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- CHRISTCHURCHDFW published a newsletterReadTHE COLOR OF EVIL
I have read so much about the incident of May 25 at Minneapolis. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video until last night. I heard of how the victim with another friend facilitated access to the gospel in a project in Houston. That touched my heart and became a motivation to watch the video.
Watching the video only aggravated my initial reaction. From the onset, I had a heavy heart on the matter. I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it. It’s been very difficult putting my feelings into words. I am upset, angry, and suddenly realized that I am becoming fearful of law enforcement officers.
Fear is a tyrant and brings the worst out of any man. To confront my state of fear, I called out three police officers that I know to engage with them firsts as human beings, representative of the community that we live in, and briefly talk about the moment we find ourselves without any negative emotions. Once again, I realized that they are also human with blood flowing through their veins. I jokingly asked how one of them would travel back home after the work shift. Won’t it be a good idea to change clothes while driving back home? It won’t be lack of courage to do so but to respect the feelings of the aggrieved. I was surprised that he felt that way too. At that point; I realized that the color of evil is not dark or black!
That may sound strange against the grains of what has been taught and acclaimed as a theory. Evil is evil in any garment or skin color. What I saw in that video is heinous. It is evil. Who would dare stand as a witness in times past over such heinous crime? The marginalized have a voice in the face of brazen abuse of power. Social media and smartphones have become weapons of exposing abuse of power. Watching one of the officers standing close to the scene doing nothing aggravated my pain. I was no longer paying attention to the gruesome murder going on in the video but the uncaring posture of the other officers. At a point, I shouted and asked; “how dare you?” How dare you stand akimbo in the face of tyranny? I dare you to stand aloof while murder was been perpetuated under your watch as a law officer.
At this point, I remember the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote; “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Suddenly, I found my voice. I dared myself for not speaking against this tyranny. I realized that my silence was the reason for my fear. Evil is evil in any color and must be denounced by people of honor. Evil is evil by whatever garment is put on to commit it. Evil is evil by whatever weapon is used. Evil is evil whether it is state-sponsored or self-sponsored. What happened In Minneapolis on May 25 is evil.
My attention was brought to the Facebook posts of both Justin Bouldin of Resurrection Houston and Corey Paul. Corey said, I knew George Floyd personally and the media can’t distort that knowledge. Justin’s Facebook post is quite touching. It was posted on May 27 at 6.42am. I doubt if he ever slept through that night. Justin narrated his experience when he moved to 3rd Ward in Houston with his family to serve as church planting residents. Part of the church planting effort is a 3 on 3 basketball tournament at a large housing project called Cuney Homes across the street from Texas Southern University. He remembered sitting with George to watch a game and his words; “We need more of this in our community. See how everyone is out here, having fun and not worried about no nonsense. We need more positive opportunities for our people and that is why I’m so glad for Rez Houston is out here. Y’all always showing love and keeping it real for these youth. They need it more than anything.” That was George! A man that could recognize love in the community. A man that wanted the best for himself and his community. A man that is full of appreciation for little. Up till now, I couldn’t bear to watch a replay of his 6-year daughter in the news.
I have read several comments on blogs and vlogs that point away from the murder of George Floyd to the protest matches and the associated looting. That is nothing but a mere distraction from the main matter. The matter was becoming a race war- we versus them- until you see the pictures and videos again. I saw men of different colors standing up for justice. I saw people of different faith standing up for justice. At the same time, I saw people of various colors looting the stores. It was an appalling sight. That brought me to the conclusion of the matter; Evil has no color! Evil is evil and it must be called out without fear of color bias. Don’t wait until it gets close to you before screaming out. Injustice of any form is evil and not to speak about it is to speak. These incidents of injustice are perpetuated against communities. However, a commendable event held on June 5 in Dallas TX. I was glad to see police officers from Dallas and the surrounding cities coming together to “acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.”
A lot has been said about the systemic injustice in our nation. One can see evil on parade everywhere and in every garment. Evil may be dressed in custom made suit, in a doctor/nursing scrub, in a clergy robe, or workshop overall. Evil has no color but yet evident. Evil suffocates. Every victim of evil cries with the voice of George Floyd; “I can’t breathe!” It pained my heart that George was still calling a murderer an officer of the law. I heard him saying; “Officer, I can’t breathe!” Shouldn’t that be a signal to the officer to release his knee from George’s neck? No! Evil asphyxiates to annihilate. Whether the evil is from security agents, city council office, tax office, political leaders, or church leadership, evil suffocates its victims. Dear leader, are there some people under you who are choking under your authority? Are there people under you gasping for breath? As it was, so it is! This was what led a prophet to speak from an exalted altar and it has become what we call the Micah Mandate.
No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT)
To reflect on what the Lord desires demands every God-fearing person to stand with God against evil in every color and shade. This is not done by carrying a bible that you don’t read in front of a church building that you don’t attend. The Micah mandate helps us to develop a holistic spirituality that does not permit hiding our faith in a closet or behind the walls of a church building. How do we do this? Listen to what God is saying. It is the same message in every generation with different messengers.
