Dear American Christian 2020 (Part 1)

Back in 2018, I wrote a pair of blogs that were addressed to the American Christian.  The points I felt I needed to make rendered the article several paragraphs long and it made sense to dispense with the points over a couple of weeks.  You can read those blogs here:  Dear American Christian Part 1 and Part 2.  I’m impressed to say much of that content still seems relevant and worthy of discussion.  But in recent weeks and months, I’ve felt like a new series of questions and topics have arose which seem to be most pressing right now for believers. 

I’m not great at reinventing the wheel.  I thought this over, determined what I believed God wanted me to write, and decided I would simply do a new set of blogs titled “Dear American Christian 2020.”  Again, it seems like 10 main bullet points in rapid fire succession are the best way to address these issues.  Hear me out:  I’m not saying this list is comprehensive.  Not at all.  In fact, I hope these things would generate conversations and discussion and lead us further into finding solutions.  Ultimately, I know apart from Christ we can do nothing.  I believe the Gospel is powerful and it is the only hope for the world we live in. 

A lot has happened in 2 years.  Honestly, a lot has happened in just a few months.  It seems like each successive week brings new bombshells, new tragedies, and a whole set of new things we must be thinking about as Christians.  But we have to keep our minds above the fray.  We must not let our hearts be dismayed by a place in which Jesus said:  “In this world you will have trouble.”  It is the remainder of that verse that I take hope in:  “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) 

Friends we are in uncertain times.  We must cling tightly to our Savior.  These are some statements I’ve felt burdened in my heart to say.  I hope they are a call to action and ultimately, an encouragement to go after more of Him and less of this world.  I hope they resonate with you as well.  Let’s go! 

1. The church is going to go through some tough times 

I guess this statement should be obvious by now but when I see the posts and responses by various Christians online and in the media, I’m not sure we’re getting it.  I’ve seen some pretty dire warnings about what is to come and had my own spirit shaken by the possibility that things could go south very quickly.  At the same time, I don’t understand why we as Americans believe persecution is some far off thing other folks in distant countries experience.  The church, the Bible, a Christian-worldview; it all comes up against a humanistic and man-centered way of thought.  The thoughts of man are apart from those of the Lord.  So into that context, we cannot expect that at some point we will not face direct opposition.  It may come top-down from the government (we’re seeing religious liberties already threatened).  It might be online/social media censorship (banning/silencing voices on certain platforms).  It might be neighbor against neighbor or family against family (riots and protests in the streets).  But we must expect that we will face some hardships along the way as we continue to live in a broken world.  At the same time, we pray for God’s grace and mercy and for His protection over the saints. 

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25
2. No matter what opposition we face, the Gospel goes forth 

I’ve talked about certain individuals of the faith who have passed on lately and the fact that it seems like a void is left by their absence (Passing The Baton).  Many outspoken, fearless voices have left us.  I look around to find modern-day John the Baptists and see only a handful.  I’m inclined to think that because of point #1, many will avoid the cost and play it safe rather than choose to stand for Christ.  If we are convinced that opposition is a foregone conclusion, we must determine in our hearts now that compromise is not an option.  Bowing the knee to a lesser god or “gospel” is not for you or I.  We may feel that pressure.  We may see all around us individuals saying “it’s ok, God approves of this…”. But we have to be true to the Gospel as Jesus Christ has attained it for us.  It’s a simple truth and therein lies the challenge an unbelieving world cannot accept:  to follow Jesus means to surrender my life to a higher Authority than myself.  You and I are called to live out this message, in season and out.  I know many will fall away in the last days.  Do not be surprised by those names when you see it happening.  But at the same time, let your own faith be shored up and made strong for the days ahead. 

