Archive for October, 2009

Editor’s Note #2: October 2009

Well hello again everyone!

As you can see from the site so far, the team has been hard at work uploading the old articles from previous issues of the Beacon. So far, we’ve uploaded about 70 articles and there are even more to come! If we manage to stay on schedule, you should be able to access all the articles from all the previous issues by the end of the month.

Which brings us to the next big announcement: after we finish uploading the old Beacon articles, we’re going to start in on sermon notes! JR has been kind enough to supply us with his sermon notes from 2008 and 2009, and we’re currently looking into the best way to get those included and accessible to you.

Well, that’s it for this week. Tune in next week for an article highlighting some of the best Christian resources available on the internet. Until then, we’ll be copy/pasting as quickly as we can.

Pro Rege

Advertisements

A Letter from Hanka

by Hanka Tomáškova’

Editor’s Note: As you know, we recently had the joy of having Hanka visit us from the KSOP church in the Czech Republic that we partner with for missions every year.  While she was here, she gave her testimony to the church.  I asked her if she would be willing to write it out for us as well, so that we could post it on the Beacon.  She agreed, and what you find below are her own words, completely unaltered.  I hope you will be as encouraged by them as I was.

My name is Hanka, I am from the Czech Republic and I am really happy I can be here, standing in front of you, sharing my testimony.  Lighthouse people have been a very important part of my life and I am so happy I can tell my story here.  I actually think I have imagined this several times before, since though it was only a few LBC people in 2001 who changed my view on God and Christianity, I have always wanted the whole church to hear it and see how God was using their church to reach me.

To help you understand a little more, I should start in the beginning.  I was raised in a kind of Catholic family.  My grandma is a strong Catholic, but the rest of the family was basically trying to make her happy and attended the church because of her.  When I was a child, I enjoyed going to church and probably even believed in God, but at certain age I realized that all I was doing was only because I saw other do it and because somebody told me to do it.  I did not have a real reason for neither believing in God, nor going to church, which slowly became a problem when I was growing up.  At school I heard about evolution as the only possibility, and my friends there sometimes laughed at me when they heard I was going to church.  I had no reason “being a Christian” anymore and I wanted to quit with the church, but I was not allowed to.  I gradually started hating the church and even hearing the word “God” and though eventually we stopped going to church, my grandma did not give up and tried to make us “return”, which made me hate the “whole Christianity” even more.  That was why my closest friends, Lucy and Lenka, knew they could not really talk to me or my sister about God, we not only did not listen, we hated it.  They tried something else though.

Lighthouse started sending their teams for English Camps in Czech in 2000 and I remember that was a camp I was invited to.  One afternoon Lucy and Lenka came over, brought an English Camp flyer and invited me and my sister for that camp.  After they left, my sister and me looked at the flyer, then looked at each other and said: “No way” and we started laughing, since we did not understand how they could think we would come to a camp that is organized by a Christian church.  We did not even think about it, we saw the word “Christian” and “Christian evening programs” and said “no” right away.  So that was why I missed the first camp and why I do not know some of you.  I was invited, but never accepted the offer.  But God did something else to make me come next year.

The girls get back from the Camp really excited and I heard a lot about the team, saw some pictures and heard how much fun it was.  But I was still pretty glad I did not come, since it was Christian, plus, the Americans looked more like Asians.   ;-)

I do not remember exactly, but I think Lucy and Lenka tried to invite us again next summer, in 2001, and we probably said “no” again.  But right before the summer I was invited to one English class in the church that was taught by Canadians, and I loved the class – it was English and it was fun.  Lucy and Lenka told me that English Camp is even more fun and made me sign up for the camp, though it was actually pretty late and they said they had to make an exception.  So I went to the Camp, only because of the Canadians and only because of English and fun, and I planned NOT to come to the evening programs (since they told me I did not have to).  But there have been a lot that I have planned since then and God decided He would “ignore” my plans.  Anyway, Lucy and Lenka asked me to go to the first evening program and decide after I see it if I want to come again.  So I went there the first evening and then came back every night.  The evening programs turned out to be very important for me.  That was where I found out that I have a very distorted view of Christians and Christianity.  When listening to the messages about evolution and other topics, I realized Christianity is not that illogical and irrational.  When watching the team dancing and singing, I realized Christians can be really, really funny.  And when talking to them, I saw they are not even that stupid.

I was shocked.

