On Sunday, the 16th of June, 1935, in the town of Maglavit, a seventeen-year-old, poor shepherd with a speech impediment finally worked up enough courage to announce to his church a short message he claimed came directly from God the Father, whom he swore had visited him in the form of an old man while he was tending sheep. His message, a stereotypical Old Testament “turn or burn” indictment of his people, was met with both obvious incredulity and a similarly expected enthusiasm. Both those in favor and those against the happenings in Maglavit, and especially those hoping to profit from the events, spread the news far and wide. Newspapers were full of stories of miracles, healings, and prophecies as excitement over the shepherd boy who had seen God spread. In time, over two million people would take part in the spectacular events of Maglavit. Today, much of the events that took place are shrouded in mystery. Who was Petrache Lupu, the man who claimed to see God, and what can we learn from his life rife with visions, miracles, and extravagant stories reminiscent of Ezekiel or Isaiah?
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged between the wars, biography, essay, healer, healing, history, miracle, miracles, orthoxy, petrache lupu, priest, prophecy, prophet, romania, romanian orthodox
You might be surprised to hear “persevere” never showed up as the secret word in any of Pee-Wee’s shows.
It has certainly been the “word of the day” lately for us, though. In fact, just this weekend, three unconnected people all shared that exact same message with me.
1. On Saturday, I went to my friend Adi’s wedding. There, Sorin sat down, and he said, “You know, I have a story for you.” He then began to tell me about a work Brad Hayes (who founded and works with Outstretched Hands of Romania, a ministry in the nearby town of Călăraşi) was leading. “They had a small children’s meeting,” Sorin continued. “They did little things, like teaching the kids to brush their teeth, obey their parents, and about Jesus. One kid was very naughty, but he kept coming to the meetings. He was there for three years, but he never wanted to go to church or pray or become a Christian. But he was there at every meeting for three years. One day, a bad flood came to the village, though it was far from any rivers, and many houses were in danger. The people started turning to God.” Sorin went on to tell me how after the flood, the boy and his family all became Christians, and they’ve been steadily growing since then. “But he was faithful for three years even though that boy never got any better. And then God blessed him.”
Lately, the topic of “grace” has been on my heart. It’s such a powerful word, and yet most of us don’t even have any idea about what it means. We read it in the Bible all the time (“Grace and peace to you…”) and use it even in our everyday lives (“Just give me a little grace this time…”). It’s almost like we’ve gotten so familiar with it that we forgot what it means, like when you repeat a word over and over and over again so that it eventually loses all meaning.
Grace. It changes everything.
Just take a look at what grace does according to Ephesians 2:4-9. It reads, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Simply put, grace is favor, the favor of God. When God looks favorably on your life, that changes everything.
Grace saves us, grace changes us and perfects us, grace pulls us into heaven, grace welcomes us into the family of God, grace makes us children of God, grace fills us with power…
A few weeks ago, we ran into a handful of high school students during one of our regular times handing out tracts. It started as a pretty normal conversation: the teenagers were mostly not interested but politely received our tracts, a few noticed we didn’t speak Romanian so began to speak with us in English, we asked them about Jesus and began to share a bit…
But then Jacob asked Chady if we could pray for him. He gave his assent. I told him, “Sometimes God speaks to his followers. Would you mind if we take some time to hear if he has anything for you?” The young man again nodded his assent.
Chady told us later, “I expected you would say something like, ‘God loves you,’ and I was getting ready to laugh at you.”
But God had a surprise in store for him.
So, I promised you an update on our times of evangelism from last weekend. Let me start by saying I love doing evangelism with people who aren’t afraid to take risks for God and who believe he’s ready to show up. It’s seriously the most exciting adventure ever.
So, besides handing out hundreds of tracts, here are some of the highlights…
Friday, we handed out tracts in the subway until the guards found out and told us to stop. Meanwhile, nearly everyone on the subway was reading what Jesus has done in our lives. And, best news of all, one of the men who received a tract called me saying he read it, believed it, and wanted to learn more. When we later met for coffee, I discovered he was a 7-year theology student training to be an Orthodox priest. Eugen is hungry to know the Lord, so pray for the work God is doing in him to come to fruition.
Shows the total abortions to date as a percentage of each country’s current population.
Last night, when we met with Vasilica to encourage her in her walk with God, she told us she had seen a couple visions this last week while praying for us. First, she had seen a picture of Jason and a woman leading a flock of sheep. Next, she had seen a picture of Jake and Jessie, and Jessie was pregnant.
When she shared about Jessie being pregnant, she turned very serious and said in Romanian, “Please, please, don’t abort the baby.”
“Da, sigur,” Jake responded. “Yes, of course.”
Then Vasilica turned to Jason and repeated in faster and more emphatic Romanian: “Tell them not to have an abortion. Tell him.”