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As we approach the holiest time of year for Christianity, I am thinking more about the absolute necessity of prayer for our Christian life.  Basically, Christians believe that the human soul is literally made by God for connection and relationship with God.  In addition, because so much of this world is set against the grace, truth and purposes of God, prayer is even more essential to strengthen and keep us in the faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  So to that end, we hear the Apostle Paul sharing God’s Word about prayer in the biblical Letter to the Ephesians, writing as follows: (more…)

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RockwellAs I write this newsletter article, our nation has just seen a spike in anti-Semitic activity with a wave of bomb threats at Jewish community centers and desecration of Jewish cemeteries throughout the country, including right here in Milwaukee.  And this comes after many years of growing anti-Semitism on college campuses throughout the USA as well, both among faculty and students alike. (more…)

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jesusbaptism-7614581We have five Sundays in January for this Year of our Lord 2017, and after Epiphany (always January 6th) we observe the annual commemoration called Baptism of Our Lord Sunday that falls this year on Sunday January 8th.  Although Jesus did not need baptism, because he was and is without sin, he nevertheless received baptism in order to properly fulfill all possible requirements of righteousness and religious faith.  And as I contemplate the baptism of Jesus, I am led by the Spirit to contemplate the sacredness of water and our own baptismal covenant in, with and through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. (more…)

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ethnic-diversityWe live in a time of powerful forces seeking to separate people into demographic boxes.  These forces want to define us as strictly this or that “kind” of person; and these forces want us to start defining ourselves according to these strictly defined categories as well.  More and more, we see categorizing, labeling and dividing people as Male vs. Female, or White vs. Black vs. Brown, or Heterosexual vs. Homosexual, or whatever else you can think of. (more…)

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3_stages_icons-01When we were little children, we viewed our parents through an almost entirely positive lens.  They could do nothing wrong in our eyes.  Then we became adolescents, and we viewed our parents through an almost entirely negative lens.  They could do virtually nothing right in our teenage eyes.  And periodically in adolescence, teenagers will slip in and out of a childlike orientation toward their parents as they grow.  However, if we had loving parents, we matured to later realize as adults that our parents are basically good and decent people despite their various imperfections. (more…)

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life_mediumOur Tanzanian brothers and sisters use a special Swahili word to describe their understanding of community. The word is “ujamaa” and it is most accurately translated as “family-hood.”  It is a unifying term that the Tanzanian government has urged all Tanzanians to embrace in order to transcend their various tribal identities in favor of a unified national identity.  And the concept of ujamaa is often represented by carvings of interlocking people mutually uplifting, encouraging and caring for one another. (more…)

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evangelism20picAs disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to share our faith in Jesus with all people. In fact, our Lord and Savior Jesus said the following: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19).  And, of course, there is the Lord Jesus’ famous fishing statement: (more…)

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