Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Real Issue of This Election: Nationalism vs. Globalism - Why Does It Matter?

We are now less than two weeks from one of the most crucial elections of my lifetime.  This is one of those elections where many people are saying, "How can we vote for none-of-the-above?"  Yet, vote we must.  The future of our nation is dependent upon it.  Really this election is not so much about personalities as it is upon ideologies.  We know what America has become over the past years.  Since 1973 we have witnessed the legalized slaughter of millions of unborn children, many of whom have been killed because they were an inconvenience to a mom and a dad and their plans.  We have witnessed the escalation of the racial divide to a height we have not seen in many years.  We have also witnessed the continued attacks upon our law-enforcement officials and upon others who are in authority.  Our morals have deteriorated to the place where amorality has even surpassed immorality.  We have redefined marriage.  We have redefined gender.  We have multiplied the confusion among people as to who they really are.  And, above all, God has been totally abandoned within the marketplace.  Those few businesses that seek to continue to stand for principles and for God are maligned and often forced out of business. 

Let me share a couple of articles with you that illustrate that this election is about ideology, not personality.  This past weekend Todd Starnes wrote a piece titled, "ACLU: School's Salute to Cops Sends 'Ominous, Frightening Message.'"  It can be found at:  Let me quote briefly from this article.
"A patriotic, pre-game celebration honoring law enforcement and first responders at a high school football game has drawn the ire of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.  New Jersey's Middletown High School South saluted more than 100 police officers and military personnel on Oct. 21st.  The celebration culminated with teenaged football players and police officers unfurling a massive American flag  before singing the national anthem.  'A star-spangled celebration,' is how the Asbury Park Press described the festivities.  But the ACLU of New Jersey exploded with fury - accusing organizers of sending an 'ominous, frightening message.'

"In a letter to school leaders, the ACLU-NJ and the local chapter of the NAACP said the school was using the salute to 'intimidate and ostracize people who express their views about systemic racism and social justice.'  The controversy stems in part from some comments Middletown Police Deputy Chief Stephen Dollinger made to the Asbury Park Press.  He reportedly told the newspaper that the salute was prompted by the behavior of San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  'It's okay to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,' he told the newspaper in advance of the football game.  'It's another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.'  Dollinger later said his remarks had been 'twisted' and the event had nothing to do with the disgraced NFL quarterback or Black Lives Matter.  'I said we respect the rights of everybody to stand up for social justice and equality and reform, but we also respect our country and want to celebrate the first responders, the national anthem,' he told the newspaper.

"Regardless, the idea of honoring those who protect and serve rankled the ACLU and their minions.  'The criticism the deputy police chief expressed for people who decline to stand for the national anthem in protest serves to erect walls between police and the communities they serve,' said ACLU-NJ policy counsel Dianna Houenou.  'The people police are sworn to protect and serve should not have to fear that the value officers assign to them is determined by the beliefs they hold,' she added.  ...  Jasmine Crenshaw, another ACLU lackey, raged over the deputy chief's behavior.  'The statements made by the deputy police chief and the event's ostentatious show of power send an ominous, frightening message: that, as an official stance, law enforcement will not tolerate expressions acknowledging our nation's history of unequal treatment and systemic oppression,' Crenshaw said.  'The magnitude of this event chills the belief that police should be held accountable when they abuse their power or discriminate against people of color, and pressures student athletes to act as props of the police,' she added."  Starnes concludes, "I've grown extremely tired of these anti-American agitators who have hijacked our sporting events and turned them into platforms to spew their hatred for the red, white and blue."

Friends, the clash between racial injustice and law enforcement is an ideological problem.  I have been listening to what the candidates have said about how they will begin that healing.  One candidate wants to revisit the past attempts which have failed to bring solutions; the other wants to move forward and try something new.  I am looking past personalities to ideologies.

Allow me to share portions of another, longer article that was posted on October 21 by World News Daily.  It can be found at  The article begins with a key sentence that should grab each of us: "It's the key choice of the 2016 election: nationalism versus globalism."  Friends, that sentence alone should cause you to click on the link and continue reading.  One candidate has said from the very beginning that he wants to "make America great again."  The other candidate has gone on record in a speech given to a group of business people in Brazil that she favors open borders and globalism.  Now I do not know who will win in two weeks, but I am hoping that many of us will begin to look beyond those personality issues - which, by the way, the main stream media has continually focused upon - at least for one candidate - and look at the vision those candidates have for our nation.  One candidate desires that we continue to become just like all the other nations in the world.  Our armed forces will continue to become less strong.  Our economy will become lessen as the focus will be upon all of us being equals, thus eliminating any incentive to get ahead.  Justices to the United States Supreme Court will be chosen that will make any laws that Congress fails to make, or at least interpret laws so that the desired impact will be felt.  The other candidate envisions a strengthening of what made America great in the first place.

