Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn...A Profound Proclamation

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, spoke at the fourth annual Washington—A Man of Prayer event held at the U.S. Capitol, delivered on the 226th anniversary of the inauguration of President George Washington.

The following is the full text from that address and one of the most profound things I have ever read.

"It is April 29, 2015. Two hundred and twenty-six years ago this day, George Washington readied himself for the first ever presidential inauguration, to take place the following day—the day America as we know it came into existence, with the President's hand resting on the Word of God. That day would conclude with America's first government gathering in prayer to dedicate the nation's future to God.

A century and a half earlier, another seminal event took place on the same day. On April 29, 1607, the voyagers on the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed, gathered together in prayer at Cape Henry to set a wooden cross in the sands of Virginia Beach, and dedicate the new civilization to the will and purposes of God.

America's biblical foundation would be affirmed and reaffirmed over and over again by its forefathers, from the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, to the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, to the leaders of the first American colonies who declared publicly and in writing that the new Commonwealth had come into existence solely for the glory and purposes of God.

No historian can rewrite that. No president can expunge that. And if a thousand angels swore on a thousand Bibles that this was not the case, it would in no way alter the fact that this American civilization was conceived, established, dedicated, and founded on a biblical cornerstone—America was brought into existence for the will and purpose of God.

On this night, over two hundred years ago, George Washington held in his hand the first ever presidential address. In that address was a prophetic warning. It was this: "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of Order and Right which Heaven itself hath ordained." In other words, if America should ever turn away from God and His ways, if it should ever disregard His eternal rules of Order and Right, then His blessings, the smiles of Heaven, would be removed from the land.

It was an ancient warning. It had been given in Hebrew words by the prophets to the kingdom of Israel. But Israel turned away from God and disregarded His eternal rules of Order and Right.

They drove God out of their government, out of their public squares, out of their culture, out of the lives of their children; they worshiped idols and served other gods. They celebrated immorality and they persecuted the righteous. They lifted up their children on the altars of foreign gods. And the blessings of God were removed from the land and replaced by judgment.

It is two and half thousand years later, and America has made the same mistake. We, too, have turned away from God. We, too, have driven Him out of the government, out of our public square, out of our culture, out of the lives of our children. We, too, have profaned the sacred and sanctified the profane. And we, too, have killed our most innocent—over fifty-five million of our unborn children—and our collective hands are covered with blood. What we were warned never to do, we now have done.

And now we gather in the city named after the one who gave that prophetic warning. And yesterday, in this city, in the building that sits across from this hill, the Justices of the Supreme Court took up their places on the bench to decide whether America should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage. The very fact that that event should take place as such is a sign in itself, that this is the America of Washington's warning. It's here, and this day of which he warned is now.

We have become a civilization in spiritual schizophrenia, a nation at war against its own foundation. The Supreme Court opens its sessions with the words: "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." But if then—if this honorable court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of Order and Right that Heaven itself hath ordained, how then will God save it?

Supreme Court Justices, can you judge the ways of God? Can you, with manmade verdicts, overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court, and there is another Judge. And before Him, all men and all judges will give account. If a nation's high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on that court and that nation?

In the Book of Jeremiah, it is written: "Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? Yet my people have exchanged their glory for that which cannot help them." Let us not pretend as to what we are now doing. We are doing that which Israel did on the altars of Baal. We are exchanging our God for idols, our light for darkness, and our glory for that which cannot save us. Are we ready to risk that which comes on the other side of that exchange, the day when the blessings of Heaven are removed from the land?

We began with a word from the President of our first nation's—or the day that he began as President. I now speak a word to the President of our nation's most recent days. Each time I have spoken here, I have asked a question. I'll now answer it. Mr. President, with all respect that is due, what happens if one assumes the presidency by placing his left hand on the Word of God, and then, with his right hand, enacts laws that war against the very same Word of God on which he laid his hand? Such an act invokes the judgment of the Almighty.

