Bookmark & Amp; Share

Search This Blog

Monday, March 15, 2010

God Sightings Comments

Hi fellow followers.  I like this format [God Sightings Daily Web Post] and believe it gives a great daily regiment for reading God's word.
I find the comments from Pastor Larry very encouraging and I always read them right after the message.  The format is good for me and better than having a paper book I could and have misplaced last year.  I am not an i-Pod user, so [sorry Josh] my thumbs are too big and the print too small for that format.  My group here  has seen the site and they like it.  I am trying to get one of them to sign up and see if it works the same way here,  It should.  I might add too that I find comments from fellow followers very interesting and often they stimulate new ideas about the reading I had not thought of before.
This is one of the best sights for organization and navigation.  Though sometimes it seems a little slow. :))
Your Brother in Christ
Baltic-Russian Mission

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Binging His Message Home

Sunday I had a wonderful opportunity to visit a local family and share the message of Jesus.
Vytautas, a student here in Kaunas lives with his mother Loreta and his grandmother Birute in a
nice flat outside Kaunas proper.  This is in the Smiliai district  upland from the city to the WNW.

Upon arrival  I could smell a delicious aroma from the kitchen.  Turkey with delicious mushroom sauce;
mash potaotes, peas,and  cabbage.  We talked a few minutes; made introductions and had some wine.
I brought flowers for the ladys since it was Woman's Day in Lithuania.  A day to celebrate all women
Moms wives, sisters, girlfriends--all women.  They do not have an offcial Mother's Day.  Woman's Day
is a legacy holiday from the Soviet era.

Birute is a very interesting and well educated woman.  She was genuinely interested in my perspective
on Lithuania as an American.  She was candid in teling me that Lithuanians were disappointed with the way America treated them after WWII.  I was familiar with the history, and responded by telling her that things would have been quite different had the US given General Patton his way and let him march into Moscow.
She responded with the lament that their small country suffered under the USSR for 50 years because of US Policy.
I did relay what I knew of the Tasmanian connection and the US Australia effort to provide Lithuanian Jews Austalian passports and help move them to Tasmania.  This effort resulted in saving thousands of Jews dstined for the camps as the Germans fled the Russian counter attack with the help of fresh arms from the US.  She was not aware of this fact.

I wanted to get off the politics and government issues and speak of the Bible.  Biute is a dvoute Roman Catholic [RC].  I told her I was raised a RC and practiced until I was about 13-14 when I started to question the lack of bible study in the church.  I even went to RC school up to High School and we rarely read scripture except or the little bits that were in the Catechism.  She was surprised and said she thought I was a Baptist all my life.  I told her I have always been a Christian.

I began telling the family about my mission.  I spoke of the Love for God  and the close personal relationship we each can experience by speaking with God.  Birute said she talks to God, and that she talks to Maria.
I said that is admirable and that I did not want to offend, but that talking to Maria is not talking to God.  She said she understood, but that she felt more comfortable speaking to Maria because she is a woman and Maia understands women's issues.  Another reason is that she can see Maria in the photos and religious Icons of Maria around her home.  She cannot see God.  I pointed to a painting of bottles of wine hanging over the kitchen table.  These  bottles of wine look very real- taip [yes]?  However, you can't take one from the painting and open it and drink it.  But when you have Jesus in your heart ,as your daughter Loreta has described to me, then you have a real live experience of God.

She smiled, and said she had never thought of it that way.  She then said I had given her a lot to think about.  I asked Vytautas [pictured to the left with his mother, Loreta] if he had been thinking of this in his studies.  He is  an exceptional student and he knew his English well,  he could even understand my American,  Many Lithuanians and Russians tell me they have a hard time in America because we don't speak clearly and we "mush" words together.  Whereas in Great Britain they speak the English that is taught in school here.
I told him if he would like to learn more I was getting some study guides for Psalms, and we would be meeting with other students at my flat near Akropolis on Wednesday night.  Vytautas is interested in learning more, but he could not commit to a Bible Study meeting at that time because he works to help support his family and he is trying to make money on line.  So for about another 20 minutes I shared my experience on Hub Pages and Ad Sense.  He was very interested in this and we will talk more when I get back from Russia.

The family was disappointed that the pod cast did not work.  I had bookmarked some Worship music, and Loreta who is a music teacher played some of her favorites.  Birute wanted to know if the "Priest" was going to talk.  I tried to explain about the failed pod cast.  I think she finally understood.  We sat and enjoyed the music for an hour or more,  I tried to connect to the FBC server after each song, but to no avail.  We all agreed to try again next Sunday.  They asked if it was normal for such good music to be played in church.  I told them we played this kind of music every Sunday, and I think Birute was concerned that it was not solume enough for God.  And they asked about clapping and lifting up arms and  hands and looking like people were in a trance.  I told them that most of the songs were right from the Bible.  Like Psalm 50 and that in the Bible it tells us to lift up our hands and Praise God.  I further explained that Sunday was a Day of Praise to God for all He has given us.  It is like people get excited when you give them a present, and they thank you and hug you.  We, as Baptists, celebrate our joy to God each Sunday and give daily thanks for the Love and Life we receive because of the  sacrafice of Jesus. 
We talked on until 10 PM and had a great fellowship.  I related the story of  one neighbor ignoring his neighbor until he wanted to borrow a car.  This message was very clear to each one there.  They strongly responded to the question,"  If you were to die today and came before God how would you answer if He asked 'Why should I let you into my Heaven? Did you acknowledge me when you were on earth?" We each learned something good from each other. We each came away thankful for what we had just shared.  I thought of the passage in John 10:10 where Jesus said. " ...I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full."  I felt in my heart that this was Life to the Full in sharing His Word.

By the time we left it was about -7 and as we pulled out of the parking lot I heard the tires pop as they broke free from where they had become frozen to the surface...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You or God Who is Really In Control Here?

God most assuredly comes to many of us in times of critical need. I was an Air Traffic Controller for 10 years, and one of our monthly assignments was to listen to the transcripts and read the reports from NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board].
These were always the raw, unedited tapes of the cockpit and/or final pilot to controller conversations; not what is released to the public.
What always struck me most were the painful pleas and calls for mercy and the last minute cries for help from God. However, my general experience with both pilots and controllers was that were a group who felt most in control of their lives. Many did not seem to need God. Many I knew were not practicing Christians. I was guilty of the same lack of faith at that time in my life. I had been trained to rely on my knowledge and experience to get me out of any situation. I was an invincible pilot and controller. In short, an egomaniac that provided all the air under my wings that I needed.

Yet month after month I listened to these audio transcripts, an heard “cool”,” tough” “self-motivated”,” self actuated” people cry and plead for mercy from God. These were from what I could tell, people doing things their own way. Many of us are like that, our society teaches us to be independent, self motivated, and the makers of our own destiny. It is what we put on resumes if we want a strong leadership position. It made me start to wonder if there was something about God that people instinctively knew deep inside; or were driven to in time of great crisis. What could be a worse crisis as when you are spinning out of control and the ground is coming at you and you suddenly have no way to stop it.

I have two main impressions of those many tapes I listened to over the years:
One-- as Pastor Larry Thompson says , in times of deep trouble we seek first GOD. At the last minute we give in and say my life is no longer in my hands, I will ask God. Perhaps those folks are remembering a time from childhood where they sang a Gospel song; or a mother or Father or Sunday School teacher shared the power of God with them. I don’t know. Personally, I believe God instills His Spirit in the hearts of all and it is up to us to act on His desire to save each of us to be with Him for eternity. We have but to say a few words: Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.”
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except
through me.”

Two-- knowing the end is at hand we reach out to express the love that perhaps we could not fully express when we “Knew” We were in control. I have come to learn late in life that Love is so very important and the relationship of Love is linked with our Love for God. Matt 22:36- “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law. 37 Jesus replied,” Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 this is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it:” Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law of the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Further, I Corinthians, “Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.”
I once listened as a Lear Jet captain fell from the sky unable to control his plane tumbling uncontrollably nose over tail above the Gulf of Mexico” Please, please God don’t let me go this way. Tell my Mom I love her and …..” end of tape.
Please don’t let your tape end this way. Acknowledge God now, and show the Love you feel deep in your heart to everyone you encounter, especially those in your close relationship circle, wife, children parents family members. Build Love relationships; not walls of Isolation.

