Just coming out of the election season, the Illustration Friday Challenge word stretch took me here. Stretching the truth is no longer truth. The truth is pure and as Jesus said, Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, challenge, creative, election, illustrationfriday.com, ministry, politics, stretch
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, creative, election, ministry, obama, politics, romney, the perfect candidate
Once there was the perfect candidate for leadership. His character was impeccable. His record was flawless. He was young and energetic and intelligent but more than intelligent he was wise. He was kind and compassionate generous and giving. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth and while uncommon, he related to the common man, yet he was very powerful. He stood up to the powers that be and opposed injustice. His decisions were flawless and he always worked for the greater good. He said what He meant and meant what he said. He never made a promise he did not keep. He was the perfect candidate.
What happened? The powers that be didn’t like that he questioned their authority and their decisions. They showed his constituents that he would not give them everything their greedy hearts desired and that he would not allow them to live in the anarchy of lawlessness. Eventually the majority turned on him and they elected to kill him, by nailing him to a cross.
The perfect candidate was Jesus Christ. There has never been another. We had one perfect candidate and we killed him because he wouldn’t do things in our imperfect messed up, broken, destructive way.
But there is good news. He died in our place, to pay a price we could never pay and on the third day He rose again. He is still a leader, a great leader, the greatest leader ever. With Him it’s different. We don’t vote for Him once every four years. We elect Him every time we face a decision.
Elect to follow Jesus every day. He’s still the perfect candidate.
Tags: ambassadors, amok, amokarts, arts, Christ's ambassadors, creative, election, ministry, politics
Don’t worry, I’m not going political. I don’t want to say I’m an undecided voter, it’s more like I’d like to have an option that says “none of the above.” This has been further cemented by the number of prerecorded phone messages I have received this week. I’m not sure how either party thinks that kind of thing is going to change my mind or inspire me to go to the polls. I haven’t been less inspired to get out of bed and go to the polls in a very long time.
That being said, I realize the beauty of our system. In the US (as well as many other nations) we have the ability to pick our leaders and I still value that freedom so tomorrow I will cast a vote. That being said, I am thoroughly disappointed in the level of discourse surrounding this election. When I look at social media and I see the kinds of things my friends and others are posting I get really disturbed. I cannot wait until this election is over so that the healing can begin. We are truly a nation divided.
Here are my thoughts. Barack Obama is neither that bad nor is he that good. Mitt Romney is neither that bad nor is he that good. Neither is a Messiah, neither is an anti-Christ. Neither is an angel, neither is a demon. They’re flawed sinners just like the rest of us. They both possess the level of arrogance needed to say “Yes I will assume leadership of the 300,000,000 people.” Neither will be solely responsible for our successes or our failures. Barack Obama is not solely responsible for the mess we’re in and Mitt Romney won’t be able to fix it. At the end of the day they’re each just one man, limited by the actions of others (Our system is set up that way, remember “checks and balances” from seventh grade civics?). More than that, we elect our leaders, our leaders and our nation look like us. The condition of the nation controls what our nation looks like. Our condition as a nation is less about who occupies the white house and more about what happens in your house. Our leaders “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” remember?
This is especially relevant for the church. Our Bible commands us to pray for our leaders (a passage that was written about the time when Nero was ruling the world). Further we are commanded to go and make disciples. God did not assign the government to do this. He assigned us, Church. If our leaders don’t look like Jesus or lead like Jesus, it’s because they were elected by a nation that is not following Jesus. The nation not following Jesus is not Washington’s problem because it’s not their assignment. It’s the Church’s assignment. I have seen Christians posting some really ugly stuff about the candidate they oppose and it kills me. You want better leaders? Work toward a better nation.
The nation of Israel in the Old Testament was led by God. They decided they wanted a human king instead and it was their downfall. They rejected the wisdom and leadership of almighty God to be led by someone with 10 more IQ points (or more sheep and goats) than they had. The job of leading a nation was too big for any flawed man and it still is.
Tomorrow, forget your party, forget the economy, forget what you think and pray. Ask God who He wants to lead this nation, cast your one vote and get back to your assignment. Elect to follow Jesus and get back to doing what God told us to do. Be ambassadors of Christ.
