Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In the News ... "Traveling rabbi aids synagogue"

OA Photo by Mark Sterkel
• Temple Bethel welcomes Rabbi Jordan Parr

By Jared Wilson, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - For most religious congregations having a full time leader is a standard occurrence, yet for Temple Beth El in Odessa, the temple has often had to make do with the exact opposite.

Former Rabbi Holly Cohn was instilled as the full time rabbi in July of 2012 but has since left the temple and with the High Holy Days on the horizon, congregants and temple leaders knew something must be done.

Enter Rabbi Jordan Parr. Parr is from Detroit but has spent most of his life in the south and settled in Dallas in 2008. Parr said that he learned of the part time gig at a conference and decided to give it a shot ...

read the rest of this OA report ...


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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 30, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF CAYUGA-SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Under the banner “Presbyterians 4 U,” more than 90 people, children to older adults, from 11 congregations in the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse gathered for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Westminster is one of the oldest congregations in Syracuse and has fought to maintain its presence as a witness to Jesus Christ in a changing neighborhood despite decreasing membership. Under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Patricia Simmons, it is reaching out to the community with renewed hope and commitmenT ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ChinaAid: "Wenzhou pastor formally arrested"

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.

Wenzhou pastor formally arrested
Distributed by ChinaAid, September, 2014 ...

WENZHOU, ZHEJIANG, CHINAA – Police in Pingyang County in the coastal Chinese city of Wenzhou formally arrested Pastor Huang Yizi of a Wenzhou-based church in late August for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” after he was initially taken into custody on Aug. 3.

Huang had been repeatedly summoned by the Pingyang County Public Security Bureau after he helped Christians at Salvation Church, also located in Pingyang County, defend their cross from forcible demolition on July 21. Church members and other local believers, including Huang, formed a human wall at Salvation Church’s gate to keep authorities out. What resulted was a bloody altercation that left 14 Christians with serious injuries ...


more on this story from China Aid  


Invitation to Prayer: WEDNESDAY

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we 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).

The First and Second Commandments (continued)


“Prayer is not merely a condition for compassionate leadership: it is its essence. As long as we keep speaking about prayer as a way to restore ourselves from spiritual fatigue, or worse, to recharge our batteries, we have reduced prayer to a method and compassion to a commodity. Reminding each other that we should not forget to pray in our busy lives is like reminding each other to keep breathing! Prayer is the essence of the spiritual life without which all ministry loses its meaning. It is the fulfillment of the great commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. Our heart, soul, and mind can never be divided between God and neighbor. God is a jealous God who wants our love without any reservations. But in our total, undivided commitment to God, God is revealed to us as the God of our neighbor and so makes our love for God a love that embraces all people in time and place. Therefore, the second commandment is like the first. Therefore, union with God is solidarity with all humanity. Therefore, all real mystics are reformers of people, and prayer is the mother and father, brother and sister of all compassion.”

Compassion: The Core of Spirtual leadership by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Intercessor,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will meet on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center conference room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, Afterwards, we will have lunch ($5) and fellowship.


I hope you are able to join us as we pray for the children of our local and global communities.

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the littlest citizens of God’s Kingdom! If you have prayer concerns or celebrations 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 me at at claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

Grace and peace,

Chris

In the News ... "Annual St. Lawrence Festival is this Sunday"

Staff Report
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - he 58th annual St. Lawrence Fall Festival is set for Oct. 5 at St. Thomas Mission Church in St. Lawrence.

The event begins with Mass at 9 a.m., followed by brisket and sausage lunch served 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

Festival activities include game, crafts and baked goods booths; bingo (noon-4 p.m.) and live and silent auctions ...

 • read the rest of this MRT report ... 


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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 29, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - Two ongoing PC(USA) initiatives—Earth Care Congregations and the Eco-Steward Program—and the Climate Revival ecumenical gathering have stimulated, encouraged, and broadened environmental interest among our 25 congregations in the Greater Boston area. After two years of conversation and planning, the Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer program enthusiastically welcomed its first cohort of volunteers in the fall of 2013.

Over the next four years, this project will bring young adults into presbytery congregations each fall to assist in activities that enhance food justice in their communities: making healthy, nutritious food accessible to all; encouraging the sustainable production of food to protect God’s good creation and the people within it; and promoting buying practices that support the flourishing of local economies and producerS ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In the News ... "Students gather before school to pray"

OA Photo by Mark Sterkel
• Annual "See You at the Pole" event

By Don Munsch, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - A handful of students at Odessa High School ... more than 100 students at Nimitz Junior High School.

No matter the number, large or small, students appearing at See You at the Pole event early Wednesday felt convicted to pray before school, for a variety of reasons ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 28, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION: EVANGELISM SUNDAY - The story of how Tamara John ended up starting a new worshiping community is ultimately about the redeeming and healing power of Jesus Christ.

