Hold the spit!

spitting   This morning, as I came to the end of my run, I was in my cool down mode. I had just passed my house, when one of my neighbors, from across the street, backed out of his driveway. He saw me as I passed and cautiously asked, “I’m sorry, did I get too close to you?” “Of course not”, I said. He was not close at all.


As he drove away, I was in the process of clearing the thick saliva from my mouth, at the end of a 6 mile workout, and spitting it on the side of the road. At that moment, the thought came to me, “what if my neighbor thinks my spitting is a response to him?” You see, my neighbor is African-American. So I decided to hold my spit until he was well out of sight, and then I let it go.


As insignificant as this might seem, it was a wake-up call to me about how sensitive I need to be with my actions and reactions in today’s culture, especially when it comes to those of a different race or ethnicity. Racism is alive and strong today. Even though the Bible says God is no respecter of persons, we live in a culture that is charged with racist feelings and incidents. Some of these are intentional and calculated. Others may appear to be discriminatory but are anything but that.


One thing I don’t want to be is misinterpreted and seen as disrespectful or prejudiced in any way. There are times, though, when my actions might be misunderstood, so I have decided to hold my spit. In fact, here are a few other actions that I have decided to take when it comes to all people.


Equal Greetings: I want to welcome all people with the same kind of warmth. That means, going out of my way toprejudice greet and show acceptance. I will talk and interact with them. And there’s no better greeting than a good hug. So I hug those who are like me, and those who are different than I. I refuse to accept some and ignore others.


Equal respect: I will look at people when I talk to them. I will talk to them and not at them or past them. I will give my attention to them. Nothing is more aggravating and disrespectful than to deal with a person in a public service position, in a service sector job, who hardly acknowledges your presence. Respect means giving them my presence and attention.


Equal care: People get down and out. Times turn ugly rapidly. Ends don’t meet. Whether it is food, a ride, a little money for gas, clothes or whatever, I will see the need and not the color of the skin or the ethnicity of the person. And I will respond according to the need and my ability to meet that need whether they are like me or different from me.


Equal restraint: That means, as I began this post, refraining from any action that might be misinterpreted or misunderstood. I will hold my spit, turn after them instead of in front of them, be courteous and let them go in line in front of me even though I  am starving or in a big hurry. The Bible says to “abstain from all appearances of evil.” That could just as well say “abstain from all appearances of prejudice.”


racismEqual encouragement: Everyone needs encouragement. Life is hard. We get knocked down. Sometimes it is totally unexpected. Other times it is just what we deserved. It is easy to encourage those of our kind. It is also easy to encourage those who we know will encourage us back. It is maturity, being like Jesus, to encourage those who are different than us. After all, that woman that Jesus met at the well, who found the water of life in him, was of a different race and nationality that he was. He reached out and gave to her what no one else had ever offered, acceptance, encouragement, and new life. I will commit to doing the same!


So check the temperature, your outfit, your hair, your wallet to make sure you have money, the gas in your tank, the weather forecast, your schedule, and 1000 other things. But above all else, check your attitude about other people, other people who are different than you whether it be gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or whatever. May we be devoted to removing every hint of favoritism, discrimination and prejudice in how we act toward ALL PEOPLE. Hold the spit!


The Finest Wine

king wine How can we begin to describe the distance we have traveled in the last five months as a church? It is nothing less than incredible. God has moved and blessed in amazing ways. For example, we have at the current time, gathered $74,811 toward the down payment of $100,000 for our property purchase and remodel job at our new location on Lucks Lane. We are scheduled to close on the property August 31. That leaves us three weeks to collect a little over $25,000. I want to say thanks to those who have been and continue to be so generous. At the same time I want to remind us all that we need everyone in the picture.


Have you heard the story, from many years ago, of a new king who was crowned in Spain? After the coronation, he decided to visit a secluded village on the outskirts of his land. When the townspeople heard that the king was coming, they were elated, so they went to work trying to make his visit an experience he would never forget. They decided that every person in the village would bring one cup of their choicest wine and put it into a big container. When the king came, he could dip his cup into the finest wine he had ever tasted because everyone was giving their best.


When the time came, everyone celebrated the king’s arrival. They told him what they had done with the wine, and the king was excited to taste it. But when he took a long drink, he spit it out in disgust. The king had been told that it was fine wine, but really it was barely nothing more than water. You see, the townspeople were told to bring their best, but individually they thought they could skimp out and rely on the wine of others while they secretly brought water instead. And the king was greatly displeased.


In order to accomplish this first challenge level, it’s going to take everyone giving their best to the King. We’re all in this together.


If you made a commitment to the capital campaign (down payment and 24 month phase) we are fully trusting that you willdownpayment fulfill it to the fullest. If you are new to New Venture since our capital campaign began a few months ago, or if you did not make an initial commitment as a part of our capital campaign, I would like to invite you to give a sacrificial gift between now and the end of August toward the down payment of our new church home on Lucks Lane. This is a tremendous chance for everyone to participate and bring their best whether or not you were part of the original campaign.


In fact, we have designated Sunday, August 18, as special offering day for the $100,000 down payment. Our prayer is that generous gifts will be given from many different people to push us over the top. If you would like to help us push to the $100,000 mark and live out of the area, gifts can be sent to New Venture Christian Church, PO Box 73311, Richmond, VA 23235.


Thank you so, so much for your generosity,