While walking this morning we met this little kitten. It needs someone to rescue it. That kitten is like many people; they need someone to rescue them. Some are having problems with drugs or alcohol. Some have made mistakes. Some have lost jobs. Like this kitten, they are almost helpless & need someone to help them.
There is an old hymn we used to sing;
“Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity,
From sin & the grace.”
You know what concerns me about America? Yes, the same-sex ruling bothers me… but I am more concerned about the lack of commitment among Christians to the Lord and to His church. It absolutely BURDENS my heart today to see God’s people forsake the house of God. In 33 years of ministry, I’ve never seen anything like it is today.
It’s easy to click that you “like” something on Facebook. It’s easy to quote some verses.. maybe listen to music… etc… But there is a major disconnect between Christians and the Lord’s church today. I’m can’t control the Supreme Court. I can vote but after that, I can’t control the President or the Congress. But, I can control me… and you can control yourself.
I almost want to say, if you aren’t active in a local church, you don’t have the right to complain about the nation. Jesus Christ died for us folks. He shed His blood for mankind. Jesus started the church to carry on His work. If you love Jesus, the church should be important to you.
In II Kings 15:3-5, the Bible tells of King Uzziah. Uzziah “…did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house.”
Did you get that? Uzziah was struck with leprosy because he was disobedient. We need to be thankful God isn’t still dealing with disobedience like this or many of us would have leprosy. Christians, it’s time for us to wake up and serve the Lord. Stop putting other things ahead of Christ and live for Christ.
Many of you have heard Preachers say that 85% of people attend church for the first time at the invitation of a friend or relative. I had an example of that yesterday.
A week ago, Holli and I were eating Henry’s Louisiana Grill & Henry’s Uptown in Acworth (one of our favorite spots). We were seated next to a couple close to our age. I wasn’t eavesdropping but our high-tops were so close, I could hear some of their conversation. I heard someone say “Louisiana.”
So, I started a conversation. We talked and as we finished I asked where they attended church. They said they had been going with their daughter. I gave them one of my cards and invited them to FBC Emerson. I told them a little about the church and encouraged them to try us.
Yesterday morning, I walking through the sanctuary like I normally do… shaking hands with people… and I see this new family. The lady says “You are trying to figure out where you know us from, aren’t you?” I chuckled and said, “Yes, I am am.”
It was the couple we met @ Henry’s. So… Christians… please invite your friends to church. I am telling you… it works. Will they all attend? No, but some will… But we have to invite. Invite someone to church this week
(Like many of you, I am burdened for our country. And this burden started before, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage this past Friday. I’ve never done this before, but I’m sharing the manuscript of my message this morning. Please share as the Lord leads.)
America: Where We Are & Where We Are Headed
THIS PAST FRIDAY, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS ACCEPTABLE IN ALL STATES. IT WAS RULING I WAS EXPECTING YET, WHEN IT BECAME OFFICIAL, IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A KICK IN THE GUT FOR ME. FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS, I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT OUR COUNTRY.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN GOING FORWARD?
AS WE PREPARE TO CELEBRATE OUR NATION’S FREEDOM, I AM VERY PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN BUT ALSO VERY CONCERNED FOR OUR COUNTRY. I STILL BELIEVE THAT WE ARE THE GREATEST NATION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. IN SPITE OF ALL OUR STRENGTHS, THERE ARE THINGS IN OUR NATION THAT BURDEN ME. IN FACT, AS I VIEW OUR COUNTRY, IT IS MY OPINION, THAT IF THE LORD DOESN’T INTERVENE SOON, I SHUDDER TO THINK WHERE WE ARE HEADED.
UNDERSTAND THAT I’M REFERRING TO MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DECLINE. TECHNOLOGICALLY AND MEDICALLY, WE ARE LIVING IN EXCITING TIMES. BUT MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY, WE ARE ADRIFT.
NOW, YOU MAY SAY, “NOW, PREACHER, THAT’S STRONG TALK.” I UNDERSTAND THAT AND BELIEVE ME, I’VE CONSIDERED THAT. I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT. AND I STILL BELIEVE IT TO BE TRUE.
