Welcome Tristan Samuel Brinkley!!

Hooray! Tristan Samuel Brinkley arrived February 18th, at 8:18am weighing in at 8lbs 8oz and 21 inches long! If you would like to visit, please call Brandon. If you would like to help prepare a meal or even go for a stroll with the dog please contact Sarah Breinich.

We love you Brandon, Lyndsay and Tristan!!

My Journey to South Africa… Part 2

When last I wrote we were dealing with this issue of “TRUST”. I’ve been a very challenged individual since starting this journey, a journey that is about so much more than going to South Africa. What I thought was just an issue of FEAR has turned out to be a much bigger issue of “IDENTITY”. In Matthew 7 Jesus spoke of two men who each built a house, one on the sand and one on the rock. Of course the house built on the sand didn’t survive the first storm, but the house built on the rock was still standing even after the rains came and the winds blew. For me the biggest storms are often doubt storms. Maybe the thing I’ve doubted the most has been my own identity or value.

Since I’m being really honest here I must confess that much of what I’ve constructed has had sand for a foundation. Certainly not everything! Much of my life is ROCK solid thanks to God and His Grace. However, my identity has in many ways been directly related to very temporal sources of security. (FYI, It’s hard to do crazy things, like Noah building an Ark, or David facing Goliath, if you’re more concerned with what others think than you are certain of who you are in Christ.)

I’ve been praying for courage, and I’m beginning to see that we are only able to risk what we aren’t afraid to lose. If the foundation of our identity is built on the knowledge that we are “sons and daughters of the King”, what do we have to lose? If our identity is built on performance, ability, independence, or acceptance then we’re in BIG trouble when it comes to really trusting and obeying. You and I will not be free to be whom God made us to be if we don’t really know in our hearts where our value is found. I’m praying that what I know in my head, God will help me know in my heart as well. I pray that prayer for you as well. Thanks again for being a part of my journey…

Love and Grace

Karen

The Mission Bell Update – John Lufi

Greetings all you peoples scattered around the the world! This is hasty note to give some small idea of what’s going on.

1) Preached last sunday, or sunday before last, I’ve forgotten when I last sent an update. It went well. I do have an mp3 recording and attempting to find time to transfer hand written notes to electronic format for those that have asked about a copy.

2) I have been teaching some on authority in my home group, because of the necessity of being able to view authorities in a Godly way, allows you to view the authority of God in a proper way, which then can set you free to trust him. I’m not sure how clear that was. It’s 1 am, I was up at 4:30 am the previous day. 🙂 Please don’t ask for more right now, come to home group. It’s at 7 on Tuesday nights at Bobi’s. 🙂

3) Rick Sizemore and a couple companions arrived in Belgrade friday. We have had a good time so far. Rick and I, along with Bethany and Zach, went to Vrsac this morning, and Rick preached there at my friend Avram’s church. It was the sweetest moments of the presence of God there that I have felt in a long time. It was greatly helped and ushered in by Otilia, a Romanian music student who ministered in singing and violin. She played some wonderful songs that while seemed old in some circles, still pack a terrific punch in the spiritual. More than once I was moved to tears recalling the goodness of the Lord.

4) Regular Sunday night church service, was also a moving of the Holy Spirit, as worship and praise came forth that was just truly God. I’m not sure how more to describe it.

5) Rick, Radovan, Crystal, Zach, Danielle, and I are driving to Zagreb, Croatia for a week long conference there. We leave Monday, February 21st and will return February 27th. Please be praying for Rick as he ministers, and for the leaders to hear the Spirit about which directions to go with it.

6) We are driving; this means cars. I am driving a rental car and I would really not like to pay damages should something happen. So, while I have declared protection around the car and in the car, continued prayers for that would be appreciated. Also, I have never tried to cross a border while driving a car, this could be interesting. Favor and quick passage are the directions to praying there.

7) Being in Zagreb, we will be semi-near to Krsko and Ljubljana Slovenia, which you may recall from my just after New Year’s travels. My friend and brother, who recently welcomed my new “neice” into the world a few weeks ago, is scheduled for back surgery for a herniated disc on February 22nd. Obviously, back problems and three young children don’t go well together, and recovering from back surgery doesn’t go well either. Seems like a stellar opportunity for a miracle. Please be in prayer for this as well. Hopefully, I will be able to see him sometime this next week since I will be so close, but that depends on what God is doing in Zagreb and the work I have to do there.

8) Mystery topic, to be revealed more later. I mention this only because of an extreme desire to know God’s heart and vision for this topic and the wisdom and open doors to walk it out. Specifically under wisdom, knowing the right questions to ask and when we have arrived at the right answers.

With all that, I think it may have been a longer post than I planned on. I shall try to update you this week as things progress, I’m sure things will be moving quickly though. God’s grace be poured out abundantly to you all,

In Christ,
Jovan Lufovic

P.S. “Be surprised by disappointment.” How many times have you stepped out in “faith” and been surprised it worked? When you turn the ignition of a new, well-running car, are you surprised when the car starts, or when it fails to start or struggles to start? So it is with our faith. When praying/speaking things in the Name of Jesus, standing in Faith and speaking specific things in accord with the will of God and His Nature and Character, why are you surprised and excited when it works? You are surprised by the thing you don’t expect. “But if you do not doubt in your hearts, you can say to this mountain, be uprooted and cast into the sea.” (Quotation from memory)

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John 1:6, 1 Thess 5:24