Asking for Prayer
Asking for prayer for an upcoming project. I had the honor of being a part of a book project on justice with my colleague Thaddeus Williams called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth. This past weekend, we finished up filming the upcoming video course version of the book by Zondervan. One thing I've learned in these years of pursuing justice is that whenever we seek justice or create tools for the Church to engage it, a lot of spiritual warfare comes with it. So please pray for anointing on this project, protection for all those involved, and that this tool will be used by God to equip the Church further in becoming a gospel-centered, justice pursuing people of faith. Thank you.
I'm excited to announce the launch of a book I had the honor of being a part of. I had the privilege of collaborating with my colleague at Talbot, Thaddeus Williams, on an important book on justice called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice. It's a tool that will help the Church look at social justice issues through the lens of the gospel. A pertinent topic for our times and just in time for your holiday shopping :)
How Do We Respond to the Crisis of this Hour?
There is so much pain. There are so many hurting in this hour. There are so many emotions. Anger. Sadness. Fear. Worry. There is so much uncertainty. We are grieving now over the loss of many who have died unjustly at the hands of people who were called upon to serve and to protect. The murder of George Floyd has opened up a gaping wound for a people that have been oppressed under the yoke of injustice for decades. It is not the Land of the Free for some of our citizens. The American Dream has become a nightmare for too many of African-American brothers and sisters. We are a nation that is deeply hurting. And we are a nation in crisis. On top of all that, we are still in the middle of a global pandemic.
So how do we respond as the Body of Christ to this current crisis? What can we do? It can seem overwhelming, but there are some steps we can take that will help our own hearts as well as move us in the right direction.
Here are some steps we can take:
Vent our Emotions to the Lord
The first thing we must do is be honest with all the raw emotions that are flooding our minds and our hearts as we go through these intense times. Pour out your heart to the Lord in prayer. The psalmists cry out, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide your face in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) Are you angry? Vent that rage to the Lord. Are you worried? Pour out your fears to our Father in heaven. He can handle all your honest emotions. We must learn to pray our pain to the Lord and pray through pain as we hope.
Lament the Loss and Brokenness of our World
We have lost so much these past few months in our world. We have seen hundreds of thousands die through the pandemic. We have seen far too many of our black brothers and sisters die at the hands of those who should have protected them. Millions have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost dreams, and lost hope. It is a season to lament over these losses - some of which we will never have in our lives again. We will never be the same, and it is healthy for our souls and right to grieve over these losses. We lament over the cities in America crying out in pain. We cry out with the prophet Habakkuk, “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.” (Habakkuk 1:2-3) Be real with how you feel, and let those feelings turn into prayers.
Repent of Sins - Past and Present, Corporate and Personal
What we are seeing in the news each day is a result of the sins of this nation that has oppressed its people for decades. Before we point the finger at anyone else, we need to begin by repenting of our own sins that have played a role to these injustices. Be it by our actions, our attitude, or our apathy, we must repent of the sin of racism - in our hearts and in our land. We must repent of our sins of not loving our neighbors as ourselves. We must repent of not caring for the poor, the oppressed, or the vulnerable in our communities. God commands His people to “seek justice and correct oppression.” (Isaiah 1:17) God, have mercy on us and forgive us, as a nation, as Your Church, and as a child of God - for sins committed against our neighbors in the past and that continues even today. Spend time before the Lord, honestly, and ask, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) Turn away from past sins and apathy, and turn to the Lord as we love our neighbors. Have a time of personal and corporate repentance (as a church) in the coming days as we pray for America.
