Jesus Christ makes all the difference

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So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27-29

Jesus Christ makes all the difference.

All distinctions fall away when we come into a relationship with Christ. Whatever once divided us is gone. Whatever once could have made us enemies is gone. Prejudice, bigotry, discrimination are no more.

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Overcoming racism

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So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27-29

Though the ramifications of racism and the causes that contribute to it can be complicated and very complex, at its root, racism is quite simple, really. It is a dislike, fear and/or distrust of people who are unlike me, and a feeling of superiority that comes from being around those who are like me as well as a feeling of inferiority when I find myself on the outside.

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Right into the Danger Zone

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While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

Highway to the Danger Zone
I’m gonna take you
Right into the Danger Zone
Highway to the Danger Zone
Right into the Danger Zone
– as sung by Kenny Loggins; lyrics by Tom Whitlock

With the Presidential campaign in America in full swing, and the issue of safety already turning out to be one of the key elements being addressed, I thought it might be good to talk about what the Bible promises about safety, and the answer is a resounding: Not much.

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Change starts here

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As the story goes, The Times once sent out an inquiry to famous authors asking the question “What’s wrong with the world today?” to which author G.K. Chesterton replied:
“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

Although there is no proof of this since neither letter has been found, The American Chesterton Society comments, “This story has been repeated so often about Chesterton that we suspect it is true.”

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Sin’s place in the life of a believer

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Laura liked the connection I made yesterday between Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me, Lord?” and Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” Both of them speak of a deep awareness of sin and marvel at being selected to be a recipient of God’s grace.

“What did I ever do that was worth loving you, for the kindness you’ve shown?” wrote Kristofferson; to Wesley’s: “’Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!” Both talk about being overwhelmed and undeserving of God’s kindness — the least likely candidate to receive it. To which Laura commented, “My friend and I are reading Bonhoeffer’s Life Together together. The last chapter on confession and communion talks about that dynamic of realizing our sin, confessing it to God and our community, and then living in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness.”

But wait … there’s more.

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Charles Wesley Kristofferson

Charles Wesley Kristofferson

Charles Wesley Kristofferson

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

This great hymn by Charles Wesley has long been one of my favorites, and to understand its meaning you need to hear it a certain way. To hear it one way is to hear that last line without any real inflection. That Christ should die for me along with everyone else is a grand enough thought. But to make it even grander you need to add an embellishment on that last “me.” How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die “for ME?”… and the question mark is appropriate. It’s in the original lyrics. Charles Wesley would have resonated with Kris Kristofferson’s “Why me, Lord?”

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‘Extra! Extra! Read all about it!’

IMG_1228It started with the police shootings in Dallas eleven days ago. That was followed six days later by the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France. Two days after that was the attempted coup in Turkey, and then yesterday, another attack on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each one of these events was announced in the Los Angeles Times with a completely separate front page section called the “Extra,” with huge 3-inch headlines and lots of pictures. It’s almost as if they knew there was going to be a run on horrendous events that would require a new news format for reporting. It makes me wonder what’s happened since I went to bed last night that would need a separate section to cover.

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Being part of the solution instead of the problem

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Well folks, after a week spent on the topic of racism I can truthfully say I know no more about this than when I started. I spent a good deal of time on today’s Catch and it ended up in the trash. It wasn’t right. I was talking about something I thought I understood — something someone else said that made sense to me, but I realized I do not have a good enough handle on it to pass it on to you. I looked over what I wrote and realized I didn’t know what I was talking about.

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