Thursday, January 31, 2008

false prophecies don't last long

man-made religions

Who are the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The fallen man loves a man-made religion.
It gives him a sense of accomplishment disregard
of his hopelessly fallen sin nature.
Man-made religion always emphasizes man’s own
ability and responsibility.
That’s why most of these religious practices operate
with fear , manipulating man’s guilty conscience.
The concept of grace in unknown. It sounds too cheap
for a self-righteous man who continues to deceive himself.
Just like the people did in the fairy tale called The Emperor’s New Clothes.
You know the story, the deceitful men, who promised to make the
most beautiful clothes for the king for his parade day,
ended up deceiving everybody, including the king.
They worked seemingly hard and told everybody that they are using
a new fabric that can be seen only by those who have a clean heart.
Others could not see this mysterious new thread. Everybody
went along praising the colors and the design. The parade day arrived
and the king marched naked through the city. The play went on and the
whole nation praised his new outfit to be extraordinary beautiful.
A little child who had not yet learned the games the adults play
came by and spontaneously shouted, “The king has no clothes on.”
I think that the living church has the role of that child in the world
today. When everybody is repeating their own goodness the church
should have a clear message. “All have sinned, and fallen short
of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom.3:23-24


Jehovah’s Witnesses is a good example of a man-made religion
that offers people an opportunity to feel righteous without
humbling themselves. It’s the best marketed religion in the world
that used to have the second largest propaganda machinery after
the Soviet Union. The Soviet Empire has disappeared from the
map of the world. Jehovah’s Witnesses has taken the lead in the
war of propaganda world-wide. I can guarantee that they have
all their distorted “bibles” and all the other books including their
standard answers in your mother tongue, what ever it
might be from Chinese to any given dialect in Africa.

I think that the three main reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses are
so “successful” in their work are

1. Their message appeals to man’s desire to be righteous.
A standard answer is given to every possible question
2. Their propaganda and marketing system is consistent
and periodically up-dated with the purpose of better selling
their product.
3. The organization doesn’t leave any room for individuality.
Everything outside of the organization’s box is forbidden.

In today’s world this works. You get the results that can impress
with it’s numbers and diagrams.
Success is not a biblical standard for the Truth.
Actually the Bible doesn’t encourage at all to look for the opinion
of the majority. The Bible encourages individuals to do their own
thinking and choose truth, even to their own hurt.
Muslims say that the Incil has been changed, but nobody is able to
point out when was it changed; who changed it; how was it changed.
Bible believers say that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed the
whole Bible. This can be documented in details, verse by verse.


Don’t let the arrogant confidence of Jehovah’s Witnesses intimidate
you. Ask them about grace. Ask them about heaven. Why are all the
places in heaven already taken? They teach that heaven is prepared
for 144 000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to their teaching all these places are already taken.
That’s why they only can offer to you “to live forever on the earth”.
Ask them about the accountability of their prophecies.
Deuteronomy 18:21-22
Their prophets have predicted the end of the world at least six times,
1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, 1942 and 1975.
This is very irresponsible.
It’s obvious that inside of the standard looking suit and tie there’s
a spiritually very needy person. Their self-righteous ego is strong,
but they most probably have never experienced the love of God nor
any need for it.
Jehovah's Witnesses need to be loved with the undemanding love of Christ.


1. That Jesus is a created being/a creature.
2. That Jesus is actually Michael the Archangel
3. That Jesus was not resurrected bodily, but as a spirit being.
4. That Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 (secretly to the Organization)
5. That Jesus was only a man when on earth, not the Word Become flesh.
6. That the Holy Spirit is only an active force, not the person of God.
7. That Hell is simply the grave.
7. That Heaven's doors is open to only 144,000.
8. That the majority of Witnesses must remain on earth.
9. That salvation is found only through this Organization.
10. That it must be maintained by energetic works for the Organization until the end when one may merit eternal life on a paradise earth.
11. That Satan is the author of the doctrine of the Trinity.
12. That Jesus cannot be given worship, but only honor as Jehovah's first creation.

