It’s Time for Christians to be Courageous

Courage is commanded

Worry and fear can sometimes cause us to be apathetic to our faith and the people around us. Apathy often leads to destruction. Looking at the Church in the United States of America today, it’s easy to see that apathy has crept into the minds of many believers. Barna conducted a survey that demonstrates this point well. “When asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73% of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice, however, the numbers shift downward. Only half (52%) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

It’s easy to become caught up with our fears when we focus on the results instead of our responsibilities. Instead of being so discouraged by the bad news in this world, we should fix our eyes on the one who offers hope. We need to start paying closer attention to what God’s word tells us rather than what the world tells us. It’s in His word that we learn about His command to be courageous. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Courage points people to God

Jesus demonstrated courage to the fullest by dying on the cross for our sins. Consider the fact that Jesus preferred to not suffer the consequences of our sins when praying to His Father. Yet understanding God’s will, Jesus willingly and courageously endured extreme suffering and ultimately sacrificed His life for us. Some Christians are martyred for their faith but not all Christians suffer to that extent.

If we live courageously, by sharing God’s love boldly with the people we know, doing the work He has planned for us, and being an example of God’s love to our neighbors, we allow God’s light to shine through us so that others may have the opportunity to know Jesus. It’s vital that we drown our fears and our worry by refocusing our attention to the work God has given us.

Courage leads to a greater impact on culture

Generally speaking, our culture is lost in many ways. As a whole, our society idolizes celebrities and polarizing politicians, is overly-dependent on the government, and considers life as mostly a personal playground to fulfill all of our pleasures. Yet, many Christians have become apathetic towards our culture. This could be partially explained by the changes to our culture over the years. Christians have seen the decay of our culture and have given up hope.

While our hope shouldn’t lie in our culture, it should be directed towards it. Whether Jesus returns tomorrow or 1,000 years from now, our faith should always be demonstrated to our culture. Showing courage to a lost world can spark great changes. We should be running towards culture instead of running away from it, not to embrace the same lifestyle but to help shape it with Christ’s love. We should be encouraged that God is with us wherever we go and that will remind us to have courage, even while facing troubling circumstances.

Love

Ron Paul Revolution

Ron Paul ran for President in 2012. Obviously he didn’t win the election. In fact, he only finished 3rd in electoral votes in the Republican primary. While he wasn’t victorious there was some good news that came from his campaign. During his campaign his supporters coined the phrase the “Ron Paul Revolution” as the slogan for his campaign. Within the words of the slogan, the word “love” spelled backwards is highlighted with red letters. There may never have been a better word to focus on in any political campaign. Love!

Love

The U.S. government has a lot of issues, to say the least. There is no way to sugar coat this. Our system is broken and many of our governing officials are corrupt beyond measure. What’s needed more than anything in our government right now is love. It sounds over-simplified and unrealistic, but wow what a change it could make if our elected officials loved Jesus and loved people instead of valuing themselves and special interests above others.

What would our nation look like if members in Congress, Judges and even our President lived out these verses? What would our nation look like if we, as citizens, valued our love for one another more than we valued being right? “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Why Pastors Should Preach About Politics

Why Pastors avoid politics

Many Pastors in our nation decline to preach about politics. There are likely many reasons for this, including the desire to not offend congregants and to not foster an environment of political debate. Some Pastors believe that since politics don’t change hearts for Christ, politics don’t have a place in Church. Some Pastors believe that politics and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Some Pastors are concerned about losing government benefits related to their tax status with the IRS. Regardless of the reason, Pastors should know the truth about politics. What are politics, exactly? Where did politics come from? What role should Christians play in politics?

For Pastors the greatest challenge related to preaching politics lies in understanding how politics are defined. Politics are so negatively viewed that many Pastors completely avoid preaching anything “politically related”. However, politics are so much more than just which party to vote for or side with. Politics should not be reduced to only the Republican vs. Democrat debate. Choosing not to preach about which political party is superior is certainly understandable. Similarly, preaching a sermon on which candidate to vote for, is not ideal since much of that discussion will vary based on a Pastors personal opinion.

Understanding what politics are

When claiming that He was God, Jesus offended the Pharisees. Yet, He had no fear of their reaction, because He was telling the truth. Therefore, if God’s Word discusses it, Pastors should too. And the truth about politics is, the Bible speaks to political issues and government. In fact, God created us to “rule” over the earth. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Government was God’s idea, not mankind’s.

Politics are a natural product of Government. Dictionary.com defines politics as “the science or art of political government.” God established Government in the beginning (as He is our King) and He establishes our governing authorities (Romans 13:1). Since politics are the science of government, the two are linked. God’s word is full of political discussions related to the law, life, marriage, war, economics, and more. The Bible points us to a Savior, and it also gives us direction for how to govern our lives. This includes what our political views should be and which governing authorities we should submit to. Pastors avoid politics due to a false view of what politics actually are.

While it is correct to say that politics can’t directly change the human heart, that was never the purpose of politics. Politics exist in order for mankind to govern nations, not to save souls. And while salvation is obviously quite important and a large part of God’s Word, it is not the only topic the Lord cares about. Stating that salvation is the only important topic in God’s Word would ignore much of the Bible. Furthermore, while politics can’t save people, God can use politics to bring people to Him.

