rant post is the product of rambling on another article I was working on. As I wrote that other article, I noticed that I was writing in another direction than what I had intended to. Instead of deleting the text, I decided to copy and paste it here. I believe the insights are important and should be considered for every Christian. You can tell me what you think in the comments below.
When we come under fire from “the enemy” of all kinds, we tend to draw inward, not trust, second guess, look for answers in all the wrong places and forget the power that is available to us in our relationship with Jesus. But this article isn’t about US individually, this is about WE the CHURCH.
If you’ve been a Christian for a few years, you’ll undoubtedly hear others, and have probably thought so yourself, that the United States is veering way off of where we were just 50-60 years ago. Some talk about the good ol’ days and look for reasons of why the climate has changed to be more anti-Christian. We look for excuses like, prayer not being in schools, TV, rock music, colleges or just that it’s a “sign of the times.”
The true fact is that WE dropped the ball. We stopped being Salt and Light. We became content and happy with our lives. So when prayer was taken out of schools, when abortion was legalized, when the homosexual agenda crept up on US, we weren’t happy about it, but we didn’t really worry too much about it. At least, not enough to make our voices heard.
Yes, there are churches out there leading the fight. Most of the time the focus is on one specific issues. But WE are not out there as ONE voice. Just as long as we have our churches, we are happy. But, the world would say, “stay silent in the work place, stay silent in politics, stay silent in public forums, because if you venture out of your
hole churches, we will attack you.”
As an example, recently a dialogue popped up on my Facebook page. Someone that I’m friends with, probably because of Prepper Website, asked a question on the popular TV show, The Walking Dead’s Facebook page. She questioned two new characters and their homosexual relationship. Well, I only saw a few comments, but she was completely blasted by people out there for questioning why the show would want to put characters on the show that are homosexual. Last I checked, I couldn’t find the conversation. I’m sure after going back and forth with people out there, she just deleted the comment.
I don’t blame her for deleting her comment. Sometimes you realize that you are spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, “you cast your pearls before the swine.” It wears on you. But what if more of us were light out there?
The late Keith Green was singing about our current generation when he penned the words to “Asleep in the light.”
Do you see, do you see, All the people sinking down
Don’t you care, don’t you care, Are you gonna let them drown
How can you be so numb, Not to care if they come
You close your eyes, And pretend the job’s done
“Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord”, You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts, No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back , And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?
Cause He brings people to you door, And you turn them away
As you smile and say,”God bless you, be at peace”
And all heaven just weeps, Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left him out on the streets.
The true fact is that if you try to stand up for Christ today, you’ll put a target on your back! So the move that we make is to not stand up. Or at least, make sure we are safe when we stand!
The Flip Side
The other side of this argument is that IT IS a sign of the times. Many believe we are in the “End Times” and regardless of what we do, say, argue, debate, the world will become more and more hostile to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here in Houston, the mayor went after Christian pastors that spoke out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
In a lawsuit filed in August against Mayor Parker and the City of Houston, the plantiffs (two Missionary Baptist pastors, a former Republican party leader, and another citizen) allege that Parker’s office failed to follow proper procedure when counting and verifying their petition’s signatures, unfairly dismissing their request for a referendum. Opponents to the ordinance say they brought in 50,000 signatures, triple the amount needed. The city says that many of the signatures were illegible or not verifiable.
As a part of its response to the suit—Woodfill et al v. Parker et al—city attorneys asked this week for sermons and other church communications from Dave Welch, the Houston Area Pastor’s Council’s president; Steve Riggle, pastor of evangelical megachurch Grace Community Church; Khan Huynh, pastor of a Vietnamese congregation; and Hernan Castano and Magda Hermida, both local pastors involved with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Welch (who does not pastor a congregation) said the subpoenaed pastors were five of the most visible church leaders organizing the referendum.
Mayor Parker said Wednesday that the initial subpoenas—asking for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance), the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession”—were overly broad and will be amended to include only communications related to the equal rights ordinance. She also indicate that they had been prepared without her review by attorneys working pro-bono for the city. But earlier in the day, Parker had tweeted her support of the subpoenas, saying:
“If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?”
