Language Blunder: Mispronunciation of One’s Name Can Be Embarrassing


We moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan in October, 1996, and at a friend’s suggestion, we hired a driver for two days a week for a few months. While the most of the week, we walked and used public means of transportation, two days, weekly, we rode in style in a red Russian Lada.

Our driver was very quiet and spoke no English, though I was trying to learn Russian. Soon, I learned to speak words like “home,” “school,” and “store,” with great proficiency. Our driver’s name was Yevgeny, and he was called by the shortened version of Zhenya (the Russian equivalent of “Eugene” and “Gene”). I had trouble with the “zh” and the “ya” sounds which are one letter, each, in Russian, but I had no idea how badly I was mispronouncing his name.

Many times while we were out, we would meet someone I knew, and I would try to introduce my driver. Without fail, he would pick up on my actions, and before I could state his name, he would stick out his hand and say, “Zhenya, Zhenya!”

One day, the friend who had arranged for our driver asked how we were getting along together. I  told her that all was well and that I was learning the city through him. Then I tried to tell her a story about my driver, when she suddenly stopped me and asked,

“Peyton, what is your driver’s name?”

I answered “Jina.”

My friend burst with laughter, and then explained that I was mispronouncing his name and calling him “wife.”

Zhenya, though very quiet, never seemed to want me to introduce him to anyone. :)

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He, Too, Had Been a Refugee

baby Jesus flee

I’ve said it for years…

…He, too, had been a refugee.

I remember when I first thought about this, I was overwhelmed.

His words to the meek and to those who find themselves in last place, were not just comforting, but words from the lips and heart of a man who had experienced displacement due to political persecution while just a baby. We are not sure how old he was when his family fled the realm of their maniacal ruler. Most likely not older than two. I don’t think that he would have remembered the drama when his father was warned and then departed with his young family to another country. But he probably remembered growing up in exile. You see, he, too, had been a refugee.

When he was an adult, he became a teacher. Once he said to his students that they needed to be ready to flee when danger comes. In his words, he spoke of how difficult it would be for pregnant and nursing mothers to be on the run. I’ve often thought of how his own mother probably told him how challenging it had been for her when she had traveled while pregnant, gave birth far from home, and later had fled political persecution with a nursing baby. He, too, had been a refugee.

While I was still in high school, my church did an awesome thing: they helped a Vietnamese “boat” family relocate in our home town. My girlfriend and I were part of the entourage who welcomed the family at the airport. They were two brothers and a sister. My girlfriend and I later married, but it was early in our relationship that God enabled us to cross paths with a family that needed help (we are thankful that we’ve been able to meet other families in challenging situations). Those three Vietnamese were later joined by three more from their family. We used to meet with them at least once, weekly, just to visit. It was our first cross-cultural experience together. At that time, I was touched to think of how Jesus, himself, had been a refugee, like these people.

A friend of mine in Almaty, Kazakhstan, told me that her family had to flee, twice, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in the 1950s and 60s because of political persecution. She knew what living in exile was like and it colored her life. Once while my friend was sharing a sad memory, I mentioned that Jesus, too, had been a refugee.

In the last four years, I have come into contact with several refugees. These have come from different countries, and in every case, they have fled religious extremism. I’ve told them, as well, that Jesus, too, had been a refugee.

And to all of us who have not known what it is like to have our dignity stripped, and our hope crushed while we wonder if we will be alive tomorrow, if we will be safe tomorrow, if we will be able to rest and  stop fleeing…to us, I want us to remember that Jesus, too, had been a refugee.  And when we see the news about refugees drowning remember that many have been raped, brutalized, starved, extorted, lied to and attacked, and that has been since they have been on the run from governments and terrorists who have shown them injustice because of their age, gender, religion or political stance.

When I consider my own history, I know that part of my family tree includes the French Huguenots. The Huguenots were Reformed Protestants who had suffered Roman Catholicism France. The majority were killed, but about 500,000 fled France to a dozen or more other countries,  including the Virginia Colony.

My ancestors, too, had been refugees. My Savior, too, had been a refugee.

I am thankful that my ancestors were welcomed to this land and became productive members of American society.

I wonder if those who welcomed my family to America realized that Jesus, too, had been a refugee.

I don’t want us to forget this.

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I know It’s Dangerous, But We Must At Least, Try

refugee“I know it’s dangerous, but we must at least, try.” These are the words of a man I met last year in Istanbul. He told me this, several times.

This man, with many from his family, had miraculously escaped Iraq, just before many from his extended family and village had been cowardly killed by ISIS.

He, his wife and his four-year-old daughter, were under my care in Istanbul. The current refugee crisis was already underway, but it was NOT yet recognized by the EU, and hardly noticed by the US.

As Yazidis, my new friends did not feel comfortable in Istanbul. They wanted to get as far away from Iraq and ISIS as they could. My friend has a brother in Europe and another in America, so his goal was to make it to Europe.

They wanted to take a boat to a poor European nation. I strongly opposed the idea, “The boats are not safe, and the people helping you are really wicked opportunists,” I pleaded with them.  But my friend said, “I know it’s dangerous, but we must at least, try.”

They waited, daily, for their contact to inform them that it was time to go to the boat and escape. Whenever I saw my friends, I wondered if it would be the last time I would see them alive.

One morning we awoke to a news headline about an boat overfilled with refugees that had capsized in the Bosphorus. Among the dead was a four-year-old girl. I furiously tried to contact me friend, as my heart told me that he and his family had been on that boat. Later in the day I contacted him, rejoiced that they were safe (I wonder how many people cried over the deaths of the other refugees).

I continued offering to help my friend, but my help was not tangible enough for him. I learned during this time that refugees are in “panic mode,” and it is very hard to stop them from moving.  Soon, he sent his wife and daughter to live in Northern Iraq, in the Kurdish autonomous region, and he was determined to smuggle himself into Northern Europe.

For a period of time, I heard nothing from my friend, then suddenly I heard that he had, safely, made it to his destination. I have heard very little, since then, though his success has been confirmed by his brother in the US.

Since meeting my friend, I have made other friends and acquaintances. One was a freedom-fighter and the other was a journalist who fought his own battles in the Middle East. I’ve met a few musicians, farmers, factory workers, school kids and housewives, as well. All of them echo the same words that my refugee friend from Iraq said, “I know it’s dangerous, but we must try.”