Forget What you Got -Seek only what you can keep

Amen to understanding that everything we think we "own" here on earth is just a temporary loan from God our maker and Provider of ALL things. As I entered my Mission here in the Baltic, and prepare for the Russian mission I received word that my old 1996 Ford Ranger had been towed off. I liked that old truck - bad transmission and all. But every morning I would get in it and it started up. I would then say "Thank You God for giving me one more driving Day,"

I am not worried at all because many times in my life God has provided where there seemed to be no hope of provision. Nothing we do can help. We must believe that, as Jesus Promised,in John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." I firmly believe these words, so I cannot feel anguish over an old truck. I read Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always [i.e. in good and bad times]..6:" Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petirion, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the Peace of God, which trncends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ jesus."

And I always share the following with my students, ver 8:"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things.9 Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me---put into practice. [sic- for it comes not from me but the Holy Spirit] And the God of Peace will be with you."

We come into this world naked and with nothing in our pockets-- no pockets. We leave behind all God has allowed us to use while here.

Solomon had more than any person could want on earth, but he declared it all to be meaningless- temporal.

Ecclesiastes 2

24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Therefore, everything comes from God, but nothing is really ours, so why fret and wory over material goods. These things come and go, and on the deathbed they are probably the last thing on our mind.

The only thing we can hold onto in this world are relationships. Having a personal relationship with God and being able to speak with Jesus daily is why God created us. Love people and the God who created you and gave you life; not things. Invest in all that will live on and on ; not what you must leave here on earth! God Bless!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I met with Edgaras my long time friend and his family.  Edgaras lives in Siauliai with is talented wife Eimante and their two lovely daughters Auguste and Ugne, I took the bus from Kaunas at 6AM and arrived at the Siauliai bus station at 8:45 where Edgaras met me.  We went to his home which is only minutes away. 

During the brief trip we had a chance to chat.  How are you, Kak Dela?  How is the Russian coming?  As kalbeti Lituviski, Edgaras could tell I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress, but he is a good guy and never one to criticize.  I fact, he is the most genuine “Live and let live” person I have ever met.  He is a great respecter of elders.
I spoke about my mission and what I was doing in kaunas and later in Russia.  He had followed my journey last Fall and was amazed that I would come all the way here to talk about God.  Edgaras is a very practical man and keeping a wife and two children in a city with the highest unemployment in the whole country he has a good reason to be practical.  He asked how much do I get to talk about God? 
“My payment is not in dollars or Euros I told him.”
“ So you have to pay for all this from pension?  Does the church pay you for anything?”
“Not exactly .”I said” and I don’t expect pay”.
“Wow, this is some strange thing I have not heard of.”
“Edgaras, I know we spoke of God before, and have you thought of the long discussions we had on our long journey in the summer of 2008,”
“I thought of how you talked on forever about your God, and how I tried to get you to speak in Russian , but you don’t.”
“He is our God, Edgaras.  He loves us equally, and he blesses us each.”
“Yes, but He is not hear very much.”
“What is it you want Him to say to you.”
“Say,”  I just need a job. But we are ok now.”
“So are you all OK with that.”  I asked.

It is true, Edgaras has always been thankful for whatever he has in life.  It is a quality that many people I know do not have.  Many always think of what they need and forget to be thankful for what they already have.  Both Edgaras and Eimante always do well with what they have.
Later that day after I arrived and greeted Eimante ;the kids were still a school.  This young couple related how the entire country was in poor financial shape,  yet they did not complain of their situation,  In fact they told me how they had changed their life style to accommodate the situation.
“We just do not go out as much as we once did to dine out.”
“We cook more at home, and do not take the children to the Mall .” Eimante is a fantastic cook, and there is always food cooking or on the table any time I am there .  Much food comes from the village.  Ad it is great and natural food.  In the summer they grow many berries, cucumbers, tomatos, and herbs.  They preserve them in jars and they dry the herbs for tea and natural medicines.  They have Medus (honey) and all kinds of great tasting vegetables and fruits.  The village is so rich and I have been in the garden in the summer.  Plants are flourishing like it is paradise and they know what and where each one  is producing.  These people are so naturally tied to the land it amazes me.
 “Yes, I think so,” said Edgaras.  “We do the dolls and pillows and this enough for us.”
“Eimante nodded in agreement.”
“ Here was a content couple, and a wonderful family.”
Their wealth was in relationships; not in their bank or wallet.  Also, they were happy to share what little they had, and I felt bad I could not bring more,  I had small gifts for them, and everyone got a baseball cap courtesy of Selah in Fort Lauderdale.
We spoke of God and how He does things in His own time.  Both were much more receptive to the message of Hope than they were 2 years ago.  I could sense a change in their feelings toward god.  Previously He did not exist or care.  Now they were more open to discuss His presence and how He was working in their life. 
I stayed there and watched in Awe at the work of God all around me,

