Sandyknowes Blog

Living beside the busiest roundabout in Northern Ireland gives plenty of opportunity for watching the world go by. Sandyknowes Blog is the personal blog of Niall Lockhart (minister of Ballyhenry). Pull in and have a read…

Paris has, in the past week, found itself in the most reluctant of ways at the centre of world news. It has been a dark week in the French capital. Events such as those from the past week are a prompt to pray.To pray for those who have lost loved ones, to pray for places around the world where terror casts its shadow, to pray for safety on our own streets, to pray for our neighbours, and to pray (as Jesus commands) for those who would style themselves as our enemies.

Recently I received a 'Prayer Letter' from someone I know who serves with the missionary organisation OMF in East Asia. They were explaining how 2015 is a signifcant year for OMF, in that it is 150 years since the China Inland Mission (the forerunner of OMF) was founded by Hudson Taylor.

Having questions about life and about God doesn’t necessarily mean you all of a sudden want to start coming to church. Whatever your starting place Christianity Explored could be just for you. DVD led and based around Mark’s gospel this informal 6 week course gives room to explore three big questions: Who is Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What does it mean to follow Him?

Sunday coming sees us meeting for morning worship at 11am. This service includes communion (bread and wine) - a really welcome opportunity to remind ourselves of the foundations of our faith in Christ at the beginning of another new year together. (The picture I have used for this post is one I took in Malawi in 2000 during a communion service in a remote village in Northern Malawi. A reminder that the heart of Christian faith is the same at all times and in all cultures). We also begin a new Old Testament teaching series with Niall looking at Daniel chapter 1.

Many commentators in news and social media have reflected upon how 2014 was a year of many tragedies and crises around the world. Facts, figures and statistics easily go over our heads in these days of 24hr news and 140 character sound bites. However one fact that has come to light today is truely horrific. The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated that 76,000 people lost their lives as a result of war in Syria in the past twelve months.