Passion must lead to action! (Follow Up to Yesterday’s Post)

The response to my last post has been overwhelming.

The responses have been either ultra-positive or in complete disagreement. I figured as much. I do not claim to have all the answers, but isn’t it time to start thinking outside the box? Isn’t it time to start something new? Isn’t it time for action?

I attended an election night gathering this week. The restaurant was filled with passionate people who genuinely care for our community, here, in north Idaho. Locally, we had a great night. Conservative Christian candidates almost swept the local races. Those that lost did so by razor thin margins.

Two issues fueled the conservative surge — Obamacare and Common Core. Those who opposed these two issues won the day.

What cannot be overlooked is that this was a mid-term election and voter turnout was low. Honestly, we won in places that we shouldn’t have won. The time for action is now.

The action that needs to take place must first be deliberate and continuous.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy that we should, “Be prepared in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Yes, I know that Paul is referring to the preaching of the Word in this passage. We need to expand our understanding of the preaching of the Word of God. Some are called to “pastor” a congregation. All of us are called to “preach” or “proclaim” the Word! And this means through every aspect of life, including politics.

Secondly, this action must be targeted and multifaceted.

Let’s put politics in its proper context. The answer to our American cultural dilemma is Jesus Christ. Folks, Jesus is the Truth. In John 14:6, Jesus is clearly quoted as saying, “I am the truth.” Notice that I am capitalizing “Truth.” This is because Truth is not a concept, Truth is a person and His name is Jesus Christ. The problem is that we are not proclaiming Truth outside the four walls of our churches.

Truth needs to be present in all facets of our culture.

  • We need to pray that Truth will rule in our communities and country.
  • We need to show the heart of Truth through service to our community.
  • We need Truth in the education of our children.
  • We need Truth in our business community.
  • We need Truth in the media and entertainment industry.
  • We need Truth in politics.
  • We need Truth taken to the world, near and far through mission efforts.

People are asking me, “Gary, are you starting a new church?” Here is my answer. At Reach America, we are not starting a “church”, per se, but we are looking for a group of Christians who want to “be the church” where we live. We are building a worshiping congregation of people who believe that they are called by God to take Truth to the arenas mentioned above.

We do not simply want to gather for worship. We want our worship, our Bible study and training to prepare us for continuous and meaningful action! We want our tithe, the first-fruits of our labor to fund and staff these areas.

To assist us in taking Truth into the public square, we are forming the 12/32 Task Force.

This group takes its name from 1 Chronicles 12:32. “…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…”

I can summarize our cultural condition in America in a quick sentence — The America culture is going down the toilet. How’s that for understanding the times?

What should Christians in America do about it? Interject Truth back into the public square, back into the following arenas with the follow strategy.

  • The arena of prayer. This is first and foremost. We must hear from God about the implementation of this strategy. You can do the right thing in the wrong way!
  • The arena of service. When we lead with service, we lead with our heart. We must learn to serve!
  • The arena of education. As far as a practical boots on the ground first step — we must help parents gain control of their children’s education. Strategically speaking, everything flows from here.
  • The arena of media and entertainment. Each day, we are becoming more of a visual and audio society. Unfortunately, people are no longer reading. We must saturate this arena with Truth.
  • The arena of business. We must turn the tide of the way we have come to view employment in this country. America was built for owners. We must empower people to see the vision God has given them and help them understand that God has given them this talent to take Truth into that particular field. We are ambassadors for Christ in all we do!
  • The arena of politics. We need Truth in government! Need I say more? We need every American Christian involved in this arena — not merely in voting, but in every aspect of the political system!
  • The arena of missions. God has blessed us as individuals and as a nation, to be a blessing to others. This was the view of our Founders. Truth needs to be taken across the world!

Each of these arenas needs a Team Leader and team members. The Team Leaders of each of these areas make up the 12/32 Task Force.

Currently, there are great Christians leading in these areas separately. It is my contention that these efforts need to be brought together under one body. The answer isn’t prayer-only. The answer isn’t politics-only. The answer isn’t missions-only.

We will win this cultural battle by saturating this entire movement in prayer and then in service to the community. The strategy begins by building the foundation for the education of our children. Once the underpinning elements of prayer, service and education are laid, we then begin to build the walls of media, business, politics and missions.

It is time to be deliberate…

It is time to be targeted…

It is time to come together…

It is time to turn our passion into action!

 

Stay tuned, we are just getting started!

