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Celebration

photoAnother major celebration of “The Resurrection” goes by.  There has only ever been one like it in the history of the world.  Planned, predicted, executed by God while alternately dismaying, surprising, and delighting men… this was arguably the most important event in the history of man.  Jesus was dead; in a strange sense, killed by the hands of every sinner who repents and puts their trust in Him.  But He rose from the dead, thereby revealing some rather important and beautiful truths. 

Jesus is God.  And last Sunday we let our voices spread over the expanse of the Dnepr River below us and loudly proclaim that our God is risen!  “Kristos Voskres!”  It was a good morning for the 20 of us who gathered to remember the event that happened at dawn in Jerusalem a little less than 2000 years ago. 

We gathered, sang a couple of songs, prayed and read the victory story then as the sun peeked over the horizon I gave three resounding “Kristos Voskres-es” and received in return three “Voistino Voskres-es”.  Then we enjoyed coffee/tea and buns and muffins while we stood around the fire and enjoyed the beauty.  It was a perfect morning.

Four guys

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1. Yuri

It’s always nice when you hear that someone you know has made a decision for Christ… but especially when you know that they’ve been on the verge of doing so for some time.  Three years ago, we took a group of students away, (about 20 if I remember correctly), for a week end.  It was sponsored largely by a couple from Sydney who had received a retirement package and wanted some of it to go towards evangelism to youth.  (Thank you, G&A.)  During the weekend, I noticed two of the young men seemed to be more receptive to the message than the others.  As we shared about the cross and its significance, all of the guys listened intently, but it was Yuri who hung around afterwards and asked questions.  And it was Yuri who began coming to youth and then Bible study and church on Sundays.  Six or so months back, he told us he believed that Jesus was God but he wasn’t ready to be baptized or to entrust his life to God.  Last night, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper and he took part.  Afterwards, Shane was talking with him and he shared that he was “ready”.  Praise the Lord!  He is at work in the hearts of men.  (Yuri is the one crouching in the middle of the photo.)  Pray that he would seek the rule of God’s kingdom in his life.

 

 

 

Wore and Piece

As I look back over the last several years, and consider the times of conflict we’ve had in our lives… the list begins to get long.

1.  Conflict with neighbors

2.  Conflict with thieves

3.  Conflict with Police

4.  Conflict with children

5.  Conflict with church members

6.  Conflict with Satan

7.  Conflict with my spouse

8.  Conflict with my friends

9.  Conflict with inanimate objects like car, computer, electricity, the electricity company, my expanding stomach!

10.  Conflict with myself

I think this list could develop another 20 points at least, and certainly not the least being the conflict with Russia and the “separs” (separatists) that is going on in Ukraine at the moment.  We seem to have quite a lot of conflict in our lives. 

I’ve been asked a couple of times now if I could deliver in our van a heap of preserves, (fish, meat, veggies, and jams), to the troops at the front.  These guys have seen conflict in a way few of us have… they risk their lives during conflict.  Interestingly enough, for most of them, their priority in this conflict is to live to see tomorrow – not to kill the enemy.  That’s a strange sort of conflict, no?  Self-preservation above victory. 

Peace amid fear

Peace amid fear?  Today it is reported that we had a death-free day in the conflict zone… the first since a truce was brokered in Minsk 10 days ago.  It must be said that they may as well have agreed to send an expedition to Pluto as agree on a truce.  There was no chance of that truce being honoured.  And as the country processes a day of no killing and hopes for peace… it fears.  This cannot last.  Putin has sent so much weaponry into the Eastern States and they have tasted the highs of success… what reason do they have for stopping now?  Combine this with a big hit on the savings and living standards of the majority of Ukrainians (over the past two days) as the Hryvnia has gone into free-fall and prices of goods have risen in some instances more than 50%… and the threat of an increase in electricity prices by 40% starting next month brings fear right there to the surface!  During the month of January, over 30% less petrol was bought by drivers here in Ukraine.  That figure alone speaks volumes on the state of the short-term economic future here.

And yet… life goes on.  People still go to work.  Kids go to school.  Mothers still collect their little ones from kindergarten.  Young people meet to hang out on the week-ends… It somehow seems wrong.