I can’t believe that this week at Next Steps: School of Spiritual Direction is coming to a close. It’s been amazing and I’ll tell you more about it when I’m not posting from my iPod.
But I wanted to share these words from Andrew Peterson that may give you a hint of the beautiful fragrance of Christ that I have experienced here in this community.
“One by one we landed here
And found that we were not alone
As we listened to each other sing
The same song.
It’s the one about love
It’s the one about hope
It’s the one that makes it easy to believe
It’s the one about the ache and the longing for home
It’s the one about you and me
We’ve got valleys yet to cross
But we can make it holding on
To the common thread that binds us all
Cause the line that’s written on our hearts
It’s the same song.”
From St. Patrick’s Confession
“I am, then, first of all, countrified, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.
Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things? Me, truly wretched in this world, he inspired before others that I could be– if I would– such a one who, with fear and reverence, and faithfully, without complaint, would come to the people to whom the love of Christ brought me and gave me in my lifetime, if I should be worthy, to serve them truly and with humility.
According, therefore, to the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity, one should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear, in order to leave behind, after my death, foundations for my brethren and sons whom I baptized in the Lord in so many thousands.”
Excerpts from St. Patrick’s Breastplate
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
I am reading Tim Chester’s Total Church and I find it compelling. While I have some strong disagreements with some statements made in the book, I also find myself deeply drawn to his presentation of church planting that is grounded firmly in community and established in the Word. I would love to dialogue with anyone who has been a part of putting these ideas into practice in the context of church planting. Actually, I’d be interested in dialoguing with anyone who has read the book.
Here are some points from my notes on Tim’s lecture at Redeem: Cities.
- Attracting people “back to church” is not a viable strategy for the future. Today only 1 in 20 have had any church background. (We can’t just rely on improving the product: better music, better programs)
- We should not be surprised that we are marginalized by our own culture. We are marginalized as Jesus was – He was pushed out of the world and onto a cross.
- We are strangers in the world (as in exile)
- We are strangers and aliens in our culture
- 1 Peter 1:11 and 1 Peter 4
- Home and Exile are no longer geographically defined
- We need to let go of the idea of Christendom
- We need to realize that marginalization is NORMAL in the Christian experience
- We need to regain the sense that anything other than persecution is a bonus
- In 1 Peter 2:11-12 Peter gives us a mission strategy, we respond to hostility with good works and ordinary lives lived for the glory of God
- We must get close to people. Church is an extension of our every day lives. We must live everyday church and everyday mission
- Mission takes place not through attractional events, but through attractional communities
- This MUST be Word centered and in fact it is not less, but MORE Word centered than a Sunday sermon – it is the gospel lived and spoken continually, through our every day lives.
- Peter flushes this idea out further. The gospel in:
- Verses 13-17 our society/neighborhood
- Verses 18-25 the workplace
- Chapter 3:1-7 the home
- Mission takes places by living good lives and proclaiming the gospel in our day to day lives
- Our lives are our evangelistic events!
- Write down all the activities that make up your routines
- Daily routine
- Weekly routine
- Monthly routine
- Ask yourself, how can I add a community component?
- How can I add a missional component?
- How can I add an evangelistic component?
- Be a regular, at a coffee shop, a hairdresser, etc.
- Do hobbies with non-believers
- Join a neighborhood project
- Do mission in the context of ordinary life!
- Remember 1 Peter 2:9. We are Christ’s chosen people, his community. We are the one place in the world where people can see the Kingdom (people living under His reign).
- This commendation of the gospel by how we live applies not just to our individual lives as examples, but to our life together as a community
- The leader’s job is to prepare God’s people for works of service
- For that 80% of people who have no contact with church, it is the missional, gospel community that is their front door
- We must push mission and church down into community & ordinary life
Since Reedem: Cities was held in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, one of the topics addressed was that of Catholicism. After being in Belfast and talking with many, many people it is easier to see that Catholicism is a term not used to identify with a theological position, but to identify with family, history and a political agenda. (It is the same for the term Protestant.)
Over the years I have met many people in America who call themselves Christian simply meaning that they were raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition. One of the things that I encountered when I moved to Europe was the number of people who would staunchly tell me they were Catholic, then proceed to tell me that they had never in their life attended a mass. Others often attend mass out of family obligation with no personal connection. And in some countries, like Northern Ireland and Poland, the Catholic church represents their national and political identity.
Here are my notes on church planting in a culturally Catholic area:
1. Remember that Catholicism is no more monolithic than Protestantism. You have to talk to the individual to know what they believe.
