Here’s the third of my occasional links to other ministries and ministry leaders. See also the first and second.
My good friend Stephen Brush has begun a new Twitter account.
From his blog:
It’s the account I created to post information about Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking- especially Sex Trafficking- is something that I’m becoming more and more passionate about fighting and informing myself and others about. It’s something that everyone needs to be aware and knowledgeable about.
What about us?
Is this really a problem? Is Human Trafficking really still going on? Well, according to the CIA, there are 45,000-50,000 victims of sex slavery and trafficking each year in the U.S. alone. I cannot imagine how many others there are throughout the world. So what are we to do? Surely we must pray well for those who are trapped in this horrible slavery. But as the Church, it is our duty to act as well. Stephen has shared a few different links including one to another ministry: Unearthed (twitter).
I would encourage you to follow both of these as the Church continues to fight this war. And speaking of Human Trafficking, here is a gripping half-hour video that speaks through the analogy of The Candy Shop. I have posted this before, but it’s too good to leave out!
On February 1, I began an occasional look at little known ministries and people within ministry who have big things to say for Jesus. Here is the second installment.
As mentioned in my previous post, many Westerners (especially non-believers) are unaware of the persecution of Christians that goes on around the world on a daily basis. I was personally made aware of this ignorance while preparing to go to China a few years ago. I was at work talking with some co-workers about the upcoming trip when one girl asked, “So when you get there, are you going to do street preaching or something like that?” I was surprised at the question because in my narrow view everyone knew about China’s distrust of the Christian Church. It is for this, and many other reasons, that Thirteen Three exists.
Who they are
As their site says,
Thirteen Three is a youth initiative of Voice of the Martyrs Australia. Our mission is to empower and mobilise a generation of passionate youth to be bound with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ through praying, giving, writing, serving and telling others.
Thirteen Three is committed to inspiring Australian youth to live out Hebrews 13:3 by remembering persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.”
Their ministry has committed to serving the global church– especially those who are undergoing persecution. They go on trips to serve Christians in persecuted nations by bringing Bible training, encouragement, resources, and even medical supplies and expertise to those who need it. But most of all, they are prayers and they live to lift up the specific names and issues that are going on around the world right now.
Meet Brad Konemann
Brad is the director 0f Thirteen Three. I’m blessed to have met Brad at my former Church a couple years ago and he is a great man of God. His heart for the Gospel and the Church of Christ is well seen and God has used him (and this ministry) in powerful ways throughout the world. For more information, as I have not done much justice to Brad’s Bio or the ministry in general, please see his page as well as his message from Lead 2010 (low audio quality).
Perhaps the best way to get involved with Thirteen Three is to subscribe to their blog. Lift these brothers and sisters up in prayer as they minister to our other brothers and sisters.
One thing I want to start doing more on this site is highlighting different ministries and people around the U.S. and World who are serving Christ well. We begin with Rachel Andreason.
Rachel is a college student at Eastern University and a part of our FBC family. Earlier this month, she began studying abroad in Rwanda. She explains,
My journey to Rwanda is through the study abroad program Go-Ed. The purpose of this program is to learn about peacekeeping and reconciliation. By going into Rwanda we are going to learn about the culture and the history. I am going into this country with an open mind, ready to learn and experience a new life.
Not only is Rwanda a third world nation, but it was the center of a quite horrific genocide in 1994. During this time, it was believed that one could find safety within Church buildings:
With 90% of the population being Christian, people believed they would find sanctuary and refuge in Churches. However, they found no mercy, the churches became main targets for massacres. In the Ntarama church they threw grenades inside killing many people, then went in and killed the rest with machetes, clubs, spikes, guns, and spears. Outside of the church there was two other small buildings: a worship center and a sunday school. People were actually worshiping and singing when the killers came. They killed without mercy. They brought babies into the sunday school room where they smashed and threw the babies against the wall. The wall inside is still stained with blood. The sunday school room was also used to rape and mutilate women… (Read the rest, here)
Think about that. Members of God’s Church, hoping to find physical refuge in that building, being tortured. How devastating. How bold of God’s people to rest in their Father as death’s blows came. Pray for continued healing in this country, as time hasn’t taken the pain from women like Saraphina (mentioned later in the post). Pray also that, as Rachel has commented on her blog, we would not forget our past or that of others.
Continue to pray for Rachel and her classmates as they learn much in Africa. Follow her blog, here.