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

I was born on July 3, 1959. At the time of this writing, I am 54 years old. Each day is becoming a little more precious to me. As I have pointed out in many past articles, America has come apart at her spiritual seam. I will admit, times are tough. I played varsity basketball in high school. One poster that was hung in our locker room read, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

Let’s not give up on the country we all love. The going in America right now is tough. It is time for tough to get going!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler. Because he could not support the government takeover of the church, he became a part of what became known as the underground church.

Bonheoffer was eventually imprisoned and on April 9, 1945, he was executed.

The government takeover of the people of Germany, is similar to what we are facing today in America. Our government is slowly but surely encroaching on our freedoms — especially our religious freedoms. As I outlined in my recent series on “gay” marriage, biblical Christianity is under attack.

The only course of action for the Christians in early 20th century Germany was to retreat — to go underground. Hitler had become an immovable force. The Nazi party took over every aspect of German life, including the church.

This is not the case for Christians in America. To retreat now would be fatal for our country. On the contrary, for us, the answer is not retreat, but advance.

These are unprecedented times for the American Christian church. It is time for unprecedented action.

We need to become like the men of old, the men of Issachar. 1 Chronicles 12:32 reads, “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do — 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.”

The enemies of Israel had overrun Jerusalem and all the tribes came together to take the city back for God. The leaders of “David’s Mighty Men” were the men of the tribe of Issachar. The Scripture tells us that these guys were uniquely qualified to lead due to three traits.

  1. They understood the times.
  2. They knew what Israel should do.
  3. They had their relatives under their command.

Verse 38 gives us even more insight into this godly band of warriors. “All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.”

This battle is only going to be won by people fully determined, with one mind, willing to risk all they have.

I want to suggest a two-fold strategy for taking our communities and our country back for Christ. We are implementing these strategies where we live, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. If you live in the north Idaho area, I want to invite you to join us. A meeting date will be announced, soon.  If you are interested in including your community in this strategy alongside us, please join in.

Strategy Point #1: Very soon, we are going to begin a weekly worship and Bible study event in Coeur d’Alene called Kootenai CARES or Cultural Awareness Readiness Engagement Strategies. It will be a service for the entire family. We are not starting a “church”, we are gathering with a group of families who want to be the church.

Strategy Point #2: We are creating what we call a 12/32 Task Force, named for 1 Chronicles 12:32. This active group will lead smaller teams. The important areas of our community we need to impact in order to re-establish our American Christian values are as follows:

  1. Prayer
  2. Community Service
  3. Education
  4. Business
  5. Politics

In my next few posts, I will break down each strategy point.

God bless you and thank you for taking your time to read these articles. Email me sometime and let me know what you believe God is telling you.

~Pastor Gary

Gay Marriage, Part Eight: Serve, Say, Stand

Part Eight: Serve, Say, Stand

Matthew (20:28) and Mark (10:45) record Jesus as saying, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The power behind what Jesus said was in how Jesus served.

Without a doubt, Jesus’ words were powerful, but it was what he did that gave his words impact. Luke records in Luke 4:36, “All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!’”

As I stated in “Rip Van Church”, Christians fell asleep at the switch and now we have awakened to find ourselves shoved out of the public square. As stated in Part Six, “A Little History Lesson”, the “gay” movement had its roots in the feminist, socialist movements of the 1930s through 50s and sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s. To pinpoint the watershed moment when our country began to rapidly move away from our Christian founding we need to look to the 1962 decision of the Supreme Court, ruling student-led prayer in public schools as unconstitutional. (This will be the topic of my next post.)

I believe we all agree that the sleeping giant, the church, needs to wake up and re-enter the public square. I want to begin a discussion on the most effective way to do so. I want to suggest a three-point strategy to bring back righteousness and save our communities.

Start, Serve, Stand

Start

We start with learning to C.A.R.E. for our communities again. We must become Culturally Aware and become Ready to Engage our community. Too many of us, Christian, have given up on our communities and we have begun to withdraw from the public square. I believe the scriptures are clear that we should be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) and that we should “occupy” (Luke 19:13) until he comes.

Why did God leave us here after we were saved? Think about it. There are only two things we can do on earth that we cannot do in heaven — sin and tell others about Jesus. Now, which one do you think He left us here to do?

Serve

We must re-enter society as a servant. Unlike when Jesus walked the earth, Christianity is not new. In the eyes of today’s world we are not only irrelevant but we read an ancient book that is no good for today and we claim to worship a God that no longer is necessary. In the minds of the majority of America, the advances of society and science have made faith in a “God” pointless.

It is into this new America that we are living and that we are called to reach.

