2020

January 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

In 2020, we will be celebrating 30 years in ministry. Twenty of them alone were spent in America where we have held some 3,000 services across 25+ different states. In these three decades, I have seen genuine revival with the Glory of God moving in only twice.

The first time was in 1990, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall in Bulgaria, when our youth group of a dozen students grew up to 300 during the spring semester alone. One of those nights, 26 young people literally walked through the door of the small hall we were renting, gave their lives to the Lord and were baptized with the Holy Spirit – all of them on the spot in that one service. I can still remember them all speaking in tongues and none of us knowing what just hit us. As the visible glory of God descended upon us, we were not able to shut down the service till well after midnight. We got written up for breaking curfew, but our names were written in Heaven.

The second time was at the turn of the century when in the summer of 1999 the Lord opened doors to preach over 20 revivals. I started seminary in the fall and travelled back to South Carolina literally every weekend that first semester just to finish all scheduled preaching appointments. Some of the readers of this letter well remember that one or more of those meetings were in your church. And I have been praying for the same move of God since then.

Though we have had similar trends in our ministry in 2014 and then at the start of 2017, it was only this year again that I am seeing the signs of a great revival taking place just like in 1989 and 1999. More and more ministers we contact share the same feel for another great revival and after much prayer, fasting and anticipation I have become convinced that God is on the move in 2019.

For these reasons, we are approaching this season of Revival Harvest Campaign in 2019-2020 with great anticipation. We urge you to pray along with us and seek the will of the Lord – what is it that He wants us to do in this season of upcoming Revival? A move of God of such magnitude and rarity should not be taken lightly!

 

30 Years of Ministry in 14 articles on World Missions

December 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

As we get ready to celebrate 30 years in the ministry, 25 of which solely in Missions, we can truly say that 2019 has been one of the most challenging, but also most productive year in missions for us so far. For this reason, we have attempted to sum it all up in 14 articles on World Missions which are being published as a sequel on our Cup & Cross Ministries website in early 2020. We have contributed in publishing further research in missions in the upcoming 2020 Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism.

Merry Christmas from all of us

December 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Social Services Act postponed by 6 months in BULGARIA

December 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Sofia. The Parliament has postponed the entry into force of the Social Services Act by 6 months, Focus News Agency reported. The decision was supported by 149 votes in favor, four MPs voted against and four abstained.

The Social Services Act was passed in March 2019 and was due to come into force on 1 January 2020. Due to protests against the project, the government reached a consensus to postpone it for 6 months. This was what the United Patriots Group proposed and it was accepted by the plenary.

The MPs rejected а proposal made by Volya party to postpone the law by one year, as well as the proposal made by Ataka party for it to be repealed. The MPs also did not accept the proposals by the MRF party for amendments to the Social Services Act.

Appreciating the Simple Things in Life

December 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

wiseRoasting chestnuts over an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose is a comforting carol which brings many pleasant feelings around the holidays. These are two features, which are not only common to the States, but to Bulgaria as well. This is the season of chestnuts being roasted, however it is not like we picture being over a cozy fire place in a warm home. In Bulgaria it would be on the street side to sell in order to bring in some income for your family. And the Jack Frost is not just a nip for some, but it is a bone chilling cold due to not being able to afford the electric bill.

For some, there will be no gift under the tree and for others there will not even be a tree. This is not said to bring you sorrow, but for you to appreciate the simple things in life. Enjoy family, friendships, a warm home, a hot meal, your health. Enjoy the time the Lord has given you and use it for his Glory and not for bickering or complaining over the small angst.

Don’t loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not about the material, but it is about the spiritual. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior even though our politically correct society wants to get ride of the “Christ” in “Christmas.” If it were not for His birth, He would not have been able to die for our sins. This remission of sin is the ultimate gift this Christmas season for it is through this act that we are able to have eternal life if we only ask.

So when you wake up on the 25th begin your day not consumed with what you didn’t get or what didn’t happen to your liking, but in silence remembering the silent and holy night over 2000 years ago. Remember those less fortunate in order not to take for granted with what you have been blessed. And most of all thank Him for His gift to you. Let these thoughts bring you comfort this holiday season.

Merry CHRISTmas 2009
From all of us in Bulgaria!

2019 Bulgarian Elections Continue the Same Political Trajectory for 2020

November 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication

2019 Bulgarian Elections Continue the Same Political Trajectory for 2020

Our preliminary impressions of the political and economical situation in Bulgaria were based on the recent acceptance of the country into NATO and its anticipated admission into the European Union in 2007.Immediately before our arrival, the elections were won by the Socialist party which brought extra tension to the country, although less than 50% of the population participated through their votes.

