Dear Grace Community Family,
Forgive this “letter” being posted publicly on my blog. I figured it would get shared publicly anyway. Moreover, I thought the letter might serve well the readers and future readers of my blog to see a christian, and pastor, wrestling through the issues and struggling how to best love and lead his church through them.
Likewise, please forgive any redundancy in my remarks. I’m doing all I can to be as clear as possible.
As your senior pastor, I’ve been in deep turmoil over the events we’ve been witnessing in our country for months. I’ve been anxious and conflicted about what to do—personally and as a pastor.
I’ve prayed, pleading with God about what He’d have me say and do, and even what Grace Community Church (GCC) should say and do in light of what we’re witnessing.
I’ve been pressured to speak out on events that have unfolded—from racism and the #MeToo movement to gun control and immigration, to name a few.
Pressure aside, as your pastor I’ve struggled profoundly regarding my obligation before God and to you/GCC. I’ve wrestled chiefly with these two questions: Is it my duty and responsibility to offer direction and leadership to GCC regarding the current political climate and any injustices? Or, is it my duty and responsibility to remain silent, focus solely on preaching the gospel, and let our/GCC’s generosity and charity do the talking?
Many a sleepless night over those questions. Much counsel around these questions with our elder team, other pastors, and friends. In the end, it comes down to what I believe God would have me do.
My terror has been that I would distract from the gospel and cause division in the church by “speaking up.” Yet the same fear remains if I don’t speak up.
It’s a brutal conundrum. So allow me to do a bit of groveling.
No matter what I say and how careful I say it, people will only hear what they want to hear. Or, they don’t want to hear it because it doesn’t fit their opinion, or they deem it personally offensive, even hateful. As a wise man once shared with me, there will always be people who merely want their opinion in my mouth. As well as the church’s.
On the other hand, I’m convinced many genuinely long to know how to respond rightly and biblically to injustices and the political climate. Others have asked if I/GCC even care about the injustices that have unfolded since I/we have been seemingly silent.
Initially, I concluded that anything I said would be interpreted politically by whatever narratives people believe—conservative or liberal or otherwise.
To some what I’d say wouldn’t be enough, to others it would be too much; for many, if it didn’t fit a particular narrative one passionately holds, it would be dismissed altogether while I (the pastor) and “the Church” continue to get lambasted for it.
It has seemed to me an impossible situation.
So over the last few months I’ve taken the measure of, “If I/GCC don’t say anything, then I/we can’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted.” And thereby let GCC’s actions do the talking.
It has always been my personal conviction that GCC would shy away from all things that smelled political in order to keep the main thing the main thing—the gospel.
Yet, here we are. After much prayer, I’m convinced the Lord would have me feebly and imperfectly speak on a few matters. I’m not one to give in to being pressured or baited. And I’m not. I’m just trusting and hoping this is what the Lord would have me do for his glory, our good, and other’s joy—and will commit the responses to Him.
As national events have unfolded in the last few months, I continue to believe that what our church does is just as important as what our church says.
Our (GCC’s) actions speak louder than words. GCC has provided hundreds of volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the vulnerable, victimized and marginalized in our county and beyond.
For example—a few years ago GCC gave away every dollar of weekend giving (over $100,000) to provide urgent relief for Syrian refugees.
We’ve given extravagantly—resources to help build a home for at-risk women, providing mentoring and living necessities to migrant families, placing orphans in homes through our GFFF (Grace Foster and Forever Families) ministry, ministry to at-risk kids in the inner city.
More recently, we commissioned two pastors to research how we could send volunteers and resources to serve and love the immigrant families who were separated from their children.
These are only a handful of examples. I’ve been convinced that if critics observed what we do in the 167 hours outside the 1-hour worship service, there would be no need for us to “speak up,” make statements or declare stances. Our actions would speak a thousand words.
But, as I said before, for some it’s not enough.
Regarding the issues of our day, I’ll mention a few below for clarity’s sake. This won’t be exhaustive, but at least representative.
Let me say, by way of disclaimer, that what I’m about to share has nothing to do with politics. Neither I, nor GCC, propagate any agenda or narrative politically. We’ve never mentioned or claimed to be “evangelical.” It’s a word and stereotype (with all its baggage) unfortunately applied to us.
We claim only the gospel, the great commission, love for each other, and love for our neighbor—the least, last, lost, and lonely. We avoid anything political, and any terms politically charged, like the plague. So, what I share is bigger than politics.
What I share is all about human rights and dignity, undergirded by God’s words on these topics in Scripture.
Racism. First off, we (GCC) are a diverse church of different ethnicities—African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and many others. And we are a family. Racism is anathema to my soul and to GCC.
I know of African-American families at GCC who have felt alone, afraid, and marginalized namely due to what some post on social media, and even what has been spoken to them in person. This breaks all of my heart.
I just want to say, you are heard. And we care for you deeply. Your life and peace matter! So, let me say it loud and clear: We categorically reject racism as an evil from the pit of hell. And to our brothers and sisters from all nationalities and backgrounds, you are loved, you are family, and you are safe here at GCC. We are one.
Allow me to add, we never know what our brothers and sisters of different races may be experiencing, so we should never pretend that we do. Still, from our hearts we can and must have compassion—and understand that they are in pain and may need our help, our assistance, our presence, our comfort, our support, our tears. Let us have compassion for one another that it may be received as true love for each other. As it says in Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Law Enforcement. There are police officers in our midst who are stereotyped with the evil actions of others with a badge who have harmed or taken the lives of African-Americans. I know many police officers here at GCC—officers of many different ethnicities. They are wonderful men and women who deeply love Jesus, love the church, and love people no matter the color of their skin. In fact, many of them serve voluntarily as security on the weekends here at GCC after grueling weeks to protect us all—whatever our skin color. I want to say to you too, you are loved, supported, and we are grateful for your service.
#MeToo. I have been very vocal to say: Any woman who is assaulted or abused in any way should run for their lives from the relationship, marriage, or circumstance. We have offered our services as a church to love, support, and provide resources to help them escape and find their footing. As I mentioned before, we just recently gave thousands of dollars to aid in the building of a home for women at risk. Additionally, every month for over 10 years, our church has supported biblically-based women’s healthcare both locally and overseas. The #MeToo movement strikes close to home for me because I have a sister who was abused and assaulted by a “boyfriend” decades ago. To our ladies—this pastor and GCC loves you, we’re here for you, we are speaking up for you.
