The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez will be the first Latino leader to serve as the keynote speaker for for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service.
The special event which serves to observes the civil rights movement leader's birthday, will be held on Monday. King Center CEO Bernice A. King called Rodriguez an “electrifying orator and “one of the most dynamic and inspiring proponents of the social gospel in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), turned down a request to participate in President Obama's inaugural services in order to speak at the event, which is the nation's 'flagship' ecumenical religious observance on the MLK holiday.
As a little boy raised in the church, I was often confused by the words of certain songs. For instance, whenever the song “Bringing in the Sheaves” was sung, I thought we were singing about bringing in the “sheeps.” I always wondered where we would get these “sheeps” and why we wanted to bring them in anyway. Spiritual themes, whether spoken or sung, can easily confuse the simple mind of a child; and while I learned quite early that “sheeps” is not even a word, the topic of God’s will continued to be a point of confusion for a long time.
I remember another song we used to sing, usually after a missionary had told depressing stories about the hardships and toils of the mission field: “Jesus, use me / Oh, Lord, don’t refuse me / Surely there’s a work that I must do / And even though it’s humble, help my will to crumble / Though the cost be great, I’ll work for You.”
As wonderful as those words are in and of themselves, there was something about the combination of the lyrics, the music and the context that made me afraid of God’s will for my life. I thought He must have something simply dreadful for me to do. I just knew He was going to send me deep into the jungle where I would live in a mud hut, survive on a diet of grubs and wind up being eaten by cannibals.
1. Preach to Yourself
When God has asked me to do something that seems impossible for me, I have to preach to myself to defeat the fear and uncertainty that try to control me.
2. Don't Quit
In a relationship? In business? In reaching your personal goals? Will you give in to fear of failure and quit trying? The important thing to remember when you fail is not to quit. History shows that failure can actually become a catalyst to propel you to success.
3. Take Courage
You have to have courage against all odds. You have to be willing to face down frightening voices and take a risk to move forward into your destiny. You cannot give into the spirit of timidity and draw back when times get tough.
A letter received by American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini, carried out from Iran's notorious Evin Prison, tells of beatings and interrogations, around-the-clock bright lights and ongoing lies designed to create hope—in order to crush it. The remarkable letter also reveals a depth of faith and compassion that could only be granted by God.
Abedini, a U.S. minister, has been imprisoned in Evin Prison in Tehran for his faith since Iranian authorities removed him from a bus in September while he was visiting his homeland.
Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, recently received the letter from her husband through family members who were able to visit him in prison. Naghmeh passed the letter on to Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood, with the encouragement to share the letter with everyone.
If you think the church can’t solve the world’s problems, think again. We were made to bring the good news—and Jesus modeled exactly how we can.
The greatest need in the world today is to release the latent energy bottled up in believers who are doing nothing for the kingdom of God. It’s time for the church to rise up and be the church. The church is the body of Christ, but it seems like our hands and feet have been amputated, and most of the time we’re just a big mouth. It’s time for the church to stop being known for what we’re against and start being known for what we stand for: grace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and new life in Jesus Christ.
That’s why we began rethinking our mission strategy at Saddleback. Jesus tells us to “go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15, NCV). Go is a key word for believers. You can’t spell gospel without “go.” You can’t spell good news without “go.” You can’t spell God without “go.”