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America, Look Up

The importance of America returning to Christian principles and Traditional Family Values

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Pence-Ive About Trump? Maybe This Helps…


Last week a dozen folks from our church traveled to Red Oak, Iowa.  We served in that community, sharing the Gospel with over 200 people at the Montgomery County Fair.  Our booth (Crossroads Community Church, Red Oak, IA) was situated across from the Republican’s table.  Mike PenceOn Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of meeting United States Congressman, David Young.  After we discussed his spiritual life (he’s a born again believer), I posed a political question.  I wanted to know his opinion of Trump’s Vice Presidential pick, Mike Pence.  Young expressed complete Confidence in the Indiana Governor and assured me this man’s evangelical faith was the real deal.  In fact, he believes Pence will be a fantastic help to Trump, especially in the matters of what it means to truly be a follower of Jesus Christ.  Now home, I decided to do some personal research on Mike Pence, verifying the Iowa Congressman’s glowing endorsement.  So, here’s what I discovered:

  1.  Mike Pence has worked as a Lawyer, a political talk show radio host, a Congressman, and now serves the Hoosier State as Governor, elected in 2013.
  2. Pence’s family raised him as a staunch Catholic.  He attended Mass several times a week as a child and served as an altar boy on multiple occasions.
  3. He committed his life to Christ in college.
  4. A personal mantra about himself is, “Christian, Conservative, Republican…in that order.”
  5. From the Roll Call website:  “His reputation as a culture warrior was unsullied. He opposed federal spending on embryonic stem cell research, was active in efforts to advance a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, fought expansion of abortion rights and got new federal funding for Planned Parenthood cut off for a time.”
  6. At last December’s Republican Jewish Coalition’s Conference, Pence said concerning Israel, “Israel’s enemies are our enemies, Israel’s cause is our cause. If this world knows nothing else, let it know this: America stands with Israel.”

Governor Pence would be the first to say he’s not perfect.  In fact, he calls himself a “pretty ordinary Christian.”  But, his record in politics speaks volumes, Obviously he strives to make political dealings based upon his knowledge of Scripture and his walk with Jesus Christ.  While in Congress, he was characterized as one of the strongest social Conservatives in the Republican Party.  Maybe…just maybe…a little Pence might wear off on Trump.

And that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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God’s Not In Panic Mode


In John 6, we find one account of the feeding of the five thousand. The people flocked to Jesus for various reasons, His teaching, preaching, and healing amassed multitudes wherever His Father led. On this occasion, the day grew long, and the remote location offered no resources to feed the hungry people before sending them home. John 6: 5 and following shares:

Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

The key insight to hone in on is that Jesus had already formulated a plan to meet the needs of the people.

As we race toward the Convention and the Presidential election in November, it appears panic has settled over true Conservatives in the Republican Party. Every day Never Trumps and Trump supporters fire salvos at each other, neither budging or giving ground. I’ll admit a wave of panic washed over me when Cruz suspended his campaign. With concern for the future of Conservatism, I noted Low Information Voters existed in BOTH parties. And yes, that aggravates me. And I’m especially disappointed in Evangelicals who chose to support Trump over a true Conservative like Ted Cruz. That being said, I won’t spend the next few months, worrying about a Clinton or Trump Administration. Fretting and hand wringing won’t change the course of Providence…note the capital “P.”

It is God who sets up kings and deposes them. Daniel 2:21 shares:

“He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

Daniel 4:17 reiterates the truth:

“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

A clear understanding of these truths show that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though less than savory politicians abuse their political muscle, meaning it for evil, God uses it for good. Concerning our Country’s return to biblical principles, we mustn’t believe political entities are wielding the keys to Revival. If a spiritual awakening ignites in America, it will happen when the Church in lockstep marches into the world shining the Light of Christ.

Does this mean Christians should stay home on election day? Absolutely not! Where we have a voice and can elect our leaders, we should exercise that right by voting for those whose views most closely parallel our own.

Might we be disappointed in November’s outcome? Sure.  But it’s quite possible, even likely, that America’s suffered under the Obama Administration because our Country’s acting like a petulant child.  The Bible states,

“God disciplines those He loves.”