To swear an Oath on the Word of God in which it is written "Defend the weak" and "Do not murder," and to then to not defend the weak, to not protect the unborn, but, instead, to advance their murder, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

To swear an Oath on the Word of God, in which its written, "Do not cause your brother to stumble," and then to seek to force those who uphold the Word of God to transgress the Word of God, by partaking in the killing of the unborn and the celebration of sin, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

And to swear an Oath on the Word of God, in which its written, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people," and then to take part in the leading of a nation away from "the eternal rules of Order and Right that Heaven itself hath ordained," and against the very Word of God on which you laid your hand, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

When the leaders of ancient Israel turned away from God, when they abolished His precepts, and broke His covenant, they did so in the shadow of Moses, whose voice cried out to them in warning.

Mr. President, when you address the nation from this house, look up. Look up above the Senators and Representatives, above the Supreme Court Justices, and above the invited guests, and you will see a face—the only full visage in that wall—looking back at you. It is the face of Moses.

And if that face could speak, it would say this: "No man can overrule the laws of God, no order can annul the order of God, and no judgment of man can stand against the judgments of God. Invoke not His judgment, but choose life. Lead in the way of repentance. Invoke the grace of God, that He might have mercy on this land."

We have come to a most critical moment. As Elijah stood on top of Mount Carmel and cried out to Israel in its hour of decision, in between two altars and two gods, his voice now cries out to America and says: "Choose you this day whom you will serve." 

Seventy years ago, the Chaplain of the United States Senate cried out in the same voice, and said to this nation, "If the Lord be God, then follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him and go to hell!"

Tonight, America stands at the crossroads. And as Elijah came to the summit of Mount Carmel to make a declaration, we have come this night to Capitol Hill to declare that our god is not Baal. Our god is not Molech. Our god is not the government. Our god is not money. Our god is not power; not pleasure. Our god is not political correctness or any other man-made thing.

We have come to this hill to declare that there is only one God, and He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of Israel and of all nations. He alone is the Rock upon which this nation has come into existence.

And from this high place we make this declaration: "We will not bow down our knees to Baal. We will not bow down our knees to political correctness. We will not bow down our knees to a morality that is as shifting as sand in the wind. We will not bow down our knees to the laws and precepts of rebellion or to the sacred cows of moral apostasy. We will not bow down our knees to the idols of man. We will not bow down to Baal. We will bow down our knees only to the Lord our God, come what may, and we will have no other gods before Him."

For some trust in chariots, and some trust in princes, some trust in supreme courts, some trust in White Houses, some trust in governments, some trust in Wall Streets, some trust in powers, and some trust in idols.

But we will trust in the name of the Lord our God, the name above all names, above all kings, above all powers. We will trust in the only name given by which we can be saved.

We will trust in the name of Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, the Judge of all judges, the Light of the World, the Glory of Israel, the Foundation Stone upon which this nation came into existence, and the only answer, the only chance, and the only hope America has, that it might once again shine with the light of the fire of the presence of the glory of the Living God, and not go to hell, so help us, God."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Uncomfortable Evaluation

Remember the point of the exercise. It is about the transformation of America by God-directed influence and actions of his people in the nation…flavoring a nation with the culture of Christ.

All of my life, that objective…a primary directive of Christ…has been the domain of the institutional church. It still should be. However, institutional churches are failing in their efforts.

The two largest sociological groups in history are in a continuing transition…baby boomers on the way out of primary influential engagement and millennials (age 31 and down) rising into the primary influential slots.

Up to 70% of millennials who grew up in traditional churches are leaving those churches to find engagement with God without what they consider to be meaningless forms and traditions. Add to that the millions of that age group who demonstrate no intent to seek God.

As many as 90% of those same churches are on a slow death track as the remaining active members age to and through senior adulthood. And, as that transition continues, biblical literacy among American adults is in a free-fall with only 9% holding to basic tenants of a biblical worldview.

