Monday, February 28, 2011

Daddy Day

Yesterday was a Daddy Day for me and my 2 ½ year old son. Granted I was a bit under the weather, but we still took some time to just hang. Mom and daughter went to church and we just laid on the bed and watched cartoons! I think he knew I didn’t feel good because he just cuddled up beside me and kept me warm. Mid morning we took a nap together and then we enjoyed an afternoon of NASCAR. He likes the loud cars. I’m proud!

Every child deserves a Daddy Day. There are 140 million plus orphans in this world. I honestly don’t know how many children are without fathers. This world is in desperate need for mentors, adoptive parents, and mission trip participants. I’ve been on a lot of mission trips to orphanages around the world and the women outnumber the men 8 to 1. I’ve also been a part of mentoring programs that can’t find men to volunteer.

This really is no surprise. Social ministry is not the only area we men are dropping the ball. We now live in a world where women are forced to take on the role of spiritual leaders in our homes. My fellow brothers, we have stood by long enough while the women are forced to carry the load. Every orphan or at-risk child I’ve come to know has been starved for a quality male relationship. Few can even recall a positive male role model in their life. Common guys, do something about this. It’s time for a Daddy Day. Aspire to new heights.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Value of a Life

What does just one life mean to you? What if it was your life or someone that was close to you? It seems those that value life the most are those that have lost a family member or had a near death experience. I’ve lost family members but not my parents, spouse, or a child. And, other than one or two unfortunate driving experiences in Romania I haven’t had a near death experience. However, as an adoptee I guess there is a chance I could have had one 36 plus years ago. That is why if I were to meet my birth mom I would simply thank her. She gave me life, in more ways than one. I guess that is why a statistic I read on Romania yesterday morning while preparing to speak at a local church hit me between the eyes. Take a look:

“Statistically, Romania has the highest abortion rate in the world. Currently 3 out of 4 pregnancies are terminated with abortion. In Romania, a country with the population of 23 million, it is estimated that there are about 800,000 abortions a year and this is probably on the conservative side.” Silent Voices

I’m not exactly sure what year those figures were gathered. I would hope the statistics used by an organization on their website would be fairly accurate and current. What I do know is this created a stir in me to research more. In all honesty the numbers were all over the place, probably due in part to the difficulty and accuracy in reporting. Another report by Life International found that from 1990 to 2003, there were more abortions reported in Romania than live births.

I will admit the research could be a bit shady or skewed one way or another. However, that does not change the fact that this is an extreme issue. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not sure I have any. I am far from an expert that can determine the reasoning for this trend. The only thing I know I can do today is pray. Maybe tomorrow God will show me or you something we can do.

As David Platt said, “God blesses his people with extravagant grace so they might extend his extravagant glory to all peoples of the earth.” Thirty six year ago God blessed me. Now it is my turn to do something to bless the 800,000 potential ME’s.

Aspire to new heights.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ro-Narnia - The King was enthroned

I cannot think of a more fitting person or blog to be my 100th blog! Ovidiu, I'm honored to call you my friend and ministry partner and I'm in tears at the success of our Winter Camp. What a joy it has been to read stories and look at pictures from this amazing camp. But, don't take my word for it, take Ovidiu's!

If there is any person that needs to take the credit for what happened during our recent camp it has to be Jesus Christ. He was powerful and active among us. His Spirit made us fall in love with Him. Right now as I write these lines I wonder if I am in love enough with my Savior Jesus; and the answer is of course NO. I am not in love enough with the most beautiful, wise, rich and powerful person in the universe: LORD JESUS CHRIST. But this Winter Camp helped me love Him more. I now admire His beauty and creation more than ever before. I found new way to contemplate His wisdom more while contemplating the beauty of His people coming together more often. I’m now more impressed by His power and amazed to watch Him bringing spiritually dead people to life.

Every person played a key role in this camp. To the person they all brought something special to this gathering. But the success of this camp was 100% a result of PRAYER that was used abundantly in its organization. Our time at camp was fully immersed in prayer…in powerful and passionate prayer. There were nights when we went to sleep only to awaken to the beauty of worshiping Christ. We told the teenagers that Christ is the reason for this camp. We told them that He is worthy of our undivided attention. Our connection was to heaven, not the internet or T.V. Our attempt was to disconnect from the burden of this world and to yearn for a connection with Him. And you know what happened? God gave us what we longed to receive: His fresh presence moving among us, overwhelming us, saving among us, convicting us of sin, loving us, calling us, invading us.