Currently the world having the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. We know what and who created that crisis, and many lives were lost putting down Hitler. Many nations welcomed refugees from that war, and they have become part of those societies.

While it may seem hard to welcome this new influx of refugees, we must. It may seem “dangerous,” but we must at least try.  I believe we will succeed if we try, and that this will honor God through the words of a former refugee, himself, Our Lord Jesus the Messiah who said,

“…I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me (Matthew 25:35, 36).”

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What Is This?

What Is This?.

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The Genuine Church: Pray, Go and Show Gerçek Kilise: Dua Et, Git Ve Göster

Sometimes when I preach, people respond in the following week with…

-requests for prayer…

-counseling requests…

-times of confession.

Also, many times after a sermon, I find myself tested by what I preached…

We must…

“practice what we preach.”

So, often I ask to myself,

“Can I, really, follow this?”

This week was different…

-This message has been tested and confirmed for the past several weeks.

Let me tell you about one of these events:


I was looking online for a photo to use as an illustration.

It was about SMS messages that had gone wrong due to autocorrect.

SMSs are useful but autocorrect is sometimes a nightmare.

So I knew that there would be examples online.

But as I looked, I found many that I could not show, because they were inappropriate…

in fact, some were so bad that I felt violated to read them, and so I stopped.

One that I found was funny to me, so I posted it on Facebook.

I posted this on my Facebook page,

Soon, after posting, someone wrote me and asked, “Did you see what is at the bottom of your post?”

I didn’t realize what was there…an abbreviation of a bad phrase

I thanked the friend and took off the post

Then I looked at the other one I wanted to show, today, and it, too, had actually a bad phrase at the bottom.

If my friend had not told me, then I would have offended people without realizing it

It reminds me of a time when I was in another country, and a innocent looking young lady who was working in a grocery store was wearing a new tee shirt.

The tee shirt had a very bad and provocative statement in English on it.

I assumed that the young lady did not know English, so I gently informed her.

Later that day, I went back to the grocery store and saw that the young lady was wearing an apron to cover the writing.

Look at this SMS

Notice that the person writes that he wants to kill her…but he meant to write “kiss”

The recipient could have done the following:

  1. Be offended…do nothing and let the offense build up and stress herself
  2. Be offended…and write something offensive back
  3. Be offended…talk to others about what this person wrote, maligning the person’s character
  4. Be offended…but show the person their mistake
  5. Not be offended…show the mistake…laugh it off and move on
  6. Not be offended…not show the mistake…laugh it off and move on
  7. Kırılmak…bu konuda hiç bir şey yapmayıp, kırgınlığın artmasına izin vermek ve kendini strese sokmak
  8. Kırılmak…ve karşılığında kırıcı şeyler yazarak cevap vermek
  9. Kırılmak…diğer insanlarla bu kişinin yazdıklarını konuşmak, bu kişinin karakterini kötülemek
  10. Kırılmak…ama kıran kişiye hatasını göstermek
  11. Kırılmamak…bu kişiye hatasını göstermek…gülüp geçmek ve hayata devam etmek
  12. Kırılmamak…hatasını göstermemek… gülüp geçmek ve hayata devam etmek

As a pastor, I am a magnet for information:

-people share with me their triumphs and their tragedies,

-their struggles and their stellar moments.

-sometimes they share with me their worries about someone else

-sometimes they tell me of how someone offended them

This happens in ministry… it is an occupational hazard. J

But today is not a time for complaints,

but to see how important it is for each of us to be in a real with each other and in right relationship with each other.

Here is a verse I want to share in my introduction:

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

Ephesians 4:11, 12

11 Kendisi kimini elçi, kimini peygamber, kimini müjdeci, kimini önder[b] ve öğretmen atadı. 12 Öyle ki, kutsallar hizmet görevini yapmak ve Mesih’in bedenini geliştirmek üzere donatılsın.

Efesliler 4:11-12

As a pastor, I understand my biblical mandate to equip others to minister.

We are a genuine church in that we are not a group of people acting like we are part of church, but we are called by Jesus out of the world to come together to serve and worship.

As well, we are Nations Church, with over 30 different passports represented in our church!

We cannot assume that we are always understood.

And we must not think that everyone is like us.

I’ve mentioned before that we should not speak about politics, as politics can be too complicated to speak about.

Politics can divide churches…we see this in the US and in other countries as well.

National and personal history affects how politics are viewed by people.

Different cultures have differing expectations, but if we can work together, we will bring glory and honor to Our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

Farklı kültürlerin farklı beklentileri vardır, ama birlikte çalışabiliriz, görkemi ve zenginliği Rabbimiz Mesih’e taşıyabiliriz.

The largest group of people in our church is Americans, but they’re not the majority.

On Easter we had 113 people, but only 28 were American adults.

That is 25%.

Among the Americans, we have people from the South, North, Midwest and Southwest.

Our views are different on many things.

In church, while serving together, we sometimes find ourselves observing things that are wrong:

-We see someone is living with someone outside of marriage, or

-someone is gambling, or

-someone is getting drunk or

-someone is flirting with a married person, etc.

No matter what we see, we feel something isn’t right in our spirit.

What should we do?

-We should pray.

-We should be ready to go to the person who is ether sinning or on their way to sinning and tell them (either as a warning or as a rebuke)

-And we should not be like a judge, but as an encouraging brother/sister.

-Dua etmeliyiz.

-Günah işleyen veya işlemek üzere olan kişiye gitmeye hazırlıklı olmayız (bu kişiyi uyarmak ya da azarlamak için)

-Ve bir hakim gibi davranmamalıyız, o kişiyi teşvik edici kız / erkek kardeş gibi davranmalıyız.

The Bible was written to and for ordinary people.

-not for a super race of people, -nor was it written only for pastors and church leaders to read,

-but it was written for all, whom God so deeply loves.

When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin became the new norm for man, and separation from God and from each other occurred.

When God reached out to man through Noah and then through Abraham and through Moses it was for reconciliation and for judgment.

As I consider Nations Church to be a Genuine Church, I believe that we need to love each other, deeply.

To love each other deeply means we desire the best for each other.

The Scriptures teach this about reconciliation:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.


Galatians 6:1, 2

Kardeşler, eğer biri suç işlerken yakalanırsa, ruhsal olan sizler, böyle birini yumuşak ruhla yola getirin. Siz de ayartılmamak için kendinizi kollayın. Birbirinizin ağır yükünü taşıyın, böylece Mesih’in Yasası’nı yerine getirirsiniz.

Galatyalılar 6:1,2


  1. Who Lives by the Spirit?
  2. Ruhsal Olan Kimlerdir?
  1. Who Lives by the Spirit?
  2. Ruhsal Olan Kimlerdir?
  1. Those Exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit:

a.Ruhun Meyvelerini Sergileyen Kişiler

When a person receives Jesus and becomes a new creation, the Holy Spirit is alive in them, as well the Holy Spirit wants to empower them and give gifts…

this often can be a separate experience and we observe in such people the gift of speaking in other spiritual languages.

I do believe in the gifts of tongues, as we call it, but I’ve known people with the gift whom I would not equate as “living by the spirit.”

What I mean is that they may emphasize a gift without

drawing from the fruit the same Spirit of God brings forth.

If we live by the spirit, then the Spirit’s fruit will be evident in our lives, too.

  1. Who Lives by the Spirit?
  2. Ruhsal Olan Kimlerdir?
  3. Those who follow the Scriptures:

b.Kutsal Yazılar’ı Takip Edenler

Living by God’s Spirit means that our lives follow the Scripture.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

16 Kutsal Yazılar’ın tümü Tanrı esinlemesidir ve öğretmek, azarlamak, yola getirmek, doğruluk konusunda eğitmek için yararlıdır. 17 Bunlar sayesinde Tanrı adamı her iyi iş için donatılmış olarak yetkin olur.

  1. Timoteos 3:16, 17

I’ve heard some people claim many things by God’s Spirit, that were against the Scriptures that were inspired by the Same Spirit.

And when corrected or rebuked, they’ve even discounted (diminished) the Scriptures as not being as important as having God’s prophetic gifts.


Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

1 John 4:1-3

Sevgili kardeşlerim, her ruha inanmayın. Tanrı’dan olup olmadıklarını anlamak için ruhları sınayın. Çünkü birçok sahte peygamber dünyanın her yanına yayılmış bulunuyor. İsa Mesih’in beden alıp geldiğini kabul eden her ruh Tanrı’dandır. Tanrı’nın Ruhu’nu bununla tanıyacaksınız. İsa’yı kabul etmeyen hiçbir ruh Tanrı’dan değildir. Böylesi, Mesih Karşıtı’nın ruhudur. Onun geleceğini duydunuz. Zaten o şimdiden dünyadadır.

  1. Yuhanna 4:1-3

Whatever we claim is from God, prophetically in our lives MUST measure up with the Scriptures, as they themselves tell us:

  1. Who Lives by the Spirit?
  2. Ruhsal Olan Kimlerdir?


  1. Those Who Have Been Crucified with Jesus

c.İsa ile Birlikte Çarmıha Gerilenler

Our sinful flesh must die in order to live by the Spirit, otherwise we are living by the flesh.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Mesih’le birlikte çarmıha gerildim. Artık ben yaşamıyorum, Mesih bende yaşıyor. Şimdi bedende sürdürdüğüm yaşamı, beni seven ve benim için kendini feda eden Tanrı Oğlu’na imanla sürdürüyorum.

Galatyalılar 2:20

It is not enough to live like an unbeliever all week, and then live like a believer when we get to church.

As well, if we are tolerating a little sin, and thinking it won’t hurt us, we need to remember that it takes only a small amount of sin to destroy us….just a little extra time lingering on a sinful thought is enough to lead us toward sin.

If we say we’ve been crucified with Jesus, then let’s live it…24/7.

İsa ile birlikte çarmıha gerildiğimizi söylüyorsak, bunu yaşamlarımızda gösterilim…24/7.

Part of crucifying the flesh is to fast and pray….part of it is to starve what needs to die rather than continuing to feed it.

In the criminal justice system, there are short and long sentences and even life sentences. There is the death sentence, too.

While these are political issues in the justice system, when it comes to sin, we need to give sin a death sentence, and not a life sentence.

When we recognize sin in our own lives, let’s give it a death sentence rather than a life sentence.

Hayatlarımızda bir günahın farkına vardığımızda, bu günaha ömür boyu hapis cezası vermek yerine, idam cezası verelim

To the youth here today, I say, get rid of sin in your life while you are young, otherwise you will have many wasted years and decades of sin hindering you…don’t give sin a life sentence or it will give us a death sentence.

  1. Restore One Another

2.Birbirimizi Yola Getirmek

  1. The Neglected Commandment

a.İhmal Edilmiş Buyruk

This is not only for pastors, but for all in the Body of Christ.

If Christians were more active in the work of restoration, the world would be a much better place. Instead, we watch people crash and do nothing about it.

This is not an option in God’s eyes, but many of us have considered it to be an option…too many of us.

Restoration is double process.

If we restore others, then we, ourselves, are restored.

If we neglect the restoration of others, then we are neglecting ourselves, too.

If we reach out to people in restoration, then they may reach out to us and restore us when we need it.

How do we do this?

  1. Gently

b.Yumuşak Ruhla

This is how we would want to be restored, but it often is where restoration falls short.

Perhaps because we have judgmental thoughts about the person we wish to restore, maybe that is why we are not gentle.

We say things like…

“you always are like this”

“there you go, again.”

“are you crazy?”

Another hindrance to gentleness is that we are so

shy, or insecure that we can be used of God to restore…

This takes practice and God’s grace.

Remember, if we needed restoration, we would want to be restored gently.

Gentleness is the fruit of God’s Spirit in our lives

The Scriptures teach:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

Yumuşak yanıt gazabı yatıştırır,

Oysa yaralayıcı söz öfkeyi alevlendirir.

Süleyman’ın Özdeyişler 15:1

Gentleness is the way to approach many things in life

Thus, note, that men are often called “gentlemen” even if they are not acting as such.

When we act gently, we can be frustrated if people don’t follow through with the restoration,

and we may be tempted to take matters into our own hands.

Gentleness is the attitude, but what are the actions we must take in order to restore

  1. Go, Show and Restore

c.Git, Göster ve Yola Getir

If you or I offend someone by accident, we want to know this.

If we don’t know that we have offended someone, then wewould like to know this.


Because, we don’t want to have a bad relationship with someone.

If you offend me and I tell you this, then we have the opportunity to build up our relationship and build up each other.

