Stefano & Jennifer Mariotti

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church-planting in Budrio, Italy

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Saturday, 28 January 2012

29/01/2012 Series on the Parables of our Lord – 31 “The Cost of Discipleship” Luke 14:25-35

Tomorrow Stefano is continuing
the series on the Parables taught by our Lord,
preaching on Luke 14:25-35
"The Cost of Discipleship."

"Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. "Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  

Luke 14:25-35 (ESV)

Friday, 27 January 2012

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

On January 27 the United Nations recognizes the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Titus 2 Ladies Group - Friday 27/01/2012

Tomorrow night Jenny will lead the Titus 2 Ladies Group continuing the Bible studies series on women from the 
New Testament whose lives were transformed by Jesus. 
This time they'll be looking at Mary's faith in God 
from Luke 1:26-56.
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home."
Luke 1:26-56 (ESV)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mid-week Bible Study - 2T2

Please pray for tomorrow night when two men from the 2T2 group will preach from the letter of James
at the mid-week Bible Study

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sunday Services - Jonathan Gilmore

Please pray for tomorrow when we'll have in 
San Lazzaro church Jonathan and Annette Gilmore.

Jonathan is 
the director of 
Acts 29 Italia and Porterbrook Italia.

Jonathan will preach at the morning service on "What really matters?" 
from John 13:34-35

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, 
if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 (ESV)

In the afternoon we'll have an interactive session on: "Missional? A Vision for Mission!"

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Home groups - monthly prayer meeting

Tomorrow evening we'll have our monthly prayer meeting in homes.

This month we'll continue to pray for the work of missionaries in China and Senegal.

We'll pray specifically for India:

From the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 2011:
Amidst violence and oppressive anti-conversion laws, Christians in India are continuing to stand up for the cause of Christ and bear witness to His truth and love.
Pastor Walter was at home with his wife and seven-year-old daughter on a Sunday afternoon when two Hindu men came to their home in the Geejghar Vihar suburb of Jaipur, India. When the men asked Pastor Walter if he would tell them about Jesus, he gladly began to share God's Word with them. During the discussion, one of the men asked the other, "Shall we start?" That's when the attack began. It started with just the two men assaulting Pastor Walter, punching him again and again. But soon four militants wearing masks barged into Pastor Walter's home and joined in the violence, using wooden sticks to beat him all over his body while his family looked on in fear. His family members wouldn't be the only ones to witness the shocking assault. The militants had taken video equipment into the pastor's home and had captured their brutal actions on film. The footage of the attack was later shown on a television network, along with video of the militants putting on their masks just before launching their attack. Pastor Walter was severely injured in the violence. Although the militants had broken his body, they did not break his resolve to share Christ throughout India and raise awareness for the nation's persecuted believers. 
"I am not scared, he said. ― I will continue the work I have been doing for the last 17 years." Persecution is commonplace for many Christians in the largest democracy in the world. While individuals like Pastor Walter face attacks and threats, whole communities have also been targeted. Christians face continued opposition due to the deterioration of freedoms under the influence of militant Hinduism, or Hindutva. This Hindu extremism, which strives for a Hindu-only society in India, has fueled anti-conversion laws that are now enforced in five states — Gujarat, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh — and have been passed but not yet implemented in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Such legislation was created to curb religious conversions allegedly made by "force," "fraud" or "allurement." However, Christians and human rights groups believe the laws actually obstruct all conversions, as Hindu nationalists invoke it to harass Christian workers with arrests and imprisonments, which are often accompanied with violence against the accused. Anti conversion laws can carry severe penalties for believers. In Gujarat, for example, those convicted of "forcible conversion" could be jailed for up to three years.
Prior to Pastor Walter's attack, about 10 families, most of them of Hindu background, were regular members at the church he leads out of his home. Afterwards, however, some of the newer families stopped attending, saying they were too scared to take part in the services. Such a change would be hard for any pastor to bear. But Pastor Walter hoped his determination to carry on his work of evangelism would bring more Hindus to his church. "I will never quit this Good News ministry," he said.

