Saturday, December 16, 2017

In the News ... "San Angelo Faith Briefs"


• This weekend, and in the week ahead

Staff Report
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - From the Standard-Times, news of special events and programs from Concho Valley houses of faith ...

read the rest of this SAST report

In the News ... “Family Promise director: Holidays aren’t joyful time for homeless"

Courtesy Photo
• Nonprofit organization is recognized for its service to community

Rich Lopez, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - The Anointed Women’s Ministry honored two organizations at its Black and White Gala held at the Horseshoe Pavilion on Saturday. Both the Salvation Army and Family Promise were recognized for achievements in community service.

Family Promise director Tom Miller welcomed the moment to bring awareness to the agency’s mission ...

 • read the rest of this MRT report

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO HIS BROTHER, at the end of a long description of a delight-filled winter walk: On thanksgiving as the necessary completion of a pleasure.

9 January 1940

It seems almost brutal to describe a January walk taken without you in a letter to you, but I suppose ‘concealment is in vain’. . . .

...I dined at the Harwoods that night and came away—on Tuesday morning—as you said in your last letter ‘thanking the Giver’ which, by the way, is the completion of a pleasure. One of the things about being an unbeliever is that the steam or ‘spirit’ (in the chemical sense) given off by experiences has nowhere to go to.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Photo by Monica Schaap Pierce
Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 16, 2017

REFORMATION 500 - As Presbyterians commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation two prominent Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) theologians say it is an opportunity for the church to reconsider history — and how it tells the story of the past 500 years ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 16


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 16

Matthew 24:1-14

Matthew 24: 4 - "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you"

Over the past few years, I have developed a love for watching high-stakes poker. Admittedly, I am not a gambler but will splurge a dollar or two playing Mega-Millions after it reaches an astronomical amount. I enjoy watching professional poker players engage in psychological warfare. The best players learn and master the art of deception. Among their extensive arsenal, bluffing remains their primary weapon. These professional tricksters live by George Costanza’s famous words to Jerry Seinfeld, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

In perilous times, like today, a lackadaisical Christian life is at extreme risk of being deceived. I confess there are times when I become so comfortable crafting excuses to avoid spiritual practices that I deceive myself. I always find time for family, career, and responsibilities, but not for seeking the Truth. I am sure faithful Christians were a part of the Jonestown, Branch Dividian, and Zion Ranch communities; unfortunately, somewhere along the way they were deceived.

Jesus challenges us to pay attention by expecting rumors of war, waxed hearts, and forthcoming persecution. Amazingly, under any other circumstance, panic and anxiety would be appropriate, but Jesus instructs us not to worry. After all, the moment the heavenly trumpet sounds and the sky cracks open, the Eternal Dealer will command all to show their cards, causing Satan to crumble like a coward. For the world will finally know that Satan’s true power, though deceiving many, was merely a bluff.

Almighty God, grant thy servant the ability to see beyond the false prophet. Quicken my ears to hear the Shepherd’s voice. Nourish my heart with the courage that flows from the authority of scripture, so I might stand boldly against the wiles of evil. In Jesus name, Amen.

William West (MDiv’16)
Admissions Associate for Campus and Community Partnerships


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Friday, December 15, 2017

From ServLife International ... "A Good Education"

ServLife International is a movement defined by values of God’s kingdom, not programs built around human efforts and activities. The reign and rule of God should be made apparent to every person on the planet, despite their religion, race or socioeconomic status. We believe that issues of justice are inseparable from the good news that Jesus Christ came to proclaim. ServLife exists to take the gospel of Christ and the hope of a better, more just, world to the lives of people we touch. This happens through individual contributions of time, creativity, resources and dreams.



ServLife Photo
A Good Education

Sanu, like many children in Nepal, was not afforded the opportunities every child deserves. Her parents moved to Kathmandu from their home in rural western Nepal in hopes of finding stable work. Her father found a job stitching clothing in a local shop. While it provided some income, his tireless work was not enough to fully support his wife and two daughters, and certainly did not allow them to pay the fees required to send the girls to school ...

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this post from ServLife ...



Adam Nevins 
From Adam Nevins
Executive Director
ServLife International Inc.


Join Our Mission

ServLife International propels reconciliation and justice by building global community to plant churches, care for children and fight poverty. Compelled by the message, life and love of Jesus Christ, we seek to care for the spiritual, physical, social, and economic areas of life in northern India and Nepal.  Learn more about our latest news, featured stories, and how to get involved at servlife.org

Support a Pastor

Our church planters spread
the love of Christ in some of the most difficult
environments in the world.
Support Them ... 

