Archive for November, 2011

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 136 | Wed 30 Nov 2011

November 30th, 2011
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By Elizabeth Kendal

WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.

    We must understand the times in which we live (Luke 12:54-56):
    persecution is escalating at an alarming rate. So: 'Stay alert and be
    persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.' (Ephesians
    6:18b NLT) 

NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATE -- During November we prayed concerning . . . 

BURMA (RLPB 132), where ethnic Kachin Christians are being driven from
  their lands behind a smokescreen of mini-'reforms'. 

* UPDATE: Ten people were killed (all children) and 27 were injured on
  Sunday evening 13 November when a parcel bomb was thrown into an
  orphanage in Myitkyinar, Kachin State, during a study. The
  owner-manager of the orphanage, Dayaung Tangoon, was away travelling
  with Christian pastors at the time. Though Tangoon, a leader in the
  Kachin community, lost a son, a daughter and grandchild in the attack,
  he was arrested. Meanwhile the 27 wounded, including Tangoon's wife,
  are in hospital, barred from receiving visitors. Furthermore, the
  regime is deploying chemical weapons against the Kachin. Residents of
  Mai Ja Yang village recently fled their homes reporting toxic and
  caustic 'yellow rain'. Likewise, residents fleeing Prang Ngawn village
  in western Kachin also reported that a plane had delivered 'yellow
  rain' to their village. On 17 November the Association of Southeast
  Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that Myanmar (Burma) will chair ASEAN
  in 2014. Pray for the besieged Christian Kachin of northern Burma. 

NIGERIA (RLPB 133), where the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Boko Haram,
  which wants Nigeria run as an Islamic State, is escalating its campaign
  of terror against Christian, educational and democratic institutions
  across the north. 

  Boko Haram unleashed another wave of terror, this time targeting Geidam
  Local Government Area, Yobe State (north-east Nigeria). Armed with
  Kalashnikov rifles and explosives, the militants bombed Geidam police
  station, freeing suspects and looting the armoury before rampaging
  through the town, robbing a bank and looting a shopping complex. They
  torched numerous businesses, an abandoned beer parlour, a court, the
  local government secretariat and at least eight churches. Four police
  were killed. When claiming responsibility for terrorising Geidam, Boko
  Haram warned: 'Until all our members in detention are released and the
  Yobe state government stops intimidating and harassing our members we
  will continue carrying out attacks in the state.' 

  News reports that Fulani Muslim herdsmen, backed by Muslim soldiers,
  recently killed 45 ethnic Berom Christians around the town of Barkin
  Ladi in Plateau State. After accusing the Berom Christians of stealing
  cattle, the Fulani Muslims started randomly killing Christians: three
  on 20 November, two on 21st and another beheaded on 22nd. On Wednesday
  23rd the Muslims attacked a church in Barkin Ladi, killing four
  Christians. The next day, straight after the morning call to prayer,
  hundreds of armed Muslims joined forces in a major assault. Chanting
  'Allahu akbar' (Allah is great) they massacred nine Christians in
  Barkin Ladi and 26 Christians in nearby Kwok village. Please pray for
  the Church in Nigeria. 

SUDAN (RPLB 134), where genocidal ethnic cleansing continues in the
  north, in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, while an oil war looms over
  South Sudan, threatening to engulf not only the whole nation but the
  wider region. 

UGANDA (RLPB 135), which is launching a fresh offensive against the LRA,
  assisted by 100 US Special Forces troops. It is urgent that we pray for
  a spiritual breakthrough so that multitudes of the LRA -- most of whom
  are just kidnapped, traumatised, brainwashed children -- might be
  spiritually and physically freed to leave the LRA for rehabilitation.
  Pray for the religious leaders who are working to this end, especially
  for the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative. Pray that Ugandan
  Christians will unite across tribal lines to address historic
  injustices and inequity, for the sake of long-lasting peace and for
  the glory of God. 

NOVEMBER 2011 ROUND-UP -- also this month . . . 



