I Am Second

I bought nine of these wristbands the day before we left the USA. I bought them for a few reasons. 
First, I like the message they portray. If I am second, than who is first? Easy answer; Jesus is first. I’ve already had people on the ground here in Moldova ask what this means, and was able to talk about Jesus with them. 
Second, we have a team of nine people, living in close quarters, working together in gospel ministry. This could easily result in lots of arguing and disagreements. After we arrived here, I sat down with our team and explained that if we let the little things annoy us, they take away from what the Lord has called us to do. We need to put aside anything petty, and focus on why we are in Moldova. Gospel ministry is our focus, and these bracelets remind us when we are getting annoyed with someone, that the gospel is the true reason we are here! To proclaim that Jesus is Lord, Isus este Domne!
Check out the website for more information on I Am Second. I Am Second Website

Sermon from Androsul de Jos; 2 Timothy 1:7-10

Why do people feel shame? I think of some times in life when I see shame in the faces of my children. That shame is because they knew they had done something wrong. Shame is an emotion that is not felt by the innocent. Shame is felt by the guilty.

Our text this morning is from 2 Timothy 1:7-10 and provides us the lesson that we do not need to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to boast in the Lord and Him alone.

God’s holy calling of the Christian results in our salvation and also is a command for us to be holy.

Words of the wise Paul to his child in the faith, Timothy. Paul is writing from prison: The aged apostle was now a prisoner of the emperor (probably Nero) and facing almost certain death. Timothy must not be so fearful as to be ashamed to visit Paul in prison.

2 Timothy 1:7–10 (ESV)
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Point 1: God’s spirit
Not of fear
Power
love
self-control
Fruits of the spirit — Galatians 5:22
Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian

Point 2: Skip the Shame (verse 8)
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Do not be ashamed of your testimony, of how God has saved you and works in your life; espouse that far and wide; preach the gospel in your life
Mark 8:38 —> Jesus will be ashamed of those ashamed of Him, at time of judgement
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
How did the 1st century Christian share in suffering? How can we share in suffering?

Point 3: Saved AND Called (verse 9)
Embrace your calling, a holy calling from the Lord. Understand what your calling entails.
We are not just saved and put on a shelf. We are saved through a holy calling, we are saved to action. We are saved to do the work of the Lord. We are saved to serve the world like Jesus would. We are saved to preach the gospel. We are saved to love our neighbor. We are saved to do ministry.
By nothing that we have done; not by our willingness to feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Tend to the sick. Build houses for the homeless. All these are great things, but they do NOT save.
God’s grace is what saves. God’s grace is extended to us, but we do not deserve it.
Election – you were chosen before the beginning of time itself.

Point 4: Death is dead; immortality is forever (verse 10)
Salvation is from Jesus Christ alone; salvation has been manifested through the coming of Jesus Christ.
Death has lost it’s sting; death has been removed / abolished. Those that experience salvation in Jesus Christ, rejoice, because you will never experience death. Death is dead to you.
Life has been given to you in Jesus Christ; life that you never had before.
Eternal life lasts forever. Amen.
Light through the gospel —> Exposed through the gospel message; through the work on the cross of Jesus Christ.

Why do we not share this great testimony the Lord has given to us?
Fear —
of what others will think of us.
of the consequences of stating what we believe.
of rejection.
Shy — lack of boldness to stand up for our faith.
Ashamed? We know that Jesus will be ashamed of those ashamed of Him.
Share this great testimony — share the gospel in all the places the Lord puts you in (school, home, market); hiding a light under a basket is foolish

Conclusion:
Never lose our focus on what we are saved from and to
God’s grace is something we do not deserve, but He still offered it to us.
Death is dead by the work of Jesus Christ — let’s praise Him this morning and thank Him for His grace.

Preaching at Androsul de Jos

Ashley, Acacia, Peter, and I (Chris) had the opportunity to make a visit to the church in Androsul de Jos. This is the first time the church has met in their new sanctuary space. They had been meeting in the basement of this building, and in the last year, finished the roof and this space. They will dedicate this new building on July 20, at the conclusion of the VBS that we will operate. Last year when Josh and Don visited Moldova, Josh preached in the basement space of this church.

Ashely, Acacia, and Peter

What a joy to meet and worship with these fellow believers from Moldova. Peter shared his testimony and I had a chance to open God’s Word from 2 Timothy 1:7-10.

Acacia, Ashley, and Peter have been eating a lot in Moldova. Look at that bench buckle! 😉
 
The boy next to Peter is the son of the Pastor. The kid loves the Lord and welcomes everyone when they arrive.

Comfort Zone

One of my unique gifts that has developed over the past few years is pushing people out of their comfort zone. I learned this unique skill by being pushed out of my comfort zone during our first 3 month trip to Moldova. Pastor Anatol asked me to street preach during Christmas caroling, explain Jesus and Christmas to classroom’s full of school kids, and preach on Sunday morning at Emanuel. I was fully out of my comfort zone.