That sets the stage for the emerging corps of leadership in our nation to be virtually unequipped with principles, values, and ways of thinking based upon scripture…principles and values upon which our nation was founded. The policies those leaders are establishing for business, religion, education, social order, political action, etc., follow in course…increasingly away from biblical standards.

If current measurable trends continue unaltered, in less than 60 years, the influential religion in America will be Islam, the dominant culture will be pagan, the superpower of the world will be China, and the culture of Christ as a defining factor in America will be a distant receding memory.

Personally, I find that to be an unacceptable situation. So, Christian…what are you going to do about it?

Choose the contest...Iron Bowl, World Series, Daytona 500, or the battle for American culture...I can tell you who will win. The team that wins will be the team that most effectively adjusts to the evolving environment of the contest.

So, how is your church adjusting to the cultural and spiritual environment of America?

Here are some uncomfortable evaluative questions to ask about your church fellowship that will provide the answer.

Uncomfortable evaluative question #1. If everyone my age and up (60+) was instantly removed from your active fellowship, what would be left of your church?

Uncomfortable evaluative question #2. What is currently occurring through your fellowship that is effectively engaging persons 30 and under?

Uncomfortable evaluative question #3. If your fellowship ceased to exist today, would anyone in your community notice?

Back to question #1, take the average age of your active fellowship and subtract it from 70. The resulting number is the remaining mission life of your church…if you do nothing different.

So, where do you go from here?

The initial answer to that question is detailed in the book, “It’s Time”. Long term, the answer depends upon your willingness to follow Christ on His terms in your world. That will require removal of just about everything you have comfortably stacked around your religious experience.

Are you willing? Our nation is at stake.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Only One Thing

A contribution from my daughter, Molly Sawyer...wife, mom, friend, daughter...a busy lady.

Every year, about the third week in November I find myself hunched at a starting line in the ready-set-go position. I wait anxiously for the gun to sound, heart racing, legs ready to push off in a mad dash. No, this race is not the Turkey Trot or the Jolly Jingle Jog. This is the Merry Mayhem Marathon that I participate in every year - a figurative race spanning the entire holiday season made up of mile high to-do lists, long lines, lots of receipts, conflicting schedules, and oh yeah, the birth of Jesus.

This year, early in the season one of the things on my to-do list was to clean out the closets in preparation for a “Swap” that some girlfriends and I were doing. The plan was to gather all our junk on one night in one place and then rummage through each others’ stuff to find treasure. I stood looking at my cluttered closet trying to discern the useless from the useful, and I again felt pressed as my lengthy to-do lists (yes, that is plural) flashed in my mind. And then… the Lord graciously met me in my muddle. He took my mind to the story of His visit to Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Like me, Martha was in a tizzy over the cleanliness of her house, the holiday menu, the decorations, the Christmas cards, the shopping, the houseguests, etc… “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” (vs. 40). The Lord looked at her and said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…” (vs. 41-42)

“Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.” (vs. 39)

Only one thing is needed. Scripture tells us so clearly what that one thing is! I am to sit with the Lord and listen. That is the only thing that must happen every day. Put the to-do lists aside. My spirit and mind will be rested and at peace because I am sitting with Him. And I will know my daily assignments because I am listening to Him. I can then be the disciple, the wife, the mother, the daughter, the friend He intends me to be.

So, back in my closet, I was struck with the deeper meaning of de-cluttering. As I pulled junk out, I knew I had to discern the same in my life, my schedule, and my plans for the holidays. If I would follow His lead, I had permission to sit, not run the marathon. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you will sit the race out and embrace the One Thing needed.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Our Fault!

On October 20, 2010, Dr. Joe Savage, Director of the Center for Leadership at the University of Mobile, sent an email as part of the Center's Twelve23 project that contained one of the most poignant and true messages of our generation. His text follows in its entirety. If you have not already read it, you need to.

It's Our Fault!

