“Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:12, NRSV)
God has a hold on me.
How else can I explain where I am today? There is no other reasonable explanation for where I have come from and where I am today in life and in the ministry other than, “God has a hold on me.”
I have sat with those who are crossing the threshold from this world to the next. I sat in a Starbucks and talked with an elementary school student about what baptism means. Over the years I got to hang out with some of the coolest teenagers. And when others said it was not possible for teenagers to do certain things (I’m looking at you Habitat for Humanity), I had the honor of watching the “impossible” happen.
Walls are typically built for protection. Nehemiah, in the Old Testament, leads a huge undertaking in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. The Great Wall of China was built to protect dynasties from invasions by surrounding tribes. We build fences around our yards to prevent the neighbor’s pets from trampling our lawns. Emotional walls are produced to protect ourselves from getting hurt by others.
Walls are protective.
“Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.'” (Genesis 8:15-16, NRSV)
For forty days and forty nights Noah and his family, along with an ark full of animals, floated. Finally, the rains stopped and the waters receded. And then, God said to Noah, “Go.”
“Go out of the ark.”
They had gone into the ark to seek shelter from the coming storm. They had gone in obedience to the word of God. But once the waters receded, it was time to go out.
They had been inside long enough.
Too often we choose to stay inside the ark. Read “church” or “comfort zone” or “pew.” And it’s comfortable in our arks. It is safe and familiar. We know what to expect inside our ark.
I started writing this while sitting in a hospital waiting area. Thankfully, there was a Starbucks in the building, so a very tall coffee sat next to me.
My one-year-old nephew went into the ER this past weekend. Once he was in a room, and I was able to see him, I was slightly taken aback. He was hooked up to so many things. And meds were being pumped into his little body. All to help him be more comfortable as they ran various tests.
Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash
It was hard looking at my little Buddy lying in a huge hospital bed. I couldn’t help but find myself thinking about my dad. Some eighteen years ago he was in and out of the hospital due to prostate cancer.
But it has not just been on social media. Websites like Etsy, GoDaddy, and WordPress have also been providing the same updates. Thanks to Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which has been described as a massive overhaul of online privacy.
What about the church?
Since the 1996 General Conference in the United Methodist Church, local churches have been encouraged to develop and follow a Child Protection Policy (CPP). This ensures that practices are in place to protect children and teens, volunteers, staff, and the church.
Here are six ways to let members and visitors know that your Policy is up-to-date.