Saturday, May 14, 2016

It Is Time to Get Angry and Take Back Our Nation!

I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which President Obama and his administration will go to intrude upon the lives of the American citizens.  But what happened yesterday with the joint declaration by the Departments of Justice and Education ordering every one of America's public school districts to turn their bathrooms and locker rooms into transgender rooms really was the last straw.  I am outraged! I thought I would never live to see this happen in that country that I love.  That order goes against everything that is decent. 

What will be the response of Christian school board members to that ruling?  I thought about that today because I had the privilege of serving on a public school board in a small Iowa community for four years.  We grappled with a lot of issues, but never one of this magnitude.  As a parent, what will be your response?  Can you envision your little third-grade daughter innocently going into the bathroom and finding a male-teacher there who just happens to think that he is a woman?  How do you explain that to your daughter?  Or how will you explain to your high school daughter that she will have to share locker space with a boy who just happens to think that he is a girl and wants to play on her softball team? 

If, indeed, public schools follow through with this "bullying" rule from a President whose sole intent as President was to accelerate the "decline and fall" of America, then I can see many families seeking alternative ways to educate their children.  Home-schooling will accelerate.  Christian school enrollment will explode.  Many churches will give serious thought to beginning some type of educational program. 

I share with you some portions of an article that Todd Starnes wrote yesterday.  It was published on the Fox News website: transgender decree-no-matter-the-cost.  "Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told me Congress must intervene to stop what he called an imperial president.  'If the present chooses to go forward with this outrageous order - then congress should begin impeachment proceedings,' he said.  Perkins said the decree should be 'resisted with every legal and moral instrument we have available to us in this country.  Every parent, every school board in America should absolutely refuse to sacrifice the safety of their children for the threat of taking away nine federal pennies that make up every educational dollar,' he said. 

"Resist!  That's the message from Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America.  'The left always uses children to accomplish its goals of social reengineering,' she said.  'The adults closest to these children should decide what's best for all the children in the school.  Safety and kindness should be the guiding principles, not threats form the bullies in Washington.'

"The time has come for all Americans to stand up and defy this president's immoral agenda.  If losing federal funding is the price we must pay to protect women and children - then so be it.  We will not betray what we know to be true for the government's 30 pieces of silver.  The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer warned us about a time such as this.  Not to speak is to speak, he once said.  Not to act is to act.  Far too long American pulpits have remained silent on controversial cultural issues.  Preachers don't want to rock the boat.  Parishioners don't want to cause trouble.  Far too long society has turned a blind eye as President Obama fundamentally transformed our nation.  But now the country stands at the edge of a great moral abyss.  And we must ask ourselves - do we defy the president and save the nation or do we keep the peace and sacrifice the children?"

Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver perhaps said it well.  "The reason they want to abolish gender is because they also want to remove any kind of moral construct regarding human sexuality.  Ultimately they want to abolish gender so they can abolish the very notion of the creator God himself, who created you and I in His image.  Male and female, God created you and I, distinctly different yet complementary." (

How did we get here?  June 26, 2015 is a date that will live in infamy.  If you remember I shared with you that when the Supreme Court - by a 5 to 4 vote - declared that same-sex marriage was the law of the land, that the lid was taken off Pandora's Box.  Approximately 3% of Americans are practicing homosexuals - yet their voice swayed five judges to change the law of the land regarding marriage.  And, when it happened, the White House became the "rainbow house" to celebrate.  That same White House now declares that, because less than one-half of one-percent of Americans are gender confused, then all Americans must become gender confused.  Oh the ripple effect of one law. 

Friends, what are we going to do?  It is time to rise up and take a stand.  If we don't fight now our nation will become just "another" nation.  Perhaps God has already "given us over to the depravity of our minds."  But if  we believe the promise of Jesus that the "gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church", then we can march forward knowing that "greater is the One who is in us than the one who is in the world."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Return of the Thought-Police

Thought-police were an integral part of the machinery that Adolph Hitler used to first persuade Germans to accept his diabolical ideas and then to keep those same people in line.  If a person did not fully subscribe to the prevailing ideology of that day - in other words, if they did not totally agree with what Hitler said - they were subject to arrest, imprisonment, or even death. 

