PrayerMate

PrayerMateSplashOne of the things that concerns me about the impact of technology and social media for Christians today is that despite its promise to simplify our lives it actually complicates them. Oftentimes what that means for our devotional lives is that we are all too easily distracted rather than getting deeply connected with God. Certainly my own experience is that countless times I’ve found myself gazing at the screen of my smartphone for the umpteenth time that day and then catching myself thinking “when was the last time I prayed today?” I even have moments of resenting that little screen for constantly snatching my attention away from my God.

Can you relate to that?

If so then hopefully, like me, you’ll be buzzin about a new smartphone app that I got hold of last week. PrayerMate is a fantastic app that has turned the technology in my pocket into a device that now encourages me to pray. Essentially it provides a simple and easy to use structure that with a few swipes of my finger gives me stuff to be praying about. So my categories include:

  • Find 3 reasons to worship (not the same 3 as yesterday)
  • Family members
  • The various Hill City gospel communities (by name)
  • Unsaved friends
  • Human Trafficking minitries
  • The persecuted church

The beauty of PrayerMate, however, is that each category is totally customisable so you can essentially pray for whatever you want. Furthermore, you can subscribe to news feeds from a whole host of churches, ministries and mission agencies to get up-to-date prayer fodder! (I pray for the persecuted church by subscribing to the feed of one of my favourite ministries – Open Doors). Similarly, you can also access model prayers straight out of the Bible. I don’t often post shameless plugs like this, but I really am impressed and grateful to the developers of this app. Oh, it’s free as well!

So for what it’s worth – I reckon you should go grab the PrayerMate app and get plugged into a new way of praying.

You can find out more about PrayerMate here, as well as watch the video below.

Blessinz.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYu8RsVXcCE

Pure Passion 2014

So I think is the fifth…or is it the sixth year we’ve been doing this, but hey – every year God shows up and we have an incredibly precious time in His presence. I’m talking, of course, about Pure Passion – a Good Friday celebration of the grace of the cross. The celebration has 3 very simple components: sung worship (led by the Pure Passion band), preached gospel word (by myself) and communion (which we all take together).

The venue is Woodville Christian Centre (Crwys Road, Cardiff) and it all starts at 7pm.

All are welcome. We’d love to see you there…

Pure Passion 2014

Stand for Freedom, Cardiff #FREEDOMFRIDAY

Last week I posted a blog introducing my friend, Jason Bushell, who works for IJM in Cardiff. Well, today I received a letter and some posters from Jason that he has asked me to share with you regarding an event he is organising in Cardiff next week. So here ya go…

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“As International Justice Mission representative in Wales I am writing to inform you of the Stand4Freedom event next Wednesday 9th April.

It is being organized by IJM Cardiff Student Justice Community, a group of Cardiff University students formed when they heard about the extent of modern day slavery and the plague of everyday violence that is devastating the developing world.

* Nearly 30 million men, women and children are currently held in slavery;

* Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex trade;

* 1 in 5 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

The poor are so vulnerable because their justice systems – police, courts and laws – don’t protect them from violent people. Indeed “the law is paralyzed” and “the wicked surround the righteous” [Hab.1:4]

Convicted by God’s call on His children to “seek justice, correct oppression”[Is. 1:17] these students have determined to act. When they Stand4Freedom next Wednesday they will be joining thousands around the world http://www.stand-for-freedom.com/ to give a human face to the unnoticed millions. They hope to mobilise Cardiff to do something now to end it.

Specifically their goal is to fund one rescue mission (£3,000).

We ask for your support. Would you please…

· mention the event in your announcements tomorrow;

· encourage your congregation to visit the stands and spread the word (details of event and locations in attached poster/slide); and

· offer them the opportunity to contribute to help fund a rescue mission.

I hope that Cardiff churches will also respond in some way to support the efforts of these students who are stepping out in faith, most of them for the first time.

Many thanks for your support.

Yours faithfully

Jason”

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Introducing Jason Bushell and the work of IJM #FREEDOMFRIDAY

InternationalJusticeLogoI’ve met some wonderful people and been introduced to some fantastic ministries in the short time that I have been seeking to pursue God’s heart for the trafficked, exploited and enslaved. Some have become goods friends and great partners in the gospel. One of those people is Jason Bushell who recently moved to Cardiff as a rep for IJM. I asked Jason to write an article for the Rant to introduce both himself and the ministry of IJM. Please do give it a good read and stand with Jason and his family in prayer.

“Again I saw all of the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them. On the side of their oppressors there was power and there was no one to comfort them.” [Eccl. 4:1]

Inspired 3000 years ago, Solomon’s words ring true today, with 4 billion of our global neighbours unprotected by the law. Nearly 30 million trapped in short, brutal, dead-end lives of slavery.

