Tuesday, July 14, 2009

May Baptism

We've been away in the UK for a while and only managed to update with 2 posts hence the lateness of this post for example and the others thatwill shortly follow.

This baptism took place in May.

On the right are twins Gheorghe and Fedea who have physical disablities but they've been coming to the church for some time now aided by the vehcile for the physically disabled that we have.

On the left is Nadina who some of you might recognise as the daughter of Avram.

Here is John Dyson one of the trustees from our mission Moldovan Mission preaching at the baptism.
Our trustees come to us every year at this time and we have in recent times always been able to have a baptism meeting while they are here

This is Sasa who was also baptised and here he is giving testimony at the baptism meeting.

He is from Chircani and was the clearest fruit from the Alpha course that we ran in the winter that saw quite a few respond at various levels from Chircani - please keep praying for them.

In the first week of the Alpha course as all participated in sharing their "experiences of God" Sasa spoke of how when he was in prison in Germany for illegal immigration he cried out to God and not only did God answer by releasing him from prison but he was allowed to stay in Germany and work - quite an answer indeed but it was clear as he spoke that in his thinking this proved that he believed in God ( i.e that God existed ) and that made him a Christian.

It was intersting to see how he became increasingly shaken over the next 2 weeks of the Alpha course as the realisation dawned over him that being a true Christian means having a personal relationship with God and that this has implications on our attitudes and behaviour

Then it was wonderful to see how God worked the following Sunday when he came to the morning meeting.

I was in the middle of a series of preaches on "Forgive one another ..... Eph 4:32" and was speaking on the most difficult aspect - "giving forgiveness when it is not asked for"

I was sharing a personal experience where as a new Christian I had lent the friend of a friend a substantial amount of money to pay a debt to save him from going to prison.

He escaped prison but after a few months refused to keep up with repaying the loan.

Now I was hurt and angry with this and struggling to forgive but I knew the scripture taught me to do so. As I sought the Lord for a solution He spoke to me out of the book of Philemon.

In this book Paul is writing to Philemon's about Philenon's slave Onesimus.

It seems Onesimus had run away from Philemon and got to Paul who had then led him to the Lord and he had become a very useful servant of Paul who wanted Philemon to permit Onesimus to remain with him. Obviously he could not do this without Philemon's permission and as he writes for this permission Paul says

"...if he owes you anything charge it to my account ... I will repay and a little later he says "not to mention that you owe me your very own life"

Now imediately Jesus spoke it to me "Mark, if William ( not his real name ) owes you anything charge it to my account not to mention that you owe me your own life"

This of course immediately broke me - everything I have and own belongs to Jesus including all my money and if He wants to waste His money on William then that His problem. And the price Jesus paid for me? I couldn't even think about the debt that I needed to cancel in comparison.

So this of course was the grace from God that I needed to be able to charge this debt to Jesus's account and leave it all in His hands and forgive William which came easily ( since he didn't now owe me any money.)

The relevance:- Sasa was in exactly the same position at that very moment. He had lent a sizeable amount of money ( in Moldovan terms ) to a "friend" to get him out of trouble who was now refusing to pay it back and on that very day Sasa was planning to get some mates from Chircani and go to the guy and beat him up until he paid back the money.

So now the practical implications of a personal relationship with God became very real to Sasa - would he obey or not.

Well praise God he went home and commited the whole thing to God forgiving and releasing the "friend" and instantly found release for himself and a great joy from God in return.

He came back the next Sunday still full of this joy and asking how he might give his whole life to God. We led him to the Lord before the meeting started with an equal amount of joy.

He's still on fire.

Pastor Mark

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