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Reaching Your World Archive

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Series: Luis Palau | Overcoming Prejudice

On “Reaching your World” this week, Luis Palau talks about overcoming our prejudices.  Some prejudices may be extremely difficult for us to overcome.  But if we want to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ, we need to get rid of them. 

Never Ashamed of Evangelism Friday, May 22, 2020

My friends say I’m bold for Christ, but nothing compared to my dad, Luis Palau. On one of his many trips to England, a clergyman told Dad, “Well, you must understand in our circles, basically, we feel that mass evangelism doesn’t work. There are better methods.”

So my Dad said, “Really? What method have you discovered that works in your city?” I’ve seen people swallow their tongue. He ate it! The two young women sitting on either side of him pulled away, as if to say by their body language, “I don’t know this guy.”

Then a woman named Jane stood and proceeded to tell how God had saved her. Jane described a wild life filled with trouble when she was single. One day while drinking vodka and high on pot, she started shaking, panicked, and recalled a friend’s advice: “When you hit bottom, listen to these two recorded messages.” She decided to listen to a message my Dad had given at a London stadium. Halfway through the message, she called her friend, who had given her life to Jesus Christ there at that stadium, and begged her to come. That day Jane’s friend led her to Christ.

“Now I’m married,” Jane concluded, “and my husband is pastor of this great church. I don’t understand why you’re against mass evangelism.” Why, indeed!

This is Andrew Palau.

Confession and Change Thursday, May 21, 2020

I remember hearing a story a number of years ago about a businessman named Ernie who was working on a Gospel campaign. There was a deep divide between the white community and  the African-American community. Ernie and the campaign leadership felt called to address this divide by bringing people of all races together to plan the event. However, the more that Ernie, who was a white man, spent time in his community with people of color, the more he began to realize his own racial prejudices. As Ernie said, “If God was fixin’ to do a new thing, I had to get out of His way and let Him do it. I needed to repent of the racism and prejudice and selfishness in my heart.”

Ernie wasn’t a bad man; he loved God. However, the way he grew up and how he lived his life meant discrimination against others different than him was engrained in him. When he realized this, he confessed it to those affected by his prejudice. The final step, however, was to change. As 1 John says, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” [1 John 3:18]. When it comes to the prejudices in our hearts, we need to bring them into the light before God, and then change them. We need to act: educate ourselves and reach out. Then we will begin to create a world welcoming to all, regardless of skin color or educational background. This is the true Gospel of Christ for everyone. 

This is Luis Palau.

Slow Learner Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sometimes I am so encouraged by the disciple Peter. He was there for everything: the miracles, the messages, the baptisms. However, Peter was very human. He was argumentative. He made a lot of mistakes. Even so, Christ gave him the task of leading His Church. Peter’s story gives me hope that if Christ can use someone like Peter, he can use someone like me, and someone like you.

Peter was with the Lord in Samaria when Jesus said “open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest.” He was there when the Lord commanded to “go and make disciples of all nations” and “be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” But he was a slow learner, perhaps from cultural and ethnic prejudice. It took a peculiar vision and the Holy Spirit’s specific directions to convince Peter to associate with a Gentile, the Roman centurion Cornelius, and preach the Gospel to him and his household. Sometimes it takes a while for a message to sink in.

Sometimes it takes us a while to see our own prejudice and blind spots. What matters is what we do next: how we confess our sins and change our actions. The process can be painful, but we need to be honest about what words of Christ we may have overlooked because of our prejudice. Then we can confess, change, and work to bring about God’s beautiful kingdom here on earth.

This is Luis Palau.

Master of Surprise Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Being a Christian can be challenging. Being “in the world, not of it” means we often spend our time with other Christians: people who look, act, talk, and believe like we do. While we all need encouragement in our faith, we also need to be challenged to look outside of our own experiences and hear the stories of others that may differ from ours. If we are only in groups of people who are like us, how can we hear those other viewpoints?

Jesus was the master of surprise, continually astonishing people by His choices of association. For example, He talked to a Samaritan woman, something other Jews would never do! It’s clear that He orchestrated the encounter with the Samaritan woman not only to reveal Himself as the Messiah to an entire village, but also to give His disciples a preview of their worldwide mission following His resurrection. What did the disciples see when Jesus told them to “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”? - despised Samaria. It was Samaritans who proclaimed Jesus “the Savior of the world.”

Being like Jesus means we should have friends and colleagues from all walks of life. Our mission is go to all the world, learning about God’s people and spreading Christ’s love. Imagine how the world will be surprised and changed when we reach out to love people different from ourselves and give them the Good News.             

This is Luis Palau. 

Revealing Prejudices Monday, May 18, 2020

Christ-followers believe the Gospel is good news for all people. A verse in Galatians talks about how in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” [Galatians 3:28]. What a blessing that verse is! However, in a broken world, that equality can be hard to find, even among us Christians. Even within ourselves. A number of years ago, a prominent European minister said to me, “We hear good things about your ministry in South America, and we thank God for all that’s happening there.” Then he pointedly added, “I think you’d be better off just preaching to your people.” This man eventually became a good friend of mine. But his prejudice, deep in his soul, kept him from seeing how God had called me to bring the Gospel to all people — even to sophisticated Europeans - regardless of my background or theirs.

As Christians, we desire to be unified. But we are also called to speak truth and call out prejudice wherever it exists … especially within ourselves. Until we do this hard work, God will not be able to use us all the way to spread His Gospel. So, we must be ready to look deep within ourselves and ask Christ, “Reveal my prejudices, so that you can redeem them.” Then, we can go out into the world and spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all people, enlarging the kingdom of heaven here on earth.                    

This is Luis Palau.  

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