Wisdomtree Trust

Re-newing the New Generation

@ Baruch TRANSFORM camp, NLF Mangalore

Posted by samthambu on April 10, 2008

It was great to be at the New Life Fellowship(NLF) youth camp at Mangalore. The theme was TRANSFORM. Trust me, the camp was ROCKING. It was HAPPENING! Young people’s lives being touched by both the WORD and the SPIRIT. I did three sesssions while Pastor Vijay (Mumbai) did the remaining sessions.

I spoke to young people about the Historical reliablity of the Bible, the truth about resurrection and living the Christian life in the midst of Generation Now. I told them how the bible is “real’ and “able” and how we can believe it – just as it is. I challenged the young people there to live out the historical fact of ressurection. Apologetics is not just about Why I believe what I believe. It’s more about: WHY I LIVE WHAT I BELIEVE. Finally, I told them that “We are IN the world but NOT OFF the world” and ” Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world“.  It was great to see young people (who were jumping and dancing in worship)  share an interest in apologetics (much more than I had anticipated). It was a great opportunity to minster to about 150 young people – who were hungry for God. The Word and the Spirit teaching would make these young people “live wires for Jesus”  

I enjoyed every bit of my stay. I was really ministered to. I was touched by Pastor Vijay’s challenge: to fall in love with Jesus and to develop a living relationship with God, the Holy Spirit. I am thinking about this for the last two days, since leaving Mangalore. I am reflecting on the questions: What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to be grasped by Jesus? What does it mean to love Jesus? Besides, I met some amazing people who are the movers and shakers in and around Mangalore.

NLF Mangalore has done amazing work among students and professionals in Mangalore. You can feel it when you see the Church. Pastor Mathew and Pastor Manu were a great inspiration for Urban missions. I thank God for the opportunity to (re)learn and (un)learn.  I just pray that NLF mangalore would continue to impact many more lives. Please visit: www.nlfmangalore.com

      

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Looking Back!

Posted by samthambu on March 30, 2008

It’s been a year since we launched Wisdomtree – The Academy of the Faithful. We are thankful to God for his grace, strength and blessings. We have been able to do “something” and God has miraculously blessed what we did. God has opened amazing opportunities, given resources, help us find people with the same vision (and passion). Through the twists and turns he has sustained us. No photograph (however real it may have been shot), No write-up (however true it is), No testimony (however unedited it is presented)and no (however-true-to-reality) presentation can adquately tell our stories at Wisdomtree. I remember God’s word that came alive to me while returning from Bangalore.

” Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands. I provide water in deserts– streams in thirsty lands for my chosen people – Isa. 43:18 – 20″

True to his promise, God has opened up opportunities in Corportate offices, Coffee Shops, Colleges, Churches, Youth gathering, National workshops to help young people engage with the challenges of the Urban sub-culture.Wisdomtree is not just about events. It’s about articulating a new vision for Generation “WHY”. It all about re-newing the New Generation. It’s about (re)shaping youth ministry so that they engage with urban sub-culture.

We are particularly thankful to God for Mr. Aram Appavu and family for their continued support to the vision to reach young people through engagement with urban sub-cultures. They have stood with us and encouraged us like no other. I am also thankful to my mother for given genorously, sacrificially and cheerfully to help wisdomtree grow. Besides, several of you have made financial investments for Kingdom gains. These men and women of God have made it possible for us to do innovative and creative things that are otherwise not possible. They have believed in us as we lived out the vision to reach young people through cultural apologetics.

Continue to pray for us. You can track our ministry experience, events, and other programme info at www.wisdomtreetrust.wordpress.com
 
Wisdomtree has launched alot of innovative programmes and events.

