NAMS Advent Blog, week 2

Faith (By Manik Corea)

In this second of our blog series for Advent season 2021, having begun with ‘love’, we look at ‘faith’ this week. Namely, how Advent calls us to an obedient faith that settles for no half-measures but seeks to be and do all that God asks of us, this season and always. 

Faith pervades the birth narrative of Jesus like footprints on sand – distinctly at times, imperceptibly at others. Let’s follow its trail: 

See a young, virgin girl submit herself in faith to the startling angelic announcement that she is to bear the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. See an older, experienced priest articulate unbelief that God could actually answer his prayer for a child, a prophet who would prepare the way for Messiah. The angel sentences him to temporary silence for his word of doubt [1].  

The faithful Joseph on the other hand trusts and bears the shame of his wife’s pregnancy outside wedlock, learning later that the child in her is not the fruit of her unfaithfulness, but is the fulfillment of the hope of Israel. Later, he heeds the voice of prophetic warning and leads his blessed family to seek refuge in Egypt to wait out the hellish rage of Herod.

We read of sleepy shepherds heralded by angels, who then make haste to find the baby – and of foreign-tongued magi trusting a heavenly sign to lead them to the king of the Jews.

When God wants to do a work, he looks for men and women of faith to partner with.

Our faith towards God in turn demonstrates our submission and alignment with God’s will and wisdom. Indeed, “… without faith, it is impossible to please (the Lord) ….” (Hebrews 11:6).

In his earthly ministry, faith was the one quality Jesus found sorely lacking in Israel and in his disciples time and time again [2].  He marveled when he found it in a Roman Centurion [3].  He questioned if he would still find it in his future return [4].  He called us nevertheless to have faith in God [5].  

What does it mean then to be people of faith? 

The Hebrew word for faith is better translated as ‘faithfulness’ – it connotes acting in loyalty towards God, by doing as He says. Habakkuk 2:4, which became the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation, should be seen in the context in which it was spoken, a call to persistent faithful living.  [6]

Therefore, faithfulness is much more a ‘doing’ activity more than an ‘professed’ belief – it is more ‘deeds’ than ‘creeds’. Such that James could say it must be seen in what we do or how we live, or it is dead [7].  Our obedience to Christ should thus be but a logical outcome of our faithfulness to him (Romans 1:5; 16:26). 

That great chapter of faith, Hebrews 11, is all about what great men and women of faith did as they trusted and obeyed God. Obedient faith always leads to action.

This Advent and always, may we be disciples of obedient faith who are found faithful in Christ.  


Would you like to make a difference somewhere in the world this Christmas?
Even a small gift will go a long way……
We in NAMS are organizing Christmas Gospel outreaches and providing aid and gifts to the poor in countries like India, Kenya, Cuba, Nepal and Egypt. Please add your gift to ours this Christmas by clicking DONATE NOW . (Remember to indicate in the comment section that it is for NAMS Christmas Outreach 2021).
THANK YOU.


[1] Luke 1:38 and 1:13, 18-22.
[2] Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; Mark 6:5-6, etc
[3] Luke 7:9
[4] Luke 18:8
[5] Mark 11:22; John 14:1
[6] Keeping faith would help the righteous in Israel to survive the coming invasion by the cruel Babylonians. This sense of its persistence is carried into the New Testament. Verses like Luke 8:15; Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38- 39 bear out the link between faith and perseverance
[7] James 2:17. The Message paraphrases this particularly well: “Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”

NAMS Advent Blog, week 2

NAMS Advent Blog, week 1.

In these next 4-5 weeks, I will be sharing some brief thoughts for the Advent season focusing on four primary values of love, faith, hope and peace that undergird the Christian message we must live and tell the world.

Love (By Manik Corea)

“For God so loved the world….” (John 3:16)

If you asked the average Christian to use one noun or verb to describe a key characteristic of God that they most relate to, most would likely plump for the word ‘love’. It is the one reflexive, controlling quality so many assume to be descriptive of the Person and work of God towards all people.

But while God is love [1] , love is not God. This is a point Tozer probes with perspicuity: “If love is equal to God then God is only equal to love, and God and love are identical. Thus we destroy the concept of personality in God and deny outright all His attributes save one, and that one we substitute for God.” [2]

Love absolutely describes our God, but it doesn’t categorically define Him. The triune God of our Scriptures is (by any attempt) infinitely unclassifiable, glorious without dispute, holy without compare, perfect without match – a constellation of eternal attributes reflective and deserving of One most worthy of endless worship, thanksgiving and praise. No theological concept is alone able to bear the weight of His matchless, undivided essence.

