"Might you know of where to find one Saul here in town, Saul of Tarsus?". A young street entrepreneur looked up and away from his prized linen he was preparing to sell and saw a decently dressed Jewish Cypriot; "you mean the tent maker?" he quipped. "Yes" eagerly the Cypriot replied, "I have traveled from Antioch and have been seeking out this Saul for a few days now, it's important I find him". After the young seller of linen gave the directions, Jose, nicknamed Barnabas, quickly made his way down a route of a myriad of small streets and alleys through Tarsus until he came to a door of a small, simple but neat dwelling typical of a pharisee. After a moment of knocking on the door heartily, it opened and a man dressed in his work clothes appeared at the door. "Brother Saul…", Barnabas said quietly with a joyous smile on his face, “let’s talk…”
It is said that one of the greatest verses of the New Testament is Acts 11:25 “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul”. The missing ingredient in many people’s lives that would take them to the place God has called them into is encouragement. Barnabas was a finder – builder, he found Saul in Tarsus and John Mark in Jerusalem (Acts 12.25) because he saw the invisible value & potential in a person that has a call on their lives. Jesus had this as he moved through Galilee seeing the unseen in these fishermen’s lives and called them into discipleship. A wise pastor anointed for his ministry will have the wisdom from God to discern a discouraged saint’s gift and direct them into their place on the team, staff or church by investment, teaching, instruction and at times exhortation. This is what we see Barnabas do in Antioch Acts 11:26 where the new disciples are first called “Christians.”
The solution often times to many problems on the team in a church planting work is just encouragement. Encouragement is speaking from divine perspective God’s mind about a person in faith – calling those things that are not as though they were. Encouragement is enabling. Discouragement’s affect is disabling so as to cause passivity, that people go back to their Tarsus. Encouragement costs our self life and requires; travel, effort, consistency and much faith-love. It requires seeing the invisible New Man in a person – seeing the potential, the treasure of their value and not quitting until we get them to Antioch – their place in the Body of Christ. Let’s find Saul of Tarsus!
With over 300 total in attendance, God ministered to all of us by His precious Presence by His Word and His people. P. Schaller was our main guest this year with visitors from Tyumen, Moscow, St. Pete, Kaliningrad, Bilarus; Russia, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Sweden, Finland, Central Asia, and of course Ukraine!
The messages that were preached are posted here: http://www.box.net/shared/ptlksdi22q
There were countless pictures taken - you can find many of them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16342643382
There is also a 4 minute video of the many faces and events that you can watch here!
Gosia and I are planning to return to Ukraine in January. We covet your prayers.
You have proved my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and find nothing [no evil purpose in me]; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Psalm 17.3 – Ampl.
At times in the very evil world we but sojourn through, we can feel the enclosing darkness press on our spirit and try to cloud our mind with questions that attempt to de-throne Jesus Christ from off the throne of our heart. It is times like this that God’s entire heavenly host hush in wonder as the trial that haps upon the child of God for what will be brought forth is His Treasure. This happened one night at the Garden of “the Winepress” (Gethsemane) with the Son of God Himself. At this moment of the power of darkness Jesus prayed yet what was squeezed out under crushing pressure was not psychic confusion nor cries of despairing questions but rather prayer and absolute surrender unto the Father.
When it is a dark night of the soul we must not grieve the Spirit’s whispers that can only be heard when we ourselves have been weaned and quieted before Him. It is at this time of great infirmity that the Lord wants to minister to us otherwise as Jesus said to Peter – “you have no companionship in me” (John 15 Ampl). I am learning that without these visits in the night where He ministers to us under much pressure, our ministry can actually become perjury; oh may God forbid!
These visits in the night may not be often but when they occur there are two things that result (as it was with Jacob) a tremendous revelation of God’s Gracious Nature and future Plan as well as a definite weakening of natural ability. See after Jacob’s encounter with the Lord how he leans on a rod, the very rod that he used later in his life to bless his children. We will do well to let Him visit us often and rapture our heart and renew the spirit our minds.
