Calling The Next Generation to Racial Reconciliation – Trip Lee Message

good evening how's everybody doing good I'm gonna pray one more time I know we just prayed but we can never pray enough I'm gonna pray one more time and we'll get started father we come before you again in Jesus name and father we come before you because you're the sovereign ruler in control of all things including this time father so we pray it would be helpful that you use your word that you would encourage us from it and we ask this in Jesus name Amen amen with this evening I've been asked to speak about Millennials and racial reconciliation some of you may be wondering who let their little brother on the stage I promise I am a grown man I got a wife and kids and all of that I feel privileged to stand on the stage this evening and serve as a part of this and really excited to talk about this topic as a rapper as an artist I do music and so I've been a part of a lot of concerts over the years they have lots of Millennials at these concerts and people of all ages and I've seen that music really has a way of uniting people there's some concerts that maybe I've done where there's only one type of person that will happen sometimes so maybe I'll be part of a concert where it's all kind of soccer moms and white suburban teenagers maybe I'll do one where it's kind of all black urban college students so maybe I'll do one where it's all white Southern Baptist pastors with khakis displaying that concert never happened that's never happy it's no bad but there are many concerts I've done where there's just a wide array of different kinds of people young and old and black and white and all kinds of people and people who observe it and they see it they marvel at the diversity they say I've never come to a concert where there's so many really different kinds of people and I love that and I think it's a really good thing but let me say this while I think it's cool and wonderful that you see that at a concert I don't think it's as impressive as some people may think it is because every day all around the country there are concerts like that where there are all different kinds of people there's honestly nothing very unique about getting different kinds of people to gather together happens all the time at concerts and sporting events and all different kinds of things and when that artist or that sports team is the center of attention then the people there are united by their love for that music or that sports team they're brought together by that but those people there they don't really have to be unified they don't really have to get along they really just got to tolerate each other for one night and so what that's a really cool thing brothers and sisters that is not the kind of unity that we're aiming for today with this summit that kind of unity isn't lasting that kind of unity isn't that substantial that kind of unity doesn't really produce anything because those people don't really have to serve one another and it doesn't really point to the lasting glory and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ the kind of unity that we're after is a lot more lasting and substantial than just one night the kind of unity we're after there's a lot more loving than that the kind of unity we're after cannot be produced by a common musical interest or cuz you're from the same city and you like the same sports team the kind of unity we're after can only be produced by the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that's the kind of unity that we're after today and of course that's why this summit is called the gospel and racial reconciliation John 11:50 one of the high priests speaking of the high priest says he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation and not for the nation only but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad that's the kind of unity we're after people who are diverse and different and many those many people becoming one people that's the kind of unity we're after our end goal is not just getting black people and white people in the same building that's not the end goal jay-z can do that our goal is to proclaim the peace and unity that Jesus has already accomplished at the cross and to proclaim that and to call all different kinds of people into that peace to enjoy that peace to embrace that peace to experience the fullness of that peace and to see that peace extend and overflow to our relationships but that can only come through the gospel now when we talk about Millennials of course the Millennial Generation is people born from the early 80s on through to the 2000s and we Millennials are really good at that easier first kind of unity that I talked about what about that deeper more substantial more difficult kind of unity or if you're here today and you are a millennial as I am and I want you to listen to think about ways that we can do this if you're hearing you're not a millennial okay you're old then you can listen then you can listen okay i'ma watch some what then you can listen for how to encourage the Millennials in your life and and honestly there's not some unique pill that Millennials need to swallow we are the same truths from Scripture that we need to look to in order to produce this sentence but there are gonna be some unique challenges and obstacles when we start to think about Millennials I want to point out just three real quick obstacles to this racial reconciliation among Millennials number one some Millennials think that racial tension is our grandparents problem because of course things are very different than they once were I mean when I talk to my grandfather who's about 90 years old he thinks it's about 50 years old but he's about nine years old and I talk to him about some of the things that he dealt with I literally cannot believe that he was able to make it through that and even when I would talk to my father about protesting in the civil rights movement I talked to my mom remembering not being able to get into hotels I've never experienced anything quite like that that kind of legal segregation doesn't exist anymore so of course things have changed and so so many Millennials assume that when such a different time that this conversation about racial tension is no longer even a relevant conversation one rapper recently said there's no racism now with the internet' racism was you know probably like five generations ago racism is for yeah like five generations ago racism been over it's the old people to keep holding onto it and this is what many Millennials think they think hey when this post-racial society there's all these interracial marriages now and of course we got a black