Sept 2014 Europe Report
On Monday I returned from my most recent trip to Europe, and despite not feeling well physically, I returned more excited and encouraged about the work in Europe than ever before! It was my 4th opportunity to spend time with our partners in The Netherlands and Belgium, but my 1st opportunity in the tiny nation of Slovakia.
Our work here is in collaboration with a local businessman, Volkert Muijs. He is quickly becoming one of the most highly-respected Christian leaders in that nation, and currently oversees two Bible-based, Kingdom-centered leadership training schools, with plans to start more in the near future. Among the Dutch people there, he is unquestionably an apostolic leader with incredible vision and a unique ability to raise up quality leaders to carry on the work. What a blessing it is each time to stay in his home and partner with his ministry efforts! He and his wife, Karoline, have three children, and reside in the town of Eemdijk, Netherlands.
On this trip, a great friend of mine and Executive Director of birdseyeVu (www.birdseyevu.com), Rich Smith, and I were able to minister in both of the leadership training schools in The Netherlands on the topics of “The Kingdom of God” and “Hearing the Voice of God,” as well as in a local church congregation in Maarssen, Netherlands. What became more clear than ever before on this trip was the advantage we have spiritually because of the language barrier. Even though most people in Europe understand a small portion of the English language, all of the teaching & ministry we do is conducted through verbal translators. There certainly are times when that becomes somewhat of a frustration, but when visiting a training school or a church when most everything is being spoken in a different language, we are essentially forced to watch with our spiritual eyes and listen with our spiritual ears without the “distraction” of the shared language. It is a beautifully humbling experience to be able to teach, preach, and pray with people and know that God is speaking through you, and oftentimes delivering a specific message and a “word in due season” to both individuals and groups of people. While we begin the gathering times using a topical course manual, each time there is open-ended opportunities to meet prayer needs and help connect people with the heart of the Father.
Our work here is alongside a man named Marek Krajci. He and his wife have three children, and he is a part-time pediatric cardiologist who also is the founder and director of an organization in the city of Bratislava called Christians in the City. It is a highly respected non-profit entity whose focus is on unifying Christian churches & Christian business people while also practically meeting the needs of the underprivileged in that particular city. One of the initiatives of Christians in the City is a Kingdom-centered training school in which approximately 100 men & women of all ages are currently enrolled, representing almost 30 different churches! One of the attendees on Saturday is currently one of the Slovakian representatives in the EU Parliament! He drove down just to spend the day in the school. This particular school may just be one of the most fruitful and powerful connections that I have experienced in my time with Prepare International. I was continually left speechless at the quality of what’s happening there. Slovakia is geographically in the very center of Europe and is small in size, but undoubtedly will become a leader in the spiritual growth and development of Christianity throughout Europe!
Our time on Friday and Saturday in the training school involved the topic of “The Personal Life of a Leader,” in which Rich and I shared the teaching and ministry, helping define true Biblical leadership, providing helpful insight into true Kingdom marriage and family foundations, as well as the explosive power of individual character. On our final day, we were able to minister in local church congregation, which has strategically focused its leadership philosophy on using a five-fold ministry gifts approach. This passionate congregation is truly on the cutting edge of Christianity in that city!
What is the Kingdom?
As I have mentioned before, the Kingdom of God is the central theme and foundation of all that Prepare International does both in the U.S. and Europe. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom over 100 times in the New Testament! John the Baptist gave his life declaring the coming of the Kingdom (Matt. 3:1; Matt. 11). It was the first thing Jesus spoke of in the Gospel of Mark when He began His public ministry (Mark 1:14), and it was also the primary thing he spoke of when He resurrected and was on the earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3). In the Old Testament, we see King David intentionally leading the Jewish people in a different and unique way, often referring to his “kingdom.” Scripture study proves to us that King David’s kingdom was a type and picture of the coming Kingdom of Jesus on the earth. In places such as Psalm 22 we see clear evidence that King David had a clear understanding and vision of the earthly ministry of Jesus, and he even writes about “the Kingdom of the Lord.” What’s even more amazing is that Jesus brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth when He arrived, but He didn’t take it with Him when He ascended to Heaven! It is here! Acts 28:30-31 tells us that Paul spent “two whole years…preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”
In summary, the Kingdom of God was established when Jesus walked on the earth, and its benefits, promises, and culture are still available to ALL of us today. We are sons and daughters of the King, and Scripture tells us that He has placed the Spirit of His Son into our hearts if we have received the adoption. The Kingdom didn’t leave! Yes, it is fully established in Heaven now, but it is also available on earth now! It’s why Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of Heaven has a flow – a way of life – that is opposite of the world’s flow of life. It is God’s total answer to man’s total need. It is the way things should be. It actually is the way things actually are for those who have eyes to see. Because the Kingdom was the focus of King David, Jesus, and Paul (among others), we believe that it should be the focus of our lives as well. Living in the Kingdom is possible, and hidden inside of that culture is freedom and power that simply isn’t available outside of it. I firmly believe the revelation of the Kingdom is the ingredient to the gospel that many people feel is missing in modern Christianity. It is the Gospel. It doesn’t fit inside of any church box or program. The church is simply one expression of the Kingdom. In his book The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person, Dr. E. Stanly Jones writes that we must possess the Kingdom and the Kingdom must possess us. I am not writing this to claim that I have it figured out or that I am altogether living at a different level. That certainly is not the case. I am writing mostly as a testimony as to what I have experienced and seen. The Kingdom is here, and I want to be completely possessed by it and fully possess it!
Dana and I again express our gratitude for your faithful support and partnership with us. We welcome the opportunity to share more with you in person any time about the travels into Europe and our efforts right here in Lubbock. We are honored to have you alongside us! May His Kingdom come!