Life in the Valley

It has been said that God will never put more on someone than he/she can bear. Advocates of this view may appeal to the biblical story of Job, which is one of the most astounding accounts of divine sovereignty in the entire Bible. Job, regarded as a righteous man of God, encountered more pain and suffering in one day than most people will be subjected to in their entire lifetime. Nevertheless, he was determined to remain faithful to God no matter what, even as he acknowledged that his seemingly gratuitous suffering was ultimately from the hands of God (Job 13:15).

No doubt, suffering has a way of making us think, reflect, and reexamine our lives and our priorities. Pain, whether emotional or physical, gets our attention like nothing else. Yet, when it comes, our default response is typically one of avoidance at all costs. This is somewhat understandable; after all, even Jesus Christ Himself, speaking from His human nature, desired to avoid the pain of the cross (Matt. 26:39). If the Son of Almighty God had an aversion to suffering, how much more will those whom He has created?

In my first book entitled Challenging Reflections on the Christian Life, one of the topics I addressed was the prevalence of Christian discouragement. I noted that God will often times bring His people to the absolute end of themselves for some divine purpose. In fact, consider the biblical figures Job and Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet. There are at least two things these men had in common. First, both of them faced such depression that they considered death. This was unambiguously expressed in their regrets over being born (Job 3:11; Jer. 20:14). Also, despite their depression, both were in the center of God’s will. Incidentally, I wish I could say that I could not relate to their sentiments, but I can.

In my 20+ years as a follower of Christ, I have experienced more heartache, grief and sleepless nights in the last year than all others combined. As you can imagine, I have pondered the familiar ‘why’ question, only to be met at times with divine silence. Even as I write this, the suffering is not over; in some ways, it may simply be in the process of transitioning into the next phase.

Albeit I know the Lord is with me, sometimes life in the valley makes it hard to connect what is known in the mind with what is felt in the heart. While I anticipate the day that peace and relief will be my reality, I must admit that this journey has truly consisted of eye-opening experiences on several levels.

What about you? Are you currently living in the valley, not knowing what the outcome of a threatening situation will be? Has your passion for God subsequently waned, only to find yourself pleading to the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation (Psa. 51:12)? If so, you are certainly not alone. It is not uncommon for God’s servant to reach such a low point that he/she becomes tempted to throw in the towel.

Perhaps there are things for us to learn in the valley that cannot be learned elsewhere. Maybe God is after all more concerned with our holiness than our happiness; hence the suffering. It could be that the problems we face are in some ways designed to realign our focus on eternity, where there will be “no more pain” (Rev. 21:4). Whatever the reason for our suffering, our response to it should reflect the maturity expected of us and demonstrated by those who came before us (i.e. Job, Jeremiah, Jesus, etc.). If it does, we can rest assured that while we may be temporarily living in the valley, the Lord is right there beside us, comforting us along the way (Psa. 23:4).

What must we do in times like these?

1) Focus on Jesus. This is not a trite cliché, but rather, an appeal to the greatest solution in existence. If you have trusted the Lord for salvation, you can trust Him for your life’s direction. Surely, sometimes our deepest hurts channel the deepest awareness of God’s love and grace.

2) Connect with others. We are not meant to live in isolation. In fact, the numerous “one another” clauses in the New Testament establish the necessity of personal relationships. If you have not already done so, let someone into your life who has godly wisdom, sensitivity and a commitment to uphold and apply biblical teaching to your situation. We are called to “bear one another’s burdens” so allow some friends the blessing of honoring Christ in this way (Gal. 6:2).

3) Endure. Paul encouraged his young protégé Timothy to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3), and we must do the same. Certainly, this is easier said than done, but this is our only option. After all, quitting is not in the blood of the true believer. For instance, Joseph did not turn away from God when he was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and spent several years in prison for a crime he did not commit (Gen 37, 39). To the contrary, we are told repeatedly that the Lord was with Joseph during his times of extreme, unmerited suffering (Gen. 39:2, 21, 23). Remember, our ultimate example is Jesus, who “endured the cross” as well as “endured…hostility from sinners” (Heb. 12:2-3). Just as our Leader endured intense suffering and pain, so too must we withstand the trials we face, for His spirit dwells within us (Rom. 8:9-11).

Thankfully, life in the valley does not last forever. Yes, the day is coming when suffering will be no more. Until then, let us consider two possible benefits of enduring our time of suffering: maybe it will produce more growth and maturity in our devotion to Christ; perhaps we will become better equipped to help others through their struggles. As I reflect on my own experience, these possible benefits are my desires. If they are indeed fulfilled, then my time living in the valley will not have been in vain.

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The Mark of a Biblical Pastor

I was recently listening to an audiobook discussing current trends in American churches. One of the topics addressed by the author was how men of God from previous generations have approached the task of leading God’s flock. In particular, the author spent much time commenting on the preaching of one of the most well-respected pastors of the 19th century: Charles Spurgeon.

Spurgeon is perhaps the most admired, quoted, and studied preacher in recent history. Why? He is regarded simply as a ‘great’ preacher of the word of God. Many of his sermons are available either online or in print. Moreover, he pastored the same church for several decades, preaching to thousands of people on a weekly basis.

Much more could be said about Charles Spurgeon, but is this the way to judge the efficacy of pastoral ministry (i.e. admirable sermons, widespread influence, etc.)? I want to argue that it is not; in fact, a biblical pastor’s effectiveness is not seen in what he produces, but what those under his influence accomplish.

The basis for this claim is found in Ephesians 4:11-12, where the apostle Paul states that pastors are given to the church to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The ‘work’ of the Church is stated elsewhere as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), also referred to as the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Based on these passages, it seems that pastors are here to equip the people of God to preach the gospel and make disciples. Is that what Charles Spurgeon is known for? Better yet, is that what your pastor is known for? If you are a pastor, is that what you are doing?

Consider the following analogy: suppose you spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time attending college. When graduation time came, your parents wanted to know what degree you earned and what your career plans were. You informed them that you were not properly trained for any career but you enjoyed your college experience. What would they think? They would probably wonder, “How could you spend so much time (and money) pursuing higher education but never learn enough to get a decent job?” Also, what kind of university employs professors who fail to ‘equip’ their students with the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill their purpose? In the same way, why is it that church members can spend so many years receiving biblical ‘education’ but never learn how to make disciples? Maybe it is because the mandate issued in Ephesians 4:11-12 is not taken very seriously by the leadership.

The mark of a biblical pastor is that his people are being equipped to evangelize unbelievers and make disciples. In other words, the primary biblical fruit of pastoral ministry is best seen in what the people, not the pastor, are doing. If the vast majority of a congregation is not ever trained on how to both share and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ, something is terribly wrong with the leader’s priorities.

It is common knowledge that many pastors have a plethora of responsibilities. As such, they deserve support and encouragement. However, it is also important that the primary task of equipping their people for disciple-making is not neglected. After all, this is precisely what the apostle Paul encouraged young Timothy to do (2 Tim. 2:2).

To assess your church’s faithfulness to this mandate, consider the following diagnostic questions: are you better prepared to share the gospel with Muslims as a result of the preaching/leadership of your pastor? What about atheists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, indifferent teenagers, etc? Are you able to teach someone the meaning of the scriptures because your pastor has taught you (directly or indirectly) how to? Are you ready to baptize a new believer if you were so petitioned, or would you have to rely on the pastor to do it because you are ill-equipped for the task? Speaking of Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is a reason why they are widely known for their outreach attempts. Their leaders impress upon them the urgency of the preaching work, and the leaders lead by example. Perhaps many pastors today can learn something from those who lead this cultic group.

Indeed, if we are going to recognize Spurgeon for his contributions to the cause of Christ, it should be because of the people who were equipped to make disciples through his ministry, not for his wonderful sermons. Again, pastors were not given to merely preach good messages (as important as that is) but to equip their people to pursue the Great Commission. Was that the focus of Spurgeon’s ministry? More importantly, can that be said about your pastor?

My purpose here is not to belittle the efforts of those in pastoral ministry. Rather, the goal is to challenge us to reevaluate the purpose of our church experiences. A biblical pastor is not one who merely does meaningful things for his congregants. Instead, a biblical pastor equips his people to carry out the mission Christ left for His Church. A church should not simply be known for all the pastor is doing; it should be recognized for what the congregation does. Is this happening in your church? If not, let’s pray that it will become a reality sooner rather than later.

