Category Archives: Current events
Note: I wrote this last spring before I began this blog. Stumbled across it today and thought it’d be a good one to throw out here. Nothing like the slaughter of a sacred cow to start a meaningful dialogue …
In 1959, the greatest Christian salvation machine ever conceived by man invaded Australia, as a Billy Graham Crusade swept over the continent, from shore to shore. Leading an ecumenical effort that included a vast and varied union of denominations and congregations, blasting through all forms of mass media, and speaking in the largest venues in the land, Billy faithfully shared a clear, direct and inviting presentation of the Gospel of Salvation to more than 3,300,000 people in person, and countless millions more through radio, television, newspapers and closed-circuit broadcasts.
This was in the early days of Billy’s remarkable, life-long outreach efforts, and his organization’s scope and scale continued to grow for decades. He returned to Australia with similar Crusades in 1969, 1979 and 1989. Several associate evangelists of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) visited throughout this period as well. In 1996, Billy’s son Franklin, now the president of the BGEA, led a full-fledged crusade that touched the largest cities on the continent.
It is beyond argument that the majority of the population of Australia, for at least two generations, have heard the straight-up Gospel of Salvation, clearly communicated by the most sincere, faithful, capable, organized, and well-funded mass-market evangelists of modern times.
Yesterday I saw a news item from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811197). The lead paragraph says, “A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.” Using a proven statistical model applied to a vast amount of census data, the researchers found “that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.” Top of their list? Australia.
What’s gone wrong? The Bible says the truth will set us free, but this truth is a hard one to swallow.
Is the Christian faith fated to dwindle into oblivion?
Is the Bible outdated and meaningless for today? Is it even, really, the true word of God?
Are the hearts of the people in Australia simply hardened, and they are doomed as a nation to spend eternity in Hell?
Is the rise of the Antichrist inevitable, and so he’s conquering that continent against the best efforts of the Body of Christ?
If you, like me, reject these notions, then what is it?
Did these leaders lack faith, integrity or competence? Of course not! That’d be the easy way out – to claim these Crusades, and all others like them, have failed because the men weren’t righteous. It’s easier to abandon men than methods. But that’s wrong! I believe these men, and others like them, are incredible, faithful, sincere and highly-capable men of God. They are not the problem. Instead, I believe the facts prove that mass market, salvation-based evangelism is not the way to win the world for Christ.
Jesus and Paul modeled for us a different method: Personal discipleship.
They also taught a different message: The Gospel of the Kingdom. This, according to Christ, is the seed we’re supposed to plant. He said the message of salvation is just the first step; that you must be born again just to see the Kingdom. The Kingdom message tells us we are His sons and daughters, with a victorious identity and destiny, and a mandate to establish dominion over all creation. With the “born again” message alone, we view the cross as a means of salvation, a way out of here. (And how’s that message working for us?) With Christ’s message of the Kingdom, we view the cross as God sees it, as a means of invasion. Through Christ, we now have full access to the power, provision and direction of God Himself, to seek first and establish His Kingdom!
It pains me to say it, but the facts are the facts: The methods, models and messages that the Body of Christ have dogmatically revered, embraced and funded for generations have been measured, and they are a massive failure.
But our faith is NOT fated for failure. Victory is our destiny!
The Bible IS the word of God, and it is more relevant and needed today than ever before!
Hearts around the world are parched and hungry for the reality of the Living God, ready to embrace Him when they meet Him!
“The Antichrist” is the one whose days are numbered; the Kingdom WILL come on earth as it is in Heaven, just as Jesus prayed! We are more than conquerors!
We just need to plant the right seed and use the right cultivation methods, returning to the ways of Christ and the early apostles. This truth WILL set us free – free to bring the victory and seize God’s eternal inheritance that is stored up only for those who conquer the world for Him.
It is time for an UPRISING. It’s time for Christians to stop waiting and start winning!
– You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends!
There is power in the name of Jesus. And politicians of all persuasions have sought to wield that power for more than 1700 years, since Constantine marched on Rome under the sign of the cross. (In fact, Constantine was the first person to use the cross as a “Christian” symbol, and he did so as a campaign logo of sorts, much like the Obama “O” of his day.)
It seems genuine believers in the political arena, on both sides of the aisle, believe they have a monopoly on the “real” way Jesus would vote, and are often quick to point accusatory fingers at their brethren on the other side of the issues (often accompanied by the most inflammatory, hateful language).
