Month: September 2019

Crossing the barriers

Another church retreat (church weekend) has come and gone and all who attended agree that it was a good time of rest, fellowship and spiritual growth. The topic addressed by Dr Kevin Roy, Cross-cultural relationships, can hardly be more relevant in a church like ours where we represent between 16 and 20 different nationalities, bringing with us different cultures, languages and personalities! It was good to be challenged about our love for ALL people and how God desires for us to reach out to all nations in order to build the kind of Kingdom that He has planned from the beginning.

Although our church is not the only one in the world with many different cultures represented, it certainly is an exciting place to be. And it is not without its challenges either! Just think about the danger of being miss-understood, doing the “wrong” thing in another culture, the difficulty of cross-cultural communication (especially if you don’t speak the local language!), doing or saying something that may be offensive in another culture. If you add to the mix of cultures the fact that we also represent different personalities, gifts and preferences, then you almost have a recipe for disaster!

It is for this reason that it is important to follow the example of Jesus Christ who accepted with open arms everyone who came to him, did not discriminate against the untouchables in his community, and specifically crossed the dividing physical and social boundaries on many occasions. And His commandment to go into all the world to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) was no mistake – it’s been God’s plan all along and should not ignored by us.

It’s great to be in a church where we have a sort-of foretaste of heaven where all these different people from around the world come together to praise and worship God in unity. Let’s protect this unity and pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to bind us together with His love and acceptance. Let’s also pray for patience as we face the many challenges of being from very different backgrounds and yet desire to serve our Lord with love and acceptance of one another.

Life Cycles

The seasons of the year are a great reminder of the fact that life seems to happen in cycles – almost everything seems to go in cycles, including nature, flowers, farming, churches, growing up, families, global warming (?) and much more.

As we come to the end of Summer this year (will the heat waves ever end?!) and soon enter into Autumn, I am reminded of the reference by Jesus in John 12:24 to the fact that a new seed doesn’t grow unless it first dies – a clear reference to His own death in order to bring us life eternal, as well as the fact that the death of one person (Jesus himself) will result in life for many thousands more. What an amazing gift to us by our Lord Jesus Christ!

Our church seems to “suffer” from life cycles. I personally dread hearing from members that they are leaving. This often happens in the middle of the calendar year, about the time when schools are about to reopen for the next school year. While it is sad that people leave us, I’m also grateful for the opportunity our church has had to impact their lives. I trust that those moving on will take with them the blessings they received from us and become a blessing to other people and churches wherever they go.

But, just as cycles continue, new people arrive – most often also before the start of a new school year. And the process starts over again. Welcome to all who recently arrived and are joining us for worship and fellowship. May your experience in Bratislava and as part of our fellowship be a true blessing to you. Please allow us to help and bless you in every way that we can. And my advice to you? Make the most of your stay in Bratislava and Slovakia so that one day you’ll take many good memories with you when you leave.