90 Years Ago Pastor Nicholas Nikolov Established the Pentecostal Union of Bulgaria

March 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

By the fall of 1927 the Pentecostal revival from Bourgas extended to several outreaches. Appropriate recognition was given by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in their September, 1927 meeting. The Latter Rain Evangel also reported revival in Bulgaria, workers trained at the Bible School and a good number saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit.

 With this avid success and the arrival of Nikolov’s first-born son on November 9, 1927 came the second attempt to unite Bulgarian Pentecostals. A preliminary meeting was held in February of 1928 in Rouse where the Union’s establishing meeting was scheduled for March 28 in Bourgas.

To no surprise, only 14 delegates representing five congregations attended. The delegates voted and received the Union’s by-laws and statement of faith, based on the same documents by the Assemblies of God in America. The first annual conference of the new Union followed in October in Varna. A national General Council was set and the Executive Committee was chaired by Pastor Nikolov – at the time of his appointment he was only 28 years of age.

Trained in the United States and familiar with the Assemblies of God structure, Nikolov purposed to replicate the same organization in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, most Bulgarian Pentecostals in 1928 did not have a clear perception of the Assemblies of God and hardly felt part of the denomination. With only 20 members, the new organization was a small minority and did not represent the vast diversity within Bulgarian Pentecostalism at the time. Neither did it cause the split among Bulgarian Pentecostals as often held. The official registration of the Pentecostal Union simply confirmed the deepening division among Pentecostals in Bulgaria that had taken place since Zaplishny was deported in 1924.

BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST TO THE WORLD, DEAD AT AGE 99

February 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018—Evangelist Billy Graham died today at 7:46 a.m. at his home in Montreat. He was 99.

Throughout his life, Billy Graham preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.

Born Nov. 7, 1918, four days before the armistice ended World War I, William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. grew up during the Depression and developed a work ethic that would carry him through decades of ministry on six continents.

“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins,” said Graham at his final Crusade in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York.

While Graham’s primary focus was to take this message to the world, he also provided spiritual counsel to presidents, championed desegregation, and was a voice of hope and guidance in times of trial. In 2001, he comforted his country and the world when he spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At three global conferences held in Amsterdam (1983, 1986, 2000), Graham gathered some 23,000 evangelists from 208 countries and territories to train them to carry the message of Jesus Christ around the world.

During the week of his 95th birthday in 2013, Graham delivered his final message via more than 480 television stations across the U.S. and Canada. More than 26,000 churches participated in this My Hope project, making it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s largest evangelistic outreach ever in North America.

Preferred Baseball to Religion

Graham, a country boy turned world evangelist, who prayed with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte. Back then, “Billy Frank,” as he was called, preferred baseball to religion. “I detested going to church,” he said when recalling his youth.

But in 1934, that changed. At a revival led by traveling evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham, 15-year-old Graham committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. No one was more surprised than Graham himself.

“I was opposed to evangelism,” he said. “But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]…and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, ‘Lord, I’m going.’ I knew I was headed in a new direction.”

Several years later, Graham’s “new direction” led him to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida), and later, Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of medical missionaries in China. The couple graduated and married in the summer of 1943. Mr. and Mrs. Graham and their five children made their home in the mountains of North Carolina. They were married for 64 years before Ruth’s death in 2007.

After two years of traveling as a speaker for the Youth for Christ organization, Billy Graham held his first official evangelistic Crusade in 1947; but it was his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that captured the nation’s attention. Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the “tent meetings” were extended for a total of eight weeks as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children gathered to hear Graham’s messages.

On the heels of this campaign, Graham started the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which was incorporated in 1950. Since 2000, Graham’s son, Franklin, has led the Charlotte-based organization, which employs some 500 people worldwide.