2. Is Catholicism a Christian denomination? They are in the Christian denomination category for these reasons:
They hold to the doctrine of the trinity. There is no cult that holds to this doctrine.
They believe the same things about Jesus. The virgin birth. The sinless life. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ as Lord and Savior.
Yes, they add a bunch of stuff that we disagree with, but so do a lot of other denominations.
3. Therefore, keep your disagreements within the family and disagree in an honorable way. (You fight with your family differently than you fight with your enemy.) Don’t compromise your position, but have an attitude and a disposition of love.
4. Remember that Catholicism is as much a family tradition and a cultural association as it is a theological position.
5. Reach out by seeking common ground:
They believe in the supernatural. They believe in the power of prayer. Invite them to your prayer groups. Pray for them and with them.
They want to see a cross when they enter your place of worship. If you want to reach Catholics make sure you have a cross, it will go a long way to making them feel comfortable.
Catholic churches are colorful. If you are church planting in a traditionally Catholic area then add some color to your walls. Aesthetics matter.
They take communion and will feel comfortable sharing that with you. Use it as a bridge, explain what communion is and what it’s not, but practice it.
Invite them to know more about what they already believe. Invite them to read and study the Bible with you.
Your senior minister should talk about his family. Catholicism places a high value on family, but the priest does not lead by example. Demonstrate for them God’s model for the family.
With all the scandal in the Catholic church you should be open and speak frequently about the accountability structures that you have in place.
Re-do old hymns.
Use the saints as your illustrations. Explain that we want to be missional, like St. Patrick was missional. Map it out. Use what the saints have to teach about a life lived for God without worshiping them.
Put Mary in her proper place. The Catholic church makes too much of Mary. The Protestant church makes too little of her. She should be an example of great faith, but not the object of our faith. At Christmas teach about her, show her how the Bible portrays her as a woman of faith, blessed by God.
When in dialogue start with the things we agree about: Jesus, Trinity, Resurrection…
It’s not about defending a religious position! As with all people from all backgrounds, it is about the regeneration of the soul.
1. Make sure you have a foundation of Jesus. (1 Cor. 3:10-11) You can’t talk about Jesus too much.
2. Watch your terminology. Don’t use terms that represent political or social ideas. (For Northern Ireland don’t use Protestant/Catholic)
3. Work cross denominationally with those who are evangelical, not just hosting events together but doing life together. Build real friendships. Serve one another, cover one another’s pulpits, etc.
4. Consider the global culture. Consider evening congregations, they can be very effective.
5. Fight the idea of control as opposed to influence (which is found in many denominational structures). Denominations: free up your young leaders to follow their call and let them plant churches where they want to be, then let the church grow up with them. If they have a heart for the city don’t send them to the middle of nowhere to prove themselves. Let them minister where they are called.
6. One of the things that will mark a successful church/ministry is how quickly it can change its methods. Sometimes we get in trouble because we move too fast, but the majority of the time we fail to be effective because we move too slow.
7. The church currently has a shortage of “kings” and needs to be recruiting them. (See Mark Driscoll’s explanation of the roles of prophets, priests and kings below)
A church of 70 or smaller usually has a priestly culture.
A church of 200 or so will generally be prophet led.
When you get beyond 300 in number it is essential to have some kings.
8. Guard Church Membership and Baptism vigorously.
Make sure that they understand who they are – define church membership. They need to understand that they are a missionary!
Make sure that they are not just religious, but that they are regenerate
Celebrate baptism – tell testimonies – make sure it is portrayed not as an obligation or religious duty, but that it is a celebration (and possibly their first public opportunity in the role of missionary)
9. Decide upon the culture of your church. High culture (liturgical) will reach one group of people, folk culture (the local scene) another, pop culture (globalism) another. Which layer of your city do you want to engage? This most often comes down to three things: where you meet, who is leading and your musical culture).
Remember: Sometimes the medium is the message. Do you see stained glass or projection screens – it’s a statement of your culture. You must determine your target audience.
10. Stay fresh. Keep up with what God is doing world-wide. Travel and look around. Go to where the gospel is awakening and see what God is doing. Ignite your passion. Learn.
11. When you preach, teach and lead you must distinguish for your people the difference between religion and the gospel. You must call them to repent of sin and to repent of religion.
Religion says: “If you obey God then He will love you.”
The Gospel says: “If you love God and understand His love for you then you will want to obey Him.”
Religion says: “There are good people and bad people.”
The Gospel says: “There are bad people and then there is Jesus.”