Sponsor a Child

For only $30 per month you can help give a child food, education, care and, most importantly, hope.
Sponsor Now ... 

Fight Poverty

The HOPE Fund, our micro-finance program, provides start-up funds for a small business, paving a way out of poverty for families in need.
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ServLife International, Inc.
P.O. Box 20596
Indianapolis, IN 46220
USA


In the News ... "Help spread joy this Christmas season"


• Funds for a holiday meal, gifts under the tree

Staff Report
The Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The 23rd year of the Empty Stocking Fund is underway with a goal of $100,000 that won’t be met without your help.

Funds raised stay in Ector County and go to help needy families like that of Tina, single mother of two working odd jobs but struggling to make ends meet ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

In the News ... "Children learn the true meaning of the holiday season"

KOSA Photo
"... promote love, hope, and kindness ..."

Staff Report
KOSA-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - A group of Odessa children had an opportunity to hear about the true meaning of this holiday season on Wednesday ...

read the rest of this KOSA report 


From @FWMission ...Friday Story: "Her Second Chance At Simple Pleasures"

Founded in 2001, Free Wheelchair Mission is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations. Headquartered in Irvine, California, FWM works around the world in partnership with a vast network of humanitarian, faith-based and government organizations, sending wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of disabled people, providing not only the gift of mobility, but of dignity, independence, and hope.




Friday Story: "Her Second Chance At Simple Pleasures"

Edith loved to hear birds sing. She would listen to them every day as she planted and plowed on her field in Swaziland.

Hearing the birds’ melodic songs was the favorite part of her day – at least, until she’d gather with her beloved family after all their work was done.

Now 85 years old, Edith’s mind is still sharp, but the years of heavy farm work have taken a toll on her bod ...

read the rest of this story ...

• Looking for meaningful gifts to give this holiday season? Consider Free Wheelchair Mission Christmas gift cards ...


In the News ... "Abilene Church News"


• Church news includes concerts and workshops, Christmas and Hanukkah observances

Staff Report
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - From the Reporter-News, news of services, special events and programs from Abilene-area houses of faith ...

read the rest of this ARN report ...

In the News ... "Abilene's Westwood Theatre being reborn as church"

ARN Photo byGreg Jaklewicz
• An Abilene icon that, thankfully, is not gone with the wind

By Greg Jaklewicz, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - Remodel.
Renovation.
Reborn.
Redemption.

Whatever you call it, the Westwood Theatre is on its way back.

A highly anticipated sequel, if you will.

But not as the movie house, at which Sonny and Cher once appeared and where modern classics such as "Star Wars" and "Jaws" drew large crowds when the theater had a single auditorium. The theater — Abilene's first beyond the downtown area — soon will be a new home to Radiant Life Church ...

read the rest of this ARN report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

He looked somehow different from the Aslan they knew. His tail and his head hung low and he walked slowly as if he were very, very tired. Then, when they were crossing a wide open place where there were no shadows for them to hide in, he stopped and looked round. It was no good trying to run away so they came toward him. When they were closer he said,

“Oh, children, children, why are you following me?”

“We couldn’t sleep,” said Lucy—and then felt sure that she need say no more and that Aslan knew all they had been thinking.

“Please, may we come with you—wherever you’re going?” asked Susan.

“Well—” said Aslan, and seemed to be thinking. Then he said, “I should be glad of company tonight. Yes, you may come, if you will promise to stop when I tell you, and after that leave me to go on alone.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you. And we will,” said the two girls.

Forward they went again and one of the girls walked on each side of the Lion. But how slowly he walked! And his great, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touched the grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan.

“Aslan! Dear Aslan!” said Lucy, “what is wrong? Can’t you tell us?”

“Are you ill, dear Aslan?” asked Susan.

“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so that I can feel you are there and let us walk like that.” And so the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission, but what they had longed to do ever since they first saw him—buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fur and stroked it and, so doing, walked with him.

From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Compiled in A Year with Aslan

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Photo by Jerry Van Marter
Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 15, 2017

HANDS AND FEET INITIATIVE - For the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, seeing large numbers of homeless people in one city was eye-opening.