What to do when offended:

Kırıldığımızda ne yapmalıyız:

  1. Pray
  2. Decide
  3. Go to the offender

1.Dua Etmeli

2.Karar Vermeli

3.Bizi Kıran Kişiye Gitmeliyiz

  1. Pray (especially if we are easily offended, the problem may not be the other person, but we may be the problem)
  2. Decide: is this a problem that I can ignore (our skin needs to become thicker, especially in this world of Social Media where it is very easy to criticize without thinking about it….but, if we are going to live with it, then we must be committed to live with it…otherwise, it will eat us alive. To ignore the problem means to forgive the offense and forget it.
  3. Go to the person who has offended us, and speak our peace. Be prepared, they may be clueless that they have offended us. People have different tolerations and some of us seem as though we are deaf and blind. It is very frustrating to show someone how they have offended, if they don’t grasp it. I think this is what goes into the chemistry of successful friendship. Some people just don’t mix well, and that’s OK.

Galatians was one of the first New Testament books to be written (possibly as early as 48 AD).

As such, this letter briefly shows us the need to bring correction at times.

Matthew’s gospel would have been written 10-20 years later, and by this time, the Church had been dealing with discipline according to what they knew.

The same Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of Galatians inspired the writing of Matthew.

Matthew included a teaching that Jesus gave the disciples about discipline, and it is in Matthew 18:

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17

15 “Eğer kardeşin sana karşı günah işlerse, ona git, suçunu kendisine göster. Her şey yalnız ikinizin arasında kalsın. Kardeşin seni dinlerse, onu kazanmış olursun. 16 Ama dinlemezse, yanına bir ya da iki kişi daha al ki, söylenen her şey iki ya da üç tanığın sözüyle doğrulansın. 17 Onları da dinlemezse, durumu inanlılar topluluğuna bildir. Topluluğu da dinlemezse, onu putperest ya da vergi görevlisi say.

Matta 18:15-17

This is self-explanatory.

I will give you a recent example:


I was concerned about someone in the church. I felt that I needed to speak to this person…I don’t know the person very well, so I wasn’t certain that the person would receive a word of concern from me, even though I’m a pastor.

So, I prayed….and I asked God, “help me to have a chance to speak with this person.”

This week, something wonderful happened: this person whom I was praying for asked me, “pastor, what do you think about….”

My response was not even as a pastor, but more as a father….others were also present, and I was so touched that they were not judgmental in my opinion, but motivated by love. We had so great a time of sharing. I told them that I would mention it this Sunday, but without mentioning names.

Step One: Go, show, and hopefully there is restoration; if not, then….

Step Two: Take someone with you, again, go, show and hopefully restore; if not, then….

Step Three: tell I t to the church, if he still refuses to listen, then set him out of the church…no communion, no ministry, no influence in people’s lives

More details

Step 1a: go


If that’s not possible, then call…Skype or FaceTime

Email…this can get us into more trouble, though…but, it can still be rewarding…it may lead to necessary phone calls and personal meetings

Step 1b: Show

You cannot show unless you go

We are not smart enough

We are not spiritual enough

To read minds and know what we have done…or if we gave offended

Step 1c: restore…win your brother

Step 2a: go with someone

Step 2b: show with someone

Step 2c: restore with someone

Step 3: tell it to the church

Meaning, tell the leaders so we can get involved, assist and protect the church from the sins of the unrepentant sinner

I had to tell an American man in Kazakhstan to stop dating women in the church because he was inappropriate with many women

We cannot restore…we cannot win our brother if we are not willing to go and show…

What a tragedy that we who are so educated and led by the Spirit if the Living God, yet refuse to go, show and restore…

Why do I share this, today? Because as a church we need to be involved in this. Sometimes in churches, people know of a sin, but maybe the pastor doesn’t know.

Let’s be people who pray, go and show, and are willing to received those who pray, go and show to us.

Let’s pray

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The Inconvenience of Christmas Doğuş Bayramı’nın Uygunsuz Ko

I am so glad to address our congregation today,

and to declare that Jesus is alive

and sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty!

This is Christmas Sunday, my second favorite Sunday of the year (my favorite is Easter).

Clover and I just took a trip to Bulgaria. It was our first trip there.

I have an American pastor friend who serves there, but we were not able to see him, because we were celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary!

We went away because we wanted to visit a country that celebrates Christmas. We went by bus, and it was a long day of travel. Though the distance isn’t too far, we, of course, crossed borders, and I was surprised at how different Bulgaria appeared.

My friend works in a very poor area with Roma people. I learned that his church recently obtained a washing machine for their people, otherwise they wash their clothes in the river.

He has a very sarcastic bent, and when I wrote to inform him of our trip, his response was,

“You are celebrating your 32nd anniversary in Bulgaria!? How romantic.”

I could hear the sarcasm.

As we crossed the border, we could see what he meant, as the land is in a developing state. However, the city we visited was very charming and sweet.  If one could strip away the rough exterior…the post Communist small town look… one could see culture and beauty as there were dozens of art galleries and many museums.

Though Bulgaria is formerly communist, I noticed no symbols of the hammer and sickle, but having lived in Central Asia for 15 years, I recognized the architecture of the apartment buildings on the outer ring of the city

Similarly, the center of the city was much nicer than the outside appearance, and the old part of the city, was a real gem.

The city is cloaked with humility and plainness, yet deep inside, there is beauty.

We went to Plovdiv because we had heard that the downtown area was decorated for Christmas, and the old city looked like a storybook. It is true! We loved it.

As we consider the real meaning of Christmas, let us consider what we could see if we stripped away what blocks our vision.

I am not comfortable listing all that blocks one’s vision from the truth about Jesus, but I trust that the Holy Spirit will speak to each of us.

Let’s look at a favorite Christmas passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:5-11 (it encompasses more than just “Christmas”):

[5] Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  [6] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! [9] Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, [10] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Mesih İsa’daki düşünce sizde de olsun. 6 Mesih, Tanrı özüne sahip olduğu halde, Tanrı’ya eşitliği sımsıkı sarılacak bir hak saymadı. 7-8 Ama kul özünü alıp insan benzeyişinde doğarak ululuğunu bir yana bıraktı. İnsan biçimine bürünmüş olarak ölüme, çarmıh üzerinde ölüme bile boyun eğip kendini alçalttı. 9 Bunun için de Tanrı O’nu pek çok yükseltti ve O’na her adın üstünde olan adı bağışladı. 10-11 Öyle ki, İsa’nın adı anıldığında gökteki, yerdeki ve yer altındakilerin hepsi diz çöksün ve her dil, Baba Tanrı’nın yüceltilmesi için İsa Mesih’in Rab olduğunu açıkça söylesin.

