Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas from a four year old

Hard to believe it is already a new day. We ended our Christmas celebration last night with John 3:16, and this morning I was reflecting on this Christmas and just how grateful I was for everything. We weren't sure if we would even have any presents this year and then not long before Christmas our parents blessed us with money to buy things for the grand kids and while we still didn't have as many as the years before this it was the most cheerful and peaceful Christmas in our house. The kids were able to truly realize the real reason for Christmas and to understand as Christians we don't have to wait for Christmas. We get to celebrate and worship Jesus everyday. As we were in Kaufland just a couple days before Christmas our four year old misunderstood the concept of our secret pals, and thought he was shopping for himself.
 As he realized this, in disappointment he started to throw a fit in the middle of the store (1st time for everything). In the mean time while I am thinking to myself how I am going to handle this, a lady walks over and tells him In Romanian of course, that Santa will not come to him because he is crying in the store, and in her shock that did not work because even though he is only 4 he knows Santa does not exist. But the Lord gave me in that moment wisdom in how to handle the situation, and I picked Azi up and told him, "you know Santa does not exist so what that lady said is not true. You will still have a gift Christmas day because I know someone who came and gave us the greatest gift of all even when we did not DESERVE it".
 And with that he stopped his crying and looked up at me to listen to the rest of what I had to say, and we talked about how Jesus came to save us from our sin and that is the greatest gift, and then I explained to him with that love we are here to shop forhis secret pal as a surprise to be loving for others, ( part of our conversation) and the rest of our shopping was peaceful.

 My point for sharing this is that even we as Christians get a little too wrapped up in "a man" that doesn't exist or change anything, and it was not a thought of a gift from Santa that made this little boy want to stop being selfish but the true gift from God in Jesus that caused this 4 year old to change his way and desire cheerfully to show love to his brother and no longer care for himself. And this year besides just doing the Christmas story like in the past we focused on the undeserving gift God gave not just sending Jesus as a baby but also on The cross, the resurrection, and God's word to us. And it really was the best Christmas ever. We even ended up receiving Samaritan Purse boxes last minute and never ceases to amaze me that every year these gifts that are randomly given out are always perfect for our children, Levi's even had running stuff in it, go figure we serve an awesome and loving God 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Day Never Forgotten

As I was driving to the office this morning, I could not help remembering the song I heard last night. I'll fly away, by Glenn Kaiser. It brought back a lot of memories of the last seven years that we have been here in Romania- some of the best times, the hardest times and darkest times in my life. 
Just over 16 months ago from now is a day that will be forever etched into my memory. 
I will remember the smell of the fresh mountain air, the breeze across my face while I hike up to the glacier lake where we were to camp for a couple nights. 
A phone call that became a string of phone calls leading up to the ultimate call as we had set up camp, eaten and settled down for the night. "He's dead, they are both dead!" echoed through the phone. 
Here I was high up in the mountains of Romania on a camping trip with a group of boys, and no way to start back home until the sun comes up in the morning. Helpless, cold, and stuck out there.

It has been over fifteen months and only today as I was driving to the office could I bring myself to stop by the cemetery and visit the grave of Adi and Timi. 
I wasn't sure how I would react. With a feeling of mixed emotions i found the place. 
After taking a few minutes to pray for the family he left behind, I said quietly, I'll see you soon. Our life here on earth is short compared to eternity. 
I walked away slowly with a sense of joy knowing that one day soon we would meet again, we would be able to praise our Lord and Savior together once again. 
One glad morning.....

1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. 3 For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. 4 "Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. 5 My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. 7 "Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations." 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 12 "I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? 14 He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. 15 I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD of hosts is his name. 16 And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, 'You are my people.'" 17 Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne; there is none to take her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. 19 These two things have happened to you-- who will console you?-- devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you? 20 Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. 21 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: 22 Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: "Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; 23 and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, 'Bow down, that we may pass over'; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over." [Isa 51:1-23 ESV]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Being thankful!







There is so much we can be thankful for- family, friends, the house we live in, the meals we eat...I could go on and on.
This Psalm comes to mind...
Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV
Make a joyful shout to the Lord , all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord , He is God; It  is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We  are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord  is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Always remember that the Lord is good!  Throughout each season remember this and give Him thanks.
As we continue to minister here in Bistrita and the surrounding villages that we work in, continue to hold us up in prayer as we pray for the Lord's guidance on what His plans for us will be.
Pray that it will be made clear to us and that we will be willing to step out in faith in His timing.
Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Every Morning

David wrote this towards the end of his life.

