THE SEE-SAW BATTLE LIKE WE HAVE NEVER SEEN – Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo on the heart-stopping World Cup Final 2019 / England V New Zealand on 14 July 2019 in the Lords Cricket Ground London

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Life is like a see-saw game. Perhaps there was no better see-saw game than the 2019 World Cup Final. England and New Zealand played the World’s greatest ever One Day International – an incredible sine-curve game. Vic Marks wrote this about this game: “This was the most astonishing, fortuitous, preposterous climax to any cricket match I’ve witnessed, let alone a World Cup final.” He was right.

For some time, England seemed to win. During some other times, New Zealand seemed to win. New Zealand created pressure. England got out of it. Repeat. Till your heart-beat almost stops.

When New Zealand won the toss and batted first, it looked like New Zealand had the upper hand. Nicholls and Williamson were going great with their team at 103 for 1 in the 23rd Over. That’s when one of seemingly innocuous delivery of Liam Plunkett caught the faintest of edges of Williamson’s bat. He was out caught behind. The captain who had scored the most runs in a World Cup edition was gone. If this duo had continued a score of 300 was a possibility. But they ended by at 241 – thanks to Jofra Archer’s superb death bowling. His last two overs went like this: 111000110111. Advantage England.

When England chased 242, New Zealand kept creating pressure. If-he-bats-till-twenty-overs-then-game-over Jason Roy got out. Out-of-sorts Joe Root got out. Not-the-usual-self Jonny Baristow got out. Maximum-sixes-in-a-single-ODI Eion Morgan got out. At 4 for 86 in the 24th Over, England were in serious trouble. Advantage New Zealand, now. That’s when Jos Buttler joined Ben Stokes. Their 100-plus stand threatened to take the game away from New Zealand. The blue-eyed Buttler was giving the Blackcaps the blues! But in the 45 over Lockie Ferguson struck. He had Buttler spoon a catch. New Zealand were back in the game. Advantage New Zealand. When England needed 22 off nine balls they were in a similar situation like India were in the semi-finals with Dhoni on strike. Like Dhoni did, Stokes hit the ball in the air. Let Akash Sarkar take over: “As the equation slipped to 22 off 9, Stokes slammed one Neesham delivery wide of long-on. Trent Boult settled under it and took a clean catch. There was more drama though as the pacer then took a step back and stepped on the rope to give England crucial six more. In hindsight, the game was lost there by the visitors.” Advantage England, now. In the final over with 9 runs needed off 4 balls, Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep deflected of Stokes’ bat (without Stokes deliberately doing the deflecting so much so the English fans named the event the “The Bat of God” after Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal versus England in a Football World Cup). The ball went to the boundary. Umpire Dharmasena signaled a 6. 2 runs plus 4 for overthrows. Advantage England there. With 3 needed of 2, Trent Boult and the nerveless Kiwis pushed the game to a SuperOver – thanks to some nerveless boundary riding. In the Super Over, with England making 15 runs – thanks to a boundary each by Buttler and Stokes – New Zealand had to score 16 runs to win the game having scored lesser boundaries than England. England’s SuperOver bowler Jofra Archer (called Prophet Jofra as he had tweeted 16 off 6 via Twitter way back in 2014) started with a wide and conceded an early six to Jimmy Neesham. It is now 7 off 4 for New Zealand. Not tough to do. Advantage New Zealand. Later it was 5 off 3. Neesham could not hit a six and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball. He managed a two. It was 3 of 2, now. Neesham could not hit a four and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball.  In the penultimate ball, Neesham takes a single and puts Guptill on strike for the last ball. Yes, Jofra Archer pulled things back after a poor start and brought it down to 2 off 1 ball. Martin Guptill instead of swinging for the hills, tried to work it around. Though the throw from Jason Roy was not accurate Jos Buttler collected the ball and whipped the bails without wasting time to catch the man who caught Dhoni out of his crease in the Semis, Guptill, outside his crease. The Cup was England’s. For the first time! The greatest ODI had come to an end.

