Edward Williams Kuntam was born and brought up in Andhra Pradesh where his parents Satyadas and Rajamma were good Christian lay persons in the Church of South India and Indian Pentecostal Church, Eluru. He has good memories of studying in CSI English Medium School, St. Xavier’s High School and Sir. C R Reddy College all at Eluru. After his completing BA in Economics and Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration with advertisement as specialization, Edward worked as marketing manager for a cable-manufacturing unit, for three years. He had a great desire to advertise his master and savior, Jesus Christ, to the college and university students and joined Union of Evangelical Students of India as student counselor in 1990.
He ministered to students in most of the universities and colleges for ten years. He then was the State Secretary of Andhra Pradesh until 2006. As the State Secretary he travelled across the state and also in other parts of India and preached or took seminars in prestigious institutes like IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Gundy, IISC Bangalore, JNU Delhi, Central University Pondicherry, JIPMER Pondicherry and CMC Vellore.
As an RZIM trained apologist he taught in their regional seminars. He taught spiritual leadership in Haggai regional seminars. He has been the host of Nireekshana since 2000. Nireekshana is a weekly television show sponsored by CBN India and is aired on TV9 every Sunday evening at 5.30. Over the years, his passion for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ has made him to strive hard to reach out to millions of viewers. He is also the blogger and web interactive manager for an IPTV called “tipritv’ that reaches the diaspora Indians. He has two post graduate degrees – MA advanced in Homiletics from SAIACS, Bangalore and MA in Christian Studies from Madras University. His wife Christy did her MA Theology at SAIACS and is now teaching in couple of Bible colleges. They are blessed with two daughters Sharon and Ruth who are doing their schooling at Bangalore.
On Friday 17th August 2012, Pastor Paul has reminded the congregation about the fulfillment of Gods promises towards our lives. He also specified that this year he has keenly observed about the fulfillment of His wonderful promise towards him as he was lifting up the promise in his daily prayers. He disclosed some of the examples from Gen: 27:29 “May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed”. (This is his promise for this year)
He said, when God promises you something he will fulfil it. No matter what the circumstances are – Trust in the Lord and His promises. He illustrated the story of Isaac. Isaac prayed 20 years for a son as he loved Rebecca very much. Even after getting the promise of God Rebecca struggled with labor pains and she gave birth to twin boys. This was the first miracle in the world. He encouraged the congregation to wait on the Lord until He fulfills His promises. Isaac has not questioned but waited on the Lord until the given promise to be fulfilled. Through this word, he encouraged the congregation not to be disheartened with anything that this life brings on us. Take heed and do not try to go to Egypt (back sliding/nor mix with the world). He encouraged everyone to have the testimony like Isaac had.
He said all the promises are yea and amen even today because Abraham obeyed God. He was faithful in obeying God’s word. According to Gen 26:5 “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge my commandments, my statutes and my laws”. He addressed the congregation to follow these above four things because we are his chosen people. He also said that we have to cling to His promises because He is our almighty God (He is not a man to lie).
He stated the second parable from John 2:1-11. When mother of Jesus was much concerned about the wine and she told him that they ran out of wine. Then Jesus said to his mum that his hour has not yet come. Immediately, without asking a question she told the servants to follow the instructions of Jesus. They obeyed and believed the words of Jesus, and did as he commanded them. So God gave them the best of the best. The water has changed into wine. Likewise, we need to be obedient to Gods word and be in His presence more and more. It then, he said, that our Lord changes our water into wine (Great blessings).
Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way!
Thy guiding grace afford, teach me Thy way!
Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight;
Lead me with heav’nly light, teach me Thy way!
When I am sad at heart, teach me Thy way!
When earthly joys depart, teach me Thy way!
In hours of loneliness, in times of dire distress,
In failure or success, teach me Thy way!
When doubts and fears arise, teach me Thy way!
When storms o’erspread the skies, teach me Thy way!
Shine through the cloud and rain, through sorrow, toil and pain;
Make Thou my pathway plain, teach me Thy way!
Long as my life shall last, teach me Thy way!
