Monday, September 29, 2008

Thanks to Our Heroes Training for the Front Lines

I never knew how much it takes to make a church healthy, or even how to develop a healthy organization. We are making significant strides in many key areas. We have a LOT to celebrate!

We don't take for granted that the worship is going to be well planned, that the music will both rock and encourage you. We appreciate the team that makes that happen.

We don't just expect that your kids' ministry will be awesome, we are grateful that it is awesome. We appreciate the team that makes that happen.

We appreciate how much work it takes to put together a Christ-centered, biblically accurate, hermeneutically sound, interesting, personal challenging sermon that isn't too long (too often). We appreciate the team that makes that happen.

We may not know who opens the church and locks it up on Sunday. who organizes, trains and then makes the bulletins, cleans the facility, cares for the babies and toddlers and everything else. But we appreciate the team that makes that happen.

Heroes. Volunteer ministers. Servants of the Most High God. For them I thank my Lord Jesus!

Five Years Ago
Five years ago, we started Crosspoint with a band of 15 volunteers on the ground and over 120 people supporting us financially and 300 praying regularly.

Now we have over 100 members, 35 plus volunteer ministers leading a dedicated core of 80 people in small groups, kids' ministry, a church plant in Powder Springs, a Hispanic ministry every Sunday at 2pm, Restoration ministry, youth ministry, admin, elders, deacons, missions and Sunday worship. And let me tell you it feels great to be surrounded by such a dedicated team - a family of humble servants.

I was laid up for almost two months with limited range of motion, but SEVEN people professed faith in that time. Amazing.

Five Years from Now
It will be a truly God-sized impact Crosspoint is making in Smyrna, Atlanta and around the world. Hold on to your hats. Invite your friends, your family and your dog, it is going to be awesome.

I want to thanks just some of the people who are joyfully suffering to serve. It is not easy to minister and train and lead and love your family. These folks are doing it well. We are blessed to have them on our team.

Anthony Brogan - a most loyal man. A fellow fighter stretching to lead kids and youth ministry
Jim Payne - one of the best worship leaders and musicians in our denom - because he wants to be here bad enough to raise support
Hector and Cecilia Guzman - three years ago they lived in Mexico City - now they are helping lead three Hispanic ministries in metro Atlanta, including our 'Encuentro' ministry 2pm Sundays. All by faith that God will provide.
Jose Mateo - our bi-vocational church planter at our daughter church making it happen, faithfully leading, enduring the pressures and struggles of the battle. A brother from a different mother.

Amazing people - because of Obedience to Christ
They do this service because God has called them and because the love Crosspoint.
Tell them you love them. Give them a small gift this October. Write them a note of appreciation for what they do.

Thanks for generously giving and passionately following us as we follow Jesus. We appreciate it.

Palin in the Pulpit?

This blog entry by 'I'm Speaking Truth' has a video worth watching and it's just so good in so many ways.

I don't agree with everything that IST says in every blog (like not voting for president) but I appreciate his candor and his willingness to tackle hard issues straight on.

It's a video of Dr. Voddie Baucham answering the question 'Why evangelicals support Sarah Palin, but wouldn't allow her to preach' is awesome.

Catch Dr. Baucham’s quote:
We are about the Gospel. The culture doesn’t dictate truth, the Gospel dictates truth. My job is not to be a political pundit or a political activist - my job is to be a pastor, and proclaim the truth of the Gospel as clearly as I can.

That is good stuff there!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Financial Frustrations in Perspective

I'm just mad right now.

As I think we all should be. See, we are sure going to miss all that money we have to spend bailing out banks and insurance companies...

According to this article in the Marietta Daily News by Don McKee, this financial bailout has been anticipated by many over the course of the last five years, but CONGRESS has stalled attempts to reform.

Does it make you want to know how your congressmen and senator voted?

Does it make you want to vote out the bums who waited around until it was to late to do anything?

An Article Among Many

In September 2003, President Bush recommended what even the New York Times described as "the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago."

Bush's plan called for a new oversight agency for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage industry giants that urgently needed reining in. Immediate opposition came from such groups as the homebuilders association and Democrats in Congress concerned about low-income and affordable housing.

This was how Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, then the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, put it: "These two entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

Republicans had a majority in Congress but only by the narrowest margin in the Senate, which meant any measure opposed by the Democrats could not get through, particularly since it would take a super majority of 60 votes to overcome procedural roadblocks.

