Stefano & Jennifer Mariotti

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church-planting in Budrio, Italy

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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Mariotti's

Remember the reason behind the season!
 

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christianity Explored - Digging in the Gospel of Mark


Tomorrow evening we'll continue the Christianity Explored course we are doing with a couple from Sasso Marconi Church.


Tomorrow we'll deal with Mark 8:30 to 10:52 focusing primarily on Mark 10:17-22: "what Grace is all about"?


"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; 
it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

Sunday Service 23/12/2012 - Ravenna

 Tomorrow we are invited at Chiesa Evangelica di Ravenna, an Independent Baptist Church in Ravenna, a town which is about an hour from Bologna by the Adriatic Sea.
 
Stefano will preach a Christmas sermon: "Who is this child?" on John 1:1-18.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
John 1:1-18 (ESV)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Porterbrook - Bologna Campus

Tomorrow from 3.30 to 7.00 pm we'll have the sixth plenary session of the Porterbrook - Bologna Campus.

The meeting will be held in Nuova Vita Church and we expect about 25 students
from 5 different churches in Bologna.

We'll continue the third and fourth modules of the 2nd volume foundation course.

The third module is Keep it Missional, taught by Gian Luca Derudas,
pastor of Nuova Vita Church.
In this session, students will interact with these units:
4. Preaching
5. Business meetings
6. Visiting

"In this module students will look at how to keep the following all
about mission: Sunday gatherings and prayer meetings, Bible studies, preaching, visiting, pastoral care and even business meetings."

The fourth module is Apologetics, taught by Stefano.
In this session, students will interact with these units:
4. Question 1: The proof for God
5. Question 2: Other religions
6. Question 3: Suffering

"Traditionally apologetics has been the attempt to show the Christian faith to be rational. However this makes the mistake of thinking that
 the rejection of Christianity stems from a rational argument.
The Bible begs to differ. The problem is not with rational thought,
but with the human heart. The heart needs something more than arguments to change it.
What role then has apologetics? This module examines this question."

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Home-groups Prayer Meeting

Tomorrow night we'll have our monthly
Home-groups Prayer Meeting.

During this meetings we pray for World Evangelism,
for the missionary work in Senegal and China
in which we are involved.
We pray for Italy and our region Emilia-Romagna and
for the cooperation we have with different churches in the Bologna Area and for the outreach activities we have.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bible Study on Ecclesiastes - Ecclesiastes 2:12-26

Please pray for tomorrow evening when Stefano will continue the series of Bible Studies on Ecclesiastes preaching from Ecclesiastes 2:11-26.


There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 
For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy...
Ecclesiastes 2:24-26a (ESV)
 
 
As introduction to illustrate Ecclesiastes' point that death brings 
wisdom, folly, work and worries to nothing, we'll explore the concept 
of "Carpe Diem" (Seize the day) from a Christological perspective.
 
In the XV century Lorenzo de' Medici wrote a famous poem 
expressing the Carpe Diem lifestyle:
 
"Who’d be happy, let him be so:
Nothing’s sure about tomorrow."  
 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sunday Services - Gian Luca Derudas

Tomorrow we'll have preaching in San Lazzaro for both morning and afternoon services Gian Luca Derudas.


Gian Luca is the pastor of  the Nuova Vita Church
in Bologna and part of the team  teaching at the Porterbrook Campus in Bologna.

Gian Luca will preach at the morning service on the first half of the 10 Commandments and after the fellowship lunch, he will lead for us an interactive session on the second half of the 10 Commandments at the afternoon meeting.

My Space - Christmas Party

This evening we'll have a Christmas Party
for the kids of the My Space club.

We'll have music, quizzes, games and food,
where every part of the party will help kids
to think about the real meaning of Christmas.

So for example we'll spread in the room some
pictures representing "typical" Christmas "icons"
such as Santa, Reindeer, Christmas lights and foods,
but the "missing pictures" is the manger
pointing to the Cross.

Please pray for the talk Stefano
will give on Romans 6:23 
"For the wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

This is the video we'll use to introduce the talk


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Our latest newsletter

Dear friends, here is our latest newsletter,
(right-click and open it in a new window to read it in a larger format)


Monday, 10 December 2012

Acts29 Italia - Panel interview for new church-planters


Today Stefano will be part of an Acts29 Italia panel interview to meet a couple applying to be church-planters in Italy.

Please do pray for us as interviewers that God will give us His wisdom, grace and guidance to be genuinely helpful for this couple and their desire to serve the Lord in Italy.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

09/12/2012 Series on the Parables of our Lord – 36 “Who is friend of tax collectors and sinners?” Luke 18:9-14

Tomorrow Stefano will preach on Luke 18:9-14 
continuing the series on the Parables taught by our Lord: 
"Who is friend of tax collectors and sinners?".

