Two people were missing from this picture, the camera man and a young man sadly too far to the right. The meeting place is call the Kawiarnia (pronounced Caviarnia) in the Wroclaw Language School at 1st Baptist Church of Wroclaw. The room looks like it will hold about 30 of us somewhat comfortably, I hope we exceed this space in the near future.
Denise did a fabulous job planning the bulk of the Palm Sunday service. God has taught her so much about true worship. God put on our hearts to start by focusing on the celebration aspect of “The King’s Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem. But ended with looking toward the cross. God put on my heart to challenge us to consider the weight of the “buzz” in Jerusalem – “Who is this?” (Mat. 21:10). Variations of this question start in Matthew 16 by Jesus. I am confident Jesus expects us all to personally answer the question of Matthew 16:15 – “who do you say that I am?” This is a question that requires a response. If He is Lord then total obedience is required. If He is “lunatic, or liar” (C.S. Lewis), then reject Him and never look back. I am concerned that too many “Christians” in the world want a third choice of some kind and I don’t believe there is one.
This “Holy Week” has already touched my heart more deeply than I remember any in the past. I think this is largely true because I am reading each day what Jesus and the Disciples were doing the equivalent day. The following is a handout I gave to everyone last Sunday. You might want to follow along for the rest of the week. HolyWeekReadingGuideEmail
Easter weekend means travel to visit family in Poland, like Thanksgiving in America. I can’t think of one of my Polish friends who haven’t shared they are traveling this weekend. Please pray for safety, as so many people will be traveling. In Poland Friday is not an official holiday, but Monday will be. I will share more of what I learn about this next week.
I got a chance to skype with my parents last night. It is nice having them in the same time zone for a while (technically one hour off until this Sunday when we change our clocks). My Mom has been enjoying her project with local women. She is teaching them various sewing techniques with locally available materials. This way the women are learning skills they can use to earn money. The water project is literally bogged down. The rain has come and the soil is either clay or big rocks. Pray for wisdom with all the projects and for the Lord’s will through it all.
I wrote the following in the Wood Chip – I encourage you to join me in praying to be fully prepared spiritually this Easter. God continues to challenge me to focus on Him no mater the “noise” in my life and the world. I mean the “noise” of all the things that would distract from a clear focus on our Lord and King. More on this at thewoodshavings.org
Here is more of what I feel led to share. A regular pursuit in my prayers is: perspective? I am still not fully sure this is the right word to characterize the search, but seeking the right term is part of the journey. My fundamental concern is that too much of everything is about me and therefore too little about the Provider. Lets hone in on my (our) spiritual life. For a specific example – are the Sunday morning activities (too often called church) more for me or for the Lord? Is God pleased with my worship or am I more doing what I want to do or tradition tells me to do and I call it worship? Will Easter truly be more about me receiving than about worshipping God for what Jesus did? Before I belabor the point any further I will conclude. I want to learn how to do everything, literally everything, by God’s will and God’s way. I would love to here what God is saying to you about this and any other issues.
He is Risen!!! (Jumping the gun a bit, but so wonderful that it is true.) HolyWeekReadingGuideEmail
Winter will not give up this year. I took this picture yesterday through our back window. Every day we may get snow this week.
Here are some updates.
I did hear from my parents. They hit the ground running and making arrangements for the water project. They visited the spring they will harvest for water to reach local homes and a ministry center. There isn’t much water, but hopefully the small reservoir they build and the piping system will be sufficient to provide much needed water. Pray for safety and wisdom as they gather all the necessary resources for the project this week. They rented a small truck from a mechanic shop that had major problems every day. One day a front wheel came off and bounced off the road without them. They need your prayers.
We had a great Prayer & Praise Sunday night. There were 12 of us. Denise is an excellent worship through music leader and led us well. After singing we read Matthew 16:21-28 and the Holy Spirit led us as we sought the significance of this passage. Our assignment for this week was to read Matthew chapters 17-20 as many times as possible this week in preparation for Palm Sunday. After sharing a meal we sadly had to say goodbye.
I encourage you to join in reading Matthew 17-20 this week. Then on Sunday read Matthew 21:1-17.
Sunday, Lord willing, a large group of us will gather for a Palm Sunday service in English. We will gather for an hour and then attend the Polish service as well. Pray for these groups to respond to their invitations by attending: regulars at 1st Baptist who speak English, students at Wroclaw Language School, personal contacts.
I am getting really excited about this Easter season. Each day the Lord has been challenging me through His Word and prayer. He is preparing my heart to celebrate what He did for me (us) on the cross and even more raising from the dead. My prayer as I write this is that you will also seek the Lord’s preparation of your heart to worship Him in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Thanks for praying!
Ps. I chatted with my grandparents last night, both in their 90s. Grandpa is recovering from recent surgery and grandma gave us a scare. Two days ago her temperature hit 104. The next morning she got up and ate breakfast as if nothing had happened. I come from tough “stock”.
We are entrenched in a Polish March. Our language tutor said they call it “a mixed pot” month. I think the American idiom would be “a mixed bag”. Last week short sleeves and no coat all day, this week snow and it is still coming down sporadically.
This has been a long, cold, and snowy winter for Poland in general. There has also been a very serious “bug” that took many people captive for weeks or even months. They were calling it the Polish Flu, but it sounds like it was all over the northern hemisphere. Frequently it took antibiotics to finish the “bugs” off. Denise and I started feeling bad yesterday. I am still in preemptive mode by taking Airborne, Denise is entrenched in the thick of battle starting early this morning. Please pray our “bug” is only a low-grade cold and will be gone soon.
Thanks for praying for Denise last week. Her conference went extremely well. She has been asked to join the team that trains leaders responsible for language learning in Europe with our organization. God put this ministry on her heart many years ago and it is wonderful to see God’s timing as He fulfills this goal. Pray for wisdom as she enters this ministry.
For some time I have told you about a great friendship growing with one of our neighbors (name withheld intentionally). He lost his job just before Christmas. But last month one of our great friends here told me the company she works for needs someone who speaks German. This looked like a perfect fit for our neighbor, but it did not work out. Then late last week they informed our neighbor he had the job if he still wanted it. So starting new month he will start the new job. Please join me in praying that this will be a huge step toward our neighbor becoming a follower of Jesus.
Here are some further prayer requests;
My parents missions project in South Africa
Prayer & Praise this coming Sunday evening
Plans for the Inter-National Church of Wroclaw
Wisdom as we meet in mentoring relationships
I want to plug a friend, long-term prayer supporter, and mentor’s new book: “In The Wilderness” by David Young. A free version is available this week for Kindle, link below.
Thanks for praying.