27 min read
Transcript: Discipleship as a Key to Racial Reconciliation // Dr. Robert Loggins, Robert F. Loggins Ministries
Best Christian Workplaces : January, 23 2023
Flourishing Culture Leadership Podcast
Discipleship as a Key to Racial Reconciliation
January 23, 2022
Dr. Robert Loggins
Intro: As we address racial tensions in the workplace, many would agree that at the core of the problem is broken trust on both sides. And today I talk with a leader who believes racial reconciliation should be part of any leader’s discipleship journey. Listen in as he teaches us some practical approaches.
Welcome: Welcome to the Flourishing Culture Leadership Podcast, your home for open, honest, and insightful conversations to help develop your leadership, your team, and build a flourishing workplace culture.
Al Lopus: Courageous leaders are willing to acknowledge areas where they need to grow, and a growth-oriented perspective includes valuing and listening to people with different life experiences. That includes understanding the challenges faced by racial minorities. Racial injustices have left deep wounds in our culture, and as members of the body of Christ, we know that Jesus prayed for His followers to show love and unity. And as we strive to grow healthy workplaces and churches, we acknowledge that we cannot achieve our goal if some of our brothers and sisters are not flourishing. So today's Flourishing Culture Leadership Podcast will help us go deeper in our understanding of racism and racial reconciliation.
And I'm delighted to welcome Dr. Robert Loggins. He's known as the discipleship doctor. Dr. Loggins is the president of Robert F. Loggins Ministries and a minister-at-large for Citygate Network. One of his clients is also the Prayer Discipleship Ministry.
Robert, it's great to have you on the Flourishing Culture Leadership Podcast.
Robert Loggins: Al, I am absolutely amazed at how God does His work in the lives of His believers, how He brings the body of Christ together through the work of the Holy Spirit of God, to continue this work of causing the body to function in a way to be one and to strive to bring a picture to the world, that we are his people. So it’s a delight being here with you.
Al: It's a pleasure. Thank you.
And well, let's get started by getting to know you and your ministry background a bit. You've pastored churches in Mississippi and Missouri. You've also served as a North American Mission Board missionary, with the Southern Baptist Convention, focused on church planting and racial reconciliation. And, you know, I know that your heart is passionate about helping people grow spiritually through discipleship, prayer, and fasting. And share with us a bit about your journey. You planted and pastored churches in the St. Louis area, and then God led you to expand your focus in equipping disciples to make disciples of Jesus. And tell us how God gave you even a bigger vision of how that journey has impacted your ministry. Please, Robert, give us some background.
Robert: Well, I think you're right on point about the importance of how God used my life in the area of bringing people together for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and understanding that there are things that God wants to do in our lives to bring us together at a foundational level.
It really began with the vision that God gave to me as a young man. When God called me, I was pastoring a small church, and God spoke to me in an incredible way that was just literally just really rattled my cage tremendously. It was a vision that God lifted me in this vision when I was pastoring Mount Bethel Baptist Church, outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in Petal, Mississippi, where I went to school at Southern Miss. And God lifted me and began to show me the whole world. I had a vision that I was working with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And through that experience that God revealed to me the importance of discipleship.
I woke up that morning. We had just had our new son, Robert, Jr. My wife, I scared her to death. I got on my knees, begin to cry and pray and cry out to God, “God, I don't know what the Great Commission is. I don't know what it means to make disciples. I never heard of a sermon from make disciples,” which was the Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20. And through that experience, I ended up calling—God laid on my heart to call the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, which I called them. I told them who I was, and that launched me to attend that seminary. I quit my job, cashed everything I had in, and went full time into ministry, moved to New Orleans, scared my wife to death, and that launched me to understand the importance of discipleship, to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. And through that, He began to open new doors of what it means to really be a reconciler when we become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Al: So to become a reconciler while we become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Well, I know we're going to talk more about that.
Robert, recently I was at a meeting at Citygate Network leaders, and you invited me to share a meal with a multiracial group that you helped to facilitate. And this group of Christian leaders has been learning together about racism and racial reconciliation. And your group has even traveled together. That's one of the things that really impressed me is that they traveled together to visit sites important to the history of racial issues in our country. Share with us a little bit about this group of leaders and how they've been learning and growing together on this journey of racial understanding. I can’t wait to learn more about this.
