MESSAGE FOR THE CHURCH
A movie review in Relevant Magazine contains a message for the Church of today. The reviewer states that ‘The Greatest Showman isn’t just a film about circus performers; it is a reflection of a contemporary society divided by pain and injustice, being pulled apart at the seams by those in power. It is an allegory about what the church should be, and what we stand to lose if we give up Christ’s commandment to love others in favour of our own political and personal gain.’
PROTEST IN ATHENS
According to Greek Reporter, over 100 Christian residents, led by their priest in Athens, marched to the site of a controversial sculpture that many think depicts Lucifer and demanded its removal. The protestors held Greek flags, icons and sang hymns at the spot where the sculpture, Phylax, is located.
THE BIBLE IN THE POP CHARTS
Eternity Magazine reports on a two-week series of daily Bible readings prepared by Greg Clarke. The Bible in the Charts series gives profound insights into the many ways the Bible has influenced rock music down through the decades – by focusing on two songs from each decade from the 1950s to the 2010s. The audio journey begins with Elvis whose song Hard-headed Woman is linked to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:26-28. Artists whose songs are examined include Regina Spektor, Kasey Chambers and rock band U2.
QUEEN’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
In her Christmas Day message, Queen Elizabeth II referred to the birth of Jesus. Speaking openly about her Christian faith, she said, “We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.”
OUTREACH AT EASTER
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is planning a huge Easter outreach campaign. Jorge Rodrigues, Executive Director of BGEA Australia, says they hope to partner with 1000 Aussie churches for the My Hope campaign, based around a 30-minute film called The Cross, which features Billy Graham.
A CRICKETER FOR CHRIST
Marnus Labuschagne, who is playing for the Brisbane Heat in the Twenty20 tournament, told Eternity Magazine: “Sport is a fickle game and injuries play a big part. In the big scheme of things, what you’re worth, what you put your value in, isn’t out there on the pitch; it’s internal and in Christ. That’s a massive thing for me because cricket is always going to be up and down and if you have a constant in your life, it makes life a lot easier.”
RELIGION AND POLITICS
A majority of British people believe that religion should play a less prominent role in parliament, with bishops losing their automatic seats in the House of Lords, a YouGov survey for The Times has found. The proportion of non-believers fell back to 36 per cent over the past year, while the number of people who believe in God increased by one percentage point, from 28 to 29 per cent, and the number of people who do not believe in God but do believe in “some sort of spiritual greater power” increased from 20 to 23 per cent.
CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ
Christians in Iraq have attended a Christmas service in Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants took over the city in 2014, hoping they will soon be able to return to their homes. Armoured vehicles guarded Saint Paul’s, the only functioning church in Mosul. Its bombed-out window frames were covered with white sheets during the Christmas service, the BBC reports.
THE BIBLE IN SIGN LANGUAGE
CBN News reports that Wycliffe Bible translators have been working to ensure that the Bible is translated into every language. Recently Wycliffe translators began work on reaching the deaf community with a sign language Bible translation.
CHRISTIAN RALLY IN VIETNAM
The Love Hanoi Festival with Franklin Graham was the first of its kind in communist Vietnam. Four hundred buses brought thousands of people to the evangelistic rally in Northern Vietnam. Graham preached to 10,000 people who filled a sports complex and watched outside on giant screens. He says that though there is evidence of persecution, Christians in Vietnam are gaining more religious freedom while people in the West are gradually losing theirs. He told The Christian Post he hopes the Vietnamese government will see that Christians are not enemies, but are some of the best citizens in the country.
BOY KILLED BY GRENADE
A seven-year-old Christian boy was killed in a grenade attack on the gates of a Christian community in Pakistan at the beginning of December. Two other people were injured in the explosion, which shattered the windows of nearby homes.
SURGERY ON BOARD SHIP
Mercy Ships reports that a doctor has performed the 30,000th surgery, ten years after he operated in the very first surgery on board the hospital ship Africa Mercy. Dr Glenn Strauss has also trained 47 ophthalmic surgeons who will provide tens of thousands of cataract surgeries in Africa and around the world.