The views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. They are not and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) or position(s) of the organization, board of directors and/or any other individual(s) or entity (ies) affiliated or unaffiliated with Christians in Public Service, Inc.


 

What It Takes To Succeed - What Every Public Servant Leader Should Know
Monday, August 30, 2021 6:07 PM

What It Takes To Succeed - What Every Public Servant Leader Should Know

Monday, August 30, 2021 6:07 PM
Monday, August 30, 2021 6:07 PM

There are leaders, servant leaders, and us – public servant leaders. What sets us apart is that unlike leaders, unlike servant leaders, everything public servant leaders do is subject to public scrutiny.

There are no open records requests that probe the actions and lives of leaders in the private sector. But public servant leaders’ lives are open books and if we aren’t careful, our actions and words will write a book we will not want those who love and care about us to read.

There are godly attributes that every public servant leader needs for protection and promotion. There are a bunch of leadership books out there, but public servant leadership is a whole different animal. And we know this don't we?

No matter how long we may be in office or how popular we are - one mistake. One misspoken word. One cover-up. One accusation. And overnight, our career and we are toast.

Perfection is an illusion. There are no perfect people. The first and last perfect person left earth over 2,000 years ago!

While we can't be perfect, we should always be careful. Politics and the public arena are Satan's playground and he isn't playing with any of us!

Rarely, in today's hyper-divisive and polarized environment do many of us, if any of us, take the time to really think about and meditate on what it takes to dodge political bullets and arrows. Including the scathing rhetoric of critics who want nothing more than to take us down and take us out.

The only sure-fire way to combat them is to be wise. Not smart, wise. And wisdom can only come from God. He lays out clearly what it takes to serve and lead - to come out as pure gold and on top every time.

Rarely, however, do many take the time to examine closely the principles that guarantee good success and will bulletproof our career.

By embracing and consistently practicing the principles below, even though you may lose a battle or two, you won't be down for very long and never out because God will not leave one who obeys in the dust of failure and defeat at the hands of those influenced by the Adversary.

Let's explore six sure-fire principles that are guaranteed to distinguish you and result in good success and promotion throughout your career and life.

Rarely do we dissect our service this way. But times demand intentionality. And any edge is a great edge.

If you prefer audio, you may click here and listen to this article on the Governing God's Way Podcast!

These are what it takes to be the kind of public servant leader that God will honor and that people will respect. While some people may not like you or agree with you, if you follow these principles, people, even your enemies, can’t help but respect you. And if they don’t, it is them, not you that is the problem.

Why? Because these are attributes that God honors according to His word.

1. Durability. Blessed is a man (or woman) who perseveres under trial James 1:12

We have got to be able to take a public licking and keep on privately ticking. Tried and true public servant leaders are hewn in the quarry of public adversity and forged by the fires of public failure, public defeat, public criticism, public personal attacks; and, public betrayals. But they neither quit nor make excuses. 

Those who get this principle, persevere. When publicly knocked down for all the world to see, instead of giving up, you must find the inner strength to get back up and try again – not once, not twice, but as many times necessary to run for and win that seat or be hired for the big chair in the corner office. 

We can’t faint, falter or take our ball and go home when someone hurts our feelings. It comes with the territory. No public servant leader reaches the top without battle scars and none without harnessing the power of perseverance. You have to have durability.

2. APPROACHABILITY. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men
(and women). - Romans 12:18

We can have all the ability in the world, but as public servant leaders, if we have the personality of a stump, it will stunt our professional growth and severely limit opportunities.

Public servant leaders serve and lead people. We can’t afford to dislike or dismiss people outright without first hearing them out.

If we lack the abilities to care for and connect with people, especially our colleagues, we lack the ability to lead. 

While technical skills and abilities will get us in the door, or win us the seat, the inability to get along with people, empathize with people and connect with people will get us kicked out of the door. Worse, booted from office.

People skills is the top skill set public servant leaders should hone because we are in the people business. And in our business, this skill set above any other is our most advantageous. 

Why? If people like you, they will go the extra mile for you. If people don't like you, they will lead the covert charge against you. Every single time, without fail.

Work at being approachable, warm, friendly, likable, and easy to talk to. These aren’t attributes of wimps but of winners!

These often overlooked attributes will take you places ability alone never will. We have to be able to connect with people.

