The Picture Game

At teen camp in Larga we played the picture game. The point of this game is for the kids to work together within their own team, coming up with a creative picture based on the subject matter.

We gave each team the same five categories. Action movie, stone age, the future, super hero, and “all for one, and one for all”. Each team staged a picture using the props available around the camp. We show the pictures at the evening worship, and choose a winner for each category. I’m convinced that it is more fun to create the pictures than to judge the results. We started with a one hour time limit, but quickly threw that out the window. One team spent three hours creating their five pictures.

Here are the contestants:

1. Action Movie — the kids were told to create a scene from an action movie, using all members of their team.

2. Stone age — recreate a scene from the stone age.

3. The Future — some scene or reality about the future.

4. All for one and one for all

5. Super hero

 

Emanuel VBS

The Emanuel VBS was our first camp event of this season. This is one of my favorite camps, because our job is to assist the leadership from Emanuel Church in delivering the VBS activities. The leadership team from Emanuel has ten years of experience executing VBS, and I’ve learned many things from watching them execute.

They are very creative, and build a story into each VBS. This year they modified the story of Pinnochio to provide spiritual lessons for the children.

Costel and Maria, they run the VBS and star in the show!

Each day we sing songs that worship Jesus.

After the morning story and worship time, we split the camp into five separate groups. There are five different stations that occur: Bible memory verse, English, table games, games of sport, and crafts. Each of our kids was distributed to one of the stations as a helper. This prepared them to run later VBS camps in the summer. We all learned from the year of experience at Emanuel.

To see the hundreds of pictures from this event, please visit our Emanuel VBS gallery on smugmug.

Gallery is here

Bible Study at Teen Camp

For teen camp, Chris Whary put together a Bible Study that each of the groups used to share the truth from God’s Word. I’ve attached a copy here for anyone interested in what the materials look like that we use.

If you are considering joining us in Moldova in the future, a study like this is what you could lead for your own group.

Download the Teen Bible Study

Practicing What I Preach

I’ve been feeling sick the past few days, partially run down and partially sick with a cold. We’ve been in Manta this week, leading a VBS. Leading a VBS takes a large amount of physical effort. I try to be part of the activities with the kids and also ensure that all the pieces are executing. I teach the Bible lesson each day, trying to keep the kids engaged.

I’ve been feeling the effects of being sick and run down, and it’s caused my attitude to not be as positive as it should be. Last night it hit me that I should try to practice what I preach! I spoke on Sunday from James 1, about counting all sufferings as joy. I realize that I have not been counting the sufferings joyfully this past week, and that is on me. I pray that the Lord will assist me to push through and finish this VBS well.

Jerseys

A friend from our church put together a collection of sports jerseys from different families and donated them for Moldova. We used the jerseys as rewards during our martial arts VBC. We chose two children from each team based on their behavior and participation. We explained at the beginning of the week that we would choose based on these qualities. Some of the children heeded our instructions and tried to win, and others were disqualified on the first day. 🙂

Here are the pictures of the winners:

Double Header of Preaching

Had the opportunity to preach twice today, once at the Christian church in the village of Manta and again at Emanuel Baptist Church. I used the same message for both locations, from James 1:1-12.

  • Testing of your faith; God’s Not Dead movie; example of steadfastness and perseverance
  • Work of fiction, but based on a few true stories combined
  • The attack of the atheist professor
  • The defense by the Christian student
  • Teacher says that if all students will admit and write on a piece of paper that “God is dead”, he will give everyone an A
  • One student refuses, and writes “God’s Not Dead”
  • The teacher than gives him three class periods to present his argument for why God is alive
  • TRANSITION: Let’s look to the book of James this morning, to understand more in depth about faith and steadfastness
  • Read the text in Romanian
  • Pray for this message
  • Point 1: Steadfastness Defined (verses 2-8)
  • THE PREPARATION —> V2 – joy for trials is not our standard response
  • to endure patiently
  • Steadfastness = not giving up! sticking with it to the end
  • Illustration:
  • Running a race —> getting to the finish line
  • Studying in University —> earning a university degree
  • In this text, great battle between faith and doubt
  • V3 – testing of your faith produces steadfastness
  • Steadfastness includes perseverance, or staying strong in the midst of trials and hardship; strong in the faith
  • Sickness in your family or yourself
  • (COULD SOMETHING BAD HAPPEN TO ME?)
  • Loss of important friendship
  • (DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THESE THINGS YOU SAY?)
  • A child who walks away from the faith?
  • 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, Romans 5:3 (ESV)
  • V4 – the result of this steadfastness or surviving these trials with your faith intact is perseverance, not giving up
  • perfection through these trials in Christ
  • Part of the sanctification process is refinement
  • V5 – 6— wisdom is from above
  • 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
  • James 1:21 (ESV)
  • without doubt, pray and ask God; know that God’s will is bigger than yours
  • V7-8; the double minded man has faith and doubt combined
  • we are called to persistent faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, not to doubt
  • 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)
  • Point 2: We all wither away (verses 9-11)
  • V9; lowly brother (believer) boasts in his exaltation; not based on anything that he has, but instead upon his position with God he boasts
  • the poor and lowly are encouraged to glory in the rich heavenly reward that has been promised to them. Thus, they become a sign of the Lord’s salvation.
  • v10-11; the rich are called to humility in the faith; because they have been blessed with many things
  • the rich must be careful of their influence and keep the perspective that wealth is nothing in the Kingdom of God
  • We are like a blade of grass, here for awhile, and then gone; choose wisely what you will do with the time God gives you
  • Illustrate: Preach the gospel, die, be forgotten
  • Point 3: Summary is in verse 12
  • Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
  • The “crown of life”; eternal life from Jesus Christ, for those who repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior; death, burial, resurrection.
  • Application
  • 1 – Joy in trials; we know they are coming
  • 2- Know that your faith will be tested; knowledge
  • 3- Put your mark on the things that matter, because we all wither away
  • 4 – Blessings are the reward for withstanding the trials —> crown of life
  • CONCLUSION: At the end of the movie, the professor is faced with his dis-belief and must make a choice, but the Christian student perseveres through the class and by God’s grace, maintains his faith in Jesus
  • Turn to Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit as your foundation of steadfastness.

Playing with Kids

When people ask me about what they would do if they traveled to Moldova for camp, I always answer the same way. There are two requirements for traveling to Moldova with us: 1) you must love Jesus, and 2) you must love playing with kids.

Here are some pictures from Emanuel VBS of us just “playing with kids”. Not everyone that travels to Moldova will preach or teach. If you have a heart for loving on kids, then we have room for you!

Each morning at the Emanuel VBS, I walk around and act like a goof ball, doing different things to make the kids laugh. In the picture below, I collected as many hats from the kids as possible and stacked them on top of my head. I also greet each kid with a “Noapte buna” and shake their hand. This means good night or good sleep, which they find hilarious. Daniel got in on the pre-day fun this year, following behind me and mimicking what I was doing. The kids also found this hilarious. 

Peter playing the gentle version of the hand slap game.
Daniel and I “goofing” around before the day started.

Caity playing with a friend of hers.

Gheorghe’s Demo

One of the first days that we were here, Gheorghe, one of Nicolae’s black belts, invited us to attend his classes end of year demonstration. I’ll let the pictures speak for the intensity and skill that these folks train with. The grand finale was a breaking demonstration of cement blocks that were on fire.

To see all the pictures, visit our photo sharing site for this event:

Gheorghes-Demo on theromeos.smugmug.com

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.