Spirit about Grace of God, as if we are being flooded by grace in our lives. It’s amazing to see when grace is not just a theological concept, but becomes personal experience and a healing balm in someone’s life. One man I know who was ready to pack his bags and leave the Father’s house has found fresh excitement in his walk with God because of hearing the sound of grace. I always love to imagine the sounds of celebrations in Luke 15 story of prodigal’s return. I want to learn to enjoy those sounds wherever.

    It is also exciting to lift up our eyes unto the fields and get shine in the eyes because of the burden of the Lord. Being a missionary gives an amazing appreciation of the needs human souls and families have. It also brings us closer to Satan’s work of blinding people’s eyes. How precious the souls are. Death is real. Spiritual warfare is real. Darkness is real. And in the midst of all this, Jesus is real and salvation is real. Wow Lord, what a mission!

    Just a few weeks back on Sunday evening we visited a 60 yr old man on his deathbed due to reappearance of a throat cancer. We prayed for him while he slept out of sheer exhaustion and only thing he could do was raise his hand when we said Amen. A few months back this man had visited our Church once after his successful cancer surgery of the throat. Our associate pastor Binu Zachariah had visited him just before he was taken into Operation Theater and shared the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. The final set of words this man had spoken before the surgery took his voice away was the salvation prayer. After my visit that week, early morning of Monday we received the news of the man passing away into eternity. Our hearts have been moved and eyes have been shining with tears about the grace of God touching the man timely enough.

    Just a month back another of our senior brothers in the Church passed away in hospital due to a stroke while we were just 20 minutes away trying to see him a last time. We missed him, we regretted. But God doesn’t miss people. He is on time. He passed into the presence of God into everlasting peace. Pastor Schaller’s recent message on three loafs and remembrances from European missions were encouraging. We learn to live with eyes shining with tears for the field. May we see the plentiful harvest.

    Our prayer is, “Lord, lead us to the Rock higher than us.” (Psalm 61:2)

    God bless you all. Don’t hesitate in following Him. It’s awesome.