Filipililer 2:5-11


  1. Jesus Left the Conveniences of Heaven for the Inconveniences of Earth
  1. İsa Dünya’nın uygunsuz koşulları için, Cennetin uygun koşullarını bıraktı

Christ Jesus:  [6] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,    Philippians 2:5, 6

Isa Mesih : [6] Tanrı özüne sahip olduğu halde, Tanrı’ya eşitliği sımsıkı sarılacak bir hak saymadı.   Filipililer 2:5,6

The difference between Turkey and Bulgaria is not as vast as the difference between Heaven and earth, but it shows a similarity. My friend could not understand why we would choose Bulgaria to celebrate.

In Scripture, there is a vague reference to a group of individuals who also wondered about the move from Heaven to earth that our redemption required:

the angels.

There are many references to angels in the story of Christmas:

announcing the conception of Jesus to Mary

encouraging Joseph in a dream to still take Mary as his wife

announcing Jesus’ birth to shepherds

praising God before the shepherds

warning Joseph in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to leave Bethlehem

Angels, though, are simply God’s messengers …

His servants.

They do as they are told, and are not to be worshipped, nor prayed to (Jesus taught us how to pray, and that is only to God).

And Scripture reveals that not every angel or spirit should be trusted, but they should be tested, as well, the Scriptures teach that …

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light

2 Corinthians 11:14

Şeytan da kendisine ışık meleği süsü verir.

2 Corinthians 11:14

Angels in the Christmas story were following orders from God.

In 1 Peter there is an interesting verse about angels that states….

Even angels long to look into these things.

1 Peter 1:12

Melekler bu gerçekleri yakından görmeye büyük özlem duyarlar.

  1. Petrus 1:12

The angels “long to look”…or this could be even more deeply understood as

“[angels] bending over and stooping to look into this.”  

What is this?


Just as my friend wondered why would we celebrate our anniversary in an economically challenged land, angels wonder how and why would God be interested in the things of mankind?

God’s Son who lived from the beginning of time, even before time, came from Heaven to earth…to redeem us.

His bed was a feed trough, as there was nowhere else to place him

Jesus left the convenience of heaven for the inconvenience of earth and was born in the most humble of circumstances.

In the coming few years, Jesus would be a refugee, as his family had to escape the real threats of King Herod.

Christmas was Inconvenient for Jesus, but He came, anyway.

-Angels wonder at the inconvenience…

-scholars consider it and –

-skeptics scoff at it.

  1. The Baby in the Manger is the Creator and He Offers Re-Creation.
  2. Yemlikte Bebek Yaratandır ve Yeniden Doğuş İmkanını Sunar.

“Christ Jesus…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. [8] And being found in appearance as a man,…”

Philippians 2:5, 7, 8

5 Mesih İsa’daki düşünce sizde de olsun. 6 Mesih, Tanrı özüne sahip olduğu halde, Tanrı’ya eşitliği sımsıkı sarılacak bir hak saymadı. 7-8 Ama kul özünü alıp insan benzeyişinde….

Filipililer 2:5, 7, 8

Of the four gospels, only two tell of Jesus’ birth, which is what we consider to be the traditional story of Christmas…

at least only two present his birth stories,

but, they ALL tell the story of God coming to earth in Jesus.

Mark begins his gospel with this announcement:

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:1

Tanrı’nın Oğlu İsa Mesih’le ilgili Müjde’nin başlangıcı.                     

Markos 1:1

This statement tells us who the good news is about (“gospel” means “good news”).

Mark’s beginning statement is like a public service announcement, meaning,

This book is not about anyone else, but about the Son of God, Jesus.

John’s Gospel goes back further, and reads like the book of Genesis, starting with,

“In the beginning…”

John 1:1


 Yuhanna 1:1

He describes Jesus as the Word…

he declares who the Word truly is…

and his “Christmas story” is summed up in verse 14 of the first chapter.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning. [3] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

… …

[14] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.         John 1:1-5, 14

Başlangıçta Söz vardı. Söz Tanrı’ylabirlikteydi ve Söz Tanrı’ydı. 2 Başlangıçta O, Tanrı’yla birlikteydi. 3 Her şey O’nun aracılığıyla var oldu, var olan hiçbir şey O’nsuz olmadı. 

… …

[14] Söz, insan olup aramızda yaşadı. O’nun yüceliğini –Baba’dan gelen, lütuf ve gerçekle dolu biricik Oğul’un yüceliğini gördük                                                         Yuhanna 1:1-5, 14

-The baby in the manger who was visited and worshipped by wise men from the East…

-the baby in the manger, about whom, angels proclaimed, protected and praised…

-this harmless baby was one of thousands of nameless babies born that same day in the pagan Roman Empire…

-but this baby would change that Empire….

all babies will one day die,

but this baby came with the purpose of dying, sacrificially, for all mankind who would believe in Him….

and the angels

-bend over and

-stoop down,


-their shaking heads and wonder,


He created all, and through Him is provided the promise of re-creation…re-birth…renewed life.

his birth was a miracle:

God with us- Emmanuel;

  1. Don’t Let the Novelty of the Poor Baby Block the True Meaning of His Coming
  1. Bu Yoksul Bebeğin Tuhaflığının,

Gelişinin Gerçek Anlamını Görmenize Engel Olmasına İzin Vermeyin

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, [10] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.    Philippians 2:9-11

Bunun için de Tanrı O’nu pek çok yükseltti ve O’na her adın üstünde olan adı bağışladı. 10-11 Öyle ki, İsa’nın adı anıldığında gökteki, yerdeki ve yer altındakilerin hepsi diz çöksün ve her dil, Baba Tanrı’nın yüceltilmesi için İsa Mesih’in Rab olduğunu açıkça söylesin.

Filipililer 2:9-11

When we watch Christmas plays we often see dolls in the place of the Baby Jesus.

Or, if there is a baby in the congregation, and the parents are brave enough,

a live baby is used in the pageant…

and, undoubtedly, the live baby becomes the star of the show, even if the baby cries too much.

I recall all when I was young and wa in my first Christmas pageant. My brother, who is 5 years older than I had lines to recite, while I, since I was 5 or 6 didn’t have any lines. I was disappointed. My brother kept forgetting his lines, and I knew all of his lines. I was disappointed to be the nameless shepherd boy at stage right.

