When leaders fail to lead themselves

February 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, affable, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior based upon current or future needs, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Optics over ethics is not a formula for success.

Cup & Cross Ministries Offers Ministry Leadership Table

Empowered by the vision for a continuous revival within the church of the 21st century, we have chosen to make the mission of our work this one statement: We help churches grow.

One of the approaches we have taken to accomplish this ministry goal is Consulting and Coaching:

  • We have successfully worked with over 50 churches toward their effective missions programs and growth through (1) leadership training and team building seminars, (2) in-depth case study of church and ministry evaluations and (3) implementing individually designed strategies for ministry development
  • Currently, our team provides continuous education to over 200 church leaders and ministry teams around the world through teaching and lecturing on a weekly basis along with daily prayer support
  • We extend our efforts toward church growth by helping build strong family connections through relations counseling and parenting classes implementing play therapy as Board Certified LPC

Beside personal presence and team building strategies, we implement the media in virtually every approach of ministry. We have published several research monographs as well as film series about our ministry work. Our team holds a weekly TV program called the Bible Hour. (Learn how we help churches build their own and unique web presence)

Areas of Ministry:

  • Evangelism & Missions
  • Leadership Training
  • Digital Discipleship
  • Mobile Bible School
  • Church Growth
  • Chaplaincy
  • Christian Counseling
Daily Ministry Reach:

  • Services 1-3
  •  Continents 3
  • Churches 144-179
  • Bible verse via text 3,416
  • LIVE Church Platform 1,600

Read also:  Church of God Eastern Europe Missions: Leadership, Economics and Culture

The Road Ahead

February 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Rewind 30 Years of Missions

January 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Mission Bulgaria Week 20

Mission Bulgaria Week 21

Mission Bulgaria Week 22

Mission Bulgaria Week 23

Exclusive Report: Pentecostal Primitivism Preserved

Mission Bulgaria Week 24

Mission Bulgaria Week 25

MISSION 2002 in Bulgaria

Mission Bulgaria Week 27

Mission Bulgaria Week 28

Mission Bulgaria Week 29

Mission Bulgaria Week 30

Mission Bulgaria Week 31

 

20 Year Challenge

January 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

East Coast Bible College and Byrd Dorm

January 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Germany (2022 Report)

January 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Germany (2022 Report)

Koloniestraße 23, 13359 Berlin

P-r Trajan

Rathausstr. 13, 21502 Geesthacht

P-r Nasko

Zollhofstrasse 4, 67061 Ludwigshafen

P-r Asen

Ruhrort Apostelestr. 58, Duisburg 47053

P-r Dari

Kaiser Wilhelm Str. 255, 47169 Duisburg

Bremen Walle Heerstr 197

P-r Dimitar

Hofäckerstrasse 3 71732 Tamm

P-r Emil

Höfflerstr. 14 – Kaiserslautern 67659

P-r Todor

Franz Georg str 36, Trier 54290

P-r Krasimir i Bena

Kirschstr 45a, Montabaur 56410
P-r Ličo i Lejsti

Donauwörther str. 85, Neuburg an der Donau 86633
P-r Ličo i Cecka

Thiewall 9, Hameln 31785
P-r Vasko i Irena

Berliner Str. 77, 51064
P-r Mančo i Dari

Bahnhofstr. 4, Hagen 58095

P-r Miroslav

Oranien Str. 15, Wiesbaden 65185

P-r Sašo, „Šalom Visbaden“

Hinterbärenbadstr. 4, München 81373

Hafenweg 31, 48155 Münster

P-r Simeon i Pepi Vlačkovi
Sundays 7 PM

Goethering 9-11, Osnabrück 49074

P-r Gosho

Lange Str. 226, D-59067 Hamm
P-r Ivo

Zwickau (Sachsen)
Domashna grupa
Rosen

Bremen – Evangel. Gemeinschaftszentrum, Waller Heerstraße 197, 28219 Bremen

Seitenweg 13, 28309 Bremen
Jašar Atanasov

Duisburg

Die Brücke, Johannismarkt 7, 47169 Duisburg
Jašar Mihajlov

http://duisburg.incilbg.com/

Hannover

Lankwitzweg 56, D-30179 Hannover
Aldeniz

Frankfurt a.M.
Lotzstr. 54, 65934 Frankfurt-Nied
Asen Stefanov
Sundays 1:30 PM
http://www.iyihaber-frankfurt.de

