White People. It’s time to Reflect and Repent.

47722262-310C-4578-9C62-F524FBCE9869

I grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago.  My neighborhood and schools were made up of black, white, and brown people.  Some black people were violent, some white people were violent, and some brown people were violent. I witnessed with my own eyes a white male teacher physically assaults a young black woman in the hallway. “Go to the principal,” the teacher said, “Who will he believe, Me, or you.”  I saw that girl crumble into herself with fear and shame.  She never told.

Some black people were good and wonderful people, some white people were good and wonderful people, and some brown people were good and wonderful people.  I witnessed countless acts of love and unity between races in our community.

I grew up not judging someone based upon the color of their skin, what car they drove, or where their house was.  I got to know people as individuals.  I had white, black and brown friends.  It was normal for me and the people around me.  There were racists, no doubt.  White people infuriated by the black and brown people moving into their white neighborhoods.  Their prejudice left when they all moved away, which was good in a way.  It was sad to see how many of the people I had known my whole life, seemingly with good character and morals, run for their lives to all white communities to hide. It sickened me.  It made me realize how deep the racial divide was in the hearts and minds of white men and women.

Our church split because a majority of white people did not want to invite their new black and brown neighbors to worship with them.  They wanted to uproot the entire body of believers and move to an all-white neighborhood mile away from the changing one.

I was again, dumbstruck at the atrocious behavior of “Jesus Followers” I had looked up to and admired my entire life.  Men stood up and shook angry fists during church services and business meetings.  Harsh angry words, unrepeatable and unforgiveable. I remember being 17, completely speechless at the behavior of these adults.  What was amazing in the midst of all of this was our pastor. He was an unshakable, unmovable pillar of strength. He stood strong and true to the real Jesus.  The Jesus that loves all the children of the world, Red, Yellow, Black and White.  The bad guys left.  The church flung open its doors to the community, and quickly became a truly multi-ethnic place of worship, one of the only ones I’ve ever seen.

The racial divide in our country is unacceptable. Thank God for cell phone videos and pictures to record the horrific acts of violence that have marked our country since it’s birth. Our nation was built on the backs of black slavery. Never, ever forget that.  George Washinton himself owned hundreds of slaves. He didn’t regard them as equal. The sin of racism is as deep as the roots of our great nation.

I beg you to repent if you are inclined to view one race higher or lower than another.  Repent and find the true Jesus, the one who loves all men and women, all the races with equality.

The real Jesus doesn’t use racial slurs or roll His eyes at black men and women demonstrating and marching for peace. The real Jesus stands among them, because He too, was forcefully and unjustly maligned and killed. The real Jesus marches on, spreading joy and light and peace.  Join the real Jesus.  Be free from the ties that bind our hands and hearts to the ties that bind us and have bound us since our nation’s inception.

Be free to love. Be free.  Let freedom ring.

Missional Family

 

“Missional” is a fairly new term that has been thrown around in Christian circles for the past few years.  If you understand what Missional is, you’ll know what I’m talking about, but if you have no clue what Missional means, here goes: Missional living” is a Christian term that describes a missionary lifestyle; adopting the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with thegospel message. That definition is from Wikipedia.  Here’s how we’re living it out around our house:

We love Jesus.  We know He has enormous love for us and the people He sends our way every day.  We are intentional about being God’s representitives of His love wherever we are.  At this phase of my life, I’m not travelling a lot to places like Africa, India, Mexico, etc. to spread God’s love.  But I am travelling to my kitchen, and my living room, and my back yard.  Here’s why:

We’ve made our home a Missional Outpost.  We pray that every person that comes through our doors will know and understand the love of Jesus because of the love we have for one another and the love we share with them.  The other day we had a new little friend over who was not following the rules and called one child a bad name.  I gently pulled her aside, looked into her precious round blue eyes and said, “Sweetheart, this is a house of love. We don’t call eachother bad names here.”  Another little guy that is always over here piped in and said, “She’s right! We love people here!” It made me so happy to hear him say that.

Here are some of the very easy and practical things we do to make our home “Missional”:

  •  We have an open door policy.  Any kid can come over to our house.  Good kids.  Bad kids.  We take them all.
  • Everyone follows the rules.  We are a house of love, so no name calling, fighting, stealing, or back talking.
  • Everyone helps each other.  If a kid eats over for dinner, they help out.  They are usually the ones more eager to help than my own children.
  • We talk. We swap stories at the dinner table about our day. Each kid shares at least one “high” and one “low” from their day.  Once everyone has shared one story, the talkers can have their turn to share more.
  • We pray. We pray before we eat dinner, or before the kids go to bed at a sleep over.  Not once has a guest been freaked out by this.  They love it. The past few nights one of our regular “guests” could not wait to ask if he could pray.

