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The Peace Pulpit

Everything is a gift from God. Be thankful, and you will be joyful

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I think it's possible to be a little bit frustrated when we first hear the message from St. Paul this morning: "Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!" See, be filled with joy. Most of us probably have discovered that being joyful isn't something you can suddenly be by sort of pushing a button. You know, if you're really discouraged and frustrated and upset and things are going badly, how do you suddenly be joyful?

We must understand what causes injustice and have the courage to change the world

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We've heard that parable many times, and I'm sure many times we've interpreted it for ourselves or heard someone explain it as a parable about receiving gifts from God -- talents, abilities -- and how important it is to use them. Not to waste them, not to let them be dormant, but to be energetic in using what God has given to us, using all our talents for good purposes so that we will hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Come enjoy the blessings of God's kingdom."

We must exercise our prophetic role, which can mean challenging our leaders

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And now, my brothers and sisters, this is just the beginning of Chapter 23, and as you can tell, it's a very harsh judgment on the part of Jesus against the religious leaders -- the scribes, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians -- all of them. And as you go through the chapter, it becomes even more critical and harsh.

Like Malala, we need to reach out and enter the kingdom of God

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You are aware, I'm sure, of the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded this past Friday. It was a joint award, two people got it, but most extraordinary, part of it, is the teenage girl from Pakistan -- 17 years old, the youngest Nobel laureate since the prize began to be given out in 1901. The paper wrote about her, and the article that I read, it started with, "Who is Malala [Yousafzai]?" And some of us may wonder that, but in this instance, it wasn't just trying to find out, out of curiosity, who Malala is.

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