Tuesday, February 27, 2007

dynamic faith

God is not stagnated but dynamic, yet never changing.
That means that all his goals and pleasures are in himself.
He doesn’t look for other sources of inspiration.
“That God may be all in all…” I Cor. 15:28
He has no needs , no surprises and no disappointments.
Yet, he is “ abounding in goodness and truth “.Ex.34:6
He has made us for his pleasure and it’s obvious that his
personal relationship with each one of us matters to him
very much. He is not just God in general, but one who has time
to number the very hairs of our head. Matthew 10:30
This is not wishful thinking. This is love.
Jesus told that God continues to work. John 5:17
What is God doing today?
He said in John 6: 29, “This is the work of God , that
You believe in Him whom He sent.”
Faith is God’s activity today.
Everything works by faith.
Even the smallest detail in our life depends on faith.
Outside of faith we look ugly and dangerous.
Even though God doesn’t need man’s help in anything,
He has chosen to “depend” on man’s faith decisions
and prayers. II Cron.7:12
This makes our faith dynamic and interesting.

Monday, February 26, 2007

it was so quiet there

the Moldova conference

in the deep forest of Moldova at the Transnistrian border

pastor Mihail and Mary from Brasov visiting Moldova

so easy to distrust

It’s so easy to expect evil from people and to believe
an evil report about them. Isn’t it?
The fall of Adam is written with big letters in every
man’s soul. If that is our only source of information
we cannot but distrust everybody.
Jesus looks beyond people’s faults and sees their needs.
Is that standard too high for us? Is it too idealistic?
“By this we know love , because he laid down his life for us.
And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
I John 3:16
I don’t think that laying down our life is a great intellectual
challenge for us. It’s a spiritual call, to look at people the
way God looks at them. Isn’t that after all the way how we
would like everyone to know us?
This is one of the main differences between believers and
unbelievers. The believers have been taught not to know
people after the flesh, according to the manifestations of
the fallen man.
We are called to believe the best about all people and to
continue doing so even after their failures, even to our
own hurt. I Cor. 9:19

Friday, February 23, 2007

GG Moldova, Pastor Julian Timofte

GG Moldova, P.Julian's wife, Natella

GG Moldova, Boris

GG Moldova, Oleg

GG Moldova Natasha

Mirca and Romulus from Brasov visiting the Greater Grace church in Moldova


Man cannot force or manipulate the work of God.
Even though it seems like God has chosen to depend
on man for the accomplishment of his plan.
If man fails, God’s plan fails.
Isn’t every person who ends up eternally in hell
considered to be a failure to God?
However we try to understand this, we have to agree
that there can be no failure with God.
This is one of the distinctive conditions for him
being God Almighty.
Man’s subjectivity, limited by time, is one of his
greatest hindrances in making the right judgment
about God.
Even hell, in all it’s endless pain, is justified and
in perfect harmony with God’s character.
God, in all his humility, does whatever he wants
and he only can want that what is perfectly right.
We cannot force him. We are called to be available.
Romans 14:16
Even prayer should not be understood as a way to
influence God. It’s a way to seek to be available to him.
Availability means readiness to be used by God in any
capacity. We are sometimes willing to believe that
God can move even mountains. Can he move us?
Many people in the Bible were first not available,
but God made them available. (Moses, Jonah…)
Maybe there is something going on in your life,
that you don’t quite understand. Could it be God
making you to be available for him?
Faith means an expectation from God.
This active waiting from God means to be available
to all that he has prepared for us. Psalm 62:5

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

but joy comes in the morning, Psalm 30:5

so many lies about God

There’s a popular Turkish song that says, “Lies, everything
except death is a lie in this world.”
It’s a very sad song, but it’s a lie.
The truth is present today in the world and He can be known.
What a joy! What a great message!
Christ came to this world to save sinners.
This truth stands forever.
Most of the lies in the world are against God and his true
identity. One of them is to say that God is never happy
with us. Whatever you do, you cannot please him.
A person who has believed this lie lives a very depressive
life. There is no joy in his heart, just a constant remembrance
of his failure to please God.
John points out in I John 3:20 that God is bigger than our
own heart and he knows all things.
God is not an unhappy , always complaining, old man with
a wrinkled face and heart.
He is on our side.
He is totally satisfied with the work of Jesus on the cross.
He is pleased with us when we simply trust him in faith. Heb.11:6