Last month, Tunisia's Islamist, long-banned Ennahda party emerged 
victorious winning 89 of 217 assembly seats in the first election of the 
'Arab Spring'. Ennahda has been striving to present itself as 'moderate'. 
Yet on 13 November Tunisia's new Prime Minister, Ennahda's Hamadi Jebali, 
told a rally, 'My brothers, you are at a historic moment in a new cycle of 
civilisation, God willing. We are in a sixth caliphate, God willing.' With 
a Hamas MP by his side, Jebali declared that 'the liberation of Tunisia 
will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem'.  When this 
upset his prospective coalition partners, Jabali simply said his words had 
been misunderstood and taken out of context.('Moderate' and jihadist 
Islamists have the same radical goal and differ only regarding tactics.) 
Pray for the Church in Tunisia.  


Last week Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) emerged 
victorious, winning 107 of 395 assembly seats in the second election of 
the 'Arab Spring'. Though being lauded in the West as 'moderate', the PJD 
is the political wing of the Uniqueness and Reform movement which 
represents the Muslim Brotherhood in Morocco. Earlier this year, as the 
Middle East simmered in discontent, Morocco's ruling elite lessened the 
risk of mass revolt by enacting constitutional 'reforms'. According to the 
new constitution, Morocco is no longer a 'unitary sovereign state', but a 
'Muslim sovereign state'.  And whilst clause three of the preamble was 
amended to include the goal of 'deepening the sense of belonging to the 
Arab-Islamic umma [nation/community]', clause two of article 25 that 
guaranteed the 'freedom of conscience' was dropped entirely. Of the 
Moroccans who voted, 98.5 percent approved the constitutional amendments. 
Pray for the Church in Morocco.  


Egyptians are now voting in what is the third election of the 'Arab 
Spring'. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's long-banned Freedom and Justice 
Party (FJP) is widely expected to do well in a three-stage legislative 
election that began on Monday 28 November and concludes in January. There 
have been numerous reports of vote-buying and religious sloganeering. 
Christians are mostly voting for the Egyptian Bloc list headed by the 
liberal Free Egyptians Party, which is strongly opposed to the FJP.  They 
are anxious about the future. If Islamist power rises in Egypt, the Copts 
will be in a very vulnerable situation indeed. Even now the media, the 
army, the Salafists and masses of radicalised 'loyal' Muslims are ready to 
subjugate the Copts as dhimmis under Islam. According to Islam, any 
resistance to dhimmitude may be met with jihad (slaughter). Pray for the 
Church in Egypt.  


Since coming under the rule of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata 
Party (BJP) in 2008, persecution of Christians has escalated in Karnataka. 
On Saturday 26 November members of the Bethel Ministry Church were praying 
together in a home on the outskirts of Kushalnagar village, Karnataka, 
when a mob of Hindu militants burst in. After accusing the Christians of 
engaging in forced conversions, the militants called the police who came 
and arrested a Mrs Janakiyamma, taking her to Madikeri Prison. This is the 
41st case of anti-Christian persecution officially registered in Karnataka 
this year.  

Two other church groups were attacked in Karnataka during the month, both 
in the district of Hassan. On 12 November six members of the Ministry of 
Bethel Church were attacked as they waited for a bus after attending a 
prayer service. The militants beat the believers and marched them off to 
the police station where they were subsequently placed under arrest. After 
an intervention by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) three 
women and a child were released but the men are still imprisoned.  The 
next day Pastor Nagaraj, of the Church of Immanuel Prarthanalaya in 
Arkalgud, had just started the Sunday service when a mob of Hindu 
militants stormed the church and began tearing up Bibles. When the police 
arrived they arrested the pastor and three believers who are still in 
prison. This is India! Pray for the Church in India.  


