Meeting a Need Now; Meeting Opportunities Later

December 22, 2008

binoyI was deeply humbled when I talked to Binoy a few weeks ago.  He wants to teach and train pastors in India to help them present Christianity clearly and accurately.  He recognized that he, himself, needs training.  So he sold all he had to come to America, specifically to Dallas Theological Seminary.  He knows that Jesus gave all He had to offer us the truly good life.  Now that he has given all he had to serve his Lord, he needs help from the rest of the body of believers.  In the early days of the church, . . .

“. . . the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own . . .  There was not a needy person among them . . .” (Acts 4:32-33)

What a testimony it would be if Binoy received his needed tuition money from fellow Christians in America!  Here’s his story in his words:

I responded to my father’s death when I was 14 years old in two different ways. Negatively, I became bitter against God for making us desperate. Positively, helped by a timely counsel two years later, I began to learn to trust God. It also opened my eyes to the failure of the churches and importance of counsel. The Lord tuned all these things for the good of serving Him. Though I did not have any training in counseling, I served Him teaching counseling for over 10 years and served as the campus counselor in India. I prayed for 7 years for God to open a way for me to study counseling. I got admission at DTS 4 years before. I waited 3 years for scholarship, which I did not get. My wife and I decided to sell the only piece of land we had and she agreed to stay back with our two young boys alone at the place she works for $100 per month. A week before I had to leave to the States, I was told at a dinner with the president of the institution where I worked for 14 years that I will be given a stipend of only 3 months salary instead of 14 months ($4000) which was their policy as they did so for even those joined later than me, and I was counting on it toward my expenses for the study. I appealed to them not on the basis of right, but on account of my need. But it was turned down. Trusting God who opened the way for the study, I came.  But in


addition to the financial difficulties the loneliness of missing my family made me to think of going back before I spend all what I have. But the Lord strengthened me to commit to the sacrifice I made and not to withhold to myself. I decided that lack of faith should never stop what God wants to accomplish through me. I would be glad to leave to India if that is what God wants. These days are difficult days for us, which I learn to spend joyfully as preparation for presenting counsels vibrant with life experience. I did not get adequate hours of work at the campus. I pay my room rent without doing any shopping. I take the left over from the cafeteria after my work there and my roommates provide some. My wife works full time, cooks, do the shopping, teaches the children, and washes all the clothes by hand. I am glad that I married to a pastor’s daughter.

Please pray for God to open a way for my wife and children to come and join me and for the finance for my tuition fee for the spring semester ($1000/month for TMS from January to April).

There is no tax deduction, simply an address to contact him or send money to him:

Binoy Thannikkodan Kuriakose
Dallas Theological Seminary
, Box 1567, Dallas, TX 75204

We can invest now and begin to see the multiplication of that training in about four years — all over India!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Lee Jagers

A Thoughtful Perspective on the Lives We Live

December 19, 2008

sun1I just met Daniel, a neat guy who is able to think outside the box.

He’s got a blog that’s called Looking beyond the Sun.

Check it out.

Christmas Focus: Wise Men Still Seek Him

December 16, 2008

The Christmas spirit should include attitudes of recognition, adoration and submission.  I think this clip captures that kind of humble response.  Josh Groban sings.

Bringing More Openness to the College Campus

December 1, 2008

sternbergs1Easy to complain; hard to know what to do.  The problem of kids getting their Christian faith crushed by secular intellectualism in colleges has never been more intense.  The college campus could offer a wonderful place for individuals to strengthen their faith if there could be genuine, open dialogue.  I don’t mind the college campus remaining secular if it could be genuinely open and liberal-minded toward the Christian worldview.

“THERE IS NO DOGMA MORE PREVALENT within American high culture than that smart people outgrow God,” said Douglas Henry, an assistant professor of philosophy and director of Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning. “The more educated, the more erudite, the more discerning and wise one is, the less one is inclined to be a deeply pious Christian, the thinking goes. In higher education, this dogma gets expressed in the axiom that academic excellence and Christian faithfulness are incompatible.” “Professing Faith,” by Karen Houppert, Mother Jones December/January 2006 Issue

My purpose for this post is to bring focus on Steve and Betsy Sternberg, who are doing something about this problem.  They interact with the faculty at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and they invite top-thinking Christian intellectuals to speak on campus to encourage dialog.  Here are some reasons I like them and what they’re doing:

They have been around a while and have staying power.
Steve and Betsy Sternberg have served together on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ,since 1969.

They have international exposure and think globally.
In 1973, Steve and Betsy started the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in Galway. Ireland,and from 1974-1988 while living in Vienna, Austria and Erlangen, West Germany, they joined with six other couples and pioneered the Campus Crusade ministry behind the Iron Curtain, concentrating in Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria and East Germany.  During this time they also traveled to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Russia.

They operate with a focused strategy.
The Sternbergs returned to the U.S. in 1988 and joined the Campus Crusade for Christ faculty ministry, Christian Leadership Ministries (now, Faculty Commons).  In 1990, they began to direct Dallas Christian Leadership (DCL), the Campus Crusade faculty ministry at SMU.  Their vision is reaching professors who will change the world!  DCL is a group of SMU educators, alumni and friends whose purpose is to strengthen the spiritual climate at SMU by reaching out and ministering to members of the academic community.

They function in a variety of settings.
While at SMU, Steve and Betsy have ministered to individual professors, led small faculty groups, co-hosted symposia and debates with SMU departments and campus ministries.  They have also sponsored Faculty-Alumni luncheons, an annual SMU Athletic Dept. Appreciation breakfast, faculty workshops and forums.  Recent luncheon speakers have included Dawn Eden (New York Daily News), Xiqiu Fu, founder of China Aid, Dr. Michael Lindsay, Rice University, Prof. Randy Beck, UGA Law School, and Dr. Billy Abraham, SMU Perkins School of Theology, who also gave lectures and classroom presentations.  In addition to assisting Steve on campus, Betsy,a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, volunteers as a pastoral counselor at Fellowship Bible Church Dallas.

They have survived parenthood and are now gratified empty-nesters.
Steve and Betsy have three grown children and live in Dallas, TX.

They read widely and understand both sides of every major argument.

“The real difficulty amounts to this — that the thought of the day, as it makes itself most strongly felt in the universities, . . . is profoundly opposed to Christianity, or at least — what is nearly as bad — it is out of all connection with Christianity.  What is today a matter of academic speculation, begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires.”                                                   -J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Culture, pg. 6ff

“The great universities of the Western world raise fundamental questions from the Christian point of view.  They are pretty thoroughly secularized.  The prevailing atmosphere in them is not congenial to Christian spiritual values.  One wonders if Christ would find himself at home in them, and to a Christian nothing is more serious than if Christ is not at home in the great citadels of learning.”
– Charles Malik, A Christian Critique of the University, 1982

If you would like to learn more or take action and participate in the Sternberg’s ministry (I do), here’s how to connect with them: and/or (214)349-1109.