7 Things I Love About Stay At Home Moms.

sanfran

The modern world with its tendency to classify sociological trends did something interesting. It birthed the title, “stay at home mom”. This describes a sociological shift that occurred in part to industrialization, the rising costs of living, and the potential for greater earnings, where more and more women began entering the workforce. The shift was so great that it needed to distinguish the difference between a “working mom and a stay at home mom”. The biggest myth however when using such descriptors is that a stay at home mom does not “work”.

I want to give a special shot out to the oldest vocation in the world. In fact it is only due to the lack of compensation that it is not the oldest profession in the world.

Let me go way back, back, back, back, in time. Back to the beginning of time. Back to the original command given to man. God himself in Genesis 1:28 states

And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This great command given to mankind could only be possible given the execution of this role and position; Mom.

The role of all mothers is not merely to usher new life into the world, a great feat on its own, but it is to train, nurture, instruct life enabling human flourishing. It is not just the birthing of the seed, but the tending and gardening of it to see that it realizes all the potential inside.

So here are 7 things I love about my wife and all stay at home moms.

You do it for the love of kids.
When most of the world focuses on compensation, you focus on the love of the kids. This may not apply to all moms, because there are some husbands who due to their overprotectiveness, or insecurity force their wives to stay home.Regardless of the reason, a mom who stays at home is home benefits the kids. Kids need their mothers.Our world is so crazy in that kids spend more time at schools, sleeping, than with their parents. What is even more disappointing is that the stress to place our children in preschool or day care at 3 months old or even younger robs children of that precious time when they are oh so impressionable and need their moms.

Your job is hard
A stay at home mom particularly is a teacher, a chef, a taxidriver, an entertainer, an advocate, counselor, and maid. Your shift lasts much longer than 8-10 hours and you get no overtime. The only raises you see, are the amount of noise and the cost of expenses needed for the job.What can you say, you do it for the love of the kids.

You guys are sooooo important.
In an age where there is so much pressure to get ahead, or to reach the american dream, its nice to know that the time sacrificed to be with the kids is worth not getting there as fast. Even if its a year, or two that you have. That time is invaluable. Time goes so fast. Treasure the time with your kids. Even when you don’t feel like you are making as much a difference, trust me your kids appreciate the fact that they are with their mom.

I know its lonely out there
Its hard being the only adult in the room all day. Its hard not getting to have adult conversations, and knowing your husband is out working potentially with other woman who are made up, and dressed nice. Yet you are not alone. There are plenty of mothers in the same shoes.

Its not about the money, but use it wisely

Its still hard but its easier to be a mom when your husband is making really good money. Not all mom’s are on the same playing field, some have to make it work with less. Super Kudos to those mom’s who can feel the pinch but budget, and use coupons, who save and find resources to make it all work.  Remember you are investing in your kids, but also remember each husband has his own expectations about spending. Please do your best to stay within those lanes. For those moms who are the accountants and manage all the bills, here’s a special shout out. You guys rock! Special shout out to my wife who always finds ways to take care of us without breaking the bank.

Make sure you get your self time
I have a great wife who always is thinking of the kids or for my well being, at the expense of taking care of herself. I have to tell her its okay to go to the gym. The kids will survive. She needs to relieve the stress. I am happy when my wife goes out with her friends and has a ladies night out. I know my wife loves when we are out and the kids are home and we have the time with just us. My biggest concern however for moms who are always giving is that soon you can begin running on fumes. Don’t forget about developing yourself. Never stop growing. Find ways to utilize your strengths, plan for what you want to do when your kids age, and you can go back to work. Be a mentor and help new moms. Read books. Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to get all dressed up , made up.

You are fulfilling the Great Commission

This is for all those believers who are mothers.Just as God wanted to populate the earth, he also wants to populate heaven. Do you know God counts the empty seats in heaven. Do you know once that last seat is filled, its time to wrap it up. Please disciple your kids. Please pray with them, read the bible with them, and imitate humility, mercy, forgiveness and love not just for them but for God and your husband. You are also their first pastor. Moms you are shepherds. Feed your sheep, not just material food but spiritual food as well. Moms you guys can impact and set a strong foundation for faith for your children while they are young. God honors that, in fact that was always his plan.Remember you are helping to unlock all the potential that is in your child.

