When we were all making 2020 New Year’s Resolutions, I bet none of us said “I’m going to wear a protective face covering more often,” or “I’m going to revisit race relations even though we should have a good grasp on it by now,” or “I’m going to tear down all kinds of statues, even of Abraham Lincoln,” or “Let’s do away with the police this year,” or “I’m going to listen to the one-sided media all day long even though I don’t agree with it’s philosophical and political underpinnings,” or “I’m going to have the fortitude and discipline to do my workout at home even if all the gyms close for some random reason.”
I guess 2020 has blindsided us all. As July 4th weekend approaches, I have truly been grieving in one form or another because of one major issue. Some people are trying to basically tell me, or brainwash me into believing, that my America is not what it is. On the other hand, our forefathers and veterans have died to give people in America the freedom of speech to disparage our country.
July 4th in 2020
Granted, there have always been tensions between races, peoples from different cultures, and even between Christians with different creeds. I’m sorry, but that’s not my experience. I have lived in 7 states, in both rural areas and vast metros, but mainly in metros. Yet I have witnessed the people of God gather under the roof of more than one sanctuary, as ethnically diverse as Heaven will be, loving and caring for one another, doing life together, and looking forward to everlasting life together.
I’m not going to venture into endless stories about my background. We all have our stories to tell, which may also include unnecessary suffering. Nonetheless, we have far more power as Christians to participate in the greater Story, a Story of unity and Pentecost, the Story of all Creation’s renewal.
I haven’t posted an article like this since my series on Michigan’s Dilemma. This article is far less political, I hope. I’ve hand-selected posts from the last couple months in light of July4th.
I pray we all remember what our great nation truly stands for. No, I often weep now, hoping we remember.
The materials in this article ought to offer you an hour or two of encouragement. Take your time. Take a break if you need to. However, you may want to come back to these materials.
We need to hear the voices of Christians who are speaking over us.
May God have mercy on us and restore our Land!
I made this post available only to my list of connections who were attending services in Santa Rosa at that time. FYI: I posted this before the civil unrest that we’re witnessing today. Family Bible Church was 1 of the 3 most diverse congregations I’ve ever been part of. As we entered worship, I would often think that this is a microcosm of what Heaven will be like. I still believe the power to reach across cultural barriers is part of the Missio Dei.
I just realized why I’ve been playing this song so much recently. It reminds me of back in the day at Family Bible Church – Santa Rosa PCG. You just don’t know unless you were there. You. Just. Don’t. Know. I’d put that praise team up against any mega church I’ve ever stepped foot in. When this guy starts prophesying . . . oh . . . Take Me Back! Thinking of Rose Town tonight!
Our Bishop reminds us that Pentecost “accelerates missional movement.” In other words Pentecost offers power to cross any divide to spread the Gospel.
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Remember that Pentecost is not just about experiencing spiritual language but about engaging in spiritual power. Spiritual language impacts your communication with God, but spiritual power impacts your world. Both are important but one accelerates missional movement. Tomorrow night, I will be joining all four campuses of CT Church in Houston, TX for a Holy Spirit baptism service. Pray with me that many will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This video serves a stark reminder that one of the purposes of Pentecost is to empower the people of God to reach across any cultural, and even linguistic, barrier. Because of Pentecost the Gospel has reached, and continues to reach, the ends of the Earth.
Pentecost Sunday this weekend!
This is an amazing video by the alumni and chapel teams of my alma mater.
I’m really not sure why some of us can’t see what we are feeding on. Our source of input is often aggravating the issue more than resolving it.
There are two people from my high school who posted amazing pieces on June 7th. I know Pastor Aaron from high school and Sam’s Club where we worked in college.
Politicians? Protestors? Or Pastors? Who do you want to listen to?
Pastor Aaron leads a multi-site congregation in Indy that reaches tens of thousands.
Pastor Kenny started a church in Harlem 2 years ago that already runs 400. Pastor Aaron’s congregation was the first sponsor of the Harlem church.
They may not be part of the Classic Pentecostalism circle, but they maintain that Pentecost is still the blue print for race relations.
I’ve also tracked the trajectory of Dr. Brian William’s career since high school. His simple note from Karl Barth strikes at the heart of the issue. Who is my neighbor? Haven’t we heard that question somewhere before? For those who cannot read his writing, he simply says:
Meaning of life?
Collecting books? | No, read them!
Reading them? | No, think about!
Thinking about? | No, do something for God and for your neighbor!
Indeed . . . if our mayors were policing the streets at night, running the night, it’s obvious we would not be having these night-mayors. The words of a 6 year old. I’m still not quite sure what he was dreaming about.
I just spent the afternoon reading for this Sunday, which will be the day after July 4th. I once heard a worship director say this is an old tired song, but I was reminded of it today. It may be old and tired, and our Flag may be called “Ole Glory,” but I’ll NEVER be ashamed of her . . . or this song . . . or the USA. Enjoy the 4th! May God have mercy on us and restore our land.
Closing thought for July 4th
About a month ago, another high school buddy Aaron Simons reposted this on LinkedIn. I couldn’t embed it, but I still think it’s a good way to conclude this article. In case you can’t read the caption, Derek Boyd says:
Last night rioters took the flag from American legion post in La Mesa and burned it. This morning my brother Cory Boyd decided to go down to the post, climb the pole himself to replace the rope and raise a new flag. My brother is not a veteran, he’s just a proud American!
This is the 1st of a 3-part brief series about July 4th, 2020. Click on the links below to view the other 2 articles.