Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Law

I was talking today to one of my friends and telling him why I love the book of Galatians. Why do I? Because Paul defends salvation by grace. Why do people want to be tied to the laws of their religion? Jesus completed the law. That is why we don't have to. So here is what I told my friend. The law is like a metro bus drive. These bus drivers follow the rules and that is it. If you are not at the bus stop when they stop they won't open the door. Yesterday the bus was stopped at a light and it was pouring rain. A man ran up to the bus to see if the bus driver would let him on the bus. No way! The bus driver didn't even think about it. Another time I saw this old woman. She was at least seventy. She didn't push the button to get off. She asked the bus driver to stop. No way! She didn't push the button. That is the law! There is no bending. No mercy. You either keep it all or you are guilty of all. With Jesus there is mercy. Just as many people are tied to their religion, Jesus wants us to be tied to him. Paul said this in Gal. 2:16, "...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Planting Seeds

I was reminded some weeks ago about the power of the seed. A seed can sit on a shelf or in a bag or wherever for years and it is of no benefit. It won't bring forth fruit. However, if that seed is planted, that seed will die. When it dies it brings forth fruit. For a couple days last week I had the opportunity to spend time with a man who will be moving to Turkey and another young man who is praying about what God wants him to do. They explained to me some of the opportunities they have had planting the seed of the Gospel in this country. They can only speak with the English speakers in the country but God has allowed them to meet some great contacts to witness to. I'm sure that these people that they have met will continue to be great friends. This is what you want when people come into a country. Let them plant seeds so that those who remain can water and God will give the increase. We must be faithful planters of the Gospel, because Satan wants to steal those seeds that have been planted. Remember planting is not an easy job. You have to till the land, remove rocks, or in some countries boulders. After that you have to dig rows in which to plant the seeds. After all the hard work, what a great thing it is to see a stem pop up through the ground. Sometime later that seed which died matures and creates fruit with which you can plant more seeds.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


One part of serving in a country where there is not total religious freedom is using the correct words. I was reminded of this today. O group of men and I were able to talk to the head of a children's camp here in the country. He has to go to all the authorities and explain what he is doing. Here are a couple of examples: They can't use the word 'education' because that would mean the Ministry of Education would have to approve what they are teaching. Instead they used the word study. They can't call it a 'summer camp' so they have to call it a vacation or holiday excursion. Some churches which established themselves as foundations have had problems because they used the words Sunday 'school' which implies teaching. This means that the Ministry of Education would need to approve what they are teaching. The man who talked with us wanted prayer for his upcoming meeting with the authorities. One word could make a huge difference.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There are always opportunities

Once a week on Tuesdays there is a church that does an outreach in the city. They usually offer soup or tea for free form 2:00-5:00. Before everything starts we pass out some flyers. We want people to know there is a Turkish church in their area and that they can come and talk whenever they want. Here are some of the questions we get asked: "Why is it free?" "Do you get paid to do this?" "What is in the soup?"

Three young men showed up to eat some soup. One of them has been coming regularly. I asked them what they thought about the Bible. They told me that they had read it a little. One of them asked if the Bible had been changed. Now what they are taught here is that all the Christian elders got together at the first Council of Nicea which is Iznik, Turkey, and decided which books to include in the canon and which ones not to. Actually here the story is even worse. Many Turks will tell me that they stacked all the books on a table and the ones that fell off were not included in the canon. So before I came to Turkey I could have cared less about what happened at the Council of Nicea. We have to be ready to answer people. So I explained to this young man what really happened at the council of Nicea. It had nothing to do with the canon of the Scripture. I explained to him the congruency of the Bible. He actually wanted to stay longer and talk but his friends wanted to go. I hope to see him next week.

Yesterday I was sitting on a park bench studying when someone came and sat down by me. I didn't say anything, but about 5 minutes later this young man asked me what I was studying. I told him and he asked me how I make decisions in my life. This was an interesting question. I told him that I try to live by what the Bible says. Then he told me he was an atheist. This led to a long discussion about what happens after we die. I also explained to him why being good is not enough to be accepted by God. I hope to contact him again and talk some more.

God gives us opportunities to speak of Him everyday. We need to be sure we are ready.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It has been way too long!

I know it has been way too long since I've written. So I will not attempt to fill you in with what has been happening the past few months in one blog. I'll start with the most recent news.
We have another baby boy. His name is Blake Eren(similar to Aaron) He was born May 18, 2009. He was 8.1 lbs. and 19.5 inches. Praise God! He and his mother are doing great.
That same week I found out that because my college degree was not accredited the Ministry of Education denied my work visa. This means legally that I can't teach English without an accredited bachelors degree. This kind of through me for a loop.
At that time we were and we still are planning on moving to another city in the summer. I had planned on transferring to our companies branch there in the city that we would move to. So that idea is out.
I'm not sure how God is leading. I'm just trying to follow. After the news that I shared with you above, I decided maybe I should try to get a student visa by studying at university. So I crammed for the SAT. I hadn't done math in 10 yrs. A week and a half of studying wasn't enough to trigger my brain but it helped some. I took the test this past Saturday. I believe I did well enough to apply to university. Here are some thoughts I had after reflecting on what has happened.

1. I've taught English here for a year and a half. This job was no doubt from God. Why is it being taken away? Not sure, but since I had been teaching English I didn't have to worry about that part on my SAT!

2. Also had I not got the news that my work visa was denied two weeks before the SAT I would not have had a chance to take the SAT or apply to university.

3. I'm different. Some or you say, "Yes we know." As I sat in the classroom with 100 other students I thought about what they probably wanted. They wanted to get a good score so they could go to a good American university which in turn would help them make more MONEY. I don't want any of that. I want to tell them that there is more to life than money and things. I want to tell them about Jesus.