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus is recorded as saying this:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

How we reenter the public square is important. I have been involved in the abstinence education movement since 1990, when Magic Johnson first announced to the world that he was HIV positive. I have been blessed to lead on every level of government in America. I have served locally, as well as the state and national levels.

From experience, I have learned that the old adage, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care”, is true.

It seems that the only time Christians show up in the community is when we are against something. All people know about us is what we are against. When we lead with our service, people see our heart. When we lead with our mouth in a negative way, all people believe they see are our fangs. When we serve, we prove to those reasonable people where we live that we really don’t have fangs.

Stand

After we have shown that we care, we have earned the right to be heard. We need to be active in the community. We need to be active in county commissioner meetings, school board meetings, and city council meetings. We need to let our voices be heard in areas in which we agree and disagree.

Christians need to get involved in politics. Yes, I said “that” word — politics! Run for office, work for those Christians running for office. VOTE!

Get involved in local ministries that are making a difference. Programs like food banks, shelters and pregnancy centers need our help. Start a leadership program, like Reach America, where you live that is training up youth and their parents how to lead.

Jesus used the “salt” and “light” metaphors –mentioned earlier– in what we know as the “Sermon on the Mount”. Earlier in that sermon, Jesus lists the “beatitudes.”  I have always found it ironic that right after Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, he said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted.”

Yes, I believe that was intentional. This is the nature of righteousness spoken in the public square. To those who are willing to listen, righteousness brings peace. To those whose hearts are hardened, righteousness proclaimed in the public square brings persecution to the righteous.

Unfortunately, the fear of persecution is driving Christians out of the public square. The fear of turning people away from the gospel message of salvation is keeping Christians away from speaking in the public square.

Never does the Bible tell us not to speak righteousness, but it does tell how we should speak.

Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

We will always be vilified — count on it — but let’s be sure it is the Word of God that is offending, not the messenger.

This series has been one of the most challenging I have written. I hope it has been helpful to you.

In my next post I am going to examine the 1962 Supreme Court decision, ruling student-led prayer in public schools unconstitutional and the impact that ruling has had on our country.

Together, let’s re-enter the public square. Together, let’s start, serve and stand!

Gay Marriage Part 7: Rip Van Church

In the 1950s and 60s, when our American society was racing away from Christ and our American founding values, the church was silent. When the Courts were ruling against prayer (1962) and the Bible (1963), the church was silent.

With good intentions we sent our kids off to public schools, then to state and private colleges and universities, ignorant of the fact that many of the teachers/professors were guiding our children away from God and their parents.

As a nation, we have lost our way because:

  1. Overwhelmingly, Christians no longer care about America — maybe we never did.
  2. Doctrinally, we have come to embrace a theology where it is practically “unchristian” to care about our culture and our country.
  3. Instead of Christians shaping the culture, the culture has shaped those who call themselves Christians.

For whatever reason or reasons, America has lost her way because the church in America has lost her right to be heard.

For the purpose of this post I want share with you the condition of the church in America and how we got to where we are today.

I was born on July 3, 1959 — I know, I’m old.

I remember a time in America when the church and pastors were respected — even by those who weren’t Christians. I remember when businesses were closed on Sunday, in honor of the Lord’s Day. Any of you old fogies remember the old “Blue Laws”? I remember when community recreation departments would never schedule a game on Sunday or on Wednesday night.

Divorce was unheard of in my community. Every one of my friends had a mom and a dad — at home. Teachers were respected and discipline in our nation’s schools was the order of the day. Most, if not all, of my teachers were also Sunday school teachers at their church.

As Christians, we sat on our “blessed assurance”, and let our children and our country slip away. You know, like the frog in the kettle. You remember this one, don’t you? If you place a frog in a kettle of boiling water, he will quickly hop right out of it. However, if you place it in cool water and turn the temperature up slowly, the frog will sit there and boil to death.

Welcome to the New America.

It’s as if the church in America is Rip Van Winkle.

The story of Rip Van Winkle is set in the time just prior to the American Revolution in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Rip is a fine man, liked by all, but unfortunately he had a knack for avoiding work. His wife was constantly nagging him about his chores. Eventually, his house and farm began to slip into disrepair.

Tired of his wife’s incessant complaints, Rip took off with his dog, Wolf, for greener pastures. He came upon a band of travelers who offered him some of their moonshine. Rip drank it and quickly fell asleep.

He awakens to discover many shocking changes. His musket is rotting and rusty, his beard is a foot long, and his dog is nowhere to be found. Van Winkle returns to his village where he recognizes no one. He discovers that his wife has died and that his close friends have died in some war or moved away.