I thought all Christians are older people going to the Catholic church, believing in God only because it is what they were told and they do not know any better.  I saw Christians as people who are not smart enough to make their own logical decision not to believe in something so irrational and stupid like “God”.  But the team showed me I have no idea what real Christianity is about.  That was the most important thing that they could do at that time.  I did not convert right away, I did not pray to accept Christ at the Camp.  Honestly I do not even remember I heard the gospel…though I am pretty sure there were people trying to tell me.  I actually did not care that much about Jesus then…for me the first step was to realize that people who believe in God, are not crazy and have good reasons for that, which was exactly what the team did.

Anyway, while at the camp, I started thinking about God and Christianity much more seriously and towards the end was pretty sure there is something worth more thinking.  But already then I also saw what becoming a Christian would have meant and what would have changed.  I knew I would get busier going to church, reading my Bible, praying. And I also knew my family would not understand and some of my friends might laugh at me.  I did not really want any of those and decided I do not want to go to church again after the team leaves.  But again, as the Proverbs 16:9 says: ” The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  The day the team was leaving I overslept and almost did not get to the train station on time, but I did, and when I was saying “Bye” to Jane Kim, she hugged me and made me promise I would come to church again.  First I pretended not to hear her, but she did not let me go, so I did promise it…the next Sunday I went to church only to keep my promise but I never stopped coming out since then.

I still took my time, had a lot of questions, talked to Meinolf, Lucy and Lenka.  I think Meinolf said that he thought I would not even make the decision, since I was thinking for too long, but eventually I did.  I was reading a book and at the end there was the author’s testimony and a prayer I could pray to accept Jesus.  With all I already had in my head and with all I had seen and heard, I could not do anything but pray and accept God’s forgiveness.

It has been already almost eight years since then and God has been working in my life as visibly as he was before I became His child.  I started serving in my church and also helping out with the camps.  First, I only helped with games or little stuff, but gradually I could help more and the more I knew about the preparations, the more encouraging it was for me to see people who really love God and want to serve Him, and to see God bringing together different people with almost the only thing in common – desire to serve Him.  I really like your church, but in some ways you are really different, our cultures are different, but at the Camp every year I could see how it did not matter, because we share the same faith in the same God who we want to serve (Romans 12:4-5).

I love my church and there are not many reasons I would be willing to leave it for, it is my home and my family.  Before I went to college, I was praying that God would let me stay in Ostrava and that no colleges in other cities will accept me, because I could not imagine I would leave my church.  And then I came here and felt almost like home.  It is not the same, but I do feel like I came to visit my family.  It is amazing when I think about it – I did not know you in 2001 and I did not understand why everybody was trying to talk about Jesus.  And when I got some emails from LBC people then, the parts talking about God or Bible were my least favorite ones…and now we have been working together to help people see God’s love.  God really is good and though I cannot always see it, His ways are much better than mine.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The last thing I would like to use this opportunity for is saying “thank you” to the whole church.  I know it is not only the team that works hard before the camps, and I know the team would not be able to go without support of the people at church, both financial and prayer one.  God has been using the team and the whole church, and I am really glad I could tell you my story that is a proof of this.

Editor’s Note: October 2009

by Stephen Rodgers

As the new editor, I guess this is where I try to say something humorous, informative, Biblical, and profound.

As most of you who frequent this blog probably know, there are going to be some significant changes coming in the next month or two.  We’re probably 5-6 weeks away from genuinely new content, since we have to go through a full 4-week cycle of notifying all our new contributors, reviewing submitted content, and preparing it for publication.

However, the new staff is already hard at work converting and preparing the previous unpublished Beacon content, and if the Lord wills it you should start seeing those articles quietly uploaded to the blog within a week or two.  The absolute easiest way for you to keep up with that is by subscribing to the RSS feed (note: actually, that won’t work since I’m pre-dating the articles so that they’ll archive properly), but I’ve also enabled search functionality, categorical sorting, and monthly archives if you prefer a more manual approach to the blog.  Plus, I’m going to do my best to give you a weekly post as well, be that an update of some sort, links to other material, or a letter from a friend at the Ostrava church.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have also unapproved all comments previously made, closed the comments for all previous posts, and disabled comments on future posts.  It’s one less thing for me to worry about while we get up and running.

Please bear with us as we iron out all the kinks, shake out the dust, and generally figure out what all these pretty buttons do.

Pro Rege


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

Subscribe