Archives For International Justice Mission

This year we are going to do Christmas differently around the Atkinson home. We are just days away from Thanksgiving! – after which we will take down the Christmas ornaments and begin decorating our home for the holidays. We always decorate with Christmas music playing. I’ll also start playing Christmas music at church during the prelude/walk-in time. I’m glad it’s that time of year!

As a family, we are going to participate in this season of giving differently this year. Here are 3 things that I’m trying to use as teachable moments with my children:

  1. Send Christmas cards (made by our kids) to our child that we sponsor through World Vision and shop through their Christmas catalog. Maybe give some ducks… or a goat?!! Who knows?
  2. Shop in the IJM Gift of Freedom Holiday Catlalog. I don’t know exactly what we’re going to give this year, but we’re going to pick one of their great options. 
  3. New this year: we are going to participate in the brilliant campaign: Advent Conspiracy. Watch this video – dream with us. What could it look like if we change our shopping/giving/normal Christmas mentality and gave the gift of clean water? Do you honestly remember what you got or gave for Christmas last year? Check this video out:

I hope you know my heart. My intent is to share what’s going on in my life and my family – to encourage, challenge and stretch you – and hope that you and your family will look at Christmas with new eyes this year. So… what are YOU doing for Christmas?

EXTRA:

If you watched 24 last night then maybe your heart was stirred (like mine) by the issues raised. To get involved and do something about it go HERE.

EXTRA, EXTRA:

Some of you have, but a lot of you have not been following the string of comments on the “Don’t Go to Seminary” blog post. I encourage you to go back and read through all them. It’s pretty exciting to see how that struck a nerve with so many. You might even see a comment that shocks you.

This isn’t about me – it’s about them (the 27 millions slaves around the world). God has been stirring in my heart since August and I’ve simply had enough. I’m stirred, moved, angered, disturbed, determined and trying my best to be obedient to my Maker’s call: I am an abolitionist.

This isn’t just a fad or phase – for me, I can’t return to the way I used to be. My eyes have been opened and I vow to spend the rest of my life fighting, praying, serving, rescuing, enlightening, spreading awareness, raising support – whatever small part I can do to be a part of this God-movement.

According to Wikipedia: “Because slavery still exists, with an estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide, a new international abolitionist movement has recently emerged.” I and many others are a part of that movement.

The beautiful thing is that this movement is something that people of all faiths can agree on and join together in. I’m reaching out to my atheist, Morman, Muslim, Jewish and Universalist friends to join me in this movement. Do we each have our own beliefs, doctrines and convictions? Sure. I do not waver in my faith in Christ.

BUT I feel that we can join together in causes around the world: the poor and homelessness, the environment, AIDS, clean water, slavery and human trafficking, etc. These are issues that we all should be concerned with and join together regardless of our differing faith or religious views/backgrounds.

*** 12 things that I’m a part of and committed to work with:

What about you? What has God laid on your heart? Do the things that break His heart break yours? What is He up to in your life these days?
 
PERSONAL:
Today, my beautiful, precious daughter Grace turns 8. Grace is a gift from God and a true blessing in my life.

 

Do you think that slavery ended with Lincoln? Today I want to share what has been breaking my heart lately. These Church 2.0 Local Forums I’ve hosted around the country have been used by God to stir my heart. God really used the Atlanta one to open my eyes to the problem of child sex trafficking right here in the good ‘ol USA. Since that time I’ve done some research and soul-searching.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in human history? Alltop now has a slavery version. You can find great information and links HERE. In my blog about the Art+Music+Justice Tour, I mentioned one of their sponsors: The International Justice Mission – a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I highly encourage you to get to know IJM and support them. 

A few things you can do to learn more about this real problem:

I know that slavery exists in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas (you may know of other cities). This is not a 3rd world country. This is happening right here in the states. Wake up Church!

The Art+Music+Justice Tour is coming to Bent Tree on Saturday, Oct. 25.


ART*MUSIC*JUSTICE on tour this fall, benefiting both the International Justice Mission and Food For the Hungry.

The International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.  Food for the Hungry works in more than 26 developing countries providing disaster and emergency relief, and implementing sustainable development programs to transform communities physically and spiritually.

Derek is pleased to be joining Sara Groves, Brandon Heath, Sandra McCracken, and Charlie Peacock on this tour, running from September 19th-October 26th, bringing not only the music of these tremendous artists but also telling stories of the great work of these organizations as they work for justice, advocate for the oppressed, and point towards the day coming when all things will be made right.  More than just music, these unique evenings will bring with them opportunities to involve yourself in the stories of our poorest neighbors.

EXTRA:
This past Sunday, we were blessed to have Tommy Walker lead us in worship. He, and his band, were a blessing to our church and our worship & arts family. God is still using him!

PERSONAL:
Last night was one of the greatest nights of my life. I attended my first ever Cowboys game with my friend, designer Ben Jordan. The Cowboys/Eagles game was a “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN and didn’t disappoint. It was a VERY intense game until the very end. Amazing!