Thursday, November 29, 2018

URGENT - Pray for Bulgaria

Bulgarian evangelicals alarm about religion law “threatening rights and freedoms of churches”

The European Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance issue statements calling to stop a legislation that would give “huge and unnecessary powers to the Bulgarian State to interfere with faith communities”.

Bulgarian evangelicals have called international bodies to respond to a new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of faith minorities.

“The Bulgarian State is wrongly assuming power into the internal life of religious communities”, the Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost every single article in the newly proposed bills erroneously and unfairly claims political authority over religious life”, writes Pastor Rumen Bordjiev.

In the last months, the parliament has discussed a new legislation that will enable a “state policy of interference into church affairs”, the President of the EAB says.


These are the main problems with the new legislation:

 - Only Bulgarian citizens will be able to carry out liturgical activity if they have had theological training in Bulgaria or their foreign school is approved.

- Only Eastern Orthodox & Muslim believers will be able to train clergy and run schools.

- A foreigner will only be able to preach if doing so with a Bulgarian ordained minister.

- Foreign donations will only be allowed for building construction or social aid and will need government approval. No salaries of pastors for example could be paid from abroad.

- No religious activities can take place outside of buildings designated for them.

- Only religious groups with +300 people will have legal status.


After receiving the “green light” in its first reading in parliament last October 4, a period for possible objections and discussions was opened. The parliament has allowed an interim period for possible objections that will end on November 16. In the meantime, a task group comprised by politicians and religious representatives is supposed to work on the wording of the suggested articles. By now, however, the task group has not yet started its work.

After carefully analyzing the law, the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance has said the legislation “is so flawed, amendments cannot solve the problems - Instead, it should be scrapped”.

“Literally no religious community has expressed agreement with the proposed changes”, the Bulgarian evangelical body said. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Muslim religion, all Protestant denominations, the Armenian community, the Jewish community, and the Catholic Church, have all issued statements of protest.


Evangelical Christians are one of the minority faith groups that would see their rights and freedoms affected. This is why the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance “insisted on being invited to the committee discussing the amended articles of the law (…) We have also demanded a special meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Mr. Boyko Borisov in order to express our explicit refusal to agree with such an intervention of the government into religious affairs”.

Furthermore, “various NGOs are also considering joining efforts and possibly even taking legal actions, led by the unanimous opinion that the law is discriminatory, anti-constitutional and unjust”.


This coming Sunday afternoon, November 11, evangelical Christians all over the country will go out on the streets after their worship services in peaceful rallies for their right to practice their faith. Churches from various denominations in the towns of Sofia, Ruse, Burgas, Silistra, Dobrich, Kotel (among others) mobilize their members to join the street protest.

They will carry signs, saying “The new bill on religion brings us back to communism!”, and “Religious freedom in Bulgaria is in danger!”


The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance has also called fellow believers to take the following actions: “pray” for the situation; “alarm” other Evangelical Alliances about the situation in Bulgaria, contact “European institutions, Members of the European parliament and international human and religious rights organizations”; write letters to the Bulgarian government.


In response to the letter of Bulgarian evangelicals, the European Evangelical Alliance expressed its concern over the “alarming developments in Bulgaria”.

According to the body representing millions of evangelical Christians in the whole continent, the new legislation would give “huge and unnecessary power of the Bulgarian State to interfere with all faith communities”. Therefore, “if the Parliament wishes to continue discussions, then representatives of the churches should be involved”.

The EEA calls “to pray and encourage others to pray” and to “contact the Bulgarian embassy in your nation and write to the politicians in Sofia. Write a short letter/email explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation as outlined above. Politely but firmly ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessive and also harmful to all faith communities. Demand that the legislative proposal be scrapped”.

For those in European Union Member States, the EEA encourages to “write a short letter to the MEPs of your nation, explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation and asking them to speak urgently to their Bulgarian colleagues to ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessively controlling and would cause great difficulties for all faiths. Click here to find the MEPs of your nation”.


The World Evangelical Alliance’s also reacted to the letter of Bulgarian evangelicals.

Secretary General Efraim Tendero said: “At a time when governments worldwide face the challenge of strengthening freedoms while maintaining security, we call on Bulgaria and other democratic countries to lead by example and to strengthen the right to religious freedom rather than to weaken it”.

