Copyright by Bob Rogers.
Lord, forgive me when I make my encounters with others all about myself.
You said that You came not to be served, but to serve and give Your life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Teach me not to tell my story before listening to the stories of others. Teach me not to pray for myself until I have prayed for others. Teach me not to grab a gift for myself until I have handed a gift to others. May I never use other people for my ends, but rather, may I give away my life for their good. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Speech by Valery Antonyuk (President of the Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine)
to ministers and churches on the occasion of war. (Translated into English.)
You can view his speech in Ukrainian on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCKqC8NNpPQ
Dear brothers and sisters, Church Ministers!
This morning, February 24, the war in Ukraine began. What we prayed would not happen happened today. And we, as believers, accept that we will have to go through the time of this trial.
The Bible says: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for you are with me,your rod and your staff will comfort me”
That is why we urge everyone to continue and intensify our prayers.
This is our weapon in time of war, our way of fighting. This is the first thing believers do. And we invite everyone, wherever you are, to seek the opportunity to do this in person, in your families, in your churches, on ZOOM, wherever possible, gather together and praise the Lord.
Secondly, it’s important that the Lord gives us His peace right now and that we don’t panic, fear, reckless actions, sudden decisions that can harm us personally and our min hysteria in the ukraine.
We invite all Church ministers in these first days to give a message of hope through God’s Word to all the faithful who have to stand in this gap today and pray for our country. We need to strengthen this time with fasting and prayer because this is the time the Church continues to minister.
We say to all Church ministers, elders, deacons: think about how to maintain hospitality in your church premises, in your headquarters, where you have the opportunity to receive people in need. People moving around Ukraine today and will be targeted, especially along the border areas. Please, it is important for us to organize ourselves so that we can accommodate people in need.
We have many unanswered questions and only by moving step by step can we figure out where we can take the next step. Therefore, we ask that we can organize this at the church level. Our communities must become centers of service, shelters, for our people in times of adversity.
We ask all Christians not to spread unverified information, but to share the information that you witness and know exactly the authenticity, to turn it into an occasion of information, testimony and prayer.
We also pray for the organization of our coordination center, because in the office here near Kiev, we continue to serve and organize all the work even now. We will get in touch with all associations and coordinate in time all those processes that will prove to be important for all the Ukrainian people.
We’ll keep you updated on the situation. From time to time, we will make such calls, report on the current situation, and pray that we will all be together, united in what the Lord is doing.
We believe that God, even through us, wants His Kingdom of peace to spread today, even in times of war. We pray for the protection of our country and firmly believe that God will bless Ukraine!
Therefore, let’s unite together, we serve even in these conditions. We begin a new phase, a new page of ministry that has never been written before. God who has blessed us by making us live peacefully and serenely for decades, but in this time our whole country needs a church that is the light and salt. The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not want and he will guide us even in these moments.
God bless us as we pray for you as we serve the Lord together.
Copyright 2017 by Bill Hurt
(Dr. Bill Hurt is the senior pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Columbus, Mississippi. When he posted the following thoughts on Facebook, I found them so profound that I asked his permission to share it as a guest blog post, and he graciously agreed.)
The other day I shook hands with an individual and they commented on the softness of mine. They went on to say: “I bet those hands have never seen a hard day’s work.”
In some ways that statement is true, and it got me thinking about these hands of mine. They’ve never overhauled an engine on a car. Never plowed a field. Never hoed a garden. Never worked on an assembly line.
There are a lot of hard working activities these hands have never done, but they have taken a lifeless baby from the arms of a broken mother. They have taken a gun out of the hand of a man about to end his life. They have taken a bottle from an individual who was drinking their life away. They have raised and lowered children and adults in the baptismal waters. They have written numerous sermons. They have joined couples in matrimony. They have built churches on foreign soil. They have held the hands of the dying. They have received strangers into the Kingdom. They have dedicated and blessed countless babies. They have wiped the tears from grieving parents, spouses, and children. They have shaken the hands of the upper, middle, and lower class of society. They have held the hands of those who have prayed to receive Christ. They have removed debris from the rubble of destroyed churches. They have welcomed the homeless and offered them a place to sleep. I’m no different from any other preacher out there. Our hands are used quite frequently to serve. The endurance and strength to do these things come from another set of hands which happen to be nail pierced. After all, we’re called to be his hands and feet. I guess these hands are soft, but they are forgiven and ready for service.