Missions March 2010

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

Proverbs 22:13 "The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!"
In contrast to this verse, in II Samuel 23:20, one of David's mighty men tracked down a lion and killed him in a pit on a snowy day.

These verses are discussing to very different approaches to life. The first, is one of spiritual slothfulness that is covered up by excuses. The lazy man simply does not want to venture out, and so he uses the lion (whether real or imaginary it doesn't matter) as an excuse to stay at home.
But the mighty man of God does just the opposite! He not only leaves the safety of his house, but he goes after the lion! Rather than seeing the lion's tracks in the snow and running the other direction, he takes the challenge and follows him. With this decision, he is taking a step of faith and putting aside his own fears. And he is rewarded with a trapped lion and an easy kill.
In our spiritual lives, we have two options and they are very clear - whether we want to admit it or not. To cover up our spiritual laziness with excuses will keep us from growing and will keep us from experiencing victory in faith! How can we see the glory of God revealed in situations if we run from them? How can we grow as disciples if we make excuses not to abide in the Body even when we don't feel like it? We have to follow the tracks by faith, putting aside any excuses or fears, knowing that victory awaits us if we obey.
This may seem like an abstract idea, but it is so practical to our lives! So often we have the quiet but strong urge to just hide away, never step out in faith, and just be safe and comfortable. But there are lions to be slain!! Our lives are FULL of opportunities to see God work in incredible ways. But if we never leave our "house" (our place of comfort) because of the lions, what a sad future we have chosen. Our call is to be more than conquerors in Christ - who has already won it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hopeless, the heart grows sick.

We had our usual Wednesday night service tonight and Pastor Matti asked Roger to preach the main message. Its really an amazing thing for me to watch MY husband preach!! I don't know if you know Roger's testimony but suffice to say that it is an epistle to the miraculous grace and mercy of God!
His message was about hope. In Proverbs 13:12 it says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is the tree of life." There are so many whose hearts are sick because they have put their hope in something that will never fulfill them. Every day they are thirsty and find no relief, they are hungry and find no nourishment. After some time, the heart will eventually become sick, with longing and dissatisfaction. Perhaps God intended this so that we would search for the Truth. Christ said of Himself, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14) and then later He said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35) No one else has ever said these kinds of things or claimed these kind of promises to be true. Christ speaks of eternal life! That is the lasting, fulfilling, awe-inspiring HOPE that a heart can firmly cling to.
Hebrews 6:17-20 says, "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 1God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf."
This message is so encouraging to our eternally thirsty souls! What greater hope can there be than Christ Himself, who conquered death and offers you life? Take hold of that Hope lest your heart grow sick.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pastor Schaller's Visit

Earlier this week Pastor Schaller stopped in Istanbul for almost 2 full days. Its incredible how much we received in such a short period of time! We really squeezed every drop out of our time together. He was such a huge blessing and encouragement to the team and the church here!
Roger and I enjoyed the personal quality time with him and with Pete Westera who was also traveling with him. They really built us up and encouraged us to continue in our work here. Its great to know that we have such an amazing Body of Christ supporting us with prayer and love!
One of the main principles that was really emphasized during their visit was the personal relationship that we are each called to have with our Bibles. This is something we are really praying the Turks grab a hold of. Having a hunger for the Word and hearing the Word leads to faith and specifically a firm doctrinal foundation built on Biblical truth. The Bible is what makes our faith tangible and real. Its what defines to us the character of God and what His thoughts are towards us. Its was provides a way of escape out of life's situations. Its what balances our emotions so that we are not tossed to and fro by them.
Seeing Pastor Schaller's life and hearing him preach, there is no doubt that his life is built on the Word and that he is still a humble disciple learning from the Lord.


The Turks really valued their time with Pastor Schaller.


P.Schaller illustrating how a dead man cannot save himself.


We love Pastor Schaller!


Pastor Schaller and our Africans!


Pastor Matti and Pastor Schaller on the church patio overlooking the Bosphorus

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Music expresses worship in so many different forms

video

This is a Norwegian folk hymn sung in an old dialect not commonly used in Norway. I thought it was so beautiful and ethereal. Its from Isaiah 55:1, that says "Come ye who Thirst, come ye without money and buy..."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pyramids & Alper Alp!

Please pray for Alp who is going on his first missions trip with us to Cairo, Egypt!
Our prayer has always been to see Turkish missionaries reach the Muslim world. It's exciting to think that we could be a part of that.

Disappointment

God is never disappointed, because to be disappointed one has to have a certain level of ignorance! This is why we must know the character of God in our lives. When we know Him we never see disappointment but rather we see His government of grace in our lives and the lives around us. Because of grace, anyone come to Christ with a broken heart and empty hands. We watch in great amazement as a life is changed from glory to glory. Never seeing failure or shortcomings but seeing grace and truth applied and lived out in someone's life. But Satan would love for us to be ignorant of the plan of God and lacking in the understanding of the limitless possibilities of grace. Is this too much Grace? No, for where grace is, truth is right alongside of it. Grace is not grace without truth. For it would not be grace if it were cheap. But this is a gift of God paid with the highest price which makes it so holy.
The story of Jonah is full of disobedience and disappointment. Because Jonah refused to think with God and lose himself (meaning his own prejudices and lack of love for people), one could say that God was disappointed with His prophet. But I think the book of Jonah shows the entirety of God's plan of grace - not just for the people of Ninnevah but for Jonah as well!

Where the natural man sees disappointment, the spiritual man sees the eternal and is comforted.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Beginnings in the New Church Space!

This past Sunday we had our first church services in the new church area. We moved two floors up from the small room we had before to a much bigger meeting room, with a kitchen, bathroom, and two office rooms. It is the top floor of the building so its very private, and we have an amazing view of the Bosphorus!
Please pray that we would be able to continue to afford this new space. Its a big step of faith for us, but we are all so excited and encouraged to be there!
Our first evening service we had a big "Opening Night" celebration, with music, a powerful message, and alot of food! Roger and I (who Pastor Matti's ironically refers to as the "Tabernacle Duo") sang "I will lift my eyes" and it was really annointed. It was such a great time and we had a great turn out. One of our good friends, whom Pastor Matti and all of us have been investing in, received Christ at the end of the meeting. We were all so broken and humbled by that. In Turkey especially, salvations are not common so they are not taken lightly. Its a big thing for a muslim to receive Christ, especially publicly. We are praying for his discipleship and that his entire family would follow him!


Getting ready in the morning



The kids sang the cutest song with P.Matti



Prayer



Our African brothers blessed us with a song



Fellowship on the outside deck - beautiful!