Pastors should preach politics God’s way

Encouraging congregants to vote is honorable, but there is more to politics than just voting. For believers, being active in politics requires having an understanding of the foundation of our government and how it operates, so we can apply related scripture (Romans 13:1-7) to our lives. It involves having a voice for the voiceless (Proverbs 31:8-9). It involves understanding who should take care of those who are in need (James 1:27). It involves understanding marriage (Genesis 2:24) and the value of life (Psalm 127:3). It also involves communicating with our governing officials, which opens up the opportunity to share the Gospel with them (Matthew 28:16-20).

The Bible speaks to all areas of our lives, including politics. Pastors can preach about politics (in a biblical sense) without giving their opinions. We should encourage our Pastors to have the courage to speak up about what God’s word says related to political issues and current events. A Pastor should care about politics to the extent that the world is able to witness God’s love for others in the political arena, yet Pastors should not care about politics so much that it becomes an idol (like anything else). Christians should be the light in politics and we need our Pastors to shepherd us in this. Although, this may require a better understanding of what politics are and perhaps a slight change in attitude about politics on the part of Pastors.

“Save The Storks” Saves Lives

The message of life

God is the creator of life (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:7). God commands us to not take the life of an innocent human being (Exodus 20:13). God declares that our life on earth begins in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Based on God’s word and His nature, we can logically conclude that God is pro-life. In other words, scripture reveals that God considers an unborn child to be a living being and should be given every opportunity at life…

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Save The Storks fights passionately for unborn children, which is in itself remarkable. What seems to be uncommon about this organization is how they fight for unborn children. They don’t organize their employees or volunteers to stand and picket in front of abortion clinics. They don’t use foul language or violence to express their views. Instead, they use weapons that are honoring to the Lord. Those weapons are innovation and love (Ephesians 4:15). They love on mothers by providing a service to them and educating them about the life of their unborn child via technology.

Political activism

Educational organizations are motivated for various reasons. And often times certain organizations will emanate a negative tone through their ideology. There may be specific organizations that come to your mind in a negative sense depending on your own experiences. However, there are also some organizations that prefer to help others learn in a more encouraging and loving way.

By providing an educational and medically related service to pregnant women, Save the Storks is demonstrating the value of compassion for life. Instead of organizing angry protests or violent demonstrations, they are fighting an extremely intense political debate by demonstrating care and love for the life of others. Their core values of innovation and love are demonstrated by the work they do. In a time in which politics can be portrayed so negatively, Save The Storks strives to be a positive influence in the lives of others in the middle of a heavily debated political discussion. This represents a better way forward for organizational political activism.

Saving lives

What defines the beginning of human life? What does it really mean to have a choice? Save The Storks has asked and answered these questions in regards to life in the womb. Through ultrasound and other high-tech tools, technology has provided a magnifying glass to scientifically prove that an unborn child is a living being.

Save The Storks has saved over 1,000 babies from being aborted by being proactive in educating expectant mothers in regards to the baby that lives in their body. They partner with pregnancy resource centers to provide those considering abortion with alternatives that allow lives to be saved. According to Save The Storks, four out of five women who choose to board a Stork Bus, decide to choose life for their baby.

Save The Storks is an organization that cares for life by finding value in every individual, man, woman, and child. They promote life and they are committed to providing truth through technology so that mothers and fathers can better understand the life of the unborn child. There are a variety of ways to get involved and help Save The Storks save lives. Please consider volunteering and/or donating to this amazing organization.

The Slippery Slope of Limiting Speech

The 1st Amendment

In the United States of America, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution reaffirms our God given right to freedom of speech. The text clearly states that Congress shall not make any laws that limit individual or group use of speech. There is no mention of any technicalities or extenuating circumstances that limit speech in any way.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The reason that only Congress is mentioned in the 1st Amendment is because they are the Legislative Branch of our Government. In other words, the Constitution only grants Congress the authority to create laws. Therefore, the heart of the 1st Amendment is this… The United States Government cannot make speech or any form of speech illegal.

The consequences of making words illegal

Those calling for the abolition of certain words or forms of speech are missing a very important point. If the Government can limit some forms of speech, it can limit any form of speech. One may believe that another shouldn’t be free to use hateful speech, but who should be responsible for defining what is considered hateful speech? The Government? The problem is that what one individual believes is hateful speech, another may believe that it is not. And advocating that the Government should intervene in what should or shouldn’t be said by citizens could lead us to a never ending path of speech control.

Our nation was founded on the idea that government should be restrained from limiting individual liberty. The Founding Father’s believed with good reason, that an individual’s right to speak was more important than an individual’s right to not be offended. In other words, one could be free to speak their mind and the other could choose how to respond. “A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:1-2

Speech that pleases God

God never gave the Government the authority to limit speech of individuals. When we decide that Government should determine what we say or don’t say, we have created a false idol for ourselves. This is an idea the Founding Father’s understood well. God should govern our speech, not Government. Government should not govern over every detail of our lives because that role has already been filled by a loving Heavenly Father.

As followers of Christ, there are words that we should not speak. We should seek to glorify God with our speech and let His word guide us in doing so. The 1st Amendment ensures that as U.S. citizens, we can say whatever we want, but as followers of Christ we should say only that which brings God glory. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

We should allow God’s word to transform us instead of allowing the Government to conform us. Let us put into practice what pleases God… “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” James 1:19