1. The Trinity.
2. The Omnipresence of God.
3. The Deity of Christ.
4. The dual nature of Christ.
5. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
6. The visible return of Christ.
7. The person of God the Holy Spirit.
8. The Promise of Heaven to all believers.
9. The necessity of the New Birth for all believers.
10. The Lord's Supper for all believers. (not only for the 144,0000).
11. The Eternal Security of the believer.
12. The conscious Eternal Punishment of the lost.


1. That God exists in a Trinity of three eternal and co-equal persons: Father (Romans 1:7), Son (John 20:28) and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3,4 and I John 5:7).
2. Jesus is no less than God in human flesh (Colossians 2:9).
3. God, the Holy Spirit, is the third member of the Holy Trinity (Matt. 28:19; Acts 13:2).
4. Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave (John 2:20,21; Luke 24:39).
5. Jesus is visibly coming again (Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:8; Rev. 1:7).
6. Salvation is an unmerited free gift of grace in the person of Jesus Christ and comes through faith in Him. (Acts 16:31). It's the work of God for man, not a work of man for God (Titus 3:4-6).
7. Jesus was and should be worshipped (John 20:26-28; Matt. 2:10-12, 14:33)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fanny from France has joined the Istanbul team for a season

but the Word of the Lord endures forever...

the grass withers, and it's flower falls away...

wasted faces

It’s a misunderstanding to think that grace doesn’t demand
any accountability. Once a person accepts God’s gift of
forgiveness without any personal merit, he becomes accountable
on a higher level. He is accountable to God.
Without grace a person tries to manage his shortcomings and
failures before people by changing his faces from situation
to another. It works with people , but not with God.
God receives no face.
Cain showed his disappointment with God. He was angry and
his countenance fell. Gen.4:5
God did not accept it.
He talked to Cain’s heart past his face.
Joshua tried to manipulate God with his religious acrobatics
but God told him to get up and face the real issues. Joshua 7:10
“Israel has sinned…Get up, sanctify the people…take away the
the accursed thing from among you.” Joshua 7: 10-13
They were able to deceive themselves and one another, but they
could not please God with mere outward obedience.
This is the only way how God’s grace can bless us. Grace will
never be satisfied with superficial confessions and solutions.
You either really get right with God in your heart or you continue
under the pressures of performing.
Our inward man can be strengthened by grace alone. II Cor.4:16

Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred. Pr.15:17

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

GGWO in Vladikavkaz, Russia

Greater Grace of Vladikavkaz
Pastor & Mrs Roman Abramov
Pr. Kosta 288/1 kv. 54
North Ossetia

Phone: 7-8672-74-72-84
E-mail: Pastor Roman

Greater Grace Church in the Northern Caucasus.

up from the dust

Most of the people don’t really live according to their
philosophy. They can talk about it well, but their life
testifies against their well rhyming words.
The difference between man’s thoughts and words can
be enormous, the same with his words and actions.
God cannot lie. Titus 1:2
This is one of the most beautiful characteristics of God.
There is no distance between his thoughts, words and action.
From his works we can study his thoughts and from his words
we can know his works. They agree.
He is not only full of truth, He is the Truth in it’s cause,
action and effect.
Last night we started a new semester
in the Istanbul Bible Institute.
I cannot think of any better way for people to be together.
There is no greater activity for man than thinking with God.
It brings the greatest joy to our soul.
The theme verse for this semester is Psalm 119:25
“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.”
Without the Word of God man’s soul is full of dust.
We think like angels , but act like animals.
The teaching of the Word of God graciously narrows
the huge gaps between our thoughts and words and actions.
Sometimes those gaps are much bigger than what we
even dared to believe. John 3:18-21

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yilmaz and Auli, our Turkish-Finnish connection in Berlin

GGWO in Berlin

Greater Grace Berlin E.V.
Pastor & Mrs. Gary G. Groenewold
Ebersstrasse 37
Berlin 10827
Phone 49-30-78 95-37 41
Fax 49-30-78 95-37 42
E-mail Pastor Gary G. Groenewold