Where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way!
Until the race is run, until the journey’s done,
Until the crown is won, teach me Thy way!
The Difference between “Christianity of the Head” and “Christianity of the Heart”
In 1 Samuel 13:8, we see the first reason why Saul lost his kingdom. Samuel had told Saul to wait for him and he would offer a sacrifice to the Lord, before Saul went into battle. Saul waited for 7 days and Samuel didn’t come. So Saul decided to offer the sacrifice himself (13:9). He knew that he was not a priest, and that it was against God’s laws for him to offer the sacrifice to God. But because he had been so blessed in his ministry as a king, he felt he could go outside the boundary that God had drawn around him and enter into another ministry. Many preachers have made this mistake. We must recognise the ministry God has given us and stay within the boundaries that God has drawn around us. Just because God has blessed us in one ministry, we cannot move into another ministry that God has not called us to. Many years ago, I recognised that God had not called me to be an evangelist. I realised that He had called me to teach believers. And so, I have stayed within my boundaries, despite all the pressure that others have put on me to go outside my boundaries. I don’t want to repeat Saul’s mistake. Other people have the ministry of an evangelist and I value them and respect them and work with them – and submit to them in the sphere of their ministry. Uzziah was another king who tried to be a priest. God struck him down with leprosy. Here we see that God took away Saul’s kingdom from him, when he tried to be priest. Recognise your ministry and stay within your boundaries; and allow other people to fulfil their ministries. This is the simple law of the body of Christ.
We also see Saul’s impatience here. A few minutes after he had offered the sacrifice, Samuel came as he had promised. What a different story it would have been if only Saul had waited just a few minutes longer! Because of his pride and impatience, he lost everything. But he still sat on the throne of Israel for another 30 years. There are many who are sitting on their thrones in Christendom today, like Saul – who have lost the anointing of God long ago. But because they have got money and human authority, they sit on their thrones directing their organisations. Saul degenerated from a wonderful young man, who started out in great humility, to become one who was useless to God!
Samuel then told Saul, “Your kingdom shall not endure now. You have acted foolishly. The Lord now seeks for somebody who is a man after His own heart” (13:13,14).
See the emphasis here on the heart. When Saul was anointed as king, the Bible says that his head stood out among the people, for he was taller than everybody else (1Sam.10:23). He was distinguished by his head – his brains. But God was now looking for someone who was distinguished by his heart. David was different from others, not because of his head, but because of his heart! He was a man after God’s own heart (1Sam.13:14).
There is a vast difference between a “Christianity of the head” and a “Christianity of the heart”. Saul represents the first and David represents the second. This is the essential difference between religious people and spiritual people. The Lord sought out for Himself a man after His own heart and He found David. Our head represents our brains, our intelligence and our cleverness. Our heart represents our devotion to the Lord and our worship of Him. The Father seeks for worshippers, not for scholars (John 4:23). If you are not a worshipper, if you are not devoted to Jesus Christ, no matter how clever you may be, you can end up like Saul. David finished his course triumphantly even though he made mistakes, because his heart was right.
Chapter 14:35. Here we read of the very first altar that Saul ever built. And there we see the reason for his failure: He was not a worshipper first of all. Saul’s ancestor, Abraham, had been a worshipper. Wherever Abraham went, he built an altar to worship the Lord. But Saul was just a smart, clever man and not a worshipper. Jesus said in Matthew 4:10, that we had to worship the Lord before we could serve Him. Beware of a Christianity that only resides in your head, and that does not lead you to a devotion to Jesus Christ and to a worship of God the Father.
Here we are lifting our hands to You
Here we are, giving You thanks for all You do
As we praise, and worship Your holy name
You are here, dwelling within our praise.
