G8 : Awareness – Focus – Prayer

All of the world’s eyes will be on Co. Fermanagh during this month. As representatives of the Body of Christ SAMS wants to encourage you to be aware of the significance of this gathering, focus during the month of June on this gathering and pray. We along with the whole of the church across the nations have a responsibility to pray for all those who are in authority over nations and this is a clear opportunity and privilege to do so.

Why do we need to pray for the G8 Summit?

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

(1 Timothy 2:1–4).

These Heads of State each carry enormous responsibilities and huge pressures of the world, its difficulties and its problems on their shoulders. So, we are calling you, as a member of the Body of Christ across the nations to stand together at this time and pray in the months coming up to, during the G8 itself and in the days after.

Regardless of denomination or background, God has called us to pray for our leaders so please stand with us in unity and pray for the G8.

Please follow this 8 Day Prayer Guide and join us as we pray:

  • That as leaders come into Northern Ireland they would come into the presence of God, receive God’s help and be blessed
  • For God’s protection, that everyone will be kept safe and well throughout their stay
  • That they will receive wisdom and insight from God
  • That God’s will is done as they discuss issues that are of global importance
  • For their families and personal lives

This is a moment in history, a great opportunity. As they gather we should pray for God’s will to be done – ‘for justice to roll like a river and righteousness like a never failing stream’ (Amos 5:24) and for God’s Kingdom values and purposes to be expressed through their decisions.

Please us the prayer guide for the month of June pre, during and post the G8 itself.

Background

G8 stands for the ‘Group of Eight’. First held in 1975 in France and has since become the annual summer summit of Heads of States of 8 Nations. These nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and USA. Originally established to overview global economic developments, it has extended itself to cover almost all of global affairs.

  • Between them, the 8 Heads of State, although only 14% of the world population:
  • Represent the majority of the Un Security Council. Represent about 51% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011.
  • Are the main financial givers to the World Bank and IMF. Control 96% of the world’s nuclear weapons

Members

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, USA and the EU.

Each one of the eight nations holds the presidency of the G8 for a year, 2013 is the year of the United Kingdom’s presidency. The Presidency is responsible for hosting the G8 and also for setting the agenda for the Summit. David Cameron has already set the agenda for 2013 and he aims to use the Presidency to ‘help generate growth, jobs and prosperity for the long term…(by) focus on open economies, open governments and open societies to support free trade, tackle tax evasion and encourage greater transparency and accountability’.

Congratulations to Noel, Lynn & Johnny

SAMS wants to take this opportunity to say a really big thank you to 3 very special (and sore) SAMS supporters who ran the 2103 Belfast marathon on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May. After tramping the streets of North, South, East and West Belfast the 3 amigos completed the race and devoured every piece of food placed in front of them later that evening as they shared their experiences over a meal with Geoff and Jill Hamilton. The money raised will be supporting the ministry of Claire Holmes in Paraguay.

 

F & D Challenge

Read the following quotes and be open to what God might say to you through them.

Choose the most encouraging quote and then choose the most challenging quote for you at this time.

  • In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.
  • Faith…comes only when the outward fact penetrates to the inner heart of man and takes possession of him there — and this is the work of the Spirit.
  • When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough. When you have realized understanding; even one word is too much.
  • For those with faith, no explanation is necessary. For those without, no explanation is possible.
  • Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations.
  • Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.
  • Seeking to know is only too often learning to doubt.
  • Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.
  • It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My belief is born of a furnace of doubt.
  • I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind.
  • It is the dull person who is always sure, and the sure person who is always dull.
  • Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
  • Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
  • Faith is the master, and reason is the maid-servant.
  • God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him
  • Fanaticism is…overcompensation for doubt.
  • Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.
  • Faith is the refusal to panic.
  • I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe.
  • Remember that what you believe will depend very much on what you are.
  • We are born believing. A person bears beliefs, as an apple tree bears apples.
  • We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.
  • Only he/she who believes is obedient. Only he/she who is obedient, believes.
  • It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.
  • Few really believe. The most only believe that they believe or even make believe.
  • Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.
  • Belief is reassuring. People who live in the world of belief feel safe. On the contrary, faith is forever placing us on the razor’s edge.
  • Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking.
  • For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.

Grappling, Wrestling & Letting Go!