Robert: For what God did, I believe, first of all, I should begin with John's vision. John Ashben, in my personal opinion, is one of the phenomenal visionaries ahead of his time. I told John that I have worked in Southern Baptist ministries for a number of years, working on racial reconciliation when I first came to Missouri back in 1986, when I came as a church planter. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that.
So, but, John, there's something about how John puts the pieces of the puzzle together. He asked me to come and walk alongside him, along with the team of our presidents and CEOs, Jim Reese, who led the group from Atlanta Rescue Mission. Jim’s an incredible man of God. Jack Crowley, who's on the East Coast, just passionate about the Lord Jesus Christ and just has a love and compassion for what it means to be a person in the spirit of reconciliation. And then Mike Woods, Michael Woods, who has a very powerful testimony about how God transformed his life. God brought those brothers together, and we began to work together. I work alongside them.
And then we mapped out to visit different cities, from Atlanta to Selma, to look at what was going on in those cities, to be able to recapture not only the emotions, but the practical, pragmatic approaches to begin to incrementally develop a strategy that we can begin to use to bring our 300 plus—we probably about 318 to 15 missions now—to bring those missions together with an understanding that God has positioned us under the leadership of John through the power of the Holy Spirit to capture this vision that we have an opportunity following all what has happened in Michael Brown’s situation in Saint Louis; George Floyd, that recently happened, many area. But God has brought us to a place that we can do something since we are in the ministry of Gospel Rescue Missions as our foundation.
So John saw this as a part of the Gospel, the euangelion, the Good News. And the good news is that the bad news gets better when the good news becomes the best.
Al: Yeah. And so this group has met probably, what, over a couple of years, Robert?
Robert: That's exactly right.
Al: Yeah. And so you've traveled to Atlanta. You've traveled to Selma. You’ve met—I know this is even during COVID, so you've met even over Zoom at times. Yeah. And then, of course, at various mission meetings. Yeah.
Well, you know, and as I said, and I just realized personally even how deep some of the wounds are in our country that racism has created. And I was also impressed and was impressed on me how trust has been broken between races, between brothers and sisters. You know, how do we move forward to rebuild trust? And obviously, there isn't a quick fix as a result of generations of wounds that have happened. How do we as individuals take steps forward to continue the process of healing and reconciliation for ourselves and even as it affects our organizations?
Robert: Well, I think very honestly, Al, I believe it begins with something very simplistic. And sometimes what we do in seeking to bring about reconciliation between races and other aspects, we reach for the impossible, expecting to receive something that's possible. And when we do that, we miss the ingredient of the possible character of the Lord God Almighty. So what we should do is reach for the possible to eradicate the impossible. And the possible is this: it begins with agape love. It begins with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It begins to understand that there is a distinctive difference between the different characteristics of love.
As C.S. Lewis put it in his book dealing with the four kinds of love, he exposes eros love, which is procreative love; storge love, which is family love. He opens those doors to those understanding from the standpoint. And philias love, which is the kind of friendship love, which is the camaraderie love. And he cracks open the Old Testament, a word of hesed love, which is wrapped into New Testament principles, which is agape love, agapao love. Agapao love is the kind of love that is found in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul was able to write and put into principles in First Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 31b, to chapter 13, verse 13. He says, “And I will show you the most excellent way.”
What we have done, Al, today, we have taken the wrong path on the way. We've got to take the more excellent way, and that most excellent way, the word for excellent, the road, is a word horus. It means the path. That's the path to success. So when we step on the path of success, we're going to have success. When we step on the path to failure, we're going to have failure.
So what God wants us to do is to elevate the character of our love to agapao love, which is the foundation of all Christology, all things in Christian life. And when we begin to do that, the energy that God gives us provides the open doors to the hearts of people, and they respond to the authenticity of genuine love.
Al: Hm. Yeah. That’s fantastic. You're causing me to think that summer I walked the Camino de Santiago, and in Spanish it would be El Camino Excellente, the way, the path of excellent love. Yeah. That’s great.