Tags: AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, amok, amokarts, arts, Church, creative, ministry, politics
I was invited to an AA meeting by a friend. He was the speaker for the evening and just asked that I could be there in support. I was honored and went. These folks are doing the Lord’s work but there was one thing in particular that impressed me.
How many of you have ever been involved in a church or denominational meeting that got side tracked or dominated by someone trying to push forth an agenda? If you haven’t, my guess is you avoid meetings or aren’t in a traditional leadership role. If you haven’t and those last two statements don’t apply, let me know where you are. You may just gain a new member. Seriously, it seems to happen all the time. We do live in a fallen world.
At the beginning of the AA meeting though something different happens. They start off by reading the rules and one of those rules says comments of a political, issues, divisive or controversial nature are prohibited. The people at AA have one agenda, to help people stop drinking and stay sober. Church we are, or should be a one agenda group. Our agenda is Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Oh that we would remember that instead of letting the petty issues of the world distract us from the truth that sets people free.
Tags: amok, amokarts, Christ, Christian, Christianity, faith, follow, identity, Jesus, labels, obedience, politics, religion, who am I?litmus test, who are you?
There are a lot of labels we slap on each other in the church. I’ll admit, I’ve never considered myself a liberal. I used to think I was a conservative until a conservative told me I wasn’t one. He said instead that I was an evangelical. I thought all Christians were supposed to be evangelical (Isn’t that what the Great Commission is all about?) When I heard my denomination had started a progressive group, I was excited. I’ve spent my whole ministry trying to create new ways to share the unchanging message of the Gospel. Isn’t that what progressive means? Evidently not. Just another way to advance a political agenda and I’m not much for politics anymore. We call ourselves pacifists, but for pacifists, we sure fight a lot and the countryside is littered with our denominational splits and while I love the people in my denomination (all of them because God said I had to and Jesus prayed that I would), there’s part of me that wonders if a denomination is just another label.
I mean I remember driving with a friend talking about God and the church, and when I told him my denomination, he said, “Oh, you guys are real liberal.” I thought about my little church in the corn field in Pennsylvania and thought, “How could he say that? We make Rush Limbaugh look like a liberal (or at least a moderate.) That’s the thing about labels, one size doesn’t fit all. The Bible speaks of speaking the truth in love but when we begin to separate behind labels it becomes either or, some having a problem with truth, others having a problem with love. A label is a litmus test. It stops being about Jesus and starts being about passing your groups litmus test. If you don’t believe me look at our government and ask yourself are they making their decisions based on what’s best for the people or the party. The party is the label and their decisions are how they pass the litmus test. Our Christian “labels” do the same thing. They divide what Jesus came to unite. When He prayed that we might be one as He and the Father are one, He meant you and me. I want better than division and dispute for my life, how about you?
I decided a long time ago that I reject all labels and the only litmus test I care about is the one given by the only one who won’t reject me when I fail to pass it. He told me to love everyone, even my enemies (if I had any, which I really don’t, largely because I really try to love everybody), stop being selfish, take up my cross DAILY and follow Him. We need to throw away our labels and pick up our Bibles. We need to forget our litmus tests and start following the doctrine set up for us by the Word of God. Should we leave the church? No, the Bible FORBIDS that. Do we dump our denominations? I don’t know if that’s necessary either. There are different denominations for the same reason there are different flavors of ice cream. Different people respond to different things and are reached by different things and God wants everyone to be reached by His love and the truth of the Gospel.(Speaking the truth in love, remember?)
What we must do is come together around the Word of God and in prayer and bring the church back into obedience to God and we have to start loving each other and the people in the world around us. I don’t have to agree with you to love you. I can disagree with you vehemently and still love you and you can fail my unintentional litmus tests (none of us should have them but we all do) and I will still love you. That’s what it means to follow the One who sacrificed Himself for the people who killed Him. I have many titles that tell you who I am, husband, father, man, pastor, speaker, artist employee, etc. and I’m okay with that but I reject all labels but one…