Services in Varna

June 30, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Immediately after returning from our trip to Pravetz, Etropole, Yablanitza and Sofia we departed to Varna for another ministry opportunity. It was there that we met with the local chaplaincy chapter and discussed with them some of the upcoming events in regard to the chaplaincy ministry in Bulgaria.

We were also able to meet with the founders of the New Wave youth movement to discuss some opportunities for the upcoming New Wave rally. Afterwards, we were given the opportunity to speak on their live radio show and respond to questions from the listeners.

On the following day, we ministered at the Varna Pentecostal Church, where we have minister before. We enjoyed our time there, as the Varna Church and its pastor have always been gracious hosts when we visit Varna and has become our long-term partner in the ministry of the Gospel and contributor to many of our ministry websites.

Pravetz 16 Years Later

June 25, 2006 by  
Filed under Events

pravetz-church-of-god

Thirteen years after graduating from high school I was able to return to Pravetz again for a reunion of the Church of God youth group there. As many of us traveled from various parts of the world to attend the meeting, it was only natural to recall what the Lord had done for us in this small mountain town.

The Church of God in Pravetz was founded as an outreach ministry of the close-by Etropole church. For many years, the Etropole Church of God was known as an underground evangelical congregation that served many in prayer and preaching regardless of limitations set by local and national authorities.

When the church in Pravetz began regular services in the early 1980s none of the secular observers suspected that it would have any influence on the town. Pravetz was the birthplace of the Bulgarian communist prime minister who ruled the nation for over 30 years. In the 1980s, Pravetz was known as a “privileged” city where the Communist Regime had build its own ideological stronghold. Yet, the Church of God in Pravetz survived the Regime and after much prayer and anticipation the church officially opened its’ doors after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

This was also the time of my affiliation with the church. Just having been saved in my hometown Yambol, I returned to Pravetz at the beginning of the school year in 1990 and begun attending the Church of God there. The church had a small group of young people who sought the Lord. In less than a year, their prayers were answered as a great multitude of young people begun attending the church. I remember one of the meetings where over 170 young people were present in the small military cafeteria adapted for church services. Having gathered at the recent meeting, we concluded again that for the period of 1990-1995, over 300 young people where saved in the city of Pravetz. Their stories remain forever recorded as part of the history of the Pravetz Church of God.

These were the events that we remembered at the gathering on June 24, 2006 in Pravetz. Many shared their stories since graduating from the school and beginning a carrier in various professional fields. Pastor Ivan Sabotinov, who has served in the church almost from its beginning, greeted the audience and reminded everyone of God’s love and grace that has remained the same through all these years. We were also given the opportunity to share from the Word and speak about the First Love. The message urged the remembrance of God’s miraculous power and assured those present that although we might have lost our first love, we are never lost from the first love of God. In addition, we were able to hold three more services on Sunday, June 25th at 8:00 a.m. in Pravetz, 10:00 a.m. in Etropole and 12:00 p.m. in Yablanitza.

Bulgarian Evangelical News

June 20, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

Cup & Cross Ministries just released a new website in service to the Bulgarian evangelicals around the world. The web address is www.evangelsko.info. This site incorporates leading web technologies to build an up-to-date press center for various religious news and events from and about Bulgaria. A dynamic personalized column is also implemented to present interviews with evangelical experts in various professional fields and to strategically build an image of the current profile of the average Bulgarian evangelical.The website is next in a long series of strategic website for Bulgarian evangelicals released in 2006 as follows:

January 16, 2006: PastorBG.com – a website dedicated to the work and ministry of the Bulgarian evangelical pastor

February 16, 2006: Protesntantstvo.com – a website dealing with Bulgarian protestant history

March 16, 2006: Kapelanstvo.com – a website presenting chaplaincy

April 16, 2006: Hvalenie.com – a website for Bulgarian praise and worship, with downloadable gospel music and the only Top 10 Bulgarian Gospel List

May 16, 2006: Propovedi.net – a dynamic web database with audio and video sermons by Bulgarian ministers

Services in Sofia, Bulgaria

June 15, 2006 by  
Filed under Events

Upon a recent invitation we preached this past weekend at the United Church of God in Sofia. For several years now, we have maintained partnership in ministry with the people of this church, as they have demonstrated excellence in church ministry, Christian education, para-church work and strategic leadership among Bulgarian evangelicals. We further discussed holding a series of revival meetings in the capital during the upcoming summer months. We are hoping that these revival services will occur in the context of the National Bible Tour which Cup & Cross Ministries is preparing to launch in à few weeks.

