Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:2,3
What a year! What an unusual Advent season!
No Christmas markets, no Advent celebrations, no big celebrations with friends and relatives, no pre-Christmas skiing holidays. Instead wear masks, keep your distance and avoid meeting people.
Who would have ever thought that our life could be reduced to a minimum of activities and freedoms in such a way, and above all so suddenly? Suddenly all the habits that we have taken for granted so far fall away. For me, too, it is extremely strange when you don't meet any guests on the slopes in December when the weather and snow conditions are great, the bars and restaurants are closed and you are not allowed to go out in the evening. It's just not "normal". Normal would be full hotels, full slopes, full shops and streets filled with people shoulder to shoulder between countless market and punch stands. We are denied everything that we are actually used to. Well, you may think what you want of the various measures. The question we have to ask ourselves is not whether these are correct or not. The question should be: How do I deal with it when my life is unexpectedly reduced to the bare minimum? What is my life like when what was previously taken for granted is simply not possible at the moment? What do we really need to live a life that pleases God? Even if I personally prefer a full house, love the bustle of my life and find a certain security in the usual rhythm, it is good and possibly just in time that I let myself be reduced. Because what do I really need to lead a full, God-pleasing life?
The apostle Peter sums it up: In Jesus, our God and Lord, we have everything we need for a life that pleases Him. And when we realize this, we experience grace and peace in a time that is anything but "normal" for any of us. I would like to encourage us: Instead of protesting, rebelling against the prevailing measures or criticizing those responsible in their decisions, we may learn to allow grace and peace to prevail. Because a child was born to us, a son was given to us. The rule rests on his shoulders. It is called: wonderful advisor, strong God, eternal father, prince of peace! (Isaiah 9,6) God reduced himself to a minimum when he became human as a child in a simple manger, in a simple stable. He didn't own a house and didn't go to college. He never traveled more than 400 kilometers from his birthplace. He didn't do any of the things one normally associates with greatness. He was only 33 years old when the public turned against him. His friends ran away. He was handed down to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to the cross between two thieves. When He was dying, His judges were drawing lots for his clothes, the only possession He had on earth. When He died, He was placed in a borrowed grave through the compassion of a friend.
God needed no more and no less than his Son Jesus Christ to carry out his plan to redeem humanity. How much more does it take for us to live up to our calling? Sometimes it is good to be reduced to the bare minimum, so that we too can recognize that Jesus is all we really need to lead a life that pleases God.
May God give you more and more grace and peace.
A blessed Christmas, your Martin
from David Hines (Bible School Principal)
“Biblical hope stands for enduring tension” - this was the key message of the sermon at the graduation ceremony of this year's autumn Bible school at Tauernhof. Everyone is exposed to these tensions, at every age, in every situation. Knowing that Jesus Christ is the basis of our hope, the cornerstone on which we can build, gives us all a much-needed outlook on our very personal life situation. The younger generation in particular needs this urgent and life-changing thought in today's world.
A total of 51 students from nine different nations were here at Tauernhof from mid-September to mid-December. Unfortunately, we had to cancel some of the registered students because entry to Austria was not possible at the time due to the Corona regulations.
As everywhere else, the pandemic has forced us to rethink and restructure the usual building blocks of the Bible school, sometimes even while the school is still running. Some things we missed painfully, others, to our astonishment, brought a breath of fresh air to the Bible School and especially good for the young students.
So, for example, we unfortunately had to forego our evangelistic outreaches in the Ennstal valley and beyond that we could only have very limited contact with people outside Tauernhof. We also made our first acquaintance with online lessons, where the director of the Torchbearer Center in France taught the students live over the Internet for a week. The feedback from the students was consistently positive. Thanks go to all the teachers who were willing to adapt to the constantly changing conditions.
Of course, it was not always easy, but we were all allowed to continuously remind ourselves that every student, every employee was called to Tauernhof 'just for a time like this' (Esther 4:14 ELB). And that's exactly where the belief in God actually begins. And where people believe, miracles are experienced.
In the final week many students were able to give testimony of how they were allowed to experience God anew, how their knowledge was deepened and how they were freshly strengthened with his Holy Spirit. Many new friendships were made. Some of the young adults return to difficult life situations; Decisions have to be made. Although 12 weeks sometimes does not seem long enough, we as the Bible school team are enthusiastic about the short time we had with the students and are now praying that the seed distributed will bear rich fruit for the kingdom of God.
“Enduring tension” (as David H. writes in his Bible School Report) is pretty good when we look at the coming winter season.Nonetheless, we want to look ahead to the upcoming camps with confidence.Should the borders to Germany open, we will start our free time on January 10th.We have prepared everything necessary to offer our guests a safe, but above all relaxing and blessed time.
So as soon as the borders open and guests can travel to us without any major problems, we start. Due to the prevailing uncertainty, there are still many places available and can of course also be booked at short notice and without any financial risk, as we will reimburse the entire amount of leisure time in the event of a cancellation.
Due to the great demand, we have decided to request another edition of our Winter Sports Bible.
Since this Bible is primarily to be passed on to interested parties as a gift, Tauernhof will assume the production costs of around 5,000.We hope that through this Bible many winter sports enthusiasts in particular can become familiar with the gospel of Jesus Christ.Because this message is the power of God that saves everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Anyone who would like to participate financially in this project can do so in the form of a donation.
You can find funding for the Winter Sports Bible here