Fuad, Angela and Benjamin in Berlin

P.Gary and Cathy Groenewold in Berlin

He's the open Door

Disregard of people’s religious or political background
there are three words that describe well the challenges
of refugees in a new country. They are sorrow, worry
and identity.
Sorrow comes first as the scenes that people have left behind
them are often very painful and discouraging. Many have
lost family members or put them in danger by their own
decision to move. Many have left their life-long achievements
and homes and possessions that they worked so hard for
in so many years. Greatest sorrow comes from the uncertainty
of the future. You might never see your country again.
Christ was familiar with this pain during his earthly life.
He was called a man of sorrows.(Is.53:3)
He escaped with his family to Egypt and all of his life his
righteous behavior caused “problems” to his family and to
those who followed him. He has a message to those who mourn.
As practical challenges start mounting up sorrow turns into
worrying. How are my family members doing? Will I get a job?
Will I ever learn the language? Will the police believe my story?
The list of questions has no end.
Many people have found their comfort in Christ in the time of
overwhelming worrying.
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will
drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?” Matt.6:25-26
The question of identity caused many to leave their country
and it continues to haunt them even more in their new
“Only in God is my soul at rest, from him comes my salvation.”
Psalm 62 encourages man to keep his trust in God
in all times.
In God’s providence many have been brought away from their
secure environment to a place
where God finally can speak to them.
Through sorrow and worrying Christ invites them to have rest
in him.
“At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

it happens so subtly

Things change when a living faith turns to a religion.
Someone defined the danger of loosing our touch with
God by saying,
” first comes a revival, then a revival movement,
then a movement.”
This can happen to all of us.
I Sam. 5 has an interesting story of the Philistines and their
relationship with an idol, Dagon. Their god
failed in an embarrassing way, but that did not stop them
from worshipping him. His failure actually just added a new
element to their religious ceremonies. That god was no better
than Santa Clause, it only existed in their own imaginations.
The churches in Galatia turned from a living faith
to a dead religion. Paul warns them of the futility of
carnal religiosity,” for if righteousness comes through the law,
then Christ died in vain.” Gal.2:21
I’m in danger of exchanging my faith to a dead religion
when I
1. don’t need miracles anymore
2. sin doesn’t discourage me anymore
3. nothing touches my heart
4. have become accepted by the world
5. stop confessing my sins to God
6. don’t win souls anymore
7. have no more questions to God

Religious behavior without a personal relationship with God
is like a well polished but disconnected telephone. It has no
signal in it. A phone without a signal is just a head-ache.

the joy of salvation, Garip, Jongil, Gabriel and Matt

Pray for Lebanon!


Now, let's talk a little bit about Lebanon.
Lebanon is a small but complicated country.
Lebanon's population estimates tell us there would be
around 4,3 million Lebanese citizens in Lebanon,
and more than 16 million Lebanese living around the world.
Lebanon is home to about 400 thousand Palestinian refugees,
living in 12 different refugee camps within Lebanon.
Lebanon is home to people belonging to 17 confessions.
If we were to divide the population between the 5 main
confession groups, the result would be something like this:
35% of the population belongs to one of the numerous
Christian denominations (mainly constituted of Maronites,
Catholics and Orthodox). 35% would be Shi'i Muslims,
25% Sunni Muslims and 5% Druzes ( a religion that includes
beliefs in reincarnation).
Lebanon has been a shelter for many Kurds and Armenians
who came to escape genocide, and has also been a shelter
for many religious minorities as well.
All these people live in a land measuring 10.452 km2 and
that comprises very different climates and geographies very close
to each other such as coastline on the Mediterranean,
green forests of pine trees and cedars, high plateau, semi deserted
mountains and valleys, many lakes and rivers, as well as ski slopes
when there's snow in the winter, big cities and remote countryside.
For many reasons, many countries in the world have interests in Lebanon,
and this has led to several wars including the civil war from 1975-90,
that left Israel occupying southern Lebanon until the year 2000
and Syrian troops posted in the country until 2005.
In 2006 Israel attacked Lebanon.
The Israeli army destroyed every single road, bridge, power plant, radio station, television channel, or telephone antenna, and left the country about one month later with more than one million displaced, many civilian casualties and an oil spill touching the whole coastline as well as hundreds of thousands of cluster munitions using phosphor and mines.
Today, Lebanon's political situation is stuck to the point where there hasn't been a president for almost 2 months, and bombs regularly explode without anyone knowing for sure who's responsible, killing innocents in the streets as well as political personalities.
If I mention these things it is in no way to start speaking about politics, but only in order for you to realize that God allowed certain things to happen, and that all works for the good of those who love Him.
Since I've moved there what I've seen is an entire people without any hope.
Sure, speaking about God in Lebanon is challenge, because here, political parties try to legitimate themselves as ambassadors for the religious communities, as a result, the 15 yrs long civil war saw people killing each other because of the religious community they belonged to.
This and the fact that generally whether for Christians, Muslims or Jews, conversion is something that is not understood at best and not acceptable at worst, makes it quite a challenge to start and speak in a frontal way about God.
As a result, the average Lebanese in his faith is some kind of hippie, preaching tolerance, but once it comes to marriage or any public big decision, religious structures can prove quite strong.
However, after a few months living there, some people started to open up and to want to talk about their deep desires, and fears, and to discuss about God because they started trusting me from what they saw of my life.
This is a big step because in the Lebanese culture, speaking of anything deep and personal, if it's not something cheerful is considered as something bad.
It's a modest beginning but God has been more than faithful in bringing me to speak with several persons and give testimony.
I don't know what God wants to do with me here, but I know I'm in the right place, because God loves the Lebanese people just as much as any human being, and they need Him more than ever.
I am convinced prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.
If you'd like to pray for Lebanon, pray for people's hearts to be touched,
pray for opportunities to meet new people who hunger for God,
and also pray for peace as well as for the Lebanese authorities to find wisdom
in their leadership.