A crude bomb exploded in Thapathali, Kathmandu, on 22 November, outside 
the offices of United Mission in Nepal (UMN), a Christian non-governmental 
organisation (NGO) that has been working to relieve poverty in Nepal since 
1954. Nobody was injured. A second bomb was disarmed. Police found 
leaflets at the site from the Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a militant Hindu 
nationalist group that has targeted Christians previously. The leaflets 
accused the UMN of converting Hindus to Christianity.  The following 
Sunday a suspicious parcel was found outside the Assemblies of God 
Navajiwan Church. The police bomb squad who defused the bomb said it 
contained three powerful explosives that would have done considerable 
damage had the bomb exploded. On 22 November, two Christian brothers, 
Panchman Tamang and Buddhiman, were violently assaulted and expelled from 
their predominantly Buddhist village in Sindhupalchowk district, north of 
Kathmandu near the border with Tibet. Instead of defending religious 
liberty, the government is appeasing the belligerent by drafting anti-
conversion laws. Pray for the Church in Nepal.  


Leaders of the 2200-member Agape Baptist Church (ABC) -- a house church 
network near Hanoi -- were violently assaulted on Sunday 13 November, 
Compass Direct News reports. They were meeting in Lai Tao village, Bot 
Xuyen commune, My Duc district at the home of evangelist Nguyen Thi Lan, a 
former Communist Party (female) official who recently converted to 
Christianity. Unhappy about conversions in the village, the gang of over a 
dozen local thugs (including plain-clothed police) burst in savagely 
beating the leaders while looting and ransacking the home.   

Nine pastors and other church leaders along with several of their teenage 
children sustained serious injuries. Most critically injured was Pastor 
Nguyen Danh Chau who was unconscious for several hours. When ABC head 
Nguyen Cong Thanh visited on 15 November he said, 'All they could do was 
weep, and I also could not prevent my tears from flowing.' With local 
hospitals proving reluctant to aid the pastors, ABC eventually evacuated 
the most critically wounded to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Thi 
Lan and Pastor Nguyen Danh Chau have suffered potentially crippling 
injuries. No one has been arrested and the gang is threatening to kill 
Nguyen Thi Lan if she ever returns. The impunity granted to the 
persecutors guarantees that persecution will only escalate. Pray for the 
Church in Vietnam.


God’s School of Hope(9)

November 30th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Now all has been heard;

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,

for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,

including every hidden thing,

whether it is good or evil. (NIV)

This next section is the most challenging. It is entitled Judgement as a setting for learning and practising hope.

We face a paradox when we reflect on human history.

Here, amid our growing knowledge of the structure of matter and in the light of ever more advanced inventions, we clearly see continuous progress towards an ever greater mastery of nature.

Yet paradoxically in the field of ethical awareness and moral decision-making, there is no similar possibility of accumulation for the simple reason that human freedom is always new and we must always make our decisions anew. These decisions can never simply be made for us in advance by others—if that were the case, we would no longer be free. Freedom presupposes that in fundamental decisions, every person and every generation is a new beginning.

Thus there are the cycles and seasons described in Ecclesiastes with each generation in one sense on its own doing some things better, some things worse.

Since in God’s purpose man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the Kingdom of God will never be definitively established in this world by a wiser generation.

So when anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. He is a false Messiah.

And this leads to something that lies at the heart of the rather buried hope of Ecclesiastes: God’s judgment of this world. A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. Only God can create justice. And faith gives us the certainty that he does so.

Ecclesiastes, despite it is obvious frustration with the human condition with its limitations, maintains a trust in God’s sovereignty: For God will bring every deed in to judgement, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

Message for the Day

Caloundra Festival 2011 “Celebrate Life Together”

November 29th, 2011
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From Bob Regazzoli:

We were blessed once again this year to have the President of GCI, Dr. Joseph Tkach and his wife Tammy join us for the Festival in beautiful Caloundra. In addition to the 350 registered in attendance, many more visited at various times during the week.

As well as worship services, there was a range of activities to add to the fellowship and friendships, including the family picnic and games afternoon, youth evening, ladies dinner, bush dance, seniors lunch, a young adults evening, and many informal gatherings. To add variety this year, focus sessions were conducted on one morning, rather than a regular worship service. Optional sessions included a panel interview on outreach activities, preaching and a youth discussion.

The main themes covered during the services looked at appreciating how God has led us into His grace, sharing God’s love with others, and celebrating where Jesus is leading us. This involves our personal walk with God in prayer, listening to His voice, continuing to change, making new friends, and reaching out into our communities. To grow, we must have Jesus’ heart for ministry and outreach.