One White Man’s Resolution regarding Racial Reconciliation in America

I had the honor of presenting my perspective on Racial Reconciliation at Bridgeway Community Church on Sunday, October 14th, 2018.  Listen to the entire presentation on YouTube HERE.  Or, on Facebook HERE.  Podcast download HERE.

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Racial Reconciliation from a White Man’s Perspective

I had the honor of presenting my perspective on Racial Reconciliation at Bridgeway Community Church on Sunday, October 14th, 2018.  Listen to the entire presentation on YouTube HERE.  Or, on Facebook HERE. Podcast download HERE.

I’ve shared a few thoughts and images from the presentation below, including my personal resolution.

I’m late to the party when it comes to this topic, humbly standing on the shoulders of my teachers: David Anderson, John Perkins, Craig Garriott, and Robert Gelinas.  I speak not as an Expert Witness, but only a Witness – offering my perspective.

Is there a problem?  We have a 250 year legacy of slavery from 1619-1865.  And, then a century of extreme mistreatment leading to the Civil Rights movement.  And, today we still have inequitable access to education, culture, justice, and income.

The problems are many, and not the thrust of this presentation… Let’s think solution.

Solutions are based on the principles of the Bible, here are some informative verses to support multiculturalism, equality, and reconciliation…

2 Corinthians 5:17–18 (NIV) 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” [= “to reestablish proper friendly interpersonal relations after these have been disrupted or broken”]  God broke down the walls, and we resurrected them… Not subtraction by reduction, but additional by enhancement and enrichment…  Better together…

Ephesians 2:14-16, 18 (NIV)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups [Jew/Gentile] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, [we are compatriots, better yet – family – we are better together – Enhances Life, Enriches, Broadens] 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 

Galatians 3:26–28 (NIV)

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Racial Reconciliation must include Confession.

Nehemiah 1:6 (NIV) “let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.”  Wait a minute! 605-445 BC. Nehemiah confessed the sins of his ancestors that occured 160 years earlier.  In America, we are only 153 years removed from slavery… – 1865-2018.  Moreover, what of the ongoing oppression AT LEAST through the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, and we’ve demonstrated that we STILL have inequities and differentiating favor and access today.  I wish to acknowledge and take responsibility for the favor I’ve been entitled to in America as a white man.

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Satisfaction – Matthew 5:6

Message Video

Message Audio

Slide3

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones, Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

 Slide1

I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m ridin’ ’round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signin’ that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl, who tells me
Baby, better come back maybe next week
Can’t you see I’m on a losing streak?
I can’t get no satisfaction, no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction

 

The world does not satisfy, only God can… If perfect Love is something we crave, life will teach us that it is not available apart from God…

 

Lookin’ for Love – Johnny Lee

lookin’ for love in all the wrong places,

Lookin’ for love in too many faces,

and I did ev’rything I could to get me though the night.

I turned to a stranger just like a friend.

I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places,

 

Apart from God, I am not satisfied.

Slide4

World Gets it… Are you satisfied, content, perfectly at peace?  Does your life have all of the purpose, meaning, and love you desire?

 

 

Intro/Pray – You’ve told us “blessed are, blessed are, blessed are…” we desire a blessed life, to be highly favored by YOU. We long to hear you say, “well done, good and faithful servant”  Teach us, Change us, Mold us.

 

Sermon on Mount – Beattitudes. 4th of 7 messages.  Quick summary and progression…

 

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah – Matthew 1

2 – Early Childhood

3 – John the Baptist – Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

 

         “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,

         ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,

         make straight paths for him.

3 – Baptism of Jesus

4 – Jesus is led by the Spirit and spends 40 days fasting in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil.

4 – Selects his team, His band of brothers, calling his first disciples to ‘follow me’.  He begins His public ministry of teaching and healing.

 Slide2

That gets us to Chapter 5.  Think for a moment of the evil in the world… In Jesus’ day… It is as if He suggests, For the moment, let us set aside the evil ‘out there.’ The question you should be asking is, ‘What shall we do about the evil in you?’ Dignity/Depravity

 

The Beatitudes – “He said:

 

      3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, empty of self

         for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

      4 Blessed are those who mourn, grieve over sin… dog/cat, depravity/dignity

         for they will be comforted.

      5 Blessed are the meek, full of Spirit [kindness, gentleness, self control]

         for they will inherit the earth. Now ready for direction, passions…

      6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

         for they will be filled.