Raising strong-willed children often requires a lesson be taught multiple times.  Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed America rush to “hell in a handbasket.”  Should we really expect Him to give the Country a godly principled leader when we’ve thumbed our noses at Him?  II Peter 3:3 says,

“…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”

Isn’t that a perfect synopsis of the world today?

Maybe, just maybe, we’re seeing a rapid decline in morality because Gabriel’s holding the trumpet to his lips.  Maybe, just maybe, God’s about ready to send Jesus back for His Bride.  No matter the reason for our societal plunge into a cesspool, God’s not in panic mode and He has in mind what He’s going to do.

Unlike a politician’s pledge, we can take God’s promises to the bank.

 

Where’s the Beef?


One of my favorite commercials as a kid was “Where’s the Beef?”  For those of you who are in their 40’s or older, no explanation is needed.  But for the whippersnappers, here’s the gist. wheresthebeef Three older ladies walk into a fast food restaurant and order hamburgers.  When the ladies are served their food, they notice the bun swallowing the patty.  One lady with a distinctive and memorable voice keeps saying, “Where’s the beef?”  My family cracked up every time the commercial aired.  If you have never seen it, I found the classic Wendy’s ad on YouTube.  Here’s the link: Where’s the Beef?

So, my question for everyone is

“Where’s the Beef?”

The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but we know the phrase is used as means of complaining, grumbling, or protest.  It’s probably more often said as, “What’s your beef?”  But for the purpose of this entry, I’m asking,

“Where’s the Beef?”

Does anyone else find it disturbing that the front runner for the Democrat Party is under FBI investigation?  Does anyone really care Hillary Clinton compromised national security while serving as Secretary of State when she unilaterally decided to use her own “home brew server” and a personal email account to conduct government business because it was “more convenient?”  How many noted her story about dodging sniper fire after landing in Bosnia on a diplomatic trip as First Lady?  There was no sniper fire.  The only thing she’s dodged in recent memory is the truth.

Proverbs 12:22 shares:

‘The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.’

For whatever reason, our society no longer cares about the truth.  Remember the story, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?”  In this classic tale from Aesop’s Fables, a young shepherd boy grew weary of watching his sheep, and in his boredom concocted an idea.  He decided to scream at the top of his lungs, “Wolf, wolf, the wolf is chasing the sheep!”

The villagers scrambled up the hill to fend off the wolf.  No wolf.  The shepherd boy found this amusing.  He screamed out “Wolf, Wolf” a second time.  Once again the villagers came to assist the shepherd boy.  Seeing no wolf, they left grumbling.  Then it happened.  A wolf attacked the flock, scattering them over the hillside.  This time when he cried out for help, no one came.  When the villagers noticed the shepherd boy was late returning home, they climbed the hill to check on him.  They found the boy weeping.  He wondered why no one came to help.  The very last line of the tale reveals the reason:

“Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth.”

But that’s not the case today.  Either Hillary’s staunchest supporters dismiss her perceived propensity to fabricate as being trumped up charges by her political foes, or don’t care as long as Mrs. Clinton won’t cut their government benefits and access to abortion on demand.  Abraham Lincoln said, ”

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar”

Well, that’s usually the case, but the Clinton’s have proven otherwise.  But not because the Clinton’s have perfected the art of lying, but because a large percentage of the American people suffer from gullibility.  There’s no personal investigation.  No one wants to dig deep.  If the news anchor says it, then it must be true.

I remember a time when lying resulted in consequences.  (I can still taste that bar of soap.) Today, the only consequence is the burden of choosing the right drapes for the Oval Office.  So, I ask again,

“Where’s the Beef?”

