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The Spiritual Practice of Gratitude

Phil 4:4-8. 
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellentor praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Today marks the beginning of a series centered around spiritual disciplines.  They are practises that help us grow in spiritual and emotional maturity.  I’ve chosen 4 spiritual practises that relate to the Thanksgiving season.  Over the course of 4 weeks, we will examine g…
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Being Born Again, What Does That Mean?

When we think of evangelism we often think of helping someone come to an understanding that they need to be born again.And many treat it like some sort of a sales transaction in which we give a particular pitch and then close the deal.At times being born again Christian carries derogatory connotations largely due to insensitive evangelism methods in which the targeted end up feeling more like a commodity than a real person loved by God.

I grew up in an evangelical setting and the question, “are you born again meant, are you saved or have your prayed the prayer of salvation”, which is the ritual that is used to help others connect with God.

What does it mean?How are we born again? What does being born again mean?

I have even been in faith traditions in which being born again meant that I had to accept certain doctrines or even certain political views and that if I didn’t accept those political positions, well then I wasn’t really born again.
The term born again has come to have some genuin…

What's Your Story?

Have you ever been a witness?  Maybe you have been a witness to an accident and found yourself telling your version of what you saw when the accident took place?  Usually when we think of the word witness we imagine a court room with a judge, and lawyers and maybe even a jury.  Usually it is the lawyers who call witnesses to testify about what they saw or experienced. 
What does it mean to be a Witness in the Bible?
In both of our Bible readings today, we hear the word witnesses.In our Old Testament reading, the author says of Israel, You are my witnesses.In our New Testament reading the author also says of the disciples, you are my witnesses.To what are they witness?To what are they giving testimony?
Our Old Testament reading actually uses a courtroom scene in which lawyers are to bring forth their witnesses to give evidence to the legitimacy of their gods, small gods.God’s people then were described as the witnesses to what God had done delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh, or oth…

The Union of Heaven and Earth

This post was originally posted forPentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice
Each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter 6:9-13 we pray these words, “your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 
We thoughtlessly recite this prayer without paying a whole lot of attention to just how astounding these words really are.That’s what I want us to dive into today in this blog post. 
The Beginning:
In the beginning God created a beautiful world where he would dwell with his people.Then he created human beings and put them in the world that he created.The Biblical authors called this world a garden because garden best describes what life is like in the presence of God.It is a flourishing world within which God’s people partner with God in doing the will of God.God’s people partner with him as image bearers—tending the garden, reigning in union with God and bringing life and filling the earth with people. 
It was a place and a people who were fully in uni…

Re-thinking Romans 13

This Blog was written by Rev. Faith Totushek for  Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice

Romans 13:1-8 is a passage that has been used in ways that are unjust.  It has been used to justify the divine right of kings, to justify slavery, to justify apartheid and segregation.  This text has been used in support of the Just War Theory.  It’s still used in the church to justify oppressive policing and discounting of immigrant’s basic human rights.  If people would just obey the law, the logic goes, then they will be left alone.  But is that what this passage means?  Is Paul saying that that all laws are good? Is he saying that all people are treated equally under the law? Is he saying that laws should be obeyed without question?  These things are often read into the passage making these verses something like a sword to keep oppressed people in their place.  I don't believe that was Paul’s intent.
Just because a particular action is legal does not mean it is just.  As God’s p…

Philoxenia: Love of the Stranger

Written for Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice.
https://pcpj.org/2018/02/10/philoxenia-love-of-the-stranger/

What is Philoxenia? When I first heard this word, I wondered if I had just stumbled upon a new kind of flower, Philoxenia… sort of like a Xenia or phlox or a Xenia crossed with a phlox to create a whole new flower.It’s not a flower, it is the Greek word for Hospitality.It literally means Philo or Love; Xenia or Stranger; put together it means LOVE OF STRANGER.  Hospitality then is the act of making strangers feel loved, as if they belong, welcome—like family.Hospitality is another thread that is woven throughout the entire Bible.  Growing up in the church, hospitality was more about making sure the coffee was on and the donuts and cookies were placed out on the serving table.We had a hospitality committee, usually made up of women, who made sure there were plenty of good things to eat and coffee to drink—cool-aid for the children and decaf for the senior folks.And…