Abortion. The unborn are without voice also. I mention this with heart-breaking compassion for those who have had abortions. I have a close family member who had two abortions. I have walked with some in our congregation who have made that choice too. I agree that a woman should have rights over her own body. At the same time, I, we/GCC hold, that according to God and His Word, life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16).
As a church we provide financial support and resources to gospel-centered pregnancy centers that counsel women with the hope of Jesus, with ultra-sounds and medical help, and with alternatives other than terminating pregnancy—coupled with the opportunity to help with the birth of the child, and helping the mother and child get on their feet as they move forward in their lives.
If you’re reading this letter and have had an abortion, know that you are loved. Loved by God, this pastor, and GCC. God’s forgiveness is lavish and healing. We long to be his love and care for you.
If you’re reading this and considering abortion, I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I just pray and plead that you’ll choose life. God is for you! He will provide for you and sustain you. Let us, GCC, be “Jesus” to you. Let us love you and serve you and your child as you move forward in life.
The separation of children from immigrant families. This is a heartbreaking issue. And complex. It is understandable that any government needs to have reasonable laws to steward national borders for the protection of its citizens. Illegal immigration is a real issue that must be prevented to, 1) honor immigrants who follow the legal process, and 2) for the protection and flourishing of a country. There are those who seek to cross national borders with evil intentions, even using children as pawns to do so. The officials tasked by the government to do the daily job of protecting the borders and discerning the reasons and intentions of those trying to cross, face an impossible and unmanageable task. My heart goes out to them. Let us pray for God’s wisdom, compassion, and mercy upon them and through them.
That being said, let me be clear that the separation of children from their families is unfathomable. Atrocious. And devastating. I, we, are categorically against such measures. We/GCC continue to do what we can to identify fitting partnerships to send volunteers and resources to support those families. We especially pray for God’s mercy and provision on those families’ behalf.
I will stop there. Of course, there are other issues I could identify, but time and energy fail me.
I know some are probably disappointed that I didn’t speak toward other issues facing us in our society. Either way, I hope what has been shared above has cast light on where we stand on the other issues as well. We are for human rights, dignity, freedom, support, and love to our neighbors abroad. We are for the heart and mission of Jesus: “to preach the Gospel to the poor . . . to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
Regarding social media, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it creates awareness and discourse. It’s a curse because it can be venomous and hateful.
I pray that when you speak or post, you will do so with a view toward the diverse body who hears and reads what you say: Is it divisive or uniting? Does it echo the spirit of Jesus’ prayer, or is it contrary to His heart’s cry? Let us take care of each other, and be careful with one another, in these walls, outside these walls, social media, and the like. We are family. We are FAMILY.
On another note, I would respectfully ask you—what are you personally doing beyond words to act, support, and give resources toward injustices I’ve mentioned?
Let’s take our eyes off what the church is or is not doing and look at ourselves.
Perhaps consider foster care or adoption, a mission trip, or joining your GCC campus outreach to the marginalized.
You could tithe to GCC so we can further advance efforts to serve the vulnerable in need. You might not be able to go across the country to put words into action, but you can do so here.
Perhaps you might call, send emails, mail letters to your congressman or senator.
Again, consider what you might personally do and give?
Unfortunately, as I said before, what I’ve shared will be too much for some, and won’t be enough for others. To some it will be too political, to others it won’t be political enough—feeling that I should have spoken out about the current presidential administration, for example.
But that I won’t do. It’s not my place or GCC’s.
Scripture’s mandate is to pray for the administration and that’s just what I’ll do, and I hope you’ll join me in doing, because “this pleases God our savior” (1 Tim 2:1-3):
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
We, GCC, are a part of something bigger than politics and administrations. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are exiles in this world (1 Peter 2:11), we are citizens of another world, another kingdom—the kingdom of God. His kingdom is filled with every tongue, tribe, nation, color (Revelation 7:9)—in Christ Jesus, and at GCC.
The gospel through the local church is where all differences are laid aside—whether conservative, liberal, independent, pro-whatever. We are family!
We/GCC are a place, a family, where it’s okay not to be okay. At GCC, there will be conservatives, liberals, independents, anti-president, pro-president, anti-gun, and pro-gun, and so forth and so on till kingdom come. We are a church that welcomes all with Truth… in Love. At GCC, take heart and know the gospel will be preached—and it is the gospel that saves souls, changes hearts, lives, and future generations.
When all else fails (and make no mistake, all else has and will fail), it is the gospel that unites us. The gospel is what can give us unshakable love, care, compassion, and commitment to each other regardless of our differences. In fact, Jesus’ final words before he went to the cross, which was actually a prayer for us (!), was, “By this the world will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Jesus also prayed (twice!), “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-23).
The world will know that God sent Jesus not by our songs, stances, or statements, but by our being one in Christ and the gospel—no matter the politics.
We need each other in this troubled world to give us a sense of centering, stability, safety. Let’s hold hands or link arms, weep together, laugh together, stand together, be on mission together, and look out for each other. Not because we all agree, but because we all love Jesus and His gospel that captured our hearts, saved our souls, and changed our lives.
Let’s respectfully and personally do what we can to speak up for the oppressed. At the same time, let’s not just take stances, or make statements as a church, but BE the church—family—red, yellow, black, and white—who are for the gospel and for each other, whatever the political climate.
GCC, we belong to the King and His kingdom. We belong to each other. We belong to Christ. We are all family. And by this pastor, you are all loved… to. the. bone.
I can’t begin to imagine the struggle you had putting this together, especially given the position you are in. Sometimes people just want to know where we stand so they can argue with us, and some genuinely want guidance. You can’t make every happy. I while heartedly agree with everything you said and could not have said it better myself. I am praying for you man, keep doing the good work, God has the rest.
Thank you, brother.
Pastor Jarrod. Everything you say makes me want to be a better person and walk in the foot steps of Jesus. I love being a part of this Church Family.
I am super impressed and proud of you for speaking up and doing so much with our Grace Family to do for “Orange County and beyond”. No need to struggle. He’s always leading you in the right direction.
Thanks for everything!!
Thank you, Christine. Grateful.
I can’t imagine what you’re going through and the torment that just writing this gave you. I pray for you and your wellbeing.
Thanks, Jeremy. All is well, brother! I appreciate your concern. Truly. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share and for those who have an interest in reading it. Thank you, again.
