Racism In The Church

RacismInTheChurch-FeaturedPhoto

Below I will give you 3 anecdotes about racism in the church.

From them you will be:

  1. Encouraged
  2. Angered
  3. Frustrated

But my friends, this is where it begins. With you and I (IN THE CHURCH) looking honestly at the issue.

Where are you in these 3 stories?

Below are 3 ways of dealing with racism:

The Right Way

The Wrong Way

The Typical Way


THE RIGHT WAY

House of Prayer sidewalk image, broken up

The first time I saw this sidewalk insert, I eagerly sought the story.

The broken part of the sidewalk says,

AN HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE

As the story goes, that part of the sidewalk had been there since the church was built at this location in 1892.

But, in the mid 60’s someone asked, “a bit too loudly” if all people were welcome, as the sign said.

Nobody answered, but the next week the sign was taken out of the ground, put into storage, and a blank slab of cement was laid.

Sometime late in the 90’s, in its broken state, it was returned to the sidewalk to proudly show that, YES, All People are welcome.

That it lies there in a broken state tells its own story, don’t you think?


 

THE WRONG WAY

Ark Encounter's Noah's Ark with a beautiful sunset

A few years ago I did a 4 night prayer revival during the Obama administration. The associate pastor of the host church continually talked down the President. And frankly, it got up my  nose.

I asked the Lord for a very tactful way to deal with it, and so the next night I pulled him aside and delivered what I believe the Lord laid upon my heart. It turned out to be so significant that I included it in both Book 1 and Book 2 of The Pray-ers.

Instead of giving you the conversation with this pastor, let me quote Alexander Rich, the itinerant preacher in my novel, who dealt with the exact same issue, just 130 years earlier, EXACTLY the way I did.

“. . . Alexander Rich continued. “You believe in the flood right?”
“Oh yes!” The preacher responded, “Worldwide disaster, worldwide flood.”
“Then,” Rich interrupted, glad at least that this young pastor had not caved to the growing debate about the age of the earth and the truth of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. “Then, my friend, if we all came from the same parents, do you know what that means?”
Brother Rich had the young man’s complete attention. He leaned forward, intrigued, eyes widening, and awaiting a deep truth.
“What that means my young racist friend is that you have a little black guy inside of you somewhere.”

Sorry for the shameless plug (www.ThePray-ers.com).

When I said this to the pastor, it shut him up, but only until the next day when he returned. I am sorry to share with you what he said, but I think you need to hear it.

He  cornered me after the service and then said, “They may be your relatives but they aren’t mine.”

No matter the amount of melanin in your skin, you and I BOTH have people in our lives that think this way.


 

THE TYPICAL WAY

I was in another church for an all day intensive. At lunch, the pastor and I talked about the feedback he was getting from the Sunday School and Worship Services that I led. The feedback was a great blessing, and so after lunch we sat down, prayed about it and decided that I needed to come back for an all week prayer revival.

A few days later he called me. We chit-chatted for a few minutes and then he said, as broken as I have ever heard him, “Mark, my deacons said that you can’t come back, you’re too dark.”

Now BEFORE YOU GET excersised over this anecdote, let me remind you, this happens on ALL SIDES of the issue, Asian, Hispanic, White and Black.

True, there are some churches I can’t get into because I am too dark.

But there are other churches I can’t get into because I’m not dark enough.

Is it any wonder that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week?


Whose Fault Is Racism

Text which says "All Your Fault"

Obviously we can point our fingers at the deception of the evil one. But may I take this question in a slightly different direction?

Let me make a broad statement, that you may or may not agree has some merit.

“The unsaved can’t be expected to act like anything other than what they are, UNSAVED!”

QUIT LOOKING AT THE WORLD, expecting them to act differently!

But what about the church? My friends, in the church, we are the ones without excuse. Why? Because:

We are the ones that have the Holy Spirit living within us. And,
We are the one’s who have been given the grace to live above this.

Consider this. Do you think that maybe God loves us enough to discipline us?

