Pastor Ramachandran Tribute


Submission to God’s Way

Through the different experiences in my life, a different meaning to the quest of life became apparent to me in May 2011. Life is not just striving in a secular world but to turn towards Jesus’ way – servitude. A single goal to transform my life to faithfully oblige His sacrifice, I prayed, and as God wished it, He gave me an unexpected answer to my prayer, as a Pastor.

With Pastor Moby’s official retirement I was the only Pastor although he was there chipping in when I needed help. From initial fear I grew in confidence.

Activities involved worship (call to worship, corporate prayer), wake and funeral services, wedding blessings, visitations, pastoral care, community care (street feed, establishing support for HIV home, drug rehabilitation home, destitute communities and starting two homes for boys and girls in need)

I went on mission work to Vietnam and later to Israel on pilgrimage. Always wanted to see the Holy land and a four year dream came true.

My days in FBC have been well managed. I gave one another stretching space – the room to respond and react in a variety of ways, even as our infinite creator moulded a variety of personalities.

I stopped anticipating the ideal and lived with reality – which is chequered with failure, imperfection, and even wrong. So instead opf biting and devouring one another (Galatians 5:15), I supported individual freedom as we served one another in love (Galatians 5:13). Even now I don’t know a better way to kill the flies that spread the disease of disappointment.

I am thankful to God because among the believers we have maintained peace for the last decade. I remember, when I was new someone told me, “You won’t last three years.” When I recollect my prayer, seeking God’s help to serve His kingdom, in ten months the Almighty used David Ng (Tanamera Life Group) to fulfill my prayer. Revering God’s move I have always been cautious about pride and to serve in submission. Weighing this as something important I pray daily for God’s protection on my behavior and church unity. I enjoyed honesty in my secular work and enjoy it here in church. To be God-like and God-centered honesty needs to be in focus. It also helps to clear my conscience. It has been really good, thank you God. Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

One Purpose, One Life Reflections on the Life and Ministry of Pastor Rama By Dr. Peter Ng

Psalm 138:8
The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

It was just over a decade ago when our church emerged to set out on an independent path. We were just over 250 in number and there was no pastor to serve alongside the few fledgling lay leaders in the church.

The amazing thing was that almost right on cue, Pastor Rama volunteered to go full-time without batting an eye. He gallantly served for the first two years without pay yet day in, day out, he came on time and served faithfully. He became an icon of stability in a sea of uncertainty that was our church in those early days.

Reflecting back, Pastor Rama was not the flashy guy on a white horse nor was he that gifted preacher who could hold an audience spellbound. He was exactly what FBC needed: a tower of strength. His quiet demeanour and humble nature endeared him to so many people who found his office a refuge for their troubles and an oasis for their pain.

I had known him way back as we were in a Life Group together in Tanamera, and what struck me about him was that he had a big heart. If you really knew him, you would have known that underneath that calm exterior was an emotional guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. More significant was that he had a big heart for people, especially the down and outs, the poor and downtrodden. He had a heart for God whom he communed with daily, and he would faithfully send WhatsApp devotions every day, which reflected the depth of his personal walk with Jesus.

In the decade that ensued, our church would grow in leaps and bounds but with increasing complexity. Nevertheless, our growth was built upon the stability and foundations that were laid by this humble servant of God whom He sent. This is why Psalm 138:8 stands out, “The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me.”

Just like Pastor Rama, every one of us has a purpose. However, in the turbulent tides of our lives, this fact is often lost. There are so many things we want to get control of, like the way our spouse responds, the way our children live, the way the government is run, or even the way the weather goes. We are submerged in the sticky morass of what we know as life, flailing around, tired and discouraged, barely able to keep our heads above water. The first casualty of life is inevitably purpose, and we don’t even realise it because life becomes a cascading series of problems to solve, hopes realised and, more often than not, dreams crushed.

The wonderful thing is that though we may lose sight of our purpose, God does not. There is a promise that the Lord will fulfil His purpose for us. We remember the journey of Abraham, plucked out of obscurity from the backwaters of Ur of the Chaldeans, an idol-worshipping nobody. Yet in a sheer act of grace, God presented to him an offer he could not refuse. He was offered a future, a hope, a destination. It was 2000 years later, despite the faithlessness and stubbornness of man, that God’s Son hung on the cross for the whole world. Yes, God always fulfils His purposes- for Abraham, for David, for His Messiah, for Pastor Rama, and for every single one of us. Why does He do this?

The psalmist says, “Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.”

The Hebrew word for steadfast love is “Hesed”, and the English translation unfortunately does not even begin to unpack the enormity of its meaning. The entire history of Israel would be the more appropriate exposition of the meaning of the word. The betrayal, rebellion, and disappointment of His chosen people underscores and accentuates the depth of “Hesed”, His faithful, covenantal love. His “Hesed” simply means that God loves us so much that He will accomplish His purposes for us no matter what life throws at us.

Every time someone leaves us, we scramble to make sense of the tragedy because death is always a gut-wrenching display of reality. In this case, Pastor Rama was God’s gift to FBC. He was an answer to the prayer that 70 of us cried out to Him in 2010. The verse the Lord gave on that day was Zechariah 4: 6, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.’” God’s Spirit laid upon the heart of this man in the same manner as Isaiah when He asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)

Pastor Rama stood up and said, “Send me.”

God did, and we grew as the Spirt moved and brought more and more of us together. For this, we shall as a church be forever grateful to Pastor Rama and his family, to Patricia, to his sons and daughter, because ministry requires sacrifice and time, and that came from all of them.

It is appropriate, when we remember our dear Pastor Rama, to echo Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

I know one thing: Pastor Rama is standing with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. He fought the good fight and ran the only race that matters. We, too, look forward to that crown on the last day, before His great throne of glory. Every one of us will have to face our Maker and answer the same question: What have you done with the life God gave you?

One of the most famous comets in history is Hailey’s Comet. It streaks across our skies every 75 years but when it comes, it scrawls a brilliant plume of light across the canvas of the night sky. It is a brilliant spectacle that holds the world with bated breath just for those brief but mesmerising few seconds. Our lives are not unlike that of a shooting star. Pastor Rama is like a shooting star, streaking across the landscape of our lives, leaving a trail and touching everyone in its wake. Every shooting star grabs our attention and excites our imagination with the things that could be. Every shooting star make us look upwards towards the heavens, towards loftier goals and perspectives in life. This shooting star would have achieved his purpose in our lives if, in streaking across our lives, he has caused us to lift up our gaze towards the heavens, towards the only direction in life that matters. If he pointed us to Him. And he did.

David ends this verse with, “Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

This is David’s cry as a response to God’s plan for him. We are the work of His hands. We have a purpose. Our lives have meaning. O LORD, do not forsake or forget us, we who have been so wonderfully made by Your hands. Fulfil Your purpose in us this day as you have for Pastor Rama. Let this be our prayer.