Thursday, November 29, 2018

URGENT - Pray for Bulgaria

Bulgarian evangelicals alarm about religion law “threatening rights and freedoms of churches” 

The European Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance issue statements calling to stop a legislation that would give “huge and unnecessary powers to the Bulgarian State to interfere with faith communities”.

Bulgarian evangelicals have called international bodies to respond to a new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of faith minorities.

“The Bulgarian State is wrongly assuming power into the internal life of religious communities”, the Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost every single article in the newly proposed bills erroneously and unfairly claims political authority over religious life”, writes Pastor Rumen Bordjiev.

In the last months, the parliament has discussed a new legislation that will enable a “state policy of interference into church affairs”, the President of the EAB says.


These are the main problems with the new legislation:
 - Only Bulgarian citizens will be able to carry out liturgical activity if they have had theological training in Bulgaria or their foreign school is approved.
- Only Eastern Orthodox & Muslim believers will be able to train clergy and run schools.
- A foreigner will only be able to preach if doing so with a Bulgarian ordained minister.
- Foreign donations will only be allowed for building construction or social aid and will need government approval. No salaries of pastors for example could be paid from abroad.
- No religious activities can take place outside of buildings designated for them.
- Only religious groups with +300 people will have legal status.


After receiving the “green light” in its first reading in parliament last October 4, a period for possible objections and discussions was opened. The parliament has allowed an interim period for possible objections that will end on November 16. In the meantime, a task group comprised by politicians and religious representatives is supposed to work on the wording of the suggested articles. By now, however, the task group has not yet started its work.

After carefully analyzing the law, the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance has said the legislation “is so flawed, amendments cannot solve the problems - Instead, it should be scrapped”.

“Literally no religious community has expressed agreement with the proposed changes”, the Bulgarian evangelical body said. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Muslim religion, all Protestant denominations, the Armenian community, the Jewish community, and the Catholic Church, have all issued statements of protest.


Evangelical Christians are one of the minority faith groups that would see their rights and freedoms affected. This is why the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance “insisted on being invited to the committee discussing the amended articles of the law (…) We have also demanded a special meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Mr. Boyko Borisov in order to express our explicit refusal to agree with such an intervention of the government into religious affairs”.

Furthermore, “various NGOs are also considering joining efforts and possibly even taking legal actions, led by the unanimous opinion that the law is discriminatory, anti-constitutional and unjust”.


This coming Sunday afternoon, November 11, evangelical Christians all over the country will go out on the streets after their worship services in peaceful rallies for their right to practice their faith. Churches from various denominations in the towns of Sofia, Ruse, Burgas, Silistra, Dobrich, Kotel (among others) mobilize their members to join the street protest.

They will carry signs, saying “The new bill on religion brings us back to communism!”, and “Religious freedom in Bulgaria is in danger!”


The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance has also called fellow believers to take the following actions: “pray” for the situation; “alarm” other Evangelical Alliances about the situation in Bulgaria, contact “European institutions, Members of the European parliament and international human and religious rights organizations”; write letters to the Bulgarian government.


In response to the letter of Bulgarian evangelicals, the European Evangelical Alliance expressed its concern over the “alarming developments in Bulgaria”.

According to the body representing millions of evangelical Christians in the whole continent, the new legislation would give “huge and unnecessary power of the Bulgarian State to interfere with all faith communities”. Therefore, “if the Parliament wishes to continue discussions, then representatives of the churches should be involved”.

The EEA calls “to pray and encourage others to pray” and to “contact the Bulgarian embassy in your nation and write to the politicians in Sofia. Write a short letter/email explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation as outlined above. Politely but firmly ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessive and also harmful to all faith communities. Demand that the legislative proposal be scrapped”.

For those in European Union Member States, the EEA encourages to “write a short letter to the MEPs of your nation, explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation and asking them to speak urgently to their Bulgarian colleagues to ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessively controlling and would cause great difficulties for all faiths. Click here to find the MEPs of your nation”.


The World Evangelical Alliance’s also reacted to the letter of Bulgarian evangelicals.
Secretary General Efraim Tendero said: “At a time when governments worldwide face the challenge of strengthening freedoms while maintaining security, we call on Bulgaria and other democratic countries to lead by example and to strengthen the right to religious freedom rather than to weaken it”.

The WEA’s statement added: “We call on the Bulgarian authorities to reconsider its draft legislation aimed at amending the Religious Denominations Act (...) And we call on evangelicals worldwide to accompany our brothers and sisters in Bulgaria in prayer as they dialogue with their political leaders to identify the best path forward”.