The church is not a building or an institution. The church is a people!

"We the Church" are in grave trouble! Currently, 70-80% of all churches in America are in plateau or in decline numerically. One poll states that at the current rate, three-fourths of all churches in America will cease to exist in less than twenty years if the current hemorrhage does not stop! Let me illustrate: Simply take away those individuals in your church who are older than 60 years and tell me what is left - most likely very few people! Friend, we are rapidly heading toward becoming a nation whose God is everything but Jesus Christ!

Why are we in this condition? Is it because of plurality, liberalism, or secularism? Is it because of the economy, the government, immigration, or Islam? Is it because of Hollywood, the music industry, or too much entertainment? What is it? Why are we rapidly declining and becoming a weak voice in our nation?

May I suggest it is because "We the Church" really don't care - at least our actions suggest this to be true. I mean, have we really done as the Lord mandates in His Word or have we done our own style of following Christ based on our own desires? I am afraid that we have asked Him to follow us, instead of us following Him. Certainly this is not authentic Lordship!

Let's be honest. The reason we are in a mess as a nation is because of "We the Church!" It is not the other people's faults! It is our fault! We are to blame!

For decades now we have been more concerned about ourselves than we were making God known in our land. We have been more concerned about what style music we should sing in the church than we have been about simply falling in love with Jesus.

We have been more focused on competing against the church across town than we have about destroying evil in our town.

We have allowed sin . . . blatant sin to rule our cities without ever saying a word.

We have gagged ourselves for the sake of being politically correct.

We have read thousands of pages of books, magazines, newspapers, and internet junk while rarely opening our Bibles.

Annually we as individual churches have spent hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on the same old programs to do the same old things in the same old ways while hardly reaching anyone who is lost.

We have built building after building to the "glory" of God yet we quench the Spirit of God week after week with tradition, entertainment, or self-comfort.

We have complained and griped about not having prayer in schools when we aren't even praying at home.

Many Christians have voted time and time again for those who advocate for abortion, gay marriage, and other actions contrary to the desires of God. Have we become this ignorant that we don't understand when one votes in those who advocate for sin, that it is going to result in sin becoming law?

We as God's Church have allowed our churches to become boring, lifeless, and a place filled more with self than with God. Oh, it is our fault friend. You and me. We allowed it! We kept silent. We looked the other way! We participated!

As Henry Blackaby said, "Too many of God's people do not clearly and passionately see the desperate need for a mighty return to God by the people of God. Many do not realize they have departed. They still 'practice religion' and assume their activity is a relationship with God. Religious activity, no matter how faithful, is not necessarily a relationship with God. This has been the tragedy of God's people throughout the Bible."

No doubt, not all Christians and all churches fit into what I say above. But as Billy Graham said, "There certainly are many instances of Christians who have been touched by God, and in turn are touching the lives of others for Christ. But for every instance of that, there are many more Christians who are living defeated, joyless lives . . . the greatest need within the Christian Church is . . . to experience the touch of the Holy Spirit, bringing true 'revival' and 'renewal' to the lives of countless Christians."

We have one opportunity to turn this thing around . . . one! The only chance we have is if you and I humble ourselves before God, pray like never before, turn from every sin, and absolutely seek God with total abandonment of self! This is the hope of the nation!

To win this battle, we can no longer do things in the same way! The time has come to step it up! We cannot keep doing the same things in the same way expecting a different result!
Rise up Christian! Rise up and be the man . . . or the woman that will be responsible for winning our nation back in its most desperate hour of survival! May God help us!

"Oh Lord, we need you. Please help us! Please forgive us! Please revive us! Please heal our land! Here I am Lord, use me to your glory sake! Amen."

More later.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Weed

It’s a weed. It’s green. It’s aggressive. It blends in with the grass. And, it kills.

Now that the morning temperature and humidity in Mobile are conducive to outdoor considerations, I take some of my think/pray time to the porch and yard. As I walked around in what could be a beautiful carpet of St. Augustine grass, I noticed an intruder among those beautiful broad green blades.