I look forward to the day when Truth reigns supreme.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

 

Awake the Sleeping Giant


A few nights ago, Delaina and I suffered one of the scariest moments we’ve had in quite some time.  If you know us well, you know we’re not sleeping much these days.  Our three year old struggles with regular nightmares, and our 8 month old rarely falls asleep without being held.  When Delaina or I attempt to lay her down for the night, she often wakes and the process starts over again.  Needless to say it’s been months (maybe years) since we’ve slept through the night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just setting the stage…

JuliannaCuterGrinOn Saturday night, Abby awoke whimpering, crying for Daddy.  About the same time, our baby startled awake, hungry.  I padded across the hall to snuggle with Abby for a bit, while Delaina picked up and cradled our youngest.  I dropped off to sleep next to our toddler, only waking when realizing her mattress and my back didn’t get along.  I crossed the hall again and climbed into bed.  Delaina jerked awake.  She had drifted off while nursing the baby.  (How she sleeps in the upright position, I’ll never know.)  Anyway, she asked if Abby was okay and then readied to put baby back in her bedside crib.

Suddenly, Delaina panicked.

“Is she breathing?  Is she breathing.”

 

Our baby lay completely limp in her arms.  What you must know is that our baby is a very, VERY light sleeper.  We had never seen her sleep so soundly.

“Is she okay?  Is she breathing?” she said again.

We didn’t shake the baby, because you never shake a baby.  Delaina tapped her arm, tickled her toes, and rubbed her leg.  We said her name.  Nothing.  No response.  We both stopped our frantic efforts to awaken her. Then, we heard it.

Breathing.

She was just THAT sound asleep.  For the first time in her 8 months, her daytime activities tuckered her out.  After Delaina, snuggled with baby for a few more seconds saying,

“I love you, I love you, thank you Jesus…”

she situated baby in her crib.  We both stared at the ceiling for a while, our hearts racing out of our chests.  An adrenaline release in the middle of the night isn’t conducive for restful sleep.

I imagine there are parents reading this that can relate.

In this event, I see a spiritual lesson.

I wonder how often God finds us in a deep spiritual stupor.  We call Him Father; we call Jesus our Lord and Savior, yet, when it comes right down to it, we spend more time ignoring His will than serving in His Kingdom.

Remember when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion?  He invited three disciples along.  The Bible says this in Luke 22:

When He arrived at the place, He (Jesus) said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray.

Jesus prayed for a bit and then checked on His disciples. Each time He returned to His followers, Jesus had to wake them up.  He said to His disciples,

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter temptation.” (Luke 22:46)

And there’s the problem.  Many Christians today spend more time “sleeping” than serving in the Kingdom.  Maybe our greatest failure is lack of prayer.  Within the past 45 years we’ve seen our Country legalize abortion, strip public prayer from the public school system, legalize gay marriage and encourage men and women to choose the bathroom with which they identify.  Are we seeing a crumbling society because believers are napping instead of putting on the whole armor of God?  Methinks, yes.  Ronald Reagan once said,

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

In our efforts to kowtow to a politically correct society, we’ve neglected to victoriously raise the banner of truth.  Heck, we consider it bold to slap on a bumper sticker honoring Christ.  Statistics share Christianity is still by far the predominant religion in America, but if so, it’s the quietest majority in history.  Obviously our Country’s brimming with drowsy Christians.  Let’s not force God to shake us awake!

Church, are you breathing?  Are you breathing?

It’s time to wake the sleeping giant.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump


Dear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations on all but clinching the Republican nomination.  Unless you fall short of 1237 delegates needed before the Convention, and a new candidate rises from the ashes, you will be representing the Republican Party in November.  Since Ted Cruz emerged on the political scene a few years ago, I have been his fan, and supported his Presidential bid.  You must know I represent millions of Conservatives, disappointed at the outcome of this Primary and Caucus season.  I find it incredibly difficult to comprehend why “Conservatives” and “Evangelicals” chose to support your bid to be President of the United States.  That being said, I intend to support the Republican nominee, even if it’s you, in order to help defeat the Clinton Machine.  I would, however, like you to consider the following observations.

First, you claim to be a Christian, yet you boast of infidelity, slander opponents, and use profanity proficiently.  These behaviors alone create doubt that your stated “faith” is nothing more than a ploy to entice evangelicals to support you.  No, we’re not electing a National Pastor, but America needs a principled leader.  One whose word we can trust.

