“For in Him we live and move and have our being”
I was born in Christian family in small village Kamyantsya, that is few minutes from Hungarian and Slovakian border. Wonderful village with a small creek running aside of the road, beautiful trees, mountains
that surrounds the village from all around, people that know each other and greet you with the words “Glory to Jesus” - a perfect place on Earth before you go to Heaven.
When I was a kid my parents always took me to church on Sunday morning and sometimes I was upset with this as all of my friends could sleep longer on Sunday when my sister and I had to wake up early to
get ready for the church. I didn’t realize that church will play such a significant role in my life and obedience to my parents will bear wonderful fruits.
My grandfather was faithful to God during Soviet Union time and Methodist church in Kamyanytsa continued to exist during persecution. Durability of Pastor Ivan Vuksta and my grandfather along with other
church members of his age strengthened my faith. Still today we have older people in our church that had gone through many persecutions and stayed close to God. When you look into their faces you see the
Love of God and you really can feel the warmth of their souls.
When I grow up I always had a desire to do more for God, to be used more for His Kingdom. Thus I became Sunday school teacher at the age of 13 and in a few years I was engaged in youth ministry. Till this
time I serve to young generation of our church, and that also keeps me younger.
“For in Him we live and move and have our being”. We all probably spent a lot of time contemplating on this verse, as it is a theme of our Central Conference. What does this verse mean to you and me personally,
do we really understand what does it say about? When I was a child I had many dreams and one of them was to speak English, I mean not to learn English but to speak, because I did not really want to
spent time studying language, I thought that God will give me a gift of English and one day I will wake up in the morning speaking English fluently, but God had a different plan. Nevertheless, at the beginning of
practicing my English with native speakers there were words that I did not understand and I was too shy to confess that I don’t get them. Most of the time I got the point of what people were talking about, but
also there were times when people asked me something and were expecting to get a reply but instead of that I just nodded my head confirming that I understood them and kept smiling with no reaction to their
question or request. Now for sure I am ashamed for those cases. Recently we had youth summer camp for the young people from Ukraine and the theme of the camp was parable about Sower and different types
of the soil. One of the types was soil at the path, which means we hear the word of God but as we do not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart.
Thus what does it means for us to live in Him and move in Him and have our being?
I will not be able to answer this question for you, but I will share my feelings about it. To live in someone probably means to have the same flash, blood, heart. We know that Jesus was the one without sin, if we
are the same body with Him our main goal is to be without sin. Jesus said that He is the vine, and we are the branches and if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit, apart from Him we can do nothing. To be
the part of the vine means to have the same juice running in our branches.
We, Methodists, help millions, and at the General Conference I have received a T-shirt with print on it: “United we help millions. What’s next?” I would say: how about to help ourselves? Often time we focus
so much on bearing fruits by helping others, doing ministries, fighting for the rights of people and these things are very much needed and important, BUT what about our living in God? Do we still have His
blood running in our veins? God says to us in Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”. As I serve in church for many years, I used to do a lot of ministries, and I have a plan for the year ahead, what kind
of camps we are going to have, conferences, meetings, celebrations, there are so many events, so that the whole year turns to be very busy. When time comes to fulfil all these plans I am running with the whole
head into it, and I can honestly confess that there is no free time to “be still” and to link to my very being, my God. I am too much busy doing ministry for God that I have no time for God Himself. He says that time
spent with Him has crucial importance for my life. Nowadays we strive a lot for unity of our church, but have we ever thought that our Global unity depends on our personal unity with God? Without it we will
struggle trying to be really united church. But if we all have true God inside of us He will unite our hearts.
Every day when we wake up, one of the very first things we do - we dress up. God wants us to “Put Him on” and “wear Him” throughout the days and it means to have His thoughts and mind, to look like Him, so
that when other people look at us they could see the image of God in us.
The United Methodist Church along with other churches is called to be the bride of Jesus.
The imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church. The church is comprised of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and
have received eternal life. Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride. Just as there was a betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were
separated until the wedding, so is the bride of Christ separated from her Bridegroom during the church age. Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to Him. Church is also compared with
the hospital, where all who are seek and weary, tired and lost may come and find a shelter. When we visit the hospital, we pursue the only goal – to recover, not just to visit it and remain the same. Those lost,
seek, weary and tired that come to the church need also to be transformed into a bride of Christ. At the second coming of Christ, the church will be united with the Bridegroom and the official “wedding ceremony”
will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized.
Meanwhile we are placed on Earth to be the light of Jesus Christ and do good deeds so that others seeing them may glorify our Father who is in heaven. God gives us many opportunities for ministry in our areas.
When we live out the word of God others may read it through our lives. Someone said:” Preach the gospel at all times and use words if necessary”.
Central Asia District of UMC is the youngest district in Eurasia. It consists of 14 congregations in two countries Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. From the beginning creation and development of strong ministry
with young people was our priority. For this purpose, we started to conduct annual evangelism camp which gathered together up to 100 people each year – 5o% of them are believers and the other half are
unbelievers who didn’t attend church before and have never heard about Jesus Christ. We’ve had wonderful fruits of this camp each time – people who committed their lives to our Lord. Now almost all our
churches have youth ministry and several years ago we started doing annual Youth Forum for young leaders of our churches to inspire and equip them for ministry. Besides official district programs our youth
regularly makes visits to each other, has sport programs, helps in work with children, participates in social ministry and does mission together during the year.
We have good and fast growing ministry with international students in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, where people with different background come to faith in Jesus. But our main joy is many young local pastors
and elders who serve in different locations and many young students at Centre of Church Leadership who decided fully commit their lives to ministry. Young people are very active in evangelism.
The hard part of our ministry in Central Asia District is the fact that we have very strict laws on religious affairs and very big distance between the churches.
The church has many ministries, holding its carriage in the needs of society and church purposes. "Youth to Jesus", organization of young people in Lviv, Ukraine, has taken a unique position in the Body of Christ,
where in accessible form and outside the church walls Gospel is preached to those who do not dare to cross the threshold of the church but is open for contact in an informal atmosphere. A kind of organization
became a buffer zone between the world and the church also allows people who just started their walk with Jesus to decide a part of which church they want to be. One of the strong sides of “Youth to
Jesus” is the fact that we allow people to participate in all ministries we have and then they may decide with their vocation. It can be involving in such activities as English club, small group, work with orphanages,
worship, preaching, or come up with some new creative ministries.
At this stage of the service in Lviv, Ukraine we faced with such problems as the traditional desire of all Christians to stay with what they have achieved. To move from the motion into a steel structure, where
you can comfortably watch stability.
Imagine a train hurtling at full speed. Suddenly it is disconnected from the mains. What happens to it from the perspective of someone sitting in the train? At first, nothing. The train continues to move by the
inertia, but slower and slower. However, the speed reduction is very little due to the great mass of the train; it stretches in time, which is almost not perceived by the consciousness. Yet at some point, a passenger
suddenly realizes that the rhythm of the wheels changed, it became much more slowly; and this train will soon stop at all. The church is like this big massive train, and it may happen to us that we took
a very good start and move with a high speed, we all are people sitting in the cars of the train. But what if our train is moving only by inertia? What if we are no longer connected to the mains? It is our responsibility
to check this out, and fix it if it is needed.
Dear believers in Jesus Christ, dear bride of Christ, we wait with great anticipation for the day when we will be united with our Bridegroom. Until then, we remain faithful to Him. We all have to live in Him and
move and have our being in Him and with all the redeemed of the Lord proclaim: “Come, Lord Jesus!”