A Spiritual Rant

NOTE: This 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.

Click here to listen to the song/video.

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.”

Source

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.”

Source

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)

 

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12 thoughts on “A Spiritual Rant

  1. Janet Garman

    Todd, I am always so glad when I catch a moment to fully read one of your posts. Now I am humming”here I am Lord” in my head. We are not standing up and speaking out. Are we afraid of the labels? I am not sure but I think we are afraid to be pointed out and labeled as racist, or old fashioned or worse. I too have often wondered why so many shows have decided to stick in a pro gay character story line. Most times it doesn’t even make sense. I think they are just sticking it in there to be cool. Its not cool with me. Please link up with the Sunday Social again this week if you have time. Its a small hop now but we are trying to improve the message out there!

  2. Dare Tuitt

    The problem with the gay marriage agenda is the church lost the culture war on this topic. We should have spoken out when satan managed to disengage God’s spiritual covenant aspect of marriage and changed the definition to one solely being between two consenting adults “in love.” Once the public bought the idea that “love” was all that mattered, God’s marriage definition no longer applied. The new definition has become so entrenched most Christians would even agree with it. Additionally, many pastors even have a hard time explaining what a Godly marriage really is, what it involves and how seriously God views the marriage relationship. Hence we now have churches allowing unrepentant gays into their congregations as full members and “marrying” them.

    This is a clear signal we are in the LAST of the last days. If we are to be salt and light, we need pastors to teach us how to speak to these issues in ways that clearly state what God says and back it up with scripture. Sadly, we’re seeing pastors justify having gays in their congregations because – as one put it – “Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, only adultery.” (!) I mean, really…REALLY? And that guy was seminary-trained!

    As we begin to see more and more discrimination against Christians, what can we do to give some push back and perhaps open the eyes of many who still sit on the fence spiritually? The admonition to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” may not apply to modern Americans in a representative republic, because we ARE the government. Are we beholden to obey unjust and discriminatory laws that violate God’s Laws as well as our freedom of religion under the Constitution? (I understand the DHS has done outreach to churches teaching them how to push the “must obey” government interpretation but I would like to hear discussion on this). What would “push back” look like? If the remnant church in America unified with one voice and said “WE WILL NOT COMPLY” how could they arrest all of us? There’s not enough room in the prisons (or even the FEMA camps) for the millions that we represent. Moreover, they need our taxes more than we need their ungodly rules and laws. I see the beginnings of a modern non-violent resistance to the secular humanist agenda under the banner of non-discrimination. But we need to be able to clearly communicate what God says about it all.

    What are your thoughts? How do we bring some salt, light and clarity in these last of the last days?

    1. Todd Sepulveda Post author

      Dare,

      In the video above, Paul McGuire seems to think that God will listen to our prayers and will turn back the apocalypse clock or judgement that is coming. There is evidence in the Bible that He does do that with the people of Israel or at least stalls the judgement. But there was also a time when they reached the point of no return.

      Jeremiah was very clear to King Zedekiah in chapter 21, “4 ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will repel the weapons of war in your hands, those you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the wall, and I will bring them into the center of this city. 5 I will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger, rage, and great wrath. 6 I will strike the residents of this city, both man and beast. They will die in a great plague. 7 Afterward’”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officers, and the people—those in this city who survive the plague, the sword, and the famine—I will hand over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, to their enemies, yes, to those who want to take their lives. He will put them to the sword; he won’t spare them or show pity or compassion.’”

      Jeremiah then turned to the people and told them, “I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils of war. 10 For I have turned against this city to bring disaster and not good’”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “‘It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it down.’”

      I don’t know if they would have fallen on their face and started praying if God would have stalled judgement at that point…

      I guess for me, I tend to look at America as past the point of no return. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care for His people and that doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything. I believe more than ever we need to be Salt and Light. But I believe that we need to do it on a personal level, the days of being a National Lighthouse is gone. I know that will upset people.

      I think the key is not to have the right words already set to say. Yes, we need to know Scripture, that is very important and I think people who read this blog know that about me. But I also think that we need to get to the point that we are being led by the Holy Spirit and that we are walking in the power of God.

      When we do that, the message will come. But that means that we have to live lives that are completely devoted to Him. I don’t think American Christians are willing to do that.

      Peace,
      Todd

    1. Todd Sepulveda Post author

      Steven,

      You’re right! That’s something that WE haven’t really experienced here in this country. I sometimes wonder what would really happen in our churches if persecution was ever intensified…like in other countries we hear about.