  1. The Center for Religion and Film engages with Indian movies and helps relate issues of faith with the movie experience. Cinema, Coffee, Conversations – an innovative programme of film discussion has received good response. We plan to take this into coffee houses in various cities.
  2. The wisdomtree blog has invited about 27800 hits in the first year. The Cogwheel – the sharing of ideas for cultural apologetics ( specially designed for youth workers) had 6300 hits. Besides, the other blogs are doing great too. God has blessed the Wisdomtree blog initiative and helped me to minister to a global audience. We are soon launching a broadcast channel in Youtube (wisdomtreechennai)
  3. The Academy of the faithful has launched the online course. We would be launching teaching sessions through Skype and Youtube.
  4. We are also formally launching the oXyGen circle( Offering Christ to Younger Generation) – a circle of innovative youth workers raring to make the gospel relevant to our times.
  5. We have also begun research on Nu metal music – a genre that is popular with young people.
  6. We have recently launced a christian discipleship programme for young people called THE DEEP DIVE. We are intentionally seeking to disciple 17 – 24 year olds.
  7. We are launching A National Workshop on Cultural Apologetics for youth workers in July 2008.

If you want to partner with Wisdomtree or make a contribution to our efforts please contact us. We are in need of financial gifts, prayers and people to spread our reach beyond what it is today. For more details please write to: contactwisdomtree@gmail.com and/or call 9840988427

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At Refuel – SABC, Bangalore

Posted by samthambu on March 27, 2008

I faciliated “Engaging Urban Subcultures” module at the Refuel – youth workers training programme conducted by Southern Asia Bible College (SABC), Bangalore. Refuel is a three week long youth workers training programme conducted by SABC. Several youth workers and youth ministries are invited to pool valuable insights, experiences and expertise so that youth workers can be energized and refueled.

Refuel has been an enriching experience for me. I did three sessions at Refuel – Mapping the urban subculture, Locating the urban discourse of desire and despair, Engaging Cultures, Encountering lives. Besides, I also did a presentation on Kal Ho Na Ho to demonstrate how films can be used to build faith discourse with urban audiences and engage them in conversations about the gospel story.

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What is the best way to live life?

Posted by samthambu on March 21, 2008

Last Sunday, I spoke to the members of the Calvary Community Church (CCC), Adyar at their morning english service. My sermon was titled, ” what is the best way to live life?”. I presented Paul’s answers as it is explicated in his epistle to the Church at Phillipi. I was happy to minister at this church for more than one reason. Firstly, it is located in south Chennai – where the city is sprawling. Secondly, it is close to the IT corridor. Thirdly, it is attended by IIT-ians. Fourthly, it is a growing church. I would never have known about the existence of this Church. This year, I went to the Rock show – hosted by IIT-Chennai – where I got introduced to the Pastor. I was impressed. How many youth workers would ever venture out into College Culturals and get to understand young people? Not many. I think it is important for youth workers to understand who young people are (and not who young people are not). We hit it off almost instantaneously since we shared similiar concerns of reaching young people in and around south Chennai. The pastor invited me over to speak at their Sunday Service. It was a great experience to minister to young people. I emphasized the need to live out our faith so that people who see us would learn to appreciate our committment to follow Jesus and in doing so learn ‘the best way to live life – living for Jesus with Jesus.

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Cultural Apologetics course online

Posted by samthambu on February 24, 2008

The Academy of the Faithful is launching its online course in Cultural Apologetics. The Academy of the Faithful is a learning circle that believes in learning in fellowship together. The Academy of the faithful believes in

  • Scholarship of every believer
  • Collaborative learning
  • Faith seeking application
  • Hermeneutics of Trust

The course on cultural Apologetics: Encountering Pop-Culture, Engaging lives – intends to equip Christian young people to be conversant about the beauty, truth and goodness of Christian answers to life, and most importantly defend the Christian Hope. The interactive course is designed to help participants explore the “quest”-ion,” why-I-live-what-I-believe”.

Course Outline

  • Engaging with Urban Sub-Culture
  • The case for cultural apologetics
  • Understanding goodness, Truth and beauty
  • Faith, arts and culture
  • Engaging with images, information and ideas.
  • Multiplex solutions – revisiting ‘fill-o-sophies’
  • Faith in a Machine world: Revisiting work
  • Are there rules to live by? Revisiting moral frameworks
  • Bringing goodthings to life: Revisiting consumerism
  • Games people play: revisiting leisure
  • Be what want to be: Revisiting Alternative lifestyles
  • Storykeeping in an information age

Enrolling at the Academy of the Faithful is very simple.
Step 1: Send an email to contactwisdomtree@gmail.com inform the tutor/mentor that you are starting the course.
Step 2:

Go to: http://theacademyofthefaithful.wordpress.com/archives/

Follow the course outlines (at your own pace and time). Join the e-group for discussing the particular unit. After each section, send your comments to the e-discussion group and learn from others who are part of the study circle.