Who am I? I would love to give you all my name but given the circumstances, and the content of this blog, I just feel it would be wiser to give a screen name that is different from my actual name. Knowing you'll understand,

I have been a believer now for almost four years. I got saved in the Geneva GGWO church in Switzerland. I am currently completing my bachelor's degree in the university in Beirut, which turns out to be my country through my mother who was born here and lived here until the outbreak of the civil war in 75. I came to Lebanon because God answered my prayers and gave me a real burden for the Middle East. Something had really been tugging on my heart for a while when Israel attacked Lebanon last year and all my family was there, even those who usually live abroad. At that time, I put a flag up on the wall of our living-room and started praying for God to spare my country. Then, a few months later I was landing in Beirut.

step by step He leads me...

Central Asian Conference in Kyrgyzstan

Awesome time here in Kyrgyzstan.
We have a group from Almaty of about 10 and 10 also from Samarkand.
Every morning we have a meeting at 9 with prayer and then 2 sessions,
then lunch together and fellowship. At 6pm we have another session.
We've had "love produces a change, it doesn't demand one" as our theme
and a sub-theme "atmospheric cycles".
Every day I meet with the leaders and pastors for a rap about what things
they are facing and how to encourage and get through obstacles.
I am very excited and encouraged about these men’s potential and
how God is using them here.
They are quality young men and courageous in the Lord's Grace.
Each one has spoken during this time and we are all blessed by their portions.
Some of the messages we've spoken:
God has not given us a spirit of fear that leads to a spirit of bondage.
God's love gives us a vision beyond ourselves.
The word has authority and power to deliver us from heavy atmospheres
by putting Satan in his place Luke 4:36.
God is for us, He wants to bless the works of our hands.
Don't underestimate what you're doing in the kingdom...
There are some new young men in the church that are great.
I've had a chance to be with guys one on one and
we've talked about how to stay encouraged and how to initiate.
It's amazing how much we can overcome by just being encouraged.

