Christian Leadership


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2017

International Women’s Day took me by surprise. I was not paying attention to the preparations women all around me were making to engage in community service, provide child care and support women who would have to work on Wednesday March 8, 2017.

As a male, I acknowledge that we should all be paying attention to the women in our lives and to the awesome contributions that they are making in all areas and professions. The reality is that many times I take it for granted until somebody points out the extreme multitasking and momentous achievements that the women in my life are making daily.123_1

I look at the history of my family and remember that Jeanette A. Thomas, my grandmother was a phenomenal woman, She raised seven children in Cincinnati, Ohio after moving from File, Virginia. She set the example of educational achievement by attaining a Master’s in Education from the University of Cincinnati in 1959. She instilled this passion for education in each of her children who all achieved a Masters in different fields and three achieved doctorates. That passion and value of strong women on International Women’s Day is expressed by her granddaughter Dr. Marya l. Shegog PH.D MPH, “International Women’s Day is a day to honor the very essence of women, not merely for their accomplishments but for their existence and willingness to stand without waiver for love and passion.” 

The full expression  of this experience is not limited to my family. Virginia Sowell in Atlanta reflects and says, ”She’s not just somebody’s wife, daughter, or mother. She is someone! International Women’s Day is about bringing to the forefront women’s contributions throughout history that have been minimized. I am grateful for the strides to recognize marginalized people and that we are trying to learn more. Today we lift up women as humans, as equals, not as simply support to a man.”IMG_4001

In Maryland, my good friend Christine Kumar works faithfully in the church and reflects this way, “International women’s Day is a celebration of how our female ancestors bravely paved the way for us to be who God has called us to be. We move forward exercising our rights and building women from all walks of life up in this journey.”

God has created women not to be limited to the stereotypical narrow roles of being housekeepers, caretakers and  rearing children  but women all across the world are designed by God to be leaders, engineers, preachers, musicians,  business owners, CEOs, technology innovators, philanthropist and so much more. We all celebrate what God is doing in and through the women all around us not just today but everyday.

 

Marya L Shegog Ph.D MPH – Director of a Health programs, The Lincy Institute, School of Community Health Sciences, Editor of The Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Virginia Sowell – Director of Communications, Oak Grove United Methodist Church, Decatur GA

Christine Kumar – Business Administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church

Advertisements

image

By Antipas L. Harris / Religion News Service

http://www.ministrymatters.com/reach/entry/5927/racial-reconciliation-demands-christians-reconsider-the-death-penalty

(RNS) A new report by the Equal Justice Initiative documents in horrific detail the nation’s widespread practice of lynching and points to a link between lynching and a practice that persists today: capital punishment.

In the Jim Crow South, lynching declined as officials turned to executions as an alternative method for killing blacks in disproportionate numbers.

This report challenges us to confront our nation’s legacy of racial violence. Sadly, too many Christians were complicit in this violence, which has prompted Christian denominations to apologize and emphasize racial reconciliation.

“Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:22-25 (NRSV)

Why is it important for Christians to gather? Some people would say we need to gather to collect offerings, so the church can survive. Others may think that it is necessary to gather because church is the place where God can be worshiped by God’s people. I have heard also that when people miss church, they feel empty. We need to remember that Paul is writing for the first century church, which is not probably the same image we think about church today.

Churches back in that time were basically houses hosting a few people who gathered clandestinely to know more about this Jesus, the son of God. They were simultaneously surrounded by multiple gods lifted up by people who praised living kings and rulers from the empires.

Paul, once convicted about Jesus’ love, talks about the power of gathering, because by getting together, it gives identity to the people of God. Identity in love, compassion, grace, and favor. Identity that is marked by the faith. Faith in the one who came to give his life against all political systems imposed. Through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, Paul was able to teach that a king is not the one who rules through oppression, but who loves with such power that it brings hope to those lacking of it.

Gathering on a regular basis helps us to build self-discipline, and while the discipline takes place, our souls are transformed gradually to become what God intents for us. How? Through gatherings we may see the reflection of our sinful nature in each other, and at the same time we may reflect the grace that God provides. As part of congregational formation, the transformation may occur to help us grow as individuals, as well as Body of Christ.

