Latest Posts

Risking The First Kiss 


IMG_7712 - Version 2
Everybody… Over here!

Behind much of our past evangelistic methodology has been the conscious or unconscious acceptance of one idea.

“This person’s salvation depends on me… talking… right now.”

I used to think that, but I don’t anymore.  Now does that mean I don’t talk?  (Have we never met?)  Stephanie and I have recently had wonderful and unexpected opportunities to share our experience with the Triune God, how He has changed our lives, and even how to meet Him.  ‘Plenty of talking going on here.

But is talk the first essential thing?  And more importantly, if I don’t say something, is God out of options?  Let’s deal with the second question first.

What is God doing while I am silent?  Is He not clearly visible in the world around us, demonstrating His creative genius in every leaf and sunset?  Is His Holy Spirit not capable, indeed, necessary to move the hearts of individuals?  If I blow an opportunity, does He have no other servants to call on?  How big, or small, do we think God is?

But what about actual verbalization of the gospel message?  That is a command after all.  When do we get around to that?  Evangelism seems to mirror a young couple and their first kiss.  Opportunity, awkwardness, and mutual consent seem inevitably present.  One should force neither a kiss nor a conversation but look for the right moment.   And however clumsy or not the execution, success hinges on the other person’s receptivity.  Timing and willingness are essential.

One correction about kissing though…  Someone leans forward first and risks rejection.  There is no promise it will go well.  You think it will, you hope it will, but…

The same is true in evangelism

So how do we make somebody listen?  We can’t.  Only God can move a heart.  Logic and reason, evidences and persuasion have their place but that is only presentation.  Story after story, passage after passage lead us to the conclusion that it is God who is orchestrating every conversion.  We are just players, and supporting actors at that.

We pray, we listen, and say as much as we can say, when we can say it.  God is already at work.

N+1 Groups – What’s the point?


Mission description

N+1 groups are for students and young professionals who seek personal and spiritual growth in Christ through open-minded discussions centered around the Bible, deep relationships, prayer and application of Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit.

What do we mean by that?

N+1

We have chosen the name n+1 because we always wish to be open to one more person, one more idea, one more perspective.

Students and young professionals

Every week men and women come together in Bible Study groups all over Bratislava. We have created a platform specifically for people of our context, students and young professionals, because we are in a time of our lives when we decide what to do, why to do it, and with whom to do it. N+1 groups serve as a support for us in answering these questions, and we wish to provide it to others as well.

Personal and spiritual growth in Christ

Jesus’s life is an example we have decided to follow and God’s grace is the source of our hope. We have chosen to foster our spiritual growth by learning from one another and passing on what we have been given. We want the Gospel to move from our minds to our hearts, and, consequently, to our actions. In our personal growth, we identify our flaws and develop our talents. We do not want to remain childish in our faith, but we wish to become mature believers whose sight will constantly be shifted from themselves to God and other people.

Open-minded discussions centered around the Bible

In our discussions about the Bible and the character of God we want to consider and challenge every personal reading as well as interpretation of both secular and Christian thinkers. The group is open to people from various Christian traditions, as well as for those without a Christian background. We follow the motto: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Deep relationships

In our generation we feel a deepening need for genuine relationships. We are trying to find a way out of this friendship crisis through building a hospitable environment based on trust, honesty, encouragement, empathy and long-term involvement in each others´ lives.

Prayer

An important part of our group life is prayer. In both communal and personal prayer we slow down to look for God’s perspective on our lives and become more attentive towards Him, others and ourselves.

Application

We do not want to hold discussions only because we like to talk. Instead, we want to bring change into our lives. We look for direct application of Biblical texts and discussions in our lives – in our studies, work and relationships.

With the help of the Holy spirit

On our own, we fall short in growing spiritually. However, the Holy Spirit is our helper, comforter and counselor in all walks of life.

OR… if you want to practice your Slovak

N+1 skupiny – O čo nám ide?

N+1 biblické skupinky sú pre študentov a mladých pracujúcich, ktorí hľadajú osobný a duchovný rast v Kristovi. Robíme to cez otvorené diskusie nad Biblickými textami, hlboké vzťahy, modlitbu a aplikáciu písma. A to všetko s pomocou Ducha Svätého.

Čo tým myslíme?

N+1

Vybrali sme si názov n+1, pretože chceme byť vždy otvorení ďalšiemu novému človeku, myšlienke a perspektíve.

Študenti a mladí pracujúci

Každý týždeň sa vo viacerých skupinách po celej Bratislave stretávajú muži a ženy, študenti a mladí pracujúci. Vytvorili sme priestor špecificky pre ľudí ako sme my, pretože sa nachádzame v období našich životov, kedy sa rozhodujeme, čo budeme robiť, prečo to budeme robiť a s kým to budeme robiť. N+1 skupiny nám dávajú podporu pri hľadaní odpovedí na tieto otázky, a tak chceme túto podporu ponúknuť aj iným.

Osobnostný a duchovný rast v Kristovi

Ježiš je naším príkladom v žití a Božia milosť je zdrojom našej nádeje.

Rozhodli sme sa podporovať náš duchovný rast učením sa od seba navzájom, a zdieľaním toho, čo sme dostali. Chceme, aby dobrá správa o Ježišovom živote, smrti a vzkriesení prešla z našich myslí cez srdce do konkrétnych činov. V našom osobnom raste chceme pracovať na našich slabých stránkach a rozvíjať to, v čom sme talentovaní. Nechceme zostať pri našej detskej viere, ale našou túžbou je stať sa dospelými veriacimi, ktorí svoj zrak budú konštantne presúvať zo seba na Boha a druhých ľudí.