Now in Ukraine we have faced several grievous health situations with dear people in the church here. Please pray with us as we minister here to these very precious Ukrainians with a towel and a basin.
Grateful, P. Chris & Gosia
Please enjoy the slide show below of birthday parties, remodeling and our new Chapel
When you look at a bird, it is very unique in that it is lacking something…hands. It helps bring to light the phrase Jesus made in Matthew 6:26 (Ampl) “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them”. We are like this bird mentioned in this verse, wings to fly in the heavenlies with Him but no hands to feed ourselves. God Himself wants to feed us that is why He leads us to the brook of need and trial. God fed the prophet Elijah by a brook “Cherith” in 1 Kings 17.4,6 by commanding the ravens to feed him bread and meat in the morning and the evening, everyday. Why this way? Intimacy. God wanted to bring the prophet to a place where he ate from the Hand of God Himself, this is one of the meanings in the Hebrew for “Cherith” - “in the face of”. With intimacy comes trust, and in trust comes depth, and in this depth comes deep communion.
Presently there are 4 dear saints in the church in L’viv here that are in the late stages of cancer. One of them, Lena, may have only 2 weeks left with us here. Lena is a teacher at the "Perilina" (our Christian Day School) with a husband and 2 daughters 9 & 7) and a precious member of the church here for 13 years. This is the first time something like this has happened in the church here and it is being used by God to bring everyone together in serving these families. Please pray as we are abiding in prayer for a miracle. Please enjoy the slideshow below of a recent picnic we had.
Waking early the first thought I had come to my mind was "Mustard Seed". Being the very first day of our Odessa Summer Conference; I had a sense God had a special visitation for us this year in Odessa. Just days earlier we preached to a total of 6,000 people over a period of 4 days in Yuhzni Ukraine with Sports Power and Bruce Crevier at the city stadium, on Ukrainian Satelite TV as well as on the streets. Many responded on this crusade in Yuhzni and Mikolaiyev. Next week we have Andriej & Lecja's wedding in Odessa; a precious couple in the church with a great call on their lives.
Mat 17:20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your* unbelief. For positively I say to you*, if you* are having faith like a grain of mustard [or, a mustard seed], you* will say to this mountain, 'Move from here [to] there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible to you*.
This Mustard Seed abides in us and is the least of all seeds, easily underestimated but an embarrassment for Satan. David had it as he approached Goliath, he was shamed by David's perspective of the situation and embarrassed Goliath. Our little portion, the loaves and the fishes, are enough for Jesus to multiply. The one word from Jesus "Come" is enough for Peter to walk on water, something no one has ever done before. The incorruptible seed in the believer is enough to overcome the world. Our mustard seed confession in God's unchanging nature is enough to change people's lives and turn the world, and neighborhood where we live.
What I haven't seen before is "you shall say to this mountain..." Not only does the Word of Grace have power to move mountains but the mountain will be moved to where we tell it to.
I believe God hides from us 90% of the affect we are having in our walks of faith so that it is just that, a walk of faith that it would be by grace in our lives.
Many precious things have happened this past month of July. Much fruit. Thank you for your prayers and support. Enjoy the slideshows below:
My Dad walked into the house one happy Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1977 with a smile on his face and a hidden prize under his arm in a makeshift box. The way he announced himself as he walked in the door of our York home in Maine, we kids knew he had a surprise. My brother and I ran as fast as an 11 and 9 year old could travel down a flight of stairs, to find my dad... Continue reading...
As we were pulling up to the Sznajders' home, my heart began to beat faster as I saw a caravan of other cars behind us. What we were thinking would be a small fellowship at their home turned into something much larger. As my wife and I walked in to their home, we were met by people that we hadn't seen for years and the expectation for God was evident in the room. After a few minutes of warm greetings we began to sing, worship and then preach. It wasn't long before we sensed the ushering in of the Presence of God and the magnificent joy that accompanied it. The meeting began at 7.30pm and people stayed after the message and fellowshipped until after 11pm. We shared precious bread together.