Religion says: “Hardship is a punishment from God.”
The Gospel says: “Jesus took all our punishment. Hardship is either to create discipline or for our correction or to show forth God’s work, etc)
Religion uses God.
The Gospel says: “It is not about getting from God, it is about getting God.”
Religion is all about rules.
The Gospel is all about making God’s invisible kingdom visible. (Do you love God? Do you hate sin? Don’t evaluate people by where they are at, but by where God has brought them from.)
Religion is about self-righteousness.
The Gospel says: Righteousness is a gift given to us from God.”
Religion ends in either pride or despair.
The Gospel brings joy and humility.
Tuesday started out referencing the article that Time magazine published last year about ideas that are changing the world. Of Time magazine’s top 10 ideas, idea number three is New Calvinism. You can read the Time article here.
The discussion then moved to New Calvinism, what is happening globally and how it plays out in church planting. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network is founded on these four principles of New Calvinism.
Principle #1: Reformed Theology
What is it?
It rests in the Sovereignty of God, holds Scripture as the highest authority, believes that Jesus is the ONLY Savior, gives all the glory to God alone, believes in the church on mission, total depravity, unconditional election and (for Driscoll and some others) holds to unlimited-limited atonement.
It begins with the trinity and places the foundation of God as the center “…in the beginning God….”
It follows the storyline of the Bible and places a high value on Biblical theology, not just systematic theology.
In regard to how people are saved and election, it holds that God is the primary initiator.
The summary could be: Reformed theology believes in a big God and holds Jesus as the heart of all it’s teaching.
Principle #2: Complementarian Relationships
Men and women are made equally but do not equally occupy all spiritual offices
Government of the Home: Men are to lead as the head of the home. The question is not whether they are to be the head, but are they a good head or a bad one. The man bears responsibility before God for the leadership of the home. Do they abuse, abandon or abdicate their role? Or do they love, pursue and serve?
There has been a strong reaction to cowards and chauvinists, but it does not negate the man’s responsibility. Christian leaders should “help the women and beat the men until they repent and change.”
To promote change we must give men a significant responsibility at a young age and combat the global epidemic of adolescence (“boys who can shave”).
1 Corinthians 11:7 teaches that man is the glory of God. They need to be taught this. They need to know that a man is not defined (as our culture says) by what he consumes, but by what he produces. He should be thinking and planning about the future, for providing for his family and creating something of eternal value.
Government in the Church: Elders and Pastors are to be men above reproach. Men are given the responsibility of leadership and women are given the responsibility to help. They are two hands working together and both are needed. This is especially important because men follow men. Men do not follow theology or tradition, but they seek out a man they can respect and follow him. You need to hold to a high standard of leadership.
Principle #3: Spirit Filled Lives
A Spirit filled life is not patterned after some strange TV evangelist, but it is patterned after Jesus. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit for his ministry and we should pattern our lives after Jesus.
More than 40 times in John’s gospel, Jesus says that the Father sent him. Jesus was sent into our culture on a mission empowered by the Spirit. When Jesus sent out the disciples, he told them first to wait on the empowering of the indwelling Spirit of God. We can not be on mission for God in our own power – it will not accomplish His purpose.
The Spirit-filled life does not negate Scripture. We believe that Scripture is our highest authority (Sola Scriptura), but we do not believe that the Scripture is the only authority (not Solo Scriptura).
All gifts of the Spirit MUST be used under Spiritual Authority. We need to be humble submission to the spiritual authority that God has placed over us.
We need to foster an expectation of God at work through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Principle #4: Missional Churches
The church MUST see itself as both SENT (to their own community) and SENDING (around the world)
The church must be both contending for the faith and contextualizing
The choice is Mission or Museum: The missional church wants to honor the past by having a future, seeing new people meet Jesus, having a passion centered around the gospel and marked by church planting.
Doing ALL that you can by every means that you can.
Being missional is contextualizing but not compromising or capitulating. You must move from meeting to mission… Be careful not to cease being a church planter (seeking new vision, new opportunities, etc) and just start doing church.
Have humility and honesty about your mistakes and times when your vision gets off track. Exemplify courageous leadership!
Driscoll likened these four points to four tires. If you don’t have all the wheels on the ground you are likely to wobble off in the wrong direction. It is important as a leader to consider this and to be very careful to focus on strengthening your particular area of weakness. It is not less theology, but more theology applied to life.
Thank You Jesus!
For all my Florida friends…I wish I could be there for this. Maybe you want to consider attending. It’s an amazing line-up of speakers.