The WEA’s statement added: “We call on the Bulgarian authorities to reconsider its draft legislation aimed at amending the Religious Denominations Act (...) And we call on evangelicals worldwide to accompany our brothers and sisters in Bulgaria in prayer as they dialogue with their political leaders to identify the best path forward”.

Related News:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Hinge

The Hinge

I want to share a teaching by my American pastor, Michael Miller – Upper Room Dallas. This will be in the form of my notes taken from his message. I rarely take notes word for word but rather put then into my thoughts. Any text in brackets [] are my side notes. You can go to for the actual podcast.

Praise and worship has a hinge that opens the door to the presence of God.

Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God. He did not say love Him by doing things for Him. Jesus went on to say that the second commandment was to love others.

[Now in Matthew 24, Jesus does say to those who are to inherit eternal life,  “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” This strongly suggest doing unto others as a way of ministering to the Lord.]

We, as the Church, have gotten this backwards. We get busy ministering to others but neglect ministering to Him. [God, the Father, does desire our attention.]

The best way you can love your spouse is to give them your undivided attention. God desires that also.

To God, It is not about what we do but who we are.

It is easy to measure our doing for others but hard to measure our love and attention given to God. [It is hard to measure love. I can never fully explain why I love my wife; when I try, it just seems to limit what can’t be measured.] How do you measure turning your attention toward God and gazing into His goodness?

There is a real release of pressure when you do not have to measure success. There is just a relief from the pressure of required performance.

How do we minister to Him?

1 Chronicles 13:3 and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul.”  In this story of David returning the Ark, this verse is the pivotal verse. This return and inquiring into God is the key to success for Israel. A grace meets you when you give your life to returning to God. Do you need a course-correction?

We must have His presence in front of us. What David did in this act was to make God the center of everything for Israel.

(Pastor Michael goes into what this means in regards to David’s leadership and how that can be seen in today’s church but I will not cover that here.)

1 Chronicles 15:2 The priest were “… to carry the Ark and minister to Him forever.” In the New Testament: 1 Peter 2:9  … you are a royal priesthood … [As priest, the proper order is to minister to Him first and then to others. I know we cannot properly minister to others without ministering to Him first.]

This is not about God’s need, but rather His desire for us. [God knows that as we minister to Him we are transformed from our will to His will.]

1 Chronicles 16:4 And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel: (NKJV)

To commemorate (celebrate), to thank and to praise the Lord.

Then Chr. 16:7 Asaph (the leader) and his brethren were “to thank the Lord”.

Okay, here is the hinge: To thank the Lord.

Give thanks; so simple. [It is very hard to develop this lifestyle but the rewards are overwhelming. Your flesh will struggle with sitting in a room and just thanking, praising and celebrating the Lord.]

Romans 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

They failed because they “were not thankful”.

Although the podcast goes on, I will stop with this important point: Giving thanks is the hinge that opens the door to His courts.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Psalms 100 
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

The Hinge of the gate to His courts is thanksgiving.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rest in Your Busyness

“Are you tired? Come to me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Jesus

- Matthew 11:28-30 (The MSG)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

There are two recurring themes in the Bible: 1) Take time to rest and 2) use your talents wisely.

These can be translated into slowing down and being productive. They seem to be counter to each other in meaning. We think of rest as not being productive. We think of using your talents wisely as being busy. But I would challenge you to rest in your busyness.

First of all, if you are a “busy all the time person” or workaholic, slow down. Discipline yourself with a daily time of doing nothing. Don’t even read, and for sure don’t watch television. Take 15 to 30 minutes to sit in a quite room, tune out noises and just rest your body and mind.

If you are a person that is not using your talents wisely, then you need to learn to focus. Exert more energy focusing on a goal. Strive toward seeing an outcome for your efforts, completing a job and seeing a problem solved.

