Thursday, 6 December 2018

Not of the world, though in the world


My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. -John 17:15-16

How are God’s people supposed to engage the broader culture around them? There is much confusion about the topic of cultural engagement. Whereas some Christians choose to ignore culture, others rail against it. And others are seduced by it.

The Bible calls us to engage the broader society while retaining a distinctive Christian identity and purpose. We need to think deeply and clearly about what it means to engage secular, pluralistic culture, especially in our work.

Many Christians are confused about how and to what extent they should engage the world. For this reason, discussing cultural engagement requires humility and submission to God. We need to realize that if we do not think carefully about how to engage the culture, we may succumb to the ways of the culture that are not pleasing to God when we decide to engage it. Pastor and theologian Tim Keller explain:

“The reality is that if the church does not think much about culture - about what parts are good, bad, or indifferent according to the Bible - its members will begin to uncritically imbibe the values of the culture. They will become assimilated to culture, despite intentions to the contrary. Culture is complex, subtle, and inescapable…. And if we are not deliberately thinking about our culture, we will simply be conformed to it without ever knowing it is happening.”

Keller then reviews four different models of cultural engagement:


-Being relevant to the culture to live winsomely (joyfully)
-Transforming culture into the decrees of Christ when possible
-Living counter-culturally to shine the light of Christ
-Recognizing that there are two kingdoms- the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God

According to Keller, each of these four Christian approaches to cultural engagement can help us discern how to engage the world in a fruitful and faithful way. There is not one uniform approach that should dictate how a Christian engages the world. Rather, there is a need for significant spiritual discernment in the difficult balance of being in the world, but not of it.

Every day we are faced with decisions about how we should engage the world in our work. For example, many of us have to make decisions about which clients to take on, whose lead to follow and what causes to stand for. And our decision-making inevitably entails all sorts of trade-offs, compromises and ambiguity. We often find ourselves living and working in gray areas, questioning how intentional or effective we are with respect to engaging the world distinctly as Christian.

How do we know where we can and should be flexible for the sake of a greater good? How far is too far before we lose our distinctiveness as Christians? The answers to questions like these will need to be considered case by case, with the wisdom of Scripture and other Christians. But the four approaches provided by Keller above are a good starting point. We must realize, with humility, that different situations require different approaches. Nevertheless, as Christ’s disciples we are called to engage the world so that we might win some to Christ and see his kingdom advance on earth.

How can you engage culture distinctly as a Christian in your day-to-day life?




Cred: Bible Connection News

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Prayer Requests

Today's Prayer Requests


VERA BANKSTON-JONES | Father God, You saved me again, me seeing You got something for me to do! Keep me, Lord safe!.......SELAH

Margie Chance | please pray for my son Merle who is dying from cancer he has bone cancer and leukaemia and is in a lot of pain the blood they give him does not seem to be helping any more thank u

VJ | plz  pray for me a financial miracle in my life 

TINA | Please pray for understanding and wisdom, due to which there is a problem for me at the workplace. I face a lot of criticism due to my lack of understanding regarding work. Please need assistance with prayer very desperately, I don't know how long I can tolerate this

Danny | in need of prayer my life is haywire right now every time I get 2steps ahead I get pushed 3 steps backwards wife is better now her mom is in rehab for a crack in her back love them to death so pray for good health and wealth and good times

MB | May God help me find a job with a financial stability in Jesus name!!

John Prasad. | PRAISE THE LORD  I thank God for this wonderful opportunity to share my testimony. I greet you in the name of the lord and saviour Jesus Christ.  I am Pastor from India. My name G.John Prasad. My wife name Param Jyothi. I have Three Children, two sons and one daughter 1. Brenham Kumar 2.Enosh Kumar 3.Blessy Angel  My sons they are going to Study Bible College. My daughter is studying 8th Standard.  I am doing ministry in a good manner in India at Gorripudi Village. Full name of my Church, JESUS PRAYER TOWER CHURCH CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION.  Our family is in full-time ministry since 11 years. We are doing Church ministry,   Not only church ministry, but also We are doing Social activities. That means 1. Mainly...  By proclaiming the Word of God We are giving Salvation for those who are walking under the Darkness in this World. By listening that preachings and sermons, we got 290 souls at in this few years. 2. We are keeping eye camp twice in a year and providing treatments for old age people and eyes operations for many people. *As well as we are keeping medical camps once in a month. 3. And we are helping the poor and needy people. 4. We took care of the needs of orphans, Widows and handicaps. 5. At every Christmas vacations, we are inviting the leprosy people and handicap people. 

