My Thoughts on Last Night’s Debate

kindness

In last than two months our nation will be electing our next president. As such, last night we as a nation were “treated” to our first debate between the top two candidates; Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.   In the aftermath of the debate we have already heard of winners and losers. We have seen “fact checking” based upon biased opinions. If you watch Fox news Trump was the winner and more truthful candidate. If you watch CNN news Hillary came out as the more truthful candidate and clear winner of the debate.

After having the opportunity to listen to these two (I live in Iowa, they both campaigned here a lot), after listening to the debate, and reading the reaction of what happened last night I have come to a conclusion. If we think that either one of these two candidates are our savior then we have lost as a nation. I do not say this because I think that some third party candidate is a better option. I do not say this because I think that neither one of them are fit to serve as a president. I say this because neither one of them can fix what is wrong with our nation.

I want you to let this truth sink in for just a moment. Eight years ago we elected the first African-American as President of the United States. This is huge. I firmly believe that while there are still individuals who judge a man based upon the color of his skin, we don’t elect a minority when most of America feels that way. I have often wondered what Martin Luther King Jr would have said about our nation knowing that we have come so far. A few months ago Hillary Clinton was became the first woman to be nominated by a major party as their candidate for President of the United States.   This two is huge. For all the talk she had of equal pay and women’s rights it has to be understood that a woman is standing on that stage vying for the right to be president. Honestly, I never thought as a child that would one day happen. To be it was a given that men would be President. (In my unlearned mind I actually thought that was a requirement before I took Civics).

Do you know what has happened as a result of having non-white males in leadership positions in America? The exact same thing as having white males in leadership positions in America. My friends, the reason why our nation is suffering has nothing to do with male and female leadership. It has nothing to do with whether or not a person is a minority member of our communities. This issue with our country can be summed up by the words of Paul, the apostle. “Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law (Rom. 13:8-10).”

This is what is wrong with our country. We don’t have love one for another. I cannot say this enough. The reason why 44 persons can be arrested for looting in Charlotte is because they don’t love the owner of that business. The reason why a police officer shoots an unarmed man is because there is a lack of love (and respect) between the two persons. We have too many leaders preaching a gospel of hate. Hate white privileged people. Hate police officers. Hate the minority that sold out “his people” by becoming a police officer. Hate the people of faith. Then we have so called Christians stirring up more of this gospel of hate claiming God is causing all of this because of homosexuality or whatever platform that they are now standing upon. Yes, love is missing from our nation. Children aren’t loving their parents. Parents aren’t loving each other. Political leaders cannot help but to paint the other in as negative light as humanly possible. It is vile, it is putrid and it an infection in our country that has to change if we want to see change.

You want things to be better? It begins with a though from a comedy that most people say bombed. You want to change the world, build an ARK (Evan Almighty). What is an ARK? It is an Act of Random Kindness… be loving to each other. Provide a meal to someone who is sick. Help the widow by mowing her yard (and not expecting anything in return). Bring over a plate of cookies to your local police and/or fire station.   Give to the homeless person without thinking ill of him/her. Visit a person in a nursing home for no other reason than to let that person know that they aren’t alone. (It amazes me how even 15 minutes of my time can bring that much joy to someone else). So won’t you join me? Stop putting faith into our politicians’ words and start putting faith into the word of God. He has already provided a blue print for a better world, we just have to be willing to live by it.

 

Advertisements

A Servant’s Heart

Tonight I will again take the field to do what I can to help teach the kids on my youngest son’s team how to play football.  I am not the greatest of coaches, but after 3 years of coaching 3rd-4th graders I am starting to get a handle on what to expect out of kids that age when it comes to grasping America’s new favorite game.  I know it is not the “most important job” in the world.  I know that in the larger scheme of things none of these kids are likely to go on to play professional football.  I know that the likely hood of anything I actually teach will be a great deal helpful to them once they put pads on.  And still every year my sons play football you will find me out there coaching a team.  Why do I do this?  Because my Lord was a servant.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him… When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (John 13:3-17).”