Well, Robert, while I've got you here, I've got to ask you, well, how about a story? You know, our listeners want a story of a situation where you've seen people grow and work together in racial reconciliation. And, yeah, tell us a story.
Robert: Well, Al, I'll give you a real good story. I think you'll love it greatly. It wraps itself into what happened to me in Estes Park, Colorado. The Lord opened a door through a dear friend of mine who shared with me, asked me, to consider come to, speak to 2,000 young people in Estes Park, Colorado. So I've sent some pictures to you through my Dropbox to sort of let you see that. And so I was asked to go to the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, the AFLC. Jim Rasmussen, who happens to be one of my best friends, I met him, ironically, I met Jim in North Carolina when Paul Cedar called me through another friend of mine to be the keynote speaker for Mission America in North Carolina. This was ten years ago when I met John. So Jim Rasmussen was at the punch-bowl fountain, and I bumped into Jim, and he pulled me over and got one of my books, and I signed and gave him a book. And he said, “I need to talk with you more.” So we developed a relationship.
So I had two things that happened in that event. I met John, who invited me to talk with him. Then I met Jim Rasmussen, who invited me to talk with him.
So Jim Rasmussen, once I came aboard with Citygate, Jim Rasmussen asked me to speak to those 2,000 kids in Estes Park, Colorado, and we broke them down into 500 kids for four straight days. So for every day, I did 400 young people, called their retreat in Estes Park, Colorado. And then we walked with them and went to different communities and evangelized with them, spent time with them. Then we had a break out together and discussed the deep issues that these young people were concerned about.
Through that process, it metastasized to many other open doors that began to explode. I don't know how God did this. I can't explain it. It was as if God said, “Hey, if you can talk to kids, you can talk to anybody.” And we had such an incredible time. Then it began to open additional doors where I began to do consulting work with individual leaders and pastors, helping them to understand racial reconciliation. God began to move doors where I worked with other pastors in Saint Louis, where I had many struggles and difficulties in race relationships. God had softened those hearts, where we had better conversations. It began to open doors where the resources I've written on prayer and discipleship, evangelism, they began to request those. I began to do workshops with other denominations and so forth. Then they went on to other denominations with the—I'm trying to remember—the Foursquare Church as well. So God just began to do something as if God said, “If you can work with children and young people, I will let you work with leaders.”
Al: Hm. Wow. Yeah. Great.
Well, you know, when you've seen, Robert, the past injustices, when you're seeing them being healed and momentum for a relational growth, you know, as we bring races together, you know, what helps to create an environment for that kind of growth?
Robert: You know, Al, it’s, once again, it’s very simple. And I think sometimes, my brother, we take simple and we complicate it. I think what we have to do, Al, is to shorten the distance between the space of relationship. What does that mean? We've got to be intentional in knowing how to use our influence to be able to biblically and spiritually influence others. We do that in a quiet place.
Unfortunately, today, Al, things have gotten so noisy and so convoluted and so contaminated that we are finding it difficult to find that environment where we can find that place of influence. And this is what I would suggest: take a moment, back away from the circumstance of the situation, spend some time in prayer, and ask God to direct you to individuals that have open hearts and open windows of opportunities, and begin to pray that prayer. And as I have prayed that prayer, God has opened those doors for me.
My office is in a church facility that a pastor in Cape Girardeau, where I live at, who is a friend of mine—he’s pastor Billy Garner—basically gave me this office at free, but I begged him to let me pay something. And he forced me to pay a nickel and dime, a quarter, and a penny. He said, “Just to have you around and just to have your influence among my people is very important to me.” So that door would not have been opened if God had not led me to pray, to seek His face, and to trust Him, and to then be willing and ready to observe how the Holy Spirit moves and bring people into your venue that you will be able to influence them and they would influence you. And that's where the koinonia of Christ comes in at. That's where the fellowship occurs at. That's where the communication occurs. That’s where there’s a cooling off of the language and an understanding that we can speak about difficult things like race, relationship, attitudes, why black people do this, and why white people do this, and why we say this, and why you feel this way about me, why you think about this about me. Why’d you say these things? What do you mean by this? Those doors open up, and they become non-threatening doors with door doorknobs on them.
