Thursday, May 24, 2018

FBR Report: "Pray, Act in Love and Never Give Up: Meeting Rohingya Refugees and ARSA"

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
Pray, Act in Love and Never Give Up: Meeting Rohingya Refugees and ARSA

We just returned from Bangladesh, where we met some of the Rohingya who have fled from Burma Army attacks, as well as meeting with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a resistance movement formed to try to stop the Burma Army attacks. Since August 25, 2017, over 650,000 Rohingya from Burma have joined the more than 300,000 Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh, all chased out of their homes in Arakan State, western Burma ...

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

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



Free Burma Ranger, the film ...

This film, currently in production, chronicles the journey of an American family bringing aid to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people caught in Burma's war zones, a bloody conflict that is one of the longest-running civil war's in the world.

Learn more about the film, and hour YOUR donation can help complete its production ...

In the News ... "Drivers needed for Meals On Wheels-Odessa"

• Helping those that otherwise would go hungry

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Meals On Wheels is currently needing drivers.

Drivers are needed to deliver hot meals to home-bound seniors once a week for one or two hours.

For more information, call (432) 333-6451.

In the News ... "Food Pantry at Westminster Presbyterian"

• Last Saturday of each month

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Westminster Presbyterian Church of Odessa, 4901 Maple Ave., has scheduled the monthly food pantry from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month.
For more information, call (432) 366-1321.

In the News ... "Haitian teen gets life-changing eye surgery at Midland Memorial"

KWES Photo
• Result of contact during mission trip

By Dana Morris, Multimedia Journalist
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Micah Jean-Marie is getting to see life from a whole new perspective these days.

The 14-year-old from Haiti is recovering from surgery on a detached lens, but can already see things she had never been able to before ...

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

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Holiness

If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the other hand, no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life: but He means to get us as far as possible before death.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By

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.

"The Body of Jesus Carried to the Anointing Stone” by J.J. Tissot
Today in the Mission Yearbook: May 24, 2018

LIFE AND DEATH - On a sunny July morning, I drove into the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery in Forest Park, a suburb west of Chicago, to attend the burial service for a former hospice patient. Waldheim was founded during the second wave of Jewish immigration to the city in the late 19th century, and it has been the final resting place for women like Sara, a Holocaust survivor from Russia who lived into her 90s ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In the News ... "Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland to receive True Texas BBQ proceeds for May 25"


• Also learn about volunteer opportunities

By Kirsten Geddes, Multimedia Journalist
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Visits to the Midland True Texas BBQ in H.E.B. on May 25 will go towards donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

For every meal purchased between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. 15% of the proceeds will be donated to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Midland.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will also be at the event for anyone interested in volunteering or or enrolling their child into the program.

In the News ... “Spiritual journeys shared at gospel concert"

AJM Photo by Jayme Lozano
"It’s what God can do"

Jayme Lozano, Reporter
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - Every pew at Bethel A.M.E Church was full Sunday during a gospel concert hosted by the Each One Reach One youth ministry, which helps children of the community with scholarship money among other resources.

The event brought gospel musicians from all over the nation ...

 • read the rest of this LAJ 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,

We will be meeting this Wednesday - TODAY - at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. I hope you can join us to pray together for children in our community and around the world!

REMINDER: We have moved our meeting time back to 11:30! Hope that enables some of you to rejoin us!

Warmly,

Carrie



When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Acts 2:1-12

Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the day that marks the gift of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2. As I've been thinking this week about this story, I've found myself most struck by this one simple line in the scripture:

"We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"

To me one of the most striking miracles of Pentecost is that God never fails to communicate with his people and that his people are not always who we'd expect! He's not bound to the language of the religious customs of the day (Hebrew for all the faithful Jewish), nor is he tied down to the language of the powers of the day (Greek for the Roman politically mighty).

No, like a raging wildfire, he is uncontained and unbound in his love for his people. He shows himself willing to speak our heart languages... deeply personal and intimate; tongues of fire uniquely translated to get the heart of his message straight to our hearts.

The Good News of Jesus never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But as cultures shift and languages change, sometimes we need a new tongue to communicate the eternal hope and joy that is found in the Good News of Jesus. And that's just what this miracle offers. And maybe today no one speaks the language of the Parthians or the Medes, but there is a whole generation of children who speak a different language from most of us adults. And I think we need this miracle as desperately today as they did at the time of Pentecost.