This may shock my “conservative” friends, but yes: there are genuine Christ-followers who adhere to a “liberal” worldview. And this may shock my “liberal” friends, but yes: there are genuine Christ-followers who adhere to a “conservative” worldview. And you know what? I believe both are equally sincere in their love for the Lord – and equally manipulated by the dark princes of American politics.
To all believers, we must wake up and realize that the enemy – yes, our real enemy, not those people who support different candidates than you do – is the only one who wins when we are divided, regardless of who prevails at the polls. Christ calls us to unity, and our unity will only be found in Him. We will never find unity if we seek it through partisan victory or political domination.
It’s a sad state of affairs when conservative Republicans believe that corporate tax breaks and harsh treatment of honest yet undocumented immigrants is the “Christian” way, and that anyone who thinks differently is morally bankrupt. It’s just as sad when liberal Democrats believe that Christ is honored by bloated government bureaucracy or poverty-breeding entitlement programs, and that anyone against such things is greedy and hateful.
Does Jesus really advocate unquestioningly supporting the modern, political nation of Israel, and turning a blind eye to their brutal treatment of Palestinians? Are modern Israelis (in contrast to ancient Israelites, who actually had predominantly Hebrew blood and adhered to the Old Covenant) really God’s chosen people? ‘Splain that one to me.
Many years ago, I made a living as a political consultant, until I felt the Lord call me out of that arena. I’ve kept an active interest in politics, and stay in touch with my friends who are still in that game. I’ve also been the C.O.O. of a television and radio news network, an officer in a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalist, and worked in publishing much of my career. Here’s something I know: I’m no “conspiracy theorist,” but fact is, for every big issue out there, there is big money at stake. Fortunes to be made and lost. Moneymen behind the scenes of the political game pull the strings that make every candidate and activist dance. They manipulate the media and the message, at every level, in every detail. That’s just the way it is.
Joseph Goebbels, the evil genius pioneer of modern propaganda, masterfully manipulated the German population to support Hitler’s Third Reich. The tools at his disposal were primitive by modern media standards. Today’s propagandists have exponentially more power at their fingertips – and they use it, with Goebbels’ passion, to advance their own purposes. We are fools if we don’t accept the fact that our political arena – and the people in it (that is, us) — is just as manipulated as it was in Hitler’s Germany.
Does Jesus really care about the American tax code? Does He care who is in the White House? Does He care whether the person picking produce on a distant farm has a Green Card or not? Does He care if I can own a gun? Does He care which way I vote, or if I vote at all?
Maybe He does, maybe He doesn’t. Folks who knew me back in my activist days may be surprised to hear me say this, but I honestly don’t know. What I do know is this: The first thing Jesus cares about is the hearts of people. His Kingdom is not of this world; instead, it is within each of us. Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are but strangers here; His eternal Kingdom is our home.
Am I saying that we should sit on the sidelines of politics? No, I’m not. We are to be the salt and light of the world, seek first the advancement of His Kingdom, and glorify Him in everything our hand finds to do. And in a democratic nation, that includes politics.
What I AM saying is this: We must refuse to follow those who divide us. We must question our own reasons for supporting the issues and candidates we support, and cut the puppet strings that are tied to every single issue we debate. We must operate in courageous meekness, pursuing unity, in the role of peacemaker. We must not be afraid to buck the trends, reach across the aisle, change our minds and speak the truth. We must find a new voice, a new way, to glorify God in our civic activities. We must let Christ, and Christ alone, pull the strings that guide our actions and votes! When we do, I believe we will find that Jesus is neither Republican nor Democrat, neither liberal nor conservative – and that there is good and evil beneath each of these headings.
The Kingdom of God is advanced from the bottom-up, and from the inside-out. Love conquers all. Love your political “enemies.” Get to know them, and minister to their deepest needs. Stop the angry rhetoric, finger pointing and closed-minded rejection of everything that is counter to your favorite party, candidate or ideology. Win hearts for Christ, and let Him take it from there. The Holy Spirit is a better voters’ guide than anything any advocacy group can publish.
When the people turn towards God, and are yielded to His Spirit, the issues we’re fighting over will disappear — selfishness, suffering, brokenness, illness, betrayal, crime, rage, greed, corruption, destitution, and every other social sickness will fade away — and His Kingdom will rise.