Al: Yeah. And I experienced that, as I think about our dinner at Citygate. And, you know, there was a real open discussion. You know, we saw things from both sides. You know, our podcast listeners or Christian leaders overall, you know, oftentimes leaders in churches or Christian nonprofits or even Christian business owners, and they're in positions of influence in their organization. And I like the way you've even kind of opened the dialog for us, to find a quiet place, to shorten the distance in the space of a relationship. But how can Christian leaders listen to diverse voices? What steps can they take to build a workplace that values diverse voices and experiences? And what does it look like, you know, to be a leader committed to deep listening and change? We're talking a lot about listening and patience, in a lot of ways, aren't we, Robert?
Robert: Yes, we are, my brother. Once again, Al, you asked a very complex question when you asked the question, how can Christian leaders listen to diverse voices? It's a very complicated question, and I'm going to ask the Lord here and put in my notes here something to remind me of how to just remember how God takes complexities and simplifies them, okay? This is what I believe. I believe it requires this, Al: it requires possessing a listening heart. We must have a listening heart.
Now, what is a listening heart? A listening heart is a heart that is sensitive to biblical truth. Biblical truth. Now, what do I mean by that? Jesus says this in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Now, let's take a second, if you would give me, to unpack a little bit of that.
Robert: He didn't say, “You will guess the truth.” He didn't say, “You will think about the truth.” He did not say, “You will possibly experience a little bit of the truth.” He said, “You will know,” not just simply orgad, but ginosko. You would have a deeper understanding, not of intellectual truth, but ginosko is experiential, spiritual truth. God would take you to a truth level that you would be able to freely speak about things that deeply deals with your heart, to help them to understand what God can do in their life. So it's very important that we follow that pattern in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Now, here's another little point that I want to put in here for us, Al, if I can. First and foremost, here's a principle that I've learned in addressing your question deeper, and that is this: lies—L-I-E-S—incarcerates. Lies incarcerates, whereas truth liberates.
Robert: Truth will set you free.
Now notice this. Notice what Jesus said when they brought Him to a woman taken in adultery and when they had set her in His midst in John 8—and I won't go through all of this—John 8:1-11. And He helps them to see this adulterous woman, who was caught in fornication, and Jesus does something so powerful. He walks them through, very succinctly, the power of truth. And He brings them to a place where they look at themselves through the lenses of Jesus and see their faults, and they drop their stones, and they have compassion because they're as guilty as they are.
Let me land my plane here. Black and white, red and purple, orange and yellow, we're all guilty. The guilt doesn't simply rest on white people; it rests on all people. Matter of fact, Al, I want to drop this on you here. We often try to say we have blacks are minorities, and whites are in the majority culture. I would like to remove those words totally. We're just people. I think when we set those two paradigms up, we create contention. We’re people. I think the more we get to being people—not major or minor, majority or whatever—people that have been wounded, and try to say, “Well, because you're wounded, we need certain kind of helps,” well, because you are people, we need the help of the Lord.
So I think our language needs to shift in understanding that we are people. We are people, all who need help, and we need each other. When you level the playing field and put us on the same platform, then what happens is we can see through what Jesus kept, the criticizers, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, to understand that she was no different than they. And once we get there, then I really believe, Al, we begin to see an erosion of the racial disparities and the separations, where we begin to operate in true humanity as opposed to as positional or cultural authorities that has one power over the other. Yes.
Al: Yeah. Shift our language. Yeah, I like that.
I trust you’re enjoying our podcast today. We’ll be right back after an important word for leaders.
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And now back to today’s special guest.
Al: Yeah, we’re all guilty, aren't we? I don't think there's anybody that says we're all perfect.
Robert: Most definitely.