Ups and downs – are not just part of the Greatest ODI – but also our lives. It was part of Apostle Paul’s life. He writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12). In the same chapter we read of a minister of the Gospel being killed and another minister of the Gospel rescued from certain death. I am talking about Acts 12. I am talking about James (dead) and Peter (rescued) here. Some women received back their dead in Hebrews 11. Some were sawed/cut with sharp metal into two in Hebrews 11. Glamour and Gloom were pinned together in one Bible chapter. Yes, highs and lows can be joined together, inter-twined together in one life, no matter how dedicated for the Lord that life is. Ask Job. Job 1 recorded the lows and Job 42 the highs.  There was a time when the lip-smacking grapes crowned the vines in Prophet Habakkuk’s garden. There was a time – just before the Babylonian invasion – that they were no grapes in his garden and the prophet felt gobsmacked (astonished) at what God allowed to happen to his children (Hab 3:17). But Habakkuk decided rejoice in God his Savior without batting an eyelid. That’s what ultimately matters.

There was a slip between the cup and the lip for Kane Williamson. So near, yet so far. One reason could have inexplicable duck and leave by Michael Santner when he faced the last ball of the New Zealand’s regular innings by Jofra Archer. This was the same guy who hit a last ball six for CSK in the 2019 IPL, mind you. Santner could have put bat on ball and picked up any run(s) that came by, who knows, the World Cup would be New Zealand’s! What a massive miss! John Bunyan wrote in the classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress, “Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven.” So we must have an A to Z commitment when it comes to Christian Commitment. A, for Abide (John 15:4 – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me) to Z for Zeal (Rom.  12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord). Unless we persevere – enabled by grace – we will perish. When we “keep ourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21) he will “keep us from falling and present us without fault in his glorious presence on that day” (Jude 24).

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Duke’s articles are hosted at http://www.dukewords.com. Watch Duke at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

 

 

THREE DUCKS IN THEIR BIGGEST ODI GAME & OUR “DUCK” WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION – Duke Jeyaraj brings out a spiritual truth from the Bible starting with an event from the World Cup Cricket Final 2015

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Andrew Ramsey wrote the following line about Brendon McCullum’s 3-ball duck in the World Cup Final 2015 versus Australia in Melbourne before 90,000 plus people: “If two successive air swings were not sufficient to alert McCullum to the peril that Starc posed, the third ensured the visiting captain’s World Cup Final batting memories will be brief, bitter and bereft of any contact between bat and ball.” Later in the New Zealand innings, two other batsmen, Corey Anderson (one time record holder for the fastest ODI hundred) and Luke Ronchi (whose ODI highest score is 170 runs) also recorded ducks. Three of the cleanest ball-strikers in the Kiwi line-up scored ducks in their biggest ever ODI game.

Ducks. Zeroes. These words reminds me of our score when we compare it with the score of God’s score when it comes to purity: it is nought. We have ALL sinned and fallen short of His glory, the Bible records (Rom. 3:23). In other words: we have a duck across our name when it comes to salvation. We can’t make it heaven with our merit. We cannot save ourselves through our effort. We cannot pull ourselves up with our own boot laces, can we? Our good morals are like filthy rags (like menstrual cloth) before God, Isaiah wrote. All our “g-o-o-d” minus “G-O-D” is just a 0 – a zero (as someone said). But there is only one who coverts that duck into a hundred. That’s Jesus, the God in flesh, the only one who never ever sinned, the one Mediator between God and Man. All one needs to be saved is to put one’s trust in this Jesus, who died for us on the Cross and arose, with a repentant heart (Luke 13:5; Rom. 10:9). Paul writes, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith…” (Eph 2:8). Would you come to Jesus to accept this free gift of salvation? Would you do it now?

(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is an engineer turned Doctor of Ministry graduate. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a inter-church, inter-organizational ministry to present-day people. Duke and his wife, Evangelin work for this ministry fulltime. This ministry is funded by those who are blessed by reading Duke’s writings and hearing his messages – all Indians. Find out more by liking www.facebook.com/googleduke).

WHEN SUPER-SMART KIWIS CRASH-LANDED INDIAN FLIGHT ‘DREAM-LINER WORLD CUP 2019’ / a Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo

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New Zealand (called Kiwis in the Cricketing World) crash-landed Indian flight, “Dream-Liner World Cup 2019” on 9-10 July 2019 ODI at Manchester, England.  Here are some life lessons/Bible lessons from that stunning defeat that India faced.

