Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Lord of the Storm by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer

The Lord of the Storm 

This message was delivered by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral. It was aired during the Hour of Power program on Hong Kong's ATV World Channel on 7 Feb 2010.

Psalm 29 has been called by some the Psalm of the storm. Throughout this Psalm, there are pictures, motifs, and images of storms and storm language - thunder and wind and lightening. Psalm 29 speaks of a storm and the voice, almost as though there were chess match with one move by the storm, one move by the voice, one move by the storm, one move by the voice. It's a jousting match, if you will. It's a tit for tat, back and forth between the voice and the storm. Seven times sprinkled in this short Psalm, the Psalmist speaks of the voice. The voice and the storm.

"When you walk through the storm," as it says it that beautiful song,"hold your head up high." What is your storm today? I've come to believe that storms are customized, tailor-made. Your storm may not be the storm of the person sitting next to you. Storms are personalized.

What is your storm today? Maybe it's a relational storm; there's a storm in the relationships in which you're involved. And maybe it's a financial storm. Maybe it's an emotional storm and you find yourself being shifted and tossed. Maybe it's a spiritual storm. What is your storm today? Personalize this word as we walk through this Psalm and allow the Lord to speak to you with His voice in your storm.

The Psalmist says the voice of the Lord is upon the storm, upon the waters, upon the flood. One verse says the voice of the Lord sits upon the waters and sits upon the storm. It pictures God being enthroned on top of your storm. It paints an interesting sequence and an interesting picture. It is as though, when you look up wherever you are in this room, in this house, in the hotel room, in your bedroom, wherever you may be, if you look up, whatever you see above you, maybe the roof, maybe the ceiling, whatever it is, imagine the storm that covers you. Imagine the storm in which you find yourself, and you look up and you see storm clouds.

According to the Psalmist, above that storm there's God. And the voice of God sits enthroned above the storm that is above you. And through that storm, He speaks a word. His voice pierces the clouds of that storm. His voice breaks through the calamities that He might get a word to you. For it is in this storm that God speaks. He speaks first to the storm that you are experiencing, that enshrouds you, that covers you, that frightens you. The storm that has you tossing back and forth with the waves and the winds and the billows. You're tossing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and yet He speaks to the storm.

The disciples were out one day on the boat and Jesus said to them, "Get in the boat and let's go to the other side." Actually He said, "Get in the boat and let's go over." Let's go over. Don't miss that. Jesus says, "Get in this boat and let's go over to the other side." About midway, about halfway in the journey, a storm arises. And someone remembers that Jesus is in the boat. It's not bad being in a storm when Jesus is on your boat. I'd rather be in the storm with Him than on the shore without Him.

So, the disciples went and awakened Him, and they said, "Master, Master." There's an old song in the African American tradition that says, "Master, the tempest is raging. The billows are tossing high. The sky is overshadowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh. Hearest thou not that we perish, how canst thou lie there asleep, when each moment so madly is threatening, a grave in the angry deep."

The disciples said, "Get up Jesus." And He took His position at the helm of the ship and pronounced the benediction upon the storm. He stood and spoke to the storm and said, "Peace be still."

Jesus speaks to the storm that you are in today, as well. As the Lord of the storm, His voice pierces the thunder, the anger, the lightening, and the angry sea, and He says peace! Be still. He speaks to the storm that you are in today.

Not only that, but He speaks to you in the storm. Did you get that? Maybe you missed it. I'll give it to you again. He speaks to the storm that you are in, but He also speaks to you in the storm.

I need help from the disciples again. Again, they were on a ship in a storm, in a boat. And the Bible says that Jesus came walking to them on the water. Ah, Jesus came walking in the midst of the storm, with the wind blowing in His hair with the wind and the waters misting against His face, He comes walking on the storm. And Peter sees Him and says, "Lord, if it's You, and I know it is, let me come to You."

And Jesus said to Peter, "I'll call your bluff. Come to Me." He speaks to you in the storm and He says if you want to walk on water, you must get out of the boat. He says to you that you can walk on the waters of impossibility, you can walk with the possibilities of His presence, but you're stuck in the boat, and He says to step out, for He speaks to you in the storm.

An old song from the African American tradition says, "Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus. I ain't got long to stay here." Then the line says, "My Lord, He calls me, He calls me by the thunder." Even in the midst of the thunder of the storms, He calls you. He says, "Come to me. You don't have long to stay where you are. You're just passing through."