In this light, the word ‘love’ is inadequate as a catch-all word to describe Him, if we are to truly do justice to all that He is.[3] To be sure, He always acts in accord with His holy love, but not in a way that either repudiates or contradicts the many other characteristics that simultaneously hold true – His holiness, justice, righteousness, faithfulness, etc.

This is not however to denigrate all the Scriptures reveal about the love of God.[4] There are many powerful and glorious intimations about the dynamic power and sublime effects of God’s love bestowed upon us who were once dead in our sin.

Nowhere is this most seen than in the central act of the ages at the crossroads of nations – the cross of Christ. It remains the greatest expression of God’s love, in balance with His justice, mercy and truth. Jesus our Messiah is betrayed with a kiss, abandoned by his disciples, falsely charged, mercilessly beaten, scornfully derided and scandalously sentenced to the infamy and shame of a death by crucifixion. Jesus’ final death-cry gloriously heralds the end of sin’s tyranny toward repentant, believing sinners, able now to be forgiven and regenerate by his Spirit in the power of His resurrected life.

It is God’s love that sent our Lord to that hell we deserved, to gift us a heaven He desires to share with us in glory. We therefore show ourselves most like Him when we likewise love as He loves. Consequently, such a love must mark us out in the world, if we are to prove genuine.

Oh love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be [5]


Can $10 make a difference? We believe it can. We are looking for partners that will help us to spread the gospel of Jesus to all the peoples of the world. We are currently working in 9 of the 16 Global Regions of the world. We need partners like you in this mission. Are you able to join us by investing $10 a month to allow NAMS to continue the work we are doing in over 40 countries. If you can please go to the address below.

https://namsnetwork.com/be-involved.html


[1] 1 John 4:8
[2] Aiden Wilson (A.W.) Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Send The Light Trust: Bromley, Kent, 1976, pg 104.
[3] It was enough for God by self-disclosure to say to Moses, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14). He is all sufficient in Himself, the eternally existing One by whom all other things exist.
[4] Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 36:7; 63:3; 136:26; Isaiah 54:10; Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Zephaniah 3:17; John 13:34-35; 15:9, 12-13; Romans 5:5; 8:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4-5; 3:18; Colossians 3:14; 1 John 3:1; 4:7, 9-10, 16, 18-19; Jude 1:21 etc.
[5] Hymn “O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson. https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/432

NAMS Advent Blog, week 1.

Lending to the Lord – NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF REPORTS

This Post has been edited to assist in the safety of workers in the field.

Do you know how to lend to the Lord? (See Proverbs 19:17 to learn how).

A couple of months ago, we wrote and asked for a second time in 2 years for contributions to NAMS COVID relief in parts of the world where NAMS has work or bases, that were facing particularly difficult times. We at NAMS thank God for those of you who gave and prayed towards this COVID-19 Relief Fund 2021, which we were able to channel to our leaders and bases in India, Nepal, Peru and Cuba, a few of the most hard-hit places.

You may remember that we shared that our NAMS South Asia Regional Team Leader — has contracted COVID. See his report of full recovery below. Also, thank God that our Companion in Nepal, Kiral Pal also recovered. However, three of our NAMS Companions, Pankaj Neupane in Nepal, and our NAMS missionaries in Peru, Juan Tamayo and his daughter Melissa, are  currently also COVID-19 positive. All are recovering, but please keep them in your prayers.

Two brief reports from Juan and Maida Tamayo, NAMS Companions and leaders in Lima, Peru of those helped by our COVID-19 Relief funds:

Sister Yaipsi: “Today, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for the great blessing received from all of you, my family in faith. My family and I are totally grateful for your valuable contribution and especially your prayers. May God multiply your blessings greatly and may His mercy be infinite to all of you”.

Sister Rosa: “Greetings to the NAMS brethren. Today I’d like to thank God for the great blessing which you are having you in my life. I know God is working greatly in my life with a purpose through the great act of kindness of your offering. The support of NAMS means a lot to me because it was in a moment that I was going through certain needs. Our prayers to God are powerful – their answers are reflected in the act of kindness of your offerings. I am very grateful.”.

