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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It Will Never Stop

I remember many encounters with racism as a boy living in the state of Texas. But one particular instance stands out more than most of them.

I was a Jr in high school playing on the varsity basketball team. One of our games was in Pasadena, Texas which was known as KKK headquarters. We were a 12 man team made of 6 Blacks, 3 whites, 2 Mexicans, and 1 Asian. My coaches were all white.

We got on the bus headed to our game. For us it was like any other game, we knew we were going to win.
When we arrived to the school the bus took a detour and took us around back. At the time we didn't know much nor did it bother us, we were ready to play ball. We got off the bus went into the locker to get ready to play. As we came out of the locker room and into the gym, the noise was unbearable and needless to say disrespectful. But we didn't care we was ready to play ball. The game started and immediately it was war. We were fouled (hard), low bridged, tripped, spit on, called nigger, kicked in the butt, and not one foul or technical foul was called. The first quarter was hell and yet we were up by 10 points. It got so bad that the white, Mexican, and asian players refused to play but the black players wasn't going to lay down that easy.

So we decided, forget these plays and let's do street ball. We knew how to foul and play dirty without getting a call. Elbows flying and people flying. We had 30 fouls to use (5 a pieces for each player) and were going to use them all that nite. At the end of the first half, some of us had scratches, bloody noses, scraped knees, and hurting all over. But we didn't care, we were winning by 30 points at the half.

When we got into the locker room my coach through a fit about our style of play basically saying we let them get into our head. But we didn't care we wanted to play ball, they were playing dirty so we decided to fight back and we were winning by 30 points.

We got mad at the coach because we felt he was taking their side especially with him being a white coach. We didn't care that he respected us before all we knew is that right then in the heat of the moment he was an enemy.

We got angry at the white players because we felt it was a setup. We didn't care about the times we ate lunch together, parties together in their hood, visited each other, and so on. All we knew is that right then in the heat of the moment they were enemies.

Finally our coach calmed us down and got our attention with these words: "This is only a game!" Our response was simple: "What!" He said it again: "It's only a game! Now let me explain!"

He said: "This is only a game but a prelude to a real life issue...racism. It will never stop! How you play will determine if you win or lose."

I heard but then again I didn't hear h. But now that I'm older l believe what he was trying to say is this...

Racism will never die in America. However, play the game to win!

I don't usually write about current events. Not sure why I just don't. However, after experiencing what I believe to be racial profiling for myself and following the information about the of murder of Trayvon Martin, I will admit a anger cord struck in my body. But I was quickly reminded of my experience as a Jr n high school..."play the game of life to win".

It will never stop but play to win!

Be angry but sin not is the Christian response. Even in our anger, we're still to be witnesses for God when it's tough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pew and Pulpit Partnership

Yesterday was a good day of worship all day and yet a compassionate burden came over me. After attending one service, Tracy and I walked out only to see a car with red tinted windows and white writing (and I quote): "No broke Bs (you can read between the lines) allowed". There was also a young lady on a bike cussing up a storm as members of the church walked out of service.

There were two (2) churches connected to each other and anyone walking by can hear what's going on the inside of both churches. We got into the car and headed home to rest before going to our final service the day.

After the last service, I went home to washed and dried some clothes. While waiting for the clothes to dry, I started reflecting on the day and it hit me: "I've heard 3 sermons and I don't know how many mini-sermons but no one came during the invitation to give their lives to Christ.

I then posted my burden of thought on Facebook: "I've heard 4 sermons 2day and no one came to Jesus. Has evangelism become an after thought in the church?"

When I woke this morning that same burden is on my mind, has evangelism become an after thought?

I have a biblical conviction relating to evangelism that I want to share and here's my thesis for the blog: Evangelism is a partnership between pew and pulpit. The pew and pulpit is responsible for reaching lost people. Allow to share why I believe this a biblical teaching partnership.

The Pew
When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He said to Peter, James, and John: "Follow me and I will make you fisher's of men." Jesus started with a membership of 3 the eventually grew to 12 so they can make a difference in the lives of those who did not know who He was. Jesus gave the command to reach lost people before ascending to heaven in Matthew 28:18-20 and in Acts 1:8, He speaks to those in the upper room assuring them of the promise that they (we) will be witnesses for Him after the Holy Ghost has taken residence. The point is that the command, commission, and communication to reach lost people was given to believers (members) before it was given to the pulpit. I mention this in this fashion because oftentimes the lack of church growth is charged to the pulpit. I beg to differ. The initial contact for reaching lost people lies in the hands of the members. The pastor/preacher does not have any contact with those you invite (at least 95% of the time) until he says: "Open your bibles to..."

In a real since the pew makes or breaks any chance of reaching lost people. More than sharing your thoughts about your church and pastor, I charge you by the mercies of God to share God with people you come in contact with. The woman at the well said come see a man not come see a church.

The pew has the obligation to bring the people and the pulpit has the obligation of capturing (for lack of a better word at the moment). It's a partnership between pew and pulpit.

The Pulpit
In Acts we find that a membership of 120 grew to 3120 after Peter shared the gospel message: "This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted...8And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. 40And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. 41They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls".

In 2 Timothy 4:1-7, Paul charged Timothy to do the work of an evangelist by being ready to preach in and out of season.

The pulpit is obligated to take every opportunity it possibly can to share the gospel. I believe the gospel is to be shared in every service (morning worship, men's day, women's
Day, etc). The pulpit is not to be found not sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. The method(s) of sharing may be different but not the message.