26 marca, 2009

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want...

In the past year God was greatly showing me how He takes care of His own children. It was about a year ago when I went to a youth workers conference and at that time I was facing the question whether to join the Dorast team or not. Beside the question itself whether I was called into this ministry I was facing another problem. When I was thirteen I got a job (delivering newspapers) and ever since I (almost) always had a job and that means I was used to have some income (for me as a kid and later student it was a great thing). In the matter of money I was able to take care of myself for extra stuff. So I wanted to go for a summer camp or a conference, for a trip or to get a driving license I had my own money that I used. I didn't need (almost) any help from my parents. And not just this kind of things I used the money for. If I wanted something (like my first iPod) I always used my money.

I was working mainly on Fridays and Saturdays. But now there was a problem because Dorast happens on Saturdays and there was no way for me to be able to be working at the Building on Fridays and be doing Dorast on Saturdays and still do the newspapers in between. So I was facing these two decisions:
1. Go for Dorast and leave the job and after a long time be without any income
2. Keep the job and not joining the team

At this youth workers conference I somehow found confidence that if I would go with the first option it would be good. And so I said to God something like this:
"Lord, I'm going to leave my job so I can serve You. I'll give up on everything that comes from this job in exchange for being able to work for You. But I have a request. Please, You must take care of me. I'm giving myself to You and completely trusting You that You'll take care of me."
And so I left my job and joined the team. During the summer I worked at the camps we do here in Trnava but there were events that I really wanted to attend. Like the youth conference and CampFest and like that. But there was a problem. I didn't have any money and I didn't know of any way how to earn money. But then God began showing me His caring love and provided me enough money to go everywhere I wanted to go to. Enough to go to the conference and CampFest and even more. God provided abundantly.

And throughout the whole year I saw how God was taking care of everything I needed. It really helps me to understand better what it means when Jesus says: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. I said to God: I'll do whatever You want me to. But take care of me. And He did so in a way that blows me away every time I think about it.

And not that He was taking care of my material needs only. As He was leading me through this year He was teaching me so much about myself. Showed me who I am and where is my place in His kingdom. And He was so gracious to me that He showed me love in a way I have never seen before and that's changing my life...

24 marca, 2009

When you find your old self coming back

Kind of a weird title, huh? What I mean by that is what happens when you find the old things you thought that are gone coming back? Let me explain...

My own case is that I came from the world. My parents were not (and still are not) Christians and so I was growing there for seventeen years. Then God called me to follow Him and I left the old and decided to go where He sends me to. Until now it's been almost two years since I left my old life and I'm building a new one. Leaving wrong behind and making right. As the name of this blog says: the old has gone, the new has come.

But in these days I find some of the things I've rejected trying to come back. And it's not like I'm changing my opinions or values it's that the opinions and values I once rejected try to come back on the surface. I am living my life the best way I can (though it's not that awesome) and am making decisions the best way I can as well. But then these wrong things and ideas begin to pop up in my mind and urge and disturb me from the inside. Things I once tried to destroy are coming back and then I actually end up fighting against my old self. And I think that the way that Paul describes himself is quite accurate in my case too:

...I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members (Romans 7:23).

And so this seems to me now as an ongoing battle between who I used to be and who I am now. Jesus says that The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38). But I have the assurance that this battle has been already won by Christ and I don't have to be afraid. I just need to keep on running the race...

16 marca, 2009

When the punishment comes

Our God is the Righteous Judge, says Paul in his second letter to Timothy. That fact comfort us many times when we are wronged or something unjust happens. When there is nobody that understands us and we feel lonely. The thought that God is righteous and just and that evil will be punished is a strong one. But there are times when the fact of the righteous judge strikes us down. And that happens when we did something wrong and it's us who deserves the punishment. What do we do then, when we realize that God is not pleased what we were doing and He's about to punish us for our sins?

First of all about the punishment. Does God actually need to punish us? I mean, Christ has been punished in our place and there's no more wrath of God that would remain on us, right? So why would God want to punish us? As I was reading Leviticus 26 I was amazed when I read what all would God bring upon Israel if they would obey His commandments. But after this part God is revealing the other side of the contract: What happens when they don't obey. And God is saying all this hard (and not nice) things He would do to His people. He says over and over ...if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, I will... and then He says all this different things how He would punish them. Later He says: I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. All of those words are strong words if God is telling them to you. He goes so far that They [Israelites] will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them.

And you ask: What does He want to do? What is the purpose of this all? And God tells us later to the end of the chapter: then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. And then God adds to this all saying: Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD. Do you see that? The only reason why God is letting the punishment to come upon His people that He loves and has chosen is that they might turn away from their sins and would run back into the arms of their LORD! So that they can see that He is the LORD alone. And we're told in the book of proverbs because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. The only reason why He let this "punishment" to happen to us is just because He loves us and wants us to leave our own ways and run to Him.

