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Archive for the ‘Social Justice Issues’ Category

skid row

1 John 3:17

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Proverbs 21:13

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 28:27

27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Proverbs 22:9

The generous will themselves be blessed,
    for they share their food with the poor.

I can’t think of anyone, outside of Jesus, who exemplifies Christianity better than Mother Teresa. She was a modern role model of self sacrifice and she lived what she taught. One of her main priorities was to make sure that her Missionaries of Charity lived as the poorest of the poor. Each Sister has 2 habits, a bed mat, a pair of sandals and a pail that she uses to wash up. When the Missionaries of Charity receive a donation, that donation goes to helping the poor. It never goes to benefit the Sisters in any way.

Mother Teresa lived and breathed giving generously. She did not care what others thought of her. She only cared about obeying God and God poured out His favor and blessing upon her. Did she live in a mansion, drive a fancy car or wear fancy clothes? No, she didn’t need to. She felt joy in being the hands and feet of Jesus to the poorest of the poor. This was success to her. Her ministry flourished and continues to prosper even after her death, because the Missionaries of Charity continue to live in obedience to God.

Personally, I choose to live as Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. I don’t need to live in a mansion, drive a fancy car or have the latest in modern technology, when I know that there are millions of people who are living with much less than I do have.

I would like to see Creflo Dollar sell all of his possessions and donate the money to the Missionaries of Charity. Will it ever happen? With God ALL things are possible!

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G650

Pastor Creflo Dollar asks his megachurch for donations to buy $65 million private jet.

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Matthew 19:24

24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Let me start off by saying that I don’t believe that God intended every one to live in poverty. I believe that His intention was for us to live as the early Christians and share what we have with those in need. I don’t believe that buying a $65 million dollar luxury jet is in line with God’s word. There are churches all over the United States that send aid to other countries using ministries that are already set up for that purpose. There are pastors and missionaries that travel to spread the Gospel and they don’t need a $65 million dollar jet to get them to where they are going.

This is an outlandish misuse of funds and I feel sorry for those people who are being taken advantage of. This is my opinion. God does not want us to hoard our riches. He wants us to share what we have. Unfortunately, we will always have the mega-rich and the poorest of the poor. It isn’t right and it isn’t necessary. What really bothers me about Creflo Dollar is that he thinks it is okay to hoard his riches. I’m not saying that he doesn’t do any good, but until he sells off some of his fancy cars and house, gives it to those in need and starts living like the early Christians, I will never be convinced that he is doing anything more than selling a gospel that is opposite of God’s word.

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Phase1-Van-DriveMercy

The Issue

  • Annually, 21,000 women are hospitalized from having an illegal, unsafe abortion in Kenya. (Center for Reproductive Rights)
  • Abortion is a volatile topic in Kenya.
  • 13,000 Kenyan girls are kicked out of school for being pregnant. (Center for Reproductive Rights)
  • 25% of pregnant women in Kenya are HIV positive (ObGyn in Kenya)
  • Every 30 minutes, a woman is raped in Kenya. (Nairobi Women’s Hospital)
  • Mothers often force their daughters into trading sex for food in the slums (CNN)
  • More than 20,000 children are sex trafficked in Kenya (Human Trafficking)
  • 1500 women die in childbirth every day across Africa (WHO)

The Vision

  • Provide a safe place-a guarded home with 12 maternity beds
  • Partner with local churches
  • Prenatal Care- checkups, medical assistance for healthy deliveries
  • Proper Nutrition-protein and regular healthy meals
  • Counseling-post abortion/prostitution, rape recovery
  • Ministry-prayer, Biblical teaching, regular devotions
  • Education-help catch girls up in school thru 8th grade, then continue on to high school, or vocational tract
  • Livelihood Skills-cooking, jewelry-making, art, sewing, etc
  • A nurturing environment in-which to give birth and breastfeed babies
  • A safe place to stay and learn and heal until they graduate
  • An account to start small business or go to school (from products they make and sell)

The Plan

Our residents are invited to stay in the program for a minimum of two to four years, but our desire is to support each mom and baby throughout their lives. Each girl earns money through our Sustainable Skills Program and it will be dispersed over a long-term period to continue their education and even start a business as a part of our Graduate Program. Since our residents are at-risk- abused and even orphaned, we will assist them for as long as needed. We want to be their forever family and will tailor our help to each girl’s situation. Our goal is quality, not quantity and total discipleship.

It is the desire of The Mercy House team to fulfill Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy, to walk humbly with your God.”

mercy house

The Girls

Mercy House is home to 12 teen moms and their babies.

mercy house girls

The Goal

The goal is to raise $74,000 by Christmas for a various projects that have been pinpointed to make life easier and more efficient for the girls and the staff.

In this first phase of fundraising, the goal is $8,750 for a new van. The van is needed to transport the 24 residents and 6 staff members and to doctors appointments, church and the market without making multiple trips. Consider giving a gift that will make the lives easier for these precious young women and their babies.

To contribute to phase 1 click here

The information for this blog post was taken from the Mercy House website.

 

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teen pregnancy

 

According to http://www.Dr.Phil.com:

  • Teen pregnancy is the number one reason why teen girls drop out of school.
  • Only one-third of adolescent mothers will graduate high school, and only slightly over 1 percent of those will earn a college degree before they turn 30.
  • Eight out of ten fathers in cases of teen pregnancy don’t marry the mother of their child, and these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support. Children who live apart from their fathers are also five times more likely to be poverty-stricken than children with both parents at home.

According to http://www.teenmotherchoices.org:

  • The United States has more teen mothers than any other country in the world!
  • 51% of all teen mothers will never finish high school!

Around 700,000 teen girls between the ages of 17 and 19 become pregnant each year! Of those, around 50% choose to keep their babies. Around 45% choose to have abortions. This statistic does not count the teen pregnancies of girls under 17.

This statistic makes me very sad for these girls. I chose to write this blog post because of the high rate of teen pregnancy in my own city. I watch these beautiful girls walk a path that will forever change their lives and it breaks my heart. They are lost girls. They have no idea what they want. Many believe that having a baby will make everything right with the boyfriend. This rarely happens.

These girls deal with identity issues. They deal with lack of self-esteem. They are looking everywhere for someone to love them. They are looking in the wrong places.

We, as the Church, are not doing enough to reach out to these girls. They need God. They need a support system. They need a loving family of Christians to guide them. We become isolated and hide behind our church walls, when there are girls in our communities needing what we have to offer: JESUS.

Why do we hide? Why do we expect these girls to come to us? Why do we sit back and say, “if they really wanted Jesus, they would find a church?”

They may not know what they need! They are running around trying to fill that empty hole in their hearts. If they do know that they need Jesus, they maybe afraid of walking in a church. They are afraid of being judged. They are afraid of being hurt.

WE need to step out of our comfort zones and meet these girls where they are. WE need to go to them. WE need to be that example of Jesus in their lives! The next time you see a teen mom or a pregnant teen, offer encouragement, offer to pick her up and take her to church, offer to mentor her, just love on her.

Reach out to these lost girls. They need God. We are NOT doing enough to make sure they find Him.

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Going to church on a Sunday morning.

According to http://www.missionaloutreachnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/some-statistics-on-the-number

  • The most recent research studies by the Barna Group reveals that one out of every three adults (33 percent) is classified as unchurched–meaning they have not attended a religious service of any type during the past six months. When these statistics are projected across the aggregate adult population, the numbers are staggering. An estimated 73 million adults are presently unchurched. When teens and children are added, the total swells to roughly 100 million Americans.
  • Since 1991, the adult population in the United States has grown by 15 percent. During that same period the number of adults who do not attend church has nearly doubled, rising from 39 million to 75 million–a 92 percent increase.
  • In America, it takes the combined effort of eighty-five Christians working over an entire year to produce one convert.

There are approximately 312 million people in the United States today and there are roughly 100 million people who are unchurched. This is staggering! It is no wonder why the United States has become one of the largest mission fields in the world. It is also, no wonder why other countries are now sending missionaries HERE to spread the Gospel.

I find it sad that one of the leading countries in the world has fallen so far behind in carrying out the great commission. There are so many mission agencies and churches that focus on sending American missionaries to other countries to spread the Gospel, but we are overlooking those in our own backyards who desperately need and are seeking God.

So where did we go wrong?

I think we gradually got away from where God wanted us. We started looking at how to satisfy our flesh. We started building huge buildings to house our mega-churches. The buildings are beautiful, but is that for God, or for us? We started entertainment ministries, like zumba, martial arts, and in one church I know of, even a weekly showing of the series The Walking Dead. You name it, we now have a ministry for it. I’m not saying that’s a completely bad thing, but sometimes we get so focused on what’s going on inside the church that we forget about what’s going on OUTSIDE of the church. We have plenty of inside ministries, but what has happened to OUTREACH? We sit back and say, “we have plenty going on for people to get involved with, so it’s up to them to walk through the doors.”

I don’t know the exact statistics, but I would venture to say that there are thousands of people out there that do not walk into our churches because they have been hurt by the church in the past. I understand that, I’ve been there. It makes you a bit cautious. If we hide behind our church walls, then those on the outside will NEVER know what is going on on the inside. We need to step out and love those around us the way that Jesus loved. We need to reach OUT to those around us the way the disciples did. They went out and loved people to Jesus. We need to do the same. I don’t want to be just a christian, I want to be an example of Jesus. This should be what we all strive for in our daily lives! There are enough churches in America, that if each church focused on outreach in their own communities, those living in spiritual poverty would be saved. We would not need other countries sending missionaries here to do what God commands US to do.

