We boarded the plane in Atlanta. My seat was several behind Laila.

Across the aisle from me was a young boy. Beside him was his sister just a little older.

The two children were so well behaved. The boy became nauseated with motion sickness. His sister was precious in taking care of him. Parents were further up in the plane. I talked with them and helped as best I could.

There was a brief time of silence. The girl looked at me and said: "Are you born again?"

"Well, yes I am, young lady," I responded, "and thank you for asking."

"I thought you were by the way you were acting," she said.

"And are you born again?" I asked her.

"I am," she said matter-of-factly.

When we landed in Santo Domingo the family gathered. A mother and father and seven children.

I complimented the parents on how well behaved the children were and shared about their daughter asking me if I was "born again."

The mother laughed and said: "Oh, she does it all the time, even with strangers. She is very bold."

I cherish the memory of a young teenager asking me if I know Jesus.

Our world has become so dulled by tolerance talk that we are supposed to say and do the things that culturally fit--never offending.  Persons doing, speaking or wearing clothes that represent a culture other than their own are considered by some to be racist, insensitive, crude and rude.

Apparently super-sensitive critics have not read the missionary story of William Cary, an Englishman, going to China, growing a ponytail in fashion of the culture, wearing Chinese clothes and evolving one of the most remarkable mission stories of history.

The Holy Spirit is able to guide us with wisdom into the mission fields of different cultures. With the kindness of Christ we are taught that developing relationships is essential to evangelism.

There is risk when we venture. Two persons or more developing a working relationship, friendship or even marriage is a process of give and take. But if love and respect are foundational then trust can grow. Trust gives credit to others. Our feelings become submissive to the greater desire to journey with others in relationships that make us precious to each other.

Home at Covenant a gentle thread of grace has woven us into a tapestry. Titles, positions, possessions, cultures, countries, colors...we are ONE. United. We follow Christ.

We make no pretense of being perfect. We hold dear scripture: "Love covers a multitude of sins (trespasses)", not as an excuse but as a motivation to build strong community.

Sensitivity to each other is rooted in a common belief of equality. The love of God is without prejudice. The Shepherd's heart of our Lord Jesus healed a Roman soldier's daughter, found a Samaritan woman to let her drink of water of life, and took his message to the home of a Publican (sinner).

The path ahead for us must be willfully chosen to value community. On church grounds, in classes, Life Groups, varied activities, worship and in fellowship we purpose to operate outside our comfort zone. We will stretch ourselves to value those who are not like us, do not look like us, do not dress like us, who have different customs, who like different clothes and foods, yet they are our brother and sister in Christ. Jesus loves them as much as He loves us.

This I pray that I may have the holy boldness of a young girl to ever challenge people to know my Jesus, be born again of the Spirit of God, and have wells of living water to eternally refresh their souls.

Much love---

Pastor Bare