Monthly Archives: August 2012

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The ABC’s of God

Hello, My Name is…Lord
by Cara Hanson

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When my five year old daughter recently tested my authority, I suggested that perhaps we should all start wearing nametags. “My nametag will say ‘ THE MOMMY,'” I quipped. “What do you think yours will say?” Expecting her to simply answer, “Grace,” I was shocked when she responded with, “NOT the Mommy?” Her answer transported me back a couple of thousand years, where I imagined Jesus, frustrated by his disciples and possibly even inventing the very first nametags.

DISCIPLE 1: John the Baptist wants to know if you’re the Messiah or if we should be expecting someone else.

JESUS: Okay, that’s it. We’re going to start wearing nametags around here.

DISCIPLE 2: What’s a nametag?

JESUS: (writing furiously) Maybe this will help. (Holds up sign)…

Now, what do you think your nametag should read?

DISCIPLE 1: “Hello, my name is NOT the Lord”?


Even when the disciples finally got the “Lord” part right, Jesus had to review the organizational chart with them. He asked them a bone-chilling question that is relevant to us all even today: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). We all need to keep our Lord’s position of authority clear in our hearts and lives.

What exactly does it mean to call Jesus our “Lord”? He expects obedience and respect in the same way that I do from my children. Fortunately for us, a voice doesn’t come down from heaven saying, “I’m going to give you ’til the count of three” or “Don’t even make me come down there.” What he asks us to do is clearly delineated in the Bible, in some cases conveniently stated in red letters. We do not have the luxury of picking our favorite verses and forgetting about the less favorable ones. When we call him “Lord,” we need to surrender our lives to the Master and allow him to lead us.

Shortly after our son Luke turned four, he was playing in a large laundry basket. He was pretending to be driving in his “car,” and I used the opportunity to reprove him for his earlier mischievous behavior. He leaned over the side of the basket, pushed an imaginary button, and made a squeaking noise. “What was that?” I asked. “I just put up my car window,” he answered. Had he been older, I could have reminded him that he was riding in a “convertible,” but even at such a tender age, he just wanted to shut out the hierarchy. He may call me “Mommy,” but he doesn’t always want to think about what that title means. I could suddenly understand why Jesus doesn’t want us to roll up the window when he has something to say.

The organizational chart of a company shows the structure of relationships between employees. While there are many different types of “org. charts,” one fact remains true: no one likes to be at the bottom. Sure, the chart seems impressive if you’re on the top, looking like the superior giant head supported by more lines than an interstate road map. But what if you’re the guy on the bottom? What if you’re the speck at the bottom of the page that looks more like the unfortunate stain of a squished flea?

The Apostle Paul had a healthy attitude toward his place in the world. He recognized his position at the bottom of the chart, describing himself and the other apostles as “the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world” (1 Cor. 4:13b). Wow, they must have been lining up for that job! “No experience required; must resemble gunk on bottom of shoe.” Even with such an ignoble job description, Paul was able to set the standard for Christian behavior at the workplace.

1 Corinthians 4:11-13a
(11) To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
(12) We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
(13) when we are slandered, we answer kindly…

Throughout my career in the work force, I have been at both ends of the spectrum, from temp to executive and in between. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I realize that none of those positions affected my relationship with my Lord and my Father. What really matters is the real hierarchy that God set forth in His word:

1 Corinthians 15:27 and 28
(27) For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
(28) When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

The chart form of this statement is rather humbling:

One great example of why we do not try to tamper with this chart is contained in the gospel of Mark. James and John came to Jesus and tried to swing a sweetheart deal for their positions in the Kingdom. They started with, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask” (John 10:35b). Now, if my kids ever said this to me, I would suffer whiplash from my head snapping back with incredulous laughter so loud it would startle the Tang out of the astronauts at the space station. But Jesus gave a loving and patient response:

Mark 10:36-40
(36) “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
(37) They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
(38) “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
(39) “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,
(40) but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

This was Jesus’ polite way of informing them that no, they cannot alter the org. chart. The other disciples were upset at this unbelievable attempt to ascend the corporate Kingdom ladder behind their backs.

Mark 10:41-45
(41) When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
(42) Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
(43) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
(44) and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
(45) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

If anyone deserved the right to flaunt his position, it was our Lord. He didn’t wear a nametag that read:

Instead, Jesus gave the greatest example of how to be a servant-leader. He even washed his disciples’ feet to demonstrate how to serve one another out of love (John 13:1-17). Today’s culture promotes selfishness and pride, even if it means having to hurt other people to “succeed.” When we study the teachings of Jesus, we see that he condemned such arrogance and narcissism. The Apostle Paul gave us specific instructions for emulating our Lord:

Philippians 2:3-11
(3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
(4) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(5) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
(6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
(7) but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!
(9) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
(10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
(11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We need to submit to our Master and do what he commanded. There should be no contradiction in our lives between whom we serve and what we do. Also, Jesus shouldn’t have to wear a nametag at the Kingdom. Practically speaking, we won’t even be able to see it if we are on our knees bowing in reverence to him. Oh, and let’s not make him take out the org. chart…let’s just wear it on our hearts.




Program providing protection for young immigrants launched

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Wed August 15, 2012

Immigrants’ high hopes on Obama policy

  • The program gives those who arrived in U.S. as undocumented children the right to work
  • It does not “provide lawful status” or a path to citizenship, authorities say
  • Forms, already online, can be filed as early as Wednesday
  • Program elicits strong political reactions — praise from Latinos and criticism from GOP

(CNN) — Hundreds of thousands of people who entered the United States as children but without documentation can apply — beginning Wednesday — to remain in and work in the country without fear of deportation for at least two years.

