Praise and Prayer

Praise: Business “Angel” Gives Church the Building It Could Not Afford—After trying unsuccessfully for 2-1/2 years to buy the property they deemed ideal for their growing congregation, leaders of the Skyline Southern Baptist Church in Branson, Missouri, finally admitted defeat. There was simply no way the church could swing the $2.5 million asking price for a strategically-located vacant theater in the city. “We just started planning for three services and three Sunday schools. I told the church ‘I guess God wants us to say right here,’” said Pastor Larry Craig.

But one of the church’s teenage girls was working as a waitress in a restaurant, when a diner asked if she was a Christian. After a brief exchange, he asked her for the church’s phone number, and that led ultimately to an amazing gift of the desired property, arranged by David Green, founder and president of Hobby Lobby stores.

“We took possession on Dec. 31 and had our first service in the building Jan. 1, Craig said. “I know now that they have helped other churches, too. We didn’t seek them out. We didn’t even know they existed when it happened.” Since moving into the theater building, Skyline’s Sunday-morning attendance has shot up to about 650.

“It was like God said, ‘You tried and couldn’t do it. Now let me show you what I can do,’“ said Craig.

Hobby Lobby is a chain of 307 stores in 27 states stores specializing in home accessories, picture framing, and other arts and crafts. It is involved in several ministries and the front page of its Internet site, HobbyLobby.com, features a prayer for America by Christian author and pastor Max Lucado.

From a Baptist Press article by Bob Baysinger

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Praise: Iraqi Pastor Realizes Dream of Opening Evangelical Church— “People are hungry for Christ,” said Iraqi pastor Ghassan Thomas, who in the past used his kindergarten as a vehicle to share the gospel. Speaking in his office with explosions and shooting often audible, he recalled how the regime of Saddam Hussein did not allow the establishment of new denominations. “I was involved in an indirect ministry through the kindergarten, as I did not get permission to officially operate and evangelize. However, people soon came to me and said: ‘this is like a church.’” With American soldiers in town he has finally been able to realize his dream and open his Evangelical Alliance Church. Less than two weeks later, his congregation could hardly accommodate the hundreds of people attending its meetings in the rented church building. Among those in the audience are Christians who were forced to fight in the army of Saddam Hussein.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

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Praise: Despite Persecution, Indian Ministry Is Successful in Baptisms—Though anti-Christian activities by radical Hindus hinder many new believers from following the Lord in public baptism, one ministry in India told Christian Aid it is recording two baptisms every hour for the second year in a row—even though the ministry has had to close all 21 of its regional Bible schools due to lack of funds. Every day the native evangelists planted at least one pioneer church somewhere in South Asia, bringing its total number of church plants to over 3,700. The leader asks prayer that God would provide so that at least half its regional Bible training centers could reopen next year.

Religion Today Summaries

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Pray: Girls for Sale Cheap in Indian State—Newspapers in India almost daily report that girls are being sold for next to nothing—by Western standards. According to clips from the New Indian Express, a family sold their unwanted daughter for 1,000 rupees ($20) in early July. Another mother who couldn’t feed her family sold her child to another couple for food. And on August 1 another woman sacrificed her 6-month-old girl to appease a local goddess. The India Missions Association told Christian Aid that girls in Assam, a state in northeast India above Bangladesh, are being sold “cheaper than cattle.” One of the reasons for the selling of girls is that sons are desired to maintain the family legacy and to provide a work force for the family. In some parts of India, a father must pay a large dowry to marry off his daughter. Many Christian ministries are rescuing children from impoverished families and from the street and giving them Christian care in orphanages and foster homes.

Missions Insider

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Praise & Prayer: Mexican Bishop Calls for End of Violence Against Evangelicals—The Catholic bishop of San Christobal de las Casas, in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas, called this past summer on “traditionalist” Catholics to end their persecution of evangelical Christians. According to a report from Open Doors, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel asked that there be no more “destruction nor house-burnings, nor skirmishes, nor the shedding of blood due to religious, political, cultural, or economic differences.” For many years, evangelical Christians in Chiapas have faced severe opposition.  Despite this pressure, evangelical Christianity has continued to rapidly grow, now reaching 35% of the state’s population.

Pray that the words of the bishop will be heeded. Pray also for the continued spread of the gospel in this troubled region of Mexico.

MissionNet

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Pray: ACLU Gives Libraries Tips to Evade Porn Filtering—The ACLU has prepared a memorandum outlining ways for libraries to circumvent the spirit of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)—a law intended to keep children from viewing pornography on library computers. The ACLU’s first suggestion is to turn down federal funds so as to avoid the law entirely. The group also suggests placing signs on computers belittling the filtering software and prompting patrons to ask for it to be turned off. Daniel Weiss, media and sexuality analyst at Focus on the Family, said “It’s clear the ACLU wants to subvert the will of the people here. People’s elected representatives passed this law with overwhelming support. (It was) signed into law by Bill Clinton and it was upheld by the Supreme Court.”

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