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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples

Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples

What is Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples?

Yeshiva is a Hebrew word that means “sitting” and is the name of residential Torah schools where the Bible is studied, in Judaism, in the Hebraic model of master and apprentice.

Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples is a master-apprentice-based internship program that encourages, empowers, and equips disciples for global engagement.

Through the Northwest Partnership Program (NPP), Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples partners with Northwest University to offer Associate and Bachelor’s degrees with the highest level of accreditation as an integrated part the internship program.

What are the available degrees through the Northwest Partnership Program?

Associate of Arts Degrees

  • Leadership
  • Ministry

Bachelors Degrees

  • BA in Ministry Leadership
  • BA in Business Management
  • BA in Organizational Management
  • BA in Organizational Leadership
  • BA in Psychology

What are the dates for 2019-2020?

Fall Semester (15 weeks)                                      Spring Semester (15 weeks)

Session A – Sept 2 – Oct 21                                   Session A – Jan 13 – March 2

Session B – Oct 28 – Dec 16                                  Session B – March 9 – April 27

What does the internship/practicum look like per Semester?

The internship course will operate during the dates listed above and will include a weekly meeting (2 hours per week), serving once a week in a ministry (2 hours per week), attending master-teacher class (2-4 hours), missions trip participation (1 trip per semester; 5-7 days), required reading (1-2 books), required writing assignment (5 pages double-spaced).


What is the cost?

For fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters combined

Full-time Tuition ($310 per credit hour)    $  7,440

Registration Fee ($0/semester)                        free

Internship Fee ($1,300/semester)                    2,600

Ministry Practicum Tuition (6 credits)            Fulltime = free

Two Missions Trips (1 per semester)                4,000*

*The cost for the missions trip is to be paid directly to MCA church at the beginning of each semester and is not eligible for financial aid or scholarships. First year missions trips will be to Judea (Alaska) and Samaria (U.S. or close to the States); second year missions trips will be to Jerusalem (Anchorage) and the uttermost parts of the earth (TBD); third year missions trip will be to Israel, Lord willing.

How Can I Finance My Education?

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to determine your financial aid eligibility. Financial Aid may include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Stafford Loans, Parent Plus Loans, or Non-Northwest University Scholarships

Please complete the FAFSA as early as possible to allow time for processing. Financial Aid questions can be answered by the University at nppfinancialservices@northwestu. edu.

How do I get Ministry Practicum credit for free?

Full-time students enrolled for at least 24 credits for the academic year may receive 6 additional credits per year by participating in the NPP Partner’s internship program when approved by NU and overseen by NPP Coordinator.

What should I do if I want more information?

Call Pastor Fay Niemann at 907 337-9495 or email her at fayniemann (at) mcaonline.org.

You can also go to the Northwest University Partnership Program info site at https://eagle.northwestu.edu/academics/ northwest-partnership/.

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Business as Mission: Gea Gort LIVE at MCA Church

Hear Gea Gort LIVE at MCA Church

Business as Mission

Saturday, October 6, 2018

7041 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, Alaska

9 AM – 1 PM Lunch Included

 

Gea’s presentations are designed to increase awareness of Business as Mission in our world of today.  Her experiences are the inspiration of her books, “God in the City: A missional way of life in an urban context” and “BAM Global Movement: concept and stories.”

“Entrepreneurs see and create opportunities. How can this talent be used to benefit society and build Gods Kingdom in innovative and holistic ways?”

Dr. Gea Gort is passionate about mission, especially in the urban context. She sees a grassroots missionary movement emerging. As author, journalist and missiologist she researches, writes and speaks about international developments regarding this movement.

There is a small, but steadily growing innovative missional movement emerging in urban places.  It is a grassroots movement; people involved are moving to vulnerable neighborhoods and connect with their neighbors. Others start Business as Mission-type initiatives, or lead fellow church members into a change; they are getting involved in a meaningful ways with their neighborhoods.

