Open Doors – Christmas apeal

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 [NIV]

Send a Special Gift this Christmas

Dear Friend,

Mary* is a beautiful eight year old girl who lives in a desolate Muslim village in Egypt. Her story is both heartbreaking and filled with hope…

“My name is Mary and I am 8 years old. My mum & dad used to beat me and my friends didn’t love me. I wished to find someone who truly loved me. One day I heard about the children’s Club in our village and I learned that Jesus loves me and that He wants to change my life. Thank you, Lord Jesus that you died for me. Thank you that you redeemed me. Lord Jesus, I love you.”

Mary is just one of over 200,000 children in Egypt, northern Sudan and Iraq who have heard the Gospel of Jesus during summer Children’s Clubs. Mary’s heart has been turned from hate to love by the power of the Gospel! Mary’s story – made possible through Open Doors’ sponsored Children’s Clubs – provides hope, not just for Mary, but for thousands of children like her.

This Christmas, please will you remember Mary? The children love these camps: they introduce them to Jesus and give them real hope for the future. Open Doors is putting in place a £250,000 programme. Not only will it provide the means to run Children’s Clubs throughout the region, but the programme will also provide Bible stories and materials for each child to take home.

Send a Special Gift this Christmas
A gift of £20
can provide 10 children like Mary with Bible stories, crayons and a t-shirt at Children’s Club!
Help reach Young People with the Good News of Jesus Christ
A gift of £60
can train and resource
a youth leader with a Study Bible!

Additionally this fund will support an ambitious programme to train and equip a new generation of youth leaders capable of mentoring teenagers, and providing hope not only to the children of today, but establishing a foundation for the Church of tomorrow.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. This Christmas please remember Mary. If you have not given a donation please make the time to do it now!

Finally, please can I ask you to take the time to forward this Christmas appeal to members of your church, friends and family and to visit the Open Doors website for more information on how you can support the Persecuted Church.

Click here to watch Eddie’s Christmas Appeal video »

Have a very blessed Christmas

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Advent : The Avent wreath

The Advent Wreath- In my church all white but i came across this and it made me think a bit more deepy so thought I would share it

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And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:12-13). Traditionally, during the Christmas season we have an “Advent Wreath” in our Churches, and this is remarkably celebrated in all Denominations, including Orthodox, Catholic, liturgical, Mainline and Evangelical. The Advent Wreath is a venerable tradition that cuts across denominational and theological boundaries. It dates to the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. This Advent Wreath is arranged with 4 or 5 Advent candles, 3 or 4 of which are in a circle, along with one in the center, all on a base of evergreens each has a powerful message for us about our Lord. This has prevailing imagery we should not take for granted or consider just another holiday decoration. · The Wreath: The wreath itself means “victory” as Christ’s victory over sin so He can save us. The Advent Wreath has 4 or 5 candles that are arranged in a circle symbolizing Christ’s eternity, as a circle has no beginning and has no end, it is a symbol for God, Who is eternal and thus without beginning or end. The evergreens mean He is “ever with us,” they are usually pine branches or holly that are used as a base that represents anticipation, newness, renewal and His everlastingness. The red berries of the holly represent the shedding of Christ’s blood. · The Candles: The Advent candles mean the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His Son. This refers to the significance that Christ is the Light of the world. When they are lit, the illumination is to symbolize the Christ of eternity and His coming as the “Light of the World” and our worship and honor of His most precious gift of His Grace and mercy. These candles also have a color theme too, purple, blue, pink or rose and while. The first two or three are purple meaning royalty and this is also the color of suffering and the darkness of sin, connecting Jesus’ birth and crucifixion and His triumph over sin. Blue means sky and life, pink means joy, and white means purity. Each candle has a special meaning: o The first candle (purple) “CANDLE OF HOPE” means His promise and hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us. Our hope comes from God. (Romans 15:12-13) o The second candle (purple) “CANDLE OF PREPARATION” means His light and preparation. Preparation means to ‘get ready’. “Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD!” (Luke 3:4-6) (Some traditions combine the first two) o The third candle (pink or rose) “CANDLE OF JOY” means the angels sang a message of JOY! (Luke 2:7-15) o The fourth candle (purple or blue) “CANDLE OF LOVE” symbolizes Christ love. God sent His only Son to earth to save us, because He loves us! (John 3:16-17) (some traditions omit this one) o The fifth candle (white) “CHRIST CANDLE” symbolizes the incarnation, the heart and reason of the season, God giving light to the world. Its location is in the center as Christ’s light is central and radiant. This reminds us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! (in wreaths that have 4 candles, it is in the circle among the rest of the candles) · Each candle is lighted during the worship services each week in progression until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when the last candle is lit. (some denominations and traditions have different color schemes and some only four candles) Each week the new unlit candle for that week is lighted, and then the previous candles are re-lighted. A family is sent up to do the lighting as a passage is read, a carol sang and or a prayer said. The four weeks are a period of waiting also signifying the four centuries of waiting between the last prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus. All five candles should continue to be lighted in worship services through Epiphany on January 6 (epiphany means “to show,” is the climax of the Christmas Season and the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” It is observed to denote the coming of the wise men bringing gifts and their worship to Christ).

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Avent: The meaning of Advent

The Meaning of Advent

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

“Advent” simply means coming as in Christ is coming, and for us now He has arrived. This is referring to His birth in history and in humanity. It meant the welcoming or the arrival of a special king and for us; it is our King of kings. This is what the Old Testament prophecies foretold concerning Jesus’ Incarnation, the Word made flesh for our hope and Atonement that brought us our deliverance. Advent represents our expectation, anticipation, and preparation for who Christ is and what He has done for us. He arrived into the world as a human being, being fully God and fully man. He came to identify as one of us, as the Son of Man, as a baby born in a manger. He came for us, He came for you and He comes into our lives and into our hearts. He is coming again in great power and glory to bring His Kingdom into fruition.