I love the words of the late world-renowned pastor, E. V. Hill, when he spoke the truth that “the church” is no longer evangelizing, we’ve moved to colonizing. E.V. Hill said, “We want to be around folks who look like us, act like us, live in the same kind of neighborhood as us, and drive the same kind of cars as us . . . We’ve gone from evangelizing to colonizing!”
YES, there are some great evangelistic works taking place in this county, but I do believe that there is cause for each of us to continually evaluate our motives. Am I wanting to fulfill my own personal desires, or do I TRULY want God’s will for my life? Does my church GENUINELY apply the ‘whosoever’ of John 3:16 to our missions and ministry in Yazoo County, or are we selective about who is welcome and to whom we outreach? It’s easy to say that we are doing Kingdom work when all of our programs are seeing individuals from our comfort zone responding, but what if the price for following Christ puts us, YOU AND ME, on the road between our Jerusalem and Jericho, and we are called to minister to the guy who has ‘fallen among thieves and he’s not our color, of our socio-economic status, or has an ugly past?
There are months when I hate writing for The Herald! Mind you, I love writing, and I live to share Life and Truth, but some months, God just gets in my face as I’m preparing these op-ed pieces . . . and self-evaluation is the toughest! We much prefer to look at others than to reflect on our own life. As I say to my congregation regularly, “My personal, petty, preferences don’t matter to God!” So, it’s tough to keep the pen on the page some months in writing for Jason and Jamie because I’m forced look into the proverbial mirror of life as I’m writing.
We love to throw the word UNITY around in Christian circles, but Christ prayed for ONENESS. He prayed that you and I would be one, just as He and the Father are one. I think often when we use this word unity, we actually mean, UNIFORMITY. We want people to walk in lock-step with what we espouse and attempt to place the onus for change on them. What about me, what about my little ole fellowship Satartia? Are we “dying to self” as the word commands? (Matthew 16:24, for example) Matthew, Luke, and Mark all record Christ’s words of the foolishness of putting new wine in old wineskins. Do we (do I) attempt to take this supposedly transformed NEW LIFE (I Cor. 5:17) and shove it into an old wineskin – somehow thinking that I can keep part of me (the old) and somehow just fit Christ in (the new) and it will all be pie-in-the-sky-in-the-sweet-by-and-by? We are called to be a transformed people, living a life that no longer reflects us, but instead is an image of Christ.
I was recently told that a minister could not participate with us in a county-wide outreach because he already had the next twelve months of ministry planned and was unwilling to change HIS plan. . . I was not told this directly, but through one of his pastor-friends, so I did not respond – yet I thought to myself when the information was shared, “So where is there room for the Holy Spirit of God to work in that ministry?” I was without words, honestly. I want to use MY education and experience, MY relationship with Christ, and build a ministry so that I have all of MY plans in place and can appear so-well ordered that even God’s work (if it’s outside the scope of my current plan) won’t get in MY way! Is this an isolated mindset or is that how The Kingdom looks to the lost in Yazoo County? I’m just asking, ‘cause if we little folks down in Satartia are giving this impression I want you to call us out on biblical principle.
I’m nobody. I’m not the guy with all the answers. Heck, I may even be qualified as the King of Screw-up, who knows. What I do know as I near sixty-years-old, is that the Spirit of God is pressing in more greatly than ever before in my life, and I don’t want ME to hinder HIM from using me because I attempt to define God’s call on my life instead of letting Him define the work, and me simply . . . follow.
Revive Yazoo is this month – year FIVE! WILL YOU be there at least one night? I’ve highlighted the fact that we as a ministerial association are working to bring churches together every month, September – December for a literal street-outreach we’re calling, “The Church has Left the Building.” (I think FBC already does a version of this once a month – we’re just gonna help expand that work). When Christ addressed the churches of Asia – Minor, He did not address them by street address or social preference. He addressed each church by its geographical name. WE, you and I, if we are true followers of Christ are not the black church or the white church, the Pentecostal church or the Presbyterian church, we are THE Church in Yazoo. So, if it were that Christ would call for a prophetic word to us in the year 2019, and to that prophetic writer say, “Pen these words, and to the Church In Yazoo write . . .”, what would that letter say? IF we are One, if we are His Church in Yazoo, how would Christ address us?
In my first book, “Life, it’s a God thing . . .” I wrote a journal entry entitled, “You Gotta Go to Your Own Funeral First.” Me, dying to myself so that, as John the Baptist spoke it, Christ will increase and I will decrease, is a tough row to hoe. I pray that we will admonish and encourage one another as believers in Yazoo County. God is on the move in this county, no doubt. You and I just may need to stop throwing up our social roadblocks (colonizing) to ensure that His Fame, Glory, and Renown are all that truly expand. (evangelizing, even when it doesn’t benefit my personal, petty preferences)
Because His Mercies Extend to a Thousand Generations,
Brother Royce - Satartia First, Pastor I Cor. 9:16
Heart of David Ministry - Representative