Rebuking Your Brother to Regain Your Brother?

RaffiChil.jpeg

by RaffiChil
Can you imagine someone rebuking a very prominent person in society over a sin? It is highly probable that your first reaction would be, "Oh my, that's foolish", or perhaps, "Is he out of his mind chasing down a well known public figure?" Perhaps the more objective part of you would say, "He may be right, but does he really need to be so firm about it?"

The person I'm referring to here is none other than John the Baptist. Now, John has a very peculiar personality, he doesn't live the way normal people live and he doesn't even wear ordinary clothes, but rather unconventional ones, suitable for his life in the wilderness. He already has features that can be picked and easily pointed at. But John seems focused on his prophetic ministry, on something more important, more serious. Rather than succumbing to the norm and going along in society without being noticed, he does something unusual, he calls out Herod's sin.

Rebuking-to-Regain

Is he trying to get attention by stating the sin of the king of Judea?

In that period of time, and perhaps also today, people would question the motives of John the Baptist. However, all these questions about motives do not reflect upon the core of the matter, which is the truth that Herod had taken his brother's wife as his own. He was living in sin, and John the Baptist was admonishing the King. "For John has been saying to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Mark 6:18. Herod, as King of Judea, was to be an example to his people and respect the religious commandments and live a life of righteousness before God.

With John the Baptist there were no exceptions or special favours given to the upper echelons of society. Interestingly, we don't read anything about the Pharisees or Sadducees saying anything about the moral life of King Herod.

What shall we do then? Are we all called to be like John the Baptist in confronting our brother or sister who is living in sin? But who am I to point out someone's sin? Shouldn't I first be looking at the plank in my own eyes and hence my own sins (Matthew 7:3)?

On one occasion, Jesus says, "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother." Matthew 18:15

On another occasion, Jesus says to the woman, "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:11

Even Peter received the rebuke from Paul when he confronted Peter about his hypocrisy; eventually, Peter had to reconcile his daily actions with what he was daily preaching.

We have a loving God, who reproaches us and rebukes us in His awesome tough love, giving us the chance to repent and reconnect with Him.

AMAA Executive Director, Mr. Zaven Khanjian, Visiting Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church

On Sunday, 29 May, the AMAA Executive Director, Mr. Zaven Khanjian visited and preached at the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church.

Mr. Zaven Khanjian preaching, deacon Samuel Svajian, Badveli Sevag Trashian

Mr. Zaven Khanjian preaching, deacon Samuel Svajian, Badveli Sevag Trashian

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Lebanese premiere of the movie “Map of Salvation”

Haigazian University organized the Lebanese premiere of the movie “Map of Salvation”, on Thursday, 14th of July, 2016, in the ABC Grand Cinemas, Beirut – Lebanon.
The capacity audience of 350 people, filling two main movie halls, included religious leaders, among others Mgr. Gabriel Caccia, Ambassador of the Vatican, officials, community leaders, and supporters of the Armenian Cause.
Specially here were the narrator of the movie, genocide scholar Svante Lundgren from Finland, as well as the movie producer Manvel Saribekyan from Armenia.
“Map of Salvation” is a documentary produced by MAN Pictures, about the humanitarian wave of support and resistance during the Armenian Genocide. It tells the story of 5 women: Maria Jacobsen (Denmark), Karen Jeppe (Denmark), Bodil Bjorn (Norway), Alma Johansson (Sweden), and Anna Hedvig Büll (Estonia) who had left their comfortable lives in Europe and come to the Armenian lands, to devote their lives selflessly and unconditionally to the citizens enduring a genocide.

Svante Lundgren, Rev. Paul Haidostian, Manvel Saribekyan

Svante Lundgren, Rev. Paul Haidostian, Manvel Saribekyan

Rev. Megerdich Karagoezian, Mgr. Gabriel Caccia, Rev. Paul Haidostian

Rev. Megerdich Karagoezian, Mgr. Gabriel Caccia, Rev. Paul Haidostian

Map of Salvation 3

 
President Haidostian's reflections:

The MAP OF SALVATION film (MAN Pictures 2015) is a contrast of maps.