 

 

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)  Read the verse, 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,   for they will be filled.

 

We have competing appetites, Eating bread before the meal… Have you ever had an appetite for a good meal but then ruined it by eating too much bread before the meal came? Here is why – we are hungry and thirsty people…

 

Sons of Korah… Exile… HEADING: TEV has “The Prayer of a Man in Exile”; other headings are: “Desire for God and his temple”; “Lament of a Levite in exile”…

 

likely that he had been exiled to Aram, Assyria, or Babylon and was in the hands of taunting captors.  Augustine, “thou hast made us for theyself oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds it’s rest in thee”

 

Psalm 42:1–3 (NIV)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, my God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food

day and night,

while people say to me all day long,

“Where is your God?”

 

      6 Blessed [highly favored by God] are those who hunger and thirst [strongly desire] for righteousness [doing what God requires, Micah 6:8; John 6:29],

         for they will be filled [satisfied, content – peace & joy +kindness, gentleness, self control; Eph 5:18].

 

 

John 6:29 (NIV)

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe [trust, confidence, unsuspecting – Prov 3:5] in the one he has sent.” Pursue Jesus – John 7

 

Hunger and thirst for righteousness. Hungering and thirsting are figures for longing after God, both in the Old Testament (Isa 55:1; Psa 42:2) and in the New Testament (John 4:13; 7:37; Rev 21:6; 22:17)

 

These people hunger and thirst, that they may be righteous – i.e., that they may wholly do God’s will from the heart.

 

The meaning of the figure ‘hunger and thirst’ is to seek something with all one’s heart, to desire it above all else. Most translations maintain the original figure of speech, but those that do away with it include TEV (“whose greatest desire is to do”)

 

“who long for God’s will to be done like people who are hungry and thirsty long for food and drink.” “who want more than anything else to do God’s will” or “who seek with all their heart to do God’s will.”

 

…a spiritual appetite, a continuing desire for personal righteousness

 

“God will give them what they desire” or “God will satisfy them completely.”

 

Ephesians 5:18 (NIV) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

 

Job 31:37 (ESV)   I would give him an account of all my steps;

like a prince I would approach him.

 

Again: Are you satisfied, content, perfectly at peace?  Does your life have all of the purpose, meaning, and love you desire?

 

Why not? 

 

Life is hard. And in some ways Dissatisfaction is Guaranteed –

  • John 16:33 ‘in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation
  • Romans 8:23 ESV ‘And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

 

It’s like we have 2 strikes against us.  World, Flesh, Devil fight against us having an abundant life.  Natural course is towards Dissatisfaction, default… Must proactively pursue something to gain satisfaction…

 

 

Does God meet your expectations?  Has He ever disappointed you?

 

 Slide5

 

What do you do when you lose your job? When your spouse betrays you? When you receive a life-threatening diagnosis? All of us deal with different difficult problems. What do you do with Disappointment with God.

 

 

o          Matt 11:2-3,6 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

 

John the Baptist, Blessed is he who is not offended by me. What do you do when God doesn’t meet your expectations? Disappointment with God. Trust means unsuspecting for Proverbs 3: 5. “God is too wise, too loving, too powerful…”

 

 

Have you ever experienced disappointment with God?

 

  • John the Baptist (Mat 11:2-11). Gene Edwards “The Prisoner in the Third Cell”

 

Amos 8:11–13 (NIV)

 

      11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,

         “when I will send a famine through the land—

         not a famine of food or a thirst for water,

         but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

      12 People will stagger from sea to sea

         and wander from north to east,

         searching for the word of the LORD,

         but they will not find it.

 

13 “In that day

 

         “the lovely young women and strong young men

         will faint because of thirst.

 

Ps 42, Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

 

      1 You, God, are my God,

         earnestly I seek you;

         I thirst for you,

         my whole being longs for you,

         in a dry and parched land

         where there is no water.

 

John 7:37–38 (NIV)

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 

 

The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated with certain festival rituals. One was a solemn procession each day from the temple to the Gihon Spring. A priest filled a gold pitcher with water while the choir sang Isaiah 12:3. Isaiah 12:3 (NLT)

 

3 With joy you will drink deeply

      from the fountain of salvation!  Even religious activity can keep us from Jesus… Climbing a Ladder, leaning against the wrong building [Paul’s Resume in Phil 3]

 

Isa 55:1 Come, all you who are thirsty,

         come to the waters;

         and you who have no money,

         come, buy and eat!

