I hope that you are having a beautiful day. I wanted to include some thoughts in our email today.
Read: Hebrews 4-6
In Hebrews 4-6, there is a lot of great encouragement. In these chapters, are several well-known verses. Before we dive into this, I wanted to let you know what I’m trying to think through as a pastor. Our world is filled with complex issues at the moment. From Covid-19 to racial tensions. I want to let you know how I’m processing some of this. Now, I do not claim to be an expert in these fields.
Covid-19. While much of the media attention has wained as of late. Covid-19 is real and out there. I’ve personally experienced friends that have dealt with this disease lately. I’ve heard from other pastors in small towns that have lost church members to this disease. Also, I am getting my information from medical doctors that I know and trust. One of which is a lung doctor in the ICU. For many, this issue has turned into a political argument, and I wish this were not so. The virus is real, and it can be transferred, we don’t know all the information. For the time being, my heart is set on keeping my people safe. I want us to gather and worship together. I feel like we’ve found our sweet spot at the moment, though it’s not the best. Continue to pray as we learn more information and adjust.
Racial Tensions. Our country is in the middle of considerable debate. No matter the side you come down on, a discussion is key. I do not know anyone that would disagree that the death of George Floyd is horrendous. I pray for that family, that has to continually live out his death every time they see the video or every protest. It is a constant reminder to them the soul that has departed. The riots are also horrendous. They are not justified to burn down buildings and loot stores. But as a church, we must think through these discussions. So far, I’ve seen many reactions from churches. Knee jerk reactions to these activities are never wise. Here are some things that I do believe that we must think through and pray through.
A. Racism is a sin. The idea that another race is less than another is not of the Lord. That is demonic. We must never tolerate racism in our own lives. We are all created in the image of God; we all are valuable. I genuinely do not believe that anyone disagrees with that in our church.
B. Slavery, Jim Crow, and racism of the past existed. There are some that try to argue these things did not happen. These things did happen, and because of them, there are issues caused by them still around today. The Southern Baptist Convention was born out of Slavery, though to be clear, the Southern Baptist Convention has long repented of that sin. Good things can come from awful circumstances. It does not do anyone any good to deny the hard realities of the past.
C. Evaluation of our own hearts. Here is where the big question comes about. Are you examining your own soul? Are you repenting of your sin tendencies? I am seeking to understand others in our community better. What is it that they face and struggle with? What I will not do is excuse sin. As a believer in Christ, if you are white, black, green, or yellow, sin is sin. My role is to help someone repent of their sin and turn to Jesus. If a white brother or black comes to me with an open Bible, pointing out my sin from God’s Word, I pray that I receive it with grace and repentance. Right now, we hear a lot of information and accusations. I’ve heard from some brothers and sisters using scripture that I must evaluate my heart with. I pray that before you dismiss anyone before you run to excuses, listen, and evaluate your heart. I pray, do not make knee jerk reactions or public statements; this is not wise.
Friends, America is changing. I believe some for the better, others not so much. One thing I do know, we have a high priest that is making petitions on our behalf. I pray that you would join me in praying. Pray through our own sinful tendencies, pray through our congregational sins, pray through what we do to repent, and move forward. We are still called to advance the Gospel. We are still called to be a great light and hope. Will we be a place for the hopeless. Thank you for your prayers and patience towards me. I pray that this encourages you as I pray through these things.