THIS PAST WEEK, I EMAILED SEVERAL MEN WHOM I GREATLY RESPECT. I WANTED TO GET THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. I ALSO WANTED TO SEE IF I WAS OFF-BASE.
I EMAILED TEN MEN. OF THE TEN, ONLY 3 WERE VERY OPTIMISTIC. THE OTHER 7 THAT WITHOUT A REVIVAL… WITHOUT A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING, AMERICA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT, WILL CEASE TO EXIST.
WHY? BECAUSE AMERICA HAS DRIFTED.
AS I SEE OUR COUNTRY, I THINK ABOUT THIS TEXT IN THE BOOK OF ISAIAH. IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY, YOU KNOW THAT ISRAEL HAD DISOBEYED GOD. PROPHET AFTER PROPHET WAS SENT TO ISRAEL TO NO AVAIL. THERE WERE TOLD REPEATEDLY TO TURN AWAY FROM THE IDOLS AND TURN TO GOD BUT THEY NEVER DID.
AS THE PROPHET ISAIAH BEGINS HIS MINISTRY HE SAYS THAT GOD IS TIRED OF THE FESTIVALS AND RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS OF THE PEOPLE.
“WASH YOURSELVES, MAKE YOURSELVES CLEAN; REMOVE THE EVIL OF YOUR DEEDS FROM MY SIGHT. CEASE TO DO EVIL, LEARN TO DO GOOD; SEEK JUSTICE, REPROVE THE RUTHLESS; DEFEND THE ORPHAN, PLEAD FOR THE WIDOW. COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER,” SAYS THE LORD, ” THOUGH YOUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET, THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW; THOUGH THEY ARE RED LIKE CRIMSON, THEY WILL BE LIKE WOOL. IF YOU CONSENT AND OBEY, YOU WILL EAT THE BEST OF THE LAND; BUT IF YOU REFUSE AND REBEL, YOU WILL BE DEVOURED BY THE SWORD.” TRULY, THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN.”
AS I LOOK AT THIS TEXT, I FEEL LIKE ISAIAH. LIKE ISRAEL, AMERICA HAS DRIFTED YET, JUST AS THE LORD PROMISED ISRAEL, THE LORD PROMISES US THAT IF WE WILL REPENT, THERE IS HOPE FOR OUR NATION.
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT THE PROPHET SAID.
I. CONVICTION OF SIN
IF AMERICA IS GOING TO TURN AROUND, IT MUST BEGIN WITH CONVICTION OF SIN. SIN HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE GARDEN OF EDEN. SIN IS NOT A NEW THING BUT… SHAME OVER SIN IS SOMETHING THAT IS SLIPPING.
THERE IS LITTLE SHAME IN AMERICA TODAY. LISTEN FOLKS… WE ARE ALL SINNERS SAVED BY GRACE AND JESUS LOVES US ALL. YOU’VE HEARD ME SAY THAT AND I BELIEVE THAT. THERE IS NOTHING THAT LIES OUTSIDE THE REALM OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS.
HOWEVER, WE HAVE REACH A POINT AS A NATION THAT PEOPLE DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE ANY SHAME WITH THEIR SIN.
IN THE LAST MONTH OR SO, THERE WAS AN ARTICLE ABOUT DARRYL STRAWBERRY IN THE PAPER. STRAWBERRY WAS A GREAT BASEBALL PLAYER WHO GOT HOOKED ON DRUGS. HE SAID, “I WAS A DRUG ABUSER AND A WOMANIZER.”
NOTICE WHAT STRAWBERRY SAYS… HE CALLS SIN WHAT IS IT… SIN. WE MUST GET BACK TO THAT. THERE MUST BE CONVICTION OF SIN.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED OVER MEN AND WOMEN LIVING TOGETHER OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY.
WE NEED TO BE CONVICTED ABOUT THE LACK OF COMMITMENT AMONG CHRISTIANS.
IF THESE THINGS DON’T BOTHER US, IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION. HAVE WE GOTTEN TO A POINT THAT WE JUST CASUALLY DISMISS SIN AS “THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS?”
