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Published on Monday, March 8, 2021 @ 6:12 PM CDT
Reprinted from March 24, 2020
This, I know, will make many fellow believers fighting mad and some likely will call me everything but a child of God.
But as I, along with millions, helplessly look on at the unfolding nightmare of COVID-19 and how at the beginning of this crisis in America, President Trump and many of his supporters blew it off as a hoax, I can't help but be sad when I think of how the church in America, once a leader in public thought and positive change has capitulated so much.
Even now a defiant Jerry Falwell, Jr. is willing to risk students and faculty next week by opening the doors of Liberty University, the conservative Christian college founded by his father, saying the COVID-19 pandemic is all a conspiracy against the president. He expresses what many Christians still unfortunately and wrongly believe.
It is unfortunate that we have developed over the years such an antagonistic relationship with the government.
“They are willing to destroy the economy just to hurt Trump,” Falwell said.
The church in America once was a beacon, a safe-haven, with many of its leaders partnering with government and community leaders to right wrongs, stand strong and help when justice and righteousness were under attack and dangerous threats threatened us.
Sadly though today, many church leaders are more concerned with getting and maintaining political clout and currying favor with Washington, DC politicians, at the expense of the reputation of the Christian church as a whole. While many churches are doing incredible work in their communities, on the whole, studies show a definite and steady decline in confidence in the Christian church and faith in general.
Equally sad is that many church leaders can't see what the rest of the world does and those doubting the authenticity of our faith. This is by no means an indictment but an observation and uncomfortable truth many know but would not dare say.
Scripture teaches us to examine ourself and while the church over the past decade has done a lot of fingerpointing, it has done little self-examination.
Even more, way too many are existing within echo chambers where the reverberation of their own words bounce off one another and where none find any fault in the other. Many live and worship in a parallel universe it seems, not engaging culture and are shocked and angry when culture comes knocking at the doors of the church.
Having said this, let's take a look at the most defining issue of the 20th century that rocked to its core, the Christian church in America - same-sex marriage.
Christianity is a religion. Christian is nothing more than a descriptive name given to first-century followers of "the Way" - followers of the radical leader from Nazareth - Jesus Christ.
We never read where Jesus refers to his followers as "Christians." The first-century believers were given that moniker. We, as Christ-followers were not intended to be "a religion." And marriage? Let's take a closer look.
God always intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. Jesus reiterated it. And full disclosure, I believe every word of the Bible to be God-breathed and true.
Having said this, it is the church, the "Christians" who are to "blame" for the convolution of marriage. Why do I say this and what do I base it on?
The instant God's people signed off on for economic reasons (namely property) a man and woman having to have a license to be "married," that put "marriage" squarely into the legal system. And marriage for all intents and purposes became a legal union and a holy one with more weight given to the legal aspect, not God's.
Marriage is a contract. A contract. God's design and intent were that marriage would be a covenant. A holy covenant between one man and one woman and the two would become one. It was intended to be under the auspices of the church and its leader.
It's why you have to go to a court of law and not a church of God to get a divorce. Only the law can dissolve a contract. And in some cases, depending upon the circumstances, even though "divorced" (i.e. the contract legally dissolved) by the court, the covenant in the eyes of God still stands. Which means, remarriage in some cases though "legal" by law is not recognized convenantly by God. But that's another blog for another day.
The church is referred to as the bride of Christ. Why? It is an illustration of the covenantal relationship between Christ and the church as God intended it to be between one man and one woman.
The church, not gay activists or President Barack Obama laid the groundwork for same-sex marriage. Decades ago when the church stood by, allowed and gave hearty approval for economic reasons, God's holy covenant to be exchanged for man's legal contract, man then got to define the terms of the contract.
So the church was left standing flat-footed on the sideline stomping its feet, huffing and puffing with no power. No power to take back what God had given it. It long ago abdicated it, and continues to abdicate it in other life and cultural issues such as immigration, healthcare and other socio-economic issues.
We have lost our voice and the voices that are speaking are so aligned politically, that it alienates so many. We are to draw people, not alienate them.
When the world exercised the right given over to it by the church, the church protested in court (the legal system) but the legal system recognized the legality of the right of two people to enter into a contract. A contract that can never escape the covenantal original intent of the Creator.
Church leaders lashed out at Obama, LGBTQ activists, flooded talk radio and Christian media with verbal protests, pointing fingers at everyone but itself. And still does.
What did it think the world, governed by the god of this world, would do but change the very intent and plan of God?
The church in America is not in trouble and increasingly a nonfactor in culture and crises because of "them" but because of "themselves." And until truth once again matters more than political clout and money, Christianity in America will continue its downward slide.
This current crisis as horrifying as it is, is both a blessing and a curse. God and church leaders are not even part of the national conversation. The medical community can only do so much but only the Word of God and the love of God are salves for hurting souls. And so many people are hurting.
