Kevin Menezes

Loved and Saved by God alone to Love and Serve God alone.


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Relationship Trumps Everything (Selfies With Jesus)

You walk into a mall and guess what?! Your favorite movie star Shah Rukh Khan is there to promote his latest film. He is taking selfies with his fans. You seize the opportunity and get a selfie with the man. It turns out be a very good picture. You publish it on all your social media feeds. You even hang the picture on your living room wall for everyone to see. People are amazed that you “know” Shah Rukh Khan and evidently you too are quite proud of yourself.

Then, one day, you are hanging with the gang in Bandra and someone says, “Hey look! Isn’t that Shah Rukh Khan’s house right there? Let’s drop in and say Hi.”

Flummoxed, you don’t know how to deny it all. Before you know it, you are at the main gate. The security guards ask you what you want. Your chums chip in: “He is a very close friend of Shah Rukh Khan.” They whip out your phone, show the guards your favorite picture, and sure enough there you are hanging out with the man himself.

The guards apologize: “Very sorry, sir. Please go right in. Shah Rukh Khan will be delighted to see you.”

You are now in Shah Rukh Khan’s living room. He’s been told a very close friend is here to see him. He will be down shortly. Now, here’s my question: When Shah Rukh Khan sees you, what do you think he’ll do? What will he say?

While you are wondering about that, let me take you to Matthew 7 where Jesus warns Christians they might face a similar dilemma. Because while we are busy taking selfies with Jesus (by being visible in the church, singing in the choir, sporting crucifixes and rosaries), the singular question on which our fate rests is: Do we know Him at a personal level? Yes, we know all about Jesus (like we know all about Shah Rukh Khan), but do we KNOW Him, like on a one-to-one basis?

And even more importantly: Does He Know Us?  

Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7)

I don’t know you! Get out from my house!” – Isn’t that what Shah Rukh Khan is likely to say too when he sees you in his house, masquerading as a friend?

Shah Rukh Khan’s house is for him, his family and his friends. It is not for every freeloader who happens to be carrying a picture of him. Similarly, heaven is for God’s friends — those who actually took time to nurture a relationship with Him. It is not for everyone who just happens to be hanging on to a crucifix, a rosary or a supposed picture of Jesus, or St. Anthony or any of the other saints.

In short, the main criterion for entry is RELATIONSHIP, not Religion.

Jesus said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” And, Yes, in Christ we all have free invite to the banquet in heaven. But we need to be watchful lest we be thrown out like the man in Matthew 22 who was invited to the wedding banquet but then cast out because he wasn’t wearing the right clothes. So, what is the right outfit for entry to heaven? It is Righteousness predicated on Relationship.

Think about this: How did you and your best friend become best friends? I imagine there would have been a lot of candid talking, and lots and lots of sharing (of both good stuff and bad). You would need to hang out together — a lot! To the point where you can trust each other and where you become the first responder in every crisis. That’s how we forge a strong bond with fellow humans, and guess what? That’s how you forge a bond with God too. By spending time together, talking, listening…

Then, one day, when you find yourself in His living room, you won’t have to worry about what He will say when He sees you. He’s going to rush down and simply embrace you just like you would hug a dear friend. There won’t be any need for words. And even if you try, He’ll say “Ssshhh!! You don’t need to say anything. We spent so much time talking with each other when you were on earth. I already know all about you. Just make yourself at home.”  


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A Tale of Trinitarian Coexistence

One of the inane things Jesus probably endured on a daily basis was having the general public — even his own disciples — discuss who he really was while he was with them. Some said he was a prophet, some said he was the Son of God. Two millennia later, that discussion still rages on.

My personal take on this whole ‘Who is Jesus Debate’ is pretty simplistic: Wouldn’t it be a lot better if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do? That, I think, would make Jesus a lot happier than us trying to figure Him out. Because, quite frankly, no matter how much we discuss and debate this, there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity.

Having said that, I am always up for a meaningful discussion, even if that means answering some questions over and over again. So, here goes:

The biggest conundrum about Christian theology is the TRINITY. The ‘Three Persons One God’ concept is a stumbling block for a lot of people – Muslims, Jews and even some Christians – who subscribe to the monotheistic (one God) philosophy. But the irony is that Christians subscribe to the One God philosophy too. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and “There is no God besides me.” (Isaiah 45:5) If these are key tenets of the Christian faith, the natural question that arises is why do Christians then club Jesus and the Holy Spirit along with the One God Almighty?

That’s a very good question. Let’s use examples from the natural world to explain the Christian view of God because you can catch glimpses of the Creator in His creation, and everything God created reflects Him and who He really is.