Let me return to this article just briefly as it explains why this choice between nationalism and globalism should impact us as believers.  "'Globalism is not a biblical concept,' says pastor Carl Gallups, an expert in eschatology.  He argues there is deep spiritual significance in the contemporary push for one world government.  'The only attempts at achieving "globalism" presented in the Bible were destroyed or dispersed by the Lord,' he said.  'We are also informed through warnings of biblical end times prophecies that a globalist spirit and leader will be the defining characteristic of the days of great tribulation that are to come upon the whole Earth.  And this "Antichrist" system, which includes globalism, is presented to us as the epitome of evil which is ultimately destroyed by the second coming.'"

Friends, these are critical days for us.  If you are contemplating NOT voting because you strongly dislike the personalities of the two people at the top of the tickets, I would encourage you to look beyond those personalities - which I agree are very dislikeable - and examine the ideologies that are representative.  In doing so, look beyond those 10-15 second sound-bytes of the main stream media and do some research on your own.  Carefully and prayerfully make your decision and then go and vote for the candidate of your choice.  The future of our country is depending upon your vote! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A UN Resolution and a State Lawsuit - Both Are Bad

It seems that the mainstream media does not do an adequate job of sharing with us the happenings of the various agencies of the United Nations.  For example, did you know that the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) recently passed a resolution denying any ancient Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall?  Well, they did.

The resolution was initiated on behalf of the Palestinians.  It states that the Temple Mount, the place where the First and Second Temples stood, is holy only to Muslims.  In response to the resolution, Israel's permanent delegate to UNESCO, Ambassador Carmel Shama HaCohen, said, "Israel and the Jewish people do not require UNESCO's or any other country's confirmation of the special connection between the Jewish people and the State of Israel and Jerusalem in general, and the holy sites such as the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in particular.  There is no connection of another people to another place in the world that comes close to the strength and depth of our connection to Jerusalem from a religious, historical and national perspective, a connection that has stood the test of 2,000 years."  (  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids.  By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left."

Friends, the Jewish roots associated with the Temple Mount go back to the time of David, some ten centuries before the time of Christ, or some 17 centuries before the time of Mohammed.  David selected this site for the construction of the Temple, a project that he left in the capable hands of his son, Solomon.  Artifacts discovered in and around the Temple Mount bear the historicity of the strong Jewish claims to this place.  I have seen many of those artifacts in the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem.  But it seems that the world wants to negate those many centuries of Jewish history.  But you cannot erase history.  It is there.  It is part of our past.  And it seems that anti-Semitism now must go back into that ancient history.  But, according to the scriptures, this city of Jerusalem will become the capitol city of the world when Jesus Christ returns. 

I would like to share a second article with you.  It can be found at  "For a second time in just weeks, a state finds itself on defense in a legal action triggered by its attempt to dictate what ministers and others say inside their churches.  In America.  Home of the First Amendment's protection for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The newest case was filed against Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination commissioners Jamie R. Williamson, Sunila T. George and Charlotte G. Richie and Attorney General Maura Healey.  It's over a new 'gender identity' definition adopted in Massachusetts.  The measure makes 'gender identity' a special class, with more protections than ordinary citizens.  Under the provision, the attorney general has claimed 'houses of worship' are places of 'public accommodation' and members therefore cannot even express ideas concerning 'religious expression regarding biological sex and gender identity.'  The case was launched by the Alliance Defending Freedom after Healey and the state commission both decided to interpret the law 'to force churches to open church changing rooms, shower facilities, restrooms, and other intimate areas [to people] based on their perceived gender identity, and not their biological sex, in violation of the churches' religious beliefs.' 

"'Under [the law] places of public accommodation may not discriminate against, or restrict a person from services because of that person's gender identity.  For example, a hotel or motel may not refuse to book a room for a person because of the person's gender identity,' the state threatened.  It continued, 'Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.'  The demands include having church officials, and even members, use whatever pronouns a person would demand, irrespective of their actual gender."

Friends, this case mirrors one that occurred recently in the state of Iowa, specifically the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ.  "At issue is the state's nondiscrimination requirements that specify any 'public accommodation' can be ordered not to say anything that might make a homosexual or a transgender feel 'unwelcome,' such as even reading from the Bible a condemnation of such behavior."