 

 

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How Do I Tell My Son He’s Black

papasonsit

I have two mixed sons. They are beautiful. One is still an infant the older just started school. They are Black and Salvadoran part Cuban. My oldest knows he is black because I have told him. But I haven’t told him. He is still to young to understand the weight of that word, the subliminal meanings, the connotations, the burden, and the blessing of that word. Black.   So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

I have taught him that old song by James brown, I’m black and I’m proud, but that song in a vacuum without context can not reveal the pride and against from which it was composed.

I ask this question in light of being dazed  from reading Between the World and Me. In it the author writes to his own son to prepare him to understand what it means to be black.

So how do I tell my son about his blackness?

This question will always be personal, and yet always collective. My blackness was gifted to me by God, and then customized by my father and mother. Different shades, different stories collided and merged forming one new hue,  a new chapter, a new page to the narrative of being black in America.

My father grew up in the inner city on the West Coast, my mother in the south. They were raised a different era, an era before mine, one where Jim Crow was still in tow, where one could be beaten simply by looking a white man in the eye while walking the street. My uncle told us of a time where they got into a fight in Texas on vacation because one of the white youth called them niggers. Overt racism wasn’t limited to the south. Even on the West Coast blacks weren’t allowed in certain beaches and to go into certain parts of town. Things were worse back then. My parents were alive to witness MLK ‘s assassination, Malcolm X’s assassination. Kennedy’s Assassination. When we watch films like Selma or the Butler those are not just past footage, but memories. Memories of times where nigger, was more prevalent than nigga, when schools had not yet been integrated. My parents witnessed the fruits of the civil rights era, but also became parents during the beginnings of crack and gang eras. Their generation and the generation before has probably seen more change than any before, but they’ve also seen how much has not changed.

How do I tell my son that daddy’s grandma’s grandma was the daughter of a slave? I mean what other race in America has that legacy. When you see images of victims of  police brutality, you see the face of a black man. When you see the victims of inner city gun violence; its a black man.

Thankfully my son was alive to witness the face of a president; a black man.

I have isolated and shielded my son from much of the world. He is still young. His school has a decent number of mixed children,  but is mostly white and white hispanic and hardly any all black. Most of the churches he has been a part of where either multicultural, or mostly white. There’s a story for that, but that’s for a different time.

Soon he will know and discover that for many to be black means people will lower expectations except when it comes to athleticism, or music.

If he gets into a good college people will by default ask whether it was through affirmative action.

If he gets upset, people will assume he has an anger problem.

If he’s walking down the street at night with a hoodie, people will feel more threatened.

If he talks proper they will assume he is trying to be white.

If he can’t dance, they will ask why not?

If he doesn’t get an opportunity that he was qualified for he will always have to wonder if it was because of his lack of talent, or due to his blackness?

He will be a minority in many places, and see things from a different lense.

Fortunately for my sons some of these they will experience, others they will not simply for the fact that they are mixed. In fact the darker or blacker one is, the more intensely they will have to deal with these questions.

Despite all of these stereotypes, like scripture says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That when God made his blackness, he called it good. In fact Adam was most likely a black man. As most scientists claim the first man and women came from Africa. I will tell my son of the early kings, of the inventors, the Dubois, the Douglasses, the Equiano’s and Whitely’s, the Washingtons and of Simon of Cyrene, of Jethro, and others.

I will tell my son that there’s a beauty in our blackness. A special strength. A special burden. That God has gifted us with a special song for the world to hear. A song for every mountain he brought us over, through every trial he’s seen us through. A special hallelujah from a faith that has been tested in scourgings, lynchings and beatings. That despite the worst intentions to destroy this race, and destroy our faith. Our enemies have failed. This is our legacy. That in the darkest of nights, we stood fast and have held tight to the master’s hand. That even in the shadow of death, our God has always been with us.We have a testimony, and if the last shall be first and the first shall be last, trust me there will be a lot of dark skinned people sitting close to Jesus at that banquet in heaven.