As missionaries, Gea and Menno (her husband) lived and worked for nine years on board Mercy Ships’ hospital ship, the Anastasis. We moved to Rotterdam to set up Mercy Ships Holland and I became locally involved: led a prayer movement in my city, directed a leadership network and advised the local government on multicultural issues. Meanwhile studying journalism and Urban Mission (Doctor of Ministry) and started writing about what God and Gods people are doing around the world.

Let us know of your interest in attending, 907 337-9495 or kentredfearn@pastorkent.me

Two of Gea’s insightful books call us to engage the Gospel in the urban context.

Posted on 20th September 2018 in Glocal, Missions  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Secret to our Multi-ethnic Success: deuxième partie

Simple obedience to the life of Jesus calls us to love our neighbors.  At least in Anchorage, Alaska, one’s neighbors are, delightfully, from around the world.

Hispanic, African, and Dutch neighbors live next door to our family home and they are friends all.  Northeast Anchorage is extremely blessed with a kaleidoscope of nationalities, tribes, and ethnicities.  We couldn’t be more highly favored.

MCA Church is on the journey of learning to love our neighbors well and to love at that deeper level is our calling.  There are a few things we are learning as we walk with God into greater neighboring.

First, every person has been gifted by God with unique voice. We believe that to be human is to have voice and one of life’s greatest sins is to silence a person’s unique expression. I am convinced there is no gift of the Spirit called “muffle the other’s voice.”

We have paid a relational price with a few folks for releasing the voiced life. I will always remember some of the things said to me over the years.

  • “I’m leaving this church because you allowed “that” woman (Pastor Fay) to not only speak in church but to serve communion.
  • “I think I’ll worship elsewhere.  I’m not comfortable worshiping around people with special needs who sing too loudly or don’t know how to behave in God’s house.”
  • “Pastor Kent, if other ethnicities go to church here, my kids may date one of them.”
  • “Young man! I need to speak to you right now. Are you trying to turn this into a black church?”

Oh, Lord, have mercy.  Just writing these old complaints almost gets me angry all over again. What ungodly NONSENSE! These sentences flowed from hearts filled with an anti-neighboring spirit.

Those early days have been swallowed up in God’s new work among us. All of those attitudes have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and we are a neighborly congregation where women, men, folks who are differently abled, young, old, and of every ethnicity are welcomed to add their voice to the pre-heaven mix called MCA Church.

Second, adding meaning to the embrace of each person’s voice is the practice of suspending judgment. It is very simple. I am not listening if I am judging. Neighborly listening requires the total suspension of judgment until after the communication is complete.

A core component of suspended judgement listening is what I call embracing the dignity of pain. If one is not free to express their pain without being judged, they are truly not free at all.

It is too easy to get gagged by a group code of silence that says, “You can hurt but you can’t give voice to your pain.” It is powerful to respect the other by extending to them the dignity of their pain.

One of my friends said to me, “Pastor Kent, when I was a child I was taken from my home by the government and placed in many foster homes. In each foster home, I was sexually abused. As I grew older, I repeated the sexual abuse on my own victims. The people who abused me, repeatedly, were never even corrected, but I went to jail for a long time. God made me to follow the herds, live off the land, and to be close to his creation.  I almost went crazy locked up in that jail. I said to myself, “When I am released from prison I will never sleep another night inside.”

Embracing my friends voice was life changing for me because at that moment the Spirit opened my eyes to the difference between a person who is homeless and one who is an outdoor resident.

Maybe if we had been able to listen to his pain sooner we could have helped prevent him from acting out his pain by hurting others so deeply. Without a doubt I feel extremely honored that he trusted me with hearing his voice.

Embracing each unique voice with suspended judgement is a delicate matter from time to time. Like the time I wore a hoodie on Sunday morning so that our black teenagers knew that they could safely voice their fears. At that moment my opinions of the Trayvon Martin case weren’t important. What mattered was for my church neighbors to feel safe enough to voice their fear. (Our teenagers born in Africa or born in African families prefer to be identified as African Americans. My black friends born in the USA or to families born in the USA prefer to be called black Americans.)

