3 Reminders After A Wild Summer!
Summer 2015 is officially winding down this weekend and it has been a doozy if you are a Bible believing Christian! The US strikes a historic, anti-Israel, deal with Iran. The Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Planned Parenthood is discovered to be harvesting the developed body parts and organs of murdered, unborn children. Josh Duggar along with hundreds of Christian leaders and church members are outed on Ashley Madison. A Kentucky clerk refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and is now in jail. Besides these headlines, there is a little debate going on about who will be the Republican nominee, Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Walker, Bush, etc.. On top of all of this, race riots, police targetings, mass shootings, bakeries forced to bake cakes or pay fines, a boy named Bruce becomes a girl named Caitlyn and is paraded as a brave hero, just to name a few! American Christians have literally seen biblical values challenged and defeated in the public forum while in the comfort of a lazy boy watching Fox News. This has been a wild summer!
Where does that leave you? How are you going to respond to the madness going on around you? How are you going to progress in a transgressing world? Many have thrown up their hands and quit. Others have developed a "Hold On 'Til The Rapture" mentality. Many are defeated because their Christianity is only as deep as an American Flag. A huge number of believers are asking "What do I do now"?
Let me share three reminders the Lord is teaching me right now about biblically responding to the madness from the summer of 2015:
1. God is completely sovereign and completely in control even in the moments that seem out of control.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 103! I love Psalm 103:19, "The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all." Without a proper view of God's sovereignty, this summer would be enough to blow your faith completely out of the water! God is in complete control. We are finishing the book of Daniel in our Sunday Evening series; if there is one thing that is certain in uncertain days, God is completely in control as nations rise and fall!
2. Jesus is building a kingdom today that is not of this world, including the United States of America.
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." - John 18:36
I love the America that our forefathers founded and intended our nation to be. We are far from that America that was intended to be the LIGHT to the nations. But even if our country were in the golden days of Reagan or whomever your favorite president may have been, it was not the kingdom of Jesus Christ. His kingdom is much greater, more powerful, and much more vital and important than any kingdom or super power that may rise or fall.
3. The Gospel has always advanced when the Christian Church is forced to stand up and suffer for what she says she believes.
Very few of us have suffered for being a Bible believing Christian in the United States. We may have drawn a funny glance for reading a Bible on lunch break or taken some ridicule for refusing to participate in some activity, but for the most part, we have been very safe. I am afraid those days are coming to an end. This nation has been a safe haven for religious liberty and freedom since it's founding, but we are no longer a nation of religious liberty for a Bible believer. The greatest threat to a nation really being free is religious liberty. There has been an aggressive agenda for decades to undermine religious freedom in America and we are now living in a new America that is tolerant of everything and everyone except those who believe God's Word as their final authority. Enter Early Church period and say goodbye to the Lukewarm Church Period.
This may sound terrible, but I am actually excited. I am excited because we are finally going to see our churches filled with people who actually are going to live out their faith and follow Scripture or they will abandon Bible believing churches for a lite version of the cross which is not Christianity at all. The Apostle John predicted this: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." - 1 John 2:19
I am of the opinion that we have entered into this period of moral crisis in our nation because our churches have been filled with people who have prayed the sinners prayer but have never been genuinely born again, taken up the cross to follow Jesus, and lived a changed life through the power of the gospel and Holy Spirit. There will be those who will abandon, but the followers of Christ will band together, grow stronger, and advance the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ like never before in these last days.
The greatest thing that we as God's people can do is not to save America, but to lead others to Christ and His eternal kingdom. I love this country and my heart is so heavy for her today, but I will not allow the direction of our nation and elected officials to determine my joy and priorities in conversation and life. Jesus is still awesome and I am excited as I have ever been about what God is going to do through His churches throughout the world. Do not allow your joy and hope to be taken because of a wild summer in American history. As one preacher told me every time I left his presence, "Keep your knee bent, Bible open, and your eye on the sky"!