And I believe that’s a cause we can all get behind.
– You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends.
False teachings in support of modern Zionism are a huge source of confusion for too many Christians these days.
These teachings say it’s our Christian duty to support the modern, political state of Israel, and that this is somehow tied to our fate in the “end times.”
Now, from a purely practical, patriotic standpoint, I am all in favor of keeping a strong alliance with Israel. They are America’s best friend in the Middle East and a valuable strategic ally.
But to say it is our Christian duty to do so is, to me, not only ridiculously contrary to scripture, but dangerous and in its extreme downright blasphemous. It is political manipulation at its finest, nothing more, and too many Christians today are too eager to play along.
Those who advocate this position claim that today’s political nation of Israel and its citizens are still considered by God to be His Chosen People, and that God will bless us if we go out of our way to support them. Many go so far as to imply (some even outright claim) that these people do not even need to accept Jesus Christ to be saved. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Yes, the descendants of Abraham, due to their patriarch’s faithfulness, were selected by God, for His purposes, to be the foreshadow of His Kingdom on earth and the set-apart people group through which the Messiah would come. As such, according to the terms of His covenant with them (the Old Covenant), they were favored on earth, and outsiders who blessed them would be blessed.
It is vital for us today to understand, however, that this was the Old Covenant, not the Old Entitlement. Entitlements are one-sided, covenants are not. Were it the Old Entitlement – and God was simply giving favor to a select people group because of their genetics – then the case could possibly be made that their modern descendants were still covered by this.
(Interestingly, according to many studies, a large number of people who claim Jewish heritage today do not even have Hebrew genetics. Some report that upwards of 80% of today’s Israelis are not Hebrew by blood.)
But talk of genetics is irrelevant, because it was NOT a hereditary entitlement, it was the Old Covenant – a two-sided deal. As in, “I’ll do this, if you do this.” The obligation of one party to follow a covenant is negated if the other party breaks covenant. From the very beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham, this point was clear. In Genesis 17:1-2, God says, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you…” Abraham’s obligation under the covenant was to blamelessly walk before God. In Exodus 19:5-6, God re-iterates this in greater detail to Moses: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Under the Old Covenant, the way to fellowship with God was through full obedience to the terms of the covenant. Over time, these terms were spelled out clearly in a strict code of laws.
Sadly, repeatedly, throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites broke covenant, and when they did God removed His favor from them. Numerous plagues and curses afflicted the Israelites in the wilderness, and were it not for Moses’ repentant pleading, God said He would have completely wiped them out. Ultimately, the population was decimated, the nation occupied, and the Israelites scattered into exile. Clearly God Himself did not consider the Old Covenant to be the Old Entitlement! When they broke covenant with Him, He viewed the covenant as null and void, and they had to live with the consequences.
It would be nice to be able to selectively edit a contract after the fact, but we can’t do that. Heck, I wish I could erase my obligation to make payments out of my mortgage contract! No doubt, Zionist Christian leaders can pontificate about the incredible things involved in God’s side of His covenant with Israel. Presented that way, it all sounds great, and makes a persuasive argument to those who take such things at face value. It’s just that they never mention the other side of the bargain, and the fact that through repeated and ongoing disobedience, the Israelites broke covenant and rendered it null and void.
Interestingly, most people I’ve seen who claim the Jewish faith today do not appear to make even a half-hearted effort at fulfilling the full obligation of the Old Covenant. And even if they did live with wholehearted devotion to keeping every letter of the law, they would find it to be impossible. The Bible says so! Today’s nation of Israel and its citizens do not even remotely live up to their end of the bargain, in any way, shape or form. So again I ask, on what basis does a Christian leader claim that they are still God’s Chosen People? There is no genetic claim, and no covenantal claim, either.
Today we know the Old Covenant was enacted by God to point the way to Christ. Christ is the only human being who ever kept the law perfectly, and in doing so He fulfilled the terms of the Old Covenant once and for all. Then, He took upon Himself the punishment everyone else deserves for breaking covenant, so that through Him, we may have fellowship with God now and eternally. This is the New Covenant: Instead of perfect obedience in the law, we must put our faith in Jesus Christ. It is through faith in Christ alone that we may live as God’s Chosen People. Outside of Christ, it is impossible. To claim otherwise is to diminish the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
The way I see it, all this modern Zionism stuff is really just a deception from the enemy designed to keep Christians from realizing their true identity and destiny in Christ.