So now I share what I learned by pushing others out of their comfort zone. This is primarily focused on our team and the teams that travel to Moldova to participate in camps. Afraid to speak in public? Great, you are up next to share your testimony in front of the church. Not a teacher? Great, you are now teaching English class. (This is what we did to Caity for TKD VBS, and she ran with it.) I’ve had a few of the kids share their testimonies at different times as the Lord provided opportunities. The point here is that if you are standing up to speak for Jesus, than who cares if you flub on your words? You are giving glory to the King of Kings! Praise the Lord that we can so easily be pushed out of our “comfort zone”.

Chris

A VBS and another VBS: Update from Moldova

We’ve been busy the past two weeks with back to back VBS camps. We’ve been at the church around 8AM and leaving at 5PM, after prepping for the next day. I have many pictures to post, and will get those going this weekend.

A cold has been making it’s way through the group. I (Chris) have had it, as well as Levi and Deb. After being in contact with over 200 kids in the past two weeks, it’s a blessing that the entire team is not under the weather. Deb is still down with it at the moment, so please pray for her. We have a few days off this weekend before the team from America arrives, and then it’s off to Larga for Teen Martial Arts Camp.

We have made one change to our schedule for the summer which is exciting. Instead of going to Sport Camp in July, we will instead operate a VBS in the village of Androsul. Androsul is dedicating a new building on July 20th, and has asked Emanuel to support a VBS the week before. Most of Emanuel is working on Sport Camp, so we were the logical group to step in and do a VBS. It will be a bit sad to not see all of our friends at Larga, but this opportunity gives us a chance to do ministry versus resting and playing, and we came here to DO ministry!

Chris

Two Flats is the Answer

We have been crazy busy the past few days, with the start and now almost conclusion of the Emanuel Vacation Bible Camp. Our prayer for housing has been answered, and we are now living in two separate flats (apartments). We have the boys dorm and girls dorm. 🙂

Our initial plan was to stay in the same house we occupied last summer. That plan changed quickly when we learned a few days before our arrival that the house experienced a large water leak, and parts of the ceiling had caved in. We realize that God had a different plan for us this summer, and everyone has been very good sports about the uncertainty that this introduced. We stayed at the church for the first week, but needed to vacate because the VBC requires all the available space in the church.

We played “House Hunters International: Moldova Edition”, with Nicolae serving as our realtor. He showed us three different options, and we chose two out of the three. The one we passed on was unfurnished and missing a toilet.

The flat for the girls has four rooms (2 bedrooms) and belongs to the English teacher from Emanuel Church. He is out of the country for the summer. The flat for the boys has three rooms, and belongs to the son of a local Pastor. This flat was lived in until the day we took possession. It feels like the owners rented to us and literally ran out the door, leaving most of their stuff behind.

Chris

The Calm Before the Storm

The calm before the storm… not a storm of discomfort, but a storm of activity. We stayed at the church for the past few days, recovering from our travels. The kids are settling in, and have taken over the process of feeding us all. They departed for the store an hour ago with a long list of items to feed us for the rest of today and tomorrow. It takes a lot of food to feed seven teenagers. Hope they stock that grocery store up each night!

I started to feel like we needed to do something. We are missionaries here this summer, shouldn’t we be out doing something? Preaching, teaching, or anything to spread the gospel message? But then I remembered the local people that God has put in our path. We bumped into a young lady on the street who worked at the grocery store last summer. She is currently in University, and was on her way to a final exam. She was a bit frazzled, but still glad to see us and chat for a few moments. I also had the opportunity to catch up with a friend here and talk for an hour about how things have been going in his life. Gospel ministry doesn’t always require a pulpit or an agenda. It can always be found in daily life.

Next week we begin the first of three weeks of back to back to back camp. The first week is the Emanuel VBS camp. Then we transition to the two Club Dinamic martial arts camps: VBS and teen camp at Larga. Mix in a few trips to Romania to pick up team members, and you get a picture of the craziness that is to come. I’m letting myself enjoy the slow nature of this week, because the next three weeks will be a blur!

Chris

2014: We have arrived

Our team arrived in Cahul yesterday (Monday, June 2nd). We took a new route this year, traveling from Raleigh, NC to Boston, MA, then to Paris, France, with a final flight destination of Bucharest, Romania. We decided to fly to Bucharest and then drive 4 hours to Cahul to save money per ticket. Using this route required us to pass immigration / customs for both Moldova and Romania. It is more difficult to enter the country by car than by plane.

Two major items I bring before you for prayer today: 1) Deb’s health, and 2) our housing situation.

First, Deb has been ill since we left Raleigh with stomach problems. She is in pain, so please pray that the Lord will heal her quickly.

Second, our housing plan for the summer has changed. Our original house, and the one we stayed in last year, had a pipe burst and flooded the entire house. The owner was unable to repair the house in time for our arrival. As with last year, we begin this journey in the house of the Lord, literally. We are staying at Emanuel Baptist Church this week, and will transition to our final space this weekend. Please pray that a house is found for us that meets our needs (size of our team). We have a total of nine team members this summer, but more on that in the next post.

Chris