Texas Tribune Photo by Michael Stravato
With another school shooting fresh in the headlines, it seems as though more and more of us are throwing our hands up in defeat. We don't know how to stop the violence, so we give up... and it's far too easy to point fingers of blame away from ourselves. We shake our heads and bristle inside to think of how far the youth of today have fallen away from where we think they ought to be. We blame laws, society, parents, the kids themselves, and the discord grows louder and louder... We don't understand each other and shouting louder won't solve anything.

Maybe it's time we learned a new language.

The message of Jesus never changes. But rather than growing angry with "kids today" in all their darkness and despair, maybe we need to reflect on their lives and better understand what informs their decisions and shapes their character. Maybe we need to repent for the ways our complicity has shaped current culture. Or perhaps -- more accurately -- maybe we need to repent for how culture has been shaped without us as we've checked out and boycotted and tucked ourselves safely behind closed doors and under tall steeples so as to avoid sullying our pretty Sunday dresses with the muck and grime of this fallen world.

But it's not too late for tongues of fire. It's not too late for us to have blazing tongues of love in a hurting world. This last weekend, the world watched while Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in England. And in the midst of the pomp and the circumstance, Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal church delivered a rousing address on the powers of love. The sermon, worth watching or reading in its entirety, began with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

"We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way."

Bishop Curry cautioned us against underestimating or over sentimentalizing love, because doing so denies its power to remake the world. And on that day of Pentacost, the full force of God's powerful love was on full display in tongues of fire hovering over each person's head. It is the love of God that compels him to reveal his heart for his people in ways that they can understand. It is the love of God that compels him to speak the truth of his love and mercy in the languages of our hearts. Even today, may we receive this gift of tongues - this love gift from the Father's heart straight to ours - and live into the power it conveys to us.

And may it compel us to ask how we can reveal God's heart to others in ways they can understand. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his truth to a generation of students who have been raised to believe there's no such thing as truth. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his desire to accept us "just as we are" to a generation of young adults who are always failing to make the cut, meet the standard, or find belonging in even the most basic ways. There are thousands of kids today who do not believe they are precious to anyone and who do not believe they have any value at all. It should come as no surprise when this belief leads to destructive tendencies.

For a generation desensitized to violence and awash in isolation and despair and loneliness, we need a new vocabulary to speak life and love and hope. The message of Jesus never changes. But our language must. And with the Holy Spirit's help, he will gives us tongues of fire so those around us will hear the wonders of God in a fresh way and in a language they understand.

This week, as we pray for the community, school, and families impacted by this latest school shooting, I'd like to invite you to join me to prayerfully repent for the ways we have individually and corporately turned away from hurting children in our own communities. Let's repent for the ways we have kept silent when we ought to have communicated mercy and forgiveness and hope and the redemptive power of God's love. And as we repent, let's trust God will give us opportunities and the strength to turn back towards these hurting children. Let's ask for his love to burn bright in our hearts and spill out into the darkness around us; for tongues of fire to rest over our heads and empower us to bring the Good News to a new generation in a language they understand.



Partners Relief & Development Photo

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

Praying with you,

Carrie

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

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

I’ve just found in an old note-book a poem, with no author’s name attached, which is rather relevant to something we were talking about a few weeks ago—I mean, the haunting fear that there is no one listening, and that what we call prayer is soliloquy: someone talking to himself. This writer takes the bull by the horns and says in effect: ‘Very well, suppose it is’, and gets a surprising result. Here is the poem:

They tell me, Lord, that when I seem

To be in speech with you,

Since but one voice is heard, it’s all a dream,

One talker aping two.

Sometimes it is, yet not as they

Conceive it. Rather, I

Seek in myself the things I hoped to say,

But lo!, my wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake

The listener’s role and through

My dumb lips breathe and into utterance wake

The thoughts I never knew

And thus you neither need reply

Nor can; thus, while we seem

Two talkers, though are One forever, and I

No dreamer, but thy dream.

Dream makes it too like Pantheism and was perhaps dragged in for the rhyme. But is he not right in thinking that prayer in its most perfect state is soliloquy?

From Letters to Malcolm

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 Kathy Melvin
Today in the Mission Yearbook: May 23, 2018

SRI LANKA WOMEN - In a culture where women often go unheard, the fisherfolk women of Sri Lanka made certain their voices were loud and clear.