Related News:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Two Weeks of Ministry

Prayer points:
1.    May the impact of the just held workshops (see below) be far reaching and bring lasting change in awakening the hearts of the believers.
2.    We continue to ask for Levites for the URGS House of Prayer. Musicians and singers who can lead live worship sets. Please pray with us for young people who would be willing to give 1-3 months of their time and resources to come to Croatia and help cultivate, train and raise up Croatians to take the lead.
3.    God is opening doors wide for us with the Charismatic Catholic youth. Pray for wisdom and to know what and how to collaborate and cooperate with them.
4.    There is continued forward movement in the acquisition of property in the town of Gračac. Please pray for favor in all negotiations.

From Jerry’s Desk

Past Two Weeks of Ministry
The last two weeks has been wonderful and a true advancement in ministry for the Lord’s work here. It amazes us to watch how God loves and touches people. Perhaps most of all, it is remarkable to see them respond to His love. Transformation is happening in lives here in Croatia.

We were blessed to host a team from Upper Room (UR) Denver, Colorado. They spent three days teaching on intimacy, worship, encounter, song writing and more. We had over forty Croatians attend the Worship and Prayer Workshops from throughout the country. The teaching was above and beyond everyone’s expectations. Perhaps the greatest of all was that the team taught from their personal life experiences. They showed sincere love and encouragement to all they encountered.

The team consisted of two couples with their three children and a single lady. They stayed in our home, doing all they could to serve us. The UR Denver teams who come are always a cut above and it is such a pleasure to have them in our home. We are so very grateful to UR Denver for their investment into us as their missionaries and into the people we serve here.

Since the end of the workshops, we have been receiving testimonies from many of the attendees. They speak of how their lives have been blessed and enhanced. The core team that regularly attends the Upper Room Gornja Soba (URGS) House of Prayer has also been encouraged, challenged and energized by the Workshop. They seem to have entered into another level in their intimacy with the Lord.

This past Sunday we also met with our team in Gračac. Our team just purchased fire wood for an elderly lady in town.  Igor, who is a prayer leader in the URGS in Zagreb, and Roni who lives in Gračac, chopped all the wood. We love it that our team is practicing the lifestyle of “in and out”, where we come in to the presence of God and pray, but then we also go out and allow the Spirit of God to spill over onto the communities we serve through practical ways.  At the same time, the rest of the team blanketed the town with a prayer walk. As we walked, we spoke blessing over the city. What a powerful day; praying for and serving the city of Gračac.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Prayer Points & A Life Formula

Prayer Points:

1)    Intentional Strategies for Transformation is hosting a Prayer and Worship Workshop in Zagreb. Please pray for this event. We are expecting many, not only from the evangelical churches but Charismatic Catholics also. (Dates: Sept. 13th – 15th)
2)    Pray for the team from Upper Room Denver who will be teaching on worship, intimacy with the Lord, the prophetic, song writing, etc.
3)    There has been a health issue to attack the team, so pray healing will come quickly.

A Life Formula

Joy + Discipline + Vision + Convergence = Legacy & Eternity

For me this is a formula for life. This is a principles that have helped me live an overcoming life as a Christian.
Let’s explore what this looks like for us in our walk with Christ…

When I gave my life to Jesus, He gave me joy. I am not talking about happiness, but something deeper that has a measure of assurance in it. Jesus was so real to me in my conversion, that deep down I have never doubted Him. I may have had the thought but my confidence in God dispelled it. I am talking about a gift of joy because of confidence. The non-Christian will not have this. They will move in and out of happiness.

Second comes discipline. Oh, wow, I sure fought this one. I had some bad habits that were destructive. I thank the Lord for His patience with me. It was the Holy Spirit speaking to me in one of those awe moments that got my attention. One day I found myself saying something out loud that revealed a deep inter passion I was carrying. Then immediately the Holy Spirit spoke, “You are not ready”. Also, “It may be years before you are ready”. So, I asked, “How do I get ready”? “Discipline son, discipline.”

As the years passed and I stumbled through learning discipline, vision began to form. Vision was driven by passion. I begin to get insight of my inter desires. Once you understand the vision in your heart you must fight for it. In that fight you develop the life skills you will need. I was listening to James Goll the other day and he said, “When discernment and revelation meet, insight occurs”. Oh, how you will need God’s wisdom for a clarity of vision.

Then the time comes, when God puts it all together for you, that is convergence. It is when everything lines up. Your passion is being fulfilled. You have great joy because you see ultimate purpose. You have enough discipline that God can trust you. There is a peace of mind that rules your steps. It could be just the right job; one in which you are meeting all your needs physically, financially and emotionally.

