4.21.2011

Not only answers

Calling of pastor is not just giving the right answers, but also (or above all) asking the right questions.

You can't be a professor!

Physicist Richard Faynmen (Nobel laureate 1965) heard one day:
- You can't be a professor!
- Why?
- Because I can understand everything you say! And when I listen to other professors, I do not understand.

:)

(W. Lysiak, Mythology of the world without handles)

4.20.2011

Augustine Presbytery Spring Meeting 2011

It was wonderful time! Thanks to producent of this movie - Brian Penney :)

About us in American reformed magazine

Jan Kalwin in Poland - Gerry Wisz
Originally published in Christian Renewal, 19th of July 2009


The Polish port city of Gdansk (known as Danzig when under Germany) was once 90 percent Protestant, says Pawel Bartosik, the minister of a fledgling Reformed church in this European metropolis on the outer edge of a predominantly Roman Catholic nation.  “One year after Luther’s 95 theses, there were Lutheran churches in Gdansk,” he said.  
In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth, Bartosik and members of his congregation reminded city residents of their town’s heritage with a giant poster and enumerated historical events tied to the Reformation.  The poster and accompanying book table, piled with Reformed theological and devotional literature translated into Polish – and some by Polish Reformers -- were more than well received, he said.  The evangelism project lasted two weeks, and protestants from other churches in town came by with sandwiches and hot tea.

4.19.2011

More or less blessings?

"The coming of Christ makes us not less certain of the salvation of the infant children of the covenant, but more so. Christ's attitude to little children is cited as evidence of this truth, for He commanded that children be brought to Him, saying, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven" and embraced them in His arms. "If it be just for infants to be brought to Christ", Calvin contends, "why is it not allowable to admit them to baptism, the symbol of our communion and association with Christ? If theirs is the kingdom of Heaven, why shall the sign be denied them by which, as it were, an entrance into the church is opened that, being received into it, they may be enrolled among the heirs of the heavenly kingdom: How unjust shall we be, if we drive away from Christ those whom he invites to him; if we deprise them of the gifts with which he adorns them; if we exlude those whom he graciously admits?"


The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant, Lewis Bevens Schenck, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, Phillipsburg 2003, p. 10.

Gdansk - my town

Gdansk or in German Danzig (in older English Dantzig), is an old port in Northern Poland, at the Baltic Sea. Throughout the history, Gdansk traditionally belonged to the Kingdom of Poland, but in the past, until 1945, the city had been mainly populated by the German population. Gdansk was a member of the Hanseatic League and even for a period of time, Gdansk had been the capital of Hansa, and the city's links with the divided then Germany were very strong.

Gdansk played in the 15th and 16th centuries an important role in the trade of the world's basic commodity of the time - grain. It is through Gdansk, that the important trading routes exporting Ukrainian harvests direction the harbors of Northern Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, and importing spices, china, textiles and arms. These trading links were at the base of Gdansk prosperity creating the city's complex cultural heritage and its rich architecture. The Kingdom of Poland exerting its power over Gdansk had to accept the city's connection with other German cities and with the German culture.

Poland lost Ukraine to Russia partly in the middle of the 17th century and finally during the 18th century and as a result, Gdansk lost its economical importance. Russian occupation of Gdansk in 1734 and the annexation of the city by Prussia in 1793 did the rest - Gdansk became the monument of the past within Prussia and later, after 1871, within the united Germany. Napoleon Bonaparte (1807) and the treaty of Versailles after the World War I (1919) unsuccessfully tried to solve duality of Polish and German identities of Gdansk, by creating an independent political entity of it - Free City of Gdansk. Hitler used this compromise solution as a pretext to begin the war. The WWII began on September 1, 1939, with the German battleship firing at the Polish Army and Customs post in the Gdansk harbor.

After the WWII, Gdansk returned to Poland. The city has been heavily damaged by the Russian bombing of 1945. It took tens of years to bring it back to its former glory.

Modern history gave a special role to Gdansk - here in the shipyards, the Solidarity movement was born and the fall of communism started. Unthinkable began to happen through a revolt of simple people, their rejection of the socialist political system.