In Hebrew, the word ISRAEL means, “He will rule as God.” And so the question is, who will rule as God? People who have repeatedly, throughout history, abandoned their covenant with God? People who may have been born under a certain genetic lineage? People who futilely put their hope in perfect obedience to an impossible set of laws?
Or … is it those who put their faith in Jesus Christ?
On this point, the Bible is perfectly clear. In Revelation 3:20-21, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who conquers I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
So who will rule as God? Who will sit on His throne? Those who open the door to Jesus Christ, have fellowship with Him, and then work with Him to conquer the world for His Kingdom. That’s who will rule as God!
In Christ, our destiny is victory over the world, and in eternity, we will rule as God. It’s time we stand up and act like it!
All the covenant promises God made back then apply to us today. It has nothing to do with geography or genetics, or any attempt to keep the Old Covenant.
The Old Covenant has been closed out, and under the New Covenant, followers of Jesus Christ are the true, covenant-keeping Israel. There is no other.
Please know I’m not anti-Israel or anti-Semitic in any way. As I said, I’m all in favor of a political alliance with the nation of Israel – they’re our best friends in a very hostile Middle East. Let’s just do it honestly, as a strategic political alliance, not under manipulation.
There is great value for Christians in studying and applying the spiritual principles and practices of our faith’s Jewish roots. So far as we share the majority of our Holy Book, and a rich history and heritage, I have great respect my Jewish friends. (One of my all-time favorite Bible studies was a journey through the Old Testament with a group of Jewish students back in college.) Yet without Christ, this heritage is no better than any other. Like all my other lost friends, I pray for my Jewish friends to come to a full realization of Jesus Christ and accept Him as the promised Messiah.
Also, please understand I am not going to engage in propagating any conspiracy theories about the how and why so many well-meaning Christians are sucked into the modern Zionist movement. I am not naïve enough to think it’s by accident, but to me, conspiracy theories are mainly a waste of time. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, and the truth alone is enough to send the darkness to flight. And the truth is, Jesus is the only way, and in God’s eyes His followers are the true Chosen People.
– You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends!
This year may prove to be a perfect storm of ridiculous, kooky, end-is-near fever as secular/pagan whackoes who give credence to the Mayan calendar will join forces with the “Christian” whackoes who’ve made an industry out of “end times” predictions. Pop celebrities and mainstream media will no doubt get in on the act, because anything that generates hysteria makes good ratings — and if “Christians” end up looking even stupider in the end, that’s gravy for them.
This is a perfect — I believe God-ordained — opportunity for true, mature Christians to stand up and inject some Biblical truth into the mix. When 2012 comes and goes, and WE are the ones who can stay, “see folks, we told you so,” the media’s sensationalism will backfire on them, and God will be glorified through it all! This can and should be the year that the Gospel of the Kingdom gains global pre-eminence, and the would-be “Christian” Nostradamases are finally brought into the truth (or shamed out of their pulpits and seminary lecturns).
Those who understand the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Jesus taught and the early church advanced, know that there is no secret alarm clock ticking in heaven that will someday trigger “the end times.” We understand that the modern, pop-theology/mythology teachings of a sudden “rapture” and future “great tribulation” are nowhere in the Bible, and were instead pulled from their Dark Ages origins and popularized by John Darby, the father of modern “end times” kooks. We know that the rise of the victorious Body of Christ is inevitable before the end, not the rise of the antichrist!
The Bible says seven times that Jesus is currently seated in Heaven, waiting UNTIL His enemies are made His footstool. Jesus Himself said seven times in a row (in Rev. 2-3) that only those who are victorious over the world will have an eternal inheritance. Paul said that spiritual gifts are being given to men UNTIL the Body of Christ rises to global pre-eminence, and only THEN will Christ return. In the Revelation, it says that at the end, the angels will rejoice because “The Bride has made herself ready.”
On virtually every page of the Bible, this point is clear: God has given His children on earth a job to do — that is, to conform the world to His Kingdom — and the end won’t come until we’re done. “No one knows the day or the hour” because it’s in our hands, and we have free will!
