Gathering Recap 1.29.2017

January 29th marks our second week in our discussions as a church family about race and the story of God. Last week, Bailey walked us through some Bible passages that showed us that God’s end goal is to have, amongst other things, a multi-ethnic people group for His name that includes a great reversal of racism and division.  In fact, the Bible tells us that at the end of all days, God will have a people group before Him praising Him from every tribe, nation, and tongue.

Remembering these two things, Brandon Clements’ sermon took one step further to help us understand the problem of racial division we have inherited in America to help us better see the path to racial reconciliation.

Looking at Ephesians 2:11-22, Brandon reminded us that racial division has been a problem in church culture since the very beginning. Paul calls the church in Ephesus to remember that there was a time when all of us were separated from Christ, regardless of our race or heritage. There was a time when Jews held themselves as the true people of God, and anyone else was categorized as a Gentile and seen as an enemy and an outsider.

We continued by looking at the nature of racial animosity between people groups. Brandon gave us two points to challenge us to think about these things:

  1. When we talk about race, we’re not just talking about race. We’re talking about culture. We’re talking about class, and poverty. It’s not just about skin color.
  2. We are sinfully wired to desire superiority over others. Because of how sin has corrupted mankind, we constantly trade value with one another to try to find something to make someone else feel invaluable, and to make ourselves feel more valuable.

This brings us back to what Paul is sharing with the Ephesian Christians in chapter 2. Paul is saying that, because of Christ and through Christ, God is accomplishing racial reconciliation and unity amongst diversity here and earth AND in heaven. The mission of the Gospel in the church is to aid in making earth like heaven. We can’t just do that in the ways that we pray and give, but we have to do that in ways that we are constantly reconciling and bringing in people that are not like us, racially and otherwise.

Through the church, God is doing an new thing to bring reconciliation. Brandon shared two ways with us specifically.

  1. Jesus puts our hostility to death. The Bible says that Jesus is tearing down the walls of hostility that used to divide us before the cross and resurrection.
  2. Jesus forms us into a new race. My race is now “child of God.” My race is now, “Christian.” No other cultural identifier matters

And finally, Brandon gave us two questions to pray over as a lifegroup and as a family to help us recognize and put to death any dividing wall of hostility left within ourselves.

  1. Ask God to show you your superiority tendencies. Expose the ways we see ourselves as more valuable than others.
  2. Ask God to show you ways you can show off this beauty of the breaking down of the dividing walls of hostility at the cross of Jesus.

May we never grow tired of growing in the knowledge of God and the love of one another.

Songs from this Week

God We Exalt You Here- Emmanuel LIVE

What A Beautiful Name- Hillsong Worship

King of My Heart- Sarah Macmillan

Jesus Paid It All


Gathering Recap 1.22.2017

This Sunday, our family started a journey that we’ve been eagerly anticipating and praying for for quite some time. This week, and for the next five weeks, we’ll be spending time as a church family talking about race, the story of God, and the story of America in a series that we’ll be calling, “Precious in His Sight.”

The point of the story that we’ll be telling about race and America and God’s people over the course of the next five weeks isn’t designed to make you feel guilty. It’s not designed to make you feel angry. It’s not designed to sink you into hopeless remorse. However, what we want for this series is for us as a family to come out on the other side and be able to say, “there are some things in here that I did not know and helped me understand where people are coming from even more.” We all have room in grow in understanding people that aren’t like us, and we as a church family have room to grow in becoming people like God who value and protect and welcome all of His people.

For this premiere week of the series, Michael Bailey started off by giving us our first baby steps into the much larger conversation that exists around us about race and race relations and the church in America. The first point may seem overly simple and extremely obvious, but we started by defining Americans as living in what sociologists call a “racialized society.”  Uniquely to the world and the country that we live in today, race plays a huge part of our experiences and how our lives are lived. Race correlates to differences in average incomes, education levels, birth and death rates, incarceration rates, and even more.

However, in the midst of this racialized society, God’s people should have something different to offer.

The Church should exemplify a multi-ethnic people group that live by the understanding that we are all part of the imago dei, those found in the image of God. Genesis 1 shows us that this moniker of being made in God’s image was given to all created men and women, not just a specific race. Revelation 5 tells us that at the end of all days, Jesus will return to be worshiped by people from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people group.

The Church should exist and thrive in an understanding that God is not colorblind. He delights in every race and in all of the distinct and different cultures and backgrounds that are represented on the face of the earth that He made. God so delights in all the varied cultures and races that he will not stop his work of redemption until every tribe and tongue and race and people group is represented in his family.

Loved like that, there is no one better equipped for this race conversation than us as God’s people. We have a source of love and acceptance and equality to hold us steady as we discuss issues that are happening.


Songs from this Week:

Rock of Ages- Dustin Kensrue

God We Exalt You Here- Emmanuel LIVE

My Worth is Not In What I Own- Keith and Kristyn Getty

In Christ Alone- Mars Hill Church