joyful Finnish invasion of Istanbul

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

never ending supply of people

it works

God has given us a great vision, a concept that works.
But it works only with workers.
If it stays in our note-books, the world will never know.
If the diplomas of our Bible College graduates continue
collecting dust in their book shelves, we have missed something.
Have we thrown in the towel?
Last Sunday a group of Turkish journalists arrived in
Brussels by the invitation of the European Union to a
seminar called “Making sense of the EU.”
They were not impressed by the empty, lifeless city.
They looked at one another and asked: where are the people?
We would like to respond to that by saying that
all people are in churches. It’s Sunday.Hmmm...
The group of journalists had hard time finding people
in other days as well. Coming from Turkey that is full
of people, Europe, for them, looked like empty, ancient ruins.
We are strange Europeans. We like to be in the church
every day. It’s not because we have nothing else to do.
It’s not because we are unemployed or lazy.
We are in the church daily because we love God and he has
prepared a lot of work for us. Phil.2:13
I don’t see any other model for living Christianity.
Jesus continues being our daily bread.

a kind request

We have a kind request to all those who have been helping
to spread the news of Pastor Rishat’s arrest.
Please, for the sake of the future of our church in
Samarkand, don’t continue using our name as the
source of your information.
This will not help us in our work in Uzbekistan.
Thank you for understanding.

P.Matti Sirvio

Monday, February 19, 2007

view to Aya Sofia

planting churches ex nihilo

God made everything out of nothing, ex nihilo.
Hebrews 11:3
Man, as creative as he is, cannot do the same.
He only can humbly receive and reorganize that what
already was made. He can hurt it , damage it, but
cannot completely destroy it.
God calls those things which do not exist as though
they did. Romans 4:17
This is the way we also think and plan. This is how we
enjoy the plan of God.
Like Elisha we see the chariots of fire, when others
see just discouraging circumstances. II Kings 6:16-17
Without this invisible activity around us our life would
be so empty and boring.
Can God start a church in Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan?
Can he speak to the darkness and say,” Let there be light”.
If we would dare to go and see, we would be surprised
to find out how capable church planter God is.
It is in His mind.

it's good to be free

P.Rishat is free

Thank you for your prayers.
Pastor Rishat was set free about an hour ago.
“And He who is in us is greater than he who is
in the world.” I John 4:4

Sunday, February 18, 2007

for He knows our frame, Psalm 103:14

redeemed garbage

Istanbul is full of trash pickers. They seem to be the hardest working
people in the city. In one of the newspaper interviews one of them
explained his thoughts,” Every garbage can contains a new dream.
You go to a garbage bin. You dip your hand inside, and you start dreaming about what you might find. Perhaps it will be something valuable. And if you don’t find it in this bin, you go to the next. In this manner, you can walk for seven or eight hours daily.”
I somehow find something very redemptive in this philosophy.
When I look at a big heap of trash I easily can see my own life in it.
That’s where I’m from and that’s where I would be, if God didn't give me grace.
It’s so comforting to know that I’ll never be dumped again.
God doesn’t throw away things that are broken.
He doesn’t reject people who have failed.
We are his treasure, found in the garbage. Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, February 17, 2007

pastor Rishat Garifulin from Almaty

heavy accusations

It looks like the situation with Pastor Rishat
is very serious. According to our sources he
will be accused for activity against the constitution
of Uzbekistan. They plan on using statute nr 159
against him. This is a very serious accusation.
Our believers told us that the situation in the country
is getting worse. Now it is dangerous to carry even
one Bible or any other piece of religious literature
with you. The local authorities don’t make any
distinction between different religions. If it is
religious, it already is considered illegal and connected
with terrorism.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present
help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

freedom is a gift

picture by P.Joseph Marion from Afghanistan

still jailed

Despite our continuing efforts to find P.Rishat
we have been unable to reach him.
He is still kept jailed in Samarkand.
Please, continue praying for him and his family back home
in Almaty.
For more information about the religious freedom issues
in Central Asia check the site of Forum 18 at

Friday, February 16, 2007

continue praying

Please, continue praying for Pastor Rishat,
who is still kept in jail in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The Kazak authorities have promised to get
involved in working on his release.
I'll keep you updated.

keeping in step

ask, but what to ask ?

