Thursday, January 17, 2019

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO ARTHUR GREEVES, who had just ended an unhealthy friendship with a boy: On doing the right thing; and on the blessing of friendship.

29 December 1935

As regards your news—sympathy and congratulations. Sympathy on the wrench of parting and the gap it will leave: congratulations on having done the right thing and made a sacrifice. The chief consolation at such times, I think, is that the result, however unpleasant, must be a kind of relief after the period of saying ‘Shall I really have to—no I won’t—and yet perhaps I’d better.’ There is always some peace in having submitted to the right. Don’t spoil it by worrying about the results, if you can help it. It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God. . . .

I don’t think you exaggerate at all in your account of how it feels. After all—though our novels now ignore it—friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, ‘sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.’ I know I am very fortunate in that respect, and you much less so. But even for me, it would make a great difference if you (and one or two others) lived in Oxford.

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 Duane Sweep
Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 17, 2019

LAKES AND PRAIRIE SYNOD SCHOOL - Marking its 65th year, this year’s iteration of Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, drew more than 600 for a week of worship, classes, fun and fellowship on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

In the News ... "'Dancing with West Texas Stars’ fundraiser scheduled"


• Your donations and ticket purchases cast votes for your favorite dance team

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - The Crisis Center of West Texas has scheduled the fifth annual Dancing with West Texas Stars on Feb. 9 at the MCM Grandé Hotel FunDome, 6201 E. Highway 80.

Ten local celebrities have paired with their talented partners to dance the night away and raise funds to end sexual assault and domestic violence in West Texas ...

Read the rest of this OA report ...

In the News ... Everyday Hero: "Lawn's Carolyn Atkins volunteers to educate others"

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last of a series of stories on Everyday Heroes, people making a difference in their communities, often without receiving recognition.

ARN Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich
“We need to spend as much time as we can doing for others.”

By Carl Kieke, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - In the 1930s (or perhaps ‘20s; memory isn’t certain), Carolyn Atkins’ grandmother joined the Honeybees Extension Education Club, first in Callahan County, then the newly formed club in Taylor County.

The club helps with education, but also performs numerous services to people in the county. She passed the volunteering tradition to her daughter, who then passed it along to Atkins.

Her service in this organization and many other projects, as well as being “Johnny on the spot” for many needs, inspired Margie Wheeler of Ovalo to nominate Atkins as an Everyday Hero ...

Read the rest of this ARN 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 Midland this week, we'll be meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 16 - TODAY - for prayer. We meet in the prayer closet at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Please join us in lifting up the needs of vulnerable children in our community and around the world!

Blessings,

Carrie

Dear Intercessors,

NDFH Photo
This week I'd like to invite you to join me in praying for a place particularly close to my heart... New Day Foster Home outside of Beijing, China. This week I received an email from my friend, Karen, the director. Here's part of what she said:

"There are many changes happening in China. If you have been following things you have probably seen information about the new National Regulation regarding orphans. The National Civil Affairs is requiring that all children must return to their orphanage. They may go to another city for temporary medical care/surgery but once that is completed they must return.

This means that ALL the children we have been caring for in Beijing must return to their orphanage. This is a very difficult time for all of us (there have been many tears shed) and for the orphanages. Many of the orphanages are overwhelmed with all the children that are returning."

Here's an example she shares from one orphanage: "They are in very difficult circumstances. With three children per bed- and this was before 90 children from other locations were returned. They are scrambling to make everything safe for the children. They have begged us for help and once the dust settles in Beijing we will explore how best to help them. This will most likely involve an in-orphanage project where we hire, train the staff and cover all the child's daily and medical expenses. The only difference is that they will not be in our Beijing facility but in the orphanage."

I'm not really sure that I really have words... my heart is hurting for my friends... nannies who will be laid off because there are no more kids to care for... children who've only known New Day as their home. The legacy of an entire organization that's saved the lives of hundreds of children ending with the simple signature of a government officer's pen.

The dust is still settling, and I don't know what's next for New Day. But this week, I would like to ask you to pray for this foster home and many others across China that are similarly impacted.

Blessings,

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

If the world exists not chiefly that we may love God but that God may love us, yet that very fact, on a deeper level, is so for our sakes. If He who in Himself can lack nothing chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed. Before and behind all the relations of God to man, as we now learn them from Christianity, yawns the abyss of a Divine act of pure giving—the election of man, from nonentity, to be the beloved of God, and therefore (in some sense) the needed and desired of God, who but for that act needs and desires nothing, since He eternally has, and is, all goodness. And that act is for our sakes. It is good for us to know love; and best for us to know the love of the best object, God. But to know it as a love in which we were primarily the wooers and God the wooed, in which we sought and He was found, in which His conformity to our needs, not ours to His, came first, would be to know it in a form false to the very nature of things. For we are only creatures: our role must always be that of patient to agent, female to male, mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in a true, and not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to His demand, our conformity to His desire: to experience it in the opposite way is, as it were, a solecism against the grammar of being.

