Friday, August 27, 2010

Hope for America - Part I: Pay Attention!

"These are the... men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul's kingdom over to him, as the LORD had said... 
Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do..."
– I Chronicles 12:23,32 (NIV)

Space Camp--the movie.  It doesn't rank among the classics of the silver screen, by any means.  But, I like the message.  A group of average American teens gets to spend the summer at a NASA facility, but all they care about is having a good time and...you know...youthful frivolity.  Except for one.  This gal has a sense of destiny, and she expects that one day she'll be "going up."

I won't give away the plot, but in a nutshell, the group of teens is headed for disaster during a flight mission when the pilot is wounded and unable to pilot the craft.  Who saves the day?  Of course--the one teen aboard who's cared enough to pay attention.



There comes a time in the history of a nation that's been adrift, when God says, "Enough is enough!"

It doesn't take much looking to see that the Church in America, by and large, has given up.  We're like passengers on an aircraft with no pilot, fully aware that we're headed into a mountainside.  The other folks on board can't see it coming, but we Christians can.  And we figure, "Hey! There's no saving this crate, so let's just pull into our little make-believe religious shell and hope the end will be quick and painless."


There IS hope for America--if God's people will understand the times and know what to do!  As in David's day, there are a number of ingredients that God will pull together to rescue our nation.  We just need to pay attention.  As in David's day, we need to watch for...

God's Timing
We must connect with God and listen to the voices He's raising up in our generation to help us understand His timing.

God's Message
We need to pray for a clear word that will rally His people, like a trumpet call, to assemble for battle.  In Lincoln's day, for example, the wake-up call was Uncle Tom's Cabin.

God's Leaders
The Church in America needs strong leaders to unite us.

God's Visionaries
That's us--the men of Issachar.  Time to poke our heads out of the shell and catch His vision!

God's Sovereign Move
Pray, pray, pray!  Battle cannot begin until the mighty wind of God stirs in the treetops.

God's Plan
Don't run off half-cocked like the Israelites who tried--and failed--to take the Promised Land after God had told them they would need to wait forty years.

God's Battle
It won't come without a fight.  Read Ephesians 6 and practice dressing for battle.  This is no game, but take courage!  We know Who wins in the end.

God is about to proclaim over America, "Enough is enough!"  And when He does, let His people be ready for the battle that follows--and the victory!  Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I haven't Seen It Yet

"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.’"
– Revelation 3:17 (NIV)

I'm not a big fan of inane movies, but Ernest movies are definitely worth the time.  Jim Varney is a veritable genius in his field.  And his best role, in my opinion, was in Ernest Saves Christmas. 

It's a comedy that tugs at something dangling from the heart.  You see, deep down, each of us wants to find something meaningful to do with the brief time we have on this planet.  Trouble is, there are many things that claim to be meaningful but turn out to be...well, let's just fast-forward to what I'm talking about...

It's what writers call an "HCM"---a "Heart-Clutching Moment."  Santa Claus himself (well, we haven't decided yet whether he's the real Saint Nick) is running out of time to recruit his replacement before Christmas Eve.  And now, he's standing on the doorstep of the most caring, personable, eligible candidate in the world---Joe Carruthers---trying to talk him into taking the job.  Not surprisingly, Joe's suspicious that this sweet old fellow may be off his rocking horse.

Santa's brought the one thing that should convince Joe---his magic toy sack.  Or, at least it looks like it.  But, things haven't gone exactly per plan today, and it turns out someone's pinched the real sack and left Santa with a facsimile stuffed with feathers.

"Look," says Joe, "I have an appointment to keep...with people who want to give me more than just...you know...feathers."

"Joe, search your heart. There must be something that can convince you of the truth."

"In a way, I wish there was.  But I haven't seen it yet."

Freeze frame.

God is at work reconciling the World to Himself.  And to that end, says the Apostle Paul, He has made us His ambassadors of reconciliation.

How often we stand at the door of some unfortunate person, who so needs a shot in the arm of hope, who is so ready for a personal encounter with the God of all hope.  And then...we invite that person to reach into our magic "God sack", and out comes...a fistful of feathers.

Why? Because we started the day, like so many other days, thinking we had God in the sack.  Didn't even need to check---no time for that.  Truth is, we left God behind waiting for us to connect with Him for the day.  Instead, the enemy filled our sack with a lot of feathers.  You know what those feathers are---things that take up the space where God should have been.  Make the sack look all round and jolly on the outside, but tragically useless when it comes time to impact the world.

Sometimes, it's been so long since we opened the sack and let God in that...well...we don't even know the difference.  "What do you mean, saying my sack is full of feathers?  Just goes to show how far gone you are! Can't tell the Living God from a fistful of goose down.  There must be something that can convince you of the truth."

"In a way, Christian, I wish there was.  But I haven't seen it yet."