"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)

I. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled!
 
II. the one who humbles himself will be exalted!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Porterbrook - Bologna Campus

Tomorrow from 3.30 to 7.00 pm we'll have the fifth plenary session of the Porterbrook - Bologna Campus.

The meeting will be held in San Lazzaro Church and we expect about 25 students
from 5 churches in Bologna.

We'll start the third and fourth modules of the 2nd volume foundation course.

The third module is Keep it Missional, taught by Gian Luca Derudas,
pastor of Nuova Vita Church.
In this session, students will interact with these units:
1. Keeping it missional
2. Sunday gatherings and prayer meetings
3. Bible studies

"In this module students will look at how to keep the following all
about mission: Sunday gatherings and prayer meetings, Bible studies, preaching, visiting, pastoral care and even business meetings."

The fourth module is Apologetics, taught by Stefano.
In this session, students will interact with these units:
1. Presuppositional apologetics
2. Relational apologetics
3. Defeater beliefs

"Traditionally apologetics has been the attempt to show the Christian faith to be rational. However this makes the mistake of thinking that
 the rejection of Christianity stems from a rational argument.
The Bible begs to differ. The problem is not with rational thought,
but with the human heart. The heart needs something more than arguments to change it.
What role then has apologetics? This module examines this question."

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My Space - Planning Meeting

Tonight we'll have a planning meeting for all the leaders and volunteers of the My Space Club in Bologna to plan activities and Bible studies for the next 6 months.
We are really encouraged by this work in which 4 local churches are actively cooperating together.
Continue to pray for this work since every week we have from 12 to 17 teens attending regularly the program and most of them are from non-Christian families.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Porterbrook Bologna Campus meeting & Pastor's fraternal

Tonight Stefano will have a meeting with the other three pastors teaching at the Porterbrook Bologna Campus.

This will be a planning meeting for the next modules of Porterbrook in Bologna and an opportunity for us to pray for the students coming from 5 local churches.


Then we'll be at the pastor's fraternal with the churches we
most collaborate in Bologna.
There will be pastors from 5 local churches of very similar theological persuasions.
In this meeting we'll share and pray for each other and
we'll have a time to plan some joint events and evangelistic outreaches.
We are also working to build up a permanent food collection and distribution to support needy people in our churches
and in the community.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sunday afternoon meeting in Budrio - Interactive Bible Study

Tomorrow afternoon we'll be with our friends from our village at the Sunday afternoon meeting & Bible Study in Budrio.

This meeting is held in cooperation with a local group of Christians  from Nuova Vita Church in Bologna who are all living in or near Budrio.
We expect to be about 30 adults plus kids!!!

In this group we'll interact with the "Gospel Living" module of Porterbrook, and tomorrow we'll study the 3rd unit: "Looking back: to the cross"!


"Starting from the position that all life is for the Glory of God, this module looks at what it means to live a life for that glory. It will mean loving God and loving others, shaped by the cross and looking to the future glory that we will share with Jesus. Having laid this foundation the module then examines how this impacts daily issues such as decisions, friendship and possessions."

Sunday Service 02/72/2012 - Sasso Marconi


On Sunday we'll be at
Chiesa Evangelica di Sasso Marconi, a Brethren church
in a village near Bologna.

Stefano will preach in the morning on Hebrews 11:1-4
"Christ in the faith of Abel".


"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks."
Hebrews 11:1-4 (ESV)

For the service we'll have a group from the team of Nuova Vita Church who this summer went to Bulgaria for a short mission trip to support the work YfC is doing in Yambol.
In the afternoon, after the fellowship lunch, they will share with the church some specific prayer point including: 
the work amongst Gipsies and street kids and 
the training projects will happen in the centre the group renovated.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Living the Community - Bologna Trip

 Tomorrow we'll join a trip to
Bologna organized by the Proloco of Mezzolara, an association promoting cultural activities.

With a group of about 30 adults
and kids from our village we'll visit the historical buildings of Bologna university.


This will include the "Archiginnasio" the historical Library of Bologna university decorated with more than 700 "coats of arms" from noble students of the past.


This will be a really good opportunity to have a nice day with some of our neighbours and to get to know them better.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Titus 2 Ladies Group - Friday 30/11/2012

 
Tomorrow evening Jenny & Tina will lead the Titus 2 Ladies Group of San Lazzaro Church.

There will be a time of fellowship focused on sharing and praying one for another.
 
