Thursday, February 19, 2009

still about being smart

1)I liked your last sentence “God is smart but not proud” that brought me to the thought that sometimes people would leave the church because of pride that doesn’t let them to use their smartness in the Body of Christ. They think that the world needs them as the specialists and the church is for simple people . At the same time we should not be afraid to go and study in the world, get Master degrees in Math, Science and so on, cause there are a lot of people that you will not just meet on the street to share the gospel. I also liked this thought ”Everything that believers know and can do
should be used to the maximum to reach the whole world
with the best possible product ever, Salvation and beyond.” If you are a lawyer, you will reach a lawyer that works with you. If you teach in the school you will reach both teachers and students. If you are IT specialist you will share gospel with those smart computer guys.

2) If pastor has a confidence in God’s love he will not feel insecure that someone is smart or educated more than him.


Irada Bilgen

it's the heart

Just as a respond to your recent devotional about Smartness. I loved what you've said there. That is interesting to think about and it stirred me up to think about the beginnings of a Christian life. We have started with faith, with faith we should continue, with faith we will finish. And actually it is not about us, but Him who is author and finisher of the faith, Jesus Christ. Every believer has the mind of Christ, the question is "do I use it daily in my life or not?" If I do, then intellectual challenge in the church is not a big deal for me? I live by every Word of God that I am taught by the Spirit of God and the Grace of God. Adam was enough smart before his fall, and he wasn't a sinner at all, but then he became "too smart", left the faith life and became "stupid" spiritually talking. I mean we all know this story, but what I want to say is there is a place for everybody in the church, and smart people most welcomed there. I totally agree with you Pastor that God wants to use these kind of people's potential for His Kingdom and Glory in many ways. Yes, pastors can be insecure, young in their experience, soft, make mistake, even sin and "too smart" people leave the churches that are lead by those kind of leaders. But agree with me that, pastors can be also very secure, well experienced, firm, look spotless and sinless and still "too smart" people leave the church. The issue here I believe is HEART where faith happens, and God is faithful to communicate His Word to those how are meek and His grace to humble ones. Heart, The Word, Grace, Faith, Meekness, Humility, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Mind Of Christ, The Church of Christ. These are the amazing words to meditate about for enough smart people.

P.Elshan Abdullayev

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

it's the cross

I do agree about how difficult it seems to be for churches to utilize people with special skills and talents. There are so many opportunities for the gospel ...
On the other hand the same people also may experience an 'extra' measure of working in of the cross of Christ into their lives. It's not that uncommon at all that God let's my amazing capabilities stay unused so that Christ would have pre-eminence in my life.
Each one's calling is so different and the practical outworking of a calling is in a flux. Faith is the criterion that defines whether my vocation, spiritual or secular, glorifies God. My conviction for following Jesus by faith will be tested as I inevitably will get questioned or commended either by my own conscience or by other believers. But only faith pleases God.
My preference or degree of my talents and smarts being utilized are not enough to constitute a basis for vocational choices. It has to be worked through the cross and realized by faith.

P.Arto Nousiainen

Oh, yes!

Oh, yes! Most of the people become insecure around me. If they learn I'm a mathematician, they immediately resort to "I did so poor in Math in school".. Or they immediately try to bring out some area where they are good at - as if this was the basis of any comparison.. Praise God, my pastor is not insecure with me! And I even have some friends that aren't insecure either :D However, it is a great challenge for me to collaborate with colleagues and team members with their different talents and different insecurities.
Lacking intellectual challenge is tricky. The temptation is to have a natural perspective, to become familiar and a feeling of getting bored. I have learned to stir myself up and look for opportunities to serve. But if I would still wonder off and be about leaving my call, I pray by the grace of God Wisdom would meet me on the way - maybe one of my close friends would counsel me.


smart and humble

I just red your blog. This is good theme! And I like to be smart only for Missions.
Because otherwise we can make any money and become lukewarm (it is not smart to think I do not need God , relying on your strength). But God can use our smartness in His kingdom and for His purpose very well. It can bring much more fruit that we can imagine.
Sad that smart people could leave ministry. We are looking for security and for a way to realize ourselves. More we go our way - more we are realize vanity of vanities.
Jh.14:6 - Jesus Christ is the way to walk, the truth - to be delivered and instructed, the Life - to live as He is. Jh.10:10
I think people need to be challenged everyday in faith in the church - especially smart people.;))
Challenges which can stretch our tents so far.
Challenges from Living, Quick and Powerful Word to enter into mystery of faith, where God is. Challenges to love. And Love thinks. Receiving Love of God and His mind - it is more that building my intellectual pride and prove to myself I am Very SMART GUY.:)))))

Smartest life is a simplicity in Christ. I have one eye - Mt 6, one heart with Him, one mind - 1 Cor 2:16, one desire Ps27:4 , one ear - Isa.50:4-5, Eph.4 - one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God, Father, one message about one cross.