The Bulgarian Christian Coalition, representing Evangelicals, won only 21,000 votes while struggling to remain politically active. Nationalistic urges among political circles were also common.

Violent public executions among underground cartels have become a normal event in Bulgaria’s everyday reality. The economy has also been dramatically affected as over 90% of the population lives on the verge of poverty. The price of gas grew in the fall and led to the increase of the cost of food, electricity and travel. Various evangelical churches, some of which are pastored and attended by friends of ours, were targeted by the media. Articles against them infiltrated many evangelistic activities among Romani and other minority communities.

These media attacks remind of similar anti-protestant campaigns during 1990-93. Hopefully, this time, the evangelical churches may be prepared to respond adequately.

As we have previously proposed, this puts Bulgaria back on the “Red Light of 30 Years of Communism…” as in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020…

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2019):

elections 20132005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential election
2017 Parliamentary elections
2019 European Parliament election (23-26 May)
2019 Bulgarian local elections
2019 Municipal Elections

30 Years after Communism…

November 10, 2019 by  
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The Fall of the Berlin Wall was on the evening of November 9, 1989

30 years in 60 seconds at the red-light…

I’m driving slowly in the dark and raining streets of my home town passing through clouds of car smoke. The gypsy ghetto in the outskirts of town is covered with the fog of fires made out of old tires burning in the yards. And the loud music adds that grotesque and gothic nuance to the whole picture with poorly clothed children dancing around the burnings.

The first red light stops me at the entrance to the “more civilized” part of the city. The bright counter right next to it slowly moves through the long 60 seconds while tiredly walking people pass through the intersection to go home and escape the cold rain. The street ahead of me is already covered with dirt and thickening layer of sleet.

This is how I remember Bulgaria of my youth and it seems like nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

The newly elected government just announced its coalition cabinet – next to a dozen like it that had failed in the past two decades. The gas price is holding firmly at $6/gal. and the price of electricity just increased by 10%, while the harsh winter is already knocking at the doors of poor Bulgarian households. A major bank is in collapse threatening to take down the national banking system and create a new crisis much like in Greece. These are the same factors that caused Bulgaria’s major inflation in 1993 and then hyperinflation in 1996-97.

What’s next? Another winter and again a hard one!

Ex-secret police agents are in all three of the coalition parties forming the current government. The ultra nationalistic party called “ATTACK” and the Muslim ethnic minorities party DPS are out for now, but awaiting their move as opposition in the future parliament. At the same time, the new-old prime minister (now in his second term) is already calling for yet another early parliamentarian election in the summer. This is only months after the previous elections in October, 2014 and two years after the ones before them on May 2013.

Every Bulgarian government in the past 30 years has focused on two rather mechanical goals: cardinal socio-economical reforms and battle against communism. The latter is simply unachievable without deep reformative change within the Bulgarian post-communist mentality. The purpose of any reform should be to do exactly that. Instead, what is always changing is the outwardness of the country. The change is only mechanical, but never organic within the country’s heart.

Bulgaria’s mechanical reforms in the past quarter of a century have proven to be only conditional, but never improving the conditions of living. The wellbeing of the individual and the pursuit of happiness, thou much spoken about, are never reached for they never start with the desire to change within the person. For this reason, millions of Bulgarians and their children today work abroad, pursuing another life for another generation.

The stop light in front of me turns green bidding the question where to go next. Every Bulgarian today must make a choice! Or we’ll be still here at the red light in another 30 years from now…

The Legacy of Dr. Nicholas Nikolov and the Bulgarian Pentecostal Union

November 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

Dr. Nicholas Nikolov passed to Glory on November 6, 1964. After his death, his wife Martha visited Bulgaria twice in 1976 and 1978, the second time for the 50th anniversary of the Pentecostal Union there where their legacy is strongly remembered to this day.

The organizational talent of Nicholas Nikolov applied with the Pentecostal movement in Bulgaria shaped the history and set a course for the next century. A study on his role and leadership cannot be completed without pointing to the key factors of his ministerial and organizational success despite the divisions present in the Union.

After reviewing Nikolov’s work in Bulgaria, it is becoming clear that it was not the cause for a split among Bulgarian Pentecostals in 1928 as often held. The official registration of the new organization simply confirmed a deepening division that had began with the very start of the movement. More important for us today are the factors that helped Nikolov establish, grow and ensure the future of the Pentecostal organization, while many older and more experienced Bulgarian leaders failed and lost their rightful place in history.

