Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Big Test

Yesterday millions of people took the KPSS test. Many people hopes and dreams rest on this test. If they score high, they have the opportunity to be a teacher in a state school or some kind of other government employee. A government job means job security in this country. Humanly speaking it is understandable that they put such value on this test. It is sad though that one test can shape the future of your life. If only people could see that if they fail this test they can always take it again. But if they fail God's test there is no second chance. God says sins must be forgiven to allow people to live with Him forever. People must put their trust in the Savior of the World who died for their sins. Getting high points on the KPSS test doesn't score you high points with God! May people put their hope in something eternal!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

An atheist, agnostic, and a religious man...

Kind of sounds like I'm going to tell a joke, but it was the situation that I was in yesterday. I met up with two friends and they wanted me to come to their apartment to hang out. One of these young men is someone we have been working with for some time. A young lady was there at the apartment when we arrived and while visiting one of their friends stopped by. I believe we began talking about the orthodox churches in Mardin, an area in southeast Turkey. The next thing I know, the visiting friend and the young lady began asking me what I thought about Islam and Christianity. The other two guys had already heard what I was going to say, but since one was an atheist and the other not sure about what he believes they were in a way helping me. When given an opportunity like this I usually start out with the following....
"When I talk to you about what I believe, I'm not talking about religion like you know out. I'm talking about a way of salvation." This lead to the question, "What do you mean?" I then can explain the Gospel in a nutshell. In our conversation this led to questions on sin, the Bible being changed, the deity of Christ, fulfillment of prophecies, etc... One question which came up, which often does, was, "What do you think about Islam and Muhammad being the final religion and final prophet?" I don't know if I approached it correctly or not, but it seemed to make the young man think.

I said let's think of it like this: "God gave Moses the prophet the Law or I say the Shari'a. Jesus came and fulfilled the Law and lived a perfect life so that we didn't have to. He then gave us grace so we are not enslaved to the law. Now 500 and some years later Muhammad comes on the scene. He reveals that he is a prophet and gives us the Law again.  Did God change his mind? Was Jesus' life in vain?" This gave me the opportunity to explain what Jesus said about himself.

Sometimes God gives us very easy opportunities to share the Gospel and this was one of them. I'm thankful for the opportunity.

Miras (Inheritance Magazine)

In the picture above in the left-hand corner is the first Christian magazine that I know of to come out in Turkey. It is called Miras which means Inheritance. A good friend of mine had a lot to do with getting this magazine out. So I'm very excited for him, but I'm also excited about the possibilities that a magazine like this may offer. In this first issue there is an article written by Ravi Zacharias that has been translated into Turkish. The article deals with the question, "Is there a meaning to evil and suffering?" Very pertinent question for this country. There are also articles written about what the Gospel is and one in particular about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the price he paid in following Christ. I'm excited to see how it will be received by those who do not follow Christ. A magazine at times can almost give people the impression that they are tolerant or cultured because they are reading it. We'll see....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Advertisement in Turkey

This month starting the day after Easter an organization called the BCC (Bible Correspondence Course) began running an ad on 45 metro buses in Istanbul and on 2 large 2 meter advertisement billboards. This is what the ad looks like.
In essences it says, "What if what we believe is false?"  The ad has been running now for 11 days. It has 11 days left to be run. The police said that they have gotten so many complaints that they are having the ads taken down. Now this is good and bad. The good thing is that what it means is lots of people have checked out their website. There is nothing right away that would lead you to believe this is a religious ad. Pray that the taking down of the advertisement would lead to even more publicity.

What we see though is that what we know to be true about the human heart is true here. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jer. 17:9) According to the constitution there is nothing illegal about this ad. The organization is a recognized organization. There is technical freedom to do these sort of things. It doesn't change the fact that the people are blind to their need for a Savior. Whether a country is what some people term closed or open, the fact remains that the Holy Spirit must work in people's hearts. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work in the hearts of people throughout this country.

Advertisement is something that is being used to spread the Good News. Pray for genuine interest and curiosity and that lasting fruit would come from advertisements like those mentioned above and others on the internet.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1st Week Back

We have been able to hit the ground running. Since our return just over a week ago we have been cleaning house and catching up with friends and looking for rental property. We have also been able to make contact with some people who say they are interested in learning more about God's Word. What was really exciting was we had a man join us in our worship yesterday. He contacted us through our website and met with my friend prior to coming. He said that he was determined to go down this road (God's way). I preached on John 4. We talked about the fact that when we meet Jesus there are some things that we must leave behind. The woman had prejudice, pride, a past, and piety in her life. Jesus dealt with all these with her. In the end, she believed He was the Messiah and left her water pot to go bring others to Him.

