Why America is Christian in Name Only

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The title sounds a little pretentious, maybe even a little bold. A friend sent me a link to a Fox News report called “Where Have All the Christians Gone?” You can do an internet search and find it dated for 2009. (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/25/bruce-feiler-christians-americans-gone.html)

The report states the number of people claiming to be Christians is dropping. Along those same lines, not too long ago our current president stated America is not a Christian nation. Could he be right? Honestly, I think so. Here’s why:

The Situation

The current generation of Americans wants to be entertained more than anything else – at work, at school, and at church. This is not unlike most every other civilization that has been decimated from the inside out. Part of this “wanting to be entertained” is due to apathetic and self-centered attitudes that revolve around an “it’s my right” mentality. Most Americans focus on what is rightfully theirs. We don’t have a problem telling someone what we think of them or what they have done. We don’t mind telling others what our opinions are and we don’t mind making it known when something belongs to us. However, “don’t tell me what you think of me or what I have done and certainly don’t tell me what your opinion is. How dare you!!”

The Problem

Adrian Rogers, well know evangelist and orator, once said that he believed the basic problem with America is the lack of civility. Americans, he explained, don’t even perform the basic acts of kindness or consideration for others. Is he right? Look at the models of society that is held up before us on a regular basis as the brightest, most talented, and best looking people in the world. Surely these people are the cream of the crop. It begs the question: “Does Hollywood and Washington reflect society as it is or does it influence it?” What civility or kindness do most of them espouse?

When selfish and apathetic attitudes are my primary focus, then being a Christian and all that it entails is not. Jesus is just too demanding today, one might say. No, not true. He is no more demanding today then he was when he walked the earth. He was too demanding for the selfish and apathetic then as well. Christ is not too demanding for a particular time, but for the selfish and apathetic, which is indicative of our time and our country. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they are Christian in the truest sense. Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

What’s in a Name?

We have bigger problems in America than naming ourselves a Christian in some survey. No, if America is a Christian nation it is name only. The attitudes, actions, and beliefs of her citizenry, which is shown in such surveys and studies, shows that America on the whole does not operate on Christian ideals. Our governments do not operate based on Christian principles. One look at Hollywood and/or Washington and/or most of our newspapers, large and small is proof enough. After all, who funds Hollywood by supporting these actors/ directors, and who is it that elects these officials to office and who is it that appears on the front page of the papers? We the people.

We the People

Psalms 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose god is the Lord.” We have been a blessed nation for over 240 years. Yet, we the people have let our Christian heritage erode and no longer hold accountable those in authority over us. The same reason for the decay is the same solution for the decay: we the people. When we get back to the basics of Christianity and run our daily affairs in a Christian manner with Christian principles, then our governments, local, state, and federal will operate on those principles and it can be said again of our nation that we are truly a Christian nation.

WIRED 2016 – Construction 36 – A Personal Experience

WIRED 2016 Worship

With all the chaos, violence, and uncertainty in our world and country, there was a life changing event this past summer that deserves mentioning – WIRED 2016. It was designed to “occupy” the Southeast Alabama area as a force for good during the last full week of June. A stark contrast to the forces in the world to move to destroy, WIRED 2016 moved in a positive, life-changing direction.

What Is WIRED?

The brainchild of Mark Anderson and friends in 2008, WIRED is an organized effort to “wire” together the churches and Christians in unity and mission. That mission is to reach out, touch, and affect the lives of others in a positive way. One of the mantras of Christianity is “to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” WIRED exemplifies this mantra through setting up and conducting “mission sites.” These sites were construction, evangelistic, child outreach, and non-profit agency support, in nature. This year forty-six churches sent youth and chaperones to man over ninety-five (95) such sites.

Construction Sites

This was my second year as a chaperone at WIRED. Both years I was involved in a construction site. Even though it was construction in focus, this site was consisted of the same make up of every other site. That is, youth who came from different churches, at least two adults from different churches, a track leader adult (usually a college student) and the mission contact. On the construction sites, the mission contact is a site foreman and sometimes an assistant. Unlike most youth camps, mission and otherwise, the work is not done by church groups. Rather, the work is done by members from different churches. The goal here is to do missions as the Body of Christ rather than just as a local church group. This not only broadens the horizons of the youth involved, it exposes them to missions with brothers and sisters they never knew before. Sometimes lifetime friendships are created as they work side-by-side with fellow believers to minister to those who may be less fortunate.