So, a pastor cannot even preach from such texts as Romans 1 or  First Corinthians 6 for fear of offending someone in the audience.  A church is fearful of opening its doors to a fund-raising dinner for its youth because they do not want to have "open bathrooms."  What has happened?  The bottom line is this: we do not want to hear about sin!  We don't want to be told that we are wrong!  We don't want to admit that we need help!  And, thus the First Amendment is trampled upon.  Those freedoms which are cited in that First Amendment were foundational to the reasons why our nation was created in the first place.  These were essential rights.  Without those, our nation ceases to exist - or, at least, ceases to exist as our Founding Fathers envisioned this country they were giving birth to. 

So, what is your church going to do?  What is my church going to do?  How is your church going to respond to this threat?  How is my church?  We want to be biblical in all that we do.  We want to mirror both truth and grace.  But, if it means going to jail or losing our tax exempt status, so be it.  We will not waver from the Truth. 

Friends, it is time to prayer and to study as we have never prayed and studied before.  It is time for us to be bold as we have not been bold before.  The proclamation of the Gospel is dependent upon it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Of Flags, Baseball, Hot Dogs and Ancient Toilet Seats

Last week I shared with you about the protests taking place in many of the athletic venues across our nation.  The focus of those protests of racial injustice is directed at a lack of respect toward our flag and our national anthem. 

But I want to share with you what I experienced last week during the time Marlys and spent with our kids in Texas.  Greg, Beth, and their two boys Ethan and Max are big fans of the Texas Rangers baseball team.  And so, after Texas made it to the American League Playoffs, Beth called and wanted to know if I would be interested in joining Greg and my two grandsons for an afternoon at Globe Life Park for a playoff game.  Who can turn down tickets for a baseball playoff game?  We have not even come close to such an event in Minnesota for several years. 

So, this past Thursday, it was off to the ball park in Arlington.  It was one of those very late summer days in Texas - rather warm for October, but really perfect weather for baseball.  The game, itself, from a Ranger-fan-point-of-view was not very exciting.  But what I wanted to share with you is what happened in the pregame.

Both teams were introduced and lined up along the third-base and first-base lines.  Someone sang the Canadian National Anthem, as the team the Rangers was playing was the Toronto Blue Jays.  Then a color guard presented the colors.  And a team of men and women in uniform marched out onto the field with a gigantic American flag.  As our National Anthem was being played, this giant flag was unfurled, literally filling the entire outfield.  Quietly those men and women in uniform began to wave this giant flag and at that moment a C-130 Transport Plane flew over head.  It was a scene that I will never forget.  And following the singing of our National Anthem, the crowd, announced at over 47,000, burst into the chant "USA! USA! USA!"  There was a thrill of that moment.  We were all there to root for the Rangers - yes, there were a few Blue Jays fans there as well.  We had white skin and black skin and brown skin and yellow skin.  We were old; we were young.  We drove Fords; we drove Ferraris.  We were Republicans; we were Democrats; we were Independents.  But, for that moment - which lasted into several minutes - we were all Americans.  And, as I stood there with my Texas Rangers cap over my heart (I know I should have taken my Chicago Cubs hat, but I was in Texas) I thought to myself: This is what our Founding Fathers envisioned.  Perhaps not a baseball game, but a coming together of Americans from all walks of life to celebrate our nation and what it stands for.  And then it was time for baseball in Texas.

And after the game was completed with the home team losing badly, I did not see anyone assaulting those fans who wore the blue of the Blue Jays.  We were disappointed, but realized that there would be a game tomorrow that would hopefully bring a different result.  It was a great afternoon with my son-in-law and my two grandsons and my first "broomstick" which is a 24-inch, I did not eat it all by myself,  Nothing like a hotdog at the "old ballpark." 

A couple weeks ago I received an article whose headlines grabbed my attention: "Archaeologists: 2,700-year-old-toilet confirms Scriptures."  The article was written by Jay Baggett.  You can find this article at:  "Archaeologists in Israel have announced the discovery of an ancient commode unearthed during excavation of the First Temple-era gate complex of the city of Lachish in the Judean foothills that they say confirms the Bible."  According to the article, the gates of Lachish were also excavated and during that process a gate-shrine room was discovered.  And it was within that room that this ancient toilet seat was found - a sign that this shrine-room had been desecrated.  We know from the Bible and ancient history that during the reign of King Hezekiah, the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib marched into Judah and lay siege to Lachish, one of the fortress cities guarding the route to Jerusalem.  It was during that time the city was destroyed.  The article reminds us that King Jehu of Israel once destroyed a shrine dedicated to Baal by making it into a latrine (2 Kings 10:27). 

The article continues by quoting Ze-ev Elkin, Minster of Jerusalem and Heritage and Environmental Protection: "The fascinating new discovery at Tel Lachish is a typical example whereby excavations and further research of heritage sites show us time and time again how biblical tales that are known to us became historical and archaeological stories.  Before our very eyes these new finds become the biblical verses themselves and speak in their voice.  We in the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage will continue to lead the effort whereby as many Israelis as possible will be exposed to the enthralling experience of ancient stones that speak to us of the Bible in their own unique voice." 