Al: You know, the body of Christ we see described in Revelation 7:9, I think about this, you know, where includes every tribe and nation worshiping together. And, you know, we get that vision out of Revelation. And sometimes those of us who are leaders in a majority culture lose sight of that vision. Maybe I should stop using that term based on our discussion, yeah. So let's just say that most of us who are leaders lose sight of that vision. And when racial tension is in the news, you know, we might focus on these issues, but then, other challenges will come up, and we'll lose focus. I mean, we get distracted very easily. And so, in fact, we've already moved on, in some ways, from some of the challenges that came right after the George Floyd situation. So what are some characteristics you see in Christian leaders who continue to focus on issues of racial reconciliation? What type of leader do you see holding the vision of every tribe and nation for the long haul?
Robert: Well, my dear brother, you've just opened up a wonderful bridge of connectivity here. I have a list of them that God just throws at me in a very powerful way. One person that really has touched my heart is Dr. Tony Evans. When I was pastoring, I went to, I took our church to be a part of Urban Alternative. And his consistency, his authenticity, I mean, when Lois passed, and that was a very difficult time, my wife sat in her classes, just incredible, just very powerful, humble, but yet anointed. Dr. Evans does it without trying to do it. And I think, Al, if we're going to be successful in bringing about the harmony among the different races of people, it's got to be organic. We've got to do it naturally. We can't prefabricate this stuff. I think what we have done, Al, over the years of my life, we have constructed systems to solve problems as opposed to bringing the transformative power of Christ in our lives through the Holy Spirit that will solve the problem before we get there. God would get ahead of us if we would get behind Him. But if we get ahead of Him, then that means that He's behind us.
Al: Hmm. Yeah. So more organic. And, you know, you're really saying, okay, led by the love of Christ, we should be having organic conversations. Not those systems, necessarily, which I can fully understand what you’re saying.
Robert: I want to toss out a few other personalities that have really blessed my heart, and it’s going to come in a very unique angle, and that's Dr. Charles Stanley. Dr. Stanley is very incarnational. His messages speak to all races of people. His congregation, when he was pastoring, it didn't matter what color you were. If you could look in his congregation—he didn't say, “First Baptist Church of Atlanta is open to black people. First Baptist Atlanta is a racially diverse congregation. We love black people. We love white people.” He never said that. What he did, he preached the truth. He gave people the truth. It didn't matter who you were, where you are. My wife and I still, every day, we go online, and we do his devotionals. We listen to his message. My wife and I, we send his messages out to a plethora of people, and that truth transforms.
Another person, if I might add—
Robert: —is a dear friend, a friend to a friend, is Bryan Loritts, very young man, Bryan Loritts. You probably know—
Robert: —Crawford’s son, Crawford Loritts. Well, Crawford was our facilitator that spent time with us and bringing us together in small-group sessions as we traveled different places. So Crawford was our teacher. And Crawford, incredibly gifted man of God, just blessed us tremendously in a very powerful way.
Another person that I've got to toss in the water, and that is Chuck Swindoll. He lives in me still. Chuck Swindoll, just biblical truth that transforms.
Our most recent brother who people love, and I love him dearly, and is a brilliant man, Voddie T. Baucham, Jr. Voddie, he comes straight down home plate, and he calls it what it is. He doesn't take any hostages. Voddie does surgery on your—what Voddie does, he does surgery on your brains to get to your heart. By the time he finishes cutting your brains open, you just say, “Just please, take my heart out. Take my heart.”
Al: Now, that's a name I don't know. I mean, I recognized the previous four, but, so tell me a little bit about Voddie.
Robert: Well, he is an African, but he's now moved back to Africa. I will send you a link to some of his materials that would be a blessing to you. And Southern Baptist. He’s Southern Baptist, but he is an astute intellect, and he is very excellent. I mean, his presence in the pulpit is like, okay, I think God's got ready to talk to me.
Al: Mm-hmm, yeah. Great.
You know, sometimes we don’t know what we don't know. Sometimes we discover that when we do a 360, for example. We don't know what we don't know. People show us. But leaders listening to this podcast may have a desire to grow in their understanding of issues of racism. And, you know, again, over the last couple of years, many of us have been reading books about just to get up to speed on, what are the issues? And so what are a couple of the next steps that you would recommend for us, Robert?