Otvorené diskusie nad Biblickými textami

V našich diskusiách o Biblii a Božom charaktere chceme rozmýšľať nad našou osobnou interpretáciou, ako aj nad komentármi sekulárnych a kresťanských mysliteľov. Skupina je otvorená ľuďom z rôznych kresťanských tradícií či bez kresťanského pozadia. Riadime sa mottom: “V podstatných veciach jednota, v ostatnom sloboda, ale vo všetkom láska.”

Hlboké vzťahy:

V našej generácií vnímame prehlbujúcu sa túžbu po autentických vzťahoch. Snažíme sa nájsť cestu von z tejto krízy priateľstiev cez budovanie pohostinného prostredia založeného na dôvere, úprimnosti, povzbudzovaní, empatii a vzájomnom angažovaní sa v našich životoch.

Modlitba

Veľmi dôležitou časťou života našich skupín je modlitba. V spoločnej a osobnej modlitbe sa stišujeme, aby sme viac vnímali Božiu perspektívu v našich životoch a stali sa viac pozornými voči Nemu, iným a sebe.

Aplikácia
Nediskutujeme len kvôli tomu, že sa radi rozprávame, ale chceme zmenu v našich životoch. Chceme hľadať to, čo nám cez texty a diskusiu Boh hovorí do našich životov: do štúdia, práce či vzťahov.

S pomocou Ducha Svätého

Sami však nevieme duchovne rásť. Duch Svätý je však naším radcom, pomocníkom a povzbudzuje nás v každej životnej situácií a to aj napriek našim opakujúcim sa zlyhaniam.

At The Snap Of My Praying Fingers


“Your people shall all be righteous;
they shall possess the land forever.
They are the shoot that I planted, the work of my hands,
so that I might be glorified.
The least of them shall become a clan,
and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the LORD”
in its time I will accomplish it quickly.  Is. 60:21-22

 

We Navigators love these kinds of verses, promises of significance that God has made to Israel and that we, rightly or presumptuously, apply to ourselves.  I’ll bet I have every one of them underlined in some bible still stored in a box somewhere.  This passage stood out this morning, highlighting one of the three things I have to trust God for.

First I have to trust that God can do stuff.  Is God really able to do whatever… whatever He says, whatever I ask… anything?  Really?

Second, OK, He can do anything, but will He?  Does He care?  About the world, about people…about me?  Does He understand how desperate I am?  Does He hear my prayer?

And that leads us to a short phrase at the end of a chapter I read this morning.

“In its time I will accomplish it quickly.”

God is not my servant or worse, a magical vending machine that I manipulate with my righteous behaviour or the right words.  He cares, He listens, and He can and will act in this world, but when He wants to, in His timing, not at the snap of my praying fingers.  So, can I wait?  Can I trust that He not only knows “what” and “how” but “when”? 

Ahh, patience!  Not my favorite.

Marriage, 21st Century Style


From Jo Craven McGinty in a June Wall Street Journal…

The Divorce Rate Is at a 40-Year Low, Unless You’re 55 or Older

Younger married couples are less likely to split up, but ‘gray’ divorces among older couples are on the rise

So younger people are staying married longer?  Not exactly.  From the same article….
“Forty percent of women who wedded for the first time between 1980 and 1984 lived with their husband before they married, according to the Bowling Green researchers. From 2010 through 2014, 70% did. (This only counts women who eventually married and reported living with their spouse ahead of tying the knot.)”

These relationships were typically preceded by other “starter” co-habitations that only lasted 2-3 years.  This is the new reality.  70% of young people are living together before they marry.  70%… seven out of ten!  Most… What does this mean?  Research suggests that it is not that this generation takes marriage lightly but just the reverse.  They hold it in such reverence, abhorring divorce, that they only enter into marriage after a trial period, desperate for a greater certainty than their divorced parents had.  Whatever the consequences, the motives are supportable.  What will the church do?

The temptation is to use these statistics as evidence of the coming apocalypse.  The world is collapsing into a moral sinkhole and even as we erect social bulwarks to protect our children we will be digging out our “The End Is Near” sandwich boards.  Ahhh… but we’ve been here before.  I can remember the horror of long haired boys from the sixties… and that passed.  There was a bit of sex happening then too.  And then there are the stories of sexual “accommodations” during WWII, and WWI, and the war before that, and the one before that, and the Civil war general who lent his name to the world’s oldest profession.  And the world did not end.

My maternal grandparents were mountain folks who went to town to get legally married but others would just move in and declare themselves “married” with no one disputing the fact.  Divorce could be as simple as a man stumbling home to find his packed bags  sitting on the front porch.  (My grandmother’s friend actually did this to her philandering man.)  This was reality and ministry worked within its cultural frame.

So here we are today.  If we find a young couple living in our neighborhood we should assume they are not married, at least not yet.  70% aren’t.  We should also assume they possess loyalty and faithfulness and all the qualities we value as well.  There is no reason to doubt their motives or integrity.  There is no room for judgement or that steady pressure to conform to previous norms.  This is normal.  This is where we start with people as we seek Christ together.  As they gain confidence, they will make their relationships even more permanent.  We’ll help all along the way.