Monday, 19 March 2018

Israeli Soldiers Laid to Rest After Weekend Terror Attack

Two Young Soldiers murdered in car-ramming terror attack laid to rest

Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Israel on Saturday tearfully laid to rest Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, and Capt. Ziv Daos, 21, after a Palestinian Arab, rammed them with his vehicle a day earlier.

"I have not yet processed this and I don’t know if I can go on," said Netanel Kahalani's father, Danny, at this son's funeral. "I loved you so much, and I lost you in a second. Twenty years is nothing, but I am thankful for them."

Kahalani's mother, Naomi, added: "Netanel was a gift. I thank God for giving me this child. He had a heart of gold, a pure soul. He was an incredible child."

Daos, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain, was scheduled to be buried on Sunday afternoon.

The two were killed on Friday afternoon when 26-year-old Palestinian terrorist Ala Qabha rammed his car into a group of soldiers at a military outpost in the northern "West Bank."

Two other soldiers wounded in the attack are still hospitalized with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Family members of Cpt. Ziv Daos mourn near his coffin during his funeral in Holon on March 18, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Qabha initially claimed the incident was a mere car accident, as did his family. But he later recanted and admitted his intention to kill Israeli soldiers.

The terrorist's brother and father have since been arrested on suspicion they were party to his plans, and the family home is slated for demolition.

Israeli soldiers mourn over the fresh grave of Cpt. Ziv Daos during his funeral in Holon Cemetery on March 18, 2018. Ziv Daos was killed on Friday in a terror vehicle-ramming attack near Mevo Dothan, in the West Bank.


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Friday, 16 March 2018

Going To Church

Why Should I Go to Church?

Celebrating Together

When you decide to follow Jesus, you are not following a religion, but beginning a personal relationship with God through Christ. However, your faith isn’t just a personal thing that has no implications for connection with other people.

Scripture gives reasons why the Church, worldwide body of Christians-is important in your faith journey and here are some;

Church Was God’s Idea

God wanted to have a people for himself: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). Jesus, too, spoke of the church. He made it clear that establishing the church was one of his primary missions and that, despite opposition, nothing would stop it: “….on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

You’re Already Part of Church

In God’s family, no one is an only child. You are part of a huge multinational, multicultural, multiethnic enterprise. The metaphor often used in Scripture is that of a body. This speaks of how utterly important each member is, including you. Each Christian needs the other parts of the body-those that are totally unlike each other in order to see the full picture of who God is and to serve him effectively in this world. Check out I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 for more.

You Have Spiritual Gifts to Offer

All believers are given spiritual gifts. These gifts are intended to be used to build other believers up. Again, Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 have something to say about gifts, but also look at 1 Corinthians 14 and I Peter 4. The church should be a place to discover and develop your spiritual gifts. It can enable you to exercise your spiritual gifts through serving in different areas of mission and ministry in and through the church.

It Teaches You about Community

The Bible is filled with verses like “bear one another's burdening” and “love one another” (read John 13:34, Romans 12:16, Galatians 5:13 and Colossians 3:13 for just a few). And the church is where you can learn to live out all these “one another” verses. You were never intended to do life alone, but rather in the company of brothers and sisters. Your transformation in Christ will start showing up in your relationships with others.

Church Gives You Role Models

As you interact with people across generational lines, you’ll learn what healthy, biblically-rooted relationships look like. You can find models of vitalized marriages. You can receive kindness from an older woman who fills the void your own mom was never able to fill. You can reprogram your concept of “father” (which is important for how to relate to God, your heavenly Father) when you have healthy relationships with men of integrity and purity.

The church is Ultimately about God

Last but not least, the primary reason the church gathers is to give God the praise he deserves. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it goes: In the same way people rate restaurants for service, presentation, and taste, they sometimes come to church with a “consumer mentality.” People wind up appraising the preacher or the band, either positively or negatively. Nonetheless, you and the rest of the church are called to “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).

What about you? If you’ve started going to church, have you seen any of these six reasons become a reality in your life yet?

by Mindy Meier


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Prayer Requests

Today's Prayer Requests

Loren Miffit | Dear God, On this day may we pray for all who can not have faith in our Lord. May he let us assist them in finding the Lord through whatever means necessary. Amen

Lillian Kennedy | I am currently in the midst of transitioning jobs pray for my stability

Vera Bankston-Jones | FATHER GOD, Thank you for the rest and the guidance of Your Love!.......SELAH

Mary Rodriguez | My bf went to jail last thursday i prayed that he was safely in jail now hes on his on his way to florida over a warrant. Clay co. Florida i want to pray his sakvation. I need a home and decent job my bf cheated on me with 4 guys and does meth has gor 20 yrs. I pray we are both ckran i eas before i got qith him tgat o stay off meth and he never wants it afain after he gets out of jail. I pray fir our sqlvation and that if its Gods will we will be together and sobee when he gets out

Larry Calloway | Needing Prayer Help . Needing Prayer for this entire earth , Especially human value system greed , hatred , racism .