When Rip returns to his favorite drinking hole he discovers that the portrait of King George has been replaced with one of George Washington. After a fair amount of investigation, Van Winkle discovers that he had been asleep for 20 years. He slept through the American Revolution and awoke to find an entirely different world.

Rip Van Winkle was asleep for 20 years. To the best of my recollection, the church fell asleep some time during the late 1950s to early 60s and now we are waking up from a slumber of fifty-plus years to an America that is vastly different from the America we once knew.

The changes in our country have been vast and, frankly, too numerous to mention in this one blog post. We awaken from our slumber to find that society as we knew it in the early 60s has been redefined. As we wipe the crusty “sleep” from our eyes, we notice that is no longer Christ’s picture we see hanging in our local schools and court houses; it is Charles Darwin’s, Albert Einstein’s and Sigmund Freud’s.  Dad is no longer the bread-winner and mom is no longer at home to raise the kids. As a matter of fact, most children do not have a dad in the house, period. If there is a dad, he is most likely working hard to make the ends meet. Mom works, too. The government is now raising the children.

Our church houses are nearly empty and no one cares what we have to say any more.

When we fell asleep, it was Elvis who had left the building — now, it is God who has left the country. And we wonder why they are not heeding to the Word.

No one forced the church to fall into our 50-year stupor. We weren’t given cosmic sleeping pills. No one pushed us into the corner in which we now find ourselves.

What are we, as the Church, to do?  What do we do about what we know?

Next Post: Developing an Action Plan. Hint: We must learn to C.A.R.E.

Gay Marriage, Epistemology & Righteousness…”What?!” Part Six

Part Six: A little history lesson — where did the “gay” movement come from?

Many people are asking, “Where did this come from”? “How did we get here”?

I am no historian, but I do consider myself a student of American history and culture. I lead a weekend conference called, “Reclaiming America.” For this post and perhaps the next one, I want to draw from this information to guide us. To develop an adequate response to the “gay” movement, we need to take some time to understand the history and motives behind it.

Since the inception of our nation, in 1776, there have been those who have attempted to separate America from its Christian roots.

The following movements all contributed to this effort.

  • The Socialist Movement
  • Feminism
  • The Sexual Revolution
  • The “Gay” Rights movement

An important note: The tool all these movements or groups have used to accomplish their mission is the public school system. In the history below, you will see how they have successfully infiltrated the public schools to change the course of our nation.

The Socialist Movement

I place the organized effort to separate America from her Christian roots at 1905 with the beginning of the ISS, The Intercollegiate Socialist Society. The ISS was formed September 12, 1905 at Peck’s Restaurant, in New York City. This group was founded by Upton Sinclair. By the way, he is still identified by educators as a literary giant. Yes, your high school student may know of Upton Sinclair.

The list of officers that were elected that day reads like a who’s who of the founders of the socialist movement in America. According to www.marxistshistory.org, the first slate of officers for the ISS were:

President: Jack London; First Vice President: Upton Sinclair; Second Vice President: Graham Phelps Stokes; Secretary: M.R. Holbrook; Treasurer: Rev. Owen Lovejoy; Executive Committee: Rev. George Willis Cooke, Morris Hillquit, Robert Hunter, Harry Laidler, Katherine M. Meserole, and George H. Strobell. Of this group of socialist worthies, only Harry Laidler was actually a current college student.

Their first goal was to penetrate American colleges and university campuses. This strategy would give them unfettered access to the people who would be molding the minds of young Americans.

The first ISS organization was founded at the University of Wisconsin. The Wesleyan Social Study Club was headed by Harry Laidler. A second chapter was formed at Columbia University in New York City with a student named Walter Lippmann playing the leading role. Over the course of the first three years affiliated socialist clubs were organized at Harvard, Princeton, Barnard, New York University Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to meeting to discuss problems of the day, these groups distributed socialist propaganda and arranged lectures on their respective campuses in an attempt to extend support for the socialist cause.

The most destructive component of the legacy of the ISS was the establishment of teacher unions.

Feminism

Feminism played a major role in taking us further away from our Christian roots and toward the sexual revolution. In the late 1880′s Susan B. Anthony led the way for women to eventually gain the right to vote. I believe we all will agree that voting is a privilege that should be afforded to all Americans. However, in the early 1900′s, the feminist movement took an anti-Christian and anti-family turn.

There is no better place to begin this part of our cultural history than with the life and work of Margaret Sanger. Margaret was born on September 14, 1884 in Corning, New York. She died on September 6, 1966. Margaret was one of 11 children. Her mother was Roman Catholic and her father was known as a “free-thinker”.

