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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

FEBRUARY 27, 2014

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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 CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery

Young Christians from around the world pledge to fight human slavery. Jim Clancy reports.

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For the finale, each of us were handed a sign with a picture of someone on it who was rescued from slavery. We were asked to hold these signs up as the Passion band played Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies]. Real life stories were printed on the back for us to read so we could be encouraged by how they were rescued from this injustice. It was an amazing but touching moment to sing praises for these people and to sing out for those that are still in slavery today. We then sang the anthem Shout followed by God’s Great Dance Floor to close out Passion 2013. What an amazing four days to start the year off!

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God’s Great Dance Floor

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Shine a Light on Slavery

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After Chris Tomlin led off with this amazing song Once and for All that has really hit home with me, Louie Giglio went around and introduced the band members and the community group leaders for the week at Passion 2013.

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Community Group leaders

Louie and Shelly Giglio announce the final amount given to END IT

Louie and Shelly Giglio announce the final amount given to END IT

Students and leaders at Passion 2013 raised their voice for the 27 million people trapped in slavery and declared to the world that this generation is in it to END IT. Together, they gave more than $3.3 million to fund 23 causes with 19 partner organizations and shine a light on slavery around the world.

Total given: $3,327,658

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It was a quiet walk to community groups. I said my goodbyes to my friends that I had made in the neighborhoods on my daily walk. It was cool to hear them talk about Passion, our shouts and the beam of light from last night. As I passed through the plaza, I couldn’t believe that just 12 hours ago I stood here with my brothers and sisters in Christ shouting out for Freedom.

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My Community Group (minus two) all week at Passion 2013

This was our last time getting together as a community group. I felt very blessed that God put me with these people. Even though we had exchanged information, something in me knew this would be the last time I see all of them. It’s hard these days to stay in contact long distance. So I really tried to soak in the moment of being in fellowship with them for the last time.

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Gregg Matte giving out books

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As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1

Gregg Matte gave out some books and CD’s to start off the morning. He spoke on the above passage about living a life (that’s already) worthy for the Lord. He talked about how we are like tarnished silver – if we continue to read God’s word, the junk starts to come off.

He then gave an illustration from a visit he had on a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He saw the painting Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne. The painting started off as a self-portrait and then he painted a picture of Christ over it. Then he painted over that with a picture of the apostle Paul. The cool thing is that you can still see the picture of Christ if you turn it upside down.

We’ve painted our own self-portraits. The face of Christ begins to seep through as we begin to grow. Now we can go out into the world with the face of Christ on our own painting (ministry, home life, work, etc). Gregg then had us answer some questions on how our week at Passion went. It was a time for me to reflect on how God had spoken to me while here. We closed with this verse:

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

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Saint Paul Writing His Epistles

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After community groups, all 60,000 of us gathered around the Georgia Dome in front of the large End It structure that had been displaying our photographs all week. Many of us were singing songs of praise with candles as we were waiting to see what Passion had in store for us. Then the words SHOUT for the 27 million came on the screen and we all started to shout as loud as we can. A beam of light shot straight up into the night sky as we were all shouting “Freedom” and “End It”. Even though the light source was made up of forty lights, one unified light was seen – just as we all gathered as one unified body to stand up for injustice. I heard the light could be seen as far as 15 miles away. The light stayed on all through the night and it was all over the news the next day. I had several people ask me what the light stood for as I walked back to my hotel. They could even hear our shouts. I told them that it was a beacon of hope for the 27 million people held in modern-day slavery.

END IT MOVEMENT

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