1 Timothy 3:1-16

1 Timothy 3:1-16

1 Here is a trustworthy saying: if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Deacons likewise are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:

He appeared in a body,     was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels,     was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,     was taken up in glory.

Prayer Focus for Zimbabwe – Sunday, July 26

zimb-MMAP-smChallenges for Prayer

Young people have watched idealistic visions fade to empty slogans and oppressive misrule. They constitute a huge swathe of the population, but have little reason to hope for improvement to their difficult lot. Pray for the ministries of:

a) Fellowship of Christian Unions – FOCUS(IFES) has 50 groups with 5,000 students served by five full-time and one part-time staff. In the midst of societal dysfunction the students continue to declare the gospel and help where they can to serve the practical needs of the people.

b) Scripture Union has had a decisive impact on the educated via its work in secondary schools. They impart life skills to younger students, work with orphans and children at risk and provide HIV/AIDS education. Camp ministry has been especially fruitful. Pray for more Christian teachers to nurture this work in their spare time.

c) African Enterprise impacts about 50,000 people and hundreds of churches per year with its youth-oriented Foxfire ministries. This ministry, going since 1980, has spiritually shaped many of the nation’s top Christian leaders.

Pray for the less-evangelized. Zimbabwe has been extensively evangelized, but areas of need remain:

a) The rural areas, often neglected for church planting and for sending qualified workers. Pray more will be called to this humble but vital task. Pray also for evangelistic outreaches and suitable literature distribution specifically to these areas.

b) The burgeoning cities, swollen with hundreds of thousands of rural migrants looking for non-existant jobs. Squatter settlements are multiplying and crime is on the increase. Outreach to the unemployed is a major challenge.

c) Less-reached peoples. There are some congregations in every indigenous people, but relatively few among the Tonga, Nambya and Dombe of the Hwange-Kariba area in the northwest (where the AoG have made a significant impact), the Kunda in the northeast and the Tswa in the southeast.

d) Muslims. They are a small minority but wield disproportionate influence on the country through foreign aid “with strings”, mosque-building and scholarships in Muslim universities. Most are Yao from Malawi, some are South Asian immigrants and a few are indigenous Shona-speakers. Little Christian outreach has been made to win them and churches are ill-equipped to do so.

Colossians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing– as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer Focus for Zambia – Sunday, July 19

zamb-MMAP-smChallenges for Prayer

Zambia is a major destination and thoroughfare for people. Instability in nations surrounding Zambia has sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into Zambia, especially from Zimbabwe of late. Also, Zambia is vulnerable to traffickers of both child labourers and sex workers. Thank God for a recently passed law specifically criminalizing human trafficking; pray for its effective implementation. Pray that Zambia might be the location where many uprooted people find succour and discover the Living God.

The AIDS crisis overwhelms the health services, the economy (as many trained professionals succumb to the disease), the pastoral work of churches (over 100,000 AIDS-related deaths per year) and family life. Pray specifically for:

a) Those working to reduce AIDS. All major denominations have adopted pragmatic policies to combat the spread of the disease and to assist those infected. Many have specific ministries devoted solely to AIDS issues such as Jesus Cares Ministries, Advocates for Change and SU’s Aid for AIDS programmes.

b) Attitudes toward AIDS have changed. A lot of the stigma, superstition and bad information are now replaced with compassion in action. Infection rates have reduced from 20% to 15% in 10 years, with much greater reductions in specific segments of the population.

c) The military, police and copper mine workers have some of the highest rates of infection. These groups tend to frequent sex workers through whom AIDS is passed and who most likely have the highest infection rate of all.

d) Children. Zambia has 710,000 orphans, mostly due to AIDS; nearly 20% of all children are suffering the loss of their parents. Over 90,000 live on the streets. Almost 75% of Zambian households care for a relative orphaned by AIDS.

Prayer Focus for Yemen – Sunday, July 12


Yemen, Asia: Yemen has suffered almost unending conflict over the last four decades – three civil wars, conflict with neighboring states, the effects of the Gulf War, Somalia’s collapse into anarchy, the Ethiopian/Eritrean war and tribal skirmishes. Tensions between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims make Yemen ripe for sectarian violence, to the point of insurgencies or even outright civil war. The treasured right of Yemenis to bear arms fuels tribal rivalries, while kidnapping, crime and sabotage are common forms of protest and fundraising. There are between three and four firearms for each person in the country. Pray for a fair and just government that will bring about national unity and peace. For more information visit www.operationworld.org.

The Duty of a Shepherd

1 Peter 1:1-5

“The Duty of a Shepherd”

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.


Romans 13:1-7

Romans 13:1-7


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Prayer Focus for Vietnam – Sunday, July 5


Vietnam, Asia: One of the few Communist nations in the 21st Century, Vietnam faces new challenges. Repression of all types of freedom continues, but at the same time, social ills are on the rise. Drug addiction, AIDS, prostitution and exploitation of children are all too common. The land has seen great violence. Division and mistrust have been effective tools in the enemy’s hands in recent generations. Pray that the ideological and moral darkness over this nation might be banished by the light of the gospel.

For more information visit www.operationworld.org.