• Don’t be a Wimp

    Ok. I can’t hold back on posting this anymore. Some might see it as none of my business. Others might see it as another one of my rants. It doesn’t bother me—just please read to the end of this and take it as you will.
    I feel compelled to write this after reading a post from a friend of mine two days ago that simply left me scratching my head. In the post, my friend relates the story of how her drunk ex-husband comes up behind her in line at a convenience store (I’m guessing on that part) and start giving her a very hard time about the fact that she is about to get re-married. He follows her as she leaves, and things turn physical in the parking lot. The end result is that she is on the ground with him kicking her. A lady asks if she should call the cops—DUH! That’s a bit obvious at this point, don’t you think? Then she relates in her story that there are two guys sitting there watching the entire time.
    REALLY? Have we come to a point in the “evolution” of society where people refuse to get involved in a situation where someone clearly needs help? Having been in similar (though not exact) situations before I know from experience that confronting the dude doesn’t necessarily guarantee violence will ensue. And even if it does—so what?? At least at that point my friend would have been able to get away from someone who clearly intended to do her harm. What are people so afraid of in these situations? Bruises or broken bones? So what—they heal. Being arrested? At least it’s temporary and for the right reasons. And the entire time you’re dealing with either of those possible outcomes you have the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone in need.
    This is why I study martial arts (as tempting as it is to toy with the idea of using it on certain people in the office during the week) with my son. Quite simply, if you intend my family, friends, or even some random stranger who can’t defend themselves harm and I’m around, be prepared for a real fight. Of course it also affords me an opportunity to help him grow up to be an honorable, confident young man.
    I’m not saying it’s for everyone (as I limp around this morning because of a small accident involving and ankle and a cranium last night). But what I am saying is that we—ESPECIALLY GUYS—need to not go through life being disconnected from reality and/or looking at the misfortunes of others as entertainment. Being real involves getting your hands dirty sometimes, and at the end of the day, when you do act to help someone in a situation like this you can rest in the fact that you have done something to make someone’s time here on earth a bit better by saving them from harm. Bottom line? Don’t be a wimp—take a risk next time you see a situation like that. Get involved and defend the person instead of watching as they are abused by some scumbag.

  • First Thoughts on Romania

    Funny. I thought when I got back from my recent missions trip to Romania I’d be writing a ton…but I haven’t felt particularly led to. Quite honestly, I’m still trying to process the whole trip because it’s all been just a bit overwhelming to me. Leaving family behind to head to a country where you don’t know the culture, barely know the language, and don’t know anyone was a huge step of faith for me. I was surprised at how hard I actually found that given my usual love of adventure. I think it was mostly the family that bothered me, but there was a big unknown in heading over there too. Would God be able to use me despite the language and cultural barriers? What if I didn’t get along with the group I was not meeting until I was in Budapest–having just completed almost 24 hours of travel, not sleeping, and just being generally tired and stressed? I had to just trust that God knew what He was doing and roll with it. After all, I truly believe He’s called me to the mission field in Eastern Europe–and if that’s the case then He will provide what I need. And He did.

    I got my first lesson in that the first night of actual ministry. I was scheduled to preach in a small village church, a bit more than an hour outside of Baia Mare (the village name was Corni). The translator I was originally paired with had something come up at the last minute that prevented her from making it, so her cousin (who had never translated before) volunteered to step in, as did a wonderful woman named Gemma who had moved their several years ago as a missionary and was a HUGE blessing to the team the entire time we were there. So we all went to Corni with Pastor Gabi (Gabriel) and arrived just as service was starting. It was new to be preaching through a translator–I had to speak in a rhythm that we both could work with, stating a thought then allowing her to translate. I also kept wondering if certain thoughts would even translate–or worse, would they translate into something that comes across as vulgar (for example, the word “foot” in Romanian does not mean what you think it does–it’s better left alone). Anyway…after a few minutes my translator and I figured things out and the message was delivered to a very attentive congregation. And God delivered. People responded–including the mayor of the town who sent his farm engineer forward to announce that he had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. God responded to the steps of faith I had taken that first night–and continued to throughout the trip.

    Thinking back on this experience (I can’t stop), my first impression is this. We don’t grow spiritually by playing it safe. Doubt that? Look around at the churches that attempt to live by the “us four and no more” kind of model–you know, the ones that are good with who they have and no one new can break through the walls. The one that I have seen are stagnant–slowly dying over time–and they don’t even know it. When you push past that comfort zone though, God responds. His Kingdom grows as we get over ourselves and serve others in a sacrificial way. His people grow as we serve each other. We grow by the new relationships we build and though the challenges that God leads us through. And we learn to lean on Him to get us through the things that we can’t do on our own.

    What’s God laying on your heart? Maybe you aren’t involved in a church for any one of various reasons. I’d encourage you to change that. Or perhaps God is nudging you to help teach children in children’s church. Or maybe you feel you need to encourage other individuals or couples as they struggle to follow God’s desire for their lives. The possibilities are endless–but the encouragement is the same. Take a step of faith in the direction that you believe God is calling you. If it’s the wrong direction, you’ll know pretty fast. If it’s not though, hang on–you cannot hope for more excitement in life than following the path that God designed you to follow.