3. BE REASONABLE. A gentle answer turns away wrath - Proverbs 15:1

As elected leaders and city and county officials,we want what we want don't we? But rarely do we get to have life and work on our own terms.

And if we are prone to emotional outbursts, irrational, or volatile behavior when we don’t get our way, we invariably will be moved out of the way!

Great public servant leaders have learned the art of self-control. And it is an art every leader must master. Be reasonable, because hot heads are often left in cold storage.

4. RELIABILITY. A good name is to be more desired than great wealth - Proverbs 22:1

Be a person of character and integrity. Our name is more valuable than our money. No matter how wealthy, if we can’t be trusted, we won’t be promoted. No matter how wealthy you are, the one thing you can never buy is a good name. That is earned. And it is a matter of integrity, character, focus, and reputation. 

Ability is no good if our constituents, employees and colleagues can’t depend on us to do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it, and in the manner we say we will do it. It's called integrity.

If you know you can't deliver, don't promise. Full stop.

From start to finish, our career path is more directly tied to our integrity and character than our ability and money. Plenty of people have both. But, if we have no character, we can have all the ability in the world and no one will trust us.

Decide to be a person of character, a person of integrity – a person with a true north,  a person of your word. It will be not one of the best, but the best career and life decisions you will ever make.

5. ACCOUNTABILITY.  ... and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians  5:21

Accountable leaders don’t duck the hard stuff. When they mess up, they put on their big boy and big girl pants and quickly ‘fess up. 

Accountability is about taking responsibility for not only our actions but the actions of those we lead. Accountable leaders take the blame but never the credit.

This is most difficult, especially for bright, secure, successful and self-assured people.

However, the willingness to be held accountable may someday prove to be your saving grace. No matter our position, for the sake of good success, we all need someone to keep us in check.

6. BE TEACHABLE. - Teach me good judgment and knowledge... Psalm 119:66

Ask God for a teachable spirit. A "know-it-all" leader is no leader at all. Once colleagues, constituents, friends and those we lead sense they can't tell us anything because we refuse to listen - with the erroneous belief that we know it all, have seen it all and done it all, after a while, they won't tell us anything at all even if it would help us. 

Arrogance is every public servant leader's greatest enemy. And is the opposite of every godly attribute needed to be a great public servant leader.

Arrogant leaders, for the sake of review and comparison, aren’t durable, they are not approachable, they are not reasonable, they are not reliable, feel they aren't accountable to anyone and they aren’t teachable.

Arrogance is in direct opposition to the word and character of God. And He hates it.

One drop of arrogance is like a glass full of strychnine. It doesn’t take that much to kill your career.

Go back and write these down and look around you. I guarantee you, the most successful and admired public servant leaders will exhibit every one of these godly attributes.

And if you are to be one of them, so too, should you.

How About? What About? Some Freaking Somebody is to Blame!
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 7:51 AM

How About? What About? Some Freaking Somebody is to Blame!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 7:51 AM
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 7:51 AM

Are you conservative or liberal? Asleep or "woke?" Do you try to think through and work through differences you have with others or just dismiss them outright? Cancel them? Ghost them?
 
Do you believe that God is really God or some nebulous idea of some invisible, imaginary "something out there somewhere" that may or may not exist? And whose to say if God does exists if he is a he or she?
 
What about racism? What about it? Is being white increasingly a crime? Is being black or brown a continuing historical crime?
 
If black lives really mattered, where is the outcry and marches as black-on-black murders continue to escalate and expected to rise as the temperature rises?
 
There are more black and brown mayors, police chiefs, city council people, city managers, congressional representatives - even not just two terms ago, a black president.
 
Yet that leadership hasn't equated to any measurable change in the misery index of many urban black and brown people. Cities that are led by blacks and browns also lead in crime - with black-on-black violent crime being especially and egregiously asinine.
 
Don't shoot the messenger when the message is true.
 
What about our politicians? What about them? If voter suppression is going to be the new reality as some see it and voices are raised in protest, where have those loud voices of protest been in cases of no "oppression" when voter turnout among blacks and browns have traditionally and continues to be abysmally low and getting lower, particularly at the local level?
 
What about so many churches and pastors and preachers and evangelists and ministers? Still so much of culture not only is not changing for the better because of them, but slipping downward and backward in spite of them. 
 