Robert: Well, that's an incredible question when it comes to being intentional in what we are seeking to do to really be obedient to God and to understand that God does work in increment, He does work in bringing us to a place that, I believe, that will help us to understand that if we trust Him more than we trust ourselves, then He'll do some things for us that’s pretty powerful.
But let me land the plane here. I think the most important next step, Al, is getting into His presence. His prayer is softening our heart so we can hear His voice. But God gave this to me in my further preparation of helping to land a plane, to help people to really have something to hold on to. And I'm going to begin with this: number one, racism. Racism is a culturally embedded sin. Racism. If you go back to Numbers, chapter 12, and you go back and look at Moses in Numbers 12, when Moses married an Ethiopian woman, it literally flipped the switch on the Hebrew people and the Jewish tradition. They just went bananas about that. And it just really blew them out of the water. So racism is, bottom line, it is evil. It is evil. It is evil.
Now, then it begs the question, where does this evil come from? Well, you go to Genesis, chapter 3, and you deal with the enemy. The enemy is the serpent. It opens up in Genesis 3, “And now the serpent.” So we have a snake in our garden. So we have to be cognizant that in our next steps to be always be wise to know there's another spirit that's lurking around the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. Okay?
Third point. We need to also understand that we have the privilege of prayer. We have the power of prayer. In the power of prayer, Jesus provides for us an excellent window of understanding of what prayer is about in John 17, which is called His High Priest prayer. And what He does, He prays in different categories for different—He prays for Himself. He prays for others. He prays for others, for His disciples. And then He prays in such a way for the future disciples, for those who would become disciples. And the prayer He prayed in His High Priest prayer is that we may be one, that the world may know that we are His disciples; we are His disciplined ones.
I like to use that word disciple. The word disciple, mathitis, it means “to be in the process.” We are the ones in the process of becoming what we yet shall become. So as a disciple, we never ever stop growing up; we keep growing deeper and closer to God. And when we think we have grown up, we are really to grown, as my momma used to say it, you are really too grown now; you need to have your own house. Okay? Since this is our Father's house, we never really fully ever grow up. We're constantly growing up and being what God would call us to be. So through our love one for the other, it is a picture to the world that people know that we are His disciples.
Now watch this. So we talked about the evil: racism. We identified the enemy: the serpent. We looked at the aspect of the energy, which really is the energy of the power of prayer. And then we want to close the door with the opening door on the side of that door is the power of Pentecost, Acts, chapter two. So what God does in this process, as He moves us from the evil to the—understand the enemy—to embrace the energy of prayer, which empowers us, then there is an explosion where we come before God and do what the Lord told His disciples to do and go to Jerusalem and wait for the eppagelia, for the promise, of that promise that's coming of the Holy Spirit, and you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the outermost parts of the Earth.
So right there, in Acts 2, in Acts 2, the explosion occurs, and all the different cultures come together, all the ethane, all the different disagreements come together. And when they come together in Acts 2:42-47, the Bible talks about this organic power that occurs. “They had all things in common, selling their possessions and goods, and they gave to anyone who has needs as those who was engaged in being in the presence of Almighty God.” When we get in His presence and that power shows up by us identifying the enemy, knowing the evil, getting to the energy of the empowering presence of prayer, then God explodes with a supernatural moving and creates a new community, and this new community is called the ecclesia, the church, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Al: Hm. That’s a lot of e’s, there, Robert. The enemy, evil, energy, empowered, and explodes. Absolutely.
Robert: Well, think about this, and I’m going to do this to you since you threw the curb at me. Think about this, my brother. Think about all what garbage does.
Robert: Think about all the garbage dumps, what garbage does.
Robert: If garbage is properly managed, there is energy in garbage.
Al: Yes, there is. Yeah.
Robert: And they use garbage for fuel. Think about all the garbage of sin that we have that's going on in our country.
Robert: It is nothing but the fuel that God can use in us if we will only come together, recognize that there is an evil—and that's racism, the serpent—
Al: Mm-hmm. That's right. That's right.
Robert: —know that he is the enemy, not us—wrap our arms around the power of prayer—that’s the energy that empowers us—and watch God cause a Pentecost that would create a Holy Spirit community that will be an explosion that people will want to come to America and see what God has done in our backyard.