The first reason for India’s defeat was the shrewdness of Kiwi Captain Kane Williamson. When he arrived at the pitch following the cheap dismissal of Martin Guptill, he conducted a pitch assessment. He knew it was more of a 250 pitch than a 300 plus pitch. So he adjusted accordingly and instructed his team to play that way. That was why Ross Taylor was running twos instead of trying to hit sixes in the last few overs of the New Zealand innings. Jesus commanded us to be “shrewd as snakes” (Matt 10:16). We must be willing to start with points of interest of those we are sharing the Gospel with before we moving on to points of possible conflict (like the uniqueness of Jesus/day of judgment/eternal hell), as wise and shrewd Apostle Paul illustrated in his Gospel presentation in Athens (Acts 17).

Dropping Mohammed Shami, the man who kept picking up wickets whenever he got to play, including a hat-trick, was a huge blunder. He could have played instead of Y. Chahal. What’s wrong in going in with four fast bowlers and a spinner – your best five bowlers as per form – for a knockout game? There is no rule that for a balanced attack you need to have two spinners along with three spinners. Chahal leaked crucial runs (He gave 18 runs in a pathetic over). Kohli needed to be daringly different when it came to team selection. He could have even tried Mayank Agrawal  (who has not played a ODI for India, but is a solid player with the right technique) as the opener for the semis. Rahul could have batted at Number 4. Dinesh Karthick could have been dropped. It takes guts to hand a debut to a player in a World Cup SemiFinal, but that brave, hat-ke (different) decision would have given India the match. Spiritual Lesson: Be different. Joseph was not like his brothers. One brother slept with Father’s wife. Another with his daughter in law. But Joseph was different. He did not follow the crowd in doing wrong (Exodus 23:2). He became Prime Minister of Egypt. He became a picture of Jesus.

Rohit Sharma, India’s stand-out batsmen of the Cup, got an unplayable ball and got out for 1. But sitting in the balcony, he signaled to Jadeja during the dying moments of India’s chase. “You have strength. You can do it!” – he conveyed using goosebumps giving gestures. That was team spirit at its very best. Rohit should be given the responsibility of leading India in the 2023 World Cup/2020 T20 World Cup. Kohli cannot win you a Limited Overs tournament, unless something changes dramatically. Checkout his record for RCB, Bangalore. He became captain of RCB in 2013. He has not won an IPL Trophy till 2019. Check his record in the Champions Trophy 2017  and the 2019 World Cup. He lost both. Coming back to Rohit (He had the tears in his eyes when Dhoni got out. When was the last time you cried? Have you wept for the lost? Jeremiah wept for the people before he whipped them with words of scorching warning). You may have failed, but you can still motivate your team-mates, like Rohit did in the semifinal. Paul was a Team Player. The New Testament scholars talk about 60 people who were part of Paul’s team during his ministry. Are you part of a ministry team? Do you encourage your team members?kohli out

Virat Kohli’s poor run in knock-out ICC World-Stage ODI games continues – 9 (vs Pak in 2011 Cup Semis); 1 (vs Aus in 2015 Cup Semis); 5 (vs Pak in Champions Trophy Final 2017); 1 (vs NZ in World Cup Semis 2019). When the stakes get higher, the super-star should be at his very best. When the important moment comes, you must be incredible! The Kohli tactic of playing the Semis as another game failed. When Rohit got out, Kohli should have defended as if his life depended on it like Dinesh Karthik later would at the start of his innings. Once he was set, he should have gone for his shots. Kohli should have ‘surrendered to the needs of the team situation’ instead of playing his natural game. The purpose for which He came to the World Cup – to win it – was defeated when he played his natural game (He did the same in the 2015 World Cup Semis too, when he top edged a pull/hook, a needless aggressive shot at that time). When the important moment of his life came – the time to die for the sake of the sins of the world – Jesus prayed. He stayed in touch with His Father. He yielded to the will of his father. While all others failed – his disciples ran helter-skelter – he did not. He fulfilled the purpose for which he came by focusing on what he came to do through the discipline of prayer!

Young Rishabh Pant got out, having got worked up for no reason. After four dot balls, he goes for an irresponsible shot only to be caught. He and Pandya were going well. Instead of ensuring the match went to his pocket, he sends a rocket because of four continuous dot balls, he was forced to play. Lesson: Don’t fret. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Cast your burdens onto Jesus. Then the peace that passes all understanding will be yours. The 21-year old Pant missed the opportunity of a lifetime to take India to a win in this semi-final. Do not spend the strength of your youth on sinful living but make your one life count for Jesus. It was a privilege for me to start a ministry at the age of 31 and quit my job with an international bank at the age of 34 to do fulltime ministry with the organisation I started. I have no regrets.pandya out

Hardik Pandya who lectured Pant with his eyes when Pant got out, got out in similar fashion – sending a rocket into the heavens which fell into safe hands of the New Zealand Captain, Kane Williamson. Practice what you preach. Don’t be like the Pharisees. Be like Jesus. He spoke about prayer’s importance in Gethsemane to his inner three and prayed right after.