Ms. Sanger was a strong supporter of the KKK and spoke at many of their rallies. She is known as the “mother” of the modern Feminist Movement and a member of the Socialist party. Margaret Sanger believed that women needed to overcome two problems in order be considered equal, — religion and large families. She was the first to use the term “birth control”.  She laid the groundwork for what we now know as “Planned Parenthood”.

The Sexual Revolution

The feminist movement laid the groundwork for the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s. The man who is considered the founder of the sexual revolution and the grandfather of sex education is Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

Alfred Charles Kinsey was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on June 23, 1894. Alfred’s father was a devout Methodist who took his family to church at every possible opportunity.

I must point out that it was in a “Christian” household that America’s most influential sexual revolutionaries grew up. It was Kinsey who championed “sexual freedom” for men and women alike, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

Kinsey received his Doctor of Science in 1919 from Harvard. After a yearlong traveling fellowship he studied gall wasps. He arrived in Bloomington, Indiana in August, 1920 as the new assistant professor of entomology at Indiana University.

At heart, Kinsey saw himself not as a teacher, but as a scientist of the first rank and a missionary whose destiny was to change the world through science. Kinsey argued that sex was the glue that held human societies together. He attacked whom he referred to as “self-appointed religious institutions” for their role in regulating sexual conduct. Kinsey blamed American youths’ almost total ignorance of sex as the inevitable result of Victorian morals and mores.

In 1947, with his wife, Clara, Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research. Kinsey and Clara immersed themselves in his work, helping him entertain students who participated in his “research”. His “samples” grew to include prison inmates, drifters, imprisoned homosexuals, pedophiles and homosexuals in the gay bars on Chicago’s Rush Street.

It is Kinsey’s research that is the basis of what determines what is now considered to be “normal” sexual behavior in America.

Kinsey lived just long enough to see the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code, published in 1955, embrace the right of consenting adults to engage in homosexual behavior.

Kinsey and his “research” are credited with inspiring…

  • The Sexual Revolution of the 60s
  • The Pill
  • Roe vs. Wade
  • Reversal of Sodomy Laws
  • Today’s Sex Education

And you guessed it –the modern “gay” movement

According to www.pbs.org, the following events are the milestones of the modern “gay” movement.

  • In 1948, Biologist and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey’s research lays the foundation of what is now considered “normal” sexual behavior.
  • November 11, 1950: In Los Angeles, gay rights activist Harry Hay founds America’s first national gay rights organization. In an attempt to change public perception of homosexuality, the Mattachine Society aims to “eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice and bigotry,” to assimilate homosexuals into mainstream society, and to cultivate the notion of an “ethical homosexual culture.”
  • January 1, 1962: Illinois repeals its sodomy laws, becoming the first U.S. state to decriminalize homosexuality.
  • December 15, 1973: The board of the American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. By the way, no research was presented to the association. They just felt that this long-standing policy should be changed.
  • July 3, 1981: The New York Times prints the first story of a rare pneumonia and skin cancer found in 41 gay men in New York and California. The CDC initially refers to the disease as GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder.
  • Eventually, symptoms are found outside the gay community. Bruce Voeller, biologist and founder of the National Gay Task Force, successfully lobbies the science and medical community to change the name of the disease to AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Let’s fast-forward to the present and to recent developments.

  • December 18, 2010: The U.S. Senate votes 65-31 to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. Military.
  • February 23, 2011: President Obama states his administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans the recognition of same-sex marriage.
  • 17 states now allow “gay” marriage and 33 states have banned “gay” marriage.
  • June 26, 2013: The United States Supreme Court ruled in Windsor v. United States that Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies legally married same-sex couples over 1,100 protections and responsibilities of marriage, is unconstitutional.

Folks, “gay” marriage is coming.

What are Christians to do? Before we can answer that question, I believe we should answer this question: Where was the church during America’s slide to moral and cultural decline?

I’ll attempt to answer that one in my next post.

Thanks so much for sticking with me. I hope you are finding this information helpful.

~Pastor Gary

Gay Marriage, Epistemology & Righteousness…”What?!” Part Five

Part Five: Why Gay Marriage is Bad for America

In my last post, I laid out a Biblical epistemology, or worldview, of marriage and family and their importance to God. The coming together of man and woman as “one flesh” in the context of marriage is the most intimate expression of love and oneness two humans can experience. God made us where we fit together — literally — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Marriage is the perfect expression to illustrate God’s perfect fit with us, as His creation, made in His image. The scripture tells us that as believers we are Christ’s bride, that God is a jealous God and that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the church. The biblical examples go on and on.

