Pastor always has his ‘passport’

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By Joe Gorman


The Rev. Kenneth M. Donaldson told an audience at the Good Friday breakfast service at the Central YMCA Branch he never goes anywhere without his passport.

And that passport is not a United States passport.

The Rev. Mr. Donaldson said his passport designates him a citizen of the kingdom of God. And not only himself, but all of us, were granted that passport because Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the cost of our sins.

“My spiritual passport identifies me as a spiritual ambassador of the kingdon of God and this place is not my home,” Mr. Donaldson said Friday. “We are kingdom citizens.”

Mr. Donaldson is the pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church on Youngstown’s East Side. Before he spoke, the church’s choir performed.

Quoting extensively from the Apostle Peter’s first and second letters, written to the Christians in Rome who were being persecuted by the Emperor Nero, Mr. Donaldson said we need to live as people who know they have that citizenship that God has given us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

He said Peter wrote that God chose us, which means he intended to pick mankind for salvation. Mr. Donaldson said salvation is not because of anything we can ever do, but it comes about because of the goodness of God.

“It wasn’t because you were worth saving or I was worth saving,” he said. “It’s because of his amazing grace.”

“When you respond to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, you have a passport to heaven,” Mr. Donaldson said. “You have royal blood.”

Peter also told those he wrote to they were part of a “holy nation,” just as we are, Mr. Donaldson said. In fact, Mr. Donaldson said the only one of God’s attributes we can strive to achieve – because God is perfect and humans are not – is the command to be holy, or to be set apart from others.

That means people who have passports from God must act like it, he said.

“There’s something wrong when you have a passport to heaven but you live like the world lives,” Mr. Donaldson said.

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