The Bible says that "God is love" and that "Love never fails"…NEVER!
Sadly, there was a time in my life when my drug addiction caused me to believe I was a piece of trash that no one could possibly love. A debilitating injury in my lower back during my teenage years led to some very poor decisions. I began using painkillers, which eventually led to stronger drugs. Sixteen years of my life were squandered with drug addiction. After much self-inflicted hurt, out of desperation I opened my heart to Jesus Christ. But even after becoming a Christian, I still felt entrapped by the physical limitations of the injury and my resulting broken identity.
It can be a tense moment when you approach a stranger at Boxhagener Platz in the edgy neighborhood of Friedrichshain, on Berlin’s east side. Boxhagener Platz, or "Boxi" as Berliner’s affectionately call it, is not an area known for having an abundance of sober minded Europeans, but that’s one of the reasons I love it so much. One can be guaranteed to run into a few folks who are visibly in need of Christ’s compassion.
The bridge’s majestic spires ascend high above the surging waters of the Danube below. It is one of Europe’s most aesthetically beautiful bridges, and perhaps one of Europe’s greatest ironies. Budapest’s famed Szabadság Híd translated “Freedom Bridge” has sadly become a symbol of death. It is the most popular launching point for Hungarians to plunge to their death, leaving this life for a supposed “freedom” in eternity.
A Hungarian stunt man left his movie set and while walking through the city he came upon Széll Kálmán tér, the busiest square in Budapest. Wearing dark sunglasses and standing at a distance, he watched a group of Americans dance, laugh, and then proceed to do a thought-provoking drama.
The past couple of weeks have been a fast and furious sprint for all of us here at European Initiative. With the help of Northern Hills Church based out of Colorado, we recently impacted hundreds of lost university students in Berlin, Germany. Immediately following their team, EI hosted a group from Valley Creek Church in Flower Mound, Texas, who shared the gospel in Budapest, Hungary and Berlin. In the span of Valley Creek Church’s ten-day trip, 30 Europeans made decisions to follow Jesus! It moves me greatly to see our spiritual airlift bustling with activity…..we simply could not do this without our willing American partners.
In the words of the great American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, “Times they are a-changin’…” While Mr. Dylan was undoubtedly writing these words as an anthem to the ever-progressing civil rights movement sweeping America in the early-to-mid 1960s, these words also describe the slowly changing spiritual ‘climate’ of one of the most important and influential cities in Europe.
EI recently took a team of Americans and Germans to the Wave Gothic Festival in Leipzig, Germany, for the fourth consecutive year. As we partnered with Clear Path Church in Dallas, Texas and ToTheStreets, a Berlin-based ministry, our plan was simply to reach this dark and needy subculture with the love of Jesus Christ.
The American walked into the university’s cafeteria and requested a fork from one of the German students. He then swung his lanky 6’3” frame to stand on top of one of the dining tables. Looming larger than life he held the fork while stretching out his right arm. All eyes of the university students were fixed on the quirky American, wondering where this was headed.