As I turned 45 today (31 Oct 2019) I looked back at my life with gratitude dividing it into nine equal parts (9 x 5 is forty five – is it not?):
The First five years: The SILENT Duke (1974-79): As a baby, my mom told me, that I never troubled her. I never passed urine in the wrong places (she may be exaggerating here😊). As my dad interpreted into Tamil for uncle Stanley in the Sunday evening meetings in the Blessing Youth Mission headquarters in Vellore I would scribble quietly and not make any noise sitting right in the front.
The Second Five years: The SCUDDER-SCHOOL JOINING DUKE (1980-84): We spoke Tamil at home and I spoke my first words in English in the world-famous Ida Scudder School where my parents joined me.
The Third Five years: The SAVED/SPIRIT-FILLED/SOLDIER-FOR-CHRIST-SIGNING-UP (1985-1989): I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior in the Ranipet CSI Church. Blessing Youth Mission held a special youth meeting there. Lionel uncle was the preacher. I was only 11. The most obvious change was the new found love for God’s Word – it was no longer a tablet I had to swallow. I began to devour the Bible. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and signed up to be a soldier for Christ (answered a call to become a missionary by uncle R. Stanley) in the Blesso 1988. As a first step in becoming a missionary, I started a fellowship in my colony called Friends for Jesus. I taught this small group of my peers the Bible the best way I knew how. I took them out for tract distribution and village outreach. We went to the nearby hills to pray and study the Bible. Some of the guys in this group are in fulltime ministry/some are serving the Lord as tent-makers using their profession.
The FOURTH Five years: SWAGGART-CRAZY/STARTING-TO-PREACH/SENT-TO-NORTH-INDIA-TO-STUDY-DUKE (1990-1994): My uncle, Mr. A. Gnanasekaran, gave our family a video tape of famed (then) evangelist Jimmy Swaggart then. And I converted that video tape into an audio tape. And listened to those messages so often that I knew one message of his by heart. The message was titled, HELL IS NO JOKE. When School Captain Shameen Prashantham asked me to preach in the Captains Assembly in Scudder on 9 August 1991 (I was 16 then) I preached on hell. One senior student – a girl – fainted after that message, my first ever from stage! One another student is now a fulltime apologist having found Christ following that message! It was an unusual baptism into preaching for a 16 year old! I joined Voohrees College in Vellore as I waited for the result of my B. Tech. application to Allahabad Agricultural Institute. We cleaned up an unused room in the college and ran prayer meetings there along with a young man named Emmanuel Paul (the present pastor a thriving church in Vellore). When I got into B. Sc. Chemistry course in the Madras Christian College, Chennai in the year 1992, my dad refused to give me permission to join. I wept. But this was God’s plan – I would later join the B. Tech Agri Engg course in Allahabad Agricultural Institute (now called SHIATS in March 1993). The next four years I did my best to be a witness for Jesus there by cycling into the city to give tracts, by leading small group Bible Studies, not only in my college but also in the near-by colleges. I gave tracts walking up and down the train in my Chennai-Allahabad journeys (this is something I still do). I preached in the college chapel. I took my first Bible Study on what the Bible Teaches about Sex sitting in the open ground near the Chemistry Department to a few fellow students. I also preached on the same topic in the chapel in a Student Christian Movement meeting following president Aju P. George’s invitation (he was my class-mate too). I had tears in my years when I prayed for the perishing in the Mango groves of our college. I launched my first magazine in the year 1994 (typed and xerox format). I would go to the city, check into a computer center and work on the magazine. Down the line, I would start a mag on my own (The Days of Your Youth) and see God take my writings to some of the leading Christian mags in the India (Aim/Light of Life). I was baptised in water by Rev. S. A. Sundarraj – one of my first preaching heros – on March 31, 1991. He also recommended to Southern Asia Bible College. In Agricultural Institute I was there in the home of the Dicksons every other day sipping coffee and receiving counsel. Uncle Silas who worked in the CMC hospital would take me to preach in the hostels in and around Vellore in this period. He would ask me to preach in English and would go on to interpret my message into Tamil. I was getting a first taste of traveling and preaching. Mrs. Hepsibha Pandian invited me to Thanjavur to preach shortly after I passed ISC 1992 exams. Annan Manivannan invited me to Dharwad, Karnataka, to speak to the students there in the same year (I was 17).