From The Problem of Pain
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 Jieun Han
Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 16, 2019

NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN - Native American women came together in Louisville over the summer for a pre-gathering event prior to the kickoff of the 2018 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women (PW). “Because of limited opportunity to come together nationally, Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries (RE&WIM) put together this event,” said Irv Porter, associate for Native American Intercultural Congregational Support. “This is also a time to celebrate together the goodness of God in the lives of native women,” added Rhashell Hunter, director of RE&WIM ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In the News ... "Helping Hands Initiative: Crisis Center of West Texas"


• Center operates through 9 counties in West Texas

By Haley Harrison, Reporter
KOSA-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - If you're interested in volunteering with the Crisis Center of West Texas, you can find more information online HERE.

The Crisis Center of West Texas is opening a brand new shelter in Odessa next month and with that brings more opportunities to volunteer.

CBS7's Haley Harrison sat down with Karen Hildebrand, the Center's executive director, to hear about the many ways West Texans can lend a hand to domestic violence and sexual assault victims...

Read/watch the rest of this KOSA 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,

If you're in Midland this week, we'll be meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 16 for prayer. We meet in the prayer closet at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Please join us in lifting up the needs of vulnerable children in our community and around the world!

Blessings,

Carrie

Dear Intercessors,

NDFH Photo
This week I'd like to invite you to join me in praying for a place particularly close to my heart... New Day Foster Home outside of Beijing, China. This week I received an email from my friend, Karen, the director. Here's part of what she said:

"There are many changes happening in China. If you have been following things you have probably seen information about the new National Regulation regarding orphans. The National Civil Affairs is requiring that all children must return to their orphanage. They may go to another city for temporary medical care/surgery but once that is completed they must return.

This means that ALL the children we have been caring for in Beijing must return to their orphanage. This is a very difficult time for all of us (there have been many tears shed) and for the orphanages. Many of the orphanages are overwhelmed with all the children that are returning."

Here's an example she shares from one orphanage: "They are in very difficult circumstances. With three children per bed- and this was before 90 children from other locations were returned. They are scrambling to make everything safe for the children. They have begged us for help and once the dust settles in Beijing we will explore how best to help them. This will most likely involve an in-orphanage project where we hire, train the staff and cover all the child's daily and medical expenses. The only difference is that they will not be in our Beijing facility but in the orphanage."

I'm not really sure that I really have words... my heart is hurting for my friends... nannies who will be laid off because there are no more kids to care for... children who've only known New Day as their home. The legacy of an entire organization that's saved the lives of hundreds of children ending with the simple signature of a government officer's pen.

The dust is still settling, and I don't know what's next for New Day. But this week, I would like to ask you to pray for this foster home and many others across China that are similarly impacted.

Blessings,

Carrie

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

In the News ... "WTFB ready to assist during partial government shutdown"

Courtesy Photo
• A day-by-day changing situation that requires adaptability

By Courtney Borchert, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - As the government shutdown continues, local agencies like the West Texas Food Bank are stepping up to make sure they are prepared to assist additional clients.

Texas will issue February benefits to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients earlier than usual following the federal government shutdown. The U.S. Department of Agriculture instructed states to request an early issuance of SNAP benefits for the upcoming month given uncertainty of future federal program funding.

Libby Campbell, executive director of the West Texas Food Bank, said SNAP participants will have to adjust their budgets accordingly to make sure the funds last through February ...

Read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world.

From Surprised by Joy

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 Randy Hobson
Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 15, 2019

HAVANA'S 1ST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CUBA - Despite the improbability of her call last winter as pastor of historic First Presbyterian Church in Havana, Cuba, the Rev. Liudmila Hernández is confident about her ministry. “It is a challenge all the time, but I have no doubts,” she says. “I feel energy every day and ask God, ‘This is your church — help me.’”

Hernandez, 29, is not only the first woman to pastor First Church — which was founded at the turn of the 20th century and was the first Protestant church in Havana — she is one of the congregation’s youngest pastors and is also single. You can call it the trifecta of unlikely calls ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, January 14, 2019

From @chinaaid : "Letter calls for prayers for persecuted church"

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.

