I like to write out my thoughts before I type them. But when I use an old pen that rolls roughly across the paper, my thoughts thump along in fits and starts. When I can’t squeeze the ink out, I can’t squeeze the words out, and I quickly toss the pen aside for a better one. A free-flowing pen opens my mind, and the words often come pouring out as fast as I can write them.
The effects of an ice storm led to the loss of electricity to my house one morning. Late that night, as we returned home from showering in a nearby athletic facility, we pulled into our street and saw our lights were back on. Yea! We hadn’t realized how dependent we were on electric power until we lost it, and we resolved not to take it for granted again.
A question I often hear (and also ask myself) regarding diversity is this: “God calls us to reach out to those who are different from us, but how far are we supposed to go?” Is it enough to serve and minister to people who are different, or are we called to do more?
Have you ever wanted to take a quick peek at someone else’s mail? Maybe it was an envelope from a doctor’s office that held the results of a family member’s recent medical tests. Or perhaps it was a letter addressed to your parents from an estranged family member. As you held the envelope in your hands, the temptation to open it might have felt overwhelming.
In 2012, Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa, changed many of its street names, initially causing confusion for commuters and a headache for traffic reporters who were expected to give both street names in every update. After the names were changed, the format for traffic bulletins at most radio stations included the new street name followed by the word “formerly” and the old moniker.
I recently baptized an elementary-age church member in a local river. His dad walked into the water with me, and we stood on each side of his son. Together, we submerged him and then raised him from the cool, cleansing stream. The dad beamed during the entire holy moment. It was the son’s baptism, but it was evident that he experienced the same joy.
One of my deep joys as a pastor has been to baptize both of my sons. I have a picture taken just before I went into the baptismal pool with one of my boys. I’m crouched down, eye-to-eye. I don’t remember what I was saying, but I remember the tears. God was pouring grace on my son, and my church was welcoming him into its fold.
The announcement couldn’t have been clearer: “Water baptism is not an option for the believer in Jesus. Please sign up for baptism. Baptismal classes begin in 2 weeks time.” After the service, a young man confronted the pastor. “Pastor, I am saved by grace and not through baptism. I don’t see the need for baptism.”
This is a baptistry in Kawangare, Kenya. But this is no ordinary baptistry. It has special significance to Pastor David Kitonga and the believers of Huduma Church. After enjoying a very successful ministry in the Methodist Church in Kenya, the Lord called David to the slums of Kawangare. He ministered and ministers to the poorest of the poor there every…