Second Day of a Seminar

Saturday and it is full house at the Church of Jesus Christ in Nyagan, Siberia, Russia. I have been asked to teach on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and so I am doing so. More than teaching on them – I am equipping the saints to flow in them and releasing them through prophetic prayer. They are receptive and very open and for many of them this is the first time they have heard there are gifts and that they have two or three of them resident within them to help them to walk and minister supernaturally.

We have three sessions today and by the time our evening meal is complete it will be time for bed so we can face the next day refreshed and fresh – ready to minister to the whole church and prophesy over this corporate body. This we do if allowed and almost always on our first visit to the congregation before we get to know too much about it. Thus it is always a pure word and not partly our opinion or thoughts.

It is always sad when we see a trip coming to an end and it is no different this time. With three sessions today, several services tomorrow, travel and a last set of meetings in Moscow on Monday night and Tuesday morning – this trip is fast drawing to a close. It seems like just yesterday that we arrived and it is always hard to say good-bye even though we have already been invited back.

Please pray that our strength continue as we come to the end of this trip. Please pray that all financial obligations we took on to bring the team here to Russia will be met so that we can completely pay for this trip and not carry forward any debt. Please begin to pray for safe travel as team members have many flights, buses, and trains in all directions to head home beginning Sunday evening – and ending with my arrival home on Tuesday night late if all the flights connect as they are suppose to.

Your prayers, as always, are felt and greatly appreciated.

God Has a Pattern

God has always shown a desire to be in fellowship with human beings and to provide for their needs. Sadly, that desire was spoiled through our disobedience in the garden. After God SCATTERED Adam and Eve by casting them out of the garden, we see a recurring pattern that unfolds in the Scriptures: a cycle of SCATTERING and GATHERING.

The human race GATHERS together in pride at the Tower of Babel, and God SCATTERS them. People from every nation under heaven GATHER on the day of Pentecost to hear about God’s mighty deeds, and they are SCATTERED back to their peoples to bring the message of the gospel. The early Church GATHERED to celebrate God’s redemptive work through Jesus, yet they were soon SCATTERED by persecution and the move of God’s Spirit.

GATHERING and SCATTERING go together just like love and marriage. That is just the way God set things up! He chose to GATHER a people to Himself from among the SCATTERED peoples of the world. And, He is still at work today, SCATTERING His GATHERED Church to the ends of the earth. He SCATTERS us to proclaim His glory and His goodness among those who have yet to be GATHERED. If we want to honor God’s intentions, we must recognize that it is not really about GATHERING or SCATTERING. It is about both!

We are GATHERED as disciples to be discipled, trained and equipped. We are SCATTERED as disciples to “go into all the world and make more disciples.” It take both GATHERING and SCATTERING to be a healthy and whole disciple and to have a healthy, growing Church.

In your life – are you simply ignoring both issues and neither GATHERING with the saints or SCATTERING among the unbelievers? In your life – are you GATHERING to be fed and then not SCATTERING and so you are becoming spiritually lazy and fat? In your life – are you GATHERING and SCATTERING? Both are needed for a healthy relationship with the Lord and His people.

Blessed are the Flexible

You always have to be flexible when ministering on apostolic trips such as this one. The original plans we had been given for our time in this area have been changed. I am not in the city of Yugorsk for three days and then the city of Nyagan. Instead I will be living in Nyagan the whole time I am here (easier than moving every two days) and ministering there for several days and on the other days I have been travelling out to other cities three hours drive away from this main hub. So, instead of two cities I am ministering in three – the cities of Yugorsk, Nyagan and Khanty-Mansiysk.

This means I will be meeting many more pastors and leaders than originally expected. This means that instead of being able to really build a good foundation in one place over three or four days (referable) I will be simply skipping across the surface of the material and wetting their appetites for more – or to put it biblically – planting seeds for future ministry. Blessed are the flexible – they shall not be broken.

Today – Friday – you could be praying for our team members. They have worked hard and are tired and could use some serious refreshing. We still have 4 days of ministry here in Siberia and then in Moscow as we wait overnight for connecting flights. We honestly don’t waste a minute and take every opportunity we are given to connect with people and reconnect with those we have met and ministered to before. So, our pace is not slowing down and we are in need of a good “time of refreshing in the presence of the Lord” as the book of Acts speaks about.

