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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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11011833_10207465329207603_1638278708850792123_n - CopySha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim (“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”) is a Hebrew exhortation and blessing from Psalm 122 of the Holy Bible.  In this Psalm, God both exhorts us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and promises us a blessing, saying, “May they prosper who love you.” (more…)

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contend-for-the-faith_t_nvIn the New Testament of the Holy Bible, we are instructed to “contend for the faith.” Specifically, in the Epistle of Jude it says the following:

“Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” – (Jude 1:3)

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