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    Decide today who you will be tomorrow-Purposeful living brings reconciliation.

    Circa 2002, I made the first of several visits to the King Center and Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time I was a college student and I was highly impacted by Dr. Martin Luther King and his unwavering commitment to justice and peace. I made up my mind then that I wanted to be like Dr. King. I wanted to be courageous and peaceful in the face of evil and committed to loving people with the sacrificial love of Jesus. I have since developed a mantra that has followed me into Christian leadership, “decide now.” When I am speaking with a young lady about sexual…

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    The Need for Reconciliation

    The senseless killings and violence in our nation confirm the uncertain, chaotic time we are living in. Our minds are flooded with questions: What am I to do? How am I to think? Who do I look to for direction; how do I interpret the violence and the injustice? What is the root? From the images and specific messages of the last few days we have a window into the chaos. We are invited to listen, to pay attention, to be informed and open. In the midst of our confusion, disruption, disillusion, fear, anger, grief and sadness can we stop, as Christians, and take some deep breaths. Focus back on…

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    Thanksgiving: Not Only for Giving Thanks

    Canadians recently celebrated Thanksgiving, while Americans will be celebrating it later this month. Does your country have a specific day for giving thanks? While many Americans associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans, it was Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the midst of the Civil War. In his October 3, 1863 proclamation, Lincoln spoke to a fractured nation and proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. Not only that, he asked for prayers for “the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and…

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    Reconciled: to Church or to Christ?

    She is my Father’s house, she is a den of thieves, she is Christ’s Bride, she is corrupt enterprise, she’s built on the rock, she’s fractured by heresies, in her is Light, in her is Darkness, it is the age of information, it is the age of ignorance, it is the era of connection, it is the era of dissidence, it is the summer of evangelization, it is the winter of apostasy, we have everything before us, we have nothing before us—in short, what the Dickens is going on? Pedophiles parade as priests and false teachers, as preachers. Pastors auctioneer salvation at altar calls. Leaders demand a loyalty that teeters…

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    Listening: An Antidote to Polarization

    Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19 (NET) I visited the National Museum of African American History & Culture last week—I and thousands of other people—and the experience overwhelmed me. The upper floors of the museum celebrate the significant contributions of African Americans to every sector of our culture. But the three-floor basement of the museum documents how the powerful have dominated the powerless in our country. For example, when enslaved people were finally freed in the U.S., compensation was given—but not to the slaves who had put in a lifetime of uncompensated labor. Instead, slave…

  • Sanctification-Perfected…No Longer Flawed

    SANCTIFICATION: Perfected…No Longer Flawed

    I was once an uptight perfectionist. Yes, I admit it. My whole self-image depended upon being perfect in grades, piano performance and whatever got me awards for achievement. Yet, my flaws kept getting in the way of getting straight A’s one six weeks so that I missed out on the “straight A’s” award for that school year. I was horrible in athletics so PE was my nemesis. Then, in college, physics knocked me down big time—I just couldn’t see how to get the answers to those problems. My flaws were ever before me, and I sobbed when I couldn’t achieve perfection—which happened a lot. My self-image was tied to a…

  • Justification-Righteous…No Longer Guilty

    JUSTIFICATION: Righteous…No Longer Guilty

    As a teen, I wrestled with the notion that I was not good enough to please God. I could never measure up to His standards of perfection. I was always guilty of not doing something right, of falling short of whatever it was He expected of me. Then, I heard some good news when I committed my life to Christ and chose to follow Him—God declared me “not guilty” of all my sin. Not guilty? All my sin? Really? Yes, dear believer, God declares you “not guilty” of all sin, once and for all, based on your faith alone in His Son. It is an amazing plan that is totally…

  • Forgiveness-Forgiven…No Longer Burdened

    FORGIVENESS: Forgiven…No Longer Burdened

    Like the woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears in Luke 7, many of us carry the guilt of our sins with us like a heavy burden, weighing us down. The continual reminder of our sins keeps us from experiencing freedom and from enjoying the relationship with God that we have by faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t just need a teacher. We need a Savior who comes in and does for us what we can’t do for ourselves: forgiveness. All of our debt of sin before God is enormous; we are incapable of ever paying it back. You and I need to understand how complete and continual is God’s…

  • Redemption-Released…No Longer in Bondage

    REDEMPTION: Released…No Longer in Bondage

    Bondage. No one likes being in bondage. Whether it is to a person, a contract, a debt, or something controlling your life, bondage stinks. It stifles. It discourages. It makes you a slave of whatever is holding you “in chains.” Every person who is in bondage longs to be released from those chains. Released. Did you know that every human being born on this planet is born into bondage? I don’t care how much money or status you have. You were born into bondage. Bondage to what? Colossians 1:13 calls it “the kingdom of darkness.” Romans 6:15-18 describes it as being a “slave to sin.” The slave master “sin” calls…

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    “Merry, Merry Christmas to All Our Sisters and Brothers”

     “The angel answered [Mary, saying], "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NASB). Back in the beautiful orchard on a Friday afternoon, God made male and female in his image. What an astonishing creation—human flesh imaging God! But before long something horrible happened. Sin destroyed the unity humanity experienced, and all creation was affected by their plunge into sin. One ramification was the distortion of male/female relations. The battle of the sexes began. Loneliness and selfish independence replaced unity and interdependence. As a consequence…