It's a storm that's moving. The storm in this passage is shifting. Jesus, the Lord, becomes a storm tracker in this very Psalm. The storm begins out in the water and then the storm moves to the mountains and then the storm moves to the desert, to the wilderness. You didn't get that; I'll give it to you one more time. The storm is moving. God is a storm tracker. It begins on the waters, raging, tossing back and forth, to and fro. It then moves to the mountains, the mountaintops, the peaks. Then it moves to the dryness of the valleys in the wilderness.

This lets me know everyone in this room is in one of three places. Some of us just came out of a storm. Praise the Lord. Some of us, if we tell the truth, we came here today in a storm. But you didn't just leave a storm and you're not in a storm. As my mother would say, "Keep on living because that means you're on your way to a storm." But the Lord of the storm - listen now - speaks to the storm that you are experiencing, speaks to you in the storm. And here's the last thing: And then He speaks to the storm that is in you. I know you missed that one. I'll give you that one more time. He speaks to the storm that you are in, He speaks to you in the storm, and He speaks to the storm that is in you.

James says that sometimes we are rocked and we are tossed by doubts and by fears like a wave rising up within us. He speaks of the storm that is within. What is that raging storm within you? A raging storm of fear? A raging storm of frustration? A raging storm of doubt? How will I make it out? How will I make it through? How will I make it over?

But remember, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and let's go over. I came to tell you, today, that you cannot go under when He says go over. I wonder, today, what is the storm that's raging in you?

I have good news. Jesus speaks to the storm that is in you, and He speaks His peace. He speaks peace to the storm of your mind. He speaks peace to the storm in your body. He speaks peace to the storm in your relationships. He speaks peace in the storm of your future. He is the God and the voice in the storm. He speaks to the storm that you are in. He speaks to you in the storm. And He speaks to the storm that is in you.

Well, I have the weather report. And the weather report is the storm is passing over. Hallelujah. Hallelujah! There has never been a storm that did not end. The storm is passing over, hallelujah!

© Copyright Hour of Power 2009. This message was delivered by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and aired on the Hour of Power, July 19, 2009.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

JANUARY-14: Sabarimala stampede : Why tragedy repeats the same day over the years?

A Sabarimala pilgrim awaits news of his relative outside Kumily Thaluk Hospital in Idukki district on Saturday. The death toll in the stampede that occurred on Friday at Pulmedu near Vandiperiyar has gone up to 102. Photo: H. Vibhu (

Why tragedy repeats the same day over the years?

1952, January 14 : 66 persons dead.
1999, January 14 : 52 persons dead
2011, January 14 : 102 and counting

This is a sad fact. It was an avoidable waste of life. 
Kerala has the excellent man / brain / economic resources to change things at Sabarimala but why it is not happening?

The traditional Political Mudsling has begun in Kerala.
Will it bring at least some considerable improvements in sabarimala ?
or, these 102 precious lives go waste and we hear the same news repeating over the years?
I have many questions, sir, because i want answers.

Friday, 7 January 2011

To a friend: The river bends..

If my ship sails from sight,
it doesn't mean my journey ends,
it simply means the river bends.
-J. Enoch Powell-

Thursday, 6 January 2011

BBC Guide: Christians in the Middle East

NDLR / ed:
With all the talks about the religious freedom and minority respect / privileges in Europe and North America, it is important to know what happens in the middle East, where Christianity is just an another minority. 
How much religious minorities are respected in the that part of the world.
It is far from the ideal! 
Is it not necessary that the justice be equal?  

BBC Guide: Christians in the Middle East 
The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity and home to some of the world's most ancient Christian denominations. But Christian communities across the region are declining in numbers because of a combination of low birth rates, emigration and, in some places, persecution.


Lebanon is the only Middle Eastern country where Christians were once dominant and retain considerable political power.

The country's religious breakdown is deeply sensitive as the country's 1975-1989 civil war was fought largely along religious lines.

Total population: 4m
Estimated Christians: 1.35m-1,6m
% Christian: 34-41%
Main churches: Maronite, Greek Orthodox
Issues: Political change
The last official census was done in 1932, but current estimates suggest there are slightly more Muslims than Christians. There is a widespread perception among Christians that their numbers and influence are declining.

