Grace Alliance Church streamed our first worship service on Facebook almost two years ago. It was on Easter Sunday, April 21st. The COVID-19 pandemic was beginning, and indoor gatherings we shut down. So, we decided to hold our Easter service in the church’s parking lot. We set up loudspeakers and used an old mini-DV camera that hadn’t been turned on in over a decade. Everyone stayed in their car. After each speaker spoke, the microphone was thoroughly doused with Lysol. All went well until Pastor Gabe encouraged everyone to “shout an alleluia” by honking their car’s horn. The loud volume overloaded the computer and kicked us off Facebook.

For the next several months, we worked to improve our streaming broadcasts, but every week something went wrong. We would solve one issue, and another completely different one would pop up the following week. It wasn’t until mid-July before we made it through a completely online service without a problem. But eventually, we worked out all the bugs. Dozens watched as we streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. And every week, our archived broadcasts were viewed by hundreds from all around the world.

But as the pandemic finally eased and we could meet in person again, the number of people watching fell sharply. Of course, we expected that. People were back in church on Sunday mornings. But the unexpected thing was that almost 30% of those who stopped watching online did not return to church. And it’s not just our congregation. That is the case nationwide. People got used to not having the fellowship that a church family brings.

Is that you? Were you once a regular church attender but no longer? This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 22nd. Please join us in our special Resurrection Sunday celebration at 11:00 am. Don’t be a part of the missing 30%. It’s time to come back to church.

The Alliance Releases Statement on Justice and Race

“We condemn racial inequality and embrace ethnic unity in diversity.”

Last revised by the C&MA Board of Directors, October 2021

Statement on Justice and Race

Justice seeks to restore the harmonious relationships and order that God intended in Eden. As a result, we condemn racial1 inequality and embrace ethnic unity in diversity.


God intends for all people to flourish together in harmonious unity. God says, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The triune God does not create alone but in community, and in community humanity reflects the image of God. The image of God in community is expressed in diversity (Genesis 1:27; Colossians 3:9–11).

Such harmonious unity requires intimate relationship with God and vulnerability to one another (Genesis 2:18, 3:8; 1 John 1:3). Only in sacrificial relationship with one another is unity found (Genesis 2:24–25; Galatians 3:28).2 God intends that humanity fill the earth (Genesis 1:28), expressing His glory in the diversity of languages and cultures (Genesis 10:5; Acts 17:24–26).


When sin entered the world, shame distorted and devastated community (Genesis 3:7), resulting in a lust for power, domineering hierarchy, subjugation, and violence (Genesis 3:14–19; 4:8). At Babel, instead of spreading out with different languages and cultures to fill the earth (Genesis 1:28; cf. 10:5), people chose uniformity for the sake of idolatry, settling in one place with one language (Genesis 11:1). When humanity was dispersed, uniformity continued to be imposed by oppression of differences (e.g., through slavery [Exodus 1:13–14]), creating destructive inequalities. 

As centuries progressed, the expansive hubris of colonization also oppressed those who were different. In our own nation, this colonization included the genocide of native peoples and chattel slavery of Africans, justified with a system of racial hierarchy that was seen by some as “biblical.” Some of the ways racial supremacy has been expressed are the displacement of Native Americans, vagrancy laws of the Reconstruction period, Jim Crow laws of segregation, ongoing discrimination against Hispanics, exclusion of Chinese immigrants, internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, redlining and housing codes, and disproportionate criminalization of communities of color.

The Church too often continues to be complicit in and even perpetrators of such racial hierarchy and inequality. While homogeneity in churches can create a refuge for those wearied by the painful realities of racism, homogeneity that precludes engagement with people different than ourselves leads to the perpetuation of racial division.

When we fail to cultivate unity in diversity, we either assimilate diversity in uniformity or allow diversity to become division. Assimilation ensues when the majority fails to recognize its dominance and the minority struggles to express its contribution; consequently, the culture of leadership may remain unchanged even when its color diversifies. Division ensues when both majority and minority retreat from the challenges of engaging with those different than themselves. As a result, our witness is compromised before the intractable racial divisions of our world (John 17:21; Acts 6:1; Galatians 2:11–14). 

When we fail to connect issues of justice to the gospel, the Church lags instead of leads in matters of race and justice (Luke 4:18–19; Isaiah 58:6–12). 

We acknowledge and repent of our complicity in and perpetration of such evil (Leviticus 4:13–14; Nehemiah 1:6–7; Psalm 19:12–13).