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he created the universe. Hebrews 1:1-2 (NLT)
Who can do good except for the good one- God himself? He sent His only approved Son to model how to live. Jesus did what is right, loved mercy, and consistently walked humbly with God. By the life of Jesus, we know that justice, love, and forgiveness are key essentials for our walk of faith. He judged the sin of humanity on the cross. God’s eyes were away from His beloved Son as the sin of humanity was laid on Him. God’s love does not condone sin. It confronts it. God’s love speaks and acts against evil in every garment or color and shape. The death of Christ on the Cross did not diminish the pain of sin but provided forgiveness which He expressed on the cross. Jesus stood for the oppressed. He declared that he came for the unwell (people at the fringe of the society-social outcasts and economically deprived) and not those who feel well in themselves. The disciples have a mandate to create a new normal not through violence as He admonished Peter to take his sword back in Mt 26:52. Disciples of Christ have the mandate to actively engage the communities affected, share the burdens of those who weep, and see how God can use them as His hands and feet in restoring a broken world to God as His ambassadors. We are to reconcile all men back to God. Christ overcame evil but we are here to enforce His will by advancing His Kingdom by making disciples of all nations. Be the light that brings a change and have the courage of a new creation man to stand against tyranny and oppression.
Dr. Abiodun Coker has hands-on experience in both congregational ministry and health care Chaplaincy. He is an ordained and licensed Pastor as a church planter across cultures and tribal divides in Nigeria, Canada, United States and in the Caribbean Islands. He has extensive multi-location ministry experience. Abi has leadership skills that is situated with an integrative theological reflection skill. He ministers to see believers mature in their relationship with God. He is married with children. Pastor Abiodun Coker holds a Doctor of Ministry with bias in Theology of Work.
- Satan's stronghold on many believers today is DOUBT. Pray and ask God to help you eliminate all traces of doubt in your life.Psalm 27: 13-14
- In crisis truth emerges and clarity becomes evident. Matthew 2:1-12,John 14:6. Please, stay with the TRUTH the Word of Life even in this pandemic. Have a great week Y'all.
- RCCG CHRIST CHURCH DFW published a newsletterReadQuarantined! – Another Perspective
Covid-19 changed our world.
The world has changed due to COVID-19. Our typical and “safe” daily routines have been disrupted, and as it were, shifted by a divine hand. We must get used to the idea that things might never return to “normal” again. As usual, a new “normal” evolves after a crisis. Air travel has never remained the same since the attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York on 9/11/2000. Therefore, we need to think about the eventual consequences or realities of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Both national and personal economies have begun a tailspin with loss of income, burgeoning employment rate, and business activities that went on holiday.
In addition to the above, we have added a few lingos to our vocabulary. The epidemic was the old normal, but pandemic has become the new normal. I didn't realize the ignorance of my generation until I kept hearing, "we haven't seen anything like this!" While that may be true for us, it is nothing new as the history of plagues in the world reveals. Quarantining became a new normal, cities and whole nations put on lockdowns, and mandatory isolation enforced to curtail the menace. The usual noise of the airplane coming and going was absent, creating an uneasy quietness. Few to no cars ply the road, and deserted city streets resemble ghost towns. Heavily polluted cities report less air- pollution; even crime statistics fell across cities. The morbid fear and deafening silence of the pandemic rang across the major cities of the world.
Weirdly, it enforced restfulness across embattled and war-torn zones. In many years, the whole earth was seemingly at rest.
Christians can hold on to the one truth that will never waiver - God is in control. The galaxies, universe, and the planetary bodies maintained their courses without fail as God-ordained. Also, the sun and the moon rose and set as scheduled according to the divine order. These sustained natural phenomena underscore God's sovereign authority over the work of his hands. Therefore, the believer must trust God's ability to cause all these things to work together for the good of those who love Him.
‘And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.’ (Romans 8:28) AMPC
Walking away from the truth
One early morning, two men were walking away from Jerusalem back to their hometown. They were stunned and a bit traumatized about everything that happened during the past days. They were Jesus’s disciples. They had lived and walked alongside Him for the past three years. They had listened to Him for countless hours. He told them what will happen to Him, but they did not fully understand. Disappointed, they turned their back on Jerusalem and now going back home. For them, it is better to return to yesterday if not sure of tomorrow. It was Peter Drucker, the Austrian-born American, known as the Father of modern management that affirmed that the greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence but acting with yesterday's logic. We are faced with the risk of turning our back at the truth at a time like this.
Jesus informed his disciples of things to come but also instructed them to wait on the Helper, the Comforter that the Father will send in His place. That was too overwhelming for them. They have had enough. They feel abandoned by a Messiah that they had left all to follow. Jesus is gone and now had to wait another forty days. Another forty days of waiting for an experience that they have never had or known. They felt abandoned, empty, and helpless as orphans. They could not stand the idea of been quarantined, the seclusion, and the waiting. What if the Pharisee hawks came for them too as they did for Jesus?
Then, Jesus joined the walk.