I don’t know what it’s called…it’s just a weed, and it’s everywhere. Sometime since the last time I really looked, this Thing has choked out a lot of prime St. Aug real estate. I did the weed & feed deal last spring, but, clearly, the Thing didn’t get the memo.

The yard, from a distance, appears to be a representation of pure beauty. But, the Thing had replaced so much grass that the yard is, in reality, a mess…nothing near what it was intended to be.

Somewhere into the third five-gallon bucket of pulled weed, it hit me that had I inspected and pulled regularly, the yard would still be pure beauty. But, it had been hot, and I was busy…people to see; things to do…you know the drill. While I was distracted, the Thing took over. The only way to restore the beauty is to pull weeds.

America was once influenced by the things of God. The nation’s founders spoke and wrote extensively in public and private forums on the importance of individual and corporate attendance to the things of God for the good of the nation.

Somewhere along the way, and under the watch of my generation, that influence began a sharp decline. The decline has been so prevalent that the same institutional churches and denominational organizations, which, only a few years ago, exercised influence at national levels, are now impotent by comparison. And, the nation, once predominantly Christian in its culture, is no longer such.

Now, wait…don’t start with how nasty the culture has become, or how we lost prayer in schools, or whether the church is relevant or not. Those among us who consider ourselves to be followers of Christ…you know, the “salt and light” bunch…need to start by checking our own yard. The Thing is sin, and it has been tolerated in our personal lives and thinking so long that we are accustomed to it. There is very little salinity, and the lights are dim. We are nothing near what we are intended to be.

The only way to restore the power and influence is to get rid of the Thing…pull the weeds…not from someone else’s yard but from our own. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t convenient, but the alternative is a nation lost to the influence of Christ.

Do you have the intestinal fortitude to ask God to point out the weeds wherever they may be in your life and, by his power, pull them? Or, will you continue to tolerate the junk and talk a lot?

I really want our nation back. Grab a bucket and meet me in the yard.

More later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Confession

A real-life question at the heart of a national transformation…

”What is your only comfort, in life and death?”

The only answer…

”That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil;

And that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven, not a hair can fall from my head;

Moreover, whatever evil comes to me in this troubled life he will turn to my good, for he is able to do it, being almighty God, and is determined to do it, being a faithful Father.”

The Heidelberg Catechism, A.D. 1563

More later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

America's Red Zone - The Definition of Marriage

Definition of marriage is about to become THE topic in our country. Recent action by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturning California's Proposition 8, set in motion a series of actions which further threatens a core concept of healthy society...that marriage is defined as one man and one woman in a life-long union.

The proposition, carried by a majority of voters in California, banned gay marriage. The District Court ruled that the state law violated Constitutional rights of same-sex couples who, he determined, should have unrestricted opportunity to obtain a marriage license. Supporters of Proposition 8 have appealed the District Court decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is very likely, in my opinion, that the 9th Circuit will uphold the District Court finding. The appeal will then be carried to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, the stage is being set for a modern American Supreme Court to define marriage in our land.

It is too early in the process to know the exact timing in the process, but it's coming. But, it IS time for the Church in America...citizens of America who call themselves by the name of Christ begin a serious buzz on this matter.

The Church has given a lot of moral ground in the past sixty years...caving on issue after issue. It's time to stop the retreat, and this is some serious high ground to stand upon.

The Court will view this issue from a Constitutional perspective...equal rights for gays who wish to unite themselves in an exclusive partnership...but it will also consider the cultural aspects of the question. Therein lies opportunity...we must not allow the court to ignore the fact that they are also dealing with the definition of the core concept of society. We must also keep the court aware of majority opinion on the matter. There is historical precedent of court decisions being swayed by public opinion.

Bottom's time for the Church in America to get noisy...or stay complacent and lose again.

More later.