China Aid Photo
Letter calls for prayers for persecuted church
Distributed by ChinaAid, December, 2018 ...

CHENGDU, SICHUAN – A prayer letter was published by the Western China Presbytery recently, urging Christians to pray for a serially persecuted church located in the country's Sichuan province ...

More on this story from China Aid ...


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,

If you're in Midland this week, we'll be meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 16 for prayer. We meet in the prayer closet at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Please join us in lifting up the needs of vulnerable children in our community and around the world!

Blessings,

Carrie

Dear Intercessors,

NDFH Photo
This week I'd like to invite you to join me in praying for a place particularly close to my heart... New Day Foster Home outside of Beijing, China. This week I received an email from my friend, Karen, the director. Here's part of what she said:

"There are many changes happening in China. If you have been following things you have probably seen information about the new National Regulation regarding orphans. The National Civil Affairs is requiring that all children must return to their orphanage. They may go to another city for temporary medical care/surgery but once that is completed they must return.

This means that ALL the children we have been caring for in Beijing must return to their orphanage. This is a very difficult time for all of us (there have been many tears shed) and for the orphanages. Many of the orphanages are overwhelmed with all the children that are returning."

Here's an example she shares from one orphanage: "They are in very difficult circumstances. With three children per bed- and this was before 90 children from other locations were returned. They are scrambling to make everything safe for the children. They have begged us for help and once the dust settles in Beijing we will explore how best to help them. This will most likely involve an in-orphanage project where we hire, train the staff and cover all the child's daily and medical expenses. The only difference is that they will not be in our Beijing facility but in the orphanage."

I'm not really sure that I really have words... my heart is hurting for my friends... nannies who will be laid off because there are no more kids to care for... children who've only known New Day as their home. The legacy of an entire organization that's saved the lives of hundreds of children ending with the simple signature of a government officer's pen.

The dust is still settling, and I don't know what's next for New Day. But this week, I would like to ask you to pray for this foster home and many others across China that are similarly impacted.

Blessings,

Carrie

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

In the News ... "Mid-Winter Chili Cook-Off at Belmont Baptist"

OA Photo by Courtney Sacco
• Sign up now to compete

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Belmont Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth St., has scheduled a Mid-Winter Chili Cook-Off at noon Jan. 27, following the morning worship service.

Sign up now to compete. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.

For more information, call (432) 332-0248.

In the News ... Everyday Hero: "'Jesus glasses' helps Lawn 'Everyday Hero' see ways to love, help people"

EDITOR'S NOTE: Through the beginning of the New Year, the Reporter-News is running stories on Everyday Heroes, people making a difference in their communities, often without receiving recognition.

ARN Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich
“I’m no hero. I’ve just done what God said.”

By Carl Kieke, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - Diane Walker is a minister in Lawn who admits to being very human.

She sometimes encounters people that may not be outwardly desirable. When that happens, she puts on her “Jesus glasses.”

“Sometimes you get tired, you think, don’t you see what I see?” she said ...

Read the rest of this ARN report ...

In the News ... "UTPB STEM students help with 'Empty Bowls'"

OA Photo by Mark Rogers
• Helping to feed the hungry

By Ruth Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Sixth-graders from the University of Texas Permian Basin STEM Academy got an infusion of art into their curriculum recently when they glazed ceramic bowls that will be used in the upcoming Empty Bowls event.

Proceeds from Empty Bowls go to the West Texas Food Bank. It is a collaboration among Odessa College, Midland College, UTPB and the Boys and Girls Club, among others.

The event is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 25 at the West Texas Food Bank, 411 S. Pagewood Avenue ...

Read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going.

When a young man who has been going to church in a routine way honestly realises that he does not believe in Christianity and stops going—provided he does it for honesty’s sake and not just to annoy his parents—the spirit of Christ is probably nearer to him then than it ever was before.

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.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 14, 2019

HOMELESSNESS - Mark lived on the streets of Hollywood, well known by social service providers as one of the toughest homeless cases in the city. He was often found standing on a street corner, looking disheveled, staring into space. His looks scared most people away.

Mark arrived at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood’s winter shelter program, called The Refuge, after a desperate referral from a social service provider. He arrived with a blank expression on his face and was unable to speak. Through tears and a warm embrace, Amie Quigley, director of urban outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, mumbled to him, “God loves you and we love you too.” Mark was given a clean bed with a comforter and pillows in a quiet fellowship hall. Later, he sat down with several other guests to a warm meal served with love, laughter and kindness by church volunteers.

“Our mission at The Refuge is to care for our most vulnerable friends,” said Quigley ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.