Pastor Chris Moore

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Orient Impressions by Paul Klee

be prepared

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial
which is to try you,
as though some strange thing happened to you.” I Pet.4:12
A few things surprise us in the world.
The Word of God is full of useful information for us about
the psychology of man and about the affairs of this world.
Proverbs 16:1 reminds us of our responsibility to prepare our
hearts. There are very little surprises for a prepared heart.
I remember Pastor Schaller speaking to a group of men who
were preparing for the pastoral ordination.
“ Don’t just prepare messages, learn to live a prepared life.”
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Attacks will not come as a surprise for a prepared heart.
Judas was prepared to betray Jesus.
Unfortunatelly he was not prepared in faith, but in unbelief.
He was just waiting for the appropriate time. If he didn’t have
that preparation in his heart, that time would have never come.
“Making a provision for the flesh” in Romans 13:14 speaks
about planning beforehand. If I am ready for unbelief and
sin in my heart, the time will surely come.
My failure starts in my heart.
Long time before sin actually takes over in a persons
life, all mechanism for it has been built in his heart.
“ My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast (prepared);
I will sing and give praise…
I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 57:7-8
Before the day dawns I want to prepare my heart.
Isn’t this what victorious Christian living is all about,
being a couple of steps faster than our enemies?

Monday, January 14, 2008

pray for Ali and Rufat , our new brothers in Christ

people need the Lord

healthy blindness

We don’t think that grace is cheap.
It’s not cheap.
It is absolutely free.
The moment people start putting a price tag on any of
the gifts of grace , they become cheap. The redemption
of man is costly, so expensive that anything that man
could come up with always falls short of the standard.
We are too expensive for any man to redeem us.
We are too expensive even for ourselves.
The Bible makes a clear distinction between goodness
and graciousness. A good person cannot minister to
others, because he actually is competing with them.
A gracious person cannot but minister to others.
God’s grace in him demands a connection, an object
for God’s love and interest.
The bad kind of goodness is a part of the fallen nature.
It’s a deception to separate oneself from God in order
to know him, trying to see God in order to make up
one’s mind about him.
Before Adam and Eve were deceived they were blind.
This was healthy blindness. They were blind to themselves,
blind to sin. When they disobeyed God their eyes were
opened. This new vision led them to cover themselves,
to hide, to fear and to justify themselves.
This is the psychology of the fallen man.
Christ came to make us blind again.
He covers us IPet.4:8.
He is our hiding place. Ps.32:7
He is our confidence against all fears. I John 4:18
He is our justification. Rom.5:1
Who is blind as my servant? Is.42:19
What a privilege, to be blind and healthy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

message from Pastor Elshan

Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

Probably some of you haven't expected to hear from us so fast, but many of you know that January 4, 2008 God opened widely the gates of heaven for my father, Oktay Abdullayev who was killed in a car accident on the way home. Erika and I have come back to Azerbaijan to comfort my mom, brother, sister, relatives, friends and spent about 2 weeks with them and our Baku church.

My father wasn't a hero, he was a simple man who knew our Hero personally. But I was privileged to have him as father and friend. He had an amazing portion in my life! There are lots of memories... Oktay is in the best place now, his soul and spirit are singing new song to King of kings, dancing in His presence, full of perfect joy and divine meaning.

My father had let God to use his life to change life of manies in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkey. I believe that God still can use Oktay's earthly life to bring difference in life of others. We would like to collect video films (from weddings, parties, conferences, mission trips...), pictures, testimonies relating to Oktay and make a memorial (testimonial) film about his Christian life (1995/2008) out of it.

Please, if you have some of theses resources (if you are able to make a copy), could you mail it to us to Baltimore! If you are in Baku, you might give us it here till January 26, 2008. That would be great blessing for us and my relatives, and I believe for many other people! Our address in USA: Baltimore MD, 2813 Hamilton Ave., 21214, for Elshan Abdullayev.

Thank you for your encourging and comforting words, prayers and support! Thank you for loving us!

May God bless you in your ministry to others! We are so thankful to all missionaries who have brought Good News to the lost in Azerbaijan. Because of Missions we've got to know the truth and the truth has set us free!

In His hands, ee

in Afghanistan, picture by Joseph Marian

second night in Iraq

This is the place that is filled with beauty and surprises.
Looks like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran mixed together.
And the people are ...

I will write a full report upon my return to Istanbul.
Tonight is our second night here.
Tomorrow we will go to Erbil City.
Visited a Kurdish home today, OPEN people.
Also visited a local school.

Thanks for all prayers!

Keep my wife and children also in prayers.
They are in Istanbul, it is hard to be away again.

P.Joseph Marian

quo vadis?

why isn't it done?

