To my white evangelical brothers and sisters in Jesus, this post is primarily for you. Please don’t dismiss it. I ask that you read it with prayerful humility as I attempt to write with the same posture. This morning looking in the mirror I realized I am a white evangelical. Although I did not choose this label, it describes who I am. A caucasian of predominately European descent. A believer in the authority of the Bible, the Lordship of Jesus, and our need to be reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Christ. I never anticipated that a commitment to the scriptures and the message of Jesus would put me at odds with so many of my Bible believing brothers and sisters. But it has.
- Open your home. Share a meal. Listen to their story. Make a friend. In almost every culture around the globe, the mark of hospitality is inviting someone into your home to share a meal.
- Pray for them. Pray with them. Trust God to show up. Many refugees come from religious backgrounds and will be blessed by you caring enough to pray.
- Respond to invitations. Eat in their home. Attend their celebrations. Get to know their culture. They’re identity will shift from refugee to neighbor to friend.
- Advocate for their rights. Speak publicly. Share the facts. Write to government leaders. Change often require persistence and sacrifice.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?Proverbs 24:10-12
Due to the president’s executive action barring the entrance of refugees, a great deal of misinformation and “alternative facts” seem to be floating around.
4 myths about Trump’s executive action & refugee resettlement: Continue reading
As some of you know on Monday I made a very quick last minute trip to GA to handle some Medicaid business for my dad. His steady decline associated with dementia and cirrhosis meant he needs the end of life care only a nursing home can provide. The trip was about as exciting as it sounds- long meetings with nice people involving lots of mind-numbing paperwork.
The name of our friend has purposely been changed and the name of his home country omitted for the safety of him and his family.
I met Pacifico five years ago while volunteering at the COTS Day Station, a warm place for people to come off the streets during Vermont’s frigid winters. Kate, the peppiest of the COTS case managers, walked in the room and shouted, “Kevin you’re like a minister- right?” I quickly walked over and she continued, “I have this guy who just arrived in my office. He’s a pastor from Africa and doesn’t speak any English. Can you try to figure out his situation?” And for the better part of an hour we used the modern miracle of Google translator to type between English and French.
This weekend, January 29-30, we host our third annual Equip Retreat through Vermont Church Planting. Forty church planters and potential church planters from across Vermont and the neighboring region are attending with Mike Breen from 3DM Movements leading our sessions.
This week I sensed God leading me to pray three specific things for this retreat. Will you pray the following with me?
For God to remind us Jesus is worth the risks we’re taking and sacrifices we’re making.
For God to encourage us as we share stories with other like minded guys.
For God to equip us with some practical tools for our ministry toolbox.
Thank you for your prayers and partnership.
Since the Paris terrorist attacks I have not been surprised by the shift in American opinion over admitting Syrian refugees nor the corresponding political posturing that both feeds and responds to the fears of many. What surprises me most is the response of many who identify as Bible believing Christians where believing we should welcome Syrian refugees places you squarely in the minority. Many of my brothers and sisters in Jesus agree Christian churches are called to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of a messed up world and God desires Jesus-followers to live as ambassadors for Christ- representing His interests and not our own. Many of us agree our lives have been redefined by who Jesus is, by His example and teaching, and what He accomplished through His crucifixion and resurrection. We even agree following Jesus means taking His commands to heart- listening and responding to what Jesus taught. Unfortunately what Jesus clearly taught and modeled remains alarmingly absent from many of our conversations.
One word that I’ve heard since I was a young child that defines how Christians should respond to Jesus and His commands is faith. Continue reading
The last few weeks have proven a trying time for our nation as we wrestle with how to best respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. The discussion and debates have increasingly intensified since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. Even within Christian churches we find a disparity of views on how best to respond with much of the discussion rooted in a fear being fed by both the media and politicians. Most of us aren’t surprised by the idea that “fear sells” and our media (both conservative and liberal leaning) knows fear is good for business. Continue reading