The Armenian Genocide was planned and executed using clear maps and plots, yet partial salvation came through compassionate persons, organizations, and missionaries whose main map was that of the heart. It was faith, empathy and selflessness that moved them and penciled their saving map wherever the victimized and vulnerable children and women found shelter.
Screening the film at Beirut’s ABC Grand Cinemas on July 14, 2016 led me once more to appreciate the power of image, movement, music, word, story and voice all come together, and film director Aram Shahbazyan had successfully integrated them all.
A small part of the Genocide story was told, and a humble part of the heart-warming journey of the five women missionaries was presented. The large part was left to the viewers: to look back, to learn, to be thankful, to think about today, and to be inspired for tomorrow.
Film producer Manvel Saribekyan’s presence with us from Armenia, and film narrator Svante Lundgren’s personal message made our day much more meaningful.
Such films do not belong to the screens. They belong to our hearts. Manvel is a tireless producer and a man of vision, and Svante is a Genocide scholar and theologian who has enriched the MAP OF SALVATION through his personality.

The MAP OF SALVATION felt only like a start of a new journey to recapture the beauty of faith on the ugly pages of human intrigue. There is more to the story, and more in the story, waiting to be unearthed. 

Rev. Paul Haidostian, Ph.D.
President, Haigazian University

A Night with the Veteran Chanitzagans of the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church

April 27, 2016 was a memorable day for the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church Chanitz. More than 30 veteran Chanitz members gathered in the Youth hall alongside current youth group members to worship, socialize and dine together. The atmosphere was uplifting as veterans and current youth group members sang together, shared stories from years back and played games during the social time. This experience was very encouraging as it led to a new excitement that our youth group needed.


We would like to repeat such events and gathering at least once a year to keep the old and new generation in close connection. It will help us discover the past in order to move to the future carrying with us the legacy of the founders of Emmanuel Chanitz.

Badveli Sevag Trashian

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Sunrise Worship Service at Kchag

Njteh Mekhsian (Armenian Evangelical First Church) leading the worship

Njteh Mekhsian (Armenian Evangelical First Church) leading the worship

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Chanasser Publication (Ջանասէր) Sep-Oct 2015 Issue

Chanasser_Sep-Oct-2015

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Encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses

Vahé Jebejian

by Vahé Jebejian
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:5-6

You’ve certainly encountered them, as well. They are always on the street, standing behind a stand with books, such as What Does the Bible Really Teach, or handing out a brochure called The WatchTower. I’ve made a habit of talking to Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is interesting that whichever country you go to, their arguments are always the same, the same verses are quoted always.

Encouters with Jehovah's Witnesses

In the mornings as I rush to the train station, I often see Valentin. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness (JW), and I’ve come to know him very well. I can even say that we’re friends. He invited me to come to their commemoration of the passion of Christ which was on March 23. I literally had 12 hours to think about it. Finally, I decided to go.

The pastor preached what sounded like a very Christian message. At first, I thought, “Wow, we have a lot in common,” even though I was aware of the differences, especially on the Divinity of Christ. The uneasiness started when the preacher never mentioned anything about Jesus’ resurrection. He also claimed that before descending to Earth, Jesus was some kind of an angel. The uneasiness continued when he claimed that only 144,000 will go on to live with Christ and the rest would stay on Earth, based on Revelation 7:4, “And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000”. The climax was when they had communion (Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate communion once a year) but no one participated in it. Later, I understood that only those who consider themselves to be part of the 144,000 could share in Christ’s body and blood. When the service was over and as I left the meeting place, a feeling of sadness came over me.

I am writing this passage with the same sadness that took over me that night. Jesus couldn’t have been clearer when He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you,” John 6:53.

As every JW one encounters, Valentin, too, invited me to a cup of coffee. I gladly accepted. JWs are very well trained. On top of that, Valentin happens to be one of the elders in his church. But, we must rest assured that “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,” Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God will win the battle, but for that, we must be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,” Colossians 2:7. We are not here to defend God. He doesn’t need defending. But we are called to show the right way, to lead the ones who ago astray, to be His hands and feet.