These words have been burning in my spirit these 2 weeks in Poland as we visit cities, churches, and home:
"For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread,And when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. - 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 Amplified
If we don't carefully consider what Paul was saying it's easy to miss the full beauty of this portion of Scripture. What Paul had received from God he ministered immediately to his troubled church in Corinth. We don't really possess something until we give it to the Body of Christ. When we minister it to the Body, Psalm 16:2-3, we really prove it was ours since we have the power to administrate it, and give it in self determinated fashion.
Jesus then gives the bread to his disciples, to us, after blessing it, saying 2 things for us to do with it, "Take" & "Eat". The first I think we know how to do well, "take". To receive from Christ is easier than to "eat". Eating is an unpleasant process of the crushing and destroying of the bread by our teeth, and the swallowing and assimilation of it in our bodies. Yet we would say, "oh, no, I cannot do such a thing to Christ, it would be taking advantage of him because of my own appetite, it is wrong". But yet we cannot know Christ unless we hunger after Him and not only hunger but consume His body at His own gracious promptings, "TAKE!" We are ashamed to need Him so and we are quick to say "you shall not wash my feet". With out knowing forgiveness, we do not know Him.
That's what Paul is saying, "what I received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you." Paul became as bread to these Corinthians in their familiarity, hatred, and comparisons with one another. When we are as sheep for the slaughter daily, and our lives become as bread; chewed up, crushed and taken advantage of (Psalm 44:22; Romans 8:36) we are suffering wrongfully for His sake and people will see Christ truly. People may use you as a doormat, but when they get inside the door, into the assembly, the Body of Christ, they see the wonders of what they were called into. When we give, and forgive, we are most like Christ. We shouldn't be afraid to be taken advantage of, to be as bread for His People.
Jesus asked the blind man in Mark 10:51 a question that seemingly had an obvious answer. What do you want me to do for you? Wouldn't the blind man want his sight restored? Often our expection or what we are waiting on God for could be too abstract or undefined. Jesus has to ask us at times obvious questions that seem almost offensive in their simplicity because we ourselves do not know what we ask or even how to ask. God wants us to take a hold of Him in Isaiah 64:7 and not let go until we receive from God what He has for us and the lost world we live in. But if we behold iniquity in our heart we will not take a hold of Him but we will be taken ahold of by the world system and the spirit of this age. The Spirit in us knows how to ask, and He is asking, with much unction and passion. He is asking for us, for His people in Poland. We too ask, hearing the voice of Christ praying. Let's ask him for Poland.
We had a precious time with about 80 people in a 400 year old castle around the Word, vision and edification. We all sense the stirring of the Spirit for this country that has a small protestant movement. There are more protestant churches in Ukraine than there are in Poland and there is a great need for churchplanters there. Please check out the photos, videos and messages P. Maciek has uploaded to the GGWO Poland Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=11220792217
"And one night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, Have no fear, but speak and do not keep silent; For I am with you, and no man shall assault you to harm you, for I have many people in this city." - Act 18:9,10 Amplified
This tremendous faith adventure was surrounded with much prayer, thank you all who prayed. P. Marian said there was much fruit on this trip. It's very open; here's a little article on the history of Christianity among the Kurds:
"Christianity began to become a main religion in the central part of Kurdish regions from the fifth century onwards. Mar Saba succeeded in converting some sun-worshipping Kurds to Christianity in the fifth century..
In recent years many Kurds from Muslim background have converted to Christianity. After the First Gulf War in 1991, Christian agencies offered help to Kurdish refugees, who were amazed that the assistance came from Christians..