So when we realize that we've done something wrong and then we see consequences of our act it's good to try to look at it not that God is bringing His judgment upon us to destroy us but to actually heal us and restore.

But despite all this our God also says about Himself: The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. That's who our LORD really is. Just, abounding in love and with that all as the Righteous Judge.

So when a punishment comes we should rejoice because our Father is calling us back to Him and when we do so then our joy may be full.

12 marca, 2009

Logan, The Sky Angel Cowboy

Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station and here's what he said:

10 marca, 2009

Youth in Žilina and I

This weekend Dominik and I went to Žilina for another ŠPM (don't think there's ever enough, I love going there). But for this weekend the students got a special assignment: to prepare and lead the whole youth in local evangelical church. So for the last couple of weeks we were trying to figure out how to do this all. And since the students are spread all around Slovakia the only way to do this all was facebook. So we planned the whole youth on facebook. Cool, huh? :)

So we were discussing what would the topic be and what we want to do. About a week ago we finally got it mostly worked out and the topic was suppose to be about growth. To support their youth to grow. For some reason (God knows why:) Jozef (my classmate:) suggested me to be teaching. At first I did not know whether to take it or not. There were many things that were pushing away from the idea to go for it. First: I have never done anything like that before. I would go into something completely new and unknown to me. Second: I'm not that smart (what I mean by that is that there are people at ŠPM that could do a better job then I so why should I do it?). Third: the biggest event I was teaching at was Dorast with twelve thirteen-years-old kids. This time it would be in front of more then thirty people (a half of them were people from ŠPM with the teachers [people I really respect and honor] and another half of people I have never seen). And there was only one reason that was telling me to go. And that was, that if God is with me, there’s nothing that I need to fear. I saw this all as a huge challenge. And then I recalled: if I want to walk on water, I have to get out of the boat. And so I stepped forth.

Saturday came and I was nervous. I wasn’t sure whether what I’ve prepared will enrich the people I was about to talk to and I didn’t want this all to go to waste. But there was only one reason why I was doing all of this and that’s to give all the glory to God. And if I give Him everything I don’t have to be afraid because it’s all His and He will take care of it all. Just and only for Him.

My time came and as I was walking to the front I whispered for myself: Not to me but to You LORD be the all glory. And I began to talk. I was talking about overcoming fear with a purpose of growing as a youth. Not to be afraid and make disciples of all nations. And I got into this really great mood when I felt God was using me and I was a servant He was rejoicing over. I enjoy those times. But this time it was different than ever before. Over thirty people and I talking. But I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Vice versa I felt fine and it was not a problem to do or say anything. I was really happy and pleased as people were listening to me and were paying attention. Don’t get me wrong, not because of me, but because of the message I was sharing with them and I was glad to see that God was using that. When I finished I figured out a surprising fact. I was up front there talking for fifty minutes! And there was nobody that would seem bored or sleepy. Oh, how greatly God used that evening.

However. there was one thing I was afraid of before the youth. And that was that in case that the teaching would go well people would come to me afterwards and say: That was some good teaching. Good job! Well done. etc... I did not want that to happen because I have tasted the taste of praise and I know the risk. But that’s what actually happened. People were coming and saying that it was really good. But these words did not make me think high of myself. It made me think higher of God because He has done something good through me. And more feedbacks were coming. The teachers at ŠPM said things like: As you were talking I was still waiting what’s the next thing you’ll say. I was excited. Or: When you stood up there and said your first sentences I already knew it’s gonna be something good. Then I met with Zac and he gave me an awesome feedback (he told me of things I had no idea about and that helped me to focus more on them so next time it will be better – btw, Zac is a great feedbacker:)

Jozef (my classmate) told me, that he heard the story of David and Goliath so many times but never heard that the way I said it and that the whole teaching was helpful to him. And Naďa (another of my classmates) said that the last time she was taking notes was a year ago but this time she had to start again.

At the end Peter (the director of ŠPM) said: When I saw all of the verses you wrote down that you want to go through them I thought like ‘How in the world does he want to do that?’ But you did a great job on that. If I didn’t have to translate to Zac I would be staring at you with my mouth open. You’ve done a great job and have a serious gift from God.

You know, I don’t want this all to look like I’m boasting in what I’ve done because I haven’t done anything. He has done it all and I was just used as an instrument. And if I boast in anything so it is the cross (Gal 6:41) for here where I am right know and what has been done through me the other day God made to happen in not even two years. It’s like what? Twenty one months since I became a Christian? And I am so glad that God is using me and that He doesn’t let go away even a single day when He would not be teaching me.

So, that’s all from me about the past weekend. But after all, glory be to God alone....