By. Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan

Jack SullivanJust caught Peter and Paul, of the famed freedom and justice singing trio Peter, Paul and Mary, on the Tavis Smiley show. Goodness, they were magnificent! It was quite good to hear them sing some of the folk songs of the Civil Rights movement while describing the climate surrounding their music and activism. They have a book out titled, “Peter, Paul and Mary: 50 Years in Life and Song”. As I heard their music and reflections, I became inspired by the fact that the sacred work of Civil Rights and freedom has always featured a multicultural, multifaith cast of bold, risk-taking, visionary people who had the audacity to sing their faith and convictions as they delivered truth to power. While our contemporary climate does reveal amazing levels of progress since the 1960s, the rivers and streams of everyday life continue to reveal toxic amounts of waste products such as hate, bigotry, violence, and discrimination of many forms that poison too many of our environments, physical, political and cultural. I am not altogether sure of the many songs we sing when we gather nowadays, but I sure think it is time for our music to recapture the passion and poetry of the songs of people like Peter, Paul and Mary, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and so many others who sang about freedom, justice and peace and therefore provided us with a soundtrack for social progress. During a contemporary era where large segments of society seem to congratulate themselves for not knowing or accepting the histories, values, and aspirations of people who differ from themselves, we need right brain inspiration that can liberate us from the prisons of our linear, individualism-colored world views so that we may actually see ourselves caring for our neighbors by acknowledging then dismantling walls and systems of nullification and selective privilege, by helping each other to succeed, and by learning each other’s story. Now is the time for music that teaches us, transforms us, and then transports us so that we may create earthly places where the long dictatorship of fear comes to an end, where a warm smile can melt glaciers of arrogance, and where people are willing to walk or roll hand-in-hand into a future punctuated by peace, with progress for everybody, and the trivialization of nobody. When we sing songs with these kinds of themes, we open ourselves to God’s still awesome ability to transform the world. I am ready to sing! How about you?

This article is from theresurgence.com  I found it to be informative

Article Link – http://theresurgence.com/2013/05/23/the-places-grace-empowers-us

In fact, God’s grace grounds and empowers everything in the Christian life. Grace is the basis for:

  • Our Christian identity: “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).
  • Our standing before God: “. . . this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:2).
  • Our behavior: “We behaved in the world . . . by the grace of God” (2 Cor. 1:12).
  • Our living: Those who receive “the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:17) by the “grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7).
  • Our holiness: God “called us to a holy calling . . . because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim. 1:9).
  • Our strength for living: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:1) for “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace” (Heb. 13:9).
  • Our way of speaking: “Let your speech always be gracious” (Col. 4:6).
  • Our serving: “Serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10).
  • Our sufficiency: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9), “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8)
  • Our response to difficulty and suffering: We get “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16), and when “you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace . . . will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
  • Our participation in God’s mission: As recipients of grace we are privileged to serve as agents of grace. Believers receive grace (Acts 11:23), are encouraged to continue in grace (Acts 13:43), and are called to testify to the grace of God (Acts 20:24). In John 20:21, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” God’s mission is to the entire world (Isa. 49:6Matt. 28:19Acts 1:813:47).
  • Our future: God, and his grace, is everlasting. “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).
  • Our hope beyond death: “Grace [reigns] through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21).

The gospel is all about God’s grace through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul calls it “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the word of his grace” (Acts 14:320:32; cf. Col. 1:5–6).

Image“My greatest hope as a campus pastor of  Infinite Grace Fellowship is to, “authentically” minister to those Believers and Non-Believers who have been “Beat up and set aside” by the World. My deepest concern is inspire Youth and Young Adults to draw closer to Christ, majorly focusing on Young Men.  My prayer is that by the Grace and Sovereignty of God, their eyes open wide enough for them to see and receive God’s Majesty and they will feel led to leave the World, and cling to God.”

