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It’s Big Boy Pants Time!

Almost everyone has experienced this at one time or another!

You know that “inside voice” and “outside voice” most of us struggle with at times (ok, sure, I struggle with this, but I’m applying this broadly—work with me!)?  I remember a meeting I was in a few years ago and there was a spirited discussion on a topic I am reasonably passionate about.  One of the other “participants” made a statement which I considered logically weak and immature (I was among my peers; I wasn’t berating a six-year-old!), I said in a sotto voce “Someone needs to put on their big boy pants.”

Because of the academic nature of this setting, the individual complained to the professor about my “uncalled for” comment.

The professor told him the same thing!pullups

This is also the current state of the American Evangelical reaction to the 2016 Election season.  For far too long—well, at least since the 1980 Election—American Evangelicals have rested in the fact they can choose to impact the American electoral process by merely exercising their collective wills.  We (I am an evangelical Christian) have come to assume it is our right and privilege to have a candidate, and even a political party, which will minimally parrot our values back to us on demand.

Unfortunately, we have allowed ourselves to develop a sense of appreciation and even entitlement to being lied to in the process.  We have become so infatuated with who we are and what we think “should be,” we are shocked, demeaned, offended, dismayed, taken aback, demoralized (do I really need to continue here?) that the two front running candidates are acting like people who do not represent who we are and our values!

No need to fear my fellow American Evangelical!  Trust me, they do not represent our values!

As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to remember the Bible teaches quite clearly things will become much worse before Jesus Christ returns to this earth.  We do not, and never have, lived in a Christian nation.  God, through His grace and mercy, has rewarded in the past the faithfulness of His people in the United States by granting them a peaceful and friendly society in which to exercise their beliefs.  Yet because God loves us and will never enable us to either harm ourselves or others, He is withdrawing this protection so that the Church in America will grow stronger and even “grow up.”

The first century Church during the days of the Apostles never under any delusion that their government loved them, represented their beliefs and values and always sought to insure their freedom to worship.  Christians in the early church were hunted like proverbial wild dogs and persecution was rampant and indeed expected.

Yet the Church grew.  It flourished in the face of hatred and intolerance.  If American believers would force themselves off their religious couch, this almost herculean mental effort would allow them to see God is doing a similar work of His greatness in China, North Korea and many of the predominantly Muslim nations today.  Not because God has provided “a peaceful environment,” but because believers in other parts of our world today actually must live their faith and know what they believe.

In 2016, American believers must come to the realization they have made a political party their idol.  No political party can ever take the place of the Spirit of God or the sovereign power only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ!

It’s time American Christianity puts on their “big boy” pants……!

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“Getting a Grip” on Politics

I am conservative in my politics, my morals, my finances and my theology.

As of November 6, 2012 Barrack Hussein Obama was re-elected to his second term of office as President of the United States.

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In reference to my opening sentence, President Obama is my president.

He is my president because I know this is the path God has chosen to allow for this country.  Did God do this because Mitt Romney is a member of a cult?  Was President Obama re-elected as a means to punish American believers for their lack of trust and commitment to Him?  Does the Lord know President Obama is uniquely qualified to avert an upcoming disaster only God can see?  Or is it God has prevented us from becoming a nation of bicycle-riding, white-shirt wearing missionaries from Salt Lake?

I mean, really?  Seriously.

Evangelicals have perhaps over-invested themselves in the political process.  We feel we must mould all of society into our likeness and everyone must believe our beliefs.  We far, far too often forget this is not a Christian country; it never was.  Oh, there was a time when a Judeo-Christian world-view was not only accepted but practiced, but one should never equate the acceptance of the Judeo-Christian world-view as equal to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Of course this brings up the question, “What is best for the country?  I mean, shouldn’t we be about the process, as Christians, of expanding the kingdom of God (I am speaking to believers here), for seeking to pass God-honouring laws and to ‘fight the good fight’?”

Yes . . . . and no.

I am convinced (not by polls but through the study of God’s Word) we are as professing believers to seek and promote God’s laws and to expand His kingdom; yet we are never called by God to legislate change for the cause of Christ through the ballot box!

This doesn’t mean we do not support those who we find in agreement with biblical principles.  As many times will occur, we are often called to decide the lesser of two proverbial evils.  My thought about this has always been rather straight-forward: who better to determine which evil is indeed “less” than those who know what is indeed righteous and moral?

We should view our calling as believers in Christ as being about the task of performing political triage.  I do not believe Christ is best served through single-issue voters who base their support of candidates on a single issue whatever they may be.  This is not a call for either compromise or a call to become political chameleons; it is a call for us to live lives of holiness while making the best decisions possible for a pagan, pluralistic dying world and for it to be the best place possible for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to accomplish its task of changing people!

Christians far too often are afflicted with the hubris of ignorance; we fail to remember the basic tenets taught by Scripture.  The Pharisees sought to fulfil every aspect of the Law personally and attempted to convince others they must do the same—all to no avail!  Just like the Pharisees of Christ’s day, believers today are too invested in arguments regarding life, policies of sound economics and legislation promoting our moral values.  The Law only punished unacceptable behaviour and highlighted the reality no one could follow it perfectly—and we have forgotten the importance of living a life changed by Jesus Christ!

We, as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, must realize who we are and where we live.  First, we are sinners saved by the grace of God.  As such, we are commanded to convince others of the truth we believe by living lives changed and empowered by God’s Spirit!

I have pastored some incredibly hateful and bitter people who proudly proclaim they are pro-life.  While doing this they make everyone around them to desire their life will quickly end and in the process they further polarize the world around them.  If we desire to see our world change, to see laws passed which honor God and His Word, then we should heed Peter’s warning in his New Testament letter: judgment begins in God’s house!  God’s blessings are not contingent on everybody being obedient to Him; God states, “If my people, who are called by My name!,”  If God’s people would obey, then He would bless and heal the land!  The whole country does not have to obey God’s laws, just God’s people do.

Second, Christians in the United States need to get over themselves!”  We live in a pagan, pluralistic culture and we, as those who carry the name of Christ, are minimally culpable if not outright responsible for the condition of our nation!  All believers are expected to be a “sweet smell” of Christ according to the Apostle Paul.  Unfortunately, too many who profess the name of Christ just stink.

Far too many Christians act like their whole salvation—this country’s, its economy and security—is dependent on who we elect!  Have we so quickly forgotten the One on whom we believe?  If there are those who are convinced God has given us “the government we deserve” in order to bring about punishment, have we chosen to ignore God’s call for us to “turn from our sin” and therefore receive His blessing?

If we desire our country to change, believers must be changed by God.  If we desire security, we must draw closer to God in obedience.  If we want real change in our government and our leaders, then we better pray passionately for them!

Then if we are indeed faithful in the little, God may choose to bless us with the “much” we desire.