Indeed, to all who gave and prayed, we at NAMS say ‘Thank you’ and thanks be to God.

Lending to the Lord – NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF REPORTS

Going to the Least of Them — COVID-19 Relief.

This Post has been edited to assist in the safety of workers in the field.

URGENT APPEAL – NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND 2021

Dear NAMS friends and supporters,

We live in a world that continues to battle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While those of us in developed countries have started to reap the effects of vaccinations in bringing down infection rates, such is still not that case in the majority world.

NAMS has work on 5 continents, and our Companions and leaders are widely spread around the world. Some of them continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic. A few nations like India and Nepal are facing huge surges in numbers once more, as I am sure you are aware from the news.

We in NAMS are seeking to raise funds to help people through our NAMS  NAMS bases in 3 of the most hard-hit nations globally, that is, India, Nepal and Cuba.

In fact, in India, the NAMS leader of South Asia, is now in hospital being treated for COVID.

The situation is equally dire in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. Our NAMS Nepal leader has just reported that one of our NAMS Companions in Kathmandu, Kiran Pal, has contracted COVID-19. They are now in a desperate search for a hospital to treat her.

Kiran Pal in Nepal

Finally, the island state of Cuba has not been much in the news. But our NAMS base there reports that COVID-19 and the collapse of the economy has meant that there is a shortage of food, essential items and employment in the country.

We would therefore like to appeal for emergency funds to send to our NAMS bases in these three countries in particular, India, Nepal and Cuba, so that they can help meet the needs of people there – especially the sick, suffering or destitute.

If you would like to help or donate, please click on the ‘Donate Now’ button here or go to our website directly ( http://www.namsnetwork.com/ be-involved.html ) to donate there. Contact us at info@namsnetwork.com for other ways to transfer any gifts. (Please indicate ‘NAMS COVID-19 RELIEF FUND 2021’ on the remarks column).

Above all, please pray for these and many other nations in the throes of this pandemic.

DONATE NOW!

Going to the Least of Them — COVID-19 Relief.

The Apostle With The Bleeding Feet. (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

In these past blogs, we’ve looked at how Advent affects our spiritual/physical senses. I wrote first about having eyes that see with a bi-focal view of Christ’s first and second comings, framing our faith with hope. We then discussed the right use of our mouths –to communicate God’s Gospel of love to a world that is truth-famished. Finally, we spoke having ears for God – the listening posture of the disciple who seeks to do all Jesus says.

I want to end this series by speaking about our feet – that is, our call to walk after the Holy Spirit in the footprints of Jesus, into world mission. 

One of my heroes was the great Indian itinerant evangelist, Sadhu Sundar Singh who lived in the early part of the 20th century1.  His missionary feet took him all over India and Tibet (and overseas on trips to Europe and other parts of Asia).  Everywhere he went, he drew strange looks, the tall Indian dressed as a Hindu sadhu (or holy man). But Singh was a disciple of Jesus, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere he went. ‘I want to bring the water of life in an Indian cup’, he once said. 

Vision of Jesus

Born in 1889, Singh was gloriously saved as an intense young man of 15 on the verge of taking his own life. He was heartbroken at the time since losing his beloved mother.  In his anguish, he failed to find inner peace in his forays into his native Sikhism and Hinduism. On the morning of his planned suicide, he desperately cried out to God. At that point, his room filled with light, and he saw a figure he did not recognize, who said to him: “I died for you. For you and for the life of the world I gave my life.” On seeing the scars of the risen Christ, Singh knew it was Jesus and gave his life to him.

Disowned by his father for converting, Singh decided, after a period of prayer, he to take to the Indian road as a sadhu for Christ, traveling from 1905 without any possessions, and trusting God to provide his keep and lead his way. 

He spent the early part of his ministry reaching out to villages and towns in Northern India. Small Christian communities in the North were surprised to see a Christian sadhu with saffron robe and turban and bare feet blistered by the dirt roads. They called him the ‘Apostle with the bleeding feet.’ 

Missionary to Tibet

But Singh was not content to stay in India and began to look further a-field to the land-locked country of Tibet, the first of a number of missionary forays he made there in 1908. It was a hard journey through the Himalayan mountain trade routes passable only in the summer months. There, he faced persecution at the hands of staunchly Buddhist Tibetan tribes. 

