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Thursday, December 22, 2011

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins."
- Matthew 1:21

“He will save His People from their sins!” That’s the good news of Christmas we hope to celebrate this year! It's the fact that Jesus came to save us. From what? From our sins! From our God-denying, small-minded, earth-is-all-I-care-about meaningless and wasted lives! – from flittering away 20 or 30 or 80 years on nothing! – like money and sex and luxuries and houses and lands and vacations and beauty and fame or whatever else you might come up with!. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

Or maybe we can say it this way: What does it profit you to live your whole life and yet never know God! You see, that’s what Christ has done for us. Not only has He saved us from God’s wrath against our sin, He’s brought us into fellowship with God. “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. !” (1 Peter 3:18). You and I were made for God! We exist to know God (John 17:3) – to glorify and enjoy Him as God! So any life lived without God, is a waste! You can be a millionaire celebrity, but without God, it’s dust and ashes! But if you have Him, if you know Christ the way a man knows and trusts a dear and faithful friend – even an ash-heap becomes a castle.

Do you know Him? This is the greatest gift you could gain this Christmas. Not just to have your sins forgiven by Christ, but to have Christ Himself reigning as Savior and Lord of your life! That’s how he saves His people from their sin, by giving us Himself!

In the Grace and Love of Jesus!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Romania Report -- March 2011

I was privileged to go back to Brasov, Romania (a place I have grown to love) and speak in several churches and a student conference for a few days this March. While there, I did my best to keep my church family at Rockport Baptist informed since they were praying for me and many had helped provide the funds so I could go. What follows is a collection of the reports I sent back via our church news group.

Fri March 11

Just a quick word to let you know I arrived safe and am staying with Sorin in Brasov Romania. We start tomorrow with a youth meeting. The Gypsy meeting has been postponed until next Monday. All else is the way I have printed in the bulletin.

Sat March 12
About to turn in tonight. Much preaching and traveling in the morning. We had a youth meeting today. It began with many games. I played the Romanian version of Risk (Risc) with several teenage boys (and one girl). I did not win. I then spoke to the group from Isa 6. Several of the boys are not believers. Pray the Lord opens their hearts. One of the families have two daughters. They represent something very rare in Romania. They are homeschoolers. .

We had dinner with the Tomeci and Palada families tonight. It was good to see them. Their children have really grown up. Kim, Bob and Aaron, they pass their love along to you all, as well as to the whole of Rockport.

God bless you all. I am very tired and must go to bed!

Sun March 13
I was praying for you all this morning as you were meeting (afternoon here). Right about the time Aaron was standing to preach, I was doing the same for the second meeting of the day. Things went well. God protected us as we drove across the mountains to Fiene. There is a good work going on there -- a church plant. It is a difficult work. The Orthodox are very much against them and threaten them and warn the people that they are a dangerous "cult" so they must stay away. People treat them that way, but the persevere in preaching and sharing. There is only a small congregation, but the two missionary families continue faithfully. I preached from Mark 8 on taking up your cross to follow Jesus.

Sorin and I then drove back across the mountains to Brasov. The church here meets in the evening. It was wonderful to be with so many people I know. In addition to the Tomeci and Palada families and Sorin, there are also many I know from the summer Aaron, Bob, Kim and I spent two weeks here. It was wonderful to spend time with them. I preached from Colossians 3 on love and forgiveness in the body of Christ.

Tomorrow we will go on the university campus and do some witnessing in the dorms. Tuesday there is a prayer meeting with many of the students. Wednesday the conferences start (this is a change from what I had put in the bulletin).

I don't remember if I told you, but Sorin's wife is not here. She is in America with her parents. She is seven months pregnant and there are some complications. It is not severe, but the medical help she needs is much better in the US. She will be staying with her parents until the baby is born. Sorin will join her in early April. Please keep them both in your prayers.

Tue March 15
As long as I am at Sorin's apartment I will have access to a computer so that I can jot these notes. I hope you find them encouraging. It helps me to know I can share a word with you. (I've noticed as I type, that I'm writing in short sentences. Just as i must speak to my Romanian friends. )
We had a really good day Monday. I spent the morning and afternoon with our good friends Bebe and Ani Tomeci. We walked in old Brasov (where Aaron, Bob and Kim have been). We then went back to their apartment to fellowship and have lunch together. I think it was an encouraging time for them. In the evening we went to the University of Transylvania campus to share the Gospel with students. We found several there from Nigeria (who speak English). We were able to converse with them. It was more relationship building that giving a direct gospel. Alex and Bebe want to develop a ministry to the international students here, so this was our first real contact. We spent a good deal of time with them. We are praying they will come to our conference this weekend.

