OPEN ARMS UKRAINE

July 2008

A Day in the Life…
Since our official move to Sumy we, as Open Arms, have been continually blown away by the work God is allowing us to be a part of. It is an incredible honor to work with all of you as His hands and feet in the lives of so many in Ukraine. We have been focusing our efforts on finding long-term and tangible support that will help the orphans who struggle in their post-orphanage transition in life such as education and job training. As we work to walk alongside the many children no longer at the Pravda orphanage, we have also established weekly visits to the orphanage to continue our ministry there. Not only are we able to visit the 200 children of Pravda weekly, but this gives us an opportunity to connect with the “Shevchenko” family of Ivanivka, comprised of children no longer at the orphanage, as we work to help them succeed in their goals. Visits have also begun with the various children from Pravda who are now in prisons throughout Ukraine. No support exists for these orphans and the mistakes of their pasts in no way define the future God has in store for them. All this has been taking place as we solidified a simple apartment on the outskirts of the city that acts as our central location of ministry for the time being – with daily meals being provided for these desperate children and a location of refuge available for them.

The days are busy, the stories are heavy, and we know that trials await us as we work to help these forgotten children. We continue to trust God’s will in it all and look forward to more triumphs and trials to share with you all!

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This sermon by Voddie Baucham is EXCELLENT!  It is absolutely essential that our entire worldview is formed by God’s Holy Word, and this sermon shows it powerfully and beautifully. It also shows how important a thoroughly biblical worldview is in evangelism…  

Click here to listen to it. 

(This message was originally given at a pastor’s conference put on by Desiring God Ministries in 2006.) 

I took a church planting class this last semester at seminary and had to interview a few church planters as a part of the class. The common thread I picked up from these men, my reading, and my professor, was the truth that evangelism only really happens when you’re purposeful about it. I’ve also been learning a lot about how to be purposeful in evangelism…

It’s not wrong to knock on a stranger’s door or walk up to someone you don’t know and immediately give them the gospel, but it’s important to be considerate and wise. I recently had a stranger start talking to me at a Starbucks. Their friendliness brightened my day, until the brief conversation very suddenly turned to a pitch for a pyramid scheme selling “the perfect water” (which, by the sounds of it, comes straight from the fountain of youth, can cure every disease known to man, and would make me a billionaire if I would only take up her offer and start selling it too). My day was no longer brightened. To be honest, I was pretty annoyed. I politely changed the subject, wished her a nice day, and left… I imagine most people would do the same if you were to try present the gospel like she presented her sales pitch. I might have listened to this lady more if I’d actually known her a little bit and believed she was really trying to line me up with something for my good, rather than just buttering me up with a few words of “kindness” so she can make her quick sale and move on…     

I think we’re far more likely to succeed in evangelism when we know people/ get to know people and witness to them within a friendship… when we can show a genuine interest in them, talk with them at length about the gospel and answer questions/ objections they may have, take opportunities to serve them (even in little ways), and follow up with those who do receive Christ – helping them get plugged into church, teaching them more about Christ, etc. This means we should be faithful to give the gospel to the unbelieving friends we already have (I am often blown away by how many people do not make the most of this incredible opportunity!), and we should be purposeful about getting to know more people who do not yet know Christ so that we can tell them about Him too…

Opportunities to meet and get to know people are all around  us, if we’ll be purposeful to take them… Here are a few ways the church planters I interviewed were purposeful about meeting unbelievers who lived in their neighborhoods:

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Do You Remember?

July 3, 2008

I have to admit, I am preaching to myself on this one…

We come to church.  We sing some songs.  We offer a tithe.  We hear a sermon.  Hopefully through all of this we are worshipping in spirit and in truth, and we emerge from the air-conditioned building, but are we a changed people for having experienced the conviction of God’s Spirit on our hearts from the sword of His Word.  Or…do we sit in our comfort praying that the sermon will be done in time for our good Baptist fellowship-luncheon at Carl’s Jr.?  If we do intently listen and truly learn on a Sunday morning, do we remember what we learned two days later…a week…a month?  We have just finished a series on making disciples, evangelism, and I don’t want to forget it.  I want to make it a part of my life, because according to God’s Word it should be!  How seriously am I taking God’s Word to me?  How much will I let it effect my life and how I live it?  How much should I let it effect my life and how I live it?  Just something to think about…No, I’m sorry.  This isn’t just something to think about, its something to begin doing something about.