How to Change the World Featured Image
Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekly Connect

In this blog post, Pastor Brian reflects on the turmoil in our country and what the Christian response should look like for New Journey.

Happy Monday New Journey,

This is the first of what I hope to be a weekly communication to keep you in the loop and provide a platform to share my heart with you. There will hopefully be other blog posts over time from other pastors and leaders, but for now this is what you can expect. You can subscribe but entering your email at the bottom of the website and you will receive an email whenever a new blog post is up. 

To begin service on Sunday (July 10, 2016) I felt compelled to discuss the recent state of our country. Below is that manuscript. It's a little unrefined, but I hope you come away with two things:

  1. We all have a part to play in diminishing the violence, hatred, racism, factionism, and fear. That part is to look into our own hearts and repent before the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, there are myriad ways of alleviating symptoms through political activism etc. but the only way to cure the core problem is to be born again.
  2. New Journey Community Church must be a safe place for all people. Everyone deserves a fresh start, not a cold stare. In fact, I believe if our church is functioning properly, we should seek out those not like us and welcome them more than people who are easy to love. This is the Jesus Way. This is the Kingdom Way. If you can't love those different than you and recognize that God has a special place in His heart for the down-and-out, the foreigner, and children... you're going to hate Heaven. :)

Manuscript from July 10, 2016

Well, Church, our nation is in turmoil right now. Racial tensions haven’t been this high since the 60s. Social media has allowed us to watch live as Philando Castile struggled to survive bullet wounds. A former member of our armed forces shot twelve police officers, killing five of them. I just read the Oval Office is interested in putting more federal control on local law enforcement. The future of our nation is desperately uncertain. I received a notice in the mail this week that our church insurance policy now covers terrorist attacks. The peace and safety of our communities seem to be crumbling beneath our feet.

It’s in this moment of realization, however, that the Good News of Jesus Christ shines ever brighter than before. You see, at the heart of fear, at the heart of racism, at the heart of “us” and “them”, and at the heart of hunger for power and control is sin, pride, and brokenness. As Christians, we do not believe that governmental policy, harsher prosecution, or even peace rallies are sufficient to affect the real problems of our society.

No, we believe that only by being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit of God can our hearts change. Only by getting on our knees and acknowledging our own part in the pain of the world and repenting of it as offense to God and others will we then receive the Good News that Jesus paid our debt, defeated death, and gave us His Spirit to sanctify us from the inside out. Just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, Scripture says we too are raised new (Romans 6:4).

We do believe one day Jesus will return to bring His Kingdom here--when Heaven and Earth will become one and there is no more tears and no more pain (Revelation 21:4). When we won’t be divided by race, history, tattoos, addictions, records, or how much money we make. When we will be united by one thing--having humbled ourselves and  washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14, 22:14).

So, my call to you in a time such as this is to repent of your own personal sin, to be made new, to follow the teachings of Jesus in loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you. I’m calling you to make good on your call to be salt in this world. Salt preserves and salt adds flavor. Do you? Do I?

And my goodness, if someone doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, they need to know! Pray for the opportunity! If we want to see our world change, don’t go hide in your home, go be extravagantly loving to those not like you. For in the Kingdom of God is great diversity and great unity. The Church is meant to be a place that is the as-close-as-you-can-get-preview of Heaven. That’s why I want our church to be a safe church for black people, for white people, for hispanics, those with mixed backgrounds, for recovering addicts, for recovering religious people, for poor folks, for rich folks.

Do you think we can do it? Do you think we can give people a taste of Heaven here, Church? And then go and leave our building and keep it up through the week? Do you think we can be part of the solution in our nation? I do.