The FIFTH Five years: STUTTGART-VISITING, SABC-JOINING DUKE (1995-1999): My last day in Allahabad Agri Institute was on 31 August 1997 – the day Lady Diana died in a car crash – a story I used when I preached to the Sri Lankan Tamil Youth of the Living Word Missionary Church in Germany (I preached in Bottrop, Stuttgart, Bremen, and in other German towns) in April 1998. Wrapping Bible Truth around contemporary events like Jesus (Luke 13:1-5) became my passion. I worked briefly in Chennai for a couple of cell phone companies. I met the Evangelin Early Star, the pretty, ministry-involved missionary kid in Chennai in the Student for Jesus meetings in Nungambakkam again (She already made my heart skip a beat when we met earlier – in the BYM Missionary Kids Meet 1993 as a 18 year old). Pretty soon – in the year 1998 – I joined the M. Div. program of Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore (Yes, when I answered the altar call for fulltime missions as a 13-year old – I was dead serious!). I was elected class-rep in the second semester of the same year. My first year fees was paid by a professor couple. Thereafter I won full scholarships. My weekend ministry teaching God’s Word to the boys of the Bishop Cotton Boys School in the home of the couple Vincent (Sir) – Sheela (aunty). I also finished a M. A. in Christianity by traveling to Mysore University in this period, from time to time.
The SIXTH Five years: SHIFTING-ORGANISATIONS DUKE (2000-2004): After I graduated in Southern Asia Bible College (It was my God-given privilege that I became the Student Body President and the speaker-representative for the graduating class) in the year 2001 I joined Central AG Church in New Delhi as Youth Pastor and Central Bible College as Lecturer upon the kind invitation of Rev. Robert Jeyaraj. I wrote the first version of the Gospel tract for the Google Generation titled Bubbly Outside Yet Empty Inside so that the youth I pastored (they grew from 0 to 30 within months and Anupama Gummadi our present board member was there) could give them at Ansal Plaza, South Delhi. My wife and I journeyed to minister to the youth of the AG Kolkota in the same year – 2001 (Yes, by then, I had married Evangelin Early Star!). I later joined Blessing Youth Mission and we moved to Trivandrum to work under Uncle Arthur John. We memorably traveled from Trivandrum to New Jalpaiguri in North West Bengal to minister in a youth camp (a three-day travel). I started writing for Blessing magazine. I also got invited to interpret into English for Uncle Mohan C Lazarus’ God TV program. We moved to Jabalpur and worked under uncle E. L. Mathan Singh for the Blessing Youth Mission. It was obvious that I was shifting organisations because of a deep seated restlessness which signaled that I had not still found what I had to do with the one life I had!
The SEVENTH Five Years: THE SLEEPLESS/SHAPING G4 MISSION DUKE (2005-2009): Evan and I prayed and the Lord led us to move to a centrally-located big city so that from that city we could travel and touch the Google Generation India-wide. As Pastor Younus Samuel of the New Life AG Church (following Pastor Chaitanya’ recommendation) had already invited me to preach in Hyderabad as early as in 2002, Hyderabad was an obvious choice. We moved into the city by October end of 2005 from Jabalpur. Our son, Dale, turned two in a few days after we landed – on November 4, 2005. We met Bro. Christopher, the senior-to-us spiritual counselor in Hyderabad, about the same time. Franklin Eden, our board member now, visited our first ever office cum residence in the A. S. Rao Nagar area (Ashok Colony). I started working in call centers to support the new ministry I would launch called Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (Gehenna was the Greek word that Jesus used for hell – remember the first sermon I preached was also on hell?). I did night shifts those days. They days were literally sleepless ones. My dad, Mr. A. Jeyaraj, helped us register our organisation with the Government of India. A group of trustees with non-relatives also in it was set up. Silver Ramesh annan (formerly with State Bank of India) eventually became the senior-most trustee. Our daughter was born in 2007. During the call center days I ran prayer fellowships right inside the office building. By 2008, I quit my job with HSBC Global Resourcing. I could not travel and preach and manage a full-time night-shift job at the same time. My wife was constantly encouraging me to quit my job and do the ministry fulltime all along. From November 7, 2008, both of us became full-time workers with the organisation we ourselves started – G4 Mission. G4 Mission was an inter-church organisation from day 1 working to revive, revitalize existing churches/corporate-fellowships/para-church organisations. We did not have a goal of starting our own branch church or fellowship or representative group anywhere. When we did not travel for ministry we were at our local church – New Life Assembly of God Hyderabad (led by Rev. Arlene Stubbs). By this time, I also uploaded my first Youtube video. The restlessness was now gone. I was more at peace now. I felt that I was in the center of God’s will for me.