I want to put forward, there is a lifestyle where we can combine being at rest and being busy. Like I said above, these two concepts seem to be counter to each other. The writer of Hebrews was cautioning us not to be like the Jewish people who did not enter God’s rest. (Heb.4) God even wrote it into the Ten Commandments, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. This was a command to the Jewish people to rest from their labors for a day. The writer of Hebrews goes on to make what seems like a contradictory statement in Hebrews 4: 11 “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, least anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (NKJV) The King James translation actually says, Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest. Jesus, while having a discussion with the Pharisees about the Sabbath, said, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Basically, he was saying, I do not have to stop doing good one day of the week. Jesus was trying to return the Sabbath to its original meaning of rest not law.

I realized years ago; there is a rest that can be in the mist of our labors. I learned I could be productive without stress. It was a discipline I had to strive to follow. I submitted myself to a place of rest. A place where God’s rest was being preserved; a house of prayer (HOP). The church I attended had opened a house of prayer. I started to spend time there. In a healthy house of prayer, you will find the presence of the Lord. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) In a healthy HOP, you not only pray but you listen for the Lord to speak to you.

After disciplining myself to spend time in the HOP, I begin to see extra side effects. I noticed I was no longer striving at my work place. I was able to accomplish things at my job that had many positive results. Not only was I stress free but more productive, more creative and most of all at peace with my coworkers.

As for as our attitude regarding our jobs, we should follow what Paul wrote to bondservants: 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ. Col.3:22-24

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pray for Croatia and IST

We ask for your Prayers for Croatia and the Zagreb House of Prayer

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović recently said, “…my goal is to be very realistic, not optimistic, nor pessimistic but to warn people of the state that exists in our country, because it is my duty to citizens and it’s my constitutional obligation as well. I repeat, we’re talking about a constructive debate that should lead to finding a solution to the current situation we’re in.”

Encouraging words from Croatia’s president. May she be very convincing toward positive change.

Now we are people of faith and we operate on the promises of God; therefore, we should be very pessimistic because great are His promises. We can stand on His promises and look forward into the future with great expectation. One of the greatest hindrances in the Balkans, is a lack of expectation from Christians.

Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

For over two years we have been contending and ask the Lord for the salvation of many in Croatia. In the past few months we have been experiencing people coming to Jesus; five ladies and one man. One of those ladies lead two others to the Lord, one being her grandmother a few hours before she died.

Not only new people coming into the Upper Room Zagreb, but we will be moving into a new place for the HOP in a month. Also, our worship leader that had been with us since the beginning left the URZ to pursue other opportunities. So, we are in transition.

Prayer Points:

1)    Pray for the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović .

2)    Pray for the Croatian Parliament, there are some unproductive people that either need to get serious are get removed.

3)    Pray for the citizens of Croatian to stop criticizing the government and get involved through an informed vote and a positive voice.

4)    Pray for the Croatian Christians to be positive and expect righteousness to arise. Although we are pessimistic about the future, we need wisdom for the present.

5)    Continue to pray for us at the Upper Room. We are starting to have noticeable victories against the enemy; may we dare not relax, but pursue until satan is made ineffective.

6)    Pray for work in Lika, the heartland of Croatia. Pray for the raising up of an evangelical church where done exist. We are believing for a house of prayer to be raised up there next year.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Pray for Albania

Ponzi Scheme in Albania, 1991 - 1997

The pyramid schemes started operations in 1991. Their activity was based on making payments to old investors using money contributed by new investors. The first scheme was that of Hajdin Sejdisë, who later fled to Switzerland with several million dollars. It was followed by "Sudja" of shoe factory worker Maksude Kadëna in 1993, then the "Populli" foundations run by an opposition politician, and "Xhaferri". By the end of 1996 the schemes peaked. The interest rates they offered were very tempting; Sudja offered 100% interest. The schemes were not criticized immediately because of bad banking laws. Despite IMF advice to close these schemes, the government continued to allow their activities, often participating in them. Between 8–16 January 1997 the schemes collapsed. On 22 January the government froze the Xhaferri and Populli firms. "Gjallica", another firm, was nearly bankrupt, while "Vefa", which had invested in Albanian hotels, fuel and factories, continued normal activity. The economic crisis was the worst in Albanian history.