Step 3: You can get in touch with the tutor/mentor by email (contactwisdomtree@gmail.com) , phone, google talk, google chat, skype for clarification, clearing doubts and free sharing of ideas. You could fix prior appointment with the tutor/mentor for google talk, google chat, skype.
 
For more details please visit: www.theacademyofthefaithful.wordpress.com

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The quicker we learn the easy is the experience

Posted by samthambu on February 22, 2008

In every experience with people place and things God teaches us some lessons. The quicker we learn the easy is the experience.

Going through disappointment, facing a dead-end, and picking up shattered dreams is not an easy experience. When you are sad and lonely and you think you have no one. When darkness surrounds you and all help is gone. When friends seem like strangers and you stand there all alone. You crack. you croak and you choke. You begin to ask, ” Where is God in all this”? Can we make sense out of suffering.

A dear friend of mine shared this with me and it has really helped me to see things differently. It stuck on with me and through the twists and turns in life, this has helped me cope with the harsh realities of life.

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God and Astronomy – Study Project

Posted by samthambu on December 26, 2007

It is sad that our everyday experiences do not enrich our spirituality, much less our theology. We don’t look at the star-littered night sky and make theological assertions as much as we do on a Sunday morning service during ‘praise and worship’ (at least this is my experience). But, the psalmist could sing God’s praises when he looked at the night sky: “ The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament his handiwork” (Ps 19:1); When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; …O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3,9); “He telleth [counts] the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” (Psalm 147:4). The grandeur and the complexity of the universe do not evoke the sense of wonder. Are we losing our humanity? Hugh Ross contends, “Gazing at the night sky seems to raise profound questions not only about the Universe but also about ourselves”. Why is it that we don’t get into a reflective mood when we gaze into the night sky? No wonder, our spirituality is shortsighted, dull and boring.

The bible affirms that, “ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth [ Gen 1:1]. Why is that we have resigned the study of the universe to those with “ God-is-not-necessary-to-explain-anything” persuasions. Actually, it is Christians who should be the first to engage in the study of astronomy because it tells us much about God’s vast creation and his daily care for us. George Roche contends, “ it really does matter and matter very much, how we think about the cosmos”. Today we know a lot amore about the universe than we did a century back. Ironically, we know that we don’t know much about the universe. However, the discoveries in the last century have brought “God” into mainstream academic discussion. Astronomers are now talking a lot about God and new findings make for the case for a universe designed by God so compelling. In the book, Creator and Cosmos, Hugh Ross writes,” No other generation has witnessed so many discoveries about the universe…Not only can we measure certain aspects of the universe, but in these measurements we are discovering some of the characteristics of the one who fashioned it all”

The study of the universe informs our worldview – how we look at all of life, how we answer questions of origin, identity, meaning, morality, salvation, history and destiny and how we live and order our lives. Historically, anyone who accepted a particular cosmological model has had to re-orient his thoughts drastically in many areas. We live in an age where the dominance of science is felt in every arena of life. Worse, their influence has spilled over into the entertainment arena. Atheistic scientists/filmmakers/storywriters are vocal in their “god-less” pronouncements about the universe. Our kids are watching their sci-fi films and serials, reading science fiction books, and reading other published material about the universe. It is time we stand up to “ declare the glory of God revealed through the cosmos”.

At the wisdomtree – the academy of the faithful, we have begun a study project on God and astronomy. Hopefully, this would evolve into some publishing material. We are also involved in the production of presentations for young people titled; The story of the Universe, Is there someone out there?, and An Earth made for life. For more information contact writespace4sam@gmail.com

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Wake-up! The world has changed – (just in case you didn’t know!)