Thank you, I read every word that you wrote, every expression of love , and kindness. I am proud to belong to such an amazing church . I often come to church alone , however I always feel welcomed and no longer alone. I appreciate your praying over the issues that we face on this earth. Thank you,
Ah. Thank you, Susan. Burdened to hear you come to Grace alone. We have wonderful people who would love to connect with you. Please let me know if I can help you with that. Much grace. Thank you, again.
I have been waiting to hear what you/GCC have to say about social justice issues. I often find the message is all about our personal struggles and faith, which is incredibly important. I am happy that you/GCC have put out some statements regarding some of the social justice issues facing our world/nation today. I hope that you/GCC may pursue teaching on social justice issues as I believe Jesus did as well in the Gospels. Thank you for the attention to these issues and the clear effort and energy you put into the post.
Thank you, Jon!
Very well said! I am thankful for the time that you struggled with this issue as we all probably have in our own way. I have benefited from the direction you have provided in this statement.
Be encouraged that this was spot on!
Thank you, Ed!
We thank you for these timely and carefully expressed thoughts which serve as a “rudder”, guiding the GCC “ship.”
We’re proud to stand with you!!
Thank you, Abe and Vicki. Love you!
Beautifully said. Thank you for your honesty and heart❤️
We stand with you and Grace. Thank you for taking the time to explain these issues. We love you and your family and I have been so proud to call Grace our home since 1994. God bless!!
1994? Woohoo! And thank you for your encouragement.
Thank you Jarrod. I am a pastor and my sister is one of your worship leaders. Thank you for this. So much. Passing it on. You said what I have been trying to say to individuals and my church for months. Thank you brother!
Thank you, Pat!
Pastor, I read every word and I know everyone has struggle with many issues in today’s world. You are only human and struggle too just like the rest of us. I am very glad you are a part of GCC and you lead us. Your words and how you show us Gods words mean so much to all of us. You are a great Pastor. Rest assure that we are praying for you too. God Bless you.
Humbled and honored by your words, Randy. Thank you!
It’s not easy for a person, in our current social environment, to voice ANY opinion… our society seems addicted to outrage. It must be even more difficult as our spiritual leader to come to the decision to make your feelings public. Thank you for making the decision to do so. Not because any of us have a right to know your mind, but because we look to your heart for guidance.
Thank you, Mike.
Thank you so much pastor Jarrod for always keeping it real and raw and for having such a big heart for everyone. I will keep praying also that GCC will eventually have an opening or space, Or even time to hear the gospel in Spanish for those brothers and sisters who still having trouble with understanding the language but I know in time they will understand in Jesus name. Thanks again for your
Thank you, Carmen. We currently have a pastor working on a future Spanish service… and campus. Stay tuned!
Pastor, your leadership position and incredible dilemma are deeply felt and appreciated. With each sentence that you wrote, it was evident that God gave you the fortitude and godly wisdom to express yourself so clearly, genuinely. A true leader you are! Your love for humanity and Jesus come through every time. God bless you, Phyllis
Thank you, Phyllis!
Thank you Pastor Jarrod for your insightful words. It is obvious that a lot of prayer went behind these words. I am new to Grace and am so happy to hear all the words and messages that are spoken and not spoken (through action) by you and by GCC. May God continue to bless you and all the people of GCC! He is Mighty and Powerful. All honor and glory are His.
Thank you, Christine. All His indeed!
As always pastor Jarrod , your heart and passion for God, his truth, and your flock is so evident! So appreciate and love you. Dave
Thank you so much, Dave!
Thank you, Pastor for your prayerful response on matters that we all have been struggling with. Your guidance in the way of our Lord is all we can ask for. Through Him we find all answers. I was particularly touched by what we can do individually. I often pray about that and I hear His calling to serve on a mission trip. I look forward to an announcement from Grace for the opportunity.
Awesome, Linda. Thank you for your encouragement!
You are a blessing. I think you respond appropriately in all situations, as you did so now. I do not think it can be good for you to get involved in politics . It could only distract from your goals. Injustices are different . People probing you is unfair
They are seeking division.
Please continue just as you have been in taking The Lords direction .
We pray for you & we got your back
God bless you & your family richly
Thank you, Rosa.
Thank you so much, Pastor, for expressing your heart. I can’t imagine the pressure on you, yet you serve so selflessly. Hats off to you. Jesus is clear in you. I pray for you and your family , often. Thank you for what you do and share with us.
Humbled. I have great support in my wife, family, elders, pastoral team, and friends… and people like you! Thank you, Selena.
Pastor Jarrod, As I was reading your blog what kept coming up in my spirit is to be led by the Lord. All these years at Grace you have been led by the Lord with your preaching and many souls have come to the Lord. In addition the congregation has been healing, maturing and winning souls for the Lord’s kingdom. As it says in revelation we are in the endtimes. Many souls are coming to the Lord the way the Lord is using you. I will keep you in prayer. Galatians 1:10 keeps coming up in my spirit.
Thank you, Dina.
Pastor Jarrod, I read every word and can not fathom what you went through while writing this. But I can tell you I am very happy to be part of GCC !
Yay! Thank you, Elisa!
First I want to say you are a great man of God, and you speak the truth. I loved hearing your sermons. Unfortunately things have changed from evem a year ago, I feel as though people who are at your church will not feel welcome now. I have talked to many people and they do not like the idea of feeling unwelcome because they are Trump supporters. I feel as though you now have set the stage for what Grace is by way of how we are politically (liberal), and who will be the outcasts (Trump supporters). This cant be good. I feel as thoigh when you talk aboit injustices, itvis only focused at a certain population. Injustices happen to all people, not just a few. I know that now I feel unwelcome.
Wow did you read the same blog as I did. Can’t understand why you would feel unwelcome. Or for that matter why anyone would feel unwelcome after reading that. I to am a Trump supporter but did not feel that injustice was a buzz word directed at any ones political beliefs.
Please have an open mind to the fact The this was all based on scripture and not directed to liberal or conservative sides.
I applaud you jarrod for trying to convey your feeling and that of Gcc.
Unfortunately the political climate in this country is at such a fever pitch reason sometimes takes a back seat.
We should all agree on one thing. This country and its leaders need fervent prayer.
Thank you, Greg!
I was thinking the same thing! So well written and kind and Christian. I was afraid to read the letter but I am so glad I did. Well said.
Matt, sorry to hear this, brother.
Here’s a statement from my letter that perhaps slipped by you?