There was nothing that Jesus wasn’t Lord of and yet he got down on his hands and feet and washed his disciples feet.  He didn’t wash his disciples feet just because they were dirty.  He washed them because he had a desire to serve.  He could have ordered their feet to be cleaned.  He could have commanded the dirt to leap off their feet.  He could have called for a servant in the house to get the job done.  But Jesus girded up his loins and washed them himself.  Being a servant isn’t about making certain a job gets done, it is about doing it yourself.

Of course, I am not for an instant thinking that volunteering to coach football is any way the same as what Jesus did.  But, it is an opportunity to fill a need in our community.  And it sets a president in my heart.  It prepares my heart to look for other ways I can serve.  But, as I look for other ways to serve, the question I must ultimately answer is whether or not I am willing to get down on me knees to start and/or finish a job.  It isn’t too hard to coach football when the kids want to be there and are having fun.  But, it gets harder when the acts of service require more of a sacrifice.  I need to be willing to do that.  I watch officers, fire fighters do that very thing.  They put their lives on the line for what?  Service.  To serve me, just like Jesus did.  And yet, too often I think it is too hard.  Too much.

“God forgive me for not being more like your Son.  Help me to have a servant’s heart.  Give me more opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.  Help me to get on my hands and knees and help others.  Amen.”

 

 

 

What Do You Remember?

FBI Accused Of Whitewashing Saudi Involvement In 9/11 Attacks Is ...

Sunday was 9-11.  You would have to be living under a rock to miss that.  Fifteen years ago the greatest and most horrific act of terrorism on American soil brought our nation to its very knees.  It was one of those days that every seemed to remember where they were when it happened; like the day Kennedy was shot or we walked upon the moon.  This time a group of Islamic terrorists high jacked four passenger airliners, all of which were on the northeastern United States bound for California (meaning they had a full tank of fuel).  Two of the planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers.  One was crashed into the Pentagon.  The fourth was taken back by those on board and it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.  In all 2,996 people were killed, over 6,000 were injured and it caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage in more than $3 trillion in total costs.

So, where were you?  I was in Florida trying to find a job to support myself (and in some ways support my fiancé (now wife) as she finished her last year in college).  I was due for a job interview with a company that went under as a result of the attacks.  I recall putting my tie on as I walked into the living room where one of my roommates was watching TV.  I honestly thought he was watching a movie as I asked him what movie it was (the thought that someone would actually cause an explosion at the WTC was beyond my comprehension).  Just as he said this was really happening, I sat down and watched the 2nd plane crash into the towers.  I was shocked.  I was beyond shocked.  I was shaken to my very core.  But, I know that I was not alone. Our whole nation was shaken.  It reminded us that while we may be a great nation, we are not invulnerable.  People can and now have attacked American soil.  I remember praying for those people.  I remember praying for our nation.  And I remember praying for myself.  There were a lot of planes in the air.  The President was in Tampa that morning and so was I.  Were we safe?  I didn’t know.  It was terrifying day.  I was sitting in my living room physically.  I was a wreck emotionally.  And I was in prayer spiritually.  I knew that no matter what happened, I had to trust in God.

Trust in God.  These words are written on every currency in America.  “In God we trust.”  I even remember looking at the change in my pocket that morning.  “In God we trust.”  Can we as a nation trust in God during this tragic time.  If there was ever a time when we needed to turn to God and place our trust in him it was 15 years ago as we watched the third place strike the Pentagon.  What followed as seemingly a nation that trusted in God.  Church buildings were filling up.  People were praying.  It seemed like every business in town had “God bless America” or “In God we trust” in their windows.  People were not afraid to talk about God, faith, and religion.  We talked about how we needed to open our eyes and realize the direction we were headed in was the wrong direction.  This was the message God sent Israel in Haggai 1.  Nothing seemed to be going write when they worked hard at building their homes.  The harder they worked the more that they realized that nothing was going right.  The crops weren’t producing. They were spending money faster than they could make it.  God warned that the reason this was happening was because they were more interested in building their home rather than God’s.

