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Monday, June 20, 2011

Leaving for Africa...

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote something that struck me to the core:

Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man or woman. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32 year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. 'Give me a place to stand,' said Archimedes, 'and I will move the world.' These men moved the world, and so can we all.

Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills - against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence... Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation...

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centre’s of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

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Was not Jesus an activist, an extremist for love - "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice - "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ - "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist - "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist - "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist - "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice - or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

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The Kingdom of God has always been about Poetic Justice…

The Scriptures are replete with a heart for engaging injustice with love…

Pr. 14:31 - He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Pr. 19:17 - He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Pr. 21:13 - If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Is. 58:6-7 – “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Ps. 140:12 - I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

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Ps. I want to be extreme, even if this pushes me further to the fringes. If being "further to the fringes" is the byproduct of challenging the nominal life of spiritual/social normalcy, then kick me to the curb. As I leave for Africa in the next couple days to explore God's next step for Impact as it relates to engaging global poverty of stomach and spirit, I ask that you would pray that God will speak deeply and clearly into my heart His dreams for this merger. All I know is that we need Africa as much as Africa needs us.

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