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Central Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL, used to be an all-White church. When the neighborhood changed as people moved away, the leaders decided to become more inclusive and reach out to their new ethnic neighbors. Today, despite some bumps along the way, the church thrives. It includes members of various races, ages, classes, and cultures. They took their cues from the Bible. The book of Acts shows how God broke down barriers of race, culture, class, and ethnicity. He did it to show that the Good News of Jesus Christ must penetrate all segments of society. One place is Acts chapter 10. Peter had that vision of a sheet filled with unclean animals and God telling him that what He cleans should not be called unclean. Peter was puzzled at first. But “the Holy Spirit said to him, ‘Three men have come looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don’t worry, for I have set them.’” Peter then left and went to the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius. There he told Cornelius and the waiting people about God’s plan to save all humanity, including them. Today, God calls us to reach out, accept, and love people of all ages, classes, ethnic groups, and cultures. He wants the church to be the showcase of His enormous grace.

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