All these preachers and all these churches yet they have no real power to effect change or impact culture in any measureable way. In fact, just the opposite. What about it? They have presence but no power.
 
People are turning away from churches, no longer duped by "oh, we just love Jesus" folk who showed how much they love Jesus when many publicly turned a deaf ear to the painful cries of black mothers losing sons and daughters at the hands of men and women in blue.
 
Those sworn to protect and serve, yet some bringing death and despair to the innocent and at the same time, undeserved shame and despair to good colleagues and beleagured departments. Many already under unfair attack.
 
Not all police are bad but the bad should never police. 
 
Where was the demonstration of the love of Jesus then? Again, don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the truth of the message.


People have seen up close and personal Christianity in America and more and more are not liking what they see. They are taking a pass.
 
The blonde-hair, blue-eyed Jesus just doesn't cut it anymore. Even the true, not blonde, not European Jesus doesn't cut it anymore for many. Why? Because some freaking somebody is to blame!
 
Having seen over the past four years so much bitterness and warped interpretation of biblical truth - twisting and bending it to fit political agendas rather than straight-talking God's truth has left many cold toward Jesus no matter what he may have looked like and said. And this is the tragedy of the church in America today.
 
Interest in attending anybody's church is at all time lows as the light of star-powered preachers begins to dim as people discover that they too are people. And many, as has been learned, are deeply flawed and fraudulent people. Human. Just like the rest of us.
 
How about America being no longer that shining city on the hill?  It's not. Even our flag now is a symbol of disdain for many while remaining a sacred symbol for others.
 
Neither can understand the stance of the other. Neither seeks to nor want to. 
 
It's not just the flag. But our differences now are so deep at every level that not even Christians whose first inclination in conflict between humans should be curiosity.
 
Why? Because curiosity leads to conversation which leads to evangelism which leads to discipleship which leads to souls being saved. Like Philip's encounter and interaction with the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26.
 
Jesus was always asking sinners questions. Not that he didn't know the answers. But questions lead to conversations. He had a great conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. His questions led to a conversation that led to her salvation. And she was so excited she ran into town and discipled the whole town.
 
That's how the fire of the Holy Spirit works. But the fire is but embers in American Christianity today. No spark. Certainly not a flame. Cold hearts warming the pews in cold churches.
 
Jesus never asked a question for question sake - but out of what he knew was their need to know the condition of themselves leading to the self-realization that they were in desperate need of a Savior. Rarely do Christians have these conversations today. And so it is no surprise that many churches are now struggling.
 
Jesus led people to the water. Many today not only do not lead people to the refreshing waters of salvation but to the dead sea of political polarization.
 
So many Christians are taking a knee. Not to bow but to bow out and check out.
 
Too many of us would rather take the side of an elephant or ass than cling to the side of the Savior.
 
Is all of this the fault of white supremacists? Black Lives Matter? White privilege? Antifa? The left or the right?
 
Are the deep historical roots of black oppression and labor exploitation now bearing the bitter fruit of wokeness and cancel culture? Critical race theory?
 
What about Ronald Reagan? Did Ronald Reagan, the first president I ever voted for, truly begin the economic destruction of the American middle class?
 
Has trickle down economics finally worn down many for now generations? Worn down the collective will of many to the point that they have given up trying to rise up learning from generations past that there is likely a boot up there somewhere waiting to stomp on their neck?
 
Have the policy seeds of the past now finally matured with clinging vines spreading through generations destroying even today's generation hope of a vibrant and viable middle class while at the same time, giving birth to the class of one percenters?
 
Even as the fetus of half percenters grows in the economic womb of an increasingly materialistic and decreasingly God-fearing America?
 
Is Ronald Reagan truly the blame? What about Barack Obama generations later? There was a sea change during and after the Obama years. The same was true after Reagan.
 
Whose really to blame?  Angry white males? Whites in general? The industrial prison complex? Democrats? Republicans? Stone cold statues of confederate heroes and revelations of celebrations of others immortalized in stone?
 
Can stone really be that psychologically damaging to the fragile psyche of "snowflakes?" What about the fragile psyche of "patriots?" Those on the opposite side whose identity is somehow wrapped up in these relics of stone.
 
Men long dead and gone and if they could come back, would have messages for both sides. The most likely one being that in light of eternity, it is all meaningless. Stop it, they would say and enjoy the few days on earth you've been given. 
 