Equally important to suspending judgement and embracing the dignity of one’s pain is the grace to embrace the delight of one’s hope. Listen carefully and you will find traces in every voice of both hurt and hope.

Fanning the embers of hope into full flame is one of the indescribable joys of the listening neighbor. Nothing can compare to the emergence of hope from  within the human soul.

“I have tested you to see if you are trustworthy with my pain and I now have confidence that you will be tender with my deepest hope.”

Suspended judgement listening not only embraces the other’s sense of safety to voice their fears but also welcomes them to a safety in which to voice their faith.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and voice gave shape and sound to the deep hurts of racism. Racisms hurt found it’s full voice.

Even greater, Dr. King’s life and voice gave shape and sound to mankind’s deepest hope. Reconciliation found it’s full voice.

When hurt and hope are voiced within the safety of a Jesus type neighbor the synergy is gigantic. The Psalmist said it this way, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

 

Posted on 12th December 2016 in Glocal, Politics, Spiritual Growth, Student Ministry, Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Secret to our Multi-ethnic Success

MCA Church is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic worship community that loves one another deeply. We rarely talk about racism in our gatherings because we simply feel that crying racism actually strengthens and lengthens this terrible sin against the image of God.

A racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

A bigot is a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

A xenophobe is a person who is unduly fearful of what is foreign.

NONE of these three perspectives please God and all three are a great insult to being created in the image of God.

The racist, bigot, and xenophobe often struggle with unhealthy and sinful prejudice.

To be prejudiced is to hold a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Most forms of prejudice are sin because they can not be true. People can not accurately be assessed by skin color, race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic standing, or height or weight.

Here at MCA Church we hold to a very simple and basic solution.  Our highly effective plan won’t make headlines, may seem unsophisticated and kindergarten-ish.

We don’t mind.  We are a simple folk. Our plan requires only three Jesus’ words to define.

Sorry.  No long books to read.  No degrees to be earned.  No sensitivity training required.

Time for the great unveiling of MCA Church’s secret to our multi-ethnic success.

“Love your neighbor.”

 

 

Posted on 8th December 2016 in Glocal, Health, Holidays, MCA Global Network, Ministry Development, Missions  •  Comments are off for this post
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Just Plain Nuts!

This dude says to me, “Whoever wins the election, God will be glorified.”

What kind of theological perspective is that? Trying to do theology many times people become crazy folks, out of touch with simple logic and truth.

He might as well of said, “Praise God for Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and American slavery.”

The “God will be glorified” crowd, in essence, have a God who is in total control of a closed system (The whole closed system thing died long ago).  Therefore, this controlling and causative God is responsible for EVERYTHING that happens everywhere, all the time.  “It’s God’s sovereignty,” they proclaim.

Yep.  They believe the sovereignty of God indicates that God intentionally and purposefully raised up Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and American slavery.  God intended for the masses to be murdered and our black brothers enslaved, they believe.  God, in fact wants babies aborted, children to have incurable cancer, and other children to starve.  After all, in His sovereignty, God predetermines all things.

Just plain nuts.

I nearly fell out of my seat one day when one of these famous “Greater Glory for God” preachers said, “Christians should never help the non-elect poor.  When you help the non-elect poor, you are fighting the judgement of God on their lives.”

Just plain nuts!

God, you see, needs greater glory and He needs it so desperately that He turns to causing evil in order to get this greater glory.  If your kid contracts an incurable disease, you can rest in the fact that God designed, intended, and planned for this because He needs greater glory.

Knowing that this is craziness for any decent human being to believe, they throw down their “trump” card (Bwahaha), “It is for His greater glory.”  “It is a mystery how God causes evil for His glory.”  They say.

Just plain nuts!

This crowd actually defines God as the One and Only Sinner!  How?  In a closed system in which God alone is the first and only cause, He alone has responsibility for sin.

