Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Senator Barack Obama's Church

I just got one of those mass emails that, in essence, says, "Be afraid! Barack Obama is a front for an evil sinister conspiracy, etc, etc, etc." I have probably made a mistake in answering it, but it came to my church and several people in my church, so I took the chance....I can feel my email box bloating even as I speak. If you are not familiar with this current attempt to scare people with almost, but not quite nearly, half truths, go to www.truthorfiction.com. and you'll find the basis for this misery. Anyway, I thought I should expand my potential to offend by including these thoughts in my blog.....enjoy, throw stones, or...whatever.

I have thought and re-thought whether or not I should respond to this.....I will respond and then I might regret it.....but I will take the chance because I want sanity, fair-mindedness and the truly Good News of the Kingdom of God to win over fear and half truths. The church needs an extreme makeover and get rid of its harsh, angry, finger-pointing attitude. Let each one examine his or her own work and then they will have reason for boasting in regard to themselves alone, and not in regard to another (Gal.6:4).

To start with, go to www.truthorfiction.com and read their take on this email about Senator Obama's church. It's quoted word for word and they address the truth and the fiction involved.

Next, how is a church committed to Africa any different than the Swedish Lutherans, the German Lutherans, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Korean Methodist Church, the various Latino denominations, or even the ROMAN Catholic Church? Don't misunderstand my question here....I believe that any racial dividing of the Body of Christ is unhealthy. Someone once said that the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning church services...and that's wrong. But its far from some sinister conspiracy...its just ignorant.

There are thousands of church web sites that might not give a specific reference to America...that's no reason for panic or fear mongering or suggesting that something evil is lurking behind it. To pin Senator Obama into a corner because his church does not mention America on its web site is totally outrageous. Disagree with his politics all you want to! But don't bring arguments like this into the public debate because it only makes Christianity look bad.

I don't agree with Senator Obama's politics. I don't think he is qualified to be president. If I was on a hiring committee to interview people who were applying for the job, I would look at his resume and say, "Come back another time when we can see some experience". I wouldn't hire a contractor to build a new house who had a couple years of on the job experience and I won't hire a leader of the free world who is not tested and proven. But this matter of promoting fear and half-truths is just wrong. Stick with proven facts or we, the voting public are no better than the politicians who take out "attack ads" just to wipe mud on the face of an opponent.

Lastly, note that I have consistently referred to the senator as Senator Obama. When American Christians put a stop to their participation in the current culture of dishonor, we will finally find our voice and begin a new day of being respected. We all reap what we sow. We all are involved in the "golden rule", which is the Word of Christ; doing to others as we would have them do unto us....I wonder if our outcry of being mistreated by the "media" is in some way due to the disrespect we distribute to the wide world around us.When Peter said, (I Peter 2:17)"Honor the King" there wasn't a single Christian king on the planet. In fact, many were monsters. So, why should we give honor in that climate? Because if we ever hope to be salt and light in our world, if we ever want honor for our name, and greater yet, for the Name of Jesus, we must lead the way of sowing honor even in soil we don't like.

Jesus said, (don't blithely skip over these words. He taught them in a politically charged atmosphere that celebrated the hatred of political enemies with religious fervor)"You have heard it said,'love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers (and political parties) do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

That's right, PERFECT. That's how high the bar is for us. If you want to be like the run of the mill, mean spirited, mud slinging, angry political landscape around you, just keep doing what everyone does. But if you want something better, something more like the Face of Christ, reach for the perfection of the Father.

Impossible you say? All things are possible to those who believe......Pastor Randy Dean

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Win for the Lamb..."

"All things are possible to those who believe..." (Mark 9:23) means to me that God is looking for a community and a culture of believers who intentionally take on impossibilities with a warrior's heart to, "win for the Lamb that was slain the reward for His sufferings" (the Moravians).

I'd rather fail in the attempt of the miraculous than to succeed at mediocrity.

ALL THINGS for Him, ~prd~

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

IF and THEN...

If it is January in Wisconsin…then…

With a few rare exceptions the phrase above is easy to conclude. I’d like to take you down a similar path based on the Words of Jesus from Mark 9:23; “All things are possible to him who believes”.

If all things are possible to those who believe, then those of us who believe must never again allow ourselves to be fatalism’s slave. Fatalism is the belief that all the events of life are staged and determined by fate and therefore inevitable. I won’t drag you through the details of how this is the root and substance of a loud segment of the church’s doctrinal view of the “end times”. What I WILL tell you is that fatalism has enslaved too many of us for too long! It has trapped “believers” in a stymied posture of watching the world around us throw itself into fires and deep dark waters to destroy itself, just like the little boy in the story that is wrapped around Jesus’ Words in Mark 9.

If all things are possible to those who believe, then the church should be a culture, a community and a system of transcendent supernatural creativity. We have at our disposal the Genius of the Universe. For all of our bluster about “intelligent design versus evolution” you would think that we would be eager to fully demonstrate God’s resourcefulness. If we want to be taken seriously about intelligent design then we had better take a dive into the deep end of the Presence of God and come up like a water fountain of glorious goodness. This deserves far more elucidation but I better save some of my good stuff for my book.

If all things are possible to those who believe, then our minds and hearts must be washed of the culture of complaint we are surrounded by and be fed instead with “great and mighty things which (we) do not know” (Jeremiah 33:1-3). I don’t remember who it was who coined the phrase “culture of complaint” but whoever it was, nailed it. “I complain, therefore, I am” is an American mantra. But God is baiting us upward with Jeremiah’s promise, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

There is Something in the Heavens that we don’t know and it is pregnant with “All things are possible to those who believe”. God is feeling pretty good about Himself. Secure, at rest, pleased and satisfied. Isaiah said that God looked at the sacrifice of Christ and He was “satisfied”. From that point forward, “all things are possible to those who believe”. There is Something in the Heavens that is more Good News than all the bad news combined.

One last thought; Prayer is learning the lifestyle of being bowed to the conditions of heaven so that I become an agent of spreading heaven’s conditions on earth. In the story of Mark 9 Jesus concluded the matter by declaring that such challenges do not end without prayer. The greek word for prayer He used refers to being “bowed”. Let me ask you: What has you bowed down today? Are you bowed to impossibilities? Or, are you bowed down to God with Whom, all things are possible?

Whatever has you bowed, that is your god.