Rev. Canon Francis Omondi gave a presentation about the persecution of Christians in East Africa and the pressures they face there from Al-Shabaab at Christ Church, Virginia Water. Canon Omondi was participating in a tour of churches in the UK, as part of Suffering Church Week. The Revd Canon Francis Omondi is the founder and International Director of Sheepfold Ministries, he is chair of CMS Africa and Barnabas Fund in Africa.
A husband was distraught over his wife’s stubborn refusal to admit she had a hearing problem. He went to see their family doctor to ask for advice on how to convince his wife that she had a hearing problem. The doctor advised him to go home, open the front door and in a normal voice ask his wife what’s for dinner. The doctor said, if she doesn’t answer, move closer to the kitchen. Repeat the question again, and if she still doesn’t answer, stand behind her and whisper in her ear, “What’s for dinner, honey?” Then, the doctor assured him, she’ll have to admit she has the problem. So the man went home, opened the front door and asked “What’s for dinner, honey?” His wife made no reply, so he moved closer to the kitchen and asked again. “What’s for dinner, honey?” Again, nothing. So he tiptoed over to her and whispered in her ear, “What’s for dinner, honey?” She turned and looked at him straight in the eye: “For the 3rd time, I said, we’re having MEAT LOAF!”
Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9). Clearly those who cannot hear do not get it, and those who can hear, should. What did you hear when this well known parable of Jesus was read just now? I suggest the majority of us think we are like the good soil. We are sorry for others whose hearts are like the rocky, weedy or hard soil.
Lets be honest: Is that what you thought? That is because when the Scriptures are read, we invariably see ourselves in the best possible light, we tick the box and move on to the next passage. This is a very serious mistake. When Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9) he was giving a warning. That is the main point of the parable.
David Robinson, a former police officer serving with SO14, the Royal Protection Command, spoke at Christ Church, Virginia Water, recently. David spent 31 years with the Metropolitan Police, 20 of them as a Royal Protection Officer, He shared how he became a Christian and also gave some insights into the challenges of protecting members of the Royal Family.
Harvey Thomas was the former Director of Communications for the Conservative Party. In this presentation given at Christ Church, he talks about forgiveness and reconciliation. Harvey is Chairman and Lobbyist for the Fellowship of European Broadcasters (FEB)
Following the tragedy of 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York, multi-bestselling author and Christian journalist Anne Coulter, wrote,
“We don’t need long investigations of the forensic evidence to determine with scientific accuracy the person or persons who ordered this specific attack. We don’t need an “international coalition.” We don’t need a study on “terrorism.” … We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
More recently, at the July 19th, 2006, inaugural event for Christians United for Israel, in Washington DC, after recorded greetings from the then President, George W. Bush, and in the presence of four US Senators as well as the Israeli ambassador to the US, Pastor John Hagee, stated :
Why has Israel been the subject of more UN Resolutions than any other country in the world? And why has the USA vetoed virtually every single one of them? Why is Israel allowed to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons while other Middle East countries denied access to peaceful nuclear technology? Why such a close relationship between Israel and the United States of America? What is the fascination with Israel among Evangelical Christians in America?
There is a simple explanation. At least one in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism.
The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals. Christian Zionism is therefore pervasive within American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches and among television evangelists.
Christian Zionism is much less prevalent within the historic denominations (Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian), which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support human rights, the rule of international law, empathize with the Palestinians and cooperate with the indigenous Middle East churches.
Would you like to help make history? South Sudanese Christians have asked for our help to fund the translation of the Christianity Explored course into Arabic.
One of our partners I have worked with in Juba writes,
“there is urgent need to translate the CE material to Arabic to benefit mainly those South Sudanese Christians who came from Arabic background. They are taking their discipleship seriously and they have great impact on other believers in South Sudan.”
We need to raise $1,000 US Dollars to facilitate the translation of the course material by this Summer. In August we hope to return to South Sudan and continue to train church leaders to use the course. If you would like to help make this possible, we would be pleased to hear from you. We are working with the charity Fields of Life to make this happen.