So when will the end come? According to the Bible:
- After Christ’s enemies are under His feet. Where are His feet? On His Body. That’s us! We have power to bring down powers, principalities and strongholds of the enemy. The end won’t come till we stand up and exercise that power!
- When the Body of Christ (that is, us!) reaches “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
- When the sons and daughters of the Kingdom reach full maturity.
- When all true believers are united in the truth.
- After Christians are fully victorious in conquering the kingdom of darkness.
So … how far are we from that? Well, look around. To say that it’ll happen in 2012 is a stretch, at best!
Did you know the word “apocalypse” means “unveiling” — as in the unveiling of the Bride of Christ? The only one who should be afraid of that is the enemy! Certainly not victorious sons and daughters of the Living God!
There’s money in sensationalism. Human nature (as in, the sinful variety) values victimhood and craves a rescue from reality. Some leaders (Christian and other, sincere and not) gain great wealth and esteem by playing on these facts. They should, instead, be basing their leadership on the facts of the Bible. And those facts are that we are called to be VICTORS, not VICTIMS, and there will be no great escape or sudden “end of the world” apart from our crossing the finish line!
True peace is only found on the path of God. As fear grips the world this year, let’s seize the opportunity to draw mankind — starting with our Christian brothers and sisters — into the peace and certainty of God’s true vision, the message of His Kingdom come.
How? Read UPRISING: Time for Christians to Stop Waiting and Start Winning. Do like many others have done (including several mininisters) and buy multiple copies of it to give away. That’s a good place to start!
– You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends! (Especially through 2012!)
It’s good to pay close attention to the metaphors God chooses. God’s Word is always deep and multifaceted, and word associations He uses aren’t thrown into Scripture simply out of artistic license. When He says, for example, “Consider the ant…” in Proverbs, we really should. Fact is, He made ants (and everything else) and gave them the the traits they have, to serve as an expression of Himself and His truth. We can know Him, ourselves, and our plight more deeply if we study these things in depth.
One God-given metaphor that’s been in my mind lately is where He says that He’s raising us to be “oaks of righteousness.” This metaphor is jam-packed with meaning, and today I’m going to dig into just one facet of it.
When you cut down a tree and look inside, we all know that you’ll find it contains ring after ring of growth. Look closely at these rings, and you’ll see they alternate between thicker, lighter-colored rings and thinner, darker colored ones.
A while back, I studied how to make a bow (as in archery) out of a single piece of wood. For a bow, it’s not the shape that matters so much as it is being mindful of the growth rings. Whittle a stiff piece of wood to the shape of a bow and ignore the rings, put a string on it, and pull it back, and it’ll most likely snap in two. However, if you shave it down according to the internal ring structure, so that the face of the bow is one contiguous ring (one of the thin, dark ones specifically) from tip to tip, you can flex it all you want and it won’t break. That’s because the dense growth rings are strongest part of a tree.
You see, the growth rings in a tree reflect the changing seasons. When external conditions are seemingly ideal, and the tree shows all the outward signs of life, this is when the thick, weak rings are formed. The thin, strong rings grow during the harsh, dry seasons. While it may seem on the outside that the tree is dormant or dead, it is in reality gaining the inner strength it needs to withstand the greatest stress and fiercest storms.
Oaks grow slowly, and strong. And, according to His Word, God is growing us the same way.
When we understand this, and start seeing our lives from God’s perspective, it is easier to rejoice when we face harsh, dry seasons. During our Christian walk, we all face them; it’s part of God’s plan. God is growing strong, seasoned sons and daugthers to inherit His Kingdom!
I wrote the following bit a many years ago during a dry spell, and just stumbled across it yesterday. Somehow it seemed particularly relevant to the season many of us are in right now. I hope it blesses you.
LESSONS FOR THE LEAN TIMES
Quoting the Bible is easy, especially when you’re giving advice to others. Even quoting it to yourself can be easy. Now living it … well, that can be another story entirely, right?
I mean, when Jesus said, “Don’t worry about what you’re going to eat, drink or wear … Don’t worry about tomorrow…,” He didn’t really mean for us to literally not worry about these things, did He? Was He really speaking to me, as the head of my household, with a mortgage, car payments, insurance, etc.? Does He really expect us to do this, even in a down economy?
My friends, the answer to each of these is simple: Yes.
God is real and His promises are true. No matter how complicated our economic system. No matter who we are, or where we are, or how much we make (or used to make!).