Dhoni should have showed more intent (same old story). He does not have to wait till the 49th over first ball to hit a six. He consumed 20 dot balls in his partnership with Jadeja (who played one of best ever innings by a No. 8 batsmen in a World Cup knockout game hitting four 4s and four 6s). Don’t be a spectator when your partner is spectacular. That was Dhoni’s sin. Don’t be spectator to your pastor’s ministry in the local church. The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:9). You are a priest unto God as a New Testament believer.  Get involved in God’s Work! Give a tract! Pray for the sick! Lead a Bible Study! Care for the needy and sign out by sharing the Goodnews! Be a church volunteer! Do something for Jesus in the one life you have moved by his love!

Dhoni took six singles in the few balls before Jadeja holed out because of the compulsions of a climbing run-rate. Why did Dhoni not try to hit a six or a boundary, even before? Was he afraid of getting out? Why did he have to wait for Jadeja to all the hitting? Sambit Bal wrote, “From 71 for 5 and then 92 for 6, India would have sunk rapidly without Dhoni’s steadying hand, and yet, despite the 59-ball 77 from Jadeja, the run rate had mounted to over 15 when Jadeja was dismissed. To that 116-partnership, Dhoni had contributed 32 off 45 balls with 20 dots. Without him, the chase would have been dead long before but the question that will linger is: did he also make it nearly unachievable?” I agree with him. It was Dhoni’s tortoise-approach/no-big-shots approach that forced Hardik Pandya to go for the big one, only to be caught. Who knows what would have happened if Pandya – who hit a 90 plus off 30 plus in the IPL 2019  – had batted till the end? Don’t procrastinate. Don’t postpone matters. It leads to defeat. It leads to peril. Don’t procrastinate your salvation decision. Here’s why: You can die anytime (think of Absalom/Ahab) and after death there is no chance of salvation (Heb. 9:27). Jesus will come like thief in the night. After Jesus comes again, there is no chance of salvation. He is Savior today and judge tomorrow. The Holy Spirit may stop speaking to stubborn you (Gen. 6:3). After that, you can’t get saved. So come now. Serve Jesus now. When you get old even lavatory journey is troublesome (Eccl. 12). What missionary journey will you do? Now is the time to let it rip for Jesus.6 FIELDERS

When Dhoni got out in the 49th over, there were six fielders outside the 30 yard circle. The Rule Book says only five are allowed between Overs 41 through 50. The Umpires missed it. A big blunder. Ideally, a no-ball should have been signaled when the moment the ball was delivered. That would have given Dhoni enough time to hit the ball high in the air – as high as possible – and run for a two comfortably or try for another six without the fear of getting out (which he had through the tournament, the major reason for his go-slow approach). But Dhoni returned for a risky second run and Guptill’s throw hit the stumps. Human errors keep happening on this side of eternity. These result in cases of injustice. All justice matters will be sorted out on the final day of judgment when Jesus will be the judge. We need to wait till that day. Will there be justice, ever, you ask? Yes, there will be justice on the final day of judgment.

Martin Guptill failed with the bat, but his bulls-eye throw in the 49th over to run out Dhoni got New Zealand to the Cup final – we can say that. You may have sinned against the Lord. You may committed an unprintable sin. Repent of it. Come to Jesus. Ask for the cleansing of His blood. And with the help of the Spirit live a holy life (Rom. 8:13). By having an accountability friend you can consistently beat temptation (think of David-Nathan). You don’t have to keep goofing up. You can be a victorious Christian!11jadeja1

Jadeja got a bit carried away with his celebrations post his fifty. He gestured to Commentator Sanjay Manjrekar in a way asking what happened to his views that he was only a bits and pieces player who did not deserve to be in the Indian Team XI. If he had focused on the unfinished task, the task of taking India to a win that would have been great. The unfinished task of evangelism remains before the church. Let us quit fighting over silly matters (I am not talking about fighting salvation-affecting false doctrine here). Let those involved in the ministry not get into ego clashes. Let’s get on with the unfinished task of World Evangelism (North India remains the World’s most populated un-evangelized stretch).

