I'm coming back to the heart of Worship and it's all about You, it's all about you Jesus...
That was the song that was in my thoughts last night as we attended Sunday night service at the Bible Club. The Adonai Band was rocking! They have some strong musical talent and great voices! Audrey did one song with them, as she had taught it to the band earlier in the week " I'm trading my Sorrows". She did a great job even though her allergies have really compromised her vocal range this week. But the Spirit of the Lord was upon her as she sang and it was truly powerful.
The band sang several songs; some the of the tunes were familiar but in truth, I was glad to NOT know the words. It allowed me to just be lost in the moment; in the presence of God. I didn't have to know the words to let my heart and mind and body and spirit join in praise to our Lord and King Jesus Christ! it was freeing to let what ever words of praise and adoration I was feeling be the words of the song. I could lift up my hand in awe and just be in the Holy Presence of the Almighty! Hallelujah!!
Ryan introduced Don who shared a short testimony interpreted by Slave. It was well received and to the point : we all need Jesus.
Ryan's sermon was on the tongue; how it can bring life or bring death by the words we say. I particularly enjoyed his Frog Story about two frogs who fell into a deep hole. They both began jumping, trying to get out, but no matter how high they jumped they fell short of the goal. Other frogs came along and shouted down at them "Give up and die, you will never get out!"
the first frog grew weary in his jumping anf after many futile attempts, did just that; he gave up and died.
But the other frog kept jumping. the Frogs on the outside continued to yell down at him 'you can't get out. there is no hope, give up and die!" but the more they yelled this the higher he seemed to jump! and then,eventually by some miracle he jumped high enough that he was able to escape the hole and land on the outside of it!
the other frogs were amazed. They said 'didn't you hear us yelling that you would not make it?"
but the frog admitted that he was mostly deaf. he thought all their yelling were words of encouragement and that spurred him on to jump higher until he escaped the hole.
You see, our words can bring life or bring death.
On the day of judgment we will be asked to give an account of every word we said. Every word we said that brought death to a person's soul. that is a sobering sobering thought.
BEFORE we left for church however, we experienced how we can bring life to another! the dance troupe that has been here at the hotel for the last couple of days, has allowed some in our group to converse with them. Wendi in paticular has been able to talk with Solomon, a young man in the group. Solomon is Turkish and Muslim. He was curious about seeing us pray at meal times and in particular for Ryan the other day when we laid hands on him and outstretched our hands as a blessing on him.
As the team was explaining about praying to Jesus he was more intrigued. He talked about his curiosity with the bible and Jesus and the conception of Mary. He said he has read the bible on the internet; the Book of Mark. Wendi told him he needs to read the whole bible. Just about this time Bruce and I joined the group, our bibles in hand. When we heard Solomon say he reads the bible online and can read in English, I pulled the papers and notes from my bible and gave it to Solomon. (Bruce and I had each brought a NLT paperback bible for the trip) Solomon's face lit up! he was very excited with the gift and promised he would read it from front to back! he asked us if we would read the Koran.
We are praying today that as they travel back to Turkey on their bus, that not only would Solomon be reading but that it might spark interest to the others on the bus. Lord we believe we planted seeds this week in Solomon and you will bring others along to water and sprout and bring to full bloom!
This morning we met for breakfast and Audrey lead us in devotions, talking about the prayer of Jabez and how she has prayed that prayer every day while here, for herself, for the team, for the Bible club and for Strumica. Yes, just traveling outside of whatcom county enlarges our territories. and asking for God to bless us, can sometimes feel intimidating. that we might aks Him to bless us, who feel so undeserving. Yet that is our God, he delights in giving us good things. He wants to bless us over and over again.
today is our last full day in Strumica. One last day of work at the Sports Center. The team will be finishing painting in the cafe area. I stayed behind at the hotel this morning to blog and then I will be walking to the sports center later. My mission is to find a stationary or card store and buy some thank you cards for the group we worked with this week. Tonight we will gather with them all for a farewell dinner. And have to say good bye to these new friends, our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world.
I leave you with this photo with the words of Mother Teresa....