5 Of The Biggest Moments From The Persecuted Church in 2016

This article was written by Mike Gore, CEO Open Doors Australia & New Zealand.

2016 was a massive year!

Each year I try to pause and reflect on the biggest events from the last 12 months. I want to remember the moments that shook my world, and the moments when I saw God at work the most. Here are five of the biggest stand out events from 2016.

iraq_2016_0260102931-e1477629551583.jpg

1. Christian Towns Liberated From Islamic State

I remember sitting with a pastor in Northern Iraq in May as bombs exploded in the distance. The battle to regain ground from Islamic State (IS) raged in the distance. I heard story after story of people who had lost everything and lived with the daily stress of “ISIS coming”. To see a pastor in October return to his church, now liberated from IS and passionately ring the church bells for the first time in 2 years was incredible. It was such a powerful picture of hope, courage, and resolve that rang out over the city. Please keep praying as we continue long-term restoration plans for the local church.

Continue reading

Behind each number is a person, a story – Your impact in 2015

Emergency Relief

Food and relief handed out to Syrian refugees in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon (February 2016).

This post was written by Mike Gore, CEO Open Doors Australia.

Every year we publish our Impact Report. This is not just a financial report, but represents real impact on real lives. Behind every number is a story.

I am often humbled by the reality that the stories we tell from the persecuted church aren’t fictional, nor historical… they are current. To know that this type of persecution is happening in this moment in world history so often drives me to hope-filled prayer.

I’ve had many people ask me the following (very good) questions;

• How does Open Doors work in the field?
• How do you get the money to persecuted believers? Continue reading

Is Passion the most overused, underrated and misunderstood word in our Christian vocabulary?

Pyramids in Egypt

This blog is from Open Doors Australia CEO, Mike Gore. Check out his blog here.

As I walked through the streets of Old Islamic Cairo everywhere I looked I saw passion, devotion and a spiritual discipline that I can’t help but acknowledge… sometimes it’s in the wrong things even the wrong God!

But every now and then as though a light piercing through the darkest of nights I saw it explode into life pointed in the right direction and at the right God and it was one of the most inspirational and contagious things I’ve ever seen.

True Passion causes people to risk everything… life, family, wealth and status all in a radical pursuit of God.

I recently spent time with 2 beautiful girls from Iran Miriam and Marzieyh. They were so desperate to share Christ with their nation they secretly distributed almost 20,000 Bibles in Tehran. Sadly, they were caught distributing these Bibles and placed into the notorious Evin Prison and sentenced to death by hanging. Continue reading

Jesus, Superman or Santa Claus?

Jesus, Superman or Santa Claus

This blog was written by Mike, CEO Open Doors Australia. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

2015 has been a tough year, spiritually, physically and emotionally… made even worse by a selfish expectation I have of Jesus… for some strange reason I have conformed Jesus to a mix of Superman and Santa Claus… essentially this unseen vending machine in the sky where I do my best to live a Christian life and in return He provides me with “safe” passage and all the good things I’ve ever wanted…

I’ve spent years thinking (and in some cases being told) that verses like Romans 8:28 tell me that because I am a follower of Jesus my life should be full of good things!

“If” that’s the case then I am not sure why my year has also contained the following; Continue reading

10 life-changing moments from the persecuted church in 2015

We asked our CEO, Mike, to tell us what has challenged or encouraged him in his faith this year. These were his answers…

1. Indonesia: ‘We will not stop hunting Christians’

Indonesia

We will not stop hunting Christians’ – these have to be some of the most chilling words I heard from last year, words used by extremists after they had burnt this church down. This image really brings to life the reality of persecution in Indonesia. It’s an image that for me really conveys stress, anxiety, pressure and fear.

2. Egypt: 21 Christians killed, Believers respond with love Continue reading

Bless Those Who Persecute You? (Part 2)

Bless Those Who Persecute You

Bless Those Who Persecute You

“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them: pray that God will bless them” – Romans 12:14

I was recently in Canberra, getting ready to speak about the persecuted church to about 300 people, who had gathered in the Great Hall of Parliament House for the annual Christian Schools Australia conference. As I was at the hotel preparing for the night, I received a phone call from a friend who had recently committed to taking the One With Them Challenge and wearing a wristband. He asked me the following question;

Mike, what does it really look like to bless those who persecute you? Continue reading

Bless Those Who Persecute You? (Part 1)

Bless Those Who Persecute You

Bless Those Who Persecute You (Image by Leonard Sweet)

“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them: pray that God will bless them”– Romans 12:14

I often find it really difficult to know how to pray for the Persecuted Church, especially when I read Paul’s words in Romans 12 and even more so when I think about what an incredibly challenging start to the year it’s been as we see the need for our ministry only increase which means that conditions for Christians all over the world are deteriorating.

I am sure you’ll remember on the Easter weekend in April this year 147 students were killed in Kenya with many of them being asked if they were Christian or Muslim before being shot, it was this tragedy that turned my prayer life on its head and I’d love to tell you why. As I processed what had happened in Kenya I saw fear, hatred, selfishness, a lack of grace, compassion and love and what’s crazy is I saw all of these emotions in me! It’s the moment in time I realized that I might pray everyday for the suffering church but unless I am courageous enough to pray for those committing these crimes… well, I’m just not living an authentic faith or being an authentic leader of this ministry. Continue reading