The Results Are In… Now What?

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It’s been a week since the election, and we are still here! Praise indeed.

It’s been a draining week, an emotional week, and I for one have never felt such an acute ache for God’s presence to just come and soak through every fiber of my being as I did these past seven days.

We said we’d feel better once this was over, but I’d venture to say that most of us just felt a kind of ‘shift’ from one unknown to another. The anxiety of not knowing the outcome has simply been replaced with a new kind of restlessness now that we have our end result.

So what now? Half the country nervously awaits, biting their fingernails and hoping the guy they voted for doesn’t completely blow it and prove them to be incredibly foolish in their choice of candidate. The other half are shaking their heads, woefully disappointed at best, completely unhinged at worst, skipping work and demanding a re-do.

We are living in two Americas. Heels are dug in solidly on both sides and nobody is going to move. Politics have become our religion and religion has become our politics. Focus on it too much and too long and it will finish you. Anyone with a Facebook account will tell you this past week has been trying on the soul.

This election cycle boiled us all down to the sum of our labels. Republicans are (fill in the blank). Liberals are (fill in the blank). Feminist. Socialist. Libertarian. Can I be brutally honest? None of them mean anything unless and until we know ourselves through the One who created us. I can not sing “Hail To The Chief” until I first sing in my soul “Hail Jesus You’re My King” and mean it. We will support our leaders but also speak up for injustice as needed. We are not blindly following any party or person. We are first and foremost the Church of the resurrected Christ, both  with a capital “C”.

Christ-follower. That’s the only label I remotely desire at this point.

We are more than a political party, we are a BODY. We are here to elevate truth, to speak it with conviction and love. I’m not afraid to dip my toe in the political waters, but I need to make sure I have first immersed myself in the fountain of LIVING WATER that only Jesus offers.

Church, we need the Truth now more than ever. Regardless of where it lands us on the map of political correctness, people are desperate for it. It may earn us the label of “ally” and it may get us branded as the “enemy”, but please don’t let it hinder your voice. At times it will be lonely, but we are never alone. Let’s not put all our hope into a party or platform or human being… let’s pray for our nation and put our hope in Jesus because the truth is, He has already overcome it all. Woefully lamenting our circumstances and shouting gloom and doom isn’t worthy of our position as believers. It’s never going to be perfect in this world, but we must remember to take heart, because we follow the One who has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

We are strangers in a strange land and it would serve us well to remember that fact. The world is going to ebb and flow as it always has. We serve a God who will never change, and that must be our firm foundation.

“A changeable God would be a terror to the righteous, they would have no sure anchorage, and amid a changing world they would be driven to and fro in perpetual fear of shipwreck… Our heart longs for joy as we bow before One who has never broken His word or changed His purpose.” Charles Spurgeon 

Truth With a Capital ‘T’

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“The only real threat (to the church) is surrender – caving to cultural, legal, and political forces demanding conformity. The church can and will survive persecution. It will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth.

Defiance, however, means more than merely ensuring that your church or school doesn’t change its policies. It means more than still donating to your church even if the day comes when you can’t deduct the contribution. It means a willingness to lose your job, your prosperity, and the respect of your peers. It means saying no every time you are compelled to applaud or participate in the sexual revolution. It means standing beside fellow Christians who face persecution or job loss –  not just shaking your head and thinking, “There, but for the grace of God…” It means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message – even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment. And through it all, it means being kind to your enemies – blessing those who persecute you.

But being kind to one’s enemies does not mean surrendering to them. 

In the book of First Kings, Elijah faced a wave of persecution and mortal danger beyond anything any American has faced on American soil. He felt alone – terrified that all was coming to an end. He declared to God, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” God’s response echoes through the ages: No, Elijah was not alone. He had reserved 7,000 in Israel who’d never bowed to Baal.

God will always preserve his people. All we have to fear are our own buckling knees.

David French, National Review

Being deliberately undiscerning and indifferent is not the answer. We are commanded to proclaim God’s truth in season and out of season, when it is well received and even when it is not (2 Timothy 4:2).

We love people into the Kingdom by proclaiming the Truth and staying off that bandwagon everyone is so quick to hop on so they remain relevant. That bandwagon is headed over a cliff. There is no way to remain faithful to the gospel without being an offense to the world, those proclaiming otherwise aren’t interested in the truth. It isn’t a battle to see who has the best argument or who can scream the loudest. False messages outnumber the truth 100:1 right now, but it doesn’t mean they are correct. Instead of wringing our hands in despair, it’s time for the church to buck up and stand on the Word and what we already know. If we aren’t sure what it says, we need to park ourselves in it until we are.

Take away the Truth with a capital ‘T’ and all you have left is ever-changing feelings driven by popular opinion. And this is the ‘brave’ way to live? No. There’s nothing brave about being a sheep. What’s brave is standing by your convictions when the winds of change come and sweep everyone else away.

The road is darkening and the road is narrowing. Jesus said it would. We must remain faithful. Love those who persecute you, but don’t cave to their demands.The Truth is worth fighting for, speak it in love. THATS how love wins.

The “Nothing in Particular” Crowd

There was a survey out this week saying that Christianity in America is on the decline. Seventy percent of us still identify as ‘Christian’ in some kind of way, but apparently that majority is shrinking. The percentage of people identifying themselves as “nothing in particular” grew by leaps and bounds.

Nothing in particular, because church is boring and irrelevant.

Nothing in particular, because Christians are judgmental hypocrites.

Nothing in particular because God is gonna do what He’s gonna do with or without our help.

I have no idea if this poll is correct or not.  Perhaps the true Christian population isn’t decreasing at all, perhaps it just wasn’t that large to begin with. It’s easy to go along with the crowd when it’s the popular thing to do. That convenient kind of Christianity isn’t going to get us very far anymore. The greatest way to draw in that “nothing in particular” crowd isn’t with a two minute pop culture sermon. We draw them in with the truth. Plain and simple truth, the way Jesus and His followers preached it. They didn’t have large buildings, money or technology. But they turned the world upside-down and inside out with power from above. The spoken Word and the power that comes with it was all it took to turn hearts and minds to Jesus.

It is heartbreaking that people are choosing “nothing in particular” over the abundant life that Jesus offers. It’s equally heartbreaking that professing Christians are living like practical atheists by believing more of what the world says than what God says.

God’s truth will ruffle feathers. It will stir things up. It won’t always be comfortable. That’s a good thing. Proclaiming the truth is important. Actually LIVING it out is even better.

Let’s have people be drawn to us not just based on what we say, but because of how our lives play out. If God’s power is manifest in our lives, all of the sudden that ‘nothing in particular’ lifestyle doesn’t seem so great. People take notice. They begin to ask questions. No one ever yearns for compromise, they hunger for Truth. Strip away all the fluff and misconceptions we’ve heaped onto it, and Christianity is actually quite exciting.

When we try and impress everyone, we captivate no one.

“The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful adjustment to unregenerate society, they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Christians. There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives.” AW Tozer

Christianity isn’t dying out. It’s becoming more clearly defined. The separation of the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats… that’s what is taking place. Let’s not be “strangely unaware” of the battle around us. Let’s captivate people with the love and truth of Christ.  The enemy would like nothing more than to render us passive “nothing in particular” people. Believers and non-believers alike will be drawn to the true nature of God when they see it manifest. It’s that simple. We don’t need to ‘sell’ Jesus. His power speaks for itself. Be the vessel, speak the truth lovingly without compromise, and watch what happens!