Circumvent Apathy by Taking Action
We must no longer allow apathy to be a part of our lives when it comes to justice for our black brother and sister. We must move beyond awareness of issues. Awareness is a good place to start, but what I have seen too often is that awareness without action leads to apathy. So we must move into action and let our faith manifest deeds. There are many things we can do, and while not everyone will have the same role, each of us does have a role to play in bringing change for a better tomorrow. Some practical next steps can be to:
Cement Your Hope in Christ
All the pain we are witnessing around us today is a clear sign that this world is fallen and broken because of sin and that we are in need of a Savior. It is also a reminder that our hope should not be in this temporary life we are in, but rather, in Christ who is King and in His Kingdom that is coming. Therefore, in this fallen world that is looking for hope, let us hold out the hope of the gospel to a watching world. Let us share the good news of Jesus - that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins, and that whoever would trust in Him, would receive everlasting life. Only the gospel can change the sinful heart and make it new again. Let us live out the gospel. “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and give glory to the Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) We need to see the Church living out the gospel now more than ever before. Fast and pray for this nation and for Christ’s return. Let's continue to cover our nation and our generation in prayer. Pray for salvation and revival to uproot racism from people's hearts. Pray that America would to bow to Jesus as Lord and Savior. This crisis is a cry for the Church to repent and pray and turn to the Lord.
Jesus is still on the Throne. He rules and reigns over all the cities and nations of this world. He is sovereign and He is good. And He will one day restore all things as they should. He is coming back one day soon to take all who trust in Him to reign with Him in His eternal Kingdom - a Kingdom where peoples from every tribe, tongue, and nation will bow before Him as King. Until that day, let us stay busy doing His work of righteousness and justice as we love God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
There are many great books to read on these issues, but here are some I can recommend to start with:
Please pray for me as I head to Cebu, Philippines with a church team from Venture. Last year, we started a restoration center for children who victims of cyber sex trafficking in Cebu. It's been a growing problem in Southeast Asia.
Within the past few years, 90% of victims of cyber sex trafficking were under the age of 18. A recent rescue uncovered the age ranges of survivors to be:
The majority of “customers” are from western countries. Please pray with me.
Thank you. Your prayer support is my life support.
Discerning What We Should Do
IJM Night at HBR
This month's HOPE Be Restored meeting will highlight the great work that IJM (International Justice Mission) is doing around the world to bring justice for the most vulnerable people groups. We will have a special guest speaker from IJM, James Criss, to share testimonies of God's powerful work in setting captives free, and we will spend time in prayer for IJM and God's quickening for justice. Join us for this special night this Sunday, August 10 at 7pm at our Seobinggo Campus, Room 403.
Guest Speaker: James Criss
Onnuri Church, Seobinggo Campus, Room 403
Sunday August 10 at 7pm
I met with Pastor JongRak Lee today who oversees the Baby Box ministry caring for abandoned babies in South Korea. It's been awesome to see how social media has played a key role in getting the word out globally on the needs of these children and the incredible ministry Pastor Lee has been doing for the past 4 years. And within these four short years, God has used this man to help rescue and protect the lives of 375 babies. Without a doubt, just the trailer for the documentary The Drop Box, directed by Brian Ivie, has been instrumental in gathering global support for these precious babies.
I asked Pastor Lee for an update on their situation today and here are some current prayer requests he has and some simple ways we can support this ministry.
Financial Support from the US
A US tax-deductible 501(c) account has been created for Pastor Lee's ministry through Kindred Image. Click here to go directly to their donation page.
Financial Support within Korea
If you are giving within Korea, you can wire your donations to any of these accounts:
Account Holder Name : 주사랑공동체교회
Because of the regular flow of babies that come through this ministry, basic baby needs are always welcome, such as:
Items can be sent to their address:
서울시 관악구 난곡동 646-151
To visit their website (in Korean) click here.
Currently, they are not taking anymore volunteers as there has been a huge flow of support in recent months. But if you do have a heart for the orphan and would like to offer your time and services, here are some other organizations you can look into supporting within Korea:
Please continue to pray that every orphan will one day have a family to call their own in this nation ... soon. For our God "sets the lonely in families." (Psalm 68:6) Thank you.
"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."
Isaiah 1:17 ESV
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."
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