Today Gdansk is a beautiful old city, with its monuments restored, with its historical monuments rich in Polish, German and Dutch elements exposed. Source


Free pictures of cities

About friendship

Friendship is a test and preparation for marriage. Nurturing friendship we learn in this way, the meaning of words: the company, trust, devotion, fidelity. A man or a woman who doesn’t know the essence of friendship will probably not be a good husband and wife. Hence it is important to learn to be a good friend. Willingness to sacrifice (time, money, power, energy and emotion) doesn’t always come naturally. Especially when you yourself go through the care and life tests.

Friendship is usually built around common interests. Friends often combine the values, aspirations, passions and purpose - though sometimes they can be spiritually unhealthy, and friendship (completely honest) can be built on the foundations of the ungodly (for example, "Leon: The Professional"). An example of such a friendship can be found in the Bible: " Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.That day Herod and Pilate became friends - before this they had been enemies.” (Luke 23,11-12).

Friendship is a very important part of human life. Thus man's relationship with God also has a dimension of friendship. “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15,14-15). In the Bible Abraham is called the friend of God (James 2:23), the same sa the sincere (Proverbs 3:32) and all those who carry out the will of Christ.

In the context of the desires that man has he may be in friendship with God or with the "world ". James says it’s impossible to reconcile the two. " Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"" (James 4:4). Friendship with the world is not running away from him. The attitude of asceticism and closing in the walls of the church has nothing to do with true spirituality and maturity in faith. Friendship with the world is worhiping its takeover of non-biblical values and principles, habits and ways of thinking. This is flowing of current (like dead fish).

Friendship is so essential in our lives. I always engage in a friendly relationship, either it is a relationship with God, he refers to by faith (Rom 1.17; Rom 3,23-24, Eph 2:8), or with the world, which comes through lust.

Some want to be "cool" (and "trendy") and want to be friends of all (religions, philosophies, values). Provide a friendship (or love) almost all the people they meet. But the essence of friendship is that it has a few of them. I think that they can have at most a few. Not without reason that Jesus chose the twelve apostles, which could be devoted to building a close relationship with them. But of these twelve only three spent most of the time (Peter, John, James).

365 or 40 days of Lent?

When we look back in history we can see that the churches that exclude lent from the liturgical calendar do not replace it with continual atmosphere of joy. For example, the Puritans abolished lent, but also removed  Christmas and the joy associated with the celebration of Christ's incarnation. They removed from their lives other celebrations involving singing, dancing or recreation. This was not only a puritan trend. In the seventeenth century also Catholic Church in Madrid closed theaters, as well as the Protestants in London or the Orthodox in Russia.

In many churches rejecting Lent comes together with discarding the joy of Christmas. This explains why it is not about removing periods during the year, which interfere with the experience of joy. Removing the period of Lent didn't bring continuous joy of Easter, but resulted in continuous full-year leant. Churches that believe Lent in the liturgical year to be one of the greatest heresy -  really fast all year round. This is because they say it's wrong to drink alkohol, go to pubs, listen to rock music or dance any time.

We recognize the lent in the same sense and for the same reason we confess our sins at the beginning of each Sunday service. This is the time of sadness because of our sins and wickedness. But this sorrow and lamentation should not suppress the joy at the goodness of our God. After the confession of sins we receive the assurance of forgiveness.

There is proper time for both the sadness and the joy. The time before Easter is the time to discover the essence of the resurrection and the blessings of the New Life. The spirit of Lent is a part of life of the church. Figuratively speaking, if we do not wear purple and ash for 40 days we may wear them 365 days a year.

At the end a little note. What's interesting - the church fathers are not recommended to fast on Sunday (except for confession of sins), because the Lord's Day is a day of joy.

The exhibition of the gospel behind the curtain

John Calvin - following the ancient theologians - believed that the Old Testament saints were united with Christ and saved by Him (through faith which is God's gift). The Old Testament is the "exhibition" of the gospel hidden behind a curtain of symbols, images and shadows. Even if only for that reason we should have a closer look at the content, structure and symbolism.

