26 novembra, 2009

Preaching and me...

Friends, another update…and a prayer request is here:)

About a month ago I was asked by our pastor to preach at our church. I find it as a great privilege and honor to teach the Word of God to our congregation. But it’s not just a great privilege; it’s also a great responsibility. So I want to ask you to pray for me as I prepare the sermon. I’ve done some teaching before, but it was only for youth groups and small groups. Never a sermon! It’s going to be something totally new to me that I have never experienced before. The truth is that I’m a pretty young guy how hasn’t even finished his high school. And the fact that I will preach humbles me even more. So I want to ask you to pray for me. Especially that:

• I would be faithful to the Word of God and the preaching would not be in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that their faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
• That my youth would not be a barrier to the hearers (1 Timothy 4:12).
• That I might do this with joy and not with groaning (Hebrews 13:17).
• That God would be glorified and to Him given all the glory (Ephesians 3:21).

I’ll give my first preach on December 13th. Please pray that God would be honored and glorified in my preparation and the actual preaching…


23 novembra, 2009

A Kind of “Pleasing Pain”

Another part from the book The Hidden Smile of God. This is about David Brainerd:

Brainerd’s conviction was that no aspiration on earth surpassed the supreme purpose to savor and spread the reign of Christ in his own personal holiness and the conversion of the Indians for the glory of God. He called his passion for more holiness and more usefulness a kind of “pleasing pain.” “When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable. . . . Oh, for holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul! Oh, this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God. . . . Oh, that I might never loiter on my heavenly journey!”.
He was gripped by the apostolic admonition: “Walk circum- spectly . . . redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, KJV). He embodied the counsel: “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9, KJV). He strove to be, as Paul says, “abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). April 17, 1747: “O I longed to fill the remaining moments all for God! Though my body was so feeble, and wearied with preaching and much private conversation, yet I wanted to sit up all night to do something for God. To God the giver of these refreshments, be glory forever and ever; Amen”. February 21, 1746: “My soul was refreshed and comforted, and I could not but bless God, who had enabled me in some good measure to be faithful in the day past. Oh, how sweet it is to be spent and worn out for God!”.

21 novembra, 2009

And the result is.....:)

Friends, thank you for praying for me during this time when I was deciding about my future, namely choosing the university I will go to. And here's the result. This is an edited excerpt from a letter I sent to those ten people I met with:
As you already know, I’ve been praying for almost a year about this period of time. That God would make His plans clear to me and that I would be able to make a step of confidence into the next year.

I must say that the Lord has exceeded my expectations regarding the clarity by which He guides me. I wrote down everything those ten people told me and I looked at it carefully. Considered it and tried to boil it down into good and right decisions. Fortunately that wasn’t that hard, because I haven’t met with much of a contradiction between what they all said to me.

After considering everything I’ve heard from them, looking at my life and asking God to make it clear I can say I know what the Lord wants me to do (at least the next step He wants me to take). There were many questions and many ways. Such as: should I go and study theology at all? If so, when? Now or later? Where? In Slovakia or somewhere else? And if not theology, what else should I do? God didn’t let me alone with these questions and He gave me guidance along the way to resolve this and to come up with an idea that would be pleasing to Him and give Him glory.

I believe that God would be pleased if I went and studied theology. I am convinced that the best place where to do so is Banká Bystrica at KETM. So I will apply for that university. If God wills, that’s where I’ll be next year. But I don’t want that to be everything I do. I don’t want it to be over after KETM and so I would like to do some more studies outside of Slovakia, where I can get better and deeper education. But I believe that KETM can give me the best preparation I will need for ministry here in Slovakia.

God didn’t use this time only to show me the next step in my life; He also helped me to clarify the vision, desire, and purpose in my ministry. Let me tell you about these for a little moment. There are basically two main visions (desires) I have (right now):

  1. I want people to experience what I experience, namely joy and love that comes from God. To be more specific I could say it in one clear sentence: I want people to cry because of what has Jesus done for them! Not the kind of cry that is sorrowful but the kind of cry and tears that are joyful because God Himself loves them and died for them. I don’t want them just to know this, I want them to live it, experience it in such a way that brings tears into their eyes.
  2. I don’t want Revelation 2:4-5 to be true for those people. Jesus says in Revelation 2:4-5 „But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” There are hundreds of people in the church in Slovakia that lost their first love. They’re not in love with God anymore. They’re not passionate about Him anymore. They have lost the zeal they once used to be living with. And that’s my desire. I want to awake in them the love they once had for Christ and His people. I want them to burn with passion and zeal for Him and His glory. I want them to be awaken.

All together it’s been a little over a month of time while I was meeting with all these people. It’s been a fruitful and encouraging season for me that I am really thankful for. So in the end I can say that this all has been a success.


19 novembra, 2009

What is really imporant?

 Couple of days ago I was reading about the life of David Brainerd and as I was walking home last night I was asking myself a question of what is really important? If it's not how much we do or accomplish, then what is it? I found an explanation in what Piper said:

The amazing thing may not be that he died so early and accomplished so little, but that, being as sick as he was, he lived as long as he did and accomplished so much.

