Thursday, March 31, 2011

John 11:41-42

"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me;"

Hello friends,

I just got back from our Thursday night home group in the city.  I'm so thankful for people like Elainie that worship God freely with their whole bodies, giving expression in dance and prophetic movement.  They spread a freedom and liberty that is infectious and permeates the spiritual atmosphere.  As a team, we felt like the Lord wanted us to facilitate an environment for the things God has placed within everyone to come out and be released.  With that said, we had a lively discussion of Philippians 3 - one of my favorite chapters.  It's cool to see people freely expressing what's on their heart and others responding with truth and honest, sincere testimonies.  The body loving the body is a beautiful thing. Grace comes in to fill, strengthen, saturate, and raise up places of weakness.   I need a strong brother and sister out there in the world doing damage in the kingdom of light. We all benefit from that. Not to mention we're family and we're here for one another, right?

Praise Report!  A precious member of our body, has been battling intestinal inflammation and recurring abdominal pain for nearly ten years.  Within the past ten days the pain was so severe that she was hospitalized.  After various tests she was scheduled for a surgical procedure that would remove a portion of her intestine, with a potentially complicated, lengthy recovery.  On Tuesday, a group of us fasted and anointed her with oil, agreeing once again with the many prayers that had been prayed, for the kingdom of God to come in power upon her body (And just so you know how holy I am, I had forgotten about the fast and ate a pizza for lunch, haha.  However, I repented and continued fasting ;).  When the doctors went to do the surgery today, they couldn't find anything to remove!  They just enlarged a slightly narrow passage and that was it.  Believing this good report is an answer to prayer - THANK YOU, JESUS!

The Breakthrough Conference in Lebanon is fast approaching. On Tuesday a handful of us from the Network Community will be depart, together with Rick Sizemore and others friends from the United States.  Things in southern Syria are a bit dicey in the world, but we're believing for God to make a way for our friends in the Damascus area to secure safe passage to Beruit.  Prayer is much appreciated.  Pray for protection and the peace of God in Syria.  Pray for the wisdom and revelation of God, for those leading and attending the conference. Let the Lord's will be done.  We depart Thessaloniki at 9:35pm April 5th and return at 8:45pm on Aptil 11th.  Here are just a few names of those participating for the purpose of prayer: Myself, Annika, Jen, Amy, Tommie, Yanna, Rick, Chris, Nancy, Emil, Rana, Hassan, and Joseph.

Much love.  See you soon,


Sunday, March 20, 2011

1 Corinthians 1:9

Hey friends,

Man, where to begin?  A lot has been happening..

First of all, it's awesome to see how God has pursued this Serbian guy that I met on the basketball court.  You can certainly run from God, but you can't hide, haha.  His lovingkindness is forever in hot pursuit (Psalm 23:6).  This guy met the Lord when he was 17, but fell back into the world and long-story-short, ended up in Thessaloniki.  He has dived right into fellowship and is loving on everyone.  It just wrecks me whenever I hear him pray - to hear this brother of mine that was lost and now is found.  I just want to weep and worship God.  It makes it all worth it.

He has joined Jen and Yanna on Tuesdays as they minister to the Roma (Gypsy) people.  He was really moved by the children that lacked shoes and clothing, so I went with them last Tuesday.  The first little girl, no more than two years old, that walked up to me didn't have shoes or pants.  There are shards of glass and busted pieces of metal everywhere.  I posted about it on Facebook and had a good response so far.  Praise God, I received some financial contributions for shoes and clothing; as well as, interest in sending some via mail or with the short-term missions team from Dwelling Place in May.  The kids are so hungry for love, attention, and discipline.  It's tough not being able to speak their language, though many of them can't even read, write, or speak Greek.  I just sat there and scatched little Andrea's (below in blue) back while Yanna was teaching them.  He just looked at me and smiled.  I intend to go there every Tuesday.

I've become part of the leadership team for the Thursday night homegroup in the city.  Really pray that Femi, Annika, Natalie and I would lead the group well.  Pray that we would take the group where the Lord wants us to take it and full of His heart.  Pray that people would really be released, free to express themselves, to grow, to love and to really get to know one another.  We need wisdom and unity!

Next Friday we are having 24 hours of prayer at the church from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday.  Some of our friends from the churches in Macedonia will be coming down.  I'm really looking forward to an awesome time of worship, prayer, and fellowship with our brothers to the north.  Last year this event was a point of significant breakthrough in the church.

Speaking of breakthrough, this is the theme of the upcoming conference Tommie is planning together with fellow churches in Beirut, Lebanon.  It's not in my budget, but I believe it's God so I'm going anyway! Haha.  I just heard a sermon by Tim Keller in which he recounted a story about Alexander the Great.  Alexander was of course extremely wealthy due to his vast conquests.  He told his generals that if they needed anything, to just ask him.  So, one day, a general came to him and asked Alexander's treasurer for the funds for his daughter's wedding.  However, he asked for ten or twenty times above any reasonable amount needed for even the most extravagant wedding.  When the treasurer went to Alexander and told him the general's request, he expected Alexander to be shocked and to dismiss or even rebuke him.  But instead Alexander told the treasurer that this was excellent.  He said, 'This general of mine must believe that I am extremely wealthy and generous,' so he gave it to him!  Beloved, have we begun to believe the depth of God's abundance and generosity?  'How much more will He give what is good to those who ask Him' (Matt 7:11)!

I digress!  We are still reaching out to students on campus twice weekly.  I was reminded today that God has been faithful to answer our prayers.  When I got here in late November, there was little to none of the promises that He had spoken to me previously.  But He told me to prophesy to this city, to the valley of dry bones, that the motherlands of the gospel will give birth again.  And this brother sitting next to me in church tonight was a fulfillment of those promises - the fruit of those prayers and pioneering steps.  He is faithful!

With that said, pray that the Lord would give me grace, wisdom and vision to continue to reach outward as opportunities to serve the body have increased.  Pray also that I would see and hear where the Lord is leading me this summer and fall, so that I would prepare and order my way towards that end.

God bless - Love you all!


Monday, March 7, 2011

The White City

Hey friends,

Forgive me for taking so long to write again.  I've been in Belgrade, Serbia for the past week visiting with the other Balkan missionaries from Dwelling Place, and haven't had the opportunity to write until now.

Serbia was amazing.  I love Belgrade.  For whatever reason, I feel so strongly to just praise God whenever I am there.  I think there is so much power in it for that city.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,

         And a two-edged sword in their hand,
    To execute vengeance on the nations
         And punishment on the peoples,
    To bind their kings with chains
         And their nobles with fetters of iron,
    To execute on them the judgment written;
         This is an honor for all His godly ones.
         Praise the LORD! - Psalm 149:6-9

Praise is warfare.

We attended the weekly prayer group meeting Thursday night.  I felt the presence of God so strongly when I first entered the apartment of this particular elder's family.  I became aware of the honor and privilege it was to know, be in the home of, and intercede alongside the real movers and shakers of Belgrade.  Only God could orchestrate such a course. He gives such abundant honor to earthen vessels.

We had the opportunity to pray for the pastor's wife among others.  The church there is definitely under attack, but the Lord gave me a word that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).  The body of Christ in Belgrade will overcome.  She said it really carried weight.  4,930 miles across the ocean to speak one word that causes life to be birthed in the body of Christ makes all the warfare worth it.  Bethany also received two words in visions that confirmed the very thing two others had prayed in Serbian.  There is one Spirit and He's awesome.

Leaving your city and diving into the body in another city always gives me fresh perspective when I return.  It's 1:55am here, so more on that later.  Ida ciao.

Much love,