The Lord has blessed me by leading me through some very difficult times. Yes, I said blessed! Blessed because, as the Bible says, it’s through trials that He builds our faith, and through fire that He purifies us. I personally desire greater faith and purity much more than I desire a bigger TV or house. Not that they always conflict, but if I had to choose, I’d pick a closer walk with Him over material things any day. Wouldn’t you?
I also consider it a blessing to go through tough times because later it allows me the opportunity to help others who are going through the same types of challenges. If someone can stand on my shoulders, and not have to go to the depths I’ve had to go, I’d consider my hardships to be worthwhile.
Right now I know many folks are facing some tough challenges, and I’d like to encourage you to seek God through it all. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow in faith and purity!
Here are some keys I’ve found for thriving in the lean times:
Rejoice! This is an opportunity to learn and grow. God cares about YOU, not about your things! Let your heightened sense of awareness drive you to His word and to prayer. When you pray, remember His divine guidance and provision are already yours for the taking! He promises them to you in full — you just have to do your part: 1) Trust in Him with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding, 2) Seek first His kingdom and righteousness. Don’t keep begging Him for what’s already yours — instead, thank Him … and then do your part!
Focus on righteousness. Only obsess about the things that you can control. When you can’t sleep and are tempted to worry, turn it around and instead ask the Lord to show you areas in your life where you can be more obedient and righteous, where you can better reflect Him. Make good use of those restless nights!
Find the tightrope. We’re supposed to be on the narrow path anyways, right? It can be easy to stray in fat times when the tightrope is laying on the ground and we have the latitude to wander any which way. Now that times are lean, the ground has pulled away and there’s no safety net, let it force you back to the narrow path. Be obsessed with fully honoring God with every step; every thought, word and action. Commit to staying on it when things get “better.” And when you can’t see very far ahead and your chest gets tight, just focus on the very next step, even if it’s just inhale, then exhale, then inhale…. God will get you through it!
Honor the landowner. In many years of taking boys hunting and fishing through the youth ministry I founded, we developed clear-cut rules for relating to landowners: Get to know them, maniacally follow their rules, and leave the place better than you found it. It’s easy to think the things we have are “ours.” But the Bible says otherwise: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything that’s in it.” Start treating God like the landowner He is. The stuff you have (and/or had) isn’t yours! Remember the words to the old hymn, “I am but a stranger here, Heaven is my home.” Get to know the Landowner! Follow His rules! Leave the place better than you found it, every single day! And don’t be surprised if and when He trusts you with more keys to open more gates!
Never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. There was wisdom in that old Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler. If God has given you something to do, do it, regardless of what you see or understand. If you play your chips, when times are high you’ll be careless and wasteful, and when times are low you’ll miss out on all the key opportunities. You can’t lose when you set your eyes on things above, and walk accordingly!
Playing chicken. So you’re staring the monster in the teeth, running headlong into some scary stuff? Great! Time to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Either all we hear and sing about in church is true or it’s not. This is your chance to see exactly what God is made of. Don’t blink, don’t swerve and don’t panic — stay on the narrow path as He leads you, and run the race with endurance! This may be the best opportunity of your life to find what’s meaningful and true! My experience is, the whole world will swerve to avoid crashing into a man of God.
Count the cost. Jesus said we should count the cost of following Him. What if He were to require you to give up all your earthly possessions so that you could remain in a personal relationship with Him? It’s not without precedent! You don’t know God’s plan: These “tough times” may be permanent. You must ask yourself, will you be truly content with simply being in His will? And learn to celebrate, not resent, others’ good fortune.
Focus on fruit. Someday we’ll all stand before the Lord and He’ll ask, “Where’s the fruit?” (I’m reminded of that old woman in the Wendy’s commercial … “Where’s the beef?!”) He gives us time, talents and treasure in this world for one primary purpose: To produce fruit that pleases Him. Have you been doing this? One thing is certain, even if you have less today than yesterday, you can. Be faithful with the little that you do have today! Keep planting seeds and working the soil, and be efficient and effective at it. Then He just may give you more.
Learn all you can! Keep asking the Lord, “What more can I learn through this?” That’s another prayer He’ll always answer!
Be transparent. Don’t act like things are rocking and rolling if they’re not. In being open, honest and humble, you may finally learn what the Body of Christ is all about! Don’t be ashamed — accept help from those the Lord brings your way.