Praise and Worship

Every morning the group assembled in the Dothan Civic Center for a brief moment of worship, a word of encouragement and inspiration, and marching orders for the day. Each night is filled with a time of praise and worship through songs and exploring the Word of God. Everyone heard the teachings of Jesus and then put them into practice the next day. Part of the worship and praise was a recount of the day’s events through a video and announcements. Sunday through Thursday consisted of the WIRED group. On Friday an invitation was extended to anyone who wished to join the WIRED group for a night of worship. Friday night, the Dothan Civic Center was packed to overflowing. It was an awesome sound to hear over 5000 voices singing songs like “Good, Good Father.”

The last night of the week, Mark spoke to the WIRED and extended group. He told us if we counted up all the volunteers who were ministering at each site, both youth and adult, the count was close to 1600 volunteers. Add up the hours of each volunteer for the week and you would have over 45,000 volunteer hours in the community. It would take one full time volunteer over 20 years to accomplish what this group had done in one week. Impressive.

Construction 36

There were thirty-nine construction mission sites this year. I, along with the 15 passenger bus from our church, were assigned to Construction 36. Our mission: scrub down, prime and paint the home of an elderly couple in the community. Additionally, we were to remove and replace all soffit and fascia from the home, build a walking ramp, paint the front door, and shore up a sagging cabinet in the home. Our team consisted of ten youth, our track leader (Hayden Bush), and three adult chaperones (Meda, Kevin, and I). Unfortunately, when we arrived the first day we did not have a foreman. He had a family emergency and would not be there that week. The duties of leading and directing the work fell to the adults, who did a superb job.

The Workday

The youth were phenomenal in their participation. The cleaning, priming, and painting stayed right on schedule. They tore off the soffit and fascia in no time. Replacing it in time was questionable and fortunately for us we had back up through Tom and Steve to install it while Kevin, Meda, and Hayden helped the youth paint. The front door had to be rebuilt and painted. The walking ramp was a simple build and was done in half a day. We did not get to the cabinets. At lunch Hayden led the group in a bible study of the principles they were living out that week and hopefully for the rest of their lives.

WIRED 2017

I am very proud to have served with the group known as Construction 36 and with over 40 youth and adults from Balkum Baptist Church. Provided below is a catalog of pictures of these wonderful people who I will always remember and cherish. Next year’s date is already set: June 26-30th. If you want a challenge as well as a blessing serving for at least one week as the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need visit the website for WIRED at www.wiredministries.com.  You can also go to my Facebook page and look at the album I have shared there.

 

 

 

Why I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

Ghost Busters
Logo from the movie Ghostbusters.

Who ya gonna call?

Yes, I know the word “ain’t” isn’t proper English grammar and there is a double negative. It is just when hauntings and ghost sightings are mentioned I hear the theme from Ghostbusters start off in my head. Personally I don’t believe in ghosts per se. Okay, one Ghost, and I am not afraid of Him, but I will get to that in a minute. Let’s explore the possibility that there are or are not ghosts. As with any subject supernatural, I use the Bible as my premise and foundation.

Ghosts Defined

A ghost, as defined by Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) is “the supposed spirit of somebody who has died, believed to appear as a shadowy form or to cause sounds, the movement of objects, or a frightening atmosphere in a place.” As defined, I do not believe ghosts exist. You could probably bring to this argument, hundreds, if not thousands of arguments to the contrary. These would include haunted houses with unexplained phenomena ranging from: thumping noises to furniture moving, to cold presence, and sick owners. I could not dispute what these people have encountered. My question would be: was it ghosts? I think not.

I believe in angels, fallen angels, demons, and/or evil spirits. Nothing more. I believe that all the hauntings, evil and cold presences, sicknesses, and thumping noises are demonic in nature.

Why?

To answer this we have to go back to the beginning of creation of man and the world to the first account of fallen angels. The king of fallen angels has been called by many names throughout the years: the Devil, Lucifer, Satan, Father of Lies, the Accuser, etc. Not exactly human friendly terms. Most religions of the world have this evil being as the leader of all this evil. He not only hates God, but all that is good and created by God, especially humans.

Also in creation we can find why he hates humans so much. After God created all and saw that it was good, He created man in his image (See Being Fully Human for more discussion). Man was the crown of God’s creation and above all the world of created beings. Satan would and does attack the closest thing to God and to God’s heart: man. One of the most effective ways to injure a man is not to attack him, rather to attack his family.

How?

