Tag Archives: gospel

A Couple Tract Testimonies

It’s been a while since I’ve given any updates on the blog. Partly, God has simply been bringing us less exciting ministry lately; things like counseling, encouraging church members, and learning to speak Romanian just don’t make for interesting blog updates. And partly, we’ve been taking less risks in evangelism; we’ve been doing a lot of safe stuff like passing out tracts or talking one-on-one, which is good but tends not to attract those crazy cool testimonies we all like to read and I like to write about.

Anyhow, while I don’t have any wild, supernaturally-awesome testimonies, I do want to share three stories from the last week and a half.

Mircea
It was 9:30 pm after the Easter Sunday service, and I was on my way home. It was a beautiful night, and as I passed by the park, I felt a pull to just go sit there for a while. I wouldn’t have called it God’s voice at the time, but I know enough about how He speaks to listen to the feelings in my heart. So I quickly dropped my things off at home and then returned to the park. As I was walking towards a bench, I saw a man walking through the park, and something in my spirit went, “Something’s not right with that guy,” and then something in my flesh went, “Ewww, I really hope he doesn’t come sit by me.”

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It’s Worth the Embarrassment

Jake and I joined Alex on Tuesday at Piata Obor to pass out gospel tracts near the subway station.  I love the work Alex is doing, and his zeal for sharing the gospel (driven by his own experience of radical transformation when he discovered the message of the cross) is infectious and challenging.

Alex is a guy who really doesn’t care what he looks like out there sharing the gospel, knowing it’s by nature foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).  It’s an unnerving and challenging but also inspiring characteristic.  I’ve been in the subway with Alex when he’s started a conversation with me loud enough to be called open-air preaching, and the results were similar.  My first time joining Alex for evangelism, he convinced me to grab his bullhorn and start preaching… in English… with no interpreter.  I’m still not sure how he convinced me that was a good idea.  Other times, he’s stopped young women on the street and asked them, as a grandfather might, “Why are you dressed like this?  Don’t you know you’re causing guys to stumble?  Don’t you care about their souls?”  Hanging out with him can be, well, embarrassing.

The bottom line, though, is this:  if hell is real, and if sin destroys men here and for eternity, and if Jesus really rescues men, then the gospel is worth your and my embarrassment.

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Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #7

(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.)

I sometimes get frustrated here because so many people consider themselves to be Christians (almost 97%) and yet most know little about Jesus.  Here is reason number seven for why we need the gospel here.

Reason #7 – Jesus Who?

I’m sure there are many wonderful believers in the Romanian Orthodox church, but I don’t think that applies to the youth.  Many young people with whom I’ve spoken have told me they were never able to understand Orthodox services.  Many had questions about God but found no help by going to church, even though scripture is a central part of worship in the Orthodox faith.

So, why did these young people have such difficulty?

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Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #5

(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.)

Of all the places I’ve lived, Bucuresti is by far the most religious.  Orthodox churches are on almost every block, it’s common to see priests on the streets, and most people believe God exists.  So, in such a religious place, why am I here sharing the Gospel?  Here is reason number five…

Reason #5 – I’ve Already Been Baptized…

Despite the religious observance, the vast majority of those with whom we’ve spoken have had little to no inward religious life.  We have met many who told us flatly, “I have been baptized; I gave an offering,” as if Christianity was simply a matter of doing a few religious things.  But Jesus wants to be first in our hearts.  In fact, he strongly rebuked those who had the right works but the wrong heart:  “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me” (Mark 7:6).  People need to know that Jesus came for their heart, not just for an occasional glance in his direction.

Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #4

(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.)

I was speaking with someone about Jesus when he bluntly ended our conversation with, “Romania is an Orthodox country.”  It’s true many have heard about Jesus and even believe in God, but there is much work yet to do here.  So, why do we still need to preach the Gospel in Romania?

Reason #4 – Saved by Faith Works…

Orthodox theology says men are saved by grace from God, but people are taught grace is given only after work is done.  The church, for example, teaches that after a man dies, he will not enter heaven until a relative gives an offering.  (What if he has no relatives?)  Also, if a man realizes he is in sin, he is told to give a donation to a priest in order to release forgiveness.  (Didn’t Jesus require simply repenting?)  Romanians, even faithful Orthodox believers, need to know that forgiveness is not given based on religious observance but the kindness of Jesus.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Sewers of Bucuresti

drugsThe last two weeks, we’ve been learning a lot about some of the more difficult situations in Bucuresti. Although we are continuing to develop relationships with college students and reach out to the universities, God has been putting the drug-addicts, the homeless, the prostitutes, the insane, the poor, the pimps on our hearts. Jesus went to lepers, so it only makes sense that he would lead us to the lepers of Bucuresti.

We learned a lot from Sorin and Ana about the sewer people. In the north of Bucuresti there is an old underground complex that used to heat the entire city. Now, the place is home to families who have lost their homes for one reason or another and have now moved underground. As we spoke with Sorin and Ana, we felt our hearts stirred to bring the gospel to these people. A few have brought them handouts, but who is bringing them Jesus?

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Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #3

(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.)

Go to www.OperationWorld.org, then find the page about Romania.  You’ll read there that 96.96% of the population is Christian.  If almost everybody in Romania is “already a Christian,” why am I here?  Continuing on in this series, here is reason #3 for why the gospel is needed in Bucureşti:  many  of the Orthodox believe that salvation is simply a matter of doing a few more good deeds.

Reason #3 – Damned If I Don’t…

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