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Archive for the ‘justice’ Category

I received an e-mail today from Shepherd’s Field, a Christian orphanage in China. It is a truly special place that cares for special needs orphans. We know a couple here in Memphis who have adopted a child from this orphanage. The e-mail had this picture of their children

They also had a this artwork from one of the children, with the question: What if the next Picasso lives in an orphanage?

We have experienced this question firsthand, as we have watched our daughter Mae (5, adopted from China) grow up. We have have often wondered what we and the world would have missed out on if she had grown up without a family. I don’t think they meant to make any sort of theological statement with the question, and I am 100% sure that they not only agree with I’m about to say, but they have literally given there lives for it. The question is a dangerous one, because these children do not have value only because they might grow up to be a great artist, or cure cancer, or whatever other wonderful thing they may do.  They have value because they are made in the image of God. Shepherds Field is built on this truth: Psalm 139:14- “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

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Our friends at Advance Memphis are in the final four to win the World Magazine HOPE award for effective compassion. We highlighted the opportunity to vote when the polls first opened and now, with a few hours until voting stops at midnight, we ask you again to vote by clicking HERE if you have not already and pass along the voting opportunity to someone else.

It only take a few seconds and, if Advance wins, they get $5000. Follow the link to vote, take some time to pass it on, and if you are wondering why we love Advance, take a moment to look through some former posts. Keep in mind you get one vote per computer, so if your phone has internet you can vote there too.

to vote, go HERE.

to learn more about Advance Memphis, go HERE.

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YES, IT IS A PROBLEM!

1. take time to write in the comments below (instead of e-mailing me) so we can all enjoy the conversations about human trafficking in the US.

2. the video at this link shows you how easy it is to access the horrific trade through craig’s list (it is not posted on the blog directly because some of the images are not appropriate).

3. there will be posts on what an average person/ christian can do to fight the trade. for now, think about what it means to affect demand (feel free to comment with ideas in the mean time). i am not avoiding posting on the issue, just pressed for time in other areas. i am glad some of you care!

4. again, HERE IS THE VIDEO if you are looking for proof as to whether or not it is an issue in the united states. it is. it is a problem. children are bought and sold as commodities, like toothpaste, and that is NOT OK.

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why is it so hard to be honest with our sins, struggles, addictions, missteps, and transgressions? well, for many reasons, but surely at the top of the list is our culture. we live in a culture that refuses to admit weakness, brokenness, or short comings of any kind. jon becker had a great quote sunday morning when he said, “if dependance on God is the goal then weakness is an asset.” 

i was struck by something else i heard on sunday, and that is that this is the first year the united states has included itself among nations who are fighting human trafficking. it has always been “other countries” that have a problem, not us. forget the fact that over 36,000 people are trafficked across our boarders a year to be domestic slaves, sex slaves, and to be used as forced labor in our fields. 

as the quote below demonstrates, it is encouraging that we have finally acknowledged our issue because now we can begin to take real steps to tackle the root of the issue. Here is a blurb from the beginning of the story from NPR:

The State Department’s annual report on human trafficking covers countries around the globe. This year, the U.S. decided to rate itself, too. Activists say by admitting it faces this issue, the U.S. has a powerful diplomatic tool to encourage others to help tackle modern slavery.

this is great news as i pray the Lord is pleased to use our government to end such atrocities as human trafficking, both in the united states and around the world. hopefully we will see some tangible results. time will tell. for now, check the story out HERE

and take time to examine your heart and life. are there areas you could be honest with yourself in? areas you could benefit from admitting weakness? the global community will benefit from our honest assessment. is there a way your community could benefit from your honest assessment of yourself? the first step to solving your problem is admitting you have one.

in the gospel of Jesus we have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, and nothing to prove. let us live like it.

