prayer in unity

We went to church in Paterson Sunday and there were three things in this church that I could not help but take note that, 1) there was an over abundance of women in the church, and 2) there was a noticeable lack of teenagers to thirty-something year old folk in the church, and 3) the music in the church was awesome!

As we drove through a blighted neighborhood in Paterson to the way church Sunday, I could not help but reflect on a book by Tom Burrell that I’ve been reading lately titled, “Brainwashed.” In Brainwashed, Burrell encourages his audience to, 1) consider the power of the ancient wisdom that says, “as ‘a man’ thinks in his heart, so is he”, and 2) to consider the horrible impact that generations of negative thinking is having a significant number of our neighbors, and finally 3) to seek significance by reaching for the amazing potential for good that God has placed inside of each of us (and not the destructive and ugly stereotypes far too many have brought into as the “truth”).

As I drove home from church, I could not help but renew my belief in the hope that we have in Christ; hope that is unleashed through the bold proclamation of the gospel, and through the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

In every place, in every culture, at every time, and in every circumstance the gospel has proven to be the difference maker. For this reason, when God used the apostle Paul to reach out to the amazingly messed up Corinthians, He did not empower him to preach religion, nor did he inspire him to lower the lights, plug in the praise band, and rock the house. The LORD empowered Paul to preach the gospel to the Corinthians, and to encourage those that believed the gospel to come together as brothers and sisters and form a new community not based on race, or religion, but based on faith and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The Bible calls this new community the church, the body of Christ, and it is here where God’s love is displayed in living color to the watching world. As members of this new community, our obligation to one another is to love one another, and to encourage one another to live this life just as He lived it on earth almost 2,000 years ago.  As it is written:

1 Peter 3:8 ¶ Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

FYI – Below is an excerpt from Burrell’s book Brainwashed

Our Family crisis is inseparable from our black male and female identity crisis, and brainwashing has left a great many of us fearful, confused about our
identities, and hopelessly caught in a cycle of relationship underachievement.

To many black men are still stuck in roles ultimately dictated by slavery. Some, living up to the expectation that they are irresponsible, take pride in making babies knowing they can leave without stressing about the outcome of their actions.

Black boys are not the only recipients of the psychological and physical trauma inflicted on their emasculated fathers. Vulnerable black daughters seeking love and validation from the first man in their lives are often left to fend for themselves, relying on their mothers or society to define black manhood for them. Like their mothers, the girls are saddled with feelings of disillusionment and disappointment in black men that often becomes a permanent fixture of their psyches. …. many black women have been brainwashed to be active enablers of irresponsible men, supporting the unhealthy behavior of their mates, leading to future relationships fraught with unnecessary drama.”

“As the saying goes, black men have been brought p by mothers conditioned to ‘raise their daughters and spoil their sons.’ For many black mothers without committed male partners, the son becomes the ‘little man’ whom the omther overindulges and neglects until he gets to an age where she can no longer handle him. Rationalizing that he is indeed a ‘man,’ she submissively allows the boy to come and go as he pleases.

Poor young black women with little education pay the greatest toll. Many are tragically retro, stuck in the past where women had little control over their sexuality. Following in the footsteps of their female ancestors, they are brainwashed into believing that motherhood is the means by which they can validate themselves; having babies with no resources is seen as a way out. ….

THESE DISTRESSING PATTERNS MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED AND ADDRESSED IF WE EVER WANT AN INKLING OF A CHANCE TO FOSTER STRONG BLACK FAMILIES.” (Tom Burrell, Brainwashed: Challenging the myth of Black Inferiority, p.32-33)

Don’t be discouraged after reading the above citation from Burrell. There is hope! For the Bible says, “Be Ye Transformed!”

Romans 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve-One-Another-e1363895842157

Earthquakes in Various Places

tears 2

Once when serving the LORD as a missionary in Queens, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a 76 year old man from Nepal that I will call mister M. For three days we’d meet in the park on 208th and Hillside Avenue and talk about eternal things. He was an evangelistic Hindu and very serious about following the teachings of this religion that he was sure would lead him to god and eternal life.

As I sat and listed to Mr. M, the LORD gave me and opportunity to share the gospel with him on our second day of meeting when I asked him, “In all of your life, have you ever found anyone that was able to truly keep the Hindu precepts? When I asked this question, all of his religious enthusiasm and joy drained from his face, and he responded, “No!” Then he solemnly said to me, “Eric, the only thing that I am looking for is peace of mind.” He went on to say that he did not need money because he had enough to travel the world and do what he wanted to do.

With this said, I shared with him what Jesus said in John 14:27, which says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” I went on to share with him other verses from the Bible that talk about the peace of God and how it is obtained (Isaiah 26:3. Ephesians 2:14-22, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, and others). After hearing God speak to his heart from the Word, MR. M asked me to give him a Bible and to mark all of the verses of Scripture that I shared with him.

Mr. M heard the gospel over the next couple of days that we saw each other, but to this day I do not know if he ever believed it and became a follower of Christ. Pray for Mr. M. Pray for Nepal. In our local church a couple of weeks ago an offering was taken to share with the suffering people of Nepal. As the LORD gives you an opportunity to share, please prayerfully do so. They will need our financial help to help them rebuild their destroyed villages and cities, but more so, they need Christ.

Luke 21:11 “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.13 “But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

CLICK THIS LINK BELOW AND TAKE A LOOK AT THIS FOOTAGE OF THE EARTHQUAKE.  PRAY FOR NEPAL.

http://bit.ly/1GJli7j

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_NEPAL_EARTHQUAKE…