Keep smiling. God is still in control! He still has cattle on a thousand hills! Don’t let others get you down. They’ll try! Remember Job’s source of hope: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
Take notes. That’s what I did, and now I might just be helping others. Plan to do the same! Be a living monument to the Lord to remind the world of His mighty power!
If you know me or have read my bio, you probably know that I used to be very active in politics. In fact, I made my living in that arena for several years, first as a campaign consultant, and then as the founding editor of a prominent media source for “essential news and commentary about Texas politics.” During this time, I worked with campaigns up to the statewide level, and spoke regularly with folks like Karl Rove, Rick Perry, and even spent several hours in the governor’s office with George W. Bush.
A conservative Christian leader I knew back then recently saw a promo for my book and contacted me. It was good to reconnect with her. There are many fine Christian men and women called by God to serve in that battlefield, and she’s one of them.
Anyway, she asked me what I thought about the current political scene. This was my reply:
I felt the Lord call me out of politics, gosh, about 12 years ago, and into full-time ministry. (In fact, my latest blog post somewhat speaks to where He has me… http://christianuprising.org/2011/12/01/winning-strategies-supply-v-demand/). I still stay up-to-date as best I can, but for the last decade God has had me in the wilderness – literally – discipling our next generation of leaders, voters, husbands and fathers.
Regarding the current political situation, I believe our nation, in general, is simply reaping what it’s sowed. The problem with a democracy (which we’ve become) versus a constitutional republic (which is how we were founded) is that we’re stuck with mob rule. As someone once said, in a democracy you get exactly the government you deserve.
One thing I realized in politics is that even the best elected official or public policy is simply the tail of the dog, and a band-aid on the ills of society. Our problems don’t come from bad policy, they all come from individual people making bad choices. As James Madison said, if men were angels, we’d need no government. As Locke and Hobbs and others pointed out, government is simply a counterweight to individual selfish (sinful) choices. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand; the less responsible the people, the less freedom they can handle and still function.
The only way to really change the world is one heart at a time. And the only way to truly change hearts is by leading people to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Conservatism calls for liberty and limited government. Those are great things, but in truth they’re only a reflection of the righteousness of the people. As de Toqueville pointed out, “America is great because she is good….” I don’t think that could be said about us today, by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. Yes, there are pockets of good, and plenty of good people. And there are still some residual “good” characteristics in our collective system. But, dare I say this?, the primary beef that Bin Laden had against America – that we inflict our cultural filth (pornography, greed, secularism, abortion, etc.) wherever we trod – is dead on. We are no longer a great nation because we are no longer a righteous nation – and we have exactly the government we deserve. The majority of voters elected Obama; it’s that simple. Sure, these same brain-dead, superficial, self-serving voters may be cajoled and manipulated into casting a vote for someone who is more “righteous” than Obama. And sure, that may give us some temporary relief. But the fact is, it’s a band-aid at best, because underlying it all is the same electorate, the same culture, the same moral filth.
No, the path to liberty and limited government is not through electoral campaigns, it’s through evangelism and discipleship. Our government will shrink as we once again become a nation of Christ followers. Our liberty will grow with our righteousness; our greatness with our goodness. Sure, God calls SOME folks to be active in the political arena – I’m thankful that He does, and they should do it with all their strength. We’re in a leaky boat, and someone has to bail water! But the real solution, and where we should put our emphasis as a movement, is found through fulfillment of the Great Commission, right here in our own backyard.
So, what do you think? Is the cure for our societial ills found in wholesale political campaigns, or through personal discipleship? Can a population be legislated into righteousness, or are stricter laws simply a counterweight to unrighteousness? Is there any real solution other than turning hearts to Christ, one at a time? I’d value your thoughts.
– You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends!
Embracing our God-given purpose of achieving Kingdom victory should compel us to look more strategically at how best to tackle the problems facing our world. When we do this, we see that for each of the enemy’s cultural strongholds, there is both a supply side and a demand side. There are people who produce pornography and people who purchase it, people who sell illegal drugs and people who use them, people who govern poorly and people who vote them into office, and so on.