Fifteen years ago, John had other priorities. “The more [money] my husband and I made, the darker it got,” she says. “We’d party—do drugs and alcohol—then recuperate and do it all over again” ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

In the News ... "Pastoral duo ready to lead"

• Installation set for TOMORROW, Sunday, September 28

By Jared Wilson, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - They say two is always better than one and for First Christian Church in downtown Odessa this is exactly what they have received.

The church has been going through some changes with not only renovations, but also a pair of pastors and they said they are ready for the challenge that Odessa has in store for them.

“The growth of the community and finding out how to reach out to people new to faith and those already involved,” Pastor Dawn Weaks said about some of those challenges. “We want to reach across all of those economic boundaries from the rich and the poor and include everyone we can.”

Dawn and Joe Weaks came to Odessa about two weeks ago to take up their new posts at FCC, but they are not strangers to the state, they will be returning home after serving in pastoral positions with a church in Missouri ...

read the rest of this OA report ...


In the News ... "Local Organizations Collaborate to Serve Emergency Responders in Pecos"

KOSA Image
By DeAnn Lopez, Reporter
KOSA-TV


PECOS, TEXAS - Help for the Pecos flooding crisis continues to pour in. Wednesday afternoon the West Texas Food Bank and the Texas Baptist Men disaster relief team joined forces with Red Cross. Together they prepared and served lunch for over 200 first responders and shelter residents.

State and Federal agencies saw first-hand the generosity of West Texas.

Libby Campbell, the Executive Director of the West Texas Food Bank, says that thanks to generous donations made by Concho Resources, HEB, and BHP Billiton, the Red Cross has enough food to last them through Sunday.

Bringing showers, washing machines, and a mobile kitchen, the Texas Baptist Men from Odessa and San Angelo arrived in Pecos Tuesday night to make sure all emergency crews are well taken care of ...

read the rest of this KOSA report 


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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 27, 2014


ALBANY PRESBYTERY, NEW YORK AND VERMONT - Several years ago Albany Presbytery reshaped its budget, setting aside a significant amount of money for new initiatives. Its 68 congregations have been encouraged to start new projects that support the goals of the presbytery: congregational vitality, healthy relationships, and missional living.

One grant was given to West Hebron Church, which seeks to become a “community sanctuary”—a welcoming, safe, and nurturing place for its neighbors ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Friday, September 26, 2014

From @FWMission ... Friday Story: "Freedom Through Mobility"

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: "Freedom Through Mobility"

Greetings and happy Friday!

Can you imagine being unable to leave the house unless you had someone around to carry you? For many of our recipients, this is their reality. I wanted to share with you Thuan’s story this week and how a wheelchair helped her gain independence:

Thuan is the youngest of three girls. She was born with polio and has struggled with mobility her entire life. Years ago, she had been given a wheelchair, but it was too big for her to use effectively. After three years of improper use, it broke, and she was left with the challenge of mobility once more. She wanted to be out and about: to explore and see things near her home, but her family was unable to take her. She was home bound ...


read the rest of this story ...



Want to take one of these wheelchairs  for a test drive? During normal business hours, visit the lobby at the Texas Street entrance of First Presbyterian Church-Midland, at the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, on the west side of downtown Midland. You can give the gift of mobility. The cost of $72.00 is a bargain to us ... but it is a life-changing gift to impoverished and disabled recipients ... and there are times when your contribution will be matched, reaching not one - but TWO, and sometimes FOUR recipients. Please note on your check "Wheelchair Gift."

In the News ... "Ministry brings in Darryl Strawberry as an example of overcoming past"


Steve Kuhlman, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - The Midland-based New Direction Ministry’s second annual Set Free event will feature former major leaguer Darryl Strawberry.

The free event is 6:30 p.m. September 30 at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center. It will serve as a fundraising and outreach opportunity for the ministry which, according to its mission statement “exists to give hope and direction to ex-offenders through discipleship in Jesus Christ.”

Executive director Tyrone McGruder said the ministry chose Strawberry as a speaker “because of the struggles that he went through in life” ...

 • read the rest of this MRT report ... 



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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 26, 2014


THE SYNOD OF THE NORTHEAST - The Synod of the Northeast includes 1,115 congregations throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey. In the fall of 2011 the synod assembly decided to enter into a season of discernment about its future direction and purpose. By the end of the first year, we had concluded that gathering at the regional level allowed presbyteries and their congregations to support one another and share resources and was therefore both necessary and desirable.

In our reflections we have rediscovered two key strengths of the synod: our racial ethnic diversity and the emergence of many new and passionate young leaders ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Faces of Children: Prayer Concerns for This Week

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we 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).

