Whenever I would come home from college on a short break or for the summer, I would drop off Ouida at our house and then visit “my parish.” I visited each home with the white people and black people, everyone. God had put them there. They were His people, and I loved them in the name of Jesus. That was when the church deacons pulled me aside and said, “Tom, we need to talk to you about your visitation.”
“You’re visiting black people.”
“Sure,” I said. “They’re no different from any of us. They live here. They’re people. God created them. They’re part of His family.” The deacons just looked at me until one of them said,
“Well, this is a white church, and you can’t do this.”
That next Sunday I preached about love, the love of Jesus that embraces all people, all of God’s children— “God is love” (1 John 4: 8). I made it clear that anyone coming into the sanctuary would not be stopped, but be welcomed. After the service, I was standing at the front door greeting the people as they left. One deacon, a white gentleman, said to me, “I know what point you were trying to make, but I still love you anyway.” Yet, something else happened. I noticed that younger people seemed to appreciate the sermon. In fact, the younger the person the more he or she said:
“The things you said about Jesus loving all people, regardless of race, are real. It’s what God says.”
That day, I began to see the differing perspectives of the older and younger generations. The former tended to have remote, insensitive, fearful hearts. Young people, on the other hand, were more open to following the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. How willing are you? How willing am I to do the same?
My hunger for personal revival and spiritual awakening across our land is as strong as my desire to be used in the reconciliation between blacks and whites, all peoples. I wrote it down on a yellow pad list, “The Fourteen Things I Hope to Accomplish Before I Die.” I have seen African-American and Asian pastors from Philadelphia confess to each other their racism and then break down weeping. I’ve seen pride broken, sins confessed, and lives restored in the most calloused hearts and in the most unlikely parts of the country. I believe these and other acts of reconciliation and healing are God’s notes on His yellow pad— to give us a peek at the present, unfolding revival.
1 John 4:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Psalm 107:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
2 Corinthians 5:19 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
To stay up-to-date with Jesus Now Awakening:
Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Introduction p. 22-23). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.