Hamburg

Lichtinsel Veringstrasse 47: D-21107 Hamburg – Wilhelmsburg
P-r Ilhan
Sundays 2PM

Domašna grupa
Billstedter Hauptst. 43, 22111 Hamburg
Okšan

Kiel

Domašna grupa
Bilhan

Limburg

Offheimer Weg 50, 65549 Limburg
Ferdi Filipov

Offenbach a.M.

Waldstr. 36, 63065 Offenbach
Sali Ahmed 01771470903
Nedelja ot 17:30 http://www.iyihaber-offenbach.de/

Osnabrück

Goethering 9-11, 49074 Osnabrück
P-r Nazmi

Limburg

Offheimer Weg 50, D-65549 Limburg
Filip Filipov
Nedelja 18:00 č.

Mönchengladbach

Domašno sabirane
Jakub Jakubov

Saarland / Ramiz Ognjanov

The Central Church of God Ministry Center in Sofia (Bulgaria) Today

December 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

At the end of each year, we have made it a tradition to share the projects completed in the past months of hard work and labor for the Kingdom. But as we are approaching now 20 years of ministering and teaching with the Church of God denomination together, we have decided to recall some more long-term projects.

Exactly 20 years ago, my wife landed in Sofia, Bulgaria for the first time on a snowy December day. In fact, it was so cold that my mother worrying she would be coming from a much warmer subtropical climate, bought the biggest winter jacket she could find, so we could wrap her with it on the way from the airport. Not the most glorious meeting or welcome party as I recall it today.

I was eager to show her my Church, the Bulgarian Church of God, then second to none in the country with 32,000 membership strong and 400 congregations. Many of them newly started and 28 of them in the two-million people capital alone. The Central Church of God in Sofia, where I preached and ministered in 2001-02, had almost 1,200 people at that time. Its main meeting place was the multifaceted Church of God Ministry Center in a prime location in the growing European capital – a project we had undertaken in 1998 with the faithful will and support of some two dozen Church of God congregations from Florida. The documents from my personal archives tell the story best:

December 2, 2001 – I had just returned from Romania bringing with me World Missions Director Lovell Carry and Field Director (Central/Eastern EU/CIS) Dieter Knospe. They were in Bulgaria on a special visit to transfer the new building to the ownership and operation of the Central Church of God in Sofia per the contract signed with our overseer in the Spring of 2001.

The days of Ministry Weeks 17-19 that followed in December, 2001 and which my wife recorded here: https://cupandcross.com/2001/12/ are excruciating to even remember today. Sunday service with Sunday School and preaching, then again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then special Saturday services in Pravetz and many other places. Similar schedule plus the traditional celebration services in the following Christmas week. Repeat again for the New Year’s week. And all of these done in extremely cold weather and tons of snow on the ground – so much that my wife was delayed for days leaving for the States mid-January with all flights out of Sofia cancelled as the ice never melted enough to clear the runway and defrost the airplanes.

And all through this, the building never stopped. Regardless of all difficulties, we were all working eagerly and anticipating greater results. The multifaceted Church of God Center in downtown Sofia was to encapsulate all our ministries and many more, giving our young freedom generation the opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference for the Kingdom…

Today, when the building of our Ministry Center is being sold and it will be used for something the will of the donors never intended it to be, our Church of God denomination in Bulgaria is split to no less than 12 fractions all registered since 2005. All of them still carry a variant of the Church of God name and consist of the same people I grew up with under the Communist Regime of Bulgaria.  We were promised a democratic leadership formed by indigenous people, but instead ended up with mini-bosses, regional micromanaging oversight, multiple splits and everything that characterizes a very typical colonial type of missions.

With the church organizations split time and again until torn into pieces, many of my peers chose alternative paths. Some left the ministry, others were hurt or divorced, a few even died and many simply gave up and moved on. With the rest, I have an appointment at the End of the World!