Prayer Concerns for the Week of 09/24/14


Pakistan, India

Kashmir, a disputed territory administered by India, Pakistan and China, recently experienced some of the heaviest rains in the region in over 50 years. More than 500 people have been killed in the resulting flash floods and landslides on both sides of this disputed Himalayan territory. Over three million people have been affected by this extensive flooding. Thousands of villages have been submerged by floodwaters, trapping people on rooftops for days. Displaced families struggle to find fuel, food, and medicines.
more on this issue
more on this issue
Please keep the children, youth, and adults of the Kashmir region close in prayer as they deal with the deadly flooding and landslides. Pray for those who’ve been uprooted from their homes and communities and for those who have lost everything.
Pray God will comfort those who’ve lost loved ones in this disaster. Pray for children who have been injured by flash floods or landslides.
Please pray for peace and reconciliation in this disputed region. Pray authorities in both Indian and Pakistan territories will serve their people with wisdom and fairness during this difficult season.

Syria, Iraq

The three-year-long civil war in Syria continues to endanger and disrupt the lives of children, not only in that country, but also in Iraq and other neighboring countries. Human rights groups have accused the Syrian army of committing atrocities against its population including the use of chemical agents, barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods, and the torture and sexual abuse of prisoners. Rebels fighting the Syrian government have also been accused of recruiting children to fight, act as snipers, man checkpoints, treat the wounded on battlefields, haul supplies to the front lines, and carry out car bombings or suicide attacks.
more on this issue
more on this issue
Militants with Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their territory in Syria. This brutal offshoot of al-Qaeda has taken control of large portions of Iraq and eastern Syria in a violent campaign to restore an Islamic state in the area. They’ve been accused of mass atrocities in Syria: recruiting children as fighters and suicide bombers, holding public executions, carrying out beheadings, crucifixions, mass killings, amputations, and whippings. Islamic State militants are accused of intentionally using savagery as a tool to divide the population, to pit Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims against one another, and restore an Islamic caliphate based on strict, medieval Sunni Muslim precepts.
more on this issue (WARNING: Disturbing Content)
Please continue in prayer for children and families affected by the fighting in Syria and Iraq. Pray for those affected by Islamic State’s extremely savage form of violence.
Pray for children who’ve been recruited by the Syrian government, opposition forces, and those recruited by IS. Please pray for their safe release and healing from the trauma of violence.
Pray for those who have been displaced from their villages because of the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
Pray for Iraq and Syria’s leaders during this challenging season. Pray they will seek God’s guidance in all of their decisions concerning the people in their respective countries.
Pray for peace in this region. Pray for a change of heart in those who kill and destroy to fulfill their warped goals. Pray for those who kill and destroy in the name of their religion.

United States

Thomas* was on the Faces of Children prayer list multiple times starting in 2010 after he accidentally shot a friend in the abdomen. After that accident, Thomas seemed to spiral downwards, making poor choices in life and in friends. He now has a new girlfriend, a university nursing student, who seems to have a very positive influence on him.
* (name changed for confidentiality and/or protection)

Give thanks to God that Thomas, now 19 years old, is doing well following some very challenging years. Thanks be to God he has grown and matured and that his life choices have also improved.

Faces of Children

Please keep Faces of Children intercessor Sue Stroman in prayer as she undergoes treatment for a cyst on her spine. Pray her doctors will be able to correctly diagnose what’s causing a disconnect between the nerves in Sue’s spine and calf muscles that causes great pain when she walks. Pray for God’s healing touch upon Sue in this time of uncertainty and discomfort.
Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.



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 Chris Laufer, FOC Coordinator, at claufer@facesofchildren.net

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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 25, 2014


PRESBYTERIAN AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS -The Presbyterian Foundation is a vital part of the PC(USA) and is committed to strengthening congregations, mid councils, the General Assembly, and all other related entities by developing gifts and managing funds on their behalf and working with them to build communities of generosity among their members and constituents

The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) is a financially self-sustaining agency of the General Assembly. In 2013 PPC published the new denominational hymnal, Glory to God. PPC publishes 50 new titles each year and maintains a backlist of more than 1,800 titles.

The Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program provides low-cost mortgages to congregations, mid councils, and related entities for capital projects such as expansions, renovations, and site purchases ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 24, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION: GUN VIOLENCE - Today’s lectionary reading from Acts notes that for three months Paul entered the synagogue and “argued persuasively about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8b). We pray for the kingdom every Sunday, but are we ready to argue and plead for it in God's house? Is there anything more urgent to argue or plead for than what God's reign would look like in our cities and towns?