At one town, Singh later recounted how he was sentenced to death by the chief lama and thrown into a dry well, one arm painfully wrenched from the fall. The well was covered over, and he was left in darkness for 2 days, in the midst of rotting flesh and bones of others of a similar fate. In desperation, he cried out to God. 

Two days or so later, the cover of the well was removed, and a rope lowered. With great difficulty, Singh hooked it around himself, and was winched out of the well. Lying on the ground, the fresh air revived his weak and starving body. He looked around but found no one. Nor did he have any more pain in his arm. The next day found him back in town preaching again to the astounded people of the town. 

The sadhu would later tell of many other similar supernatural experiences. But his life and ministry was more than the miraculous. Ultimately, it was the manner and message of his life – and feet – that enabled him to communicate a vision of Jesus that many in India found easy to relate to and understand.  

It’s all about Jesus!

Above all, Sadhu Sundar Singh never forgot that Jesus was the centre and treasure of his life. He neither let a measure of global fame, the lure of a more comfortable life or the plaudits and criticism he received from various Christian corners, distract his focus on Christ. 

He wrote: “Now I have no desire for wealth, position and honor. Nor do I desire even Heaven. But I need Him who has made my heart Heaven. His infinite love has expelled the love of all other things. Many Christians cannot realize His precious, life-giving presence, because for them Christ lives in their heads or in their Bibles, not in their hearts. Only when a man gives his heart shall he find Him. The heart is the throne for the King of Kings. The capital of Heaven is the heart where that King reigns.”

When Christ likewise has true ownership of all the rooms of our hearts, then our feet will likewise be fitted with the readiness of his Gospel of peace, to go where he sends us, to speak of his great salvation. Making disciples who listen to his voice and abide in his Word, we will make a people ready for his return. 

This Advent/Christmas and always, may we have eyes, mouths, ears and feet surrendered to him, as we work and wait and the day of his glorious return. 

Maranatha.


[1] Parts of this blog are edited from a previously published article I wrote for Impact magazine. “The Apostle with the Bleeding Feet”, June/July 2008 issue, volume 31, no.3.

The Apostle With The Bleeding Feet. (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

God Calling (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

In this third of our Advent reflections, we consider the importance of developing a listening ear, in order to grow our faith and vision for the challenges, opportunities and mission of our day.

When I served in the army as part of National Service in Singapore, we were taught one basic rule in order to get-by in the military: ‘All you have to do is make sure you’ve obeyed the last order!’

Easier heard than done though. Similarly, many Christians have trouble hearing or giving priority to God’s voice in their life, let alone obeying it. His still, small voice so easily loses out to the cacophony of voices and noises, including their own, vying for prerogative.

But God longs to find us waiting to meet with him, that we may hear his voice and commune with him daily. Jesus told us that His Father, incredibly, actively seeks those who will worship him in Spirit and in truth (John 4: 24).

Did you know that what God’s first recorded question in Scripture is – it was the searching call: ‘Where are you?’ (Gen 3:9). God apparently has a habit of walking in the garden with them in the cool of the day (verse 8). Adam and Eve, having sinned and hearing the sound of God’s approach, realized in their shame, they were not fit anymore to meet with him. They did what any sane sinner would: they took cover and hid – not ever asking how one plays ‘hide-and-seek’ with an all-seeing God.

But sin does more than keep us shamefully hiding in guilt from an omnipresent holy God. It also deadens our ability to hear his voice. The prophets God sent to Israel found God’s people both hard of hearing and heart.

Jesus often ended teaching moments with an enigmatic challenge: ‘To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ Clearly, he was addressing those who were longing to respond to the voice of God, not ignore, refute or question it. Above the din of religious legalism, imperial oppression and the struggle to survive, such followers were ready to hear and heed his word, recognizing them as having divine weight and authority. ‘You have the words of eternal life,’ said Peter in John 6:68.

And as they listened, faith took hold. For the listening ear is a door to a converted soul. ‘Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.’ (Romans 10:17). When the searching voice of God finds people willing and ready to listen, transactions of eternal value are affected.

The very Word that spoke creation into being, finding entrance in the dark chaotic voids within us, does the ever-novel work of creating light and life once more. In Christ, God speaks to us – through the words of Scripture and through the activity of the Spirit.

