It is very hard to find a Protestant church in Croatia. Our Dubrovnik search on Google Chrome, Google Maps, and Facebook only yielded one hit. We met under Scooby’s Pet Shop at 6pm.
Our greeter and translator Daniel told us that there are less than 10,000 Protestants in the entire country.
Musician and worship leader Peter told us that there are two congregations in Dubrovnik: Baptist and Pentecostal. He is from Slavonia (not Slovenia) which is in northern Croatia and is much calmer than Dubrovnik.
There was a congregation of about 25, and 5 of us were visitors from USA, Japan and Ireland. They were very happy to have us and acknowledged that this is what it will be like in heaven. Get used to it.
The couple from Ireland are on their honeymoon. The groom said that his brother had spent his honeymoon in Dubrovnik seven years ago and had also come to this church during HIS honeymoon! What a tradition!!
Meditation: Romans 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
We bring the sacrifice of praise. When we come before the Lord in praise and song, it is out of assurance of His love.
Sacrifice is giving something up in exchange for something else.
In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was dead and had been slaughtered. The New Testament asks for something greater yet remains a sacrifice. It is called a living sacrifice. It is alive.
The dead cannot affect anything. A living person sacrifices himself willingly, yet it is costly. However, one will receive something greater than the sacrifice.
One doesn’t have to offer a sacrifice as required in the Old Testament. Jesus has done the complete and required sacrifice.
Don’t ever forget God’s love and mercy toward you. AMEN
The guitar players and harmonious singing was beautiful.
We sang this familiar song in Croatian on the slide below:
“Lord, reign in me, reign in Your power
Over all my dreams, in my darkest hour
‘Cause You are the Lord of all I am
So won’t You reign in me again!”
The pastor said that they have a tradition that they greet you in the name of the church from that you are visiting. That’s Biblical.
Sermon: Luke 7:36-50
There are three people in this Bible passage: Simon, Jesus, and a nameless woman.
- High Society
- Pharisee-powerful Jewish sect
- Wanted to have the most popular rabbi in his house
- Had a big house
In that day, when you hosted a feast, all are invited. (That is like our churches today.) When you had a feast, you couldn’t control who came. Some you wanted; others you didn’t.
Every feast has a guest of honor that is welcomed in a special way. When he arrives, the honored guest is kissed, washed, and annointed. Simon didn’t extend this hospitality to Jesus.
Why did Simon invite Jesus? He was not a follower. He was not an enemy either. Jesus was a celebrity.
What about us today? Are we here in church to hear some thing new?
Simon’s thoughts were critical and doubtful of Jesus. Jesus knew the mind of Simon. Jesus had his own way of confronting him.
Jesus tells the parable of two debtors. (Everyone can relate to debt.) There were two people with debt. One debt is small, the other is large. Both debts are forgiven. Who is happier, more thankful and loves the moneylender more? The one with greater debt.
After Simon gave the correct answer, only then does Jesus confront him as host. He brought his doubts to the forefront.
- Public sinner
- Bad reputation
- Used expensive perfume-one year of pay
- Washed dirty feet
- Hair undone
- Used hair to dry feet
In that day, showing hair in public was shameful.
She shows love to Jesus as total commitment. She didn’t care what others thought. Jesus was the most important thing. She came to find peace, love and acceptance. She was treated as a person.
Simon spoke; she didn’t say a word. She greeted Jesus as the host should; Simon did not. Their roles were reversed. How do we welcome Jesus?
Who is this Jesus? When we encounter Jesus, we must decide.
Pharaisees thought that Jesus was prophet but questioned this since He did not seem to know about this woman and her sin.
Pharaisees were shocked that He forgave her sins.
Who is Jesus to Luke, a gospel writer? Luke tells us that Jesus is the Savior of the world. He is looking for the lost. He is good. Jesus is always on the side of the weak, poor, and shackled.
Who is Jesus for you and for me?
When I heard your call, I didn’t think. I just answered. I was blind but now I see.
Jesus told the woman, “Your faith has saved you.” Only faith in Jesus saves you.
If we love someone, we trust them. If we trust them, we love them. We are at peace with God. That is the blessing.
Have we recognized our sinfulness? We have no status with God. He saved us and gave us a new life. Only Christ can give you peace. We have no where else to go.
Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:23-28
We take communion to be reminded how we can have peace with God. Jesus is Lord and we have no other. It doesn’t matter what others say or do or are.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9