Dana Austin | That I can get my life straight for me and my two children, and that I follow His will to be successful in this life, for His glory.

VJ | Plz pray for money in abundance for a comfortable life

LJ  |Please pray for me to regain strength in my legs, and for being healed of Multiple sclerosis that is causing me to be weak but I pray that God with your help and petition on my behalf He will heal me from this disease in Jesus name amen. I ask for strength, and good health in Christ Jesus amen. I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart amen. Thank you and God bless you in Jesus name amen

Sadrea | Dear God, Please pray for me to have strength and courage to keep my faith in you. Thank you for giving me another day to live. Please watch over my loved one. And please just speak to me because I want to break down, but I know with you there is a way.

John starling | Prayer for strength physically mentally and emotionally and help to bring my family closer together and closer to the Lord and to help wash any demons that may be trying to push their way into our life away from us to also give us Financial strength and help us gain more wisdom in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit my health is pretty bad I'm disabled and I may need knee surgery in a couple of months please pray that that goes well and that I recover gracefully

SG | My soul is being tormented, Depression is attacking my mind and body, I need prayer for Restoration in my family

Ameer ghissing | Im alone single, strugling for my life,jobless and famililess out of from home since long time. I go to church praying all time but no feeling security please hope this time of pray ll heal me sooon.prease the lord.thank you.

peng pat | Cure for my thyroid illness

Ashley Lyons | Please pray for my husband and I to find strength in our addiction we're trying to over come. Please pray for my mental illness I've recently developed. I am cursed with this nonstop voice of a very mean negative woman who constantly tells me awful things about me and as well as my husband. I really need all my prayer warriors out there keeping us in your daily prayers. Thank you

Edias Mushayanyama |  Ipray to God to give me the means to serve his people and help to reduce poverty, hunger and disease that afflict some of his people. I have faith that with your blessings, everything is possible.

Abdul sudheer | Respected sir 2012 mom died then 2013 father died 2015 i marryd my wife 6 month pregnant baby boy born and dead.My wife's hearts 2valves leakage problem is there nearly 3 lakhs debits my life I am 37 ,now from18yrs I have been getinggg struggle s in life pls pray for a child doctors said next time pregnant danger almighty God do wonders in our life.thank u.


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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Testimony:There is Light After Darkness

The Prodigal Son Returns

“…always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” 1 Pet 3:15

Hii Tau Su with his Uncle; Clement Hii

Shared by Clement Hii on Facebook

Most large families have their misfits. We weren't particularly proud of the "career" of one of my nephews, Hii Tau Su. He was not only a well-known thug in Sibu but was also a heavy substance abuser. "Ah Soo," as he is widely known, had alienated his entire family, and once beat up his own dad. But 2 years ago, he went into rehabilitation for a few months and came out a changed man.

His turning over a new leaf is nothing short of a miracle. He became a born-again Christian and is now a full-time church worker in Miri. He tells his story at sermons, does charity and social work.

He has apologised publicly to his family, friends and foes for his past misdeeds - I told him when we recently met not to let his close ones down again. For people working on new beginnings, they should harness the phenomenal power of the people who've never given up on them.

Your Testimony - God’s Story in You

You have a story and if your story is God’s story in you, then that story is a testimony and can be a powerful witness for Jesus Christ. Sharing your story requires thought but no special training. “You are an expert on what happened to you!” And you can share your testimony anywhere with anyone and give them the “reason for the hope that is in you.”

You can share about Jesus Christ through your story - what God has done for you, what He is doing, and how you have experienced his grace and goodness in your life.

Here’s a question for you: Are you Ready to share your faith story with others and how God’s story has transformed your story?  please use the contact us form or send an email via

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Transfigurations

The Light Shines!

Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6

May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ reveal to you the transformation God is working in your life, as the Holy Spirit causes you to shine with God’s glory!

Two transfigurations?