Monday night Mark Driscoll held a question and answer session on church planting at the Common Grounds Cafe. He started with a six point overview and then moved to questions and discussion. Here are some abbreviated points from my notes. These are bullet points of long discussions…hopefully you can follow the thought process. If you would like the full version of my notes just comment below and I’ll send them to you.
When looking at reaching our cities for Christ we must keep in mind:
1. The Mission of God
God is glorifying himself and creating for himself a people, a kingdom.
Anything that supersedes God’s creating for himself a kingdom, no matter how good it seems, is an idol.
We must be aware and vigilant against raising anything up to that place of idol.
2. Our Mission
Make Disciples & Plant Churches
Our authority is from Jesus, who reigns over heaven and earth.
We need to make disciples with true conversion and baptism (our mission is not to call the religious to church but sinners to repentance)
We need to make disciple making disciples
We must be obedient
3. Missional Church
Jesus was a cross cultural missionary…he left heaven to come to earth to humbly identify with us and save us
He lived his life by the power of the Holy Spirit : to be filled with the Spirit is to be like Jesus
He was sent by the Father and as the Father had sent him, Jesus then sent the disciples (but first he told them to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit)
Our job is to live, serve and preach in the power of the Holy Spirit – to make the invisible kingdom visible
This includes attractional ministry (bring people in, do events) but must also include (and even focus on) missional ministry – scattering back out into the world as missionaries (around the corner and around the world)
Make the invisible kingdom visible to your city!
4. A Missiologist Leads
You need to have a leader who is a missiologist
His job is to know what is moving in and out of the culture, the trends, the stats – He studies the culture
He leads leaders and works beyond one church or one group (as opposed to the pastor who applies himself to one church – one group of people)
He raises questions to serve the whole church, not just one church location
He Contends and Contextualizes
Contending for the faith (Jude 3) – Know what you fight for, what are the closed handed issues and which are the open handed ones
Contextualizing (1 cor 9) – Becoming all things to all men, finding the most effective way to take the timeless truth into the current time and context – Don’t let your methods become idolatry. Don’t change the message, but change the method.
Missionaries are Christians, engaging the culture in which they live with the gospel of Christ and seeking the best for the city
The people in your church need to love Jesus and see themselves as missionaries
They need to see themselves as SENT (around the corner) and not just SENDING (around the world)
Motto: I belong to Jesus and I’m on a mission.
In regard to cultural engagement, they need to carefully discern: what they can receive, what they must reject and what they can redeem
6. Missional Movement
This is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit
It is when different churches come together as one stream – these churches are usually young and historically have been led by young leaders
It is an UNUSUAL work of God
There is an increased urgency
There is increased church planting
There is a change in culture that effects how the gospel can be delivered (examples: internet, video, radio, printing press, etc)
False teaching requires the clarification of theology, which in turn strengthens the church
What to be aware of:
What starts as a movement of God, gets to be an organization, then grows into an institution and finally can become a museum. ***We are always either moving toward mission or museum. You can not just maintain what you have, you must keep moving. ***
How do you stop from becoming a museum?
- Visit movements of God around the world: look and learn
- DON’T lead an organization, DO lead men
- Have an exit plan – you are not indispensable – plan for the mission to move forward with or without you
In my last post I promised that there would be more about the Redeem: Cities conference in future posts. Over the next few days I’d like to share with you some of the highlights and notes on what I gleaned and took away from my time.
But first I want to share with you a song. The time in musical worship was led by modern hymn-writer Stuart Townend. The first morning I remember singing and just having the overwhelming feeling that my cup truly runneth over. You might not be familiar with Townend, but you have probably sung the song he co-wrote: In Christ Alone.
I came away with several new “favorite” songs. The song Across the Lands is one of them.Across the Lands - Stuart Townend
Across the Lands
Words & Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
You’re the Word of God the Father
From before the world began.
Ev’ry star and ev’ry planet
Has been fashioned by Your hand.
All creation holds together
By the power of Your voice.
Let the skies declare Your glory;
Let the land and seas rejoice!
You’re the Author of creation;
You’re the Lord of ev’ry man;
And Your cry of love rings out across the lands.
Yet You left the gaze of angels,
Came to seek and save the lost,
And exchanged the joy of heaven
For the anguish of a cross.
With a prayer You fed the hungry;
With a word You calmed the sea;
Yet how silently You suffered
That the guilty may go free!
With a shout You rose victorious,
Wresting vict’ry from the grave,
And ascended into heaven,
Leading captives in Your way.