But what about what's really killing America? May I dare say, Americans? Even Christian Americans?
Too many of us would rather take the side of an elephant or ass than cling to the side of the Savior.
We are suspicious of one another and don't seek to understand one another before blasting or blaming one another.
 
We are more segregated, polarized and so doggone sure that we're right. That our "side" is always right.

 
We choose to see one another not as we are, because we no longer have the desire or curiosity, but imaginary reciprocity based upon who we believe one another to be.
 
We want to "get back" "take back" and for some "go back." But the questions beg. Get back to what? Take back what? Go back where? 
 
May I suggest a few radical ideas? How about if Christ-followers "get back" to following Christ and not "Q," politicians, conspiracy theories, MSNBC and FOX News?
 
How about if pastors "take back" the mantle of the church from the politicians and teach people truth and not talking points to appease? Either this or take off the robes, crosses and pretense of being men and women of the gospel. You're not. You've become political puppets and good for nothing.
 
How about if we "go back" to the Gospel? The good news of Jesus Christ? How about if more Christians really believed that Jesus Christ is Lord of all instead of lord of some and that the light of God's love shines on us all - even those we don't like. Even those we hate. Even those that are different from us. Even those who we don't deem worthy. Even those who ______. You fill in your blank.
 
How about it? Some freaking somebody is to blame. Just look in the mirror. I have. As Americans, we all are that freaking somebody.

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This One's Personal
Monday, June 21, 2021 4:51 PM

This One's Personal

Monday, June 21, 2021 4:51 PM
Monday, June 21, 2021 4:51 PM
When I left the Republican Party, in 2018, having been a loyal Republican for over four decades, it was a conscience decision. At that point, had I been a loyal Democrat I would have done the same.
 
Having voted for and supported every Republican president from my first vote as a teenager for Ronald Reagan in 1980 to Donald Trump in 2016, the struggle was real for me.
 
As a black, evangelical, conservative, former elected leader, my speaking career had taken off - lucrative, sharing the stage with top conservative Christian political and church leaders.
 
Having founded this organization in 2013 fresh out of Dallas Theological Seminary, and those who know me well, know how much I struggled with what I knew God had given me the incredible but difficult task to do - and what I still wanted to do and be.
 
It would literally mean, giving up everything I'd worked so hard for and in a very real sense starting over.
 
At my age and stage, that was the last thing I wanted to do. But time, age, titles, none of this mean anything to God. He often uses our past to complete the purpose for which He created us.
 
Today, I refuse to identify with anything but Christ crucified knowing that God's truth will always challenge political ideologies. I feel the weight of that challenge in all that I do. Yes, you can be a Republican and be a Christ follower. And yes, you can be a Democrat and the same.
 
Each of our purpose and calling is unique. Realizing mine, however, made me realize I could no longer be loyal to the party of my youth, my life and honor fully, God.
 
There are both good and harmful ideologies inherent in both parties. And no, neither is more evil. There are though, evil people on both sides, just as there are evil people throughout the world. We all are born with an element of evil.
 
This organization though, will always strive to teach truth, model truth, operate with a spirit of integrity and in the spirit of excellence because we represent the King.
 
I encourage you to take time out of your day or week, at lunch or on break and read this superbly written article and listen to what is probably the most important, yet challenging podcast to-date I've done.
 
It is going to take us all to make things better in our country and communities - people of good will, courage, maturity and integrity to show the way.
 
I encourage you today to not take the easy way and cheap shots. You're better than that. We're better than that and going forward, you will see this organization step it up in new ways as well. Have a wonderful week my friend.

 

Reparations - Don't Hold Your Breath
Saturday, June 19, 2021 11:37 AM

Reparations - Don't Hold Your Breath

Saturday, June 19, 2021 11:37 AM
Saturday, June 19, 2021 11:37 AM

It's Juneteenth 2021. President Joe Biden signed into law on June 17, 2021 the historic law, following near unanimous support of Congress, making June 19th a national holiday.
 
Miss Opal Lee of Ft. Worth, Texas, now 94 years old, led the fight for 40 long years and God granted her the amazing opportunity to be a guest of the President of the United States to savor the fruit of her labor.

 
As historic and long overdue as this was, another thorny issue that has been and will continue to be a thorn in the backside of America and a dagger in the heart of Black Americans is reparations. 
 
