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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Day 11 - God is good and the team is tired!

Day 1 - Danijela Zorić arrives after a crazy, crazy 16 hour train trip from Croatia where she had to change trains due to flooding in Austria/Munich causing her to arrive late and miss us by 8 minutes :). We were told she had probably fallen asleep, missed the stop and was now heading to Frankfurt and wouldn't be back until late. Eventually we did find each other and get Daniejla settled in at the Knigge's. Yah to have Danijela here with us for the summer! :) (Mary)

Day 2 - Andrew Wisner, Nicole Demers, Joshua Carter, Beth Shumway and Lynne Free arrive at the Frankfurt airport at 7:30am, meet Alan and come to the CVJM where a traditional German breakfast is waiting plus the rest of the team. Saskia is introduced as is Wiebe Lisa who will are the CVJM's German interns and who will be working with the team this summer. After a tour of the CVJM and an intro meeting the teams head to their host homes to rest. That night it's Tensing where the team has fun meeting all the teens and listening to Saskia share. (Mary)

Day 3 - The team spends on their own in Heidelberg. (Mary)

Day 4 - Team heads to their first church service (Gottesdients) at the CVJM at 11:00. Joshua is already playing his guitar and singing during worship and Andrew joins in to help out singing as well. Rebekka shares about her time in Kenya and the amazing things God did in and through her while there. Frank makes a great lunch for everyone and the team hangs out afterwards at the CVJM before heading back to their host homes. (Mary)

Day 5 - The team heads to Heidelberg to get tested at the Volkhochschule for their German knowledge. Joshua, Beth and Lynne - who speak no German yet are all registered in the first class while Danijela makes it into the 4th class and Nicole and Andrew prove to be too good at German to take any more classes! :) They will instead use their German to offer free English lessons to folks in the church while the others are in school as well as do some more volunteer work at the CVJM, die Birke and SAM hopefully! :) The team then went to the University of Heidelberg mensa where they did spiritual background survey's. Dinner and a long meeting was held at the Rathbone's where we assigned roles and responsibilities for the summer and watched the ASK apologetics CD on origin in preparation for the coffee house social on Thursday night. (Mary)

Day 6 - the team met for a prayer time before starting their first work day at the CVJM. Lots was accomplished by all and we are very encouraged by the team's willingness to work hard for God and the people at the CVJM. (Mary)

Day 7: The morning and early afternoon was spent in Heidelberg at the University doing spiritual background surveys with students and handing out flyers to our coffee house social. Everyone had the rest of the day free to relax and catch up on sleep! (Mary)

Day 8 - Our team worked very hard from late morning to early evening. We then had our first "coffee house social" to kick off our apologetics course for the summer. It appeared most present were born-again, but we still thank the Lord that so many came and participated. (Andrew)

Day 9: We continued work with the CVJM loft's floor. At Ten-Sing tonight, we painted a backdrop for our play and practiced songs for the upcoming concert. We also decided that "Schlumpf" is an acceptable word to describe anyone. Spiritual warfare is increasing by my observations. (Andrew)

Day 10: Another hard day of work at the CVJM. We are all tired, both physically and spiritually. Prayers are much appreciated. Hopefully, we can unwind at a BBQ tonight. (Andrew)

Day 11: I preached today on living a life filled with passion for God like the apostles did in the book of Acts and so many Christian missionaries on the field today that end up giving their lives for their faith.  Here is the text of my preach if you want to read it.  I was so thankful to Boris for translating for me and that Lisa was back to help lead worship with Corrie!  We have missed you Lisa!  (Mary)

Passion for God - As seen in the book of Acts and Today

Today we will continue our discussion on missions and the book of Acts.
Alan and I are doing a bible reading plan this year which requires us to read through the New Testament twice.  Each time I read the book of Acts what stands out to me is the work of the apostles and how powerful their message was and how they didn’t waiver like they sometimes did in the gospels.  They went out, preached, were persecuted, performed miracles and they did it all because of the passion inside them to reach the lost.

Fast forward to today and occasionally you see some of the same passions in people but really it’s rare.  The book of Acts was clearly a powerful time for the Spirit of God to move, work and bless.  Most Christians you and I know are not passionate.  Most of us are self-centered, apathetic and our lives so closely resemble lives of non-Christians no one can tell us apart. 

There are some exceptions though. 

