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Real Unity Is Possible Only In the Light

God loves variety and diversity and our multi-colored, multi-cultural world shows off this characteristic of God quite well. But as sinful human beings, we are prone to divide, to defend, and to separate ourselves behind protective walls and a false sense of superiority. It's hard to appreciate the beauty of the human mosaic in the dark, and it's a rather dark world in which we live. In the Light, however, everything looks different. The Apostle John wrote, "But if we are …

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Diversity Was God’s Idea to Begin With

Diversity and equality have been hot topics in the last decade of American life. We're in the midst of various shifts in our culture surrounding these concepts, especially in relation to ethnicity and gender, and some of these shifts are good. When my family lived in southern California, we were ethnically not in the majority in our neighborhood, and we appreciated it greatly. Our church was home to people from dozens of ethnic backgrounds, and we loved that even more. All …

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Make Disciples Out of Everybody, Without Limits

When I was a kid, we sang a sweet song that went Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world. Years later, I saw a different take on that song designed to point out our tendency to be ethnocentric. They edited the words to White and white and white and white, they are precious in His sight... And the point was proven. Sometimes, even passively or …

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People of Every Color: You Must See Lee Daniels’ The Butler

What have we done, and why would we do it? That's the pair of questions that kept going through my mind as I sat in a theater in Rogers, Arkansas last night as we watched Lee Daniels' The Butler. The synopsis is: As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society. (via IMDb) I've always been a Forest Whitaker fan, and he …

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Everybody Belongs, Starting with You

Everybody belongs. When we say everybody, we mean every color, every shape, every personality, and people with every kind of story imaginable. Everyone belongs, even before they believe. It's sad that we have to expound on the word "everybody" to make sure people know that we mean everybody. This is the fourth core value of Grace Hills, and like the others, it is rooted both in our understanding of the biblical role of the church as well as our overarching passion for …

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Why I Hope the Multi-Ethnic Ministry Conversation is Short-Lived

I'm currently reading Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church by Mark DeYmaz. It's one of several books I've read on the subject because it's a big area of concern for me as a Pastor who is planting a church in a community that is diversifying much more quickly than the churches within it. But I hope the multi-ethnic conversation among church leaders is short-lived. Why? Because we tend not to spend a lot of time talking about things we have figured out. You don't hear …

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Everybody Belongs In the Church, Including You

I'm white. So when I die, I'll go to white heaven, right? Actually, a Jewish man named John once had a God-given vision of what heaven would look like, and what he saw was more like "a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9 NLT) Heaven is God's ideal - the ultimate restoration and renovation of the earth and universe into what He has envisioned as perfection …

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I Am a Foreigner

I don't like that word. I don't like to hear people called "foreigners" on American soil. And frankly, I just don't care that much about the politics of immigration. I'm a Christian, a stranger and a foreigner in this culture. My citizenship is in another kingdom, so I'm odd and strange because of my beliefs and values. Right now, I'm a foreigner in a more real sense. I'm writing this in my hotel room in the Dominican Republic. I'm on a mission trip, visiting Pastor Aridio …

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