Zhenya Grace

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

party time in my new apartment in Elmadag

It's not a sin to be smart.

It’s not a sin to be smart.
We should not be so fast to condemn people
who seemingly have left their call as full time Christian
workers and become busy
in pursuing their career in the world.
Even though money sometimes is their motivation
most of them simply lack an intellectual challenge
in the church.
When the church life doesn’t give anything to do
for educated , smart people, they become
busy in other organizations and companies and
attend the church simply because they have a conviction
about it.
Sometimes the pastors are insecure with people like this
and consider them a threat, especially the smart,
professional women.
I believe that every professional skill and talent could
be and should be used for God’s glory.
I think this is one of the greatest challenges for today’s
Church. Everything that believers know and can do
should be used to the maximum to reach the whole world
with the best possible product ever, Salvation and beyond.
I cannot think of anything more intellectually challenging
than the Mission work.
Please, talk back to me.
It would be interesting to hear from others about this theme.
God is smart but not proud.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Faruh and Reza testing my hats

more than a superman

We cannot command God to speak.
We cannot force him to do something.
We cannot manipulate him to change circumstances.
Yet, God has chosen to listen to us.
Our prayers matter to him
and influence his work on the earth.
This is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith.
“Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Matthew 7:7
“Your heavenly father knows what you need before
you ask him...” Matthew 6:8
I refuse to believe that the creation of the human race is
just an experiment for God. God loves the world.
Even though he doesn’t change he is the most dynamic
force in the world. The word “dynamic” sounds
so limited and boring when you try to describe
the character of God with it.
I don’t think that we can give any new ideas to God.
He will not be impressed by our opinions.
Yet, he experiences something unique with you and me,
something that doesn’t exist in his relationship
within the Trinity.
A couple of years ago when I visited my brother’s family
I saw that his children had not had any teaching about
the matters of faith.
Before I left I told them, ”Let’s pray before I go.”
Their eyes got big like plates as they sighed,
“You know how to pray?”
Yes, in that moment I understood how unique it is
to know about prayer.
In their eyes I was a new hero a little bit lower than
the superman.
In God’s eyes I continued being an interesting partner
and a friend.

churches in Karakoy

Sunday, February 15, 2009

still about Kubra

Thank you all for praying for Kubra.
Her state is not really improving besides the fact that she now
is getting more professional help.
The professor who is observing her now told that she was not rightly
treated during the last time when she was hospitalized.
She has some kind of myoma in her brain.
The doctors have given no promise that her situation will improve.
Let's continue coming to the throne of grace for her.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pray for the unreached people of Hinalig in Azerbaijan!

Greetings from Hinalig!

God gave us this unique possibility to travel to Hinalig which is a village of approximately 2000 people in Azerbaijan. It is the highest inhabited point in the country on 2400 meters height, surrounded by the most beautiful mountains. It was not before last year that there was a real road built to this village. And even now the road goes through breathtaking heights and passes.

In Hinalig we were met very warmly and invited to several families. These people have their own language, spoken only in this village. During the winter months they live in isolation and they were happy to see visitors. Please keep this unreached nation in your prayers!

Ismo and Hannele

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pray for Kubra, she 's been almost a week in the hospital unable to speak and move herself.

this is an entrance to a key-maker's workshop, pray for Zafer

the greatest enemy of grace

It’s the greatest enemy of grace.
When somebody refuses to admit that he made a mistake,
when he endlessly justifies himself and blames others.
This is self-righteousness, an oxymoron in man’s soul.
In Luke 18 we have a story of two men who went to pray.
They were both religious, but very different in their way
of thinking. The self-righteous Pharisee despised the
brokenhearted Tax Collector. He obviously didn’t pray to
God, but to himself. The other man cried out: ” God,
be merciful to me a sinner!”
Self-righteousness is the main reason why people don’t
want to forgive.
Often it’s the reason why people stop following the call
of God in their life. Even Peter was first resisting God
when God called him to carry the message to the Gentiles
in Acts 10. He talks back to his Creator,
appearing to be more spiritual than God himself.
There is no understanding of grace is man-made religions.
Self-righteous person feels superior among the ordinary sinners.
Wasn’t that the well-known prayer of a Pharisee: ”Thank you
God that you didn’t create me a dog or a woman.”
This same spirit often characterizes minority religious
communities. Self-righteousness has become almost like
a part of their defense mechanism in the midst of their
struggle for survival.
It’s in all of us, a desire to be right.
If we don’t accept God’s free gift of righteousness, we will be
left on our own.
Grace brings us all together.
It’s the most important building block in the foundation of unity.
God desires to see more and more of Himself in us.
Do you want to be like God?
Start learning to give people what they haven’t deserved.
That is grace, the greatest protection against self-righteousness.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


