Tag Archives: prayer

Exodus 24 – Maintaining Intimacy with God

December 6, 2010 - 'His Word Is My Life'

December 6, 2010 – ‘His Word Is My Life’

How’s your prayer life? you ask a random Christian. Nine times out of ten, he’ll respond, Uh… not as good as it should be… and then lower his eyes with a guilty look.

Personally, my prayer life took a massive hit when I moved to Bucharest, Romania. Besides the natural factors of moving from a slower-paced small town in rural Wisconsin to a large, fast-paced European capital city, there is also the spiritual factor of an enemy who wants to keep me from the presence of the One who gives life, direction, power, anointing. I was still reading the Bible, but not every day, and I regularly rushed through it so I could get something practical done… My heart wasn’t connecting with God, the spring of living water.

September 4, 2012 - 'Baptize Me In Fire'

September 4, 2012 – ‘Baptize Me In Fire’

I could feel my heart getting colder towards God, but I hadn’t realized how bad I had let things get until I took a week off to go to Turkey. In my mind, I thought, Yes! I finally can get some time to rest and recuperate spiritually. I’m gonna read so much of the Bible and spend so much time with God. It’s going to be awesome! But when I got to Turkey, I didn’t want to read the Bible! I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t want to play music and worship God. I didn’t want to make art for him. I didn’t even really feel guilty for this!

It was a rude wake up call! But I responded quickly, made some changes in my life, and have been fighting this cold, dead heart ever since I recognized the problem. Already, I can see a drastic change in my attitude and desire towards prayer and the presence of God.

I want to share with you some tips from my experience. All of these tips are pretty basic, but they’re things that I had let slide, things that can make the difference between a religious, dry, dead prayer life and a life-giving, abundant, empowering, relationship with God.

Let’s look at Moses’ life, perhaps one of the best examples we have of a man who kept a sustained and intense intimacy with God despite incredible demands on his time and a number of serious weaknesses. Turn to Exodus 24

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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!

Sweet! The stains are gone!

vapoorizeDecent pants are expensive in Romania. I have a few pairs of blue jeans in various conditions, but I don’t have many pants I can wear for work at the school (i.e. not jeans). Two days ago, I found two of my pairs of pants got these big blue ink stains on them somehow. I quickly grabbed some soap and started scrubbing, but there was absolutely no change; the stain didn’t even smear.

Finally, I “prayed” something like, “Well, God, this sucks. I don’t have any money to buy more pants. I’ll get over it; they’re only pants, but still… You made the Israelites’ clothes last for 40 yeras, so you can make my clothes last, too. And they weren’t even trying to be faithful to you; I haven’t been perfect, but at least I’m headed in the right direction.”

And then I stuck them in a bucket of water, no soap, and thought to myself, “Maybe they just need to soak for a while… Maybe God will do something. And if not, I guess I’ll just have a couple pairs of shorts.”

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It’s been a while, so… What have we been up to?

final 0 scoalabiblica-logo-image

Well, it’s been almost a month since my last update, so I figured It’s about time to let you know how things have been going here in Romania.  Since my last update, we started teaching classes at Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie.  It’s our very first semester teaching these courses in Romania, and many books are not available in Romanian, so it’s been far less organized than I like, but God is working in and through us.

We have a total of 12 students taking 3 different classes.  They represent three different continents (Africa, Europe, and North America) and speak four different mother tongues (English, French, Romanian, and Swahili).  Yes, we’re pretty diverse!  Culturally (Romanians, Africans, and Americans), intellectually (from graduate school students to high school dropouts), and spiritually (a one-month-old believer from a Muslim background, Baptists who were taught to believe the charismatic gifts ended in the first century, Pentecostals who never learned to study the Bible, and even a few who don’t know what to call themselves)–we have a wide variety of students!

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The Cost of Discipleship

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
– Jesus (Luke 9:23-26)

Here in Europe (and in America), we tend to spiritualize things like “taking up your cross” and “losing your life” to follow Jesus.  We very rarely think about the cost of discipleship in the same way the early disciples would have thought about it and in the same way Christians in many Muslim lands now think about it.

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“The Prayer of a Minor Prophet” by A. W. Tozer

aw-tozerThis is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Savior in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him.

And he said: O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

Super Tract Man

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaniel is Super Tract Man.

He loves to share the gospel, and he’s one of the most faithful, dedicated guys I know, especially when it comes to passing out tracts.  Even if he has to go out alone, he heads out at least a few days every week to pass out tracts on the streets of Bucharest.  He’s always smiling, and he seriously is anointed.  While I may get two or three people to take a piece of literature, Daniel will have a dozen.  He loves to stand at the busy subway exits with both hands held out for people to take tracts as they pass by.  It’s awesome!

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