But none of this gives any pleasure or satisfaction to share. Especially when reminded that the dreams we all once dreamed are now hang on the willow trees by the rivers of Babylon. When reaching those waters of deeply troubled cross-cultural crises of faith and conviction, all bridges to people have sunken with no hope to recover again. God’s Kingdom has no gain in any of this!

Our prayer has hence turned into a prophetic protest for a new reality – not merely for a new mission paradigm, but one of a whole new mission… A Spirit-led ministry that forgoes all man-made politics and business-like models, but instead aims to build a New Church that is nothing less than the very cross-road where we encounter God and others in the Spirit of Pentecost.

 

CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

To Mark Alan
We know not why good people have to die,
but we do know we must tell their story…

Chapter I: Beyond the Church and into God

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
That is your oath.
~Kingdom
of Heaven (2005)

 

Separation of church from politics of false religiosity

The phone rang heavy and long. It was 4 AM in Bulgaria, but I was already up. A friend on the other end of the line was calling from South Carolina with a warning of some bad situation. The following morning, I was going to be contacted by the Director questioning why we were ministering in churches outside of our denomination.

The truth was we had ministered in some 300 local churches across the Balkan country of Bulgaria crossing all denominational boundaries and gathering youth from just about every confession. God had used us not only to reach and minister and to lead, but to step into an untouched spiritual realm, to undertake an unfamiliar ministry paradigm and to approach a brand new dimension of reality where He was to be the center of it all. And we had obeyed without questions. Now it was time to pay the price!

* * *

Our denomination, the one to which I remain both critically loyal and loyally critical, spreads over some five generations. Through its century old existence, the struggles and tension between theology and praxis has been in the center. And there, in the very essence of Pentecostalism itself, while some are always celebrating and being celebrated in the office or temple, others are always pushed in the periphery of normal life, hidden from the world behind closed doors and seeking a much deeper experience with God.

These modern day mystics are not only forgotten, but often forbidden. For their riot for righteousness cannot be conceived, contained and controlled by the religious norms of organized officiality. They speak as prophets to a world they so fervently try to escape from, about a reality that does not exist in the normal believer’s mindset. A stage of spirituality that cannot be preached without being lived in the social existence. And a relationship of God that goes far beyond common relationism and into God himself. That God, Who does not abide in offices and temples, but on the cross outside of the city walls…

But I knew nothing of this until that cold winter morning when the phone rang through darkness of the night. Knowing what is coming, rarely changes what we have done to get here.

7 Years in Bulgaria: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher
by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.
Upcoming Releases for United States (October, 2020)

Restorative Significance of the Gifts Given to the Christ Child

December 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

It is recorded that the Magi gave the Christ Child three gifts upon his birth; gold, frankincense and myrrh. We understand the gold today as a physical gold, representing His kingship and the other two as an incense to symbolize his priestly role and oil for his foreseen death. Yet, what if the gold that was given to the Christ child was for another reason and perhaps it was not “gold”, but a golden spice or a golden salt. Of the gifts, one could be ingested, one could be inhaled and one could be absorbed. If we look at all from a medicinal viewpoint, these three gifts may have more symbolic meaning than once perceived.

MAGI

So who exactly were the “Magi”. We know that they followed the stars and were from the East. The East was a region of the world known, at the time, for its great knowledge of natural remedies. So it is not unimaginable that they could have been natural healers or homeopathic doctors of their times. This could explain the hypothesis that all three gifts had a therapeutic purpose in the life of Christ.

GOLD

If we view the gold in compound form, it can be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Gold is a type of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medicine (DMARD) that dampens down the underlying disease process. This meaning it treats inflammation and stops the immune system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Gold can also be used to treat other auto-immune conditions. If we think of the gift of gold as a spice, the first one that comes to mind is curcumin which is known as the “golden spice” of the East. It also has the ability to reduce inflammation and provides immune system support along with anti-cancer effects. This golden spice seems to have the ability to kill cancer cells and prevent their regrowth.

