Our world is in search of knowledge. Knowledge defines our perspectives and the conclusions we draw. It is the basis for discerning what is true and what is false. I am amazed at how knowledge is perceived in so many different ways around our world. I have been confronted with this living in such a diverse city with people from over 190 nations. The world our family lives in is a clash of cultures and each culture has come to different conclusions on what is right.
I’ll give you an example of this. The other day I dropped the girls off at school and was walking back to my bus. I got to the end of the path and the gate that is normally open to leave the school was closed. Knowing that this gate should be open I proceeded to hop over a small fence. I was immediately confronted by another parent who scolded me for being a bad example to the children. My thoughts immediately went to the 12th grade class that I had just seen having a drinking party in the park next to the school. They were celebrating the end of classes before they start the Abitur (series of exams to graduate). I thought to myself how interesting it was that jumping a fence or walking across a crossing on red was considered corrupting in this culture, but allowing students to abuse alcohol was not a problem.
We are all seeking sources that will lead us to truth. Unfortunately, for a world that has rejected God, turning knowledge into truth is impossible. As hard as men try to explain away God through their theories and man-made constructs they will always fall short. The reason for this is that as humans we can gain knowledge, but wisdom is imparted from God. He is the One that reveals what is true, what is right and what is good. This is the basis for understanding the gospel. Knowledge is rubbish apart from God. Only God can give understanding to discern what is right.
So try as they may to rewrite morality, defining truth from a man-centered perspective will always lead away from truth. It will always come up short and leave people empty. This is why as followers of Christ we do not get offended or become indignant with those opposed to us. Apart from God’s grace we would be in the same position. We are not called to be quarrelsome but kind to everyone. God’s word tells us to patiently endure evil, correcting with gentleness. In doing so we allow the Spirit to grant repentance that leads to true knowledge. We are here to be witnesses of Jesus. The wise man and woman will spread Jesus and not their own opinions.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26
If you are like me you struggle with this. In fact, to be honest I did not respond to the parent above with gentleness. I took offense to the confrontation. My hope is that the gospel will continue to transform my mind in a way that does not take offense, and that responds in wisdom.
This is so important for the church here in Berlin. As Christians we are confronted daily with those antagonistic to the gospel. We are continuing to find ways to graciously engage communities in Berlin through weekly and monthly opportunities.
Our outreach in Reinickendorf is a highlight of the week for me. I am encouraged at this opportunity to use soccer as a bridge to train and guide the young men and women to the gospel. Our family works closely here with two others from our church and a close friend and partner in ministry in this community. It is hard work, but rewarding. We had the opportunity to take a group of the boys to play in a tournament this past weekend. They were so excited and it created further opportunities for discipleship.
Our church has been warmly welcomed into a refugee home near our church. The faithfulness of a lady in our church has opened this door and the staff is so excited to have over 15 volunteers from our church serving refugees here. Cherry and a couple other ladies are working with the children, while two other ladies from our church lead a women’s ministry. Cherry began language classes last month, so she can better communicate with the women and children she is building relationships with. I am currently leading a weekly men’s gathering as well. We are planning an Easter Festival with our church that will give us an opportunity to share the gospel during this time and we plan to invite the residents to our Easter service and dinner through this opportunity.
This past month we had a small team of professional artists come and equip ladies in our church and they used this platform to reach the nations in our city. These artists shared with the ladies at our church how they can use art to tell God’s story. Many of the women were encouraged to see that they could use art as a bridge to the gospel.
With the opportunities we have had to build relationships with refugees, we are excited to see that many of those we are meeting have joined us outside of our work in refugee communities. It has taken a couple of months, but the Open Table we started back in the fall seems to be gaining momentum. This monthly gathering allows us to invite refugees to meet with us for dinner and engage in discussion. It is an entry point for starting opportunities for discipleship and it has grown, because the church has gotten behind it. It is so encouraging to see men from around the city coming together for the purpose of sharing Christ. We pray that this is the start of refugees beginning new relationships with Jesus.
As we look to the Easter Break we have a new opportunity to engage refugees from all over the city. We will be hosting a street style soccer tournament during this time that we believe will give us a greater influence to bring refugees together with the local church. The idea behind this is inviting refugees from different camps from across the city to participate in a free tournament. Individuals from churches across Berlin will serve and play alongside refugees with the hope of building new relationships and drawing refugees into community. We would appreciate prayer for wisdom and guidance as we seek to use this new way of bridging into new communities for the gospel.
Finally, we are thankful for the opportunities we have to work alongside the local church. This is the basis for us reaching the city and we feel God moving us into a role where we can motivate and lead fellow believers into opportunities to share Christ. We also are thankful for the opportunity to pour into the lives of those we are in community with and encourage them to follow Christ. There continue to be tremendous opportunities to disciple teens through our church. I had the opportunity to speak to the teens a couple of weeks ago, we talked about the parable of the soils and authentic faith. I also had the opportunity to speak to our men and look forward to the opportunity to speak at our men’s retreat coming up in May.
Cherry and Jeannie continue to encourage the women in our church. They consistently welcome those in our community and outside our community with hospitality. They serve endlessly and will be instrumental in leading a new ministry where we will seek to bring our church together with families from our community for monthly dinners.
It has been a busy month with new schedules and finding balance in life. Cherry started language classes last month and this has been an adjustment for all of us. We are so thankful for Jeannie and all she does to keep us from getting overwhelmed. The girls are doing well in school. It is a tough and challenging environment, not only from an educational perspective, but socially as well. We would appreciate your prayers that Quinn and Gracie would be wise in their friendships and practice kindness in this environment. Also, pray for us as we shepherd them. We had some fun times together this month as well! Here are some pictures:)
Praise the Lord for our Kindergeld application being approved. We have been working on this for a year and we are thankful we were finally able to get it approved.
Praise the Lord for fellow believers that are joining us in reaching the lost in Berlin.
Pray for wisdom and guidance for our upcoming Easter Festival, Soccer Tournament and Easter Dinner. Specifically, that by organising these events we would create opportunities for life-giving relationships.
Pray for Cherry in her new language classes and all of us as we seek to gain proficiency in German.