Lord Jesus, Save us from Racism!

Another unarmed black man, with raised hands, was fatally shot by a white police officer.

I thought white police officers ought to protect and serve its citizens?  Or is it only to protect and serve those who look like them and people of color they will treat as criminals?

This is troubling. This disturbing.

According to the twin sister of the unarmed black man, with hands raised, who was fatally shot down by a white cop,

“We’re truly devastated. The entire family is devastated… That big bad dude was a father, that big bad dude was a son, that big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College just wanting to make us all proud, that big bad dude loved God, that big bad dude was in church singing with all of his flaws every week.”

I will continue to use this blog to blog against the evil of racism in this nation.  It is a gospel issue.  READ Galatians 2:11-14.

My white brothers and sisters, I see your passion against things like abortion.  Rightfully so!  But why not the same passion against racism, where people of color are being treated less than human?

You have the power to act!  Why stand idly by and continue to do nothing, while innocent black men are being gunned down on the streets by white police officers?

According to the Apostle Paul, to be a racist is to go against the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To be a racist is “not acting in line with the gospel of truth” (Gal. 2:14).  I know you know this.  Then why not act against this oppression and discrimination against people of color?

It’s time for the white American church to do something.  And if she continues to display indifference and apathy toward these evil actions of white police officers, she will one day have to answer for this indifference and apathy.

In the end, however, I’m confidence that Jesus will right all wrongs–for he’s a God of justice (Isaiah 9:7).

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Why so much Hate?

I see it. I feel it. I sense it.

There’s so much hate around us. Why?

James, the half-brother of Jesus, says this kind of life of hate, envy, and selfish ambition is not the life of the wise and the understanding.

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (3:14-16).

We should not be proud of any kind of life that is govern by hatred, envy, and selfish ambition.  For example, the US is reeling over racial issues and tensions.  Whatever ideology or “wisdom” that says one race is superior to another, according to James, “does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.

For example, when we discriminate against others because of their dress James says that we have become “judges with evil thoughts” (2:4).

We overcome this hatred, envy, and selfish ambition, according to James, with the wisdom from above–a wisdom that is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:17-18).

Let’s all be peacemakers, not haters.

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A Smile and a Few Kind Words

I’ve been in full-time Christian ministry since age 22.  When it comes to socializing, I’m borderline–not your extrovert and not your introvert (though I tend to be more introverted).

So at times, it’s a challenge to smile at a stranger and even say the familiar kind words of “Have a blessed day.”

Yesterday, however, I overcame that introverted side of me with a smile and the few kinds words, “Have a blessed day.”

The stranger’s response: “Thanks. I really needed that.”

I walked away smiling and saying to myself, “I should do this more often. You never know how a smile and a few kind words can lift someone or make a difference in their life.

Rather than the hate, distrust, and violence we continue to witness–whether in our communities or on social media.

It’s modeling Ephesians 4:29-32.

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Reading J.C. Ryle on the Gospels

In my preparation to preach from John 4 and Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well, I decided to read J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on John’s Gospel. Though first published in 1896, I found Ryle’s insights quite refreshing.

We talk about these dead authors and their substance with so much admiration–and rightfully so.  They didn’t have the myriad of detractors that we have today.  They spent more time in the Word and prayer.  Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels are clearly the fruit of such a contemplative and reflective life in the Word.  I highly commend this work.

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Jesus teaches Us how to Love One Another

Last Sunday, 28 August, I preached from John 15:1-11, where Jesus says  I’m the True Vine.  Verse 11 reads, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (New Living Translation).

But for us to overflow with the joy of Jesus, we must abide in Jesus, abide in his word and abide in his love (vv.4, 7, 9).

Before returning to the subject of love in his True Vine discourse, in the Upper Room, Jesus had already instructed the Eleven (Judas had already to departed) to love one another–thus proving to a watching world that they are truly his (John 13:34-35).

We must remember one crucial point here.  At this juncture, Jesus has the glory of the cross in mind (John 13:31).  So these are among his last words to those in whom he had poured into his life.

So why does Jesus return to the subject of love once again?  I believe it is because we humans are self-centered and selfish.  We must constantly be reminded to serve others selflessly.

Selfishness is our problem.

And putting the interests of others before our own is love.  This is what Jesus did in saving us (John 3:16; John 15:13).  This is what Jesus did in leaving the glories of heaven for the shame and humiliation of Calvary.

It’s what we must continue to do before a watching world to effect lasting and relevant change.  Love is the only way.

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