If we are to decide whether somebody's life was "successful" based on how much has this person accomplished, David Brainerd would probably not be among those Top 10. However, he's one of the most influential people in the history of the church in matters of missions.

It is an inspiring thought that one small pebble dropped in the sea of history can produce waves of grace that break on dis- tant shores hundreds of years later and thousands of miles away. Robert Glover ponders this thought with wonder when he writes, 
It was Brainerd’s holy life that influenced Henry Martyn to become a missionary and was a prime factor in William Carey’s inspiration. Carey in turn moved Adoniram Judson. And so we trace the spiritual lineage from step to step—Hus, Wycliffe, Francke, Zinzendorf, the Wesleys and Whitefield, Brainerd, Edwards, Carey, Judson, and ever onward in the true apostolic succession of spiritual grace and power and world-wide ministry.
 So it is not about how much we do as it is  about why, for whom and how we do it. If our goal is to glorify God and we do it out of selfless motives - then our ministry is more glorifying to God then anything else. For Jesus himself says: there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. That's all it takes for a huge celebration in Heavens. Another quote from the book.

Who can describe the value of one soul transferred from the king- dom of darkness, and from the weeping and gnashing of teeth, to the kingdom of God’s dear Son! If we live twenty-nine years or if we live ninety-nine years, would not any hardships be worth the saving of one person from the eternal torments of hell for the everlasting enjoyment of the glory of God?

So my friends, may we set our hearts and eyes for way greater things then numbers and stats. Let's set our hearts, minds and eyes to the glory of God and the joy of Christ we have a share in. 

17 novembra, 2009

William Cowper

Another person Piper writes in his book The Hidden Smile of God is William Cowper [pronounced “Cooper”]. He was a man who wrote many hymns that are being sung in churches even today. But not everybody knows what's hidden behind those verses.

In 1752 he sank into his first paralyzing depression—the first of four major battles with mental breakdown so severe as to set him to staring out of windows for weeks at a time. Struggle with despair came to be the theme of his life. He was twenty-one years old and not yet a believer.

In December 1763 he was committed to St. Albans Insane Asylum, where the fifty-eight-year-old Dr. Nathaniel Cotton tended the patients. Cotton was somewhat of a poet, but most of all, by God’s wonderful design, an evangelical believer and a lover of God and the Gospel. He loved Cowper and held out hope to him repeatedly in spite of his insistence that he was damned and beyond hope. Six months into his stay, Cowper found a Bible lying (not by accident) on a bench. And this is what Cowper says:

Having found a Bible on the bench in the garden, I opened upon the 11th of St. John, where Lazarus is raised from the dead; and saw so much benevolence, mercy, goodness, and sympathy with miserable men, in our Saviour’s conduct, that I almost shed tears upon the revelation; little think- ing that it was an exact type of the mercy which Jesus was on the point of extending towards myself. I sighed, and said, “Oh, that I had not rejected so good a Redeemer, that I had not forfeited all his favours.” Thus was my heart softened, though not yet enlightened. 

Increasingly, he felt he was not utterly forsaken. Again he felt led to turn to the Bible. The first verse he saw was Romans 3:25: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (KJV). And William continues:

Immediately I received the strength to believe it, and the full beams of the Sun of Righteousness shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement He had made, my pardon sealed in His blood, and all the fullness and com- pleteness of His justification. In a moment I believed, and received the gospel... Whatever my friend Madan had said to me, long before, revived in all its clearness, with demonstration of the spirit and with power. Unless the Almighty arm had been under me, I think I should have died with gratitude and joy. My eyes filled with tears, and my voice choked with transport; I could only look up to heaven in silent fear, overwhelmed with love and wonder.

Cower was a man so depressed that he tried to commit a suicide so many times that one might wonder what was so hard to kill himself. The answer is easy. As Piper puts it: each time God providentially prevented him. God used the sorrows and hardships of his life to bring about fruit that now (after all those afflictions) tastes much sweeter.

This is what John Piper writes as a conclusion:

Cowper was sick. But in his sickness he saw things that we so desperately need to see. He saw hell. And sometimes he saw heaven. He knew terror. And sometimes he knew ecstasy. When I stand to welcome the people to worship on Sunday morning, I know that there are William Cowpers in the congregation. There are spouses who can barely talk. There are sullen teenagers living double lives at home and school. There are widows who still feel the amputation of a fifty-year partner. There are single people who have not been hugged for twenty years. There are men in the prime of their lives with cancer. There are moms who have car- ried two tiny caskets. There are soldiers of the cross who have risked all for Jesus and bear the scars. There are tired and dis- couraged and lonely strugglers. Shall we come to them with a joke?
They can read the comics every day. What they need from me is not more bouncy, frisky smiles and stories. What they need is a kind of joyful earnestness that makes the broken heart feel hopeful and helps the ones who are drunk with trifles sober up for greater joys.

In Cowper’s most famous hymn, this is what he sings—the preciousness of the blood of Christ to the worst of sinners. 

