The Pattern of Love: December’s gleanings in Serbia


The observance of Christmas is such an important time for us all whether it be before New year’s or after as it is observed here in January. For God so loved the world, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ! The Pivotal moment of all time when divinity put on flesh, so that flesh could once and for all dwell with divinity. It has been a quiet month for us as the observance of Christmas, as I stated is slated for January. Students are making their way back home, many are leaving the city to be with family for the season, and the city shopping areas have become bustling epicenters for activity.

Photo by Mesut u00e7iu00e7en on Pexels.com

It has been a month of quiet, menacing, and restless quiet. The quiet has become a dear friend though as so much time is in this state of silence between things. It is menacing to us because it is so foreign to our old way of life in ministry as we knew it, and it has been restless as it has addressed denial structures and escape mechanisms that were within our life before. The anticipation to act and the preparation of acting well have met in this quiet month of December and it has been a precious lesson to us.

A quiet Square in Serbia, awaiting Christmas Festivities
An Amazing Christmas Gift! A Bible Cover

Life is Normal

Believe it or not, living in a country abroad is just like living within your home country. There are no new and exciting adventures in essence that you could not experience within your own country, there are just challenges in having the ability and sufficient knowledge to do them. You still shop for groceries, you still pay bills for utilities and complain about the prices of things, and you still carry out your day-to-day operation. Life is consistent across the globe and that is why it is so important to go across the globe and remind all of the truth of Christ and live it out before them!

“The temptation in going abroad is to compare the convenience of familiarity with the inconvenience of the unfamiliar and then call it an insurmountable trial.”

Transformed to His way

A Matter of Love

The temptation in going abroad, however, is to compare the convenience of familiarity with the inconvenience of the unfamiliar and then call it an insurmountable trial. Even as we look to relocate within Serbia, we are again encountered with this uneasy state of near destruction as we have familiarized ourselves with an albeit foreign way of life here in Belgrade and face another shift ahead. Yes, learning another language is difficult, and yes adjusting and figuring out just HOW the culture and society go about their lives is a challenge, but these are not impossible trials of living abroad as a Believer in Christ. The great trial is to remain at peace with it all because the challenges soon become perceived as unwelcome disorders to a distant order somewhere else. And that somewhere else will never be here. Christ from Heaven came to earth! He no doubt suffered as we are suffering as a foreigner to the most extreme extent. Living abroad has opened a new window into this truth that is rehearsed every year, Christ came to us! This was not out of obligation, duty, or even a matter of fate as some might suggest. It was a matter of love.

“It is Christ’s meaning that propels us forward to remind others of it! Christ suffered as the most alien of citizens among the most hostile of nations to save the most ungrateful and at times unwilling recipients.”

Transformed to His way

Jesus Christ fulfilled history’s great mandate for love for there was nothing more unlovable than you and me and He came to us still. As I considered this it has really shed light on just how valuable this time living abroad truly is. Christ, who had all power and authority to rule and reign as King of Kings, instead chose to live and die as Savior of Sinners. Leaving all the riches of heaven, Christ came as a feeble child, grew as a limited man, and died as a criminal so that you and I may live with Him. The challenges of living somewhere other than home are trite considering just how meaningful Christ’s life is. It is this meaning that propels us forward to remind others of it! Christ suffered as the most alien of citizens among the most hostile of nations to save the most ungrateful and at times unwilling recipients. Yet He had peace and was a bringer of peace to all who would accept Him.

“Peace on earth good will to men”, what an amazing proclamation and what a freeing truth for me today! I am not here in Serbia to bring about change or be a catalyst for a movement or wave a banner of an organization of faith, I am here to grow in Christ and help others do the same. I am learning experiential lessons abroad as I have placed many aspects of my life into a state of that “perceived disorder” so that God’s fantastic order may rule in my life. In this aspect, I am suffering as my LORD suffered as an alien, a stranger in the land and I must tell you all it is an absolute privilege.

“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

Ephesians 2:16- 17

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  - John 16:33

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:9

Moving Forward with Purpose

As the new year has dawned, please consider the pattern of love shown to us by Christ who came to us and gave us true peace. Do not fear the path or the quiet spaces ahead and do not dismiss the lessons that play out before you this year. Christ desires to know you and for you to know Him! Embrace the challenges ahead and understand the true trial that lies before you is to find and remain in that perfect peace in Christ.

Fear of failure should not make any decisions and past failures should not define who you will one day be. Christ came of a virgin, died as Your Savior, and has set you eternally free!


Fear of failure should not make any decisions and past failures should not define who you will one day be. Christ came of a virgin, died as Your Savior, and has set you eternally free! 
Let the quiet rains of the valley of decision, not drown your hopes of choosing to live. Let the example of Christ’s love shed abroad be the gift you both receive and give. 
There is no greater purpose, pursuit, or higher meaning found below or above than that found in my Savior who laid out the pattern of love!

Our Vision and Prayer according to The Great Commission:

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore(Reach), and teach(Teach) all nations, baptizing(Immerse Them in Christ’s Truth) them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all(Challenge their capacity) things whatsoever I have commanded you:(Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility) and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (See Them faithfully kept by God’s Grace). Amen.” 

Matt 28:18-20

Please pray as we believe God to:


  • Reach: Evangelism to the Lost
  • Teach: Biblical Study and Training in the Word of God
  • Immerse others in Christ’s Truth: Fitting into the fellowship of the Church, discovering their Identity in Christ, and Observing the Ordinances
  • Challenge their capacity: Biblical Discipleship and Biblical Accountability
  • Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility through His Ability: Opportunity and Leadership Development in the Church
  • See Them faithfully kept by His Grace: Faithful Feeding and Fruitfulness in their Lives

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