         Come, buy wine and milk

         without money and without cost.

      2 Why spend money on what is not bread,

         and your labor on what does not satisfy?

         Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,

         and you will delight in the richest of fare.

      3 Give ear and come to me;

         listen, that you may live.

Isaiah 55:7–8 (NIV)

      7 Let the wicked forsake their ways

         and the unrighteous their thoughts.

         Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,

         and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 

      8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

         neither are your ways my ways,”

           declares the LORD.

 

Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

      13 “My people have committed two sins:

         They have forsaken me,

         the spring of living water,

         and have dug their own cisterns,

         broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

 

 

Hosea 2:14–15 (NLT)

 

The LORD’s Love for Unfaithful Israel

14 “But then I will win her back once again.

I will lead her into the desert

and speak tenderly to her there.

15 I will return her vineyards to her

and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.

She will give herself to me there,

as she did long ago when she was young,

when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

 

  • The 2 sins of Judah – stop trusting God, trusting other things

                        Jeremiah 2: 1-28, v.13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

                        605 & 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar [Babylon]

            Broken Cisterns – one of the beautiful people, externals vs. internals [1 Sam 16:7]. Comfort Food – Valentine’s Day @ Iron Rooster

 

Cisterns only provide temporal satisfaction, and ultimately death [James 1:14–15 (NIV) 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

 

 

– struggle of old and new nature [tune into your new appetites]

Gal 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 

Reflection

 

  • John: What unmet expectations or demands may inhibit me from fully trusting God?

 

  • Remove that which blocks your passionate pursuit of God.  What Cisterns must I mark and abandon… [actually became prisons – don’t have self inflicted prisons]

 

  • How do I create a desire to do what God wants, to pursue Him?

 

    • See Him as the source of Life?  How? Read John
      • Bread of Life
      • Light of the World
      • Door/Gate
      • Good Shepherd
      • Resurrection and the Life
      • Way, Truth, Life
      • Vine
    • Embrace repentance. Repentance—the act of facing and confessing our sin—is the first step toward increasing our thirst for God. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt. 4:17) were some of Jesus’ first words recorded in the gospels. Ongoing – 1 John 1:9; First 3 Beattitudes
    • Pray the Psalms – all the while asking for passion/desire/hunger/thirst
      • My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. —63:1

 

      • My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. —84:2

 

      • My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. . . . My soul faints with longing for your salvation. —119:20,81

 

      • I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. —143:6

 

    • Tune in to your Passions/Longings for Love and Meaning, and have them met in Him.
    • Identify Broken Cisterns – leaving you unsatisfied and unhealthy. Mark [share, community] and Abandon them

 

Slide8

 

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)       6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

 

We are going to move into a time of response.  The Bible is not intended to make us only smarter, but to make us more like Jesus – whose food was to do the will of the Father.

 

 

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A Place for Women

I have had to grapple with my view of women in the church… I’ve needed to confront the mindset that I had swallowed being educated in conservative Christian schools and churches.  I have had to come to grips with the disservice that we have done to women for too long.

I’ve come around, have you?  I challenge us all to read from scholars that may provide alternate views on the role of women in the church.  Biblically defendable views.

As one now married to a minister, I want to fan the flame of giftedness that so many women are humbly waiting to offer the church.

“Many churches quick to teach submission are often slow to point out that women were also among the followers of Christ (Luke 8), that the first recorded word out of His resurrected mouth was “woman” (John 20:15) and that same woman was the first evangelist. Many churches wholly devoted to teaching the household codes are slow to also point out the numerous women with whom the Apostle Paul served and for whom he possessed obvious esteem.” – Beth Moore

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Leaders Beware…

Those with a platform need to beware of the inner life…

“His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.”
(2 Chronicles 26:15-16)

“And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.”
(Jeremiah 45:5)

Father,
Always grant me character
that is greater than my gifts
and humility
that is greater than my influence.
Amen.

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Sports lessons Translate to Life

Every athlete I have coached, and all of my children, have this quote memorized – as I memorized it in 1980 while a Cadet at West Point…

“Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other fields, on other days, will bear the fruit of victory.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur while Commandant of Cadets at The USMA, West Point.

I wanted them to know that sports were not just a way to have fun and get exercise – but were a platform for learning great principles of teamwork, discipline, sacrifice, humility, and tribulation.

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Jesus

Greatest man in history, had no servants, yet they called him Master. Had no degree, yet they called him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called him Healer. He had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.

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