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Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

The Justice Conference had some pre-conference breakout sessions you can choose from. I was pretty overwhelmed with all the choices, so I looked for ones that fit with what God was doing in my own life. I bumped into my friend Seth Wells and the staff from The Grove church here in Phoenix. I was encouraged by seeing some familiar faces here taking a part in justice.

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The first session I attended was Paul Metzger’s Sustaining a Justice Movement: How did John M Perkins, Mother Theresa, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer do it? Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins – a catalyst for cultivating a community of people brought together around a shared vision of bearing witness to Christ in contemporary culture. 

He started the session off by showing this video from Dr. Martin Luther King’s A Knock at Midnight. While pursuing justice, we will get discouraged because it isn’t easy . I loved this video and found it very encouraging.

Take comfort from the stories of those who have gone before us. Solidarity is key – Paul Metzger

Paul spoke on behalf of those who pursued justice first and by Jesus and his example to pursue justice. A justice movement is sustained by knowing that Jesus alone can and will sustain it. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He mentioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison and Dietrich’s example of how he reacted to his enemies. We in America like to say “lets take back America”, but Jesus laid down his life for His enemies.

– Philippians 2:1-11 – Believe in the suffering God (cultural engagement, not disengagement). Believe in the Resurrected God (This is the end – for me the beginning of life – Bonhoeffer)

– See Jesus in relation to the poor (ex:Mother Theresa)

– Sense your own poverty in relation to the poor (don’t look at others like we have so much and they have so little)

– Lay down you life for your friends (we can’t do it alone)

– Invest in people (ex: John Perkins, Jesus and the woman at the well)

– Invite people to partner with you (relational structures)

– Don’t operate out of a sense of entitlement (the gospel frees people)

– Be creative in your sufferings (it’s not an obstacle)

– Focus on integrity and faithfulness, not success (ex: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, James 1:27)

– Focus on Christ’s identity (Bonhoeffer’s poem: Who Am I?)

Who am I? They often tell me
I step out from my cell
calm and cheerful and poised,
like a squire from his manor.

Who am I? They often tell me
I speak with my guards
freely, friendly and clear,
as though I were the one in charge.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bear days of calamity
serenely, smiling and proud,
like accustomed to victory.

Am I really what others say of me?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
Restless, yearning, sick, like a caged bird,
struggling for life breath, as if I were being strangled,
starving for colors, for flowers, for birdsong,
thirsting for kind words, human closeness,
shaking with rage at power lust and pettiest insult,
tossed about, waiting for great things to happen,
helplessly fearing for friends so far away,
too tired and empty to pray, to think, to work,
weary and ready to take my leave of it all?

Who am I? This one or the other?
Am I this one today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? Before others a hypocrite
and in my own eyes a pitiful, whimpering weakling?
Or is what remains in me like a defeated army,
Fleeing in disarray from victory already won?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest me; O God, I am thine!

Don’t operate out of a sense of entitlement, but a debt of gratitude – Paul Metzger

Paul Metzger

Paul Metzger

The next breakout session I went to was on social media and was hosted by Lindsey Nobels. I have followed Lindsey’s blog since her days at Project 7. She is now Director of Speakers and Strategic Partnerships for Food for the Hungry and it was a blessing to finally meet her. She interviewed Alli Worthington – blogger and founder of Blissfully Domestic on Social Media for the activist: How to build and empower online communities to serve your cause.

Lindsey Nobles and Alli Worthington

Lindsey Nobles and Alli Worthington

I’m a big fan of starting things before you’re ready. Do all the work you can while you have the time – Alli Worthington

Highlights:

– Do 2 or 3 social media sites and do them well

– Send status updates here and there that link to your site

– Twitter is the best (I agree with her). YouTube is good because people love videos. Google+ is on the rise

– The more human you can be, the better. Companies that don’t do well don’t engage with people well. Plan a strategy and be honest with people

– It’s ok to fail. Try different social media outlets. No correlations between followers and the amount of ‘likes’

– Ok to get negative feedback. If you aren’t, you are not doing a good job. Not everyone will like your cause

– Work on who you are before you get started

– Focus on email marketing more than anything with links to Facebook and twitter. Be visual and engaging.

– Safety is important

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The Justice Conference is a two-day annual event to promote dialogue around justice related issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights, featuring internationally acclaimed speakers, hundreds of humanitarian organizations and dozens of pre-conference workshops.