“We/GCC are a place, a family, where it’s okay not to be okay. At GCC, there will be conservatives, liberals, independents, anti-president, pro-president, anti-gun, and pro-gun, and so forth and so on till kingdom come. We are a church that welcomes all with Truth… in Love. At GCC, take heart and know the gospel will be preached—and it is the gospel that saves souls, changes hearts, lives, and future generations.”
Hope that helps!
Regarding Matt’s reaction to our pastor’s message. I, too, am a conservative, Trump supporter. Jarrod Jones stepped out in “faith” and incredible courage, with dignity, sincerity and class!!! That blessed, loved, anointed man is in an impossible position, politically. He was not being political, he was being human, Christian and completely humble and godly. We are truly blessed to be led and fed spiritually by Jarrod Jones!
Matt I am trying to understand what you wrote so what you are saying because of Pastor Jarrod’s letter you don’t feel comfortable because you are a Trump supporter. I really don’t know why that is, maybe you don’t feel comfortable with something in yourself, but I really don’t think that the letter had anything to do with a political figure as much as with the spreading the gospel and spreading the love and kindness. I read the letter as biblical teaching on how we are to act in a society that is crumbling in on itself. That we are a family and we need to do own our part for the greater good. I am praying for you to find the root cause of your uneasiness and that you feel the comfort of Gods arms around in these troubling times.
And thank you Pastor Jarrod for a concise letter on these views. I will try to do my part for the greater good as well.
Reading every word I could feel your struggle. Thank you for putting our GCC Family first and speaking Truth. You put yourself in a difficult place and you handled it as you always do, with Grace and Dignity. We are better together and GCC has taught us this through your leadership.
Grateful and humbled by your words. Thank you.
Well done Pastor Jarrod. It is the difference that unites us as a common people. It is difference that invokes dialogue about the issues that are sometimes trying. God bless.
Thank you, Bob!
Loved what you expressed..so proud to be a member of Grace Washingtonville..and I like your white belt..
The white belt. Yes! You are one of a few fans of my beloved belt. Thank you, Georgette!
Thank you for the kind and beautiful words you share. Thank you for the strength and our churches strength in holding love of one another first. It’s our blessing to be a part of this church. We are so grateful everyday to have come out of the darkness and found Grace. Continue spreading the love, hope and light and thank you again Pastor Jarod!
Praise God. Thank you, Rachel!
Thank you and god bless you pastor jarrod. This letter must have been an emotional RollerCoaster to write, and to pray over. My wife and I are new to grace (Newburgh) campus, and it’s very overwhelming to see the overflow of love that’s poured out, week after week. Thank you for doing what you do, as our lead pastor, your word every week is so strong, so thank you again, and god bless.
Thank you, Tom. Thrilled to know you and your wife have found a home with us! Our Newburgh Lead Pastor, Trabelus Whitfield, is amazing. Much love to you both. And thank you, again.
Hi Pastor Jarrod!
God bless you. I attened Grace for 3 years while stationed at West Point. To be perfectly honest, I almost stopped going to Grace on numerous occasions because so much was happening in the country (for example: Murder of Teyvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown) and nothing seemed to be said about these occurrences week in and out. You have to know these occurences are terrifying, heart breaking, and traumatic for individuals who look like and/or love people who look like these victims. When a church doesnt adress it at all it makes one feel isolated and alone in our deep anguish and it is communicated that our stuggle is to be left at the door when we come to worship.
At the time I prayed about what I should do and talked with my husband. I kept coming however because I really loved the church. Pastor Jarrod you have to know that you are a man led by God!! The Sunday after the Charleston, SC shooting, before the sermon, you had an alter call to pray for the victim’s families and for healing. When you did that I cried from my seat, both for the families that lost loved ones, but also for answered prayers and God allowing you to show us your tremendous heart of love and compassion. You are needed. This letter was needed and spoke volumes for years to come. Please be encouraged and not moved by naysayers. In time, most people will look back and know that the occurrences of our day were immoral. When that time occurs, GCC will be on the right side of history in keeping with the will of God Isaiah 61:8.
Sidenote– I still listen to your podcasts weekly so its like I never left. Also, can you clone GCC and plant it in the DC/Virginia /Maryland area??? Asking for a friend
Mili, thank you for your heartfelt comments. I grieve that over that course of time you were in turmoil about GCC since we were not speaking up. Truly. I reflect on what I/we might have done or said differently. I am grateful you were with us when we united to “speak up” and to pray over those precious people who lost their lives and loved ones in the Charleston, SC, shootings.
One phrase you stated that struck me and will stay with me: “..it is communicated that our struggle is to be left at the door when we come to worship.” So good. What a gripping, profound, and convicting word that was for me. Thank you for sharing that, and everything else. Sorry to hear that you aren’t with us any longer. But thrilled you’re listening to the podcasts! And tell your friend 🙂 that we are always praying and seeking where God may have us launch a campus next. Thank you, again, Mili!
Thank you! Thank you for sharing, loving and leading us in such trying times. The burden I’m sure is heavy at times. But I love that you and GCC do not shy away from that which is hard but love us enough to tell us the truth. Truth be told, I almost didn’t open this to read it because in this climate I’ve tried desperately to just block out rhetoric and focus on that which is showing God’s light in such dark times. Fearful that this could taint what I saw as the mission of the church I love and detract from what is so clearly a movement that people are searching for. I have to say, that I’m so glad the Spirit kept nudging me to take the moment to read it and absorb the message.
So once again, thank you. May God continue to bless us ALL even when the darkness comes.
Thank you, Mary!
Thank you Pastor Jerrod.
You have committed yourself as a true leader and a man of God first. This was I’m sure was easy to express, so allow me to give you my story.
The last Presidential election became a pivotal moment for my Bible Study. It had imploded due to strong feelings on both sides of the political isle. I was stunned. I could not believe that such a political event could have affected a bible study. A few left and never came back. Only one came back. He came back because he recognized that, although we may have different points view of this President , we honor God first” in all things”., because he is “sovereign in all things”. I believe
we may not understand the ways of the world that clearly, because it is God who is moving the chess pieces; while we can only stand and honor Him as we watch.
It became clear to my Bible Group that we were doing the right thing to love one another, because He loved us first. It was clearly expressed by our Pastor Tra of the Newburgh Campus, who gave an awesome sermon on this topic and ended it with those famous words of scripture…
2 Chronicles 7:14
14if my people humble themselves, pray and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”
For me, this is the essence of all that has been said and needs to be said.
