Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pray for Greece

It has been some time since the Apostle Paul wrote his two letters to the Corinthians.
Ruins of the Temple of Apollo in Corinth
(Photo: www.HolyLandPhotos.org)
In the week of July 21 -28  some 750 villages and towns in the area surrounding Corinth, Greece will again be receiving the letters from Paul, as well as the rest of the New Testament writers.
Around 250 volunteers from around the world will take part in a mass distribution of scriptures to 120,000 homes in the area. The copies of the New Testament will be in modern Greek published by the Bible Society. They will also receive a audio recording of the New Testament in modern Greek on a DVD plus some gospel literature.
Very few Greeks own a copy of the Bible as it is regarded as a study book for theologians and clergymen. And not intended to be read by the masses. Those that do possess a copy of the Bible treat it more as a good luck charm or an ornament.
During this project 120,000 households will be receiving a beautifully bound copy of the New Testament in a language they would expect to find in their daily newspaper. It is the sort of Greek the venerable apostle would have used if he had been sending out his epistles today.
Greek New Testaments
The campaign is being organized by Hellenic Ministries, a Greek-based evangelistic mission operating out of Athens, Greece. The mission was started by Costas and Alky Macris who had returned from their own work as pioneer missionaries in Irian Jaya for health reasons and immediately began a new ministry in their native Greece.
This project is the biggest evangelistic effort in the long history of Greece. When Paul wrote his two epistles to the Corinthians it was probably delivered to a small handful of believers, who were facing real problems. This time 120,000 homes will have access to the Word of God as found in the New Testament. Remembering that ". the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)
Johnathan Macris, President of Hellenic Ministries, and his small staff are confident that the area will be greatly impacted for "the entrance of Your word brings light, it brings understanding to the simple." (Ps 119.130). Their vision is to distribute a million copies of the New Testament throughout rural Greece. Over the past few years 224,000 New Testaments have already been distributed to homes across Greece.
The ages of the volunteers ranges from pre- adolescent teens to senior citizens. They come as individuals, church groups, and families - all with the sole aim of getting the writings of Paul and his fellow New Testament writers to the masses.
How the Apostle Paul would have loved to have had such an enthusiastic, energized group at his disposal. Before the campaign has even started there is evidence of mounting opposition.  The national Greek Orthodox Church has posted a message on its website warning parishioners to avoid any contact with “this group of heretics spreading false teachings amongst our people.”  Sounds like history is repeating itself.   "They (the Jewish elders) accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.”" (Acts 18:13, NLT)
For further information about this great project contact Dr. Nico Bougas, International Coordinator of Hellenic Ministries: nico@bougas.info

Sunday, July 17, 2011


During the Korean conflict, the young Kim Joon-gon had seen 2000 out of 20 000 people on Chunnam Island murdered by the Communists. They dragged his family to a spot where 160 people from two villages had gathered to beat the Christians. There Kim's father and wife were beaten to death and Kim was left for dead. When he revived and sought safety at an acquaintance's house, he was turned over to the Communists. Only the sudden appearance of an American ship off the island coast saved him this time, for the communist soldiers hurried away to battle.

He hid out in the countryside until the South Korean army captured the island. The Communists who had killed his wife and father were arrested. Because it was wartime, the police chief had authority to execute without trial. But as they prepared to kill the men, Kim pleaded, "Spare them. They were forced to kill."

The police chief showed great surprise. "It was your family they killed. Why do you now ask for their lives?"

Kim replied quietly, "Because the Lord whom I serve and whose I am would have me show mercy to them".

The communists were spared execution because of Kim's plea. News of his action spread amongst other communist supporters in the area. When Kim later ascended a mountain to preach to Communists hiding out, he was not killed. Many of the communists became Christians and when Kim finally left the island, a flourishing church of 108 members was actively witnessing for Christ.

In 1957, Kim Joon-gon came to Fuller Theological Seminary in California on a scholarship. There, he was contacted by Dr Bill Bright, director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He returned to be Campus Crusade director of Korea and has been greatly used of God subsequently.

You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.”.  But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.  Matt 5. 43-45 (NIV)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Almost Persuaded

In the Peanuts cartoon the team statistician brings Charlie Brown, the manager, his report.

"'I've compiled the statistics on our baseball team for last season,' Linus says. 'In twelve games we almost scored a run and in nine games the other team almost didn't score before the first out. In right field, Lucy almost caught three balls and once almost made the right play.

"'We led the league,' he concludes, 'in almosts.'"

In Paul's day King Agrippa was also an almost … he was almost persuaded to become a Christian. We hope that he did while he had the opportunity. However, if he didn't, he is lost forever because there is no indication anywhere in God's Word that anybody is given a second chance after death to receive Jesus as their Saviour
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (Acts 26:28, NKJV)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Role Playing

Recently a Hollywood actress was given some major recognition at an international awards ceremony. As she expressed her gratitude, she also opened up her heart in a brief moment of extreme candor. She said, "You know, I play so many roles, sometimes I wonder who the real me really is." You don't have to be a Hollywood star to have that going on.

Playing a role - a lot of folks are doing that. Following the script you're supposed to follow, acting the way you're supposed to act, giving such a convincing performance that you almost believe it yourself. That gap between playing the role and experiencing the reality becomes horribly expensive when you're playing the role of belonging to Jesus Christ - when you really don't belong to Him.

The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. (Matthew 23:1-8, NLT)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

His Love Never Fails

Babe Ruth was one of the all-time greats of American baseball. For years he had been the idol of sports fans. Time, however, took its toll. In one of his last games, he began to falter. He struck out and made several misplays that allowed the opposing team to score five runs in one inning. As he walked from the field, he was greeted with an enormous storm of boos and catcalls from the stands. Fans shook their fists.

Then a little boy jumped over the railing and, with tears running down his cheeks ran out to the great athlete. Unashamedly, he flung his arms around his hero's legs and held on tightly. Babe Ruth picked him up, hugged him, set him down, and together the two of them walked off the field hand in hand.

Fame is a fleeting experience.  The cheers of today can turn to the jeers of tomorrow.  Loyalty can change with culture, age, and environment.  But we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother and whose love for us never fails.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8, NLT)