The good news? We have an opportunity to begin again. A wonderful new beginning with new opportunities to be the leaders we were meant to be in the culture. Salt to help preserve the country for future generations and light in an increasingly dark world.
It's time for the church to lead. I pray we just don't focus on getting past this and miss "the this" God is revealing to us. The world needs light in darkness and is desperate for truth, love, justice, righteousness, hope and compassion.
God has hit reset. Let's run with endurance the race set before us. We can ill afford to keep dropping the baton.
Published on Thursday, March 4, 2021 @ 8:49 PM CDT
Published on Monday, March 1, 2021 @ 11:09 AM CDT
The ungodly tension we're in as a nation cannot long last. It will not last. Many Christians have bent to the will of the Adversary in further dividing ourselves along racial and political lines. To the point where we can't even have a conversation or amicable disagreements on social media without name-calling and anger.
God will intervene and even now is intervening to right this ship in such ways that neither side will be able to take credit for smooth sailing after such stormy seas. If we don't destroy one another first. Are you right or left? Blue or red? A Conservative or a Liberal? Progressive or regressive?
In the great and small schemes of things and people, only God's side will matter. Are you on His side?
God is shaking up the shakeable to reveal that which can't be shaken. His will. His power. His truth. His word. His authority. His Kingdom.
We can do nothing apart from God; and in a blink of an eye, as has been made clear to us with the now over 500,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 in less than a year - all of our time here is short and can end suddenly without warning.
God has no respect of person, position, power or pedigree.
We as individuals and as a nation are blessed beyond measure, blessings we have and often take for granted. We are blessed more than we deserve yet far too many of us act as if we deserve it all. We don't.
Prophets of old in their generation admonished their own. They did it not on their own, without any righteousness of their own, but on behalf and at the behest of righteous God.
We, too, as people of God must boldly speak and admonish our own in our generation. We know a lot of what we're seeing isn't right, yet many of us are too afraid to speak up for fear of risking the loss of support, relationships and or status.
God has no respect of person, position, power or pedigree.
Let me ask you this. If you knew today would be your last day on earth and tomorrow you meet God, would any of that still matter as much, if at all? Would the focus of your attention change?
Which begs the question, who is to be pleased more than God? Who can compare to God? What can people do to us that God cannot overrule or reverse? Yet many fear the wrath of a man more than the wrath of God.
Concomitantly, what can people take from us that God cannot replace ten times over or one hundred times better?
We must speak truth not on our own accord because we all are as filthy rags before Holy God. Not based on who we are, but who He is. The One who is blameless, all-powerful, perfect and in whom there is no darkness at all. He used others in the past and He wants to use us now in marvelous ways.
The question is, how willing are you to be used by God to stand for truth even if it means standing against your political party or others whom you think hold your future in their hands? Guess what? They don't. The same God holds theirs.
What are we apart from God and what do we have that He has not given? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The Lord raises up and the Lord puts down.
No amount of wealth impresses God. No amount of false worship appeases God. No amount of power can equal God's.
Notoriety, fame, reputation, human feats, exploits, and records mean nothing to Him.
No human endorsement moves God. He is God and God alone. He sits high and looks low. The earth is His footstool and nations, yes even the great America is as only a drop in a bucket to Him. He is God.
As a Christian and as a leader, if God has placed you in a position of high regard and authority, your first allegiance is to Him. Not your political party and certainly not to any other human.
Who created the nation to which we pledge allegiance? Who formed the hand we raise to take an oath or gave us voice, reason, and ability to even recite the Pledge of Allegiance?
How dare we boast of the created with a wink and give but a cursory nod to the One who created it and us all.
How dare we worship the created rather than the Creator. As we continue in exalting the political elite, calling that which is good evil and that which is evil good, there will be a hefty price to pay and the bill is coming due.
Who will stand for right and call that which is wrong, wrong? There is increasingly no distinction between those of God and those who aren't.
Is there little wonder why so many Christians are losing their effectiveness, impact, and witness?
It's not so much where we stand on issues but how we stand on truth. Truth today is determined by our talking heads of choice rather than by the Head of the church - Christ.
The real danger is the infusion of the political into the spiritual and thus we have painted ourselves into a corner and like cornered wounded animals, we are angry and more apt to fight anything or anyone that could actually help.
Americans are locked, loaded and ready - increasingly oblivious to the fact that we are destroying one another and if not careful, the country.
What can be shaken is being shaken. And when it's all said and done, we all may be shockingly shaken to our very core.
Published on Friday, February 26, 2021 @ 4:59 PM CDT
Rare are great leaders that started out to be great. Great leaders become great not by taking leadership classes but by taking chances in life and on themselves - their talents, skills and passion.
Published on Thursday, February 25, 2021 @ 6:01 PM CDT