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Marching On

• Greg Boyd, Pierre Fulford

Faith is about capturing a vision of what can be and having a conviction that stirs up action to move toward it. This faith also pertains to the pursuit of racial reconciliation. God has a dream for racial reconciliation that has not yet been fully realized, but as we see God’s vision, we can put our weight toward it, leaning into that vision as if it already has occurred.

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This is a tag team sermon with Greg Boyd and Pierre Fulford that celebrates the vision that we recognize each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Greg opens with a word about faith.

When we envision something, we hope for it in a vivid, substance-like way. This produces in us the conviction that it will be so. Hebrews 11 is sometimes referred to as the Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame. The one thing these Old Testament heroes of faith had in common was that they had a vision that they believed was from God. That vision created a conviction and an energy in their heart that motivated them to start moving in a certain direction, even though they weren’t certain where they were going.

In that chapter we read about these faith heroes when it says: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth (Hebrews 11:13).

These faith heroes didn’t experience the things they were promised in their lifetime, but they are commended for their faith simply because they held fast to the vision God had given them, and they were willing to live differently based on that faith. And like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, we are to act on that conviction by coming out from the masses to walk in the direction of the Kingdom of God. Martin Luther King, Jr. caught a vision of one fundamental dimension of the Kingdom: God’s dream for humanity to be reconciled to God and to one another. This is a key part of the faith we are all called to uphold, protect, and keep alive.

At this point, Greg passes off the sermon to Pierre Fulford. Pierre then shares that it’s enough to see what God has in store, even though we don’t realize it yet. God has a masterpiece in store for our future. Pierre tells us that we are a masterpiece sharing in the master’s peace. This means we each are an icon representing the Creator throughout creation because we are made in a such a way that we bear God’s image. We belong to God and therefore we are his representatives. It’s what we are made to do. Our creation testifies to an artist who creates with remarkable and wonderful intentions.

As icons, we are participating in the master’s peace. God is at work in the chaos bringing about his peace. The first Adam in the garden breached God’s peace and brought forth chaos. Choosing the lie of Satan broke God’s peace, God’s wholeness. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, restored that peace of God.

Greg picks up here and quotes Ephesians 2:13-16:

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”

Jesus is the new Adam (the head) of a new humanity, where all the divisions of the old humanity “in Adam” are done away. By his self-sacrificial love which he demonstrated on Calvary, Jesus destroyed “the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” between Jews and Gentiles and between all people-groups. In this way, he has created peace, wholeness, and harmony.

The job of the church is to dream this dream and embrace this vision, holding fast to this faith. Pierre closes out the sermon by challenging us to apply this in four ways. First, record the vision, to put this in our imagination. Second, proclaim the vision. Third, live out the vision. Fourth, protect the vision. This is the call of the church. These are ways that we can join in what God is doing to bring about the kingdom vision of wholeness and peace. And this is the way we can have faith in the midst of a time that is divisive and divided.

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Topics: Faith, Peace, Reconciliation

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: January 16

Focus Scripture:

  • Hebrews 11:1

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.

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9 thoughts on “Marching On

  1. Teresa Iverson says:

    Hello Woodland Hills 🙂 The volume is somewhat low — hard to hear the sermon.

    1. Sarah Cassin says:

      Hi Teresa,
      Unfortunately there were some glitches with the volume of the sermon, and it’s especially noticeable on the YouTube video.

      However, the downloadable audio file (on this page), as well as the audio file used for our podcast, are much better!

      -Sarah from the Communications team

  2. Arlene says:

    I had the same problem watching it online.

