• John Ortberg
  • Rob Bell
  • Philip Yancey
  • Brenda Salter McNeil
  • Jim Cymbala
  • Gary Haugen
  • Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Princess Zulu
  • Chuck Colson
  • Amy Sherman
  • Steve Chalke
  • Matthew Sleeth
  • Shane Claiborne
  • Star Parker
  • Rich Stearns
  • Jim Wallis
  • Bishop John Rucyahana
  • Heidi Unruh
  • Dean Hirsch
  • Dolphus Weary
  • Francis Collins
  • Gerald Durley
  • David Batstone
  • Bishop Horace E. Smith
  • Jason Russell
  • Christo Greyling
  • Bishop James Jones
  • John M. Perkins
  • Mike Yankoski
  • Miles McPherson
  • Philippa Lei
  • Romanita Hairston
  • Ron Sider
  • Sandra Thurman
  • Scott Sabin
  • Shirley Mullen
  • Stanley Green
  • David Anderson
  • Steve Haas
  • Steve Stirling
  • Tri Robinson
  • Zach Hunter
  • Joe Mettimano
  • Mary Nelson
  • David Beckmann
  • Noel Castellanos
  • Denver Moore
  • Ron Hall
  • Bryant Myers
  • Ron Nikkel
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Angela Thomas
  • John Thomas
  • Karen Kingsbury
  • Lynne Hybels
  • Jaime Jamgochian
  • Margaret Becker
  • Israel Houghton
  • Josh Wilson
  • Matt Maher
  • Warren Barfield
  • Brandon Heath
  • Anthony Evans
  • Tony Campolo
  • Group 1 Crew
  • Mike Weaver
  • Christopher Crane
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Kay Warren
  • Rob Bell
  • Matt Williams
  • John Ortberg
  • Rob Bell
  • Philip Yancey
  • Brenda Salter McNeil
  • Jim Cymbala
  • Gary Haugen
  • Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Princess Zulu
  • Chuck Colson
  • Amy Sherman
  • Steve Chalke
  • Matthew Sleeth
  • Shane Claiborne
  • Star Parker
  • Rich Stearns
  • Jim Wallis
  • Bishop John Rucyahana
  • Heidi Unruh
  • Dean Hirsch
  • Dolphus Weary
  • Francis Collins
  • Gerald Durley
  • David Batstone
  • Bishop Horace E. Smith
  • Jason Russell
  • Christo Greyling
  • Bishop James Jones
  • John M. Perkins
  • Mike Yankoski
  • Miles McPherson
  • Philippa Lei
  • Romanita Hairston
  • Ron Sider
  • Sandra Thurman
  • Scott Sabin
  • Shirley Mullen
  • Stanley Green
  • David Anderson
  • Steve Haas
  • Steve Stirling
  • Tri Robinson
  • Zach Hunter
  • Joe Mettimano
  • Mary Nelson
  • David Beckmann
  • Noel Castellanos
  • Denver Moore
  • Ron Hall
  • Bryant Myers
  • Ron Nikkel
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Angela Thomas
  • John Thomas
  • Karen Kingsbury
  • Lynne Hybels
  • Jaime Jamgochian
  • Margaret Becker
  • Israel Houghton
  • Josh Wilson
  • Matt Maher
  • Warren Barfield
  • Brandon Heath
  • Anthony Evans
  • Tony Campolo
  • Group 1 Crew
  • Mike Weaver
  • Christopher Crane
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Kay Warren
  • Rob Bell
  • Matt Williams

"...let us begin"

 

The Sometimes-Scary Adventure of Compassion

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 I recently spoke with Pastor Keith Allen Manry of Akron First United Methodist Church (New York).  The congregation there recently finished a start> Becoming a Good Samaritan church campaign, and I had the great opportunity to hear about how God has been using the series at First UMC.

One example is a group of women who decided to start> by cooking a meal at Cephas House, a Buffalo area nonprofit organization “focused on meeting the inner needs of men and women in prison and on parole.”

Pastor Manry shared that many in the group were at first fearful to serve at Cephas House, but their fears were calmed as they shared the love of Christ in the form of a meal and good conversation.  In fact, they are planning to return again soon!

This story reminded me of a quote made by former professional football player Miles McPherson in the first session of the start> Becoming a Good Samaritan DVD. 

McPherson said:

“Walking into the unknown and the unfamiliar is scary, but we have to remember that Jesus is always with us and has already paved the way for us.” 

With this in mind, consider taking a few minutes and answering the following questions.