The genesis of the Hands and Feet initiative came from Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), after his experience at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland. He had never seen so many homeless people in one place ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 15


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 15

Haggai 1:1-15

Have you ever bargained with God? When you desperately wanted something, have you made promises, hoping that God would strike a deal with you? This passage from Haggai tells the story of the human response to God’s goodness. For years the Judeans have been in Babylonian exile, but finally they are allowed back home. They get back to work quickly, building their homes, plowing fields, building up industries. But somehow, in the midst of this answered promise—a return home—they have forgotten to build God’s temple. Haggai’s job is to remind the Judeans that their lives won’t be fully blessed, their fields won’t be fully ripe, their tables will not have plenty, until they build a Temple for God.

For many in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Caribbean, this year has become a year of unexpected exile—homes flooded, streets filled with rubble. As we help one another move forward into the future; rebuilding homes, dealing with trauma, imagining new futures; how do we keep God’s house in mind? When God lives no longer in a Temple, but in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, what does it mean to honor God, to worship God in our context?

Whenever we rebuild our lives, whether the need arises after a crisis or an opportunity, we have the chance to reflect deeply on how our lives live out God’s values. Is there time in our lives to pray? Is there space in the budget to give our wealth back to God or to others? Have we placed blessing others as a priority? Rebuilding can be more than functional, it can transform our lives.

lmighty God, who sustains us through every transition, grant us the discipline to think first always of you, so that we may bless others as you have blessed us. Amen.

Sarah Gaventa
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Vocation


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Thursday, December 14, 2017

FBR Report: "Behind the Numbers: Stories from the Rohingya"

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma (Myanmar) and the Middle East. Groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.



FBR Photo
Behind the Numbers: Stories from the Rohingya

n 2012, interethnic violence exploded in Arakan State, in western Burma, between the Rohingya and Rakhine people. In October 2016 the Burma Army launched a major clearing operation against the Rohingya people in response to an attack on a military outpost. Thousands of people fled and widespread human rights abuses were reported. On August 25th, 2017, the military alleged another series of attacks on several posts in Arakan State and retaliated with another major military operation. Since August 25th alone, some 600,000 Rohingya people have fled into Bangladesh. The following is a report from FBR’s second mission to Bangladesh, in which we conducted interviews and distributed food packs for 150 families ...

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this FBR Report ...

CLICK HERE to learn how YOU can get involved in FBR and its mission ...

In the News ... "Support the Empty Stocking Fund"


• Partnership of the Odessa American and the Salvation Army

Staff Report
The Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The 23rd year of the Empty Stocking Fund is underway with a goal of $100,000 that won’t be met without your help.

Funds raised stay in Ector County and go to help needy families like that of Ruby, a single mother of four who is struggling to make ends meet ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

In the News ... "Salvation Army bell ringers needed for Red Kettle Campaign"

KWES Photo
• Can't donate money? Then donate your time.

By Phoenix O'Connor, MMJ Reporter
KWES-TV

ODESSA, TEXAS - The Red Kettle campaign is a way for the Salvation Army across the nation to raise funds for programs that are year-round.

This year, the goal mark for the location in Odessa, is falling short ...

 • read/watch the rest of this KWES report ...

In the News ... "Award-winning gospel group, musician in Abilene"

Courtesy Photo
• The Nelons, Jeff Stice to take the stage

Staff Report
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - Abilenians will get a Christmas present a week early when award-winning gospel artists, The Nelons and Jeff Stice, perform a free concert at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.

The concert will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at the church, 701 S. Pioneer Drive ...

read the rest of this ARN report ...

In the News ... "Learning God’s will takes quietude"

OA Photo by Mark Sterkel
• Harrington advises keeping a prayer journal to gain perspective

By Bob Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


MONAHANS, TEXAS - When people keep a journal of their prayers, they often find that God answers more of them than they had given him credit for, says the Rev. Beth Harrington.

Pastor of the First United Methodist Church at 600 S. Alice Ave. in Monahans for seven years, Harrington said prayer is valuable not only to gain God’s beneficence but also to discern his will ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO KEITH MANSHIP: On the slow process of being more in Christ; and on doing one’s duty, especially the duty to enjoy.

13 September 1962

You state the problem very clearly, and the fact that you can do so really shows that you are very much on the right road. Many don’t even get so far.