It was the 1960s, and there was something known as the Hippie movement at that time in which people made the “peace” sign with their fingers. As I sat on the stage wishing I could say something in the play, the narrator reported the words of the angel and said, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” I quite innocently looked up at the spotlight, held up my fingers in the peace sign and exclaimed, “PEACE!”

I recall all the old people on the front row whose false teeth dropped from their jaws, and whose wigs flipped off their heads….I had stolen the show for a brief moment.

The baby knows nothing of what is happening, but after the show, people often talk about how precious and cute the baby-actor was.

Thus, the cuteness or the novelty of the baby in the manger, overshadows the message of the gospel.

Some people think that Christians believe that God had unnatural relations with Mary and that is why Jesus is called “Son of God.” But nothing could be further from the truth (and Mary is not 1/3 of the Trinity).

The Bible teaches that Jesus existed from the beginning with God the Father. Jesus is supreme above all people, prophets, angels and kings.

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. [16] For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. [19] For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20

15  Görünmez Tanrı’nın görünümü, bütün yaratılışın ilk doğanı O’dur. 16 Nitekim yerde ve gökte, görünen ve görünmeyen her şey –tahtlar, egemenlikler, yönetimler, hükümranlıklar– O’nda yaratıldı. Her şey O’nun aracılığıyla ve O’nun için yaratıldı. 17 Her şeyden önce var olan O’dur ve her şey varlığını O’nda sürdürmektedir. 18 Bedenin, yani kilisenin başı O’dur. Her şeyde ilk yeri alsın diye başlangıç olan ve ölüler arasından ilk doğan O’dur. 19 Çünkü Tanrı bütün doluluğunun O’nda bulunmasını uygun gördü. 20 Mesih’in çarmıhta akıtılan kanı aracılığıyla esenliği sağlamış olarak yerdeki ve gökteki her şeyi O’nun aracılığıyla kendisiyle barıştırmaya razı oldu.

                   Koloseliler 1:15-20

Jesus is so powerful, yet traditions, teachings, cultures, values block peoples’ view of him.

Humans are easily blocked,

and one bit of misinformation can deflect the Truth about Jesus for millennia.

Let nothing stand between us and the real baby in the manger….

-He is God in the flesh, a paradox that only God Himself could accomplish…

-He is the One who declared that He and God the Father are one…

-He is the One who declared that He was before Abraham, and in doing so indicated that He Is God, …this caused those around him to want to stone him for blasphemy.

At His birth there were distinct words of Jesus’ future:

He was named “Jesus” for he will save his people from their sins

But as well, Jesus was worshipped as God and declared as such even from his birth.

Don’t let the cuteness of a baby block us from the severity of Almighty God.

In the Old Testament era, God called individuals such as prophets to hear God’s Word, and then to make it known to others:

[6] These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. [7] Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 6:6, 7

[6] 6 Bugün size verdiğim bu buyrukları aklınızda tutun. [7] Onları çocuklarınıza belletin. Evinizde otururken, yolda yürürken, yatarken, kalkarken onlardan söz edin.

Yasa’nın Tekrarı 6:6, 7

God’s Word has been given to man through prophets, and then shared by each other.

Moses desired the following…

I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”

Numbers 11:29

Keşke Rab’bin bütün halkı peygamber olsa da Rab üzerlerine Ruhu’nu gönderse!”

Çölde Sayım 11:29

And later God spoke through the prophet Joel

I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. [29] Even on my servants, both men and women,           Joel 2:28, 29

 28 “Ondan sonra bütün insanların üzerine Ruhum’u dökeceğim. 
Oğullarınız, kızlarınız peygamberlikte bulunacaklar.
Yaşlılarınız düşler, Gençleriniz görümler görecek.  
29 O günler kadın, erkek kullarınızın üzerine de Ruhum’u dökeceğim.

Yoel 2:28, 29

This baby in the manger would grow up, and later, speak,

and by His words he appointed Apostles to be with him, to hear and see everything,

He commissioned those Apostles to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey everything He commanded them.

Then Jesus ascended to Heaven, but the Scriptures teach that when He ascended, he gave three other gifts, besides Apostles and Prophets:


pastors; and


And through these five ministries of the Church, the Great Commission comes all the way to us.

Today I continue His COMMISSION to teach what He commanded.

And I declare, Jesus IS Lord!

Jesus Is Lord!

  1. The Inconvenience of Jesus
  1. İsa’nın Uygunsuz Koşulları

When Joseph was trying to comfort his very pregnant wife,

the baby came at an inconvenient time, while traveling to a crowded little town.

When I consider Bulgaria, it may have that post Communist look…even an impoverished look, but we met a dear couple….

They pastor a church of 500 people in the city that we visited.

As well, this pastor provides leadership to about 500 other churches in their association in all of Bulgaria. OF HIS CHURCH ASSOCIATION, THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH IN ALL OF TURKEY

It is hard for me to believe that the Truth of Jesus is not understood in Turkey, the land of the New Testament…and as I have said previously, and I will say again,

-if people knew Jesus as the Bible teaches Him…

-if they knew Jesus as I know Him,

-if they knew Jesus, as God’s Holy Spirit calls out to them,

they would not be able to resist the relationship that He wants to have with them.

When someone truly meets Jesus, surprisingly, they are inconvenienced.

I think of Joseph, who was urged to take pregnant Mary as his wife…

-this was an inconvenience.

I think of the shepherds in the fields with their flocks being encouraged to see Jesus…

-it was an inconvenience…

-even the Apostle Paul who terrorized the early Church and assisted in the murder of an eloquent and gifted young man named Stephen,

-yet Jesus, later, met Paul and inconvenienced him.

Today, when people meet Jesus it is an inconvenience, too…

-Jesus changes the way we think.

-in America they are known as the people who are intolerant of those who are different….

-in Turkey, people who meet Jesus lose their families…

But, when we are inconvenienced by Jesus, we rest in the will of God and in His peace.

Conclusion and Response

  1. Do you believe that God sent Jesus to earth for our redemption?
  1. Do you believe that Jesus is God in the flesh?
  1. Do you recognize the supremacy of Jesus over all of creation?
  1. Are you ready to be inconvenienced by Jesus?

Let’s pray

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Thankful for the Unshakable Kingdom Sarsılmaz Egemenlik için Şükürler Minnettar Olmak

This week in America is a celebration:  Thanksgiving.

