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Monday, September 25th, 2017

Serving the Lord

(note: My wife Lori and I wrote this while serving at Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe in Hungary)

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Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me.
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 19:24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Matthew 19:29 And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Matthew 19:30 But many who are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.



Mike:
In 1999 I had made it. I had reached the upper-middle income status.
I had two cars,
a big nice home,
a guaranteed pension,
took really nice vacations,
and could afford to buy most anything I wanted. (although, I never wanted all that much)

But
my job was taking big parts of my life,
my marriage was failing (a year later I would be divorced), my health was suffering from those two things,
something was missing in my life.
Church was good and I felt God was calling me.
But I was still ignoring His call.

Today
I have reached the lower end of the lower income status,
I can't buy some of the things I would like to,
I live far away from my family and friends
and I don't know what we will do for income when we get a bit older.

But I have never been happier in my life.
I gave in to the call of God. I am now following Jesus and working for Him full time.

My hope now is that I can continue working for Him for years to come.

AND I can tell you that: “ everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold”

Lori:
I went thru a divorce in 2001. In 2002, my youngest daughter was about to go off to bible college in Ca.
I thought, I can go anywhere & do anything right now. What do I want to do? I had lived in the same city for the last 20 years raising my 3 kids. I had that the school in Austria (where my son had gone to) had moved to Hungary. I asked my daughter if she would consider going to Bible College in Hungary instead of California. She said yes & we started planning.
I had also met Mike this year & we had been praying about dating. I was 42 and beginning another relationship was scary but we both felt God saying yes to us clearly. That it was ok to move into a relationship & trust that it would all work out. But then at the same time, the campus in Hungary wrote me back & said yes, I could come work there for room & board & my daughter could be a student at the same time.

The coolest thing about CCBCE is How God Moves:
Hearing Him so often you take it for granted,
It happens so often you don’t question it,
Impossible to doubt Him,
Life is so difficult there, God has to come through even for the everyday things,
Passports, visas, $, transportation,
We have seen students healed and we have seen things that can only be attributed to spiritual warfare.

There have been many "success stories" from the Bible College:
Laci came to the Lord in 1994, by his friends visiting cousin. 2 years later he graduated High School and left home, then he could go to church
After awhile he moved back home and waited another 2 years before he could go to church again BECAUSE there was no church in his city.
Today Laci is the Pastor of Cc Esztergom

3 years ago Dani Hamar was a student at CCBCE – Now he teaches the Bible every Sunday night to hundreds at CC Budapest
4 years ago Tamas Gemes was a student and staff person at CCBCE – Now he is the pastor at CC Vac
3 years ago Jason Carlyle was a student at CCBCE – Now he is pastor of CC Prague
6 months ago Sharpie Shanta was graduating from CCBCE – Now he is assistant pastor at CC Baja The list goes on and on.

Mike:
How did I get there, to CCBCE?
So how does this happen?
What is the process that takes a man to living on one 10th of the income he used to have,
to leaving home, friends and family
and then making him the happiest he has ever been?

What is the process that leads a man to a life devoted to God?

For me it was gradual, relatively quick, but gradual.
As I devoted myself to purity,
as I unplugged more and more from the culture,
as I gave away some of the things I owned,
lessened my attachments to the things of this world,
I, at the same time, drew closer to Jesus. Soon I found myself actually in love with Jesus.

I came to understand how much God loves us, loves me. And as I understood how much that was, it became my overwhelming desire to serve Him and to only serve Him. Soon it became too unbearable to work at my regular job if I could find a way to serve the Lord full-time. That was when I was offered a position at the Bible College.

It has been really cool to serve at the Bible college because we get to be a part of reaching Europe
People that come here are trained to be pastors and missionaries and then go back to their own countries
We truly are “Reaching Europe” (name of our ministry)
Hungary
Serbia
Slovenia
Kosovo
Albania
Romania
Ukraine and Russia
Slovakia and Poland
Ethiopia, Nigeria
Italy,
Spain,
Finland,
Germany
and of course England

The Bible College is an amazing place:
secluded in a small town in Hungary
It is easy to get alone with God, on the campus, on the grounds or in the surrounding forests
There are few distractions,
We offer great Bible studies with personal application
and you get to see the Lord work in your life and the lives of others.

But as for me and how I came to be there:
As I removed the distractions from my life, I found real life. Distractions, like all the culture has to offer,
distractions like loving my possessions,
distractions like living my life for myself.


Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

(this “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” is like one of those truths that you can't understand until it becomes real to you. Reading the words didn't work for me. I couldn't understand that until I had experienced it. )

1Corinthians 2:9 says: But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

So how does a person make that step of coming into a 'real' life? One that is fulfilling, joyful and the best that life can offer? As I said before, for me it happened at the same time as my “redirection”.

I just came back from the US for a visit. It is strange for me to go back there. It is the culture I came from, but now I live in such a different one. It is strange for me to see how misdirected the american culture is. It is focused on material things, spending borrowed money on things they don't need, even when the results of that over-borrowing are becoming apparent. It seems they are so addicted to comfort and leisure and self-pleasure they can't stop. Even in the church people are like that.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me.
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 19:24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Matthew 19:29 And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Matthew 19:30 But many who are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Usually when we hear that preached in church the pastor says this doesn't mean that everyone needs to sell all they own. The pastor will say that it means only: if you are too attached to your possessions, then you have a problem. However, 95% of the people, including church people, are too attached to their stuff, and they don't even realize it.

Having lived both lives, that of a “rich” man and that of a “poor” man devoted to Jesus, I will tell you this: What Jesus said to that rich man is good advice for today. Had that rich man taken it, he would have been much happier.

I am sure God is calling you. Not to Hungary, the place is not important, God is calling you to live with Him, live your life for Him.

You know, the rich man did not really need to sell his possessions, he needed to be the type of guy that could let them go. But he, like so many people, can't let them go. He, like so many people today, didn't realize how attached he was to his possessions.

Your possessions, your culture has you trapped. There is truly only one way out. Give it up, and follow Jesus. Just like He advised the rich man.


For some of you, you KNOW that God is calling you,
you know that He wants you to give yourself to Him.

You are excited about it
but you are scared.

You like your comforts, you like the security that you think you have, the security that you have built.
(and You probably have the same fears as most of us, that God will call you to be a missionary in Africa : )

I guarantee you that if you “sell everything you own and follow Jesus” you will find yourself happier, with a better life than you can possibly imagine. It won't always be easy, but it will be good.

Lori:
We want to leave you with a Bible verse. We have not suffered all the things Paul did. But we have come to the same conclusion Paul did, it is all worth it.

2 Corinthians 6:5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

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Author: Mike Pritchard

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About Mike

Mike is the owner of Pritchard Webpages and has been a christian for a long time but found himself falling in love with Jesus in the year 2000.

In 2003 he left his life in the states to become a missionary with Calvary Chapel in Hungary, at the Bible College there. He has enjoyed his time serving the Lord overseas, and enjoyed learning that serving God is an amazing adventure.

Since his return to the US he is now a full-time web-designer (which is his second passion, the Bible is his first).

"I love serving Jesus and I love doing web-design, so when I get to the opportunity to do church and ministry websites I am very excited" says Mike.

So if you are looking for a web-designer for your church website or ministry contact Mike at Mike@PritchardWebpages.com he offers a free, one-hour consultation.