I will tell my son that he will have tribulation for three things; knowing Jesus and being black & latino. Yet to be of good cheer because Christ over came the world.

So how do I tell my son of his blackness? With a grave face and a smile, with a stern voice and a song. Say it loud. I’m black and I’m proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Tribute To My Wife

castle

You deserve a castle

fit with golden spears

You deserve a parade

The kids and I would stand and cheer

We’d wait and scream and wave

And then you would  appear

ridin on puffy clouds

pure beauty in the mirror

how can such beauty be

Did God outdo himself?

Did he stay up all night

and rack every book on his shelf?

Did he review the sun’s golden rays

did he copy niagara’s mist?

and translate that into bronzen clay

and grant earth this  precious gift

you are a wonder of the world

but I kept you for my own

a combination of power, love

intellect hewn from skin to bone

You deserve the world

and diamond crested rings

you desire words and precious time

over abundance of things

So what I have I give to you

I offer these words

to cherish and to lavish you

at dawn and dusk to serve

You deserve my love,

my eyes my mouth and my heart

my attention from the rising moon

and where the suns ascension starts

you deserve a song of praise

sung by heaven’s best

  Accept these true and humble words

from your husbands chest.

You’ve made me rich

the envy of men

is daily on display

You deserve this and  so much more

Happy Valentines Day

Written by your Husband Vday 2016

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When your faith is weak

Here’s a podcast about how to respond when our faith is under attack.

 

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Dreams dont die on Christmas

zack

I’m excited about Christmas, not because of the gifts, trees and shopping (which I hate) but because its a time of miracles. One of the first miracles we find in the gospels is the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth. They are the N.T Abraham and Sarah.  Its a story of faith, in the midst of the impossible. Check out the podcast.

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Where is the Love? Donald Trump and the Christian response to Muslims

refugees

I was wondering whether I should do a podcast or blog. I haven’t blogged in a while, but I have been sitting on this for a couple of days. I just can’t wrap my mind around this simple fact. Messaging matters. You can say something with good intentions, but if your tone is off, your words are off, or your delivery lacking, your message will be affected. Who knows what Trump’s intentions were, or are, but one thing is clear; it got a lot of people riled up.

So what does that have to do with us as Christians. Maybe my head has been in the sand, which it could be, but I don’t feel I have heard or read enough how we as Christians in America should respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. I haven’t heard a message that counteracts the message of fear and division being preached by certain politicians.

Despite his huge error to mitigate between terrorists and moderate muslims, I think Trump is correct in his evaluation that we need a screening system that works as well as a means to processing and deterring terrorists from entering. That is just common sense. I will not deal with the politics of immigration nor that of military intervention in Syria.  I want to skip past that however and focus on two things: In light of recent events how do we react and engage the muslim community that is currently here? and how do we engage the refugees who will eventually arrive?

There is a verse that comes to mind that says the following

14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view

What should we be compelled to do?

Matthew 25:35-36 tells up partially

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Those who know the parable understand that we as believers are challenged to feed, take in, and care for the weak among us. We are to take them in. But let me go back to the verse in 2 Corinthians about the love of Christ compelling us. The love of Christ compels us to share Christ with the world. The central part of sharing is communicating the gospel of Christ, but we cannot completely divorce the message of the gospel without  a tangible display of  gospel love. The love of Christ compels me to feed the hungry. Christ’s love compels me to visit the sick, it compels me to shelter the homeless, and to welcome the stranger.  Gospel love is communicated when we serve those who may not like us or even believe in our message. Jesus came and gave his life to serve even those who would reject him. Jesus’ death for us while we were yet sinners, and his enemies shows us how love conquers sin; even the sins of fear and hate.

Going back to messaging. We as Christians must say that even when we have doubts,  fears and insecurities that the love of Christ compels us to serve and love any refugee but not just the muslim refugees, but our muslim neighbors as well.