When Congress convened in January 2005, then-House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas predicted regulatory reform would come. The House approved a reform bill that included affordable housing funding, while the Senate Banking Committee voted 11-9 in a party-line vote for a bill that did not include the housing provision.

In a Senate speech on May 25, 2006, Sen. John McCain pointed to Fannie Mae's self-serving accounting manipulations by senior management, resulting in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal that included phony earnings to trigger big payoffs for the former CEO.

McCain called for reform "without delay." As a co-sponsor of the Senate reform bill (S.190), he urged quick passage. He told the Senate:

"If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole. I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this....reform legislation."

But for the third straight year, regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foundered, "derailed by partisan disagreements over investment portfolios and an affordable housing fund," Congressional Quarterly Weekly reported. The Senate bill never made it to the floor because of those "partisan disagreements."

In August last year when the financial system was rocked by big losses in Europe on packages of U.S. mortgage securities, Bush rejected a plan to let Fannie and Freddie go over their mortgage investment limit. First, he said, Congress should reform the agencies.

No, said Democrat Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a presidential candidate: "There is no reason why such reform is a necessary precondition to a modification of the cap."

Now we'll see if they can put Humpty Dumpty together again.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hard Calls

The NFL was all in a lather over referee Ed Hochuli’s game-deciding mistake in Denver last Sunday. He blew a fumble call that would have sealed the win for the San Diego Chargers. They ended up losing. And for some people it was the end of the world.

My bet is that the mistake was hardest on Ed Hochuli himself.

Making the Call
I was a volunteer ref in a church basketball league for kids one year. It was one of those leagues where all the coaches had to take a turn reffing other games. I blew some calls. And for some people it was the end of the world.

But you know what? I liked the job. And it wasn't the end of the world for anybody. I liked working with the kids. And the coaches. They knew how challenging it was to make the hard call.

Congress should have made some hard calls a few years ago to regulate the Macs and our financial markets. This crisis is bad, but it won't be the end of the world either.

I sat with a mother recently as she wept over her son's arrest. She can't make anymore calls for him. Where is the father? I don't know. That was more the end of the world than Ed's call or even the financial crisis. Why?

Because it is happening far more often and has far longer consequences that an NFL game or a financial downturn. His life will be ruined and will ruin others lives for generations - unless Christ intervenes.

Who has to make a lot of hard calls?
I meet with several pastors and church leaders from various denominations, theologies and backgrounds each week for prayer, encouragement, mentoring and coaching.

And every one to a person this week has expressed that this battle leading the church is really hard discouraging work. And they (we) are making the calls to unify diverse churches, expand ministries, reach communities and mobilize hundreds of people to serve our King Jesus Christ and the expansion of His holy and gracious rule over us.

We are the ones who are making the hard calls and have the best chance to lead more people away from end of the world scenarios.

We need Christ to intervene through us all!
Everyday men and women on the front lines of ministry should be making hard calls. We need not fear an Ed Hochuli hullabaloo from the church if we are all a part of working in concert with Christ's interventions!

Our King is fully in control and works everything out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

If you are in a church where you are being led by self-humbling men and women who are imitating Christ Jesus and working to spread the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, then thank God for them - and get trained by them, serve alongside them. The Church is God's only ordained institution for the redemption and restoration of the world.

Ask your pastors and leaders to teach you how to do ministry along side them. When church leaders equip and multiply volunteer ministers, we'll have an army of Christ's family making a huge difference in our city. Support and join with your pastors, elders and leaders. They will appreciate the encouragement.

I'm a lot like Ed the Referee, I'm harder on myself than anybody. Pray that thousands will answer the call to make the hard calls in life. Then millions will believe in the mercy and grace of God through Jesus Christ. Especially me of little faith.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Debt Perspective: URGENT QUESTION!

URGENT QUESTION! Should anyone with a credit card be smiling?

For a bit of perspective, six months ago if you had added up the grand total of every American citizens credit card debt was almost a trillion dollars.

According to Howard Scripps News Service, as of February 2008, the Federal Reserve reported the total revolving consumer credit debt in the United States at nearly $950 billion.

That was before the economic downturn got as severe as it is now. The 'Plan' now is to rescue an entire financial system with $700 billion dollars of taxpayers' money. Taxpayers' money. Our money.

It gives me the heebie-jeebies to think about it. What is wrong with our leaders? Are people really that greedy or gullible? Evidently.