If you looked carefully at the title of the sermon, you would have seen that the word transfiguration is plural.  You would also see the reading the sermon is based on is not the reading of Jesus transfiguration, that amazing day that stunned Peter, James, and John as Christ was transfigured, right before their eyes.

Can you imagine being there, having Jesus revealed in all of His glory?  Would you drop to the ground in awe, or would you put your foot in your mouth like Peter did?  John would speak of it later with these words,

 14  So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14 (NLT)

But this sermon is not about the transfiguration, it is about the transfigurations.  It’s not based on the Gospel according to Mark, but what we call the second letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.

It’s about the transfiguration the Holy Spirit is working on this morning, the transfiguration that is occurring to you and to me, as the glory of God is seen in our lives.

And because this is about our transfiguration, it, of course, it is about Christ being revealed to us, in all His glory as well.

What blinds you?

For the Jews in the time of Jesus and Paul, the Old Testament served as the veil which Paul describes.  Oddly enough it was voluntary at first, as people were so troubled by the glory and love of God that they couldn’t even look upon a reflection of the glory seen glowing in Moses.

They choose the veil, and they hung on to it as if seeing God, would overwhelm them.  Paul identifies that veil as the Law, the Old Covenant that allowed them to focus on all the law, on all the minutiae. On all the ways they can try to prove they are God’s choice, or on all the ways they fail and fail to see God’s mercy that is available to them.

But we have our veils as well, things that we think hide us from God, or at least His holiness, His glorious love from us.  Our veils are just as much a challenge, and we choose them and bind them about us.

The first veil is the one the Pharisees and Sadducees often wore.  It is the self-righteous we wear, that would melt away if we compared it to the glory of God.  We might consider ourselves good because we go to the best church, or because we have the better political beliefs, or because we don’t sin as blatantly as others.  We try to measure up to God’s law, well at least the commandments we haven’t overtly broken.  I mean, no one here murdered anyone this week, or committed adultery, or robbed anyone else…. Right?   ( I won’t mention “bear false witness- gossip” or “be envious of others homes, spouses, job, pets, - but I will project that on the screen!)

The other veil is self-condemnation, looking at all the rules and realizing that we can’t keep them, about living with the tears and shame that comes from hiding behind a veil, and realizing how we are wasting away in a prison of our own making. Thinking that because we can’t overcome sin and self-centeredness on our own, that this means we will never escape how it crushes us.

And we, who think we can hide behind a veil… often move from being self-righteous to being self-condemned, fluctuating day by day, sometimes far more frequent.

The veil stops us, but how can it be removed?

Only God Can And Has

It is removed when we trust in Jesus, as we depend upon Him to keep the promises made to us, about cleansing us from the sin we so hate.

This is the work of the Spirit, as we are turned to the Lord, as the Spirit takes away the veil, as Christ Jesus is revealed, and His work is made known.  As that happens, our lives are being changed,  our lives begin to reflect Christ, not as a mirror would, but something deeper.  For the Spirit begins to transfigure us, this is the same word that Mark uses in His gospel.   We are transfigured as we look to Christ, as we dwell in Him!  We begin to show His glory, as the Holy Spirit makes this happen!

We are changed for the glory of Christ didn’t just reflect from our lives, but as it made its mark there.  His glory, which we stand in awe of acts like a branding iron, forever marking us as His own people, a people who become more and more like Him. What a glorious thing!

It is why Paul says we can be bold, so assure of God welcoming us, His children, into His presence.  It is why we don’t give up, and why we strive to do things the right way, keeping this powerful word of God straight, undistorted, focused on Jesus, reveling in the fullness of His love!  It is so incredible, as Paul says, we don’t want to talk about ourselves, but rather the love of Jesus, and are willing to serve people to help them know that!

That is why Paul said we work so hard trying to reveal Jesus love to others. Hear His words again,

27  For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. Colossians 1:27 (NLT)

The assurance of sharing in His glory, the assurance of being loved by the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit!  For one with Christ, you are being changed into one who shines with His glory.  This is the transfigurations!  Rejoice and rest in His peace!  AMEN!


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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Wasted Life?

Christian, do you ever feel like your life is a waste?