In an age where division, racism, and bigotry are increasing at alarming rates, we as the Church should with biblical conviction state our commitment to communicating the truth that is in Christ Jesus. The love of Christ compels me to engage my muslim neighbor, to dialogue, to share; not the Jesus of the Koran, but the risen Christ indwelling his church.

Muslims need Jesus too.  When Paul says we regard no one from a worldly point of view, he is hinting that our view of the world and of muslims, atheists, agnostics, buddhists etc should all be colored by the fact that they are people who need Jesus. We must show love and communicate that message in love. It will not always be accepted, sometimes it will be rejected, scorned, mocked and even vilified. Yet our mission still remains. Paul can understand this point clearly because he once was a terrorist who had someone risk their life to share the gospel with him. Where would we be without Ananias? Yet because Ananias was compelled by the love of Christ and dared visit a man who was blinded by zeal and hatred, the ancient world and the world today has been changed.

I pray that we believers in America, Europe, and the rest of the world take advantage of the opportunity to show the Light of the world, to those living under a veil of darkness. Let us not be paralyzed by fear, but with wisdom and boldness let us declare and proclaim the hope, freedom, and rest that is only found in Christ Jesus.

 

 

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Straight Out of Egypt

The connection between terrorism and post-christian society. How God uses challenges to communicate his purpose. God is preparing you for your destiny.

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The sin of missing Church: Stop making excuses and find God’s plan for you

One of the signs that  the United States has drifted from its christian roots is declining church attendance. In fact, in many cases there are plenty of people who feel comfortable calling themselves Christian and yet attend church less than 10 times a year. It amazes me, to see people who claim to know God, or claim to be disciples separate themselves from the local church. I know that there are various factors that keep people from attending a local church or worshipping on Sunday, or Saturday; however for most people they simply want to be free of having to attend a specific church. For many people their refusal to regularly attend church is simply, sin. It is a sin to not attend church regularly when a healthy church is reasonably accessible.

Scripture is replete with evidence that worship should be done in a community setting. When God called Abraham, he just didn’t call Abraham alone, he called his family also. When God saved his people from Egypt, he didn’t just save Moses, he saved a community, he implemented a leadership structure, and a system of discipline to preserve and cultivate holiness and dedication. Except in rare cases where believers were forced into isolation due to persecution, the idea of a lone believer by cholce was extremely rare. In fact you find that worship within the community was a condition of being in the community. Exodus 31:14, Leviticus 17:8-9, Numbers 9:13, Numbers 15:22-31. Even Jesus hints of the importance of being in the faith community, and submitting to its laws. Those who reject the authority and structure of the community are considered the same as unbelievers.  Matthew 18:15-17.

One of the reasons that people failed to put their trust in Jesus was due to the social pressure of being excluded from the local community because of the pressure that certain synagogue rulers were placing on them. Ironically, what Jesus was beginning to do was to separate to himself a new community; one that believed The Word over tradition.

There will be times when you have to leave a place of worship due to the lack of solid gospel centered teaching. Sometimes you may have to leave your church due to false doctrine. Many cults have dangerous views regarding the deity of Christ. If you are attending a Kingdom Hall or Mormon church you may want to flee even if that means leaving your community. Jesus often invited those who were rejected by their traditional communities to follow him because their communities did not view him correctly. However, even when leaving due to doctrinal differences often when he calls you to leave a church, it is for the purposes of finding a new community of faith. It is incumbent on a believer to actively seek and pray for God to identify other believers who hold similar convictions.

The problem however with some believers is that they walk away from good biblically sound churches over secondary or tertiary issues. We are not to be spiritual snobs, but we are to seek to edify each other in the Lord.

The biggest command in the Bible is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our strength  and all of our mind. Often when we people fail to attend church they fail to use that time even if it is at home to focus their energy and strength on serving him.

I understand that many people stop attending church due to abuse or hurt in the past by their churches, or their pastors. I understand that God will give you a time to heal and rest, but healing and rest does not come through not attending church at all. Sometimes you can attend a new church and then get frightened by things that are similar to a previous church. That is natural reaction, but make sure you investigate before you immerse yourself in a new place. Continue to listen to the word, continue to pray, and continue to find brothers and or sisters who will help you in the process.