    1. Sarah Cassin says:

      Hi Arlene,
      I’m not sure if you will see the comment above, so I’ll repeat it here 🙂
      Unfortunately there were some glitches with the volume of the sermon, and it’s especially noticeable on the YouTube video.
      However, the downloadable audio file (on this page), as well as the audio file used for our podcast, are much better!
      -Sarah from the Communications team

  3. Mary says:

    I wanted to give a Praise God regarding the MLK Sunday Service “Marching On.”
    I was so proud of everyone that took part in the celebration and the honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Minister Shawna did a great job leading us into praise & worship and preparing our hearts to reflect on the Dr. King’s story and his faith in the dream. Pastor Boyd and Brother Pierre Fulford did an excellent job bringing our purpose and scripture together with their tag team! The praise team, choir, band and the dancers were energic, joyful and beautiful. And to everyone behind the scenes, including the MLK Team an incredible job. As an African American, who dearly loved Dr. King and everything he worked so hard to accomplish, I was proud of Woodland Hills Sunday!

  4. Matthew says:

    My question is the following:

    How is the church supposed to handle the very important issue of racial reconciliation? It seems to me that the church´s primary job is calling people to repentance and not social action. I am not saying that the church shouldn´t be concerned about something as important as racial reconciliation. What I am saying is that ultimately the ugliness of hate and racism is a heart issue which cannot be solved through more forms of social engineering — even engineering that occurs at the local church level.

    1. Emily says:

      Hi Matthew,
      Thanks for your question! For an answer to a similar question, check out this post from our Race Conciliation FAQ section: https://whchurch.org/why-are-we-focused-on-changing-laws-instead-of-changing-hearts/
      Hope that helps! —Emily from Communications

    2. Jerry says:

      Matthew, you said: ‘The ugliness of hate and racism is a heart issue’.

      The heart is not just physical-matter. There is also an emotional/spiritual component.

      Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

      A wellspring, the command center of our soul [mind, will, and emotions], that spills over into our thoughts, beliefs, WORDS, and actions that may cause heart issues [internal dissonance].

      Matthew 15:11-20 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them….. Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil [THOUGHTS]—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander [I added hate and racism]. The resulting [ACTIONS] downstream are what defile you.

      Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

      Greg in his sermon “Our Hidden Treasure” mentions Martin Luther and one of his ideas that Hitler picked up on. Martin also had the idea ‘we are saved by grace alone’. The Catholic faith however at that time implied there was a second [crucify the flesh] component:

      The two-shoulder Idea: You’re conscious [spirit –the angel] side and your subconscious shadow [flesh – the devil] side.

      From the shadow side 3 examples with 3 layers (surface, underlying & root)
      Hurtful – [anger sadness] – {loss]
      Critical – [envy jealousy] – {discontentment}
      Deceitful – [shame guilt] – {fear}

      These are just three surface examples. Plutchick believed that humans can experience over 34,000 unique emotions so the resulting action from the second and third trigger layers can vary widely.

      What we are storing in the layers of our hearts emanates surface responses from our command center.

      Resolving internal dissonance with cognitive behavioral therapy [cognitive restructuring] a transformational process was first discovered by Paul which Dr. Al Larson thought was a download from God.

      Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

      Cognitive restructuring steps:
      1: Hear yourself – words
      2: Look inside – feelings
      3: Be restored – thoughts

      God wants to transform your heart by restoring your heart so you can store new things, truer things, more wholesome, and more right things in your heart by changing your perspective about the people and experiences in your life.

      There is something in the command center of your soul that dictates what you think and say and aided by the basal ganglia, in the brain, looks for [shortcuts] that over time can become pattern ruts that are difficult to get out of.

      Our shadow side is unique for each one of us. Dr. Al Larson had a ministry Dynamics of Growth – cooperating with God for change.

      Greg and Al wrote a book “Escaping the Matrix”.

      Phycology folk can help you with steps 1-2 above however, Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can tame it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”, step 3 requires God’s help.

      As Greg has told us so far in the Book of Revelation each of the seven letters were addressed, not to the congregation, as in the Apostle Paul’s letters, but to the congregation’s angel.

      From both Jewish and Christian sources, we discover that everything in creation has an angel, both a physical and a spiritual aspect. Greg in his sermon “Our Hidden Treasure” states even the labor guilds in 80 AD had their angels.

