Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Holy Spirit

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev'ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation's birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.


© 2006 Thankyou Music

Monday, January 28, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Bangladesh


Bangladesh faces widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, along with overpopulation and a high poverty rate. Almost half the population lives on less than a dollar a day. Annual monsoon flooding hinders economic development, and religious extremism is growing.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 89%, Christian 0.7%
Ideology: Islam
Head of State: President Zillur Rahman

Bangladesh officially became a Muslim state in 1988. Religious minorities may worship openly, but they face social discrimination, and religious freedom is being steadily eroded by Islamist pressure. Most discrimination against Christians comes from Muslims, but Buddhists in southeastern Bangladesh also oppose Christians. Christians are denied access to public water wells, their property is destroyed and they are beaten and blackmailed. While forced reconversion to Islam is increasing, indigenous churches continue to grow. VOM supports a safe house and training center for converts.

Daily Prayer Requests:
January 28:  Pray for Voice of the Martyrs ministry center, which houses about 200 children and 100 adults.
January 29:  Pray for Sharif and others returning home after completing discipleship training programs.
January 30:  Christians are threatened with forces re-conversion to Islam.  Pray that they will remain strong.
January 31:  Pray for President Zillur Rahman.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our job as Christians is not to make America a Christian nation, but to fill America with Christians.
-Steve Whigham

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Bahrain


Bahrain, a small archipelago nation between the Qatar peninsula and Saudi Arabia, is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the Sunni royal family. Its economy is based mostly on petroleum production and refining, but in recent years Bahrain has become an international banking center in the Persian Gulf. More than 55 percent of the labor force is made up of expatriates.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 83.2%, Christian 9.8%, Hindu 6.0%
Ideology: Islam
Head of State: President King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa

Although it is one of the most open countries in the Persian Gulf region, freedoms for local Christians are restricted. Christians who witness openly suffer persecution, mostly from friends and family, and most choose to worship secretly. There are a number of churches in Bahrain, but they are mainly used by foreigners. Dozens of congregations of foreigners meet in a single building. There are two small Christian bookstores in the country.

Daily Prayer Requests:
January 22:  Christians websites are currently blocked.  Pray for ministry and teaching opportunities.
January 23:  Pray for the protection and success of the two Christian bookstores in Bahrain.
January 24:  Most Bahraini Christians worship secretly to avoid persecution.  Pray for their encouragement.
January 25:  Expatriates make up more than half the labor force.  Pray for their strong Christian witness.
January 26:  Bahrain is spiritually strategic because of it's relative freedoms.  Pray for Christian leaders.
January 27:  Pray for King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sanctuary

by:  Marty Goetz

Lately I wonder as time hurries on,
What have I done with the days come and gone?
And I remember how once I was drawn into your sanctuary.

When did I wander so far away,
How did I get here, why did I stray?
And can I ever find my way back to your sanctuary?

Nothing have I on earth but you,
No one but you in heaven.
So why do I continue to do everything else but come to you?

All of my folly I fin'ly see,
I've no where to hide, I've no place to flee.
If I ran to you would you run to me out from your sanctuary?


Nothing have I on earth but you,
No one but you in heaven.
So why would I continue to do anything else but come to you?

I will remember what you did for me,
Climbing that hill to die on that tree.
There I will go and bend my knee, there I'll find sanctuary.

O, I'll give you thanks for your sanctuary!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poem I wrote...

Today, in our last class for "The Christian and the Arts," Mr. Whigham asked us to write a poem from the perspective of God, viewing us.  The following is the poem I wrote.  I don't usually write poems, but I'm glad I did it.  I know it doesn't rhyme all the way through, I was trying to go for more of a "free-verse" kind of poem.  I'd like feedback from friends on it!  Be honest please!

O sinful child of mine why do you stray so far?
I have died for you, and yet you look away.
I love you, and yet you turn aside.

O sinful child of mine why do you forget my works?
I have made you, and I have formed you.
I have sought you, and I have known you.

O sinful child of mine why do you doubt me?
I have always loved my people, and I will always love them still.
I have ever been so faithful and I always ever will be.

O sinful child of mine, do you know that I see you?
I see your trials, and I see your pain.
I know your fears, and I know your shame.