Thank you for your boldness of speaking the Truth of God’s word, in a world of chaos.
Thank you, Paul.
I appreciate you, beyond words that would suitably convey. Your courage and humanity with this blog/post are a breath of fresh air, and I thank you so very much. You are a blessing to us all.
In my humble opinion this post was not “too much” of or “not enough” of anything… it was heartfelt. Thank you again.
I will be sharing it.
Thank you, Liz!
I thank you and the Lord for this letter.
Clearly, it was a difficult letter to write given the hyperbole and division being presented by all political sides in the last few years. Hopefully, as we pray for God’s guidance and love, we as a congregation will hear His message and abide by His word – even if we find it difficult to do so – by welcoming all to our Church and serving others (especially those in need) with love, empathy, tolerance and respect so that they too may hear the Word and be moved to join our congregation.
Honestly, I feel your letter was politically neutral – without political attitudes or bias – and guided by the Spirit in its content. May the Lord bless you, our congregation and those we meet as we navigate through these difficult times in the weeks and years to come.
Peace be with you.
Ron, thank you for your insights and words of encouragement! Much peace to you as well.
I don’t even know how to start my reply to you. I just want to say, thank you Pastor Jarrod. You really are, a humble man committed to serve our Lord. My heart breaks, and my tears won’t stop falling down my face as I read your letter . I am sure you know by now, the English language is my second language (I tend to run on sentences. :-). I came to the States about 30 years ago. I worked hard to get to college, made it to graduate school. Got myself a job. Made this country my own, my adopted country if you will. I ask myself every day, how in the world is this happening? I had spent most of my life here. I can’t even go back to my native country, because I don’t even know what it’s like to work there. You don’t know Pastor Jarrod, nobody knows what’s like to be looked at, rejected, hated because of the color of your skin, or because you have an accent unless you’re from another country. Well, guess what Pastor Jarrod; I never did either, up until now. And, I am afraid, and I’m nervous, about what is to come.
I love GCC, and just the thought of ever having to leave my church for whatever reason, brings tears to my eyes. Please pray for me, and my family. God bless you! God bless GCC!
God Bless you sis. I will be praying for your peace,.
Thank you for your words. I can’t imagine what you have faced and what you are going through. Know that you are loved by this pastor and GCC. We are your home. Your family. I will be in prayer for you and all going through what you’re going through. Never hesitate to connect with us for prayer and/or help. Much love and peace to you, sister.
Thank you for this heartfelt letter coupled with biblical truth—and for acknowledging the complexities and pain of all “sides” while pointing to the gospel as our ultimate hope. Well done! Praise God. We are grateful for your leadership and continue to pray for you and your family.
I just started attending the Warwick campus in November after searching for other churches that I could feel comfortable with. As I tell others I am not a “holy roller” but I try and live by the word. It, to me, is common sense with a kick. What your letter has done for me is reassured me that I have made the right move. Reading your words was like me looking in the mirror and seeing you, though I doubt I could ever fill your shoes. A lot of times people should put things in perspective and just think things through. That and a little (or a lot in my case) of prayer may just get us by. Thanks to all of the people I’ve met so far for making me feel good about Grace Community.
Thank you for your words, brother. Thrilled you are a part of our GCC family.
P.S. Is this letter really from 2018? It seems like it is from 2020.
Thank you for taking the time to craft a nicely worded letter to us. As a police officer and military veteran I have seen all sides of these topics. The only answer is that we are all related to Jesus and GOD. We are all Family! Treat each other as you would like to be treated. I have always used this as my guide.
Spot on, Darrell. Thank you!
My family moved to Washingtonville from Brooklyn NY two years ago where I attended Brooklyn Tabernacle for over 10 years. I worried about a church where I would feel at Home like BK Tab. Even before I walked into Grace Church and saw the mission of Grace in action,and felt the heart of Grace during its services, the Holy Spirt showed me where I needed to be while packing up our family to move. I thank God for Grace and its mission of Love, compassion and mercy, and thank you for having those conversations that are almost easier to avoid. God Bless you and your family Pastor.
Thank you for your words. And living up to the Brooklyn Tabernacle is quite an honor. But if we are all about the same mission and love it is possible. Thank you again for sharing, and for you encouragement.
Well said, Pastor….thank you. We are all hurting together – IN the pulpit and OUT of the pulpit.
So what can we do about it?
First Timothy 2:1-2 urges us FIRST OF ALL to pray, give thanks, and INTERCEDE for everyone – specifically for all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. That the Church of Jesus Christ – beginning with this writer – is not obeying this admonition is evidenced by the very sad and intense strife and discord across the nation which is becoming more volatile each day.
If we – His Church – obey 2 Chronicles 7:14 – if we humble ourselves, pray, and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will forgive, and open His eyes and ears to our prayers and will heal our land. Are we attending church each week but still living in known sin…living with one foot still in this world?
Maybe we can all just not READ the Book of Proverbs, but maybe we can really BATHE in it so we can learn when and how to speak, when to be quiet, how to listen, how to control anger and harshness, how to extend a soft tongue of kindness and encouragement, how to respond and not react.
Opportunities abound every day….everywhere…. to extend acts of kindness and to do it in His Name.
Dear Lord, let it begin with me.
Thank you, Joan.
Thank You ! and God’s continued blessings on you and yours.
Thank you, Norm!
Thank you Pastor Jarrod,
The words are important and beautifully stated. This past Sunday I was distracted as I wondered what my church and Pastor thought about the very topics you covered. I appreciate the time taken to share this and pray that all receive your message as a way to unite us and not divide us. #godisaweightlifter
Thank you, Rosa. And amen!
Dear Pastor Jarrod
This was beautifully written and thought out I am sure through much prayer. It speaks volumes of the person you are. People of Grace including myself and my wife are very thankful to have such a man of God, who puts Jesus above all. Be blessed and best regards from Gilbert Arizona. Pastor Dean and JoAnn Rothstein.
Thank you, Dean. Much love to you, and extend my love to JoAnn as well. And keep that hot weather with you!
Hi pastor Jarrod,
Thanks for sharing, I know it can’t be easy with criticism. Beautifully written. I pray all who read this read it with the Holy Spirit front and center. May we all care more for the things God cares for, May we all stop thinking about our own opinions and listen to how God feels on these issues through reading his word. Praying for your leadership and GCC.
Your sister in Christ
Thank you, Jennifer!