Here are 5 things that occur when you do not attend church regularly.

1. When you fail to attend church, you reject God’s plan for your spiritual development

Ephesians 4 tells us that God gifted the church for the development of his people. Failure to attend church is a rejection of God’s training program for you. When you regularly fail to fellowship with other believers in community you communicate that your plans are better or more important than God’s plan for you. In fact when you regularly miss church you break the first four commandments and expose yourself to the enemy.

2. When you fail to attend church you rob God and the church of your service, times, money and gifts.

The Bible asks will a man rob God. Every weekend millions rob God of his rightful worship, of his money, and of his joy in seeing his children unite. You rob God of his ability to use you. God has called us to good works, and many of those works are done through a local church.

3. When you fail to attend a local church regularly you reject the spiritual leaders God has placed to instruct you in his Word.

Sometimes when you are a parent you leave your older siblings in charge. God has given us care takers and when we fail to submit to their biblical authority, we in turn reject God. I use the word “biblical” because there are many pastors who abuse their authority, or use their own word instead of scripture. However when our leaders are operating under biblical mandates it is our duty to honor and submit to them as God has charged them to shepherd you.

4. When you fail to attend church regularly you reject the mandate in Hebrews 10:25 and will fall away

25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Even in the early church there were people who for various reasons had stopped fellowshipping.  Yet the author states that with the return of Christ in view we should be more motivated to assemble together in worship.  Later on he even insinuates that those same people who miss church are living in willful sin and in danger of falling away. In many communities church attendance is the lifeblood for spiritual health. Darkness is so pervasive and weighty, that worshipping with a community is the only way for spiritual survival. Believers would not dare miss communal worship, as they knew they could fall away due to the sheer spiritual attack.

5.When you fail to attend church regularly you dim the light of God and strengthen Satan’s grip on your community.

The Church is the barracks. It is the local assembly where God uses his leaders to implement their local assignments. When the soldiers fail to receive their assignments, the enemy benefits. Satan is running amok in our country, because God’s people have stopped listening and have no idea how to take back territory from the enemy.

5 things to do if  you are churchless.

1. Make sure that even if you do not attend a local church you are actively reading the scriptures and doing family worship

2. Pray Pray Pray.

3. Research and investigate the local churches in your area

4. Find at least one other believer who can pray for you and hold  you accountable.

5. Continue listening to sermons, continue sharing with someone what God is ministering to you and make a realistic list of what you expect out of a church, and compare that to biblical expectations.

I understand that some people due to health, lack of access to a church have challenges in attending church regularly. However for most people even, those with those issues; regular church attendance is critical for our spiritual health and survival. Just listening to a sermon, or even dropping in on Sunday is not enough. We need deep fellowship.  Acts 29 is a good site if you want to find healthy churches. Join a small group, join a prayer group. Email me if you need some help. I’m praying for you.

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The one thing ISIS got right

ISIS Al-Qaeda Militants Fighting Syrian Civil War

Its amazing to see the phenomenon known as IS or ISIS grow in the speed it has. From a relative unknown faction fighting in a civil war, the group has grown from a local unknown militia, to world wide terrorist group. Fueled by political and religious motivations, the group has been recruiting young, idealistic, frustrated, disenfranchised and confused youth by skillful propaganda. Ironically, its draw; the invitation to take on the wicked governments who are killing women, children and civilians has been the very thing that ISIS has itself turned into. Beheading christians and muslims from other sects is a norm for the organization.  Now with members  in the tens of thousands, the group has been making gains in Iraq, and in Syria, but is now being opposed by coalition forces in Iraq, and by other rebels in Syria.

There are a host of narratives that are intriguing about the religion, politics, and eschatology as it relates to ISIS and its intersection with Christianity but the one I want to address is this question.

What if Christianity was as successful at sending new missionaries to the front lines as ISIS?