The number of investors who had been lured by the promise of getting rich quick grew to include two-thirds of the population. It is estimated that close to $1.5 billion was invested in companies offering monthly interest rates ranging from 10%-25%, while the average monthly income was around $80. People sold their homes to invest. Immigrants working in Greece and Italy transferred additional resources to the schemes. When the realization that most of the money was lost, the people begin to protest, forming rebel gangs that took to the streets. Many government buildings were attacked, looted and burned. Chaos was everywhere, especially in the south. The ruling party was blamed and the rebel groups demanded their removal. The army ammunition depots were raided by rebel gangs and even the army ended up giving out guns to citizens so they could defend themselves. Although the government quelled revolts in the north, the ability of the government and military to maintain order began to collapse, especially in the southern half of Albania, which fell under the control of rebels and criminal gangs. Prominent organized-crime figures escaped from prison and put together gangs, effectively taking control of many areas. Gangs looted banks, took hostages and grabbed businesses. The chaos was complete and the whole country (except for the capital, Tirana) was completely paralyzed. The rebellion started in January of 1997 and did not end until August of the same year.

Damage from the rebellion was estimated at 200 million dollars and some 3700 to 5000 wounded and 2000 dead. Lawsuits were filed against the bosses of the rogue firms. In elections in June and July 1997, Berisha and his party were voted out of power, and the left coalition headed by the Socialist Party won. The Socialist party elected Rexhep Meidani as President of the Albanian Republic. All UN forces left Albania by 11 August.
> Full details can be read at

Over the many decades of hardline communism, atheism reigned supreme and religious services were forbidden. This left the people spiritually empty with no moral base. This ponzi scheme was a symptom of misguided hope. There was no wisdom to govern as personal gain excelled through criminal minds. No fear of God.
It is good news now to report the Gospel is spreading across the Albania and changing the hearts of those that once had little or no hope. Many churches and mission organization are reporting many coming to faith.

Prayer Points:
1) God is so gracious. He will not abandon us forever. He loves the nations and He loves Albania. Pray that a humbled people will find full forgiveness in Jesus.
2) The hope we have in the resurrected Savior gives us strength and assurance. May the Gospel message continue to grow in the cities of Albania.
3) Lord, may the Holy Spirit go forth across the land preparing the people’s hearts to receive the Gospel. Lord, release an atmosphere of hope.
4) The Gospel will be preached to all men before the end comes. Lord, we ask for the doors to be fully open for the proclamation of the Gospel in Albania.  4) Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
5) Let us pray for an excitement to fill the hearts of the Albanian Christians. May they move in the power of the Holy Spirit and let Jesus shine through their lives.
6) May the churches in Albania be safe places for many to receive healing and abundance in this life.  John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pray for the Balkans 8-25-17

An interesting Life

I was seeking the Lord as to what or how to pray for the Balkans. I was drawn to the city of Bor, Serbia and to a famous individual who suffered there during WW II.

Radnóti Miklós

Radnóti was born Miklós Glatter in Budapest into an assimilated Jewish family. His life was considerably shaped by the fact that both his mother and his twin brother died at his birth. He refers to this trauma in the title of his compilation Ikrek hava ("Month of the Twins").

In the early 1940s Radnóti was conscripted by the Hungarian Army, but being a Jew he was assigned to an unarmed (munkaszolgálat) ("labour battalion"). The battalion assigned to the Ukrainian front, and then in May 1944 the Hungarian Army retreated and his battalion was transferred to the copper mines in Bor, Serbia. In August 1944 as Yugoslav Partisans led by Josip Tito advanced, Radnóti's group of 3,200 Hungarian Jews was force-marched to central Hungary. On the march most of them died, including Radnóti.

In these last months of his life Radnóti continued to write poems in a small notebook and scraps of paper he kept with him. His last poem was dedicated to his friend Miklós Lorsi, who was shot to death during their death march.

According to witnesses, in early November 1944, Radnóti was severely beaten by a drunken militiaman who had been tormenting him for "scribbling". While passing near Győr, the prisoners were to be placed at the city's hospital, but as it being destroyed by Allied carpet bombing, Radnóti, together with other Jews, was shot, and buried in a mass grave. Today, a statue next to the road commemorates his place of death.

