Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Heart Change for White Christians

Ezekiel 36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

In Montgomery, in Alabama and in our country, we still wrestle with race issues. People are still treated unjustly, they are targeted and profiled and we continue to not want to acknowledge that, as white Christians, that there is still a problem and it does exist in the Greater Montgomery area. This post is specifically for the white followers of Christ on this page.

ALL of us have the ability to be prejudiced. We do. Why? Because we are all sinful. BUT...the good news is that BECAUSE OF CHRIST, the sin of prejudice CAN be overcome. Those of us who are WHITE Christians need to be aware that because our skin is not DARK, we really have NO CLUE the full ramifications of the ongoing prejudice in our city, our state and our country. We can't say "I know how you feel". We don't and we are fooling ourselves if we think we do."

It is WRONG to make light of our black brothers and sisters concerns and pain as they see people weekly(sometimes daily)be shot or profiled. We don't know what it is like to fear that when your children go out of the house that they might be shot or profiled or the worse scenario, killed. We don't know. It is a lie to say we do.

So what do we do as White Followers of Christ?
We pray.
We ask the Lord for insight.
We ask the Lord to show us our prejudices.
We ask for forgiveness and we turn around from what we were doing(repent).. I John1:9
We go to our neighbors/friends/family and confess that we don't know what it truly feels like but that we are willing to stand beside them/walk beside them and do what we can do to change things which includes SPEAKING UP for what is wrong. That off the cuff joke, that added, my "black" friend, etc. Those are things we MUST change. Jesus would never tolerate that. We must change our language, our thoughts, our actions if we are to claim to be FOLLOWERS of CHRIST in this city. WE MUST BE DIFFERENT!

We have talked about "heart change" and the ongoing issues that are in the Greater Montgomery area. THIS is a way to have that HEART CHANGE in our own lives.

PRAY PRAY PRAY for our own hearts to be changed toward what is happening today and ask for ways to begin to build bridges not walls with our neighbor. 

From former pastor of McGehee Road Baptist, Greg Murks.
With another black man, Terence Crutcher, having been shot and killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma our Facebook feeds are once again alive with posts - people stating opinions that fall on different sides of what continues to be a tragic and complex issue in our society. Every time there is a shooting like this - either the shooting of policeman in the line of duty or the shooting of a black person by the police, lines and sides form. These same lines form every time a person makes a social statement about these things - the current issue being statements made during the playing of our National Anthem. With all this in mind, and my heart struggling to keep up, I have decided to make the following commitments:
* I commit to seek to hear and see both sides of the story and not simply hear or view these things through my predetermined lens (which is by definition, prejudging, hence, prejudice) - I do desire to see these things through the eyes of Jesus.
* I commit to not rush to judgment because of what I see reported by the media or posted on social media, especially if the information is from a source that is clearly slanted in support of a particular viewpoint.
* I commit to communicate and demonstrate love and value to persons of a different race, perhaps the simplest way being listening to their perspective (and not simply choosing people who I already know see things the way I do)
* I commit to not bury my head in the sand, which, quite frankly, tends to be the easy path, and to not pass judgment on those who protest in order to arouse people's attention.
* I commit to weep with those who weep - whether it be African American families who have lost loved ones, families of police who have died in the line of duty, or all who die a little on the inside because someone who represents them has died in senseless violence - I will not be dismissive of their pain.
* I commit to only take the side of Christ with a clear understanding that He has a greater purpose that transcends and overrules my personal agendas and perspectives.

Some of these commitments will not be easy to keep. Pray for me as I seek to keep these commitments as I will pray for you as you seek a similar path!
In Christ's love,

Monday, September 12, 2016

Telling a Better Story As Followers of Christ in Montgomery

PRAISE: We are rejoicing this week as a new Korean church plant has started  in Montgomery. Vaughn Forest Church is sharing space, FBC and others are walking beside them and WE need to join them in prayer as they seek to reach a people group here in Montgomery who has most of their material possessions taken care of and like many with their physical needs taken care, don't always seem to see their need for Jesus.
Pray for Montgomery Korean Community Church as they had their launch service this past Sunday. 

PRAISE: Also on Sunday, a group of believers got together at Common Ground Ministry and had some great conversation about tearing down walls and building bridges.
From Alan Cross:
What I saw tonight at the "From Walls to Bridges" forum was basic Christianity - people loving one another and endeavoring to hear one another, even when it is difficult. When our churches say they aren't ready for white-black dialogue, cooperation, worship, ministry, and they are in a place like Montgomery, they mean that they aren't ready for Jesus. THIS is what normal looks like when Jesus is at work. What happens (or doesn't happen) in many of our churches when we stay racially divided is subnormal and reflects a worldly perspective. Read Philippians 2:1-5. It is so clear. If you know Jesus even a little, you will love sacrificially. The desire is to get groups like this happening all over the city. #tellabetterstory.

Pray for followers of Christ in our city. Pray that we will all seek to build bridges in our communities and not walls. 

PRAISE: We continue to follow up with after the Mixtec Outreach with visits and Bible Studies.
Keep praying for this unreached, unengaged people group to understand the gospel and follow Christ fully. 

A lot is happening in our city for the good....let us all be willing willing to seek the Lord this week and  #tellabetterstory.

 1 Chronicles 16:24 "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples".