Every week I sit at my computer and attempt to write a blog post. Most of the time many post ideas come to mind, and I can’t pick one. Like a first timer at the Cheesecake Factory opening their 250 item menu, I get stuck and only finish a part of like three things. Only once in a while do I get on fire for just one topic and just let it flow.
As I sit here on the evening of the Fourth of July, I’m experiencing the former, not the latter. I'm also experiencing some anxiety because it sounds like someone is firing Roman Candles on my porch.
Anyway, I figured I’d write a little bit about each thought coming to mind in one post. Here's what I have to say tonight to my fellow American brothers and sisters in Christ.
1. Don’t underestimate the power of being a good father
Your kids need you to be a good dad. So does America.
The nation's spiritual temperature is highly impacted by the collective spiritual temperature of the fathers. And, currently, their spiritual temperature is much lower than the moms who makeup 60% (or more) of the church. Not that it's a competition, I'm just throwing that out there.
Spiritual temperature isn’t really a thing. Well, it kind of is. Either way, let me explain what I mean.
- What our nation is dedicated to is likely linked to what the fathers are dedicated to.
- What our nation values is decided in large part by what our fathers value.
- Who our nation serves is connected to who our fathers serve.
For better or for worse, dads set a lot of the direction for the future of a people. Are there other factors? Yes. Moms play an equally important role in all of this too. But right now I'm talking to the dads.
A lot of Christian guys say they want to change the country and all that jazz. Some of that is just rhetoric, and they aren’t actually doing anything. But for the men who truly want to see our nation serve God and value what is righteous, you can help accomplish this by simply being a good dad (and raising a son to be a good future dad). It may not seem as flashy as a political activist or church leader, but it’s likely more efficient in the long run. Fathers are, in general, more influential in people's lives than political activists and church leaders.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of good timing
Christians, we must learn when to speak. The myth is that if people hear the truth, it will change their hearts. Therefore, we spend a lot of time looking for the right words to say. We need to know what to say, yes. But just as important is when we say it.
At Griggs, we’re going through Proverbs on Wednesday nights. So far a principle has come up several times – know when to speak. Solomon tells us not to answer a fool in his folly, not to offer our opinions amongst those who aren’t taking a subject seriously and to not preach wisdom to people who think they already know everything. Why? It’s a waste of time and, as far as I can tell, it hardens their hearts even more to what is true.
We don’t have to comment on every post; we don’t have to spend every conversation correcting or rebuking. We need to love, and part of that is looking for that right time to speak. Wait for the filling of the Spirit. Wait for the hearer to be ready.
3. Don’t forget that there is an ultimate truth
Past generations were willing to excommunicate each other over disagreements on carpet, so new generations are correcting, agreeing to disagree on secondary issues - which is a great thing. But an overcorrection may be coming into play.
Christian speakers who downplay sin, deny the wrath of God and an inerrant Bible are on the rise. Why is this a big deal? Because without these things there is no ocean of grace flowing from the wounded side of Jesus. There is no forgiveness. No redemption. No freedom.
Since the American church has been doing better with unity, many of us are afraid to emphatically point out truth (again, when the time is right) because we don't want to be called divisive. Other believers become arrogant with truth and refuse to speak it in love.
There is a balance. We don't want to act like we're better than everyone else. We're not. But don’t let your guard down and call primary things debatable because there are multiple ideas on an issue. There may be various ideas, but there is only one truth. If Jesus says that the truth will set us free, then he must know that truth exists. There is a real gospel.
The real gospel offends people. So we can’t be afraid to offend people. Offending someone isn’t a sin when it comes to truth. Jesus offended people. Remember that one time when he was murdered. Yea, that was done by offended people. But he did all that because he wants us to know the ultimate truth so we can fulfill our calling of being and setting others free.
4. Don’t forget to minister to the poor
As Christians, we need to be engaging the poor on a regular basis. Here’s what I’m not talking about - you putting a backpack in a Rubbermaid container that a pastor will drop off at a nonprofit later this summer. I mean you personally need to give a backpack to an underprivileged kid that your children have decided to have over a couple of times.
Ministering to the poor is basic Christianity. This action encases the gospel that we believe. Ministering to the poor mirrors the mercy all Christians have received.
We must quit telling ourselves that we’re off the hook because poor people must be lazy. Poverty has nothing to do with money in most situations; it has to do with hopelessness. Typically, it’s hopelessness that keeps people enslaved to dysfunction.
Miracles can happen when someone who simply has hope befriends the poor. Go back to the basics and do what Jesus has done for you – make a friend who is hopeless.
Ok, I’m pretty sure whoever was making things explode outside our window is done now. That means it's time to sign out and get some sleep. Happy Fourth.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/candiceecidnac/