There is a great joy in knowing you are pleasing God, your loving Father and you are doing what He has designed you for. See this has been His plan all along to bring you to your greatest potential. You are content because you know God is pleased.

So, what does all this get you? How do you benefit? You leave a Legacy that others can follow. The Apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Legacy will live on as long as people remember you. If your deeds are published, your legacy could live many, many years.

Then comes Eternity. Eternity, according to the Bible, is heaven or hell. God’s ultimate justice is heaven or hell. At death you are in God’s bliss with Him or in a place of eternal punishment, separated from Him and His Kingdom. All these steps culminate in your destiny.

Here is the good part, you don’t even have to work out this formula in order to get to heaven. You can be a failure in every point. Your eternity is decided by this, have you accepted Jesus or not?
By the way, I am still working on this formula. I think we work on this all our lives.
Ask yourself, "Where on this journey am I?

Monday, August 27, 2018

8-27-18 Prayer Points and Kosovo

Prayer Points
1)    Jerry and Zuzanna just returned from a month in the USA. It was great to see many old friends and to make new ones. Pray that we all grow in our partnership to see the Balkans won for Christ.
2)    The IST Banquet was a success and we are grateful for all God did to raise the awareness of the needs in the Balkans. Pray that Jerry and Zuzanna will be obedient and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as they lead Intentional Strategies for Transformation.
3)    Pray for the Upper Room Denver team as they come to minister at URGS (Zagreb House of Prayer) September 13th thru 15th. As they teach and model the deeper-life concepts of prayer and worship, may all participants grow in Him and be transformed.
4)    Pray for Croatia. After the great victories of the Croatian Soccer (Football) team in the World Cup and the visual unity that swept the country, may there be unity seen across all spheres of the culture.
5)    Pray for the IST Learning Program for the Roma (Gypsy) children in Romania. We have a gap of $4660 still needed for the 2018-2019 school year.

From Jerry’s Desk

Question: Is Kosovo becoming its own country?
In 2008 Kosovo declared total independence from Federal Yugoslavia. This came about in the aftermath of the Kosovo war of 1999 where NATO intervened to help the Kosovars achieve their separation from Serbia. I still have many questions about that war and the procedures taken by NATO but I/we may never learn all the answers. I go back to my original question, “Is Kosovo becoming its own country?” That remains to be seen.

Most of all, as an intercessor, what I seek is that Serbia and Kosovo will come to know the liberating peace that only the Gospel can give. I recently read a somewhat unbiased article titled, From Enver Hoxha to Bill Clinton. Although the author, James Robertson, never mentions Bill Clinton by name in the body of the article, it was his administration that led in these actions. I seriously ask for prayer for Serbia and Kosovo. Currently there is deep hatred in both peoples toward the other. May the Lord take what was meant for destruction, confusion and hatred and turn into a miracle of reconciliation. At one time, King David was able to reunite Israel. To see God unite these two countries in our life-time would  be an amazing mircale. To help you understand the transformation Kosovo has went through, I suggest you read the full article mentioned above. Link:

Monday, August 6, 2018

8-6-18 Prayer Points

Prayer Points:   
1)    Pray for the on going Upper Room Gornja Soba HOP in Zagreb, Croatia. New prayer leaders are taking their place in the prayer room.
2)    Jerry and Zuzanna are in America sharing the vision of IST. Pray that the Lord would move on many hearts to partner in this work.
3)    We have several projects before us for the upcoming year, stretching from Romania to Serbia. Please pray that heavens resources would be released.
4)    Pray for the Intentional Strategies for Transformation banquet. Date: August 11th

From Jerry’s desk:


