Saturday, September 05, 2009

Our World Today—A weekend of Questions about the future

It started Friday night with two calls from younger people concerned about the political and economic situation in America. The weekend ended with a discussion with a Hutchinson area businessman asking the same questions while I was filling gas. On Monday morning I opened my email at work to find an email from a business colleague asking “what kind of world will my children grow up in?” It’s obvious to me that more people are concerned about the situation in our country and the future than ever before, and we should be concerned.

In light of this fact, it should be a great opportunity for the church to respond. We, as believers, should respond as individuals and as a group. The church, you and me, need to step up and meet this head on. May I share some observations?

The world does not like having Christians expressing opinions or actually doing something constructive. If we stand up, we will pay a price for standing for our faith. The Christian and the church have been marginalized; the world feels we must sit on the sidelines and be quiet. Be aware, if you make a public stand, opposition to you may come from some of those closest to us namely, family, friends and fellow church members.

What is the problem? It is the complete moral and spiritual breakdown of our culture. Our problem is not Democrat or Republican. It is a moral problem; a spiritual problem. We want solutions to our problems but we’re looking to man to bring relief, not God.

In America today, we don’t want to hear the truth; we want to feel good. We want to be assured that everything is ok and will be ok. We want the pain killers first; we really don’t want to solve the problem. The problem is us, not the politicians, the preachers and/or teachers. The time has come where we must stop blaming other convenient scapegoats.

Elijah the prophet ministered in times of great drought in Israel. Under God’s guidance and sovereign hand, God directed Elijah to announce to wicked King Ahab that Israel would suffer a drought until God told Elijah to lift it. In 1 Kings 18:1 it says “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land."

The prophet Obadiah told Elijah to present himself to wicked King Ahab. King Ahab charged Elijah as the trouble maker. Elijah responds in 1 Kings 18: 16-18: "So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" "I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the LORD's commands and have followed the Baals.”

We never like being told that we are the problem, Christian or not. We want our problems solved politically not spiritually. Bottom line is this—we do not like Jesus’ demands placed upon of life. We are proud of the fact that we go to church. Yes, many of us do but we leave it there, sad to say. As Christians we are to be the light on the hill; we haven’t been. Many of us will sit prideful in our collective and personal misery, admiring God at a distance saying God must never demand anything of me. We are a proud, immoral people and pride comes before the fall and than we wonder why we have problems as a nation.
Remember this, God will and can use anybody to advance His kingdom. Full time professionals and common ordinary men and women like us. Acts 4: 12-14 says: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.” Notice the qualifier—“they had been with Jesus.” Jesus brings offense and America and our little rural communities don’t like it either. “Don’t stick your finger in my face” is the last refuge of a scoundrel getting his feathers ruffled.

At the same time we see the things we’ve trusted crumbling around us. For some of us that day is a ways off, or so we think. We have lived in affluence and relative security and political stability, but we see cracks in the foundation moving to become gaps in the foundation and in some cases, open fissures. We are hearing predictions of the government going broke, hyper-inflation on the way, potential terrorist attacks; we see our personal freedom being threatened. In reality, we are afraid of the future. We may have to rein in our uninvolved, selfish, me-centered life style whether we like it or not; all this chips away at our pride.

Our pride is this, “I am the captain of my own ship and get the hell out of my way. Listen brothers and sisters, we breathe without thinking, our hearts beat without any effort from us. Yes, we may be captains of our own ship but in a moment we could be found face down, dead, upon the main deck. We need to remember this in the last of these heady days.

If history is an indicator, an arrogant, prideful self absorbed nation will not last and neither will a complacent self-absorbed church. We hear the hoof beats in the distance, see the dust on the horizon, but will we heed the warning? I don’t think so because we don’t want to see.

Are you ready to suffer? I hope we won’t have to but we deserve God’s harsh hand but I am praying for the grace of Jesus to invade each one of our lives. May God be merciful to us. Remember this, God alone holds the future.

Come quickly Lord Jesus, come. Amen

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