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Does the Great Commission Include Outreach to Jehovah’s Witnesses?

For many Christians, the implied answer to this question is no. In fact, when it comes to JW outreach, there are at least two patterns that I have recognized in the Church. First, many believers in Christ have not concerned themselves with evangelizing JW’s. Surely enough, I have had several Christians tell me that they have become accustomed to circumventing potential discussions with JW’s by either not answering the door when they come to their home, or by brushing them off after they do open the door.

Second, many of our churches have never offered any training on how to effectively evangelize JW’s using the Bible. This was confirmed to me when I conducted a training session on this very topic at my local Youth for Christ office several months ago. Before I began the presentation, I asked the following question: “How many of you have had this topic covered in your church?” Out of the dozen or so attendees, only one hand went up in response. As you read this, ask yourself, “Has my church ever offered some form of training on biblical evangelism among JW’s?” I would not be surprised if the answer is no.

The fact is, JW’s are by-and-large sincere Bible students who have simply been misled. As proponents of the biblical gospel, it is our responsibility to bring light wherever there is darkness. As you may know, JW’s are in the dark with regards to biblical teaching, and we must love them enough to give of ourselves to see them turned from darkness to light. (see Acts 26:18)

Don’t avoid the Witnesses in your life. Rather, give of yourself to bring the same message to them that the apostles of the first-century took to those in their midst. In so doing, you can faithfully participate in the Great Commission.

*Taken from the book Conversations Worth Having: Insights from a Year’s Worth of Discussions with a Jehovah’s Witness (April 2014). See home page for more information.

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The Lost Priority

I was recently invited to give a presentation on an evangelistic topic at my local Youth for Christ office, and I was sure of what I wanted to teach. I had been preparing a series of classes I would soon be teaching on the subject of dialoguing with Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I decided to share my discussion points with this group albeit their focus is on reaching the youth. When I arrived at the office, I began the discussion with a thought-provoking question.

“How many of you have had this topic covered in your local church?” Almost no one raised their hand or responded with any affirmation. I was not surprised by this, since the priority of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12) has been tragically lost from many of our most respected congregations.

If you were to ask the average Christian what is the primary responsibility of the pastor, chances are they would say caring for the sheep, teaching the Bible, or meeting the needs of the congregation. Yet, when we look at Ephesians 4:11-12, we find a different answer. According to the apostle Paul, God has given pastors to the Church to equip them to further the cause of Christ. How does one further the cause of Christ? Evangelism. The ‘cause’ of Christ consists of what the Lord Jesus told His followers to do prior to His ascension to heaven. The Lord was essentially telling His disciples, “I am leaving you with the task of taking the gospel message to the ends of the earth. Don’t get sidetracked; give yourselves unreservedly to this great work until I return.” (Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 2:4)

Jesus told His Church to take the gospel to the world, and Paul states that pastors are here to help train Christians to do it. The question is, “How seriously does the typical American pastor take this huge responsibility?” To answer this question, let’s revisit the question I asked at the Youth for Christ office. Has your church ever offered a class, seminar, conference, or series of sermons addressing how to effectively evangelize Jehovah’s Witnesses through the sharing of biblical truth? What about Muslims, atheists, Mormons, or Hindus? These people are everywhere, and if the Church is to reach them with the gospel, we must be prepared in advance. This is where your church comes in.

I am convinced that many well-meaning pastors have neglected their responsibility to equip their parishioners to share the gospel with the people they encounter. The groups listed above comprise a large segment of the American public, but if we are not able to dialogue with them in a biblical and gracious manner, it is most likely because the pastor has lost the priority to prepare the people of God to do the work of God. This is very unfortunate.

Even if your church has offered a one-time lesson on reaching different people groups, is one time enough? Judging from the context of Paul’s statements in Ephesians chapter 4, it seems as though our churches should be characterized by evangelism training as opposed to it being merely one among many of the pastor’s goals for the church.

This article was not intended to needlessly criticize our leaders. I respect any man who assumes the role of leading a flock of God, for this is one of the highest callings in the Church. Nevertheless, the need for the saints of God to be equipped is great, and according to the apostle Paul, pastors play a crucial role in preparing God’s people to do God’s work.