The whole problem of our life was neatly expressed by John the Baptist when he said (John, chap 3, v. 30) ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ This you have realised. But you are expecting it to happen suddenly: and also expecting that you should be clearly aware when it does. But neither of these is usual. We are doing well enough if the slow process of being more in Christ and less in ourselves has made a decent beginning in a long life (it will be completed only in the next world). Nor can we observe it happening. All our reports on ourselves are unbelievable, even in worldly matters (no one really hears his own voice as others do, or sees his own face). Much more in spiritual matters. God sees us, and we don’t see ourselves. And by trying too hard to do so, we only get the fidgets and become either too complacent or too much the other way.

Your question what to do is already answered. Go on (as you apparently are going on) doing all your duties. And, in all lawful ways, go on enjoying all that can be enjoyed—your friends, your music, your books. Remember we are told to ‘rejoice’ [Philippians 4:4]. Sometimes when you are wondering what God wants you to do, He really wants to give you something.

As to your spiritual state, try my plan. I pray ‘Lord, show me just so much (neither more nor less) about myself as I need for doing thy will now.’

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Photo by Stephanie Vasquez
Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 14, 2017

EL GUACIO CAMP/CONFERENCE CENTER, PUERTO RICO - Some Presbyterian leaders have said that they have found God in special places. For Puerto Rican Presbyterian leaders, El Guacio is one of those holy places ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 14


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 14

Revelation 2:8-17

“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” – Revelation 2:11a

What comes to mind when someone says, “Advent”? Christmas carols, good tidings to shepherds, lighting candles, perhaps. Probably not two-edged swords, affliction, or conquering.

This vivid imagery pressed the communities who first received this letter with an intense sense of urgency. They lived in a violent, chaotic world, and they needed to know that God wasn’t complacent.

These images press on us today, too. Sometimes we may feel too tired to face a darkness that feels too big. Yet now as then, Christ calls his people to step forward in faith—and he isn’t asking politely. Sometimes, abruptness is what it takes.

Christ’s words may be demanding, but they are also replete with reassurances. Even though the road ahead is rough, we will be all right in the end. This passage invites us to consider what it means to take risks and to challenge the complacency that may go unnoticed in our own communities. And Christ assures us that when we risk, we will “come out victorious.”

In our troubled times, the season of Advent invites us to step into uncertainty, to pray without ceasing, and to trust Christ’s reassurance as we embrace the challenge of discipleship.

Creator God, you call us to step out of our comfort zones, to risk and move courageously in a world that continually threatens us for being faithful to your call. May we persevere in this Advent journey, paying attention to the ways your Spirit beckons from us a response. Amen.

Hierald Osorto
Student from Washington, D.C.


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WAW Wednesday ... "Christmas 'Joy-Slingers' are Hard at it in Belize - Can we help you spread Christmas Cheer too?"


"The Word at Work is a ministry that mobilizes churches and individuals to answer God's call to minister to those in need," writes Rev. Tim Tam, Director of the Amarillo, Texas-based ministry. "Through our relationships, God reveals needs and opportunities for service. As we come along side the poor, new friendships develop and doors for ministry open. As we serve, God provides the resources to supply for the needs he reveals."



WAW Wednesday: "Christmas 'Joy-Slingers' are Hard at it in Belize - Can we help you spread Christmas Cheer too?"

The sounds of Christmas are all around this week - from Christmas music in the office to the joy we hear from our Christmas Project Team as they are sorting and packing and delivering toys to our Belize partners for their parties. We hear joy in Tim Hagen's video below as he describes how your generosity makes a difference in so many lives while bringing glory to God!

Maybe you are searching for a special gift for the person who has "everything"--we've got a great deal for you! Please consider making a gift to The Word at Work in honor of your loved one. Your gift will bring double-joy as it strengthens the Work in Belize! We will send your loved one a beautiful card acknowledging your gracious gift. We've got a couple weeks yet - plenty of time! Please email Mollie and let her know you'd like to make a really special gift this year! Thank you!

Joy-Slingers

Our team of merry "joy slingers" is in Belize sorting and delivering gifts to our partners. Our donors did an amazing job of selecting great gifts to share. Thank you to each person who helped make Christmas in Belize bright! Please keep the team in prayer. Merry Christmas!


Redemptive Recycling

We continue to give thanks for all God has done through.

The Word at Work for 15 years and counting! This week we are highlighting our Redemptive Recycling Program. Thanks to Tim Hagen for recording this--we miss you, Tim!!

Volunteers are lined up to keep the program running -- please contact Tim Tam if you'd like to help!



Looking Ahead

Our 2018 trip calendar is filling up! Be sure we have your dates if you're planning to join us!