A Song of God’s Majesty and Love
145 A praise of David.
I will exalt you, my God, O king,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is Yahweh, and very worthy of praise,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will laud your works to another,
and will declare your mighty deeds.
On the splendor of the glory of your majesty,
and on your wonderful deeds, I will meditate.
And they will speak of the power of your awesome deeds,
and I will tell of your greatness.
They will utter  the renown of your abundant goodness,
and they will proclaim with joy your righteousness.
Yahweh is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and great in loyal love.
Yahweh is good to all,
and his mercies are over all his works.
All your works will praise you, O Yahweh,
and your faithful ones will bless you.
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and talk of your power,
to make known to the children of humankind his mighty deeds,
and the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Yahweh upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due time,
opening your hand,
and satisfying the desire of every living creature.
Yahweh is righteous in all his ways,
and loyal in all his works.
Yahweh is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry for help, and saves them.
Yahweh protects all those who love him,
but all the wicked he will exterminate.
My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh,
and all flesh will bless his holy name
forever and ever.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Reflection on a rainy afternoon


"Job 28:12-28 NASB

"But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? "Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. "The deep says, 'It is not in me'; And the sea says, 'It is not with me.' "Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price. "It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx, or sapphire. "Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. "Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. "The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold. "Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? "Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living And concealed from the birds of the sky. " Abaddon and Death say, 'With our ears we have heard a report of it.' "God understands its way, And He knows its place. "For He looks to the ends of the earth And sees everything under the heavens. "When He imparted weight to the wind And meted out the waters by measure, When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt, Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'""
  -New American Standard Bible

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Where did the summer go?
Was it not yesterday we celebrated the last day of school? Was it not just yesterday we said goodbye to part of our team as they left to visit the States?
Now it is September and most of the team members are back!!
Wow!!!  Not sure about the rest of you but ours flew by, and at times has felt like it never started, now it is September and in less than two weeks school will be starting for the kids. We had the priviledge of having a young lady, Allison stay with us a month in July, and help in the village and with our own kids. It was nice to have a date night out of the house once a week for 4 weeks. We also had the priviledge of visiting an orphanage about 2 hours away in Brosteni, Romania up in the mountains, and the director has invited us to come back in September. The girls Bible study retreat went wonderful and the whole family got to participate as we had it right here camping out in our own yard.

The church has been going well, and Chris will continue to preach a couple weeks after Brian returns to finish up the book of 1 John. Please continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will speak through him to the church. Please continue to pray for the Bible study as well in Pintic among the Roma there. Somedays it seems like we are really seeing progress while other times it seems like there is no fruit. The people really need Jesus so please please pray for them.

Please pray for our two boys as they will be transferring to the Christian, private school in town. Pray for it to be easy for them to meet new friends and for them to be diligent in school this year. Please pray for our family as a whole.

We took a family day to ride horses. The kids had a wonderful time riding and enjoying the outdoors.

We do hope to visit the states next summer so please pray for the Lord's provision in this area.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Wow, it just seemed like yesterday we were putting away the Christmas tree and decorations. Where has the time gone?
Summer is here and summer plans have begun to take place.
Some of the things that have already taken place this spring.

We were able to help replace a roof of a family in a very poor village. Thank you to all those that helped with this project. We attended bible study here at this house throughout the winter.
As the weather has turned warm and beautiful we once again have moved outdoors under a tree.

English classes at the village school ended with pictures for each child in the class. they were able to decorate thier frames any way they wanted while eating some snacks and drinks.

Easter monday a team from the bible college in hungary came with us to the village. after a short teaching we gathered around the tv and watched the jesus film. many of the villagers came to watch. Some drifted in and out, but a good number stayed throughout the film. There were others that were listening to music quite loudly when we arrived, but as we wanted to start, one of the villagers went and asked them if they could turn down the music as were were having a bible study and then were going to watch a movie. for over three and a half hours of bible study and the movie they left the music at a low volume as to not distrub the teaching and the movie. What an encouragement as for a year ago, the music would have stayed on or gotten louder.