Services in Yambol, Bulgaria

June 10, 2006 by  
Filed under Events

I preached one of my first sermons in the Pentecostal church in my home city of Yambol over fifteen years ago. It was followed by many other speaking engagements there, especially at the youth services held every Saturday night at the church.

Many years passed since then and due to extensive travel for ministry and educational purposes, it has been awhile since we have been able to minister at the church. It was this past Sunday that we were fortunate enough to be in service with my home church. Upon the pastor’s invitation we were able to preach at the Communion service as some 400 were in attendance. Many more were also able to respond to the service via the media.

The Pentecostal church in Yambol is one of the first evangelical churches in the country. For many years, before and during the Communist Regime it served as a national center for Bulgarian Pentecostals. Many National Assemblies were held there and important decisions about the development of the Bulgarian Pentecostal Movement have been made in this church.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Yambol Church again led the Bulgarian Pentecostals in a number of important ministry and public endeavors. The church initiated the first Bulgarian mission work during post communism, the Mission for Christian Upbringing. The first, and so far the only, Bulgarian evangelical political party was founded in Yambol in 1997. This event was followed by the first attempts for a Christian TV production and broadcast in Bulgaria. The city has produced many prominent evangelical ministers. But for me personally, the return to Yambol was much more sentimental. The Yambol Pentecostal Church was the placed where the Lord saved my soul and where for the first time in my life I felt free at last.

Beyond the Self

June 5, 2006 by  
Filed under Publication

by Kathryn Donev

In today’s postmodern western context there is a great desire to become more aware of the self. Who am I? What do I want out of life? What will make me happy? These have become common questions. This fixation with introspection stems from our desire to reach a certain level of self-fulfillment. Some believe that the better they know themselves, the more likely they are to be fulfilled as individuals. Undeniably, introspection may produce a certain level of satisfaction, but there is also the danger that the more one looks inward, the less one has the ability to see through another’s eyes. When we become too consumed with ourselves, egocentrism sets in and it becomes difficult to value the opinions of others.

Having Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind, it appears that this desire to look inward is most prominent when the basic needs have been fulfilled and an individual is comfortable and safe within a certain way of living. Thus there exists a connection between achieving self-enlightenment and having one’s needs met. It is when one is secure that he or she begins to look inward. So, if one were to be removed from his or her comfort zone it is reasonable to conclude that he or she would be more readily to look outward, beyond the self. Consequently, once one is removed from his or her comfort zone, then one becomes less concerned with the self and finds a greater appreciation for other perspectives. In other words, being away from one’s familiar context ultimately produces a greater appreciation and sensitivity for the unfamiliar.

If we reach a point of becoming so secure and comfortable that our vision of the world beyond us becomes blurred and we become immersed in our own world, then how can we reach true fulfillment? It is only when we look beyond ourselves that we are truly able to enjoy life fully. When we step out of our comfort zone our eyes are opened.

It would be safer to remain secure in our small self-centered worlds, yet this is not what God called us to do. He said go unto the uttermost parts of the world. This is a command to live outside of what is comfortable: to look beyond. We can attempt to be fulfilled or satisfied through remaining in a safe zone where all our needs are fulfilled and therefore are able to reach a certain level of enlightenment, yet regardless of how introspective we become, satisfaction can only be achieved through knowing our creator and not through knowing the creation.

So being consumed with ourselves, being safe with our lifestyles, being surrounded by what is familiar will not satisfy. It is only when we move beyond ourselves, beyond our comfort zones into the unfamiliar that we can reach true fulfillment. It is then that we are doing what creation is purposed to do and that is to go beyond the walls of comfort and security, to step out in faith and to listen to His voice to go wherever He leads and do whatever He commands.

The Story of Jesus for Children

June 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

June 1st in Bulgaria is the National Day for children. Cities all over the country participate in festival celebrations which are held in honor of children. In the second largest city, Plovdiv kids from all ages gather to paint a three kilometer mural which stretched between the Council of Ministers office building and the Art Academy.

On this day Bibliata.com in cooperation with Agape Bulgaria was able to release an online version of the Story of Jesus for Children. Within the first twenty-four hours alone, the complete film was downloaded over three hundred times. We are currently working on releasing online the original version of the Jesus film.