If you are a pastor, I encourage you to take this seriously if you have lost the priority of equipping your people for evangelistic service. If you are a church member, I pray that you will pursue greater evangelism training not just for yourself, but especially for those within your circle of influence who need the gospel of Christ.

Blessings to you as we serve our Lord together.

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Taking the Great Commission Seriously

In April 2013, Americans were shocked to learn of the horrific terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon. Several people lost their lives and over 100 people were injured. It appeared to be another senseless act of violence that had many in the Boston area seeking answers to serious questions.

When I learned of this great disaster, one of the first questions I asked myself was, “How many Christians in Boston shared the gospel with those young men?”

The implication is clear: if virtually no genuine, Christian witness ever reached them (which is a real possibility), it is fairly accurate to say that the evangelistic neglect indirectly contributed to this attack. How can I say that? The more personal evangelism was directed at the perpetrators, the more they would have been exposed to the gospel. The more they knew of the gospel, the greater the chances that they may have become followers of Christ. If they would have become followers of Christ, the marathon bombing would have been nonexistent.

I know the aforementioned solution sounds simplistic, but it is thoroughly biblical. Yes, Scripture makes it abundantly clear that not everyone who hears the gospel will respond positively to its demands (see Acts 13:46; 17:32). Nevertheless, we do not know who will and who will not receive Christ as Lord and Savior upon hearing the message of the cross.

Just because some will not embrace it does not mean that evangelism should be minimized. We cannot afford to underestimate the urgency of spreading the gospel when we know that countless people have been touched by its power. Who knows; maybe if the Christians in Boston were serious about evangelism (and I do not know if they are or not), the marathon tragedy may have been utterly prevented. Unfortunately, we will never know.

Most Christians are familiar with the Great Commission: Jesus’s statements in Matthew 28:19-20 wherein He commanded His followers to go and make disciples. But do we actually take this ‘command’ seriously? Are we as fervent as we should be in sharing the gospel with the people we encounter? We would agree that it is not enough to merely affirm our commitment to the Great Commission while simultaneously showing no evidence of evangelistic zeal. Regrettably, this has become the norm for many Christians.

We must examine our evangelistic tendencies and pray that God will help us to “…do the work of an evangelist…” (2 Tim. 4:5)

Adapted from the book Gospel Urgency! The Power and Necessity of Our Evangelism.

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Are Some Christians Too Consumed with the Presidential Election?

One Sunday, a pastor made the following point during his sermon: there are approximately 50% Democrats and 50% Republicans in his church. Why did he mention this? He wanted to prevent his congregation from degenerating into politically-divisive church members.

Sadly, many Christians across the nation do not take the same approach. For some, if a Christian is not a Republican, he/she is living in contradiction to the Bible. For others, to be a Republican is to favor the wealthy and undermine the help and support needed for lower-income citizens. Needless to say, Christians who take their political views too seriously can easily lead them to distance themselves from believers who disagree with them.

Is this what Christ envisioned for His Church? Should we define ourselves as either Democrat or Republican, and then avoid our brothers and sisters who align themselves with the other party? I believe the answer to these questions is an emphatic NO for the following reasons.

First, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party is concerned about furthering the cause of Christ. They may be passionate about America, but they are not passionate about the gospel of Christ. Even if a candidate professes to adhere to Christian values, they are still hindered from promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Great Commission for every Christian.

Second, just because a candidate is against abortion and same-sex marriage does not mean he/she would be the better choice to lead the nation with regards to the economy, our military, foreign policy, and other presidential responsibilities. For many Christians, they see it as their duty to vote for the pro-life candidate who also advocates traditional marriage. While these values are important, there is much more to being a qualified president than these two issues. Also, a candidate who focuses on helping the poor does not automatically qualify to serve as president. Both Parties subscribe to principles that in some ways are contrary to the Word of God. This is why neither Party should be defended by the conscientious Christian.

Lastly, and most important, Christians are to be more focused on the Great Commission than anything else. Let me illustrate: the best way to prevent abortions is not through having the right president, but through the proclamation of the gospel. After all, we had a pro-life president from 2001 to 2009 (and several others), yet abortion remains legal and rampant. Also, now that same-sex marriage is legal, is publicly opposing it going to lead more unbelieving homosexuals to Christ? Probably not. Why? The way from a homosexual to heterosexual lifestyle is through the gospel, not conservative legislation.