O sinful child of mine, do you know my provision?
I have prepared a place for you, a place of rest.
I am waiting with open arms to hold you to my breast.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Azerbaijan


Oil-rich Azerbaijan has undergone a face-lift in recent years, funded by vast oil and gas reserves. Corruption is widespread in this former Soviet republic, and the government is authoritarian. The majority of the population lives in poverty, and most people in Azerbaijan’s towns and villages have never heard the gospel. Twenty-five out of 40 people groups are considered unreached by the gospel.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 87.6%, Christian 2.7%
Ideology: Islam/Communism
Head of State: President Ilham Aliyev

Though most practice Shiite Islam, the government is secular. The government maintains tight control over its citizens with a Soviet-style KGB police force. Government censorship of religious literature was tightened under a 2009 law. All religious literature produced, sold or imported in the country requires official permission. The government enacted further registration laws in 2010. Harsh laws restrict Christians and other religious groups that teach children, produce literature, work with foreigners for religious purposes and develop property for worship purposes. In June 2011, a judge warned a Baptist pastor not to meet with his church again without government permission. The church was raided by police, and a large quantity of Christian literature was confiscated.

Daily Prayer Requests:
January 15th:  Penalties for violating religion laws have increased dramatically.
January 16th:  Pray for Christians in Kusar and other Christians who continue to meet despite persecution.
January 17th:  Pray for Christians who are persecuted by both the police and their Muslim families.
January 18th:  Pray for efforts to distribute Christian literature, which faces tight restrictions.
January 19th:  Pray that the widespread corruption will turn to the righteousness of Christ.
January 20th:  Church registration is difficult to obtain.  Pray that Christians will devise creative ways to meet.
January 21st:  Pray for President Ilham Aliyev.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Algeria



Algeria experienced civil war from 1991 to 2002, and the country still suffers from terrorism as a result of the conflict. More than 160,000 people were killed in the fighting between Islamic militants and the government. Ethnic minority Berbers in the country have long pushed for autonomy. Thirty-five out of the 41 people groups in the country are considered unreached by the gospel.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 97.3%, Christian 0.3%
Ideology: Islam
Head of State: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

VOM contacts report that Muslim-background believers number about 200,000. A law passed on Feb. 28, 2006, defining “the conditions and rules for the exercise of religious worship other than Islam” prohibits house churches from meeting without registration. In 2008, persecution intensified as the government sought to enforce the 2006 law by closing down churches. Last year, a governor in Bejaia ordered seven Protestant churches operating without a permit to close. Instead, the churches defied the order and kept meeting. It remains to be seen how the government will ultimately react. In May 2011, a judge sentenced a Muslim-background Christian convert to five years in prison, far beyond the two years the prosecutor had recommended, after authorities discovered hundreds of pieces of Christian literature in his home. It is illegal to distribute Christian literature.


Daily Prayer Request:
January 8:  Pray for Pastor Hakim and others sharing the gospel in Algeria.
January 9:  Pray for the Tizi Ouzou region, the center of the Algerian church movement.
January 10:  Pray for new believers. A "Voice of the Martyr"safe house provides refuge for those in danger.
January 11:  Pray for church growth and for more workers in southern Algeria.
January 12:  Pray for "Amira" and other Christians that "Voice of the Martyr" assists financially.
January 13:  Pray for Christians who meet in the countryside to avoid government attention.
January 14:  Pray for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Afghanistan


Afghanistan remains mired in chaos as the U.S. prepares to decrease troop numbers from the “surge” initiated by President Obama in late 2009. Attempts to negotiate with the Taliban have been fruitless, and relations between President Karzai and members of parliament remain tense. The Taliban insurgency remains problematic, with political assassinations in July and an attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul in June 2011. Out of 76 people groups in the country, 70 are unreached by the gospel.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 99.8%, Christian 0.1%
Ideology: Islam
Head of State: President Hamid Karzai

Converting from Islam to any religion is a crime, and proselytizing is illegal. There are no formal churches in the country. It is believed that several hundred Afghans now follow Christ. Christians experience intense persecution from family members and neighbors. Shoaib Assadullah was arrested in 2009 after giving a New Testament to a man who later reported him to authorities. The arrested Christian refused to recant his faith, despite promises of freedom if he would. Another Afghan Christian, Said Musa, was arrested after video depicting Christian baptisms was aired on national TV. Following international campaigns on their behalf, both men were eventually released.


Daily Prayer Request:
January 1:  Pray that the 71 unreached people groups will hear the gospel.
January 2:  Pray for Christian converts from Islam.  A parliamentary secretary has called for their execution.
January 3:  Corruption is widespread.  Pray for righteousness and justice.
January 4:  Pray for Voice of the Martyr's radio and television outreaches to new believers.
January 5:  Evangelists risk their lives to disciple new believers.  Pray for their protection.
January 6:  Pray that new believers in this Islamic nation will boldly share the love of Christ.
January 7:  Pray for President Hamid Karzai.