II. CONFESSION FROM SIN
NOTICE WHAT ISAIAH SAYS, “REMOVE THE EVIL DEEDS… CEASE TO DO EVIL…” ISAIAH IS TELLING THE PEOPLE THERE MUST BE CHANGE. HE SAYS… “REMOVE THE EVIL DEEDS… CEASE TO DO EVIL.” THAT’S STRAIGHT ENOUGH, ISN’T IT?
THE SAME IS TRUE IN AMERICA TODAY. IF OUR LAND IS GOING TO CHANGE, THERE MUST BE CHANGE IN THE HEARTS OF OUR PEOPLE. WHAT MUST CHANGE?
A. THERE MUST BE A REVIVAL IN THE HOME
YEARS AGO POPE JOHN PAUL II SAID, “AS THE HOME GOES, SO GOES THE NATION.” MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, I BELIEVE THAT TO BE A TRUE STATEMENT. THE HOME IS THE FOUNDATION OF SOCIETY. IF THE HOME IS THAT IMPORTANT, IT SHOULD STAND TO REASON THAT MANY OF THE PROBLEMS IN OUR NATION ARE ROOTED IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE HOME.
DR. PAUL POWELL HAS SAID, “THE STRENGTH OF A NATION IS IN THE HOME.”
PLATO SAID, “THE LIFE OF THE NATION IS BUT THE LIFE OF THE HOME WRIT LARGE.” TAKE THE TYPICAL HOME OF ANY NATION AND MULTIPLY IT BY THE SIZE OF THE NATION AND YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THE NATION IS LIKE.
AS I LOOK AT AMERICA, THERE ARE MANY PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING THAT GROW OUT OF THE HOME. THE HOME IS TO BE A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT AND SHAPED. BUT IT IS NOT HAPPENING TODAY.
1. A RENEWAL OF DISCIPLINE OF CHILDREN IN THE HOME.
I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT IS TODAY. KIDS ARE BEING RAISED IN HOMES WHERE PARENTS DO NOT DISCIPLINE THEM. OH, THEY MIGHT GET TIME OUT OR HAVE THEIR PHONE TAKEN AWAY. BUT SOMETIMES EVEN THOSE THINGS ARE NEGOTIABLE. BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE; MOST ARE NOT GETTING SPANKINGS TODAY.
NOW UNDERSTAND; I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT CHILD ABUSE. IF ANYONE EVER BEATS A CHILD, THAT ADULT SHOULD BE BEATEN. I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT HURTING A CHILD. BUT I AM TALKING ABOUT TEACHING A CHILD THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO THEIR ACTIONS. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING TODAY SO KIDS BASICALLY DO WHAT THEY WANT AND THERE ARE NO REPERCUSSIONS.
2. DIRECTION FOR CHILDREN
IN ADDITION TO NO DISCIPLINE, PARENTS ARE SPENDING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS GETTING THEIR KIDS ON TRAVEL BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL AND CHEER QUADS. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH PARTICIPATION IN A SPORT. SPORTS CAN TEACH CHARACTER ETC… BUT, THIS STUFF IS HAPPENING ON SUNDAY MORNINGS WHICH IS TAKING PEOPLE OUT OF WORSHIP. THAT IS WRONG. AND IT CONCERNS ME THAT PARENTS DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM WITH THIS.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE PARENTS, FOR WHATEVER REASON, HAVE DECIDED TO BE THEIR CHILD’S FRIEND AS OPPOSED TO THEIR PARENT. LISTEN, THIS ESTABLISH THIS CLEARLY; I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CHILD ABUSE. OK… WITH THAT SAID… CHILDREN HAVE TO BE DISCIPLINED AND THEY ARE NOT GETTING IT TODAY.
WHEN KIDS ARE NOT DISCIPLINED THEY DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. THAT’S JUST A FACT. AND PARENTS NOT DISCIPLINING THEIR CHILDREN IS AFFECTING THE SCHOOLS. WHEN YOU SEND A KID WHO IS NOT DISCIPLINED INTO THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER TRIES TO DISCIPLINE THAT CHILD, OBVIOUSLY, IT DOES LITTLE GOOD. THE KID KNOWS THEIR PARENTS AREN’T GOING TO DISCIPLINE THEM.