Alex | This is my prayer request, 1. Prayers for work, 2. Health,3.Financial and Protection for my families. Have a Blessed Weekend

Sandra Thompson. ||I have been blindsided by my husband of 25years.   He has announced he is having an affair and is no longer "in love " with me.  But he loves me.  I have followed him all through his military career but now he wants to throw me away like garbage. I  love him more today than I did 25yeays ago when we were married. I am asking for prayers that he will talk to me and give counselling a chance.  I am willing to do almost anything to work this out.  Thank you,



Saturday, 1 December 2018

Why Should I Go to Church?

Prayer Team

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 six reasons why the Church—the worldwide body of Christians—is important in your faith journey.



1. 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).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. It Teaches You about Community


The Bible is filled with verses like “bear one another’s burdens” 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor 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

Original Source Link

Finnish Christian missionaries held in Malaysia return home

Christian Finns deported from Malaysia


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Four Finnish tourists who were arrested in Malaysia last week for distributing Christian materials in public places on a resort island returned to Finland on Wednesday according to AP News

Timo Valtonen held up a pen — similar to ones inscribed with Bible verses that were seized in Malaysia — as he and three others were greeted by supporters at Helsinki’s Vanta airport.

They were detained last week in Langkawi and investigated for allegedly causing disharmony and violating their visa status. Police seized 47 pens and 336 notebooks containing Bible texts. They were deported Tuesday.

Proselytizing of Muslims by members of other religions is forbidden in Malaysia, although the reverse is allowed. Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia’s 31 million people, are also not legally permitted to change religion.

Spokesman and group leader Timo Valtonen, centre, holds up a pen as he makes a statement to the press upon his arrival, with three other Finns after being deported from Malaysia, at the airport in Vantaa, Finland, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Four Finnish tourists who were arrested in Malaysia last week for distributing Christian materials in public places on a resort island have returned to Finland. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP)


The four — two men and two women aged between 27 and 60 — were deported on Tuesday, 27 November, AP said.

District Police Chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim told the media the arrests were made following complaints by the public. Since the arrival of the Finns on 18 November at least three reports regarding their activities had been filed, he said, according to Free Malaysia Today.



Friday, 30 November 2018

Will I Lose My Individuality as a Christian?


It is easy to picture my InterVarsity community as my personal gang. Colin—one of our chapter leader and hip-hop director of our school’s radio station—can throw down a mean rhyme on a moment’s notice, so I think that alone makes it a pretty good analogy for us. Our little gang has its own lingo, inside jokes, and knowledge that new Christians don’t have.

I should know. When I first joined our InterVarsity chapter, I understood about 80 percent of what the other students were saying...and I come from a Christian background. There were phrases thrown about that made me a little nervous, threw me off a bit.

So, I’m not surprised when I hear new Christians are concerned about losing their individuality in terms of how they talk, look, and act once they start following Jesus.

Jaime CastaƱer, InterVarsity Campus Staff at Ramapo College, said part of this misconception about losing our individuality comes from the language we use inside our Christian communities.

Phrases like being “born again” and “giving everything up” can seem intimidating, especially to someone new to faith.

“When we hear ‘giving everything up,’ we get this idea of losing all we have. Sort of like being in this desert, abandoned, where there is nothing around us,” Jaime said. “I rather see coming to Christ as a reorientation of our lives, rather than giving everything up. A refocusing of our life path.”

As someone who once heard this lingo and was a bit freaked out, I want to share what I’ve since found in my journey with Christ.

First off, I have not lost my sense of self. Sure, I have changed. A bit more patience, a bit more care in how I treat others. But I am still myself. I still love Diet Coke. I still nap way too much. And I’m still as determined and stubborn as I was before I started to follow Christ.

I think Jaime put it best when he said, “When you strive to be the best of who God made you to be, you discover your individuality.”