Billy Graham may be best known, however, for his evangelistic missions or “Crusades.” He believed God knew no borders or nationalities. Throughout his career, Graham preached to millions in locations from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Zagorsk, Russia; and from Wellington, New Zealand to the National Cathedral in Washington. In 1973, Graham addressed more than one million people crowded into Yoido Plaza in Seoul, South Korea—the largest live audience of his Crusades.

Breaking Down Barriers

Preaching in Johannesburg in 1973, Graham said, “Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world.…I reject any creed based on hate…Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black.”

Graham spoke to people of all ethnicities, creeds and backgrounds. Early in his career, he denounced racism when desegregation was not popular. Before the U.S. Supreme Court banned discrimination on a racial basis, Graham held desegregated Crusades, even in the Deep South. He declined invitations to speak in South Africa for 20 years, choosing instead to wait until the meetings could be integrated. Integration occurred in 1973, and only then did Graham make the trip to South Africa.

A 1977 trip to communist-led Hungary opened doors for Graham to conduct preaching missions in virtually every country of the former Eastern Bloc (including the Soviet Union), as well as China and North Korea.

Graham authored 34 books, including his memoir, Just As I Am (Harper Collins, 1997), which remained on The New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks.

In 1996, Graham and his wife, Ruth, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a private citizen. He was also listed by Gallup as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men” 61 times—including 55 consecutive years (except 1976, when the question was not asked). Graham was cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations and by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith.

Throughout his life, Graham was faithful to his calling, which will be captured in the inscription to be placed on his grave marker: Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There were a few times when I thought I was dying, and I saw my whole life come before me…” said Graham at his Cincinnati Crusade on June 24, 2002. “I didn’t say to the Lord, ‘I’m a preacher, and I’ve preached to many people.’ I said, ‘Oh Lord, I’m a sinner, and I still need Your forgiveness. I still need the cross.’ And I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart, and He did—a wonderful peace that hasn’t left me.”

Billy Graham is survived by his sister Jean Ford; daughters Gigi, Anne and Ruth; sons Franklin and Ned; 19 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died June 14, 2007, at age 87, and is buried at the Billy Graham Library. A private funeral service is planned at the Billy Graham Library, on a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the ongoing ministry of evangelism at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, online at BillyGraham.org or via mail, sent to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201. Notes of remembrance can be posted at BillyGraham.org

About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a nonprofit organization that directs a range of domestic and international ministries, including: Franklin Graham Festivals, Will Graham Celebrations, The Billy Graham Library, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, SearchforJesus.net, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains, My Hope with Billy Graham TV ministry and others. Founded in 1950 by Billy Graham, the organization has been led by Franklin Graham since 2000. The ministry employs some 500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, with additional offices in Australia, Canada, Germany and Great Britain.

“HE WHO HEARS MY WORD AND BELIEVES IN HIM WHO SENT ME … HAS PASSED FROM DEATH INTO LIFE” (JOHN 5:24 NKJV).

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?

2017 in Retrospect

December 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, Missions, News

Grateful for several revivals in 2017, along with our regular preaching schedule in Bulgaria. We held our annual Harvest Campaign and celebrated the 20th Anniversary of our Electronic Bible with a reading through the whole Bible in a day. For the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017 we were finally able to publish a decade-long project: “Greek-Bulgarian New Testament Interlinear.”

Unto us a son is given

December 25, 2017 by  
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Giving Thanks

November 20, 2017 by  
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Is Migrant crisis in Europe really under control?

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Turkey deal may have stopped refugees from reaching France and UK but it has not resolved the crisis

Less than two years after the European Union was confronted with an unprecedented influx of refugees, during which over a million people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond flooded Europe’s borders, EU officials are saying that the migrant crisis is under control. For this, the EU credits its March 2016 agreement with Turkey, which was intended to curb entries into Greece via the Mediterranean Sea and end onward movement into Europe across the western Balkan route. At the time, one European Commission senior policy official said the agreement, which stipulated that Greece send back to Turkey those migrants who do not apply for asylum or have their claim rejected, was seen as necessary to “ensure the future of the EU”, where the migrant situation had become “explosive”.

