What does it mean to be a disciple?

One big question has been running through my mind over the past few months: “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?”. Is the measure of discipleship how much of the bible I know? implying “knowledge only” discipleship. Or does it mean more to be a disciple of Christ?

A closer look at the bible, especially the book of Acts gives us a look into the lives of the early disciples of Christ.  In their instance, discipleship was not just “knowledge only”, it touched every area of their lives. It shaped their world view, their relationships, how they perceived society, how they lived their lives, the choices that they made and so on.

It appears that discipleship goes beyond just “knowledge” of the bible. It is a lifestyle that aims to be like Christ. Jesus said in John 8:31, “….If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples”.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Gospel – The reality

I recently travelled to a country in the East and what really struck me was how deeply interwoven their cultural beliefs are with their day to day life. Their beliefs dictate who they got married to, how they got married, what they ate, the clothes they wore, their outlook to life, etc. Their beliefs were “heart deep”.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends culture and reaches beyond this present life. If we really take the Gospel to heart as believers, it should inform our choices, our worldview and our very existence.

Let’s make a conscious decision, today, that we’ll become “heart deep” disciples of Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit. That way, our faith will be evident to everyone around us.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

The Life Worth Living

What would your response be if I asked you the question, “What would make life worth living for you?”. You might say, “my life would be really worth living if I became famous and wealthy”. Another person might say, “my life would be worth living if it were problem-free”. The responses one would get to this question would vary depending on everyone’s personal circumstance and aspirations.

However, God has planned a life for every human being that is really worth living. He states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Let’s focus on God’s plan for our lives, so that we can really live the life that is worth living.

-Pastor Benson

Real Rest!

When I think of rest, what comes to my mind is a couple of weeks off from my busy schedule: not travelling from place to place and burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines. Just relaxing from the hustle and bustle of life.

The only challenge is that once this rest is over, I am back again into the treadmill of life and the cycle starts again.

However, I have come to realise that there is a kind of rest that I can maintain even when I am in the thick of the hustle and bustle of life. This rest is found in Christ. It is not just the physical rest, but rest in what Christ has done for me and in me. A rest that starts now and lasts forever. Hebrews 4:10 states: “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his”.

Let’s seek to enter the higher and long-lasting rest of God, in Christ Jesus.

Have a great month ahead.

– Pastor Benson

Happy New Year!

One of my new year resolutions a few years ago was to join a gym and begin the “healthy and fit lifestyle.” So, I enrolled at a local gym with my new gym gear. When I got to the gym, I noticed that it was really crowded, and I could hardly find a free training equipment. The training instructor, my gym tour guide at the time passed a comment which has stayed with me till this day. He said, “The Gym is usually full at this time of the year, January.  In March things would have evened out, as they’ll be fewer people”. He implied that most of the people in the gym at that time were mostly people who had made the “New Year’ resolution to be fit”, but they would slowly throw in the towel when the excitement had died down and they were faced with the mundane daily exercise schedule. Needless to say, I stopped attending the gym after a few times due to the rigour involved. I was one of “those New Years’ resolution people”.

The morale of my story is that we often make new years resolutions to study the bible more, pray more, ……. the list goes on and find out that we are not able to stick to our decisions and desires. This is often because we try to do it in our own strength. However, God states in the bible, in Zechariah 4:6, “…. Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty”. Let’s depend on the Holy Spirit to help us keep to our God centred new years resolution and I am sure, we won’t be like “those New Years resolution people” who give up after a few months.

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

Would you have chosen a manger?

If you had the opportunity to choose where you were born, what would your choice have been? Where would you have chosen? Jesus, being God had this choice. However, He chose to be born in a manger, not exactly the most convenient place.

We have been studying the book of Mathew in the bible and what I have seen constantly is that God’s view point is totally different from the popular world view. He did not prioritise some of the things that we would normally take to heart. Instead, He focused on fulfilling his mission, which was to obey God the Father at any cost and to redeem mankind from the clutch of Sin.

As the year finishes off, I think we should take time out to prioritise our goals and dreams for next year. However, let’s do it from God’s view point for our lives. As we do so, we can begin to enjoy eternal life from now. Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

Where has the year gone?

The year has gone by so quickly that I can hardly believe that it’s December next month. I feel as if it was just January yesterday. The bible verse, James 4:14 says“…. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”. This tells us that life goes by quicker than we can imagine.

With life so short, we should make a deliberate effort to fulfil our own quota in God’s plan for our generation. The bible verse, Mark 8:36 states, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” As believers, our primary focus should be to follow in the footsteps of Christ, to please him and to obey him.

Let’s make our lives count for Christ.

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

Relationships & Marriage

We are all relational in nature. Growing up as children we wanted to play with other children, as teenagers we often want to “belong”, at work we want to be part of a team so that we can contribute our own quota. At church, we love the yearly barbecue event: we can relax and really get to know one another. It appears that relationships are part of our DNA.

Relationships can have a huge impact on how our lives are shaped, particularly close friendships and marriage. This passage in the bible, 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  stresses the effect of friendships. In this case from a negative perspective. On the flip side, good friendships can strengthen and help us through difficult times. Proverbs 18:24b, states that “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  However, one relationship that can have the biggest impact on one’s life is the marriage relationship.

I’ll be doing a teaching series called “Relationships & Marriage” at CFT Bristol Church which will focus on pre-marital relationships, marriage and parent-children relationships. All from a biblical perspective.

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

The Holy Spirit

When Jesus told his disciples that He would be crucified and return to heaven, they were at a loss as to how they would cope without Him. He had been there to provide for them, heal their relatives, defend them against the harassment of the religious leaders. The list goes on. How would they survive. Jesus knew how they felt: they felt like orphans who would be abandoned.

Our Christian walk sometimes feels like that. We often wonder where Jesus is: we need help, we need direction, we want to make an impact in the life of others as Christians, we want to pray for people and see them healed. We want to be like Jesus.

The good news is that like the disciples of Jesus at that time, He made a promise to send someone who would take His place, when he left to return to heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit to take his place in the lives of the disciples. We also have the Holy Spirit with us, just as they did. The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always with us and lives in us. So, we are not alone in our walk of faith. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” – John 14:16.

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson

Decisions

I was speaking with someone a while ago about how the decisions we make in life determine where we end up. Looking back at my life, I can point to at least two decisions that I have made that changed the course of my life.

I believe God wants us to make decisions that will ensure we stay in His plan for our life. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favourite bible passages, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. However, the interesting thing is that God won’t force his plans on us. He expects us to depend on Him to make the right choices. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.

One instance that stands out for me in the bible about someone making a good, but not “God-based” decision was Lot. The bible says he made a fundamental decision about the direction his life should take based on his own personal assessment. Genesis 13:10-11 describes Lot’s decision-making process; “Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt….  So, Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.” The story of Lot was a really sad one. He lost everything that was dear to him as a result of this decision.

However, one good thing is that, in Christ, all the wrong decisions we have made in the past don’t have to derail us from God’s plan for us. If we begin to trust and depend on God, now, he can get us back on track. Romans 8:28, says, ”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Have a great month ahead.

-Pastor Benson