The constitution dictates that the president is always Christian, the prime minister Sunni Muslim, and the parliamentary speaker Shia Muslim.

The largest church is the Maronite Church, which traces its origins to a 4th Century Syrian hermit, St Maron. The church united with the Catholic Church in 1736, although it retains its own traditions and practices.

The Greek Orthodox church is also strong in Lebanon, and there is a wide range of other denominations. Most religious groups operate freely.

Muslim-Christian relations have generally been calm in recent years. However, general political tensions in the country increased in 2005 with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the withdrawal of Syrian troops and a wave of bombings in Christian areas.

Sources: The CIA World Factbook estimates that 39% of Lebanon's population is Christian. Al-Nahar, a major national daily newspaper estimated in 2005 that Christians made up 40.8% of the population. The World Christian Database says there are approximately 1,350,000 Christians. UNDP estimates the country's population to be 4m.


About 19% of the country's population are Israeli-Arab - and about 9% of those are Christian.

As such the Christians are a minority within a minority, facing both the well-documented discrimination that all Israeli-Arabs are subject to and also the struggle to maintain their identity as part of an overwhelmingly Muslim population group.

Total population: 6.8m
Estimated Christians: 144,000-196,000
% Christian: 2.1-2.8%
Main churches: Greek Orthodox, Catholic
Issues: Discrimination against Arabs, falling numbers
The majority are from Catholic - both Eastern and Western rite - denominations and the Greek Orthodox church.

The remaining Christians include increasing numbers of immigrants from around the world. A vast number of denominations are represented, including Copts, Armenians, Russian Orthodox, Lutherans and a wide range of other Protestant groups.

There are also Messianic Jews who consider themselves Jewish but recognise Christ as the Messiah, and Christian Zionists who profess strong support the Jewish people.

Although there are some inequalities in the treatment of different religious groups in the predominantly Jewish state, there is full freedom of worship and proselytising is allowed.

Sources: Government figures put the Israeli Christian population at 144,000, of which 117,000 are Christian Arabs. The World Christian Database, working mainly from church estimates, puts the total 50,000 higher. This may be partly due to an estimated 100,000 illegal workers in the country, many of whom are Christian. The World Bank estimates Israel's population to be 6.8m.


Christian communities in the West Bank and Gaza have been declining for several decades because of conflict, economic decline and low birth rates.

The World Christian Database says they accounted for 5.3% of the population in 1970 and have dropped to less than half that now.

Total population: 3.76m
Estimated Christians: 40,000-90,000
% Christian: 1.1-2.4%
Main churches: Greek Orthodox and Catholic
Issues: Falling numbers, economic decline, occupation
Some Christian leaders also cite the rise of radical Islam in the area as a growing pressure on Christian communities.

Christians are concentrated in and around the towns of Bethlehem and Ramallah. A pastor in Gaza City estimates there are a mere 2,000 Christians among the Gaza Strip's 1.3 million in habitants.

The two largest churches are the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches, although the Assyrian, Armenian Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox churches, as well as many Protestant denominations, are also represented.

Christian-Muslim relationships are largely peaceful and Christians have reached senior positions in the Palestinian Authority, although some Palestinian Christians complain of harassment and discrimination.

Sources: The most recent PA census in 1997 recorded just over 40,000 Christians. The World Christian Database says there are about 90,000. The Palestinian Authority says the population of Gaza and the West Bank is 3.76 million.


Most Christians in Egypt are Copts - Christians descended from the ancient Egyptians.

Their church split from the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in 451AD because of a theological dispute over the nature of Christ, but is now, on most issues, doctrinally similar to the Eastern Orthodox church.

Total population: 68.7m
Estimated Christians: 5.8m-11m
% Christian: 8-16%
Main church: Coptic Orthodox
Issues: Some discrimination

The Coptic language - a descendent of the ancient Egyptian language, written mainly in the Greek alphabet - is still used for small parts of services.

Although Christian-Muslim relations are relatively peaceful, Copts complain of discrimination in the workplace and restrictions on church construction, and are concerned that new electoral rules are benefiting Islamist parties but not increasing Coptic political representation.

A plethora of other Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Armenian churches are present in smaller numbers in Egypt.

Sources: The Egyptian government estimates there are 5.6 million Christians; church estimates rise to 11 million.