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a listener-supported Indian ministry. Duke has written a Bible Devo on each of India’s games in the 2019 World Cup in England which you can read at http://www.dukewords.com. Find out more about Duke’s ministry at www.dukev.org).

THE ROHIT HAND SIGNAL FROM THE BALCONY; THE JESUS HAND STRETCH FROM CALVARY! India-New Zealand World Cup 2019 Semifinals – a poem by Duke Jeyaraj with a message at the end)

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rohit hand gesture

A quick assessment of the pitch the incoming Kane Williamson made, as soon as Guptill got out

Plans for a 250 plus score rather than a 300 plus score,  began to immediately sprout,

The Kiwis ran furious 2s instead of going for big shots to reach 239 to set up a tantalizing bout,

Rohit, Kohli, KL and DK  went and the Indian were starting at a definite, by-New Zealand, semis rout,

Before Youngguns Pant and Pandya a way out from the Certain Defeat cave they fiercely cut,

Impatient Pant after four dot balls skied a shot only to be caught – why did play that shot, but?

After Pandya perished Jadeja’s  lusty, valiant blows ended India’s boundary drought!

But Dhoni’s go-slow now, acceleration later approach made the required run-rate stout!

44 off 26 to win with two set batsmen in at one point – India were very much in the game then, no doubt!

Instead of going for 6s, Dhoni ran 6 singles in the next few balls & in-the-Dhoni-created-pressure, Jadeja holed out

As Dhoni hit a goosebumps giving six over backward-point in ball 49.1 – India’s World Cup dream did not yet logout!

Guptill ran-out Dhoni at a time when 6 fielders were outside the circle – a clear case of rule flout!

India’s collective heart-beat stopped as teary eyed Dhoni walked back towards his team’s hut!

“We are the team that crash-landed Flight No. ODI World Cup No.3 For India’ – that is now New Zealand’s deserving strut!

When Rohit Sharma, flexed muscles to signal the ‘Be Strong – You Can Take India To A Win’ to Jadeja & my heart did jut!

But did you know that Jesus stretched his arms and died, he signaled, ‘You have hope for the Salvation Door even for the worst ever sinner is not shut!’

Turn from sin and put your faith in the only God-in-flesh Jesus and you will find peace-amidst-the-storm in your gut!

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Check out www.purposespot.blogspot.com for similar write-ups. Read more of Duke’s writings at www.dukewords.com and watch his videos at www.youtube.com/visitduke).

13 RUNS IN TOTAL IN A FIVE-MATCH ODI SERIES TO 600 PLUS RUNS IN ONE WORLD CUP: THE COMPLETE TRANSFORMATION OF ROHIT SHARMA. CAN YOU BE TRANSFORMED? Duke Jeyaraj after India-Sri Lanka Game in the 2019 World Cup

rohit in world cup 2019 group stages

 

After India beat Sri Lanka in the final group game of the 2019 World Cup without breaking a sweat, riding on a nearly 190-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and K. L. Rahul to top the table and set up a World Cup Semi-Final meeting with fourth-placed New Zealand on 9 July 2019 (which also happens to be the day of the 18th wedding anniversary of Evan and I) – I hit the rewind button on Rohit Sharma’s career.

“How to cook maggi – boil with hot water ,add masala and wait until Rohit Sharma gets out..” That was a troll Tweet about Rohit during the days when consistency was far from him his pre-2013 career (he made his ODI debut for India in 2007). In a series in which he played 5 ODIs Vs Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, the year being 2012, he scored a grand total 13 runs in five innings (Read that again: 13 runs off five completed innings). His scores in the five games according to a NDTV 4 August 2012 post: 5-0-0-4-4. Bowled, bowled, LBW, LBW and bowled. A sarcastic tweet was put after his last dismissal: “No difference between Rohit Sharma’s legs and the stumps. Both don’t move unless hit by a ball.” It was a the lowest total score by a specialist batsmen in any ODI series ever!