Now You stand before the Father,
Interceding for Your own;
From each tribe and tongue and nation,
You are leading sinners home!
Here’s the video that I promised you from the opening of the Lausanne conference. It’s about seventeen minutes, but well worth watching. It covers church history from the time of Christ up until the middle ages in a concise and interesting presentation.
I’ve read a number of bloggers opinions this week, both positive and moderately disappointed, about the Lausanne conference on world evangelism in South Africa. I didn’t attend, but I’ve been pleased with all the materials I’ve seen filtering out from the conference and wish I had been there to participate first hand.
Tomorrow I’ll share a great video that was part of the opening session that covers church history from the time of Christ into the Middle Ages, but today I want to share with you this video of John Piper on Evangelism and Social Justice. This is one of the greatest issues that I hear being debated these days and I love how Piper sums it up.
John Piper interviewed by Pastor Steve Chong (of Kirkplace Presbyterian Church in Syndey, Australia, and director of the Rice Movement)
“When the Gospel takes root in a human soul, it does both, it makes us care about all suffering, it makes us want to alleviate all unjust human suffering, all of it, here and now….But because of the scope of eternity and the seriousness of the fires of hell the eternal suffering is infinitely more serious….Christians, in the name of Christ, care about all suffering. If you find resistance welling up in your heart to eternal suffering or especially caring about that or you find resistance welling up in your heart to all suffering being opposed now, then either you have a defective view of hell or you have a defective heart.”
I would elaborate further with this thought: If you work tirelessly for social justice, but fail to speak the gospel then you have a defective view of hell and do not show concern for the most serious of all suffering. Yet, if you tirelessly preach the gospel, but never act as the hands and feet of Christ to show love in the face of the suffering all around you, then you have a defective heart that is unmoved by the love and compassion of Christ. “Christians, in the name of Christ, care about all suffering.”
Well blog friends, I’m back. I had a delightful vacation with my parents. The Slovenian mountains were ablaze with color and the fragrance of fall. I’ll post some pictures on of these days, but for now I’m digging out from under all the things that I found awaiting my return.
In the meantime I want to invite you to Story.
Story’10 is a multigenerational missions conference inviting you to be a part of God’s story. Meet missionaries straight from the field and hear first-hand accounts of what God is doing among the least reached peoples on earth. Learn about God’s movement in Scripture, His activity in the world today, His glory in your life and throughout the earth, and how to make your move to be a part of it.
Story will be held in Orlando, FL from December 28th to the 31st. You can ring in the New Year with worship and prayers for the world. I’d encourage you to check out more about it at the Story website: http://pioneers.org/story/home.aspx
I’m back home again, the US team is on their way home (or to other ministry locations) and I’m in serious need of some sleep, but English Camp was AMAZING! I now have nine new brothers and sisters in Christ! Welcome to the family y’all!
If the embedded video isn’t working you can watch the videos individually at: http://www.youtube.com/user/babymerce
English Camp is almost upon us. Even if I wasn’t counting the days trying to cram last minute work into the time left I would know it was approaching. Why?
- I’m feeling overly busy, distracted and having trouble concentrating. Last night I even forgot to put my leftovers in the fridge which means I have to cook today. Pray for us to have clear focused minds and eyes fixed on Jesus Christ in this busy season of ministry.
- A number of team members not feeling well physically. Last night I woke up wondering if I was running a fever and feeling achy all over. Pray for our physical health as we approach camp. Pray especially for me. I am not really sleeping at night. Also, since I have begun this gluten free journey my reactions to gluten are getting stronger and stronger. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about heading to camp and dealing with gluten on top of my other food allergies. Please pray that I will trust my rest and food to Christ who made me and can easily protect me from and/or override these physical issues.
- Things keep coming up. One teammate is having car troubles (we need all our cars to get the staff to camp). Yesterday I stepped on a piece of glass and cut my foot (not bad, but annoying and painful at the time.) Pray that God will guard our hearts, minds, bodies, possessions, families and lives. It is not unlike our enemy to attack any place that he can to distract us from the ministry in front of us.
- Our US partners are either already on their way or are leaving soon to join us. Pray for safe travels, for smooth connections and for luggage to arrive safe and sound and on time.
- Above all, pray for the salvation of our students and that the Lord Jesus Christ will get all the glory!
VBS starts today in Petőfibánya. Please be praying that God would be at work in the lives of all who attend.