I feel I need to clarify that reaching out does not mean just to the poor woman living down the street. There are many wealthy people who live in spiritual poverty. Just because they have money, does not mean they have God! Spiritual poverty does not discriminate. Remember Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-10? He was a chief tax collector and was wealthy, but he lived in spiritual poverty, until he met Jesus. Zacchaeus turned his life around, gave half his possessions to the poor, and righted any wrongs that he had done. As a result, he and his household were saved. The big thing here is that Jesus went and stayed with him at his house. Jesus went out, loved on him and changed not only the life of Zacchaeus, but of his household too.

There are millions of unchurched people in America. If we, as the Church, made a commitment to reach OUT to those around us, living intentionally to reach those who are living in spiritual poverty, through love and the building of relationships, we CAN reach America for God! The United States CAN be built on a Godly foundation.

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According to: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

  • Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
  • Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
  • 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)

These are staggering statistics! Why are we not doing more to end poverty? I know that the Bible said that we will always have the poor among us, but are we using that as a cop out, so we don’t have to do anything? Are we using that as an excuse to sit on our apathetic rear ends and ignore the poor around us?

I think we are. We are also great at placing blame on those living in poverty, “they are just lazy” “they don’t want help” “he/she is a druggie, why should we help?” I agree that there are those living in poverty because of their own poor decisions. I, also know that, many living in poverty are there because of governmental actions, downsizing, generational curses or natural disasters. There are many reasons why people live in poverty and guess what, it doesn’t matter!

Jesus never questioned why someone was poor. Of course, He already knew, but it didn’t matter. He loved people regardless of their situations. He ministered to people even when their circumstances were because of decisions they made. Jesus did not judge and we shouldn’t either.

In my own family, we have taken in transients who needed a place to crash for a few days. They were dirty, stinky, and their clothes were tattered, but we loved them for who they were on the inside and they were great guys. They were 3 of the most polite young men I have met. They did dishes without asking and had a great time just hanging out with a family. I would not recommend this without much prayer and good judgement, but you never know when you may be entertaining angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2).

Acts 4: 32-35

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Acts 2: 42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

In today’s church, we tend to be of the belief that this way of living was only for the early church. That is so not true! Their example is how we should be living now! We should be taking care of our own families, neighbors, communities, as the Church and not depending on government agencies to do our work for us. When we depend on “someone else” we may be missing the opportunity to witness to someone who really needs Jesus in their lives. Maybe Jesus is all that it will take to take someone from poverty to prosperity. When we wait for “someone else” to care for the poor, we miss the opportunity to love as Jesus instructed us to love. We need to open our hearts and start living out our faith in the example of the early church.

The poor may always be around us, so make that decision today to love as Jesus loved, even though someone may not have had a bath in a week or a month. Take the time to love as Jesus loved and wash the feet of the poor, taking the time to build a relationship that may end up being a blessing to you instead.

Let’s BE the church. Let’s BE an example of Jesus to those around us. It doesn’t matter why the poor are poor. What matters is that they know Jesus. Are YOU being Jesus to the least of these around you?

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garbage bags

This is a label that plagues approximately 500,000 kids in the United States. These are America’s foster kids. Why are they called “garbage bag kids”? because they are shuttled placement to placement carrying black trash bags with what few belongings they have. They have been labeled America’s throw away children, children who have been lost in a system of chaos and uncertainty. Once in, it’s almost impossible to get out. Over 250,000 foster kids never return home.

Foster kids are used to feeling like an outsider… used to feeling like nameless, faceless blobs among the masses. While other children are opening presents on Christmas, the foster child will be lucky to get anything and may even have the heart-wrenching job of watching a families biological children open their presents. Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. Abuse in foster homes is just as prevalent as abuse in any other home. What makes it worse is that these kids, who may have some behavioral/emotional problems stemming from parental abuse, will be thrown out of a foster home at the first sign of trouble. Thrown out, adding even more heartache, anxiety, and pain to an innocent child’s life. This is in the system, what happens to these kids when they turn 18?

29,000 kids age out of foster care every year. Having been sheltered in the system and having received very little training in life skills, the aged out foster child is at higher risk for homelessness or incarceration. While other 18 year olds have parents to fall back on, the aged out foster care youth has no one. No one cares. The majority have not finished high school and have no way to attend college. A sense of hopelessness hangs over them like a dense fog.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to care! I want the faith-based community to finally care what happens to these beautiful children! More than 250,000 children enter the foster care system each year and there are 123,000 children from foster care waiting to be adopted. There are very few christian foster homes. The Bible tells us to take care of the widow and orphan, so why are we not doing what God wants us to do? These kids deserve to live in loving homes with people who will treat them with kindness, dignity and fairness. These kids deserve to be safe, they deserve to have parents who will protect them. I am urging the christian community to open your hearts and your homes to these kids. They deserve so much more than what they’ve been given.

I was a foster child for 3 years and was moved 10 times in those years. I have felt the pain and heartache and loneliness of being an outsider in a temporary home. I was aged out at 18, completely unprepared to make it on my own. I have a heart for these kids and will dedicate the rest of my life to making sure that every one of these kids finds a loving home to call their own.

Statistical information was taken from http://www.heartgalleryofamerica.org

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