Pastor, these words were beautifully written and very much needed. I love your candor while still making everyone feel welcome. I can’t tell you how blessed we are to have found GCC and made it our church home!
Yay! Thank you, Jacquelin.
Dear Pastor Jarrod,
As so many members have said, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to write this letter. After reading your letter I was reminded of Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of sliver.” The Lord was definitely speaking through ( as he always does ) as you wrote this letter. It touched both my wife’s and my heart very deeply. We can’t say enough about how your teachings and GCC have both changed and influenced our lives over the past 8 years. This August 11th we will be celebrating 5 years as believers.
We are so happy to be members of Grace Community Church and so proud that you are our Pastor and leading and teaching us in our walk with Jesus.
Pastor Jarrod you and GCC are a gift to Gerrie and I.
Blessings and Peace and Love,
Gerrie and Tom maniaci
Ps – I hope you get this we don’t do facebook or social media
Hi Thomas and Gerrie,
I’m overwhelmed by your words. Thank you for encouraging my heart in Christ. Grateful you guys are a part of the GCC family and mission. Much love and grace to you!
AMEN…To God be the glory! You are an anointed man of God and are loved by Grace Community Church!
I agree with Dina that we are in “the end times.” I want to say that Satan is extremely busy and that we need to be more diligent on the way were speak, act and respond(not react).
I would like to tell Matt that I hope that anyone in Grace would always be open to dialogue with anyone who has a different opinion than our own as we never know where others are coming from…without inquiry.
I would like to post, suggest something that I believe was God-given to me a couple of years ago…
When Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites, Moses, Aaron and Hur were on the hill and Moses lifted his hands to God and the Joshua and his army were winning. When Moses became tired, Aaron and Hur lifted Moses’ hands for him…because of this Joshua and his army won the battle against the Amalekites.
My vision was for Christians would spread out across the walkway above the Hudson and lift their hands to God in unity and pray…pray for the Hudson Valley!
As Pastor Jarrod has asked before may we all pray Psalm 91!
May God continue to bless Grace Community Church, Orange County and beyond…!
Thank you, Bonnie!
Dear Pastor I am very proud of the fact that you had stuck to the word of the God throughout your opinion. I am Asian Indian who attend your church so long I have never felt threatened or have had any bad experiences , everyone has been nice and loving towards us . I have sometimes wondered what people are thinking inside , specially with all that is going on this world ..
I have been in the US for almost 20 years so can understand all that goes on in the name of politics but probably this presidency has been a bit of struggle for me as a Christian .. I have questions what I stand for , and sometimes wonder how some people twist the word of God to fit accordingly . I am so proud and Happy to understand that my Pastor is man who stands on the word of God no matter what. I Praise God for the love you have for the Word of GOD.
with love and prayers
Thank you, Joseph!
This is a stuggle I face daily as I often feel baited to take a stand or take a side which often serves to drive a wedge in the relationship. I feel conflicted about how to respond.
Satan uses politics and issues and whatever he can to divide us, tear us down and separate as a people. We can not let that happen because like you say we are a part of something bigger than any administration…
We are Ambassadors for Christ. I need to inhale, eat, sleep and drink and live these words.
Never let us forget to whom we belong and what organization we work for… the Kingdom of the One True God.
Thank you for always thoughtfully, prayerfully, considering what our Father wants us to do and say. Your struggle reflects your desire to follow Him explicitly. I trust God completely in leading you his faithful servant, to lead this body of Christ.
Your Sister in Christ,
Amen, Kristi. And thank you!
Pastor Jarrod, Thank you so much for writing this. Thank you for your commitment to all of us, your love for all of us, your humility, your leadership. Your unshakable faith, love of Jesus and honesty is so very evident in each word you wrote. You could have taken the easy way and not bothered, but you did not. My husband and I are so grateful. Lynn & Alan
Lynn and Alan,
Thank you for your kind words. Let me confess that I still have my [many] moments of selfishness, pride, struggle, fear. I am with all who are “not okay,” but truly don’t want to stay there. I’m still growing along with you and many others. Thank you again for encouraging my heart in Christ!
You’ve given me such an unexpected gift of understanding the glorious burden of one called to Pastor a church. Yikes. God knows what He’s doing as he makes the call, and as He anoints those whom he calls. Your wrestling, wisdom and even your wit are all so clearly of God. Thank you for leading. What mattered most to me is that you grounded everything…and I mean everything, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That truly is the beginning and end of the story. As we ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’, each of us will wrestle with anything said/not said and we will walk accordingly. I pray that you have found peace and a release from any of our opinions. God has been glorified in your post, Pastor. You loved us enough to tell the Truth – the capital ‘T’ truth. I so love my church, you, Christy, and the Jones’ family. I was reading this feeling a bit exhausted and I suddenly have more energy….God bless.
Thank you. And amen!
As an Black person I carry a lot of uneasiness these days as do other races to put it mildly. I have lived in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, southern states where it is often perceived that racial issues are elevated. Never have I felt so uneasy as when I moved to this part of the country. It has been an eyeopener to say the least. Maybe it’s just everywhere now and I just happen to be living here for the moment. I am a college professor with degrees of higher learning but the day-to-day reality is that lately due to comments made verbally and local social media I have developed an elevated consciousness of how I speak, how I dress, what I say, when and how I say it at the risk of being perceived a threat and the potential outcomes of that perception. Yes, even walking through the doors of GCC looking through the lens of this baggage and seeing probably 3 maybe 4 people that look like me brings a heightened level of awareness and even caution. I know is not deliberate in this case but more cultural at best.
Your letter is quite timely Pastor and much appreciated. I firmly believe that the tone is set from the top and I believe this letter was thoughtfully written from the heart. For me it is the right letter at the right time. It may do little to comfort me driving around town but at least at GCC I know that the man at the top is truly my brother. GOD BLESS YOU…
I understand your neevousness of this world regarding racism. But if you go to a place, like you said, and only see 3 or 4 people that look luke you, it doesnt have to be a race issue. Sometimes its just how it is. If I went to a bingo night and only 3 or 4 men were there, then thata justvhow itvis that night. No hidden reasons. Sometimes when people make everything about race, when true racism happens, people think you may ne crying wolf.
We are family, Charles. Truly your brother indeed!
Thank you Pastor for your letter and the example you and Grace are setting. Beautifully put.
Thank you, Karen.