We see the first example of Trinitarian coexistence in the Universe. The laws of Physics suggest that Time, Space, and Matter cannot exist independent of the other. If you had Matter but no Space, WHERE would you put it? If you had Space but no Time, WHEN would you put it? You have to have all THREE components bound together in a Trinitarian coexistence of sorts to have ONE functional Universe. The Bible sorts that out for us in the very first verse. Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning (TIME) God created the heavens (SPACE) and the earth (MATTER).”

The second example of Trinitarian coexistence is the human race. Aren’t we who have been made in the image and likeness of God THREE dimensional beings too, comprising Body, Soul and Spirit? And what is your body without soul and spirit? That’s why even if scientists figure out some way to clone your body they will never be able to clone your soul. Your mannerisms, your thoughts, your ideas are unique to you and that is why there will never be another you – ever. Because the real you – just in case it hasn’t dawned on you yet – is not just your body. The real you is all THREE PARTS of you – body, soul and spirit – functioning together to be ONE COMPLETE YOU.

Jesus said “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:11). If you really want to understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit in relation to God take an ice-cube, drop it into a glass of water and then try figuring out which one is H2O. The minute the ice-cube hits the glass you can say the ice is in the water. But after a while you could also say the water is in the ice. And if that doesn’t convince you, pour it all into a kettle, put it on the stove, and watch it all turn into vapor. Water, the font of all life, can exist in THREE states: liquid, solid and vapor. But in all its states it is essentially still WATER.

Similarly, God is a three-dimensional being – Father, Son and Spirit. But they are intrinsically ONE. Jesus is the physical expression of a Trinitarian God, or the physical form God took to enter the physical world. He was God in heaven and God walking on earth all at the same time because God is not limited by time, space or matter. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. And He exists far above and beyond the scope of all that He has created. He can permeate through everything to be whoever He wants to be because He is Limitless, abounding in Power, and with Him nothing is Impossible.

In short, we don’t serve a committee of Gods. Our God is ONE!

Hope that explanation helped. But if it didn’t, don’t worry too much about it. Like I said there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity, and it would be a lot better for all of us if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who persecute you.”  I think Jesus would be a lot happier if we did this, regardless of what our theology is. Just saying.


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I, Me and Jesus

​Okay, let’s see if you got this. 

I’ve got three multiple choice questions here. All you have to do is pick the right answer. Ready? Go!

1. WE SHOULD BE GENEROUS BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver

b) If you give God one dollar, He will give you 10

c) It will help the person you are being generous to

2. WE SHOULD NOT GOSSIP ABOUT OTHERS BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says it is not good to slander

b) It will make God upset 

c) It hurts the person you are gossiping about

3. YOU SHOULD NOT PRESSURE YOUR GIRLFRIEND FOR SEX BECAUSE…

a) The Bible says thou shall not commit adultery

b) If you do something bad to others, something bad will happen to you

c) Because it is not good to give others any cause for regret

Okay, here’s the deal….

On the face of it, it is seems like all of the answers are right. But if you look closely at the A’s and the B’s, the reasons listed there are very self-centered. 

This is how a self-centered person thinks: “The reason why I should be generous is because God loves it and (I) want to be right with God. I should not gossip because (I) don’t want God to be upset with (ME).

It’s all about (I) and (Me). 

In truth, there is nothing wrong with trying to please God, but the essence of what Jesus was trying to say when He said “love your neighbor as yourself” is that it is really difficult to really love anyone if you have a ME mentality. 

The idea that we can hurt people, coerce them to do things that are against their will and yet somehow please God by lighting candles or performing fancy rituals is totally twisted. You cannot be right with God if you treat people wrong.

Think about it. If someone speaks nicely to you but treats your kids rudely, would you be pleased with that person? 

Nope! 

But if they treat your kids with love and affection, you would be happy to do anything for them, right? 

It’s the same with God. If you want to please God you must treat all His children well. 

That’s why the Bible says those who claim to love God but hate their fellow human beings are lying. God wants us to be mindful of people and treat everyone with respect. 

– You should be generous because it helps the person you are being generous to. 

– You should not gossip because it hurts people. 

– You should not pressure your girlfriend or anyone to do anything they don’t want to do because it is not right to mar anyone’s future and give them cause for regret. 

That’s how you love your neighbor as yourself. That’s how you make a better world for everyone. That’s how you please God. 


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War & The Butterfly Effect

Five years of civil war has torn Syria apart. Countless lives have been lost, families ripped apart, childhoods snatched, the economy destroyed. Syrians are finding out the hard way that in war there are no victors — everybody loses.

Funny thing is what’s happening in Syria and Iraq could happen anywhere in the world, even in our neighborhood. That’s why we must always strive for peace. But how do we do that? Can a handful of people thousands of miles away from the epicenter of conflict bring world peace? The answer is YES.

Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect?