Thanks for your prayers. They are greatly appreciated and very necessary. We have touched hundreds of lives and impacted many churches over the course of the last two weeks. Powerful ministry times have been experienced every day even when things don’t go as planned. You are important to this ministry and appreciated greatly!

A God of Variety

God reveals His plans and His purpose to someone He has chosen to lead a local assembly. This person – hopefully an apostle or prophet as they are foundational and should begin new works for the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20) – receives a vision to go along with his personal calling and then he begins to build a team and implement what the Lord has showed him.

However, we have the tendency to think that this is the only way to build and so often we market our idea for others to duplicate, copy, or buy into. Thus we end up with MacChurch instead of unique and individual local assemblies built by the Lord who said “I will build My Church.” And wonder why we cannot duplicate the results that the originator of the idea or vision has reaped.

God is a God of variety and for each person He calls He has a unique vision and a unique set of blueprints to guide the building of His Church in that location and through that leader. The Scriptures are clear. God is the One who builds the church. In Acts 2, He turned a network of house churches into a mega-church, and in Acts 8 He allowed a centralized Hebrew church to be scattered all over the new world. On the one occasion He centralized a decentralized movement, and later He decentralized a centralized movement. He is a God of variety. There is only one right way to build – His way. And, it is often very different in each location.

The lesson here is that although we can study the way others do church and build their church – we must take the time and do the hard work of seeking God’s face and His unique plan and purpose for your local church so that you can build a unique expression of the body of Christ. No two churches should ever be the same. God is a God of variety. If you are a leader in a church – pray, seek God’s face, and listen to His voice and then help to build what He has revealed working together with the other leaders who are pursuing the same vision for the local house of God. If you are a member and not a leader – find out the revealed vision from your leaders and help them fulfill what God has called them to do and for which they are responsible before God to accomplish.

Nearing the End of the Trip

Today is a much quieter day – with a few simple fellowship meetings with some leaders during the day along with some planning and organizing of future trips – the scheduling going well into 2013 at the moment. Even here in Russia we have already been invited back to the city of Yekaterinburg where we minister for 6 days last week. The next time we are there they want us to spend two full weeks with them. So, a quieter day but only because we will not be driving for hours early morning and late night and ministering a number of times in-between.

Tonight I will be attending and teaching at a major prayer meeting held here in the city of Nyagan. I have been asked to speak on the gifts of the Holy Spirit or prayer and to minister supernaturally through the gift of prophecy. That is exactly what I will be doing. I am looking forward to it.
In your prayers today we would appreciate prayer for this meeting as well as the rest of our schedule as this trip comes to an end in a few days…

23-24 Sept. – seminars in Nyagan (about 50 people – leaders and church comers)
The Church of Jesus Christ, pastor Vyacheslav Matveichuk
10.00am-01.00pm – morning session
01.00-03.00pm – lunch break
03.00-07.00 – two more sessions

25 Sept.– Sunday service
The Church of Jesus Christ, pastor Vyacheslav Matveichuk
11.00am–02.00pm – corporate Sunday service (300 people)
02.00-03.00pm – lunch
03.00– 06.00pm – Corporate Sunday service #2

26 Sept. – Morning meetings with leaders
Flying to Moscow in afternoon
Staying overnight in Moscow – meeting with Vice-President of the Presbyterian Union of Russian Churches

27 Sept. – Morning meeting with leaders from Moscow
12.00pm – check in for flights – Frankfurt, Germany – Toronto, ON. – Regina.

Appreciate all the work you do for every team member.
We appreciate your prayers. Without them we would not accomplish all we have and seen so many lives transformed.

Selling Sand to People Who Live on the Beach

I am in Russia when writing this blog – specifically on a 20+ hour train ride from Yekaterinburg to Yugorsk sitting next to two men who are heavy into drinking and with whom I cannot communicate as my interpreter is asleep. I know, more information than you needed and you have no idea where these cities are in Russia. It would be good to look them up as you have family there in both cities. Believers and fellow disciples.

It has been an amazing week and a half and I am looking forward to seeing what God is planning to do in the three cities in Siberia we are now ministering in.