"Postcard 4" which was written days before his own death, describes the horror of seeing "his friend, the violinist Miklós Lorsi" executed. What follows is the poem in its translated version:

"Postcard 4"
I fell next to him. his body rolled over.
It was tight as a string before it snaps.
Shot in the back of the head- "This is how
you'll end." "Just lie quietly," I said to myself.
Patience flowers into death now.
"Der springt noch auf," I heard above me.
Dark filthy blood was drying on my ear.
October 31, 1944

Prayer Points:
1) Sad stories like Radnóti’s is a reminder of the fatal history of the Balkans. Throughout the Balkans, no matter where you journey, there is a sadness that hangs in the air. Let us pray for new stories of happy times.
Isaiah 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
                  To give them beauty for ashes,
                  The oil of joy for mourning,
                  The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
                  That they may be called trees of righteousness,
                  The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

2) Pray for hope. There is little hope in the Balkans. May the Lord raise up “hope givers” for the many people groups across the Balkans. Pray for encouragement.
3) I had someone quote Gandhi to me the other day, “There is enough to feed everyone’s need but not enough to feed everyone’s greed.” It is natural for those without hope to be selfish. Pray for generosity to arise and free people from the bondage of self-centeredness.
4) Even Christians in the Balkans are tight fisted. Many pastors must work long hours at a secular job and then try to pastor a congregation. Pray that generosity to be released through the Christians.

Let's talk about the Balkans. Make a Comment.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Pray for Turkey

July 7, 2017

Clashes in Ankara’s Yenimahalle
In the News: Late on July 2, Turkish residents and Syrian refugee residents of the neighborhood engaged in clashes leaving one person injured. Workplaces belonging to Syrian refugees and Iraqi Turkmens were damaged, Hürriyet reported.
Why is this important to the Balkans? Turkey is important to the Balkans because it occupied parts of the peninsula for centuries, therefore having an influence on the Balkan peoples.
Article: Deputy PM calls for ‘tolerance’ toward Syrian refugees amid rising tension
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak has made a call for public tolerance following clashes between different ethnic groups in Ankara’s Yenimahalle district.

“We have seen a social reaction against Syrians lately. Of course, there are some among the 3 million of them who may have committed crime. But the crime rate of Syrians is lower than that of our own citizens,” Kaynak told daily Hürriyet on July 4.
“If there are safe zones in Syria, they will go back to their own lands,” Kaynak said, adding that he recognized.
“The argument that ‘our soldiers are going to Syria and getting killed while Syrians are here safely’ is correct but insufficient. People between the ages of 20 and 45 can serve during a war but not all are warriors. In order for them to be warriors, they must be armed and educated accordingly. It is both not right and not possible for Turkey to do that alone,” he said.
“Turkey is approaching the issue solely from a humanitarian perspective. There are 1,200,000 helpless Syrian women in Turkey. We cannot ignore them,” Kaynak added. Read full article at:

Jerry’s commentary:
I agree with this deputy. This has been my argument concerning the Syrian/Iraqi refugees; that they should be trained and equipped to go back and take their home lands back. Therefore, I believe Turkey is positioned to be the place for assembling the refugees and preparing them for invasion. The western nations (NATO) can then step up and finance this effort. Russia should also be incorporated in supporting this also.
With western nations involved in this training and equipping, Turkey would not be in sole control of the process. Each participating country should be in agreement because they are only contributing money, arms and military advisers, not men in the battle.
Now from a Kingdom perspective:
Many of the fleeing Syrians and Iraqis are Christians. Either they are from the sparsely ancestral Christian inhabitants of Syria or they are newly converted Christians. (There are untold/unpublished stories of many refugees coming to Jesus) Not only Christians but people are fleeing because of the personal danger, economic breakdown and the discontent with Islam.
This situation has opened a door for the Church to evangelize. The Church should expand resources to plant missionaries among these refugees.
Does this create a holy war? Another Christian Crusade? Not necessarily, but that is a discussion that can be explored.
Prayer Points:
1)   The Christian’s greatest weapon is prayer. Let us pray for the Lord to fight for the refugees.
2)   Pray that the conversion of Syrians and Iraqis would continue with even greater momentum.
3)   Pray that the Church would seize this opportunity to evangelize the refugees.
4)   (There are undercover Christian groups operating in Syria and Iraq to bring the gospel) Pray that these people putting lives in danger will be protected and be led by the Spirit.