Phoenix, 24.10.2010

Good News, Communion

Good morning,

we are Andreas and Tamara from Berlin, the capital of Germany, and we are here on vacation to visit Tamara´s family.
The Berlin church has 134 members and we are very encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ. We had some issues, where it was important to see, that we understand the church as a family, taking care of each other - and we see this.

But you can pray for us. We don´t have any staff since February. To deal with this, we organized the church into 4 housechurches consisting of 3 to 4 bibletalks each. These groups meet on one Sunday per month in a regional setting. It feels more like a family gathering. After the church service we eat together and have nice fellowship - On the other Sundays we meet with the whole congregation.

The idea of the housechurch concept is that all the upcomming needs will be taken care of by the brothers and sisters in the housechurch and with the help of God, of course.

In this process we are supported by 3 coaches from different churches: Scott Green from Seattle, Valdur Koha from Boston and Christian Herbst from Zürich. But we still need prayer.

We started a men´s midweek every two month to help the brothers with their leadership and to get them more connected. In November will be the fourth one. The brothers enjoy discussing the topics of a short message in small groups. After the small groups we share some results with all the attending brothers, which is usually interesting, because each small group focuses on different points of the message. This way the Holy Spirit can work most in us.

In the summer the German speaking churches - that´s Munich, Zürich, Berlin and Düsseldorf had organized a teencamp and it is very encouraging to see how the group has grown to be one, even though the kids live all over the country. They are a tight unit and they love God. More and more of them have started to study the bible and in Berlin we have had the first baptism of a kingdom kid this year.

Personally I am happy to have baptized a 69 year old man, Klaus, last Sunday. He attends church since a long time, since his daughters were baptized in the mid nineties. - It is amazing how God works to reach someone. In short: To me it looks like a campus campaign in Berlin, biblical study tours and the European Bible School equipped me and some others to help him loose his doubts about the truth. The writings of the early church fathers helped as well to get a strong foundation.

Just a short message from the women in Berlin: We have 2 brunches for women a year that are encouraging, because we reach out to the community by inviting friends, neighbors and colleagues - and women from other cities come as well.
The women of our bible talk meet once a month. Right now we study a book, that helps to be more focused on a topic.
And we share on a deeper and more personal level in this small group.

Thank you.

Now we come to the communion:
If you want, you can open your bible to 1. Peter 2 verse 21 already.
At communion, we want to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3, 1.Corinthians 11:23-26).

We are in a spiritual war.

While we have all these great news, that we shared and many more around the world, two weeks ago my dear father died suddenly and just 10 days later my 95 year old step-grandmother died.
- I must say - I struggled shortly in my trust in God, but now I am very confident, that God will work in all things for the good of me and all who love him.
It was a strong blow of Satan, but I resisted his lies and wrote down all the good things, God did to encourage and comfort me. And this was a lot.

Anyway, when my father went to the hospital, I realized, that for generations in our family, we try to do things on our own - we don't want to bother others - and we take on too much.
Probably we take pride as well, if we manage.
This is a dysfunction or a vicious cycle that is passed on from one generation to the next.
My father told me a few month ago that his father died because he over-exerted himself - my father knew it, but he was not able to break this cycle.

Realizing it is the first step to be able to change this. So I have hope for me, that I learn to involve others in a healthy way and not to put too much pressure on me. I might be able to do so, if I look at Jesus.

If I understand Jesus on the cross and follow him, I might break the vicious cycle.

Let´s read 1. Peter 2:21. We read until verse 25 „To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Isn´t this a healing message?
Jesus was able to break the cycle even of retaliation - and even on the cross. So he can break every unhealthy cycle and heal every dysfunction because he took our sins on the cross.
He entrusted himself to him who judges justly - basically he trusted God, he was confident, that God would bring it to a good end despite the circumstances.

Now - I mean we have to do our part - but Jesus didn't expect his disciples to do the impossible. He distributed the work on 12 men, who shared it with more and more capable people - he didn't spread Christianity on his own he involved more and more people who are encourage that they can help and are trusted with this task.
Whatever it is, I don´t have to do it alone.

Trusting God and praying can break every unhealthy cycle and heal every dysfunction. Thank you, Jesus, for this healing example even on the cross.

Let us now turn to God in prayer and let us consider how Jesus helps us to overcome our vicious cycles or dysfunctions.

Great God, Jah, our father,

We thank you for the wine and bread.
As this broken bread was scattered on the fields and was brought together to be one, let your community be brought together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.
We thank you, Holy Father, for your holy name, whose home you have prepared in our hearts, and for the life and the knowledge and the faith and immortality, which you gave us to see through Jesus, your son;
May you be honored forever.
You powerful ruler created everything to your name´s sake. You gave food and drink to the people to enjoy, so that they thank you, but to us you presented a spiritual food, a spiritual drink and an eternal life through your son.
May you be honored forever.
Remember, O Lord, your community, that you save it from all evil and that you make it perfect in your love, bring it together from the four winds, the sacred, into your kingdom, that you have prepared;
Yours is the power and the glory in eternity.

Thank you, that you provided a fellowship, that helps me to deal with the death of my father.
Thank you for all the small things, that you do now to encourage me.
Thank you for healing us through your son Jesus.

Thank you, our father, for your great love and your son, who you gave to us.
May you be glorified through the Holy Spirit in us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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Inhaltlich geändert : 23.10.2010