Particularly though for my white friends who get so angry at the very mention of slavery and its lingering impact. Some even deny that it has had a lingering impact, admonishing black people to "just get over it."
 
I've been black all of my life and never can I recall any black person walking around with slavery top of mind. But one thing we do know, while it may not be top of mind, we all know that we're still at the bottom economically because of it.
 
It's easy to holler "get over it" when you're not the low man or woman on the totem pole, and have been for generations because you were for hundreds of years, treated no better than an animal and denied the opportunity to earn and compound wealth.
 
Slavery not only robbed us of our identity, culture and dignity, but it put us so far behind the 8-Ball economically that only by the grace of God, the sacrifices of many, including lives taken way too soon; and, sheer determination that we've made it this far.
 
I know many would disagree, but it is what it is. Truth is not subjective, neither do facts lie.
 
Let's examine further. Generational wealth is built over time, through generations and a generation is 40 years. Let's do the math shall we?
 
At the time of the Declaration of Independence (1776), African slavery was legal in all 13 colonies.
 
By the time of the American Revolution, slavery had become institutionalized. Blacks were considered by whites not as human beings but chattel (property). Whites considered only themselves as human.
 
The chattel worked. They could not own the land they worked. Only whites could, who profited off their blood, sweat and back-breaking labor.
 
Whites in turn passed down not only the wealth earned by the chattel, but also the chattel.
 
Chattel was forbidden from learning to read though they built the schools. Knowledge and opportunities to become educated were passed on generationally by and through whites. Not so for the chattel.
 
Whites progressed through cohesive family units working together, building family-owned businesses. Chattel could not form cohesive family units. They were property not "people" and children, men and women were sold to work for no wages. No wages. And absolutely no opportunity to form lasting familial units.
 
 
White "family-owned" businesses, by way of free chattel labor, were made astronomically profitable because but for the minimal cost of some materials (even the trees for lumber were cut down by the chattel), there were no labor costs and no wages to be paid, so every bit of it was all straight profit. Making their businesses exponentially profitable as those businesses grew and were passed to the next generation and grew even wealthier, or sold at a profit. But for the chattel - nothing. Not one cent.
 
Slavery began in America in 1619 and didn't end until 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment. Folklore has it that blacks were enslaved for 400 years, but that's not accurate.
 
Sounds good and it gives for many black Christians an affinity with Hebrews, enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years. But slavery in America lasted 246 years not 400.   
 
So do the math. Blacks in America have been free for less time than when we were slaves. We were slaves for 246 years, we've only been free for 156. It is mind-boggling to think that we were slaves longer than we have been free!
 
If 40 years is a generation (and it is), from 1619 to 1865 is 246 years; or, rounded six generations. For six generations, white slaveholders accumulated wealth, black slaves accumulated nothing!
 
During this period, slaveholders and their families built their legacies on the institution of slavery and generated wealth that African Americans could not have ever imagined.
 
Still to this day, can't. Add to this, 100 years of Jim Crow laws, until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
 
Segregation maintained wealth disparities and overt and covert discrimination in everything from housing to banking to education to employment significantly limited African American economic efforts.
 
So tell us again how we can just "get over" starting from being 246 years behind educationally, economically and socially?
 
To put that in context; in one generation whites accumulated thousands; the second generation tens of thousands; the third generation hundreds of thousands --- and the accumulation of wealth and the ability to create wealth kept right on rolling full steam ahead. For African Americans, zilch, nada, zero.
 
No African American earned, in 6 generations, wages. Free labor for 246 years. Generation after generation after generation after generation after generation after generation. Not to mention the inventions and recipes stolen in those 246 years which slaves conceived and developed, but couldn't own and patent.
 
Whites claimed them as their own.  Capitalized on them without paying one dime to the African American who conceived and invented it
 
African Americans were denied the opportunity to capitalize on their own concepts which would have assured economic viability.
 
Instead, whites took, capitalized on, some even building their brands, empires and institutions on such (i.e., Jack Daniels)Handing down as theirs through generations profitable businesses and brands built on the backs of blacks.
 
African Americans in turn received no pay, no residuals and zero net sum gain.
 
How could African Americans then build wealth? It's not that African Americans were lazy, far from it. It's that they were shut down and shut out of the very system of capitalism which they had labored to build, while being treated as less than human beings and compensated with nothing.
 
