Inauguration Day

As I watch the 45th president being sworn into office, I am struck by what has been called by Reagan both a commonplace occurrence and a miracle. The peaceful transition of power every four or eight years by the United States of America is a powerful example of a government that is for the people and by the people. This democratic republic in which we live is a testament to a government that is unlike any other in history. This is truly an amazing sight to behold. As I get older, I realize more and more that we are watching the history of the world unfold. But more than that, we are watching the sovereign plan of God as he ordained it before the foundation of the world unfold in time. As Christians, we should be vividly aware that this is our Father’s world. He created it and He upholds it by the word of His power. And nothing takes place that is outside his control.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) — 9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Genesis 50:20 (ESV) — 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Romans 8:28 (ESV) — 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Proverbs 21 (ESV) — 1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. 

2 Chronicles 20:6 (ESV) — 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.

I share these verses to remind Christians to trust in God above all. You may be overjoyed that Donald John Trump is now the president. I have to admit, there is part of me that is optimistic that Mr. Trump will move our country away from following the ways of the globalism and back towards governing for the good of our country. But I am also concerned about the lack of morality in his tone, language, and actions. I will pray for the president as I have always prayed for each president. But ultimately, I know in whom I have believed. And I know who is really in charge of this world. This is a great moment in history, but it is not my history, but God’s story! Trust God! Follow God! Because if you put your trust in a human being, they will ultimately let you down. But God always keeps His word and always accomplishes His purpose! Trust HIM!

Prayer at the Football Games

I have been interviewed by two news outlets and contacted by several people over the last few days concerning the issue of school approved prayer before the football games at East Poinsett County High School over the loud speaker. The situation revolves around a tradition that has been practiced for many years without controversy. Someone complained and the school received a letter from a lawyer. The school lawyers told the school administration that they must put a stop to public prayer over the loudspeaker. This is further proof that out nation and our southern communities are moving away from God. I want to take this opportunity to publicly state what I believe the Christian stance should be on this issue since the media outlets have only published small excerpts of my interviews.

First, this is a serious issue for the community of Lepanto. Football is an exciting and sometimes dangerous game. We want to see a great game on Friday nights, and we want to see every player walk off that field at the end of the game. While it is true that the Christian should bathe every aspect of their life in prayer and our first goal should be to glorify God, the main issue of concern in that moment that we gather before every game is the safety of the players. So we pause to tell God that He is so important to us that we want to consult Him first and ask for protection for these young men. We have now been robbed of having someone pray for the safety of our children! It is morally wrong and clearly not the wish of the majority of those in attendance.

Second, what has happened in our country when prayer is viewed as a bad thing? Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian moral principles. In the early days of our country, prayer was offered at all government meetings and usually a preacher would give a sermon. Clearly separation of church and state was to keep the government from meddling in church affairs, not to keep the religious ideas out of the government. Why is it that people want to keep moral religious values out of the government. Is it bad that Christianity teaches the respect of life and property? Is it bad that Christianity teaches that hard work and moral living are part of God’s plan? These ideas make society better. Why are we forcing God out of the public arena? There will come a time when we keep pushing God out of our lives, and God will eventually remove His hand of blessing from our country. Everything we are as a country, we owe to God!

Third, Christians will pray for our players with or without a microphone. Although ideally we would prefer one person offering the prayer for all over the loudspeaker, Christians will pray! Just like Daniel continued to pray after government leaders devised a law to stop Him, we will pray. There is no lion’s den awaiting us for praying. We still live in a country with religious freedom. Yes it is beginning to be trampled upon by the godless left, but true Christians will continue in their commitment to God no matter the consequences. This is a great opportunity for Christians in Lepanto and Tyronza to come together and show the community the character of God through our lives. Choose to treat this as an opportunity to be God’s hands and feet in this world!

Fourth, I have seen many people really mad about this situation. It is fine if you are upset. It should bother us that this has happened. But many of the people that are the most angry are not even church attenders! So let me get this straight. You are not willing to get out of bed on Sunday Morning and attend church, but you are angry that you can’t pray at a ball game. Now I don’t want you to get mad at the pastor on this one. I just want to point out the double standard of your thinking. And I want you to come to church. We would love the opportunity at First Baptist Lepanto to help your family grow in Christ. I would love to meet you and help you on your spiritual journey. Also, the Bible says that “the fool says in his heart that there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1) The person that made this complaint should not be a source of bitterness to us. We should not allow our hearts to grow cold toward this person or group of people. We should pity them. I guess Mr. T. had it right when he said, “I pity the fool!” Love them! Tell them about Jesus! After all, the sin of atheism has its origin in a rebellious heart, not a logical intellect! For more on this topic listen to a sermon entitled “The Fool and is Sin” at http://www.fbclepanto.com/wordpress

Although this has not been an exhaustive list of my thoughts on the topic, these are the most important. I hope to post a few more reflection blogs in the coming weeks on cultural topics that face our world. And you can always find sermons at the link listed above. We are God’s people. Let us love and live according to His will and His way!