Syria has for much of the century had a sizeable Christian minority making up at least 10% of the population. The proportion is thought to be declining due to emigration and low birth rates, although there are few reliable statistics.

Total population: 18.1m
Estimated Christians: 970,000-1.7m
% Christian: 5.4-9.4%
Main church: Greek Orthodox, Catholic
Issues: Declining numbers
In recent years Syria has been considered one of the easier Middle Eastern countries for Christians to live in. Power is concentrated in the hands of the Alawite minority - a Shia sect considered heretical by many Muslims - who have clamped down hard on extreme forms of Islam.

Although some Christians have been successful in professions and business - with a few rising relatively high in the administration - others have followed relatives to the West for economic reasons or to escape the general repression of the regime.

The largest churches are the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches. There are also Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Assyrian and Chaldean (see Iran and Iraq) Christians.

Sources: The World Christian Database put the number of Christians at 970,000, while a US State Department report says there are 1.7m. According to UNDP, the population is 18.1m.


Jordan's Christian population has dropped from about 5% of the population in 1970 to the current estimated 3%.

The main churches are Eastern and Western-rite Catholic and the Greek Orthodox church.

Total population: 5.4m
Estimated Christians: 163,000-220,000
% Christian: 3-4%
Main churches: Catholic, Greek Orthodox
Issues: Declining numbers
There is generally freedom of religion, apart from for Muslims converting to Christianity who sometimes face severe discrimination.

All churches must be recognised by the government. Nine of the 110 parliamentary seats are reserved for Christians. There are many missionary groups in the country, although proselytising Muslims is not allowed.

Relations between Christians and Muslims are amicable and Christians do not generally face discrimination, according to a US Department of State report.

Sources: Official government figures estimate that 4% of the population is Christian, although according to a US State Department report, government and Christian officials privately estimate the true figure to be closer to 3%. The World Christian Database estimates the Christian population to be 168,000. The World Bank puts the population at 5.4m.


There has been a Christian presence in what is now Iraq since the 2nd Century. The largest groups are the Chaldean and Assyrian churches, which are descended form similar roots but generally seen as separate ethnic groups.
Total population: 27.3
Estimated Christians: 700,000-1m
% Christian: 2.7- 3.5%
Main churches: Chaldean, Assyrian
Issues: Falling numbers, security

The Chaldeans are Eastern-rite Catholics - autonomous churches of Eastern origin which retain their own liturgy and traditions, but recognise the Pope's authority.

The Assyrian church - the Ancient Church of the East, also sometimes referred to as the Nestorian church - traces its roots back to 2nd Century Mesopotamia and is not Catholic.

The traditional liturgical language of both Assyrian and Chaldean churches is Syriac - a descendent of Aramaic, the language thought to have been spoken by Jesus and his disciples. Some Iraqi Christians still speak Syriac.

Iraq also has communities of Syrian Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Copts, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholics, as well as Anglicans and Evangelicals.

A rise in attacks on Christians since the US-led invasion in 2003 has prompted many to leave, although estimates that some 40,000 - 60,000 have left cannot be confirmed.

Although the Iraqi government has made commitments to enshrining the rights of religious minorities in the country's new constitution, the lack of security makes these difficult to enforce on the ground.

Sources: The World Christian Database says there are about 700,000 Christians in Iraq, while estimates from local church leaders and a US government report put the figure close to a million. There were 1.4 million in 1987 when the country's last census was conducted under Saddam Hussein. The UNDP estimates the total population to be 27.3 million.


The largest church in Iran is the Armenian Apostolic Church, which dates back to around 300AD.

Its doctrines are similar to the Eastern Orthodox Church, although services follow traditional Armenian rites and the Armenian language is used.

Total population: 66.9m
Estimated Christians: 79,000-400,000
% Christian: 0.1-0.6%
Main church: Armenian
Issues: Declining numbers, discrimination

There has been an Armenian community in Iran for several centuries.

The second largest church is the Assyrian church (see Iraq).

Iran's traditional Christian populations are recognised in the constitution, guaranteed freedom to worship and allocated seats in the parliament, but face some discrimination in employment and political rights.

Numbers are thought to be decreasing.

Evangelical Christians are not recognised and face heavy discrimination.

