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Archive for the ‘HIV’ Category

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.- Galatians 3:28 (NLT)
There are some who consider their congregations “open,” but their reality is something entirely different.  However, some of the churches that come out of a background of putting the protest in Protestant find it difficult to include all others when those others support gay marriage, abortion or legalized marijuana.  These churches are open in the name of Jesus, but they must remain mindful to stick to the way of Jesus.

I used to live near a Methodist church that prominently posted this slogan on its marquee and advertisements.   Open Hearts… Open Minds… Open Doors… Open what? I keep wondering just how “open” they are.  Are there doors more open than their hearts and minds? I should hope not, seeing as how I know some well-meaning Methodists and Wesleyans.

Our churches need to intensify their inclusion.  America has its first African-American president in Barak Obama.  Now, as we go forward in faith, let us open up and crank up our inclusion of others. 

Let us become:

  • More Intense with Inclusion
  • More Intentional with Inclusion
  • More Inclusive with Inclusion

Does your church invest in supporting underserved community members with necessary programs? Is your church campus a safe haven for at-risk youth and abused women and their families? Can those in recovery walk into your church without the shadow of shame? Can those returning from prison and jail enter your congregation without being judged and condemned all over again?

I love the story of Rick Warren and Saddleback Church’s origin as told in the Purpose Driven Church.  Warren shares that the ministries at Saddleback were developed based upon the needs of the people who came to the church.  He developed ministries that helped meeting the needs of people who came to them and who lived around them. 

As you help others get better and to live differently, they become the spokespeople for what is possible within your church.  Ex-addicts go back and share the Word with other addicts who struggle with addiction.  Former gang members and drug dealers spread the word on the streets of what your church has done for them since they met Jesus at your church’s altar.  Your job? Keep intensifying your inclusion.  Touch lives like never before.  Make a difference in the lives of people who attend your worship services and who live around and near your church.  Remain open to innovative and inventive ways to invite and include people to be part of the family since we are all one in Christ Jesus.

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There’s a question brewing among the saints. Evangelicals and radicals alike are tossing ideas back and forth. Many folks in Christian circles are trying to figure out what to do during these hard economic times. People are trying to figure out if it is about the church being part of the community or the community being part of the church.

We contemplate the complicated. We mix and mingle a whole lot of mess. In the end, we are left with the simple discovery that there is no better solution than what we had before. The countless ways that we can dream up and scheme up don’t seem to matter much because God has already offered the best alternative.

He expects us to be part of the solution to both the community’s issues and the church’s ills. The church needs to get over itself and recognize that it’s not that holy. Church people sin just like evryone else, by thought, word and deed. The church should serve those within the community to help meet unmet needs of the fatherless, homeless, jobless, and others. Our service is not good works if the benefactors are merely other church people. That would make us simply hypocrites. We need to get out into the community and see where we might be able to lend support to existing services and add to the plethora of newly-adapted services needed to reach people at their lowest points as they seek to survive and simply make ends meet. Let the church serve its community, embracing brothers and sisters with all that they have to offer.

The unity of the church will consist
not in organizations,
not in dogmas,
not in liturgies,
not in pious hearts,
but in the word of God
in the voice of Jesus Christ.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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I am honestly inspired by God as I prepare for an unconventional sermon today. Street preaching, as many will agree, requires one to say what needs to be said and shut up and get out of the way. The Lord will lead you further once you get started, but He gives you enough to get started and share with the people in order to make a real connection with them. At least twice per month, we rotate among 3 to 4 preachers to share a brief inspirational message before a line of people seeking food items and clothes from our community giveaway. Our presentation of the gospel has shifted as hearts have been opened by the Word and our own eyes have been opened to the degree of blight and poverty that exists within our community. As I prepare for my message, I see images of black, brown and yellow faces with hope in their dark eyes. I can’t help but hear the Lord’s words the “least of these” echo over and over again in my spirit. Keep us in prayer as we serve the people once again.

Bayview Charities Food Giveaway
Sponsored by Feeding America
Every 1st & 3rd Friday
8 AM-10 AM
www.bayviewcharities.com
www.bayviewbc.org
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Visit Rev. Bruce’s other blog, too. https://revbruce.wordpress.com

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“…Wisdom brings success.”- Ecc.10:10 (NKJV)

Business requires wisdom and patience. You can’t be foolish when it comes to taking care of business. Wisdom can come from experience, not even your own experience. You can learn from the experiences of others. Learn from their mistakes and make sound decisions based upon what others have shared with and shown you.

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About a year ago, I wrote out an article that was close to my heart, “Meetings Versus Ministry.” I have recently updated the article and uploaded it at Life Path Ministries. It is definitely worth a look for anyone involved in ministry or faith-based “work.”
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Yo, California!! We’ve got more to shout about than the Lakers and the Dodgers. There’s some real work being done throughout the state on HIV/ AIDS and prison re-entry as we speak. The government isn’t going to do anything new on behalf of the people unless the people start making some noise about the issues. Let’s check the issues out and get involved.

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