The Church’s complicity in and perpetration of racial hierarchies are redeemed by Jesus Christ. Avoiding racist actions is not enough; God’s heart for the oppressed and marginalized (Exodus 22:21–22; Leviticus 19:34; Psalm 9:9; Isaiah 1:17; Amos 2:6–7) calls us to oppose racial hierarchies. Our common identity in Christ and joint adoption as children of the Heavenly Father enables us to heal the divisions created by sin (John 17:21–22; Galatians 3:26–28; 6:15). God’s Word leads us, not partisan loyalties, or cultural pressures.

Jesus Christ came to save people of every language, tribe, and culture (Genesis 12:3; John 4:42; Galatians 3:14; 1 Timothy 2:3–6). Just as God’s glory was translated in Jesus in first century Palestine (John 1:14), so Pentecost translated the glory of God into different languages (Acts 2:11) and is embodied and expressed through different cultures. As a result, when the Church is at its best, we recognize how the glory of God is uniquely translated in our own culture as well as learn from how the glory of God is translated into other cultures. As we learn from one another in our diversity, we will deepen our unity in Christ. Such unity in our diversity allows us to express the glory of God together (Romans 15:5–6). No one culture can alone fully express the glory of Christ; only together can we express His multifaceted glory.

As the gospel was translated into different cultures and languages, the early Church struggled to reconcile unity with diversity (Galatians 2:11–16; Acts 6:1–2). Assimilation was confronted to allow for diversity while maintaining a deeper unity (e.g., Acts 15:1–2, 19–21). Division and the wall of hostility between ethnic groups was demolished in Christ (Ephesians 2:14). Instead of assimilation and division, diverse languages and cultures can “live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together [we] may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5–6, ESV). As the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), we are called to lead, not lag, in matters of race and justice. The image of God in all humanity compels us to embrace and promote racial equality and advocate for justice for those whose voices might otherwise be ignored (Proverbs 31:8–9; Isaiah 58:6–14; Micah 6:8; Luke 4:18).


After this I looked, and behold a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). Each tribe and culture uniquely express the glory of Christ in heaven together. All nations are gathered in perfect unity (cf. Isaiah 2:2–4; 11:6–11).

Psalm 27:8

 The lack of desire is the ill of all ills. Holy desire is a holy power that energizes prayer. It is a dynamic of the Holy Spirit. All prayer is a response to God, as Psalm 27:8 (NASB) says,

“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.’”

Heaven wants sincerity, not beautiful polite words. Sadly, we have said the same words so often that we can almost say them without thinking. There is nothing new in our prayers because nothing is really desired. Even repetition, however, is sweet in the ears of God when it is the heart cry of our soul’s desire. (Remember, Jesus repeated in His soul’s agony in Gethsemane three times.)

   Desire makes prayer specific. It focuses prayer and asserts priority. Desire makes prayer both vital and personal. Indeed, desire is the soul of prayer, as Psalm 10:17a says,

“O Lord, You have heard the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart.”

   The question for us now is, “How does one deepen one’s desire?” Consider the following:

1. Welcome God given desires: From one point of view, desire is a gift from God. From another viewpoint, one must deepen one’s desire with God’s help. If, for example, you find a desire for the good of other people strongly impressed upon you, there is a good possibility the Holy Spirit is giving and deepening this desire so as to stir you up to pray. In such a case, no amount of importunity in prayer is improper. Like with Jacob in Genesis 32:26,

“I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

Did his attitude insult God? No way! In fact, it made Jacob a prince with God with a new name––Israel!

2. Do not quench or lose these holy desires: They are a fire of the Holy Spirit not to be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Don’t let other things divert you or distract you. Allow the Holy Spirit to deepen your prayer more and more and to take you into greater understanding. These Spirit born and Spirit deepened desires are an indication of what God wants to do; He gives desires for what He longs to bring to pass (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).

3. Surrender your own desires: In our humanity we often wish for things with more self-motivation than God-motivation. Our prayers are often more colored with self-interests than a love for God and His glory. Due to our limitations, what we think must be bread is, in reality, a stone (Matthew 7:9), and sometimes God lets us break a few teeth as we “bite into” what we insist is bread. Israel cried out to God until God gave them what they demanded; but they lived to regret it (Psalm 106:14, 15). Yet such wayward praying is not likely to happen when we surrender our own will to the Father and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:10,

“Your Kingdom come; Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

4. Trust God for what you desire and praise Him: Make Him the Lord of the way you feel, as Jeremiah 11:20 (NASB) says of God,

“. . . who tries the feelings and the heart . . .”

As you press on with deep, holy desires for God’s will and His answer, the Holy Spirit will eventually bring you to the place of faith and faith will seize upon one of many promises given in regard to answered prayer. Perhaps at this point your prayer has been granted or the Holy Spirit is leading you toward praise and thanksgiving for what is yet to be granted. Either way, such an assurance comes only by way of desire. In fact, as long as it makes little difference to us whether our prayer is answered or not, we will not persevere in prayer.