It is interesting that fifteen years ago that 2 of the three entities that have supplanted God’s rightful place of trust in our lives was attacked.  On our money we have “In God we trust” but the reality is, we trust money more than God.  We believe we have the greatest military in the world (and love to honor them even becoming “righteously” angry when someone sits during the national anthem).  We don’t know for certain where the fourth plane was headed.  My hunch is that it was headed for the White House; a symbol of our government.  I am not saying that God did this.  I am fairly certain the terrorists hit those places for a reason.  They too knew we trusted in our money, our military and our government.  They knew what I have known for a long time. We have an idolatry problem in this country.  We “worship” our nation and our money more than we worship God.  Sure, the weeks that followed found church building full.  But, today they are emptying out.

So, what do I remember?  I remember that we have forgotten.  We have forgotten what we said we would remember. It is nice to remember the fallen.  It is nice to remember the sacrifices made my hundreds of firefighters and police officers. It is nice to remember with nice pictures and memorials on Facebook and other social media outlets.  But, it would be better if we remembered God.  If stop putting him on the back burner and as a nation return to the very one that can keep us from the hand of our enemies.

Abstain from Sexual Immorality

no-sign-md

My daughter started 8th grade this year. She is officially a teenager (something she reached earlier this year). As I contemplated the fact that next year she will be entering High school (and my 20 year reunion taking place this last month), I begin thinking back to my days in High school. I went to a small school in rural Illinois. I had 17 kids in total in my class (like I said it was small). Two of those kids before the end of the 8th grade year were known to be sexually active. When we went on to high school, we saw what many schools in America see. Teen girls getting pregnant. Of those in my small class of 17, three of the girls ended up pregnant before the end of their freshman year. (One was pregnant before the end of her 8th grade year. My friends, this was more than 25 years ago.

Then, this morning I was out running errands and I heard a commercial on the radio that really shocked me. It was a commercial encouraging people to get tested for HIV. While I don’t argue that getting tested is a good idea. Whatever the disease, a person should seek the best medical care for their good and ultimately for the good of others that they come in contact with. It is not the first time I have seen or heard a commercial for HIV testing. What shocked me was how they advertised it. They claimed everyone is doing it. That is, everyone was testing for HIV. However, the commercial was a clear innuendo to sexual promiscuity. I wish I could say that this was the most shocking thing I have seen or heard to “sell” me on a product. Regretfully Hardee’s has a long history of using sexualized woman to sell their products. The latest, and I would argue most egregious of all their commercials is appalling. In an age where women seek to be treated as equals. In an age where we as a nation became appalled at the fact that a rapist got out of jail after just a few short months because after all he was a talented athlete, we have advertising companies thinking that objectifying women even more is the best way to get people to eat a hamburger.

But, what bothers me most about of all of this “sex sells” advertising is the fact that Christians are ignoring the problem. (Or at least it doesn’t bother them they way it should). I have heard Christians boycotting Target because they permit transgenders to use whatever bathroom that they want (not that I am okay with men being in the women’s restroom), but I have not heard one Christian make the claim that we ought to ban Hardee’s for using nudity and sex to sell their burgers. I constantly read articles online about how God stands against homosexuality, transgenders, etc. But, I rarely read articles that take a stand against sexual promiscuity. During the sexual revolution during the 1960s and 1970s those types of articles were found all over brotherhood magazines. What changed? Did we just give up and proclaim the battle lost?

God’s word hasn’t changed. He still stands against fornication. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality (I Thes. 4:3).” I love these passages.   They are very simple to understand.  God’s will for me is to abstain from sexual immorality. We need to stop with the “God will understand,” “God wants me to be happy,” and “I was born this way” talk. God’s will is clear. Stop with the sexual immorality. Live a sanctified life. One that is set apart from the world. One the does not conform to the sexually perverse nation that we have become. Rather, be one that stands out and says, I can wait. I will wait for that special person that finally says, “I do” on my wedding day.  That does not make a person “square.” It makes a person right with God. Abstinence