Our human nature is to look for shortcuts – the perceived path of least resistance – and also to seek recognition for our endeavors. This nature generally leads us to attack the supply side of a stronghold – it just seems to be the logical way to bring it down, and we can certainly make a big splash by doing so. As a result we picket abortion clinics, organize electoral campaigns, wage war against drug cartels, seek to outlaw pornography, and the like.
Now, we each need to do as the Lord leads, and there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities. If the Lord calls you personally to focus on the supply side of a stronghold, then you should do it with all your strength. However, if we as a body embrace these tactics as our sole strategy for pulling down strongholds, victory is impossible. How can I say this? It’s a simple lesson in Economics 101: For any given demand, limiting the supply simply drives up the price. For example, attack the supply chain for illegal drugs without addressing the demand, and you’ve only hiked the street value – and as a result, you’re driving addicts to do even more extreme things to get them!
Want to tear down the stronghold of illegal drugs? Just like every other cultural stronghold, attacking the demand is the winning strategy. When former drug addicts would rather “get drunk on the Holy Spirit”(Ephesians 5:18) than high on dope, the illicit drug trade will disappear! Instead, we’ve spent oceans of money and manpower fighting the supply … and how’s it working for us?
When men hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for the desires of the flesh, the pornography industry will collapse. Attack the supply – whether it be through shutting down pornographers or simply putting “porn blockers” on computers – and allow the demand to linger – and men will still commit adultery in their hearts. No victory there!
When our elected leaders are storing up treasures in Heaven instead of pursuing earthly riches, corruption will vanish. When the hearts of the electorate are turned towards righteousness, and they vote accordingly, the righteous will once again rule. Connect gang members to real, loving, edifying relationships and street violence will stop. When the truth of God’s love is known by all, then all religions and sects based on legalism, division or hate will fail.
Attack the supply side of any of these, and you may get some temporary relief, but it’s no better than putting a Band-Aid on an infection. It may look fine on the surface for a time, but the real problem is still there, only getting worse.
When you get to the heart of these issues, you realize the ultimate supply of all our cultural ills is the deception of the enemy. Even those people who are agents of the “supply side” are, in their hearts, simply demanding gratification from something other than God, and they have believed the lie that they can find what they’re looking for through sin.
We must remember that our battle is for people and not against them! Any perceived shortcut is really a dead-end street. God’s Kingdom will come when we personally connect with the hearts and minds of individual people, one at a time, and turn them towards Christ. Victory will not be accomplished through blunt force, but instead through loving kindness. Put two and two together –“The meek shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:11, repeated by Jesus in Matthew 5:5) and “He who (conquers, carries off the victory) will inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7) —and it becomes clear that we will conquer through meekness. There is no other way.
I am blessed to talk to folks in ministry all the time. Across the board, lately I am hearing a sense of urgent expectancy that I’ve never heard before. It’s like everyone feels that God is preparing to unleash something big.
Look at the “birth pains” that are shaping up. Not only do you have all the “Arab uprisings” taking shape around the world, and the global economic unrest, here at home we’ve got record unemployment, across-the-board dissatisfaction with the government and the “occupy” stuff. Also, 2012 is a presidential election year, not to mention the fact that it’s the end of the Mayan calendar, and all kinds of kooks are predicting the apocalypse.
You know, come to think of it, I think the apocalypse is exactly what’s fixing to happen. The word in Greek, after all, means “UNVEILING” or “REVELATION.” That’s a good thing, when used in context of the Body and Bride of Christ. Isn’t that what we’re praying for – the unveiling of Christ’s Bride, the revelation of His Kingdom?
All the stresses and tribulation taking place around the world are turning up the dial on the hunger in peoples’ hearts. All the things that people have placed their hopes in are falling apart. Now, more than ever, the harvest is ripe! Time for followers of the One True Living God to rise up, and help fill the emptiness in the souls of people around the world.
We have a monopoly on everything that everyone in the history of the world has ever looked for — that is, the love, peace, and joy that is found only in Christ! Our God is real, and theirs isn’t! It’s time we act like it! It’s time for Christians to stop waiting and start winning.
The Bible says seven times that Jesus is seated in Heaven, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. God told Adam to conquer in Genesis, and in the Revelation He said all eternal inheritance is stored up for those who do. He said we are more than conquerors, the gates of hell will not prevail against us, we have authority over all the force of the enemy, we have nothing to fear, and we will do greater works than Jesus. What on earth are we waiting for?
A record harvest is on the horizon. You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends!