david maxey

September 22, 2009

I Admit It

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 4:16 am

truth_000

You may or may not be aware that mass media, primarily televised news, in Russia is almost entirely state-controlled. In other words, what most people see and hear on TV is precisely what the Kremlin wants them to hear and see. Incidentally, the Kremlin plays the key role in forming public opinion about everything ranging from whether people’s pensions should be raised to Russia’s relationship with the United States. Since they have media control, naturally, they tend not to paint themselves in a bad light. For example, you will never see a leading Russian politician doing something that looks foolish or embarrassing on Russian TV, unless, of course, he/she have fallen out of grace with the establishment. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to ever find a single mistake of any kind being made by these venerable men. Is this because they are flawless? I think we all know the answer to that.

So far, the official line being broadcasted in Russia nationwide concerning the world-wide financial crisis and its affects on Russia has mostly been positive to the point of naivety. (For instance – “the crisis has bypassed us for the most part and will not affect us much.”) Now, I am all for positivity, but also highly value the truth regardless of its nature. However, just the other day, my wife, Inga, managed to see a newscast during which the president, finally admitted that Russia had been hit hard by the crisis and there was no end in sight. This is a bitter-sweet truth. Bitter, in the sense that many people have suffered because of the crisis and the end is not yet in sight. Sweet, in the sense that the truth of the situation has finally come to light and therefore steps to recovery can be taken – disillusionment has been expelled, if you will.

The good news for us believers in Jesus Christ is that our needs are met by the riches of God’s glory through Christ Jesus. We are not dependent on the world and its economic system. We live by faith in the Son of God, not by the whims of the stock market.

Yet, there is another point I’d like to make: we should not shirk from the truth. Sin is not a pretty thing; it certainly isn’t positive. Still it is true that thousands of people are dead in their sins and hastening towards eternal condemnation. Though it pains to admit that one is a sinner, it is imperative that one sees his life in the light of Truth (All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) and see one’s need for a Savior (He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him). Knowing this truth and acting on it will set one free from sin and eternal condemnation. So no matter how much it may offend our tender emotions, the truth is what we need.

Isn’t it good to know that Jesus Himself is The Truth! It is comforting to know that the Truth is not a cold, detached, impersonal entity that doesn’t care for us, but rather, is a warm, loving, caring Saviour that longs to meet our every need. When the truth is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, it will always produce hope. For instance, the truth may be that one is an unregenerate sinner, but in Christ, the truth not only reveals this fact, but provides a way of salvation – whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life! Thank God for the truth.

September 18, 2009

Dog Tales

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 6:11 am

A large Caucasian shepherd, who is often mistaken for a bear, has the distinction of being the church’s prime guard. He bears the noble name of “Milord” in the true British sense of the expression. Milord came into our possession as a pound of round, furry, adorable, puppy flesh and has since grown into mammoth proportions. Our once amicable chum has become a serious-minded defender of the realm, literally armed to the teeth. While he does recognize familiar faces, he doesn’t hesitate to lunge and snap viciously at terrified passerby’s. The thought of Milord roaming freely around the neighborhood tailed by a loose strand of broken chain dangling from his neck has been the main subject of at least several nightmares. Unfortunately, this nightmare became reality a few days ago.

It was Saturday evening and I had pulled up to the church to pray in my office and make final preparations for Sunday’s services. For some reason, before I entered the office, I decided to take a detour around to the back of the property and check on the general state of things. As I ambled leisurely around the corner of the church I saw Milord snuffling around on the ground and thought nothing much of it. After all, he was roughly in the same place that he is usually chained up at. Still, something just didn’t seem right about his unusually jaunty attitude, and this caused me to take a closer look. To my horror, I discovered that he was completely free from his chain! It had snapped in twain and he was on the loose.

As soon as Milord spied me, he bolted for the far end of the property, dashed through a gap in our unfinished fence and disappeared into the weeds of the vacant lot directly behind our property. After a period of concentrated effort, we managed to lure him back with chunks of fresh bread. However, ignorance reigned concerning how to hook him back up to his broken chain. Finally, after praying awhile in the spirit, the idea came to me that we could use a padlock to act as the missing link between the broken chain and Milord’s collar. One of our church staff, Ira Malcheva, in an act of outrageous heroism managed to placate Milord with additional tidbits of dog food while at the same time secretly poking the end of the padlock bolt through the last link in the chain and then looping it through Milord’s collar  and finally snapping it shut to complete the circuit. Milord never noticed till it was too late and Ira was safely out of reach. We were saved!