It should come as no surprise to us that sexual sin is emphasized so much in scripture. Biblically speaking, there is just something different about sexual sin.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, the Apostle Paul clearly specifies that there is something different about sexual sin. In verse 18 Paul writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Paul compliments the people, and then issues this instruction in the form of a warning. I have included verses 3-8, below.

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

Sometimes what the scripture doesn’t say tells us a lot. Take this first phrase of verse three. Why didn’t Paul say,

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid murder“?

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid telling lies”?

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid stealing“?

Could it be that when we sin sexually, that this is the first sign of more sin to come; the first sign of moral decline within ourselves and in the culture?

In Romans 1:18-32, Paul certainly indicates this. In these verses it is evident that sexual sin and specifically same sex relations are unnatural and are the first visible sign of a people who have turned their backs on God.

Let’s take a close look at Romans 1:18-32 and the seven steps to cultural chaos.

  • Step One: Suppress the truth, verses 18-20.
  • Step Two:  They didn’t glorify God nor did they give thanks to Him, resulting in futile thinking and a dark heart, verse 21.
  • Step Three: They claimed to be wiser than God and began to worship themselves, verses 22-23.
  • Step Four: God gave them over to their sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies.verse 24
  • Step Five: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie. verse 25
  • Step Six: Women and men exchanged natural relations for unnatural relations, verses 26-27.
  • Step Seven: They received the due penalty for their perversion, verse 27.

And what is the penalty? Take a look.

  • A depraved mind to do what should not be done.
  • A mind filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
  • Envy, murder, strife, deceit, cruelty.
  • Gossip, slander, God-hating, disrespect, arrogance, boastfulness.
  • They invent ways of doing evil.
  • They disobey their parents.
  • They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.

The Apostle concludes his remarks in verse 32.

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Folks, from a biblical epistemological approach, to what conclusions can we come? What are we, as Christians, to do about what we know to be biblically true?

Stay tuned for part six.

Gay Marriage, Epistemology & Righteousness…”What?!” Part Three

Part Three: What is Epistemology and Why Should I Care?

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. His blog post on epistemology is excellent. For the purpose of this post, I borrowed greatly from Dr. Lisle. I highly recommend that you subscribe to his blog at www.jasonlisle.com.

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemology helps us answer the question: how we know what we know.  When a person has a belief, it is reasonable to ask the person “how do you know this?” The way in which a person responds to this kind of question will reveal his or her original source or epistemology.

Everyone has an epistemology because everyone have some beliefs, and they have reasons for their beliefs. However, not all reasons are good reasons. If the reason isn’t very good, then there is a good chance that the belief is wrong.

Epistemology is very important if we want our beliefs to correspond to what is real — to truth.

I believe it is safe to assume that most people have not consciously reflected on their own epistemology.  According to Dr. Lisle, when we think about what we believe we know, we need to ask ourselves three questions.

  1. How do I ultimately know anything?
  2. What are the standards by which truth is determined?
  3. Are these standards biblical?

Before we continue with this discussion, you may be asking yourself this question: “Why should I be concerned with epistemology?  It is enough that I do know things?”

Our epistemology is crucially important because if it is wrong, then many of our beliefs derived from that faulty system will also likely be wrong.  In other words, if our epistemology is wrong, then we could be wrong about everything we think we know!

Biblical Epistemology/Worldview

Only a Biblical worldview makes it possible for us to answer our questions and have genuine knowledge.  This is because knowledge stems from the nature of God. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

A Biblical worldview gives us rational justification for all the things that we rely upon in order to have knowledge. As I stated in the last post, human beings are made in the image of God.

Now, as Christians, let’s consider these additional facts.

God’s mind is perfect by His nature.  At salvation, God gave us — Christians — the ability to pattern our thoughts after His.  For our benefit, God has commanded us to pattern our thoughts after His, so that our thoughts will be truthful.

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 — please take the time to read these verses yourself — we read that God has given Christians two amazing gifts to enable us to discern the spiritual truth in all situations.

First, God has given us His secret wisdom. Vs. 9-10

However, as it is written: “‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’–but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Secondly, we have the mind of Christ. Vs. 16

“‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

Friends, as with any issue or situation, the “gay” issues we face today can only be righty discerned by Christians accessing the secret wisdom of God through our right mind — the mind of Christ. This is accomplished by way of the only reliable record we have, the Bible.

The Failure of Secular Epistemologies

Dr. Lisle writes in his blog, “Non-Biblical worldviews makes knowledge impossible.”

