jump to navigation

Soles4Souls. . . November 10, 2008

Posted by Nate in Social Justice.
1 comment so far

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!

Advertisements

i ♥ revolution. . . August 24, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Church, Social Justice.
2 comments

“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.'”

Eternal life on earth. . . August 13, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Social Justice, Spirituality.
2 comments

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
~John 4.13-14 (ESV)

I’m sure you’ve heard the old colloquialism, “You’re so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”? Probably less familiar is the traditionalist ideology that this is actually a good thing. I really don’t think that mindset should characterize Christians. But the thought process is out there, pervading many churches that preach a “Get Out of Hell” gospel.

I don’t think that’s what Christ died for. Sure, there’s the beauty of an afterlife spent by His side. But is that the emphasis of the story of Jesus? Christ said He came “that [we] may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10.10). The assurance of an afterlife spent with Christ is a wonderful thing, but is that the point of faith in Christ? I really believe God did something bigger than that when He spilled His own blood for us.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
~2 Corinthians 5.18-20

Did you catch that? “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.” There’s something amazing in that sentence.

God created the world and everything in it and said that it was good. Creation was good. But it was broken. Humanity, once the Crown Jewel of Creation, became its Scourge as Man chose to turn his back on God and taint the earth with his rebellion.

But God never turned His back on Man, and in an amazing act of purest love, poured everything He was into humanity and set in motion the reconciliation of Creation. That was the very moment Eternal Life began.

There’s something else in that passage. “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” God is using us to reconcile the world to Himself!

Wow.

Each Christ-follower has been given a priceless gift and an incomparable charge.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
~John 1.12-13

We’ve been given the power of Christ. But like Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Christ has charged us with the spreading of His gift here on earth.

Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
~Matthew 28.18-20

If God is reconciling all of Creation to Himself through Christ, and Christ has given us the right and responsibility to be His hands and feet here on earth, shouldn’t our goal be the uniting of Heaven and Earth? Or as Pastor Tim puts it, “Bringing up there. . . down here.”

What do you think that would look like?

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 think it’d be a good idea if Christians stopped thinking so much about eternal life in heaven and started thinking more about eternal life on earth. You’re going to die; there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t do anything about what lies on the other side of that. But Christ has given us the power to do something about what’s going on around us now. He’s given us the power to bring an eternal, more abundant life to earth.

Are we even trying?

At a loss for words. . . August 4, 2008

Posted by Nate in Church, Social Justice.
add a comment

I’m not really sure if words can actually describe my experiences this past weekend. I’ve been deliberating simply because I couldn’t come up with anything to write that would do the GLOCAL event any justice.

All I can say is this: Thank you, Liquid Church, for being the vehicle through which I was able to serve the community in ways I never thought possible until now. Thank you, Father-God, for this amazing gift of love You’ve chosen to give me.

I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves.

Life water (again). . . July 31, 2008

Posted by Nate in Christianity, Church, Social Justice.
2 comments

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.
add a comment

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”?

The 40 Day Fast. . . June 24, 2008

Posted by Nate in Social Justice.
2 comments

Fellow blogger Todd Ruth indirectly led me to Inspired to Action, a blog that exists “to equip and inspire people to take action on behalf of those in need.” Inspired to Action is hosting an event called The 40 Day Fast in which 40 bloggers fast for one day each and blog about an organization that is striving to meet a need somewhere.

This is Day 2 of the 40 Day Fast, and the blogger Amy is telling of her organization: ProLiteracy Worldwide.

While I’m not one of the registered bloggers for this event, I do want to share my own burden.

During the final sermon of the “Reasons to Believe” series at Liquid Church, Pastor Tim told the story of a night he was watching TV and stumbled on a documentary about children in the Far East being sold into slavery and exploited for sex. How tourists and pedophiles would pay $10 an hour to do whatever they want with these little girls. When I heard that story, I felt all kinds of emotions burning inside me.

So I started looking into this whole thing. And I discovered this organization: Love146.

Love146 exists to help abolish child sex trafficking. The organization has set up multiple safehomes to help children who have suffered due to sex trafficking.

Take a look at these statistics:

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) now believes that the number of children trafficked annually is around 1.2 million. (2006)

It is estimated that two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The majority of transnational victims are females trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. (2007 Trafficking in Persons Report, U.S. State Department)

It is estimated that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world, many who have been enslaved through being trafficked. This is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The U.N. and other experts estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking at $32 billion – about $10 billion is derived from the initial “sale” of individuals, with the remainder representing the estimated profits from the activities or goods produced by the victims of this barbaric crime. (UNODC)

These numbers make trafficking in persons the second most lucrative crime in the world. The first is drug trafficking. (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006).

About $28 billion of this is generated from commercial sexual exploitation. (International Labor Organization)

The organization to End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes believe that 45,000-50,000 persons are trafficked into the U.S. each year, 15,000 of them are children. (ECPAT-USA)

Pray with me that God would use Love146 and other similar organizations to help bring about the abolition of this kind of evil.

charity: water June 1, 2008

Posted by Nate in Social Justice.
add a comment

A preview of Liquid Church’s summer mission.