Around 5 months ago, the Lord Jesus brought me to Dallas, Texas, and changed my life forever. At no point in my life have I ever seen God move the way He has since I moved here. While I am certainly not the man I ought to be, I thank Him every day that I am not who I used to be. Whether or not I was genuinely saved before is irrelevant because I no longer dwell on that. I know now where I am in Christ, who I am in Christ, and what I am in Christ. He was so gracious in blessing me with Heritage Grace Community Church and the wonderful brothers and sisters there. Once again, I have found myself in a church where I can grow and experience true fellowship with the body. It reminds me a lot of my church back in Shreveport. A welcoming group of brothers and sisters led by elders who truly love Christ and seek to serve Him every day. I am grateful to be close to home and I definitely miss my family, brothers and sisters, and church there. The good thing about being just a few hours down the road is that I can go home and spend the weekend anytime. And anyone from home can come here and spend the weekend with me. This is such a tremendous blessing and I am so grateful to the Lord for it.
For many years, I always wanted to serve the Lord in some capacity, and He provided me a way to do that with my job. I have the distinct honor and privilege to serve those who serve Christ. I absolutely adore my job, which involves me serving pastors and their wives, ministers of the Gospel, missionaries, nurses, doctors, and countless other professions with people who are serving the Lord on the front lines in some capacity. I look forward to going into work every morning and serving. I have spoken with brothers and sisters from all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica. The people I have the joy of working with are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. They come from all walks of life, but they all have the desire to serve. One of my favorite things about my workplace is the fact that we pray for each other. We pray before meetings, share prayer requests with each other, and discuss Scripture during breaks. I would have never thought a job like this could possibly be real, but here I am, by God’s grace.
The city life has been a difficult but rewarding adjustment. Back home in Shreveport, you can get anywhere in virtually 20 minutes or less. Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, it can take you one hour to get through the city limits of Dallas. For miles and miles and miles, there is highway after highway after highway with thousands of restaurants to choose from. Professional football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and even lacrosse are within a few miles from where I live. The possibilities here are truly endless. For a time, I thought it would overwhelm me, but again, the Lord helped me adjust to the city very well and I am enjoying my life here. Whatever God has me here for and however long He has me here for, I am looking forward to seeing Him continue to walk with me every step of the way.
One of my favorite things about this city is the diversity. There are millions of people who come from different cultures, nations, languages, creeds, nationalities, you name it. I enjoy grocery shopping because I often run into people from other nations who are speaking a language I am unable to understand, but I certainly enjoy seeing these families here in the United States. Whether they were born here or not, I am encouraged to see so much diversity. Just tonight at Walmart, I probably heard 4-5 languages spoken during my walks up and down the aisles. I also notice during my trips to Walmart that most of the workers are minority as well. I will never forget the first time I came to Walmart after moving here. An Indian man, about 50 years old, was ringing up my items and he and I had a great conversation. He was happy and that happiness gleamed off his face. On my way out, an Arab lady wished me a great evening and I went on my way home.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””
Heritage Grace is also a diverse church. Our body is full of brothers and sisters from many backgrounds and cultures! Being in such a diverse city and a diverse church is a foretaste of what we can expect in heaven! I rejoice in this too! One of the most beautiful aspects of God’s creation is seen through the human beings that were made in His image. There are many shades of skin color, thousands of languages and customs, and millions of various traditions based upon where you are in a particular country. This sort of thing truly brings me an abundance of joy. I have never cared where you came from, only where you are going. We all came from the dirt and our bodies shall return to the dirt, but our souls will either spend eternity with Christ or experience a Christ-less eternity in the torments of hellfire and brimstone.
Unfortunately, the church has many members who hate their brothers and sisters, and even people in general based upon their skin color or even their heritage. I hesitate to even call these individuals Christians. How dare you discriminate or despise someone solely based upon the color of their skin, especially when they are members of the body! What is wrong with you? Heaven is going to be FULL of people from every tribe, tongue, nation, peoples and languages. Ask yourself, how are you going to react to this? You would be in misery! And that is assuming you are there to begin with. Here is what the Lord says:
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
-1 John 4:19-21
This is not meant to condemn anyone. What I am encouraging is for all of us, myself included, to examine ourselves. I believe the key to overcoming racism, prejudice, bigotry, etc., is not through social justice, but through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The mainstream social justice movement lacks Christ. It is seeking to resolve and remove something resulting from sin without the Savior. Only the blood of Jesus can remove the crimson stain of sin. We can cover the sin up all we want, and we can mask the stench it leaves behind, but the problem is the sin is still there. We will not make the progress we desire if we continue to leave the cross out of the picture. I do not expect the world to usher in Christ and proclaim His Gospel to those who are being impacted by racism or prejudice. Brothers and sisters, this is our duty as followers of Christ. We are to love all people and the best way to do that is to share the Gospel with them.
Embrace the diversity around you because it is a blessing. I see freedom when I see diversity. It truly is a beautiful thing. I enjoy seeing interracial marriages too, or marriages between a man and a woman who come from completely different cultures. These weddings are the best! If you have never been to a wedding with a bride and groom from two different cultures, please do whatever you can to attend one because it will be a very fun night!
Spending eternity with Christ and seeing Him face to face is already a wonderful thought and I genuinely long for that day when I see His face. I also long for that day because racism and this nonsensical hatred of each other because of skin color or nationality is going to be erased and annihilated. We will live in perfect harmony with our brothers and sisters for eternity and we will serve Christ together. I will have the honor of meeting my brothers and sisters who gave their lives for the Gospel in the African safari and in the Amazonian jungle. Regardless of their skin color, they are my brothers and my sisters. Even though I am the only biological child of my parents, I have so many brothers and sisters that their number cannot be counted. I see every single one of them as if we were related by blood because the reality is, we are blood brothers and sisters. We were purchased with the same blood by the same King, and we do not belong to anyone else but Him.
However long the Lord has me here, whether 5 years or 50 years, I am looking forward to what He will do here. I do not know what my future holds, but I certainly do know who holds my future in His hands and I am perfectly content with Him directing my steps and leading me down whatever path He so chooses for me. I do not live in fear of my future any more, there is simply no need. That anxiety did not add an hour to my life and caused more tears than it should have, but it taught me something that I will carry forever and ever: no matter what, trust Christ. He has absolute supremacy over my life and your life and everything in it. This is the reason I can sleep well at night. I know that nothing that comes into my life entered without God’s authorization. And whatever comes to me He will prepare me for and give me the strength to endure. Even if He chose to end my life right now, do not cry for me. He has the right to do that and frankly, He should have killed me yesterday. Every breath I take is a breath I do not deserve. Either way, I sleep well knowing I am in the hands of a sovereign God who saved a wretch like me. Christ has absolute and total supremacy over my life and everything in it and I rejoice knowing that one day I will see Him face to face and I will be with my brothers and sisters enjoying Him forever and ever.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and
his faithfulness to all generations.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make
straight your paths.”