That doesn’t mean that non-Christians can’t know anything.  Clearly they can.  But this is despite their worldview and not because of it. When you ask a non-Christian why they know what they know, it ultimately leads back to themselves as the basis of their knowledge.

Rationality

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a rational person and an irrational one? A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs.  An irrational person does not.

A Biblicalworldview allows us to have good reasons for our most basic beliefs. Apart from the Bible, any reason that we offer for any belief cannot be ultimately justified.

Folks, it would appear that there are only two options for a person to hold.  One can either be a consistent Christian, or one can be irrational.

Epistemology is important because we live in a post-Christian America. More than ever, it is essential that, as Christians, we ask ourselves these three question about what we, think we know. Then, we ask others.

  1. “How do we know what we know?”
  2. “What are the standards by which truth is determined?”
  3. “Are these standards biblical?”

In my next post, I am going to present a biblical epistemology/worldview of marriage.

Again, I want to express my thanks to Dr. Jason Lisle for his work on epistemology.

I sincerely hope this series is a blessing to you. I would love to know what you believe the Bible says. Got any stories or reports? Please share.

~Pastor Gary

In 10 Years America Can be a Different Place – Curious? Keep Reading

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was the greatest leadership training strategist that ever lived.

Think about it. He took 12 regular guys and not only impacted the world for their time — but we are still experiencing the impact of His ministry 2,000 year later!

Get this — Jesus got His guys trained in just three years! Surely, through the power of His Spirit working through us, He can reach just one country in 10 years!

The key is to embrace Jesus’ methodology of world impact — and to do it, together.

As the church in America, we have taken the eternal message of Christ and His love and packaged it into a modern, western, “education” methodology. Folks, it simply isn’t working.

I believe American Christians have developed a mentality that — “if we studied it, we did it.” In our lives, we have reduced Jesus to a doctrinal statement. He is not living and working through us. (By the way, there is nothing wrong with doctrine — I hope you got my point.)

Belief statements, alone, don’t change the world, changed people change the world.

What would happen in America if our churches trained Christian parents and youth leaders how to train children and teens in the way Jesus trained His disciples? Do you believe that in 10 years this country would be different?

This is the purpose of our upcoming conference, April 25-26, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I would love to meet you.

Together, let’s learn how Christ changes lives and impacts societies. Together, let’s experience how, through the power of Christ’s Spirit, God can bring this once great nation back to Him. TOGETHER, we can reach America!

Click here for more info and registration.

~Pastor Gary

Establishing the Right Foundation

Are the people you are leading, establishing the right foundation?

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Most Christians are being raised with the presumption that they are building a godly foundation. However, many of these Christians, while thinking their godly foundation is being developed, are actually building a different foundation off their own desires and wants.

Think about it; when you attend a Christian teaching lesson (like church, small group, etc.) how much of your time there is spent listening and considering what the teacher is thinking? How much time is spent thinking about your own desires? Are you being lead to believe that a godly foundation is being laid but instead your other thoughts are building a completely different foundation?

This is one of Satan’s subtle tactics. He knows that people have a tendency to not pay attention to the important things so he expands on that fact to lay a different foundation.

What kind of foundation is laid then, when the godly one is ignored? Sometimes these new foundations are based off of distracted thoughts; innocent but not focused on the information at hand. Other times, the foundations are based off of sin or immoral ideas. This is why most of the youth in America are not following the Lord Jesus Christ when they leave home.

So, how do we reach America and make sure the right foundations are being laid?

At Reach America, Christian teens are taught how to lead people. But, these teens could still be laying down the wrong foundation so, to counter this, the ministry teaches teens while having them walk with other teens.

These teens are led to walk with other Christians and help each other lay down the right foundation.

This year, Reach America is going to focus on teaching teens how to lead teens by walking with them through Christ. One could summarize this as, “Reach America teaches teens how to run a baton race but, instead of the focus being on passing the baton (or dying and leaving your legacy), they focus on the time when both of the runners are running with each other, because this wins the race!”

How the Left Discredits Authentic Americanism – Part 2

In my last post I set the stage for a discussion on how the left discredits authentic Americanism.

On Thursday, January 23, I was invited to speak at a political gathering on the topic of winning the future through winning the next generation. Our local press showed up. When they printed the story of my speech, they were fairly — fair. It was the comments posted in the online version of the article that I would like to spend some time on today.

In no way do these comments personally offend me. This old bird has been around too long to let a few hot heads get under his skin. As a pastor, I have had an interesting journey. God’s path has taken me from the pulpit to halls of Congress and everywhere in between.