“In my experience, self-hatred is the dominant malaise crippling Christians and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit.”
Brennan Manning

“Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”
N.T. Wright

“In Christ, for the first time, we see that in God himself there exists–within his inseparable unity–the distinction between the Father who gives and the Gift which is given (the Son), but only in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”
Hans Urs von Balthasar

“The Spirit of God breathes inspiration, while the carnal mind breeds vanity.”
Fred C. White

“I once faced a temptation that was so persistent and so overwhelming that I literally believed my whole world would go dark if I refused to give in to it,” he said. “All I could do was scream to the Holy Spirit to keep me from it.”
Wesley Hill

“Surprisingly, the Christian faith today is perceived as disconnected from the supernatural world – a dimension that the vast majority of outsiders believe can be accessed and influenced.”
David Kinnaman

“The average man has no central core of moral assurance, no spring within his breast, no inner strength to place him above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from his environment, unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which society affords him.”
A.W. Tozer

“The touchstone of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is the answer to our Lord’s question: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” Our Lord makes human destiny depend on that one thing, Who men say He is, because the revelation of Who Jesus is is only given by the Holy Spirit.”
Oswald Chambers,

“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It is easy to use the phrase ‘God’s will for my life’ as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. … My hope is that instead of searching for ‘God’s will for my life’ each of us would learn to seek hard after ‘the Spirit’s leading in my life today.’ May we learn to pray for an open and willing heart, to surrender to the Spirit’s leading with that friend, child, spouse, circumstance, or decision in our lives right now.”
Francis Chan

ABIDE

ABIDE

What does God want us to do with our lives? The answer is this…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2).

That means the old way has to go…

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).

So what does that mean for you and me today?

Spiritual transformation is so clearly demonstrated in the words of Jesus in John 15 (KJV). Jesus uses the word abide 9 times in 6 verses. The above question can be answered with one word and that word is abide.

A New Year’s Prayer …

Dear Father

God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.
We praise You for Your unequalled greatness.
Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.
Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.
To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.
To teach others to love by loving them.
Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.
So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.
That we could share Love with others.
Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,
in the chirping of sparrows in our gardens,
in the stories of our grandparents, and the fantasies of our children.
Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,
so that we may know You better and better.
We rejoice in the world You loved into being.
Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.
We pray for South America and may we in 2013 deepen our partnerships with others to share your message of hope.
Forgive us for falling short this past year.
We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the
unknown new year knowing You will go with us.
We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what’s ahead,
depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..
I say it again, we rejoice!
In Jesus name,

Amen

Beyond the Tinsel

It’s that time of year when the tinsel and sparkling lights come out and lets be honest it brightens up a time of year with low levels of light! May you have time this Christmas to stop and be reminded that following Christ touches beyond the edges of our lives. Its nothing to do with transforming the fringes. Its purpose is not simply to add some extra qualities to our lives. It has to do with the very core of our existence. Our inner life is not a quiet inner sanctuary that remains segregated from the more central and mundane aspects of our lives. Following Christ is transformative. It challenges us at the very centre of our being and seeks to permeate every facet of our existence.

 

Killing Time

Killing Time

How do I kill time? Let me count the ways.
By worrying about things over which I have
no control.
Like the past. Like the future.
By harbouring resentment and anger over
hurts real or imagined.
By disdaining the ordinary, or rather,
what I so mindlessly call ordinary.
By concern over what’s in it for me.
rather than what’s in me for it.
By failing to appreciate what is
because of might-have-beens,
should-have-beens,
could-have beens.
These are some of the ways I kill time.
Jesus didn’t kill time.
He gave life to it. His own.

Can you be too incarnational?

You can never be too incarnational, for properly understood that’s akin to asking whether you can be too Christ like. Towards the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus prays “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

In others words, Jesus calls us to move within this world without being of this world, to engage with our culture and his teachings simultaneously, without distancing ourselves from either. If Jesus is truly our axis mundi, the centre of our world and our way, then we will live like him and challenge our culture from within.

But often that’s not what we find. Frequently what happens instead is we find Christians either isolating themselves or capitulating to the culture. Both ways lead to blunted witness. A worse option is even more common, that of being “of the world but not in the world,” whereby Christian compromise with culture and gloss it over with layers of ‘churchianity’ that effectively cuts of further cultural engagement.

Go on, be missional, relational and intentional today!

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