Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gebedskalender GZB week 18 (zondag 28 april t/m zaterdag 4 mei 2013): Midden- en Oost-Europa

Anne-Marie Kool werkt sinds 1987 in Hongarije en Midden- en Oost-Europa, sinds 1997 als hoogleraar missiologie. In haar werk staat centraal de bezinning op de missionaire vragen van kerken in Midden- en Oost-Europa te bevorderen, opdat die mogen uitgroeien tot open, gastvrije, getuigende gemeenten van Jezus Christus in de wereld van vandaag.

Zondag 28 april:
Angst en verdeeldheid doordrenken de Hongaarse samenleving, als gevolg van een diep wantrouwen. Bidt voor de doorwerking van de bevrijdende kracht van het Evangelie.

Maandag 29 april:
De economische crisis werkt verwoestend in Midden- en Oost Europa en gaat gepaard met een morele crisis: gebrek aan solidariteit, corruptie, nietsontziende jaloezie. Bidt voor regeringsleiders die zich geplaatst zien voor grote uitdagingen en voor kerkleiders met visie, geestelijk inzicht en onderscheidingsvermogen.

Dinsdag 30 april:
‘Christus is Heer’ klinkt de eerste geloofsbelijdenis. In het “christelijke” oosten van Europa zijn er steeds meer die hun toevlucht zoeken tot afgoden als geld, sex (trafficking!), en volksreligieuze en occulte praktijken, ook zij die officieel kerkleden zijn. Evangelisatie is dringend. Bidt voor predikantsopleidingen en missionaire toerusting van gemeenteleden, dat er op deze actuele vragen in gegaan zal worden, tot opbouw en uitbouw van gemeente.

Woensdag 1 mei:

Velen in Post-Communistisch Europa hebben slechte herinneringen aan de Dag van de Arbeid, en vinden het moeilijk om in hun werk te laten zien dat ze christen zijn. Bidt voor de groei van een christelijke visie op arbeid, m.n. in de vele nieuwe gemeenten in Albanië, waar twee van onze studenten vandaan komen.

Donderdag 2 mei:
De afgelopen jaren zijn rondom Budapest 16 nieuwe gemeenten gesticht, in meerderheid door oud-studenten van het zendingsinstituut. Bidt dat deze jonge gemeenten mogen uitgroeien tot open, getuigende gemeenschappen en tot voorbeelden van verzoening in de zo verdeelde samenleving. Bidt voor deze jonge predikanten die vaak erg eenzaam staan in hun pionierswerk.

Vrijdag 3 mei:
Er zijn veel veranderingen gaande in het Hongaarse onderwijs. Bidt voor Anne-Marie en voor de studenten, voor de voortgang van het werk. Bidt in het vertrouwen dat God ook weer nieuwe wegen zal openen voor Zijn werk.

Zaterdag 4 mei:
Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog kwamen ook veel Roma (zigeuners) om. Helaas neemt het antisemitisme en antiziganisme sterk toe.
Bidt voor de studenten die zich in hun MA eindscriptie erop bezinnen hoe de kerk in woord en daad het Evangelie onder hen kan verspreiden en dat er visie mag groeien in maatschappij en kerk om Roma mensen liefdevol te bejegenen.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Duitse bisschop vraagt Roma en Sinti vergeving - Kerknieuws - Kerk & Religie

Duitse bisschop vraagt Roma en Sinti vergeving

Duitse bisschop vraagt Roma en Sinti vergeving -  Concentratiekamp Auschwitz. Foto EPA
Concentratiekamp Auschwitz. Foto EPA
STUTTGART – De bisschop van de Evangelische Kerk van Württemberg heeft aan de Sinti en Roma vergeving gevraagd voor het leed dat christenen in Duitsland deze bevolkingsgroepen hebben aangedaan.
Bisschop Frank Otfried July van Stuttgart sprak donderdag op een herdenkingsbijeenkomst aan het begin van de synode van de landskerk van Württemberg. Daarbij was ook de voorzitter aanwezig van de Vereniging van Sinti en Roma in Baden-Württemberg, Daniel Strauss.