As I read the comments following the online version of the article, I was intrigued at the language the various bloggers were posting. The comments are very similar to what I have heard by liberals on every level of government.

I thought it would be educational for us review some of the comments made about my speech. I believe we can all learn from this exercise.

Before we begin I need to define “Americanism” or “American Exceptionalism.” After all, this is basically what they are all uptight about.

According to Merriam-Webster Americanism is:

  • 1. a characteristic feature of American English especially as contrasted with British English
  • 2.  An attachment or allegiance to the traditions, interests, or ideals of the United States
  • 3a. A custom or trait peculiar to America
  • 3b. The political principles and practices essential to American culture

American Exceptionalism as defined in The National Republican Platform:

“We are the party of peace through strength. Professing American exceptionalism – the conviction that our country holds a unique place and role in human history…While the twentieth century was undeniably an American century – with strong leadership, adherence to the principles of freedom and democracy our Founders’ enshrined in our nation’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and a continued reliance on Divine Providence – the twenty-first century will be one of American greatness as well.”

Mike Huckabee said, “To deny American Exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”

In my speech, I made reference to American exceptionalism and the values that have made America a unique and great nation. I also mentioned how we need to create conservative communities in which to raise our children — and so forth.

As a pastor of 37 years, a national education consultant in public schools of 20 years and an advisor to the US Congress for nearly five years, I assure you, the comments I am about to share are being used against all who dare to proclaim that America is great because it was founded on Christian values and because we recognize the place of the Almighty as a nation.

Again, the link to the online article is http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_0231ef40-517e-511a-9103-f4c6a6493c87.html

Here are the comments:

“Screen Name” believes that conservatives embrace “slavery, no voting for women, child labor and debtors prisons” as American values

Miketeague states that Reach America…wants to indoctrinate 10 year olds to their way of thinking, what next, water boarding 11 year olds that don’t get the message? These far right wing pseudo religious groups are getting more blatant to their intent as each day goes by. By the way, the Thaw was looked into and found to be total bull. (Really?)

wwrd if by “Traditional” you mean no choice in anything then you are right.

DCIdaho accuses Reach America of child abuse and that we should be arrested.
This isn’t education…this is brainwashing for political agenda. Anyone doing this to children should be arrested for child abuse.

Those who oppose us for raising godly children and encouraging them to be engaged in the public square compared us to the Aryan Nations and said that churches cannot be political.

“LMYCDA” Students being persecuted for their beliefs. What a bunch of hogwash and propaganda. Sounds like the Aryan Nations folks. Hey, why don’t you just STICK with religion what you are being paid for and not paying any taxes for. Churches need to be taxed as they have become political!!!!

CaiusCosades: In other words “Brain wash our children to fit our selfish political agendas”. Idaho Republicans are so archaic! For any intelligent child that grows into an educated young adult that has been exposed to this type of brainwashing, they will see it for what it is and turn away from Conservatism. Then Idaho will be left with only the dumb Conservatives, which we already have way too many of!

Why Not: Gary Brown…is talking about controlling the thoughts of little Johnny and Jill with religious gibberish and neocon fantasy in public schools. Religion and conservative indoctrination in public school violates the constitutional rights of children. Schools are responsible for teaching, which by the way is hopelessly underfunded in Idaho. Teaching methods are changing and will hopefully adapt to individual needs faster than when my boys were in school.

Observations

I hope this exercise was helpful to you. Be prepared — any time you step into the public square, you can expect this treatment. Freedom of speech and religion are hallmarks of Americanism. Also is parental control of their children’s education.  However, apparently, Christians are not afforded the right to freedom of speech and religious expression. These belong inside the church, only.

Oh, and parents — if you choose to take control of your child’s education, you are brainwashing your children. If the kids do not comply with your Christian ideas, you water board them.

Their goal is simple — they want us to go away.

Want to know the sad thing? For the most part, going away is exactly what we are doing.

Well, not this guy. I refuse to sit idly by and let those who do not love God or our country call the shots.

Are you with me? If so, send me an email at gary@letsreachamerica.org. If you are in the northwest, come and see us. If you would prefer, call me at 208-966-4434.

If you are in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho area, I am speaking, Friday, February 7 at the Red Lion Hotel in Post Falls at 12:00, noon, for the Panhandle Pachyderms.  It is a lunch meeting. I would love to see you there. My topic is How to Win the Future through Winning the Next Generation, Part 2.

Let’s not back down. Together, let’s stand for Christ. Together, let’s Reach America!