president now it's all in the past but it's not true sadly a lot of studies have shown that while Millennials do give more lip service to equality that we're basically just as prejudiced as our parents were yet we think we're post-racial so that's a dangerous combination just as prejudice but think that none of it exists and of course recent events like this racist chant at this Oklahoma fraternity show us racism is alive and well in our generation but sadly unless it's blatant we like to deny its existence so yes racial prejudice is more subtle but that does not mean that it's any less sinful it just means it's a little more sneaky than before and that can make it trickier to fight so that's that's one of the obstacles with Millennials the second obstacle with Millennials and trying to call them to fight for this racial reconciliation is that some of us Millennials think that social media activity is enough social media is an incredible gift and you know we've seen it even mobilized and and kind of catalyzed people in some of these recent racial issues in the US but my generation can easily fall into the trap of thinking that it's enough for me to just share good things on my social media then when Russell Moore tweet something good like ooh that's good retweet I did my part or to retweet a good article by for BT on your blade but to retweet activists and preachers quotes and blog posts on these matters it's not enough to stop there we have to actually take action beyond that and you know that even goes for us who are here today it would be a shame if we thought man we got together and talked about racial reconciliation check that off this would be a colossal waste of our time if it didn't change anything about our lives when we get back home the point of conversation and Proclamation is that we would respond to God's Word with worship and obedience and with love it's not enough to listen or to retweet but scripture has called us to do a third thing obstacle with Millennials as some Millennials don't think that God's Word is really sufficient in our day so you know we live in a day and age where the Bible's not respected as it once was and because of that our own confidence in Scripture is shrinking so if we've amazing and dr. King's nebulous in his speeches he was quoting scripture that was different right the Bible was more respected and yes the church is on the forefront that was different it's more respected what we really need is a more inclusive message and anyway how is a message supposed to really make a real difference we'll need more Christian proclamation we just need action as if proclaiming the gospel is not in action we definitely need more than just preaching but we cannot abandon preaching the gospel or we'll only have that kind of light momentary unity that we talked about earlier so those are three quick obstacles I think that we face with Millennials and racial reconciliation so the question is of course what are we to do and I want to give three simple solutions and I think all three solutions speak to all three of those obstacles but the main thing I want to press home if you don't remember anything I say please remember this only the gospel produces the kind of unity that we're after so solution number one preach the gospel of reconciliation I know that sounds very obvious and some but it's just way too important for us to assume and to look over I just moved to Atlanta Georgia to help plan a new church but for the last four years I've been in the church in DC on staff there and during my time there I was able to see the church really grow tremendously in diversity and it was a really beautiful thing to see because there were more and more black members and Chinese members and older and younger members and it was really cool to see a baptism and see people waiting to be baptized and it looks like the United Nations up there I love that and I love to hear people say well you know what I was in atheist you know what my family was Buddhist you know what I grew up kind of in a Christian home at INTRUST and I see all of these people get baptized it was a beautiful thing to see it was not by any means a perfect diversity but it was beautiful to see and I think it happened not because I church spent most of our time talking about racial reconciliation but because we spent most of our time talking about the very message of reconciliation when we asked ourselves why diversity happens I think we see many clues in scripture up John 12:32 Jesus says but when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself but I when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself of course Jesus is talking about when he dies on the cross and he would draw all men to himself he didn't say some kinds of men but all men he doesn't discriminate him in a way the Apostle John uses the word all it doesn't mean every single person but it means all peoples more than just Israel but all other nations as well God created diverse peoples and Jesus died to bring diverse peoples to himself and this is at the heart of our conversation here the thing that separates us death Nikoli racially is sin the root of racism is sin and Christ has already dealt sin a deathblow sin has already been defeated in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus so we have to proclaim that message otherwise we're gonna waste our time trying to create some differ Conny unity rather than the one that the Lord Jesus literally shed his blood to give us relations 5 says Jesus purchased for God people from every tribe language people in the nation and this has been God's plan all along and we as his ambassadors get to proclaim it do not abandon the message of reconciliation only the gospel can create this kind of unity and we Millennials need the same gospel that everybody else does the only one that can produce that very deep unity solution number two we have to fight for gospel love and understanding fight for gospel love and understanding we're all very familiar with the words of Jesus in John 13 Jesus says a new command I give you love one another as I have loved you so you must love one another by this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another I wonder if Jesus wants us to love one another makes it clear this love II talks about is not a romantic love it's not a just fuzzy in your heart love this lovely talks about here is a holy affection for someone and an unselfish commitment to their good we should have this holy affection for one another we should be committed to helping each other to know Jesus and the grow more and the flourish that every interaction among us would be characterized by love but he doesn't just