Second, for the last 7 years we’ve suffered greatly under miserable and dangerous leadership.  His distaste for American exceptionalism oozes from every speech, and any dissension draws harsh and painful consequences.  He especially hates a press that won’t get in line and carry his water.  Sound familiar?  Many Conservatives hoped to elect a President not only familiar with the Constitution but faithful to honor its implementation.  Please don’t model the behavior of Obama.  Restore dignity to the White House.  And by the way, graciousness and humility go a long way…..

Third, you waved a Bible while delivering a speech at Liberty University.  For the first time in my life, I witnessed a man raising the Word of God over his head, while cursing from the lecturn.  That Book you were waving….your Grandmother’s Bible…holds the key to wise leadership.  It instructs on how to relate to your fellow man.  Most importantly, the Bible explains how one can be guaranteed eternal life.  Mr. Trump, being a successful businessman and entrepreneur means nothing if you don’t have a personal relationship with God.  Recently, I heard one say the Bible is God’s cheat codes for life, but more than that it has given wisdom, insight, and comfort to some of America’s finest leaders.

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.  All the good of the Savior of the world is communicated to us through the Book.” Abraham Lincoln

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” Ronald Reagan

Many #NeverTrump people pledge to stay home or write in a third party candidate.  The odds of you defeating Hillary Clinton without their support is nil.  For you to possibly sway some to your side, there must be a stark change in both your attitudes and actions.  You have fences to mend and walls to tear down.  I pledge to pray for you daily and I’m challenging the rest of the Country to do the same.  But most importantly, Mr. Trump, I challenge you to read Proverbs 3:5-6 and apply these Scriptures to your life.

America’s thirsty for a leader in whom we can be proud.

Will you be that man?

Sincerely,

An American Pastor

 

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Donald Trump”

God Doesn’t Think You’re Crazy


Do you ever talk to yourself?  I do.  In fact, talking to yourself is a universal activity and even has mantalkingtoGoda special name.  It’s called “private speech” and some psychologists dedicate their entire lives to studying this phenomena.  Before going further, I’m not talking about an individual walking down the street yelling at clouds, swatting at imaginary creatures or the demons of his own making because of alcohol and drugs.  No, I’m talking about the “private speech” that encourages and challenges or at times, unfortunately, berates and discourages.

Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen reports that in a study on private speech in adults, participants learned 6 different computer tasks of varying degrees of difficulty.  Every single one of the adults in the study talked to themselves at least once during the tasks and 80% of them talked to themselves during all 6 tasks.  Concerning “private speech” Hendriksen adds, “You’re simply thinking out loud, which is not only normal, but beneficial.”  Even God encourages “private speech.”

In the first chapter of Joshua we find God’s instructions to the successor of Moses.  Joshua 1:8 states,

“This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

I want to focus on the word “meditate.”  The Hebrew word for meditate is “hagah” which means to “mutter, murmur, to utter, or speak.”  Often times when hearing the word “meditate” we think of a person sitting Indian style with elbows resting on the knees, index fingers and thumbs touching, softly humming.  In Joshua 1:8, God commands Joshua to meditate on His Law day and night.  Can’t you imagine Israel’s leader speaking God’s Word aloud to himself as he readied to cross the Jordan into the Promise Land or before marching around the intimidating walls of Jericho? I can hear him “private speaking” this word of encouragement:

“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.  Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”

On many occasions I find myself quoting Scriptures aloud, especially when facing unpleasant circumstances or tasks, or when tackling a problem that requires supernatural intervention.  One of my favorites is

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

According to God, we’re to meditate (mutter, utter, speak) His Word day and night.  And what’s the benefit?  We’re told in  Romans that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.”  Whenever we quote His word aloud to ourselves our faith grows stronger.  “Private Speech” grows our faith muscles and a strong faith is necessary in this evil day and age.  In fact, the next time someone notices your lips moving and believes you’re conversing with yourself, inform that individual,

“I’m not crazy.  I’m working out.”

Keep talking.  Grow those faith muscles!