For every answer prayer
For always being there
For love that hears us when we call
For arms that lift us when we fall
Oh You have always been, right beside us
Leading us all along the way
And we made it through (we made it through)
Because of You
And here we are
For days we cannot see (for days we cannot see)
For all that yet to be (so much is yet to be)
The trials we may have to face
When we’ll be leaning on your grace
It will be your strength, that safe’s us
Your love that makes us strong
And through it all (through it all)
We’ll sing this song
Here we are lifting our hands to You
Here we are, giving You thanks for all You do
As we praise, and worship Your holy name
You are here (yes You are) dwelling within our praise (x2)
Just recently, I did heavy weight lifting (about 25kgs) to build up my biceps. I lifted these weights after a long time break from weight lifting and I did around 25 repeats. I wanted to continue on and so I did another 20 repeats after a short 5 minute gap. I will tell you what made me do it. In my mind, I imagined myself where I would and how I would feel with great looking biceps.
I was tired in no time and I knew I shouldn’t have lifted so much weight at once. The next morning I could feel that my biceps were very sore. I couldn’t stretch out my arms fully and even moving my arms around made me feel an acute, sudden, sharp pain. This made me realize why it was such a big mistake lifting 15kg weights at once.
While applying a curing ointment to my biceps, I realized this is much like our faith in the Christian walk and how certain things I did could be used as an analogy to explain things mentioned in the bible. But before I talk about faith, I want to explain a bit about what causes Muscle Soreness. This is purely Wikipedia knowledge and I will try and make it as non-technical as possible.
Muscle soreness is a result of microscopic tearing of muscle fibre. The amount depends on how hard, how long, and what type of exercise we do. This tearing of muscle fibre causes sharp pain with swelling/bruising over the affected area. As it slowly cures over the days, the rebuilding process begins which makes muscle grow bigger and stronger than before.
But when does this process begin, you may ask? It begins when we are at rest. You see if you continue exercising as you normally would, your muscle fibre is torn over and over until you break down completely. You muscle grow smaller as there was no time for them to recover. This is much like our faith. Let me show you some verse from the bible and how they co-relate to our analogy of exercise and faith…
Romans 10:17 – “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”. Muscles grow when we excercise regularly just as faith grows through the hearing of the word of God.
James 1:3 – “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance”. Lifting 15kg weights is testing your muscles capabilities…its stretching out the maximum potential your muscles have to lift them up and put them back down. It develops perseverance (endurance). Well…what do we need endurance for?
Romans 5:2-5 – “…and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”.
So what is that kept me going when I was tired? In other words, what motivated me to exercise more and more? It’s that image of myself feeling confident and having bigger biceps. Similarly, in our Christian walk, we also have an image that we can set before us. Its the image of finishing this race.
What race you may ask? It’s the race mentioned in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. It sums up all the verses we have talked about earlier about perseverance, character, and race.
Dear brothers and sisters, this world is like passing through a large shopping mall that is about to close down. The time is ticking (Jesus is coming soon), the things all around you are very tempting and great to look at (temptations). If you stop and look at things, you are wasting time. You have to reach the exit before the mall closes down. In this shopping mall, once the gates are shut, it won’t be opened again. It’s open now…so make your way through the narrow path, squeezing through the thousands around you who are still shopping, tell them to get out as much as you can. Those that listen, will walk to the exit with you but those who don’t will face the consequences.
It’s their choice and it’s your choice. Make it out quick and you will see a world that you’ve never seen before. It won’t be the same as the entrance world. It will be a place so beautiful that your mind cannot comprehend. You will see His face, so beautiful that you wouldn’t want to ever turn away. You will see our wonderful Savior and our Lord saying to you “…Well done, good and faithful servant!…” (Matthew 25:23)
God bless you and I hope this has been an encouragement to you!
22/07/2012 – After attending the Church today, I just felt that I should mention this. I was thinking a bit more about the shopping mall analogy. Have you ever felt lost in a shopping mall…not knowing where the exit is. Have you ever referred to these little maps that are available that show you the exit points. There are many exit points but there is only one which you need to exit through which will reach you to the place you parked your car. Consider this little map as the Bible, which is guiding you on what to do, what is good for you, what is not good for you and how you should make it down to the final exit before the time runs out.
