Christ the Savior

I’m back from my 30,000 mile journey to and through Russia. 30,000 miles in 13 days. I was in motion most of the time. Three nights on planes, one night on a train and one night stuck in an airport. It was a good trip. Word of Life TV is now carried daily throughout Russia and this has given me tremendous open doors all over the country. I ministered in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Khabarovsk and Ulan Ude. I’ll post some pictures at the end of the blog, but here is my e-sermon for today.

Christ the Savior

We ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. -John 4:42

During our time in Russia we were in Moscow on four different occasions. On the third time we had a few hours between ministering in a church and a flight to Ulan Ude. Our hosts hired a guide to take us to the airport so that we could see a few more sights and gain some historical knowledge from someone thoroughly versed in the history of Moscow. This is when I heard the story of Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Construction of the original Cathedral began in 1839 and was completed over a period of 40 years. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Vladimir Lenin sought to implement the Communist ideology of Karl Marx. One of the primary tenets of Marxism is that there is no reality other than material reality and thus all spirituality is a fiction. But the irony is that Communism is itself a religion — a religion which replaces God with the State. In 1931, in a highly symbolic act of destruction, Joseph Stalin ordered the destruction of Christ the Savior Cathedral. On December 5, 1931, Christ the Savior Cathedral was dynamited and reduced to ruins.

Stalin’s plan was to replace Christ the Savior Cathedral with the Palace of the Soviets. This new “temple” was intended to become the tallest structure in the world, eclipsing the Empire State Building in New York, but the foundations turned out to be too unstable to support this new tower of Babel. What a powerful metaphor! The site was eventually turned into a swimming pool(!).

Of course, not only were the foundations of Stalin’s intended Palace of the Soviets unstable, but the foundations of Marxism itself were unstable. And after barely seventy years, Soviet Communism collapsed.

In 1995 construction of the new Christ the Savior Cathedral was begun and completed in 2000.

Today Christ the Savior Cathedral presides over Moscow as powerful testimony to the truth of the Gospel.

Jesus is Christ the Savior! Jesus is Lord!

Peri and me in front of Christ the Savior Cathedral.

An interesting side note: Many of you know that after the death of Lenin, Lenin’s body was preserved in the Lenin Mausoleum at Red Square. The Communists adopted the saying, Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin lives forever. A pretty lame attempt to mimic the resurrection of Christ. The truth is Lenin is dead. To make the claim Lenin lives, Lenin has to do what Jesus did and get up and walk out of his mausoleum! Jesus walked our of His tomb after three days. Lenin has been in his tomb for 83 years.

There is a movement in Russia right now to remove Lenin’s body from Red Square and bury it. In St. Petersburg I met a pastor who is organizing a rally at Red Square scheduled for July 7 (7-7-7) in which thousands of Christians will assemble for prayer with their backs turned to the Lenin Mausoleum. The removal of Lenin’s body from Red Square would be a powerful symbolic gesture and spiritual act akin to the removal of the idolatrous high places in ancient Israel.

Now some photos from the trip.

1. Conference in Khabarovsk

2. Some of the Khabarovsk crowd

3. With my interpreter and good friend Dmitri “Paul” Poliakoff.

4. Preaching

5. The Khabarovsk worship team

6. The conference speakers in Khabarovsk
L-R: Yuri (the host pastor), BZ, Sergei (a well-known Russian evangelist), Dmitri.

7. In front of some ice sculptures in Khabarovsk.

8. After spending all night in a Moscow airport
Along with Dmitri and me is my good friend of 17 years, Igor “Nikki” Nikitin. Igor is the Senior Bishop of the Association of Russian Churches with 600 churches across Russia. He is also the president of Trinity Television and the reason I am on TV across Russia.

9. Preaching in the Ulan Ude conference

10. Peri, Paul and me with the host pastor and his wife in Ulan Ude
The pastor and his wife are wonderful couple who converted to Christ from atheism just eight years ago.

11. BZ bootleg
I found this in the pastor’s study in Ulan Ude. He tapes my messages from the television.

12. Peri and me with Genghis Khan
Ulan Ude, on the Mongolian border, is the land Genghis Khan. His image is everywhere.

13. Visiting a Siberian village
Yes, it was cold.

14. My Russian voice
At the television studios in St. Petersburg I met the man who does my Russian voiceover for the television program. I have a way better voice in Russian than I do in English.


Today I am four dozen. I don’t feel a day older than three dozen.