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gotta moment to vote?

 later this week (on the 5th) is the primary elections here in tennessee. go vote. but also vote HERE for my friends who have entered their film into a pepsi competition. they need the cash prize to finish the project. they have been through a TON in making this project and i fully believe the Lord will use this for HIs purposes. see the trailer below and take time to VOTE HERE.

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I happened to watch a documentary on HBO this weekend called “A Small Act”. Here’s the synopsis from the website-

“When Hilde Back sponsored a young, rural Kenyan student, she thought nothing of it. She certainly never expected to hear from him, but years later she does. Now a Harvard graduate and a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations, Chris Mburu decides to find the stranger that changed his life. Inspired by her generosity, he starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor.”

It is an incredibly moving story, we were literally cheering out loud for some of the students by the end. It is also a great reminder of how small acts of kindness and generosity can change someone’s life, and that we can never really know what God will do with even a mustard seed of faith.

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what are the casualties of the church retreating from society and forming their own safe little enclaves away from “the dangerous world”? look at the memphis city school system and you will find out.

tragedy.

but the church is rising to her call to be a light in the darkness, to be amassedors for Christ, and agents of God’s blessing in His world. we have posted on MTR before (under “why i love memphis”) but i feel like we need to put this video up again. why? watch and find out.

the church being the church. more mercy, more glory.

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today the u.s. advanced in the world cup. today i ate mexican for lunch. today i am surrounded by books and notes trying to study. today i drove my car. today i drank coffee and tea with people (not together, but both this morning). tonight i will sleep in a bed. not everyone in our world, or even in the city of memphis, can share these same realities.

recently sociologist johnathan bloom has noted that, as americans, we throw away an average of $2000 of food per household of four every year. yes, $2000 a year, and this in a world where 25,000 children will die TODAY of preventable causes (hunger, malnutrition, diarrhea…) 

the article states, “Jonathan Bloom estimates the average family of four throws out close to $2,000 worth of food annually — 25 per cent of what’s brought home from the grocery store. Bloom has investigated the cycle of food waste for several years and has found that our obsession with freshness is at the heart of the issue.” you can read the whole article here.

the real stats that will blow you away are found HERE.

it has been fashionable of late to throw around the stat that memphis was named the “hungriest city in america” but i am not seeing much movement on it, especially from the church. memphis is hungry, the world is hungry, and i am getting fatter and throwing away more food. this is not OK and it will change.

followers of Jesus are called to feed the hungry, love justice & mercy, and to serve the poor. in fact, Jesus identifies himself with the poor so much he says, “whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.” so if i live in a city and a world where i am throwing away food or consuming excessively, and not sharing, am i doing that to Jesus? by ignoring the poor am i ignoring him?

i like the warm fuzzy feeling i get when i serve someone and think about how i served Jesus. that makes me feel good. but when i am self absorbed, self focused, self satisfying, and self serving i do not like the feeling i get when i think about how my ignoring of the poor is ignoring Christ. i am too self focused to relate “to the least.”

check out this dudes anger below. i am not encouraging you to sign his stuff (i have not) but this video made me smile. i think we should be angry over this. definitely. the disparity, even with in the church, should call us to turn over tables.

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i am always encouraged by men and women who use their God given training and vocational experience in an outside of the box way for the furtherance of the Kingdom. in east memphis there are a lot of folks who work with investments, money, and capital in general. below is a video showing how some folks have used their investment and business savvy to bring Kingdom restoration to bear in a global way. what would this sort of outside the box thinking look like in memphis?

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below is one of the best testimonies i have heard concerning the issues of justice and the people of God. it is the story of elizabeth, a girl who was deceived into a brothel to later be rescued by ijm . you really must take 13 minutes to listen to sharon cohn’s testimony HERE , or at least the last seven minutes of it. this will be one of the best parts of your weekend, and possibly your week. looking for purpose as a follower of Christ? inspiration? encouragement? implications of your faith in a world of suffering and pain? watch this video by clicking here (sorry i couldn’t get the youtube version). enjoy!

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