Posted by samthambu on December 19, 2007

As Story-keepers, we are called to communicate the gospel to screenagers. Communication is not data transfer. So, it is important that we recognize the inner dynamics of the ‘image-culture’ and understand how it is changing the way we ‘see’ and ‘listen’ and ‘think’. I needn’t remind you that the world has changed. The best metaphor to describe the change we are experiencing is T20 cricket (although it arrived late in the scene).

If you had followed the T20 format, you’d agree with me that the face of the game has changed so much.  The ‘hit and giggle’ game ( as it is referred to) is so much different from what it once used to be – Test Cricket which is a slow game played for 5 whole days and with no guarantee of a result. T20  is also different from the one-day game wherein the ‘start’ and the ‘finish’ provide for both ‘excitement’ and ‘aggression’ that people crave for. The T20 version of the game speaks the ‘Generation Next’ language. It promises electrifying entertainment through a shorter format to cater to the changing tastes, needs and aspirations of the spectators.

Did you know Cricket would have lost its sway over people had it not kept itself in-step with the changing times? Test cricket became one-day cricket in an attempt to capture the imagination of sports lovers. When one-day cricket was plagued by ‘predictability’, ‘politics’, ‘match fixing’ and ‘boring middle overs’  and our interest in the game was slowly dying out, cricket managers have bowled us over with a ‘googly’ (or maybe it’s doosra). T20 cricket has changed the way we played (and watched) cricket. We live in a changing world. Wake-up! Our world has already changed – (just in case you didn’t know!)

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Divine Invasion

Posted by samthambu on December 15, 2007

Samuel Thambusamy was invited to speak at the Christmas programme organized by the Young Leaders For Christ (YLFC).  The meeting was attended by close to 100 people.  Sam spoke to the young people on the theme: Divine Invasion. The evening was packed with music, testimony and message. Sam has spoken at YLFC meetings on earlier three occasions. Wisdomtree enjoys the friendship of YLFC as they continue to nurture young leaders for Christ.

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Engaging with cultural products

Posted by samthambu on December 14, 2007

– by Samuel Thambusamy

I am often asked the question: Why do you write on music videos and movies? I have always often the querry interesting. The question is “Why?” rather than “how?”. My response has always been ” “Why not?”. The question ” Why not?” has provided me the drive to do a lot of things.

I often ask sunday school teachers if they are aware of the 10 most popular songs of the week. The answer always is a resounding “NO”. I also ask them if they are aware of the movies that kids are watching and what it is all about. The answer is always a resounding ‘No’. Whether we like it or not, believe it or not, accept it or not Kids are listening to the songs and watching movies. They are talking about it to their friends. They are reading about it in magazines. They are searching for it on the net. They are looking around to get them.

Music/movies/magazines have a way of finding us and entering our ‘mind-space’. Internet connectivity makes music (and videos) available, accessible and afordable. You don’t have to wait endlessly till it becomes outdated in the West to reach India. Today, you get it instantly on the net. Sugababes song ” About you now” is the No 1 song in the UK charts. YOu can watch it on youtube.

Music is not just Music. Movies are not just movies. Magazines are not just magazines. They present (and promote) a philosophy of life. Musicians are increasingly becoming the philosophers of our times. Popular culture brings “cultural moments” closer to our lifespace. What is a cultural moment? A cultural moment is when a movie, song or a television show becomes extremely popular. We must help our young people to engage with it.

Often times, the teaching that young people receive is of no consequence to their lifespace. It is almost as if we have nothing to say about their world or everything to say about their world. We get into a condemnatory mode and demand that they throw everything out of their lifespace. We do not let the gospel enter their lifespace, encounter the alternate visions presented by music videos/movies etc and engage them in a conversation with these competing voices and make an evaluation for themselves.

I believe that is why it is important to follow the music that finds cultural prominence and help young people ‘encounter-engage and evalate’ the music that enters their lifespace. Wisdomtree is mindful of its calling to ‘resource’ and “engage” in cultural apologetics (dismantling the philosophies of this world) and disentangling people from its effects. A wide range of resources are available at cogwheel.wordpress.com

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