There exists an erroneous doctrine that the devil is a mad dog attached to leash held in God Almighty’s hand. When God sovereignly decides to exact punishment upon the heads of the condemned, He lets slip the mad dog who proceeds to rend and tear till the damage is done and he is reeled back in under strict control. This teaching makes God out to be a shameless fiend intent on getting in every lick He can on disobedient man. What an outrage! Does it not do disgrace to the perfect work of redemption Jesus lovingly wrought through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension? Jesus is our Savior and there is no place for condemnation in Him. Be assured, the devil is no mad dog the likes of our Milord. A more accurate depiction of him would be that of a broken serpent with a crushed head, toothless, writhing pitifully in the dust under the mighty feet of the Body of Christ! All the serpent is capable of today is to hiss lies and deceptions through his broken fangs in hopes that some child of God will stoop down to his level and give ear to his falsehoods. Don’t listen to him. Don’t stoop to his level. Stay right where you should be: positioned in Christ at the right hand of God in heavenly places. Fill your ears with the word of Christ and ignore the weak rustlings of the defeated foe under your feet.

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September 16, 2009

Stumped

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 5:51 am

It’s time to change the gate that provides entrance to the church’s property. We have already ordered a handsome, metal gate with an electric-magnetic lock and an intercom system which will enable us to unlock the gate by simply pressing a button from inside the office. In preparation for the new gate, we have determined to pour a smooth, level concrete pad under the gate so that pedestrians won’t have to slog through a mud puddle  as they walk past the new gate. The only obstacle to pouring the pad was a sawed-off, old stump poking up about seven inches from the ground in the direct vicinity of the future pad. The prospect of uprooting an old stump was so daunting that we put it off for almost three years, till at last, there remained no other options but to remove it.

Today, armed with a shovel, steel bar, and wheel barrow I went to work at extricating the stump. After digging around it to a depth of two feet or so, I couldn’t help but notice that the stump was rather unusual. For one, it was perfectly smooth and had no roots attached to it. Further digging revealed that it was sunk into the ground to a depth of only about three feet. After much scraping, digging, and prying, when I finally managed to extract this unwilling pest from the ground, it became apparent that it was no stump at all, but rather a very large post that had been planted in the ground, probably to support some long gone fence.

As I finally pried the old, rotten molar out of its nesting place and rolled it out of the way, I couldn’t help but praise the Lord that it was indeed a post and not a stump. It also dawned on me that if we had known its identity earlier we probably would have dug it up years ago.  Its deceptive appearance led us to believe that it was a more serious threat than it actually turned out to be.

Jesus has defeated ALL of our enemies. He did it for us. He did all the work. He suffered the blows. He gave us His victory. When these defeated foes poke their heads up out of the ground and try to intimidate us by their presence, it would do well for us to remember that their perceived threat is a deception. They are posts, not stumps. They have been defeated. Jesus gave you the victory. You are victorious in Christ. Don’t fear them. The truth is, they fear you, for you are in Christ!

Is it a stump?

Is it a stump?

Hole

After all was said and done

September 15, 2009

The price of paint!

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 6:03 am

green-paint

One of the most frustrating things we encounter at the church, actually, in life in general, is trying to get accurate price information on things we wish to purchase. This might seem like one of the smaller, “proverbial” pebbles in the shoe, but somehow it always manages to position itself right at the tenderest spot where it causes the most discomfort. For instance, today, we needed to buy some more green paint for the fence that we are constructing around the church’s property. Consequently, we called up the nearest hardware store and asked if they had green paint in stock and how much it cost. We were told that the paint was in stock and its price. As it turns out, we might as well have spent the time wasted on that phone call doing something constructive such as counting the number of granules in a cubic centimeter of sand from the children’s ministry’s sand box.

When we arrived at the store to buy our green paint, we were informed by a rather phlegmatic store employee that not only did they not have the green paint, but it cost 30% more than we were originally told. Our only option was to order the paint at a premium price. Needless to say, misinformation can be a source of major frustration and disappointment.