It is interesting how well received our ministry is in each and every place we go. The people of God are hungry and willing to sit and learn if you are willing to stand and teach. They take notes, get excited, respond to what you are saying, interact with you and the Holy Spirit and are willing to stay as long or longer than you do. They are a joy to teach and minister to as they simply draw the anointing right out of you. They are excited about Jesus, worship long and hard, and are seriously attentive to the Word as it is being preached and as it is being ministered prophetically.

Now I am not comparing – well yes, actually I am. I’m comparing because it is like night and day – the difference between here and there – my home country. I am comparing and maybe even complaining just a bit. Back home it seems that few are seriously committed to the work of the Kingdom and the spreading of the Gospel worldwide. Here they simply take that for granted and are committed and involved right from the start. Here they volunteer – back home we have to compel people to get more involved and more committed… Back home, at the end of a week, I feel as if I am still trying to lasso mice or sell sand to people who live on the beach.

It is sad that it is this way. It does not have to be like this. If we want to change it and are willing to pay the price as disciples of Jesus Christ to do so – it can change. I am willing. There is just something about this thing called CHURCH that captures our hearts and keep us fighting for a better day. We see the hand of God on it no matter how imperfect it may be. We understand that the Church functioning as it was designed to work is the only hope for the world. We know that the Church gathered to be equipped and sent or scattered to minister to the lost is the most worthwhile purpose to invest in.

So, we keep believing that the Church will soon regain its health and vitality so that we too, here in North America, can experience excitement and watch the saints come alive in the power of the Gospel as they thank Jesus for all He has and is doing and as we learn from the teaching of His Word.

I keep hoping that one day the majority of believers in North America will once again become excited about what God is doing in each and every nation of the world and will want to join their brothers and sisters around the world and be about their Father’s business. I am believing that this day is not too far in the future and I am praying for a new and deep passion to fall on and arise from within all disciples of the Lord as the church becomes hot and no longer lukewarm. Then I can let the mice go free and sweep the sand out of the building.

God Has a Neat Way of Doing Things

When I was last in Kazakhstan I was invited to be a part of a conference being held in March 2012 in Turkey. There I will be meeting with pastors and leaders from many nations of the former Soviet Union. This past week in Russia I have been invited by a Russian national to accompany him to Chine to minister to the underground church. I would be training leaders and especially ministering on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the supernatural gifts that come with it – training and equipping 250 underground pastors and leaders.

I have also met with a pastoral couple who were originally from Kirgizstan and are now church planting and pastoring in Yekaterinburg, Russia who invited me to minister in 2012 to the Church in Kirgizstan which is in great difficulty and in need of much encouragement and training. There were excited to meet me and very interested in seeing the gifts and calling the Lord has blessed me with available to their people back home.

During our 20+ hours on the train going into Siberia on Monday we planned the dates for both of these trips as we believe that these offers are from God and in answer to our prayers over the past year and several prophetic insights that He gave to me personally about the next few years of this ministry and its expansion.

So you go to one nation to meet someone from another nation to be invited to even a third nation. God has a neat way of doing things.

Today is Wednesday and although we are centered in and living in the city of Nyagan we are traveling out 3 hours each morning to surrounding communities to bless them and minister to Church leaders and their people. 6 hours of driving each day and 12 to 15 hours of ministry and meetings. It is stretching us a bit spiritually and physically but the Lord’s grace is enabling and empowering us in many neat ways. Please continue to pray for our team here in Siberia and for the people we minister to daily as well as the planning going on to set in motion many of the trips for year-end and into 2012 including these two new offers – China and Kirgizstan. Your prayers are powerful and greatly appreciated.

Headed Down the Track Again…

I got on the train to Siberia at 4:48p on Sunday after an amazing service in a local church in central Russia. It is now Tuesday and I have just recovered from the 24 hour train ride to get to this city – the city of Yugorsk, Russia where we arrived Monday evening. It was an experience – and one I will remember for a long, long time. Powerful time with the Lord as my team member slept during the late night hours, good fellowship when he was awake, and time to read and meditate on His Word – something that we rarely have when on an apostolic trip – quality time with the Lord.

