Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European Union (2022 Report)

December 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

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Revival Harvest Campaign Extended

November 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Missions, News

On September 1, 2022 Cup & Cross Ministries International launched our Harvest Revival Campaign as we have done every fall for the last 20 years. This evangelistic endeavor contains revival services in strategic locations purposing to enhance the ministry of local congregations while reaching unchurched people in each community. Watching God at work has led us to approach this season with even greater anticipation. Our team in Bulgaria has already doubled services and increased the number of churches they visit every week.

Based on the results and requests, we have prayerfully considered to extend this year’s Revival Campaign.

We urge you to pray along with us and seek the will of the Lord for a new and powerful move of God of such magnitude and rarity that cannot be easily ignored! If you feel that our ministry would benefit your vision and congregation, please do not hesitate  to contact us and schedule us with your church. Thank you and God bless!

 

Orthodoxy and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice

October 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

“I sit down alone: only God is here; in His presence
I open and read this book to find the way to heaven”
– John Wesley

Our search for the theological and practical connection between Pentecostalism and Eastern Orthodoxy continues with yet another publication by St. Vladimir’s Press titled, Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice. The book represents an ongoing dialogue between the Orthodox and Wesleyan confessions and it emphasizes how theologians from both sides are attempting to discover commonalities in theology and praxis. To come together, not so much as theologians and thinkers, but as practical doers motivated by the proper interpretation of Scripture. As observed from the title, as well as through the text, these similarities are not necessarily in theological convictions, but in the proceeding Biblical approach toward interpretation of Scripture.

Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice is a compilation of essays from the Second Consultation on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality under the editorship in 2000 of S.T. Kimbrough, Jr., who contributed the chapter on Charles Wesley’s’ Lyrical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures. I must issue the caution that the book is not an easy read. But it is by no means a book to be easily passed by Pentecostal scholars searching for the Biblical roots of Pentecostalism within the Eastern Orthodoxy.

The book begins with an interesting observation of the exegesis of the Cappadocian Fathers by John A. McGuckin, and continues with an article on the spiritual cognition of my personal favorite, Simeon the New Theologian by Theodore Stylianopoulos. Although the discussion on Gregory the Theologian, Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa was thoughtful and presented in an interesting manner, the essay on St. Simeon struck me as well structured, but somewhat shallow.

An interesting approach was taken in Tamara Grdzelidze’s essay where she presented an orthodox perspective of the Wesleyan position on authority of scriptural interpretation. The essay had a very strong exposition in regard to the Wesleyan understanding of the importance of Scripture in Christian living. The latter part, which dealt with the influence of tradition, however was not investigated to its full capacity, which left the text (perhaps on purpose) open to multiple interpretations. Nevertheless, this issue was resolved later in the book by Ted Campbell that dealt with the subject from the Wesleyan perspective.

A central theme throughout the book was the comparison of prayers and song lyrics from both camps. Although I am no musical expert, I must agree with the authors when they say that theology in music has played an important role in both Orthodox and Wesleyan traditions. Music continues to be important in the everyday spiritual experience of the Pentecostal believer. This rather practical approach seemed to be the heart of the discussion where both sides could agree.

Finally, the role of the Holy Spirit is viewed as central for the reading, understanding and practicing of Scripture in both the Orthodox and Wesleyan traditions. For the Pentecostal reader, it may be easy to accept this presumption as similar to the Pentecostal experience, yet the book describes it in terms which will be somewhat foreign to many Pentecostals. Similarities between these interpretations of Scripture may be self-explanatory for the western Pentecostal reader. But due to the ever-present tension between Orthodox and Protestant denominations, those in an Eastern European context may disregard these similarities. But even if the Pentecostal scholar gathers nothing else from this book, they must recognize that the time has come for a formal Orthodox-Pentecostal dialogue, like the one which the World Council of Churches has been trying to put together since 1991.