I would be lying if I wasn’t excited about being here in Philadelphia for the The Justice Conference. This conference ties into what my heart is all about – a love for people and a movement toward justice for mankind because of who God is and how He loves us. The Justice Conference was founded a couple of years ago by Ken Wytsma and has rapidly grown to be a large movement. How ironic it is being held in the city where liberty was birth – Philadelphia. It was very clear that God was drawing me to attend this conference. It touches on every part of how He has made me. I’m looking forward to the many partnerships and relationships I’m going to build over the next few days and how God wants me to stand up to injustice. I’m also excited to hear from some of the amazing speakers like Dr. John Perkins, Gary Haugen and Shane Claiborne as well as be inspired by the Justice Film Festival.

I love coming to Philadelphia! There is so much culture and history here. The people are down-to-earth and there are so many great places to eat and visit.

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End it Movement contacted me earlier this week to let me know that their road team would be swinging by Phoenix. End it Movement is a movement that was launched after Passion 2013 that is raising awareness for the 27 million being held in modern-day slavery. The road team is traveling state to state hitting churches and universities to challenge young adults and students to be a part of the movement. Tonight they set up shop at PhoenixONE – a worship gathering of young adults from all over the valley to promote unity of the church. I met up with Kyle and David – the guys driving the red and black End It vehicle all over the U.S. Seriously – great guys with a huge passion for this. I felt like I have known them forever with how welcoming they were. I helped run their table and tell the people of PhoenixONE what End it Movement was all about. It was awesome to see all the people who pledged to be a part of a generation that is in it to End It. We also had a ton of accessories and gear that we gave out to help promote this cause.

It was a special night for me as well as Jason and Jessica Williams of Session Nine photography led worship. They are long time friends of mine and I loved being here to hear them lead worship. Jeff Gokee gave an awesome message on Jehovah Rapha – one of the wonderful names of God that means the God of healing and restoring. His message was centered on how we as Christians rarely go to God first when we go through pain and trials. Tonight was a blessing and I’m thankful God used me to be a voice here in my own backyard for justice.

God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

Psalms 147:2

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Photo by Anna Dufek

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This is My NormalRuLost&Found                                         

There was a theme that was rampant among the majority of our entries at this year’s Justice Film Festival: Sex Trafficking.  This is an issue that can be seen worldwide.  But the continent that undoubtedly received the most coverage in entries was hands down: Africa.

At this year’s film festival, you will see see short and feature length documentaries that cover the need for water, HIV prevention/education, stories of poverty and children that face daily turmoil that is hard to imagine.  The storytelling is authentic and heart strings will be pulled.

Don’t miss Jina Teji, the 12 year old featured in Ru: Water for Life. Her world revolves around walking a mile and back to fill a jerry can of water three times a day to sustain her family…

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I’m loving seeing all the creativity going on with End it Movement with the college kids. 200 students from the University of Florida painted 44 blocks of fence with the End It logo. There was a Rave to Save party along with tons of creative youtube videos as well. These are the voices of this generation stepping up to Shine a Light on Slavery.

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Indifference is Not an Option

END IT MOVEMENT

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DO JUSTICE. LOVE MERCY. WALK HUMBLY.

“all too many have been more cautious than courageous and remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.” -MLK

Today was a pretty memorable day for me. It is Martin Luther King, Jr day. I started my day off fasting and praying by partaking in the Daniel Fast. I’m doing this 10 day fast with members of New City Church. It’s a fast that was done by Daniel in the Old Testament that included a diet of fruits, nuts and water. I do this fast for spiritual cleansing and to draw nearer to my heavenly Father so I can stay in tune with His will. I went and saw the movie Lincoln again earlier this week. It’s an incredible movie about how President Abraham Lincoln fought to pass the 13th amendment in 1865 after signing the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. I am always encouraged by those who fought so hard for our freedom today. Today I celebrate the life of a man who stood up to injustice and changed the world today because he had the courage to be a voice. How ironic that today is the Inauguration of our President (who happens to be African-American) and that it is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the MLK march in Washington. Yet today we are still dealing with the topic of slavery. Just a couple of weeks ago, I stood with 60,000 young adults in Atlanta to shine a light on the 27 million held in modern-day slavery. We launched End it Movement, a cause to raise awareness on slavery and to help fund the organizations that are putting an end to it. I am thankful to call myself a child of God and to lend my voice to this injustice because of the grace He has bestowed on me. I pray that all the efforts of those who stood up to injustice in the past will continued to be carried out by this generation and by future generations to come.

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Shining a light on Modern-day Slavery

My amazing African-American friend and sister-in-Christ Candace sent this to me today. These are some excerpts from a letter that Martin Luther King wrote while sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice..”

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

“We will have to repent in the generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime — the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – Birmingham Jail, 1963

THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

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