A Call to Pray & to Act: for Our President, the Foreign Born in the U.S.,and Our Churches.

Posted: January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

While news broke that President Trump will sign executive orders in many areas of immigration (from building a wall on the southern border to halting refugee resettlement) my heart grew heavy and anxious. It is best to wait and see what happens today and the details of any executive actions before speculating more. But here is some encouragement for us all:

  1. PRAY!

It sounds trite but if we are a people that are committed to believing that God can and does act when we pray.

THE RIGHTEOUS CRY, AND THE LORD HEARS AND DELIVERS THEM OUT OF ALL THEIR TROUBLES  ~PSALM 34:17

We know the situation can be overwhelming and we may know the answers but we do know that we should pray. Pray for:

  • Our President. When news broke about the coming executive actions from President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement my social media feeds exploded. I do not think I saw one call for prayer for our President. 1 Timothy 2.1-6 is clear. While we should not stop advocating for refugees, immigrants,  immigration reform, and speaking prophetically into the government process; we must recognize the role government plays on the Romans 13:1-7 side. Pray for President Trump as he leads that he will have wisdom, discernment, compassion, and that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We can all agree that leading our country is no easy task so start in 1 Timothy 2:1-6  to pray and also Russ Moore offers help .
  • Immigrants & Refugees impacted. We are facing 65 million displaced globally today and a refugee crisis like we have never seen. Refugees fleeing their homeland from persecution (or fear of) for their race, religion, political opinion, national origin, or social group need help and when we look at the needs and numbers it becomes overwhelming. But begin with praying for refugees: pray for their protection as they flee, pray for provision(food, shelter, etc.), pray for peace and resolve in their homelands. We have over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and many came here believing it was the only hope of a better life or even for their children to survive. While these issues are complicated let us focus on praying that all refugees and immigrants are welcomed with love and genuine hospitality and not fear. Over 5,000 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 just looking to survive and flee persecution; what if we prayed like we believed it could stop the boats from sinking(faith to move mountains anyone?~Matthew 17:20,  Mark 11:22-24). 
  • Our Churches.  Estimates are that there are over 42 million foreign born live in the US with over 1 million visiting students and scholars. Many are from countries with little access to the gospel. Regardless of your stance on immigration policy or what you think about refugees coming to the U.S., scripture tells us that God’s hand is at work behind the movements of humanity and we need to realize that He is at work (Acts 17:24-27). God is placing the nations at our doorstep. Jesus instructs us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and even if new policy dictates that new immigrants and refugees can not come into the U.S. the ones that currently reside need us to serve and welcome them with the love of Christ in both word and deed. Our new Acts 17 Initiative can help equip your church for just that(so please contact us). slide1Let us pray that churches offer Christ-centered compassion to immigrants and refugees here and not be driven by fear. What if the diverse ethnicities God was bringing here was to lead to revival and renewal in our churches like we have never known? Let us be propelled to share the glorious Gospel to our new neighbors from the nations and understand that we can easily get involved in His mission to the nations at home.  Let us Pray!

2. ACT.

When I think about refugees and immigrants I am continually drawn to Proverbs 24:10-11:

“If you faint in the day of adversity,  your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death…” and

Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

These verses are a call to ACT. So while there are incredible compassion ministry opportunities with our newly arriving immigrant and refugee friends (and we would love to tell you about them at  Acts 17 Initiative) and there are needed opportunities for us to embrace this Gospel opportunity with biblical instruction; I want to focus briefly with a call to swift advocacy. Understanding that all refugees and immigrants (no matter their race or religion) are created in the image of God and as fellow image-bearers let us advocate on their behalf. So as we quickly face potential policy change (that has a real danger to thwart religious liberty- read here) will you take a few minutes to read and sign the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Principles here. Please let me know if you do sign them. The call to sign has been heeded by many evangelical leaders and I have posted it here below:

Our national immigration laws have created a moral, economic and political crisis in America. Initiatives to remedy this crisis have led to polarization and name calling in which opponents have misrepresented each other’s positions as open borders and amnesty versus deportations of millions. This false choice has led to an unacceptable political stalemate at the federal level at a tragic human cost. We urge our nation’s leaders to work together with the American people to pass immigration reform that embodies these key principles and that will make our nation proud. As evangelical Christian leaders, we call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

Also, please read and sign “We Welcome Refugees” call to stand in solidarity with refugees here. Friends, this is just a start of how we should advocate. Spread this messages through your social media outlets and networks of influence, we cannot be silent, let us speak for those who have no voice (Proverbs 31:8-9).

So PRAY and ACT, stay tuned, and be challenged with the words of the Psalmist:

“How long will you judge unjustly  and show partiality to the wicked?  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” ~Psalm 82:2-4

 

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