Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Newscast from the Future That We Could Very Well See...But So What?

I'm not recommending you get immersed in this link, but I felt that it raised an issue worthy of addressing. See, it was a few days ago that I ran across this article by Janet Porter at "Faith2Action". It was just one of those articles I just had to see. You know how it goes. Curiosity gets you. I didn't watch the video. I just read the transcript and said "enough".

It is a piece that includes the script and the "newscast" of a possible future scenario should a certain candidate become President this January. And it paints a very bleak picture, to say the least.

Now, I'm not denying or supporting the article or saying that certain things may or may not happen. As far as I know, things could get worse no matter which candidate wins. And I am not supporting either one with my vote, but someone else.

Regardless, my point is one of "on what shall we focus?". To be precise, as one who has put my trust in Jesus Christ, Who is the Sovereign Ruler of all, just what place does something like this article have in my life? Yours?

We have a decision to make.

First of all, I used to listen to VCY America. I had given up on Moody Radio because they seemed to be into the "Purpose Drivel" Rick Warren Frenzy. And I got tired of listening to the Chafer-ian easy-believeism espoused by many of the teachers on MBN. So I went to VCY America via the internet. Sadly, going there got me a strong dose of Janet Folger (Porter) with her program "Faith2Action". It became obvious that, over time, I was being burdened to spend more and more of the time God has given me to call my elected officials to "protect my rights".

And I got a belly full of it. The "alarms" constantly going off. The constant hand-wringing. So, eventually I switched off VCY America and forced myself to remember what's important while my blood pressure went back to normal. Finally, I got coherent enough to realize why I was so upset. I was being driven by fear. Fear of something that hadn't even come to pass. And all along the Lord tells us, essentially, "don't go around worrying about what will happen tomorrow. Just be concerned with today. Tomorrow has enough evil of its own!".

In a discussion some time ago about the socialization of Canada, a native Canadian blogger shared with me the common efforts to "stop the decay" in that country. But decay came anyway. And, of course it can be seen coming here.

Now, am I saying that a Christian should never let his voice be heard? No. Not at all. But I think that there is a certain level of panic that these programs and articles generate. And that is really not "faith" that generates real "action" that builds the Kingdom. And I think the column by Janet that I linked to at the top of this post fits that category.

Phil Gramm got alot of political heat a few months back by saying that "we've become a nation of whiners". Well, I think the heat was unjustified because I believe Phil Gramm was completely right. And I think that today's church fits that description as well. We want to sleep on. We want to be able to "go to God's house" (God doesn't live in a building made with human hands, remember?). We want our little Christian "Club" mentality so we run to the government and beg them to have mercy on us. I'd say it's a security blanket issue but it's actually more akin to the cloth that they lay over the face of a corpse at a funeral.

Let me say this as clearly as I can, ok? "Faith" that must remain in a "pro-Christian social incubator" is no real faith at all.

Tell me. What are we here to do? Specifically, what did our Lord tell us to do? Change the government from the outside in? Get all the lost sinners to adopt our worldview? Make the country like us so we can play church in safety and remain in our slumber?

And what of the apostles? Did they seek to reform their government for more "Christian Friendly Environment"? No. Not at all!

No. The answer is the Gospel. It always has been the Gospel. It will always be the Gospel. And, of course, that is something I never heard on any of those kind of programs. Never. Not one word about heartchange. Just lots about legislation.

Psalm 20:7 says "Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses. But we trust in the name of the Lord our God". (My paraphrase).

In other words, some trust in human tools and methods to get things done. We put our trust in God's character. That God is Who He says He is and that He can be trusted. Some want to trust in their swords and other human physical contrivances. But we trust in the God we know is in control of history as it unfolds.

Let's take a few minutes for a reality check and one good question or more: Is God sovereign? I believe He is. That means who is in control? God, the Lord God. Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Has the Sovereign Lord of the Universe given us any indication of how history will unfold? Certainly. Read Revelation.

Could it be that what we see going on could be Revelation ready to be revealed? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe next year. Maybe in ten or twenty. The fact is we don't know. But will it happen? Eventually, yes!

What I am sure I see happening is those who call themselves Christians being motivated by fear, not faith. And that is not Biblical. It is -- dare I say it? -- sin!

You say "how is that?". Simple. Again, motivation by fear. And "without faith it is impossible to please God." Secondly, remember what our Lord has already said about taking on the worries of "tomorrow"? To do so is disobedience. And disobedience is sin!

One final reason. It's a rabbit chase. It gets us off track. It gets the professing church off it's "talking points" which is the message of sin, righteousness and judgment which is what the Holy Spirit uses to convert the human heart. And if hearts aren't converted, they still go to hell even if we get them to agree with an outward righteousness. Rabbit chases are one of the Devil's ploys.

Want to have superficial change? Call your representatives in government. Want to see real change? Call your friends and neighbors and give them the gospel. We need to stop the panic and start exercising even that little bit of faith that will result in obedience to almighty God. We need to stop all the gamesmanship and the bait and switching that goes on in the name of "getting someone into a church" and just give them the Gospel!

