Colin Powell on the Essence of Leadership

 

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Thoughts on Black History Month 2017

In 2017, there’s no need to kid ourselves: racism is still an issue in the United States of America.

As a nation we’ve come a long way.

Kudos!

If, however, the last few years is any indication, we still have a long way to go.

And how do we overcome this evil of racism?  First, as a nation, we must want to rid ourselves of the evil of racism.  Where there is no real desire to overcome racism, we will continue to allow it or even perpetuate it. The desire must first be there, and then we will find creative means to overcome it as a nation.

Second, we must continue to see each other as equals.  This is not the case currently. When blacks and other minorities are not given the same opportunities to grow and amass wealth as privileged whites; when injustices continues in the workplace; when blacks are flooding our prisons, we are inequality, not equality.

Third, we must seek to understand what we do not understand.  I’m tired of that lame excuse about cultural differences when people are not willing to take the time to understand one another.  To restate, if we want to rid ourselves of the evil of racism, we will engage each other, to understand, and to create pathways to real reconciliation.

Finally, let’s all do our part to rid ourselves of the evil of racism in 2017.

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Sacraments or Ordinances?

“Sacraments” was a term I rejected because of its association with the Roman Catholic Church.  Like many in the Protestant world I was more comfortable with the term “ordinances.”

With the term “ordinances” baptism and the Lord’s Supper were viewed as outward expressions of my faith.  The emphasis was on my performance–what I did.

slide-20-baptism-and-communion.jpgWith the term “sacraments,” however, there has been something of a paradigm shift–it’s no longer what I do. Rather, it is what God does.  I’ve come to believe that at the heart of the sacraments is God’s gracious covenant promise to be our God and we His people–a promise that is confirmed whenever we receive the sacraments through faith.  Simply put, in baptism we are washed and welcomed while in the Supper we are nourished and strengthened.

So I conclude: the term “sacraments” DO NOT belong to Rome.

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Read the Complete Text of the Christian Standard Bible Online

Last month I did a post on the updated Christian Standard Bible (formerly Holman Christian Standard Bible).  Well, the publishers have made the complete text of this newly revised and updated Bible online for free.

I’ve been browsing through it, noting changes here and there–most of which I like.  It seems to be more in line with the NIV and the ESV now–something of a median.

Samples:

How happy is the one who does not

walk in the advice of the wicked

or stand in the pathway with sinners

or sit in the company of mockers! –Psalm 1:1, bold added

God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. –Rom. 3:25, bold added

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. –Gal. 5:25, bold added

I’m truly getting tired of revisions, especially when it comes to a Bible I’ve made my primary Bible.  At any rate, you decide.

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Bible Reading as a Means of Grace

bible-readingMany have resolved to read either the Bible in its entirety or some large portion of it–this new year.  It’s my earnest prayer that they are still at it and have not succumbed to either discouragement or distraction.

I’m curious however: how many of the above readers have actually chosen to read their Bibles as a means of grace, that is, a channel God actually uses to impart grace–whether converting or confirming grace (see Acts 20:32; Romans 10:14-17; and 2 Timothy 3:15-17)?

Perhaps approaching Bible reading as a means of grace will encourage the reader to stick with it and not succumb to either discouragement or distraction (this approach is no guarantee, however).

My expectation for you, however, still stands: the next time you pick up your Bible to read it–whether for ten minutes or an hour–do so with the firm conviction that the Holy Spirit actually makes Bible reading a means of grace.

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