Their story began in 2010 when the Sri Lankan government, as part of its plan to attract more tourism and conference business, decided to build a seaplane project in the Negombo Lagoon ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Partners Blog: "Love and Bubble Fights"

Steve and Oddny Gumaer started Partners Relief and Development in response to the needs of refugees and displaced people from Burma, and now in the Middle East, as well. Their mission is to demonstrate, through holistic action, God’s love to children and communities made vulnerable by war in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other conflict zones.

PR&D Photos
Love and Bubble Fights

Standing outside of a Karen-Thai village, I watch three boys play and splash in a stream of soapy bubble water as their mothers’ are in the process of dying thread to help support their families. Watching how the children play I was remembering that this is just what my nephews or the three boys I used to look after would do in America. Children are children no matter where they live.

Pictures of children in Syria, who are in the midst of running for their lives fill my mind as I go through my day ...

read the rest of this post ...





Partners Relief and Development is a registered charity in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. "We’re a small, grassroots nonprofit passionate about making a big impact in communities affected by conflict and oppression, demonstrating God’s love to children and giving them the opportunity to live free, full lives." For more information aboput Partners, visit their website at partners.ngo/

In the News ... "Virgin Mary statue in New Mexico reportedly weeping, believers travel to small church"

Hobbs Sun-News Photo
"You see people who are motivated to pray more deeply”

By Sarah Self-Walbrick, Reporter
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

HOBBS, NEW MEXICO - Hundreds have traveled to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hobbs, New Mexico, to witness a statue of the Virgin Mary reportedly crying.

A video posted by the Hobbs News-Sun shows visitors touching, kissing and praying before the statue that appears to have tears under its left eye ...

read the rest of this LAJ report 


Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Tomorrow


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 ... Tomorrow

Hi Friends,

We will be meeting this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. I hope you can join us to pray together for children in our community and around the world!

REMINDER: We have moved our meeting time back to 11:30! Hope that enables some of you to rejoin us!

Warmly,

Carrie



When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Acts 2:1-12

Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the day that marks the gift of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2. As I've been thinking this week about this story, I've found myself most struck by this one simple line in the scripture:

"We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"

To me one of the most striking miracles of Pentecost is that God never fails to communicate with his people and that his people are not always who we'd expect! He's not bound to the language of the religious customs of the day (Hebrew for all the faithful Jewish), nor is he tied down to the language of the powers of the day (Greek for the Roman politically mighty).

No, like a raging wildfire, he is uncontained and unbound in his love for his people. He shows himself willing to speak our heart languages... deeply personal and intimate; tongues of fire uniquely translated to get the heart of his message straight to our hearts.

The Good News of Jesus never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But as cultures shift and languages change, sometimes we need a new tongue to communicate the eternal hope and joy that is found in the Good News of Jesus. And that's just what this miracle offers. And maybe today no one speaks the language of the Parthians or the Medes, but there is a whole generation of children who speak a different language from most of us adults. And I think we need this miracle as desperately today as they did at the time of Pentecost.

Texas Tribune Photo by Michael Stravato
With another school shooting fresh in the headlines, it seems as though more and more of us are throwing our hands up in defeat. We don't know how to stop the violence, so we give up... and it's far too easy to point fingers of blame away from ourselves. We shake our heads and bristle inside to think of how far the youth of today have fallen away from where we think they ought to be. We blame laws, society, parents, the kids themselves, and the discord grows louder and louder... We don't understand each other and shouting louder won't solve anything.

Maybe it's time we learned a new language.

The message of Jesus never changes. But rather than growing angry with "kids today" in all their darkness and despair, maybe we need to reflect on their lives and better understand what informs their decisions and shapes their character. Maybe we need to repent for the ways our complicity has shaped current culture. Or perhaps -- more accurately -- maybe we need to repent for how culture has been shaped without us as we've checked out and boycotted and tucked ourselves safely behind closed doors and under tall steeples so as to avoid sullying our pretty Sunday dresses with the muck and grime of this fallen world.

But it's not too late for tongues of fire. It's not too late for us to have blazing tongues of love in a hurting world. This last weekend, the world watched while Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in England. And in the midst of the pomp and the circumstance, Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal church delivered a rousing address on the powers of love. The sermon, worth watching or reading in its entirety, began with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

"We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way."

