Have you ever asked God, “Why is this so difficult?!?! If you’re really God, and if you really love me, if Jesus really did die to make me holy, why is this all so difficult???”
A few days ago, I finished the book of Joshua. While not every story tells of an amazing victory, the book leaves the reader feeling optimistic. Yes, the job is not complete and difficulties are to come, but God is powerful and faithful, the people are continuing to press forward, and the enemy is being driven out.
And then Judges starts… and we are immediately confronted with the reality of failure.
The failure is a major one, and so the angel of God Himself appears to rebuke Israel because, while He has been faithful to them, they have not been faithful to Him.
(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?
I just finished a tract that tells all about how I came to find Jesus. Since not all of you know who I am and where I come from, I figured I’d post it here for you to enjoy. My story is below:
I always kind of believed in God—I was baptized as a baby, I grew up going to church, my family even prayed before meals—but I lived my life as if God was no more real than a fairy tale. Over time, I began to call myself an atheist.
I was 12 when I first found porn online, but things really went bad when I was 15. That was when I decided to stop feeling guilty about porn, to stop calling it sin, and to simply accept it as human nature. That was one of the dumbest decisions I ever made.
While struggling with a growing porn addiction, I also began to experience heavy depression. I remember lying awake many nights seeing no hope for the future and wishing I would die. I saw no reason to go on living.
Luke 5:15-16 tells us of the success of Jesus’ ministry in Israel: “The report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
Here he is, in the midst of a crazy busy ministry schedule, surrounded by people who are sick and dying and desperately in need of some help. And he’s the only one capable of meeting their needs. There’s pressure. There are deadlines. There are needs and wants and…. in the midst of it all, Jesus leaves. And he leaves often.
I have found myself in need of some wilderness time lately. I’ve been stressed from preparations for Romania, tired of working in the schools, worn out from ministering to people… and I need desperately to get to the wilderness, alone with God.
Posted in Spring Green
Tagged bible study, knowing Jesus, ministry, prayer, preparing, romania, solitude, spring green desert, time, wilderness, work
The last few months, I’ve been working through the book Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge. It’s an awesome book, and I highly recommend it. But don’t rush through it; take your time with it and let the wisdom soak into you and guide you. It’s full of insights on how to connect with God and develop a strong devotional life where your time with God is really sustaining and meaningful. I can’t speak highly enough about it, so go and grab a copy of it. You’ll be glad you did.
So anyhow, in chapter 20 (“The Secret of Simultaneous Reading”), Bob Sorge mentions his Bible-reading plan. He divides it up into four sections: Genesis to Malachi, Psalms to Ecclesiastes, Matthew to John, and Acts to Revelation. Each day, he reads enough in each section so that he’ll get through the entire Old Testament once per year and the entire New Testament two times per year.
About a month ago, my brother put up a post titled “Our Top 10 Reasons We’re Moving To Romania.” So, what about me? Why am I moving to Romania?
These may not be very spiritual, and they’re not in any particular order, but here are a few of my reasons for moving to Romania:
1. An Opportunity Arose
In the future, I’ll probably say something like, “God opened a door for ministry in Romania.” But right now, it’s simply, “an opportunity arose.” That’s how I started working here in Spring Green, how I ended up on staff in Madison, how I became a substitute teacher… Nothing spiritual about any of it. No divine messenger. No heavenly vision. No burning in my heart. Just a simple opportunity that arose and seemed good.