Now, the challenge that Paul brings us in this letter is to not only taking the image of gatherings in a place like our church, but also taking this personal and communal formation to other spheres of lives: home, work, friends, and enemies with the purpose to see “one another to love and good deeds.”  It liberates us, frees us, and reshapes us.

 Prayer: God almighty. Guide us to intentionally be open to your voice, so we can take the church -your church- with us wherever we go. Break the barriers of our minds, hearts, and souls, and change us in such a way that the transformation never ends. Please, forgive us for limiting your gatherings to one place. Merciful God, in your powerful son’s name, we pray. Amen.

Carlos Reyes
Infinite Grace Fellowship
Washington DC

2014 Lenten Devotional

You can request our Lenten devotional to be sent to you daily. Email to info@infinitegracefellowship.org

A little known history fact is that I believed that The Flash was real.  I was always skeptical of Santa

Image but I was convinced that The Flash was the secret to kids all over the world receiving gifts in just one night. I really believed that Santa was just the front man to this multinational conspiracy to keep the identity of The Flash a secret. When my parents told me that Santa wasn’t real I was ok because I still believed in The Flash. I had been to church every year and heard the Christmas story.  I even was in a couple of Christmas plays.  As I turned 10 the reality of Jesus, Santa and the Flash became crystal clear and my world didn’t fall apart.

Another little known history fact is that until last year I had no credible proof that the legends, legacy or institution of Santa had any basis in reality.  I was privileged to visit the Cathedral of St. Nicholas and hear for the first time the story of Bishop Nicholas (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/)  Although not the image of fables, and commercial Christmas portrayals there was a bishop who cared for the poor and the children with compassion as an expression of God’s love.

I say this because these realities have informed my life and none of them have shaken my faith in Jesus. Parents who are disciples of Jesus Christ have been debating if they should introduce Santa, when they should tell their children that the only story is the story at the manger.  There is some truth to the legends of real person who loved the poor and children because of his love of God.  He cared for the poor and defenseless because of his beliefs.  He sold all that he had and took gifts to the impoverished of his time. This is the man that the legend of St. Nick aka Santa Claus is based on.  Some man getting in a sleigh with Reindeer pulling around the world in 24 hours is false.  Parents spend too much and work real hard to make and spend money to bring their children and loved ones happiness.  I believe that the greatest gifts of the Christmas season are not purchased in stores but nurtured in the relationships of family, friends and loved ones. There are days when I still believe The Flash conspiracy is real. (Yes I will ask Olivia Pope to investigate)

This doesn’t replace, diminish or alter the impact of greatest event in human history,  the miracle of Jesus being born of a virgin as a part of God’s grand plan to save humanity.

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:15-20

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

6 things all leaders should solemnly swear Just as doctors take the Hippocratic oath when starting out in their careers, so corporate leaders should swear a pledge acknowledging their duties and obligations, writes Kevin Eikenberry. He suggests a pledge that includes promises to ask more questions, to acknowledge and work to understand dissenting views and to be patient with change-resistant employees. “And if you care to join me, you will be making a commitment to communicate more effectively, and lead with greater influence,” he writes. KevinEikenberry.com

http://blog.kevineikenberry.com/communication/take-this-oath-to-communicate-change-more-effectively/

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of God’s Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God ; train me in your ways of wise living.  Psalm 119:9-11 MSG

It is not unusual to see someone chatting in a coffee shop and texting at the same time. It is also not unusual to see a mother walking her child in a stroller and listening to a book at the same time. My favorite is watching college students study, listen to music and eat pizza with our missing a beat. Multi tasking has become second nature and we are constantly acquiring tools to become more efficient at juggling the many demands and desires of our lives.

Multi tasking is not what we are called to do to have a healthy relationship with God. To be in single minded pursuit of God we have to reprioritize our purpose. Our total being and only agenda should be about being in relationship with God. Our parenting should honor God. In the workplace we should be ambassadors of God’s grace. In our neighborhood we should be carrying the light of God.

Eliminate distractions – Everything is not important and some activities do not add value to your life

Study God’s Word- A daily time of reading and studying the scriptures develops our relationship with God

Experience your God given propose – Explore your spiritual gifts and identify the ministries and activities that God has wired you to excel at.

Prayer:  God ,illuminate the distractions in my life so that I can remove them and focus my life totally on you

Next Page »