At 4:45 we donned the 30 pounds of jackets, boots, scarves, gloves an head gear and walked to the school.  I had done this many times before but always in spring with no snow, and after school we usually took the girls to get ice cream or some other treat and rented bikes in the park.
Edgaras had a sled he took with us. I was so thrilled to see the girls and they looked so grown at 6 and 3.
On the way back I suggested going to Akropolis ; they just build a new one in Siauliai.  
“I think this is not good,”said Edgaras. ‘”Children will want treats and they will cry if we say no.”
“It’s Ok I will buy,” I said.
“No I think this is not good because you on a mission for God and don’t have a money.”
He replied.  “Then if you buy today and are gone tomorrow, children still cry.” He was right and firm and being a good father. ‘ Ir Viskis’—end of discussion in Lithuanian.

“We go and children play in snow,” he said.
I thought that sounded cold and I was frozen just from the walk.
“Ok that sounds good and they will have fun.” I said.
“Yes and they want to play with Seniles,” that was me.
‘” Ok but I am not much of a snow sport guy.” I said shivering.
Well, we got to this small snow hill behind their house and I had a great time.


We played for an hour, and I did not feel that cold.  Eimante showed up just in time to start a snow ball fight.  It was a blast and all the time I was thinking of how much this precious family with little money and a lot of Love was living just as God had it planned for them.  I could sense God here stronger than ever.
There was great love there and these people were loving and kind parents doing the best they could with what they have and never complaining. 

Later we arrived back home covered in snow and frost.  Yet I did not feel bad I guess I was getting used to the cold.  Edgaras told me more than once, now and in te past.” It is never too cold ; you are sometimes not dressed warm enough.”

As we warmed Edgaras sat at the table with Ugne  (3) and patiently showed her how to color flowers in her coloring book.  This moment is so precious to me.   Henery Blackberry in Experiencing God tells us to look around and see God working.  If we look with the right attitude we will see Him everywhere.  Well, here is was right at the kitchen table,and when I was in the snow.  Father and daughter experiencing love and trust and learning, as mom right behind them is preparing a delicious meal.

Later, Edgaras sister, Kristina and her husband Audrus and their son Emmanules arrived.
They brought delicious “paraganas” –cake.   Wow the pastry here is the best!!

We sat at the kitchen table and talked about the new baby Kristina is expecting in April.  She is not checking on the gender and wants to be surprised.  Everyone said it is a boy!

Kristina started to open up about the mission, and much to my surprise she spoke openly about the church and her feelings about being in a church of harsh rules and stringent regulations about church attendance ritual. 

“ I Love God in my heart,”she said” now I am pregnant and it is really hard to be in church every  Sunday, but I go to confession if I miss.  And I am questioning about statues ns all these saints.  Can you help.?”
“ God is not a religion; God is a relationship.” I said.  I had heard pastor Larry say this so many times and I always find it soothing.  It was the first thing that came to my mind.

“ Yes I Love Him,” she replied, “But I don’t understand all you say.” 
I had te feeling she still did understand even if not every word.  Kristina has a good heart.  I remember my first encounter when I stayed in her home in 2006.  I was the only one there not talking because I knew no Lt.  Kristina gave me a booklet of Lithuanian-English phrases, and wrote on a paper all the important ones about food and the bathroom.
I knew she was kind and considerate.  It was good to be helped as a stranger is a Strange land.
Kristina had God in her heart from the first,  She was just not expressing it in the same words as I.                                               
Everyone gathered around the table and I blessed the house and food and Kristinas Family and new baby. 

We all sat after and chatted about a host of things but everyone wanted to know what work I was doing and what all the God stuff was about.
I was getting closer to have them open up and discuss what Jesus had done and what more He can do once they profess His Holy name/