 
The goal of this group is to challenge women from our church to encourage one another in the fear of the Lord and to learn to be missional in their workplaces, homes and families!
 
"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, 
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." 
 Proverbs 31:30 (ESV)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Bible Study on Ecclesiastes - Ecclesiastes 1:12 - 2:11

Please pray for tomorrow evening when Stefano will continue the series of Bible Studies on Ecclesiastes preaching from Ecclesiastes 1:12 - 2:11.

And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (ESV)


As introduction to illustrate the meaninglessness of a life's search for satisfaction apart from Christ, we'll look at the 2011 song 
"Moves Like Jagger" by the pop rock band Maroon 5. 

In this song Adam Levine sings: "You say I’m a kid, My ego is big
with the purpose of celebrating Mick Jagger for the new generation.
Yet what really is presented to the "new generation" 
is the old refrain of  the 1965 “I can’t get no satisfaction":
"I can’t get no satisfaction, ’cause I try and I try and I try and I try, 
I can’t get no satisfaction”


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, 
you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 15:9-11

Saturday, 24 November 2012

My Space Club - Thanksgiving meal



This week we have in Bologna a team from the USA who went in High-Schools to present the meaning of the Thanksgiving Day and to encourage kids to see that everything we have is from God.
God even gave His Son for us to pay on the Cross the price for our sins!
So tomorrow evening we'll have a special Thanksgiving meal for the My Space Kids and each one of the leaders will share with them a reason for which we are thankful to God!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, 
and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him; bless his name! 
 Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

With the kids we'll watch this funny Thanksgiving video of Nicole Westbrook


Friday, 23 November 2012

Porterbrook - Bologna Local Group

Tomorrow from 3 to 6.30 pm we'll have the fourth plenary session of the Porterbrook - Bologna Local Group.

The meeting will be held in San Lazzaro Church and we expect about 25 students from 4 churches in Bologna.

Tomorrow we'll have the interactive evaluation session of the first and second modules of the 2nd year foundation course.
In this session some students will present their papers and all will interact in groups with the material they studied.

The first module is Gospel Relationships, where students were challenged to see how the Gospel teaches us how to deal with Anger, Conflict, Fearing people, Humility, Gifts and service, Work, Marriage, Singleness, Parenting.
The second module is Understanding God's Story. This module will helps to get a handle on the basics of understanding and teaching from the text of the Bible itself and seeing how the Bible as a whole fits together.

Tomorrow we'll have in Bologna Jonathan Gilmore, director of Porterbrook Italia and of Acts29 Italy.
Jonathan will interact with the Bologna students especially with the Understanding God's Story module.

In the evening from 7.00 to 8.30 pm,
Stefano and the other lecturers will have
their abilitation with Jonathan to teach
the next modules.



Literature Stand @ San Lazzaro weekly market

Tomorrow morning from 9.00 to 11.00 am 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!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sunday afternoon meeting in Budrio - Interactive Bible Study

Tomorrow afternoon we'll join for the first time a Sunday afternoon meeting & Bible Study in Budrio.

This meeting is held in cooperation with a local group of Christians  from Nuova Vita Church in Bologna who are all living in or near Budrio.

Budrio has about 20,000 people and is the main town next to where we live.
We are really excited about this meeting not only because it's a new Christian presence in an extensive area where there is only one Pentecostal church, but because two of our friends from our village will be with us.

In this group we'll interact with the "Gospel Living" module of Porterbrook, and tomorrow we'll study what it really means to have a love for God!


"Starting from the position that all life is for the Glory of God, this module looks at what it means to live a life for that glory. It will mean loving God and loving others, shaped by the cross and looking to the future glory that we will share with Jesus. Having laid this foundation the module then examines how this impacts daily issues such as decisions, friendship and possessions."




18/11/2012 Series on the Parables of our Lord – 35 “The active perseverance of prayer” Luke 18:1-8

Tomorrow Stefano will preach on Luke 18:1-8  
continuing the series on the Parables taught by our Lord: 
"The active perseverance of prayer".

"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" 
Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)

I. Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?

II. When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Home-groups Prayer Meeting

Tonight we'll have our monthly Home-groups Prayer Meeting.


This month we'll concentrate our prayers for Senegal where a couple of Italian/Canadian missionaries we support are working to reach out the Konyagi tribe.




We'll also pray for Bulgaria. Last week we had a special meeting where Ester Montefalcone, the Director of Youth for Christ Italy, presented the church a short mission trip that she led with a group of Christians in their 20's/30's in Bulgaria to support the work YfC is doing in Yambol.
We'll pray specifically for the work amongst Gipsies and street kids and for the training projects will happen in the centre the group renovated.