Bishop Curry cautioned us against underestimating or over sentimentalizing love, because doing so denies its power to remake the world. And on that day of Pentacost, the full force of God's powerful love was on full display in tongues of fire hovering over each person's head. It is the love of God that compels him to reveal his heart for his people in ways that they can understand. It is the love of God that compels him to speak the truth of his love and mercy in the languages of our hearts. Even today, may we receive this gift of tongues - this love gift from the Father's heart straight to ours - and live into the power it conveys to us.

And may it compel us to ask how we can reveal God's heart to others in ways they can understand. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his truth to a generation of students who have been raised to believe there's no such thing as truth. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his desire to accept us "just as we are" to a generation of young adults who are always failing to make the cut, meet the standard, or find belonging in even the most basic ways. There are thousands of kids today who do not believe they are precious to anyone and who do not believe they have any value at all. It should come as no surprise when this belief leads to destructive tendencies.

For a generation desensitized to violence and awash in isolation and despair and loneliness, we need a new vocabulary to speak life and love and hope. The message of Jesus never changes. But our language must. And with the Holy Spirit's help, he will gives us tongues of fire so those around us will hear the wonders of God in a fresh way and in a language they understand.

This week, as we pray for the community, school, and families impacted by this latest school shooting, I'd like to invite you to join me to prayerfully repent for the ways we have individually and corporately turned away from hurting children in our own communities. Let's repent for the ways we have kept silent when we ought to have communicated mercy and forgiveness and hope and the redemptive power of God's love. And as we repent, let's trust God will give us opportunities and the strength to turn back towards these hurting children. Let's ask for his love to burn bright in our hearts and spill out into the darkness around us; for tongues of fire to rest over our heads and empower us to bring the Good News to a new generation in a language they understand.



Partners Relief & Development Photo

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

Praying with you,

Carrie

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

In the News ... "From Africa to Abilene: Children's choir returns May 27"

Courtesy Photo
• Performances support ACC programs, such as education, care and relief, and development.

By Loretta Fulton, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - The African Children’s Choir, well known in Abilene from previous visits, will return May 27 for two performances at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

The public is invited to those during worship services at 9 and 11 a.m. Donations will be accepted ...

read the rest of this ARN report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

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 Adelle M. Banks
Today in the Mission Yearbook: May 22, 2018

A.C.T. TO END RACISM RALLY - They began marching just after dawn from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 50 years to the day after the civil rights leader was assassinated.

They silenced their voices and, walking to the beat of a drum, traveled halfway down the National Mall. They then prayed a spectrum of prayers — from Anglican to Zoroastrian — before they settled in for a set of speeches with a lofty subject: ending racism.

The A.C.T. to End Racism Rally, seeking to “awaken, confront and transform” society about racism, drew thousands of people to the nation’s capital in April ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, May 21, 2018

From @chinaaid : "Guangdong church evicted, harassed"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

ChinaAid Photo
Guangdong church evicted, harassed
Distributed by ChinaAid, April, 2018 ...

SHENZHEN, GUANGDON – A pastor’s son reported that his parents’ church in Shenzhen, Guangdong province is facing constant persecution ...

more on this story from China Aid


In the News ... "Blood donations needed ahead of Memorial Day holiday"

• No appointments needed; walk-ins welcomed.

Staff Report
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - Blood supplies are in need of a boost and United Blood Services is asking for the public's help.

In preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, the organization is seeking blood donations to ensure critical blood supplies are available during its KWFR Rock & Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive May 21-28 ...

read the rest of this SAST report

Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Wednesday


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 ... Wednesday

Hi Friends,

We will be meeting this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. I hope you can join us to pray together for children in our community and around the world!

REMINDER: We have moved our meeting time back to 11:30! Hope that enables some of you to rejoin us!

Warmly,

Carrie



When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Acts 2:1-12

Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the day that marks the gift of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2. As I've been thinking this week about this story, I've found myself most struck by this one simple line in the scripture:

"We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"

To me one of the most striking miracles of Pentecost is that God never fails to communicate with his people and that his people are not always who we'd expect! He's not bound to the language of the religious customs of the day (Hebrew for all the faithful Jewish), nor is he tied down to the language of the powers of the day (Greek for the Roman politically mighty).

