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Pray With Us

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By: Joel Polk

This past Sunday was very special for our church family. In both services, we gathered in groups to pray for how we believe God is leading us. We focused on five things that we are asking God for as a church:

1) To Be Sacrificially Diverse: Revelation 7:9-10
2) To Intentionally Multiply: Matthew 28:18-20
3) To Be Involved In Doing Justice: Micah 6:8
4) To Be Theologically Healthy: 1 Timothy 4:16
5) Spirit-Filled Revival: Ephesians 5:15-21

We want you to continue to pray with us over the coming weeks and months for these things. Please use these prayer points and the accompanying Scripture to focus your time with God.

1) Sacrificially Diverse

After this, I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

Revelation 7:9-10

Prayer Points

1) Help us see racial prejudice in ourselves and repent.

2) Help us see racial injustice in our city and act.

3) Prepare us to sacrifice to make our church diverse and unified in Christ.

2) Intentionally Multiply

18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Prayer Points

1) Help me make disciples in my neighborhood and friend-group.

2) Help me make disciples in my workplace, campus, and classroom.

3) Help me make disciples in my church.

3) Doing Justice

Mankind, he has told each of you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Prayer Points

1) Open our eyes to see injustice in our city and our hearts to care about it.

2) Show us what more we can do to help current justice efforts in our city: Bradley Academy, Journey Home, Portico, Greenhouse Ministries, etc.

3) Give us a clear direction and faith to serve the marginalized.

4) Theologically Healthy

Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16

Prayer Points

1) Help us repent of our indifference toward your Scripture.

2) Make us unafraid to read the Scripture, ask questions, and engage our doubts.

3) Use this church, our community groups, our elders, and each other to help us believe right things about you, God.

5) Spirit-Filled Revival

15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Prayer Points

1) Will you show us how we are quenching your Spirit with our sin and move us to repent?

2) Will you make us sensitive to your Spirit?

3) Will you bring Spirit-filled revival in our church and our city?

Posted by Joel Polk with
in Race

The Gospel and Race: Where Do I Start?

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The Gospel and Race: Where Do I Start?

In the wake of the recent shooting of Terrence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott in Tulsa, OK and Charlotte, NC, it’s difficult to know what to do.

If you are white, you may wonder, “What will offend? What will get me into trouble? Maybe I should just sit still, be quiet and let this blow over…again.”

If you are black, you may wonder, “Where are the voices of the white brothers and sisters in my church that are supposed to love me? Why do they just go on with their lives as if nothing is happening?”

Here’s my answer.

As a Christian, you should never let injustice just “blow over”. You are called to mourn suffering (Romans 8, Romans 12:15). We are called to cry out to God to end suffering. Jesus was angry about Lazarus’ death, even though he knew he was about to raise him to life again (John 11). Sin, death, and all of their ugly cousins should be noticed and mourned by the church.

As the Church, we are called to be a weird people (1 Peter 2:9-12) not because we constantly mourn suffering, but because of the signs of the Kingdom we show that testify to the hope of Jesus making all things new. 

The Christian’s relationship to death, suffering, violence, racism, and injustice should NEVER be indifference or apathy. It should only ever be the kind of “snorting” (think of a bull) anger that Jesus displayed outside of Lazarus’ tomb, just before he showed a sign of his own resurrection (and the church’s ultimate resurrection) by doing something about Lazarus’ death.

In light of this, many of you are still asking “So WHAT do I do?”

The better question is “Where do I start?” 

Pray without ceasing. In this case, that means don’t pray for racial injustice ONLY when violent events happen. Systemic racial injustice happens in more than the violence in isolated events. It happens in the workplace, in the classroom, even in the grocery store. Injustice is ongoing, and so should our prayers for God to fix it.

Understand the problem. Again, this IS about violence, but it is not ONLY about violence. There are more insidious things happening alongside violence. This article might be helpful

Make friends, change patterns. If you don’t know and love people of a different race and culture, you are far more likely to stereotype their actions and be disconnected from their pain. Neither of those things is Christ-like. This means intentionally breaking up the patterns of your life to put yourself in real relationships that help you see through someone else’s eyes.

Here are some resources to help:

1) My sermon from this summer: “A Tale of Two Sunday Schools: Why Black Lives Have to Matter to the Church”

2) D.A. Horton- “God’s Cleaning His House…the Church” Specifically see his reading suggestions in “Intellectual Equipping.”

3) VIDEO: Grace, Justice, & Mercy: Bryan Stevenson & Tim Keller 

4) SHORT BOOK: The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation

5) Bryan Lorrits’s message from the 2016 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's National Conference: Right Color, Wrong Culture: Pursuing Multi-ethic Cultural Engagement

Photo courtesy of Relevant Magazine