I'm Just Saying - It Ain't Easy Being Broke
If you are one of the millions of people in America in consumer debt, you are in a very precarious position and our government is putting us all in deeper. Time for a gut check!

I was raised in a low-income household but my parents were stubborn (or smart) and wouldn't take credit from anybody. Sort of old-fashioned I know. Off and on we qualified for reduced lunch but they wouldn't take it. Always took a PB&J, fritos, an oatmeal cake and an apple. (It was hard being broke but I survived.)

My parents came from stock like my Papaw who worked every day since he finished WWII at a dry cleaners until the day they made him retire - over 45 years. They never went in debt, paid off the house way early and saved up his money. He's 83 now. He lives simply and looks like a financial genius now.

When my wife and I got married fresh out of school, her parents gave us a book called Master Your Money that outlined how to handle your money the way the Bible has taught for millenia.

It's Easier Out of Debt
It has been so hard to 'suffer' without new cars, new furniture, new clothes every season. But its sure not as hard for us now. It really works. I want you to know how you can do it too.

This article in the local Marietta paper about Dave Ramsey is on the radio 640AM 3-7pm in ATL (a real radio station, not a 'Christian' station). Every day he's helping people do what the Bible says with their money. I like that - a lot. We want to help a bunch more people get freed from the slavery of debt. Or never get in it at all.

Interested in helping? Let me know.

Need a hand? Crosspoint offers two programs each year designed to help practically. Jobs for Life teaches essential job skills to help people find earn a livable wage and Financial Peace University teaches people how to get out of debt and handle their finances the way the Bible teaches.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Financial Bailout is Serious

So after reading about our government's 'jaw dropping' financial bailout plan, I'm wondering:

1. In the Paulson/Bush plan will mortgage and credit companies continue to be allowed by the Bush (and future administrations) to practice predatory lending that got us in the this mess in the first place?
2. What penalty will individuals have to pay for signing up for loans that they could not pay? Is there going to be personal accountability or an 'I'm a victim' excuse making?

Moral Response REQUIRED

Will Americans learn their lessons or just keep on living undisciplined, unbiblical, rebellious and unwise lives?
Will churches boldly teach financial truths and train people HOW to live morally upright financial lives?

We will at Crosspoint. This is a serious matter. Jesus said, 'You either serve God or money.' (Matthew 6)

Crosspoint will be offering 'Financial Peace University' beginning in January. It has helped 50+ families and singles locally get out of debt, save, avoid making stupid decisions and live wisely in this culture that lies to us all saying 'you can have what you want now and pay for it later.'

Here's a great short piece reminding us that praying for our economy is loving our neighbors.

Listen to Dave Ramsey's radio show in ATL on 640 WGST for solid biblical teaching every afternoon 3-6pm.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Grandfather the Famous Ray Moon

This is great for name recognition. My name is James Ray Moon, Jr. I'm named after my grandfather Ray Moon.

Bodybuilder Ray Moon (R), who is turning 80 this year, competes in the Victorian Bodybuilding Championships in Melbourne September 14, 2008. Aged almost 80, Moon has overcome polio, open-heart surgery, prostate problems and financial ruin to become an Australian body building champion. Photo taken September 14, 2008.

This 80 year-old Body Builder Ray Moon is not my grandfather Ray Moon. He's 83, lived his whole life in Knoxville TN and could kick this guys butt.

But it gives us Moon family something to shoot for and something for Elizabeth and all the ladies to anticipate... (that is me on the far left. not really. just messing with you.)

Fear Grips Markets and Millions World Wide Panic

I popped on Yahoo and this is what I see:

Morgan Stanley in talks as fear grips financials
2 hours, 10 minutes ago
HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley topped the list of major financial firms scrambling to find a buyer, while central banks rushed in $180 billion of extra liquidity to bring some calm to panicked stock and money markets...

Central banks turn on funding taps to tackle market squeeze
29 minutes ago
FRANKFURT/TOKYO (Reuters) - The world's top central banks joined forces on Thursday to throw a multi-billion dollar lifeline to global markets in a dramatic effort to free up bank-to-bank lending, frozen by the upheavals on Wall Street....

The Stock Market is crashing! We are headed to another Great Depression! Unemployment is at its highest in five years! Thousands loosing their homes!

It's amazing how all this news, all this data effects us, whether it directly impacts our lives or not. As I wrote last Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Ike - I'm numb. Most of us are news numb.