Firstly, what other nucleases within early Bulgarian Pentecostalism lacked in comparison with Nikolov’s Union, was the strong support from abroad (educational, financial and otherwise). It proved indispensable in the Bulgarian context of ministry shaped by deep economic crises and spiritual hunger after WWI. Nikolov found way to implement this advantage effectively in areas where the few before him did not succeed.

Based on his strong relationship with Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield came the clear articulation of doctrinal understanding expressed in a written statement of faith and praxis. In all fairness, neither faith nor praxis borrowed from the American Assemblies of God fit perfectly the primitive Pentecostalism of Bulgaria in 1928. But as the Union grew into a nationwide organization, more useful applications of organized life were replicated even after Nikolov had left Bulgaria for good.

Then comes the very strong and effective educational and discipleship vision for denominational growth (also borrowed from the American Assemblies of God). Other Pentecostal groups in Bulgaria were too formed around strong leaders, but as most of them remained in leadership for life their spiritual strength and vision naturally weekend. While the work of the Spirit and the practice of gifts were central among them, any formal education or even basic training in practical ministry and organizational leadership were disregarded as worldly having no place in the Church of God. With this mentality prevalent, many Pentecostal groups did not survive after the passing of their first generation of leaders and disappeared from history – either assimilated by the Pentecostal Union or lost forever.

In contrast, Nikolov gave special use of strategic organizational structure that aided the work of the Spirit and empowered the Pentecostal churches. He also found ways to invest in the development of trained leaders able to build and lead the Union until his initial vision was fulfilled. In the process, some congregations did loose spirituality while gaining more structure and training. But overall, a healthy balance was reached ensuring a growing and spiritual Pentecostal denomination.

Lastly, the decision to comply with government legislation opened doors to cooperate with other Protestants organizations on a national level. This decision brought constant tensions that had to be carefully weighed. Siding with churches of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance, many of which subscribed to liberal theology, was seen by the older believers as compromising of the Pentecostal faith. Yet, it gave the young Pentecostal movement much needed credibility.

In a similar matter the government registration, provided a nationwide representation of Pentecostals in religious life and opened doors for renting auditoriums, building sanctuaries and creating a national network of self-sustained churches. Some older Pentecostals still saw this as compromising with the world and an unforgivable sin. Especially when the Communist Regime took over Bulgaria in 1944, most leading Protestant pastors were sentenced to life in prison and their place in the pulpit was filled by government paid agents, who infiltrated the decision making body of the Union and enforced government mandate over the churches.

But it also helped the Union churches survive the Regime and be among the few allowed to have regular meetings and services making them the largest evangelical group in Bulgaria today. Nikolov was right with his decision that a small band of organized Pentecostals was much stronger than any other divided majority. And that empowering Spirit-filled communities with organizational structure and leadership mandate can earn their rightful place in history.

Turkish “defence” minister posts map of Turkey that includes pieces of Syria, Iraq, Bulgaria, Greece, and all of Cyprus

October 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Turkish Minister of defense Hulusi Akar posted on his own page a map and a message in Turkish and Arabic, basically saying that Turkey is not looking to take over other peoples’ lands, but will take what is their right.

“We have no eyes on anyone’s land. We’re just gonna get back what’s ours,” reads the message which is accompanied by a map which includes within Turkey half of Syria, northern Greece and the Greek islands of the Aegean, and all of Cyprus. It also includes all of northern Iraq including Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Kirkuk

What exactly is the Turkish minister saying and what do his friend in Moscow and Washington think of this?

Bulgarian PM Moments on State Abducting Children

October 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Bulgarian PM Borissov, Ministers Say Rumors about State Abducting Children Are Monstrous Lie

Sofia (BTA) – Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the rumours that the State is to abduct children are a monstrous lie and appealed to the media to help clarify the issue. He was speaking at the beginning of Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“I don’t know whose conscience it can give birth to and how can you talk this way. How to speak and protest against a strategy for a child which does not exist? This was declared by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov at a regular government meeting in the Council of Ministers about the hysteria of parents in Sliven, Yambol and Karnobat that social services are taking away their children from school. How can you replicate a lie that Norway has given money to export our children?, the PM was confused and asked the media for help on the news.

“I cannot assume that there is a person to relate to such a lie”emphasized the Prime Minister. He called such “political pastors,” while other government officials declared them protestant evangelicals. The United Evangelical Church Alliance of Bulgaria issued a statement on Thursday denouncing any association with the matter and refuting any allegations toward evangelical pastors – most of which serve as the only educators in the Roma Gypsy ghettos across Bulgaria where government help is rarely available for childen.

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