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The Integration of Oak Ridge ~ The Secret City

I almost quit. I didn’t think I could write the article. But it made the front page of the Friday print edition of the Oak Ridger newspaper under the city historian Mr. Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column.

The battle to write is fierce. I’ve cried my way through writing articles, written under the weight of discouragement and doubt, thought I’d never finish some pieces, and almost didn’t submit others. But several of the hardest pieces to write opened doors, won awards, and people blessed me when they shared my writing ministered to them. —Don’t quit.

We must each obey our call and trust God to enable and use us as He wills. (Remind me of that tomorrow, please.)

Created in 1942, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as the Secret City and the Atomic City, was one of the three major sites set up as part of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project. The scientists at the laboratory in the Secret City developed the materials to build the atomic bomb that ended WWII. But Oak Ridge has other stories. Twenty years after its inception, Black citizens, many of whom the government had brought in to build the laboratory and city, still lived under the oppressive culture and restrictions of Jim Crow segregation laws. 

This article is the first in a series Mr. Smith invited me to write for his column. (Thank you.) 🙂 The articles and the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s were first inspired by the stories of my father-in-law and his best friend. They will feature the accounts of many valiant souls with a message for today. 

“Beneath Dr. James Spicer’s charming drawl and calm demeanor lies a steely resolve, a…” Click HERE to read my article in the Oak Ridger newspaper: The Integration of Oak Ridge: A Unique Perspective

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Support for Veterans and a Centenarian Speaks

First Class Petty Officer Francis W. Preston, a 102-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, served in the Pacific during World War II. Fran shares his journey from sailing the war-torn seas to becoming a soul seeker. 

Domenick Lasorsa is the grateful son of a navy veteran with a heart to serve others, to give back. Domenick shares about support for military veterans and their families in this short, upbeat, informative video.

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How a Mail Carrier’s Mistake Saved Me from Suicide

Disappointment set in when there was no response, but I figured the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had thousands of correspondence to monitor a day and probably wouldn’t see mine.

“Lord, I just want some of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team to see my article and be blessed by what I said about Billy and their magazine.” I prayed when I tweeted the link to my 2018 blog post entitled What #BillyGraham Meant to Me in answer to a #HealthyFaith Chat question on Twitter. 

Several days later, I was stunned to receive the following message from BGEA’s Twitter account:

“Hi Rachael! I’m a website writer at Billy Graham. My team recently came across your incredible testimony involving Decision magazine, and we’d love to have an interview with you and write an article. Is that something you’d be willing to do?… — Lizzy Long”

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Michael Duncan ~ Author, Pastor, Master of the One-line Sermon

He calls himself “a sinner saved by grace. A pastor who has fought against dragons and won. A sojourner going from here to there with a story to tell.” I call him the master of the one-line sermon. Once again, I’m honored to host Pastor Duncan, husband, father, preacher, speaker, poet, musician, US Air Force Veteran, and author of the newly released book, For King and Crown: Conversations on the Christian Life. Don’t miss this video interview—it’s gold.

A disciplined life is born of effort, not excuses. — Pastor and author Michael Duncan

Think not yourself a Christian if you hate the righteousness God loves and love the sin He hates. — Pastor and author Michael Duncan

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#IfMyPeople ~ Battle for the Soul of a Nation

Four hundred years after pilgrim and American forefather Edward Winslow settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, his descendant returns to lead the charge to battle for the soul of our nation. 

Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow, former missionaries to Mexico, church planters, and founders of If My People New England and Hidden Manna Ministries from NH share about their upcoming adventure and the part you can play. They also cover the state of the Church and America, how to navigate these turbulent times, the power of prayer, and more in this video interview. (Welcome back, Pastor Greg and Suzanne.) 🙂

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Awake!

“I am weary. I’m tired of the fight! Must I engage in this one?” I inquired. “How did I even get here?”

“You don’t have to fight every battle,” a familiar voice said as they sidled up to me. 

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Peace in Pandemic & Pandemonium

My word of the year for 2021 came early again—last August. So you’d think I’d have posted this sooner, but that’s another story. 

“Okay, but God,” I said, “I don’t think I like the implications of that word.”

“Adapt.” He said

“Can You take that one back? May I have a different one? — Or perhaps You can add to it please, Lord?”

“Trust. Follow.” Jesus said.

Adapt doesn’t mean compromise truth, change the goal, or deviate from the message and call God gave us. But sometimes the route may require prayer and re-reckoning. We may need to adapt our sails to the change in wind. The only thing certain is uncertainty—that and God’s faithfulness.

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Shine or Whine

Sometimes I take God and His blessings for granted. Complaining comes more naturally than thankfulness to our fallen nature. 

Culture tends to extol self-gratification and self-promotion and chase materialism. The Bible calls Christians to amplify Jesus and serve others. If we focus on our lack, we can fail to see and experience the blessings we possess. Why live as paupers when God calls His children to partake of the richness of Christ?

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Remedy for the Malady

The Bible calls us to stand for righteousness, defend the defenseless, combat lies, and vehemently resist opposition that tries to stifle truth. We cannot afford to remain silent while some sanction sin. We must do what we’re able to thwart evil agendas that threaten freedom and seek to cease the advance of the Gospel message.

Wake up! Stand up and speak up, America, before you lose your freedom of speech, the right to raise your children according to your convictions—your parental rights, the right to defend your property and family, your privacy, and freedom of religion.

Some say it’s okay to take a snooze because an issue isn’t affecting them personally. But the Bible says it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. Some say they won’t vote because they don’t like either candidate. Many are quick to complain but slow to be part of the solution. 

Failure to choose is a choice. We either advance good or enable evil. 

First, they came for the socialists, but I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, but I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, but I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

 — Holocaust survivor Pastor Martin Niemöller

There are no perfect candidates, but we are blessed with the freedom and responsibility to vote for the ones that best align with our values. For those who are Christians, our values ought to line up with the Bible. 

Wake up, America!  Your prosperity has blinded you to your poverty. Wake up, Christian! You have become comfortable in your complacency.

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A Heart for the Harvest ~ Pastor Ron & Kathie Banet, Missionaries to South Africa

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce via video, Pastor Ron and Kathie Banet, missionaries to South Africa.  In this interview they share:

  • Pastor Banet’s journey from U.S. Marine to missionary and how it prepared him to pastor. 
  • Their conversion to Christianity 
  • Insights on raising up disciples 
  • Orchestrating ministries to train in skilled trades and to help the drug addicted
  • Life on the mission field 
  • The local response to their daughter and son-in-law’s interracial marriage and race relations in South Africa
  • Navigating COVID as a church 
  • Church planting and more

Pastor Banet and Kathie were sent out of The Potter’s House Church, Prescott Arizona in 2004. They pastor the Potter’s House Church in Eldorado Park, a suburb of Johannesburg near Soweto. The Potter’s House in Eldorado serves as a leadership and bible conference center for the region and has planted churches in South Africa and beyond. 

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