Pastor Julian Lowe of Oasis Church is passionate about reaching the city of Los Angeles and for the church to be a true family. Julian is a passionate, and humorous teacher of God’s Word who began following Jesus after his career in the music industry. Pastor Julian has led the church alongside his wife, Christina since October of 2019. Together, they are convicted to continually learn to live the lifestyle of Jesus.
Tricia Love: Let’s go back to little Julian Lowe. What was life like as a young boy of color?
Julian Lowe: Well, I grew up in San Bernardino, California. In the Eighties, it was considered one of the most dangerous cities to live in in the United States. I always had to manage growing up in a neighborhood where a lot of people didn’t have hope. A lot of people were living in poverty and thought they had to resort to things that were against the law to provide.
I grew up in a Christian preschool. My parents tried their best to direct me towards God, but by the time I was in junior high, the streets had got a hold of us a little bit. I never got into gangs and never went to jail or anything like that, but we saw violence and saw things in our community. We were harassed by police officers, but at the same time, we were also trying to survive the community. So 12 to 13, you kind of felt like you were surviving growing up.
I lived in a four-bedroom house. My parents did very well for themselves. I had a father and a mother living in our home, and had different challenges with my mom growing up, but at the end of the day, I felt like I had a great foundation–and God willing, I was able to get out. I made some mistakes, of course, as an adult, but that’s San Bernardino. Anyone who is [reading] this would say, “Oh, yeah. It’s bad.”
Tricia Love: What advice would you give a young kid that’s growing up in a place similar to your upbringing in San Bernardino?
Julian Lowe: Well, I think for me, when I said I made it out to some degree, I pursued things that I thought were making it out. So my advice to myself would have been that financial success or monetary success or making it to the NBA or making it to the NFL or those things are huge accomplishments, but those aren’t going to deal with the things that your environment has deposited into your soul, that leave you feeling alone or anxious or hopeless. Hopelessness and those feelings are things that your environment deposits into you–and now, you don’t even need to live in a bad neighborhood to have that anymore. There are kids who live in Beverly Hills that feel the way that I felt in San Bernardino. The world now has a way of making these deposits into wherever you are. So, if I could go back and tell a young person some advice, it would be to turn to God and get love from God. Not necessarily even turn towards religion, but find someone who can explain to you the love of Jesus and to do your best to live that life of love and not lose sight of that. If somebody would have told me that, I probably would have made way less mistakes.
Tricia Love: In regards to today’s time, because of technology & media we can see a lot more injustices firsthand. This has led to an uproar of hurt and anger. What is your perspective on this?
Julian Lowe: I think for one, for the first time, stats show that a good portion of America believes that Black and colored people do not have equal rights in this country. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive, some numbers say he had a 25% approval rating. Now, for the most part, people would say there is racial injustice for a Black person in this country, and so that’s a big deal. That is huge. There has never been a time—maybe in our history—where most people were on the same page about that; and while we are not on the same page about what we’re going to do about it, or people’s willingness to do something about it, I do think for the first time in American history, people would say for the most part, “Yeah, this is a problem. This is an issue.” That is huge. It is divine. Any time that there is a movement of people willing to do something for someone else, it is always divine.
If you would have asked me this question when this first came to light, I would’ve said, “I’m angry, I’m furious, I’m frustrated.” But now, for the first time, I feel hopeful, because I feel like people are finally willing to fight for something that is not for them. They’re willing to fight for the young people and future generations. They’re willing to fight for someone that doesn’t look like them; and they don’t know how to fight, but a lot of people are more willing than ever before. I do believe we’re going to see change. Maybe not all the changes that we’d like to see, but I’m starting to think that a hundred years from now, my grandkids will not experience some of the things that our generation has. My grandparents fought for it to be better, and it is better for me; and I have to fight for my grandchildren, so it’s better for them.
So, I’m encouraged, while at the same time, I think I would be most disappointed by a political climate that tries to deny the plight of the African American for votes. How do you make this racial injustice a political thing? It’s not Democrat. It’s not Republican. It’s true. I’ve experienced it. Every Black person I know has experienced it. It’s not a leftist media narrative. It is true. The media wasn’t there when I was slammed on the hoods of cars or pulled over for no reason. It’s not a media narrative. This has been going on for years. But, I try to find and keep the love in my heart, and not let offense or hate get too deep in my heart.
Tricia Love: Is there a nugget of wisdom that you can share with us in regards to the concept of loving your neighbor? Because right now, I feel like that could be really hard for hurt people that have experienced racial injustice.
Julian Lowe: Let me give you this example. I lived in a poor community and I decided at a young age that I was not going to be poor. I was going to have money and make a change–but I didn’t do it with God. So, by the time I was 25 years old, I was making $130,000 a year in sales; and I found change–but along with that change was the deepest level of anxiety and depression that a human could have. But the Bible says the blessings of God come without sorrow, [but] pursuing change, especially in social justice, it comes with sorrow. Martin Luther King’s final speech said that God took him to a mountaintop and showed him the future, and he said that the sons of the slave masters and the sons of the slaves would sit together in the table of brotherhood, and he said God showed it to him. In the middle of the sixties, Martin Luther King saw hope for the future. So, he was able to fight injustice in the present: and if you are fighting injustice in the present without having God show you the hope for the future, even if you get changed, you’ll be more broken than you were before, because fights are exhausting.
Martin Luther King made such an impact because he was fighting a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons. We’re fighting a spiritual battle–and Martin Luther King had it. Malcolm X, had it. A lot of people don’t know about Malcolm X, but Malcolm X taught his followers that the White man was the devil; that’s why he was not well-liked. But, shortly before his assassination, he was part of the Nation of Islam. Being Islamic, they go once in their life to Mecca. He hated White men, but he had some White Muslims on this trip. They cared for him and loved him. He wrote a letter from Mecca saying he had met some White brothers and that what he had said before was not true. A lot of people don’t know that about Malcolm X. He gets a bad rap because of some of the things he said, but the Klan laid his father on train tracks when he was six. His father was run over by a freight train because the Klan members laid him on the track. That was his first introduction to White people. So a lifetime of pain from racist White men was erased by one White man who showed him love.
Don’t ever let anyone convince you that love is not powerful.
Tricia Love: Because love is supernatural.
Julian Lowe: It’s supernatural.
Tricia Love: You mentioned being connected to the source, which is God; and that this racial injustice is spiritual warfare. What is some advice on that?
Julian Lowe: I would say that one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned as a man of faith is that most of what I sense needs to change–but I’m sensing something that God is going to change. So, I need to prepare myself by being filled with love, filled with faith, filled with hope, so that maybe I can have the joy and the honor of having a role in that change. So I would just say that if you’re sensing something needs to change, that’s because something is changing, and let that give you confidence; and if you are willing to allow God to change you on the inside, then you are prepared for the change that God wants to bring on the outside: in this nation, in this community, and in this family. You prepare for all outer change with inner change.
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