God as to Water: The Musing Continues

October 15, 2022 by  
Filed under News, Publication, Research

by Kathryn Donev, LPC-MHSP, NCC

               and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory – Ezek 43:1-7

In the beginning of 2011, thoughts began flooding my awareness about “God as to Water”.  Scripture after the next along with revelation came in one instant supported by many questions from loved ones during this period while on the territory of Eastern Europe.  Overwhelmed by the ruminations, on July 5, 2011 the topic was dismissed along with written works.  In 2022 on July 5, while in North America, the ponderings proceeded.  I begin looking for the article which I convinced myself was written over a decade ago, but to no avail. Only disjointed insights were jotted down on paper. The following attempts to expand on something that is far beyond comprehension.

If in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, then God or the Word was always in existence and all things came from this.  Everything was made from Him.  He, God, giving of Himself, created the Heavens and the Earth.  But this “Earth” was formless, but deep, empty and dark.  All while God’s Spirit hovered over the waters, plural. One could imagine this as an omnipresent being floating ever connectedly to the essence of wholeness.  Then, division came, but it came only from that which was in the beginning – the Word, God.

Separation of entities occurred; light from darkness for us to see the vault that separated water from water?  Splitting water from itself? Electrolysis that happen with an energy input so great that perhaps came with a sound of a mighty rushing wind or sonic boom?  With this endothermic reaction, hydrogen stands alone.

Everything in the Universe is made up of matter and energy. Einstein said that “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.” The world depends on energy to provide for all humankind activities.  Hydrogen is the base element of our physical universe. All elements and matter can be created from or broken down to hydrogen.  That which came from water. The atom in water that is surrounded by hydrogen is oxygen; the element of breath needed to support all flesh on the earth just as God supports all life by His Spirit. The water on our Earth today is the same water that it has always been. No new water has been created.  Water is the only element that exists on our planet in a solid, liquid and gaseous aggregate state reminding of the Trinity. The molecules of water are self-attractive. They are drawn to each other to support things. This characteristic of water assists in capillary action.

If it was only God in the beginning then could God perhaps be energetic water; formless, but with infinite depth. Being ever presents in everything. There are over 700 references to water in the Bible and many of these refer to God, in some way as that water.  At times He is even referred to a cloud or mist attempting to label His Glory.

                    and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. – Ezek 10:4

In Genesis chapter six, God chose to use water as the means of destroying a sin-cursed world. Thus water became a “dividing line” between the cleansed and the uncleansed. When God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, he led them to the Red Sea. They were immersed in cloud and sea and there was freedom (1 Cor. 10:1-f). When Jesus healed the man born blind (John:1-f) he used water in the form of saliva as the “dividing line” between blindness and sight. Water is a universal solvent having the ability to cleanse. It can dissolve even gas and can recycle chemicals. There is life in water, without is death. It is mention in every chapter of the 4th Gospel.

                “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

                                                                                              -John 4:13-14

And the musings continue….

 

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.

 

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)

The Orthodox Church after AD 1054

August 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

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 Orthodox Church after AD 1054

The development of Pneumatism, in this latter period, is directly linked to three major political processes in Eastern Europe. The first one was the schism of 1054, after which the unity of the Church would never be the same. The ecclesiastical division, which is based more on the political situation than doctrinal differences officially completed a separation, which had started centuries ago.

The second one includes the mission to the Slavs. What Burgess[1] fails to mention is the fact that the brothers Cyril and Methodius were born in a wealthy Bulgarian family and sent to Thessalonica to be educated early in their lives. After extensive study and research, they were able to invent an alphabetic structure called Glagolitza, which was the first Slavic alphabet. This success was dated as early as 881-882 A.D. Their work was not left unnoted by King Boris I, under who Bulgaria had adopted Christianity twenty years earlier in 863 A.D.[2]

Thus, the work of “Thessalonica brothers,” as they are often called in the Bulgarian tradition, was not only “a great missionary effort,” as Burgess claims, but also rather a patriotic and nationalistic return to their roots in an attempt to adjust Greek ecclesiastical tradition to the needs of Slavs and Bulgarians. Their revolutionary plan included the formation of the Slavic alphabet, which was to be used as an instrument to translate, write and distribute liturgical literature in the language spoken by the Slavs in the land of Bulgaria. With this they not only fulfilled their original purpose, to limit the Greek influence on the Bulgarian Church, but also became a steppingstone in the development of the Bulgarian culture by the means of the written literature.