Revival Harvest Campaign Continues…

October 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

9/1-5 Florida
9/11-16 Tennessee
9/18-25 Georgia
10/2 South Carolina

NEW Bulgarian National Elections Ineffective Once Again

October 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

Elections in Bulgaria: Can a Government be Formed? Lowest Voter Activity in 32 years

With 99.98% processed protocols in the CEC, 7 parties enter the next parliament. Here are the data as of 12.00 p.m. on October 3:

  1. GERB-SDS – 634,525 votes – 25.33%
  2. “We Continue the Change” – 505,914 votes – 20.20%
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) – 344,605 votes – 13.76%
  4. “Vazrazhdane” – 254,725 votes – 10.17%
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) – 232,932 votes – 9.30%
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB) – 186,474 votes – 7.44%
  7. “Bulgarian Rise” – 115,837 votes – 4.62%

7 political parties elected with the following allocation of seats in the 48th National Assembly:

  1. GERB: 67
  2. “We Continue the Change”: 53
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS): 36
  4. “Vazrazhdane” (Revival): 27
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP): 25
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB): 20
  7. “Bulgarian Rise”: 12

“Vazrazhdane” doubled its votes compared to the November 14, 2021 election, while the former ruling party, “We Continue the Change”, lost a quarter of the support it received then.

With “There Is Such a People”, the drop is about 60 percent of the vote for the party in November. GERB, DPS and “Democratic Bulgaria” are growing, although not drastically, while BSP continues the trend of shrinking its support.

175,338 Bulgarian citizens voted abroad. “We Continue the Change” and “Democratic Bulgaria” lost their electoral positions among Bulgarians abroad at the expense of the pro-Russian formation “Vazrazhdane”, which added more than 10 thousand votes to its result from November.

Boyko Borissov’s GERB is the first political force. It is followed by Kiril Petkov’s “We Continue the Change” with a difference of about 6-7 percent. The third position is for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is fourth. After them is the right-wing, pro-Russian “Vazrazhdane” (Revival), whose leader Kostadin Kostadinov insisted that the party will be #1 in these elections. Sixth is “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB).

Bulgaria: GERB offers Negotiations to Everyone – Borissov doesn’t want to be PM or MP

I neither want to be prime minister, nor deputy, nor minister”, GERB leader Boyko Borissov commented at a party briefing whether he is inclined not to be prime minister in the next cabinet. “The results of the elections are expected, but they give a clearer picture of the state of the party at the moment”, said Borisov.

Tomislav Donchev thanked all the people who supported GERB-SDS. “The moment suggests a search for unity, for agreement. Out of 31, GERB-SDS won in 24 regions, DPS in 5, ‘We Continue the Change’ – in 2. The map is blue, but that is not the most important thing”, commented Donchev.

The data by municipalities are also eloquent – in 265 Bulgarian municipalities, GERB wins in 174, he added. He reported that the party had returned their support of over 38,000 people, showing that they were following the right direction in an extremely aggressive environment.

Bulgaria: Explosions at “Arsenal” Weapons Factory in Kazanlak – Casualties reported

The Regional Office for Fire Safety and Population Protection reports on an incident at the “Arsenal” plant in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. The signal was received at 11:04 a.m.

Two fire trucks from Kazanlak were sent to the scene, including departmental fire brigades and ambulances. According to unofficial information, there are two casualties, and eyewitnesses report that there was an extremely loud explosion and a dark cloud over the area.

*Update: 3 deaths reported, 3 injured people are transported to the hospital in Kazanlak.

The Labor Inspectorate confirmed the information about the incident, they also reported on an injured woman who was transported to the hospital in Stara Zagora.

 

First Day of School in Bulgaria

September 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

The Non-Chalcedonian Eastern Church: Ethiopian

September 5, 2022 by  
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Dony K. Donev, D.Min.: Eastern Pneumotology Lectures

Eastern Orthodoxy can be expressed in one word: theism. The purpose and meaning of life is to become more like God. Deification is pursued by all means of human existence. This quest for divine likeness often includes the typical for the Eastern Church, speculation on the divinity and humanity of Christ, traditions on the doctrine of the Trinity and non-traditional mystical experiences. They appear in the context of both physical and spiritual characteristics in individual and corporate ecclesiastical environment. The role of the Spirit in the process of deification is threefold and involves: creation, re-creation and theism. Eastern Pneumotology follows the graduate process of theism development. The Spirit is involved in the original creation of the world as well as the new-birth experience. His work however, does not end there, but continues throughout the process of personal deification of the believer.