I can attest to that. After spending time in Christian community, I’ve learned my weaknesses and my strengths. I’ve learned what I need to work on, and with God’s help, I’m working to become who he wants me to be. At the same time, community has emphasized my strengths. God has given me a passion for writing, so I write blog posts like these and am part of a Christian-journalists group. I like storytelling, so I share other people’s testimonies and my own with my non-Christian friends.

God is the one who made us. He is the one who gifted us with strengths and weaknesses so we can improve every single day as human beings.

Psalm 139:14-16 explains it in a way I can’t:

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Each of us was fearfully and wonderfully made. Why would God waste all that effort only for us to become mindless zombies? God loves our individuality because he is the one who gave it to us.

by Emily Brown

Original Source Link

Vanity

Today's Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1 (KJV)


Ecclesiastes 1 (KJV)
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Scripture Meaning


Solomon shows that all human things are vain. (1-3) Man's toil and want of satisfaction. (4-8) There is nothing new. (9-11) The vexation in pursuit of knowledge. (12-18)

Verses 1-3
Much is to be learned by comparing one part of Scripture with another. We here behold Solomon returning from the broken and empty cisterns of the world, to the Fountain of living water; recording his own folly and shame, the bitterness of his disappointment, and the lessons he had learned. Those that have taken warning to turn and live, should warn others not to go on and die. He does not merely say all things are vain, but that they are vanity. VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS VANITY.
This is the text of the preacher's sermon, of which in this book he never loses sight. If this world, in its present state, were all, it would not be worth living for; and the wealth and pleasure of this world, if we had ever so much, are not enough to make us happy. What profit has a man of all his labour? All he gets by it will not supply the wants of the soul, nor satisfy its desires; will not atone for the sins of the soul, nor hinder the loss of it: what profit will the wealth of the world be to the soul in death, in judgment, or in the everlasting state?

Verses 4-8 
All things change, and never rest. Man, after all his labour, is no nearer finding rest than the sun, the wind, or the current of the river. His soul will find no rest, if he has it not from God. The senses are soon tired, yet still craving what is untried.

Verses 9-11
Men's hearts and their corruptions are the same now as in former times; their desires, and pursuits, and complaints, still the same. This should take us from expecting happiness in the creature, and quicken us to seek eternal blessings. How many things and persons in Solomon's day were thought very great, yet there is no remembrance of them now!

Verses 12-18
Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh, but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his spirit.
He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin

Scripture Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 1.
In our text today we look at this book which means "the Preacher" as the wisdom of God preaches to us that all earthy things are futile. In making application we see that many spend all their time on earth attempting to gain the worlds riches, or knowledge, or pleasures when the truth is that there is no satisfaction in gaining these earthly treasures.

Today we see that the wealthy and self indulgent are among the most miserable folks on the planet. They have learned what our text proclaims that "things" do not make a person happy. How about you? Do you see that "things" do not bring happiness? Let us learn from our text today to see attain worldly things are vanity compared to the riches of knowing our Lord.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Persevere in Doing Good for our Nation

Day 40 (15 September 2018, Saturday)


Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

To succeed in its mission despite the mounting challenges, the Church must persevere on in doing good for the nation – to seek righteousness, justice and mercy; to bring the good news to all the people in this land.  We are called to press on.

Make no mistake, this is a long-term endeavour such as in running a marathon or a long distance relay.  It will need many hands to join together and it will take more than one generation to see its fruit and that is why the Church must continuously engage each generation’s young people so that hope and the mission is passed on and taken up anew.

“Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  “For in this case the saying is true, “One sow and another reaps.  “I sent you to reap that for which you have not laboured; others have laboured and you have entered into their labour.” (John 4:36-38)

As we conclude another season of fast and prayer, let the words of Paul strengthen our hands and reassure our hearts to what God is doing through His people in our nation.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)



Pray for the Church of Sarawak

Mission Empowered by the Spirit of God

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

A Kingdom Oriented People

Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.


Bible Reading:        1 & 2 Peter                    Ezra 9 – 10



SOURCES


Hope that Gives

Preface for Day 36 - 40:  Harvest and Mission 


By sending off workers to the harvest fields

The Lord of the harvest is building His Bride who will unconditionally to enhance the work of the Kingdom/global missions.

