Archive for August, 2007

I know just the title of this article alone will get people’s attention and create controversy.  And while controversy is not my goal, I am not adverse to using preexisting biases and controversies to raise awareness of a social issue that needs to be addressed – by the appropriate people.

Now, just to make things clear, I am a Christian and come with certain biases of my own.  However, there are some things you should not assume about my faith.  First off, while my politics tend to lean more towards the conservative side, I am not one of those who believes that Jesus is a Republican or that the Grand Old Party has some exclusive license to people of faith.  In fact, by the time you finish this article, you will understand that in issues like these, I tend to side with the Democrat’s stance, at least in principle.  But the biggest mistake you can make when reading this is to continue to believe that what I am going to discuss is a purely political issue.  Neither party gets it completely right, nor do I expect that they should, because this is not a political issue, but, in reality, a bit of God’s judgment on the church for their lack of obedience.

Let me explain.

Government programs and institutions can never properly replace what God has assigned as the work of people – people in the church.

I’m going to make a bold statement here that is probably going to upset quite a few people.  Every societal and social ill that has befallen us here in the United States is due to the failure of the church to do what we are assigned to do.  Sorry if that offends anyone, but the truth does that sometimes.

Did you know that, if every church in America, regardless of its size, were to adopt just 4 homeless families, homelessness would be wiped out across the country?

Did you know that if we harvested all of the food that is grown by our nations farmers that is “not perfect enough” to be sent to the national grocery store chains, that we would have enough food to feed every hungry person in America 3 times over?  Thank God for the St. Andrew’s Society here in my area that is working with churches and farmers to do just that.  This summer alone, we have helped harvest almost 10,000 pounds of squash, zucchini and eggplant that was donated to a couple of local food banks.

Yesterday, driving home from church, God gave me a vision for my future.  A vision where it becomes possible to help the family of Christ avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure by having sufficient funds to assist them in paying their debts.  Rather than being locked into 30, 40, 50 or even 60-year rental contract with the bank (let’s face it, until you’ve got the deed, the house ain’t really yours), and facing a credit and emotionally scarring path through bankruptcy and foreclosure, a company of Christians steps up, and working through their local church, purchases the note for their house from the bank and, working with them, teaching them Biblical concepts on finance and budgeting and keeping them accountable – makes it possible for them to work in a  Biblical model – as an indentured servant, as it were, and pay off their house and other debts in just seven years.

Imagine an America, populated by hundreds of homeowners, not disguised renters, but folks who own their homes, free and clear.  People who can now help their brothers, here and overseas, to better their lives and spread the Gospel.  Imagine a church that has wiped out homelessness, poverty and need.  A church that  has real influence in the world.  And what’s even more remarkable… if done properly, it could be done in just 10-15 years!  In less than a generation, we could turn the tide of economic hardship in America.  The people of God could take dominion over the world, taking back and reinforcing the assignment given to Adam thousands of years ago. 

What a witness THAT would be. 

A church – the people of God who could then turn their attention and their influence to other matters in this world.  Like teaching kids to value human life.  One by presenting, in an accurate and non-judgmental matter, two theories of how the world came to be, side by side in the classroom, showing how science and religion don’t have to contradict each other or start wars.  By showing that life is sacred and shouldn’t be snuffed out when it is inconvenient, through abortion or euthanasia.  A people of God who could care for their aging parents – eliminating the need for long-term care insurance, because the family cares for them again.  A society where one income (or two part-time incomes) is sufficient to provide for the family, leaving the ability for the mothers and fathers to be involved in their children’s lives and their parents lives, reinforcing the family unit that so many in the church feel is threatened, while they work, sometimes even doing “God’s work,” for 60-80 hours a week.  Influencing the world by fixing our schools and getting involved in all our children’s education. 

I’m going to slaughter another sacred cow here, so bear with me.  I really think the homeschoolers have missed their calling.  Please bear with me while I explain.  I support and admire parents who want to get involved and teach their kids from home so that they can avoid the dangers of public schools.  BUT, I think they waited far too long.  Now, many struggle with making ends meet and juggling schedules to make things work.  Again, I think they waited too long.  True Christians should be concerned not only with what our own kids are taught, but truly about what all kids are taught and the environment in the schools.  Sadly the homeschool movement is now necessary in part because most parents didn’t have the time to get involved and make a difference in their kids schools and the school’s governing body when they could have affected change for the entire district – rather than just pull their kids out of the broken down system that is our public schools.  With enough money and influence – that could be changed and rather than seeking vouchers for kids whose parents cannot afford private school or struggling to make things work to teach them from home, we could fix the public school system and make it something to be proud of once again.

Imagine a movement of God’s people that could reach beyond the boundaries of their individual buildings and members and affect true change and influence in our world.  A world where corporal punishment is no longer forbidden – as long as it is done in love, not anger or hatred.  A world where we could teach our kids about abstinence and it would actually make sense to them, because they’d see the value in marriage, children, and waiting, rather than the subconscious understanding that they have now that more kids equals a larger welfare check.  A world where we could teach our children about using the proper protection without worrying that they’ll need to use it, because they understand the value of waiting until they are married.

Imagine a government that is led by believers because they wield the most influence across the board.  A government which could lower the taxes on its people because there is no longer a need for a welfare system, a vast social security administration, a Medicare and Medicaid program, because the people of God have stepped up to the plate and offered their vast resources to handle all these problems, many of which are easily eliminated under the covenantal  economic system, rather than the earth cursed system we struggle under now.  A government led, not by Republicans or Democrats, but by Christians, regardless of where their party affiliation lies.

Imagine people seeing the value of believing in Christ, because He truly does supply ALL of our needs.  Rather than a church that is constantly at war with its own body, while telling the outside world that it is going to hell in a handbasket, it is a church that is united in serving the world, bringing everyone the good news of Christ while meeting their natural needs.  Imagine the kingdom of Heaven, being established here on earth.  And all it takes, is the church stepping up and taking responsibility for doing what God has called His people to do.

I almost ended this post with one word – Imagine.  But the fact is, we need to stop imagining and start doing something about it.  The world I’ve described can truly be enacted within just a few short years, but the longer we wait, the harder it will be.  What’s more, we need to act now, because now that it’s out there – the devil can come in and twist things, moving us from our mission, using our own doubts and fears against us.  The harvest is ready but the workers are few. 

Dennis Peacocke taught a large group of people ten years ago that the church needed to step up and work with business people, but only a few heard and implemented his mission.  Justin DeStoppelaire and David G. Johnson have started a ministry that teaches people how to do business through the Holy Spirit’s leading in the Prophetic Marketplace.  Michael Q. Pink has scoured the word of God to understand and explain Biblical principles that will help build success in sales and business, without resorting to the formulas and tactics of the world.  Pastor Gary Keesee has worked with his church and now has launched an international ministry to teach people Kingdom Economics, while operating a business for the last 25 years that helps people get out of debt, regardless of their faith-stance, in 7-10 years, house and all. 

The resources are out there and there is a move in the body of Christ, but we need so many more workers.  People willing to dig deep into God’s word.  People willing to step up, take personal responsibility, and make a difference in their world.  People willing to be the true body of Christ.  Are you one of those people?  Please comment below if you are, so we can pray for you.  But even more, do what you can to start living out your faith in your finances and in your careers and businesses.  Let’s show the world that Christ isn’t silent – He’s speaking through His people.

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