Solomon was given the most amazing opportunities.
“Ask whatever and it will be given to you”.
Didn’t Jesus speak the same way to his disciples?
John 14:14
The more you know God, the more careful you are with
your asking. It’s not a small thing to ask something that
you haven’t had before. You don’t know how your life
will be effected.
More knowledge gives more pain, more money gives
more opportunities to sin. Everything is connected, not
just with our lives, but with others around us.
Solomon was extremely successful in his life, but his
past victories could not protect him in time of temptations.
His compromises led to a divided heart and to a divided
We cannot trust our experience beyond the Word of God.
There are times when our past experiences become our
greatest obstacles in doing the will of God today.
Walking in the newness of life, Romans 6:4,
is our only way to keep in step with the Spirit of God.
Galatians 5:25
I ‘ll know what to ask, if I know who he is.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

daily washing

born to live, not to die

Many believers talk about God’s goodness, but are
afraid to believe that he could really be as good as
He claims to be.
Many fear that they can loose their salvation,
if they disappoint God with their sinful living.
Yes, they can be in danger of loosing their rewards and
even their life, but they will not be able to loose their
salvation. I Peter 1:23
Salvation is not a fair deal according to the natural man’s
standard of justice. Just like one person said, “if I were
god, none of you would be saved, not for a long time”.
When we are honest, we understand that we cannot trust
our own heart. We need something more reliable than that.
If a person refuses to believe that his salvation is eternal,
he has a couple of hard questions to answer.
The first question is about being born again.
Have I been born again, or am I in a process of being born again?
Will I be born again only at my death?
Can one be almost born?
Can the one who has been born become unborn?
Can the one who has somehow managed to become
unborn, be born again again?
All these questions lead us to a conclusion that salvation
either is a free gift or isn’t.
Man cannot change God.
This is one of the greatest comforts in this world.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

pray for Uzbekistan

problems in Uzbekistan

I just got news from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, that one of
our pastors has been arrested last Thursday.
Pastor Rishat , who was visiting the Samarkand church
from Almaty, was stopped on the street and checked
by the police. They found a couple of Christian booklets
in his bag and arrested him immediately.
We were expecting him to be released after three days
as they are accustomed to do.
Now it’s almost a week later and we haven’t heard
anything about him or his whereabouts.
Please, keep the situation in prayer as we continue
pursuing his release.

right now time touches eternity

a better world

If man can please God by being a good person,
let’s all be good.
Isn’t that a great idea?
Or let’s be at least average, not killing anybody,
not committing any big sins.
And if we have committed some big sins, let’s not do
it again. Let’s be nice. Let’s at least try our best.
If man really can come to God with his credentials of
being an ordinary human being, why has the cross
become the symbol of the whole Christian world?
If bad things can be balanced by good things,
and if bad people can be reprogrammed by a good
social worker, why did Jesus die?
Was it an irreversible accident that should not have
occurred in the first place?
I think that it’s obvious that the world hasn’t become
a better place. It has become more dangerous.
In the same time man is capable of educating himself
more than ever before.
Where has man’s teaching led him,
to a society where everybody is so busy and controlled
that prayer and worship are considered to be
questionable activities.
Today they are looked upon as something unproductive.
Tomorrow they may be considered illegal.
I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down…

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

do you remember me?

Psalm 27:3

Insecurity is a bad choice, based on unbelief.
It doesn’t always lead people to be quiet.
It’s one of the greatest temptations for believers,
not to continue in faith, but to base our decisions
on unbelief.
Insecurity wants to be expressed.
People do all kinds of things out of insecurity.
It’s like a virus in a person’s soul, that he tries to get rid of.
Some people talk a lot, others laugh out of insecurity.
Some lie, some dress up provocatively, others just
withdraw themselves from all fellowship.
It’s like being surrounded by mirrors that all tell us who
we are or what we are supposed to be. These mirrors can be
people’s opinions, peer pressure, cultural demands.
The Word of God makes us confident.
It’s like a mirror inside of us.
God is looking into it daily.
We see reflections of His face and we are convinced
of his love and his ability to do what he has promised.
The more we have the mirrors of the Word in us, the
more confident we become in Him.
Philippians 3:3 teaches that our confidence is not in the flesh,
not in the visible things that can be measured by man.
Our confidence is the invisible security that we have inside of us.
God is our defender and we have chosen not to throw away
this confidence. Hebrews 10:35

Monday, February 12, 2007

Greater Grace in Paris, Pastor Michel Texier and his wife Pascale

the amazing gg choir in Paris

little Greater Grace Parisian

together in Christ in Istanbul

Davlat from Samarkand in Luxemburg

knocking at the church door in Luxemburg

so many have left their country

So many have left their own country
escaping political dictatorships, wars and poverty.
A local church that offers more than just one service a week
is a great provision for those who love God and want to continue
seeking him daily, even in a foreign country.
Often it means that you have to learn a new language,
adjust to a new culture and make a strong decision not to be
offended by anything.
A great attitude is to seek the prosperity and the peace of
the city where the Lord has led you. Jeremiah 29:7
It’s no surprise that most of our churches in Europe have
at least ten different nationalities worshipping together.
I remember once in Stockholm in time of evangelism
finding a group of Chinese tourists in front of a big cathedral.
The door was locked.
They were discouraged and looking for a possible back door
to get in.
My heart was touched. This was maybe one of the few
opportunities they’d ever have to hear about Christ.
I boldly approached them and offered to explain what
Christianity is all about.
They got really excited.
I was able to lead them to the real church right in the yard
of that impressive, but cold looking building.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

new view

Yesterday I moved to a smaller apartment.
This is my new view.