B. THERE MUST BE RESPONSIBILITY IN OUR NATION
BISHOP FULTON SHEEN ONCE SAID, “WE HAVE A STATUE OF LIBERTY ON THE EAST COAST; WE NEED A STATUE OF RESPONSIBILITY ON THE WEST COAST.”
WE MUST BEGIN TO TAKE AND ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR ACTIONS AND THINGS WE DON’T DO. FREQUENTLY TODAY, WE HEAR SOMEONE SAY “IT’S NOT MY FAULT…” OR…. “I DIDN’T KNOW.”
YOU KNOW… IN THIS INTERNET AGE.. I DON’T KNOW THAT “I DON’T KNOW” IS A REASONABLE RESPONSE ANYMORE. YOU CAN FIND THE ANSWERS TO MOST ANYTHING BY GOOGLING IT.
OR, SEVERAL PEOPLE CAN SEE SOMETHING BUT THEN SAY, “IT’S NOT MY FAULT.”
THERE IS AN OLD SAYING “EVERY TUB HAS TO SIT ON IT’S OWN BOTTOM.” THAT MEANS, WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS.
C. THERE MUST BE A RENEWAL OF WORK ETHIC
WHEN SOMEONE IS HIRED, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THEY WANT TO KNOW IS, “HOW MANY DAYS DO I GET OFF?” AMERICA HAD A WORK ETHIC AT ONE TIME BUT NO LONGER…
D. THERE MUST BE A RETURN TO GOD
ACROSS OUR NATION, ALL CHURCHES OF ALL DENOMINATIONS ARE EITHER PLATEAUED OR DECLINING. THE ONLY CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING ARE SOME OF THE NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES. BUT NINETY PERCENT OF CHURCHES ARE NOT GROWING.
WHY? SOME OF IT IS BECAUSE CHRISTIANS ARE NOT ATTENDING WORSHIP. ACROSS OUR NATION, THIS IS HAPPENING. IT’S NOT JUST A BAPTIST, OR METHODIST OR PRESBYTERIAN THING… IT’S ACROSS THE BOARD. ACROSS OUR LAND, CHRISTIANS DO NOT SEEM TO BE BOTHERED BY MISSING WORSHIP ON THE LORD’S DAY. THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE.
WHY IS THAT?
I’M GOING TO OFFER SOME THOUGHTS…
SIMPLY PUT.. CHRISTIANS ARE FORSAKING GOD. AS CHRISTIANS, WE WILL PRAY TO GOD AND ASK GOD TO HEAL US, TO GET US A JOB, TO TAKE CARE OF OUR KIDS ETC… BUT WE DO NOT SEEM TO FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO WORSHIP GOD AND THANK GOD FOR ALL HE HAS DONE FOR US.
THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL MADE A GOLDEN CALF AND GOD PUNISHED THEM. AMERICA HAS GOLDEN CALVES… SPORTS, LEISURE, MATERIALISM…
IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THE LORD SAID TO THE CHURCH @ EPHESUS, “YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE….” THE LORD COULD SAY THAT TO US TODAY. WE HAVE LEFT OUR FIRST LOVE. IT USED TO BE THAT SUNDAY MORNING WERE KIND OF ROPED OFF AS A DAY FOR CHURCH. NO MORE. IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY OF THE WEEK.
E. RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER (TRUST)
IN WASHINGTON D.C., THIS IS PARAMOUNT. THE REPUBLICANS DO NOT TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS AND VICE-VERSA. IF YOU CAN’T TRUST SOMEONE, IT’S HARD TO BUSINESS WITH THEM. I BELIEVE THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY THINGS PREVENTING OUR CONGRESS FROM MAKING PROGRESS. THERE IS NO TRUST.