It is interesting to learn the perspective of the hearers of the message. Afterwards we were talking and the man said that sometimes there might be good things in our life that we need to leave behind like our wives. I was a little shocked. I didn't think I heard him right. He was thinking about the verse where Jesus said that he who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62) We had a good discussion with him. The bottom line is he is struggling with the fact that if he makes this decision to follow Christ he may loose his wife, family, job, etc...So he is wondering if he should just go ahead and loose it now. I shared with him about my time in North Africa and about how the believers there decided to follow Christ even though it is against the law. I pray that after counting the cost he sees that Jesus is worthy of following.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

More of my notes from North Africa

Here are some more of my notes. Maybe they will be a help to some of you.

One day, my friend when dealing with the men who Lord willing will lead churches in North Africa, talked about three categories of separation:

What must a person believe to be a Christian?
What things can we believe and be members of the same church? (For example because a Presbyterian believes in baby baptism, we cannot be members in the same church.)
What things can we disagree on yet still be members of the same church? (music, end-times etc...

This is a very good study because these men will face questions like this as they come in contact with other leaders in the country.

There is a tendency to want to make it easier on people, but we are not doing them a favor if we do this. For example one of the young men that is in training plays the guitar. Not as well as 3 other people there but he plays good enough. He is not good at staying on time, but how would he learn if he didn’t play? If he doesn’t learn, what happens when the foreigners are gone?

My friend also said that he is constantly talking about Jesus. In this way, if someone doesn’t want to follow Jesus they are not going to want to hang around him.

Steps before major leadership
1. I do. You watch
2. We do together.
3. You do. I watch.
4. You do.

Since discipleship is life-on-life you begin dealing with what they are experiencing in their life.
3 main ideas to get across to new converts immediately:
The importance of the church
The importance of being daily in the Word
The sanctification process. (We must spend enough time with them that we know what sins they are struggling with and other areas where they need to grow.)
Along with these comes the teaching of eternal security and baptism....

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some Things I Learned

After my trip of a week to North Africa, I began to recall what I had seen and learned from my friend. At first, I thought there were many small principles that I had learned and nothing really monumental. Then I thought about it some more and realized that what I had seen and learned was monumental. It is a ministry philosophy that changes everything. It is something that ever since the Our Generation summer camp that I attended in 2004, I have been wanting to practice in my own ministry, but I could never really hash out in my mind or actions how exactly to put feet on this philosophy. What is it that I’m talking about? I’m talking about being men trainers. Every missionary would say, “I want to plant churches and train men.” If we focus on planting a church without being men trainers, what happens is we have people but no leader to turn over the church to. So what happens is a missionary goes on furlough and another missionary takes over his work. If we focus on training men, then from the beginning when God gives us teachable men they are growing as the church is. Then when the time comes, you have a leader ready to take over and not a church with no leader. This is really what I came away with from my trip. I saw from my friend a clear vision and a bull-dog like mindset to accomplish that vision. Sometimes leaders have to be rear-ends for the sake of the vision and the team. You can’t let someone come in and get you or the team off the goal of training men. With that said, here are some things that I noted that should keep anyone on focus when training people. With this focus in mind, you want to use all your valuable time in training the people God has given you. In the end what I saw was the Great Commission in action. Would you pray that God would give us faithful men?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trip to North Africa

I had a great time in North Africa visiting a friend of mine. Over seven days I was able to see what God is doing throughout the country. Men are being trained, believers are gathering together, and souls are being saved. In fact, while I was there a young woman put her faith in Jesus. I'll be sharing with you some of the things that I learned. Here is a link to some photos I took. I'm not good with a camera, but at least you can see the landscape of the areas I visited.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thankful for God's Protection for a Friend

Today I was able to chat with one of my friends back in Turkey. He was on his way to a city in the southeast part of the country when the bus he was riding on crashed. Because he bought his tickets late, he was in the back of the bus. I was really thankful because some people were injured and there might have been 1 or 2 deaths. All of these people were sitting near the front. I started our conversation with this line, "I saw the picture of the bus crash. I'm glad you're ok. God's hand was on you." He then said that he was not afraid to die. I told him maybe he should be afraid to die. From there we talked about how death was separation from God. I was able to chat with him over Romans 2:14&15. Then he moved on to the fact that he actually wished he would have died. He said he was tired of life. We then talked about the life that we can have when we know the Creator God. It was really an opportunity from God. I have shared the Gospel with him before, but I often wondered if he was listening. He was this time. I wanted him to think about how good God is in providing a way of salvation for mankind, and also for protecting him. I do pray that God would let my lost friends live long enough to trust Christ. Pray that God would use the bus crash to cause my friend to think about eternity.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Summit

This June will be 8yrs. since the Lord worked in our hearts to be involved in world evangelism and take the Gospel to another country. It was a Baptist Camp for world evangelism put on by that God used to convict our hearts. This year we had our first opportunity to attend the Summit, put on by the same organization, in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was such an encouragement to see how God is using men and women in Peru, Chile, Argentina, North Africa, China, etc... It was just as encouraging to see the young men and women who are preparing to go into all the world. It was a conference that focused my mind on the heart of God to begin the new year. Let me encourage you to take some time visit, subscribe to the blogs of God's servants around the world, and get excited about what God is doing.