Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a unanimous decision upholding the right of religious organizations to decide who will be their leaders and teachers. The Hosann-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church vs Equal Employment Opportunity Commission upheld the ministerial exception of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clauses saying government must respect religious exercise while not establishing religion. In a way it challenged government to preserve the freedom of religious organizations and not overturn decisions being made by a religious entity on determining their own leadership, beliefs, and teachers.

How does this affect the disaster response arena? The ruling affirms religious organizations decision-making authority affecting many Christian disaster and emergency responder organizations to hire, fire and implement their core beliefs without retribution. The fact is, the motivation for 89% of the volunteer first responders in any given disaster are faith-based, mostly Christian. If the Christian churches has the very heart of Jesus Christ removed from their response the very foundation for “why they respond” would be stripped away. No volunteers with a heart to respond like Christ, equals no volunteers!!

While protocols on sharing one’s faith should be sensitively adhered to in responding to disasters, nevertheless, Christians should take heart that responding to people in crisis is still a freedom of speech. We should not take that for granted, rather, exercise that freedom and right fully.

 At this time of the year, when all the Christmas lights and activities press in all around us, it is tempting to lose sight of the most important event of all – the coming of the Savior of the world!  “For unto us a child was given, unto us a Savior was born.”

He came in the form of a baby with all the dependencies of any newborn child. Jesus needed his mother to nurse Him, his father to protect Him, and his new friends to adore and love Him. While Jesus was Our Savior and sovereign Lord from before time began, Jesus was dependent upon us when he came to earth as an infant!

1. Plan Your Holiday Package Deliveries


During the holidays, it is common for packages to be delivered and left on your doorstep when you are not home. Unfortunately, this often invites an opportunity for crime. Plan ahead for your deliveries by making sure someone will be home, or that a neighbor can watch out for the delivery and hold the package for you until you come home. Some neighbors might even be willing to accept the delivery for you – it never hurts to ask.

2. Safety Reminder


Dec 19
2011
Mary Marr

Who owns your data?

Posted by Mary Marr in Church Security

Who owns our data? Who wants our data? And How do we secure our data from those who would seek to do us harm?

Within the cyber-ethics debate there lies a key topic DATA. Data: Information-collection, sharing and distribution. This “new data challenge” is in cyberspace without sovereign borders, without guidelines, without governance. Yet few have taken on the ethics of the information age despite the fact the topic affects every human being on the planet. 

 

I believe it was Christian counselor and author Dr. Archibald Hart who coined the phrase the “Wounded Healer” in his well-read book by the same title. In many ways this description fits and depicts my life.

My early days were marked by physical challenges which caused me to face death squarely, yet allude it three times, before the age of nine. While my physical health eventually stabilized it was and still is an ever-encroaching issue to overcome.

During my childhood days I sought to find peace and hope in Christ, but my relationship with Him always was unclear to me as I was not taught the steps to find "peace beyond all understanding" I longed for. That confusion held, sadly, until the age of thirty.

In the life of a Christian, during Advent season we eagerly await, just as at the time of our spiritual birth, for the Savior to come in a new and fresh way reminding us again of the greatest gift of all His Son Emmanuel “God with us.”

The coming of Christ is better than any present, better than the angels, better than any of the prophets, better than any Bible role model as He brings a better pathway and better result every time we follow the baby that was born in a manager.

The wise men sincerely and earnestly sought Jesus and He richly rewarded their seeking. God rewards those who seek Him, as we know from Hebrews 11:6: “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”