There is a fountain filled with blood 
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; 
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, 
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see 
That fountain in his day; 
And there have I, as vile as he, 
Washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood 
Shall never lose its power; 
Till all the ransomed church of God 
Be saved to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream 
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

16 novembra, 2009

Bunyan - Why do Christians suffer?

Commenting on John 15:2 (“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes”), he says,  

“It is the will of God, that they that go to heaven should go thither hardly or with difficulty. The righteous shall scarcely be saved. That is, they shall, but yet with great difficulty, that it may be the sweeter.” 

John Piper; The Hidden Smile of God

15 novembra, 2009

The Hidden Smile of God – John Bunyan

To Live Upon God That Is Invisible

As I was traveling to Poprad and back home I was reading this book from John Piper, called The Hidden Smile of God - The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. It’s actually book two from the series Swans Are Not Silent. The first book was about Augustine, Luther and Calvin that I read last Christmas. 

In this post I just want to give you a small taste of what the book is about.

So the first of those people is John Bunyan. A tinker that was able to read and write. And that was all his education. Yet, God used this man in such ways that were Him glorifying more even by the fact that Bunyan was a simple man. Read for example this:

The greatest Puritan theologian, and a contemporary of Bunyan, John Owen, when asked by King Charles why he, a great scholar, went to hear an uneducated tinker preach, said, “I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s hearts.”

Bunyan’s live wasn’t easy by any means. Not that his mother and sister both died when he was 15, he was drafted as a 16 years old young man into the Parliamentary Army for about two years. Two years after he returned (20) he married a woman and they had four children. The first of them – Mary – was born blind. Ten years after this his wife died and left him with four children. A year later he married Elizabeth and a year after their marriage he was imprisoned and Elizabeth, who was pregnant at that time, miscarried in the crisis. Altogether was Bunyan under arrested for 12 years. And this deserves a little bit more to be said about.

Lesser known is the fact that his twelve years in prison were “voluntary,” in the sense that a commitment not to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ would have obtained his freedom at any time.

In August 1661 his wife Elizabeth went to authorities. She had already been to London with one petition. Now she was met with one stiff question: 
- “Would he stop preaching?”
- “My lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long as he can speak.”
- “What is the need of talking?”
- “There is need for this, my lord, for I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people.”

Matthew Hale, with pity, asks if she really has four children being so young.
- “My lord, I am but mother-in-law [stepmother] to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young and unaccustomed to such things, I being smayed at the news, fell into labor, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered; but my child died.”

Hale is moved, but other judges are hardened and speak against him.
- “He is a mere tinker!”

- “Yes, and because he is a tinker and a poor man, there- fore he is despised and cannot have justice.”

One Mr. Chester is enraged and says Bunyan will preach and do as he wishes.
- “He preacheth nothing but the word of God!” she says.

Mr. Twisden, in a rage:
- “He runneth up and down and doeth harm.”
- “No, my lord, it is not so; God hath owned him and done much good by him.”

The angry man continues,
- “His doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.”
She replies,
- “My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil!”
After twelve years of imprisonment he was released because of the Declaration of Religious Indulgence. There was one more imprisonment in the winter and spring of 1675-76. Other then that he was preaching at the church in Bedford. John Bunyan died on August 31, 1688 of a violent fever.

These are some parts of the book that I enjoyed. This one speaks of his two years of overwhelming darkness that happened when he thought he was established in the Gospel. But this was the decisive moment for him:

One day as I was passing into the field . . . this sentence fell upon my soul. Thy righteousness is in heaven. And methought, withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteous- ness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he wants [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteous- ness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteous- ness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God [about the unforgivable sin] left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

Bunyan has learnt, through all of his afflictions and troubles and pains, how TO LIVE UPON GOD THAT IS INVISIBLE.

Judge not the lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.


14 novembra, 2009

What is my worth?

"My worth is what I am worth to God; 
and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me."

~ William Temple ~

12 novembra, 2009

New place...why?

I don't really know:) I just felt like changing it...so here it it. No major changes are to happen (well, maybe some:) Keep on coming here guys....


11 novembra, 2009

Hey you anti-Apple guys...read this:

This is what Nvidia CEO said:

According to him “Apple uses the best technology for their [computers]. Apple says to their customers: if you buy a computer from us you can be sure we have selected the best technology inside for you. That is their promise to consumers. Their promise to consumers isn’t we’ve selected the best technology for you with the exception of what Intel allows us to use. That’s not their promise. And that’s why Apple uses the best technology where they want whenever they want. And that’s why I’m all Apple! At home it’s just Macs everywhere. It’s NVIDIA’s technology in all of them but I use Macs. My son has two Macs, my daughter has a Mac, there’s an extra Mac just in case and my wife has a Mac. It’s just Mac, Mac, Mac! Because I know it’s got the best stuff inside.”

So my friends, it's not only about style...it really is good:)

10 novembra, 2009

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who a keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

03 novembra, 2009

Isiah 54:4-10

What an awesome God we have!

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
and will not rebuke you.
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.