Lees verder:
Duitse bisschop vraagt Roma en Sinti vergeving - Kerknieuws - Kerk & Religie

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Consumer Church or Missional Church?

Something that might be hard to think about, but is profoundly important to understand. Are you a contributor? Advancing the kingdom of God and living on mission as an act of worship? or a consumer passively treating God and the church like any other commodity? the consumer culture that we live in has affected not only our churches, but has actually become an idol in many of our lives allowing us to tailor God to our wishes, rather than allowing him to transform us for His glory. Let us walk in humility and repentance honoring and pleasing God in all we do. He is 1st, we are second.. Might we be comfortable with that. :) Live on Mission.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Story of the Bamboo

Story of the Bamboo

Benjamin E. Newcombe 
has taken this fact as a basis for a parable. On the hillside in the Kucheng District of China, the most valuable trees are often marked with the owner’s name. A common way of conveying water from the mountain springs down to the villages is in channels made of lengths of bamboo fitted one to the other Some of these bamboos are four or five inches in diameter When I was seven years old, Helen Ligler, a missionary on furlough from Africa, told this story on a Sunday morning in Cicero Bible church, Cicero, IL. At the conclusion, I offered my young heart to God for ser vice in India. Subsequently, I spent 13 years in India as a medical missionary nurse in the villages. ED.
A beautiful tree stood among scores of others on a lovely hillside, its stem dark and glossy, its beautiful feathery branches gently quivering in the evening breeze. As we admired it, it seemed to say: “You admire my tall stem and graceful branches, but I have nothing to boast of. All I have I owe to the loving care of my Master. It was he who planted me here in this fruitful hill, where my roots, reaching down to hid den springs, and continually drinking of their life- giving waters, receive nourishment, beauty and strength for my whole being.
“Do you see those trees to one side, how parched they are? Their roots have not reached the living springs. Since I found the hidden waters I have lacked nothing.
“You observe those characters on my stem? Look closely—they are cut into my very being. The cutting process was painful—I wondered at the time why I had to suffer—but it was my Masters own hand that used the knife. When the work was finished, with unutterable joy I recognized it was his own name he had cut on my stem. Then I knew beyond doubt that he loved me and prized me, and wanted all the world to know that I belonged to him. I may well make it my boast that I have such a Master.”
Even as the tree was telling us of its Master, we looked around and lo! the Master himself stood there. He was looking with love on the tree. In his hand he held a sharp axe.
“I have need of thee,” he said. “Art thou willing to give thyself to me?”
“Master,” replied the tree, “I am all thine own— but what cause can such as I be to thee?”
“I need thee,” said the Master, “to take my living water to some dry, parched places where there is none.”
“But, Master, how can I do this? I can dwell in the living springs, and imbibe their waters for my own nourishment. I can stretch up my arms to heaven, and drink their refreshing showers, and grow strong and beautiful, and rejoice that strength and beauty alike are all from thee. I can proclaim to all what a good Master thou art. But how can I give water to others? I but drink what suffices for my own food. What have I to give to others?”
The Master’s voice grew wondrously tender as he answered, “I can use thee if thou art willing. I would cut thee down and lop off all thy branches, leaving thee naked and bare. Then 1 would take thee away from this, thy happy home, and carry thee out alone on the far hillside, where there will be only grass and a tangled growth of briers and weeds. Yes, and I would still use the painful knife, for all those barriers within thy heart should be cut away one by one, till there was a free passage for my living water through thee.
“Thou wilt die, thou sayest; yes, thou wilt die, but my water of life will flow freely through thee. Thy beauty will be gone indeed. Henceforth, no one will look on thee and admire thy freshness and grace, but many will stoop and drink of the life-giving stream which will reach them through thee. They may give no thought to thee, but will they not bless thy Master who hast given them his water through thee? Art thou willing for this,—to die?”
I held my breath to hear what the answer would be.
“My Master, all I have and am is from thee. If thou indeed hast need of me, then I willingly give my life to thee. If only through my sacrifice thou canst bring thy living water to others, I yield myself to thee.
Take and use me as thou wilt, my Master.” And the Master’s face grew still more tender. But he took the sharp axe, and with repeated blows brought the beautiful tree to the ground. It rebelled not, but yielded to each stroke saying softly: “My Master, as thou wilt.” And still the Master held the axe and continued to strike until the stem was sev ered again, and the glory of the tree, its wondrous crown of feathery branches, was lost to it forever.