GRACE FACE / Rufat Hajiverdiyev

name: Rufat Hajiverdiyev
church: Greater Grace Church in Baku, Azerbaijan
profession: Pastor
lately encouraged by: How the narrow way is actually the way of grace. As humans we are tempted by the broad way , but it's a dead end street. It's like God leading you to the end of the road through a forest where you find a wide place. There he ministers to you. It is God's place of grace.
mission vision:my dream has always been to serve Muslims as all of my life I grew up
among them and was brought up in their ways.
special prayer request:Please, continue praying for my family. Pray also that we would be able to start a Christian Preschool in Baku and that it would lead to a Christian School.
special thanks to: I thank God for the church that we have in Baku which saves my life most of the time.
special greetings to:Pastor Scibelli who promised to take me to Africa, but still hasn't done it.

watching life go by

condemned to live

Can you imagine living like a vegetable for 17 years?
I just read about an Italian woman who had been in a
vegetative state since a car accident in 1992.
Last Tuesday she was transferred to a hospital where
she will be allowed to die.
According to her father this has been her wish.
Others call this a murder, an assisted suicide.
What do you think?
What do I think?
I think that the complexity of this question reveals the
extremely complicated psychology of man.
Man has become so skilled in his ability to protect life
that his victory has turned into a defeat.
The victorious achievement of science has become a
tragedy for one individual. She is kept in between
life and death depending on other people’s judgment
for her destiny.
God has not made it impossible for man to kill himself.
That is man‘s right as strange as it sounds.
Obviously that is not the only way for man to violate
God’s will. All sin is an attack against God.
This is one of the key ethical questions in today’s world.
It has become more and more difficult to define the border
between human rights and human duties.
Man cannot master perfect justice.
In the midst of all these politicized debates every man
is led to a place where he needs to depend on God’s absolutes.
The gift of life is one of those absolutes.
Once you start removing that old landmark you will soon
be in danger yourself to be considered unfitting for
this world and therefore condemned to be eliminated
by some democratically elected board of world dictators.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


GRACE FACE / Tagan Sultanov

name: Tagan Sultanov
church: Greater Grace Church in Istanbul
profession: salesman
lately encouraged by: Even though I was born in a non-Christian country and
went through all my education without any teaching of faith, I can say today that I know the Truth in Jesus and can always trust Him for everything.
mission vision:That till my last breath I would continue with Christ.
special prayer request:That God would give me a believing wife and an opportunity
to raise a Christian family.
special thanks to: God that I am not alone in Istanbul, but together with people who help me to stand on my feet as a believer.
special greetings to:my good friends Jediah and Garip

Monday, February 2, 2009

to love or not to love

Religious groups have a tendency to become very exclusive
if their only contact with the outward world is the times
when they try to recruit new members to their community.
These groups usually are too small and too prejudiced to
have a voice in the society. Their top priority is too keep
themselves pure in their mission and even if they don’t
admit it openly they think about themselves being superior
to the ordinary world.
If the church doesn’t have contacts with the surrounding world
beyond their efforts of evangelism, they easily become just
another religious sect.
“Love not the world!
Don’t be conformed to this world!
This world is passing away.
In the world you will have tribulation.
The world hates you...”
This all is so true.
But when the Bible says, ”For God so loved the world”
it refers to the most valuable element of the world: people.
Whenever the word is used as a synonym for people, we should
love the world.
The Bible doesn’t teach us to avoid and hate the people around us.
Believers are called to be seen and heard in the world (amongst the people).
The myth of a silent, wordless testimony has sometimes become an
excuse to hide your faith. It has an appearance of humility,
but it actually is a sign of a poor self- image.
I believe in Jesus marches and Evangelical Campaigns when the Word
of God is manifested in a spectacular way to the world, but even more
I believe in daily manifestations of God’s life through believers who
think like believers, speak like believers and act like believers
not being too concerned of the wrath of the Pharaoh.
Hebrews 11:27
God loves the world today through His church.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

many waters cannot quench love, Song of Solomon 8:7

following means responsibility

Taking responsibility is one of the best characteristics of a leader.
This applies on any level of leadership, including the management
of our personal life.
Unfortunately avoiding responsibility seems to be more natural
to man than availability.
As the problems get more serious and the task more demanding
people’s excuses also get more complicated and absurd.
Now people talk about the global crises as being the reason for
every problem in business, family, sports, church, relationships...
If you all the time have to find excuses for not attending any church
you obviously have a problem in your spiritual life.
As your explanations get longer and longer other believers get more
tired of your endless excuses. ”So much work.
Cousin’s birthday.
Had to go and pay my rent. The weather was so cold.
I was afraid there would be a traffic jam...”
Whom are you kidding?
Let’s face it. Could it be that you are trying to run from God?
“But I love God.”
I don’t think he is too impressed by your sentimental rhetoric.
If you are unwilling to take responsibility for your life-style
you will be endlessly running from God and from His best plans
for your life.
Yes, it’s tough.
Jesus didn’t beg people to follow him.
He simply said, ”Come and follow me.”
It was not an invitation to a negotiating table.
It was a call to follow.