Rohit Sharma, the man who once scored the least among of runs among specialist batsmen ever in a ODI series, is the present highest run-scorer with another possible two games to go in the 2019 World Cup. What a transformation! What a stupendous U-Turn! His series of scores in the 9 group games in the 2019 World Cup: “Against South Africa, Rohit led a tricky chase for India with an unbeaten 122 before scoring 57 against Australia. He then smashed 140 against Pakistan before missing out against Afghanistan and West Indies. He then smashed 102 against England, 104 against Bangladesh before scoring before scoring 103 against Sri Lanka” (as the India Today put it). As I write these lines, Rohit is likely to beat Sachin’s World record of 673 runs in a single ODI World Cup with two possible full innings to go!

In his interview to the media post the Sri Lanka game, Rohit Sharma talked about the secret for this totally amazing transformation: his family (his wife and little daughter) who help him stay away from thinking about his cricket exploits, his forever focus on the present… etc.

Do you want your life to be transformed completely in every sense of the word? Are you tired of your old life? Then you need Jesus. The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17).  A living daily relationship with Jesus will transform your life! That’s what the Bible teaches! Let the Holy Spirit fill you and your life will be changed. The Bible says in I Samuel 10:6 – “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man” (NASB). This Jesus transformed my life through his Spirit. Let me illustrate that with couple of incidents  from my School life.

I could not even say two lines on the stage when I was in school. The presence of some pretty girls in a school drama I was in made me super nervous. So nervous that I fluffed the lines I had to say that school drama. I went back home that day and told the Lord Jesus: “Never on stage for you, Lord!” But then the Lord Jesus filled me with his Holy Spirit. And I went back to the very same stage – a wooden stage in the Ida Scudder School – and preached a Gospel message for about 10 minutes (on 9 August 1991, as a 16 year old 12th grader). I preached without notes on the subject of Hell. There were about 500 people who listened to it – both students and teachers. A girl fainted at the end of that message. I have not stopped preaching hence forth. It was a miraculous transformation – a transformation that happened because of Jesus who died for me on the Cross and His gracious Spirit who fills me with spiritual gifts.

Would you give your life to Jesus? He can completely transform your life? Would you stay filled with the Holy Spirit? Your life will never be the same!

 

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry to present day people. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Read Duke’s articles here: www.dukewords.com. Watch Duke’s messages at www.youtube.com/visitduke. Follow Duke on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dukebook).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENGLAND’S SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY IN TWO MUST-WIN GAMES & OUR STRATEGY WHEN IT COMES TO SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH THE GOSPEL-IGNORANT / Duke Jeyaraj

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Sambit Bal writes these lines which express the clear-headed thinking that England had – a strategy that helped them beat both India (undefeated until that point in the Cup) and consistent New Zealand) in back to back, must-win games: “England’s first 20 overs against India brought 145 runs without a wicket. India managed 83 for 1 (in reply). England’s first 20 overs today brought them 133 runs for one wicket. New Zealand crumbled to 87 for 4 (in reply).” In other words, England are trying to play the first 20 overs of the 50 Over One Day International format like a T20 game! While other teams focus only on not losing wickets, England focused on not just losing wickets but also on not losing tempo. This strategy has given them two wins in two must-win games – no mean achievement as it has come in a World Cup at home, where there is huge pressure to perform!

Do you have strategy when it comes to sharing the Gospel with a friend from another faith? Apostle Paul had. In his presentation of the Gospel with Athens, he had this strategy: to go from what the audience knew and appreciated to what the audience did not know and may find offensive. So, he began with the appreciation of their religiosity in Acts 17:22 (not offensive) before he spoke about the audience’s need for repentance and preparation to face the coming the day of judgement in Acts 17:30-31 (offensive). With this strategy in mind, Apostle Paul quoted from a secular, non-biblical poet they were familiar with in Acts 17:28 (not offensive) before he made plain the Bible Truth about the need for repentance and a preparedness for the day of judgement in Acts 17:30-31 (offensive). Paul perhaps learnt this approach from his Lord Jesus who first talked about thirst with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:7 (not offensive), before he talked about her five failed marriages and her present live-in relationships in John 4:16-18  (offensive).