Easter monday we brought with us to the village a team from the hungary bible college. We shared a short bible study and watched the jesus film. as we arrived many of the people were listening to music quite loudly on thier sterio systems outside thier houses. When it was time to start one of the older men that came to the bible study went down and talked with each asking them to turn down the music as we were about to start. every single one of them turned down the music so that it would not interupt our bible study and film. for over three hours not one of them turned the music up. A year ago this most likely would not have happened. What an encouragement this was. The village children loved the attention they recieved from the team.

We attended a concert of bells put on by a team from the USA that came and ministered to the churches here in romania. The large Lutheran church in the center of the city was fortunate to have them play inside. Listening to A mighty fortress is our God by Martin Luther was amazing. And knowing that about the time Martin Luther penned this song, this exact church was being built. Encredible!

Be in prayer for us as summer is in full swing, kids camps, continueing the bible study in the village in the Gospel of John, and preaching through the book of 1john at church. Exciting times!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Whose fault is it?

John 9

 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

When something bad happens to somebody there are those who ask questions about where one went wrong. What law or laws did one break? Why is one suffering? Why has this tradedy happened?  They want to tell why one is in this situation. They are quick to tell what one did wrong or what might have done wrong. They are quick to point out one's sin and tell what one did wrong. 
Then there are others who are not so interested in why one is hurting, but on how to help take away some of the hurt and pain. 
John 9:1-5 
The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, this man or his parents. He had been born blind and they wanted to know who'se fault it was. 
Was this some kind of punishment from God on the parents for thier sin, or is he suffering for the sins of his father?
The disciples wanted to know who was to blame. 
Jesus's answer was neither this man or his parents. His blindness was not a punishment for some sin.

When things go wrong we are quick to blame God. we look at it as some punishment from God. Too often we think that God is punishing or judging us. 
The women caught in adultry that was brought to Jesus. The Pharisees were quick to blame her and stone her. What was Jesus' response? He told her to go and sin no more. Jesus did not cast judgement. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved. 

Why do we look at human punishment as punishment from God? 
There are certain things we do that carry natural consequences. God warns us about doing certain things because He loves us and knows the pain that they can bring.
A child is playing around the soba and the parent warns him not to touch the soba. If he decides to touch the soba and gets burned you did not burn the child. You only warned him. It is  a cause and effect. Certain actions bring certain effects.
God does not always warn us what the consequences will be for certain actions. He just warns us not to. 
In the garden of eden, God did warn Adam and Eve and what the consequences would be and yet they did not heed the warning. 

So why was this man born blind?
God had a purpose. God is always working out his purpose in our lvies. Many times what seems like a tradedy is intended by God to be an opportunity for Him to work and be glorified.  Jesus said,: I must work the works of him who sent me."
What was the work of God who sent HIm? 
To heal the man from blindness, and to bring him to a knowledge of who Jesus is.  
The work of God is: to heal, to make wrongs right, to remove the pain and suffering of the world cursed by sin.
God gives us a different picture than what man traditionally gives us.
Jesus had told the Jews, you dont know me or my Faither. If you would have known me, you would have known the Father.
They did not know God or the loving heart of God. They were ready to stone the adulterous woman, Jesus was eager to forgive her.

So how do we react to the tragic consequesnces of human nature?
Do we point and say, what did they do to deserve this or do we rush to help them heal from the pain?
We are not to try to find out the cause of the suffering, but God has called us to minister to those who are suffering and hurting. 
The work of our Father is to heal the hurts of this broken world.

Jesus said Ï am the light of the world". 
The suffering in this world is a natural consequence of living without Jesus. Wanting to live in darkness, wanting to live without Jesus. Wanting to live without the rules that God has put on us. They are not rules that God has put on us but warnings.
God warns us for our own good. 
Jesus is the light of the world, bu man loved darness, because they did evil. 
Now Jesus is no longer here in the world, but his disciples are and Jesus said that they are the light of the world. We are reflecting His light to the world. We must also do the works of the Father.
Works of the Faither are to heal the effects of men who live in darkness and open the eyes of men who are blind to the truth so that they may see the light- that they may see Jesus and begin to follow Him. As Christians we are to share the light of Jesus so that others may see and follow Him.