Sources: The World Christian Database estimates the Christian population at 400,000, although the most recent government census (1996) puts the figure at 79,000. The UN Special Representative for Iran estimated there were 300,000 Christians in 2001, but that 15,000 - 20,000 were leaving every year.


All the Gulf countries have very few, if any, indigenous Christians. Most, however, have large populations of expatriate workers from around the world, many of which include sizeable Christian communities.

In most countries the expatriates have freedom of worship but are not allowed to try to convert Muslims to Christianity. In Saudi Arabia, public expressions of non-Muslim religion in Saudi Arabia are banned. Private religious gatherings are also prohibited, although the ban is only enforced intermittently.

World Christian Database figures include several thousand Arab Christians in isolated churches linked by TV or radio networks in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - and another 13,000 "hidden Muslim believers" in Saudi Arabia. All figures are estimates derived from the claims of Christian organisations.

Population 710,000
Foreign workers: 270,000
Christians: 70,000

Population: 2.3m
Foreign workers: 500,000
Christian: 88,000

Saudi Arabia:
Population: 26.7m
Foreign workers: >7m
Christians: 1.3m

Yemen: Population: 20m
Foreign workers: unknown
Christians: 3,000 - 38,000 Kuwait:
Population: 2.8m
Foreign workers: 1.8m
Christians: 260,000

Population 744,000
Foreign workers: 544,000

Population 4.3m
Foreign workers: 3.7m
Christian: 316,000

Sources: World Christian Database and US State Department reports on religious freedom

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/12/15 15:16:04 GMT

© BBC 2011 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

6 Janvier : Aujourd’hui nous célébrons Saint frère André Bessette...


Les saints ont fait briller le visage du Christ dans leur vie, à travers leurs actions, leurs paroles et par leurs intercessions; et Dieu continue son travail à travers leur intercession même après leur mort.

Saint Thomas d’Aquin, par le travail de toute sa vie, nous a montré la sagesse de Dieu révélée dans les Écritures Saintes.

Saint Dominic, par sa vie et ses prédications, nous a témoigné le Christ qui enseigne le monde, le Christ qui fait la proclamation de la Bonne Nouvelle.

Saint François d’Assise, par sa vie et à travers sa fraternité, nous a montré le Christ pauvre et crucifié. Il a appelé Jésus « le frère ». François nous a invité à vivre pleinement le mystère de l’Incarnation en appelant  Jésus son « frère ». Jésus est notre frère, c’est le mystère de l’incarnation : Dieu fait home.

Une tapisserie représentant le frère André
Aujourd’hui nous célébrons frère André. Par son accueil, sa compassion et son intercession, il nous a montré le visage de Dieu qui nous écoute, qui nous accueille et qui nous guéri par sa Grâce.

Il faut comprendre L’homme selon son époque, selon son temps.
Comme notre archevêque cardinal Jean Claude Turcotte l’a bien observé dans son homélie au stade olympique le 30 octobre 2010 (dernier) :

« Le frère André a vécu à une époque bien différente de la nôtre. Mort en 1937, il n’a rien connu ni rien prévu des profondes transformations survenues dans notre société et notre Église depuis les années 1960.

À divers égards, sa façon de penser, sa manière de se comporter, ses propos, les expressions de sa foi chrétienne et de sa piété diffèrent des nôtres. Il est d’une autre époque, peut-on dire. »

Mais malgré ces différences, même aujourd’hui, nous sommes tous attiré par sa vie.
Sa vie nous parle de la compassion, de l’écoute et de l’Intercession.


« Mange - Prie - Aime » nous dit Mme Gilbert Elizabeth dans son livre autobiographique au succès international et par le film du même nom, qui a connu un énorme succès aux cinémas à travers le monde de l’an  dernier (en 2010.)

Par sa vie, saint frère André nous invite à « Aimer…écouter….prier. »

Toute sa vie, il s’est caché derrière le manteau de Saint Joseph.

« Le monde est-il bête de penser que frère André fait des miracles!
C’est le bon Dieu et saint joseph qui peuvent vous guérir. Pas moi. Je prierai saint joseph pour vous. »

Même aujourd'hui il nous donne le même message : 

C’est le bon Dieu et saint joseph qui peuvent vous guérir.
Pas moi. Je prierai saint joseph pour vous. 

Saint frère André, nous avons besoin de vos prières…
Frère André intercède pour nous…