As a teacher of History for over twenty years I had assumed that slavery was a thing of the past; I hadn’t been paying attention! My awakening came in the Passion Conferences where I was first exposed to the depths and extent of modern slavery. Primary school-age girls trapped in brothels, raped daily for others’ profit. Widows, with their young children, being forced off their property, left destitute and vulnerable. Children in back-breaking, bonded labour in brick factories, rock quarries and rice mills, never allowed to know or enjoy the freedom that childhood should bring.

A glimpse of such horror can leave us paralysed in despair. Yet despair, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “is a greater sin than any of the sins that provoke it”; it belittles or denies the power of our great God. It is then that we must listen to the voice of Jesus telling us to “Take heart! I have overcome the world”. [Jn.16:33] Our Father cares deeply about injustice and wants to work through us to bring rescue to the victims. [Is.1:17, Mic.6:8, Mat.23:23]

International Justice Mission was founded in 1997 in response to the Bible’s call to “seek justice”. Our vision is “to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible”. With 18 Field Offices in countries such as Bolivia, Uganda, India and Cambodia and with a staff of over 600 Christian lawyers, investigators and social workers, IJM rescues people from violent oppression, brings criminals to justice under local laws so they cannot abuse, exploit or enslave others, restores survivors to safety and strength and transforms justice systems by helping law enforcement defend and protect the poor – stopping violence before it ever starts. Last year alone over 3,500 were rescued from slavery, more than 300 criminals were restrained and 153 convicted. Over 4000 survivors of violence received aftercare services.

My role as IJM’s representative in Wales is to encourage the local church to mobilise and actively seek justice. Nearly 30 million slaves is a problem but IJM’s work proves there is hope if we make 30 million slaves a priority. We can, by God’s grace, end slavery in our generation; not because we are awesome but because we serve an awesome God of justice who is ready to move in power if we are ready to move in obedience. It’s not only about what God wants us to do, but who God wants us to be.

Looking for church planting interns

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WE ARE LOOKING FOR GOSPEL-HEARTED WARRIORS TO CONSIDER INTERNING WITH US…

One of the reasons that I love being part of the Acts 29 Europe network is that they are not only passionate about planting churches, they are passionate about planting churches that plant churches that plant churches…

I share the same conviction, which is why at Hill City we have always sought to have young people serving with us as a part of their training and preparation for future church planting and gospel ministry. In fact, one of my greatest joys over recent years has been to see some of the people that we have invested in leaving Hill City and going on to plant, lead and serve other churches.

Anyway, as the Hill City mission roles on at pace and I start to get my head around my new role as Acts 29 Wales director, it has become apparent that now would be a good time to take on a new church planting intern. As a church we have never been better positioned to train, assess and send church planters. Similarly, we are now at a stage where we could be incredibly flexible in what we offer: full time, part time, bi-vocatinal, living alone, living with a pastor and family…we can literally custom-build an internship programme that matches the circumstances and aspirations of the intern.

Below are 12 things that we can promise you will receive as church planting intern, as well as 12 things that we guarantee you won’t get.

 

What you get:

  • You will be based at Hill City Church, a young, growing and exciting church in the Eastern Valley.
  • You (and your family) will be warmly welcomed into a church family that will love you and look after you.
  • You will have an abundance of opportunities to serve in a variety of gospel ministries: some public, some behind the scenes and some pioneering. None particularly glamorous!
  • You will be in the perfect context to explore your gifting and calling further.
  • You will get to live locally and serve on the frontline as part of one our Gospel Communities.
  • You will be given opportunities to observe and serve in other missional contexts and new church plants around South Wales.
  • You will work alongside the Acts 29 Wales director as he works with church leaders, church planters and potential church planters from all around Wales.
  • You will have the opportunity to have your credentials as a church planter assessed by Acts 29.
  • You will get to attend various conferences and training days hosted by Acts 29 throughout the year.
  • You will be given space and opportunity to pursue theological training that is both missional and contextual.
  • You will get a financial contribution towards your living expenses.
  • You will flippin’ love it!

What you don’t get:

  • You will not be taken for granted.
  • You will not be be treated like you’re any more special than anyone else in church.
  • You will not be treated as inferior or ignored like you have nothing of significance to offer.
  • You will not be abandoned and left to your own devices.
  • You will not have an easy ride of it.
  • You will not be used, abused, burnt out and spat out at the end.
  • You will not get a promise that you won’t be pushed to your limits, stretched and challenged.
  • You will probably not have signed a book deal or received global recognition as a marquee preacher by the end of your internship.
  • You will not receive fame and fortune (but if you do, we would expect your tithe to reflect this ; -)
  • You don’t get a jet with your name on it…
  • …or even a bike with your initials scratched into it.
  • You won’t have to worry about looking back on your internship and wondering it had been a complete waste of time…cos it won’t be!