He is responsible for your election and salvation.  If you aren’t elect, you are toast because it is a matter of intentional thought and determination by God.  Your non-Christian Karma has been set by God.  If, on the other hand, you are elect (I’m never quite sure what measure of pride enables this crowd to assume they are elect?) no amount of evil action on your part is a deal breaker with God, because He too uses evil for His purposes.

Just plain nuts!

Many folks in this crowd are very dear friends of mine.  “Kent, I’ll never know why God foreordained my son’s drowning death at such a young age.”  “I don’t know why God wanted me to have this cancer.” “Why do you think God intended me to have this painful divorce?”

To assume that God’s sovereignty requires causation is, in my understanding, a HUGE insult to the true character and sovereignty of God.  To suggest that God’s heart includes the causation of evil is preposterous heresy.

“Haven’t you read Romans 13:1, you bozo pastor?” They ask.  Much to their amazement, I have actually glanced at Romans a time or two.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Paul simply points out that all true authority is His.  He has shared a small portion of His authority with systems of governance in man-made authority “blocks.”

If Putin has authority in the man-made governance system called Russia, that authority is from God.  If Bashar al-Assad has authority in the man-made governance system called Syria, that authority is from God.

In NO WAY is Paul suggesting that governing authorities are always pleasing to God and that their decisions are part of God’s sovereign rule on the earth.  In Paul’s mind, any authority that is rightfully in the stewardship of a person or government, is authority instituted by God.  When you fight true authority, you fight God.

I’m fairly sure that Rome was a miserable place in which to be a Christian. Names like Caligula and Nero come to mind.  Yuck!  Scum of the earth type leaders.  And these were the people governing our brothers and sisters to whom Paul was writing.

Paul, in my view, was saying, “Rome is a man-made space with borders drawn by human beings.  Inside that man-made space called Rome there is the need for governance and authority.  The governance and authority established there was established by God.”

Paul is NOT saying, “Nero was God’s choice to lead Rome.”  He is saying, “God has established governance and authority in Rome and Nero has come to power.”

If Rome had been open to an election, I am thoroughly convinced Paul would have said, “Nero has seized governance and authority.  Vote the bum out.  #NeverNero.”

God’s sovereignty often flows through human choices.

God being glorified is not the issue at hand.  The I Am will be just fine.

It matters who wins national elections.  #Electionsmatter

To live otherwise is Just Plain Nuts.

 

 

 

 

Posted on 27th October 2016 in Glocal, Martyrdom, Politics  •  Comments are off for this post
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Global Outreach: Is Your All Too Small?

Telescopes are wonderful devices that help us observe remote objects.  There is much to learn from a Global Outreach telescope.

  • Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Strategy

Microscopes are equally wonderful devices that help us view objects that are not in the resolution range of the normal eye.  There is much to learn from a Global Outreach microscope.

  • Relationship
  • Compassion
  • Implementation

By bringing far things near, telescopes make the world smaller.

By viewing things normally beyond the resolution range of the human eye, microscopes make the world larger.

“Is Your All Too Small?” is the Global Outreach question of the month.

When these “alls” are too small in your experience, your “alls” of going into all the world are too small too.  Matthew 28:18-20

  • Romans 8:28 “I don’t know how things would work out.”
  • Philippians 4:13 “I don’t know how I would meet the challenges and needs.”
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 “How would I handle all of the uncertainties?”
  • Matthew 6:33 “Really?  Make ministry my first priority?”
  • Psalm 103:1-5 “I feel too sinful and besides, what if I get sick and have no strength?

Step One                Firmly experience the truth that the “all” is in your “call.”

Step Two                Is the American Dream your calling’s nightmare?

Step Three             Inside your calling, dream big!  Ephesians 3:20

Today, add the hands on ministry of the microscope to the perspectives seen in the telescope.