In a letter dated Wednesday (PDF), Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Houston to immediately drop the subpoena requests. Even if they had been prepared by outside counsel, “these lawyers acted in the city’s name, and you are responsible for their actions.”
“Government officials must exercise the utmost care when our work touches on religious matters,” he said. “Your aggressive and invasive subpoenas show no regard for the very serious First Amendment considerations at stake.”
My thing is, does anyone ever recall this happening before, pastors being subpoenaed for speaking out? The world is saying, “shut up and stay in your churches!” Yes, let’s circle the wagons…until they come for our churches too!
Actually, the city did rescind the subpoenas, but only after the Christian community, from all around the nation, spoke out. Which gives credence to the fact that when we stand together, we can influence…or can we? Yes, the subpoenas for the five pastor’s notes, sermons, etc… were rescinded, but the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance still stands.
Come on…who is really against equal rights? Many Christians stood with MLK and other African American pastors to see all races receive equal rights. But…
The ordinance bans discrimination in housing and employment among 14 characteristics – including protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It was a personal and public victory for openly-gay Mayor Annise Parker who began crafting the law back in December. She signed the ordinance shortly after the vote….
“[The ordinance] provides a local mechanism to address instances of discrimination because we had no existing equal rights ordinance,” Parker said. “Before this ordinance, there was nothing short of a federal lawsuit if someone experienced discrimination.”
So, you can see how lines get blurred. If you stand against this ordinance, you are standing against “equal rights.” You can almost hear the arguments, “So, you’re not for equal rights? You want to go back to when white people and black people were separated? You want to see crosses burning on front yards and people killed for the color of their skin or their sexual orientation?” I’m reminded of the “Patriot Act” and the “Affordable Care Act.” Powerful words are used, but what they mean is the opposite of what is said. It’s the “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance” unless you are a Christian and speak out against it.
Maybe IT IS a sign of the times.
Maybe, WE, as a church aren’t looking at the signs that are out there and doing something about it! An internet friend recently sent me a link to a Youtube video by Paul McGuire, the author of The Day the Dollar Died. McGuire states that the church…
“is in a collective state of denial of what is happening. They’re denying reality. They’re denying the evidence all around them. That is a very, very grave and serious sin. It’s huge. It’s a sin on the level of sin that Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden when they were in paradise and they disobeyed the Word of God and listened to the voice of the serpent. That is where the Evangelical church is. It is in denial…They are denying the truth… (18:10)
People want to blame it on this group, or that group, or that political party or this president or that president. That’s not the root problem. The root problem is the spiritual condition of the church because the Bible says, “Judgement begins in the House of the Lord.” (21:21)
.I would suggest you watch McGuire’s video. I will admit, sometimes he does sound a little kooky…which is always a turn off for me. But, I do identify with what he is saying.
So Is It Our Fault or What?
Like I said before, we stopped being Salt and Light. We became happy in our air conditioned churches, sending a few bucks to missionaries around the world, singing contemporary worship songs and having spaghetti dinners.
But I also think that God knew this would happen, the church would become “luke warm”…
14 “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:
“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. 20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. 21 The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Revelations 3:14-22 (HCSB)
Are we being rebuked and disciplined? Is God asking us to repent and turn FULLY back to Him? The question is not one of a physical nature. The question is spiritual. The Church in Laodicea would have said, “we are rich, we don’t need anything.” But God wasn’t looking at the physical aspects of the church. Are we here today?
As “the enemy” seems to close in on us, do we circle the wagons and hold tight to what we have? Or do we answer God’s call to draw close to Him and obey what He wants us to do?
You have something to do for God! Do you know what it is? I can tell you it’s not just to be a nice little pew sitter on Sunday morning. God looks for people who are obedient and will answer the call. He asks, “Who shall I send?” What will you say?
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said:Here I am. Send me. Isaiah 6:8 (HCSB)
This article has been linked at the Sunday Social Blog Hop Page. Thanks!