16 Then He told him: “A man was giving a large banquet and invited many. 17 At the time of the banquet, he sent his •slave to tell those who were invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’
18 “But without exception v they all began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. I ask you to excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m going to try them out. I ask you to excuse me.’
20 “And another said, ‘I just got married, w x and therefore I’m unable to come.’
21 “So the slave came back and reported these things to his master. Then in anger, the master of the house told his slave, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in here the poor, maimed, blind, and lame!’
22 “ ‘Master,’ the slave said, ‘what you ordered has been done, and there’s still room.’
23 “Then the master told the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and lanes and make them come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will enjoy my banquet!’ ”   Luke 14:16-24 HCSB

The supreme and eternal Priest, Christ Jesus, since he wills to continue his witness and service also through the laity, vivifies them in this Spirit and increasingly urges them on to every good and perfect work.
For besides intimately linking them to His life and His mission, He also gives them a sharing in His priestly function of offering spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them.

Vivification.  That incredible blessing as the Holy Spirit pierces our heart with the law, and then creates life in a person, creating in them the ability to believe in God, and the ability to depend upon Him.  We talked about Justification a lot, and Sanctification some, but Vivification?  Not so much!

To put it in less technical language, Jesus brings us to life, all of us, through the work of the Holy Spirit.  The older versions of the creeds talk of being quickened, and that is what we are talking about.  We were dead in sin, and in baptism intimately linked with Jesus death, and then so united, we rise to new life again. This is how the Holy Spirit makes us born again!

Too often though, we don't encourage each other to live this new life.  We talk about being united with Jesus in life, but we too often forget we are united in His mission as well. To use the parable from Luke, we forget the importance of the party and choose instead to waste this new life away.

We come up with so many good excuses though!  I can worship God on my own, I don't have time for long prayers, or studying His word.  We don't have to do these things -because we don't earn our salvation!  We keep making the excuses, we keep telling ourselves we will get back to church later, that we will open that dust-covered Bible, that we will spend more time in prayer, and we will try to love our neighbor, and our enemy.

And with each excuse, we choose to not walk with Jesus, we choose to ignore His wonderful invitation, and we fail to see the Spirit work through us.

This isn't "do this or you won't be saved", it is "this is what salvation is", walking with God, knowing His love, ministering to others, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  It is having a life worth meaning, a life we can look back on and truly say, God was with us!"

Lord, have mercy on us, forgive us of making excuses, and help us live in everlasting life, with you!  AMEN!


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How can we be in “Fellowship” with Those in Error? (or How can we not be?)

Devotional Thought

51 When the days were coming to a close for Him to be taken up, He determined to journey to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead of Him, and on the way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for Him. 53 But they did not welcome Him, because He determined to journey to Jerusalem.54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.  Luke 9:51-56

2  Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4  For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6  and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT)

15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter.14* For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour.15* They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities

But as the words of this decree show, the apostles did not want to impose an ordinance on the churches. For they say that no one should mind if his brethren do not correctly compute the time in celebrating Easter. The text of the decree is preserved in Epiphanius: “Do not calculate, but whenever your brethren of the circumcision do, celebrate it at the same time with them; even if they have made a mistake, do not let this bother you.”....  44 The apostles wisely admonished the reader neither to destroy evangelical liberty nor to impose a necessity upon consciences, since they tell him not to be bothered even if there has been a mistake in the calculations.

I have had to walk a few people through the same question in the last few weeks and to be honest, I have struggled with it as well.

If they are in error, do we separate ourselves from them (i.e. kick them out)?  Or who are we "in fellowship" with, and how much should that concern us.  For that matter, is fellowship something that is able to be constrained within a man-made,, man-defined organization?

And into that equation today is thrown a few more things to consider.  Two scripture passages, a quote from Vatican Council II's Lumen Gentium, and a quote from the Lutheran Confessions.

All point to something we need to remember, fellowship is defined by God, as being united, first and foremost with God.  There is only one church, one body of Christ.  Paul is explicit in the quote from Ephesians, as he is in First Corinthians.  We are united to Christ, that is what defines us as the ecclesia, those called, those drawn into Jesus, and united to Him at the cross.

That's why the Roman Catholic Council notes that there are many ways we are linked, including in our baptism, that we are honored by being called Christian. Even though we don't agree with all they profess, and we don't recognize the Pope as the successor of Peter.   That's why the Lutheran Confessions clearly point out a time when the church chose unity over what had been declared doctrine, and praise and encourage loving our brothers enough to celebrate God's grace, even if they are mistaken about the day and date.

Can we be comfortable with error?  Is there a point where the links are no more, where what binds us together is severed?  I suppose that if what bound someone to Jesus were severed, then the link between would be cut as well.  But the work of the church, even then, is to reconcile the one severed from Christ because of sin back to Christ.  There is still a link there, just as there was with the prodigal, though the prodigal didn't know it.