 

 

 

 

Overcoming the Gag Reflex


My wife and I have been blessed with six kids. Yes, six.  (No, we’re not Catholics or Mormons.  Yes, we know how this happens.)  For years I’ve battled an incredibly powerful gag reflex, and as a first time Dad years ago, I dreaded dirty diapers like the plague.  The not so fresh aroma and the texture of a baby’s poo forced me into the bombastic throes of choking every time I attempted to change a “doody.”  One occasion in particular stands out in my mind.

A few years ago my wife taught piano lessons.  Before she embarked upon this venture with private students, she confirmed I would watch the kids during these half-hour sessions.  I diapershouldered that responsibility, all the while praying without ceasing that our little ones would only go potty and not poo-poo.  One day about fifteen minutes into a piano lesson, my son absolutely destroyed his diaper.  I was tempted to shout for reinforcements, call 911, or hose him off outdoors, but thought better of those ideas.  This. Was.  My.  Job.  I rifled through the diaper bag and found a diaper and wipes, then I wadded up a handkerchief and shoved it into my mouth in hopes to quell the gag reflex.

It didn’t work.

As I opened the diaper, my gagging launched into overdrive.  Within seconds, I sprinted to the bathroom, and for the very first time vomited because of mys son’s digestive byproduct.  After cleaning up and throwing cold water on my face, I heard Delaina giggling, informing the student that I was fine…I was just changing a diaper.  She laughs about that to this day.  Me?  Not so much.

Did you know there’s something that prompts God to vomit?

 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  Revelation 3:14 – 16

A lukewarm faith turns God’s stomach.

Many Christians go through the motions.  They attend Church on Sunday morning, essentially stamping their time card. These same parishioners shake the Pastor’s hand and thank him for the message, thinking very little about their walk with Jesus until the next Sunday morning rolls around.  Other Christians treat Jesus as a genie in a bottle, calling on His help in times of crisis.  Some believers talk a good game in the small group Bible study group, but during the week it’s difficult to differentiate between their lifestyle and the behavior choices of their lost neighbors.

This activates God’s gag reflex.

We are called to take up our Cross and follow Jesus.  Today, people of all backgrounds and ideologies find the cross fashionable, wearing it as ornamentation on their ears or around their necks.  I think many have forgotten the significance of the Cross.  In Jesus’ day, the cross symbolized one thing and one thing only, death.  When Jesus instructed His disciples to take up their crosses and follow Him, they didn’t rush back to their wives’ jewelry box. No, they understood Jesus was talking about sacrifice…dying to self…putting Christ first.  Lukewarm Christians fail to see the need for sacrifice, and this causes God to be queasy.  Let’s live in such a way we don’t cause God to gag.

Have I overcome the gagging when changing a diaper?  It’s taken several years…and handkerchiefs, but for the most part, yes.  Changing someone else’s baby?  Now THAT’S another story.

Eternity’s Too Long to be Wrong


Yesterday, my eldest son made a courageous decision.  He accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.  I know, I know, some of you are shocked, believing Noah made that decision years ago.  Well, he did, or so he thought.

When Noah was 5 years old, he prayed a prayer asking Jesus to forgive his sin and come into his life.  However, for quite some time, he has questioned if he really understood the gravity of this decision…if he truly grasped what it meant for Jesus to be Lord and Savior.  In other words, he has doubted his salvation.  I realize many Christians suffer through periods of doubt.  Personally, I think it’s quite normal for Christians to question their standing with God.  The Enemy uses this tactic to dampen a Christian’s enthusiasm and weaken his witness.  However, these seasons of doubt are usually just that….Seasons.  In other words, the times of doubt are temporary.  Noah’s season of doubt has last for quite some time.  During the invitation at Church on Sunday morning, Noah resolved this issue by praying to receive Christ, stamping out those doubts once and for all.

But why was his decision courageous?  Well, for one, he’s almost 14 years old.  Some teens find “committing their life to Christ” outside the box of being “cool.”  And then there’s the fact that he’s the son of a Pastor.  I mean aren’t preacher kids expected to get it right the first time?  I remember baptizing Noah, and so does our Church family.  Noah could’ve quietly dealt with the doubts, but instead he desired publicly to declare,

“I want to make sure I get this right.”

You see, eternity’s too long to get it wrong.

