Thursday, May 28, 2009
Pastor Matti's message yesterday night was one that must never get old for any of us!
He gave several examples in the Gospels of people who loved Jesus and were excited about Him, and yet responded in various incorrect ways to His words or actions. For example, the woman who wanted Jesus to promise her that her two sons would be seated on each side of Him in His kingdom. She wasn't listening. Instead, she wanted to obtain some kind of security for her family and to make following Christ into some kind of religion, with structure, complex rules and personalities.
But Jesus constantly emphasized hearing, listening and obeying His words. There is a difference between just hearing and choosing to listen and receive the Word. When we really listen to what God has to say to us, we learn and grow. When we really listen, we receive something personal and something that can never be taken away from us. When we listen, we are owning up to the responsibility we have to heed God's word. When we listen, our faith is strengthened as our knowledge of Him increases. When we listen, we gain an eternal perspective on our lives. When we listen, REALLY listen, we have no choice but to obey with all our hearts!
As believers, we don't HAVE to listen to God. But if we don't, we will find ourselves with a small religion instead of a living personal relationship with the God of the universe. It is our privilege and our choice.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Its so easy to have the Name of Jesus or Christianity but not have the Name living within you. P. Matti pointed out last night in his message that God is Greatest of all beings and no one can compare. But some where in the hearts of sinful men, we have decided to believe that we are gods and we are the greatest beings in this world. The thing that clearly defines this belief is secularism. Man is the standard for everything because there is no other absolute. When you take God away there are no absolutes and men suddenly believe that they are the greatest beings. But if man is the only standard then its a corrupt system, and this is what we see all over the world today. This is not neutrality but this is a religion. So how do we stay away from this kind of living? "Faith", God's greatest gift to man. A choice to believe and to have purpose that is greater than ourselves. Because of faith we have joy. Not just happiness but something more that goes way beyond anything that we could create. This way of living is a choice. How do we stay this way? Fervency. P. Matti said in his message that it means to boil and bubble over. This is the way God wants us to live. Never lacking but always giving and pouring out with purpose and joy. How do we define this? The Bible defines everything! Its our dividing point, and its not neutral. The Bible defines our faith and what it should be. And most of all it shows us how to guard our life from nominalism and secularism!!!
Monday, May 18, 2009
With Pastor Matti in Baku and Umid sick as a dog, we trusted God that He would give us an awesome church service.
It was Nina's last night before returning to Moscow, where she lives. She has been with us for almost 3 months, serving and ministering to us and so many turkish women! We have been so blessed to have her. She gave a short testimony of her time here and it really touched every single one of us. Benjamin, one of our Nigerian brothers, gave an amazing introduction about humility and looking unto Jesus, the One who bore the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Margot sang a beautiful song for the offering. Roger preached an awesome message about justification of sinners in the courtroom of God! It was a very clear doctrinal teaching of what Christ's work meant for each sinner before a perfectly just God. Everyone was so encouraged at the end of the service that no one wanted to leave!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We are back from our whirlwind tour of Finland! We had an amazing and incredibly encouraging time there with all the young people who have on fire hearts for God.
But it is SO good to be back in Istanbul! Roger and I love to travel (our passports are proof enough - we've been to 7 countries in 4 months!), but after each trip the greatest joy has been to come back to Turkey. Every trip was from God and edified us in different ways, but they were also a wonderful assurance that our call is to Turkey.
Pastor Kende from Budapest is visiting now and today we went on evangelism together. At first we didn't have any luck finding english speakers to talk to so I thought it would be a good idea to go to the one place Roger and I always meet someone...Burger King! and God was faithful to put the right people in our path. I met a girl whose name means love in Turkish (Sevgi) and she was so sweet and open. I invited her to church, but as always, you never know how interested people are about coming. But as I was sitting there waiting for Pastor Kende to finish his conversation, she shyly walked back up to me and said she would like to come to the service tonight! She gave me her phone number just to make sure I wouldn't forget about her. I was so blessed because I have been really praying for more turkish girls to come to church.
God is so faithful to hear our prayers - why wouldn't He be? Pastor Matti often says that, "Lets pray for this...Don't you think God would like to answer this prayer?" When we pray according to God's heart, it must be such a joy for Him to hear it. We cannot control who we meet or when, but when we pray and let God lead us - won't He be faithful to provide?