greater works

He who believes will no more be the same.
His purpose will change. His influence and value will change
in that moment, when faith is born in his heart.
It is one of the most exciting experiences
in life to see faith born in people.
It’s so inspiring to look at everybody this way.
If they only believed, everything would be so different.
Jesus said in John 14:12 , that those who believe would do even
greater works than he. Not greater in quality, but in quantity.
From that moment on their life will have a chain effect on
That’s why faith is a greater work. John 6:29
It cannot be stopped.
Faith always brings us to people and people to us.
The world is gradually becoming a faithless place. Luke 18:8
We are encouraged to keep our faith. II Tim. 4:7
It’s not common.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

mountains in Galachik, Azerbaijan

it's not a small thing

It’s not a small thing to hear from God.
Sometimes the noise of our own soul is mistakenly
taken as the voice of God.
Sometimes people’s opinions claim to carry the authority
of God’s will.
We need to study the character of God, as it is revealed in
His Word. From his character we recognize His voice in this
noisy world.
God never accuses anyone.
He cannot.
The one who accuses needs to have someone who is above him,
a higher authority. God has no one higher than he.
God is not tricky. He does not beg us. He never leads us to sin.
The liberal theologians ended up chopping the Bible
in pieces using their own humanistic reasoning as their standard,
“Jesus could never have said that…”
God had a message, but they silenced
him with their faithless theology.
Mediation of the Word of God starts with us separating time for it.
If I don’t hear from heaven , I will hear from somewhere else.
True humility leads us to daily step away from the cosmic
flow of this world and say:” Speak, for your servant hears.”
I Samuel 3:10

Monday, February 5, 2007

visiting from Georgia, Sota, Dato, Alex and Levan

global warming

Global warming, increasing poverty, uncontrolled dictators,
what is that to us?
Are believers looking for a change or do we say, “Well, the boat
is sinking anyways, why should we fix a sinking boat?
Besides that, doesn’t the Bible teach us to be content in all
circumstances? Phil.4:11”
It amazes me how superficial believers sometimes are with their
religious comments.
Yes, we believe that contentment is a great gain in all circumstances,
but we also believe that we should not accept all circumstances.
When Paul was touring Athens in Acts 17 he was provoked by all
the idols. He didn’t say:” Well, this is Athens, what can I do about it?”
He went to the most important place of influence in the city and
said,” Men of Athens, listen to me.”
I find two important reasons for looking for a change.
First is the recognition that time is a gift from God.
Time is not our enemy and it is not the opposite of eternity.
Things done in time have effects in eternity.
Every second is a new opportunity to glorify God and his character.
Visible things are also a gift from God.
Heaven and Earth, the material world, will one day pass away,
but not by man’s mistake. Man cannot destroy this planet,
even though he is working hard to do it.
When time is full, God himself will remove the heaven and the earth.
The visible things have their effect in the invisible world.
This is why we seek to be good citizens; labor with our hands
and honor the rulers as long as they don’t ask us to go against
the will of God.
Faith, like a mustard seed, is a little, extremely valuable detail
in time that will have everlasting results in the future.

Friday, February 2, 2007

the Bosphorus, connecting or dividing the East and the West

if you knew

“But what I do have I give you.” Acts 3:6

Sometimes what we have seems so little.
Even in our own eyes five small stones in a shepherd’s
bag seems like nothing to talk about.
So often we wish that we could give more.
It would be so amazing to be able to pay everybody’s
debts, find a good job for everybody and to take all
their pain away.
But we only are believers saved by grace
and only pastors ministering by faith , only a church,
miraculously existing.
Often our best advice for people is to
seek first the kingdom of God. Mt.6:33
Maybe the saying “God helps those, who help themselves “,
isn’t that wrong after all?
Haven’t we seen time after time again people prosper
simply because they honor the Word of God in their
Godliness is profitable for all things. I Tim.4:8
How could somebody be disappointed when they expect
only something temporal , and something eternal is given
to them.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says
to you…you would have asked…and he would have
given to you.” John 54:10
I look at the multitudes in Istanbul and think,
“If you only knew who we are, and who sent us,
you would ask”.