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charity: water June 1, 2008

Posted by Nate in Social Justice.
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A preview of Liquid Church’s summer mission.

Life water (again). . . July 31, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Church, Social Justice.
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Why water?

It’s the most basic substance necessary to sustain life. And so many—1.1 billion, actually—are trying to survive without enough of it.

One out of every six.

The only water these people have access to is teeming with parasites and disease. Their water is lethal. They’re drinking it. And it’s killing them.

What can we do? There are a number of things. First, this Saturday, Liquid Church will be hosting a huge party on the Morristown Green (map here). Simply by showing up, you’re doing something. At the center of the party is a WaterWalk. For each person who walks, Liquid Church will donate $20 towards building wells in sub-Saharan Africa.

Second, you can partner with Liquid Church by using our secure donation site. Place the word “GLOCAL” in the comments section to ensure that your donation is going towards the water crisis relief effort.

This verse tells it all:

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.”
~Matthew 10.42 (The Message)

I know our individual attempts are small. But each person can do so much more when working together with others who are looking for the same thing. Check out the First-Century Church.

Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
~Acts 2.43-45 (The Message)

They got together and decided to wipe out poverty. Why can’t we do the same thing?

Life water. . . July 22, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Church, Scripture musings, Social Justice, Spirituality.
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No, I’m not knocking off a SoBe product. I’m talking about something completely different.

I decided to switch out of my normal Scripture reading routine thanks to something Pastor Tim said on Sunday. He pointed to a passage in Revelation 22:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

There’s an amazing image here. Did you catch it? Let’s backtrack to John 3.5. Here Christ makes the statement that one must be born of water and of the Spirit.

Without water, we’re dead physically. Without the Spirit, we’re dead spiritually.

Water is the giver of life. Water refreshes and cleanses. It revitalizes and renews. It restores and heals.

So is it any wonder that a river of life water flows down the middle of “Main Street in Heaven”? (Thanks for the imagery, Tim.)

Let’s jump to John 7.37. Here Christ paints an interesting picture. It’s almost as if He’s claiming to be life-giving water. Or, at least, that He is able to offer this life water.

So far we’ve established this much: living water is an essential part of spiritual life just like water is an essential part of physical life.

Let’s bring this home.

Knowing how important the concept of water is to Christ and His Kingdom, what do you think we should do about it?

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.”
~Matthew 10.42 (The Message)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this world is suffering a water crisis. More than one billion people—that’s one out of every six—have no access to clean drinking water. Children are dying everyday from water-borne diseases. How will you help?

If you’re near Morristown, NJ, you can show up at the Green in the center of Morristown on Saturday, August 2, and take part in the WaterWalk. For every person who walks 30 feet carrying two Gerry cans, Liquid Church will donate $20 to charity: water, who will use 100% of the donations to build wells for villages in Africa. Villages where people are dying for lack of water. (For more info on Liquid’s WaterWalk and the Party on the Green, head over to this page.)

If you can’t make it to Morristown that weekend, you can partner with Liquid Church and donate to charity: water through Liquid Church’s secure donation site. Be sure to make reference to “GLOCAL” (“GLOCAL” is the name of our summer outreach partnership with charity: water) in the comments section.

And pray. Don’t just give on a whim. Consider what’s important to you and ask God to lead you in the right direction.

Maybe this whole water thing is a way of bringing glimpses of heaven down to earth. A way of “bringing up there down here.” We are, after all, Christ-followers. What better way to follow Him than to do what He said? So do you think you could “give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty”?

Soles4Souls. . . November 10, 2008

Posted by Nate in Social Justice.
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Speaking of BHAG’s. . .

Fellow blogger Anne Jackson turned me on to a fantastic charity.

You guys know me fairly well, so you probably know that I have a heart for charities of all kinds. (See my posts on Love146 and charity: water.) This is obviously no exception.

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

This particular charity comes with a challenge: raise enough money to supply shoes for people who need them. I’m betting most of my readers take this simple necessity for granted. Just like water, we often assume this need will be met. Unfortunately, too many people around the world go without shoes day after day after day.

So, here’s what I’m asking you guys to do with me: click the banner above and just donate $5. It goes a long way. $5 is enough to donate a pair of shoes. I also want you to check out the “50,000 Pairs in 50 Days” group on Facebook.

Spread the word about this. We’ve got 50 days to get this done! I know you guys can do it!

Malls, Mexican food, and men. . . September 14, 2008

Posted by Nate in Friends, Personal, Spirituality.
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Who would have thought an afternoon doing some shopping at the Garden State Plaza and topping it off with a great meal at On the Border would yield a conversation about discovering who God wants us to be?

During the course of our dinner chat, my buddy Matt brought up an interesting thought about mankind’s primary relationships. He is first to connect with his Creator, for this is the chief of humanity’s priorities. He is then to connect with the woman, for this is the creation God designed intently and specifically for the man. All other relationships must take backseat.

