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God Amidst the Chaos

God amidst the chaos

Refugees facing hardships in Europe are looking for a whole new life, family and faith.

Acculturation: a nifty word used in cross-cultural ministry to describe the process of “fitting in” to a new life, language, economy, socio-economic group, etc. It involves taking a good long look at who and why you are and then figuring out how to best shape-shift into a whole new culture. It’s exhausting, rewarding, frustrating and one of the best personal growth tools available.

In the bustling European capital where I live, the idea of acculturation becomes a bit complicated as about half of the city’s population has a migrant background. The city’s ethnic divide became wider during the 2015 Syrian Refugee Crisis and continues to grow as refugees from all over the world arrive seeking safety from war, poverty and oppression.

It’s not difficult to see that the need for Christ is just as real inside this closed-off community.

Walking through the streets you will hear English, German, French, Turkish, Hungarian, Serbian, Farsi and Arabic. This culture clash leaves many newcomers in a difficult position: which culture do we acculturate? Western European culture? One of the various subcultures created by immigrant groups who live and work together? A hybrid of East-meets-West that leaves us all confused?

As team members of Global Partners’ newest field focusing on Muslim immigrant and refugee outreach in Europe, we’re faced with the same acculturation questions as many of our friends. The good news is that when it comes to refugees, this can be a point of connection. Struggling through the red tape of bureaucracy? We get it. Can’t find a grocery store open on Sundays due to long-standing Catholic tradition? Tell me about it. Not sure whether to shake hands or hug? Me neither!

What’s even better is that many refugees are looking for a whole new life, family and faith. One of our friends, Hamed, had been questioning the Muslim faith for years before leaving his homeland, but was unable to legally look for answers outside of Islam. Once his plane hit the ground in Europe, he sought out a local pastor and decided to follow Christ within three hours of his arrival. To us, that’s incredible and portrays the ripe harvest among refugees.The guidance and hope Christ offers is something these now nationless people crave.

 

Many refugees are looking for a whole new life, family and faith.

Things become a bit more complicated concerning our Muslim immigrant friends, many of whom have been here for years if not their whole life. From the outside, it would seem they have attained the “better life” their parents or grandparents sought. They are surrounded by family, their worship community and their self-sustaining subeconomy. This large people group operates almost exclusively inside of their own cultural bubble and have for several generations.

However, it’s not difficult to see that the need for Christ is just as real inside this closed-off community. They face hardships such as prejudice, employment instability and lack the rights of the European citizens that surround them. They are forever in limbo, stranded between a home country most have never been to and a new land that will not fully accept them. Understandably, this creates an atmosphere of suspicion when it comes to outsiders. It takes much more effort on our part to gain the trust necessary to build sustainable relationships.

“Through Christ we can celebrate differences in language, culture and upbringing, while remaining united by his love.”

The task before us is overwhelming, especially given that the evangelical presence here is small with roughly three percent of the country’s population claiming to be Protestant. However, we are determined to share the good news of Christ to anyone who will listen — no matter how culturally confused we all are. We know that through Christ we can celebrate differences in language, culture and upbringing, while remaining united by his love.

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So, what is God doing here amidst the chaos? He is drawing his loved ones closer to him. He is redeeming long, hard journeys and jail-breaking those who are fleeing systematic, racial and religious oppression. He is allowing peace and joy to drift into lives that have seen only injustice and fear.

God is transforming individuals who are transforming their communities and awakening a spiritual hunger across the city. We hope that with God’s help his light will break through the cracks of inequality and neglect to reach our Muslim immigrant friends.

Don’t Miss it – Know Your Kids

by | Apr 29, 2016 | Blog, Just A Phase | 0 comments

The better you know your kids, the better you will be able to lead them.
But here’s a problem. Your kids keep changing, which means their issues keep changing.

Your kids are navigating an important journey from childhood to adulthood.

So remember:

You are not raising children.
You are raising adults.

As a parent, you have to resist the temptation to fix your child’s problems and learn instead to respond in a way that helps them grow. It starts with understanding how to stay alert to what is actually happening at every phase and learning how to read the signs.

Since every phase of a kid’s life has unique challenges, you should become aware of the kind of questions that are asked at each phase.

Preschoolers tend to ask “AM I” questions.

Am I safe?
Am I okay?
Am I able?

Elementary-age kids tend to ask “DO I” questions.

Do I have your attention?
Do I have what it takes?
Do I have any friends?

As they move toward middle school, there is a shift in the nature of a child’s questions. They become more philosophical and relational.