For more information, prayer requests and updates check out the Mercer’s blog: http://mercerfamily.com/javajournal/
Today was the last day of baseball camp. The time went well. Jamie shared about the three most important things in his life: Jesus, his family and baseball.
There will be ongoing baseball events with the teens and adults and if there is enough interest there will be ongoing training with the kids as well. It was a great weekend and a valuable relationship building tool. Thanks for praying.
I added today’s pictures to my Flickr site baseball camp set here.
August is traditionally the Hungarian month of vacation. Our foundation has no formal outreaches planned, but we will still be busy, as always. My church is holding street outreaches until the 10th and has an evangelistic concert this coming Sunday. Would you be in prayer for these events?
Tomorrow, a new member on the PI Area Resource Team (located here in Hungary) will be arriving. Cherry will be teaching at the International Christian School and she is buying my Ford which is an answer to prayer! She starts teaching this coming Thursday so please pray for her to have a smooth and quick transition to life in Hungary.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for our summer events and outreaches. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to exalt the name of Jesus in this nation.
Baseball camp was off to a good start today. Nobody got hurt. It was hot, but there was a breeze and it didn’t rain.
Please continue to pray for us – for safety, good weather and for relationships to develop where we can share about our love for our Savior.
You can take a look at today’s pictures at my Flickr site here.
Tomorrow, Friday August 1st, Baseball Camp begins.
Please pray specifically for:
Jamie – as he leads this camp and shares both his love of baseball and his love of our Savior.
The weather to be good.
The time to be safe and well attended.
I haven’t done much blogging this month. Life has been really busy since mid-June and I think this week the sleep deprivation, constant schedule and general busyness of life caught up with me. I’m pretty tired and still have a lot going on. Still, it has been a WONDERFUL summer thus far.
This week the Rákoskeresztúr church had their English Day Camp just minutes from my house. Here is a group shot of those who attended. Thank you to those of you who were praying! Please keep praying that relationships will be strengthened and that the connections with the church will draw these students toward the truth of the gospel.
A great time was had by all. Maybe you want to come and serve with us next year?
I’m back at home trying to catch up on normal activities this week after a great time last week at VBS (Vacation Bible School) in Petőfibánya. It was a busy week with a full schedule and constant interaction in Hungarian, but I feel very blessed to have been a part of it and I really enjoyed my time there.
One thing in particular that I have taken away from this week is a burden to pray for these children. The group that I worked with was 9 and 10 year old kids. It seemed like this group had most of the rowdy troublemakers in it. (They weren’t always disruptive: there were definite moments during the week where they were really listening and thinking about the truth that was being presented). It’s not much fun working with kids who are always in need of discipline, yet, God used this to break my heart in a new way. I found that by the middle of the week, instead of just being frustrated with them, I really started thinking about what their lives were like. These kids aren’t growing up in an environment where they are told about the love of God. Their behavior is just a reflection of what is modeled for them in their lives. I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of sharing the love of God with them this week. I know they had fun and the gospel was clearly shared.
I took some selected photos from the Mercer’s set and added them to my Flickr site which you can view here. If you want to see the complete photo albums (hundreds of pictures) you can view them at the JavaJournal site here. Below are also a couple of videos. Enjoy.
This has been a busy week! The cats are glad to have me home after camp and keep following me around. Today Gus even laid in the bathroom sink while I was trying to get ready. I guess it is his way of saying “Don’t go anywhere!” At least next week I’ll be coming home every night after VBS.
My pictures from English Camp are now up at Flickr. You can view the slideshow here.
Some of these photos were in the gallery that was listed on the Prayer Blog.
In other news: I’d love to have you as a prayer partner for VBS. If you didn’t get my Journey Update e-mail this week and would like more information for prayer please comment on this post. AND I got notice that it appears that the Denial of Service attack is over. Now you can go back to using my primary e-mail address. Thanks for your patience with this.
I’m back from English camp and diving into another busy week. Tonight we have a BBQ to say goodbye to the three teams from the States that came to work at camp with us. Tomorrow or Wednesday I pick up the new car and have to get all the registration paperwork done. Thursday morning my best friend leaves for her new life in Italy. And somewhere in there I have to catch up on laundry, clean up the house from the cat hair that has accumulated while I was gone, take care of the yard which looks like it has grown more than a foot in a week, and keep up with my normal weekly tasks. Craziness.
Here is a photo of my reading group at camp. On the prayer blog there is a link to the rest of the English Camp photos.
I really appreciate all your prayers for camp. They were felt! Please start praying now for the Children’s Vacation Bible School that starts next Monday in Petofibanya.