FROM THE PASTOR…
Guest Article by Charles Jones
I know many say, “unless you were in a hole this weekend, you were probably following what was going on,” or something of the sort. Well, Amanda and I were out of town Saturday and busy most of the day Sunday. We also don’t have twitter, so we aren’t getting up-to-the-minute notifications like many others. It wasn’t until we sat down Sunday afternoon and looked at FB that we started seeing what had unfolded in Charlottesville.
We had dinner with my parents about two weeks ago, and I was asking them what it was like to grow up in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. My mom spent her childhood in a number of different Southern states, and my dad grew up in Southern Indiana & Kentucky, where the majority of his family farmed. They told us stories of watching the news, seeing the marches turn violent, the firehoses turned on people, and the turmoil that generally surrounded the American way of life, both abroad and at home. They told us stories of their personal experiences during this tumultuous time in our history.
Growing up in Arizona, and being white, I haven’t had the experiences that many of my brothers and sisters from different regions and colors have had. Selfishly, I’m grateful for that. Selflessly, it pains me that people, all made in the image of God, experience discrimination, hatred, and bigotry simply because of the evil beliefs of others. It grieves me deeply that the folly and evil of racial idolatry permeates so deeply in our society, not only in our history, but in even now. I mourn the loss of life, the hatred, the void of reconciliation, the evil incarnate that was on display in Charlottesville. Part of that mourning is that all of this took place in 2017; not that we’re somehow more evolved into a more loving, peaceful people, but that many of us assumed we were beyond this, that these moving pictures are reserved for the 50’s and 60’s. Maybe that’s my naivety, maybe it’s simply true. I’m honestly not sure.
I do know that as Christians, we stand for the Gospel: the Good News that God, in his infinite love and mercy, sent his Son to live a perfect life, to die for our evil, foolishness, and death, and rose again so that all who believe in Him can have freedom forevermore- freedom from sin, freedom from bigotry and judgment in their hearts, freedom from the idolatry that chains us all down, and freedom from eternal death. Jesus gives life: life here and life forevermore.
Christian, being silent toward evil isn’t an option. It never has been. Just as MLK spoke out against the complacency of his white brothers in the clergy, we must speak out against this evil now. There are no divisions in Christ (Col. 3:11). You are called to reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20); we cannot simply receive the reconciliation to God through Christ and sit passively by as deep, deep reconciliation is needed everywhere we look. You are called to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), to protect and be a voice for the marginalized (Is. 1:17). You serve a God who cares for the orphan, widow, and the forgotten, so you must also do so.
Christian, if your first, second, third, or 100th reaction to something like what happened this weekend is to point fingers, place blame, to justify why it happened, or to explain away why you’re right and someone else is wrong, you are off base. This shows that your treasure and identity are not in fact in Christ, but in your political position, your social status, your comfort, your worship of the status quo. Let us repent of this foolishness.
Non-Christian friends, what you see in the beliefs of those who claim Christianity as a justification for their hatred is pure evil. This is not the Gospel.
In memorable language in Revelation, God tells the church in Laodicea, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth,” because it is metaphorically ______ (fill in the blank).
A. too hot
B. too cold
As September begins, we encourage you to pray about where you will serve WGBC in the coming year. Beginning September 17, sheets will go up on the bulletin board where you can sign up to serve on our ministry teams. The more that serve on any ministry team makes the work of that team easier. There is a place of service for each member of West Glendale…a place where you can use the spiritual and natural gifts God has given you to work in His Kingdom.
During the month of September we will collect offerings above and beyond your tithe in support of State Missions. The state goal is $160,000. The goal of West Glendale is $500.00. Monies raised will help in the following areas that Arizona Southern Baptists minister: Disaster Relief, Ministering to Pastors, Christian Challenge, Planting Churches, Student Ministries and Hispanic Ministries. As always, 100% of your gift to State Missions goes to the convention for use in these area. Simply use the designated envelopes that will be in your bulletin or write “State Missions” on your regular giving envelope’s designated line. Thank you for your help with God’s work in Arizona.
~ Ephesians 2:8-9 ~
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
~ Ephesians 2:8-9 ~
All ministry team chairs need to submit their budget requests to the Finance Team no later than September 20th. This allows them time to meet and compile our proposed budget to vote on by our November Business Meeting. See Chris C. with any questions.
As many of you know, each year the Arizona Diamondbacks host a Faith & Family Night. Did you know that the Phoenix Suns do this as well? If you are interested in attending a Suns game as a group, please contact the church office at 623-937-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. When we have the information of who the Suns will play and the date, time and cost, we will post so you can sign up. As always, tickets will need to be paid for ahead of time, as the church does not purchase them.
The pastors and staff of WGBC wish all those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in September a very blessed day.
Our Gospel Kids program on Wednesday nights will begin in September. We are beginning a study of five (5) Old Testament stories and five (5) New Testament stories that we will explore over the next 10 months. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board if you are interested in teaching or helping with our children’s ministry on Wednesday nights. We meet at the same time as the Youth and Adult Bible Studies, from 6:30-7:30 pm. Gospel Kids is for children in grades Kindergarten through Grade 6.
GOD’S LEFT HAND
A 6-year-old and his grandma went for a walk one autumn day. “Look at the gorgeous leaves!” Grandma exclaimed. “Just think, God painted each one of them just for us!”
“Yep,” said her grandson, “and he did it left-handed.”
Perplexed, Grandma asked, “Why do you think God used his left hand to create all this beauty?”
“Because,” said the boy matter-of-factly, “we learned in Sunday school that Jesus sits on God’s right one.”
BIBLE QUIZ Answer: D (See Revelation 3:16.)