Berlin glitters with a festive Advent season. Concerts, arts and crafts, carefully decorated booths and sweet delicacies put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Among the more that 50 Christmas markets in Berlin, we find Dan and Krista Trepod. (Dan’s not a fan of the mulled wine.)
The Trepod’s are leading a STINT team of six pioneering the campus ministry in Berlin. There were once a thriving campus ministry for decades of campus ministry but this is no longer true today. Berlin is known today as a 'wasteland for missionaries'. Speaking of this moniker Krista says, “One thing I know for sure is that each member of our team would be a LOT slower to say ‘Germany is such hard soil.’ Actually, we have not found that to be true. Almost daily we get into conversations where people are genuinely searching and asking questions and thinking deeply.
Krista writes, "We share our faith pretty much daily on campus and in the Mensa. We have had the opportunity of sharing the gospel more than 125 times in the first three months in Berlin. Our team is currently meeting on a regular basis with 6+ believers and 30+ non-believers. We've launched a women's bible study, and have had 4 parties where we invite all of our friends. Most recently we had a Christmas cookie baking and eating party where 20 people came (15 of which were nonbelievers) and all heard the 'true meaning of Christmas.' "
"It has been very encouraging", Krista says. "We all love it here. We love Berlin and each other and doing ministry in such an influential city and country! It is not a wasteland."
The town that experienced the first festive advent season was Bethlehem. (At least festive to Mary, Joseph, some certain poor shepherds and later some guys bearing strange gifts.) One of those minor prophets Micah foretold of the birth of a ruler in small Bethlehem Ephrathah. Of this ruler, this Messiah, this babe Micah wrote, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
Jesus stands and shepherds us, his flock. He shepherds in the strength of the Lord and in the majesty of his name.
The strength of the Lord. Jesus was conceived when the power of the Holy Spirit came over His mother. Power, Dunamis in Greek the root of words like dynamite. Yet this glorious event was not of a destructive power, it was a power of life - a God becoming man life. This same power the Father used to raise Christ from the dead. This same life-giving power dwells in you and me as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. This is the power that enables us to shepherd as Jesus does. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing.
The majesty of His name. The angel told Joseph that God’s son was to be called Jesus because He would save His people. Jesus means ‘the Lord saves’ or ‘the One who saves’. He would also be called Immanuel, “God with us”. It is because He is the God that saves that He can be God with us. We are entrusted to shepherd His flock and we are given the majesty of His name. At this name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord; this name is a promise of His abiding presence in a harvest field and not a wasteland.
“Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago. ‘As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.’ Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power… they will turn in fear to the LORD our God.” - Micah 7:14-17