We so often hear from the pulpit that Jesus is the Son of God and God at the same time. But we must be able to prove it with Scriptures so that when we hear verses, such as “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” Colossians 1:15, we won’t be dumbstruck. JWs claim that Jesus was created by God, and they use similar verses to prove it. If one is not rooted in the Word of God, such verses may shock us and make us question our faith.

Another verse they are keen on using is John 14:28: “The Father is greater than I” to prove that Jesus is not God. Another passage is when Jesus prays to God in the garden of Gethsemane. They ask, “How can Jesus pray to God if He is God? Is He praying to Himself?” And this is only the beginning. They’ll ask you such questions, and if the Word is not truly rooted in your heart, it’ll shake your confidence. Most importantly, it will give the JW the feeling that he is right, that Jesus is not God, and that Christians are mistaken. But we know for sure, “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” Proverbs 30:5.

The answer to Colossians 1:15 is that firstborn is prototokos in Greek which is used to define leadership and inheritance. Jesus said, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” Matthew 28:18. In ancient Near Eastern culture, firstborn didn’t necessarily imply ‘the oldest child’. The answer to John 14:28 and the prayer in Gethsemane is first, the fact that Jesus as a human longed for a relationship with God, as we all do. Second, being three persons and one being, Jesus had a relationship with God before coming to Earth, and there was no reason for it to stop when He came to Earth. On Earth, Jesus “emptied himself, by

taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of man” Philippians 2:7. This explains why Jesus referred to God as being greater than Him in John 14:28.

There are verses that undeniably refer to Jesus as God. Hebrews 1:3 is one such example: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature”. The word in Greek used for ‘exact imprint’ is charaktēr, which means exact reproduction, non-replicable imprint. It was used to refer to the exact imprint of Caesar on a coin.

Another important verse is Philippians 2:6 where Paul talks about Jesus saying, “who, although He existed in the form of God”. The Greek word used here for ‘form’ is morphos, which means ‘the same from the inside’, Jesus had God’s same nature. Furthermore, the word existed in Greek is best translated as ‘continued on existing’ which proves the eternal existence of Jesus Christ, He is not just a creation of God. The list of verses is long.

Finally, the meeting with Valentin ended. It was a great time of scripture reading and analysis. When shown truths such as these, one cannot simply walk away from them. It is their right to refuse to accept them, but as long as they claim that the basis for their faith is in the Bible, it is impossible to hide from the Truth, for “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:12.

I want to challenge you that the next time a couple of JWs come to your door, invite them in like a brother or a sister. Be sure to be well rooted in the Word of God and remember that we are not called to be successful but to be faithful. We cannot change people’s hearts, only God can. But, we are called to plant the seed. To end, I would like to quote a prayer by Henry Nouwen, a Dutch catholic priest and theologian, “God, help me to see others not as enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.”

Chanitz (Christian Endeavour) Banquet 2016

The Christian Endeavour banquet is an event that all the youth and church families wait for every year, when youth from our five Armenian Evangelical churches come together for fellowship, praying, serving, fundraising and, of course, having lunch together.
This year we had the honour to host Mr. Adorján Kálmán, the president of World Christian Endeavour Union. He had come all the way from Romania to be with us and to get to know about the CE work here in Lebanon and Syria. We also hosted Rev. Megerdich Melkonian, along with pastors from Armenia, who were also visiting Lebanon and the Armenian Evangelical Churches.
We opened the banquet with responsive prayer, thanking God and requesting that He would strengthen the youth in their faith.
Mrs. Yester Kilaghbian, the emcee of our banquet, entertained the guests with her short stories and introducing the next on the program.
In order to give an overview regarding our youth and the camps, badveli Datev Basmajian showed snapshots of photos about the work with the youth and the yearly camps and events that CE organized with the volunteers from our churches.
The talented groups of Ashrafieh Church Band and Sipan Dance Group performed their songs and Armenian dances, capturing the attention of the present with their music, voices, and the beautiful Armenian female folklore dance.
With a bouquet of flowers, we thanked God for the services of Badveli Sebouh Terzian, Mrs. Shushan Artinian and Mrs. Noushig Shanlian-Arzoumanian, who ended their serving terms at the board of the Christian Endeavour Executive Body.
At the end of the banquet, we closed the event with Chanitz anthem and received the benediction of the president of UAECNE, Rev. Megerdich Karagoezian.

