Pastor's Corner - January 2023
New Year's Resolution
Dear family and friends of FPC,
Happy New Year! I hope you are having an exciting and hope-filled beginning of the year 2023. I wish and pray for God’s best to you and your loved ones all through this year.
Do you have a new year’s resolution? If you have one, I would be happy to hear from you. Perhaps, we can pray and encourage one another to keep up with our resolutions. In case, you have not made a resolution yet for this year, here is a recommendation for you from the Bible: Love one another.
Jesus said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another…. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35). According to our Lord Jesus Christ, love is the distinguishing mark of a Christian. Jesus said that others will know that we are Christians only by our love. Jesus was not ‘suggesting’ that we have feelings of love towards others. Instead, he has given us a ‘charge’ (commandment) to show our love for others through our actions, just as he demonstrated his love in action. Here are some of the ways that the Bible teaches us to show love in action:
1. Be Kind: In I Corinthians 13:4, Paul writes that love is patient and kind. Amidst our hectic schedule and busy life, we can still show love in action if we can be patient and kind with those we meet. Showing kindness can be as simple as giving a warm smile to a stranger or cheerfully greeting someone whom you come across. Generosity, compassion and forgiveness are also expressions of kindness. Think of ways in which you can show kindness to those around you this year.
2. Be Encouraging: In I Thessalonians 5:11, Paul asks the believers of the church in Thessalonica to “encourage one another and build one another up….” You can love others by encouraging them. In a world of cynicism and rudeness, a word of encouragement can make a lot of difference in others’ lives. When you encourage someone, you give them courage, support, and hope. You help them to keep moving forward through their trials. Think of the people you know, who would be blessed by your encouraging words. Try to encourage at least one person a day.
3. Be hospitable: Apostle Peter writes: “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 5:5). Being hospitable means to be welcoming. As we know, people who are already inside do not need welcome. It is the outsider or the “other” who needs to be welcomed. Jesus welcomed the Samaritans, dined with the tax collectors, touched the lepers, and honored women and children. In our context, being hospitable means to accept people irrespective of their race, gender, skin-color, religious and political views, and treat them with kindness and respect. Identify those who are treated as the other in our society, and extend your hospitality to them with Christ's love.
4. Pray: James 5:16 reads, “pray for one another….” Lifting our friends and others before God in prayer is an act of love. It shows that we care about their needs, and desire the best from God for them. Spend a few minutes every day and say a prayer for those in our church, community and around the world who are facing challenges.
I hope you will make “loving one another” as one of your new year’s resolution. Give it a try. Show that you are a Christian by your love.
In Christ's love,
Rev. Vinod I. Gnanaraj
Witnessing to our Faith
Exercising our Faith through Proclamation
About Our Pastor
Rev. Vinod Immanuel Gnanaraj is the installed pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Caledonia. He perceives his pastoral ministry as a calling to build communities of faith in Jesus Christ and help Christians of all age groups to live out the gospel of Christ in the community.
Prior to becoming the pastor of this church, Vinod served for over two decades in several ministerial settings including Hospital Chaplaincy, Youth and Children’s ministry, Administration of Christian Mission Organization, Teaching Faculty of Theological Seminary, and Pastoral Ministry in India and the USA.
During his free time, Vinod loves to meet people, learn about history and culture, visit historical places, enjoy great food, listen to contemporary Christian music, and spend time with his family. He has a Master’s degree in Accountancy, Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Theology (specializing in pastoral counseling), and is pursuing a PhD in Pastoral Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.