say love one another he says to love one another like he loved us Christ who became poor for us who endured a sinful world for us who laid his life down for us and he says we should love each other in a similar way and that's how people will know that we're his disciples and that's a high bar for us it's a little bit intimidating scripture puts more flesh on it saying we should bear one another's burdens be compassionate to one another consider others better than yourself encourage one another daily pray for one another love one another is brothers that is a serious kind of love but here's the thing why say fight for gospel love and understanding because if we're gonna love one another we have to know one enough we have to understand each other how could I possibly bear my brothers burdens if I have no idea what my brother's burdens are how could I possibly be compassionate towards my brother if I have no idea what's going on in his life that demands my compassion understanding each other helps us to love one another well a couple years ago I was having a conversation with a white friend of my very close friend we were having a brotherly mushy love type moment just like man you so godly now you so godly god bless you no God bless you let me pray for you let me pray for you just one of those kind of all and here's what he said to me he said to me you're just my French trip I don't even see you as black he said you're just my French trip I don't even see you as black now I appreciated what he was trying to communicate to me he was trying to say you know what I I don't treat you any differently than I do my other friends but I think the way he said it was unhelpful I think the way he looked at it was a little bit unhelpful that would be like me saying one of my single friends you know what Johnny you know I don't see you as single Johnny I don't even notice that you're single matter of fact and the main problem with that is that brother's single and many of his struggles and desires and challenges are gonna have something to do with the fact that he's single and so I encouraged my friend not to only mainly see my blackness every time he talks to me but also not to pretend like it's not there because it is and it does affect my life some of us don't have to think very much about our ethnicity in our daily lives and that's fine but there are others of us that do and I can only speak as myself and my black experience I can't speak for everybody but there is an extra burden that myself and other blacks have to carry the burden of knowing the oppressive history in our country that blacks weren't considered full people knowing that if I pull out my wallet there are dudes on my dollar bills that own black people like they were property knowing that racism still exists being a recipient of that racism and in the awareness of that being a burden in somebody's life that has to change the way that you love them you can't ignore that they've been many times where things have been assumed about me that are not true just based on my parents many occasions when people have assumed I'm a criminal I can't count the number of time I've walked in a store and someone has assumed that I was gonna steal had to do pointed a blackberry on my hip and a so there was a gun and tried to kick me out of his store I mind you at this time I'm like 12 years old with a mini fro embraces like I do not look threatening bro many times I had college professors assume I was dumb and uneducated and I couldn't have written the paper that I wrote I remember being like eight years old and a friend sending me your sisters kind of pretty for a black girl as if black is less beautiful I had cops running up on me a gun in my face showed me the picture of who they were looking for look absolutely nothing like me cuffs on I don't have a single black male friend who hasn't had strange run-ins with the cops the only reason I mentioned all of these things even from the fact that people were angry that I would have the audacity to marry the godly white woman that I met even down that the reason I shared that it's because it's an extra burden that I have to carry and if you and me are gonna have a real relationship and you love me the way that Jesus said you must then you have to understand me and you have to take the time to do that we got to fight for gospel love and understanding experience matters you cannot love others if you dismiss or ignore their experience I remember talking to a Chinese sister who's about to join the church I was an elder and we were doing a membership interview and we asked her just how the services had been for her and she began to talk about her experience with the sermons now the church I was a member of and an elder at during that time but very dense sermons very packed with lots of lots of stuff and she said I really have trouble following the sermons I have to go back and listen to him a few times and there are other Chinese sisters I get together when we talk about it and that was a light bulb moment for me understanding her experience in the life of our church and that dramatically changed the way that I interact and with other Chinese brothers and sisters in our church who had only been in the States for years and thinking about how to love them and care for them as an elder in this church that changed the game for me but if I hadn't heard that from her insult to understand her I couldn't have tried to love her and her brothers and sisters in the same way we have to seek that understanding and only the gospel can produce the kind of sacrificial love that Labor's to do that solution number three don't assume it's easy I mean this is the problem with assuming there's not much racial tension anymore as we we can assume this kind of unity that we're striving for is easy diversity in our churches in our world is a very beautiful thing and when someone comes into the church as our brother just talked about we want them to see a kind of diversity that they don't see in the world because it gives them a glimpse of the glory of the gospel it helps them to see this is not a gathering of people who all just joined around because they all like guitar music or because they like drums but they gathered around because the Lord Jesus has a universal call that all of us can trust in and accept there's something unique here and it's beautiful and that's able to be displayed in a body so diversity is a beautiful thing but it's not easy any church every church has issues because we're sinners even if everybody was basically exactly the same person even if the church was all made up of 25 year-old black dudes who like Kanye West it's still gonna be issues