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Tripping

Last night was our first “post-summer” mid-week gathering.  We had a few newcomers who no doubt were a bit surprised at the non-formality of the atmosphere.  Our Sunday gatherings could hardly be termed “formal”, but by Ukrainian standards…  well, the word “relaxed” fits us to a ‘T’.  We valiantly waded into Revelation chapter 2 and 3 with the goal of applying to our church the encouragement to grow and warnings given to the churches in Asia Minor.  We will meet as a large group for the next several weeks and only at the end of October break up into a few different groups. 

foodOne of the newcomers was a young drug addict who grew up in New York (smiling in the photo).  He was sent to us from a town in Western Ukraine on Monday and is a fascinating study.  He met some Christians here in Ukraine who realized that God may choose to save him through rehab.  Our initial impression is that he’s very open and eager to be accepted… and He’s eating up a storm at the moment, (four days in).  He’s probably already put on 5kg in weight.  The next two weeks will be the first big hurdle for him as his body cries out for drugs.  If he stays, and I think he will, the next big hurdle after that will be at some period in the next few months dealing with his pride and submitting himself to the authorities in his life.  If you pray for him, his name is Zhenya.

Relegation

IMG_0679I’ve been “relegated” to my office.  There is a ladies gathering in our lounge-room where I am normally set up and there are several little children in the ministry centre room with Angel and Elle and one of Elle’s friends.  I seldom get “relegated”, but am enjoying it at the moment.

I’ve been listening to a video on YouTube by Dr. James White on John 3:16 as the kids have played.  I’ve given this verse a fair bit of attention over the last month… this isn’t the first time I’ve heard Dr. James White address it.  My conclusion is that like me, most of us have heard it, quoted it, and have a good basic understanding of the truth contained in it.  But still, many have an imperfect understanding of it.  What do you reckon?  Are you in that boat? 

Here’s the test:  1.  To what does the word “world” refer to?  2.  What kind of love is God loving with?  3.  The word “whoever” implies that anyone has the opportunity to believe, or does it?  4.  What sort of belief is required for it to affect my eternity?  5.  Are you sure of your answers?

Lugger

clip_image002Well… the “fork experiment” was conducted… and declared a flop. One of two conclusions has to be made. Either our people are very considerate or they don’t value stainless steel forks! Considering the fact that the desert table was empty by the time I went to get some cake, I’m going to assume it was the latter.  I do love my brothers and sisters and try to give them a good example to follow… but how do I get some cake?  :)

We had another picnic yesterday, (I do love church picnics). We try to have a picnic or church-lunch once a month, but I would be quite willing to have one every week.  Artyom, a unique young man with an alcoholic father and a love for God “passed through the waters” on Sunday - hence the celebratory picnic. His Grandmother started attending our church a couple of years ago at about the same time he started going to youth group and kids club and hanging out with Shane and Jemi. In answer to a question about changes in his life that was posed to him after he shared his testimony, he said that a big change had been that he had lost most of his friends when his priorities and standards had changed. What has he gained?  Untold riches!  May God grow his young faith and bless him.

Cheap Plastic Forks

clip_image002I’m going to do an experiment at our next church picnic… and then use it as an illustration. We will set the usual pile of plates out, but have 10 good stainless steel forks and 60 cheap plastic ones in the forks pile. I am pretty certain that the “C.P.F.’s” will be the only ones left within 20 people visiting the buffet-style table. Most of us, despite God’s instruction to the contrary, “look out for our own interests at the expense of the good of others”. But then you have the 20% who are different. (And it is simply a delight when you realize someone is entering the 20%!) One of our young men here is one such. About a year ago, we picked him up in Kiev… a blubbering mess of a drunk who was desperate to come to rehab. I was so totally not in the mood for silliness or being put out by the stench and foolish words of a drunk… and had just enough grace in me to accept him into our car… but it was close. My attitude on the way home was anything but loving… but I admitted to myself and the guy in the car next to me that God would probably teach me another lesson and this drunk would become one of my most precious brothers in Rzhyshchiv. Well… guess what. :) I shake my head at the irony of it… and the powerful grace of God on display. Roma serves and loves and cares and would probably be in the top 1% of the 20%. He won’t take a stainless steel fork to eat his meal with.