If you’re interested or would like to find out more, please email me daihankey@gmail.com.

Blessinz.

Psalm 10 #FREEDOMFRIDAY

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As I staggered out of bed this morning, bleary-eyed and fuzzy-headed, I was greeted by my wife with these words: “Dai, read Psalm 10 with human trafficking in mind!” I was intrigued, but too tired to act on her advice straight away. So after walking the dog I settled down with a cup of coffee, opened the Bible and read.

WOW!!

This Psalm is phenomenal – describing the vile and violent exploitation of the poor from the point of view of the trafficker, the trafficked and the God of justice. The parallels between the words of this 3000 year old scripture and the reports of how traffickers in the 21st century prey upon their victims are staggering. If you know anything of the way that traffickers operate and who they target, or have seen any trafficking documentaries, such as Nefarious, verses like 8-10 will blow your mind. However, what I LOVED about this Psalm is that it also shows us the issue of the exploitation of the poor from God’s perspective.

Is He moved by trafficking?

Will He act against injustice?

Take a read and see for yourself:

PSALM 10

1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
8 He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

RED Centre, Redemption Bible Studies and Redemption Sessions

Apologies for how long it’s taken me to get round to writing this post. The best part of the last few weeks was pretty much wiped out by major tooth ache and the flu, but I’m back on it now and excited to be writing this post.

As I mentioned in a previous post, things have been moving at a pace regarding what’s next for the Redemption Sessions movement. Following a simple yet significant get together with some of the key Red Sessions guys last month, I am delighted to share our plans.

RED Centre

unnamed-1When I launched the Redemption Sessions last year, people were kind of curious as to why we were praying at a church in Tremorfa. The answer is this – I had wanted to base our prayer movement in the centre of the red light district in Cardiff, but  we couldn’t find a suitable premises. The church in Tremorfa was literally the nearest we could get, and I am incredibly grateful for their gracious hospitality to us. However, there was a specific building that I had always had my eye on in the RLD and just before Christmas I discovered that there were rooms to rent! To cut a long story short the building is right in the thick of things, it is bullet proof and the bit for rent is currently derelict. I am in negotiations with the owner to get it at a cheap rate if we do the works ourselves. The venue (which will be known as the RED Centre) will function as a prayer centre, from which we can pray for the trafficked, exploited and enslaved both in Cardiff and across the world. Similarly, it will be a base from which Liberty can operate from. Liberty is a fantastic Christian ministry that reaches out to sex workers in the city, both on the streets and in parlours. Essentially the RED Centre will be a gospel outpost for prayer and practical ministry into one of the darkest and most desperate mission-fields in Wales. As such we are super excited! As you can imagine, there is a lot of work that needs doing and some considerable funds that needs to be raised. Therefore if you (or anyone you know) would be up for helping out practically or financially, please get in touch.

Redemption Bible Studies

unnamedThe second part of the plan moving forward is to mobilise a Redemption Community, that is, an army of men and women from in and around the city who are passionate about and equipped for the mission of standing against trafficking and exploitation in Cardiff. We want to fan passion into flame, explore ideas and opportunities to raise awareness of the issues in the city and put practical tools in people’s hands to help them be advocates for abolition in their churches and communities. The focal point for this community will be Redemption Bible Studies. These studies will be a fortnightly mid-week Bible study that will explore justice and God’s heart for the poor and oppressed from a gospel perspective. I’m really stoked to have a local IJM rep partnering with me in running these sessions. The long-term objective is to hold these studies at the RED Centre. In the meantime, however, we will meet together at a late night coffee house. My prayer is that these sessions will be precious times of prayer and provocation as we allow God to shape us, guide us and propel us into a mission that will see chains broken and souls set free. This is an initiative from which I can really envision a timely and strategic church plant coming out of, which excites me greatly. Again, if this is something that you might like to get involved in, please get in touch.

Redemption Sessions

Red Sessions gravFinally, what of the monthly Redemption Sessions prayer nights that ran throughout last year? Well, with all of this new activity it would be completely unrealistic to keep up the once a month commitment. However, there is no denying that the Redemption Sessions were invaluable in helping us to raise awareness about trafficking in Cardiff last year. Therefore, the plan is to run Redemption Sessions on a quarterly basis this year, focusing on running them in some of Cardiff’s larger churches in order to maximise the impact. Dates and venues for this years sessions will be released in due course.

So there you have it. We press on. Thanks to all who supported Redemption Sessions last year, either prayerfully or in person. Please pray for us this year, that we will know God’s grace and favour as we step out in faith to do all that He has called us to do in the city.

Blessinz.