I feel as though when you said people are only going to hear what they want, does the same apply for you only hearing what you want from liberal people around you? Please speak the teuth on the matter of illegal immigration. Please do not sugar coat the liberal view of open borders whole telling us you believe in enforcing ours but then say we are bad for seperating families. People on this blog jave to realize that it is not un-Christian to enforce the law. Do not make it seem thst if we sipport string borders we are not living as God would have us. This has nothing to do with livibg a Godly life.i feel people are pressired into agrering with you bc you are the paster.
1. The children are being seperated because the parents commited a crime. The parents are to blame bc they knew the risk involved in trying to illegaly enter the U.S. They are put in daycare facilites that are better than what they had at home concerning resources.
2. If someone is arrested in the U.S. dont the kids get put in some sort of facility or foster care. Why is it any different for these illegal immigrant kids.
3. NOBODY has a problem with LEGAL IMMIGRATION. Illegal immigration is the issue.
4. We dont have enough money as it is for our social programs , so how could we afford more for people who commit a crime by illegally entering.
5. God said to help the poor, but also take care of your house. We could do more to help hese people without risking our stability as a nation.
6. People need to realize that the liberal agenda and open borders is part if the Globalist agenda. This agenda seeks to have a 1 world government. How can you vote liberal knowing that they do not support religious freedom, unless you are a muslim or any other faith except Christianity. As well as they support abortion.
Do not make this issue of illegal immigration a religous issue. And please keep up the good work you have been doing without being influenced by the liberal agenda.
Pastor Jarrod, you have to know that liberals seek to destroy the American way of life and turn us into a socialist state.
Dear Brother John,
As I read the Pastor’s comments, I see that he has very well explained the importance of having borders and coming into the country legally. I absolutely agree with some of your comments and realize that this influx has created a real can of worms. I further realize that the authorities are doing all they can especially for the children – schooling, health care, officers bringing in toys from home, etc.
I have for many, many years been disturbed about the drugs being brought over our borders and now we have to protect our people from Isis, MS-13 – and you can bet there will be a new name popping up even worse than MS-13. Thank God something is finally being done.
But as Christians, can we agree that to send help to these families would give us a chance to bring the Gospel to them and while doing so to also unequivocally make sure they know that according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there are 328 LEGAL entry points throughout the United States – even if fleeing tyranny and violence. I feel sure you realize that these innocent children don’t care ANYTHING about the left, the right, points of entry, or anything else. They’re just scared to death and extremely sorrowful being separated from their parents. You would think if a mama bear protects her children so ferociously, that humans would know the dangers of turning their children over to strangers even if they never hear any global news….I can’t understand it either.
So please, John, can we come and reason together? There will NEVER be any Church body where we agree with absolutely EVERYTHING that is being said, but don’t you think Grace is a great church….that the Gospel is presented in truth without apology?
Where was the church or you on speaking out against Obama when he believed in late term abortion, while he was running for President?
Hi Becky, thanks for your questions. I have never spoken negatively about any president, including the current one. I have indeed spoken on abortion, and how life begins at conception. Thanks again.
Trump will protect Christians. Democrats seek to stop us at every turn from banning the saying of ” Merry Christmas,” trying to make it illegal to tell your children that you are born a firl or boy and transgender people are living in sin. I believe as a church we need to realize that we are living in the last days, and that if we elect Democrats, we will slowly lose our religious freedoms
Thanks for commenting, Nancy.
I may be bringing up the rear with my response, , as I preferred to give myself time to reread your letter and process it for myself before responding.
First, I echo the previous comments that stated how challenging and difficult this letter must have been for you to write. I sincerely applaud you for taking the time to do this, by God’s Spirit I believe. Each area you’ve highlighted in your letter touches my life personally, so I really appreciate you addressing them.
Second, as an African American middle-aged woman, native New Yorker, descendant of Alabama and Virginia slaves and sharecroppers, this present cultural and political climate, along with our previous administration, has resulted in much anxiety, fear and anguish in my soul. I have been a member of Grace for 13 years now, a Christian for over 30 years…but I have recently begun to wonder if Grace is where I belong anymore. Because of the perceived silence of leadership here concerning current social and political issues over the last few years, I’ve entertained leaving because of the very feelings you described in your letter. My thoughts were it would be easier for me to return to my former urban church in Harlem where I know I am not alone concerning these issues. But..I believe the Lord has not given me release to leave Grace at this time. He is doing a work in me here, Pastor Jarrod, and I pray..daily..for the grace and courage not to run from discomfort.
So I look at myself, as you’ve challenged us to do in your letter. You are absolutely right, Pastor. For the last couple of years I have been seeking God as to how I should be responding in this climate of division, hatred and fear? I just completed reading the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote the “Cost of Discipleship” (which I read about 20 + years ago..EXCELLENT book). Bonhoeffer’s challenges at that time to live a true Holy Spirit-filled life were not unlike our own! And his passion to influence churches to resist the Hitler regime and not walk in “cheap grace” seem to parallel our present day. Needless to say, I’ve been really disillusioned by the American church lately. Oh that I would have the courage to stand up, in the love and power of Christ like Bonhoeffer or Rosa Parks, to defeat hate and fear in this day!! In and out of the church! God has something specific for me to do, as I am burdened with these issues daily. Please pray that I would walk in His calling for me, getting involved in whatever way He leads.
Thank you for writing this letter. I praise the Lord in your life.❤️ While I cannot expect everyone to understand the daily terror I feel when my son leaves the house, I appreciate that you are, at least, willing to speak to uncomfortable situations. We ALL have some issue that is not easily understood by our brother. I was actually taken aback that one of our members who is a Trump supporter commented on this site that they felt uncomfortable here at Grace, too! I really didn’t expect that! May our God help us to love one another in these last days. It really isn’t easy.
Lastly, God bless you and your family. I love you with the love of the Lord and will continue to pray for you. Your role is not easy. My family and I will join in prayer with the saints for you and your family…holding your arms up that will, hopefully, ease the weight.
Thank you for your eloquent and heartfelt response. I learned much just reading your comments. You are loved and appreciated beyond measure. I’m especially grateful to be your brother in Christ.
Dear Sister Stacey,
It looks as if the Lord is birthing forth a great healing and cleansing in His Church, and as you have felt burdened daily about these issues, it appears He hopes to use YOU as a solution. So I hope you will stay put and wait patiently and see what the Lord may bring about even through this Letters page!
