Feb. 27 is a day to bring awareness to the slavery of the 27 million men, women and children trapped in slavery all over the world, including our own country.
Freedom fighters will be displaying a red “X” on their hand to spread the word that slavery is very much still alive today and they won’t stand for it.
The End it Movement is less than a week after The Justice Conference 2014, which took place in Los Angeles. This year marked the fourth year of the conference, which serves to educate, inspire and connect those who share a concern for the vulnerable and oppressed.
The conference involves the gathering of teachers, leaders, artists, pastors and advocates who share what God has placed on their hearts to do in the justice movement.
I have had the good fortune to be a part of this powerful conference in person the last two years, and this year I had the opportunity to hear from the inspiring speakers through a simulcast. I think Lynne Hybels said it best when she closed out the conference stating the conference continues to improve every year. This year was no exception. WOW. The main speakers included a stacked lineup of those who work to bring justice, because it’s what God calls us to do.
Sometimes the messages were heart wrenching, sometimes they were funny, sometimes they made you angry, and always the messages were inspiring. We can make a difference when we give our life away to help others.
I wanted to use this post to share what spoke to me last weekend from the two-day conference. Here are some highlights:
Ken Wytsma (conference founder) — justice is not a fad. You have to become less and others have to become more.
Donald Miller (author) — in reference to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll befriending gang members, Carroll doesn’t have the “I can’t change something” mentality. Turn your pain into a beautiful project to try to change the wold; not to succeed, but to find meaning.
Nicole Baker Fulgham — standing up for educational equity with The Expectations Project. Why does education matter? A: it’s a pathway out of poverty. The church is needed to raise awareness, take action in their local community and advocate.
Rick McKinley (pastor) — in a passion for justice you can become arrogant. How will you sustain the passion for people? If you believe you’re God’s beloved, He will let love extend from you to others and that will change the world.
(This was just from the first night!)
Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative) — we have to be hopeful to create justice. Sometimes it’s easier to be faithful than hopeful. Hopefulness has to be front and center. Become knowledgeable and be fueled by the conviction in your heart.
Lynne Hybels, Sami Awad, Marcel Serubungo, Mae Cannon — on peace and reconciliation in war-torn areas of the world. When you have the love of Jesus in your heart, you’re achieving greater results than through hatred and anger in your heart. Peacemaking transforms us more than anything else. Do. Something. Now.
Justin Dillon (Made in a Free World) — freedom is meant to be shared. If there is no way to get involved, create a way. Make a world we want to live in. “We’re shoulding all over everybody. Don’t be an activist, be a solutionist. Don’t say ‘should,’ say ‘let’s go!'”
Rich Stearns (World Vision) — it wasn’t the rich man’s fault Lazarus was poor, but it’s our responsibility to do something about it. Who is your Lazarus?
Eugene Cho (pastor) — How do we engage the work of justice? Are we open to the idea that justice must do us? Place yourself into their narrative to catch a glimpse of who they are; what they face. Do your work with integrity, do it well and with love.
Gabriel Salguero (Latino Evangelical Coalition) — justice work shouldn’t just be an idea. Do what you can and leave the rest to God and the people in the struggle. Love wins, no matter what.
Bernice King (daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) — organize your strength into compelling power. We have to saturate this society with the idea of non-violence. It works because it’s based on the word of God. Non-violence is a way of life for courageous people.
Bethany Hoang (International Justice Mission) — Jesus has rescued us so we can be rescuers for Him.
Lynne Hybels (author) — accept the beauty of this world as a gift from God that can fill us. Go out and fight for that beauty. God, how do you want me to fight for that beauty today?
This doesn’t even cover everybody, or any of the talented artists who performed! If you want to know more about the speakers or the conference, I encourage you to visit thejusticeconference.com.
The 2015 location has yet to be decided, but I’m secretly rooting for Seattle!
“But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24