FRANKINCENSE

When frankincense is inhaled, it is the most effective method of delivery to send a chemical message to the brain. The oils in frankincense have a high level of sesquiterpenes, an agent found in plants that has the ability to go beyond the blood-brain barrier. Sesquiterpenes from frankincense increase oxygen availability in the limbic system of the brain which leads to an increase in secretions of antibodies, endorphins and neurotransmitters. In layman’s terms it has the ability to go straight to the brain without traveling through the bloodstream and brings healing properties to reset and repairs its internal communications. It’s almost as if it can unlearn a disease or degenerative disorder passed down in our DNA.

The amygdale glad of the brain’s limbic system plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with fragrance or the sense of smell. This may help us understand how we are able to release emotional trauma with aromatherapy of frankincense.

MYRRH

Myrrh also can arouse the limbic system to release emotional trauma. It also has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties among with many other health benefits. Once applied to the body, oil molecules pass through dermis, into the capillaries and directly into the bloodstream.

The substance know as monoterpenes are present in almost all essential oils. They are what enhances the therapeutic values of other components and are the balancing portion of the oil. They inhibit the accumulation of toxins and restore the correct information in the DNA of the cell. Sesquiterpenes are also found in myrrh and delete the bad information in cellular memory or memories that are hypothesized to be stored outside the brain in the body.

REMARKS

This is quite interesting, to say the least, that all three gifts can protect the body from such dramatic trauma. The body of Christ from infancy was being safeguarded against what was to become his destiny of great suffering and pain. The cathartic releasing of emotional trauma provided with the gift of frankincense would lay the foundation for the harrowing experience of death by crucifixion.

All three offerings had anti-inflammatory properties and helped support the immune system by preventing the system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Christ’s earthly body was protected right down to the minuscule cellular level. Even the cellular memory of his body was restored with these gifts. At a molecular level, His Heavenly DNA was being guarded. The gifts purposed to protect the Christ child’s from disorders genetically passed down and to restore the information in the cells of the DNA.

One gift was for the body, one was for the blood and one was for the brain. One gift purposed to go beyond the blood-brain barrier while the other was via the bloodline. The Christ child was both a descendant of a Heavenly father and an early mother. The father’s bloodline was supernatural while the mothers’ was a physical line.

We will never truly understand this side of Heaven all the care that went into protecting the Christ child. Yet since we are descendants of a Perfect Deity, we too have this promise of complete restoration of curses, sickness, disease, imperfections, degenerative disorders, mental impairments, and any physical, mental or spiritual attack of the body, mind and soul. We have been given a choice of living a life of blessing or curse. Just as the gifts of the Christ child had to be accepted, we too much choose to accept this promise.

PentecostalTheology.com

BULGARIA has a NEW Government! For Now…

December 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

SOFIA, Bulgaria – After three National Parliament elections held in 2021 alone and three acting temporary cabinets, Bulgaria now has a new government based on a 4-partisan coalition. Will it outlast its first 100 days? ONLY GOD KNOWS!

Bulgaria’s PM Designate Petkov Presents New Government Ahead of Parliament Vote
Bulgarian Prime Minister designate Kiril Petkov presented the composition of his future government to the nation as he seeks to end eight months of political deadlock. Petkov, 41, leader of the newly formed centrist party We Continue the Change (PP), reached an agreement a day earlier with three other left-wing and center-right groups to form a coalition government.

Petkov’s party will hold 10 of the 21 ministerial positions, including prime minister and two deputy prime minister posts. The four-party coalition will control 134 seats in Bulgaria’s 240-seat parliament, which is set to vote on approving the new government on December 13. Petkov, whose party came in first on an anti-graft platform, told media on December 11 that the future government will have “zero tolerance” for corruption and said one of his first priorities will be to reform the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The new coalition is expected to have a majority of 134 lawmakers in the 240-seat parliament. “The agreement is 140 pages and details all policies. It gives the chance for the coalition to be strong and work for a long time,” Petkov told the national BNR radio after the party signed the document with each of its partners separately.

SUPPORTING PARTIES:

  • Bulgarian Socialist Party (socialist democrats)
  • There is Such People (centrist democrats)
  • Democratic Bulgaria (democrats)

Present 227 out of 240 MPs registered in the plenary hall. Instead of presenting Kiril Petkov’s candidacy, the plenary day began with a declaration on behalf of the GERB-SDS group, which will not support the draft cabinet.