There are many different hypothesis that experts are using to explain the growing numbers of recruits. Some call it the perfect storm of propaganda, idealism, disenchantment, adventure and opportunity. We are seeing young people leave their homes, with out any consideration of their future, their families, or even well being to fight what appears to be a glorious fight, against what is being painted as “an evil enemy”. These people with no military background are jumping to the front lines and willing to give up their lives for what they consider an honorable cause. We know that these recruits are falling for a bait and switch, and that the righteous cause that they thought they were joining is really more wicked and depraved than the governments they are opposed to.Yet something has to be said about the undertone, the undercurrent and the narrative to be apart of something more about building a kingdom that has caused so many young people to join.

The words of Jesus come to mind when I think about the willingness to give up everything.

25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Now, I know the phrase hate his own father, mother and wife will throw people off. Jesus is not telling his disciples to hate their families, because we know that Jesus’ main command is to love God and to love our neigbhors. What he is saying that we cannot let even the things we hold dear keep us from following Christ. In order to follow Christ, we must be prepared to leave the things we consider most precious to us, our family, and even our lives. These things may not always be necessary, but in the event that they do stand in the way Jesus says we should be prepared to give up everything. The invitation to carry the cross, is an invitation to death, its a call that says to follow Christ we must subordinate our dreams, desires, expectations, and plans and hopes for our lives for something greater. We are no to no longer focus on building our own kingdoms, but the kingdom of God. We must be ready to give our lives to following Christ and building his kingdom. My brothers and sisters in Egypt know this well, as many of them lost their lives to ISIS soldiers and recognized that this high cost of giving their lives was worth knowing and gaining Christ.

My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world,

We are invited to the greatest mission in the world. We are also fighting an enemy, a system, a corrupt kingdom with the greatest dictator of them all. He like Pharoah refuses to let his slaves go, and he is willing to fight tooth and nail, not only to prevent his citizens from leaving, but to reenslave those who have left his grasp. Our weapons however are not physical, they are spiritual.

for though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Our primary weapons are prayer, God’s word and disciplined lives of obedience. Their is an evil dictator that we cannot take down with AK47’s antitank weaponry, and bombs. The way we take him out is by our groups of militias (churches) praying , and preaching, and confronting the idealogies and false gods of this world, that are holding the world captive. We must discipline ourselves against sin, and make sure that we do not get carried away with the materialism, secularism, or racism that has imprisoned the world. We must love our enemies, and pray for them. To my brothers and sisters in Lybia, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, Russia, and China. Please continue to pray for those soldiers who may be killing your family. Pray that they may come to the light. Pray that they may know the one true savior, Jesus. For my brothers and sisters around the world, let us pray for patience and strength for our family who is being persecuted. Let us also pray for protection and that the forces such as ISIS may be stopped.

There are many things that ISIS errors on, but the one thing that it got right, is it knew it had to invite people into a bigger story, a larger narrative. We as believers must invite people into something bigger, something timeless, something eternal. Its about establishing the kingdom of God and joining in the work of spreading the gospel around the world.

The world is a volatile one, and will continue to be one until Christ comes. In the mean time we must recognize who the real enemy is. Yes there are corrupt government officials, but there is one even more corrupt pulling the strings. The god of this world is using these so called leaders as puppets. I am by no means saying that we should not seek political means to fight, but we should recognize that they can only do so much.

We need more laborers, we need more soldiers in this fight. We fight on our knees. Please join with me in praying that those in darkness may come to the light. Pray for more laborers. Pray for your brothers in the West who have been caught up in living for themselves, and pray that our Lord Jesus may come soon.

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The Great Divide: Why we have a segregated church in the US

lemuel

Its amazing how history repeats itself. Often when it does, its not just because we fail to learn our history, but often because we find ourselves trapped in the cycle of our human nature. Each generation is presented issues that will challenge their thinking, their visions of society, and that visions fidelity to the scriptures.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!

In Revelations 7:9-10 we have a beautiful vision of a church of all colors and languages worshiping together. On Sunday morning often we have a church of one race worshiping in seclusion. Why is there such a disparity between houses of worship? There are plenty of answers, but today I want to briefly give a historical answer in the case of the United States.