The Non-Chalcedonian Eastern Church: Ethiopian

The Ethiopian Church is not a significance source of information in our study, because the Holy Spirit is not a prime issue there until the fourteenth century.[1] Surprisingly, gifts and fruits of the Spirit are not mentioned. For the Ethiopians, the Holy Spirit the one who teaches us the nature and unity of the Godhead.[2] Similar to the teaching of Hazzaya, the Spirit is the Perfector of the creation.[3] Like the Father and the Son, He blesses the believers and speaks to the church.

The experience of the Spirit for the Ethiopic saints is a vision of the Trinity. In one occasion of such a vision, a man received the elements of the Eucharist from the Trinity.  In a similar pattern, nine of the fourteen anaphorae of the Ethiopic church refer to the Holy Spirit changing of the Eucharistic elements into the Body and the Blood of Christ.[4]

[1] Getatchwe Haile, “Religious Controversies and the Growth of Ethiopic Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” Oriens Christianus 65 (1981): 102-36.

[2] G. W. B. Huntingford, “Saints of Medieval Ethiopia,” Abba Salama 10 (1979): 287-89.

[3] Mingana, 148.

[4] O. H. I. Hadji-Burmester, “A Comparative Study of the Form of the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis in the Anaphorae of the Ethiopic Church,” Eastern Churches Quarterly 13:1 (Spring 1959): 41.

Cup & Cross Ministries Shares the Love of Christ with Bulgarian Sunflower Seeds in Polk County, TN

September 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

by Kathryn Donev

Sunflowers are so much fun.  They are actually thousands of tiny flowers that bring joy in many ways. It’s neat to watch them follow the sun because of a trait called heliotropism.  Eating sunflower seeds can lower rates of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. They are a good source of many vitamins and minerals that can support your immune system. And did you know that a sunflowers destroy contaminants of its surrounding soil, water and air?

Although sunflowers are Native to North America, Bulgaria is among the top 10 sunflower producing countries.  As in various places in Polk County, Bulgaria is famous for their golden fields. And believe it or not, you can find Bulgarian sunflower seeds in any Dollar General labeled with the Clover Valley brand.  When we were ministering together with Feeding God’s Lambs Summer Program at First Baptist Benton giving a presentation about the 6 Senses of Bulgaria, the kids even got to taste some.  Fun.

With a multisensory trip to Bulgaria, we shared how the Holy Spirit is our Sixth Sense to guide and direct us in life and found in everything we touch, see, hear, smell and even taste.  When we all come together, we can do great things, just as with the thousands of tiny flowers that come together to have the appearance of a unified flower.  Let us be a purifier of our environments and always be reminded to follow the SON.  Being consumed with the sixth sense of the Holy Spirit is good for the soul.

Who are the other 500 in the 15/50 Window?

August 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP: Who are the other 500 in the 15/50 Window of your church/ministry LIVE broadcast?

5 Ways to Connect With Your Visitors:

  1. FOSTER A CULTURE OF INVITING
  2. CREATE A POSITIVE GUEST FLOW
  3. PREPARE FOR THEIR ARRIVAL
  4. GET THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION
  5. ENGAGE THEM WITHIN THE FIRST 48 HOURS

97%of new visitors find church online
Your church’s first impression is being formed online

  • Before a family visits a church, they have visited its website
  • Takes only 2.6 seconds for an individual to form a first impression
  • 94% of first impressions are visual (design-related)
  • Visitors will spend 6 seconds on the main image of a website
  • Another 6 seconds is spent on the main content
  • An average of 5 seconds are spent looking for an address
  • Google: “Users strongly prefer website designs that look both simple and familiar” (i.e. low visual complexity)

Bulgaria calls October 2 snap elections amidst caretaker government

August 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

SOFIA, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Bulgarian President Rumen Radev set Oct. 2 as the date for the country’s fourth parliamentary election in less than two years on Monday, after the collapse in June of reformist Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s coalition government. Radev also appointed former labour minister Galab Donev to lead a caretaker government to serve from Aug. 2 until a new government is formed after the election. Radev will outline the priorities of the new government on Tuesday, his office said in a statement.

The European Union country faces surging inflation, natural gas supply doubts and other impacts from the war in Ukraine. The appointment of Donev, 55, a presidential adviser on social policies, is seen as a sign that shielding households from soaring energy and food prices will be a priority for the caretaker administration. This could involve efforts to renew Russian gas imports as well as mending diplomatic relations with Moscow strained under Petkov’s government.

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