      From Walter Wink: Everything has a spiritual aspect. Everything is answerable to God. For the angel of an institution is not just the sum-total of all that an institution is but also the bearer of that institution’s divine nature. Corporations and governments are governed by “angels” whose sole purpose is to serve the general welfare. When they refuse to do so, their spirituality becomes diseased. They become a “demonic” part of a “kingdom of evil” that causes much, if not all, of the evil in the social world.

      In a previous post on Dan’s sermon: “Sheep Among Wolves”
      I alluded to the site “RING THEM BELLS”
      https://whchurch.org/sermon/the-gift-of-gods-faithfulness/#comment-252382 having insights into an institution’s divine or NOT so nature.

      Greg has a book: ‘Myth of a Christian Nation’ and just maybe every nation has an angel and they are all fallen.

      In a recent Reknew podcast https://reknew.org/2024/01/how-should-a-jesus-follower-look-at-our-current-violent-wars-podcast/ Greg does not convey a saintly picture of our nation especially as it progresses up the level ladders.

      Revelation 19
      15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

      19-21 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs, he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

      On the surface, it appears the rest which includes the kings of the earth are toast.

      Revelation 21:24-26
      The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

      Now the nations with their kings are back however they are still outside the gate in a spiritual transformation process.

      Revelation 22 1-3
      Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.

      Appears the nations are in a healing process so whatever forms of social engineering were implemented in the past are still in need of some level of a spiritual transformational process.

      As Jesus follows we are required to speak the truth in love. So our surface response to ‘hate and racism’ needs to be layered with emotions from the fruit of the spirit [wisdom path]. The success of this engineering depends on to what degree this social group, like Greg’s labor guide example, is on the same [fruit] page.

      From Rupert Sheldrake: Morphic resonance is the influence of like upon like through space and time. These fields and there are many of them, are different from electro¬magnetic fields because they reverberate across generations with an inherent memory. They are others oriented by nature but are affected by pattern realms of a different nature. Example: the more we learn the easier it is for others to follow in our footstep-frequencies coherent or incoherent good and evil reversing entropy or causing more.

      Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

      The Higgs field, a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery, posits at the beginning of time, quark confinement, just after .00001 of a second, for every 10 billion pairs of quark and anti-quark collisions there was 1 extra quark, equaling the tiny fraction, making up the majority of the ordinary matter masses of the universe (protons, neutrons) with electrons a remaining fraction 1/1,835.

      As this post stated at the start the heart is not just physical-matter. The emotional/spiritual component photons of intelligent or not-so-energy, fruit of the spirit or works of the flesh, interlace and entangle matter at a 10 billion to 1 ratio. So as Paul implies there is very little flesh and blood.

      Again from Walter Wink: Like the proponents of the new physics, who have now gone beyond materialism to a world of spirit-matter, we too can see the entire social enterprise of the human species under the dual aspects of spirit and matter. If we want to change institutions and structures, we have to address not only their outer forms but their inner spirit as well.

      Given this thinking when we individually deal with our shadow side planks transferring from incoherent folly to coherent wisdom paths it impacts the two fruit of the spirit and works of the flesh paths from the bottom to the tops of the ladder chains (+ or-).

      17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

      The Romans 12:2 cognitive restructuring we didn’t get to [Matthew 5:25-26] will be dealt with at this later time in a refining process.

      NOT Martin Luther’s “we are saved by grace alone” but the Catholic purgatory thinking which Martin didn’t care for.

      I liked how Greg ended his sermon “Our Hidden Treasure” paraphrased: amid this painful world, [example hate and racism], to still cash in on the joy of this treasure held in the jars of our clay bodies.

      Due to the limited window [5] of recent comments, I am hopeful this comment will remain as long as possible, so folks will see it, however, I also welcome your thoughts my email: jagcaptain@aol.com

  5. Heidi says:

    The painting “The Last Supper with Twelve Tribes” by Hyatt Moore seems especially appropriate with this message. https://www.hyattmoore.com/_images/TLS-600-w.jpg

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