Our little buddy found his way to Jesus at our dinner table.  Missional living is not difficult. We love and serve Jesus as a family, and we just ask others to join in along the way.

I’d love to hear your Missional Living stories!  I bet you are already doing it and don’t even know it.  🙂

 

Homeless Center Dancing With Our Stars

It’s not too often that Rob and I get all dressed up at the same time.  Last week we were able to attend the South Bend Homeless Center Dancing With the Stars auction.  No, we didn’t dance, and that’s probably a good thing for all who attended.  We did, however, win one of the silent auctions which was pretty fun.  The event brought in about $350,000, which I believe is a record year for the event.  Rob did the prayer at the beginning, which is why he’s all decked out in a suit and tie in the above photo.  We were honored to be a part of this year’s auction, and so happy so much money was raised for such a great cause.

What I Saw While Serving Communion

Communion

Rob and I were asked to help serve communion for Granger’s Good Friday service. For me, there is no greater honor in the church than to offer the hope of salvation when we can stand together and serve as we say to each person, “The body of Christ broken for you”, and “The blood of Christ shed for you.”

I am always astounded at the different responses that people have as they receive communion.  Some openly weep.  Some look me right in the eyes and beam with joy.  Others go through the motions with no readable expression.

One elderly man was carried out of his wheelchair by a man and woman, who held him up on either side as he made his way toward us. The man wore a hospital bracelet. I am almost certain he came directly from the hospital because of the bandages he wore, and the frailness of his body. I was touched by the act of love this man and woman offered him by bringing him to church on Good Friday.  He was so close to Jesus in the sense that his days on this earth are limited. His hands were so weak that he could not pull the bread off the loaf. I had the privilege of breaking  it off and handing it to him. As I did, I could not help but wonder if this is the last time this man would receive communion on this side of heaven.  What if he wakes up tomorrow, and it isn’t the broken bread in his hand, but the real hand of Jesus?

Another family came up, their son obviously new to the communion scene. His dad held his hand, placed it on the bread and showed him how to break it off and dip it in the cup. The boy smiled so brightly and his dad was so proud. I couldn’t believe I got to be a part of that special moment.

As we stood and served, I had this profound sense of holiness and redemption. Perfection that lives in heaven that is brought to earth when believers come together to remember that He died, rose, and lives again that we might be forgiven and redeemed.

Living in those few minutes of perfection spoke deeply into my soul as one after another received the body and blood of Christ. Some looked Jesus in the eyes. Some shrugged it off as their crumbs fell to the floor.  Others walk away transformed unknowingly by a grace they have yet to understand.

I was changed, and so grateful for the opportunity to serve that elderly man perhaps his last communion, and the little boy who held his dad’s hand and smiled.

How I want to be remembered

Little boy in Kalavai 

The picture I shared a few days ago and this one today are what I’ve been thinking about lately.  I am so thankful for my friend Gene Ort who sent this pic to me this week .  It stopped me in my tracks and caused me to remember why Rob and I do what we do.

My job on this planet is to bring light of Jesus to the darkest corners of the world. I hope that at the end of my life people remember me for the light I  brought first to my own family, then to the ends of the earth.

How about you?  How do you want to be remembered? I dare you to think hard about it and share it with someone.

Mundane Moms Turn Missional

The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home and in the World

My random generator AKA Belle Wegner chose Sarah as the winner for this fabulous book giveaway.  If anyone wants my highlighted, slightly marked up one, let me know!  First one to respond is free to have it.

The Missional Mom by Helen Lee

Missional Mom is an amazing book filled with examples and ideas about how moms can make their worlds “missional.”  The idea of missional is that no matter where you are, what you are doing, God placed you there on purpose and for a purpose.  Helen Lee delves deep into the subject, biblically, theologically, and practically — sighting numerous examples of moms who chose to go from mundane to missional.

I was so encouraged by this book.  I meet so many moms who are living ordinary lives, are wonderful people, but don’t feel like they are good enough,  or smart enough, or  at the right place or time in their lives to make a difference for God’s kingdom.  Helen Lee debunks that myth, pointing out that God is already at work, and it is up to us to decide if we want to join in his work or not.

I highly recommend this book to not only moms, but anyone who wants to turn their ordinary life into a missional one.  Visit Helen Lee’s site at http://themissionalmom.com/

Want a copy of this book?  I am giving one away!  If you would like a copy, leave me a comment letting me know why you’d like one, and I will choose a winner in a few days.