Peter Singer in his excellent essay “What Should a Billionaire
Give – and What Should You?” defines very well the moral
state of the world today.
He uses an example of “ walking by a shallow pond and
seeing a small child who has fallen in and appears to be in
danger of drowning. Even though we did nothing to cause the
child to fall into the pond, almost everyone agrees that if we
can save the child at minimal inconvenience or trouble to
ourselves, we ought to do so. Anything else would be callous,
indecent, and, in a word, wrong.”
He continues with the illustration inviting us to picture the
same pond with fifty children in it.
Fifty adults, all able to help, are walking by the pond.
The logical and comparatively easy solution would be for each adult
to help one child out of trouble.
However, the picture gets more complicated with the fact that
some are not willing to help at all, and still others think that they
have done enough by pulling out one of the children.
This is the sin factor, actively ignored and resisted by most of the
movers and shakers of the modern world.
All the tensions, judgments, accusations, hesitations
and arrangements that go on with the fifty describe very well
the moral dilemmas that people face in the world today.
Are we doing enough?
Who is not doing his part?
How can we get everybody involved?
Do we have enough problems for everyone to get a chance to be a hero?
Yes, we don’t only have enough needs and problems, but
we also have all the resources to meet the needs and to solve the
It’s not happening.
Giving away without expecting anything, I mean anything,
in return is not acceptable in modern man’s moral charts.
The same principle applies in Evangelism.
If Evangelism would only mean the task of passing of a piece of important
information and key codes to others, the job could be done fast.
If every Christian would share the message with one other person
every day, the world could be reached in a couple of days.
It’s not happening.
Evangelism means more. It is strongly connected with waiting,
patience, continuing, persuading, listening, loving…
That what man considers to be slow, the Bible calls patient.
II Pet.3:9
Laying down your life is not a fast solution,
but it’s the only one that can produce new life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

more Uzbek friends in America, to be prayed for

pray for our Uzbek friends in America, Lobar and Kamol with Samiha and Kamron

Does it matter?

Does it really matter?
The recent events have caused us to discuss our role
in the society. Should our believers who come from a nominally
Muslim background be concerned of their earthly testimony
and make preparations to guarantee for themselves
a Christian funeral?
The method of burial doesn’t have any effect
on our gift of salvation,
but doesn’t it matter for the sake of our
testimony in our community?
We know that we have no permanent
home here, but we have a heavenly citizenship.
Should we agree to always be a minority in the world
or should we be more seriously looking for opportunities
to influence our fallen culture?
We have a strong conviction that Christ will return
back in our life-time, but so did the early church.
I personally think that the non-voting, not-watching news attitude
Is dangerously hyper spiritual and irresponsible.
We should not hide behind our religious phrases,
but in stead put our faith into practice for the whole world to see.
Practically speaking there is not a big difference
between a nominally Muslim
and a nominally Christian religion.
However, for many people, they are the
only religion that they see.
People don’t read the Bible, but they will read us.
Every public occasion from a baby dedication to
a funeral is another opportunity to
“to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for
the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” I Pet.3:15
Yes, our home is not here, but our long-term internship
continues to be in the world. Let’s have it “well done”.

Friday, January 4, 2008

djadja Oktay is home

djadja Oktay went home

Our beloved friend and brother
Oktay Abdullayev
was promoted to glory today in Baku, Azerbaijan.
He followed the call of God with a great passion
and love for the lost.
He helped us to laugh through trials and pain.
He served the Lord and His people with us
in Uzbekistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Finally he has arrived in the heavenly country.
We miss him and comfort ourselves
with the words of Jesus,
“Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
John 11:26
He is enjoying a rich welcome in heaven.
Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