The Butterfly Effect is the notion that the tiny flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. In other words, if you change even the smallest of life’s details, you completely change its outcome. That means everything we say and do can affect our surroundings and the world at large for either good or bad.

Consider Jesus, for example. Jesus was just one man. He spent his whole life in and around Israel, moving within a 200 km radius. Yet, what he said and did 2000 years ago has affected billions of lives across the centuries and continues to do so to this very day. 

By that logic, all of us – even you – can do your bit to bring increase peace. Yes you — as small and insignificant as you may think you are — you can bring world peace.

How?!

Start with your OWN home.

Try your best to keep your spouse, your kids and parents happy. Love your wife and remain true to her. Respect your parents. Be nice to your kids.

Your spouse and kids will carry the ripple effect of what you achieved at home to their workplace and school, positively impacting the people they hang out with. You can start something good at home that will circle the globe several times.

Be good, do good. If all of us did just one thing to make our home a happier place, we would not have any wars anywhere in the world.

War looks good in movies, but sucks in real life. That’s why the Bible exhorts us: “never pay back evil for evil. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. (And) if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:17,18). It commands us to “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; (for) without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

What goes around, come around. If you do not strive for peace, you WILL reap war and everything that war brings – death, desolation, poverty, misery. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7).

So, if you really love your family, your wife and kids, and you want them to be safe, strive for peace. Remember, great wars start from little wars — often kindled at home. Great peace also starts at home — often with a smile.


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Meat Ban: What Would Jesus Do?

Screenshot_2015-09-14-18-56-25So we are at it again?!

The government has banned the sale of meat for a few days and it seems almost every one and their neighbor is protesting. I for one have decided to neither condone nor condemn the ban. In fact, as a Christian, I find it a little ironic to protest about every little thing, especially when I consider that the proprietor of my faith died without protest.

The tenets of my faith demand that I learn and master “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4)

Also, since I celebrate both the divinity of Christ and his humanity, I can’t help but ask myself ‘What would Jesus advise us to do in this situation?’ The answer, in Jesus’ own words, comes rushing in even before I finish the question: But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5)

If you reflect on the attitude Jesus is asking us to adopt, you might almost hear him say, “And if anyone forbids you to eat meat for four days, don’t eat it for eight days.

What Jesus is saying here is both profound and powerful. Many may misconstrue Jesus’ advice to submit as a sign of weakness, but I draw strength from it. Because here’s the thing, whether you realize it or not, it is your protest that gives your oppressors power over you. Your compliance, on the other hand, weakens them.

The way I see it, protesting is like advertising to everybody what buttons they should be pressing if they want to bother you, and then hoping they don’t. You can be sure people will press those buttons every opportunity they get. You don’t need to play into the hands of crooked politicians. They cook up these bans hoping you will give them some political mileage by protesting. Therefore, be wise and guard your peace zealously.

Don’t give people power over you. If you allow nothing to bother you, there is nothing anyone can do to bother you. And if there is nothing anyone can do to bother you, they won’t. The bans will fizzle out just like that — without protest.

It’s that simple.


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Religion Vs. Faith

People who think Religion and Faith are the same really do not get it. That’s like saying since a vulture and dove are both birds, they must be the same. In reality, if you put them in the same nest, the dove will immediately perish.

Religion and Faith are not the same. Faith is a personal matter. Religion, on the other hand, causes wars by encroaching people’s right to choose how they approach God. Faith unites; religion divides.

If anything, religion is an impediment to God. That’s why no where in the Bible does it say someone was justified by their religion; the Bible says they were only justified by faith.

And remember the Pharisees? They were very religious – they fasted, didn’t shave, they said long prayers… Then, why did Jesus oppose them and call them hypocrites? Think about it.

Then ask yourself: What do you love more – Christianity or Christ? If you don’t know for sure, this is how you can find out.

– If you are easily provoked every time someone sneezes or a church is attacked, you love Christianity more than you love Christ.

– If you forgive others and are not easily angered, you love Christ more, and you are a “true” Christian because you “really follow” Him.


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Like Father, Like Son

A father is a guide to his son…he announces to the boy what he will become. If you drink, smoke and chew and run around with those that do, chances are your son will do the same things. And if you have a daughter, chances are she will marry someone exactly like you.

Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit. A good tree will bear good fruits and vice-versa. What kind of tree are you? If you don’t know, don’t worry. You won’t have to wait too long to find out. The results will be out as soon as your kids become teenagers. Many parents wish they could go back in time and do things differently, but they can’t. Every kid gets only one childhood and what is done is done.

If your kids are not teenagers yet, you still have the chance to make a difference. What sort of man do you want your son to become?  What sort of man do you want your daughter to marry? Imagine what you want your kids to become — BE THAT!