Holy Tuesday is the last Tuesday prior to Easter Sunday; it is the third day of Holy Week after Palm Sunday and Holy Monday. Similar to Holy Monday, those that do observe Holy Tuesday, typically mark it with readings of particular passages of Scripture and the singing of relevant hymns. [Read more…]
This Lent has been like no other.
On Ash Wednesday, we began with a plan for prayer and fasting, but less than three weeks into Lent, life turned upside down because of COVID-19 and the precautions we were asked to take in order to prevent its spread. As life’s normal rhythms were interrupted, so were our Lenten plans. And we entered a Lenten desert we did not expect to experience. [Read more…]
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5
A few years ago I was given a book by my best friend and it blew me away. The book is called “Church for the Fatherless: A Ministry Model for Society’s Most Pressing Problem” by Pastor Mark Strong. The book itself served as no surprise to me but as I dug deeper I found myself trying to better understand the Churches role in the remedy. Here are the stats
- According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.
- An estimated 26.63 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
- Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
- Currently 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
- The 1997 Gallup Youth Survey found the following among U.S. teens:
- 33 % live away from their father
- 43% of urban teens live away from their father
- In 2010 over twenty million lived with no father (biological, adoptive, or step).
Looking at this epidemic is seriously overwhelming. The question I have is how do we equip communities to bring healing and change to the fatherless landscape in our cities?
This is not something that the Bible is quiet about yet at all. As I read through the Bible God speaks about the orphan with great care and HE also charges us with engaging them. Throughout history Christians have spearheaded movements in this arena and we have a distinct opportunity to do it once again. The question is simple, how? How do we engage a culture so different the the one we have built our churches around? How do we respond to this with the heart of the One who says, ‘Father, He is father to the fatherless?’ You see this is a theological issue, it’s not just a social issue that the government has to take care of kids, because God Himself calls Himself Father to the fatherless. Our response is that we have to be reconcilers—that we have to enter the shame and suffering of a generation. We have to step into their lives with the same intimacy in which Christ stepped into ours at the incarnation. This a messy process but one that we must be engaged in to affect our communities and reflect our God.
[update] I saw this video and it broke my heart, yet it fits right in with this subject.
I am not really a person who speaks about politics much but this was brilliantly done. Check this out…
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long… Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school… say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many speeches and sermons in his short time in the national spotlight. Certainly, his words will be forever enshrined in print, audio, and even electronic materials. I have been to the mountaintop, I Have a Dream, Beyond Vietnam, How Long Not Long, are only a few titles was well known speeches and sermons delivered by him. Each of them are inspiring with a very sharp edge if you are paying attention. I think about the world in which we now live – some 84 years after his birth – there is one speech by Dr. King is both timely and powerful.
“It is also midnight within the moral order. At midnight colors lose their distinctiveness and become a sullen shade of gray. Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes…”
In listening to the words of this sermon, I could not help but think how prophetic he was. His words are still very relavent today and I want to leave you words he spoke that night that should stir something deep within our souls today.
If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority….But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace.
A few weeks ago I was supposed to go to a meeting in St. Louis (STL) and as apart of the program they were featuring a young lady named Jackie Hill. Jackie is a poet from the STL who describes herself as someone who was
…molested by a family friend, bullied in school, and fatherless, which accompanied with a inherent separation from God, led her into a lifestyle of rebellion, homosexuality, drug use, porn addiction, and everything wicked. Yet, she was loved and desired by a God who predestined her to know Him… after much debate with God, she BELIEVED all that He told her and made the decision, to turn from her sin and give her life completely to Jesus.
Let me just be honest with you, this young lady is real, simply real. The talents that the Father has given her to use for His kingdom are immense and I am saddened to know that I missed hearing her live but her poetry has blessed me so much that I am compelled to share it with you.
It is only 4:20 long! Take 5 minutes and concentrate on her words, look her in the eyes and listen to real talk because we need it.