If He does, it will NOT be:

Because the unsaved are acting like the unsaved.

Rather, it will be:

Because the church is NOT acting like the church?

May God have mercy upon us, in spite of us.

 

Mark S Mirza Signature

Taking Sin Too Lightly

Staged photo of Mark Prostrate

Sobering Look at Sin

The 30 minute audio below came from Pinehurst Baptist Church in November 2017.

It is sobering and so I will merely give you the link, and below it, a few notes. Please note that when it gets a bit difficult to hear, it is because I am on my belly talking to God. This I did in front of the congregation, and would do it again if given the chance.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

What’s In Your Mind When Sin is in Your Heart?

Sin’s Impact on Your Prayer Life

Deuteronomy 3:26

But the LORD was angry with me on account of you and would not listen to me. The LORD said to me, ‘That’s enough! Do not speak to Me again about this matter.

Isaiah 1:15

When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen. . .

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

Lamentations 3:41-44

41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven:
42 We have sinned and rebelled;
You have not forgiven.

ס Samek
43 You have covered Yourself in anger and pursued us;
You have killed without compassion.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can pass through.

Proverbs 28:9

Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law– even his prayer is detestable.

Cry Out for Mercy

By Praying Thru Psalm 38, then

Remember Psalm 51:17 . . .

So You Can Get to Psalm 118:19

 

Blessings my friends,

Mark S Mirza Signature

PS. Forgive me for “staging” the featured image above, but I searched and searched the internet and couldn’t find anyone prostrating themselves that looked remotely like they might be Baptist.

Seriously, that is where I prostrate myself before the Lord, the only thing is there is normally a  cocktail table in the center of the rug, but again, this is ONLY A VISUAL.

Thank you for understanding.

Is The Church Better Off Today?

Trump Victory Banner from CNN

IS THE CHURCH BETTER OFF TODAY?

I don’t know, and fortunately it’s not my responsibility.

I awoke this morning with the question of the church running thru my mind.

I’m bombarded on FB by Christian friends who are scared for themselves, their family and their friends. And I have other Christian friends who sound like salvation has now come.

Will you indulge me to state the obvious? Your protection does not come from Washington DC and nor does your salvation come from Washington DC.

IS THE CHURCH BETTER OFF TODAY?

Hmm, perhaps I do bear some responsibility.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you are most comfortable with, we need to ask ourselves if we have ignored God. I suspect that at the very least, we have ignored John 15:7 by not abiding in Him. And therefore He doesn’t abide in us. So when we pray, well, we are merely, “throwing up a hope and a prayer.”

If you are scared to death, I would ask, where is your humble, trusting cry to the Lord for grace?

If you are euphoric with joy, I would ask, where is your humble, submissive cry to the Lord for mercy?

This election result, whether you consider it a loss or a victory, does not change God’s sovereignty. It does not change God’s desire for an intimate relationship with you.

And satan’s role in this? It is the same. He is a liar and a deceiver (John 8:44).

IS THE CHURCH BETTER OFF TODAY?

Yes, I know that I do have some responsibility.

One more thought needs to be addressed here. And that has to do with who your enemy is and who your enemy is not. Ephesians 6:12 says that your struggle IS NOT with flesh and blood. Romans 15:5 implies that if you have a sense of disunity with anyone, it is on you.

We are good at pointing out who our human enemy is, aren’t we? Because of that propensity to point our finger at our human “enemy” would you accept this practical take-away?

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and He will take care of the details in your life, which is why we need not worry about tomorrow, even though challenges come each day, (Matthew 6:33-34). And remember, the same One who said He’ll take care of the details of our life, holds today and tomorrow in His hands.

So what will you do? Will you focus on the flesh or the Spirit?  Romans 8:6 tells us which we are doing when it declares that if we do not have peace it is because we are focusing on the things of the flesh, and NOT the Spirit. Your peace or lack of peace will tell you what you are doing.

IS THE CHURCH BETTER OFF TODAY?

I suppose that’s up to you.

Blessings my friend,

Mark S Mirza