Before the great call to missions, the American church had a unique challenge. The challenge was what to do about slavery? This question however was not necessarily about freeing slaves, but actually whether to evangelize and preach to slaves. Ironically one of the rationalizations for slavery was for the christianizing of the African “heathen”yet, in practice you will find that for over 100 years there was no real sustained effort by mainline denominations to evangelize slaves. The Moravians did as early as the 1700’s but they were unique bunch in and of themselves.  However the first generations of slaves weren’t really systematically targeted till about the  late 1700’s.Think of how many generations were lost. Many owners and church goers faced a conflict of interest when it came down to preaching to slaves, How can we continue to abuse our slaves and then invite them to church with us? If we do preach to them, and they do become our brothers and Christ will that mean we have to treat them better? In fact there were laws in certain parts that stated no christian should be kept in slavery. Coincidentally, in places such as Virgina, they enacted laws that stated baptism does not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom. It was so much easier to abuse slaves if they weren’t considered souls who could be saved. In fact one of the justifications used to not minister to slaves is that they were beyond salvation, and were just mere property.

Freed blacks who had been baptized faced different challenges in regard to churches. Sometimes they were forced to sit outside the fellowship halls. Sometimes they were not admitted at all. Again one of the big challenges was if a freed black or slave becomes a member will they be equal to white members?

One of the early associations to attempt to evangelize slaves and freed blacks was The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In a letter stating the challenges and barriers towards ministering they state,

” The greatest obstruction is the masters themselves do not consider enough the obligation which lies upon them to have their slaves instructed.”

Another writer describing the state of Blacks writes in 1842

“It is a remarkable fact in the history of the Negroes in our country that their regular, systematic religious instruction has never received in  the churches at any time that general attention and effort whit  demanded and the people have consequently been left both in the free and in the slave states, in great numbers in moral darkness and destitution of the means of grace. “

Even when there were ministers, some times the ministers told the slaves that they should be happy to be enslaved. One freed man in detailing his experience with one of the “kind preachers” says the following:

“After he preached a sermon to us in which he urged from the Bible that it was the will of heaven from all eternity that we should be slaves, and our masters be our owners, many of us left him considering like the doubting disciple of old,’this is a hard saying: who can hear it?”

Imagine being told you were born to be a slave and that you would be a slave forever. Especially when your master is killing you, raping your sisters and mercilessly beating you.

There were some solid teachers, but they were few and far between. It wasn’t until America had a series of revivals that consideration of sending and training black preachers began. The Baptists and Methodist churches were some of the first churches to do so, yet the big question that each church had to answer was would black members be equal to white members?

The way the church washed their hand of the problem was eventually to allow and permit blacks to have their own churches. So as revivals spread across the nation, and as more blacks converted, rather than accept their black brethren as equals churches treated them as second class members, or in the event that there were black churches,  blacks were encouraged to attend those churches.

Black christians chose to worship with their own people as equals rather than being accepted as a lesser member, and so thus we have the set up for the division of churches. Eventually black churches would grow, and expand, and create their own denominations, but the legacy of racism is what caused the church separation. By the 1940’s blacks had been entrenched in their own churches, and it wasn’t until the pentecostal revivals that you would see more multicultural churches.

Lack of formal theological training also was a consequence of the separation. Many aspiring black ministers were not permitted entrance into white seminaries, and often faced additional challenges of funding. This would also shape the formation and development of ministers and teachers. This is a legacy that also endures today.

Though times have changed, the legacy of that division and theological elitism can still be seen. There’s a latent prejudice that can still be seen in churches today when they look and select potential ministers. It is rare to see in mainline white church to sit under a black pastor or minority leadership.

Despite our shortcomings, the Lord is still at work. There are faithful men of vision who have freed themselves of the blinders of the past and pursing the vision set forth by Christ of a glorious body of many nations. Let us continue to pray, not just here in America but around the world.

All Citations taken from Book The Negro Church: WED Du Bois.( A great book online in pdf form. Google it.)

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