This is the archive for June, 2008:

So Let It Be… or Amen?

Almost each prayer ends with this word. Every Christian uses it at least several times per day. It sounds almost the same in a whole lot of languages, which otherwise have nothing in common… And yet, it seems that this is the most misused word among believers today – amen…

The word Amen has a Hebrew origin and after it has entered Greek through the first century Church, today it is a part for almost every language. Generally speaking, Amen means a strong agreement with something, or a strong affirmation. It can also be translated as “verily”, “truly”, “let it be” or “so let it be.” The use of this word as a part of God’s worship dates back to the times of the Old Testament. This is where today’s Christian use is inherited from – its use in the Hebrew synagogues. Just as back then, today we say Amen at the end of prayers as a symbol of our affirmation thereof, as well as after we have accepted a blessing from an elder or another person, even outside of the context of the church gathering.

For many Christians, however, this small word has lost much of its meaning due to its almost automated daily usage. The question we ought to ask ourselves now is “Do we even think about what we mean by saying Amen, or do we just do it because it’s become a habit?”

In his letters, through his own experience, apostle Paul reveals to us the importance of the correct understanding of the word. And in order to understand the power of this affirmation at the end of prayers we need to listen carefully to the preceding words. read more

Will They Believe Your Message?

Update: Apparently God decided to surprise me yet again. The sermon was a refreshing lesson for me both while preparing the last bits and seeing the whole thing, and also while preaching it. The feedback from the congregation was very encouraging as well. I have never had such a powerful feedback on a sermon I’ve preached, so it was a very humbling experience on top of all else. I think they believed my message. I actually think I came to believe more than when I started preparing for the sermon and all the questions started popping up.

In the past few weeks I’ve been working on a sermon about God’s mission and our part in it. It’s been a really refreshing thing for me. Especially because in the last several years the direction of my faith has been downwards. More like rolling down a hill actually…

In the midst of all the excitement around that sermon the following thought came about “Will they believe my message if I don’t believe it myself?” It actually led me to reflecting on the way we, Christians, tend to “testify” to the world today… When Christ called us to go and teach the world about Him and make disciples he pointed out two most important details: 1) all authority is given to Him (and that’s all as in ALL), and 2) He is with us as we’re going after this mission.

I know that I myself have very often been the scared Christian, or the too-careful-one. I’ve often decided to keep quiet rather than speak out the truth. I’ve often decided to pray silently, rather than disturb the secular enjoyment of others around me and show what I actually care about. I suppose this won’t change over-night either, but at the moment I’m thinking too much about it and couldn’t keep from sharing it with you all.

So, I’m preparing this sermon which is supposed to challenge the lives of young and old people and help them embrace God’s mission to share the Gospel with non-believers, love Him, and love the other people around. And I keep coming to one key moment – in order for us to carry out the mission successfully we ought to be fearless, full of faith, and entirely determined. read more