How can an individual help to strengthen their church? How can we help people to begin to love their church? In this episode, Val shares his heart for the local church and gives practical direction for ways to be a blessing in one’s brotherhood. Val encourages Christians to view the church as the people that they will spend eternity with.
What is the importance of hospitality for Christians? How can one show a spirit of hospitality beyond just inviting others into their house? Bryant Martin, owner of Sowers Harvest Café, shares about the example of hospitality that Jesus left for his disciples. Bryant quotes Mark Glanville saying, “We learn from Jesus fellowship meals that our tables should be places of radical welcome, especially for those who feel lonely and on the outside. This is the shape of the Kingdom of God!” The next episode we will release will be part two of this interview.
- Lavern Yoder
When my wife and I got married and moved into an apartment complex in Sacramento, CA, my neighbors began to give me an education. Several years after this education began, I was reading the Bible and read the story Jesus told in Matthew 25 about the king and the servants who were given talents. It struck me how much I am like these servants and how I also have decisions to make regarding my talents.
Growing up, I never worried about my father coming home from work. Now I work with boys whose parents never came back to pick them up from daycare.I took for granted that family gatherings are a fun time with my cousins until I talked with my neighbor and discovered that she won’t go to a family gathering for fear her uncle would try to harm her. I didn’t know I had a safety net around me until my neighbor was evicted because her child was taken away by Child Protective Services, and she no longer had child support to pay for her apartment. Right now, I have dozens of people I could call, and they would send me $1,000 with almost no questions asked, if I had a legitimate need.
I grew up enjoying acapella 4-part harmony singing. I come from a musically inclined family and singing came almost naturally for me. Now I go visit elderly friends with a group to sing and they can’t believe how we “sing like angels”. When my neighbor’s car wouldn’t start, I pulled jumper cables out of my trunk and helped them out. How did I learn that? I’m not really sure. I think I was born knowing how to do that. My neighbor asked me, “Why do you work so hard? You don’t have to. That’s what the government is for.” But I know a secret. Work not only provides income, it also changes how I feel emotionally, physically, and in some ways spiritually. But I only know that because I was taught to work hard.
This episode is part two of an interview with Bryant Martin about hospitality. Here Bryant moves from describing the importance of hospitality to telling personal stories about how he has seen being hospitable work out. Bryant finishes the interview by quoting Rosaria Butterfield, “Radical, ordinary, and daily hospitality is a basic building block for vital Christian living. Start anywhere but do start.”
- Charis Kauffman
The recent passing of the Reproductive Health Act by the New York State Legislature has served as a chilling wake up call to many Christians. The passing of this Act removed a long-standing ban on abortion after twenty-four weeks, effectively making it possible for a full-term abortion of any child if sanctioned by a healthcare professional. New York joined eight other states that provide no legal protection for infants inside the womb. However, the public reaction and emotion surrounding this bill have seemed to be stronger than when previous states enacted similar laws. The political climate may be partly to blame for this response, but two other factors contributed to this as well. One, the Act was signed into law by a governor who is affiliated with the Catholic Church. Two, the passing of the bill was celebrated by lighting up famous sites in NYC with pink.
My heart is heavy. I have wept over this tragic decision here in my state. I ache deeply over the evils of abortion and the millions of human lives this horror has claimed. I hurt for the thousands of women who are merely seen and used as pawns for political power on all sides of the issue. I grieve for how little value we, as a nation, are putting on human lives. And, quite frankly, I am troubled by the responses of many conservative Christians to this issue. In writing this article, my desire is to confront some common misconceptions and counter-productive attitudes surrounding the abortion issue while casting a vision for a more redemptive response.
As Christians, we believe that humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, made in His own image. This is a dignity that we must value, defend, and promote for all humans, born or unborn. All humans are created for purpose, for relationship with Jesus, to be known and loved by God. We must be pro-life!