Displaying items by tag: Praise
A headteacher attempted to invoke a UN convention to ban singing Christian hymns at a religiously diverse infant school. A third of students at Poulner Infant School have Christian parents, but humanist head Jo Conner believes singing hymns infringes on the 'human rights' of non-Christian students. All schools must provide an opportunity for wholly- or broadly-inclusive Christian worship to promote spiritual development: however, they may apply for an exemption in particular circumstances. Ms Conner sought an exemption, saying Christian hymns were inappropriate as only a third of students were Christian. The advisory council for Religious Education said any parent had a right to withdraw their child from collective worship, but no withdrawals had been recorded and no parents had complained about worship music. They rejected her application.
A survey by the Church of England has found that younger people are far more likely to pray than older generations. The rising interest in meditation, spirituality and mindfulness has increased the numbers of those who connect with faith. 1/3rd of 18- to 34-year-olds have prayed in the last month, compared to just 25% of people aged over 55. The younger generation is also more likely to have said a prayer at any time. The Archbishop of York said, ‘As Christians, prayer is the bedrock of our faith and deepens our relationship and understanding with God.’ The survey shows that many people still long for that connection with something and someone beyond themselves. At this time of uncertainty when we face many pressing issues, reaching out in prayer to the God who loves us and longs to be known to us can bring peace and transform lives.
The women, children and elderly fleeing Ukraine are suffering the most, dealing with the trauma from Russia’s ongoing onslaught. In support of what churches in Ukraine and Poland are doing, the New York Jets donated $100,000 towards the work of ‘CityServe Krakow Housing Project’. Their goal is to expand refugee housing in Krakow, Poland. The money will provide safe homes for families which include a kitchen and laundry room, and food and vital necessities. CityServe said it is incredible that a secular organisation should partner with faith-based organisations to see the gospel spread in this war-torn region.
Bible Society staff are taking humanitarian aid and Bibles to cities under heavy attack in Ukraine to provide ‘hope amidst fear’. With local churches they take food, medicines and Bibles to homes and to bomb shelters. In one bomb shelter in a school, people read Psalm 91 day and night. War has brought many changes to Ukraine’s Bible Society but they meet every challenge. Their bookshelves now store medicine, and the team travel off-road in medical convoys to bring Bibles, scripture-based resources, humanitarian aid and pastoral care to the most devastated places. They say, ‘We are sharing living bread and physical bread.’
Mikhaila’s mother had a rare cancer. The death rate was 100%. Three surgeries failed. A lady who visited her hospital prayed with her, offering hope, and her demeanour changed. She let go of the control she tried to have over the cancer. She was being tube-fed and her faith took over. ‘I’ll be better by our anniversary next month.’ she declared. Mikhaila thought the optimism was due to the morphine. But, a month later, she was better. The 100% cancer fatality rate changed by 100%. No doctor could account for her recovery. Mikhaila and mum discussed the healing proclamation. ‘That’s a weird day and you said it was going to happen a month ago.’ Mikhaila said. ‘How is that possible?’ ‘God’, Mum replied nonchalantly.
A four-year-old boy was able to hear for the first time whilst attending the New Wine festival at the beginning of August. Although he has not been publicly named, crowds rejoiced when being told the news from the festival stage. Rev Kate Wharton, New Wine’s assistant director, said: ‘He was born deaf, but after he was prayed for during the week, he was able to hear for the first time. His mum told this delightful story of him staying awake whispering to his brother all night.’ The festival, held at Peterborough, saw 14,000 people gather to grow in their faith. Due to the pandemic, this was the first live New Wine festival since 2019.
‘People may ask, ‘How is it possible for an Afghan man to become a Christian?’’’ Homayoun, who was once bent on violence and vengeance, is now a pastor. He shared his testimony on SAT-7 PARS live programme Signal, in the hope that God will use his story of transformation to touch the lives and hearts of viewers facing enormous challenges in Afghanistan and Iran today. ‘I grew up in Afghanistan and come from a Muslim background. As I got older, I always had God on my mind, I prayed five times a day and read the Quran. I wanted to know God and I wanted to know the truth, but I never found peace and tranquillity. Eventually I joined the army. I wanted to fight Daesh, the Taliban, or anyone really. But it didn’t work out. God didn’t want me to kill anyone.’ Read Homayoun’s testimony here
Thomas came to know Christ last year, while living in a communal home with his non-Christian parents. Tensions began to mount, prompting him to build a tent on his parents' land as a temporary living space. When he tried to purchase land and build his own home, the authorities repeatedly blocked his efforts. Thankfully, his pastor was able to secure him a new piece of land and then International Christian Concern was able to help him build a new, humble home for his immediate family. His pastor said, ‘Thomas is very firm in his new faith. God saved him and his family. Thomas would never give up his faith.’
IJM reports, ‘Last week we celebrated justice for IJM lawyer WK, his client and their driver. Three police officers and one civilian were convicted of their murder’. Prior to 2016, few police officers had ever been convicted for murder - despite many instances of police abusing power. But in the past five years, 45 officers have been convicted on murder or manslaughter charges. This gives hope to victims and families of police abuse that justice is possible. ‘Also, praise God for the acquittal of an innocent IJM client in Kenya. He was framed for a crime he didn't commit. During the trial, the prosecution failed to produce any witnesses. He is now free, but please pray for him to be protected from further false accusations.’
Since 2000 there have been 300 churches planted across Sweden by other nations. The Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God has 40 Swedish church plants. Their vision is to plant worshipping communities within five minutes' distance from each other. Also from Nigeria there are church plants from Deeper Life Bible, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries. There are plants from Ghanaian Church of Pentecost where the worship language is English, Ghanaian Swahili and Swedish. Chile’s International Mission Church gathers 1,500 people for Sunday services in Stockholm. For Sweden, this is a very big church. There are also congregations with Ethiopian, Eritrean, Iranian, or Afghan connections that are generally closer to the established Swedish denominations.