I got into my car, looked out the windshield and I see she has been there. I sit down in front of my television to turn it on, and I see she has been there. I sit down in my dining room and look into the back yard. She has been there too.
Grady Jones is a regular contributor to our blog. I always appreciate getting blogs from those who aren't necessarily clergy, but still part of our Alliance family. Having roots in the south, he brings a perspective that many of us aren't aware of when it comes the issues of racism.
Given the recent national brouhaha over systemic racism in America, I thought it might be a good time to explore what makes a racist. Lately, a disconcerting number of Americans have found it easy to toss about accusations of racism against those with whom they disagree. Hating on “racists” has become the debate tactic du jour. Followers of Christ must take a more benevolent approach. Why? Allow me to explain with a personal example.
As we listen to Raed and Manar Awabdeh’s story, we cannot help but think of Esther and her story-
For such a time as this
One of the desires we have as Christians is for God to use us, to use our gifts, our talents, and our resources to make an impact for the Kingdom. This was Esther’s desire and, so it is the desire and passion of our brother and sister in Sacramento.
Raed and Manar Awabdeh, leaders of the Arab American Learning Center in the Central Pacific District, are in the midst of “such a time” in our current world events…they clearly have been prepared and placed exactly in the position God has intended. And now events across the world are placing Arab Muslim refugee families right into their midst- their community of Sacramento, CA.
When the Awabdehs first started out in Sacramento there was not one Arabic family in the area. But now, there are over 1,500 families in the immediate area.
With the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, they are experiencing the hand of God setting over 12,000 Arab Muslims in Sacramento! Right into the very community Raed and Manar have been pouring into and building bridges for the last 20 years.
The perfect property of 3.38 acres has become available with a school building including all the proper permits ready for them to move in with their already established Arabic American Learning Center! A property like this is not easy to find in a community, and if it is available, it is usually attached to a shopping mall.
Urgent Request with a Mid-January Deadline!
God is giving all of us the opportunity and privilege to join them in such a time as this. Please watch this video:
Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard about the recent shootings. Schools, concerts, and the church massacre in Texas.
Churches across the nation are asking the question, how do we protect our people, what should we do? Should we form a security team, encourage people to carry concealed weapons, lock our doors and strangers are not welcomed?
Here's another Vision Trip snapshot! This one is from Augustine & Geraldine DeGuzman, lead pastor of Christian Family Tabernacle, our Filipino Church in Sacramento. I had the privilege of having them along with me in Europe recently. Wow, what a dynamic couple! I'm sure you'll enjoy the creativity they put in communicating their experience.
At the Central Pacific District, we're always trying to find ways to tell different stories and speak to relevant situations going on in our communities. The shooting that took place at a Las Vegas concert on October 1, 2017 provided an opportunity for us to discover how Jesus can make beauty from ashes. The interview below with Former Associate Pastor Tim Dunfield at South Hills Church Community in Las Vegas provides a perspective from someone who has first-hand knowledge and experience with this tragic event, as well as offers how those impacted can find glimmers of hope in the midst of fear and sadness.
I'm excited for you to read the article below written by Josh Blair, Lead Pastor of The Rising in Utah. The CPD is fast becoming a major kingdom-advancing force in many parts of the world. As you read thru this story, be listening for the voice of Jesus saying, "GO!" And if you think it's time for you to see what The Alliance is doing around the world - give me a jingle! Because, as always, I am here to help you GO GLOBAL!
One of my goals as a church planter and pastor was to get people to follow Jesus. I remember as a young man doing everything possible to get people’s eyes off of me and onto Jesus. To this day, when I pray for people I never ask “How can I pray for you?” I always deflect attention from myself by asking, “What do you need Jesus to do for you?” While this desire to get people to follow Jesus and not me is often good and noble, it is not realistic and may not even be Biblical.
Here is another gem from one of our regulars, Mike Barnes of Gateway Fellowship in Natomas. When I read his thoughts about following, it is sobering to me to realize that what I do (or don't do) affects those around me and those who follow me. I trust it will challenge you in a similarly healthy way. -Ray
My wife and I regularly drive together to church on Sundays but occasionally need to drive separately. Such was the occasion on a recent weekend when, as we walked out of the house, Janet said to me, “I will follow you.” The meaning of her four simple words have become more profound in the days since first spoken.
Some of you might not know this, but I actually have two full-time jobs. My volunteer job (better yet my calling) is to co-lead HOUSE SF alongside my husband Craig Matos. However, on top of that I also work a 9-5 job in the health-tech industry as an Office Manager. In my 9-5 role I look after our office facilities, on-boarding, and oversee our entire culture for the company. The company I work for is a non-profit that helps under-served communities receive better healthcare through technology and education. I’m very thankful I have the opportunity to be in both the workplace and church leadership. It helps me to stay grounded and connected to our city.