Now, indeed, it was naked and bare”—but the love-light in the Master’s face deepened as he took what remained of the tree on his shoulders, and bore it away,—far over the mountains.
Arriving at a lonely and desolate place, the Master paused, and again his hand took a cruel looking weapon, with sharp-pointed blade, and this time thrust it right into the very heart of the tree—for he would make a channel for his living waters, and only through the broken heart of the tree could they flow unhindered to the thirsty land.
Yet, the tree repined not, but whispered with breaking heart, “My Master, thy will be done.”
So the Master, with the heart of love and the face of tenderest pity, dealt the blows, and spared not,— and the keen-edged steel did its work, till every barri er had been cut away, and the heart of the tree lay open from end to end.
Then again he raised it, and gently bore it to where a spring of living water, clear as crystal, was bubbling up. There he laid it down—one end just within the healing waters. And the stream of life flowed in, right down the heart of the tree from end to end, along all the road made by the cruel wounds—a gentle current, to go on flowing noiselessly, flowing in, flowing through, flowing out, never ceasing. And the Master smiled and was satisfied.
Again the Master went, and sought for more trees. Some shrank back and feared the pain but others gave themselves to him with full consent, saying, “Master, we trust thee. Do with us what thou wilt!”
Then he brought them, one by one, by the same painful road, and laid them down end to end, and as each tree was placed in position, the living stream poured in, fresh and clear from the fountain and, till through its wounded heart the line growing longer and longer, till at last it reached to the little children, who had thirsted, came and drank, and hastened to carry the tidings to others: “The water has come at last—the long, long famine is over; come and drink.” And they came and drank and revived. And the Master saw, and his heart was gladdened.
Then the Master returned to his tree and lovingly asked, “Dost thou regret the loneliness and suffering? Was the price too dear—the price for giving the living water to the world?” And the tree replied. “My Master, no; had I ten thousand lives, how willingly would I give them all to thee for the bliss of knowing, as today I know, that I have helped to make thee glad.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Better Life Index -- Hungary


How’s Life?

Hungary performs only moderately well in overall well-being, as it ranks lower or close to the average in a large number of topics in theBetter Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Hungary, the average person earns 13 696 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 22 387 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly four times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, around 55% of people aged 15 to 64 in Hungary have a paid job, well below the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 60% of men are in paid work, compared with 51% of women. People in Hungary work 1 961 hours a year, more than most people in the OECD who work 1 749 hours on average. Around 3% of employees work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 9%, with 5% of men working very long hours compared with just 2% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Hungary, 81% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 74%. 84% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 77% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system the average student scored 496 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), close to the OECD average of 497. On average in Hungary, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, in line with the average OECD gap.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Hungary is 74 years, lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 78 years, compared with 70 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs –is 16 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 22 micrograms per cubic meter. Hungary performs slightly less well in terms of water quality, as 78% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, lower than the OECD average of 84%.
Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Hungary, where 89% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, close to the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 64% during recent elections; below the OECD average of 73%. There is little difference in voting levels across society; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 72% and for the bottom 20% it is 55%, suggesting there is room for broader social inclusion in Hungary’s democratic institutions
In general; Hungarians are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 69% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is lower than the OECD average of 80%.