The last major conflict was the invasion of the united Islamic armies to the Balkans. The Turks were cruel and in their aggression. In a typical Oriental model, their purpose was not only to conquer, but also to exploit the conquered lands. In their attempt to do so, they did not stop to only physical conquest, but attempted to change the culture, religion, customs, ethnos and national belonging of the conquered nations. Thus, preserving Eastern Christianity and Orthodox liturgical practices became the means of survival for the Balkan nations.

The focus in the writings of this period’s pneumatologists is the idea of representation of the Holy Spirit as energy. This belief is so extreme that it leads to the conviction that divine energy is present even at the graves of dead saints.[3] This is in continuation with some of preceding writings from the pre-schism period.

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) is a major example of this link with the past and preservation of the pneumatic experience. Living in the very beginning of the Turkish conquest over the Balkans and great political changes, Palamas wrote that the only way to know God is through an inner change, a transfiguration done only by the Spirit of God.[4]

This act is the initiation of deification. The Holy Spirit is viewed as light in the process of edifying the church.[5] The believers are instruments in the hands of God.[6] They are led by the Spirit through the means of the spiritual gifts, which Palamas reports as possible and active in his days. He further lists three different categories of gifts: word of instruction, healing and miracles. The gifts are obtained only through “intense mental prayer.” Laying on of hands, after the example of the apostle Paul, is also required.[7]

At the same historical moment, similar position is supported by Nicholas Cabasilas (1320-1371). While differs from Symeon the New Theologian, that there’s a special experience outside of the established sacraments, Cabasilas reports the practice of spiritual gifts.[8] He also claims that gifts are signs for the power of God being active in the world. The church is to partake into the gifts and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit.[9]

Palamas’ prime mystical focus, however, is on the essence and energies of the Holy Spirit. He claims that God is known through energies, and not essence.[10] Similar position is taken by Irenaeus[11] and Athenagoras[12] as early as the second century. Basil,[13] Gregory of Nissa,[14] and later on Pseudo-Dionisius[15] and Maximius the Confessor[16] also distinguish understanding of God between energy and essence. Thus, through this position, Palamas becomes a preserver of centuries of theological research and experience, and provides a link with the doctrinal past of the early Eastern Church.

Seraphim Sarov has a similar role.  Sarov lives in the later part of this period in eighteenth century feudal Russia. Although, his surrounding is primarily monastic, limited by Eastern sacramental tradition and severe ascethism, his experiences are of intense mystical nature and divine inspiration. For Sarov, the purpose of Christian life is “acquisition” of the Holy Spirit.[17] The Spirit is to be acquired as “a financial reserve,” which is done through prayer and is available to both monks and laity.

Both the idea of financial reserve and equality between clergy and laity are definitely reflect on the present situation in Russia during the time of Sarov. While the former is clearly a reflection on the economical crises in the monarchy, the latter reflects on the structural, hierarchical crisis of the Russian church. The above ideas are both prophetic and revolutionary, especially viewed in the context of the Bolshevik Revolution, which follows shortly after being published by Nicholas Motovilov in a 1903 issue of Moscow Gazette.

The above publications are our main source of Sarov’s experiences. They are recorded as a conversation one of Motovilov’s visit in November 1831.[18] The climax of this conversation is a moment of transfiguration of both Sarov and his guest. The glory of the Lord was visible as light. This was explained as grace viewed through eyes of flesh. The experience was accompanied with odours and “joy inexpressible.”[19] This encounter is analogical to the experiences “untold ecstasy” and sweet smell portrayed by Pseudo-Macarius and Symeon the New Theologian.[20] Sarov further related the transfiguration experience as what Pseudo-Macarius claimed to be the fullness of the Spirit. It is interesting to notice, that the pneumatic experiences Sarov had were not only a preservation of the experiences of pneumtaics prior to his time, but also a reflection of his present political and economical surroundings.