cuz all y'all are sinners but when we start to bring sinners from all different kind of backgrounds and presuppositions and issues and hurt and brokenness there's going to be some rub but it's gonna be difficult to love one another and to be unified and if we're gonna fight for this we really have to fight for it and remember that it is gonna be difficult scriptures not unaware of this conflict we see it very clearly in acts 6 in early church divisions among racial lines scripture is not oblivious to this when it calls us to love one another it just calls us to fight through it so in light of the fact that it's hard to end I just want to throw out some for fighting for this kind of reconciliation and some unity just from what I've seen not by any means an exhaustive list so number one and you're fighting your relationships in your church and in your community two tips number one don't treat people who are different too differently so that differences are not primary so what's primary is our unity in Jesus we have a lot more in common than we do different I mean one Lord one faith one baptism one god and father who's in all the through I mean we have a lot more the same Spirit of God dwells in us don't treat people who are different to different I remember a professor at the Bible College that I went to I would see him say what's up to all kinds of students hey how you doing Joe hey great to see you Matt what's up doc and I'm like now sir I'm gonna just leave it at that number two number two don't assume stereotypes okay don't assume Sara sighs ethnic groups age groups you know there are some things that typically happen in some ethnic groups and age groups and so forth and so on but all of these groups are made up of individuals people's experiences are different right so I remember people be like so what was it like growing up in the hood actually I grew up in the suburbs bro there are individuals so it's good to be aware of what are gonna be cultural differences but we have to treat people like individuals so some stereotypes are funny and harmless but others become offensive so you have to get to know one another as individuals number three try not to fly to people who look like you all the time right this is not high school in the lunchroom I remember I went to this private school and all the black dudes set set and lunch table together freestyling because we all just kind of like the same stuff and flock together and we can easily do that among the church we cannot do that we have a deeper unity than that we have to fight against flocking towards people who are like this so sometimes after church just go purposely talk to somebody who doesn't look like you and invite them over for dinner and get to know them it's very simple but we cannot if we don't push for those relationships if we're not intentional about it we cannot get to know one another in a way that will help us to love each other now before we intentionally look to understand people go deep relationally ask questions listen carefully and sympathize with people unique experiences and even if you're skeptical of something someone says before dismissing it listen to them and seek to understand especially with a lot of the racial issues going on this would have helped some dialogue to be a lot more help number five persevere through difficulties in growing pains diversity is hard especially when we're talking about a race to ethnicity right so always assume the best there's gonna be some tense and awkward conversations if we're actually gonna ask questions and get to know and understand it's gonna be hard so for example sometimes they're gonna be white brothers sisters who want us to understand black brothers and sisters better and you to add some awkward questions you're gonna have to risk being embarrassed even risk offending someone you want to make sure they know they love you and ask questions and some of us black brothers and sisters we can't be so easily offended all the time so what do you think about this you think I speak for every black person ever like you got we got to give one another room to grow and to understand we got to be gracious enough to do that there gonna be some times when somebody says something that is slightly offensive but you got to understand the intentions are good they're trying to understand they're working towards unity and if we're all of us are so easily offended or so scared to ask each other's questions we're never gonna have any real lasting unit you would have shallow kind of unity and don't give up when it's hard I'm running out of time so I'll run through the last ones very quickly you should ask yourself if you have assumptions about other races ages and socio-economic groups ask yourself if you have unfair assumptions if you're putting things on groups of people ask yourself and try to fight against that we have to keep the conversation going especially those of us who have pastors leaders in our churches if we're not having good conversations about these things we won't think about it and we won't be very intentional I'm not saying make the goal of your church of different races liking each other I'm just saying we have to talk about how it's a very clear implication of the gospel if we don't we're gonna run into the danger of continuing to assume that this isn't a problem anymore lastly meditate on Scripture and pray God will give you a passion for unity this is not a vision that we made up because we're progressive this is a vision that God has had in Scripture from the beginning of time meditate on scripture and pray that God would give you a passion for that Union but remember that only the gospel can produce that kind of sacrificial love and unity and we want to put that gospel on display for the world to see because in an age and a day in time where it's more polarized more divided than ever God's Word is sufficient but God has given us his church and our love for one another is a little illustration of his word in an illustration of his gospel in a picture what happens when that gospel grabs ahold of the hearts of sinners we have a chance to display that diversity and unity and reconciliation is an amazing way to be able to do that so we're not looking for just blacks and whites in the same room we want blacks and whites in the same family through Jesus let's pray father we thank you so much for the unity that you purchased on the cross through the work of your son father and we pray you would give us a very deep passion for that help us to work towards that help us to love your gospel that produces it we ask this in the name of Jesus amen you

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