     

    Grace and peace,

  • Last Minute Thoughts…

    Ok. So I’m about 24 hours away from what is probably going to be my biggest adventure yet. In about 24 hours, I will be climbing onto a plane to fly to head over to Budapest, where I will meet a group of fellow Christians whom I wouldn’t know if I passed them on the street so we can drive to the city of Baia Mare, Romania. From there, we will spend the next several days reaching out to people in the surrounding villages with the love of Jesus—preaching, teaching, and just generally serving the people in that area. I know it doesn’t seem like much to some. I’ve talked with people who spent their lives doing this sort of thing quite often. But when you’ve spent a good chunk of your life running away from something and finally turn around to do it, there’s some pretty weird feelings that come with that.But hey…the God I serve is big. Big enough so that people in the country I am headed toward would choose to serve him in the face of a communist government that would take away jobs, freedom, and even life from those that made that choice. Big enough so that people will choose to follow him today in countries where faith in anything but Mohammad will get you killed. And He is even big enough to change hearts in minds in countries where that persecution is common in such a way that the people doing the persecution turn and become some of the biggest defenders of the faith.

    So as I’m ready to go, I can’t help but thinking—what will God do through my own small efforts? I’ve already had some interesting conversations here at home over the last week—and seen some gears seriously start to turn in people’s heads. I believe that will continue overseas, and pray that I will continue to be led by God to do this on a long term basis.

    For the non-Christian that might read this consider this. 12 men is all it took to spread the Christian faith. 12 men who were willing to die for it because they saw God do the impossible in Jesus, the Christ. I would encourage you to find someone who can clearly and correctly discuss the Gospel with you and have that conversation as soon as possible—it has implications for where you spend eternity. If you can’t find someone, e-mail me and we will talk when I get back.

    For the Christian, I encourage you to start praying about what steps God would have you make. He has a purpose for every one of us—and working toward fulfilling that purpose will be the most satisfying thing you do in life. I guarantee it. So as you pray, and feel led toward specific ministries by God, take steps toward doing whatever it is God puts on your heart—and He will let you know when you are headed in the right direction.

  • Context is King

    I know it’s been a couple weeks since I made my inaugural post, but it has been a very busy time for us here in the Kujawa household. Such is life with three teenagers though. And I’ve been focused on trying to put together a handful of Bible messages for an upcoming missions trip to Romania. As part of that process, I’m trying to learn something about the culture when I come across something that made me take a good, hard look at what is truly important as we attempt to live out our faith in Jesus in this country.

    We often talk about having faith as we meet in our churches, Bible study groups, men’s ministries (and women’s ministries I’m guessing). We talk of have a faith that is bold—allowing us to overcome difficulties and do great things for God’s Kingdom. And as a way of demonstrating that faith we might put ourselves in a mildly uncomfortable situation as we share the Gospel with friends, put a couple bucks in the offering basket as it passes each Sunday, or maybe we even volunteer for a handful of hours each week in one ministry or another. But what if our faith really cost us something?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking any of those things nor the people that do them. Those people do have great faith in God—and God definitely honors what they do by using their actions to change the world for the better. But I found many stories of people coming to faith in Jesus in Romania during it’s years under communism. The people would be warned that a public profession of faith could cost them their jobs, what freedom they had, or even potentially their lives. And yet despite the fact that all of those things happened far to often, the people would make public professions of their faith. They would be baptized as communist informants looked on, noting who was partaking in the ordinance. They would even preach the Gospel, and speak out against many of the human rights violations being committed by the Ceaușescu government. All because they had faith enough in God to trust that He would work out the fine details.

    As I read all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would react in the same situation. Would I step up with a bold faith, as the many of the pastors and congregants in Romania did? I believe I would—I’ve already seen things happening in our culture that I would refuse to take part in if I had to—even if it meant landing in jail. And I hope that I could react in the same bold manner if more were on the line. In an environment where we don’t have to pay a truly high cost for our faith, what do we do when the chips are down? In a country where we really do not suffer for our faith, how can we grow a faith that would allow us to go so far as to even risk our live to see the Gospel spread? How can we cultivate the same faith that made it so that a dozen men spread the Gospel to much of the know world in the First Century in spite of attempts from multiple well established groups to suppress it? Ultimately, I believe the answer lies with us. As we pray, and make an effort to fully dedicate our lives to furthering God’s kingdom we will develop that kind of faith.

  • Rebirth

    Ok. So it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted ANYTHING to my blog. But I’ve been busy. Family, a day job, and ministry will do that to you though. But God’s been doing so much both through me and in me that I can’t help but want to share it. So I decided to re-design the site and start doing exactly that–sharing what God’s up to in and around my life.  For now though, I’ve been toying with WordPress to get the site *almost* where I want it since late last night…so I’m going to extract myself from this chair and go for a walk.

     

    Grace and peace…

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