~Isaiah Redd, Sr. ~

Campus Pastor, Infinite Grace Fellowship

Missional Communities vary widely but can be described as mid-sized groups (20 – 50 people) who are bonded in vision and on the mission of God for their group together. At Infinite Grace we call them Grace Communities and Grace Circles.  We are preparing to launch 4 Grace Communities in September.  We are looking at Arbutus, Catonsville, Woodlawn, and Randalstown.  Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/infinitegracefellowship

by Adam Hamilton

  1. Remember who you are. You are somones husband or wife. You are someone’s dad or mom. You are a child of God, person of worth.
  2. Recognize the consequences of your actions. Will I be more free or enslaved by this. Who will be hurt by my actions. Fantasize about the worst possible outcome instead of the “best.”
  3. Rededicate yourself to God. Stop, drop, and pray.
  4. Reveal your struggle to a trusted friend. Confess your sins to one another and pray that you might be healed.
  5. Remove yourself from the situation. Pluck out your eye. No, not really. But the point remains. Get out of there. Stop attending the situation.

Welcome all to Day one of the Biloxi Katrina Relief Mission.  Today was a day of making new friends, developing our teamwork skills, and despite overwhelmingly oppressive heat and humidity… dirty dusty demolition.  Upon arrival, the team assessed the home and quickly got to work on the jobs that were most needed.  Dave, Larry, Marian, Ron and Sarah put their muscles straight to work tearing up a good part of the back third of the floor.  Frank and Eddie set out tearing down the bathroom.  By noon, the first team had the entire floor out and was already setting replacement floor joists.  While Dave and Larry went for supplies, the rest of the team enjoyed lunch.  It was the best Bologna and cheese we’d ever had.  Frank and Eddie had hoped that much of the bathroom could be saved, but in the end, once they added Pastor Sarah to the bathroom demolition team, all that remained was the roof.  She went crazy once we put a saws-all in her hand. The homeowner, Shantdtea (pronounced Chant’a), also lent an enthusiastic hand and made a substantial collection of refuse.  By the end of the day, we had attracted a bit of attention and some of the locals also lent a hand. In particular Shandtea’s nephew, Denzel, came home from school and pitched right in helping Dave and Larry nail down the floor.

We’re getting ready to sit down to a well deserved meal, cooked by the loving hands of Sarah, Marian and Frank.  In reflection, it was a good day and I think I speak for the entire team when I say we’ll all sleep well tonight. The showers never felt better. We are all extremely grateful that Ron decided NOT to follow through on his threat to not shower for the week.

We are now making our plan of attack for tomorrow: Which looks like finishing the floor, wiring in lights and outlets, painting, starting some drywall, and starting to put the bathroom back together.  

Please keep us and everyone here in the Gulf area who is still suffering from Katrina in your prayers. 

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Taylorsville UMC
http://www.taylorsvilleumc.org

“Amazing and Uncomfortable Grace” Several years ago, there was an absolutely fascinating study done of America’s favorite music and one of the discoveries was that for many Americans one of their favorite songs is actually an old hymn, Amazing Grace. Perhaps you know how it goes: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” But what exactly is grace? And what makes it amazing? You know, when we use the word grace in ordinary conversation, we tend to downsize the word. We’ll say things like, “She’s a very graceful young woman,” and we mean she dances well. Or, “He’s a very gracious host,” and we mean he says nice things at dinner parties. We tend to use the word grace in small ways. But when the New Testament uses the word grace, it uses it in a very big way. It’s a powerful word. It’s an amazing word. In fact, it’s so powerful that sometimes grace can be quite uncomfortable. When the New Testament uses the English word grace, it’s actually the translation of a Greek word, charis, which means “gift.” And this is the New Testament’s way of saying that at the very center of life there is a God who is not a punitive judge or a scolding parent, but a God who gives gift after gift after gift. That’s grace.

Dr. Thomas Long is from Atlanta, Georgia, where he is Professor of Preaching at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Tom is a Presbyterian minister and the author of several books on the art of preaching. Read the Entire Sermon