And the Lutheran Confessions make it clear, there are some errors that seem extreme at the time, (i.e. food offered to idols, the dating and celebration of Easter, even the use of the spiritual gifts i  1 Cor. 14) that should not divide us, but that we can overlook those minor errors for the sake of the church, His church.

This means in the caring process, we may not commune together for a season, but it doesn't stop us from praying for them and with them, it doesn't stop us from talking, it doesn't stop us from having the goal of being united in Christ Jesus.  Of making every effort to be united in the Spirit.  These times, where discipline is broken, where unity is hindered, the goal is still that unity, unity found in the grace and forgiveness and restoration that is the reason Jesus came in the first place.

So next time you look to win the argument, consider whether winning gives you the idea that you are the better or the more orthodox or Biblical believer...and consider whether your actions are conciliatory, or divisive.....

And then, do what builds up the body of Jesus....


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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Question of Repentance

Devotional Thought

7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What then should we do?” s the crowds were asking him.
11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts t must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.”
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.”
14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?”
He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”   Luke 3:7-14  HCSB

36  “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” 37  Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Acts 2:36-37 (NLT)

A lot of things recently have brought about discussions about repentance, what it is, how it is gone about, what kinds of things are involved, and most importantly, who is active,  I've written about those things before, especially how repentance, like faith is something the Holy Spirit gives us. ALso how repentance is a transformation far more than it is feeling grief or a decision to follow God!

But as repentance is seen, there is always a question that comes up, the question seen in my first reading above. (and in the second as well)

John the Baptist tells them to live a life that produces fruit consistent with repentance,

And hearts, just starting ot living in this transformation ask, "What should we do?"   It's the same question the Jewish people asked when they learned they crucified the Messiah, the one God sent to establish a time of rest and peace for them.

What should we do?  You could add, "now?" to the end of the question.

Repentance, as we are granted it, as our lives are starting to transform, leaves us a bit, befuddled. lost, and confused.  We are a new creation and this re-birth and renewal given as God cleanses us is about as confusing as a kid from Nebraska being dropped off in Hollywood on a Saturday night.

And so the people, crowds, tax collectors, soldiers, were given some basic ideas.  Not all-encompassing ideas, bot a complete set of laws to follow.  But examples.  Examples that are consistent with a transformed heart, a heart that is capable of living for others, of loving and caring for them.

Think of John's advice as the training wheels of the Christian life, the life of the repentant, the baptized.  There is much more to living a life transformed, but these bits of advice from John gets the wheels spinning and our moving with the Holy Spirit's guidance and power.

Do things that don't serve your self-interest, don't be pre-occupied with proving your own righteousness.  Do things that are loving.  And when you find you aren't.... pray, and confess and know that God is with you!  He came to save you!  He is your messiah, your Lord, your life.

The answer to the question of repentance, of what we do is always going to be the same - in Christ, love those you encounter.

Lord have mercy on us, give us the strength and desire to see you transforming the lives we live!  AMEN!


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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia

Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo on Monday. (AFP)

CAIRO: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.
Chatting with Egyptian press following the visit the head with the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.

“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia. 
Both men stepped together through St Mark's Cathedral, in regards to what Egypt’s state news agency termed the very first tour of this type.

The visit came on the following day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s trip to Egypt - his first international visit since he has become heir to the throne.
Having a lively day, Prince Mohammed also went to Al-Azhar University, visited an area of the Suez Canal and observed a performance at the Cairo Opera House.

The beginning of the visit was marked by a combination of deals and agreements associated with investment funds and projects.

However, in addition to the vital economic agreements, the Crown Prince held significant and symbolic meetings with Egypt’s spiritual leaders.
Additionally, he met Egypt's top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the top seat of learning in Sunni Islam.

Earlier, the prince toured some of the infrastructure projects that Egypt has pushed through since El-Sisi came to power after the tumultuous years aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In Ismailia, both of them leaders went through one of several brand-new tunnels being built beneath the Suez canal. Then they boarded a boat with a red-carpeted dock as an army band played marching music, to watch the newest portion of the Suez Canal, AP reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo. (AFP)
He afterwards cut the ribbon in a ceremony to inaugurate a nearby army-built resort.
The two countries agreed late on Sunday to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas of Egypt linked to the Neom project, a planned $500 billion megacity, unveiled by Prince Mohammed last year.

The Saudi Press Agency said there was “wide potential … through cooperation opportunities between the Suez Canal economic zone and Saudi Arabia's Neom future-project on the Red Sea coast.”
In the evening, El-Sisi and Prince Mohammed attended a performance of "Salem nafsak" (Surrender Yourself) at the Cairo Opera House.