Today, there will be more meetings with friends (Ionutz and his new wife). Then tonight I will be speaking at a Campus Crusade prayer meeting. I am not certain what I will be speaking about (I have two possibilities), but the Lord will certainly direct me.

Please keep us in your prayers. Tomorrow we will begin traveling for a few days to the cities of Fiene and Pucioasa for conferences there. Please pray for pastors Florin and Nicu as we share with their congregations. I am not sure if I will have internet access during these days or not, so ....we will see.

Wed March 16
We had a great prayer meeting here last night. God gave real freedom in sharing from the Psalms on desperation for God in prayer. I believe it was a help to them. Sorin said that He could tell the Holy Spirit was among us and that there was a real joy and faith in the prayer time that has been missing lately among them. I am grateful to hear this. There is a great spiritual resistance to the Gospel in this city and indeed in Romania these days. The spirit of secularism and atheism has returned with a vengeance. So has the religious spirit of dead orthodoxy. This kind comes out only by prayer! Please be praying for us!

Here very shortly Sorin and I will travel the 2.5 hours to Putuoasa. We will meet with the elders for prayer. Then I will preach twice this evening. Tomorrow we will go to Fiene and do the same thing there. We will then return to Brasov. The student conference begins on Friday and goes thru Sunday. Please pray God will provide us with a place to meet. Currently we plan to meet in Sorin's apartment, but it is not very large and there are many students who said they are coming. God knows our need.

Please pray for our safety and our health as we travel. I am praying for you all by name while I am here and longing to see you. Pray for my family while I am gone as well.

Love to you all. Love especially to Amy and my girls (sorry I was rushed and did not have time for a separate email).

Wed March 16 PM

A short note from my phone. Good meetings tonight in Pucioasa. In a hotel tonight. Found a worm in my bed. Interesting. Yes I have a picture.

Wonderful time with Pastor Nicu and family. His little daughter is a doll. We became good friends. I know it is true because she told me so. She also said I need to learn better Romanian. I saw many villiages where there is no Gospel preaching. They are working hard to start churches.

Tomorrow we will do a conference on Firmer. Please pray for us. Pray also for me. I've had a mystery ache in my side.

God is good. Late here. Must go to bed.

Friday March 18

We are back in Brasov in the mountains. We had a really good meeting yesterday in Fiene. God gave me a lot of freedom in sharing from Genesis 3 and Genesis 12 as we were looking at Christ in the Old Testament. It seemed to be a help to the congregation. There was one man there who has lived for 9 years in the States. We were able to speak for some time. He has been confused by some in the charismatic movement. Please pray for him.

We also had a really good meeting the pastoral team in Fiene, answering questions and trying to encourage them. We spent a lot of time talking about the husbands role in raising children. There has been very little teaching about this here. Even in Christian families it is often left to the wife to do nearly everything, with the men only occasionally making sure she is doing it right. I hope I was able to share some things to help this brother understand his responsibility. Please pay for bro Florin and his wife. They recently lost their second daughter in infancy and, as we talked about it I could tell they are still deeply grieving.

After the conference was over late last night, Sorin and I grabbed a quick meal at a restaurant, and then headed back over the mountains. It was dark, rainy and foggy. If you'll remember, this is Transylvania, so imagine all the images that were running through my mind! Narrow, broken down roads twisting through the mountains of Romania in a dense fog! You could almost see the werewolves and hear the vampires moving through the bushes! To be honest, it was great fun. Sorin and I talked about family and ministry most of the way, then turned on some Christian music and worshiped the remainder of the journey. When the song "Jesus Thank You" came on, just for a moment I felt a very strong longing to be back home worshiping with Rockport. Soon . . . .

I'll have lunch with Alex Palada and his family later today. Then the student conference will begin this evening. Imagine 30 to 50 college students or more crammed into an area no bigger than the Johnson's or the Dickman's living room and you'll have an idea what we are looking at.

Saturday March 19
Greetings from Romania. I'll need to be quick since the second day of our conference will begin shortly. Friday evening's meetings went very well. We had a house FULL including 8 young men from Nigeria who came. Since they were here the whole conference had to be translated into English from Romanian, and not just from English to Romanian when I spoke. I preached from James about living as those who know they must die. I believe God used it to awaken some to the reality of their own mortality. Afterwords one of the Nigerian young men asked me if he could have my notes. I have no idea what he'll do with them, but I gave them to him.