      2 Timothy 3:12 (HCSB) – In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Peace,
      Todd

  3. Dennis

    I was a school boy during the 1940s and 50s. I lived in a rural area, still do, and I describe the environment as a Christian culture, but not solid Christian. By that I mean Christianity as Todd and commenters here seem to understand, was not so much a solid biblical base, but was more like a carry over from previous generations. It was an “add-on” to living after school and community. No one questioned what was right and what was wrong. Sex before marriage was wrong and everyone knew it, including those who probably never saw the pages of a Bible. This “laid back” living got steam rolled once the radical crowd in the 1960s ushered in a new level of rebellion.

    What many people fail to understand, or just never studied enough history to know, is that much of the fruit we now harvest comes from seeds planted more than 150 years ago. Issues like abortion, mainstreaming of homosexual behavior, down right filth in music, movies and TV, did not just spring up from no where. As for the reference to a TV program called “The Walking Dead,” why do we watch such? I quit watching TV, but I was nearly 70 years old before I came to that decision, and that really was influenced by things that happened over a 20-year period.

    I also think there are some complexities associated with very large congregations, celebrity Christianity, congregational entertainment, neglect of men to be priest in the home, management of the congregation as a business influenced by secular entities rather than the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

    1. Dare Tuitt

      I like your comments. I think we will be very surprised what Jesus would consider a “godly home” once we see how He rules from Jerusalem. Our individual lives and childhood memories would be very different if men were pastors at home and took those duties much more seriously. Look at what children grow up remembering today.

      As a Baby Boomer, I recall the time when good practices and habits were done because everyone knew them and did them. Yes, Virginia, there was a time in the not too distant past when people went to sleep with unlocked doors and windows and had no fear.

      I also believe my generation and my parents generation was targeted by satan for very concerted attack in order to bring about his last chance before King Jesus returns. The onslaught gets worse daily now. Our Lord must be returning very soon!

  4. Jake Roberts

    Scripture clearly teaches that Gods judgements comes when his people fail. Unbelivers are slaves to their sin and we can’t expect them to do anything but live in slavery to sin. We however who know to do right but do it not well our failure to live the Way is now being made very plain. So when your nation is falling remain faithful

  5. Mic Roland

    One of the subtle ways in which the Church fails in its Salt & Light role, comes from adopting the World’s standards instead of God’s.

    On a recent television interview, a Supreme Court justice (Sotomayor, I believe) was expounding on why she believed marriage should be redefined to include gays. The crux of her argument was the “most gays are nice people” so ought not be “punished” by legal exclusions.

    This is the trendy godless standard: are they nice? If so, they should be able to do whatever they want as long as they’re not hurting anybody.

    That’s another trendy godless standard: only causing pain in another is bad (sin).

    Trouble is, those aren’t God’s standards. Those are the World’s (current) standards. If God said he see’s men laying with men as an abomination, it’s HIS standard. Jesus said that even looking at a woman with lust is a sin. Physical pain was not the criteria. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it, or whether they’re nice, or it was just a little lust, or even whether a Supreme Court justice approves or not.

    Churches, and even individual Christians, need to examine whose standards they’re applying to their own lives, and the world. If they’re not God’s standards, then you’ve found the problem.

      1. Mic Roland

        As a follow up, Fox News recently did a story on Why People Leave The Church. A poll revealed that attendance of regular church services declined from 1983 to 2014. (53% in ’83, 43% in ’14) So did the percentage of people identifying with an established denomination. (93% in ’83, 79% in ’14) Yet, there was a slight increase in the percentage of people who say they pray.

        They interviewed a Maggie Ardiente from The American Humanist Association. Her spin on the data was that traditional churches tend to be anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights (code for abortion rights) and anti-science (code for pro-evolution), so “savvy” young people decide to go their own way — seek their own private spirituality.

        Maggie said (out loud) exactly what I said above: “faith is private”. People can, and should (she said) make their own personal spirituality. One might assume she really means: as long as it is pro-LGBT, pro-abortion and pro-evolution.

        In truth, the American Humanist Association is not advocating for 3 million personal “truths”, but their own approved “truth”.

        A Dr. Jeffress, Baptist minister in Dallas, offered the counterpoint that such departures of the worldly spiritually people is not necessarily such a bad thing for the The Church. They already did not have faith in God and a belief in objective truth, so their being absent from the pews isn’t that much of a loss. They weren’t being Salt and Light anyhow.

        Back to my original point: Do the people still within the church follow the Humanists’ belief that all-is-relative? We are all entitled to our own private faith in whatever we want?

        If so, they won’t be Salt and Light. There’s no point in evangelizing if everyone is entitled to their own ‘truth’. If there is no objective eternal life and no objective Hell, there’s nothing to save them from. No need for Light.

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