Gratefully,

Tim Tam
#wearethewordatwork




EDITOR'S NOTE: Speaking from my own first-hand experience - working side-by-side with Tim, Kenny and our brothers and sisters in Belize - won't you give thoughtful, prayerful consideration to supporting the efforts of Tim, the Word At Work staff and their partners? Please please fill out this Commitment Card and return it to their office!

Also, remember that you can follow The Word At Work on their Facebook page!


In the News ... "3:11 Ministries hosting wrapping party, helpers needed"

KWES Photo
• Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

By Ronnie Marley, Online Content Manager
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - 3:11 Ministries is holding a wrapping party to wrap the Christmas gifts they collected and they need your help.

This is the fifth year for the volunteer program who help underprivileged families in the Midland Independent School District ...

 • read/watch the rest of this KWES report ...

In the News ... “‘The Forgotten Carols’ gives new spin on classic story of faith"

Courtesy Photo
TONIGHT at Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Rich Lopez, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - When songwriter Michael McLean was asked by his publisher to do a Christmas album, he found that to be an unexpected challenge.

“I am not going to write something to compete with all the great Christmas songs there already are,” he said.

So he chose a different route. The result was “The Forgotten Carols,” which has gone from a one-man show to a stage production that can be seen Wednesday at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center ...

 • read the rest of this MRT report

In the News ... "Odessa Ornament Displayed at Capitol"

Courtesy Photo
• On display through January 2

Staff Report,
KMID-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - A Christmas ornament created in Odessa now hangs proudly inside of the State Capitol ...

read the rest of this KMID report


Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... TODAY

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... TODAY

Hi Friends,

If you're in town and free, please join us to pray together on Wednesday - TODAY - at 11:00 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.


So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:1-7


Dear Intercessors,

When I was about 5 years old, my Sunday School teacher had us memorize Luke 2:1-20. Echoes of it still reverberate in my mind. It was the KJV because I remember the opening line, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Ceasar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." But as it sometimes happens, the echoes that reverberate for an entire lifetime sometimes become background noise... we cease to really hear them. And I admit that for much of the time, if I open the Bible and read the opening of Luke 2, I just skim the words. After all, I know what it says in the deepest part of my mind.

But do I really know what it says? Do we really grasp the magnitude of this message?

My sister-in-law is expecting a baby any day now, and for the last month her doctor has requested she not travel more than 45 minutes from home so that she can be sure to have quick access to the hospital when her time comes. In contrast, Mary, in those last uncomfortable days of pregnancy, traveled far away from her home because political leader of her world told her she had to go.

And all around the world, even today, women give birth in unfamiliar places and spaces as they are fleeing violence, obeying orders, and seeking safety. This week, I read this essay by Oddny Gumaer with Partner's. In preparation for our prayer this week, I'd like to ask you to read it as well, and let's spend some time praying for mama's who give birth to babies in unsafe and dangerous places. Let's pray for the children to be protected from violence, traffickers, and anyone who would wish to cause them harm; pray for protection from illness and the consequences of unattended childbirths. Pray for the mothers who must muster strength they don't think they have to keep walking, to keep nursing, to keep giving life to a vulnerable child in a world that seems to say on the strongest survive.

There are still Marys in the world today. May we hold them close to our heart this advent season.

PR&D Photo by Oddny Gumaer
He was born the night they fled.
By Oddny Gumaer

"You don't know how strong you are until you are in a situation where you need to be that strong," said Y. She should know what she is talking about.

She was nine months pregnant when the army threatened to destroy her home and her village. The whole village was forced to run. The only alternative to running was a brutal death by their own army, endorsed by their own government. For Y the flight could not have come at a more impossible time. She had started feeling contractions that morning. Still she joined the others and fled. They walked in the heat of the day, constantly looking back to see if the soldiers were getting closer. From afar they could see the smoke of their houses burning. There was no turning back.

She delivered her baby in the jungle that night. There was nothing there that could ease her pain or assist her as she pushed and moaned. The villagers were with her, but there was little they could do. When the baby boy was born, they wiped him and put him by his mother. "Go," she insisted while facing her family and the villagers who had been there with her while she was delivering. "It is not safe for you here. You need to leave and get to Bangladesh. I will stay here for a bit with the baby and recover." Nobody wanted to leave her, but they knew she was right. If the army caught up to them, they would all die. So, she spent the night alone with her new baby in the jungle. It was hard to sleep because she was constantly listening for the sound of the enemy approaching. "I was so afraid," she recalls.

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Praying with you,
Carrie

Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net