In the past century we’ve seen missionaries like Jim Elliott and Nate Saint, who worked with the Auca Indians of Ecuador or Simon Geske who was called to the Turks in eastern Turkey.  Dave Mankins was called to the Kuna people of Panama and John and Elisabeth Stam went to China.  Maybe you recall some of these missionaries and their stories of great courage and passion. 

All were filled with the Holy Spirit like the apostles in the book of Acts but they also shared something else in common.
They all died.  All were martyred for their faith. 

But what did they die for?  In fact what did they live AND die for?

Billy Graham, the famed evangelist once said that he was in the room with Chancellor Konrad Adenhauer - the first chancellor of Germany after Hitler.  Adenhauer was charged with picking up the pieces of a broken Germany and he had called for the young evangelist to visit him.  Graham sat nervously and waited for one the greatest statesmen in history to speak.  Adenhauer surprised the evangelist when he asked him, “Mr Graham, do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?”  Billy Graham was stunned for a moment and he said, “Sir. if I didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I would not be an evangelist.”  Mr. Adenhauer then walked over to the window and looked out at the debris of Cologne and all that the war had wrecked and then this great statesman said this, “Mr. Graham, outside of the resurrection of Jesus Christ I know of no other hope for mankind.”
“No other hope for mankind.”

So let’s think about the apostles in the book of Acts.  The three that stand out to me are Paul, Peter and James (the brother of Jesus).  These three also had something in common.  James rejected Jesus as the Messiah before his death.  Peter denied him three times and Paul persecuted the entire Christian church.  This was however UNTIL they met Jesus face to face after his resurrection.  That changed everything.  Paul became an apostle to the Gentiles, Peter to the Jews and James was the head of the church at Jerusalem.  They, like so many missionaries today and the other apostles (with the exception of John) were martyred for their faith.  They believed so strongly in the resurrected Jesus that they withstood persecution, prison, beatings and finally death rather than deny or turn their backs on their faith.  Remarkable.

So how ready are you and I to give our lives for Jesus?  Maybe you will say, well that won’t ever happen because I plan to live and die in Germany.  God has not called me to be a missionary to places today where Christians are being killed.  I’m just going to live my life here and I will be safe. 

I guess I would say to you, “have you watched the news lately?” I don’t watch the news too often because it thoroughly depresses me.  All bad news.  If we are not in the end times already there is a very strong possibility we will be in only a few short years. Look at the prophesies foretold in the bible and then look at the world around you.  It’s not long now. 

Maybe you won’t be called to give your life for Christ but the real question becomes how ready are you to LIVE for Christ every day?  Do you find it difficult to read your bible every day?  How often do you really pray?  Do you find you get passionate about sharing Christ with your family members, friends or co-workers who are lost?  When’s the last time you told someone the good news that Jesus came, rose and conquered the one great enemy that haunts each and every one of us?  Death? 

The last couple of months we spent talking about the Holy Spirit and the life he desires for you to live.  The life He wants to enable you to have.  Did you pray for the Holy Spirit to come into your life and to radically transform you like He did for the apostles in the book of Acts?  Do you even believe it’s possible to live like this? 

If we are honest, week after week we live relatively uneventful lives... but maybe, like me, you want to be like one of those apostles in the book of Acts or like one of these missionaries who gave his life for Christ. 

So what will it take?

1)  Be Passionate – apathy.  The great danger of the church.  Don’t be apathetic.  Be anything but don’t be an apathetic Christian.

2) Be Called – The Great commission has called us all to be missionaries. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Meckesheim is your Jerusalem. 
Germany is your Judea
Europe is your Samaria
and Tanzania, Chile, China, America is the ends of the earth.

3)  Be Willing – pray God will change your heart and make His will be Your will!  Alan and I fight this all the time.  We would both love to be living in our homelands, visiting with family and friends, speaking English at all times.  But more than that we want to be willing to be where God wants us and at least for now that is in Germany.

4) Be Prepared – put on the armor of God as is called out in the book of Ephesians, chapter 6.  Read your bible, search out an accountability partner, pray, forgive, live a life that is dependent on Christ.  Build a relationship with Christ and make it your first priority.

Don’t be comfortable – God never called us to be comfortable.

Don’t be apathetic – Your life has purpose and meaning!  Don’t waste it.

Don’t be a complainer – As CS Lewis says, “"What He wants of the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful, but which is wholly uncritlcal in the sense that it does not appraise - does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going." 

Live a life radically transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that Jesus Christ, the son of the most high God who created the world we see around us came, died and rose again conquering death and we are to live to give him glory for all He has done.

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