So, when you change your password on Facebook, there are many things that get reset. One such item is the Networked Blogs feature. Case in point: this past May, I changed my password and my blog ceased posting on Facebook. So below are links to the (few) posts that I wrote between May 10 and July 15.
First, I want to make people aware of something awful that I am very sad didn’t get posted at first. This video is about child sex trafficking and is truly gripping. Please take half an hour to watch this and apply yourself to fixing this problem somehow. Even if you can only pray at the moment, do so, for our Father listens well.
For all you lovers… SO MANY of my friends are getting married this Summer. I guess you could say that Emmalie and I were a good motivation for others! So with three weddings behind us and another two coming up this late Summer/Fall, I have begun reviewing some good reads for couples.
What He Must be… was the first book that I reviewed. Men, this is technically written for dads and daughters as they’re seeking a man, but you should be the audience of this book if you want to be a good man of God in your marriage.
The Christian Husband was the second book I reviewed. This again challenges men to be who they need to be for Jesus and their brides.
Speaking of Marriage, Emmalie and I celebrated 6 months at the beginning of July. I shared some thoughts on becoming more holy through marriage here. Also, it was my parents’ anniversary shortly after that!
With this year’s Lead 2011 conference in Auburn coming up, I shared an analogy of the Church here (along with a pretty crazy picture!) Also, info on the conference here.
And finally, there is Happy Birthday America! This post served as a recap of some thoughts from previous years regarding our worship of America. Just a list of three points, really.
Sexual slavery exists in vast amounts around the world and just as the Church stood against slavery (think William Wilberforce) we must once again rise against the ever increasing act of human trafficking. Jesus bought us with a price and enabled us to stand for Him and His kingdom. Whether it be through the clutches of pornography, the vileness of prostitution, or the horrible scenes of child trafficking, this vileness has taken a hold of thousands of cities across the world. The Church must preach against it and take a stand to cease the actions of those who would be slave holders.
Where is it in our neighborhood? What can be done against it? A few Churches in Atlanta got together and put out a short fairy tale/parable displaying this horrible behavior. Please watch it (it’s about half an hour and is really intense) and remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.**
** Attributed to Edmund Burke
I was struck by this picture from Boston.com’s Big Picture Blog last month (You may wish to click through to the actual site).
Can’t you see the flood?
If you’ll notice, those are two baseball teams carrying on as normal behind flood walls built to keep the water off the field. Now, this isn’t a post about what the teams should have been doing, although it may have been wise to forgo their game on the behalf of serving the cities around them. But they played on, business as usual, regardless of the fact that there were very few in attendance at this game (as noted by the empty seats) because, “We always have baseball! We can’t change our season for the flood!”
Come out from there
This is a great picture of the Church sometimes. We get into a rut saying, “This is the way we’ve done things forever, and it works! We just need bigger programs to draw people in and bigger walls to keep the bad stuff out!” Then the numbers dwindle, and we wonder why people aren’t showing up for game day. What if we focused on coming out from behind our walls and ministering to those in our communities. This doesn’t mean stop going to Church, but instead means that we should not neglect meeting together meanwhile remembering our neighbors, caring about them, seeking their welfare, and bringing God’s love.
Am I good at leaving my walls behind? No. Quite frankly, I’m not good at it at all. I need the Spirit to guide me greatly through that. What are some ways in which you minister to neighbors? Do you?
Last year I reminded us all about a few things in regards to the wonderful world of sports. This year, I’d like to bring up another issue. As Tim Sewall pointed out at his blog, there is more than football going on down South. Sex trafficking is bigger than you might think. These two blogs make that known to us.
It affects us all
Many of us have most likely seen the movie Taken starring Liam Neeson. Many people hated it, I actually really loved it. If you are unfamiliar with this film, Neeson plays a divorced dad who goes to France to save his daughter who has been kidnapped and forced into the sex slave business. I didn’t love it so much because Liam Neeson kicks butt, I loved it because it brought to light something that actually happens everywhere. People tend to think that most prostitutes actually want to be in that profession. However, the truth is that most are forced into it. So how does this affect us all? Well, never mind the fact that there are countless children enslaved in this “business”, but as believers in Christ, we believe in liberty for the captive and the redemption of sexuality – which means we are against prostitution in every form.
If you watch the game, skip the commercials and pray for the slaves. If you don’t watch the game, remember those who are enslaved and shipped off for the pleasure and wealth of others.