We'll pray also particularly for the work at the PENNE ORPHANAGE INDIA MINISTRIES POIM where the Evangelical Church in Ferrara is involved. From their website:
The orphange was established  in 2007 through the initiative of  Dileep Raaja. He was an actor (he has acted in 20 films and directed  60  films for television)  and was asked to direct a Christian telefilm  for a American association called “ Gospel to the Unreached Millions”. Suddenly his life was transformed: and he returned to his Christian origins.  With open eyes he looked at his country after years in the world of cinema.  He was deeply moved at number of children abandoned on the roads and began to take  them in from tram stops, stations and from near the churches where they are begging .   Soon he finds himself with 60 kids on his hands.  He stopped working for the cinema and decided to continue his profession as a director serving only Christian missions.  His salary dropped from 20,000 dollars to only 5,000 dollars per film.  Using his savings he rented large  premises where he housed the children and started to look after them. Soon afterwards he needed to move some of the children to other centres because his financial position didn’t allow him to take proper care of  more than 30 small children. His wife, who at first supported him in this, finally couldn’t  cope with this new ‘family’ and in 2003 she filed for a divorce.  Since then he has carried on alone, looking after the children with the help of volunteers.  All the little ones, aged from 4 to 13, are schooled, cared for and loved. In December 2008, after a serious illness, he got married again.  His wife’s name is Prabhavathi.  He says he didn’t want to leave the orphanage without a leader  in case he fell ill again. At the moment the orphanage cares for 24 full time children and about 10 ‘floaters’ who belong to families who take them back  for periods which vary  according to the need of work in the fields. 
Since the non-profit making  Association ‘Renata di Francia’  (RenĂ©e of France)  took to heart this situation, the life of the children has improved considerably ;  there is now a teacher who lives in and teaches all the primary school age  children.  Some of the children are orphans.   But most have one living parent , usually  a widowed mother who can’t provide for  her family alone. For the last two years, according to available space, the orphanage has housed children from very poor families who normally  wouldn’t receive schooling.   This children  would otherwise be sent to work at the age of 5 or 6. The 4 oldest boys, aged 14 to 16, attend professional schools and are housed apart from the rest.   The girls, unfortunately, are given in marriage  by their families when they are about 13 years old -  and by family it’s meant any relation, close or not, who claims relation ties. Our work is therefore concerned mostly with the girls.  We try to persuade the families to let them attend school until they are 16. Every year, volunteers of the ‘Renata di Francia’ Association visit the orphanage  which is in Vemuru  (Tenali)  in the State of Andhra Pradesh, to check on the situation  and  provide help.  In January  200 sq. metres  of land was bought,  enough to build a large house to accommodate the orphanage. This decision was made because of continuous and exhausting moves the orphanage has had to make. The desire is to develop an Evangelical Christian Centre which would permanently house the orphanage. Thanks to the generous contribution of many friends, the foundations have been completed before the monsoon season ( June )  we are now collecting funds for another step forward.

Porterbrook - training session

Tomorrow afternoon Stefano and three pastors from the Bologna area will have
their first training session to interact as facilitators to teach the Porterbrook material.

In February 2012 we will start the course in Bologna!

From the Porterbrook website:
Porterbrook helps Christians learn how to serve Jesus and his people better — whether they are church leaders, church planters, or simply Christians wanting to become more mission-focused. Porterbrook has been designed to be integrated with your whole Christian life in whatever context you are serving. It’s not theology for theology’s sake:
the Porterbrook Learning material is written by practitioners for practitioners.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

John Blanchard's article about his visit to Bologna

an article about his visit to Bologna during the event connected with 
the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 in New York

(right-click and open it in a new window to read it in a larger format)

Monday, 16 January 2012

YfC - Schools Work - Tomorrow High School Aldini

Tomorrow from 10 to 12 Stefano will be with Ester Montefalcone & Mark Brucato at the Aldini High School.

We'll speak during the week against racism and presenting the life of William Wilberforce and how his faith led him to fight against slavery.

We'll also use the material from Stop the Traffic reflecting on how human trifficing is not something from the pas, but still happens today on our door-step.

Aldini is the biggest high school in Bologna with more than 2.000 students.

Please pray that tomorrow we'll be able to share Christ with these two classes.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Young Adults - Bible Study

Tomorrow afternoon we'll have the monthly Young Adults Bible study.

We have a very nice group of people in their twenties mostly from non-Christian background.

We'll study the book of J. I. Packer 
Knowing God 
Chapter 6 "He Shall Testify".

Sunday 15/01/2012 - Ferrara

Tomorrow we are invited at 
Chiesa Evangelica di Ferrara,
a Reformed Baptist Church in Ferrara, 
a small town near Bologna where in 1536 John Calvin stayed and preached in the chapel of the city castel.
(Link to read an article with more info)

Stefano will preach on Matthew 5 :1-16 "Salt & Light"
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  
Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Conversational Evangelism - Bologna Conference

Tomorrow afternoon we'll participate at a few seminars held by David Geisler on Conversational Evangelism.

Witnessing used to involve laying out the truth and guiding a person to understand and accept it. But the awareness of basic Christian principles has changed and so have the needs of pre-believers.
  • What makes old models of witnessing ineffective in today's culture
  • Why evangelism must start with relational pre-evangelism
  • How to ask questions, listen attentively, and understand what someone believes
  • Ways to identify the real barriers to belief in order to build a bridge to truth
  • How to keep dialogue going with different personality types
This refreshing, practical resource is ideal for churches and individuals. Readers will discover how God uses their everyday encounters for great things when they switch from trying to witness effectively to effectively being a witness through communication and compassion.

David Geisler received his Th.M. and M.A.B.S. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He has been involved in church and para-church college ministry for 15-plus years. He is the founder and President of Meekness and Truth Ministries located in Charlotte but he currently lives with his family in Singapore. Dave has taught his Conversation Evangelism approach at churches, ministries, and seminaries in the East and West.

Literature Stand @ San Lazzaro weekly market

Tomorrow morning we'll be at the weekly market in San Lazzaro with our Literature Stand.
We'll offer free Bibles in many languages and Christian literature.
Pray that the Lord will bring people interested to know more about Him and His Word!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Men's group 2T2

Tomorrow evening we'll have in our home the men's group 2T2

We will have some interactive feedback from the men who preached for the first time last month and we'll study togheter the Book of Stuart Olyott: "Preaching Pure and Simple".

"...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)