The EIGHTH Five Years: THE STUDYING-DOCTORAL-PROGRAM DUKE/STUDY OF THE WORD LEADING DUKE (2010-2014): Rev. Dr. Jacob Cherian, my beloved teacher at the Southern Asia Bible College, invited me to join the Doctoral program offered in Southern Asia Bible College as soon as I quit my HSBC Tent-maker job. I joined. One of my classmates was Rev. Dr. V. T. Abraham, the long-standing South India Assemblies of God General Superintendent and he became a father-like friend (Though my ministry was independent – I deliberately chose to around senior, seasoned folks who could speak into my life). I wrapped up the doctoral program by 2014 ably guided by Dr. David Balasingh (who was also my preaching teacher at SABC). The course fees was paid by the same professor couple who had sponsored my M. Div. Studies. I spoke in the graduation service again (an unique God-given honor). I conducted Bible Studies in the home of the Daniels in Somajiguda to small groups (inter-church and inter-generational). I summarized all the 66 books of the Bible by taking up the study of one book each month. The very names of the books were used as an acronym for its message. This process took seven years. Every February we had a special sex, love, marriage Bible Study (When Moses Gave Roses / Which J are you love with? / The Hottest Topic Study From the Bible’s Greatest Book (in terms of length) – some of the titles). Two of my sexual purity calling for Bible Plans on Youversion, the popular Bible App, have seen over a lakh completion. I preached in National Level events – Rev. Valson Varghese asked me to preach in the National Youth Convention of Assemblies of God twice with a focus on inner purity – and I did so in Chennai and Hyderabad.
The NINETH Five Years: THE STRAIGHT TALK BOOK PUBLISHING AND SOUND-DOCTRINE TEACHING DUKE (2015-2019): Once I completed my doctoral program, I was freer to travel and take up non-stop preaching invitations (It is a miracle they keep coming and I chose about 7 out of the 10 invitations I receive on average). I always ask the organisers to book my tickets and email them to me – this has been my practice from day 1. I endeavour to preach the truth without any fear when I get to the venue. And head straight back home to return to the work of writing which God has also called me to (I do this even when I am invited to speak overseas and I did this when I was in Dubai in August 2019). Word of Christ publishers decided to publish my book, Straight Talk (Bible Teaching wrapped around contemporary events on 40 hot topics from porn to petting; from masturbation to married sex) in 2018. This book was sold out by 2019. Eugene Pandian is our wow volunteer book cover/mag cover designer. Presently I am working on the updated version. Plans for other books are bubbling too: The Youth Chapters (messages from Bible Chapters where youth-related issues are addressed like Genesis 39) / The Book-Twisting Crooks (a book on modern false teachings such as hyper-grace, hyper-supernaturalism, etc) / The Sixty Six Fix (the message of the 66 Books of the Bible in a practical, memorable way – perhaps in a daily devotion format) / Sound Doctrine That Pumps Spiritual Adrenaline (All the major doctrines of the Bible put in a practical way in typical Duke-acronym style). Yes, I started a once-in-two months new Bible Study Series titled Sound Doctrine That Pumps Spiritual Adrenaline in 2016. This month (October 2019) we finished studying the 18th Bible Doctrine! We also do tract distribution every month outside corporate hubs, colleges, malls, metro stations, etc. We have done that from Feb 2006 when we started. As a small group we intercede for the nations, the nation, the Google Generation in an event called Fountain of Tears Against Mountain of Fears Fasting Prayer. These last five years it has been my joy to preach revival-spark-bringing messages on church pulpits across this nation as well as counsel youth people and young couples.With Sunny Karumanchi behind the video lens I started a Youtube series called Short Videos on Hot topics in this period.
And yes, we have miles to go before we sleep!
In October 2018, as an individual, I was ordained by the Assemblies of God of India. Our organisation, G4 Mission, continues to be financially-independent, inter-church and inter-organisational.
We are supported by Indians who believe in our vision of grabbing the Gehenna-going Google Gen via passionate pulpit preaching (replete with altar calls), contemporary-events wrapped, frank writing, warm counseling that tells people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear, fervent intercession, on-the-field tract distribution.
We file our IT return each year with the Government of India following an audit. This year (2019) was no different.
So that’s me – donkey carrying Jesus to the Google Generation in the one life I have! What will you do with the one life you have?