Add to this losses from systemic racism from 1964 onward. Negative economic impact? Astronomical negative economic impact. Who can put a price tag on such generational injustice and grave disparity?
 
 
So when many fall in with the untrue argument that blacks should be further along and the playing field is now equal - it is not.
 
It was never equal and can never be equal. Such loses can never be regained, certainly not recouped. And never can be brought into balance.
 
White slaveholders for generations figuratively, had their boot on the neck of African Americans and even today, many still literally have their knee to the neck of African American men, as we watched in horror the saga of George Floyd play out in front of our eyes. 
 
But don't be deceived. White Democrats and white Republicans all benefitted, still are. It wasn't their party, but their race from which they benefitted at the expense of generations of African Americans. 
 

How could African Americans then build wealth? It's not that African Americans were lazy, far from it. It's that they were shut down and shut out of the very system of capitalism which they had labored to build, while being treated as less than human beings and compensated with nothing. 

 
Yes, black people are and have been historically at an economic disadvantage because of the legacy of slavery and systemic racism.
 
It was impossible to build wealth while for six generations being physically and psychologically chained and not paid one dime of wages. And, for the 100 years post slavery, subjected to the most dehumanizing indignities second only to being enslaved. 
 
It's like beginning a race, spotting a white runner six feet from the finish line with the black runner chained to the starting block. Then, shoot the starter gun, wave the flag as the white runner takes six steps across the finish line, while the black runner is never able to free himself from the starting block.
 
How can the black runner catch up when the race has been thrown?
 
There is no catching up and there can never ever be any reparations. What price reparations?  Lives destroyed. The potential for generational wealth and prosperity forever lost generationally to history. Forever lost.
 
And politicians on both sides need to quit politicking this issue. We deserve better than the cheap political theater.
 
Many should dispense with the carrot and stick routine. America could never, ever repay or pay for that which it has so richly profited at the expense of generations of black people. Building the very capitalistic system on which it prides itself.
 
In 2019 BET founder Bob Johnson called for $14 trillion of reparations for "heirs of slavery." Where did that number come from? Based on what variables? A guessing game? So many variables make it virtually impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy, who these "heirs of slavery" are, let alone affixing a price tag is beyond human imagination or comprehension.
 
Do we still suffer the consequences of slavery? You bet we do. The damage is monetarily incalculable. The most basic yet invaluable casualty? The black family. Family is often the foundation and support system upon which generational wealth is built.
 
Newsflash! Contrary to what conservatives both white and black would want us to believe, the break up of our families did not start with the welfare state but with the United States.
 
Families were broken up beginning in 1619, long before welfare. And systemically and routinely broken up via auction blocks.
 
The same sinister minds that conceived slavery conceived welfare to keep blacks dependent on the very system that once enslaved them.
 
The common denominator was white, not Republican or Democrat. Crude but true.
 
There can be no reparations for this. Never. The devastation is far too great.
 
American slavery was evil because God never gave man permission or authority to dominate (enslave) another human. Domination is demonic. Adam was given stewardship, not ownership; dominion over earth, not over other men.
 
Jim Crow was continuation of that evil and racism is and will forever be evil because it  debases the image of God as every human is created in His image, by His hand and decree. Racism is insidiously evil and there will be a hefty price as a nation, to pay.
 
We can't expect a government system built on evil to make a conscious effort to reverse and make right its own evil.
 
Evil never reverses, reconciles or make reparations for evil. It's why racism is still such a scourge in this country and reparations not even a consideration for the powers that be today nor will be tomorrow.
 
Only God and not any politician or businessman can make right such egregious wrong. And He will.
 
Left up to America, it will never happen. Not in our lifetime nor in lifetimes to come.  
 
There is no political will for reparations, nor do I make the argument there should be. Makes for great political theatre and airtime. But that window closed long ago.
 
In fact, it never opened. It never will.
 
 
 
It is foolhardy to keep pushing even the notion that the hand that once enslaved will ever be the hand that repays. It won't. It can't.
 
So what do we do with this issue as it keeps coming up particularly during national election cycles? Some politicians are brave enough to champion the issue, garner some airtime, but even they know they are just whistling in the wind.
 
The glorified tale of the founding of America glosses over the fact that America was founded on stolen land. STOLEN LAND. 
 
There was no "stop the steal" on behalf of Native Americans.
 
