Summary: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. found a cause worth dying for. It was the cause of Christ in taking a stand for justice and liberty for all.

This message is an edited version of a sermon given at Loving God Fellowship. Copyright © 2008 Loving God Fellowship, Inc. . You are encouraged to share this message with those you know that are hungry for God’s Word.

A Cause Worth Dying For

By Rev. Greg Johnson

Matthew 5:10-12

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was on Tuesday of this week, January 15th. Tomorrow, we will celebrate his life as a national holiday. I’ve been pumped this week as I’ve been thinking about what this one person did to make a difference in our world. Was he persecuted? Yes, it even cost him his life.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. This year in our city, Jon Strauhal, a young man that is a law student at Willamette University, organized a 5k run and one mile walk in honor of Dr. King. I ran the 5k yesterday, My wife Becky and daughter Kelsey did the one mile walk and Salem Campus LGFer Gina Harris did the run. We all are wearing our race tee shirts today. I thanked Jon after the race for what he had done in organizing this first year event and I told him that Loving God Fellowship would commit to sponsoring the event next year and in the years ahead as this becomes an annual event for our city. And hopefully, we will have more LGFers participating next year. Who knows, through it, God may rise up another Martin Luther King that will make a difference in our day. We need more Martin Luther King’s in our day. We need more Jon Strauhal’s in our day.

Our city’s paper, The Statesman Journal, had the following story that was published Friday, January 18, 2008:

Area honors Dr. King’s vision

Equal rights still a work in progress, director says


January 18, 2008

His impassioned speech changed the course of the nation, with 250,000 Americans -- black and white -- on hand to demand equal rights for people of color and an end to legal segregation.

Nearly 45 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, area residents prepare to honor King’s life and work with a number of events.

At A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, volunteers and staff on Monday will draw on King’s dream of a united, multiracial nation by teaching children about Oregon’s diverse cultures.

"It’s important to teach children to accept people for who they are and for them to know that all cultures are worthy of respect," said Kim Baldwin, the museum’s assistant director.

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day set aside by the federal government to mark King’s birthday.

King was born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, and his name became synonymous with the history of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

King advocated nonviolence, and some of his most noteworthy battles were the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham campaign and the Selma March in Alabama, and the march on Washington, D.C.

His targets primarily were the underlying poverty, unemployment, lack of education and blocked avenues of economic opportunity confronting people of color.

King was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.

That same day, then-U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., spearheaded legislation for a national holiday to commemorate the slain civil-rights leader.

After intense resistance from extreme conservatives and several Southern states, the bill languished until it was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan.

First celebrated in 1986, the holiday is held on the third Monday in January.

Films, music, inspirational speakers and volunteer projects are on tap this weekend and throughout next week in celebration of King’s life.

As part of the celebration, Willamette University’s Multicultural Institute on Saturday will host "Stride Toward Freedom," a 5K run/walk event.

"Some people say we’ve come a long way since Dr. King’s fight for equal rights," said Gordy Toyama, the institute’s director. "But it’s really still a work in progress."

When I read the story, I immediately went to the paper’s online website to post a comment on the story. I was a bit taken back at what I saw. Listen to the very first comment posted by “marcus97301”:

I sincerely hope that the Hispanic community will not take this opportunity to cry and whine about illegal alien criminals deserving special rights. This has been done before, and it is an insult to the people that fought for civil rights of legitimate Americans- as opposed to foreign national cheating borderhoppers. Illegals have rights in their own countries. I really do suggest they return to those countries ASAP! Peace.

The next comment posted by “The Voice” says:

I wonder if there will be any special music, dance, parades, school education classes or anything to honor the two Presidents that USED to be honored at this time of year: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

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