AND, WE SEE THIS ACROSS THE NATION. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS NOT HELPED THIS. SOME ORGANIZATION CAN TAKE A HALF-SENTENCE OUT OF SOMETHING A POLITICIAN SAYS AND THEY POST IT ON THEIR WEB-SITE. THAT HALF-SENTENCE IS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER. WHAT MATTERS IS, PEOPLE CLICK ON IT. PEOPLE SHARE IT. SO, A STATEMENT THAT ISN’T TRUE CIRCULATES ON THE WEB WHICH CONTRIBUTES TO THE LACK OF TRUST.
G. A REJECTION OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH
ABSOLUTE TRUTH TEACHES THAT THERE ARE TRUTHS (THE BIBLE) THAT ARE ALWAYS TRUE. WE BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS GOD’S INSPIRED WORD. WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS TRUTH WITHOUT ANY MIXTURE OF ERROR.
OUR LIVES ARE GUIDED BY GOD’S WORD. BUT THERE IS A GENERATION NOW THAT IS ASKING, “WHY IS THE BIBLE CONSIDERED AUTHORITATIVE?”
THE BIBLE BEING ABSOLUTE TRUTH FORMS OUR BELIEFS ON ABORTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY.
III. CANCELLATION OF SIN
OK… I’VE JUST LISTED A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT CAUSE US ALL GREAT CONCERN. THE QUESTION NOW IS, “CAN AMERICA CHANGE?” MOST DEFINITELY AMERICA CAN CHANGE!
ISAIAH SAYS TO ISRAEL, “THOUGH YOUR SINS BE AS SCARLET, THEY SHALL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW.” THAT VERSE TELLS US THAT WE CAN CHANGE.
BUT, THERE HAS TO BE A STARTING POINT. THERE HAS TO BE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO SAY “I WILL BE THE CHANGE.”
“FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE COMMUNISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A COMMUNIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A SOCIALIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE TRADE UNIONISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A TRADE UNIONIST;
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE JEWS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT – BECAUSE I WAS NOT A JEW;
THEN THEY CAME FOR ME – AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK OUT FOR ME. “ (MARTIN NIEMOLLER)
IV. CORRECTION FROM SIN
I’M CERTAINLY NOT A PROPHET. BUT, I FEEL IN MY HEART THAT THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE. IN SOME WAYS, I FEEL LIKE WE ARE REAPING WHAT WE HAVE SOWED.
WE HAVEN’T DISCIPLINED OUR CHILDREN AT HOME AND TEACHERS ARE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED.
THE FAMILY IS FALLING APART. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY FAMILIES THAT YOU KNOWN THAT ARE BLENDED FAMILIES. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHO ARE DIVORCED WHO DON’T GET ALONG WITH THEIR “EX.”
IT SEEMS THAT EVERY DAY, THE NEWSPAPER TELLS US OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SCANDAL OR POLITICIAN WHO HAS FALLEN.
WE QUESTION WHO WE CAN TRUST.
THERE MUST BE A TURN-AROUND. THERE MUST BE A CHANGE.
IN THE SUMMER OF 1787 REPRESENTATIVES MET IN PHILADELPHIA TO WRITE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. AFTER THEY HAD STRUGGLED FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AND HAD MADE LITTLE OR NO PROGRESS, EIGHTY-ONE YEAR-OLD BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ROSE AND ADDRESSED THE TROUBLED AND DISAGREEING CONVENTION THAT WAS ABOUT TO ADJOURN IN CONFUSION.
“IN THE BEGINNING OF THE CONTEST WITH BRITAIN, WHEN WE WERE SENSIBLE OF DANGER, WE HAD DAILY PRAYERS IN THIS ROOM FOR DIVINE PROTECTION. OUR PRAYERS, SIR, WERE HEARD AND THEY WERE GRACIOUSLY ANSWERED. ALL OF US WHO WERE ENGAGED IN THE STRUGGLE MUST HAVE OBSERVED FREQUENT INSTANCES OF A SUPERINTENDING PROVIDENCE IN OUR FAVOUR… HAVE WE NOW FORGOTTEN THIS POWERFUL FRIEND? OR DO WE IMAGINE WE NO LONGER NEED THIS ASSISTANCE?