Middle school students tend to ask questions like…

Who do I like?
Who am I?
Where do I belong?

During high school, the questions continue to shift from concrete to abstract, from black and white to various shades of gray.

Why should I believe?
How can I matter?
What will I do?

At the center of each question is the pronoun “I.” That’s because each of these questions reflects a part of a child’s developing identity. How you respond to these questions can shape who your son or daughter becomes. So don’t miss it.

This is an excerpt from Don’t Miss it by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy.

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Reggie Joiner

Reggie is founder and CEO of Orange. He has co-written two parenting books, “Playing for Keeps” and “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity” as well as other leadership books including “Lead Small” and “Think Orange”. Reggie lives in Georgia with his wife, Debbie, and has four grown children, Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah.

55plus

55+ Ministry: spanning four plus decades in ages, this group of men and women use their time and gifts for the Lord by:

Being an example and mentor to others; providing support & encouragement as well as making and being friends to those that God places in their everyday lives.

Below is a list of programs we offer along with a brief description. If you are interested in participating or serving in one or more of them, please feel out the contact form and we will pass on your information to the team leader.

Chase Headley

Chase Headley, San Diego Padres


By | FCA.ORG


Chase Headley
Hometown: Fountain, Colo.
Born: May 9, 1984
Height/Weight: 6-2/220 lbs.
Family: Wife – Casey
Son – Colt
College:
University of the Pacific and
University of Tennessee
MLB Debut: June 15, 2007
Notes:
• 2012 National League
Silver Slugger
• 2012 Gold Glove Award
(Third Base)
• Led the National League with
115 RBIs in 2012

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Like every little leaguer, I had dreams of playing in the big leagues one day. And, just like every other kid, I also dreamed of going pro in every sport and competition imaginable. Whether it was baseball, football, basketball, soccer, skiing, hunting or fishing, my older brother and I were doing it and competing to be the best while growing up in Fountain, Colo.

Aside from family church attendance on Christmas and Easter, Christianity wasn’t really part of my childhood. During my freshman year of high school, one of my best friends invited me to an FCA meeting. God had a plan for me to be there that night. He worked on my heart during the message about salvation, and it was right there, at FCA, that I prayed to accept Christ into my life and begin a relationship with Him.

That decision forever changed the rest of my life. I continued to attend FCA meetings, and the relationships I formed with people—both friends and teachers who were believers—poured into my faith and were big contributors to my spiritual growth.

At the same time, I was excelling on the baseball field so much that I had the chance to play in college. I moved west to California for my first season of college ball at Pacific before transferring to Tennessee my sophomore year.

I endured a couple of injuries during my college career, which proved to be spiritual gut-checks for me because I’d never had baseball taken away from me. I really struggled with it, realizing that my identity was completely wrapped up in athletics. God used my injuries to shape me and teach me that there are a lot of things in life that are more important than what happens on the baseball field—first and foremost, developing my relationship with Him.

My injuries healed, and I was blessed to be selected in the second round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. I was so close to realizing my childhood dream of playing in the big leagues, but I first had to endure the grind of the minor leagues. Those years were tough—not making very much money and long bus trips at all hours of the night. I relied heavily on my faith and commitment to the Lord to help me make good decisions and be a light for Him to my teammates during my time in the minors.

All the hard work was worth it, though, when I made my Major League debut on June 15, 2007. My first stint with the Padres lasted only several days, but it made me even more driven to get back. After starting in the minors in 2008, I was called up several months into the season and have been playing in the big leagues ever since.

In 2012, I had the best season of my career and was extremely humbled and blessed to be able to win both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. I felt God’s favor upon me during the entire season, keeping me healthy and productive for the team.

Looking back on my life and career, I know that God is the only the reason I am where I am today. He has chosen to put me here to share His love with others. I understand I have a huge platform as a professional athlete, so I try to use it to share my faith through my actions, how I handle adversity on the field, and in the words I speak to the media and fans.

I have also come to understand how important it is to be surrounded by men who can be trusted to hold one another accountable and be there for one another through the difficult times that will inevitably occur. We enjoy being able to gather together and challenge one another in God’s Word at Sunday chapels and Bible studies both at home and on the road.

I’m extremely blessed to be able to play this game. I enjoy every moment I’m on the field because I know it won’t last forever. When the day comes that I have to step away from the game, I hope people say I made an impact for the Lord by playing the game with passion and that I was bold in my witness for Him.

-FCA-

Originally Published: May 2013

Photos courtesy of San Diego Padres



About the Author

FCA

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives… one heart at a time. Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.

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