You say "Gamesmanship"? Yes, I mean gamesmanship. You know how it works. Kind of like playing pool and you want to get the 7 ball in with a three bank shot, hitting the 6 and 4. And if you finesse it enough, the 7 ("unchurched Harry") will go in the corner pocket (church).

And of course, if they "get in the church", they "may" hear the gospel. Someday. Somehow. If they put the pieces together right.

What a load of work! Why not just walk up to the person and say something like "You know, I've been holding out on you for some time. You're my friend and I've not asked you something very important. Do you mind if I ask you a question about something very important?". It's not hard. It just takes an effort. And you'll be shocked when they don't laugh at you, get angry or walk off. You are showing that you care -- even if they end up saying they disagree.

Yes, I understand the stress of the times. The waves are higher out there. But as I've said in a previous post, our Lord is in the boat with us.

What if? What if things do get ugly here? What if? What if openly sharing the gospel means the possibility of jail time? Will that stop you? Examine your faith! What if? What if sharing the Gospel with a homosexual ends up being called a hate crime? Will you shut your mouth? If so, how have you loved your neighbor who has need of the Gospel?

Do I sound harsh? Good.
Uncivilized? I hope so. That's my intention.
Ranting? Maybe. But that's ok with me.

But people, we can't get sidetracked with our "rights". Please now, follow along with me: Slaves - have - no - rights! If you and I are really converted, we are the "doulos", the "bondservants" of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are not here for our own comfort. We are here to do one thing and do it well, offer up ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12) which is our reasonable duty of service. Comfort is a non issue. We have a stewardship to our Lord, Who has entrusted us with the Gospel and we are to deliver that Gospel unadulterated to those who need it.

How would you like it if the next time you go out to dinner your waitress or waiter goes to get your food. You see them pick it up. The chef has carefully prepared it. You expect them to bring it directly to you, but they don't. They start messing with it. Adding a little of this, a little of that. And perhaps this person has no idea as to what items taste good together! It gets all squirreled up. No, you want them to bring you the food, as the chef prepared it. And we need to be good stewards of the Word and the Gospel in God's Word.

Dark days coming? You bet. Someday. Maybe sooner, maybe later. But they are coming. And you know what? I almost hope for them. It'll cut the game playing out. Hate crime laws? It'll show who's really preaching the Gospel. And the real Body of Christ will be driven underground. And it will grow. It will separate the wheat from the tares. It will be a purer Church. It will be a focused church. And the pseudo-christian clubs will continue on, going along and getting along. Nice and fuzzy and in a word, dead.

Remember Exodus. How God's people grew in number in spite of the oppression they were under because of Pharoah. It was a purifying fire. It forced individuals out of their lukewarmness. We are no different. And the real "church growth" is going on in places like China where the persecution is hot and heavy. Underground pastors going to prison for having a page out of the Bible. But their faith is pure. They have died to the things of this world.

We are in for choppy seas. High waves. But our Lord Jesus Christ is in the boat with us. He's allowing the waves to lap over the edge of the boat and test our faith. But we don't need to mess with the earthly "Coast Guard". As my mother says, we need to "simplify, simplify, simplify". . ."get back to basics". And the basics here are we aren't here for fun and games. This is a spiritual war. And our weapons are not fleshly but spiritual.

Again, "Faith" that must remain in a "pro-Christian social incubator" is no real faith at all.

Put your spiritual armor on and make sure you aren't trusting in chariots and horses, ok?

5 comments:

Jfranklin6 said...

AMEN.

blastedbylove said...

Thanks for this reminder. I found myself operating out of fear in regards to Obama being elected and then this almost hatred for him started welling up in my heart. When I realized it, I was ashamed that something like that could rise up so quickly and without check. I also long for persecution in this country for the purification it will bring to each one of us whose lives are hidden in Christ. God bless and thank you for your thoughts on this.

Tim Brown said...

blastedbylove:

Been there. And as you can see, I took a while to really "get it". I think it's part of maturing in our faith. Without going into details, I can assure you I've done the journey with this.

"Having it our way" is so embedded in our identity as Americans. When we see that threatened, the flesh rises up.

What I'm returning to, I think, is the pattern of thinking that says "I am a Christian who happens to live in a country called America, and this is how the culture works". It's called detaching yourself and I think it helps keep things in perspective for me anyway.

Phil Perkins said...

Tim B.,
Be detached from the world? Have you been reading the Bible again. Soon, you'll be laying up your treasure in heaven or something crazy like that, huh?

Phil Perkins.

Tim Brown said...

Hi Phil!

You had me do a double take there for a second.

While I'm not necessarily looking for persecution, I'm certainly coming to the point of "come on, let's get this over with".

That's when I pack some tracts in my pocket and take my dog for a walk, hoping to run into someone.

Thanks for the comment. Sometimes it gets kind of lonely around here!