Here are photos of some of our adventures introducing Christianity Explored in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan.
For more information visit Christ Church, Virginia Water
How good are you at memorising messages? Probably better than you realise. I suspect over the years you have memorised hundreds and hundreds of messages. Lets test you. Let see how many of these messages you can complete, and for a bonus, who said it.
To our members we’re the fourth…emergency service:
Bread wi’ nowt …taken out: Allinsons.
Don’t leave home… without it: American Express
Soft, strong and…very long: Andrex
ithink therefore… iMac: Apple
Vorsprung durch… technik: Audi
I’d love a… Babycham: Babycham
The United Colors of… Benetton: Benetton
Ahh… Bisto!: Bisto
The taste of… paradise: Bounty
Du pain, du vin… du boursin: Boursin cheese
The World’s Favorite… Airline: BA
Go to work on… an egg: Egg Marketing Board
Let the train take… the strain: BR
A glass and a half in every… half pound: Cadburys
And all because the lady loves… Milk Tray
For mash get…Smash
The man from Del Monte he… say yes
Put a tiger in… your tank: Esso
Now hands that do dishes can feel… soft as your face.
No FT… no comment.
The best a man… can get. Gillette
Guinness is… Good for You.
Refreshes the parts other beers.. cannot reach: Heineken
Beanz Meanz… Heinz
Graded grains make… finer flour : Homepride
Don’t say brown… say Hovis
Say it with… flowers. Interflora
Have a break. Have a… Kit-Kat
Never knowingly… undersold. John Lewis
Because You’re … worth it. L’Oreal
It does exactly what it says… on the tin: Ronseal
Toilers in Agriculture… Strengthen the fodder basis of animal husbandry! Raise the production and sale to the state of meat, milk, eggs, wool and other products!: Communist Party of the Soviet Union
OK so we all watch too much television but do you see the power of a well-constructed message? Why do we remember these messages? Because they are simple, memorable, visual, sometimes humorous, but most important, they are convincing, they are true – mostly. All except the last one perhaps. What is the Christian message? Can it be summed up in one sentence? How about, “For God so loved the world that… he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
I got a surprise call from the BBC recently. “Did I have a spirit of adventure? Could I think on my feet and cope without home comforts? Did I like a challenge? Was I willing to appear on their programme ‘Bare Necessities’? Two teams compete against each other to see who can survive in a remote location somewhere in the world for a week with only the bare essentials provided. Was I willing to join a team of three vicars competing against three bookmakers? Naturally. With God on our side it would be no contest. Could I participate at short notice? Did I have a passport? Could I go anywhere in the world? For an audience of 2 million, when do we start? Did I have any phobias? Real men don’t have phobias – at least we don’t admit them to strangers. Would I be prepared to eat anything? Yes with my eyes closed. Could I work in a team made up of strangers? Try me. The last question – Did I have one wish? ‘To see heaven on earth’ I heard myself say. The interview lasted half an hour. It felt a cert. I was in. They loved me. The delightful programme co-ordinator assured me she would come back to me in a few days. I put the phone down and began to prepare myself.
Joanna thought I was utterly and completely mad. I had three weeks to get fit. The first thing I did was block into my diary a two hour gym session every day for the next three weeks. I had three weeks to learn how to survive in the wild. I got out my SAS Pocket Survival Guide. I began to learn about which plants and animal parts you can and cannot eat. I learnt how to trap game. How to collect water. How to make a shelter from branches and leaves. How to start a fire. I also began to prepare myself psychologically. What it would be like to join a small team of strangers thrown together in full view of the TV cameras? I began to listen to tapes on team building, determined that we were going to work well as a team. It didn’t matter if we won or not as long as by the end of the week we still cared for each other and glorified God. Finally I began to prepare myself spiritually. What did God want me to achieve through the programme? How could I show that being a Christian makes a difference in a godless cynical world? Christian Aid had nominated me because they wanted viewers to realise most people in the world have to survive on bare necessities every day and thought I could help get that message across.