Several of the demonic tactics in luring humans away from God is to seed doubt in our minds, especially in times of sorrow or stress. This accounts for the seeing of loved ones or even animals shortly after their death. Humans seek stability through reasoning and answers. We do not like change and pain. We prefer pleasure and simplicity. Demons appear as our loved ones in an attempt to question what we know and lead us away from God. Many times God is silent to the passing of our loved ones. He has His reasons, even if we don’t agree with them. We long to see them again. If demonic activity allows for our greatest longing during our greatest pain, to see our loved ones again, then we tend to relieve the pain through acceptance.

Summary

The Bible clearly states concerning Christians for us to be separate from the body is to be present with the Lord. Though some religions mention the body lingering for up to three days before departing, the Bible does not teach this . There is no mention of people hanging around or visiting loved ones once departing this life. Rather, there is a void that exists. Then something else is impersonating our loved ones. Satan and evil forces exist and will do most anything to keep you from the one true Holy Ghost. This Ghost or Spirit is not to be feared, but loved since He is the Spirit of Love. So now, who ya gonna call?

Finding Something Better Than a Golden Dome

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Golden Dome of the Georgia State Capitol

 

On the street corner in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, a friend and I were standing, chatting, and waiting for the little pedestrian icon to turn from orange to white so we could cross the street. An older woman came up to us and looked passed us up to the top of a building beyond.

“I am not concerned about Jesus Saves,” she said. “I am looking for the golden dome. Do you know where it is?”

It took us a minute to realize what she was asking. I think our hesitations cast some doubt in her mind as to whether we could give her a trustworthy and satisfactory answer. My friend’s name being Jesus (Hey-Zues) added to my confusion. We guessed she was talking about the golden dome that sits atop of the state capitol government building along Washington and Trinity streets in downtown Atlanta (More about the Georgia State Capitol) . We pointed in the general direction of where we believed it to be. With apparent no trust in our judgment, the lady headed in another direction. The dome was indeed in the direction in which we had pointed.

Jesus Saves

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Steeple with “Jesus Saves” on both sides.

 

Jesus and I continued towards a building where we were to conduct an inspection, discussing the strange encounter. We were not sure what she had meant by her not being “concerned about Jesus Saves.” Part of our inspection included the roof top. We decided to go there first. Once upon the flat roof I surveyed the Atlanta skyline. I saw a steeple with the words “Jesus Saves” on the side of it. I looked down and saw the street corner where the lady had spoken to us. Other buildings had blocked our view of the steeple where the brief discussion had taken place. I realized what her statement meant. She wasn’t looking for this building, but for the building with the golden dome.

This woman echoed the sentiments of so many people. They don’t care too much about “Jesus Saves.” They just want to know the direction to the golden dome. Jesus addressed this very concern of the world’s obsession with things that are limited and false. People prefer the shiny things in life to what Jesus has to offer. The golden dome this lady sought has twenty ounces of gold leaf covering it. It is estimated to be worth $30,000. As impressive as it sounds, it is still temporal.

The golden dome represents man made government and society. In Isaiah 6:9a, the government and kingdom of God is spoken of. The scripture says “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (ESV, italics are mine for emphasis). The government of man shall pass away in all its imperfections, but the government and kingdom of God will not.  Jesus saves from the temporal and faulty government of man and replaces it with His kingdom. It starts now in our hearts and will be in full force when Jesus sets up His kingdom at the end of time.

We pointed the lady in the right direction, but, again like the world she didn’t trust us with our directions any more than she trusted Jesus to save her. I wonder if she even knew what she was asking. I know she meant it one way, but it could be taken another. I wonder if she thought, “What is it that Jesus saves from?” Based on her statement and then her interaction with us, I would hazard a guess that she never gave the statement a second thought, much less a deeper meaning. She, after all was “not too concerned with Jesus Saves.”

I, on the other hand am very glad Jesus Saves and Jesus saved me. As Ravi Zacharias has said, “Jesus did not come to earth to make bad people good. No, He came to earth to make dead people alive.” Jesus saved me from death. He saved me from a life of aimlessness and worthlessness. He saved me from the slavery of sin and deceit. He saved me from eternal separation from God and he saved me from unrighteousness. He saved me from me. He came to give me life and that more abundantly. He did all that by the renewing of my spirit. This is what it means to be born again; to be born to new life and to become a new creature. This is how Jesus Saves. This is the good news we must tell to others, even those who are not so concerned that Jesus saves and prefer the gold and golden domes.

Getting to Know Jesus

Find out more about the abundant life with Jesus at the links below.

Are You a Watchman?

Christianity Coexist? It Cannot Happen.