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Cultural Awareness Sunday

On Sunday, guest speaker Anthony Hendricks spoke for Cultural Awareness Sunday at Gateway.

First, he and Pastor Ed discussed the survey results and pointed out some things.

Anthony Hendricks' opinion is that if you're not engaged, you don't necessarily see the poor race relations in this country.

The majority culture doesn't have to be a minority and enter another culture to succeed.

We live in a "racialized society" -- race matters profoundly.

To understand another culture, sit with them at the dinner table, and ask the hard questions.

In Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17, he prayed for us today.  And he prayed that we would be one.  Then the world will know that Christ loves them.

The culture is setting the tone, rather than the church.  We've been trying to legislate an issue that's a heart issue.

Why is worshiping Jesus still segregated?

The enemy has done a tremendous job of dividing us.  The church should act as a thermostat in the culture, not as a thermometer.

From there, he looked at Acts 10, and Peter's major cross-cultural "Ah-ha!" moment.  He listed six "Be" vitamins that we need to take to make Christ's body look good.

1)  First, we must Be Prayerful.

Peter and Cornelius were both praying.  If we're going to bring the body of Christ together, it must begin with prayer.

He dared us:  Pray and ask God to open your heart in this area.

And remember:  Prayer also involves intently listening.

2)  We must Be Open.

Be open to God doing something different in you.

Peter prayed an oxymoron:  "No, Lord."

Most people are open to every other issue in their lives but this one.  Where else should we talk about race than in church?

Be open to new relationships and to getting uncomfortable.

3)  We must Be Humble.

We should be ready to learn.  Other cultures can teach us a lot.  But we need to exhibit some humility.

4)  We must Be Aware.

In Acts 10, Peter finally gets it that God accepts all men everywhere.

Be aware:  Race matters in this country.

So what do I do as a believer in Christ?

Be aware:  Racial inequality is a reality in minority cultures.

Believers should have compassion.

We fear what we don't know.  White privilege is about not having to wonder if it's about race.

Experience life with them.

In Acts 10, Peter is now aware of his own race issues.

5)  Be Blessed!

When you start really getting into multiethnic ministries, the Holy Spirit will start blessing your socks off!

Jesus is the only one who can change hearts.

The culture is waiting on us.  We have been given the ministry of reconciliation!

How are you doing in your ministry of reconciliation?

We need to be intentional about this.

We might as well practice for heaven!  We need many styles of worship and music.

6)  We've got to Be Ready.

In Acts 11, Peter gets criticized immediately.

Not all believers are ready for this.

Be ready for the religious folk.

Be ready to not be understood.

Be ready to be offended.

Be ready to continue this amazing work in the minority.


Gateway, I've been thinking a lot about this message, and I'd like to talk about it!  I'm going to put some of my own thoughts in the comments. 

What do you think?

How can Gateway incorporate these principles as we build our facility?

Do you have ideas for how Gateway, as a body, can be more culturally aware and have the spirit of love and unity that Jesus called us to?

Kidztown Teacher Feature: Erin Krotz

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I want to periodically feature Kidztown teachers, so I thought I'd start at the top!  Today Erin Krotz has answered some questions about working at Gateway with our children.
What is your official position with Kidztown?
Children's Director
How long have you worked with Kidztown?
I am coming up on my 2 year anniversary with Gateway on April 8...which is my birthday!
Tell us about a time you were blessed by the kids.
I wish I was one of those people who loved study for the sake of studying or just to know, but I'm an extreme optimist who would rather be socializing. So it's hard for me to study the Bible for the sake of myself, but because I love people I will study it to share it with others. I think that's why God called me into ministry. He knew I'd study to impart truth to kids and in that process I grow in my relationship with God. I get all pumped up about what God is teaching me and then get to share with an audience of kids who are just as excited as I am. It's like they're my accountability partners. They hold me accountable to put my relationship with Christ first.
So every time I'm with the kids and they ask good questions that challenge me I'm blessed. Let me just say I'm blessed a lot!!!
Tell us about a life you've seen touched.
Okay parents, I'm gonna let you in on a little Centri-kid Camp I highly encourage pranks. Mostly because I think they're funny, but I have two rules: no person or property can be harmed and you have to run it past a leader first. 
Well this past year our girls nailed it. They got Oreo cookies, scraped out the cream and replaced it with tooth paste. They then gave it to one of the boys' leaders and had him pretend that he got them just for the boys. As they began to eat them, they began asking questions like "why is the cream so runny?" or "are these mint Oreos?". All the girls started giggling and then they shared what they did. The boys couldn't think of a retaliation that didn't harm a person or property. 
That night it the midst of the chaos one of our fourth grade boys started lurking behind me. I was certain he was going to try to prank me. He offered his skittles to me and hesitantly I took some, but made sure he ate some first! 
I asked him what was up and he said he thought it was time he prayed to receive Christ. I asked him if he had ever prayed that prayer before and he told me several times at night in bed by himself. So I ask what was different about this time. He said it was the first time he ever told anyone else about it. I almost started crying, but since I didn't want to freak out a fourth grade boy I resisted. I prayed with him and it was the first time I really heard a kid pray with confession of real sin. I knew he felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and these weren't just wrought words, but a deep heart felt cry to God. I promise you I was still holding back my tears!
Now as a fifth grader I see God completing the work He began even before that night at camp. The other day at roller skating he asked me if he accidentally knocked down a little girl would he have to apologize. I told him that he would and he responded "ok I really don't like talking to people I don't know, but I'll do it." This is the work only God can do on a fifth grade boy heart!
Thanks so much for that peek into your heart and the way God is working through Kidztown, Erin!

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