Today at 8:20 pm is the six-month mark for when I arrived in Romania. I don’t know that I have anything super insightful to say about it all, but it seemed an appropriate time to reflect on things.
On the one hand, I’m very happy with how things are going. We have a stable and growing meeting with a handful of Rromi families along Mihai Bravu. Our relationships with Christians in other ministries are growing stronger. We’re able to get around with our limited Romanian, and we’ve learned so much since moving here. We have shared the gospel with thousands through street evangelism and relationships. On a personal level, my own heart is happy to know Jesus, and he’s giving me strength to listen to and obey him. All of us have permission to stay here for five years.
Living here in Romania, I often feel disconnected from what’s happening back in the US. Even the presidential election didn’t mean nearly so much to me this year. Shoot, never even watched more than 2 minutes of a Packer game. But when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I felt like I was right back home in the US. (Read the story here and video coverage can be seen here.)
Oh, my heart grieves for the families in Newtown.
I’m not usually prone to the “doom and gloom” prophet thing, but I can’t help but think about the fate of a nation that walks in unrighteousness. There is a point where God takes away his protection and allows people to be, well, stupid.
Pray for America. Pray for the families of those killed. Pray for the kids and teachers to find healing and hope in their hearts. I can’t imagine how many tormenting demons Satan wants to throw at those kids….
Oh, Lord, help us before we destroy ourselves. (Read this article on the history of American school shootings if you’re not convinced we need help.)
As the end of the calendar year approaches, I’ve been finding myself missing one thing (ha ha, no pun intended) more than any other: the OneThing conference put on by the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
Although I did not attend this conference every year, it had certainly become a regular part of my life. Not everything is perfect, but I’ve been fed, challenged, encouraged, and strengthened through their ministry, and I’ll definitely be missing it this year.
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
I had planned to read a bit more today, but those four verses stopped me in my tracks.
Oh, we serve such a humble King. Jesus–king of all creation, eternally God, majestic and powerful in all his ways, more beautiful and more glorious than the rising sun–humbled himself on our behalf. He hid his glory and appeared as a man. He let men mock him, spit at him, beat him. He–the righteous one, the perfect one, the holy one–let wicked and unholy men give to him the punishment that they deserved.
The following article by J. Lee Grady appeared in www.charismamag.com on 12/5/2012. I thought it was so great, I wanted to share it with all of you.
If you aspire to ministry, don’t be stupid. Decide now to avoid these obvious pitfalls.
I had the privilege of sharing a pulpit with Dr. Mary Ann Brown two times. She was bold, prophetic and painfully blunt. People who hate women preachers hated her even more because of her no-nonsense sermons—always delivered in her Texas twang. She would get her audience laughing and then skewer them with a hot blade of truth.
When this spiritual giant died last month at age 73, I remembered the last words she said to me when we were together at a conference in Chicago in 2011. After lamenting the fact that so many ministers in the United States were failing, Mary Ann locked eyes with me and said with stern, motherly authority: “Lee, please don’t ever get stupid.”
On December 1, I came across the story of a man whose life was transformed by Teen Challenge’s ministry in Bucuresti. Emmanuel ran away from home as a seven-year-old boy. On the streets, he made a home in the sewers and quickly became addicted to aurolac and then to heroine. His life was spiraling downward, and he figured it would only continue to get worse.
Seventeen years later, a miracle happened.
He met a girl, she got pregnant, and Emmanuel realized his life needed to change.
Our meeting with Andreea was very different from our meeting with Ryan and Andrea. Andreea is a recent college graduate and has a deeply passionate heart for seeing victims of human trafficking brought the freedom and justice they were made for. She studied law in college (her thesis was all about ending human trafficking) and spent some time working with IJM. She has traveled Romania learning the stories of those trafficked and trying to understand how to end this horrible crime.
Hearing Andreea tell the story of her mother’s friend who became a victim of trafficking put a very personal touch on things. Now, it wasn’t just ideas we were talking about but real people, people who knew someone I was talking with.