Alex then preached a message on the meaning of real friendship, and the ultimate friendship which is found in Christ. It was pretty good. I was glad they had to translate it so that i was able to understand. If the Nigerians had not been here I would not have been able to listen in.

We will begin a morning session here soon. I must get my room put in order since some will have to sit there as an "overflow" room. They cannot see the speaker from there, but they will be able to hear. Even more students will be with us today, since some have traveled here by train from Sibiu.

Usually when I am in Romania I have not really struggled with being homesick. For some reason it really hit me last night and this morning. I am glad to be here, but my heart is beginning to long for home.

Saturday March 19 PM
Well, we just finished our Saturday morning and afternoon sessions. I preached twice -- once on "Living with all Your might for the glory of God" and a second time on cultivating biblical contentment. It seemed to go very well. We had a full house. After a lunch of spaghetti (with a really unique and good sauce) we spent time in prayer. The students have now gone out two by two to witness in the dorms. They have left me behind to rest since it would be hard for me to share the gospel in English. My plan is to jot this note and rest a bit for now.

Later today I will go to a young couple's apartment for dinner and fellowship. Tomorrow morning Bebe Tomeci and I will both preach for the last session of the conference. I will then preach in the evening service for the church that meets here in Sorin's apartment (Providence Baptist Church).

So many have told me to send their love and appreciation to you all. You have mine as well!

God bless you. I am praying as you all meet tomorrow that God would pour out his Spirit richly upon you!

Sunday March 20
Things have been very busy this weekend. Last night, after the conference, Sorin had rehearsal with his worship team, and then we had dinner with a sweet newly married couple (Bob, Aaron and Kim may remember Ramona from their time here).

This morning we will finish the conference. Then, church this evening. Tomorrow morning very early we will leave for Bucharest. I will then preach a small conference with the Gypsies there which had to be postponed from last week.

And then, very early Tuesday morning I'll go to the air port and head home! :-)

I am praying as you all gather for worship this morning! (by that time it will be evening here and we will be worshiping with Providence Baptist in Sorin's living room.

Monday March 21
It seems this is my last email from Brasov. In about 10 minutes Sorin and I will pile my stuff in the van and head to Bucharest. We'll get there just in time to go to the gypsy church for a conference. I'll preach twice. Then I'll be done for this trip. My heart is already turning toward home. I pray I can keep my focus for these last two messages.

Yesterday was very busy, but very good! It was hard to say good bye to the Tomeci and Palada families, as well as all the other friends we now have here -- Ionutz and his wife, Ramona and her husband. But God is so very good. I was very tired for the second service yesterday and not sure I'd have strength to preach it. But God helped and things seemed to go very well.

There was one tragedy. Some have small children. They were running around afterwards, as small children do. One of them knocked over Sorin's guitar and the neck broke. This guitar was given to him by someone from the states. It was a very nice one (I'd guess about $1000). It is ruined now. I could tell he was grieved, but he took it very graciously.

This evening I hope to get to bed early. We must be up very early 4 am in order to get to the airport. I am longing for home and the chance to see all of you. I miss my girls terribly.

Monday March 21 – via Facebook
We drove through snow to get to Bucharest. Conference with the gypsies went well. Now just hanging out til tile to get to the airport!!

Monday March 21 – PM
Hey church! I'm sitting in Starbucks with Sorin waiting for our friend Ruxi to join us to go to supper. The gypsy conference went well. I am done. My plane leaves in about 14 hours! Can't wait to be home. Grateful to God for all he has done.
Tuesday March 22
Sitting in the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. No coffee yet. Romania is a fond memory and I am dreaming of home. I'm grateful for all God has done over here, but I'm ready for my feet to hit US soil. Soon enough. Long layover here.

I did get to see our friend Ruxi for a bit for supper last night and pray with her about her ministry to young women.

Two hours til my plane begins to load now. I think I'll Get that coffee.

Wednesday March 23 – FB
To my dear friends and family, Thank you so much for your prayers & words of encouragement while I was gone. The Lord sustained me thru you! I hope to rest today so I can hit the ground running tomorrow. Love to you all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Romanian Mission

Dear Friends,

We are currently praying about an opportunity to return to Romania for a mission trip in March with dear friends Sorin, Ian and Alex from HeartCry Missionary Society who are in the process of planting a church in Brasov. Please pray for me and for my potential preaching/teaching partner, Mack Tomlinson as we seek the Lord concerning this opportunity.

Soli Deo Gloria,

S. Scott Lee