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1,2 

3. Repentance starts with you and me 

The church is a place that adheres to a higher standard than the world.  We may scoff and shake our heads in disbelief over the level of sin and depravity around us.  But I believe God is looking for a church that is undefiled and spotless in appearance.  The world is expected to look one way.  The church should look quite the opposite.  To be honest, the church has allowed sin in the camp.  The decline in morals in society has drifted into our congregations.  Divorce, pornography, cohabitation before marriage, lenient attitudes toward abortion, affirming gay marriage and gay/lesbian ministers, transgenderism….I could go on.  The point is that we have allowed the church to support and champion things God clearly marks as sin.  We have stamped the “ok” on things God has never given been ok with.  His word is clear.  It’s not ambiguous or even misleading on these things.  But we’ve allowed ourselves to twist it in a way that fits our wants and desires.  This is called sin.  To truly have our nation turn back, the church must repent of its acceptance of wayward things.  Side note:  You and I must determine in our hearts where we have allowed the world’s thinking to influence us or supersede that which is outlined in Scripture.  God is calling for a pure and spotless Bride and even if just a remnant remains, it will be those who are repentant and turn to seek His face. 

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”  Isaiah 6:5 
4. All lives are broken and matter to God 

When we started this year, I had no idea that a simple phrase “All Lives Matter” would be so controversial.  It’s become a thought you don’t dare utter.  In an upside-down world, you simply cannot say these words because they are somehow hateful and unrepresentative of where a “woke society” must operate.  Let me just state that it’s probably the most ridiculous argument I’ve come across this year…and there have been a lot.  Christian, you must know that God is less concerned with the color of a person’s skin than He is with the heart.  And what I’ve wanted to say for many weeks now is that our problem is not a race issue, it’s a sin issue.  We will never get past this as long as we keep framing the whole argument in terms of black and white (literally). The issue of race has come to the forefront and the way I’ve seen Christians only foment and further divide is appalling.  We have a sin problem.  When society deals with this issue apart from God, it inevitably only gets worse.  Can we not see that?  We are repeating the same old tired solutions that have not gotten us any further.  Until we see that all lives are broken and in need of redemption and that life itself is hand-designed by the Creator, we’ll never get there.  The church must lead on this issue and frame it differently than the world does.  Only then will we see real and lasting change.  (I realize this point could be several blogs in itself; for a bit more on my own response to this topic, please read It Stops With Me.) 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27 

5. Christians have a responsibility to vote and be aware of the issues we are facing 

This one’s tough.  No one likes to talk politics; I get it.  The old adage “politics and religion do not mix” still wins the day.  Let me be 100% clear:  I’m not here to tell you how to vote.  That’s a personal decision, between you and the Lord.  But I do believe it is our civic duty to vote and be engaged with the process.  We seem to say this every 4 years, but I believe it’s so clear this time around:  this is the most important election of our lifetime.  I pray that Christians are informed.  I pray that they vote for and put into office men and women who will uphold values that honor God.  Note, I’m not saying a candidate must be a Christian or an outspoken believer.  But I want someone who already understands what this nation was founded upon and is not going to allow freedoms (religion, speech, unalienable rights, etc) to be trampled upon.  I believe a demonic spirit is running through the halls of government these days and we must pray that the schemes of the Devil are held back.  There’s so much at stake and we cannot afford to stay home and sit on our hands.  Christian, I urge you to pray and allow God to inform your vote.  Allow the Holy Spirit to go with you into that voting booth this November. 

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.  Proverbs 29:2
At the end of the day, I hope there’s less doom and gloom here and more hope than anything.  If we are in Christ, we know our hope lies not in this world but in the one to come.  But personally I want the best life here I can have.  I want to pass along a good world to my kids and not have them deal with so much of what we are dealing with now.  Sometimes I honestly don’t know if we’re past a tipping point of no return or if there’s more that God has left for America.  My heart says He loves this nation and He wants to bring it back to Himself.  My heart says He’s a restorative God and He’s a God Who won’t stop pursuing the lost and broken.  Into that, we are the vessels and instruments He can use to speak to the hurting.  We are the ones who can help bind up wounds, mend relationships, and bring peace in the midst of so much violence and destruction.  Guys, if we completely get on fire and live on purpose for Christ, this land is going to experience change.  But we have to be willing to fight for it and want it enough.  It starts on our knees.  It starts by getting ourselves right with the Lord and hearing His voice. 

Are you willing? 

I love you guys and I love running the race with you.  Come back next week for Part 2 of this series.  God bless. 

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

Related blogs for further reading:

Dear American Christian 2020 (Part 2)
Rome Wasn't Corrupted In A Day
What In The World?  5 Things 2020 Has Taught Us As Christians
Seeing For The First Time

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