Bible Study

Forgiveness

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But first be reconciled to each other. Natali had a lesson to learn. As a young graduate of Hope, she knew that the choices she would make in the first months on her own would profoundly shape her life. Her witness led her boyfriend to Christ, and he quickly became a leader at the graduate church. As they moved toward marriage, she encouraged him to be reconciled with his family. He was, and then he asked the tough question: “What about you and your mother?” A bit of background… By the time she was ten, Natali’s mother was prostituting her …

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Light: Shining in the Darkness

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I am pleased to welcome Jeremy Stanley this week. Jeremy is a storyteller at heart. From the Hollywood Hills to a leper colony in Kenya, everyone has a story to tell. Having spent many years in the film & television industry in Los Angeles, Jeremy’s focus and passion is now exposing injustice and sharing stories of hope and redemption around the world. It’s easy to find despair in the darkness. It envelops you. It overwhelms you. You hear stories of children being murdered in the streets.  Of little girls losing their innocence and prostituting themselves at desperately young ages.  t …

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Materialism

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Have you ever thought about the “why” of materialism?   Sunday night I left Tennessee for Brazil; left my very comfortable home for a 16-hour, three-leg flight. I was met at the small Vitoria airport by one of our houseparents. We traveled through the relative affluence of the ocean-front residential section of town then began to wind our way up broken streets to Hope Mountain. We passed squalor; we came within feet of the brutal children’s prison at Cariacica; we saw filthy children sitting on street curbs.   Discomfort. Back in the beautiful Springtime of East Tennessee, it is very …

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Was He one of us?

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My friend grabbed me immediately after the service. “I finally understand that verse.” A question in my eyes. “The ‘I had no place to lay my head’ verse. Tonight, for the first time, I understand it.” We were at Saturday night worship the night before Palm Sunday at The Net Fellowship, a church formed by former street children who are graduates of Hope Unlimited’s residential program. Joining the graduates, their families, and members of the community who have become part of The Net were about two hundred children who presently live at the two Hope campuses in Campinas, Brazil. And …

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Separating the sheep from the goats (a parable along the way to revolting numbers)

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Here’s a bit of Bible trivia for you:  There is only one person in the parables of Jesus who is given a name.  Do you know who it is?  Think about for a minute. Lazarus Do you know the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus is a poor beggar who lies at the gate of the rich man’s home, hoping to grab a few “crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table.” Interestingly enough, it is not the rich man who has a name, but the poor, crippled beggar. Even more interesting, the name Lazarus means “the one …

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More revolting numbers…

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This isn’t about our capability to change the world; it’s about our will to do so.   I’ve written on a number of these blogs about the plight of at-mortal-risk children. They do not choose to live as they do; all choices have been taken from them by poverty, by culture, by environment.   The challenge of changing the world is not about our capability: according to the Borgen Project, spending just $19 billion between now and 2015 could essentially eliminate global starvation and malnutrition; $12 billion per year over that same time period could provide education for every child …

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A Case for Revolt

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2.5%.  That’s how much American evangelicals give to Christian causes.  Not 15%, not even the biblically-mandated 10%.  Just 2.5%. But here’s the really disappointing number: 98% of that tiny 2.5% primarily benefits other Christians. This basically means that of every $100 of income earned by American evangelicals, about 5 cents goes to touch the lives of those that Jesus called “the least of these.” A nickel. This is not about hard economic times preventing us from giving. In fact, the opposite is true: since the Great Depression, income has risen on a fairly consistent curve, with only a few blips along the …

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