As he talked about man’s responsibilities and purpose in relationship, my other friend Courtney brought up a frustration that most women have with men: they don’t step up. They’re weak and unwilling to follow their dreams of changing the world for Christ. They’re unwilling to become the men after God’s heart that they were designed to be. They’ve lost the will to be men.

As a group of single twenty-somethings, the natural inclination for us was to discuss how this affects our past and potential relationships. So let me follow that train of thought for a bit.

God designed us as sexual creatures. He placed His image on our lives in many ways, and our connection to each other on the sexual plane is just one of the myriad ways He’s done that.

Think about the idea of God loving the world. He longs to connect with the world, to share His joy with all of Creation. But Creation has not known or seen His love or is unwilling to experience His joy. So He places His Son into the hands of Creation and hopes that Creation accepts His proposal of love.

Parallel that with the man in his love for the woman. He longs to connect with the woman, to share his joy with her. But the woman doesn’t know his love or is unwilling to experience his joy. So he places his heart into the woman’s hands and hopes that she accepts his proposal of love.

Ironically enough, the woman wants more. And she deserves more. Like Courtney said, men have lost their willpower. We know what it means to be a good Christ-follower—trust Jesus and love others. But we’ve forgotten what it means to be a good man.

I know her frustration all too well.

I’ve dreamed big. I’ve longed to serve God with all that I am. I’ve desired to follow in the footsteps of men like King David, King Josiah, the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle Paul. Everything inside me cries out to God to allow me the opportunity to do great things for His Kingdom.

But I’m afraid.

I’m afraid, not because of outside forces or society’s push. I am determined to stand strong against that. I’m afraid, not because my friends may think I’m crazy to attempt such incredible things for a God I can’t even physically see. My friends would support me 100% in such an endeavor.

No, I’m afraid because of myself. I’m afraid because I know my flaws and my failures. I know my sins and my selfishness. I’ve seen myself falter time and time again.

That is why I’m afraid.

I dream to take on the world. I dream of doing great and innovative things for the Kingdom like Scott Harrison at Charity: Water, Tim Lucas at Liquid Church, and Shane Claiborne at The Simple Way have done.

But I’m afraid because I’ve seen where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ve been trudging through the mire of lust, barely able to come up for air. I’ve sloshed through the swamps of pride and selfishness, weakened by the downward pull of upward desires.

But worst of all, I’ve suffered through the guilt of my sin, and I’ve been robbed of my dreams. I’m afraid of the evil that I’m capable of.

So to all the “Courtneys” out there—women longing for men who will lead them, boys who are looking for men who will mentor them, and other men searching for strong men who will guide them—I have one request for you: pray for us. Pray not that we’ll come into your lives, because odds are we’re already there. Pray that we’ll overcome our fear of ourselves. Because when we overcome that fear, we’ll finally step up. We’ll become the leaders you want us to be.

Because I, for one, want to dream big again.

But this time, I want my dreams to come true.

i ♥ revolution. . . August 24, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Church, Social Justice.
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“The King will say, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'”

You’re not looking, are you?

I’ll admit it. . . neither was I. The hungry, the thirsty, the poor—I didn’t see any of them.

Because I wasn’t looking.

But here they are. We can choose to look away. And it’s easy for us, isn’t it? It’s easy because we’re isolated. We have no contact with any of them. We can’t touch them, hear them, see them.

They don’t exist to us.

But they do exist. Stop looking away.

There they are. We’re ignoring them, and they’re dying. Do you see her? She’s three years old. She’s drinking water that is killing her. She will not survive another sip.

How can we sit here, watch her die, and not do anything?

Do you believe Jesus was a social revolutionary? Do you believe He called us to see God differently? If so, don’t you think He’s calling us right now to follow Him in a radical way?

Have you ever looked at the way He lived and studied His actions?

From the outset, Jesus healed the sick, associated with undesirables and ate with social outcasts. These social categories—the sick, the poor, and public sinners—were despised groups, marginalised because their own society believed God had marginalised them, regarded literally as “outlaws” (undermining by their lives and presence the observance of the Law). By associating with sinners (meaning not simply those who occasionally broke the law, but those who broke it in a flagrant and systematic way), Jesus was consorting with the “wicked”. He didn’t wait for them to repent and change before he sat down to eat with them (challenging the authority of the Law of Moses) and even more scandalously he starts to let these excluded groups know that God has a special love for them.
~John Battle, Member of Parliament for Leeds West

What about this?

How will you react? Did you catch what Battle said? “He didn’t wait for them to repent and change before he sat down to eat with them.” If Christ didn’t demand that they change before He shared their company, why do we?

Christ told us to follow Him. In doing so, we must live like Him. We must do the very things He would do were He to set foot on earth in the 21st century.

He is setting foot in this century, isn’t He? If we are His hands and feet, He has certainly taken steps in this generation. So are we going to live like Him? Are we going to be the social revolutionaries He called us to be?

Are we going to change the world?

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”