While we are not an American church, I want to share about how important it is to be thankful.

In many cases, thankfulness is the antidote to anger, fear, confusion, frustration and doubt. When we are able to give thanks, rather than to give in to fear, etc. our lives are changed.

We must be people who give thanks.

There are several Bible verses about giving thanks, and today I want to present a couple of verses.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28,29

28 Böylece sarsılmaz bir egemenliğe kavuştuğumuz için minnettar olalım. Öyle ki, Tanrı’yı hoşnut edecek biçimde saygı ve korkuyla tapınalım. 29 Çünkü Tanrımız yakıp yok eden bir ateştir.

İbraniler 12:28,29


The Unshakeable Kingdom Sarsılmaz Egemenlik

According to this verse, the original readers of the book of Hebrews were receiving an unshakable kingdom (and so are we).  Those who originally read this letter would most likely have heard Jesus’ teaching regarding prayer.

This is because the gospels of Luke and Matthew which present what we call the “Lord’s Prayer” were already written and being circulated among the churches.

I find that I so often am thinking of the Lord’s Prayer in life.

Jesus taught us to pray like this

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

“Bunun için siz şöyle dua edin:

‘Göklerdeki Babamız,

Adın kutsal kılınsın.

10 Egemenliğin gelsin.

Gökte olduğu gibi, yeryüzünde de

Senin istediğin olsun.

11 Bugün bize gündelik ekmeğimizi ver.

12 Bize karşı suç işleyenleri bağışladığımız gibi,

Sen de bizim suçlarımızı bağışla.

13 Ayartılmamıza izin verme.

Bizi kötü olandan kurtar.

Çünkü egemenlik, güç ve yücelik

Sonsuzlara dek senindir! Amin

Matta 6:9-13

So specifically, I want us to consider these words from that prayer:

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, … …

   your kingdom come, … …

   on earth as it is in heaven … …’”

Matthew 6:9, 10

“Bunun için siz şöyle dua edin:

‘Göklerdeki Babamız, … …

Egemenliğin gelsin, … …

Gökte olduğu gibi, yeryüzünde de … …’”

 Matta 6:9, 10

There is a good chance that the first readers of the book of Hebrews were already praying this prayer and understood that the unshakeable kingdom is already here.  And let US continue to pray as we are going to receive this.

As we read this verse, we need to notice the term, “therefore?” “Therefore” is there for a reason. It tells us that what precedes this verse is related to this statement.

In the verses immediately preceding this verse the writer draws a distinction between the lives of the previous believers and holy people compared to our lives.

Here are some examples:

By faith [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:9-10

İman sayesinde [İbrahim] bir yabancı olarak vaat edilen ülkeye yerleşti. Aynı vaadin ortak mirasçıları olan İshak ve Yakup’la birlikte çadırlarda yaşadı. 10 Çünkü mimarı ve kurucusu Tanrı olan temelli kenti bekliyordu.

 İbraniler 11:9-10

Abraham lived in tents but was looking forward to something that God would build.

Tents are not unshakeable. I thought of something else that is similar to Abraham’s tents: visas and residence permits are also not unshakeable.

Tents are nice and they are mobile, but have you ever been in a tent during a storm? Remember, they are NOT unshakeable.  On several occasions I have been in tents during storms and it is not easy.  As a child, my family and I were camping once and the wind was so intense that I went back to the car to sleep through the night. When I awoke, I saw that the tent had fallen on top of my brother and my father.

Another time I was with a group from church and we were camping in the mountains. One of the tents actually blew away in the wind (it was empty). We never found it.

Here is another verse about those who were before us:

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:13-16

13 Bu kişilerin hepsi imanlı olarak öldüler. Vaat edilenlere kavuşamadılarsa da bunları uzaktan görüp selamladılar, yeryüzünde yabancı ve konuk olduklarını açıkça kabul ettiler. 14 Böyle konuşanlar bir vatan aradıklarını gösteriyorlar. 15 Ayrıldıkları ülkeyi düşünselerdi, geri dönmeye fırsatları olurdu. 16 Ama onlar daha iyisini, yani göksel olanı arzu ediyorlardı. Bunun içindir ki, Tanrı onların Tanrısı olarak anılmaktan utanmıyor. Çünkü onlara bir kent hazırladı.

İbraniler 11:13-16

They were longing for something unshakable and followed God for this. Abraham and all of the others were searching for this, and they saw it from afar.  We see this kingdom, now, as we have found Jesus.  Those who had gone before: Noah; Jacob and Joseph were looking for the unshakeable kingdom of God.

Jesus began his ministry announcing this Kingdom:

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:14, 15

İsa, Tanrı’nın Müjdesi’ni duyura duyura Celile’ye gitti. 15 “Zaman doldu” diyordu, “Tanrı’nın Egemenliği yaklaştı. Tövbe edin, Müjde’ye inanın!”

Markos 1:14, 15

This kingdom is what all were looking for, previously. And kingdoms were established, but they ended: Saul’s; David’s and Solomon’s.  What they sought, we have, what they were looking for, we have found, and what they predicted, we know has been fulfilled.

It required faith for those before Jesus to pursue God’s coming kingdom, just as it requires faith for us, today, to receive it.

Yet, if we could bring one of those Old Testament prophets to the future and sit down with them, we could ask them what they were pursuing. He would tell us of the kingdom to come to come, and we could tell him that the Kingdom that has come in Jesus.

The Consuming Fire / Yakıcı Ateş

When the Hebrews were at the base of Mt Horeb (aka Sinai), they were afraid of the cloud on the mountain that looked like fire.

15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Exodus 24:15-17

15 Musa dağa çıkınca, bulut dağı kapladı. 16 RAB’bin görkemi Sina Dağı’nın üzerine indi. Bulut dağı altı gün örttü. Yedinci gün RAB bulutun içinden Musa’ya seslendi. 17 RAB’bin görkemi İsrailliler’e dağın doruğunda yakıcı bir ateş gibi görünüyordu.

Mısır’dan Çıkış 24:15-17

This “consuming fire” caused fear in the hearts of the Hebrews, and they didn’t want to come near God. As well, God doesn’t want sinful man to come near him.  He allowed Moses, but there were limits. When Moses asked God to show him His glory, God agreed to a point, as God said to Moses:

20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Exodus 33:20

20 Ancak, yüzümü görmene izin veremem. Çünkü yüzümü gören yaşayamaz.”

Mısır’dan Çıkış 33:20

Though the people were afraid of the cloud in which God was, and they saw it as a “consuming fire,” and yet Moses, went into the cloud.  I cannot imagine anyone wanting to go into something that looked dangerous.  Yet, firefighters and police are trained to enter dangerous places.