But there is something else I missed in my own heart and in the hearts of people in our church as I talk to them.

A greater peace
We may be numb to this data.
But to the degree that we are secure in the Great News of our Great God, we have peace and security that can not be shaken.

Many of us have been preparing our lives for this kind of situation - like God's revealed Word has told us to prepare on earth. We are out of debt, we don't borrow money, we don't put our faith in our insurance policies. We work with excellence whether our job is teaching, sales, running our business or making art.

The lack of fear is not because I'm good, or better than the folks panicking in the financial markets. Not because I have a huge stash of gold bullion in my basement either. There are times where I feel my heart getting the jitters. Times when I can't focus.

But our hearts and minds are trained by this: our citizenship and our inheritance is in another land.

We really actually rely on Our Father who is answering the prayers of His people all over the world to bring His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

A stock market tremor or crash is all under His divine reign.

I think there's much bigger and better news that gets reported...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why Keep On Preaching if You Aren't a Mega-Church Pastor?

Why am I preaching when there are SO many better preachers on the internet?

I'm in Atlanta, land of 100 mega-churches. Why DON'T we all just give up and download Andy Stanley. Or go to a satellite location? Why keep on preaching?

Here's Why:

I am friends with a lot of pastors. One is a younger pastor who out preaches most guys but has a problem. He's bright, insightful, great connection with his people. He started a church about 15 months ago and now has 'too many people.'

Why would ANY preacher say THAT?!
Because he believes that a preacher is supposed to actually pastor and evangelize, care for and train up the people to whom he preaches. He doesn't want to be a mega-pastor. He wants to reach all the people in his parish in Atlanta - and plant more churches with real actual pastors who preach, evangelize, care for and train their flock until the whole city is filled up with local pastors locally ministering locally training and living with people until everyone loves Jesus.

I'm with this guy. You can keep your two-dimensional relationship with a screen.

I want to raise up 1000s of pastors who preach and love their people all over Atlanta face-to-face.

- 10 churches of 100 people will reach more people with the gospel than one church of 1000.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama and McCain Pirating Church

Why does the church let politics steal 'Change'?

I was reading this blog by crabb on Fractured Saints about the interaction of church and politics and it pumped me up about the actual potential of the church as a change agent, leading, again taking initiative in the broader battlegrounds of our cities, nation and the world.

The church in God's eyes isn't intended to be the arrogant antagonistic Religious Right and Moral Majority (boo!). The early church saw itself as humble, wise, courageous 'Societies of Risk Takers' who suffer for the sake of their glorious King! Who take risks no one in society is willing to take.

There is room to take God at His Word and work in concert with institutions who share a common grace goal, isn't there?

Or have we all been brainwashed by both a weak withdrawing church and slick politicians that 'Change' is the function and domain of government. Well that is bull shit!

Real Change
The only lasting change in a person, a family, an institution or A NATION happens by the power of the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Church! WE are the leaders of the revolution that should be seeking change. What could be more of a change than the answer to the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us to pray?

'YOUR Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'

Our view of prayer should not be so pathetic, our belief that God is able to effect change HERE and NOW in Smyrna and Atlanta as it is in Heaven, we have our sights set all wrong when we abdicate the reign of God to small prayers about Aunt Bessie's bunions.

A Sure Sign of Hope Today

I just spent the day praying, strategizing and envisioning a world where the church does this kind of work. There were dozens of men and women, Hispanics, African Americans and Anglos together dedicating to sacrificing our lives to plant churches all around north Georgia by faith. It's time for more!

Man up! It is time to pray and work! Time to suffer and sacrifice! Time to change in Word and Deed!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike Effect

It's 5:30 CST in Galveston TX and Ike is slamming. Hard. Flooding. Destroying. Right now. People are dying. Homes are being leveled. Businesses being destroyed. Families being ripped apart.

What effect will Ike have on me?

1. Gas prices will go up. But I'm numb to that now.
2. There'll be even more pleas for financial assistance hit my inbox. Numb there too.
3. I'll think about Katrina and Gulfport MS and I'll feel a little sad for a minute. Numb.

What effect? Nothing really.
Hey, I'm being honest. I don't care.

Yeah, I'll watch the news and make some remarks about Ike in church on Sunday. We'll pray general prayers for the situation. Some of us may even go down there and help out for a week like Tim, Sarah, Mark, David and 1000s of others did in 2005.

