No, this post’s title is not the cheesy name for my new solo album. And it’s not the title of a bad translation of a new Romanian horror movie, either. And it’s also not the title for a poem reminiscing the appliance I miss most; no, that poem will be called “Elegy to a Toaster.”
This title refers to our most recent meeting with the Mihai Bravu community. With the weather getting colder, a nearby family opened up their house to us. It’s a wonderful little room with a light and (most importantly) heat. 🙂 The heater is basically a toaster oven shoved into a block of cement and then plugged into a wall. It might sound a little scary (and, believe me, the toddlers playing around the exposed wires running into the wall do bring concern), but it’s effective and cheap.
I have been getting a lot lately out of the story of the fall of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27). Not only has it been intellectually interesting, but the things God has been showing me have been strengthening to my own walk with him. I had gotten lazy in the walk of holiness, and I realized a few weeks ago that a spiritual stronghold of the enemy had begun to take root in my heart.
In an earlier post, I brought up how the battle starts in recognizing that you are called to be holy to Jesus, separate from the world, set aside solely for his purposes. It’s what he has called you to, and it’s where he intends to take you.
The next post, I brought up how God must be an integral part of your relation to this city. If you want to see it go, you’ve got to look at it with God at your side or you’ll get overwhelmed and decide to give up. Before you even go to battle, when you’re just sitting there looking at the stronghold, seek God’s advice, ask for his help, and follow his directions.
Today, I want to look at the deeply uncomfortable but absolutely vital next step…
As I was reading through Joshua and the story of the taking of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27), God began to draw my attention to some insights in fighting strongholds of sin in my own life. Many of us are currently or have in the past dealt with an area of sin that seems like it just won’t let go. For many this means an addiction like pornography or masturbation (Woohoo! Here come the hits from Google!), alcohol and other drugs, or simply entertainment (the all-around favorite in America).
In an earlier post, I wrote how the first step is to understand that we are called to, created for, destined for, and going to get total holiness. It’s in our DNA, and God intends to bring us there. The same message the angel gave to Joshua needs to enter our heart as well: “This is holy ground.”
But how do we become that holy ground? How do we get to that place? How does the “supposed to be” become the “already is”?
(Note: Before reading, please understand that I am not attacking the Orthodox Church. In general, they have an amazing understanding of the majesty of God, a deep appreciation for artwork and beauty in worship, a respect for tradition, a love of history, and many more admirable qualities. However, many who call themselves “Orthodox” are desperately in the dark.)
The population of Bucureşti is about two million, and about 96-98% are Orthodox
Christians. Why do they need the gospel?
Reason #2 – Religion Doesn’t Do A Thing For Me…
Almost everyone in Bucureşti has heard about Jesus, but the church
in general has made little impact on the character of individuals or of the nation. Lust is just one area, but it’s the most easily noticed.
This morning, as I read the story of the conquest of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27), God began to speak to my heart. I don’t have everything organized, but I hope you’ll be strengthened by a bit of what God showed me about experiencing freedom from sin.
At this point, the Israelites have been freed from slavery in Egypt and crossed the Jordan River into Canaan. They’re getting ready to take possession of the land that God has been promising to them for years. But right in their way of receiving this inheritance is the massive city of Jericho, a stronghold of their enemy.
There are many Christians who, though they have been freed from slavery to sin and been baptized into the inheritance of the Spirit, have allowed the enemy to build a stronghold in their souls. I know this because I have been there myself.
How do we experience the freedom God wants us to inherit?
I recently came across the following documentary, and I think it’ll give you a good idea about some of what we see every day here. Although the situation has gotten better, thousands of kids still live on the streets of Bucharest. As I think about them, my heart breaks. What church would ever accept them in their ragged clothes and filth? What pastor would ever go to them?
Pray for our meeting today with Ana and Sorin. On a number of occasions, they’ve gone to the sewers with food and clothes for the kids. We hope to team up to bring them not only physical help but also spiritual.
God, open up a door for the gospel!
A few months ago, I was really discouraged at how little evangelism I saw going on in this “Christian” nation of Romania. In particular, I wanted to preach open-air, but I knew no one loud enough or bold enough to translate for me. So, after praying, I went on Youtube to see if there were any videos of anyone doing evangelism in the streets of Bucharest. (At the time, Youtube seemed the natural place to check. Now, it really doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, of all the places to look for evidence of street evangelism, why go to Youtube?)
I came across a couple videos of an older gentleman named Alexandru Grigorescu who was preaching open-air, passing out tracts, and talking with individuals one-on-one. (Check out his videos here.) Although his style was more confrontational than I liked, I could tell the man desperately loved people and was filled with compassion for their souls. Something in my spirit shouted, “Yes! There *is* fire in Bucharest!” I immediately sent the man a message saying how encouraging it was to see his videos.