Thursday, April 30, 2009
April is behind us and I still can't believe how quickly the time has passed. We feel so at home here already - I hate the thought of leaving.
We are traveling to Finland today to visit the churches there and enjoy the amazing Finns in the Body! Please pray that we would have a safe, blessed and fruitful trip.
Roger gave the introduction last night and I just wanted to share the 5 points he gave because they really encouraged us.
1. Don't get stuck in the mud. Phil.3:14
2. Don't stop living by faith. Hebrews 11
3. Don't stop walking by faith just because you sinned. Ps. 119:9
4. Don't stop just because your friends do.
5. Don't condemn yourself! Rom. 8:1
When you are having "one of those days" where it seems like everything is going wrong, all your faith is gone and you feel so weak you don't even want to move - encourage yourself in these things and in the Word of God. Shake the dust off your feet and keep going! God WILL be faithful.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Is the church living or is the church mechanical? I believe the church is living - living with God's word, God's Spirit and God's heart for the lost. When a church becomes mechanical, it loses that Living Power. When the church becomes just an organization, we lost the power of the organism. Did any part of Jesus' ministry seems "organized" or structured? He walked in the will of the Father, and spoke to people in different creative ways, without a canned answer or a schedule. He was totally and completely led by the Spirit of God.
There is nothing wrong with having a plan and a vision - but to limit God through strict inflexible schedules is man's way of making things easier for the flesh. Its natural to want to have a plan and its supernatural to hear from God and let Him lead you.
In Turkey especially, the need for creativity is clear. We are learning from Pastor Matti all the time in this area. Most of the people we have met and are ministering to, we did not meet while on "evangelism." We have to be open to meeting people at all hours of the day, at all kinds of different settings. Its a challenge to always be ready to show Christ to people in any setting and in creative ways. And God is the only One who can lead you in the right words to say and at the right time - He is the God of the individual and He knows exactly what each individual soul needs. God can lead us in so many different ways - and He is!
I wanted to write this to encourage everyone - because this is what is so amazing (and unique) about our church! We have theology and methods of evangelism - but we have been taught that is MUST be by the Spirit of God, or else it is dead. I am SO proud and thankful for my church, Greater Grace.
Psalm 127:1 "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen walk in vain."
Roger & Liz
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I just read the devotional for today from Pastor Stevens' The Bible Speaks from the Throne. It just broke my heart. The first sentence is "Never consider quitting God's business...Abide in your calling."
Sometimes its too much for my small mind to comprehend - that the God of the universe has a specific plan for the people living in this city, and that that same God has called us to be a part of that plan. I mean, I'm still in shock that I'm an adult... with a husband! much less being used by God in His unfathomable plan for the lost people that He loves so much. He is the One who has made it possible for Roger and I to be here right now, and as I sit here in our little apartment, waiting for Roger to get home from playing soccer, I let my mind look into the future - into what God is going to do in this country. I can't imagine anything greater, anything more humbling than to be able to be even the smallest part of it!
God has a plan for Istanbul, and WE are a part of it!! I never want to avoid my calling. I never want to get passive about lost souls. I never want to stop seeing Turkish people through the eyes of Christ. I never want to shirk my responsibility to abide in the calling by which I have been so clearly called.
I hope this doesn't seem like a heavy condemning post! Its really not! But it is convicting for me and I think that's so important. Its not enough just to be physically present in Turkey - I need to be available DAILY to be used by God in ways that I can't even begin to figure out. If I could save just ONE soul here - it would be the single most epic achievement of my life. Sorry if that sounds a little melodramatic... but if you think about it, what else could be greater?
I'm so grateful God keeps giving me opportunities, when I have probably just missed the last 50 He put right infront of me! :-)
Monday, April 13, 2009
We had a very full week leading up to Easter Sunday. We had alot of visitors! It was a great time. We had an art exhibition and a classical music concert on Friday and Saturday night. Throughout the week, we were all inviting as many people as we could. While at Burger King, we met two girls (see above picture) who we started chatting with and I ended up getting their phone number and inviting them to come. As always, I was pleasantly surprised when they actually showed up! They really enjoyed the concert and the art. During the intermission, Pastor Matti boldly presented the Gospel message. I was so thankful to have a pastor who would never miss an opportunity to present people with the Gospel! Please pray for these two girls, they are very sweet and open to coming to church. As I walked arm in arm with them down the walking street to a cafe, I was once again amazed - and humbled - at God's faithfulness and goodness.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
We can manage our lives on this earth, but can we manage our lives when we stand in front of God someday? By managing, I mean juggling all our problems on our own, staying "on top" of every situation, and never acknowledging that our lives our out of our control. God isn't looking for great "managers", He is looking for those that will live by faith. The Bible says clearly that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. What an amazing day that will be! Think about the greatest men that have ever lived. If you would ask a Turkish person who that is, they would probably say Ataturk, the man who brought democracy and freedom of religion here to Turkey, a brilliant tactician of war, and a very well read man of philosophy, science, art, literature, mathematics and linguistics. This man is regarded as the Savior of Turkey. Thousands of children have been named after him, and every shop, business, home and apartment has a picture if him hanging somewhere for all to see. Please don't misunderstand what I'm going to say - I do not want to belittle what Ataturk has accomplished for Turkey - he brought democracy and freedom to this country. But I say, as great of a manager as he was, of his life and his country, he could do nothing to save a soul from death. What has he done that will last into eternity? Even his beautiful and impressive monuments and tomb will not last into eternity. For Jesus said, "heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." But with all that managing energy that will put into our lives, we still can have no lasting and eternal effect. It is such a sad and lonely thing to think that I will return to the grave with only my "managed" life to show for it.
So who is He that conquered - not just nations and empire - but death and sin? Who is the only One that died for YOU and gave His life for YOU? Who's the One that didn't live a single day or a single moment for Himself? Who's the One that never managed His life, but gave it freely?
There is no one like Him! There is nothing seen or heard like Him. Who can even be compared to Jesus Christ? He had no conquest. No fame or fortune. No recognition from this world, or reputation - just the Son of God who became a man, living not by His will but by His Father's. It wasn't for glory or fame, but to conquer death and sin - not for a certain people or country, but for every living man. Who can equal what Jesus Christ has done for you and me and for Turkey? You could add up all the good that this world has ever witnessed and it could never save a soul from death. You could add up every great leader, every great nation, every good book ever written - and it could not add up or be compared to the Person of Jesus Christ.
This is why we cannot manage our lives. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and he himself is destroyed and lost? I refuse to manage my life. It might be a great life I am managing, but think of the great loss it will be without Jesus Christ! Christ came so that we could stop managing our lives and live His life. So why don't we stop managing our lives and start living with Christ? Remember, there's no managing with Christ. Anything less than Christ is Christ-less. So let Jesus Christ manage your life by living in faith. Let go of your strength and live in His. The world says "you're foolish" but Christ says, "You are wise." The world says "manage" and Christ says, "lose your life and follow Me."
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Please pray for our trip to Ankara this weekend. Roger and I are driving with Alp there to visit some people we know and to perhaps meet some people searching for God! Ankara is the capital of Turkey, although it is smaller than Istanbul. It is east of Istanbul more towards the center of the country. It would be awesome if we could have a church there (and all over Turkey)!
We are so blessed to have the privilege of meeting Turkish people who are hungry for God's love and grace. The burden of sin is too much for any man to bear, but thank God there is One who can bear them and give us abundant life in return!