Here in this city we are working with “The Voice of the True Church” church and will spend 3 days ministering to their leaders and the people. We have never been here before and have never met the pastor who is hosting our team and this ministry. So, we will spend a great deal of time fellowshipping and listening to him so we can sense his heart for the Lord and for his church and city. Of course, we will be ministering in up to three services a day – preaching, teaching and equipping the saints as well as ministering prophetically.

We covet your prayers. We are well into our second week and, as usual, we are growing weary. God is refreshing us spiritually and blessing in so many obvious ways – but we are tired physically, mentally, and socially. We need your prayer support now more than ever. Often when tired we are short with each other as team members and can be hurt more easily by words and actions – so we are really aware of our humanness and our need for the Lord’s hand to constantly touch us so we can continue to grow together as a team and bless the hundreds of people we minister to daily. Thanks for praying.

Simply Amazed

I am sitting in an apartment on the 8th floor – half way to the top. We border a major 6 lane expressway in the midst of a city of two million people. It is very early in the morning and already traffic is fairly heavy in both directions. It is a Sunday morning and I was expecting fewer people to be up and about both because of the early hour and the fact that it is Sunday. Here in this nation apparently it makes no difference what day of the week it is.

I have watched the traffic ebb and flow each morning now for almost a week. Each time the Lord has brought to mind that so many people are in such a hurry to go somewhere and do something because they think it is urgent and important. Yet, in light of eternity, they are simply keeping busy and often are occupied with things – thoughts and actions – that really have little meaning or importance in light of eternity. And, that most are not even thinking about life in any meaningful terms let alone life after death. They simply scurry about keeping busy while eternity looms on their horizon and they can enter into their eternal and forever destination at any moment. The way some people drive in this city it may be sooner than later.

The Lord has reminded me each morning how much he loves each and every one of these people – even if they do not believe that He exists. Many here in this former Communist nation do not believe that there really is a god. And, with this city being predominately young people – there is a whole generation who have no Christian reference point or church background. Regardless, Jesus came to die for each and every one of them.

Folks, I know we know that – but do we really KNOW that? Are we aware of what the Lord feels and thinks when He sees people living their lives in such an aimless manner and doing so without Him? I believe He has let me see a bit more of His heart in this regard than ever before as I have, each morning, watched from this 8th floor balcony.

I have been working with recovered and recovering drug addicts this past week. Hundreds of them. In fact, in the one church I have been relating to there are 75 leaders and about 400+ people – almost all recovered addicts. They really love the Lord and their worship is very upbeat, powerful, not rushed, and focused on redemption and transformation – the changes Jesus makes in a person’s life. I have watched them at work and at play. I have shared meals with them. I have joined them in prayer. I have worshipped and worshipped and worshipped – my how I have worshipped.

I have watched as they ministered to each other and then repeated I have had to move quietly around the corner of the room or the building to simply cry – actually weep before the Lord and thank Him for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful community of believers. Again, I cry as I write. These people really love one another and are connected – deeply connected to each other.

It has been a powerful week – and every day I have seen these wonderful people reach out to the lost and the dying – especially to those with addictions who are rejected, forgotten, and often invisible – the ones most churches don’t even see.

I came to minister to them and the Lord has used them in so many ways to powerfully minister to me. This has been a life-changing week… and there is still another week to come as I arrive today in the middle of Siberia.

I Have Arrived…Again

I have been resting for the last few hours. Yesterday, Sunday, after a 5 hour service and a 20 hour train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad I arrived in Yogorsk in Siberia. It was certainly an experience to be in motion on a train that long. It did allow for some quiet time and some reflective moments as we rattled along through town after town and very empty and desolate countryside. And, that was good as the week has been very busy and has afforded little time to think and pray.

Last week we struggled for 5 days to find my luggage. We finally received it at midnight on Friday night. I had gone to Dusseldorf, Germany and on to Moscow and further – it had gone to Frankfurt, It took the insurance company to find it and send it forward. Made for an interesting time with only three days of medicine with me as the rest was in the luggage… and clothing was basic as I simply had the clothes I travelled in and nothing more. However, it did arrive before heading further north where it would never find me.
Your prayers are really important to us. We are now officially into week two of this apostolic trip and we are a little weary. Please pray for physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental strength for all the team members and for me as I begin to come to know a new pastor and his team of leaders. We are here for three days…