Eighty percent of all gun deaths in the developed world occur in the United States. The number for children’s gun deaths is even worse, at 87 percent. Should not these facts motivate us to be bold like the apostle Paul and set us arguing and pleading for God’s shalom to take form in our cities and towns? And shouldn’t the arguing and pleading happen in God’s house, where the incredible worth of each human life is central to all we stand for ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 23, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION: NATIVE AMERICAN DAY - some people think of American Indians or Native Americans as being all alike. That would be like saying all Europeans are the same. Yes, there are similarities, such as the importance of creation and of kinship. But the gift of each tribe’s uniqueness is a mark of the Creator’s handiwork.

The Laguna United Presbyterian Church, worshiping in three villages on the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, is the only Native American congregation in the Presbytery of Santa Fe. It is one of two church bodies that have been sanctioned by the Laguna tribal council. The other is the Catholic Church. Anyone who knows the complex history between indigenous communities and Christian missions knows how significant this relationship is ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Monday, September 22, 2014

ChinaAid: "Henan court rejects house church pastor’s final appeal against 12-year sentence"

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.

Henan court rejects house church pastor’s final appeal against 12-year sentence
Distributed by ChinaAid, September, 2014 ...

NANLE COUNTY, HENAN, CHINAA – China Aid learned today that Pastor Zhang Shaojie’s final appeal against his 12-year sentence for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” and a fabricated fraud charge was rejected by the Puyang Intermediate Court in China’s central Henan on Aug. 21.

Li Fangping, one of Zhang’s attorneys, confirmed that he received a phone call from Judge Ma, who presided over the case, saying that the original verdict was being upheld. Ma told Li on Aug. 21 that the second verdict had already been sent to Zhang ...


more on this story from China Aid  


Invitation to Prayer: WEDNESDAY

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we 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).

The First and Second Commandments


“Jesus’ primary concern was to be obedient to his Creator, to live constantly in God’s presence. Only then did it become clear to him what his task was in his relationships with people. This also is the way he proposes for his apostles: ‘It is to the glory of my Creator that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples’ (John 15:8). Perhaps we must continually remind ourselves that the first commandment requiring us to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind is indeed the first. I wonder if we really believe this. It seems that in fact we live as if we should give as much of our heart, soul, and mind as possible to our fellow human beings, while trying hard not to forget God. At least we feel that our attention should be divided evenly between God and our neighbor.

But Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul. It is this unconditional and unreserved love for God that leads to the care for our neighbor, not as an activity which distracts us from God or competes with our attention to God, but as an expression of our love for God who is revealed to us as the God of all people. It is in God that we find our neighbors and discover our responsibility to them. We might even say that only in God does our neighbor become a neighbor rather than an infringement upon our autonomy, and that only in and through God does service become possible.”

The Living Reminder by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Intercessor,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will meet on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center conference room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, Afterwards, we will have lunch ($5) and fellowship.


I hope you are able to join us as we pray for the children of our local and global communities.

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the littlest citizens of God’s Kingdom! If you have prayer concerns or celebrations 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 me at at claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

Grace and peace,

Chris

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. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: September 22, 2014


PRESBYTERIAN MISSION AGENCY (continued) - The Presbyterian Mission Agency is governed by an elected board and is responsible for the coordination of program activity at the national and international level of the church’s witness. Approximately 300 staff members carry out the work of Presbyterian Mission. Nearly 200 mission coworkers (in 50 countries) and 71 Young Adult Volunteers (in 4 sites internationally and 15 sites in the United States) are engaged in vital ministries of sharing faith and working against poverty and violence ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Friday, September 19, 2014

From @FWMission ... Friday Story: "A Visit to Kenya"

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: "A Visit to Kenya"

Greetings and happy Friday!

n order for Free Wheelchair Mission to expand our provision of mobility solutions and strengthen our distribution partner network, we look for ways to improve our wheelchairs for future recipients and to provide our distribution partners the best product and training we can for those they serve. One way to determine if our wheelchairs and systems are exceptional is to be on the ground conducting tests, talking with recipients and gaining feedback from our partners. Recently we sent a representative and longtime friend and supporter of FWM, Bob, to Kenya to participate in a study being conducted at a school for children living with disabilities in Kenya. Here, Bob shares part of his journey:

Considering the importance and impact the work Free Wheelchair Mission does is sobering. Over the years, over 781,000 lives have been enhanced by providing people with a healthier, more productive, and more satisfying place in society. Millions of dollars have been generously contributed to bless many with the gift of mobility.

In Kenya I visited Bethany Kids, a residential facility serving about 350 children who have varying degrees of disabilities ...


read the rest of this story ...



Want to take one of these wheelchairs  for a test drive? During normal business hours, visit the lobby at the Texas Street entrance of First Presbyterian Church-Midland, at the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, on the west side of downtown Midland. You can give the gift of mobility. The cost of $72.00 is a bargain to us ... but it is a life-changing gift to impoverished and disabled recipients ... and there are times when your contribution will be matched, reaching not one - but TWO, and sometimes FOUR recipients. Please note on your check "Wheelchair Gift."