Old Testament stories are connected with one another. For example, we will not understand the description of David's life unless we know the story of Moses. We will not understand the story of Moses if we don’t know the events of Noah's time. We will not understand Ezekiel if we don’t know what the Temple looked like. We will not understand the symbolism of the construction of the Temple without knowing what the Garden of Eden and the world were designed by  God in the first two chapters of the Bible.

Unfortunately, many Christians today do not really know what to do with the Old Testament. The liberal theology of the nineteenth century separated the New Testamnet from the Old Testament completely; Similarly, Marcion, the heretic, taught that God of the New Testament is quite different than Jehovah God of the Old Testament.

Of course, if we are Christians we should remember that we live with "every word" (Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:16) coming from God, including 39 books of the original Scriptures of the Old Testament. When we ignore the teachings of Moses, the Psalms and the prophets,  Christianity is brought to the role of an intimate, unverifiable religion, subjective feeling, something that has little to do with the real world. Such thinking has little in common with the core and essence of the Gospel.

4.18.2011

How can you help us?

Our goal is to be a self-sufficient church. Because of our young age and small congregation we are not yet capable of that. Please pray for us, our growth in maturity and in numbers and please consider supporting our ministry. If you have any questions regarding support for ministry in Gdansk (or would like to receive any additional information) please contact pastor Virgil Hurt (Providence Church, Lynchburg, VA) or me directly: bartosik7@gmail.com

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement any kind of donation! 


pastor Pawel Bartosik

4.14.2011

About me

My name is Pawel Bartosik. I am a pastor of Evangelical Reformed Church in Gdansk, where I have ministered since April 3, 2005, that is since the mother-church in Wroclaw (CREC) officially delegated me to establish the church in Gdansk.

We started with 5 people (my family and one married couple). God has blessed our ministry, so that we can see the gradual growth of the church. Since the beginning of our ministry we have cooperated with CREC - Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. Because of our church context there came out the idea of running a blog in English, especially for those interested in what I think and do as a pastor in Poland and how we function as a church.

The blog is also a space of free exchange of opinions. Please feel free to write your comments or questions to my posts. So far there is no need to log on, but please at least sign a permanent nickname.

Just two more words about me: I’m married to Jola and we have three kids: Zuzanna, Jan and Maja (English: Susan, John, Maya). We homeschool our children (which is not popular in Poland). I serve in a city of nearly 0.5 million inhabitants, situated on coast of the Baltic Sea in north Poland. This is the city where Lech Walesa the leader of Solidarity movement was born as well as the fall of communism in all Europe started. Except pastoral work (or rather in its range) I write articles for 'Reformation in Poland' magazine on a regular basis. Theses days I’m preparing my Ph.D. theses on homeschooling at the University of Gdansk. For several months I’ve also been the leader of a rock band Krotka Pilka. I sing, play the guitar, write lyrics and compose songs.

Writers: C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, D. Wilson, J.R.R. Tolkien, J. Bunyan.

Music: English: Simon and Garfunkel, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, REM, James, U2, The Cure, RATM (not lyrics J ), Santana, Lou Reed, The Clash, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, The Doors, Joy Division, Fugazi, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Polish: Kult, Armia, Brygada Kryzys, Strachy na Lachy, Raz Dwa Trzy, reggae.

Theologians: St. John Chrisostom, St. Augustine, M. Luther, J. Calvin, Ch. Spurgeon, C. Van Til, J.Owen, G. Bahnsen, R. J. Rushdoony, G. North, J. Jordan, R.C. Sproul.

Movies: Braveheart, Matrix, Gran Torino, Life is beautiful, Forrest Gump, Passion, Artificial Intelligence A.I., The Lord of the Rings, To end all wars, Star Wars, Gladiator, Minority Report, Schindler’s List, 24, Dexter.

Hobby: theology, music, literature, sport (NBA, soccer, speedway racing)

Find me and this blog on Facebook. Find also my band (Krotka Pilka) on Facebook and MySpace  :)