By Ruba Rihani
Special to The Baptist Paper
International Human Rights Day, observed Dec. 10, coincides with the Christmas holidays and is an important reminder to Christians that freedom, justice and equality are critical in the lives of
every human being.
God’s love for humankind is without discrimination and differentiation.
The angel of the Lord clearly declared this great love in Luke 2:10–11.
When we think about Christian unity, we must return to the source of this unity: Jesus Christ. All Christians agree and believe the core of the Christian faith is salvation in Christ and the eternal life prepared for those who believe in Him.
Notice in the nativity story that a rural girl, the priest Zechariah, Bedouin shepherds and the Magi received the announcement of Christ’s birth. This good news unified different social groups together under the shadow of one message.
Christian unity must be based in humility, meekness, obedience to God’s calling and the acceptance of others. This unity occurs when Christians support each other and embody a Kingdom citizenship based on justice, love, forgiveness and equality.
Christian unity must derive from 1 Peter 2:9–10.
We must demonstrate Christian unity by both words and deeds. The best way to achieve Christian unity within our multiple denominations spread across the world is to unite from within and focus on the gospel.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ruba Rihani serves with Arab Woman Today in Amman, Jordan.
Expositional preaching of the Word is necessary to the life and growth of the church. Without this process being carried out in its proper and fullest way, our hearts would not be confronted with the reality of God’s word, Christ’s work and the call on our life to obedience in following Christ.
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
1 Corinthians 3:7
“Christmas hymns penetrate deeper, which is why we need to sing them over and over during this season and let the words once again settle into our souls,” said Carrie McWhorter, content editor for TAB Media.
“We’ve had an incredible adventure, but it’s not just about the adventure, it’s about the Kingdom,” said Chuck Conley, pastor of First Baptist Church Grant, Alabama. FBC Grant members served on a missions trip to Sitka, Alaska.
“Your affliction is just for a specific season and a specific reason. Remember, it’s only a test. It’s the other side of ministry. This too shall pass,” said Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
“When you live your life by priority, you will always know what you need to say no to. … If you’re not saying no to some good things in your life, you can’t be saying yes to some of the best things that God has for your life,” said Ken Adams, pastor of Crossroads Church in Newnan, Georgia.
“I’m convinced and I’m convicted that there is so much more God wants to do in us and through us,” said Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.
Leading major change “is not for the fainthearted, the quick to leave or those looking for a greener pasture,” said Jeff Iorg, Gateway Seminary president. “It’s for those who say, ‘Here’s where I’m going to stand until we get it done.’”
“To God, who owns everything and owes nothing, we as believers — who own nothing and owe everything — must render to Him, in the Spirit of Christ, thanksgiving for all of His benefits,” said Robert Smith Jr., professor of Christian preaching and Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.
“You’ve got to disciple students before they move away or go to college. The main purpose is not for them to go into ministry, but for students to become mature young adults involved in a church, doing what God wants them to do in whatever church He leads them to,” said Bill Hughes, associate/youth pastor at Priscilla Baptist Church, Bell, Florida.
“In spite of everything we have in Ukraine, we do have people who believe in God’s calling,” said Slavik Pyzh, president of Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine … .” —Proverbs 17:22
From the Twitterverse
It takes all of us here in the Upper Left. Glad you’re a meaningful part of it. As it’s said now and then: “Every person matters, so every church counts.” —@wcbcpastor
Don’t just COUNT your blessings; BE a blessing!
Challenging thought today from another leader. Everyone is essentially wondering three things: Do you care? Can you be trusted? Can you help? The first is a question regarding concern. The second is a question regarding character. The third is a question regarding competency.
When God is the object of our faith, we can have an audacious faith — one that believes the
impossible is possible with Him.
If you find your heart has grown cold to God, that the spiritual life of your family or church has waned, call out to God to revive you, for only He can give life. It is not your activity but your relationship with God that brings life!
What must a church do to move from consumer churchianity to missional Christianity?
You. Matter. To. God.
“I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” —Psalm 13:6
Rule of thumb — if you have to tell people that you are (insert positive descriptor here), then you probably aren’t what you think you are.
“Waiting is not wasting when we are waiting on the Lord. God is always working while we wait.” via @louiegiglio
We would grow exponentially more if we examined ourselves half as much as we critique others.