In Turkey, Christianity has attracted a number of converts both among Kurds and Turks in the past decade. In Iraqi Kurdistan, several evangelical fellowships have been formed. While in some cases they have faced intolerance by extremist Muslims, their activities are largely tolerated by the Regional Government of Kurdistan (KRG) out of a desire to remain democratic. Since 2001, Servant Group International has established three English-language Christian schools titled Classical School of the Medes in Iraqi Kurdistan. By 2005three campuses in Sulaimaniya, Irbil and Dohuk with a total enrolment of 700 students, were operational. These schools are viewed, by some, as a vehicle to help create fertile ground for conversion in the hearts of students.Kurdistan Regional Government has recently awarded legal status and an official permit to theBible Society to open a branch in the region."
Let's continue to pray...
MORE MUSLIMS THAN CATHOLICS
Some information for us to pray about...
"Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday," according to a report by Reuters. "Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent. 'For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us,' Formenti told [a] Vatican newspaper....He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world's population -- or about 2 billion people. The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion. Formenti said that while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the world's population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates."
Psa 94:14 For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage. - Amplified. Psa 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever--forsake not the works of Your own hands. - Amplified
Right after Eurocon P. Maciek Kniechak, Kyle Benoit and Bryan Ackerman took a trip to Poland visiting our 4 churches in 7 days all over Poland; Wroclaw, Krakow, Gdansk, & Warsaw. The underlying thought of the trip for me was that God never forsakes the works of His own hands. The work of God began in Poland for GGWO in 1986 and it continues today by his mercy and loving kindness that endures forever.
One of the highlights was in Gdansk visiting P. Mariusz, Gosia, and their son Mateusz. There was a woman there in his church named Bozena who is having chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Bozena has been used as a vessel of joyful news in the cancer ward there as she shared with dying people the Hope of Grace. One 4 year old girl said when Bozena asked her if she knew God; "Who is he?" was her reply. Bozena went on to share about Christ and His presence around her during this little girl's suffering during chemotherapy and when she finished a huge smile lit up the girls face. This little one went to the arms of Jesus a month and a half later. Many have found Christ through Bozena's testimony. You may see her joyful picture in the links below.
Please pray for the pastors there in Poland: P. Maciek, P. Robert, P. Tomek, P. Mariusz and Sergay. Please see the link below for an awesome video of the trip to Poland. (it's about 21mb so it may take time to download). Check to the right margin for the schedule this spring and summer in Poland. Join us for the Spring Conference at a real castle May 1-3!
Rev 3:8 "I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name." - Amplified
This years' EuroCon was blessed with the sound of the mighty wings of many angels that rushed in at the gathering of the European Body of Christ, as well as many other international guests. One count I had heard was 1200 people with 800 guests. P. Schaller's messages on the Open Door, Guilt, and P. Scibelli' s message on "Long Time" and P. Gary's message on Sin; were some of the many messages that spoke to my heart. Haveing approximantly 50 Ukrainians and 29 Poles that came was a precious gift for us that lived in these countries as missionaries.
God has given us as His Church keys. Some of these keys are: The Gospel of Grace, Unconditional Love of God, Humility, and Prayer. These keys open doors that are locked by pride, sight, and rationalistic thinking. Remember that Satan has no keys, his were taken away: Rev. 1:18 & 20:1. Neither is the Devil able to close doors. Therefore there is no door locked to the Believer, only the appearance thereof. As we draw near by faith to doors that God leads us to; these doors that look so intimidating; they will waver, melt and dissappear before the authority of Christ. These keys are powerful, they are given by grace to us with authority to bless and open doors of people's hearts, cultures, and spiritual doors that are like the door of Achor in the valley.
"In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old."
The Summer and Fall of 2007 have been a precious season where we sensed the very presence of this Angel spoken of in Isaiah 63.9; leading and ministering through us; Jesus Christ. The "Angel of the Face of His Presence did 5 things for ther Jews and continues to do them today for His Church: Gen 24:7,40 = To prosper your way. Ex 23:20 = To keep you in the way & bring you to the place which God prepared. Ex 32:34 = To help lead Moses lead the people to the place of which God spoke to him of. Ex 33:2 = To drive out the inhabitants of the land that God gave them. Num 20:16; Ex 12 = To deliver Israel in one night from the bondage of Eygpt.
