It affects you!

            Every infringement on God’s presence around you affects your life!  Whether it is an attack on the comment that Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, makes, or the removal of crosses across the country, “it affects you!”

There are groups trying to remove the Mount Soledad Cross in San Diego erected on behalf of Korean Veterans, the cross in the Mojave Desert and now the Steubenville, Ohio, logo, which has a small cross.  An organization called “Freedom from Religion Foundation” FFRF makes the following statement:

“Steubenville is a theocracy and is a Christian city where non-Christians or nonbelievers are not favored citizens. The city may not depict the university chapel and cross because to do so places the city’s imprimatur behind Christianity. The city of Steubenville must not endorse ‘faith’ and church. While we understand that Franciscan University is part of the City, the City may not depict the University chapel and cross because to do so places the City’s imprimatur behind Christianity. This excludes non-Christians and violates the Constitution.”1

Because of the FFRF actions, the cross was removed from the logo.

Is this really significant?  After all, it is “government” property and the government is bound to not “promote religion.”  Friends, this is an example of Normalcy Bias whereby we think things will not get any worse if we just let this happen.  We think, we’ll let this happen, but nothing worse will happen. Should Christians get concerned that organizations are even going to remove crosses from cemeteries?  They say they would never do that, but the people of Germany never thought things would get as bad as they did during the 1930s.

The issue is the cross removal, but it’s more than that.  It’s an issue of whether we Christians are going to share the love of Jesus Christ’s gospel and see God’s mighty works done in our lives.  Is God’s tremendous grace so powerful that it affects your life to tell others?  Are you more excited about God’s grace than the multitudinous forms of entertainment? 

I would like to make my agenda holding forth a plan to keep every cross standing.  I am concerned about that, because every symbol removed is a sign of moral degeneracy in America.  However, I’m even more passionate about the gospel spoken to every person in America and appreciate what our Outreach Team is doing to be intentional to follow up with visitors and community friends.  Let’s ask God to focus our attention on all the right priorities!

1http://politicaloutcast.com/2012/08/atheist-gestapo-bullies-another-city-into-removing-crosses/#ixzz22ahyk700

Aurora

Aurora

Last night, another tragedy has struck America.  The details will be laid out for us in the days ahead, but in the mean time at least 12 are dead and 50 wounded.  A tragedy like this could happen anywhere and families will become paralyzed with fear and bewilderment.  Take time to think through the repercussions and pray for the families involved.  This is not a game.  Thank God, He is still sovereign, faithful and merciful.

This incident shows the insidious nature of the wickedness of man’s heart.  When man is not in submission to the justice of God, he acts independently and causes havoc in the world mirroring the evil one.  That’s where we Christians, with merciful, open hearts, need to realize our part to set our minds on the things above and set our priorities on building God’s kingdom rather than going about our business thinking this would never happen close to home.  God will have his way and use His people for His glory if we trust Him and reach out to neighbors with the gospel.

Is there someone you know that needs an ear?  Is there a parent you know struggling with his/her child?  Is there a person who is functioning alone and needs the gospel? 

The world will spend inordinate amounts of time trying to define why this happened.  There are a multitude of contributing factors.  The biblical answer is what John wrote, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.”  (1Jo 3:11-12)   The man killed and wounded because he did evil deeds and would not humble himself before the righteousness of God.

Does that excuse the rest of the world?  No, we all have a part to use our time, talents, treasures and truth to connect people to worship God, equip people to grow into the image of Christ and multiply ourselves to reach the world.  There is one answer to these actions and it is found in humble obedience to God’s word, first in becoming a new creation in Christ and secondly growing into Christ-likeness.  Let us commit ourselves to set our minds on the things above where Christ is and transform our world.  In that commitment, let us use the opportunity to listen to others as they process, yet again, another tragedy.

War on Poverty Man’s Way

            In 1965 Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty when 15% of America was under the “poverty” level.  His “deal” became a raw deal, because man will never solve his problems without the Grace of God.  We now spend 668 billion dollars per year on 126 programs.  We are still at the same level of poverty of 15%. God is not a part of the program. If you leave God out of any solution, you’ll have a temporary fix at best and a deceitful money pit of misery at worst.

            When a repentant woman came into a dinner engagement and anointed Jesus’ head with a very costly oil of spikenard, the indignant criticized her for this seemingly waste of resources.  Jesus told them to leave her alone and then said, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.”  (Mark 14:7)  Jesus didn’t say, don’t help the poor, but you may do them good.  He also said they would always be with you.  In other words, we ought to do good by helping, but always in the name of Jesus, so Jesus is the reason for our help to them and they know the reason for the help they receive.  But we should also know that money and resources in themselves are not the solution to poverty as the raw deal has shown.

            Am I against the support the poor receive from the government?  Not really.  I believe the church should be the source of help, but the church is at a point, where it can hardly take care of its own.  Unfortunately, the government welfare level of support has risen 41% in the last three years alone, an astronomical figure and still there is no change to godliness or upward mobility of the poor.  The only true answer is a change of heart and seeking after God’s way.  Money has become one of the “gods of this age.”  People think money will solve theirs and the world’s problems.  It never will and never was meant to solve problems.

            What we can do is reach out to the poor through intentional outreach.  Grace does that through Servant’s Heart, individual ministries and the newly formed Outreach Ministry Team. Who can you tell about your relationship with Jesus Christ?