“You organized brutal repression in the persecution of political opponents,” Desislava Atanasova said. She accused the president of undermining democracy.

The New Cabinet: “Vazrazhdane” will Not Support the “Petkov” Cabinet

The parliamentary group of “Vazrazhdane” will not support the draft cabinet “Petkov”, because according to its leader Kostadin Kostadinov the policies are a continuation of the GERB government, and the impression was that it the cabinet was created in foreign embassies

The New Cabinet: DPS will Not Support the “Petkov” Government

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) will not support the proposed program, structure and composition of the Council of Ministers, because it has participated in the talks about them. This was announced by DPS leader Mustafa Karadayi. According to him, the Movement will be a constructive opposition and will contribute to solving problems and protecting rights and freedoms.

Exclusivism, Pluralism and Inclusiveness

December 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Exclusivism as most relevant and easiest to detect in a church or a ministry. It seems that marginalized people tend to respond to a Divine authority that either empowers them to address the social evils of society, or to rise above the impoverishment and inequities of their existence through a sense of spiritual realities that supersede the material world. We are regarding this dynamic as clergies often create a separate “clericalism alternative” to genuine Biblical ministry. The laity sometimes separates itself from the church experience. And the congregation is left with the painful experience of continuous and cultural dislocation. There is, however, some steadiness and perseverance through such uncertainty in way of reinventing the church. This new church demands a new theology localized away from the academy to the missionary frontier. It also requires a better sense of community. Nonetheless, the renovation process within the community of believers is an intergenerational mission thus transmitting those forms of community discovered by the present church to the future one.

Pluralism brings the highest recommendation to every Christian who is seeking wholeheartedly the will of God for his/her life. If you want to practice theology in a pluralistic society at this time, however, the evangelical churches must be prepared and ready to resist these unacceptable media attacks that restrict religious freedom and impose pluralistic values to the Body of Christ. The discussion on the Kingdom of God implies partnership with non-Christians which in holiness circles may be viewed as inappropriate. Kingdom values are to replace worldly values to indicate the influence of the Kingdom. Certain guidelines of cooperation then must be drawn in order that any partnership of such kind does not radically change the identity of the church negatively, but rather serves as a positive transformational factor for all participating Christians and non-Christians.

Inclusiveness must note that the climax of Christ’s mission was the cross. His suffering was due to a preexisting conflict which was resolved though His sacrifice, a transformational statement that included justice and restoration. The Church is also called to engage in the struggle for justice and social equilibrium, which is not only its earthly mission, but part of its eschatological hope as well. The sign of social change is then, not so much, the coming city, but the cross outside the gates. The involvement of the individual believer and the church as a corporate body in suffering on behalf of the oppressed is not viewed by God as failure. On the contrary, it is a transformation that changes both the world and the church after the image of Christ. The all-inclusive (available to all who seek) Kingdom of God creates inclusiveness within God’s redemption for the creation. It is His redemptive participation in human history through which all people are challenged to repent and live a life of participating in Kingdom business, while the Kingdom remains an already-not-yet reality. This reality gives a new status to every believer, who is transformed after the image of Christ, in order to participate in His Kingdom. In this sense, the Kingdom is not a personal Kingdom or personal transformation alone, but it is community which God creates for all with the purpose of being inclusive toward all.

The Early Church lacked no diversity. When we turn to Scripture it appears that God Himself has chosen to challenge the homogeneous unit principle.  For example, He chose to send Peter to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10).  Who else could God have sent?  He could have sent an angel.  In fact, we are told that an angel appeared to Cornelius in a vision.  But instead of preaching to Cornelius and giving the Good News, the angel told him to send his servants to Joppa and call on Simon Peter (Acts 10:1-6).  Why did God send Cornelius to a Jew?  I suspect it was as much for the spiritual growth of the Jewish Christian church, as it was for the salvation of these Gentiles. Further, we are told that in a vision Peter rejected God’s instructions to transcend culturally held beliefs and he argued with God.  God did not placate Peter in his protest, but challenged him with these words, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15, NIV).  God was investing a vision for racial/cultural diversity into Peter, and by extension, the church.  This set the stage for the arrival of the Gentiles seeking Him.  God had a plan for the inclusion of more people than just the Jews.

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