This past weekend the sickening display of racial disharmony in Charlottesville, Virginia took over our televisions, radios, and social media accounts. Some justify the rights of the “Alt-Right” to conduct a rally. Many condemn the hideous root of hate that fuels the message and actions of supremacy groups.
Unfortunately, reactions quickly escalated toward political posturing and agenda advancement which resulted in the broad brush of group labeling. White citizens are assumed to side with the “Alt-Right” unless it's publicly denied. Black citizens are assumed to side with the “Alt-Left” groups unless otherwise stated. Lost in the conversation is the truth that there are simply millions of Americans shocked, saddened, and worried about the escalation of hate and violence. They are seeking a better answer than jumping on a political bandwagon – an answer that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
True Christianity is a faith that is incompatible with all forms of supremacy. One of the more nauseating features of white supremacy groups is their use of Christian terms to garner some level of respectability for an ideology void of any respect for all Christ came to rescue. Christianity is not the use of Christian terms that justify our own desires.
Christianity is life-transforming faith in the gospel of Christ that justifies us in the sight of God and calls us to carry out His desires. We enter by humble repentance and dependent faith. God’s desires do not include for us to have an attitude of supremacy of any nature. There is no room for personal superiority; we are benefactors of mercy and grace alone.
True Christianity is a faith that transforms us to love others, not merely to avoid hate. There have been plenty of words expressing outrage over the Charlottesville rally, but our civic duty is anemic if it is limited to expressing outrage or simply “liking” or “sharing” the thoughts of others who are outraged.
Loving your neighbor as yourself is a very daunting task and assumes more than just the absence of hate. Do we care about people? Do we even know our neighbors? Are we afraid to go outside our “safe” areas of town to help those in need? Maybe we don't express hate, but avoid people groups that make us uncomfortable.
This lack of love is just as odious to God, as overt messages and actions of hate. If we are not careful, polarizing over extreme forms of hate and supremacy such as we witnessed in Charlottesville may expose our own self-righteous attitudes and lack of humility.
God calls us to honestly assess if our actions preceding and following our words are consistently lived out in Gospel humility toward others. May we all ask for greater grace to love one another with brotherly affection and outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).
Join us at Hampton Park Baptist Church on August 27th at 9:30am for a special combined adult Sunday school meeting. We will be considering together how the gospel should transform our thinking concerning race and equality.
Population - 10 million (of which 1.6 million claim to be evangelical Christians)
Note: Bolivia was once the richest area of South America but now its poorest nation.
1) Extreme poverty. Both the churches and the government want to help the poor. 70% of Bolivia’s population live in poverty, and half of those live in extreme poverty. Bolivian farmers earn more money for the coca leaf than for other products, but some uses for coca are illegal. Rich gas deposits in the east lead to tension among the white elite, the highland peoples of the west, and the mixed and Indian peoples of the east. Pray that individuals in power and those in poverty will find courage to reject temptations and make wise decisions.
2) The spiritual grip of the enemy remains strong after centuries of paganism, and continues its hold on the Church. Christians now recognize that spiritual warfare is necessary to gain ground. Pray that the Church will wake up to the enemy’s deep influence, bind the strong man, and pray until God transforms Bolivia.
3) Evangelical Christians grew greatly in number and influence, but face challenges. Some follow false teachings or fail morally without good discipleship and Bible knowledge. Ask God to set apart thousands of new leaders for His use. Evangelicals must help lead Bolivia’s battle against poverty, injustice, and evil by allowing Kingdom values to guide their words and deeds.
4) The less reached in Bolivia include the powerful and wealthy upper classes, the indigenous peoples living in remote areas, and the urban migrants who live at the edges of cities and seek work. Unemployment, urban violence, and easily available drugs tempt many youth. Over 67% of the population are under 30. The majority of children live in poverty and suffer malnutrition. Perhaps 100,000 live on the street. Almost all the boys try drugs, and many of the girls experience sexual abuse. Pray for churches to see the importance of youth and children’s ministries. Also ask God to work through radio ministry in less-reached places where low literacy, poverty, and isolation limit access to the gospel by other means.
 Pray for the World: A New Prayer Resource from Operation World (Kindle Locations 2613-2628). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
This past Sunday Mark Miller, chairman of the deacons, gave an update on the Proclamation Project.
New ceiling grid has been installed, more sheet rock installed, and the lobby continues to take shape!
Population: 708,000 (of which 13,000 are evangelical Christians)
Pray for the World: A New Prayer Resource from Operation World (Kindle Location 3864). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Let's continue praying and giving toward the Proclamation Project. In these pictures you can see that sheetrock is being installed and giving shape to various spaces, especially the balcony and coffered ceiling of the lobby.
Several things to notice this week:
1. The balcony structure is nearly complete.
2. The ceiling has been removed entirely.
3. The structure for the coffered ceiling in the lobby is in place.
Let's pray for safety of the workers, wisdom for expenditures, and for continued giving to this project. You can give today by clicking here.