[1] Burgess, 67.

[2] Milcho Lalkov, Rulers of Bulgaria (Sofia: Kibea Publishing Co., 1995), 21.

[3] Carmino J. deCatanzaro, Nicholas Cabasilas: The Life of Christ (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974), 106-7.

[4] Burgess, 71.

[5] Ibid.

[6] John Meyendorff: Gregory Palalmas: The Triads (Ramsey: Paulist Press, 1983), 88.

[7] Ibid., 52-53.

[8] Burgess, 77.

[9] deCatanzaro, 107.

[10] Ibid, 77-111.

[11] Fragment 5, PG 7:col. 1232.

[12] On the Resurrection 1.

[13] Letter 234, PG 32:col. 869.

[14] Against Eunomius 12 PG 14:col. 960.

[15] On the Divine Names 2.7, PG 3:col. 645.

[16] To Nikandros, PG 91:col. 96.

[17] Burgess, 79.

[18] Valentine Zander, St. Seraphim of Sarov, trans. by Gabriel Anne and Boris Bobrinovsky (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1963), 83-94.

[19] Ibid. 95.

[20] John Cassian, Collationes 4.5, PL 49:col. 589.

13 Titles and Resources at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

June 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication, Research

Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2007 ; Donev, Kathryn.
Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2010 ; Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2011 ; Donev, Dony
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Resource Type: Books

Spiritual Fullness (Fullness in the Spirit) among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals and Today

June 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

Bulgaria’s early Pentecostals insisted on a spiritual fullness that included: (1) salvation, (2) water baptism and (3) baptism with the Spirit.[1] As a formula of spiritual experience, it satisfied the witness of blood, water and Spirit (1 Jn. 5:8) on earth; but also corresponded with the triune God in heaven (1 Jn. 5:7), from whom the believer’s spiritual experience originated. Many conservative Pentecostals in Bulgaria today still uphold “the fullness” teaching and would not use Bibles that exclude Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) for these three “bear record in heaven.”[2]

However, even with the already present Trinitarian experience of the believer and the enormous theological Methodist influence, it is astounding that the doctrine of sanctification was not taught as a separate work of grace among Bulgarian Protestants. Even when after Pentecostalism spread in Bulgaria, it was not included in the tri-fold formula for “spiritual fullness” of the believer. During the persecution of the Communist Regime, speaking in tongues during Communion was done as a spiritual confirmation that the person has “fullness in the Spirit” or is not a government agent sent by the police to spy on the rest of the church. Interpretation often followed to confirm the spiritual stand of the believer. Early Bulgarian Pentecostals did not distinguish between the initial evidence and the gift of speaking in tongues. Even communist propaganda author Boncho Assenov, who categorized Pentecostals as a sectarian cult, defined this fullness as fundamental for the sacramental theology of the early charismatic communities in Bulgaria.[3]

[1] Mollov, 209.

[2] Zarev, 28.

[3] Boncho Asenov, Religiite i sektite v Bŭlgariia (Sofia: Partizdat, 1968), 167, 367.

See also:

The Practice of Corporate Holiness within the Communion Service of Bulgarian Pentecostals

Sanctification and Personal Holiness among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

Water Baptism among early Bulgarian Pentecostals

First Pentecostal Missionaries to Bulgaria (1920)

A Practical Superfood Survival Guide of Wellness Recipes

May 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News, Publication, Research

ORDER at: https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Superfood-Survival-Wellness-Recipes/dp/B0B1ZPB339/

When there’s a failure to communicate

May 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication

When leaders are constantly flummoxed by those who don’t seem to get it, there exists both a leadership and communications problem. Show me a leader with poor communication skills and I’ll show you someone who will be short-lived in their position. Great leaders can communicate effectively across mediums, constituencies, and environments. They are active listeners, fluid thinkers, and know when to dial it up, down, or off.

160,000 Pentecostals in Bulgaria Reported by the NEW Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism

April 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

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