The play, which was created by students, sheds light on social problems of the modern era including the impact of social media, incitement to terrorism and violence against women.
Ismail Mokhtar, head of the government’s Artistic Theatre House, said the attendance of El-Sisi and the Crown Prince was an important gesture of support for the young actors and Egyptian theatre in general.

To be a symbol of the significance afforded to the visit, images of the Egyptian president, Prince Mohammed and Saudi King Salman appear to have been posted throughout the city.
"Welcome to your second country," said one; another read "Saudi and Egypt are one hand, one nation."


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Monday, 5 March 2018

Ministry of the Average Christian

Can We Recognize the Ministry of the Average Christian? (and help them accomplish it?)

The church, is always in the midst of a storm... but safe in Him

11  And to some, his ‘gift' was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; 12  to knit God's holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, 13  until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. Ephesians 4:11-13 (NJB)

Hence the highest office is that of the ministry of the Word, with which all other offices are also conferred at the same time. Every other public office in the church is part of the ministry of the Word or an auxiliary office that supports the ministry, whether it be the elders who do not labor in the Word and doctrine (1 Tim. 5:17) or the rulers (Rom. 12:8) or the deacons (the office of service in a narrow sense) or whatever other offices the church may entrust to particular persons for special administration. Therefore, the offices of Christian day school teachers, almoners, sextons, precentors at public worship, and others are all to be regarded as ecclesiastical and sacred, for they take over a part of the one ministry of the Word and support the pastoral office.[1]  (Italics mine)

Everything that has been said above concerning the People of God is intended for the laity, religious and clergy alike. But there are certain things which pertain in a special way to the laity, both men and women, by reason of their condition and mission. Due to the special circumstances of our time the foundations of this doctrine must be more thoroughly examined. For their pastors know how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. They also know that they were not ordained by Christ to take upon themselves alone the entire salvific mission of the Church toward the world. On the contrary they understand that it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind.  (Italics mine)

Thirteen years ago, I was installed as the pastor of a Lutheran Church for the first time.  I had served those people for well over a year as a vicar, (basically a student pastor) while going through a time of transition.  I was glad for the 30 months or so of transition, it gave me a chance to work through the differences in theology and the difference in practical ministry.

There were two sermons were given that day, one directed toward me, another directed to me and the people of Shepherd of the Valley.  The latter, given by Greg Seltz was basically about the unity of pastor in people.  A unity that is found in our baptism, a unity that is seen in our mission, our apostolate.  It is not pastor over people or people over the pastor, but pastor and people.  It was a great sermon, and something we need to understand in every congregation, in every parish!

We don't always get this correct.  Many people think the pastor is the evangelist, the only one that works in what the quote from Vatican II calls the salvific mission of the Church.  Pastors don't save anyone, neither does the average person, but they are saved by Christ, through the work of the Church.

We both have roles, even as Walther writes in Church and Ministry ( an incredible nook from the early days of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod).  He says they are to be recognized as ecclesiastical and sacred, as part of the ministry of the Word, supporting the pastoral office.

Yet there are clergy and laity in both the Roman Catholic Church and in Lutheran churches that don't understand this.  They don't get that the ministry is God's, entrusted to the entire church together.  It is our mutual responsibility, to reveal to the world the Love of God, and God's desire to reconcile all to Him.   Each has their own role, each has their own God-given place in this ministry.

Such a responsibility isn't to be hoarded like Gollum's precious ring or relegated to the pastor/priest alone, to provide a convenient scapegoat when the church shrinks.  Nor is this responsibility a duty, with checklists and deadlines.  It is best done, when all, so in awe of God's love, work naturally, sharing it with those around them, and then bring them into the family of God.    Serving together, ministering together, we see the world turned upside down, amazed not just at our love for each other, but the love of God that pours through us, to them.

We, the church, pastor, and people, are here for the world. To reveal to them the greatest treasure, the greatest of blessings, which brings the news of the greatest love, and the greatest of peace.

It is time again, to work as the church, the people of God.

Lord, have mercy on us and help us be your body, reaching out to the world.  AMEN!


Click here to join our Global non-denominational online community and engage in bible discussions, ask questions, studies, prayer support, engage in the civil debate of Christian doctrines from the scriptures and friendly fellowship.

[1]Walther, C. Church and Ministry : Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Question of the Church and the Ministry. electronic ed. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1987.

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