I read your letter and wasn’t going to touch it with a ten-foot pole as, frankly, I do not know what it is like to be an African-American. I was thinking, “Lotsa luck with THIS one, Pastor!” However, it was a matter of minutes before I felt the Lord tell me I WILL respond. I can certainly see your kind spirit and that you understand why our Pastors have perhaps not gotten specifically into many of these issues. That doesn’t mean they don’t care; they are struggling with this chaos and sadness just as we are…maybe more so as they try to grasp their place and words in all this turmoil. Pray them through.
I was troubled at your comment about the “…daily terror” you feel when your “….son leaves the house.” We’ve heard this quite often. I think you know, Sister, that whites and people of ALL colors may feel that way today as we see them ALL being beaten or abused in some way just for having a different view, or for wearing a certain hat, shirt, or whatever.
Your letter is so timely for me as I just read a small letter only a few days ago in the newspaper (I’m sorry…I no longer have it). A gentleman said he was in a restaurant eating with a couple unruly children at the next table. He overheard their mom yelling at them and as she apparently saw him in uniform, told the children that if they didn’t behave, she would have that officer come over and beat them. Unfortunately, we see children in the news all the time in these large, unruly, violent protests as people scream for “dead cops”, etc.
If you are referring to police officers, I agree there are some bad ones who don’t deserve the badge. And I’d be the first to say, “Lock them up.” But I had worked with law enforcement for close to 20 years and I can assure you that MOST of them are there to serve and protect. They run to every dangerous situation without first asking the color involved. They realize on every call, that it could be their LAST call. Their anxious families sit at home praying for a safe return of their loved one that day. I have seen their compassion, their caring, and their tears. I have prayed for many of them, many victims, and many perpetrators whose names came before me.
I just pulled out a book which my son had published a few years ago. I am intentionally withholding the title and reference information. But I was extremely humbled and very grateful for one particular section he wrote….although I am proud of all of it! He wrote in part, “The elementary school I attended had approximately 900 students; yours truly, 894 other white kids, Mark (my K-5 best friend), Dewayne, Robbie, Shaun, and some boy I now believe to be of Indian/Pakistani descent. I recall that teachers pointed out how inseparable Mark and I were, and in fact, they seemed somewhat surprised.” Mark was African-American.
Although the way the story was told gets faded a bit over the years, and Mom is no longer here to melt my heart with the repetition I asked for, it sticks in my mind that in Virginia (where I was born), ‘they’ told an African-American person on a bus to get up and give my mother a seat. My mother would not allow it. If we are teaching our children right – even though prejudice will always exist against blacks, whites, Jews, people who have a differing view, and many other things – there will be far less strife.
What has Colin Kaepernick proven after all this time? When I was on my job, I understood there were things that were certainly not allowed because of the agency I represented. Because I loved my job, because I had respect for authority, and because I obeyed the law, I did or said certain things on my own time – not on my employer’s time. AND I can assure you, they would not have tolerated it if I did! It’s taken some of us a couple years to even understand WHY he and others were ‘taking a knee.’ It seemed they did not even know. It was and is such a hot issue that almost any media outlet would probably grant these players much air time to air their grievances. I haven’t seen it. Sean Hannity on Fox News as reported by Forbes Magazine this past February, averages 3.3 million viewers nightly. I heard him offer many times to have Mr. Kaepernick and others come on his show for a town hall meeting, extending them every courtesy as to what kind of format they would like – town hall or otherwise. I haven’t seen it. I have seen town hall meetings on that station though, and contrary to ‘screaming matches’ and people speaking on top of each other, I saw people of various different views and backgrounds come together and speak passionately and honestly – one at a time – as each listened and shared his input. And hopefully, they left shaking hands and with a better understanding. And I will tell you, that when history was made this week by the return of what we believe to be the sacred remains of Americans lost in battle in Korea, I stood alone in my living room with my hand over my heart until all 55 caskets were escorted into Hanger 19 from the two C-17 military planes. So these overpaid, ungrateful football brats can find another way – like using their fame and position and big-boy words – to protest.
Sister Stacey, please know that times have changed and while there will always be unhinged people around, most of us don’t see color. As you used the term ‘African American”, so will I, but I see us just as Americans. An African-American president was elected and although we may not have agreed with his policies, we wished him well, prayed for him, and hoped he would succeed. If the president succeeds, our nation succeeds. We have a few African-American people I can think of right off the bat – good people – (I believe all Christians) in our government. One in the House, one a former member of the House, at least one in the President’s Cabinet (although many hold positions), one was Secretary of State, one is a U.S. Senator with a prayer and accountability partner in the House. Although we may not agree with her former lifestyle or social views, we have a young woman in the Royal Family now who I did not even realize was bi-racial. I just thought she had a pretty olive complexion! But she surely brought some lively preaching to her wedding probably like that cathedral has never seen before.
In closing, may I be perfectly honest. I think I DO see color. I try to do things every day wherever I am to extend a courtesy….maybe just holding a door for someone….first, because we’re human and it pleases God. Secondly, kindness can spread, just as unkind words and actions can start a forest fire. However, when I look up and see a dark face, I am EXTRA cautious to not let that door shut behind me. I look in the individual’s face and realize that although the door may shut quite by accident, that man or woman may travel back in time and be hurt by thinking it is because I thought they were not worthy of my respect due to the color of his or her skin.
It is my hope, Sister Stacey, that you will perhaps invite a handful of people the Lord leads you to for some cake and coffee and have a heart-to-heart discussion in your living room after fasting and prayer. It may be a good place to start. I believe He is going to do great things through you. My love to you, Sister.
Thank you for your comments and prayers, Sister Joan. While we may have differing perspectives and life experiences, I am comforted to know the love of Christ is the common denominator for all who call Him Lord.
I certainly appreciated your message this past weekend, Pastor. It was spot on and addresses these very issues for me! Thank God for His Spirit that is moving in you…and in our church.
Thank you, Stacey.
Amen, Sister! Blessings to you.
The thing that has me concerned is “sleepless nights.” In the time that I have listened to you, you have consistently given what you do your best shot. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Once you have given something your best shot (it won’t feel perfect) then what you need is a refreshing drink with your feet up. I have never heard you preach a sermon that was less than your best. Don’t polish your sermon to death or Monday morning quarterback yourself.
I’m not from your church; you ministered to my youth group in Southeastern Indiana years ago during our winter retreat. I appreciate your willingness to speak out for what’s right in these politically difficult times. I believe God intends for us to love first and foremost, and that seems to be your guiding principle. Thank you.