 

  1. How does Jesus Christ convey his presence in your life?
  2. How do you know that he is near?
  3. How does knowing that Jesus is near affect your willingness to serve others?
  4. Where is Jesus “paving the way” for you to “love your neighbor?”  

 

Hoops of Hope

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As I have mentioned in other posts, my family and I just bought a house. 

One of the best parts about our house is that we have a small half-court basketball court in our backyard.  Simply put; it’s AWESOME! 

This, coupled with the fact that the new NBA season has started, has led me to share with you about "Hoops of Hope." 

“Hoops of Hope” is the biggest basketball shoot-a-thon in the world, much like a walk-a-thon.  You can join thousands of participants and teams from around the world who shoot free throws for children in need.  Ever dollar raised goes directly to a project you select, and every free throw will help keep children from becoming orphans. 

A few weeks ago Jen and I were talking about how we could use our house for God’s glory.  We want to use this great gift in ways that will tell others about his love and mercy.  A “Hoops of Hope” event is a way we can do that!

Perhaps hosting an event is something you, your small group, your friends, or your church might be interested in as well!  

By the way...go Pistons!!!

Caring for the Sick - What Can I Do?

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When I think about caring for the sick, fighting global epidemics and preventing diseases, I have to admit that I am not sure where to begin.  


For instance, today I read at ONE.org that "the most dangerous type of malaria-carrying mosquito is evolving into two different species, posing serious problems for controlling the transmission of the devastating parasite.  The revelation could present difficulties in controlling malaria because eradication strategies directed against one mosquito species may not be effective against another."

That's serious!  

And yet I struggle thinking "What can I do?"  I'm a Dad of three who works two jobs and has a lawn full of leaves to rake and a "Honey Do" list that keeps growing.  How can I care for the sick?  

My guess is you ask the same questions.

Here are some ideas:

1.  Pray for healing.  Get out your calendar and highlight days that celebrate various countries or holidays of various faith traditions.  Pray for the people of that country who are being affected by global health issues and then participate in a service project that reflects your compassion.  For example, you might celebrate Chinese New Year by collaborating on a community service project with a local Chinese church congregation.  On World AIDS Day - December 1st - you could invite people to make a donation toward the eradication of this disease.  Visit earthcalendar.net for a complete listing of holidays by date, country, and religion.

2.  Purchase Bed Nets For a Family. For $18 you can provide long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets that will protect an entire family from malaria through World Vision.  Since these nets can be used for approximately four years, that means you will save the life of a family for only 18 cents a month.  What an investment!

3.  Read a Book.  Consider reading a book such as "Warrior Princess: Fighting for Life with Courage and Hope" by Princess Kasune Zulu, "Love Mercy"  by Lisa and Ty Samson, or "A Positive Life: Living with HIV as a Pastor, Husband, and Father" by Shane Stanford


Home Closings and Advertisments

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On October 7th Jen and I closed on a house.  After many years of renting, we are now starting to settle into a place we hope to call home for many years.  As we unload boxes and try to figure out where to put everything we own, we can't help but think about the new neighborhood we live in, and what opportunities God will have for us to like the Good Samaritan. 

As such, I can't help but think about a quote from start> participant Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle:

"The only advertisement for Christ on this earth is we Christians - the body of Christ, the church of the Lord."  

This quote is forcing me to ask myself some hard questions, and I would like to challenge you with the same questions.

What do you want your "advertisement for Christ" to communicate to the watching world?

For me the answer to this question is that I want those around me to know that Christ is the center of my life, and that I live in response to the great mercy of God.  My love for my neighbor is fueled by a love for God, and a desire to share the Good News of his Kingdom in both word and deed.

Do you suppose that there is a disparity at times between what Christians wish their "advertisements for Christ" said and what the watching world actually sees?  

Unfortunately yes.  But while it would be easy to point out the flaws of others, the reality is that I must take care to address the disparity that exists in my own life.

How would you answer these questions?

Sitting on a cardboard box, computer on a card table,

Jared


Before You Seek Justice

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In Isaiah 1:16-17, the prophet conveyed instruction on God's behalf according to a vision he had regarding Judah and Jerusalem.  "Cease to do evil," said Isaiah, "learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause (RSV)."

It is clear that God has high expectations for his followers' involvement in eradicating injustices in the world in which they live, but equally important is God's expectation for what they will do before they seek justice.  In the verse that precedes Isaiah's litany of commands, he tells the people - and Christ-followers today - to "wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes."

As you begin this week, ask God to show you areas in your life that need to be washed clean by his supernatural power, so that you will be able to approach the task of justice-seeking with pure hands and a spotless heart.
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