17 June 1963

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’

Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end) Jack.

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 Randy Hobson
Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 13, 2019

MATANZAS SEMINARY PROGRAM, CUBA - Gita, a toddler, sits on her mother’s lap, her head lying on the table in front of them so quietly she might be napping. It is as if she is willing her mother, Hiromis, to concentrate on her studies in the Superior Ecumenical Institute of Religious Sciences (ISECRE), a weekly interfaith academic program of the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary (SET) in nearby Matanzas ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

In the News ... "Lubbock Faith Briefs"

Courtesy Photo
• What’s going on in area churches

By Erica Pauda, Reporter
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - From the Avalanche-Journal, news of regular services, and special events and programs at houses of faith in Lubbock and across the South Plains ...

 • Read the rest of this LAJ report ...

 • More from the LAJ's "South Plains Faith Calendar" ...

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


• Here's what's going on at church near you

By 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 ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Unless the religious claims of the Bible are again acknowledged, its literary claims will, I think, be given only “mouth honour” and that decreasingly. . . . It is, if you like to put it that way, not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite, it excludes or repels, the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force. You are cutting the wood against the grain, using the tool for a purpose it was not intended to serve. It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long except to those who go to it for something quite different.

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.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: January 12, 2019

SMALL CHURCHES - I’d been on the job for about three months when it came time for the joint planning meeting with the session and deacons. It was my first call to a small congregation in a medium-sized building. I was old enough to remember what church was like back in the ’70s, when vacation Bible school was a community event and Christmas and Easter meant extra chairs around the perimeter of the sanctuary. The church to which I’d been called didn’t even fill up on the big holidays ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, January 11, 2019

From @FWMission ... Friday Story: “The Story Behind Our No. 1 Photo of 2018”

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: “The Story Behind Our No. 1 Photo of 2018”

On this last weekend of 2018, I thought I’d share the story behind this photograph, which was our number-one post on Instagram this year.

It was taken in Cuzco, Peru by a couple from Connecticut during a mission trip ...

Read the rest of this story ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

When the cravings went, nearly all that I called myself went with it. It was as if my whole soul had been one tooth and now that tooth was drawn. I was a gap. And now I thought I had come to the very bottom and that the gods could tell me no worse

From Till We Have Faces

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: January 11, 2019

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY - Awareness of human trafficking is more than knowledge — it also serves as prevention.

According to a United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime 2016 Global Report, nearly 71 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and one-third are children.

The Sudarnagar Mother’s Group in Nepal is telling a different story through their community groups ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

From @austinseminary ... "The Reed" for January 2019


• Q&A with the 2019 MidWinter Lecturers

Our 2019 MidWinter lectures invite us into the thinking behind their upcoming lectures. Be sure to register for MidWinters here!


What compelled you to consider your topic for your MidWinters lectures?

Robert M. Franklin Jr.: I have been fascinated by the transformative power of moral leadership both at the world historical level (think Mandela, Gandhi, and King) and at the common everyday level (like my grandmother who infused love and justice into the mean streets of Chicago). We are all capable of acting on our deeply held moral values. But, I think most of us are also capable of moral leadership that is courageous and creative. During times of crisis, moral leaders intervene or emerge to offer hope.

Katelyn Beaty: Both of my talks will be about prophetic Christian witness in a "post-truth" political and cultural era. I want to give listeners timely wisdom based on what I have observed as a journalist, editor, and writer, and I want to help the American church regain some credibility in this crucial moment.

Why is it worth spending time thinking about?

Miroslav Volf: What we do in seminaries and divinity schools is engage in theological reflection. But what is that reflection for? Theology today is in a crisis. It has lost its audience and reputation—in the churches and in the larger world. More importantly, theology has lost its own voice. Theology is uniquely suited to explore the great questions of human life, all gathered in the vision of the purpose of human life—to discern, articulate, and commend a vision of life rooted in God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. But theology seems incapable of taking up these questions today. As a consequence, it is failing to speak to one of great issues of our time: namely the problem of the nature of humanity and the purposes of human existence.

Franklin: We are in a complicated time in this nation’s history, a time marked by intellectual and moral chaos. During such times we need to have conversations about how we will go forward together, and guided by what kind of moral compass. In the past, people like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks helped to invite us to choose a better path forward. Those people are around today; they don’t even realize it. But, the constellation of circumstances, visions, and impulses to lead can emerge unexpectedly and produce unpredictable results.

Who or what has influenced your thinking?