Have you ever been so lost that a guide in a mall will literally take you to the exit? Well consider this guide, Holy Spirit promised to us by God (Luke 24:49). He can be as real as a person next to you can be. He only becomes that real to us when we spend time with Him, talking to Him and listening to His advice. And when you are following the map (bible) or the guide (Holy Spirit), you trust them that they will take you or guide you through to the right exit that you are wanting to get to. God is willing to guide you given that you ask him for his guidance (Isaiah 58:11).
Please consider this as just an analogy which fits quite well with many aspects of things related to God. It doesn’t accommodate all that is taught to us in scripture and therefore one must meditate what’s in the scripture and try to relate them to what’s happening in their own life.
My topic for tonight is very simple. Most of us have already prayed about it tonight. Someone prayed that we have a lot of challenges in this world; someone prayed that we need His grace. It’s just like that word in the bible where it talks about the life of a man as being a moment but God is there forever…forever same.
So the word has already been preached for tonight but the only interesting bit is…are we putting what we hear into practice? The topic tonight is the Kingdom of God. We all know and heard many messages about the Kingdom of God. We are all hoping that one day we would reach this kingdom that Jesus talks about. That’s our aim but the question is how well do we know the kingdom of God. And if we know about this kingdom of God, what are we doing to reach towards that. What are our strategies, our drawbacks in life that are keeping us from moving towards this Kingdom of God? How well are we equipped with the burden to reach the kingdom of God?
If you have a look at Luke 19:1…It says “While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once”. While Jesus was talking people assumed that the kingdom of God was going to come just like people today. In these last days, many are deceived by false calls to the Kingdom of God and Jesus appearing in various parts of the World. But Matthew 24:14 clarifies this anticipation and false calls. It tells us when this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Let’s look at the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), most of us know this parable quite well. I am sure many of us have heard messages about it as well. It’s regarding this Master who handed over talents to his servants. Two servants have responded in a positive manner but one servant was lazy and buried it in the ground. This is not about how good one servant did and how bad another one did. This about judgment! We can use the master’s illustration as Jesus Christ. The master said I am going for a purpose; I will come back and talk to you.
You can see that two servants made an effort and brought back a return by working hard at what they had. The third man however said to the master that he wasn’t a good man. He also said that Master wanted to reap what he did not sow and gather where he has not scattered seed. He knew that his master was not a good man.
So that brings us to a question…do you know your master? The basic analogy is a servant listens to whatever a master says. We know this even better because we come from India. If you think about it, how hard is it to say to your master as a servant that the master was a hard man. It’s very hard! He keeps building blame on the master. God gave to me this thought and I kept asking what was the point God was trying to tell me.
Its very clear, this person knew about his hard master so why didn’t he say in the first instance when Master was handing out the talents that he would not have it. This person doesn’t want to work hard. He had a bad attitude. The master trusted his servants despite the fact that there was no accountability. He gave out the talents on the basis of trust alone. The master did not demand anything and neither did he warn them of loosing those talents. He didn’t say he was expecting something when he returns. He said simply to just do the business.
Similarly, Jesus Christ trusted us and gave us talents. Each one of us has specific skill sets/talents given by God himself. Now, It is up to us to use those talents. It’s not about how hard you use those talents or multiplying talents or loosing talents…it’s about our responsibility.
When he comes back, are you able to stand up and says…Lord, here is what you gave me and this is what I have done with them or are we going to be a lazy servant who buried what he had and returned it back to the master. You can see from the parable…the reward that these two people who worked hard for their master have got. Double of what they initially had. Be responsible…It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not…whether you feel like it or not. Jesus Christ, our master has called each of us to be responsible for his kingdom.
The day will come where we will stand in the presence of His majesty and glory…we have to account for each and everything we have done. We are all called to do something. He said, Go into the nations and preach the gospel. We all have different opportunities where we can see the gospel of Jesus Christ advance so people get to know the kingdom of God.
Jesus believed in us…he trusted us with his valuables…so lets be serious about our father’s business.
– Pastor Paul Talluri (Nazarene Prayer Fellowship)
This is an Audio Transcript from 13th July 2012 at All Nations Church of Nazarene