No, like a raging wildfire, he is uncontained and unbound in his love for his people. He shows himself willing to speak our heart languages... deeply personal and intimate; tongues of fire uniquely translated to get the heart of his message straight to our hearts.

The Good News of Jesus never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But as cultures shift and languages change, sometimes we need a new tongue to communicate the eternal hope and joy that is found in the Good News of Jesus. And that's just what this miracle offers. And maybe today no one speaks the language of the Parthians or the Medes, but there is a whole generation of children who speak a different language from most of us adults. And I think we need this miracle as desperately today as they did at the time of Pentecost.

Texas Tribune Photo by Michael Stravato
With another school shooting fresh in the headlines, it seems as though more and more of us are throwing our hands up in defeat. We don't know how to stop the violence, so we give up... and it's far too easy to point fingers of blame away from ourselves. We shake our heads and bristle inside to think of how far the youth of today have fallen away from where we think they ought to be. We blame laws, society, parents, the kids themselves, and the discord grows louder and louder... We don't understand each other and shouting louder won't solve anything.

Maybe it's time we learned a new language.

The message of Jesus never changes. But rather than growing angry with "kids today" in all their darkness and despair, maybe we need to reflect on their lives and better understand what informs their decisions and shapes their character. Maybe we need to repent for the ways our complicity has shaped current culture. Or perhaps -- more accurately -- maybe we need to repent for how culture has been shaped without us as we've checked out and boycotted and tucked ourselves safely behind closed doors and under tall steeples so as to avoid sullying our pretty Sunday dresses with the muck and grime of this fallen world.

But it's not too late for tongues of fire. It's not too late for us to have blazing tongues of love in a hurting world. This last weekend, the world watched while Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in England. And in the midst of the pomp and the circumstance, Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal church delivered a rousing address on the powers of love. The sermon, worth watching or reading in its entirety, began with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

"We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way."

Bishop Curry cautioned us against underestimating or over sentimentalizing love, because doing so denies its power to remake the world. And on that day of Pentacost, the full force of God's powerful love was on full display in tongues of fire hovering over each person's head. It is the love of God that compels him to reveal his heart for his people in ways that they can understand. It is the love of God that compels him to speak the truth of his love and mercy in the languages of our hearts. Even today, may we receive this gift of tongues - this love gift from the Father's heart straight to ours - and live into the power it conveys to us.

And may it compel us to ask how we can reveal God's heart to others in ways they can understand. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his truth to a generation of students who have been raised to believe there's no such thing as truth. Maybe we need to ask Jesus how we can better communicate his desire to accept us "just as we are" to a generation of young adults who are always failing to make the cut, meet the standard, or find belonging in even the most basic ways. There are thousands of kids today who do not believe they are precious to anyone and who do not believe they have any value at all. It should come as no surprise when this belief leads to destructive tendencies.

For a generation desensitized to violence and awash in isolation and despair and loneliness, we need a new vocabulary to speak life and love and hope. The message of Jesus never changes. But our language must. And with the Holy Spirit's help, he will gives us tongues of fire so those around us will hear the wonders of God in a fresh way and in a language they understand.

This week, as we pray for the community, school, and families impacted by this latest school shooting, I'd like to invite you to join me to prayerfully repent for the ways we have individually and corporately turned away from hurting children in our own communities. Let's repent for the ways we have kept silent when we ought to have communicated mercy and forgiveness and hope and the redemptive power of God's love. And as we repent, let's trust God will give us opportunities and the strength to turn back towards these hurting children. Let's ask for his love to burn bright in our hearts and spill out into the darkness around us; for tongues of fire to rest over our heads and empower us to bring the Good News to a new generation in a language they understand.



Partners Relief & Development Photo

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

Praying with you,

Carrie

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

In the News ... "Mormon leader touts missions"

OA Photo by Mark Rogers
•Permian grad says young missionaries a key element in church’s growth

By Bob Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - As president of the regional Odessa Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christopher Steven “Chris” Vore says the crux of his role is to bring as many people as possible to faith in Jesus.