Focusing on East Malaysia (Sarawak)

Sarawak:  2,354,048 (Ethnic Groups:  Iban 30.3%; Malay: 24%; Bidayuh: 8.4%; Malanau: 5.2 %; Other Bumiputera: 6.6%; Chinese: 24.5%; Indian: 0.3%; Others: 0.7%).  Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia.  It is known as “The Land of Hornbills” for it is the home of a vast number of hornbills, and Sungai Rejang (590km) is the longest river in Malaysia.  The state capital, fondly known a Kuching, “Cat City”, is located on the banks of the wide Sarawak River.

James Brooke was the first “white rajah” who ruled Sarawak from 1841, and the legacy of the Brooke Dynasty and the British can be seen today through many colonial buildings in Kuching.  Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia were Christianity is the major religion (44%), followed by Islam (30%) and Chinese (24.5%).  The Christians in Sarawak are mainly Ibanese, Chinese, Bidayuh, Lumbawang, Kelabit and Other Bumiputeras.

Focusing on praying and implementing mission work on the Great Commission


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SOURCES




Friday, 14 September 2018

Church Exists for Its Non-members

Day 39 (14 September 2018, Friday)


Acts 13:2 – 3 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Then after fasting and praying

Although hope can be fragile and elusive, hope is also a resilient and inexplicably tangible commodity.  Hope drives us on, often when it is in the direst of times.  It motivates us to do the best.  It energises us to turn visions into reality.  In whatever circumstances, hope in the coming Kingdom of God should galvanise Christians to extend his love to a lost and hurting world.

Beyond the Biblical accounts, godly Christians through the ages have acted boldly when faced with dwindling hope.  They persevered on and some paid the ultimate price – Dietrich Bonhoeffer when speaking the truth in the face of Hitler and the Nazification of German society and the German Church; Martin Luther King Jr. in confronting institutionalised racism in the so-called ‘Christian’ nation of America.

Today in our country, the hope to heal a nation that is increasingly fractured by racial, religious and economic differences is steadily bringing the Church together to pray, network, collaborate and partner in a whole range of ministries that build bridges, defend the truth, protect the weak and empower the poor.  There is still much room for improvement and greater inclusion but is it crucial for the Church to build on these initiatives as an output of being sent out by the Lord Jesus to demonstrate the Kingdom of God.



Pray for the Families of Sarawak

The Homeless & the Deprived

Psalm 10:17 – 18 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


Fear God and Bear Fruits

Psalm 128:3 – 4 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.


Bible Reading:        James 4 – 5              Ezra 1 – 8


SOURCES


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Hope of Healing a Nation

Day 38 (13 September 2018, Thursday)


Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”

Although hope can be fragile and elusive, hope is also a resilient and inexplicably tangible commodity.  Hope drives us on, often when it is in the direst of times.  It motivates us to do the best.  It energises us to turn visions into reality.  In whatever circumstances, hope in the coming Kingdom of God should galvanise Christians to extend his love to a lost and hurting world.

Beyond the Biblical accounts, godly Christians through the ages have acted boldly when faced with dwindling hope.  They persevered on and some paid the ultimate price – Dietrich Bonhoeffer when speaking the truth in the face of Hitler and the Nazification of German society and the German Church; Martin Luther King Jr. in confronting institutionalised racism in the so-called ‘Christian’ nation of America.

Today in our country, the hope to heal a nation that is increasingly fractured by racial, religious and economic differences is steadily bringing the Church together to pray, network, collaborate and partner in a whole range of ministries that build bridges, defend the truth, protect the weak and empower the poor.  There is still much room for improvement and greater inclusion but is it crucial for the Church to build on these initiatives as an output of being sent out by the Lord Jesus to demonstrate the Kingdom of God.




Pray for the People of Sarawak

Minority People Group:  Eastern Penan

Isaiah 45:8  “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it.

(Eastern Penan:  Unchecked logging activities have destroyed forests and its natural resources that are a source of their food and trading items, and polluted rivers as their key source of drinking and washing up.  Girls have been raped by loggers.)

Recognize our Creator & Respond to Him 

Genesis 1:26 – 27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.  And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


Bible Reading:        James 1 – 3                             Nehemiah 7 – 13


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