Succeeding in Failing

Failure One time, I told a mom I know, “Wow, you’re really patient!” She laughed, rolled her eyes, and said, “I wish! You must only see me on my good days!”

Another time, I told a friend, “You play guitar really well! You’ve definitely got a gift.” He responded, “Yeah, well, you should see the guys who really know how to play. I try my best, though…”

Someone told me once, “I really like your artwork. You’re really talented.” I immediately responded, “Well, I like doing it, but I still have a hard time getting the proportions right, and on this one, this part is all wrong, and this part didn’t turn out how I wanted…”

Because I have some natural talent in art, I see all my failures when I make a piece of art. I see the shapes are wrong, the colors are ugly, the piece is expressionless and without emotion… I see these failures because I have a talent here. If I had no talent in art, I would not see my failures. I would have no idea of how far I was from where I could be, should be.

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Apostle: A Possible Postulate

I’ve been studying the word “apostle” recently.  While I don’t have any “ground-breaking” things to say, I did realize some things that I hadn’t noticed before.

Before getting to the things that I found surprising, let me just say….  I know people tend to freak out when anyone starts talking about apostles, especially when that person believes in the present gift and calling, but bear with me.  Don’t freak out.  Yet.

Okay, now that that’s done, let’s start with some basics:

1) The term “apostle” used to be a normal Greek word, not a religious word with a capital letter on the front of it.  That capital letter and the religious context only came later, much later.  In the beginning, it was a word just like any other, just like how “born again” used to mean simply being born a second time, not “prayed a prayer and go to an evangelical church somewhat regularly.”

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How does your giving help me?

Some of you have been supporting me financially for 10 years or more; others have started more recently.  Some can’t give financially but pray faithfully for our work for God.  Some of you don’t fall into either category.  In whatever situation you find yourself, you may wonder just how your giving and praying helps me here in Romania.  My brother put together this sweet “infographic” (never even knew that was a word until a few days ago) to explain how your involvement impacts more than we missionaries.

As you think, pray, and give, remember that you’re not only helping me to live in Romania, but you’re providing for books for Bible school students, materials for outreach, salaries for Romanian evangelists, food for the homeless, clothes for poor gypsies…  Your giving goes far past me to reach many people in Bucharest.  Thanks for being a part of this ministry!

A Christmas Visit

2014 gypsies xmas 7We used to visit Drumul Taberei every week, but over the last year, we’ve been concentrating more on planting the church and working with English-speakers (whom we can at this point more effectively disciple).  So by the time Christmas came, it had been a number of months since we last visited the families living along Drumul Taberei.

We came this year with some small Christmas gifts for the kids and plenty of love, prayers, and encouragement for everyone.

I think the pictures at the end will do a better job at expressing the feelings all around than I could ever say in words, but let me just give a quick update on some important things to help in your praying.

vasilicaWhen we visited, Vasilica described herself as “all alone now but God does not forsake me.”  Her husband Mircea and daughter Rebeca are in jail now for drug use, but Alberto (read more here) is still free from heroine and Samuel is still HIV-free (read more here).  Carmen is living in Spain with her older sister and doing well there.  Andrei is still as wild as ever but also full of infectious joy.  Join Vasilica in your praying, and ask God to use Mircea’s and Rebeca’s time in jail to bring them to repentance, freedom from drugs, and new life in Jesus.  He can do it!

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Illegals or Refugees…. Jesus Loves Them All

From the time Vlad Ţepeş (the inspiration behind Dracula) held back the invasion of the Turkish empire, Romania has been a gateway into Europe and a center of the Christian-Muslim conflict.  Seven hundred years after Vlad, thousands of men and women still come to this nation attempting to enter Europe, many of them coming from Muslim nations in Africa and Asia.  Some are refugees fleeing war-torn countries, but most are average men and women seeking employment and a better life in Europe, and a few are involved in drug trafficking or other illegal activities.  Although they claim all these and more reasons for making the long trek to Romania, we believe God is in fact the one calling many of them!  Like our friends Emal and Rashid, who came to Romania looking for money in the drug trade but found new life in Jesus, we believe there are many more Muslims ready to discover the forgiveness of God right here in Romania.  This Christmas, we did something special to bring them the good news.

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“Grave to Shudder” by Ike Ndolo

I was introduced a week or two ago to Ike Ndolo.  I still have no idea how to pronounce his name, either the first or the last one, but he sure has some great music.  The lyrics on “Grave to Shudder” are phenomenal!

Anyhow, it seems there are yet some things that Google does not know, and one of those things is the chords to this particular song.  But thanks to chordify.net and a bit of tweaking on my part, that will soon be changed; at the moment I publish this blog, the world wide web will no longer be ignorant.  Bwah ha ha ha!!!

Without further ado, below are the chords (as far as I and Chordify can tell, that is) for Ike Ndolo’s song “Grave to Shudder.”  Enjoy it.  Play it.  And go buy his CD.  The CD recording is much better than any of the free versions you can find on YouTube, and a worship leader like this deserves to have his work supported.  So buy his music!

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The Wrath and Love of God (Ten Incomplete Thoughts)

God-In-A-BoxI love those things about God that defy explanation.  I love how He is both the King and Lord over all creation and also a humble servant.  I love how He is both three distinct persons and yet very clearly ONE God.  The last month or so, I’ve been stuck on the concept of how He is by nature LOVE (1 John 4:8, 16) and yet is also angry every day (Psalm 7:11).

God’s wrath in relation to his love.

I haven’t yet organized all my thoughts, but in studying the scriptures, the following ten thoughts have been coming up again and again.

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