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I was in America for the first time in forever on Memorial Day. This is a day where we remember the sacrifice of many who fought for the freedom of America. Drive down any street and you will see flags waving on houses with patriotism abounding. I found myself in the heartland of America this year. As I watched a military color guard present the Stars and Stripes for the national anthem of a baseball game, it struck me.

I live here now. This is not a visit, it is a move.

Perhaps my love for baseball made this epiphany so poignant. I simultaneously felt my love for America swell in my heart and my nervousness at returning after 12 years overseas cause my stomach to churn.

Grace When You Disagree

February 20, 2017

It seems there are more opportunities for division and disagreement right now than ever.

Many world events have caused Christians to take opposite sides on issues.

The recent election in the USA
The worldwide issues with refugees and immigrants
A global fear of the foreigner.

There are those embracing terms like evangelical and inclusive, while at the same time others are fleeing them.

Economic Disparity
Racism
Moral debates

Being unified as a church is harder than ever.

The apostle Paul had some experience in these areas.

He needed to bring together the arch enemies of the Jews and the Gentiles in the church of Rome. This required dealing with moral and cultural issues.

The church in Corinth was divided over spiritual gifts, freedom in Christ, and lawsuits to name a few.

Best Book I’ve Read in 2016

November 22, 2016

The best book I have read in 2016 is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

It deals with the difficult process of ending things in our lives. This could be letting an employee or co-worker go, ending a bad habit, or making a needed change in our lives.

Take a look at some of the wisdom Cloud shares in this book.

“Your attempts to fix should also include a realistic assessment of the potential for recovery and whether or not you are indulging in false hope. Leaders by nature are often optimistic and hopeful, but if you do not have some criteria by which you distinguish legitimate optimism from false hope, you will not get the benefits of pruning.”

Working in a volunteer organization, I found the next one very challenging.

Gods Who Are Not God

September 13, 2016

Andy Stanley is currently sharing a series in his church geared towards people who may have walked away from God.

In the message entitled “Gods of the No Testament”, Andy explores several false conceptions of God, which we as the church are often guilty of promoting.

These are versions of God we have been told exist, but in fact do not. These are gods we SHOULD walk away from. For those who have lost faith over these things, there might be reason to reconsider. These versions of God are not God!

Here are the groupings Andy uses. I will insert some of my own thoughts in each one.

Bodyguard God– The god protects from all harm. In this view, God doesn’t allow bad things to happen to good people. This doesn’t hold up to our experience or even that of Jesus. The author of our faith had some pretty bad things happen to him. Christianity started with horrible things happening to a very good person. Many have walked away over personal pain or the suffering of the world when God is viewed through this lens.

Loving the Stranger

July 5, 2016

While rounding a corner on a run in the United States the other day, I came across a Muslim women clad in a headdress and robes. I could see her cower off the sidewalk a bit as this white, American man came plodding her way in middle America. You could sense her apprehension and read her thoughts of “here we go again.”

I greeted her warmly, commenting on the beautiful day. You could visibly see her relax and the tension leave her body.

I’ve been in her position before. I too have been the foreigner in a land and culture which is not my own. I can relate to wishing I could change my nationality or accent in order to blend in. I wouldn’t wear my USA soccer jersey because of the perception of my nation in South Africa.