From Catalyst: God Wants Your Effort

Awesome quotes to motivate God's people as they work as part of the body of Christ in the world.

Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, and the co-founder of Catalyst, said:

If you've been at this church for more than a year, and you're not serving, then you need to leave.

Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, a leader in the spiritual formation movement, said:

The Kingdom of God is God in action. Grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning.

 

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, said: Love God, don't use Him. 

Slavery in America: Some Helpful Websites

When I first began writing about human trafficking and modern day slavery back in January, I expected to be done with the series after about a month, maybe two. Yet here we are a few months later and I am still uncovering more information from this multi-layered, international issue. Although I've provided links to a number of organizations throughout the series, I thought it might be helpful to list some of them here in one blog. These are not in any particular order and I've simply included the mission or vision statement of each site.

Just One is a non-profit organization that was formed to stimulate greater global awareness about extreme poverty, and to provoke compassionate ideas and intelligent giving in order to provide sustainable relief. We are a collective voice for the victims of social injustice––the one(s) living in geographical and situational poverty; the one(s) orphaned through death, disease and desertion; the one(s) trafficked into slavery throughout the world.

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Kevin Bales: A Modern Day Slavery Expert

They call him an expert. He’s considered to be the most knowledgeable person on modern day slavery. His name is Kevin Bales. Kevin is a professor, an author, a speaker and President of the anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves. I had the privilege of hearing Kevin speak briefly at an Award Ceremony last fall that Free the Slaves hosted. The awards were given to survivors of modern day slavery. It was an unforgettable celebration of life and freedom.

Modern day slavery, or human trafficking, is such a disturbing issue of our day. I’ve found it helpful to really learn from those who have dedicated their lives to making it end. England had William Wilberforce. Today we have people like Kevin Bales, Gary Haugen and the countless others whose names we will probably never know who are working on the front lines to combat this evil.  
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Mom was right! Vegetables are good for you!

Each weekday morning, I read through a summary of the days top humanitarian news stories via Reuters AlerNet. The top stories are typically depressing and a daily reminder of how sick our humanity is and our planet is. People are sick, hungry, killing each other and in complete desperation all over the globe.

This morning I was pleased to read a story of hope. Women are farming vegetables and it's changing the world!

Farming vegetables is changing family dynamics, economics, health and even the climate. I was so encouraged by this story I wanted to share it with you. What are your thoughts on this? How can we help encourage this to continue to grow here at home and in the developing world? 

Here is the article:

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Slavery in America: The Year of Jubilee

On the way to church this morning, my mom and brother and I were talking about how our world would be so different today if we still practiced Jubilee. We talked about how great it would feel to have our debt wiped away and the opportunities we’d be given if only it were still practiced today.

Directly after the service, I ran into a friend of mine who I traveled with to Malawi a couple years ago. It’d been a few months since we’d run into each other. It was great to see him. He shared with us that he had been in our neck of the woods earlier in the week and had thought of me while nearby. He drew out the night and day differences between the area where I live and the area where we were attending church this morning. He asked, “Why aren’t we hanging out with the people who live in your neighborhood more?”

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Slavery in America: Numbers Out; People In

I’m done with numbers. Numbers are too black and white and just don’t seem good enough when dealing with human trafficking. Numbers are just numbers.  They are only words spoken and lack any attachment or feeling and understanding. It’s just not that easy when it comes to buying and selling humans. And that is why. They are humans; not cattle. You can’t number them and move them along. We are complicated beings and require much more out of life and from each other than a number.

It’s important to hear survival stories of the rescued. Stories are bridge builders. They bring humanity together and open the door with an invitation to stay for dinner, serving a fine dish of common ground. Moms and dads are compassionate towards the world’s hungry children because they can’t imagine their own children being hungry. Women are moved by the Eastern Congo conflict where women are repeatedly raped and sexually mutilated by rebels and child soldiers because they know someone who has been sexually assaulted.

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Slavery in America: Fair Trade

When asked what Americans can do to help lessen the demand for slavery abroad, IJM staffer Lauren Johnson talked about Americans considering what they are purchasing. In case you missed it, you can read more of what she had to say here.  

Trade As One is an organization that works alongside churches in hopes that entire congregations of people will understand the global impact of their purchases. 

The market today truly is a global one. We buy produce, coffee, chocolate, clothing, jewelry, etc. and most of it comes from another part of the world. But how often do we consider the hands that have sewn our clothing, made our jewelry or farm the food and drink we are consuming today? We buy chocolate but aren’t told that the majority of the world’s chocolate is from Sierra Leone. There are over 800,000 children enslaved to the coca farms in Sierra Leone. I’m a sucker for chocolate but I don’t need it so bad that it would ever justify a child enslaved and deprived of his/her childhood so that I can eat a chocolate bar.

Check out this video that Trade As One released. Fair trade is not a perfect system but it is headed in the right direction. What are your thoughts on buying fair trade versus non-fair trade products? What are some other ways you know of that American consumers might help lessen the demand for slaves abroad based on what they purchase?  
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Rescued Slave Victims Speak Out for the First Time

This series on slavery in America will continue next week with an interview from International Justice Mission in Washington, DC. In the meantime, here is a recent news story video of a few girls who are speaking out for the first time after being trafficked from Guatemala to Los Angeles 5 years ago. Having heard the stories of two girls rescued in Orange County, CA recently, I have witnessed the amount of courage it takes for them to speak up and tell their stories. This crime of slavery is happening all over our free nation.

We can help stop it from happening in our communities. Check back next week to hear what IJM suggests we do to abolish modern day slavery in America.

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Slavery in America: We the People...

America is a unique place. It is a nation governed by its own people.

As I write this column, the third of a series on slavery in America, I am at a hotel just a few miles from our nations Capitol. The hotel is themed appropriately with halls named after former Presidents and national leaders.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is not far from my hotel. IJM is a 300+ person organization that is made up of case workers, advocates, church modilizers and lawyers. Started in 1997 by former lawyer for the US Dept. of Justice, Gary Haugen, IJM has worked alongside governments and law enforcements around the world in efforts to abolish modern day slavery. Taken directly from their website, one of IJM’s core commitments sums up what they strive to do:

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Video: Can a Church be both Attractive and Missional?

What do you think? Can the church be both attractive and missional? What would this look like? Or should church be only attractive or only missional? How do churches continually mobilize their congregants to be missional, taking church outside the church walls and into their communities?

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About
I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.


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