Saturday, January 23, 2010
We are here today, not just because of the MLK holiday, but because of Dr. Kings work to bring about unity. His work was not just for African-Americans, but for all Americans, because he helped us to first see the artificial lines of separation we had drawn, and through God's word, helped us to find the courage to begin the process of erasing them.
In his short life (Jan. 15, 1929 - Apr. 4, 1968), he worked to overcome the laws and social practices that divided us. He worked to tear down the high, but thin walls of race, color and class so that we might come together as a nation, under God, in spite of our differences. Because of his work, and the work of countless others, we are here today...together...in unity.
Rev. King left us the legacy of his work, not for us to rest on what he has built, but for us to finish what he started...his work of unity.
To finish that work, we need to understand...what unity is, why we need it, and how we can achieve it.
1) What is it? Webster says that it is "the state or quality of being one: under one common purpose or goal." Unity is partly defined by what it is not . Unity is not being the same. Though many live as though they believe it, but it is not necessary for you and I to seek to be the same in order to find unity, or that if we are not the same, then we can't possibly be unified. There is beauty in the fact that we are in many ways different, yet we together can function as one unit, a family, a community, or a nation. The bible best describes in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Just as the hand is much different than the head, and the head much different than the ear, and the nose, and the eye, and the heart, etc. they all need each other to function as one unit called the body. So as we look at those around us, and our first thought is that we are not the same, let our second thought be that in spite of our difference, we need each other.
2) Why do we need it? Simply put, we need unity to survive. In Matthew 12:25, Jesus taught us that "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." If you peer through history, you will see that the greatest nations that ever were, did not ultimately fall from attacks from the outside, but from turmoil, corruption and division from the inside. And we had better read the writing on the wall, and come together lest we fall. Did you realize that there are people in many parts of the world who are of different races, colors, nationalities and ethnicities....different in many more ways than we are as Americans, but have found unity under one common ideal...Hate For America! So if we want to save our jobs, our schools, our neighborhoods, our children, our way of life...we better come together, and we better do it NOW!
3) How do we achieve it? In order to achieve unity, we must train ourselves and our children to appreciate our differences and focus on our common goals. Just think about it, there may be some here who have worked with some of the same people for years, yet you barely speak to them at work and never speak to them out in the community. And you do that because you focus on the differences you see on the outside, and assume that because they don't look the same, you couldn't possibly have anything in common. But I bet if you look closer, take the time to get to know that person, you will find they want their kids educated just like you, they want job security just like you, they have hopes and dreams...just like you. You would realize that you are not so different after all. But when we focus on our differences, it is so much easier to hate, and so much harder to find unity. Dr. King said "Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes personality and eats away at its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false, and the false with the true." But when we focus on what we have in common, it becomes easier to love and easier to find unity.
So unity....you know what it is, you know why we need it, and you know how to achieve....so all that is left to do is to go out and find it.
God Bless You and Happy Martin Luther King Day.
If you liked this blog post, you may also like "Beware of the Wedge"
Friday, January 15, 2010
I too have a dream...that one day God's people, those born again of the spirit, will rise up and not just be able to quote God's word, but also be able to live it.
I too have a dream...that one day on the red hills of Hollister, former alcoholics, drug addicts, and all of us who have fallen short of the glory will turn our backs to our sinful ways and lift up our eyes to Heaven from whence cometh our help; and the only time we look back or look down is to help our brother or sister who has fallen by the way.
I too have a dream...that one day even in Hollister, a community whose light has been dimmed by a lack of opportunity and an abundance of hopelessness, will be transformed into a beacon of hope, a lighthouse warning travelers of all the dangers toils and snares, and guiding the lost to Jesus Christ...I too have a dream.
I too have a dream...that my 2 children can live in a place where they won't be measured by the sum of their possessions, but regarded for the contents of their hearts.
I too have a dream...that one day the 17 churches in Hollister will no longer allow ourselves to be divided by the thin but high walls of skin color, denomination, and worship style, and realize that we are truly one body, under one God, with one mission. I too have a dream.
I have a dream that all our churches will come together and pray til it changes and give til it hurts so that one day we can't find a mother who has to worry how she will feed her baby, or a father who has to wonder how he will pay a bill, or a grandmother who can only wish she could buy medicine and food. I have a dream too.
Like Dr. King, I too have a dream. I may not have had to stand at the back of a bus or sit on the floor of a prison, but I have had to watch too many of my brothers, black, white and red, who have had their years stolen by the enemy. I have seen too many mommas crying over their children who will hardly come home, much less come to church. I have seen too many who have done too much and were gone too soon.
But in spite of all that, I still have a dream.
My God says that He will never leave me and never forsake me; He says that He will provide for all of my needs according to His riches in glory; He promises that there is nothing that can separate me from His love, and He says that all things work together for the good of those who love Him...and I sure do love Him.
So with that in mind I know I can dream too; and if you think about it, so can you!
Rev. Eric Evans
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
John 11:4 "When Jesus heard that, he said 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."
I recently went through a brief sickness. A few weeks ago I had a sinus cold, which turned into a chest cold, both lasting about 2 weeks. The chest cold was a little bit of concern because I have asthma, but not really a big deal because I have had them many times before. The congestion got to be very deep and started to be painful. Well, you know how it goes, when there is something wrong, and you are not sure what it is, your mind tends to fill in the blank with the worst case scenario. Not to mention, the internet didn't help because when I googled my symptoms, I got a list of various horrifying diseases that I could have possibly had. Long story short, I went to the dr and found out I had an infection that was taken care of by antibiotics.
Lazarus had gotten very sick; much sicker than I was or have ever been. His sisters Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come and heal him, but Jesus waited. And before He could get to him, Lazarus died. During the 2 days of Jesus' intentional delay, while Lazarus was getting sicker and sicker, and his sisters more and more worried, Jesus said something amazing. He said "This sickness is not unto death (or shall not end in death), but for the glory of God..."
While I was searching all the possible reasons why I was sick, it never crossed my mind that the reason could have been nothing about me, but that God may get some glory. Lazarus' sickness and ultimate death was not about him at all. God was using him to set up a miracle, so that Jesus could raise him from the grave, God could get the glory, and those who saw it might believe. Jesus said "...Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe..."
Maybe someone reading this now is facing a sickness and you are asking yourself, "why me", "why this", or "why now." Let "second-chance-at-life" Lazarus remind you that God is in control, that He very well could be using you as a vessel for a miracle, and that this sickness in not unto death, but that God may be glorified.
Read the whole story of Lazarus