“I HAVE LIVED, SIR, A LONG TIME, AND THE LONGER I LIVE, THE MORE CONVINCING PROOFS I SEE OF THIS TRUTH… THAT GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN. AND, IF A SPARROW CANNOT FALL TO THE GROUND WIHTOUT HIS NOTICE, IS IT PROBABLE THAN AN EMPIRE CAN RISE WITHOUT HIS AID? WE HAVE BEEN ASSURED, SIR, IN THE SACRED WRITINGS, THAT EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, THEY LABOR IN VAIN WHO BUILD IT.
I FIRMLY BELIEVE THIS…
“I THEREFORE BEG LEAVE TO MOVE THAT, HENCEFORTH, PRAYER IMPLORING THE ASSISTANCE OF HEAVEN AND ITS BLESSINGS IN OUR DELIBERATIONS TO BE HELD IN THE ASSEMBLY THIS MORNING.” (BENJAMIN FRANKLIN)
This past Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that all 50 states must recognize same-sex marriage. In light of this ruling, many Christians… like me… are concerned. We ask ourselves “what will this mean in the days ahead?” “Where is our country going?”
I’m just as frustrated as anyone. As I try to look ahead, it concerns me what kind of world my kids will be living in. The world has most definitely changed.
Some may be frustrated that the Supreme Court didn’t take our side. We feel like “we” lost. and, when we put this ruling together with other things that have happened in recent years, we can feel like our side is losing and the other side is winning and to some degree that is true.
But, let’s back away from this a minute… no we can’t necessarily feel the government is on our side. But, the government doesn’t have to be on our side for Christianity to work. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, “you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” That means that as Christians, we can still make a difference in the world as we live our faith.
Many Christians believe this ruling could lead to the persecution of Christians. I guess it could but I hope not. But, Christians can still make a difference in this world.
Every day, we can love someone. Every day we can help someone. Every day we can encourage someone. Years ago George H.W. Bush spoke of “1000 points of light.” That phrase was used to describe what can happen if Americans try to help others. President Bush said, “We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a Thousand Points of Light…We all have something to give.” (President George H. W. Bush, 1989 inaugural address)
We can still be “1000 points of light.” We can still help others. Today, let’s try to help someone. Let’s try to move forward being “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” Let’s be “1000 points of light.” We do not need the help of the government to do those things.
One shot… One play… One decision…
Sometimes, it comes down to that.
College baseball started back in January with players doing conditioning drills. Then, most started playing games in February. Last night, Virginia beat Vanderbilt 4-2 to win the College World Series. Just 2 runs won the CWS.
In the 5th or 6th inning, Vanderbilt had a runner on 3rd with 2 outs. The Vandy hitter hit a sharp line drive that was about a foot off the line. Virginia’s third-baseman dove, caught the ball, got to his feet and fired a shot across the infield to just beat the Vandy runner. Inning over.
That play, was a HUGE factor in that game. If that ball gets by the Va. player, Vandy scores and who knows how the game ends up.
So, for Vanderbilt, a whole season comes down to 1 or 2 plays. All the conditioning, all the time in the batting cages, all the infeld practice, all the bullpens the pitching staff threw… and it all comes down to 1 or 2 plays to decide your year.
Life is like that. As we go through life, we make lots of decisions, we make lots of purchases etc… but ultimately, life comes down to 1 question… 1 decision… “Will you serve God?”
That’s it.. .1 decision. If you choose to serve God, God re-arranges your life… If you choose not to live for God, you do your own thing and live with the consequences.
1 play… 1 decision… will you live for God today?
Someone once told me “I’m a prison singer; I’m behind a few bars & I don’t have the right keys.” Paul & Silas were prison singers. In Acts 16:25 the Bible says they were singing hymns at midnight in a prison. They had a great attitude. I don’t know about you but, I don’t know that I would be singing hymns. I would probably too discouraged.
What about you? When adversity hits us, how would you respond? I admire Paul & Silas; life handed them a lemon & they made lemonade. We need to ask for strength to do the same.