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We hope you benefit from the devotions below.  Please check back often as they are updated regularly!

Author: CBF Personnel/Partner Created: 12/18/2007 1:43 PM
Devotions from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals Center



Luke 21:1-4

“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”

 

      In 1995, I lived in Bogota, Colombia, in South America and had the great privilege of serving in a ministry to street children. This ministry had three phases; a center in the heart of the city where the children could come off of the street for the first time, a home and school in the city, and a farm outside of the city. The entire ministry had a yearly budget of $8000 a year. A street child could go to school and have a warm meal for about $1.25 a day. When they did not receive enough money to meet their budget things had to go undone. The teachers at the school literally taught for love, as many times their salary was delayed for months and they would simply go on teaching each day.

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   When I lived in Bogota, Colombia, in South America I was involved with a ministry to street children. The center in the part of the city that reached out to the children directly off of the street was called “El Camino Real” – the real way.



            When I lived in Fissel, Senegal, in West Africa I worked with the Sereer people. The few Sereer Christians referred to Christianity as simply following the “Jesus Way.”

As we were leaving the field in Africa to return to America, a coworker said goodbye at the airport by thanking us for being “Jesus followers.”

 

When Jesus asked the disciples to follow him they left their nets immediately and followed him.

He wants us to follow him in everything he asks us to do.

 

Matthew 4:18-22 “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting...

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John 10:10b “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

 

I am convinced that the way to this full life that Jesus talks about is found in absolute surrender of our lives to him. As we come to the point in our lives when we can say that we will do whatever God calls us to do, and go wherever he calls us to go, we begin the journey to abundant life. It may not be the life that we had planned for ourselves, but it will be God’s plan for us.

 

Before Jesus was born, his mother Mary said these words revealing a commitment of absolute surrender to the Lord.

Luke 1:38 “’I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’…” NIV

 

Jesus said in Luke 24:26, 27, and 33, “If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me. So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.” NLT

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Have you ever felt out of place? I don’t mean just the uncomfortable feeling you get when you are underdressed for a church function. What I mean is, have you ever walked into a room and everyone looks at you like you are carrying some incurables diseases or they immediately think of you as a thief. People give you a wide berth and mothers pull their children away from you and you overhear them saying “don’t stare”? 

 

In some instances, this is the reaction immigrants in your community  receive when they visit local establishments, possibly including your church. Living overseas has caused me to be more sensitive to the lives of immigrants. After all, my family and I are immigrants to the country for which we serve.

 

Next time you see someone who does not look like you, speak like you,  smell like you, dress like you, believe like you; please remember the biblical story  of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and cross the space between you and  to offer your help or just your friendship. them

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        Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength,

Always ready to help in times of trouble.

So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come

And the mountains crumble into the sea

Let the oceans roar and foam

Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

A river brings joy to the city of our God

The sacred home of the Most High.

God himself lives in that city; it cannot be destroyed.

God will protect it at the break of day.

The nations are in an uproar, and kingdoms crumble!

God thunders, and the earth melts!

The Lord Almighty is here among us;

The God of Israel is our fortress.

Come see the glorious works of the Lord:

See how he brings destruction upon the world

And causes wars to end throughout the earth.

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear in two;

He burns the shields with fire.

Be silent, and know that I am God!

I will be honored by every nation.

I will be...

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Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you.’ Declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” NIV

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” NIV

Proverbs 20:24 “A man’s steps are directed by the lord. How then can anyone understand his own way? NIV

 

It is amazing to me the way that God works. I was raised in a small west Texas town. I don’t even remember visiting a large city until I was in college. When I was in high school I made a commitment to do whatever God asked of me and to follow wherever he lead me. I was very interested in Africa and often teased that I could catch the next banana boat out. God has led me on an amazing journey. Soon after college I moved to Dallas, Texas to do inner-city missions. I worked in a mission church leading an after school program for children...

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HOW CHURCHES MAY FACE POPULATION SHIFTS:

A CASE STUDY

David F. D'Amico

Introduction

 

Churches of all denominations increasily in the Mid Atlantic and Southern regions of the United States are facing population shifts. According to updated US Census reports Hispanics have become one the largest minority in the population of some states. They used to concentrate in California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. Now they are present in different proportions in the majority of states. In some states like Texas they have surpassed African Americans as the largest minority population.

 

Few years ago, the maintenance workers union in Los Angeles demonstrated their political and economic clout when they led strike and their union has membership for persons living in the area regardless of their proper legal status.

 

The governor of Iowa,...

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I love Christmas time. I love the sights of the lights on the houses, the smells in the air, the tastes of all of the special dishes and sweets, the sounds of Christmas carols, the feel of snow crunching beneath my feet. I love Christmas. One year I was living in Africa just before Christmas. Christmas was very different in Africa. Most of the people did not celebrate Christmas, so you didn’t see Christmas everywhere like you do in America. The weather was very hot so it didn’t feel like Christmas. One thing I will never forget is singing Christmas carols to the beat of an African drum. That year, right before Christmas day I returned to America. One of the first places that I ended up going after I got off of the plane was a Walmart store. I remember being so excited and just turning around in circles in the middle of the store looking at all of the Christmas decorations and just stuff because I love Christmas. My favorite thing about Christmas is that it is the time of year that is meant to remind us of Immanuel...

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I was raised in a small west Texas town with a population of about 4000 people. There were quite a few churches in my small town. I loved growing up there.

Later, when I was an adult, I moved to a village in Africa with a population of about 4000 people. Fissel, Senegal was a great place to live. I loved the baobab trees, the little concrete house that I lived in and called the pink palace – because they painted the outside pink. I guess pink was the cheapest color of paint. I loved the Sereer language and the Sereer people. On one of my first days in the village as I was walking to the well, I began to realize that I was probably one of the few, if not the only Christian in this African village with no churches around. If these precious people were going to learn about Jesus, I needed to tell them.

 

Romans 10:1-4, 8-17 

      “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites...

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Years ago when I was in a grocery store in Texas, a lady approached me on the canned goods isle. She had lots of canned goods in her basket and she asked me if I thought these canned goods would still be good after she had sent them to a foreign country where her son was serving in the military. At that time our United States military was fighting a war in this country, so I knew that her son was possibly in the middle of this and in a dangerous situation. I answered her question about the canned goods – they have so many preservatives that they would probably still be great – and then I asked her if she would tell me her son’s name so that I could pray for him. She looked at me and asked me a great question. She did not ask if I was a Christian. She did not ask if I went to church. She simply asked me, “Do you know God.”

 

Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” NIV

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