Al: Yeah. Amen. Amen.
Yeah, so, I love this. So we've got, and Pentecost, all cultures coming together. And then in Revelation, we see, again, every tribe and every nation worshiping together.
Robert: That’s it.
Robert, you recommend a simple step: be intentional and find a friend of another racial background or birth and begin building a relationship with them. Is that—describe that a bit.
Robert: Sure will. Love to. Can I tell you a story about doing that?
Al: Yeah, please. Yeah.
Robert: Okay. Here’s the story. John Ashman. When it came to one of the Johns, one of my cohorts, there was a key minister who was supposed to go to Seattle. And due to some changes in his schedule, that it could not, it did not go through. So I get a call from one of my cohorts through John's instructions, “Call Robert, Pastor Loggins, and ask him can he go to Seattle?” after all that was occurring in Seattle during the racial riots and so forth. So I said, “By all means.”
So I went there, and in going there, they called together all the leaders in Seattle that would come together for prayer and begin to unravel, how can we deal with this metastasizing cancer, and so forth? Well, I get there, and I'm the keynote speaker for this event. We had about 300 leaders within the metro area. We had a beautiful meal, and just a beautiful place.
And there was a gentleman who happened to get there late. He came in. I did not know who he was. And his name is D.J. Vick. D.J. was pastoring a church, a Foursquare church, in the Seattle community. And D.J. heard me speak. And D.J. is, of course, is a white brother. He's in the Foursquare denomination. And I was rushing to get out to catch the plane after I finished speaking. Had a great time together, answering questions and so forth. The guys were so gracious to me, had a radio program there, and a lot of wonderful things happened. God blessed tremendously.
And D.J. said, “Do you have a minute?” I said, “Well, I got to get on, and I got to go.” And so he got an elevator with me, and we rode together. He said, “I need to talk with you. Here's my card. Can I get you? May I call you? I need you,” so forth. D.J., to whom I never met before in my life, it grew into a phone call from D.J., invited me over to his church to speak. We did a TV program together, kind of a TV, kind of program together. Some things on racial reconciliation. And D.J. and I, he asked questions and I answered. And we got that with the staff and so forth. It was incredible. I think one of the local stations broadcasted over the course of time. D.J. is now one of my sons in the ministry. He's now pastoring a church in Clackamas County, that God has elevated his ministry to another level. He is now one of the key leaders in the Foursquare community. I've gone and done workshops with the men, the Foursquare men.
We had 525 men up where they had this cult at, close to Mt. Hood. I told D.J., he said, “We're going to Mt. Hood.” I said, “D.J., don't take me to the hood. I’m trying to get away from the hood. I’m through with the hood.” He said, “Well, it’s not a hood.” I said, “Don’t mention hood.” I said, “I know what the hood—I came from the hood in Mississippi, okay?”
So he took me up to Mt. Hood, and we spent a week together in retreat with these brothers, man. And through that process, D.J. and I kept in contact together. He's one of my sons in the ministry, and I just love him to death and his whole family. So God took ugly and reached inside of ugly and brought out good.
Robert: This is what we've got to begin to understand, Al. Wherever ugly is, there's a good that can be taken out of it.
Al: And as we form these kinds of relationships, Robert, it builds that bridge, doesn't it? And, you know, then ultimately, we were able to ask those questions, those hard questions. So help us understand, help me understand these differences. And when you're doing that in a loving relationship, you learn a lot, and it just brings us all closer together, is my experience.
Robert: It really does, Al. And I think it begins with transparency. It goes back to Jesus's teaching, “But ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And I think what people, what we have to do, Al, we have to lower the temperature and allow an opportunity where there is a doorknob on the door. I think there's so many doors with no doorknobs. There's so many, there's so many windows, but there's no way to raise the window. There's so many roads, but there's no path to get on those roads. They all lock down, they shut down, out of hurt. We've got to step out of our hurt and step over into the path of help.