Listen – My Story

  1. Have you ever looked through a telescope (binoculars) or microscope? Do you have any interesting stories of what you saw?
  2. If God gave you a miraculous microscope, what in all of the universe of things and ideas would you want to look more closely?
  3. Please complete the following, “If I could speak the Good News of Jesus into a certain segment of the world or society, I would speak too

Lift – Prayer

  • Thank God for giving you love for parts of His world.
  • Please pray for miraculous provision of $45,000 for Pastor Mark and Val Burgess’ need for the foundation of the MCA Bristol Bay facility. God is Able!!!
  • Ask God to increase your personal experience of the “all” passages from the weekend message.
  • Please pray for Pastor Gary and Jael Cox. Jael is fighting a huge battle with cancer and is trusting God for healing.

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Read John 1:1-4, 14. Do you think it fair to say that John 1:1-4 emphasizes Jesus’ telescope ministry and John 1:14 emphasizes Jesus’ microscope ministry? In what part of the world or segment of society are you delivering “microscope” ministry? In other words, where are you the Gospel made flesh?
  1. The weekend message was filled with fantastic “All” Bible verses. Do you think the temptation of Eve gives any insight into possible reasons people live far below God’s all verses?  Consider the first line of Satan’s temptation of Eve in Genesis 3:1. What was Satan trying to get Eve to doubt?  Does the Evil One use the same tactics on people today?
  1. How might you activate the “all” verses of the Bible according to Psalm 1?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. In response to this teaching, what action steps do you need to make this week?
  2. Select one of the “all” verses from the weekend message and read it every day this week.
  3. Consider if the American Dream is hindering your calling for ministry.

 

Posted on 3rd October 2016 in Glocal, Uncategorized, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Known By God

known-by-godWealth, health, ease, luxury and popularity often get a great deal of promotion in the USAmerican Christian church-scape.  Bigger, richer, higher quality, faster, smoother and the more pleasing to people, the better for this mindset.

Add to this the notion that people do nothing in the salvation equation.  Preached loudly and clearly from many platforms is the message, “What must I do to be saved?”  “NOTHING!” Is the erroneous reply.

Into the landscape dominated by such nonsense, Pastor Philippe simply reads the words of Jesus:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23

No high IQ needed for understanding these words of Jesus.  He simply says that a person can move in the gift of prophecy, deliverance ministry and mighty works all in the name of Jesus and NOT enter the kingdom of heaven.

The mental gymnastics I have heard about these verses is nearly unbelievable. Why do we tolerate the tendency to explain away, in bizarre ways, the plain and simple meaning of Jesus?

They say things like, “The kingdom of heaven isn’t heaven, it is your inheritance in heaven.”  But, that’s not what Jesus said.  Or they say, “The kingdom of heaven isn’t related to salvation.  Not all of the saved will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Let’s not shape the text to a theology but form theology from the text!

Without a doubt, there are accomplishments in the “name of Jesus” that can not be equated with the assurance of salvation.  Prophecy, deliverance and mighty works in the name of Jesus are not necessarily proof of salvation.

The person, and the only one, who enters the kingdom of heaven is that person doing the will of the Father in heaven.  Please notice that Jesus didn’t say that the one who enters the kingdom of heaven did (past tense) the will of the Father, but in current time, here and now, does (or, is doing) the will of the Father.

In this passage, the answer to “What must I do to be saved?” is simple and clear. “What must I do to be saved?”  “You must do the will of the Father.”

Jesus is saying that there is a prophecy, deliverance and mighty act done in the name of Jesus that is NOT the will of the Father.  Strange, indeed, but still true.  I am not sure why the Father would bless a prophecy, deliverance and mighty act that wasn’t His will, but He does.  In this we see that the Father is honoring the holy name of His Son.

Jesus gives us further insight into entering the kingdom of heaven when he reveals why these doers are not allowed to enter the kingdom, “I never knew you.”

There is a doing of the will of the Father that flows from the Father knowing you. All of the visible measurements are not adequate for entering the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom of heaven is for those, and only those, who are doing the will of the Father and knowing the Father’s will is something the Father gives to those He knows.

(Photo from www.jaroland74.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/known-by-god.jpg)

Posted on 19th October 2015 in Glocal, Missions, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Minor Adjustments or Deep Change?