Like all Mormon leaders taking no money from the church, he supervises 15 congregations with a total membership of 4,000 at six church buildings here and in Midland, Andrews, Big Spring and Big Lake ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Everyone who accepts the teaching of St Paul must have a belief in “sanctification”. But I should myself be very chary of describing such operations of the Holy Ghost as “experiences” if by experiences we mean things necessarily discoverable by introspection. And I should be still more chary of mapping out a series of such experiences as an indispensable norm (or syllabus!) for all Christians. I think the ways in which God saves us are probably infinitely various and admit varying degrees of consciousness in the patient. Anything which sets him saying, “Now – Stage II ought soon to be coming along – Is this it?” I think bad and likely to lead some to presumption and others to despair. We must leave God to dress the wound and not keep on taking peeps under the bandage for ourselves

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in The Business of Heaven

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.

Courtesy Photo
Today in the Mission Yearbook: May 21, 2018

LUCY JANIJIGAN, HUNGER ADVOCATE - Next to the entrance of Lucy Janijigian’s apartment is a drawing that her granddaughter made. It depicts Janjigian, her granddaughter and the words “My grandmother helps orphans in Armenia. She inspires me to hep other people.” Her granddaughter has pigtails. Janjigian has a superhero cape.

In real life, Janjigian is a bit of a superhero ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

In the News ... "UTPB 'free store' helps students, community members"

KOSA Photo
• Local churches among supporters

By Gianni Windahl, Reporter
KOSA-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - A store at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is helping students and community members by providing everything from clothes, to food, free of charge ...

read/watch the rest of this KOSA report 


Equal Exchange Blog ... "What does our future hold? A conversation with Betty Perez Zelaya of COMSA"

Equal Exchange's mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.


What does our future hold? A conversation with Betty Perez Zelaya of COMSA

In November 2017, I wrote a post about the Honduran presidential election for this blog and I followed that up recently with a short update on current events in Honduras. In this blog, I asked my friend and Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) member Betty Perez Zelaya to join the conversation to provide context on the election, her perspective, and to share a deeper analysis of the COMSA vision. Betty is a member of COMSA, works as part of the certification team, and also manages her own farm ...

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this post

Equal Exchange Photo

In the News ... "Jubilee Center of Midland hosts 2nd annual BBQ Cook Off"

KWES Photo
• Benefits services for less fortunate families of Permian Basin

By Dana Morris, Multimedia Journalist
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - The Jubilee Center of Midland held its second annual BBQ Cook Off on the afternoon of May 19.

The event featured ten cooking teams who competed in several best recipe competitions such as best steak, best ribs, best brisket, and more ...

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

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

The Monk, as they called him, settled himself on the camp-chair beside his bunk and stared through the window at the harsh sand and black-blue sky of Mars. He did not mean to begin his “work” for ten minutes yet. Not, of course, the work he had been brought there to do. He was the meteorologist of the party, and his work in that capacity was largely done; he had found out whatever could be found out. There was nothing more, within the limited radius he could investigate, to be observed for at least twenty-five days. And meteorology had not been his real motive. He had chosen three years on Mars as the nearest modern equivalent to a hermitage in the desert. He had come there to meditate: to continue the slow, perpetual rebuilding of that inner structure which, in his view, it was the main purpose of life to rebuild.

From The Dark Tower

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 Kristen Young
Today in the Mission Yearbook: May 20, 2018

DAY OF PENTECOST / PENTECOST OFFERING - Kristen Young will never forget the face of Diana. The expectant teen was scared and refused to smile when she came to the shelter in Peru where Young worked last year as a Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV). As the days passed, Diana felt the warm embrace of the center staff and her somber countenance began to brighten. Young was especially moved when she saw the delight Diana took in her newborn son ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

In the News ... "Abilene Church News"


• Special programs and services around the Big Country

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 ... "Midland ministry prepares to feed 150 of Permian Basin's homeless"

KWES Photo
•Taking a dream, turning it into a reality

By Eric Onyechefule, Multimedia Journalist
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - How do you get ready to feed 150 of the Permian Basin’s less fortunate? It starts with a little pep talk.

You look deep down in your heart and find out why you’re doing it in the first place ...

 • read the rest of this KWES report ...

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


• Today, and in the days ahead

Matthew McDaniel,, Reporter
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 ... "Odessa Church News"


• Today and in the days ahead, in Odessa-area houses of worship

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Coming events include worship services, classes, Bible studies, community outreach, fundraisers, mission opportunities and more ...

read the rest of this OA report ...