We ask that you pray for the families in Lebanon and Syria, and specifically the youth, that God would keep them steadfast in their faith, despite the many turmoils in Lebanon and Syria.

Around 200 people were present at the premise of the First Armenian Evangelical Church

Around 200 people were present at the premise of the First Armenian Evangelical Church

Ashrafieh Church Band

Ashrafieh Church Band

Mrs. Yester Kilaghbian emceeing

Mrs. Yester Kilaghbian emceeing

Mr. Garbis Deyirmenjian surprised the presence with the news about Nor Yerk band that will be holding revival meetings in April

Mr. Garbis Deyirmenjian surprised the presence with the news about Nor Yerk band that will be holding revival meetings in April

Badveli Datev Basmajian sharing about the youth work and the camps that were held in 2015

Badveli Datev Basmajian sharing about the youth work and the camps that were held in 2015

Sipan Dance Group

Sipan Dance Group

Badveli Sevag Trashian welcoming Mr. Adorján Kálmán

Badveli Sevag Trashian welcoming Mr. Adorján Kálmán

Sipan Dance Group

Sipan Dance Group

(L to R): Badveli Datev Basmajian, Mr. Raffi Chilingirian, Badveli Sevag Trashian, Mr. Adorján Kálmán, Ms. Nanor Kelenjian, Mr. Aren Deyirmenjian, Mrs. Anita Andonian, Rev. Raffi Messerlian, Badveli Hagop Akbasharian

(L to R): Badveli Datev Basmajian, Mr. Raffi Chilingirian, Badveli Sevag Trashian, Mr. Adorján Kálmán, Ms. Nanor Kelenjian, Mr. Aren Deyirmenjian, Mrs. Anita Andonian, Rev. Raffi Messerlian, Badveli Hagop Akbasharian

Photos, courtesy of Mr. Krikor Aynilian

New Book: Կանխորոշուած Ցեղասպանութիւն՝ Դոկտ. Երուանդ Հ. Քասունի

Gankhoroshvads-Tseghasbanoutyoun-Kassouny

Living Among the Dead

Vahe-Jebejian

by Vahé Jebejian
«Why do you seek the living among the dead? » Luke 24:5

That’s what the angels said when the women came to Jesus’ tomb, only to find it empty. Indeed, the idea of Jesus in a tomb was history. Jesus had risen from the dead, but the women not knowing came to search for Him. How often in our lives do we go back and take refuge in our past?

When the women went back, the only thing they saw was an empty tomb, an emptiness. It was now time to look to the future, to what’s ahead.

It is easy when problems come to look back to the past for comfort, reassuring ourselves that we once were good people, we have already done plenty of good deeds. There is nothing wrong in looking back to the past to search for encouragement or to remember joyful moments. However, there is a problem when we start getting comfortable with that. 

Jesus said in Luke 9:60, «Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God». Jesus may sound pretty unsympathetic, after all the man had suffered a big loss. Jesus is extending His hand to the man, inviting him to join His ministry, but the man keeps looking back at his past, he’s not ready to let go.

Jesus calls us out of our comfort zone, he called Peter out of the boat to join Him on the water. Peter, accepting the challenge, comes out but when the winds blow, he faces a choice. The winds represent our problems. I’d like to imagine that when Peter started sinking, he had two choices: either to go back to the boat or to seek Jesus. Let’s keep that image in mind every time we face a dilemma in life. Will we go back to the comfort zone, to the boat, or seek Life? Let’s follow Peter, when he says, « Lord, save me», in Matthew 14:30. Jesus promises us to be there promptly, as he was for Peter, «Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him» (Matthew 14:31).

It is a lifelong task to always reach out for more. It is not easy to get out of our comfort zone. Let’s try every day to do something that will make a difference somehow, no matter how small it is.

Finally, «Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead» Philippians 3:13.