A macro shot of the word "change" from the dictionary

Our systems are perfectly designed and implemented to get us where we are.  We can’t blame others or bad luck.  We built our systems and then our systems built us.

If we are only one play short of total victory, maybe small incremental and minor adjustments would get the job done.  Not gaining ground year after year isn’t a demand for a simple tweeking, it is a shout for a total overhaul.

In talking about those who have not yet heard the Good News and God’s call upon our lives to reach the regions beyond, I became aware of many folks willing and even eager to make minor adjustments to their lives for the cause.  This feels like just enough activity to sooth the conscience and reduce the volume of the Spirit’s voice.

What if the only thing that will get the job done is deep change?  Moving from;

  • Tithing to giving away everything?
  • Giving away an hour or two each week in ministry to giving all day, every day for the rest of your life?
  • Selling your skills for a paycheck to investing your skills so others benefit?

Maybe the commonly held benchmarks for success in the American Christian life are more determined by the system than by the Person, Jesus Christ.

Maybe “blessed are the poor” really means that the poor are blessed?

Maybe “My kingdom is not of this world” really means that God’s kingdom isn’t of this world?

Maybe “I am crucified with Christ” is an invitation to live dead?

Maybe “Go into all the world” really means that we should go?

Often the system honors and blesses the not the poor, but the wealthy; not those who live for the heavenly kingdom, but those who are building their own kingdoms; not those crucified with Christ, but those who seem fully alive in the natural; and not those who go, but those who stay.

The system we built now builds us.

Deep change anyone?

 

Posted on 13th October 2015 in Giving, Glocal, great faith, Missions  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Weapons we Fight with are not Carnal

The voice is the most powerful resource a human being has been given by God. Part of my calling is to help you find your voice, craft your message, and speak it clearly to the world. Your voice matters!

Yes, I have taken some heat because of my support of my Christian black brothers and sisters who last Sunday, in prayer, asked God to help Americans see that black lives matter. I again want to commend the Church of God in Christ for using their voices to bring a deep wound to the forefront of the national Assemblies of God consciousness.

Today, if I understand the story correctly, a man greatly sinned against God, the people of our nation, the entire family of police officers in our country, the by-standers, his girlfriend, two police officers, and all of their friends and families.

Wenjian-Liu-and-Rafael-RamosMurder is among the worst of all sins. Murdering a person properly placed by God’s shared authority for the protection of the population is among the worst of the worst sins. In no uncertain terms the intentional, pre-meditated, surprise attack against peace officers, today and always, is not acceptable for any reason, ever.

To say “all lives matter” isn’t adequate. Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu’s lives matter. These officers have been robbed of their breath, joys, future and their lives. No more Christmases, birthday parties, weddings, or sunsets on the beach for them. They have experienced Cain’s sin against Abel.

Allegedly the accused, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then committed the cowardly sin of suicide. If this is accurate, Ismaaiyl Brinsley completed sin in 360 degrees- he was wicked, in ways that defy reason, to the entire world and in every dimension.

It is clear. The human heart is capable of EXTREME evil. Morality, decency, respect, and honor can quickly be replaced by hatred, vile violence, immorality, indecency, disrespect, and dishonor. In a flash, a human being can become, as it were, a demon of hell.

Brothers and Sisters, this is why it is VITAL that we learn to find our voice and allow the other to find their’s too. As followers of Jesus we fight injustice with our words not weapons, language not Lugers, sentences not swords, grammar not guns, prayer not pistols, and verbally not with violence.

In my world of wishes, Ismaaiyl Brinsley would have been walking down a Brooklyn street last Sunday and heard some amazing music wafting out of a local Christian church, maybe one like the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Interested in the terrific sound and feel of the music, he decides to walk in and check out what’s going on.

He can hardly fathom what he sees. People of all ethnicities are harmoniously and energetically worshiping with song and dance. The love flowing in the racially diverse crowd is so different from the feelings he has inside; feelings of oppression, white aggression, hate, anger, and murder.

