Monday, June 8, 2020
Good morning, Anthem.
We really are so grateful for each of you, we are grateful to be following Jesus with you, sharpening each other, stirring each other on towards love and good deeds. On Friday we mentioned that we would love to walk through a few different devotionals together as we continue to seek the heart of God and reflect Him to the world as it relates to the conversations around racism in our country (lament, repentance, listening, holy living). Friday we walked through lament, reflecting our heart of sadness or anger or anguish to God, asking Him for help and putting our trust in Him. Today we want to walk through what a process of repentance might look like. Repentance isn’t just saying that you are wrong or sitting in guilt. Those things don’t change much. Rather, as someone along the way (probably many people) explained to us, repentance can be walked out in 3 steps…
1. Recognize the wrong (thought/action/etc.)
2. Turn toward the right (God honoring, true, holy)
3. Walk in that way.
Last week we asked Darnell and Jayme Brisco to write a devotional for us, taking us through how God is leading them. Their devotional is below and is a beautiful example of how scripture leads us through those steps. We encourage you to take the time over the next couple days to walk through this with us! Thank you, Darnell and Jayme!
Hi Church, we are Darnell and Jayme Brisco. We have been at Anthem for 6 years and have two daughters – Charley (4.5 yo) and Brooklyn (2 yo) – and one more due in August.
In light of the current situation in our country, Matt asked us to share some thoughts about what God has been revealing to us over the last week.
The other day as we were passing the protestors on Lynn Rd, Charley asked us what was happening and we found ourselves starting to explain the concept of racism (in 4 year old terms). When we got home Charley said “but we love everyone right? We love those who love us, those who are different from us, and those who don’t love us, right?” And all we could say was “yes, we even love those who don’t love us, just like Jesus did”. Sometimes kids understand these complex concepts so much better than we do. Faith like a child is such a beautiful thing and it grounded us to a place of remembering despite the inconsistency and injustice of this world, that God’s design and plan is that we’re made “one in Christ”.
Our prayer has been for racial reconciliation (especially within the church) and God led us to a passage in Ephesians that reinforced that concept. Gentiles were once considered “less than” by the Israelites (even though there’s a long history of the gentiles subduing the Israelites). Paul reminds us, that in Christ we are made ONE and we are ONE body with ONE purpose in Him.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Jew and Gentile were joined together to form a unified church because of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. There is no room for racism within the church because we are all ONE in Him.
In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If we believe this to be true, the fight for justice and call to action for oneness in Christ can and should be from us, the church.
Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “If the church had taken a stronger stand all along, we wouldn’t have many of the problems that we have…it should have started in the church, but since it didn’t start in the church, our society needed to move on.”
Read Psalm 139:23-24
Ask God to reveal in you the judgments and prejudices you have towards others based on the color of their skin or their ethnicity.
Consider journaling about where you believe those ideas originated and ask God to replace those thoughts with His truth.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
As Christians we form the body of Christ and are being built up into a “holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). In recognizing that we all bring different gifts to this family – what are the benefits of being a part of a body that is racially and ethnically diverse? How does embracing cultural differences enable us to better serve the kingdom of God?
Read Micah 6:8
God calls us and empowers us to be instruments of justice and to actively oppose racism in every form.
What gifts has God given you to “empower” you to be an instrument for justice? How is He calling you today to aide in racial reconciliation? Is He calling you to pray for change and softened hearts? Is He calling you to use your gifts of teaching to speak out? Is He calling you to extend mercy, to give, to encourage, to show hospitality, or to gain wisdom from His word in a way that promotes justice? Pray for God to reveal these gifts and opportunities to you.
We are praying peace and unity over our church today and will leave you with an encouragement from MLK – “I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.”
Darnell and Jayme Brisco