What God has taught me to do in my journey, Al, is to take my hurt and turn it into help. And the more I help, the less I hurt. I don't take it personally. When people call me the N word, it doesn't bother me. That's how they were raised at. It doesn't bother me. What it tells me is that it provides me with an opportunity to get them, help them to get to know me as a person. And I have been so blessed that I have so many sons in the ministry look just like you. I have sons in the ministry, any time I'm in any city when I travel, I mean, I have more beds and homes to go to you can shake a stick at. I've got guys that call me from all over the country that loves me and that allows me to do ministry in their congregation. I have coaching and training and preaching and teaching. They've used many of my books and resources, and I've done workshops and things on prayer and teaching and training and ministering and so forth. I got other clients that I have in my portfolio that I'm working with and developing them and so forth and etc. It came out of one simple step: don't try to fix the problem; identify with the problem, and reveal my problem to eradicate their problem.
Al: Hm. Well, Robert, we've learned so much from our conversation. It's just been great. Just go back to your initial comment. You know, God wants to bring us together, you know, and I think, again, you know, from Pentecost, where He brought all cultures together through the Holy Spirit to that vision in Revelation where every tribe and nation will worship together. And we need to be on that journey as we shorten the distance in the space in our relationships, to find that quiet place to see where God is directing us to bring reconciliation and healing. And I appreciate your examples of men that have really demonstrated an example, from Tony Evans to Charles Stanley to Bryan and Crawford Loritts to Chuck Swindoll. And this has just been a great conversation. And then with the peak of the conversation where we discover the evil in racism, the energy that comes from God, how we are empowered, and then how we can, through the power of the Spirit, explode these issues and problems into unity. So, gosh, it's just been a great conversation.
Is there anything that you'd like to add that we haven't talked about?
Robert: If you don't mind, you know, I'm a typical preacher, Al. I'm an African American preacher. You should never ever ask an African American preacher. It's like, you know, you're saying like this, “Now, Pastor,” says, “You finished preaching your sermons. Anything else?” It’s like two hours later.
Al: We're learning. Here we are. Yeah.
Robert: Well, let me give this to you, brother. I want to give a few books that I would recommend—
Robert: —to the saints. One is Be the Bridge. Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison. She's a black young lady, and that's a great book that would bless tremendously.
Another book is Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation by Mark Vroegop, who's a dear friend of Bryan Loritts. We use some of his materials.
I got another book that comes at a different angle that people probably has read, but I’d like them to look at again, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard, that deals with a beautiful allegory of how God gives us the abilities to scale the mountains by going through the valleys of despair and distress, how God does that.
Another one I have is called Fault Lines. Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie T. Baucham.
I will send those to you in an email to you as well. And then you can get this.
And then White Guilt. White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era by Shelby Steele.
Then another one is Dark Agenda. Dark agenda. A brilliant man, David Horowitz. The War to Destroy Christian America.
And then another one is Under Our Skin. Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us by Benjamin Watson. Benjamin Watson.
And then another one, When Narcissism Comes to Church. When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse, in essence, Chuck DeGroat.
And then I would like to recommend a great author who I live with every day. His name is Robert Loggins. I have a few of his books, and I just spill those out, and they deal with the aspect of the Spirit, and that is Spirit-Led Discipleship: Releasing Passion for Purpose. The second one is With Feet of Clay: Abiding in the Presence of God—The Book of Devotion: The Journey Continues. The third one is Preaching for Spiritual Awakening, preaching with your life. The next one is Hindrance to Revival in the Local Church. The next one is Soul-Winning Manual that helps us to bring people to Christ. And then, The 9 Marks of a Mature Christian: A Pattern for Effective Christian Living. And then, finally, my devotional book that breaks strongholds, The New Journey, which deals with fasting and praying, for the days of fasting and praying.
Those are a few my resources that I would strongly recommend as well.
Al: Oh, thanks, Robert.
Gosh, well, thank you so much for your contributions today. And most of all, I appreciate your commitment to growing prayerful disciples, and we're all committed to treating all of God's people with dignity and respect. So thanks for taking your time out today and speaking into the lives of so many listeners. Thanks, Robert.
Robert: Thank you, my brother. You're such a blessing, Al. Thank you for your ministry.
Al: Thank you.
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