I imagine there are some reading this who have battled doubts or are unsure of their eternal destination.  If so, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Jesus wants you to know, that you know, that you know that you are a Child of God.  A Christian should never respond, “I hope so,” to the question, “Are you going to Heaven when you die?”  Doubt and uncertainty strips hope and joy from the Child of God.    I John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
  2. If you’re basing your salvation on the bet that you’re being a good person, well, that isn’t good enough. The Bible says, “For it is by grace you are saved through faith, this is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.”  See the key phrase, “Not by works?”  You can’t work your way to Heaven, but you can work your way to hell.  Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  What is the glory of God?  Perfection!  When Paul wrote this verse he utilized phraseology from an archery competition.  When the competitors notched their arrows, drew back, and released their arrows, the goal was to hit the target, specifically the bulls-eye.  When the archers missed the target, a judge raised a flag and shouted out the word “sin,” meaning the archer had missed the mark.  And we all have.

Today, Noah’s secure in the decision he’s made and is confident now in his eternal destination.  If you’re not, don’t delay.  Feel free to contact me, or talk to a trusted minister or friend.

Remember, eternity’s too long to get it wrong.

Stop Handicapping the Church


This morning we met at Church to prayer walk in preparation for Revival’s kick-off.  Some chose to pray in the Sanctuary; others in classrooms spread throughout the building.  Others of us walked around our church building, calling upon God to move mightily in our midst.  As I walked and prayed, I even asked God to bless the parking lot and those who would choose to worship with us in the morning.  I counted the visitor spaces and then noted the number of handicap spots, all lifted up to the throne of grace.  And then I got to thinking about those things that handicap the church.

Whenever we hear the word “handicap,” our brains immediately picture an individual with a physical disability.  This infirmity might have been caused by accident or through the natural aging process.  Either way, we envision a loss of mobility.  And then a truth struck.  Every church in America suffers a handicap, a loss of mobility and effectiveness caused by lukewarm believers.

The Apostle Paul likened the body of Christ to a physical body, each member a part, gifted with certain abilities and talents specifically geared for helping the Church to effectively reach people for the Kingdom of God.  Paul says it this way,

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  Romans 12:4-8

When members of the body of Christ choose to ignore their gifts or to participate regularly in Kingdom work, their absence handicaps the local Church.  For instance, if your spiritual gift is teaching, and you refuse to use your gift, someone else has to take up the slack.  What if that person’s gift isn’t teaching, but jumps in to fill the gap because no one else will do it?  Will that person’s instruction be as effective as one whom God gifted to teach?  Probably not.

Let’s use a sports analogy.  Today I watched the Golden State Warriors annihilate the Houston Rockets in game one of the first round of the NBA playoffs.  In recent months I’ve become a huge fan of Stephan Curry of the Warriors, tuning into his games when possible.  In the first half of today’s game he scored 24 points in less than 20 minutes.  Once again proving to NBA fans his worthiness to repeat as the league’s Most Valuable Player.  Sadly, in this game he tweaked his ankle, exacerbating a sprain he suffered earlier in the season.  Though the trainers listed him available to play in the second half, the coach benched his star to save him for the rest of the series.  After the game, one of Steph’s teammates was asked about the possibility of Curry not playing in game two.  He admitted it would be a blow and that it would take more than one coming off the bench to alleviate the loss of the All-Star Guard.  He added that it really wasn’t possible to replace the reigning MVP.

The Golden State Warriors miss Stephan Curry when he’s not on the floor.  There is a noticeable void, and plugging the gap with the 6th, 7th, or 8th man off of the bench isn’t as effective as Curry weaving through court traffic and working his magic around the rim.  And this goes for Christians too.

Christians serve together on the same team.  When teammates fail to show up to “practice” or serve with lackluster effort, the entire Church hobbles along.  Predictably, someone with a servant’s heart assumes another role, but now shouldering a responsibility ordained for another who’s shirking his specific call.  Every sports fan understands the debilitating loss created by a star player’s injury, but not every Christian realizes the integral part he has in the family of God, and how his absence creates a gaping void.

The Coach has called.

Will you get in the game?

 

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