Violating Jesus

william-wilberforce

33% of American women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime and very few will ever report it.

The brilliance of women is astounding and motivating.

The oppression of women has led to a deeply broken world.

It is very clear that in our day young girls and women who are experiencing sexual violence and slavery through sex trafficking qualify in the words of Jesus as “the least of these.”

Which means when we rescue these girls, we are rescuing Jesus.

It also means that if we allow the violation of these girls to continue, we are also violating Jesus.

True words if we believe what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

It seems obvious that if women were liberated from these atrocities that we would be following the mission of Jesus as broken hearts would be healed and captives would be set free.

Sex trafficking and all the darkness that goes with it is our holocaust.

Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)

Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)

The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)

A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)

Fewer than 100 beds are available in the United States for underage victims. (Health and Human Services)

One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)

An estimated 27 million people are held in slavery worldwide, meaning there are more slaves in the world than were taken from Africa during 300 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

More slaves are alive now than at any other time in history.

What will history say the church did about it? What will be our legacy?

We can change this.

And we can do this in our generation!

We have the resources.

Americans spent an all time high 53 billion dollars on their pets last year. I love my cat like most people do, but c’mon!

We have the talents to attack this problem both from the preventative side and the rescuing side.

But do we have the will?

A note to pastors and church leaders:

Your church cannot fight sex trafficking by putting an announcement about it in your bulletin or on you website.

Your church cannot fight sex trafficking by setting up a booth and having a once a year awareness campaign.

In order to do stop this atrocity, you must talk about it all the time.

We must convince followers of Jesus that we are ALL called to enter into the fray.

Pastor, your heart needs to break and you must lead the way by becoming an expert on this subject.

This should keep you up at night.

This will be difficult.

This will be messy.

This will be uncomfortable.

This will be hard.

This will be heart breaking.

But this will change you, and it will change your church.

This will be a new era of energy, purpose and blessing.

It will be scary and rewarding.

You will discover passionate gifted people at your church coming forward.

You will also lose people.

But the people you keep and the people you gain will be so generous you will never want to go back.

Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail which means the church is supposed to storm the gates of the hell of sex trafficking with justice, mercy, courage and humility.

We need an epidemic of churches storming the gates of hell and in order for this to happen pastors have to have the courage to tell their congregations to “Go to Hell” and pastors, you must go first!

May this be our legacy.

@CourageToBeYou @IJMHQ @half @kenburkey

A Prodigal’s Progress

ArtRembrandtSon2

“It’s too late for me” is my lifetime cry
“Second tries aren’t possible” screams out the lie
Bitterness feels good, a drug that fills
It’s an unnatural high that quickly kills

I’ve sanctioned my actions, sold out to compromise
Defrauded my mind, it’s made me unwise
I am wonderfully made, it’s called Amazing Grace
My life’s full of fear, it’s such a disgrace

Children should learn, the world needs their illumination
My focus on “I” has muted a powerful generation
More for the rich, more for the strong
Can I keep affording to be wrong?

Prophets redundant in their admonition
Promising pain and affliction
I use up my resources without permission
While missing the point of true religion

Self-indulgence, gluttony, greed, I easily meet
From the inner city down to Wall Street
Covet my neighbor, keeping track of what they own
My happiness is fragile, I don’t even know the Jones

Called to eternal reasons, called to bigger dreams
Called to deeper thinking, it’s harder than it seems
Obsessed with brief amusement, my aim is so small
Bombarded by shallow living, I’ve succumbed to the fall

I’m far more powerful than I believe
Truth is, if I walk in, scarcity must leave
Cynicism rules the day, it has strangled my soul
Stops me from changing, it has taken its toll

Parched soil, empty bellies leads to much heartache
Many won’t eat today, while my plate is too great
I’m not here to manipulate, to throw out guilt or coerce
But I’m missing opportunities that bless and don’t curse

In the words of Paul, “I don’t do what I should”
He goes on to say, “I’m not always good.”
In the words of James, “Your faith might be dead”
He goes on to say, “They’re not works if just said.”

I compromise with apathy, bragging I’m doing no harm
I do just enough, showing off my charlatan charm
Justice is calling, it’s a Kingdom mandate
My comfort zone is charity, I’m missing my fate

The message is simple, it’s clear and concrete
My directive is obvious, overt, not discreet
Hand over my life, it’s the power of surrender
It’s about loving the least of these and a heart that is tender

As Mother Teresa said, “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.’”