A girl that was born again during this camp was so powerfully changed that her friends were shocked. They were not Christians and they came to us asking us what we did to her! Our response; “We gave her the Word of God and prayed with her.” God changed her so radically and dramatically that when she went back to her room she completely deleted all the music that did not praise Christ. She put down her books and magazines and started to read from the Bible. Before the end of camp she too was witnessing to others.

We were blessed to have another young man born again during camp. His words were evidence of this change in his life. He said that before he came in the camp he was cussing hard, but after God changed his heart that night, he was shocked by the lack of desire to cuss anymore. He said, “I cannot cuss anymore, something happened inside of me, I want to love Jesus more and to worship Him more”.

A third person with strong evidence that she was born again started crying and she fell to her knees in prayer with two other teenagers and me. Though she was just 13 and the other two were 13 and 14 they prayed as though they were mature Christians. The pain for their sins was evident. The passion for Jesus was impressive.

I do not know how many people were saved in this camp. When I invited all to come and put their lives on the altar and become living sacrifices before God, I think almost everybody in the camp came. Though some did not exhibit evidence of their salvation we were blessed to see many reflect being born again. It is not all about a prayer or a hand up or a walk in front under the impulse of the crowd in a camp. It is about the new life in Christ that needs to be noticed.

God still saves in Romania and He does that in a powerful way and He is worthy of all the glory.

I was very impressed by the way God used the American team of 8 people that left their comfort and secure atmosphere and the Super Bowl to come and worship with us and to serve us for God’s glory. The Bible study teams in the morning were so special. They taught the participants how to worship, some even in English! Thank you Erin, Kimberely, Shelby, Lindsey, and Ronne; there were tears of repentance and passion in prayers worshiping together in these teams you led. The preachers in the evening offered a strong challenge for all the participants. “God’s Grace,” “The Encounter with God,” and “The Altar of the Living Sacrifice” broke our hearts and made us experience both the power of sanctification and of salvation. Thank you Jeff, Joe and Brian.

Red Page Ministries needs a special “thank you” for helping organize this winter camp. Plans are already being made for 2012. Many have said they will join us. You are welcome to join us, too. Please pray about it and let us know.

To God be all the glory.

Until HE comes

Ovidiu and Adina

If you have an interest in joining our team next winter, shoot me an email at If you would rather join a trip this summer, it is not too late. Visit our website for more information. Aspire to new heights. Jon

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hide and Watch

My grandmother always had a great comeback for when I said I don’t want to do something. She would say, “Well then, you just go hide and watch!” Of course I never did and I wooed her with my grandson charm and she melted and gave me whatever I wanted. But, that is irrelevant for now!

This morning I was doing my daily Bible reading. I found it interesting that after everything the Israelites had been through they would still question God after he rescued them from Egypt. In this particular verse they were freaking because Pharaoh decided he didn’t want to let them go and was in hot pursuit! But, Moses told the people “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord recue you today.” Exodus 14:13.

What a valuable lesson we can still use today. God is at work. Don’t believe it? Then hide and watch! We, too, should not be afraid. Our God is the same God that rescued the Israelites. He’s the same God that parted the Red Sea. He’s the same God that sent His Son to die for our sins. He’s the same God that said “Go…and I will be with you always.”

But the lesson doesn’t stop there! In verse 15 the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” God is at work, but He expects us to do our part. Sure, we can hide and watch and I believe He would still work. He’s not about to let us stand in the way of His Will. However, His true desire is for us to “get moving” and be a part of His work. This allows us to be a part of His blessing, not to just observe the act itself. We can’t pray for God to move in the world and then lock our doors and sit on our hands. Instead we should get off of those hands and allow them to be His hands; and offer our feet as well! We should pray and then be prepared for His answer.

So, I’ve got to apologize beforehand to my grandmother. Guess I’m going to have to do something this time. I can’t just “hide and watch.” I’m too afraid I might miss something! Aspire to new heights.

P.S. If you get a chance visit our website for posts, pics, and stories from our Winter Camp. You can also find more on our Facebook page.