What to Say

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

~ Revelation 21:3-4

This morning as I laid in bed trying to wake, scrolling through Twitter, waiting for the snooze to go off and I began seeing the hashtag #PhilandoCastille, as I began to put together the story I cried out, “Lord not again,” not a day after #AltonSterling. Now tonight as I sit at my computer reading the reports of a sniper shooting in Dallas, my home, I find myself mourning and at a lost of words.

Honestly I have been trying to find words all day to say. This morning as I read the news, I probably began and deleted who knows how many tweets, trying to process all that is going on. Trying to understand all that is going on, praying for those directly affected and those indirectly affected. Praying for those close friends who are in bi-racial relationships and those who have so lovingly showed the Gospel to the world and have adopted from multiple races, wondering how the tension in America is and will affect them. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand it all, as a Mexican American who is considered a Caucasian, and  grew up in a city that was 90%+ Caucasian, race was never really an issue. But hear me on this, I am trying to understand and I am trying to grasp all that is going on.

I don’t understand it all, but here is what I know:

  • There is a great racial tension in America that hasn’t died and isn’t going away; it must be addressed.
  • There is a large population of people who are hurting and have scars going back centuries, and to combat the #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter is simply unloving and evil.
  • That as I read comments online and responses on social media to men and women I would consider leaders in the Church, who are African-American, there is a great racial tension in the Church today as well.
  • That the Church is to display the Glory of God in our cities.
  • A divided church cannot display the Glory of God in our Cities and to our neighbors.
  • That we are called to love, and loving those around us means sitting and listening, without telling them why they are wrong to feel how they do.
  • I know that men who were created in the image of God have lost their lives this week, and that should break our hearts.
  • That as I write this, five families have lost men who were sons, fathers, brothers, and husbands, and that those families will never be the same.
  • There is a large part of the population that will go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow living in fear, pain, anger and hurt.
  • That we are called to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).
  • That our response to the command that we are to love has nothing to do with “others” and what they have done or their response to us, and has everything to do with the simple question of, will we be obedient?
  • That the current conditions of the world daily remind us that we are living in a Genesis 3 world and things are not how they were created to be.
  • That there is coming a day when the Lord will come back and make everything right.

I don’t know a lot, but I am seeking to learn. To my brothers and sisters who are hurting and walking in fear, I want to say I am sorry you are walking through this and that I love you and am praying; where I don’t fully understand please help me. I really want to understand because I love you.

Come Quickly Lord! Maranatha! 

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The Greater Story

FullSizeRender-4And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

~ Genesis 1:28

 

Its simple to do, the alarm goes off in the morning maybe you hit snooze, or maybe you jump out of bed and begin your day of work, errands, meetings and before you know it the day is over and you’re back in bed wondering if you accomplished anything at all. Asking if tomorrow will be the same busy pace as today; if this is what you will do with the rest of your life? Will the bills be paid this month? Will my co-worker annoy me again tomorrow? Is this all there is?

What about the future? Will I work here forever? In 5 years or 10 years, where will I be? In the same city? Same Job? Will I be married? Have Kids? Will I be retired? These questions and many more run through our brains, keeping our focus simply on ourself, and on trying to write and finish our stories.

But, there is a Greater Story being written, one that is being written across the course of history, since the creation of the world, and we have been invited in to play a part. From the Garden in Genesis One and Two and the First Commission of, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it;” that is to Edenize the rest of the world to look like to Garden; that all of creation may be brought to the footstool of Christ in worship. Through the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, and into God’s glorious working of redemption as He establishes His dwelling, dominion, and dynasty over and with all creation across the pages of the Bible. To today and into the future, God is writing a story, one that is more glorious than anything we could write ourselves and we have been invited in.

To see the Greater Story we simply have to look around, to take our eyes off self and our small stories. Only then are we able to see the Greater Story and how our stories play a part in it.

Earlier this month I traveled to Guatemala and was reminded yet again that the Lord is doing a great work in and around the world, and we have been invited into the story to be active participates not simply spectators. Seeing the Greater Story play out and actively participating along with others left me encouraged.

Encouraged by:

  1. Gospel: The Gospel crosses boundaries of language, cultures, and all barriers and simply does work. The power of the Gospel is going forth in lives that have been forever changed by it, and into lives of others never leaving them the same.
  2. Students: Seeing former students the Lord allowed me to opportunity to pour into over the years, take time away after the school year to go and participate in the Story.
  3. Missionaries: Being around and serving alongside those who have stepped out in obedience into the Lord’s Greater Story, left me greatly encouraged. As I had conversations with them and many shared how they don’t know where they will be in a few months but currently the Lord has them in Guatemala and that they trust if the Lord shuts that door He will open another for them to walk though.
  4. Creation: Guatemala is beautiful, to stare in awe and remember there is a Creator God that spoke all of this into being and who holds it all in His hands.
  5.  Changed Lives: To hear the stories of lives that have been changed by the Gospel and to see how they are now participating in the Greater Story.
  6. Love: Love of God’s people. Love for friends to come to know Him. The love and joy that only comes from the Father impacting and filling the lives of those around us.
  7. Friendship: This trip created friends amongst those who were strangers at the beginning of the week. Centered on the Gospel not only are friends but family. Brothers and sisters in Christ who have been called to be active participates in the Greater Story.

There is a Greater Story being written, and we have been invited in to be active participates for the Glory of God and joy of His people. The people of Guatemala helped remind me of this. We are all writing a story, and our story only has purpose and fulfillment when it is part of the Greater Story, let us look up and see.


“The church has become the theater of the gospel, and in this theater, there are no passive spectators, only engaged participants, acting out what is in Christ.” 

~ Kevin Vanhoozer