Just over a year later, crossings on the eastern Mediterranean have dropped from a weekly peak of 1,400 in early March 2016 to a weekly average of 27 for March 2017. The western Balkan path into Europe has seen a similarly significant decrease in crossings, from 764,000 in 2015 to 123,000 in 2016. Declarations of success have come despite criticisms by NGOs and experts, who have condemned the Turkey deal as an outsourcing of responsibility. This tactic may have stopped refugees from reaching France, Germany and the United Kingdom, at least temporarily, but it has not resolved the crisis at Europe’s borders.

Crossings of the central Mediterranean, which predominantly impact Italy, are actually on the rise, and the stalemate over relocation of refugees from Greece to Turkey, a key part of the 2016 deal, continues. A new report by the German think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) shows that EU states along the western Balkan route are systematically – and violently – pushing back migrants. This route, which was at the forefront of the 2015 crisis, remains active, but it has slightly changed: movement has been redirected from Greece to Bulgaria’s land border with Turkey.

In 2016, 18,000 migrants crossed into Bulgaria. According to the FES report, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia have responded to the new influx by intensifying “efforts to prevent entry into their territory”. Hungary has further restricted its asylum legislation which “taken together with the physical push-backs, amount to the systematic violation of human rights” in the country, which already has the EU on edge with its ongoing crackdown on civil liberties. Attempts to forcibly close the borders in Hungary and Bulgaria have created a bottleneck in Serbia, where about 10,000 refugees and migrants are reported to be stuck. Border tightening across the western Balkan region has also led to an increase in the use of illicit smuggling networks, which is precisely the problem the EU claims it is seeking to tackle.

Meanwhile, the stalemate on relocation has left thousands of refugees trapped on the Greek islands. Thus far, only 1,000 people have been sent back to Turkey. With serious overcrowding and a lack of meaningful access to asylum procedures, the security situation in Greece is increasingly dire. The EU’s support for a possible agreement with Libya displays a lamentable lack of lesson-learning.

Italy had a similar deal with Libya in 2008, which collapsed with the Arab Spring. This directly contributed to the sharp rise in migration flows from 2011. Nor is the Turkey agreement the first time that the EU has tried to outsource responsibility.

The so-called Dublin Regulation, which from 2003 designated asylum responsibility to the country of entry, quickly became unsustainable, with Italy and Greece unable to tackle the massive influx. By turning a blind eye to the problems that the 2016 Turkey agreement is wreaking on Balkan states, the European Commission will again struggle to formulate a cohesive shared response to the ongoing migration crisis. As one European Parliament official stated, the tendency instead has been “to try and keep the problem out of the EU as much as possible so as to not have to deal with the situation.” But one European Commission policy official from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs suggested in an interview that “containing the numbers through third country deals is a precondition” for all EU states to determine a common policy. Having “more predictable numbers”, she said, would give national governments the “breathing space” needed to sell voters on the need for a stronger, common approach to refugee arrivals.

But with the EU in a deadlock over the new Dublin negotiations, it is unclear whether member states can actually agree on a plan to effectively share responsibility in the continuing migrant crisis. Frontline member states are acutely concerned that the outcome of current talks may worsen the situation by further overburdening them. Inaction is not an option. Under international human rights law, European states are obliged to ensure safe and effective access to their territory for those fleeing persecution. It also has a legal mandate to find a solution: article 80 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union requires the bloc to pursue a common asylum policy grounded in the “principle of solidarity”.

The recent decision by the Commission to open sanction procedures against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for failing to comply with the relocation decision is a step in this direction. Confronting recalcitrant member states – perhaps by cutting off access to EU funding – the bloc can halt the current a la carte mentality that leads states to pick and choose when they share responsibility. Because, when it comes to Europe’s migration crisis, as one European Parliament member for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs put it, “either you get with the programme or you’re not in the club”.

Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament Released on All Saints Day for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, News, Publication, Research

Our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5” in Bulgaria is now released

After working on the New Bulgarian Translation of the Bible since 1996 and more actively on the interlinear version for the past decade, on October 31, 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia on All Saints Day 2017, we presented hot off the press the first edition of the Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament from the critical edition of GNT.

On the picture, a symbolic stack of the first 95 copies arranged at the presentation to commemorate with the work of the great reformers.

Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus: Addressed Problems and Proposed Solutions

October 30, 2017 by  
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Releasing our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5” in Bulgaria

After twenty some years in Bible translation and a decade long work on this current edition, we are happy to announce that on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, our Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament will be presented in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on All Saints Day 2017. The Greek Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament proposes the following solutions to the translation of the Bible in Bulgarian:

  1. A non-received test – Textus Haud Receptus
  2. Critical Edition of the Greek New Testament alike Revised Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, von Soden, Nestle-Aland, UBS and SBL GNT
  3. Literal translation from Greek made word for word without dynamic equivalents
  4. Linguistic paradigm for repetitive parallel permutation structures in the Greek-Bulgarian translation alike form criticism of the Bible
  5. Analytical Greek New Testament with complete morphology of the words

Announcing our Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus

October 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, News, Publication, Research

Releasing our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5”in Bulgaria

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. For this commemorative occasion, occurring only once every seven generations, we will be presenting a decade long work of ours in the capital Sofia. On All Saints Day 2017, the first edition of the Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament from the critical edition of GNT will be released. A symbolic stack of the first 95 copies arranged at the presentation will commemorate the work of the great reformers.

After working on the New Bulgarian Translation of the Bible since 1996 and more actively on the interlinear version for the past decade, we are hoping to address the following problems within the current revision of the Bulgarian Protestant Bible:

  1. Lack a definite orientation toward the critical edition of the Greek New Testament
  2. Revisions made on the basis of older revisions separating the current Bulgarian Revision from the true meaning of the Bible
  3. Diverse Biblical text tradition with undefined sources, base texts and methodology of revision
  4. Need of analytical Greek New Testament with proper morphology
  5. Interlinear edition, combining New Testament Greek and modern day Bulgarian based on the critical edition of the Greek New Testament

10 Things to Considering When Attempting to Express Cultural Sensitivity

April 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Missions, News

 

Culturally Aware

  1. Be informed about the cultural differences of the people you are trying to reach because your good intentions may be misunderstood and even offend.
  2. Keep in mind you are not going on a site-seeing tour nor are you going to see a tourist attraction.
  3. Just because something makes sense in your language doesn’t mean it will make sense interpreted into a foreign language. Clichés are to be avoided.
    • “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”
    • “There are two ways to skin a cat”
  4. Consider that the people you are ministering to are not objects to be put on display in a savvy PowerPoint when returning home from your trip.
    • Respect their right to privacy
    • Ask permission to take pictures
  5. Just because you going or have been to a foreign country doesn’t make you a missionary. Don’t let one trip abroad make you forget who you are or make you arrogant.
  6. It is when you put yourself in the shoes of the people you are helping that you learn some do not even have shoes to wear. But this does not mean you are better than others.
  7. Aid is not the answer to all problems. Sometimes the people you are going to assist have real problems and spiritual needs. Socks don’t save souls.
    • Aid should be given freely without any strings attached
    • Don’t make them feel less by giving scraps
    • Don’t make them feel like beggars
  8. It is not the power of earthly money that saves souls, but the power of a Heavenly Father.
    • No amount of money will buy a soul
    • Raised funds will not make you a missionary
    • Being the missionary of the one-way ticket is a true test of your commitment towards the Kingdom
  9. There is a major difference between being “mission-minded” and being an international worker.
  10. The people you are ministering to are real human beings with dignity.
    • Treat all with respect
    • Don’t assume they know less than you or have less than you

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