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Sunday November 21st
Sacred and Civic

Welcome Journey travelers.  I’m Pastor Paris of The Journey Church.

 

Today I am assigned by God to speak to you about The Sacred and The Civic.  These are two realities, two worlds, two governments that we as believers live in at this moment.  We are accountable to each of them, but not in equal responsibility.

 

John 17:15–18 (NIV) My prayer is not that you (God) take them (The Church) out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

 

The Bible states that we are living as foreigners in this land, but we also carry the title of citizens of the state of Minnesota and the US of A.  We possess two citizenships, this earthly citizenship, which is our civic role and our heavenly citizenship, which is our sacred role. 

 

Philippians 3:17–20 (NIV)  Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

So we have this dual citizenship and we must navigate the two governments who rule in our lives.  Again, the world is the civic government: local, state, nation and then there is the heavenly government, led by the supreme authority of God and His written word to humanity.  Note that we are not called to despise or condemn the world, but rather to demonstrate to the world the power and love of God.

 

John 3:17 (NIV)  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

The heart of our God has been to rescue humanity from this broken planet we live on.  He sent Jesus into the world to demonstrate how much God loved sin-filled-people even though they rejected Him.  Jesus gave His life on the cross so that the sins of the entire world could be forgiven.  He was resurrected to establish a new eternal reality for all of us who repent and chose to serve Him. 

 

Now in our nation there is a bit of confusion, but if you do some investigation into the original formation of the US government, you will find that the people do not work for, or serve the government.  Instead the government works for and serves the people. 

 

Today I want you to hear from someone who serves the people of Hastings and serves in his role with grace and respect.  We have as our guest today, Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer, who is someone I have immense respect for as a community Leader.  If I were to read of Chief Schafer’s amazing accomplishments it would use up our entire time together so here are a few highlights.

 

Who is Bryan Schafer

Chief Bryan Schafer is a 38-year veteran of law enforcement.  He served nearly 23 years with the Minneapolis Police Department before being appointed as the Police Chief for the City of Hastings in 2013. 

 

Chief Schafer completed his Associates Degree in 1984 and his Bachelor’s Degree at Metropolitan State University in 2005, graduating with honors.

 

In 2006 he was instrumental in collaborating with community/criminal justice partners to influence juvenile justice reform in Hennepin County resulting in significant decreases in juvenile violent crime and was presented with the 2007 Leadership Award. 

 

These accomplishments earned the trust and respect of previous police chiefs, evidenced by his appointment to Police Inspector of the 2nd Precinct and 1st Precincts during the last 4.5 years with the MPD.

 

As Police Chief for the City of Hastings, he has hired or promoted three-quarters of today’s employees. In addition, he reopened the public service counter, implemented Body-Worn Cameras, participated and initiated Domestic and Sexual Assault protocols established by MN CASA and 360 Communities.  Chief Schafer formerly served as the President of the Dakota County Chiefs of Police Association, served on the Violence Against Women Act grant oversight committee, Electronic Crimes Joint Powers Committee, Adult Detention Alternatives Initiative Executive Committee, and United Way of Hastings Board of Directors.  

 

Chief Schafer has always insisted I call him Bryan but I might slip up a few times this morning and call him chief.  Would you welcome our police Chief as I invite him to please come forward?

 

Welcome to The Journey Church today Chief.  My purpose for inviting you is to illustrate that the church in general is a sacred community within the civic community of Hastings.  I’m one of several Hastings pastors who see value in recognizing and honoring those who serve in roles that serve us.  My dearest friend pastor Randy Berg hosts a luncheon that celebrates law enforcement every year and I’ve never missed one of them.

 

Chief Schafer has demonstrated a respect for this dual reality in the past and did a great job of demonstrating his understanding of it during all the Covid compliance struggles.  When the governing authorities were first calling for compliance to lockdown orders he assured churches that he was not going to use a heavy hand with the church and with this community.  He served the community, not the other way around.

 

Interview style

 

Question:  How do you view the officers under your care as it concerns the community they serve?  Police are the fabric of and part of the Community. 

 

Question:  Why can we still have confidence in law enforcement even though the media tries to state something much different?  Relationship between congregation and law enforcement.  

 

Question:  How important is trust to your form of leadership as a police chief? Trust based 

 

Question: Is Hastings on the racial knife’s edge like we hear other communities are?  Value/Safety/Accountability

 

Let’s thank Chief Schafer for his willingness to come to our church today to demonstrate that it is possible for the sacred world to interface with the civic world. (Chief can be seated)

 

Please understand that this sacred and civic reality has been contested for centuries and was a reality even in the earliest days of the church.  I am a rule follower when the rules are clear, equally applied and righteous, but listen to the response by the apostles when they were pressed to heed foolishness.

 

Acts 5:27–29 (NIV)  The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

 

2 Corinthians 10:3–4 (NIV)  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

 

So, understand that we in the church are called to pray for, encourage, support and love those who serve in law enforcement. 

 

Next week we will investigate whether we have a big God or big problems