Beaty: My thoughts are informed by two groups, broadly speaking: good journalists and good leaders in the church. I am grateful for writers who commit themselves to telling the truth, as complex and uncomfortable as it might be. And I am grateful for church leaders who do the same, in the face of personal and professional cost.

Volf: I am a student of Jürgen Moltmann, and he was and remains a significant influence on my thinking. His theology is very "theological," and, at the same time, very close to life. As a theologian, he is neither just seeking to remove the negative nor just to replicate life and thought of what is deemed to be an "ideal past"; he is sketching a vision of life for the world rooted in Christ for today. This is what I seek to do as well.

How do you hope your listeners will be challenged / changed by this conversation?

Franklin: I hope that people will examine the social and moral crises that face us right now (partisan division, racial, gender and class tensions, the future of guns, immigration policy, etc.) and think about what might be the most courageous and impactful course of action that their ethical and religious values can underwrite.

Volf: I hope for us all—as individuals, as churches, and as cultures—to orient, and keep re-orienting, our lives around Jesus Christ as the key to our humanity and it this way to "take hold of the life that really is life" (1 Timothy 6:19)

Beaty: 20th-century theologian Karl Barth said that Christians are to read with the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. I hope listeners will be challenged to become better readers of both texts, discerning how the Word of God speaks to the events and trends of our world.

• Two professors receive 2019 Louisville Institute grants


It is highly unusual for two members of the same faculty to receive grants from the Louisville Insitute in the same year. However, Austin Seminary is pleased to announce that Professors David Jensen and Gregory Cuéllar have both received 2019 Project Grants for Researchers from the Louisville Institute. Jensen, academic dean and professor in the Clarence N. and Betty B. Frierson Distinguished Chair of Reformed Theology, received a grant for a project that will help mainline seminaries learn from Jewish and Catholic communities. The grant given Dr. Gregory Cuéllar, associate professor of Old Testament, will enable him to research and write a book on the current immigrant detention crisis along the southern US border.

Dean Jensen has taught at Austin Seminary since 2001; he has been academic dean since 2014. He is the author or editor of eleven books, the most recent, Christian Understandings of Christ: The Historical Trajectory, is due out in April from Fortress Press. Professor Cuéllar has been working especially with children of asylum-seekers at the Texas/Mexico border since 2014. He led a group of Austin Seminary students to McAllen, Texas, before the Christmas break (see a student's reflection on the trip below).

Read more here!

• Confession and assurance at the border


Student Jonathan Freeman writes in the Presbyterian Outlook about his experience traveling with Professor Gregory Cuéllar to the U.S. / Mexico border in December.

Read more here!

• Re-accreditation: Public Notice of Evaluation Visit

In mid-March 2019, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will receive an evaluation committee from the Association of Theological Schools(ATS) Commission on Accrediting. The visit is part of the peer-review process to reaffirm the accreditation of Austin Seminary. Austin Seminary invites comments in writing concerning its qualifications for accreditation. Interested parties may email comments to Dr. TD Lincoln, accreditation liaison, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Commission on Accrediting invites third-party comments, especially remarks regarding the General Institutional Standards, the Educational Standard, and Degree Program Standards. Please email comments to the director, commission information services. All comments received will be available to the evaluation committee,



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In the News ... "'Kids Night Out' at Belmont Baptist"

OA Photo by Courtney Sacco
• TOMORROW evening; admission is FREE

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Belmont Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth St., has scheduled Kids Night Out for kindergarten through fifth-grade, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the first Friday of each month through May.

There will be games, snacks, and fun.

Admission is free.

For more information, call (432) 332-0248.

In the News ... Everyday Hero: "Lydia Gonzales makes a difference in the lives of troubled youth"

EDITOR'S NOTE: Through the beginning of the New Year, the Reporter-News is running stories on Everyday Heroes, people making a difference in their communities, often without receiving recognition.

ARN Photo by Larry Zelisko
“I want to guide them in any way I can, to motivate them to be successful.”

By Larry Zelisko, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - Inscribed inside Lydia Gonzales’ senior ring from Hardin-Simmons University are the words “All My Children.”

The inscription refers not only to her three children but also her children’s friends – and all the children she works with as a juvenile probation officer and through the juvenile justice alternative education program.

“This isn’t just a job, it’s like my life, my second family,” Gonzales said ...

Read the rest of this ARN report ...

In the News ... "Student Ministries Friday Night Live"

OA Photo by Courtney Sacco
• TOMORROW night; admission is FREE

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Belmont Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth St., has scheduled Student Ministries Friday Night Live for grades 6-12 at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month through May.

There will be games and snacks.

Admission is free.

For more information, call (432) 332-0248.