Once again I was reminded of how the stories within the Bible are viewed with suspicion until the archaeologist's spade and trowel validates those stories.  Friends, the Bible does not need validated in order for us to believe it.  The Bible is an accurate record of history whether the archaeologist affirms it or not.  But a toilet seat can give this Old Testament heart some excitement.  I think I will have to add Lachish to my next Israel tour agenda. 

Today is Yom Kippur, the high holy day in Israel.  It is a day of introspection, reflection, and repentance.  Soon the joyous celebration of Tabernacles will begin.  May we also join in remembering God's faithfulness to us in the past and in the present.  And may we look forward with joy to what God has ahead for us. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Respect for Our Flag and Our National Anthem

There was a time when a person attending a sporting event stood with respect when the National Anthem was played prior to the beginning of a ball game.  I remember attending high school football games when my grandkids were members of a large marching band.  The band did their pregame routine and then we were all invited to stand, remove our caps, and join in the singing as the band so elegantly played our National Anthem.  Even those of us who could not sing joined in with hands held over our hearts.  This was in reverence and respect for our flag and for our country. 

Then, in late summer, one member of the San Francisco 49er's football team, decided that he would protest what he viewed as discriminatory policies by our governmental leaders by not standing for the playing of our National Anthem.  The next week he not only did not stand, but he knelt down as it was played. Soon other players from other teams were joining in this protest; a few even raised the "black power fist" as the Anthem was being played. 

Unfortunately, their example is now being emulated by college and high school players across the country.  And this past week, several members of the East Carolina University Marching Pirate Band refused to play our Anthem and knelt when it was played.  Later University leaders, in answer to the outcry against such demonstrations, replied that, although the University respected the rights of students to declare their beliefs, using a Saturday afternoon college football game was not a proper place to demonstrate those beliefs.  They promised that it would not happen again.

I ask myself this question: Exactly what are these individuals protesting?  Many do not know why, they are just going along with the crowd.  There is a very interesting verse in Acts 19 which seems to apply to the situation of many today.  The context of the passage is the unrest in Ephesus over Paul's proclamation of Jesus Christ.  So many people are being impacted by the Gospel that the merchants who made a profit off the sale of merchandize of the goddess Diana or Artemis were concerned that they would lose customers.  So a riot ensued.  But here is what Luke records: "The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another.  Most of the people did not even know why they were there" (Acts 19:32).  If you were to ask those members of the East Carolina University Marching Band why they were protesting, I am pretty confident that they could not give you an answer.  They are simply caught up in the moment. 

So, what started this showing disrespect toward our flag and our National Anthem?  Mr. Kaepernick, the 49er football player who initiated it, said that he was trying to show how much injustice there was in our country toward black people.  And, what promoted this demonstration?  The seeming increase in the number of black youths who have been shot by white policemen.  "Black Lives Matter" - yes they do, but not just when a black teenager is shot by a white police officer.  "Black Lives Matter" every day in our nation's cities.  "Black Lives Matter" in Chicago where daily blacks kill other blacks with a violence that almost seems unabated.  But I don't see a huge outcry when those innocent lives are taken - a mother walking her baby down the streets in a stroller, a teenager just sitting on the porch of her house, another teenager just walking down the street to a store.  Do not these "black lives matter" as well? 

And what of those homes in our nation's cities where children grow up without a father.  Mom is stressed to the point of breaking as she seeks to manage her children, a job, and a home.  Do not those "black lives matter?"  Those children hunger for male leadership and find that substitute for a father within the gang.  And the rest of the story is a tragedy that is repeated far too often.  Do not those lives matter?

Is there injustice in America today?  Yes, there is.  But, is showing disrespect to our flag and our National Anthem to way to correct that injustice?  Absolutely not!  That flag and that Anthem represent what so many others have fought and died for.  My own father served in the Army Air Corps in World War 2.  My uncle served in the Army during the Korean War.  I had friends from high school and college who served in Vietnam, several of whom did not return.  As I stand at attention with hand-over-heart as the National Anthem is played, it is a sign of respect for those who have made our country what it is.  I believe that our flag and our National Anthem should not be instruments of protest.  You may march in front of police stations.  You may demonstrate in front of court houses.  You can even block major highways.  But show respect for our flag and our National Anthem. 

Perhaps we lack respect because our children do not grow up reciting the Pledge to the Flag everyday.  "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  Perhaps it is good for all of us to recite this from time to time so we remember. 

As I close I want to wish my Jewish friends a "shana tova" as you enter into a new year 5777.  May this be a year of special blessings from God to you and your household.