Monthly Archives: October 2016

10 Things you can do to Heal this Nation

broken-flag-2Recently I spoke to a family counselor who told me they are counseling people over the fear and anxiety produced by this election cycle. We are all dealing with some profound questions. How did we get to this point in our nation’s political process? Does my vote even matter?   What will happen to our country if ____________ gets elected? Perhaps the greatest question we are facing is; Is there anything I can do to help this nation? There is! Let me encourage you today that a nation is not great because they have the right president its greatness is always determined by righteous people.

So here are 10 things I suggest we can all do to heal this nation.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY PERSONALLY. We all need to realize the answer begins with us. I must first do what I desire others to do, be what I want others to be and live out the principles I desire to see in our world. I cannot expect others to do what I myself do not embrace.

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM SPIRITUALLY. We live in a world where the spiritual battles are played out in the physical realm. As a Christian I understand that there is a force of evil that longs to kill, steal and destroy my life, my family and our nation. The scripture says we “wrestle not against flesh and blood”.   Failing to realize that there is a spiritual battle going on in the unseen world further distances me from a solution.

LIVE MORALLY. If I want a president, a governor or a neighbor that is moral I need to first model morality. Sadly in our nation we act appalled at the political scandals that recently have played out and yet pornography is a lucrative internet profit-maker. We feign outrage over a candidate that falls below a moral standard and yet buy 125 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey. We’re hypocrites if we have erotic material on our computers, phones and bookshelves and expect that our leaders will be different. Leaders reflect morality more than they direct it.

PRIORITIZE FAMILY. God has created society so that the strength of the family unit determines the strength of a nation. Today I can change this country by being loving and faithful to my wife, loving and modeling holiness to my children and taking full responsibility for their welfare.

PRAY EARNESTLY. In scripture we are told that God gets involved in the affairs of men in two ways. First, by raising up and taking down rulers and secondly, in answer to the prayers of his people. If God is involved in governments and He answers our prayers, now is the time to pray! Prayer does not change things, God changes things and prayer puts us in touch with the one who has the supernatural power to alter our national circumstance.

LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY We need a baptism of divine love in our world. Love is like a flame that melts the hardest steel. Not an explosion but a steady force of melting heat that softens even the coldest heart. I need to realize that I must love everyone regardless of whether they agree or disagree with me. Never let the sign in someone’s yard determine your treatment of them!

WORK DILIGENTLY In our effort to improve our world let us not “grow weary in well doing” (Gal 6). As a pastor I must love, serve, pray and shepherd my people faithfully. If you are involved in the political process work hard till election day.   Whatever your assignment is, make sure it is noble then don’t give up, don’t lose heart and don’t quit.

DISAGREE GRACIOUSLY. When you merge an election cycle with social media we bring out the very worst in all of us. “Let your conversation be seasoned with grace” Col. 4:6

THINK BIBLICALLY. Our nation was founded on a Judeo Christian value system.  If every person would once again embrace a world-view framed by scripture our life would improve, your family would be healthier and our nation would once again prosper.

VOTE CONSERVATIVELY. Either voting matters or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t matter who you vote for then vote because you CAN, It is a right that you should exercise. If voting makes even the slightest difference then vote because you SHOULD. We all agree there are no perfect options in this race. But the reality is that one of these candidates will take several thousand people to DC with them to run the government. These people will either be people with a conservative or liberal ideology. Voting on the issues of religious freedom, protection of the unborn, conservative economic policy and conserving our founding principles will make this country better, so vote conservatively.

As we debate about the issues remember that 3 weeks from now this will all be over,  you are going to still need friends and the world will still need Jesus! Embrace these principles and go change the world!

 

 


The lost art of civility

screaming-1368564297America has for centuries been a shining beacon of democracy for the world. The people of the world want to live here, vacation here and have their medical procedures done here. Our elections have been a model for the world’s governments who too often cannot transfer power without the shedding of blood. With the risk of sounding boastful, our model of freedom, based upon individual rights and responsibility, has made us the greatest nation in the world.

Dr. Oz Guinness shared recently that America has been unique because of our “Civil Public Square”. In the ancient world there was an actual “public square” where people would gather and discuss issues of the day. In more recent centuries that public square was figurative as books, newspapers, magazines and more recently radio and television have been the place of discourse. Today our “Public square” is “virtual.”  With the internet and devices, everyone is everywhere speaking to all people at once.

Dr. Guinness described the three types of public squares in the world, The Sacred public square where government and the church are one. You are only free to embrace the ideas of the prescribed religion. Detractors are punished. Iran, Saudia Arabia are modern examples. The Naked public square where there is absolutely no religion allowed at all. Communism has illustrated this well over the 20th century. In this square all religion is banned and the faithful are persecuted.

America has had a third type of public square that he called the Civil Public Square. This is based upon the first amendment which ensures the freedom for all people to assemble, to speak, to choose and the added freedom of conscience. All views are welcome and respected with civility. One is free to meet with whomever they choose, say whatever they desire , choose to do or not do based on preference and free to do or not do because of deeply held conscientious convictions.

The nature of the civil public square is illustrated with a boxing metaphor. In ancient boxing the boxers had no boundaries and fought until their opponent was dead. They literally boxed all over the courtyard or town. Later an Englishman “civilized” boxing with a ring, rounds of certain length and the respect of one boxer to another that began the match with them touching gloves. An official watched over the match, a winner was declared and everyone went home… alive! Our democracy has been much like that. We have vigorous debate, play by the rules, respect our opponent and then respect the outcome. That is what makes us civil and different from most of the world.

Sadly, civility is disappearing! Just look on your social media feed. This election cycle has brought out the worst in all of us and our respect and tolerance of other opinions can no longer be discussed without vitriol and sometimes hatred itself.  We are systematically removing the boundaries around the “ring” again and “boxing” without rules with the aim of killing our opponents.

Today not all views are respected.   Religious freedom is being pushed out of the public square. We are moving more and more to the “Naked” public square where religion is demonized and labeled as discrimination. Freedom of conscience is no longer regarded and other freedoms will soon be gone as well.

My friend Dr. John Neihoff recently wrote; A free and democratic republic is based upon a freedom of speech which allows a healthy, lively, and civil conversation about a nation, its values, its direction, and its beliefs. When discourse dies, the chains of enslavement clank in the shadows. For when discourse dies, dissent dies with her.

Ideas die with her. Integrity dies with her. Honest quest for truth dies with her. Freedom dies with her!

 So as we enter the final weeks of this election cycle here are three things to remember.

  • In America we win by persuasion not coercion.

If we cannot win out of sound arguments, good logic and rigorous debate we cannot win. Coercion is for the despot not the free.

  • Guard what you say on social media.

Virtual communication is detached from emotional accountability and often is misunderstood. In other words we often will say something on social media that we would never say to someone’s face. This kills civility!

  • Finally as Christians remember we are followers Jesus.

As disciples our behavior should reflect his. Our treatment of others should be modeled after his treatment of others. Our goal is the glory of God not the promotion of a political agenda and our hope is not found in a donkey or an elephant but is found in the Lamb of God!