Sunday, November 28, 2004

Foursquare Pastors and Leaders Conference in Poland

Matthias Nowak, Foursquare Pastor from Bern Switzerland & Bob Ware, Pastor of a Foursquare fellowship in California, led a conference for pastors and leaders in Poland.

There were about 30 people attending. Most of these individuals were from the Wroclaw area of Poland. I brought a single guy & gal that are an important part of our fellowship. Piotrek and Ania have been going together for a long time and we have really seen them grow in their individual walk with the Lord. They have both been involved in service but this was the first time we have been able to encourage their ministry together.

I also invited our good friends Andrzej & Renata from Krakow. Unfortunately, Andrzej was tied up on business and was unable to join us. But I was blessed as always to spent time with Renata. I encouraged Renata to invite their friends from a village nearby to join us as well. It was an opportunity for us to bless these faithful servants of the Lord. I have know of and about Staszek and Bozena for many years but this was the first time I had a chance to really sit down and talk to them. They are truly precious people who sincerely love and serve their God and His people.

Martjin & Ellen Krale the Dutch Foursquare missionaries did an excellent job organizing the event. They found this cool palace in the countryside south of Wroclaw. The food and accommodations were great. Worship was great! The outing to the rock city in The Czech Republic was really amazing, once the driver got us there. Thanks a ton for all your hard work!
We enjoyed a great time of fellowship and unified worship. Though most of the people had never met, there was a sense of oneness from the very first meeting that was evident to all. Bob & Matthias taught and encouraged us to LOVE, MEND, TEACH, & SEND those individuals in our care. While at the same time we are to be STARs: Leaders who have servant hearts, are teachable, know what it means to be submitted & accountable, and individuals who are quick to take responsibility for their own behavior and repent.

For me, one of the most powerful moments was when Matthias talked about being free from the hamster’s wheel, particularly in the area of finances and the world’s idea of how we obtain financial security. It was so great to see so many of these people, who I am aware that they have financial difficulties, experience understanding in regard to their situation. It was as though someone had lifted a huge burden.

As a result of the conference we (The Zakopane Fellowship) will be sponsoring 2 faithful couples and their children for a weekend away. This will be a real step of faith for our fellowship but it is an important opportunity for us to invest in these people what we have received from others in the Body of Christ. The Kingdom of God is kind of strange sometimes; we can’t pay back what we have received we can only pay forward, no matter how hard we try. Just as we can’t pay Jesus back for our salvation we can’t pay others back we can only share with others what someone else has invested in us.

Bob, Matthias, Martjin, & Ted in Wroclaw Posted by Hello

Bob, Ania, Renata, Me, & Ted Posted by Hello

Martjin & Ellen Posted by Hello

Beata during worship Posted by Hello

Piotrek & Ania in the Rock city in the Czech Republic  Posted by Hello

The Whole Group of Pastors & Leaders Posted by Hello

The Palace Posted by Hello

Reflections on Thankfulness

Having a Heart of Gratefulness

I think that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Probably because it is a long weekend unlike Easter and it doesn’t have all of the material trappings of Christmas. It also seems to be free of religious dos and don’ts that often cloud the intent of the holiday. A holiday filled with food, food, food, family, friends, fun & football. In and through all the day’s activities there is an ever present sense of THANKFULNESS, for the simple pleasures & blessings of everyday. Those things that are so easily taken for granted in the hubbub of daily life.

I have always loved that the whole country stops to “give thanks” even though there are many people who don’t necessarily believe in God or recognize his hand in their lives. All the same, they give thanks. The President, takes time to reflect on what we as a nation are to be thankful for through the last year and to remember our roots of thankfulness. It is a time, as a nation, that we remember we all came from humble beginnings, beginnings in which we needed each other and even the help of strangers just to survive.

Thanksgiving Day is like a pregnant pause that makes us all think, and remember, that so much of what we have, say, and do are because of SOMEONE else.

Remembering the many blessings in everyday. Posted by Hello