A Premiership football star has revealed just how important a part God has played in his life. On the brink of appearing in the final of Europe’s second most prestigious competition, Fulham star Zoltán Gera, 31, revealed the life story of how his Christian faith has helped him to overcome many problems in his youth. As a youngster, Mr Gera was driven to the brink by drink, drugs and gambling. He claims he was saved by finding God and now he hopes his remarkable story will serve as an example of how a life tainted by despair can become one graced with hope. His story, which appeared in The Evening Standard, becomes all the more remarkable taking into account that doctors once told him he had subjected his body to so much abuse, through the imbibing of alcohol and illegal substances, that he would never realise his dream of playing football at the highest level.
Praise: God for the testimony of Zoltan and others in the public eye. (Jn.19:35)
Over 2,700 people have come forward to ‘make decisions for Christ’ at the recent three-day 'Festival of Hope' in Hungary's capital Budapest led by American evangelist Franklin Graham, his organization confirmed in comments monitored by BosNewsLife. Graham returned to the city where 23 years ago his now elderly, and frail, preaching father Billy Graham held the first open-air arena evangelism event in the then Communist-ruled Eastern Europe. Recalling the visit to Hungary in the 1980s with his father, Franklin Graham noted that Hungary and the world have changed. ‘We have great problems - economic problems, political problems - and no one seems to have the answer. And that’s because our problem is a spiritual problem,’ he told reporters. Some 312 churches from various denominations were involved in last month's evangelistic outreach at Papp László Budapest Sports Arena, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization (BGEA) said.
Praise: God for the way He has blessed this Festival of Hope. (Ps.33:12)
Hungary has been holding a 'Night of Churches' as part of a Catholic-backed festival aimed at raising public awareness about faith and the arts. Younger and elderly Hungarians assembled suddenly in the heart of Budapest's Castle District near the Catholic Matthias Church on a hill overlooking the Danube river. The many tourists watched with amazement as they sang ‘The Evening Prayer’ a folk song that was adapted by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály in his choral work. ‘This is my first flash mob,’ said a smiling black man. ‘Thank you,’ shouted a female spectator. It is part of an attempt to promote the annual Ars Sacra Festival, or Sacred Arts Festival, an initiative organizers say was inspired by late Pope John Paul II. Launched some seven years ago, it encourages visitors to open up their hearts for faith and its creative expression in the arts.
Praise: God for the light that shines in His people and gives cause for celebration. (Ps.33:2)
There is a rising tide of prayer across Wales as His children seek His face for our nation. There seems to be a buzz in the air as stories are arising across Wales of God doing wonderful things in peoples' lives. Beautiful testimonies are emerging, Jesus is being glorified and the Holy Spirit seems to be moving in every corner of the nation. House of Prayer Ffald-y-Brenin cannot cope with the number of visitors coming to pray and has given up trying, so that Bed and Breakfasts are full of those who come up to pray during the daytime. People are pouring in from around the world then leave carrying increased blessing. Elsewhere across Wales people are suddenly finding that the simplest prayers suddenly lead them into the very presence of our life-changing God. Home-based Houses of Prayer are multiplying, both singly and in networks. 24-hour Prayer is being raised up across the land.
Praise: God and may His Glory cover all of Wales as the waters cover the sea. (Hab.3:2)
OM Ships International’s vessel Logos Hope has launched back into service from Hong Kong SAR, China following the annual dry dock and maintenance time required for ongoing operation. The ship is now sailing to San Fernando, Philippines which will be the first of two stops planned for the 2013 visit to this country of many islands. The second port of call, Puerto Princesa, will be the fifth port Logos Hope has visited in the Philippines after stops in Cebu, Manila and Subic Bay in 2012. While many of the crew stayed on board to complete technical works during the time in Hong Kong, many others moved on shore to work locally or in surrounding nations on ‘challenge teams’. In total, 22 teams were sent out from the ship to ten different countries including South Korea, Japan and China as well as the United Kingdom and United States.
Praise: God for the work of Logos Hope and for its ongoing operations. (Ps.18:49)
Protestant churches in Hong Kong are blooming with an annual growth rate of 6.2% over the last five years and the number of Protestants in the former British colony is drawing close to 300,000. The number of practising Protestants surpassed 290,000 in 2009, rising from just over 216,000 in 2004, according to the results of a new survey released by the Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement. The figure surpasses the growth experienced by Protestant churches in Hong Kong from 1999 to 2004, when the number of practising Protestant rose from just under 176,000 in 1999 to nearly 217,000 in 2004, an annual growth rate of 4.3%. Rev Luk Fai, President of the Bethel Bible Seminary, revealed the new statistics in the latest edition of Christian Weekly magazine.
Praise: God for the growth of His Church and pray for its continued development and protection. (Ac.49:50)
On August 12th missionary Trish and her son Ben were accosted by two young men with handguns and taken to a remote area. Then Trish was released and the kidnappers began ransom demands via the mission sending agency supporting the family. The kidnappers had no way of knowing that through social media within 12 hours there were over 100,000 people praying for Ben, after 20 hours there were over a quarter million praying. At the end, 300,000 people had logged in and were praying around the globe for his release. The negotiation - or lack of negotiation - was tense because the family could not pay a ransom. In response to prayer, God moved and the two young men had a change of heart. Ben was released unharmed on August 13th and taken to a local hospital for observation. He was dizzy and confused when released, and slightly bruised from his travel through the bush.
Praise: God for social media activating global prayer within a matter of minutes. (Ps.66:19-20)
A powerful prayer movement is rising in the world's largest Muslim nation. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Indonesian Christians intercede for their country. It was a scene never witnessed before in Indonesia's history. ‘I don't know another nation on earth like Indonesia where the church has become so passionate and united in prayer,’ Tom Victor, with the American-based Great Commission Coalition, said. Last year, more than 9,000 Christians from around the world descended on the Indonesian archipelago for a massive prayer gathering led by scores of Indonesian churches united to see the name of Jesus Christ lifted. Dr. Bambang Widjaya was a key architect of the event. ‘We can see the zeal, not only among the evangelical or Pentecostals, but also in the mainline churches and Catholic that we need to spread the Good News of Christ all over the country,’ Widjaya said. (See Prayer Alert 20-2012 World Prayer Assembly)
Praise: God for His grace and favour. Long may it continue! (2Cor.4:15)