“I’ve found the form!” screamed Maria, a young Chilean at a Latino community center in New York, as she leaped from her seat.

She was with a number of other undocumented immigrants meeting there to get legal advice in anticipation of the release of the form, which authorities surprisingly posted a day before they had said they would.

The form, titled “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” was dated August 15, 2012, and bore the expiration date of February 28, 2013.

College junior applies for legal status

FAIR pres: Obama rewrote immigration law

Gutierrez on ‘deferred action’ program

Maria started filling it out immediately, telling a reporter she was too afraid to divulge her last name or details of her childhood trek to the United States, but would feel differently once the form had been processed and her status ensured.

The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday that applicants who have not committed major crimes can apply without fear of deportation.

“This afternoon, USCIS makes available online the forms and instructions for individuals who will request deferred action for childhood arrivals,” Director Alejandro Mayorkas said in a conference call.

The announcement comes two months after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that people who arrived in the United States as children may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.

The program, dubbed Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created in June under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama.

As many as 1.7 million youths may qualify for the program, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

When he signed the order, Obama said the changes will make immigration policy “more fair, more efficient and more just.”

Undocumented students in their own words

The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy elicited praise from Latino leaders, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty — a negative buzzword among conservatives — and usurps congressional authority.

“This is not amnesty,” Obama said. “This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure.”

Mayorkas reiterated Tuesday that deferred action does not provide lawful status or a shortcut to permanent residency or citizenship.

The $465 application fee will fund the administrative costs of the program, including a biometric check and the issuance of a secure work-authorization document, he said.

Each request will be examined for possible fraud, he added.

In a suburb north of Atlanta, David and Daniel Hernandez listened carefully as their lawyer detailed the program.

They arrived in the United States on tourist visas some 15 years ago, when David was 3 years old and Daniel was 1.

Their mother, Salima Hernandez, said they wanted a better future and education for her kids. She said she didn’t worry about their legal status until she learned that they would not be able to continue their education without a government ID or Social Security number.

David, now a senior in high school, and Daniel, a freshman, say they were not aware of their status until a couple of years ago, when they began to make plans for college.

“I felt that after high school I didn’t have anywhere to go,” David said. “I felt that if it was not something coming up soon I would end up back in Mexico.”

He said he remains concerned about revealing his status to federal authorities by filling out the application, but says it’s worth any risk. “Whatever comes in the future is better than three months ago,” he said.

 Ana and Juana Ramirez were brought to the U.S. by their parents without documentation when they were toddlers.
Ana and Juana Ramirez were brought to the U.S. by their parents without documentation when they were toddlers.

Ana Ramirez said her parents brought her and her sister Juana to the United States without any documentation many years ago when they were just toddlers.

The two sisters went to school and grew up in the United States. They consider themselves U.S. citizens. Only, they’re not.

They are filling out the paperwork for the deferred action program.

I didn’t have a choice to come here,” Juana Ramirez said.

Added her sister: “I’m scared to get my hopes up.”

Lawyer Charles Kuck said people like the Hernandez brothers and the Ramirez sisters are not cutting in line — they just want a chance at life without fear of deportation.

“They are getting two things out of this program: one, a promise they wont be deported for two years and, two, a work permit,” Kuck said. “In exchange, the federal government is getting a million or more kids coming forward, give their biographical information and that of their whole family and give their pictures.”

He urged anyone applying to do so with the help of a lawyer.

“The government has said quite clearly: there will be no appeals, there will be no motions to reopen,” he said. “You get one bite at this apple.”

In announcing the program, Obama noted that children of illegal immigrants “study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag. It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.”

The president declared that the policy change is “the right thing to do.”

Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military, can get a two-year deferral from deportation and apply for work permits.

Participants must prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.

The change is part of a department effort to target resources at illegal immigrants who pose a greater threat, such as criminals and those trying to enter the country now, Napolitano said.

The move addresses a concern of the Latino community and includes some of the provisions of a Democratic proposal called the DREAM Act that failed to win enough Republican support to gain congressional approval.

Obama has been criticized by Latino leaders for an overall increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants in recent years. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number in the agency’s history.

Obama and Napolitano have called for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would put into law similar steps for children of illegal immigrants to continue living and working in the country.

Republicans who blocked Democratic efforts to change immigration laws have condemned the move, with some calling it an improper maneuver to skirt congressional opposition.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a GOP foe of Democratic proposals on immigration, threatened in June to sue to stop Obama “from implementing his unconstitutional and unlawful policy.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has called the decision “a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership,” while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has called the change a “decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants.”

Others predicted the move will tighten an already poor job market for young Americans.

However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who sponsored the DREAM Act, said it “will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home.”

Presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in June that the issue needs more substantive action than an executive order, which can be replaced by a subsequent president.

As president, Romney said, he would seek to provide “certainty and clarity for people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the actions of their parents.”

Latinos make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, and the Latino vote is considered a crucial bloc for the November presidential election.

A spokeswoman for a major Latino group, the National Council of La Raza, hailed the administration’s move.

“In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is the right step for the administration to take at this time,” NCLR spokeswoman Laura Vazquez said in June.


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