In response to the fear of the Hebrews, God spoke this through Moses to the people:

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.”

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

15 Tanrınız RAB size aranızdan, kendi kardeşlerinizden benim gibi bir peygamber çıkaracak. Onu dinleyin. 16 Horev’de toplandığınız gün Tanrınız RAB’den şunu dilemiştiniz: ‘Bir daha ne Tanrımız RAB’bin sesini duyalım, ne de o büyük ateşi görelim, yoksa ölürüz.’ 17 RAB bana, ‘Söyledikleri doğrudur’ dedi. 18 ‘Onlara kardeşleri arasından senin gibi bir peygamber çıkaracağım. Sözlerimi onun ağzından işiteceksiniz. Kendisine buyurduklarımın tümünü onlara bildirecek.

Yasa’nın Tekrarı 18:15-18

Because God’s presence is too difficult to be tolerated by sinful man, God promised to send a greater prophet than Moses and God’s Word would be in Him. Jesus was sent so we could see God and live.

Jesus, the Consuming Fire and the Unshakable Kingdom / İsa, Yakıcı Ateş ve Sarsılmaz Egemenlik

Jesus is known as “the Word of God.”  Jesus is shown by Scriptures to be greater than the angels, even Gabriel;  and greater than all of the prophets, even Moses. He is the greatest High Priest of all.  Referring to the previous prophecies about himself, Jesus said,

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

John 8:56

56 Babanız İbrahim günümü göreceği için sevinçle coşmuştu. Gördü ve sevindi.”

Yuhanna 8:56

There was an occasion that is referred to several times in the Bible known as the transfiguration. This was when Jesus and three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, when to the top of a mountain. While they were there, Jesus was transfigured, which meant that his divinity was shown and his glory was revealed. On this occasion, Jesus changed in such a way that his face was as bright at the sun and his clothing was whiter than bleach could make them, or even bright like lightening. Certainly, they couldn’t see all of his glory, or these disciples would have died, but they saw something. And they heard the voice of God the Father declare that Jesus was His Son.

While this story is told in three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), John refers to it in his Gospel, but doesn’t tell the story. He refers to Jesus as the “Word:”

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

14 Söz, insan olup aramızda yaşadı. O’nun yüceliğini –Baba’dan gelen, lütuf ve gerçekle dolu biricik Oğul’un yüceliğini– gördük.

Yuhanna 1:14

Peter referred to this event, too, when he wrote his second letter:

17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

2 Peter 1:17, 18

17 Mesih, yüce ve görkemli Olan’dan kendisine ulaşan sesle, “Sevgili Oğlum budur, O’ndan hoşnudum” diyen sesle Baba Tanrı’dan onur ve yücelik aldı. 18 Kutsal dağda O’nunla birlikte bulunduğumuz için gökten gelen bu sesi biz de işittik.

  1. 2. Petrus 1:17, 18

We follow Jesus because there has never been and there will never be anyone greater than Jesus. He is not only the One Who proclaimed the unshakeable Kingdom, but He IS the unshakeable Kingdom.

The writer of the book of Hebrews showed a distinction between those who believed before Jesus and those who believed after. This writer and his audience knew of another distinction, as well, between those who believe and those who don’t. The Apostle Paul, under the influence of God’s Holy Spirit wrote these words about this distinction:

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,

Colossians 1:13-15

13 O bizi karanlığın hükümranlığından kurtarıp sevgili Oğlu’nun egemenliğine aktardı. 14 O’nda kurtuluşa, günahlarımızın bağışına sahibiz.

15 Görünmez Tanrı’nın görünümü,…

Koloseliler 1:13-15

Our Response / Bizim Verdiğimiz Tepki

How do we respond to this information? The Scripture we looked at to begin with today tells us how to respond:

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28,29

28 Böylece sarsılmaz bir egemenliğe kavuştuğumuz için minnettar olalım. Öyle ki, Tanrı’yı hoşnut edecek biçimde saygı ve korkuyla tapınalım. 29 Çünkü Tanrımız yakıp yok eden bir ateştir.

İbraniler 12:28,29

Let us respond with thankfulness and by worship.

How do we thank people?

  • We tell them.
  • We give them a card.
  • We buy them a gift.
  • We hug them.
  • We give them attention

How do we express thanks to God?

  • By telling Him, and
  • Following Him.

As well, we are to worship acceptably and in awe.

God is greater than we can understand and yet, He understands us and chooses to be concerned with us. God is the most powerful force in the universe and yet, He withholds His wrath from us and does not destroy us as our sins deserve. God chooses to love us, and He reaches out to us, but let us not forget that He is a consuming fire.

Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to us not merely to help us be freer in our worship, though that is wonderful, but His Spirit is with us that we would be with Him. That He would be able to correct us and we would hear it. His Spirit is with us so that when we hear something that goes against God’s Will, we would not applaud it, but we would speak a loving word of correction.

God calls us into a relationship with him, a relationship of worship. This is acceptable, and pleasing.

This week, I met a man from Syria who is ethnically Christian, but has no relationship with God through Jesus (he declares himself to be an atheist). I told him that we pray every week and some of us are praying, daily, for Syria. He wasn’t impressed, but instead told me that recently there was a group of people praying in a church and a rocket hit the church and destroyed the building.

This man didn’t understand that the church building, like a tent, is NOT unshakeable. Jesus is unshakeable, and yes, people died, but if they had a relationship through God by Jesus, then they were already part of the unshakeable kingdom.

As I close, I want us to look at Psalm 100.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Ey bütün dünya, RAB’be sevinç çığlıkları yükseltin!

    Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

O’na neşeyle kulluk edin,

Sevinç ezgileriyle çıkın huzuruna!

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are him;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Bilin ki RAB Tanrı’dır.

Bizi yaratan O’dur, biz de O’nunuz,

O’nun halkı, otlağının koyunlarıyız.


Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

Kapılarına şükranla,

Avlularına övgüyle girin!

Şükredin O’na, adına övgüler sunun!

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Çünkü RAB iyidir,

Sevgisi sonsuzdur.

Sadakati kuşaklar boyunca sürer.

           Psalm 100/Mezmur 100

Let’s pray


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