But these are days when many Christians struggle to hear God. We are so easily distracted by the booming sounds of our own plans, the haunting melodies of illegitimate desires, screaming ambitions and the sheer noise of the world around. Listening does not come easy to us who are at the beck and call of trivia on screens, blue-tooth ear-pieces and the ever-haunting social media.

But Jesus was not so easily distracted – he had ears only for God (see John 8:26, 28), And he expects that we too will learn first to hear his voice (see John 10:3-5).

Witness then the posture of the true listener – of Mary, who to her sister’s chagrin, took the lowly place at her master’s feet, hooked on Jesus’ every word (Luke 10:39). Or of three disciples who find themselves literally floored when, on that unique mountain-top experience with the transfigured Christ, they learn that God doesn’t need advisors or consultants, but servants at the ready – ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’ (Mark 9:7).

Ultimately, we must learn to listen to Jesus before we can speak or act for him. Listening is a critical precursor to obedience (Matthew 7:24-27, Luke 6:46, John 14:24, James 1:22, etc.).

This Advent season may God help us daily to make space to hear him – to turn off our phones and devices, to listen, reflect and obey his every word and the wonder of his first coming in history, in preparation for his future return.

God Calling (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

The Greatest Story Never Told (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

Last week, we began a series of Advent reflections by noting that all disciples of Jesus are called to a bi-focal view of life that keeps Christ’s first and second comings always in sight. 

When all life is seen from this dual vantage point, faith, hope and love thrive. 

Practically, this requires an intentional allowing of God’s redemptive acts to shape our present, and to order our everyday lives by godly means – i.e. devotion to Christ by means of grace, discipleship after Christ in Christian community and on-going mission with Christ into the world – for His greater ends of God’s glory and Kingdom come. 

God’s storied interventions into our sad histories have profound meaning and impact on our identity and purpose. For one, it puts us in our rightful place. 

Our lives become primarily not about us. (In truth, they never were.)

The self-centered sin-laden script of our lives is supplanted in Christ by His greater story of sacrificial love that saves. The world is His canvas to paint and restore. History is really His.

“God is not the supporting actor in our stories; we have bit parts in his.” 1

In fact, each time we gather for communion as His people, we remind ourselves of this: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

Such words are declared by God’s people after the consecration of the elements in the Anglican liturgy for Holy Communion. It is an ancient confession of the mystery of our faith. 2

They, of course, recall the Apostle Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 11:26 – where he fuses past, present and future with meaning around our common table, with Christ as both exalted host and spiritual meal. 

The season of Advent accentuates this reminder of an overshadowing transformative canopy of hope and love infusing the life of faith – a greater story than our sinfulness and brokenness perceives or allows. 

For He indeed is the brim and base of our journeys round, the true horizon of our pilgrim wanderings, the Promised Land of our final hope and arriving. 

God’s meta-narrative told in Scripture in 4 Acts (Creation, Fall, Redemption and Renewal) is the truest story there is, no matter what the world protests and proclaims. It is our making and becoming.

It is the only story we the church are divinely given to tell a world full of fear, the fake and the frivolous.

The saddest reflection I can make on this COVID-19 stained year is how little and to so few I have shared what I know and been graciously given by Christ – the greatest story never told?

For Jesus demanded we make disciples of all peoples in Matthew 28:28-20 – it is the lasting overarching task on us his church.  

As the late John Stott argued, “His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.”

Indeed, there is no higher purpose in life than to do the Father’s will; no work with greater significance than that which witnesses to and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ; no lasting legacy that does not have God’s eternity in view.

He came to die so we, the condemned might be free; the dead in sin come to life in Him. He lives again, is ascended and will return to judge and rule. A Story of stories – timely, timeless and true. 

This Advent and Christmas, will you and I, empowered by His Spirit, go the extra mile to tell his Gospel story loud and clear – with words that are backed up by our works and lives?


1  Vanhoozer, “Letter To An Aspiring Theologian: How of Speak of God Truly.”  In First Things, August/September 2018. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/08/letter-to-an-aspiring-theologian.

2 Versions of this statement (called the Memorial Acclamation)  are found in Eucharistic liturgy of many historic churches. In the Liturgy of St James, the principal liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, after the priest blesses the bread and wine, the people respond with a similar acclamation: “Your death, our Lord, we commemorate, Your resurrection we confess and Your second coming we wait for. May Your mercy be upon us all.”

The Greatest Story Never Told (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)