Native Americans were here long before Columbus and his crew set sail. The original sin of America isn't slavery. It is theft. Theft of a nation that didn't belong to it.
 
The original sin of America is theft, but the most egregious is slavery. Human beings created in the very image of God, dehumanized for capitalistic gain. 
 
Prosperity built upon the goodwill of Native Americans and capitalism on the backs of slaves. 
 
These are grievous sins and reparations for either will never be. But the same America that touts itself to be a "Christian nation" had better believe that God is a God of justice and righteousness.
 
And while the nation will never repay, someday the righteous Judge will repay and judge the nation. 
 
Perhaps, given all we've been through as country, and are going through, we may be living today in that judgment.

Politics and Purpose - Seek Purpose
Friday, June 18, 2021 11:33 AM

Politics and Purpose - Seek Purpose

Friday, June 18, 2021 11:33 AM
Friday, June 18, 2021 11:33 AM


In post-Christian America where the influence of Christianity in culture is waning, it is becoming increasingly difficult for public servants of faith to live out their faith in the public arena. This is nothing new. Such was the case in Jesus’ day.

It was not popular to be a Christ-follower, particularly if you were a high-ranking, rich, and influential political leader such as Joseph of Arimathea.

Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin or “Council” as termed in Mark 15:43.

The Sanhedrin was the Jews’ most powerful political and religious body. In today’s vernacular, it would have been similar to The Supreme Court and Congress combined.

As Democrats and Republicans today dominate American politics; in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and Sadducees dominated not only Jewish politics but religious thought as well. Together they comprised the 71-member Sanhedrin.

The Pharisees and Sadducees differed sharply on the interpretation and application of Mosaic law. The one issue, however, on which they agreed that became the game changer in all of human history, was to keep the pressure on Pilate until he allowed the crucifixion of Jesus.

Unbeknownst to any of them was that Joseph had secretly become a follower of Jesus. As such, he did not consent to his colleagues’ actions ( Luke 23:51).

Joseph served in an environment much more hostile to the faith than in America today. And as many are today, he was intimidated and afraid to speak against the other leaders. He was a closeted, politically correct Christian. Yet God had a higher purpose for Joseph.

Joseph was not a Christ-follower serving on the Council by accident. Not at all. And if you are a born-again believer, serving in public office, you may have been elected or appointed by people but you, too, have been positioned by God for a higher purpose. You're there by God's power to serve God's purpose.

This is the challenge and obligation of every Christian serving in public office. But the purposes of God and the politics of people and party platforms are diametrically opposed.

Most Christ-followers take the easy way out - finding it easier to capitulate and acquiesce rather than stand strong for what they believe. After all, that could mean the difference between job security and winning or losing at the ballot box. 

Joseph had no idea that the reason he mustered up enough courage to out himself as a Christ-follower by asking for the body of Jesus, had anything at all to do with the fulfillment of prophecy – God’s divine will.

As a Christ-follower, never believe you are where you are by ingenuity, chance, or because of a victorious campaign. You have been positioned by God to fulfill a divine purpose.

The role Joseph played in the crucifixion was purposed by God and prophesied through the Prophet Isaiah centuries before Joseph arrived on the scene. Jesus died a criminal and by law should have been buried like a criminal.

No way would a rich man (Matthew 27:57-58) but to fulfill the purposes of God, would have asked Pilate for the body of a criminal so he could bury him in a tomb hewn for himself!

But God had saved, prospered and positioned Joseph for this very purpose. Instead of being dressed and buried like a common criminal, Jesus’ body was dressed and treated as a rich man’s. Just as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death.” (Isaiah 53:9)  Joseph had been positioned by God for this very purpose.

As a Christ-follower, never believe you are where you are by ingenuity, chance, or because of a victorious campaign. You have been positioned by God to fulfill a divine purpose.

No matter how much more hostile the political environment becomes, nothing or no one can hinder what God has purposed to do in you and through you to accomplish His divine will.

Ask God what is His purpose for you in your current position. How might you make a difference and make things better if only you had the courage to speak up or act on what you know is God’s truth?

Ask God for the courage to overcome cowardice and the desperate need to be liked and approved by people.

After all, at the end, when it's all said and done, only the approval and vote of One will matter. Every one of us whom He has positioned to fulfill His purposes (not campaign promises), will be held accountable.

This alone is enough for me to live and serve with a sense of purpose, not politics.

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