Isn’t it wonderful that when we come to the Word of God we can be certain that we will  never receive anything misleading from it! Every one of God’s promises is sure, and He is always faithful to make them good in our lives. In fact, Jesus said that He was the TRUTH. When you turn to Jesus you’ll never be disappointed. He not only is faithful to bless you with exactly what He promised, He blesses us abundantly with even more than we ask for. Now, that’s a deal that you can’t beat.

February 27, 2009

Car Alarm

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 8:13 am

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Car theft is a major problem in Khabarovsk. No one leaves their car parked outside at nights by the side of the curb. Cars have to be kept in special high-security lots, or impregnable garages to keep them from being stolen. It is unheard of for a car not to be equipped with an alarm system. Consequently, the church’s min-van, which I drive, is decked out with a state-of-the-art alarm system that is guaranteed to be theft-proof. I am  now a true believer in this guarantee. The only problem is, it works just a little too good.

Before I get into what happened, let me explain to you something about the alarm system. The system itself is hidden somewhere inside the dash of the van; I’ve never seem its innards and I don’t want to. The part of the system that is visible and functional is in the guise of two small electronic remotes. One of them is used to basically open and lock the vehicle’s doors. The other one is simpler in design but of much greater import. The idea is that without its presence in the car, the car simply will not run no matter what you do. Now to the thick of things…

Yesterday evening we had a glorious leader’s meeting at the church. After the meeting, since it was late and cold, I invited as many people as possible fit to cram into the van so I could drop them off at various stops on my way home. Everything started out fine. We were exhilerated from the meeting and the fellowship freely flowed. All of a sudden, on the way down an icy and steep hill, the van’s engine suddenly cut off. I managed to steer the van to the curb, where we safely came to rest. At the same time, the alarm system’s lights began to blink wildly and I knew that it was to blame for the engine failure. Now it was time to figure out why it stopped the car.

To make a long story short, we discovered that several contacts in the simple remote, the one that you can’t drive anywhere without it being in the car, had come loose and rendered the remote completely useless. No matter what we did, the car wouldn’t budge. We had to call on the aid of a brother in our church who owns a soldering iron to come and fix the remote. He came to our rescue, took the remote home while I waited in the car with several other church members, soldered the contacts, and returned the remote – a true hero indeed. A little after midnight, I was finally able to make it home without further incident.

I don’t know if this alarm system would stop a  dedicated car thief, but it certainly stopped its owner, the very one it’s supposed to serve! Perhaps the next time we buy a vehicle we’ll install the economy alarm system.

February 24, 2009

Defender’s of the Fatherland Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 6:15 am

eaten-cake

February 23rd is a celebrated holiday in Russia. It is officially labeled”Defender’s of the Fatherland Day”. As you can imagine, it does carry military connotations. In fact, I would consider it to be Russia’s version of “Armed Forces Day”. As it stands, this venerable holiday actually serves to honor all men (since all men are technically speaking defenders of the Fatherland especially in Russia where military service is compulsory), which makes it somewhat similar to “Father’s Day”. The point is, that February 23rd is the official holiday wherein men are honored and celebrated as a whole.

In light of this glorious event, the church staff (all female except for our live-in guard, Sergei) wished me a Happy Defender’s of the Fatherland Day today. They came up with a clever greeting card, spelling out English words in it using the Russian alphabet. Best of all, they gave me a beautiful cake from my favorite coffee shop “La Vita”. We all had a wonderful time celebrating, and best of all, we scarfed down the cake in short order. Everyone agreed that I was the best defender of my piece of cake, which though not as important as the “Fatherland” was certainly more tasty!

February 20, 2009

I Walked the Dog

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 3:10 am

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No, I have not abandoned ship! There are lots of excuses, all of them related to time, that I could give for being unfaithful to this blog, but I won’t give even one. I have, however, discovered a problem that keeps me from blogging more frequently – I am a writer. When I sit down to write, it’s hard for me to share something like, “I took the dog out for a walk today.” I have an inward drive to write something substantial, and substantial takes time. The good news is, I have come to the realization that it’s OK to write about walking the proverbial dog. Every post doesn’t have to be Shakespeare or Apostle Paul level revelation.

