Thursday, January 28, 2010
This is part of the message I shared with the church in Istanbul for our first service back. I thought I would share it with you.
Its so encouraging to see the disciples of the church here following in the foot steps of Jesus, and its so wonderful to walk with them together! The question I posed is, How do we understand who God is?
We find in the Gospels that one of Jesus' favorite or most often used words was hypocrite. So many people at that time thought they knew who God was and thought they could easily understand Him based on how good they thought they lived. We also find this relevant today in the world we live in and also in the struggle of our own human heart. But as we see in the Gospels, Christ was looking for the sincere hearts of faith. I like this word because its the way to victory in the battle against our own hypocrisy. That's why I would like to make this the first step in the life of a disciple. "Sincerity!" In the Old Testment we find this in the book of Proverbs but in another word, "Fear." Not in the sense that God is here to consume us, but that of transparency and reverence towards the God who knows us better than we know ourselves.. In 1 Jn. 1:5-10 we find that if a believer walks in light then there is no darkness. We also see that God is faithful to forgive those who are sincerely repentant. It is clear that there's no middle ground with God. We are either sincerely walking in the light or we are in darkness.
Secondly, as we walk with the Spirit we possess the key of sincerity that can unlock the door to knowledge and learning. We find that true knowledge comes from God alone and is the answer to our human condition. Paul said in Phip. 3:10, " That I might know Him!" and in Hosea 6:3 there is a great promise to those who seek after the knowledge God. Ginosko is the Greek word used by Paul and it means "to strive to recognize, take, and possess that which is eternal." In this second step we begin to see that we are the recipients of an even greater promise and that is the Third step.
Understanding! The result of the right steps taken in our walk of faith. We begin to see that life is prepared before us by the all knowing One, Jesus Christ! We see that true knowledge gives us understanding of who God is. We see His character of love towards us. Jer 31:3, Micah 7:18-19, Heb. 13:5. These of just a few of the hundreds of verses where we read and can truly understand God's character. Lastly, David said because of the Lord's testimonies he had more understanding than all his teachers. What a verse, huh?! Spurgeon said, "Understanding exceeds our enemies, our teachers, and the ancient!" When we are sincere and transparent before God, it opens the door to a walk of faith in the light. As we walk in the light, we gain understanding of who God is that far outweighs any earthly knowledge of this world.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thank you for those who have kept our travel back to Istanbul in prayer. We made it back safely and happily. It was a surprise to see the blanket of snow covering the city when we arrived, but it was beautiful to see. We are so thankful for everything God has given us and done for us this past month! We could never have imagined how taken care of we really are. Our time spent in Baltimore was just another reminder that God is good. The feeling of joy and excitement that Roger and I both could sense in eachother when we arrived back here was just further confirmation that we are called here!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
We just wanted to say thank you to all those who have been reading our blog over the last year. Its such a blessing and an encouragement to know that there are people praying for us and thinking about us and Turkey.
We want to offer you all a personal invitation to come visit us in Istanbul (That means you, Rambo). This coming year, we have some exciting events and trips planned. We want to have an amazing Easter celebration in April with as many evangelical events as possible so the Gospel will be heard. We are also planning to go with Pastor Matti to spy out the land in Damascus, Syria following Eurocon. If you are interested in joining us, don't hesitate to ask about it!
Thank you all so much and please continue to love and support us!