⦁    What is Destiny? We all have one. There is self-made destiny and then there is divine destiny.
⦁    Here is how the dictionary defines destiny:
     1)    the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
            "she was unable to control her own destiny"
     2)    the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.
           "he believes in destiny"
⦁    Will your divine destiny be accomplished? – It is really up to you. (I propose that the outcome is only really known, after one has moved on to eternity)
⦁    Which destiny will you accomplish?
⦁    Through Strife and Struggle – do it yourself destiny – who will you step on to get to your final destiny
⦁    Through Rest – knowing that God has prepared your destiny and ultimately it is He who will get you there – you making decisions from a place of peace and divine counsel.
⦁    Of course we should desire a divine destiny.
⦁    Do you have to fully know your Destiny?   You will always be living toward your destiny whether it is clear to you or not. Blessed is the young man/woman that knows their destiny; it can help to steady their direction in life.
⦁    The path toward destiny is solving problems (Personal view: This is a broader subject but everyone has a contribution to make while they are on earth. God has designed and equipped you to solve one of humanities’ problems – actually more than one but one for sure.)
⦁    How do you find His destiny for you? Ask these questions:
⦁    What do I like doing?  God has given you skills and aspirations that line up with your destiny.
⦁    Do you receive positive recognition from others? (Are you fitting in? Does your skill set enhance those around you?)
⦁    Not only does God have a destiny for you here on earth but in eternity also. Your final Destiny is to actually “rule and reign” with Christ for a thousand years and then for eternity.
⦁    God has made available His eternal manual, the Bible. Within the Bible we can find the principles that guide us to our destiny. (You should be consulting the manual every day.)
⦁    The Bible says, Heaven or Hell is the final destination. You can choose.

John 3:16
 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life
Revelation 20:4
 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Revelation 22:5
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 5:10
And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
If I know that I will reign with Christ for a thousand years and beyond, why would I live a life of selfish ambitions?

Notice the last verse (Rev. 5:10) says we shall rule here on earth. So let us take our position for Him now and let our ultimate destiny be practiced in this earthly realm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

IST Prayer 7-17-18

Prayer Points

1.    1)  God is bringing us emerging Christian leaders to the URGS house of prayer here in Zagreb. Pray they will continue in the faith from glory to glory.

2.    2)  Our efforts to bring transformation to Lika, a destitute area of Croatia, is going slow but a good foundation is being laid. Pray for the Lika team to walk in unity and expectation.

3.    3)  Having mentioned expectation, Croatian Christians have long suffered from doubt and apathy. Pray they would learn to walk in God’s promises.

4.       Is. 66:8 says: “Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day or a nation be delivered in an instant? In light of the World Cup this past Sunday, this verse is being played out on the world scene. As though the nation was just born. So much hope, expectation and unity has suddenly emerged in this little nation, this is remarkable. Pray that this truly is the beginning of a spiritual breakthrough. 

5.    4)  Pray for the IST Learning Program in the Roma (gypsy) village in Romania. It will cost $7,000 this next school year to help these poor children continue to excel and someday graduate. Pray for the funds to come in quickly. 

6.    5)  Pray that IST, and its leaders Jerry and Zuzanna will strategically execute God’s will in this land. The needs in the Balkans are overwhelming. Pray that we always hear clearly what we are to be involved in and be able to say no to all other demands.

From Jerry’s desk

The Church

In my studies of Church history this is the way I have come to understand its evolution.

The disciples of Jesus where together in Jerusalem (about 120 of them, Acts 1:4). They were in unity because after Jesus’ resurrection He spent forty days with them, teaching them. Jesus had clearly inspired them, and they were being obedient in waiting for something called the Holy Spirit to come. They did know something of the Holy Spirit because Jesus breathed the Spirit on them earlier. (Jn. 20:21)

Then the Day of Pentecost came, and like dynamite the Holy Spirit came and rested upon them and the Church was born. (Acts 2) That day a great many were saved; from many nations. This indicates the first spreading of the Gospel through these foreigners. They likely returned to their countries with a wonderment in their minds of good news. They were the first seeds planted into the nations. Likely they did not become evangelist but rather people that would recognize the Gospel when it did come to their area.

Then we have the book of Acts or Acts of the Apostles. Here we see how the Early Church functioned.

1)    The disciples were bold even in the face of death. (Stephen, Acts 7)
2)    They went forth with signs and wonders following them. (Acts 5:12)
3)    In Jerusalem they would go to the Temple, the main meeting place of the Jews and preach the Gospel.
4)    They took the Gospel to Samaria and after some persecution, to Antioch and beyond. (Acts 8:1,4-5)
5)    They would minister to the Lord and the Holy Spirit would speak direction to them. (Acts 13:1-3)
6)    After a few decades, they had turned the world upside down. (Acts 17:6)

Then came the second generation of disciples. They had not seen the Lord in the flesh and only had stories from those who had. They did have the written Gospels and letters from apostles Peter, Paul, John, etc., but there begin to be many other so-called Gospels and sayings being written. This was the start of some problems. The stories begin to differ from region to region. Some believed in the Trinity some didn’t. There were issues about Jesus’ nature; was He God and man or was He just a man. By the end of the 2nd century they set up bishops in the regions of Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesus, Rome, etc. These bishops tended to set the doctrines in their areas.