It is most likely that you know the rest of the story. Jesus came along to walk with them. They did not recognize him at first in their confusion and disappointment. However, when they sat down to eat later that evening, Jesus revealed to them who He was.
Luke 24, verse 31 says:
31 Then their eyes were [suddenly] opened [by God], and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and opening the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up that very hour and went back to Jerusalem and found the eleven [apostles] gathered together and those who were with them, 34 saying, "The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon [Peter]!"
Isn’t it beautiful? They knew, in their hearts, that something extraordinary was taking place while they were on the road with Jesus. Even though they did not recognize him, something within them stirred.
Back to quarantine
So, they went back (‘that very hour!’) walking back to Jerusalem through the night – back to the quarantine upper-room. Not to snack, to chat, or to play, but to pray. Now, they knew that Jesus wanted them to quarantine for a reason. They were rewarded with the blessing of the Holy Spirit – the Helper, the Intercessor, and the Strengthener.
Can God do the same today?
Can God use our world-wide quarantine for the greater good? There is no question about it. He can and He will. The great question remains; will you allow Him? Dear friend, why don’t you let your quarantine experience be the platform for the move of the Holy Spirit? Be delivered from being BUSY (Being Under Satan's Yoke), wait on Him diligently. Something is going to stir. You will rise gloriously from the ash. The disciples received the promised Holy Spirit, who took them on great life-long adventures. The Church was born. What will God birth out of this quarantine experience? It can only be exciting if you will be delivered from acting on yesterday’s logic. It’s a new dawn. Welcome.
Rethinking the Church… after COVID-19: A Reflection
It is a great season to live. It is a season of rebirth which brings changes in our lives and goals. A rebirth means death to the old- old way of thinking and living. It is resurrection time, and only what is dead can resurrect. Resurrection comes with a new focus and a new strategy. The resurrected Christ told his followers to go and wait in Jerusalem until the power comes. Is this lockdown a message of Christ, COVID-19, City Mayor, or Country President? Your answer will determine the outcome of the season for you.
The immediate effect of CODIV-19 in our contemporary time is unprecedented. Many people are saying, "we have not seen it like this'" until we begin to see newspaper clippings from archives showing that there is nothing new in the world we live. As we grapple with the day to day impact of various restrictions imposed by the virus, it may also be necessary to reflect on the next thing after CODIV-19. As someone asked, what is the first thing that you will do after this season is over? Pause to reflect.
One thing is sure; things can no longer be the way it used to be. I had a time of reflection with a medical doctor on this matter recently. He agreed that the practice of medicine, in particular, can no longer be the same. As such, he had already signed up for the practice of telemedicine. As for the church, new things have emerged, and the ministry landscape has changed. It can no longer be business as usual. Suddenly, we have come to realize in practical terms that the church is not a building. The church is those who believe in (not about) Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Nations are on lockdown, but the church still meets outside several of our gigantic and fanciful buildings. The Church must operate on her two legs-the church gathered and the church scattered. The church gathered has been overemphasized to such an extent that it has become “holy puddle” that breeds all kinds of creatures besides the new creation that Christ commands.
Have we come to realize now that the Church of Christ is not about membership but discipleship? The command is “go and make disciples…” Christ standard for discipleship remains the same in every culture and generation- “If anyone wants to be my follower (not just a church meeting attendee), you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Lk 9:23 NLT. If this standard is propagated in the contemporary church, there will be no basis for comparison and competition because we will remain one in structure and content. The significant outcome of this experience is that the Church must be seen on Sundays as well as on the other days of the week. Now to a very serious question: Did the neighborhood miss the church gathered due to the lockdown by CODIV-19? Was the church missed due to her penetrating influence of godliness or due to a nuisance value of causing traffic hold-up associated with her meetings?
The workplace has changed and probably stretched beyond its elastic limit. We have now realized that there are many jobs can be done remotely. This will reduce commuting to work as many employers will now adapt to this new style. The church must rise from the grave of tradition into exalting Christ and Christ alone in the nations. Certainly, It can and must no longer be business as usual. What if the church goes back to its old ways? It simply means it has not died. Only what is dead can resurrect. If there is one healthy thing that must happen to the church right now, it is that all its myths and human-made rules must die.
Many believe that the church will fossilize if she let go of her myths and rules. Such thought could not be farther from the truth; Jesus is the chief cornerstone, as well as the builder of the church. The contemporary church leaders have usurped Christ's authority for far too long, pretending we own the church. Pastors and church leaders are not owners of the church. We are stewards. We have our role defined as equippers and not controllers. Isn't this a great time to begin to equip the family unit rather than engage in being program/event directors? Someone said; If all that the children know about the gospel is all they know; how much will they know? Parents that used to drop their children for children's teachers on Sundays and schoolteachers on weekdays have come to appreciate the labor of these teachers. The challenge now is one hope that the parents have something in place to teach the children besides; "Sit down there! I say sit down there, how many times did I say that?"
This resurrection may look scary, but it must be embraced if the church must ascend with the bridegroom on His return. Selah.