The next thing he sees rocks his emotional world. The pastor walks to the center of the stage and says, “Folks, today we will be in prayer for our nation. Today we are honoring Black Lives Matter Sunday. If you are here today and your heart is hurting, you can’t make sense of Grand Jury decisions, it seems to you that the world is intentionally stacked against those among us who are black, and your heart is full of rage, please know that you and your pain matters to us and to Jesus. The best way to deal with life’s injustices is to use your voice to cry out. The Bible is full of people crying out against injustice. Please come and talk with us. We won’t argue against you and your position, we won’t demean you, in fact we will honor you and your voice.”

If only.

Maybe Wenjian and Ramos would be alive today.

Posted on 21st December 2014 in Glocal, Ministry Development, Prayer, Serving, Spiritual Growth  •  Comments are off for this post
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Race and Ethnicity Humility

The news out of St. Louis County regarding the tensions there are further signs of how much the individual and collective human heart needs a complete transformation by the work of Jesus.  As buildings burned, people ransacked and looted, and many were arrested, I watched a Caucasian women say, “I don’t know what all the noise is about.  There are no racial tensions here in Ferguson.”

Clearly, not everyone sees the world the way she does.

When different perspectives intersect different deeply held beliefs difficulty abounds.  Interestingly, every position claims that God is on their side.Starfish Blue

Two definitions come to mind – race and ethnicity.

Race is genetic.  In our DNA.  God given. Unchangeable.  With Darrell and Clairena as my parents, my race would be the same if I was born in China, Israel, or Burkina Faso.

Ethnicity is learned.  It is about traditions, culture, and behaviors.  Ethnicity is changeable.

MCA Church is moving forward in “keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3)” by learning what I call “race and ethnicity humility.”    Following the Biblical command to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than your selves,” (Philippians 2:3) includes race and ethnicity!  In humility I am to count other races as more significant than mine.  Humbling myself before other ethnicities is a must.

Personally, my race is Caucasian and much of my ethnicity is Inupiat.

For me it isn’t real difficult to consider other races as more significant than mine, but it is a HUGE challenge to honor other ethnicities above my own.  For example, my Inupiat ethnicity is steeped in the power of feasting as worship. After a successful hunting season in which God has provided whales, moose, caribou, fish, seals, walrus, and ducks, EVERYTHING stops for the feast.  Naluqatak, the Barrow, Alaska Whaling Festival, is among the yearly highlights of celebration to God for His bountiful provisions.

With joy, I brought Naluqatak to MCA Church on Thanksgiving Day.  I was so excited to have an MCA Church wide feast celebrating the goodness and bounty of the Lord.  To my total surprise, the people of my own race thought it to be the dumbest and most family unfriendly idea they had ever heard.  “What?  You want us to leave our suburban homes where we gather on Thanksgiving with our family?  You are crazy!  Thanksgiving is a day to stay home with family.”

At that moment I realized that I am, by birth, a white guy.  I am by upbringing, an Inupiat.

Deep in my soul I felt that those who disagreed with me about Thanksgiving being a church-wide feast unto the Lord were anti-ministry, anti-church family, and anti-love one another.  Now I know that there are more than just one way to celebrate God’s bounty.  I must admit, because ethnicity runs so deep in my soul, I still think the church-wide feast unto the Lord is better and more spiritual than “cloistering” in our middle and upper class homes.

This is clearly an opportunity for me to practice ethnicity humility.

MCA Church continues to become a collection of people from many races and even more ethnicities.  By God’s grace we are learning to consider other’s race and ethnicity as better than our own.  You, your race, and your ethnicity are deeply loved, valued, and appreciated in our Church family.

I can’t bring much change to the situation in Ferguson but I can humbly consider the races and ethnicities with whom I interact as better than my own.

Race and ethnic humility is my starfish.  I can’t change the whole beach but I can make a difference for this one.

Posted on 25th November 2014 in Giving, Glocal, Gratitude, grief, Ministry Development, Missions  •  Comments are off for this post