with P.Zhenya and Dana in Baltimore

it's a good deal

He had learned to manage his life even with his handicap. Luke 19:4
Zacchaeus had learned to work harder and try more in order
to take himself to the same level with others.
The Bible says that he was rich, even though he had an obvious
physical handicap. He was noticeably different from others.
He was a short man.
Jesus meets Zacchaeus right where he is at.
He boldly initiates to come to his house and Zacchaeus responds
to this invitation with joy.
The self-righteous people around Jesus didn’t like the scene.
They got offended with Jesus. Didn’t he have any convictions?
Why would he go to a sinner’s house?
For a moment Zacchaeus was afraid of loosing Jesus.
He starts bargaining. He had learned that in the business world.
He offers an unbelievable deal, a promise to give half of his goods
to the poor.
Jesus said,” Today salvation has come to this house.” Luke19:9
Just in the previous chapter, Luke 18, Jesus had told the rich,
young ruler to sell ALL that he had and give it to the poor.
What happened? Was salvation now on sale? Everything half price?
It would be such a wrong conclusion to think that Jesus
operated on this level.
What a ridiculous thought to picture the rich, young ruler and
Zaccheaus comparing their deals later. “You gave all you had, well,
from me he asked only a half of my goods…”
Both of these men were offered salvation disregard of the amount
of money they were willing to give up.
Salvation is a gift, not a reward.
Salvation came to the house of Zacchaeus, not because he finally
agreed to give up half of his possessions. He was saved because
Jesus, the Savior, had accepted him.
The gift continues to be priceless for man as it cost the highest
possible price for God. Yes, it is a good deal.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

P.Artur Karimov in Samarkand

from Uzbekistan

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear friends!
I often hear that we are prayed for somewhere and by somebody. It encourages a lot and makes difference in our lives here. Think of the people who think that no one is interested in them. Today we had time with two elderly women (mother and daughter). They both are physically incapable to go out of their apartment. They went to another church but 1,5 year ago they stopped because of sicknesses and nobody has visited them during this time. A week ago we agreed to come to them and have time around the Word of God every Friday. There is a lot of misunderstanding among Christians here about the church – for most of them it’s a duty. You have to bring something in there. If not then you are switched off. I love to think that church is the living Body. And it’s about relationships based on the Agape love of God. The weakest are much more necessary! 1Cor. 12:22
Things are not always going in a way you want them to go even though you can have the godliest motives. It can discourage. I had plans but most of them either didn’t work or took more time to fulfill. The Bible School taught me to keep going anyway. Recently we started Sunday School anew – our church missed it for a long time. I’m happy to have new girls who were available to start it.
For this Christmas we have rented a restaurant and made invitations to invite unbelievers. On December 24th we’ll celebrate with the Gospel. We’re also planning to have a concert in Navoi city with our people and others too on 29th.
Today I talked to a guy whom I have known for many years since I was an unbeliever. He doesn’t receive the Word of Life. I came to invite him for the Christmas. He is sick and can’t leave his apartment. He has a habit to talk much. And with no sense. The same talks, the same thoughts. Nothing has changed. Maybe only to the worse. And I prayed in my heart for him. If he only could let God touch his heart and heal it and bring him peace. It would change everything as it happened with many. His name is Oleg – please, pray for him and his family.
Let’s have a great year in grace that was given to us, be it’s wise stewards and it’s generous givers!
Pastor Artur Karimov

Have a Blessed New Year! We love Turkey!

with Liz and Roger in Baltimore

Time is God's gift for us

God gave us time as a beautiful expression of his order.
Confusion is Satan’s invention. I Cor.14:33
Confusion is his attempt to attack God’s order.
When man says , “Who is the first?” , God says,” the last will be first.”
When Satan says, “Where is the promise of his coming?” Jesus says
“I am the beginning and the end.”
When the world demands, “Let’s give all gods the same right to
save us”, God says,” there is no other name, but
Jesus by which man can be saved.”
Time doesn’t ask for our permission. Time doesn’t wait.
Time doesn’t listen. Time doesn’t change.
All times , including our daily schedules, are in His hands.
In John 11 it looked like Jesus came late to the house of Lazarus.
When he came, Lazarus had been dead “too long”.
Jesus in his earthly schedule glorified the Father by asking the
Father to change the order of events.
Man cannot stop death. Man cannot change that what has happened.
Jesus did both.
Lazarus was raised from the death against all powerful laws
of sin and death.
Time is his servant.
The third day of his resurrection didn’t come first.
There were two days that paved the way.
It was the most orderly event in human history.
No surprises or panicking moments for Jesus.
Everything took place in God’s perfect timing.
No wonder God often tells man to wait.
Sometimes it is the only thing that he tells us.