Can't happen here in America, right?  Well, if I am a student attending Harvard University, it is happening.  There was an article published last week by Bob Unruh on the World Net Daily website that was frightening.  You can find the article at:  The article begins: "Harvard University.  Girls in fraternities and guys in sororities.  And 'gays' and lesbians in both.  As well as transgenders.  Together.  One might conclude that is Harvard's ultimate objective after the ultra-progressive university on Friday announced the imposition of a politically correct blacklist of 'single-sex' off-campus organizations.

"A letter signed by Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust was posted online Friday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education endorsing a strategy proposed by university official Rakesh Khurana.  He proposes that any student who belongs to an 'unrecognized single-gender social organization' will 'not be eligible to hold leadership positions in recognized student organizations or athletic teams.'  Khurana contends it's critical that Harvard students be in a community with multiple 'genders, gender identity and sexual orientation.'  Violators also would be deprived of any 'dean's endorsement letters for those fellowships that require such endorsements.'  The blacklist of students will prevent them from 'Rhodes and Marshall scholarships and [have them] banned from leadership of on-campus organizations or athletic teams,' the organization said.  It pointedly noted that the exclusion policy is being pursued in the name of fostering 'inclusion.'

"But the organizations are off-campus and not recognized or supported by the university, making the policy a vast control mechanism for students' lives off campus."

There you have it.  If I am attending Harvard and have my sights set on a Rhodes Scholarship, then I had better be extremely careful what I do when off-campus or the people I associate with off-campus.  Big-brother is watching me carefully.  I certainly can't be a part of an off-campus organization that speaks against transgenderism or same-sex anything.  I certainly can't be a part of an off-campus organization that takes the Word of God seriously and proclaims the truths of Scripture.  When I agree to attend Harvard University, it is almost like I am making a pact that the University will control every part of my life, including what I think about many of the issues of today's world.  In other words the rule at Harvard is: you think the way we want you to think; you associate with people we want you to associate with; you do what we tell you to do.  Pretty scary, don't you think? 

Sadly, if Harvard is beginning this policy, it will not be long until it will become standard operating procedure for most colleges and universities.  Why is this happening?  Why is there this urgency to control what a person thinks?  Why is there this urgency to tell people what is right and wrong?  I am not a philosopher or a psychologist, but let me give a shot at an answer.  I believe the answer is as simple as this: we have abandoned God and His Word.  You say, "That is too simplistic!"  Let's see if I can make a logical case.  A belief in God is an innate part of who we are as human beings.  The Bible says that we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  And, I believe that part being in that image of God is our desire to pursue and to know truth because God is Truth (John 14:6).

Now, when I decide that God does not exist then I also decide that absolute truth does not exist either for absolute truth has its foundation in God.  In the absence of God all truth becomes relative.  I get to decide what is truth for me.  You get to decide what is truth for you.  I accept your truth; you accept my truth.  Even if your truth clashes with my truth, I cannot deny your truth, nor you mine.  Sounds like it will create some mass-confusion, which it does.  So, how can we avoid this mass-confusion?  Well, someone or something has to decide what is truth for the moment.  Most often it is the government that says, "This is truth!"  We saw the United States Supreme Court do this nearly a year ago when it stated that same-sex marriage was now truth.  Harvard University is doing this with its students by proclaiming, "This is our truth!  Follow it or suffer the consequences!"  I don't want a scene of mass-confusion, so I surrender my "truth" to someone else's "truth."  And, slowly, as I am under the authority of that person's "truth," I find that soon that "truth" becomes my "truth."

So, what is a Christian supposed to do.  First of all, we are not to abandon our faith and the hope we have in Jesus Christ, no matter what the consequences might be.  Second, we are to practice careful thinking.  I am reminded of Paul's words of admonition to his Philippian readers: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things" (Philippians 4:8).  And let me share one more passage, also from the pen of Paul: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We are to think as Christ would think.  We are to respond as Christ would respond.  We are not to be shoved into the mold of this world.  We are to be fashioned like unto Jesus Christ.