I make no promises about how often I will post from now on, and I refuse to allow this blog to condemn me, BUT my intention is to do it more often, even if all I have time to say is – “I walked the dog.” Now, if only I could find time to walk the dog!

December 17, 2008

Hard Candy

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 5:50 am

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My mother-in- law recently sent us several sacks of hard candy by post. Inga promptly exiled them to the church office to save our children from a cavity invasion. Though I normally don’t eat hard candy, for some unfortunate reason, I decided to try a piece after lunch one day to accompany my lonely cup of tea. Although the piece I sampled wasn’t really “hard” by the strictest definition of the word (it was more of a nougat), it contained a diabolical surprise lurking in its heart. Just as I was getting used to the candy and had decided that I like it, a terrible sound akin to a steel toed boot being smashed down onto a pile of gravel emitted from my mouth. At first, I couldn’t tell what happened until I retrieved the piece of candy from my mouth along with several particles from one of my favorite molars. Come to find out, this piece of candy was wrapped around a tiny stone that I bit down on with gusto. It broke my tooth. The good news is, the tooth that broke had endured a root canal several years earlier (read – its nerve had been deadened), and, therefore, I experienced a minimum of pain. 

Thank God, our family dentist was able, with the help of a piece of re-bar for internal support, reconstruct my tooth. Her parting comment as I left her office was, “Only chew soft foods from now on!” Yes, I’ll have to remember to try and eliminate rocks from my diet.

December 15, 2008

Back On Line

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 1:33 am

I deeply apologize for not posting for over a month now. Please don’t think that I have abandoned my post. I have not. The reason for my absence from the blog-o-sphere has been my need to concentrate on finishing a book that I am currently writing. My goal is to finish it by the first of the year. It is a book that tackles hard to understand passages from the New Testament that seem to challenge the goodness of God. I love my Heavenly Father and I delight in defending and upholding His goodness and grace. When this book is finally completed, it will provide its readers with answers to almost 50 challenging verses. The book is primarily intended for Russian speaking audiences, but someday I hope to see it published in English. 

By the way, my first published book, complete with ISBN number, has just been released. Praise the Lord! It is titled, “Must a Christian confess his sins to obtain forgiveness?” Essentially, this book is a study of 1 John chapter 1. The point of the book is that forgiveness of sins belongs to us as part of our inheritance in Christ. We have already been forgiven of all our sins. Our confession today as believers should declare – “I am forgiven, in Christ!” We confess what belongs to us in Jesus. 

Well, keep checking back. I hope to wrote to you about how I broke my tooth and about my most recent traffic ticket in upcoming posts. I think you’ll like them! 

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November 12, 2008

Busy as a Bee Hive

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 9:19 am

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I love it when I am surrounded by activity. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy quiet times too. There’s nothing like that time late in the evening, after a day of satisfying work, after supper, after the kids have been tucked into bed for the night, when I can sit on our bed with my back propped up with a pillow, let out a deep breathe, and delve into a good book. But when I am at the church, I like action! At the church, “The more the merrier” becomes my mantra. There is something about the buzz of happy voices and the patter of dozens of feet that thrills me.

 

Yesterday, I led my small group meeting for young married couples. We had a great time of discussion, and had the privilege of welcoming a new couple to our group. It was one of those meetings where we were all “on a roll”, and we didn’t stop till around 9:00 p.m. When we finally said our last prayer and started pulling on our winter gear to leave, I was so blessed to see that our little church building at 9:00 p.m. was abuzz with activity. As I exited the room my group met in, I brushed past two staff members and stepped out into our new addition, where a gaggle of voices were raised in excited discourse. The voices belonged to a group of students studying English in a new English language program we recently started in the church. I poked my head into the room and said “Hi, how are you guys?” in simple English, just for fun. I was rewarded with several responses from the students ranging from, “I am fine, thank you!” to “I am pleased to meet you.” Of all the students, I was most glad to see Pastor Vitaliy from our daughter church in Rakeetnoye. I think that his interest in learning English will pay off big for him in the future.

 

When I finally cut loose and headed for our mini-van in the parking lot, I couldn’t help but contemplate on how proud I am to be the pastor of a church whose people are so tightly knit together in their mutual love for Jesus and each other, that even at 9:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night the church was bursting at the seams due to all their activity!

 

 

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