Psalm 15: LORD, WHO shall dwell [temporarily] in Your tabernacle? Who shall dwell [permanently] on our holy hill? He who walks and lives uprightly and blamelessly, who works rightness and justice and speaks and thinks the truth in his heart, He who does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he who honors those who fear the Lord (who revere and worship Him); who swears to his own hurt and does not change; [He who] does not put out his money for interest [to one of his own people] and who will not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
There is a place - in the human being that cannot be touched by any hand or malicious tool, it is the Altar - the secret place in the depth of man. It is sacred - it is our spirit, the place where Christs dwells, the call, the Holy of holiest. Here we worship either the Almighty or self that perishes hourly. God wants to be God of this room, worshiped at this altar. This human spirit must be purged by the one and pure Holy Spirit, the spirit of burning, by the eternal blood of Christ and the water of the Word. Here in this temple that was purged we hear the call of God unto sanctification, & holiness. This room, this altar, this holy place is reserved for communion with not angels or some glorious creature but the Creator Himself. The throne in this enclave is made only for One yet ego strains to stay on it. But until God is the One God of the Throne and the Altar of the human spirit, there can only be anarchy, chaos, restlessness and sin. God must be the God of the secret place or we must become rebels.
Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Poland, Hungary, Moldova.
"Cause me to know the Way I should walk - teach me to do thy will, thy Spirit is good - Show me thy ways - Teach me thy paths - Lead me in thy Truth." Ps 134:8,10; Ps 25.4,5.
The "Man of the East" in Isaiah 41 is the persecuted church in Central Asia: "Who has roused up one from the east, whom He calls in righteousness to His service and whom victory meets at very step? He [the Lord] subdues nations before him and makes him ruler over kings. He turns them to dust with the sword, and to driven straw and chaff with his bow. He pursues them and passes safely and unhindered, even by a way his feet had not trod and so swiftly that his feet do not touch the ground. Who has prepared and done this, calling forth and guiding the destinies of the generations [of the nations] from the beginning? I, the Lord--the first [existing before history began] and with the last [an ever-present, unchanging God]--I am He."
Can we love God, be anyway thankful for the work, sacrifice of his Son? Can we in the smallest way attempt the execution of his will? Can we love the unlovely, help the destitute, walk a mile in the shoes of an alchoholic? Can we be with the lonely, hold the hand of a widow in her hour of sorrow? Can we love the one who betrays us not once but seventy times seven? Can we hate this world - all it's beauty, fashion and riches? Can we fervantly hate sin, iniquity, and our own life unto death? I THINK NOT. WE CANNOT. Christ can and does. Let Him take your hand and lead you the Way you would not...
We are broken by Him like bread and broken bread feeds. When He breaks us He distributes life and substance to the Body of Christ making it possible for others to commune with Christ in us. We are not broken for ourselves but others. "This is my body - broken for you"
During this trip God has placed in my spirit such a burden for these people of the 10/40 window, the Muslims that do not know the name of their father "Ishmael" means "God that hears the cry" - the cry of their heart. Many of us christians are standing on a boat as Peter did fishing, when the Lord suddenly appears walking on our water...may our response be..."Lord! if it is you...call me to come..."
In Acts 27 we see a theme, "Don't underestimate the value of trips with unexpected events". This summer was a flash of fellowship and outreach in 10 cities, 8 different countries. Cherkassy, Ukraine; Sevastopol, Crimea; L'viv, Ukraine; Kaposvar, Hungary; Tyumen, Siberia; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Zagreb, Croatia; Banja Luka, Bosnia; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Krakow Poland.
The secret of God is in His people, it is so easily missed. To see this secret we must be made very small by the Cross. We do not make ourselves small; God does that by the greatness of His gentle mercy.
The tasks of the King must be accomplished by steps: 1. Take a step - don't withdraw like a victim 2. Take another step - don't condemn the man that doesn't take it with you 3. Keep taking steps - never get satisfied with your last step. Every step we take is onto holy ground God has given us - Joshua 1.6,9