'But aren't pastors supposed to care?' you ask. Well, yeah, but I don't.
And neither do you. Do you know why?

It's news.

News Numbness

That is why I don't care. And why you don't either. Nobody REALLY cares about news. It's just data streaming by our faces faster than real life.

We care more about sports than we do news.
We're so full of news that it's lost our interest.
We 'know' more instantaneously, have more data at our fingertips, just MORE. And we're numb. We know so much data that we don't don't anything or care about anything.

I just don't care anymore. And it's killing me.

Is It Killing You?

It's getting so bad that I don't even care what happens across the street or down the hall. I don't care about my neighbor or my friend or my family - because we're all just news.

We're programmed to believe and feel only what we want to feel.
We're numb.

When I stop caring, then that starts killing you. I'm a part of your oppression, your injustice. I become the problem. And if you're like me, you are too.

The worst part?

Jesus' Good News of the Kingdom of God has become just news to me. I treat it the same way I do Ike.

I'm numb to it, indifferent, only consider it insofar as it matters to my daily living. It's an inconvenience like high gas prices. Wow. I suck.

And that is getting to me. Getting me to worry about my own soul, about OUR SOULS. Maybe I'm starting to care. Some.

Lord have mercy on me. Renew a right spirit within me. I need to hear and feel and move according to the GOOD news. Wow. We all do.

I'm drowning in my own indifference. I can't save myself.
Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God for our glorious victory in Christ!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Teaching What the Bible Says about Suffering Seems Like Healing a Heart with a Tire Iron

In light of my previous 9/11 post about I=an , this is shocking, prophetic and awesome audio from John Piper. He reads and comments on the introduction to his book Spectacular Sins.

Piper's prophecy for American Christians about persecution and partnering in suffering is strong, biblical and true...

Having read 4-5 blogs confronting the health, wealth and prosperity false gospel in the American church, it makes me wonder if this is the tonic for what ails us?

When things do not go well for you, will that be a crisis of faith for you?

"Our felt needs are about to change."

"Coddled people will not be good listeners when their world collapses."

"The aim of this book is not to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails."

"If we are to endure and bear and believe and hope, we need to see the spectacular sins of history the way God sees them. I hope this book helps."

I'll buy a copy of this book for the first three people who promise to read it with me.

9/11 Remembered: Isla+ic Government Arrests, Tortures Christians

As Americans remember the thousands who died on 9/11 seven years ago, we should not forget the millions around the world who still suffer under the oppression and slavery of Isl+m.

More news is leaking out of I+an. While most of us gripe about our economy and how we suffer, our brothers and sisters in Christ are being violated for their faith in Jesus Christ.

The secret police arrested my friend R 21 days ago. This article from Compass Direct News details his situation and shows a pattern of illegal persecution. It makes me MAD! It is WRONG!

To all the skeptics who think 'all religions are the same' show me how this Isla+ic 'Republic' is the same as Christianity!

The government (NOT the citizens) of I+an is based on Isl*m. No other country bases its government on that religion. It is worse than Nazi Germany in that these ungodly practices have been going on for 30+ years.

The 70+ million people of ancient Persia are enslaved to an unjust religion and an oppressive government!

Pray for justice and mercy!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Most Exciting Name: Barack or Sarah or Jesus?

Barack Obama was the talk of the nation until 11 days ago.

Now the obession is with 'Sarah' or 'My Sarah' or 'Our Sarah' - not Governor Palin or VP candidate Palin. Not even Mrs. Palin. Seriously false intimacy here.

The hero worship boggles my mind. There are Barbie-comparable action figures now. (And Barbie is the loser.)

In our media-driven culture, when you are known only by your first name, you have arrived. Angelina, Britney, LeBron, Barack and now Sarah. Like it or not, she's the current Elvis.

And as John Lennon once stated about the Beatles, I'm afraid both Barack and Sarah are bigger than Jesus.

Even among professing Christians like me. I do get caught up in the political debate.

Here's a quiz:
1. Is that biblical - not the gimmicks - the hero worship?
2. Does Jesus mind playing second or third string on our list of heroes or priorities?
3. Does Jesus want to be an action figure for your kids too?

For answers, see Exodus 20:1-7

(For the other candidates, action figures, Pez (Prez?) dispensers and plush pillows are available too!)

More Seriously

David, one of our elders, asked me why I'm shying away from saying much about politics. Especially in light of this article in the Washington post reporting a challenge to our Federal courts to allow pastors to endorse candidates and political parties from the pulpit.