I will not be posting a blog for the next couple of weeks.  I will be leading a tour group to Israel that leaves next Tuesday and spending 12 days in Israel.  I know our group will appreciate your prayers for us as we are travel in the footsteps of Jesus.  I am confident I will have a lot to share upon our return.  Keep on praying for the peace of Jerusalem.   

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

America - Can It Be Great Again?

Everyone in Cleveland is taking a collective sigh of relief today.  I am confident that the police chief and mayor will be resting better at nights.  It appears that there will be no contested nomination in July at the Republican Convention.  Something unprecedented in American history is about to happen: the presumptive nominee for the office of President of the United States from a major American political party is a non-politician.  No experience in the House of Representatives.  No experience in the United States Senate.  Not even any experience as a governor.  In a time when many people are growing increasingly tired and weary of politicians, a multi-billionaire businessman stepped onto the political stage and talked to the American people in a language they could understand.  His appeal crossed almost every racial and social strata.  Now the question becomes whether he can unite his very fractured party - no easy task given the vitriolic language used during the primary season.  Now the question also becomes whether he can persuade a larger audience with his "Let's Make America Great Again" theme.  Now comes the task for all of us to do our homework and, above all, to begin to pray more earnestly for our nation and for God's guidance as we seek a new leader.

But, whoever is elected next November, he/she will be inheriting a nation that is not what it once was.  It is a nation divided into so many factions.  It is a nation divided along racial lines: blacks versus whites versus Hispanics.  It is a nation divided along gender lines, lines that have become increasingly blurred: it is no longer men and women, but men and women, men who want to be women, women who want to be men, men who want to be women sometimes, women who want to be men sometimes, and even those who don't know.  It is a nation divided along sociological and economic lines: the ranks of those living in poverty have swollen; the chasm between those who have and those who don't have has greatly increased.  It is a nation that has abandoned those absolute truth statements that nearly all Western civilizations have held sacrosanct for centuries and upon which our nation was birthed nearly 250 years ago.  It is a nation that has lost the concept of civility: we would rather shout at each other and protest against one another than to sit down and dialogue with one another.  It is a nation that has lost the art of compromise: no, each faction demands its own agenda.  It is a nation that has willingly abandoned its history - even seeking to erase that history when its does not fit with our present-day thinking.  But to abandon history is to set oneself free from anything that might give one direction and help to ensure a sense of purpose.  No, America is not what it once was!  I believe that if those brave men and women who labored so tirelessly and unselfishly to give birth to this nation could see what we are today, they would be shocked and alarmed for this is not the nation that they envisioned.

Can America return to what it once was?  Friends, that is the ultimate question.  And, the answer from Scripture is a conditional "yes."  Centuries ago there lived a great king in Israel named Solomon.  He had invested much in building a temple for the LORD God of Israel.  At its dedication he had prayed a long prayer asking God to have mercy upon His people when they sinned - for Solomon knew that people would sin - and to bring forgiveness.  God's response to that prayer is found in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 

There's God's answer.  Can America return to what it once was?  Yes, but only if it has a spiritual awakening.  And, as I read the above text, I find that the burden for that spiritual awakening lies within the Church, those people who know God.  We can no longer wink at sin.  We can no longer pretend that it does not exist or hope that it will simply go away if we choose to ignore it.  We need to understand that our deeply depraved spirits can only be healed with the gracious touch of a loving God, but that healing will not occur unless we truly seek His face through humility and prayer.

Tomorrow is National Day of Prayer.  Many will gather for prayer breakfasts, which, at least going by those I have attended in the past, focus more upon eating and speaking then upon prayer.  At our church here in Buffalo, MN, we have decided to invite people to gather around our flagpole and to pray for our community, for our nation, and for our world.  We know that God will hear us - for we have that promise from Him.  Will God answer?  Perhaps it will be the moving of His Spirit to ignite an awakening within our own homes.  How wonderful it would be to see families invite Christ to be the center of their homes.  And, yes, perhaps America can return to what it once was.  But the task will be an arduous one and cannot be done without much prayer and dedication to Truth.