Throughout the 2nd and 3rd centuries the Gospel was having a great impact but there begin to be fights or heated disputes about the different doctrines. Of course, the devil’s divisive spirit is at work here.

Then the Roman Emperor Constantine got saved. Maybe he got saved and maybe not, but he did realize Christianity was spreading like wildfire across his empire. Constantine also recognized the divisions among the Christians and knew that was not good if you wanted to make Christianity the state religion. He called all these bishops together in the city of Nicaea for a council meeting. He basically said: Hey you guys, come to an agreement on these doctrines. And that is what they did. What really solidified their efforts was the canonizing of the Bible. The books we have now were accepted and other books or written works that were questionable were left out. Overall, there was a united front and Constantine put his seal on the council.

From the time of Constantine, the bishops were given great statue and authority. They were considered heads over their regions. Although some had pet doctrines they held on to, mostly they were in agreement. There even followed many more councils over the next four or five hundred years to decide on matters of doctrine.

Then came the great divide between the Eastern Church and the Western Church. It started with the Western Church in Rome. With so many Bishops, each having their authority, there begin to be disagreements again. The Western Church said that there just had to be a Bishop with final authority, so they declared the Bishop of Rome to be that authority. The bishops elsewhere did not agree. The Western Church declared their bishop to be Pope and the Eastern churches grouped together against Rome.

Over the next seven to eight hundred years the Western (Roman) Church and the Eastern Church became institutions. Legalism became so strong in these churches that anyone who differed would be persecuted. Christianity had become rather dead.

Then the Reformation came about. The Bible was translated into the languages of the people. In the west there arose a protest against the Church as an uncaring institution. It came to a critical mass and it could not be contained any longer. These reformers or Protestants begin to get revelation from the Bible that was different from what the institutional churches taught. Protestant groups begin to pop up all over the place.

After a hundred or so years of breakaway reform, denominations being to be established in almost every country. These denominations not only disagreed with the Roman Church and the Eastern (Orthodox) Church but also disagreed with each other. Although there had been religious wars before, these diverse denominations took their countries into many wars.

Then the New World opened up. A lot of Christians that were fed up with denominational bickering, fled to North America. They had a healthy respect for freedom and it was incorporated into governments; especially the American. While most nations in Europe had state churches, America protected freedom of religion.

I think that because of freedom of religion a third movement of the Church happened. Although there had been outpourings in local areas in the past, at the beginning of the twentieth century the Pentecostal movement marked it’s beginning. It started in America and before the end of the century had reached around the globe. Though many say that the Pentecostals are protestants, I believe they were not exclusively against the Catholic church but rather a coming-out from all the denominations. 
To summarize: (Remember these are mainly my thoughts)

The First century Church closely walked in spirit and truth. Their motives were pure and they resolved conflicts in a respectful, God honoring way. They were bold in their witness, understanding they were living completely for an eternal Kingdom. Because of that they walked in signs and wonders.

Just as Paul and Peter had warned, the second and third centuries brought disputers and false doctrines. (2 Peter 2:1, 2 Cor. 11:13, etc.) Then when Constantine unified the churches under the state, that is where the Church begin to be institutionalized as an earthly kingdom not a heavenly kingdom. The counsel in Nicaea should have been a time of repentance and bishops honoring each other’s differences. At Nicaea, maybe the Church could have healed and returned to the first century model.

The next seventeen centuries are times of the Church losing its power and ‘Jesus as the head’ as its focus. Although Jesus was always highly honored, the Church did not follow Him in all things. Therefore, they rarely walked in signs and wonders. Humanism and atheism took deep roots in the cultures because of hypocrisy and lack of power.

I think the Pentecostal movement is an attempt to return to the first century. There has been Pentecostal denominations form and they do lash out at the Catholics and older denomination, but in the past 30 to 40 years there has been a real change sweeping through the churches. These changes take on two main aspects. 1) Unity; honoring others even in our differences, and 2) focusing on Jesus as the head of the Church. The Charismatic movement has greatly helped to bring these two changes about. Many Catholics are experiencing renewal. Mainline denominations are being baptized in the spirit. The future looks good for the Church.

I personally am in favor of getting as close to the practices of the Early Church as possible. I do feel we will always be diverse in doctrine because each person, local church, region and nation have different callings. Therefore, since no one can absorb all of God’s knowledge in our fallen state, God will make sure we have the information, skills and opportunities for the divine task He has assigned for us where we are at. My finger will not do what my ear does. Although I will scratch my ear sometimes.

The only legitimate judgement we can make of other Christians is found in 1 Jn. 4:2-3a
    By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. …