There's only One politician to promote from the pulpit - and with your life. There's only One Name worth your dedication and loyalty. He's zealous about His Kingdom and the advance of His reign.

He does not need your vote for change.

He has mercifully rescued this sin-wrecked piece of human debris.

What else could capture a heart more?

What else could motivate grateful obedience and humble servant leadership in me?

Do we Christians anticipate the day when Jesus gets the fame due His name? Won't it be an awesome, fearful thing to see the convention hall of our Savior? Sarah and Barack and Elvis and you and me, we'll one day bow our knees and confess the Name That Is Above Every Name - Jesus Lord Most High.

And that will be better than winning a small election in a remote corner of the Universe. The One True God measures the nations like sand on a scale.

Don't set your hope so low! This Sunday and every Sunday, pray you hear the correct endorsement in your church. Set you mind on things above...

...maybe then we would see some real change - on earth as it is in heaven?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I++nian Prisons Don't Stop Gospel Prayer!

This is follow up to my previous post (Aug 22) about my friend being arrested in I+an. He and his family who are leaders of home churches are suffering with chains, but the gospel advances!

This is an edited email of hard news smuggled out (I have to take out names of people and cities.)

Warm greetings in the matchless name of Jesus our Lord,
We want to inform you about R==in, son of martyr Ho***in S**d, who has been asked by the authorities (Islamic intelligent service) in M==d/I+an to report for an interview, and it has been already 2weeks past, but on Tuesday Sept 02.08 intelligent service called R===in`s brother to their organization to talk to him about the situation.

They tolled him that first we will find out what is his guilt then when we find something, he become guilty and he goes to the Islamic court for conviction and after that certainly for the punishment but probably this process take 6 months to 2 years. And they said again very badly to Aria that; you are making people Christian and surely we are trying to find those people that you made them Christian here!

His brother said his wife and mother are worry about him, and want to come and visit him, but unfortunately they said' NO' [ed. possible that he has been beaten and IIS doesn't want it known]

Please continue to pray for R===in S and his Family in I+an and so that the Lord protect and strengthen him. And also pray specific for his mother Mrs. Ma---b and Mi--a, R's wife because they are in bad pressure.
Please share this pray request to your churches or friends.

R is the son of one of I''n's many martyrs. He is being held unjustly until they beat or torture a 'confession' out of him. This is heinous and wrong!

So would you get indignant and angry and do as our suffering brothers are asking? Will you pray? Ask your church to pray? Prayer is what they want and need the most.

Pray especially that R does not feel abandoned, that he will not give up any names of other leaders, that the Holy Spirit strength him to joy like the apostle Paul in jail in Philippi and that his guards would be converted! God has done it before!(Acts 16) To God ALONE be the Glory!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

President Savior Superman or Pastor

So who do I think is REALLY going to save me?

I saw an article this week on Yahoo entitled "A President, Not a Savior" by Gene Healy and it got me to thinking. (need to learn that cool trick to build in the link to a hot word). It's worth the read.

The author's point is that both our presidential candidates (like all others I can remember) overstate and inflate the importance of the office of president and their desire to be a 'healer' or a 'champion of values' or any number of things.

"What moved Barack Obama to seek the presidency was "the basic idea of empathy" and the notion that if "we see somebody down and out ... we care for them." Republican John McCain explained that he was running "to inspire a generation of Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest."

Noble sentiments, to be sure, but in the original constitutional scheme, the president was neither Empath-in-Chief nor a national life coach. His role was to faithfully execute the laws, defend the country from attack, and check Congress with the veto power whenever it exceeded its constitutional bounds."

So that is a problem with both Obama and McCain and Barr. A problem with our nation.

And there's a problem here with me too.

I inflate my importance as a pastor too. Now I don't have people lining up around the country to see me or help me become the most powerful man in the world, but it's only an economy of scale, isn't it?

If I think 'it's up to me' to get this church (or city or world) where it should be...
If I think I'm the indispensable agent for salvation or spiritual growth...
Then I'm just as mixed up. No I'm worse. And church is worse off.

I really need to be broken and reminded that I am called here as a pastor solely and utterly because of God's grace, not my abilities. This job is way beyond me. We all need to be pointed to the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Our church - all churches - need a humbled broken man who follows the Pastor of His people. He is the Savior and the God-man.

Help me rememeber that next time I try to run for an office He's already won.