India Update #3

Well, we’ve arrived in Visakhapatnam, which I’ve learned is Visag (why-zag) for short.

The conference starts tomorrow, and Yesupadam, the leader of Love-N-Care is expecting around 200 pastors and worship leaders. Probably a little over half will know English to some degree. Fortunately, someone will be translating what I say into Telugu, the native language.

I stopped by a prayer meeting shortly after we arrived and got my first taste of Indian corporate worship with about 25 young men who are in a training school. I had no idea what they were singing but it was loud, it was enthusiastic, and it was accompanied by loud drums. I learned later that they have also translated a few English songs into Telugu.

You might be wondering how a 51 year old white guy from Maryland is going to connect with a group of Christian pastors in India. You know, I’ve had the same question. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit, working through His Word.

I plan to start tomorrow talking about What is Worship. It doesn’t matter what country we’re from, we need to understand what worship is from God’s perspective. From there I plan to talk about Why Do We Sing, What Do We Sing, and How Do We Sing. In the last message I hope to work out practical ways that these pastors, many from poor and remote rural areas, can use music to encourage their people in exalting God and to bring much glory to our Savior in their daily lives. Tha’ts the plan, anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another quote before I go. This is from The Cross He Bore, by Frederick S. Leahy, published by Banner of Truth Trust.

There is an error to avoid, the danger of seeing the loving obedience of Christ as primarily and exclusively for the sake of man, when, in fact, it was primarily out of love for God that he accepted the cross (Heb. 10:7). Dr. Geerhardus Vos stresses that our Lord’s Messiahship was "absolutely God-centered." "Jesus," says Vos, "accepted the cross out of a motive of love for God even more than, and before He accepted it because of His love for man…In dying, as in all else He did, He hallowed God’s name." This is a truth too often overlooked, and it in no way detracts from the wonder that Christ loves each one of his people with all of his love.

I’ve heard it said that Jesus died on the cross because he would "rather die than live without us," and that the cross shows how much we’re worth to God. While I can understand the motive behind these and similar thoughts (that the cross demonstrates God’s profound love for us, which it does), they tend to obscure where our focus should be. If thinking about the cross leads me to think more about myself, I’ve missed the point. Jesus died to uphold His Father’s justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:21-26). My sins alone required the death of the Son of God. The reason Jesus confidently endured the cross was not ultimately because of His love for US, but because of His love for His Father and His zeal to uphold His glory. The cross sets us free from constant self-love to passionately love the One Who created, sustains, and redeemed us.

May the cross of Christ amaze you, astound you, and continually awaken your soul to the infinite mercies of our great God.

4 Responses to India Update #3

  1. Marvin Hadenfeldt March 7, 2006 at 11:31 AM #

    Amen amen amen. Not only His love for God, but also His obedience to the Father. This is why I have a little problem with the song “Above All”. Jesus is above all, amen. But, when He took the fall, He wasn’t thinking of me above all, He was thinking of the Father. Thank you for the thoughts. God bless your work in India.

  2. Susan Kuruvilla March 7, 2006 at 8:17 PM #

    How exciting to hear you are India,the counrty I was born in.
    I love India and I thank God for people like you who He is using . May God get much glory thrpough your time there.

    We attend North Hills community church in Greenville,SC and I stumbled on to your church website. We are blessed each sunday as we sing many of your songs in worship. Having grown up in India in a traditional christian home.
    I sang only Hymns ,but God has used the powerful worship songs to convict and change my heart and my hearts desire is to worship my Savior with all that is within me.
    I will be praying for you.

  3. Allan Sherer March 8, 2006 at 8:14 AM #

    Praying for you, brother!!!

    May you experience a new and unusual unction to preach and an awareness of God’s presence with you, His heart for His own glory, and His love for His people there.

    Not for your sake, but for the sake of His glory!!!

    Amen!!

    –Allan

  4. Jeff Wilson March 19, 2006 at 10:02 AM #

    Bob, you are truly blessed as are the people you are ministering to. When I firstr went to India in 1997 I was amazed at their corporate worship. It was very loud and in the tongue of mallypally(sic). I understood none of what they were singing, but the ferverent love for the Saviour came through. I could close my eyes and I was in the presence of the Lord! God Bless.

    Jeff Wilson

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