Find something to genuinely appreciate in the person you are sharing the Gospel with. Or talk about what the person you are sharing the Gospel with is already interested in (may be movies, music or sports). You may have to do the home-work of reading-up on those topics of interest to those you are sharing the Good News with. Don’t mind that sweat. You may also talk about the fact that God loves the person. This fact most people appreciate in this love-starved world. “You were in the mind of God, before you even entered the womb of your mother! That is what the Bible says in Ephesians 1 and Psalm 139” – that’s one possible line in the Genesis of your evangelistic conversation with that Gospel-ignorant person. But in the Revelation of your Gospel presentation there should be a clear mention of repentance, uniqueness of Jesus, and eternal hell. While talking about hell, do not use “You”, but use “We” instead. “If we reject Jesus the only way, then we will go to hell!” – that sounds better than, “If you reject Jesus, you will go to hell!” This is a big subject and I have just scratched the surface.

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a listener-supported ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Read more articles like this at www.dukewords.com).

“GRACE” WHICH GRATEFUL ROHIT SHARMA EXPERIENCED IN THE INDIA-BANGLADESH WORLD CUP 2019 GAME & HOW CUNNING HYPER-GRACE CULT TEACHERS CONFUSE BELIEVERS – Duke Jeyaraj

rohit dropped
In the India-Bangladesh ODI World Cup 2019 game on 2 July 2019 at Birmingham, Rohit Sharma, who was hailed by the great Virat Kohli as the greatest ever One Day player currently, got a life. When Rohit Sharma was batting on 9 runs when offered a “dolly of a catch”. The Bangladeshi fielder who got under it was Tamin Iqbal. But despite using both his hands, he dropped it. If I was on air giving commentary for that game I would have used one of my favorite commentary lines at that point which is this: “Even my mother-in-law could have caught that one!” Jokes apart, Rohit continued to thrive after that reprieve. He scored his fourth ton of the 2019 World Cup. His partnership of 180 with K.L. Rahul (another Rohit in the making, in my opinion, with the same classiness) had laid for India a solid foundation to score even a possible 400 when they batted first. It was not the first time that Rohit made India’s opponents pay for “giving him grace” by dropping the catches he offered them. One Twitter user put out this tweet immediately: “Dropped on 1 vs SA: Scored 122. Dropped on 2 vs AUS: Scored 57. Dropped on 4 vs ENG: Scored 104.” Yes, Rohit Sharma when shown grace responds with gratitude – the gratitude of accumulating runs for his team.

As believers we are saved by grace of our Lord Jesus who died for us on the Cross. But do we respond with gratitude for the grace that shown to us by exhibiting good works? Apostle Paul wrote some classic stuff in the book of Ephesians talking about this very thing. He wrote that God was “rich in mercy” towards us (Eph. 2:4). So, that is why we too ought to be “full of mercy” in our dealings with others as the proverbs in the New Testament, the book of James tells us (James 3:17). Over to Apostle Paul who makes this crystal clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
There is an unwarranted tirade going against “good works”/ “works of the law” – thanks to the efforts of the cunning preachers of the cultic hyper-grace movement. They know the Bible is clear when it calls believers who are saved by grace to do good works moved by gratitude (as it is evident from the passage above and several other passages such as Leviticus 11:45/Hosea 3/Zechariah 3:3-7/Titus 2:11-12/Titus 3:4-8/2 Timothy 1:9/Romans 6:4/I Thessalonians 2:13/4:3-5. In Chapter 5 of my book, Straight Talk On Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn and More, I explain this in greater detail). Despite knowing this, the hyper-grace cult teachers make a brazen attempt to confuse believers into believing that a believer should not be concerned about “works” because we are “saved by grace”. But a careful study of the New Testament reveals that “good works” of holiness and ministry and “works of the law” are vastly different. While both cannot save us, the Bible is clear we must do “good works” (moved by gratitude for the grace shown us) while only shunning the “works of the law”. What is this “works of the law”? The writer to the Hebrews explains they are the animal sacrifices, ceremonial laws of the Old Testament which we no longer need to break our heads with as Christ has offered the perfect sacrifice (Heb. 8:13 and I would recommend a full reading of the book). Even in the book of Hebrews we are told of the need to do the “good works” (of holiness). We read in the same book this: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4). This is just another way of repeated one of the 10 commandments which went this way: “Do not commit adultery.” So, the moral, non-ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are still binding on us, believers. We do not follow them to earn our salvation, but because we are saved, out of gratitude, we obey them! If we do not obey them, then as my Calvinist friends tell me, their Armenian friend this: “We must doubt if those who do not do the good works of holiness are really saved in the first place after reading passages such as I John 2:3-5!”

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Read Duke’s writings at www.dukewords.com.)