Simply put, our focus must be on evangelism, not politics. Remember the words of Paul, “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The power of God is manifested through sinful men and women responding to the gospel. As well-intentioned as many believers are, picketing abortion clinics, protesting gay marriage, or devoting ourselves to supporting pro-life candidates is not the answer.

My dear brother or sister, do not entangle yourself in political battles that cause division throughout the Church of Christ. We have something more important to focus on: the proclamation of the gospel. That message is not outdated, and the Great Commission has not changed. If Jesus Christ was walking the earth today, do you think He would be endorsing political candidates, picketing abortion clinics, or lobbying in Washington D.C. in defense of traditional marriage? Of course not. He would be doing what He did when He walked the earth some 2,000 years ago: preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Today, Christ is alive and well, and He is walking the earth in the Person of the Holy Spirit Who resides within us. Consequently, we should concern ourselves with what He told us to do. Yes, we want to see lives changed for the better, and both Jesus and Paul have revealed to us the greatest source of life-changing power: the gospel.

The next time you passionately discuss your political views, ask yourself if you are equally as passionate about discussing the gospel with those who need to hear it. Afterwards, think about which topic (i.e. politics or the gospel) occupies most of your discussion time. That will reveal where your focus truly is.

I leave you with the encouraging words of the apostle Paul:

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).

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What the Church Needs Now is Love

In 1965, Jackie DeShannon released a song entitled What the World Needs Now Is Love. In the midst of the social turmoil that erupted during the 1950’s and 1960’s, one can easily understand the basis for such a song during that era.

Deshannon emphasized the need for greater love in the world at-large, but her message also applies specifically to the Church of Christ. In a day when one’s doctrine and/or political views can either cause isolation or assimilation into a particular Christian culture, love appears to be lost in many evangelical settings.

In my latest book The Hardest Thing For Christians To Do, I strive to communicate the reality that believers should focus on treating one another the way Jesus told His disciples to (see John 13:34-35). According to Christ, it is not our conservative views or bashing of homosexuals that identify us as believers; it is our love for one another that marks the true Christian.

Below is an excerpt from the book:

“Why don’t we ever get excited to see our brothers and sisters when we all are constantly at war against the world, the flesh, and the devil? Shouldn’t we be more enthusiastic about fellowshipping with those who are on the same team as us, fighting for the same cause? We need to remind ourselves that we are all we have. The world does not care about us. In fact, most unbelievers repudiate the Church. This should not surprise us considering the warning Jesus gave to His disciples:

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

We are on the same team, following the same Lord, promoting the same gospel message. In light of this truth, there should be a clear and distinct difference between how Christians behave towards one another. Sadly, that distinction is many times either blurred or non-existent. This I know to be true.”

As you contemplate this passage, ask yourself how you measure up to the command of Christ to love your brothers and sisters in the Lord as Christ loves us.

God Bless You.

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I Have a Dream for the Black Church

The Black Church in America is perhaps the most victorious institution in the African American community. Yet, when it is compared with sacred scripture, we find that the Black Church is falling short in very significant areas. This book not only highlights where members of the Church have strayed from the truths of scripture, but also offers a message of hope for those who are willing to embrace the need for biblical reformation.

The material below is adapted from the book Standing True to Our God? A Young, Evangelical’s Perspective on Reformation in the Black Church.

“There are those who are asking the devotees of biblical reformation, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as preachers within the Black Church are disseminators of the unspeakable doctrines of the prosperity gospel. We can never be satisfied as long as our minds, heavy with the skeptic’s criticisms of the Bible, are not being taught how to defend what we believe. We cannot be satisfied as long as black churches emphasize the importance of tithes and offerings more than evangelism and apologetics. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are merely taught Bible stories and given shallow answers to their serious questions. We cannot be satisfied as long as black church members in Mississippi cannot explain the gospel and black church members in New York have not even heard the true gospel. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until the Black Church undergoes a radical, nationwide, biblical reformation of the highest order.”

“I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the New Testament dream.

I have a dream that one day the Black Church will rise up and live out the true meaning of its anthem: “Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand, true to our God…”

I have a dream that one day on the pews of A.M.E. churches, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will sit down together in the church as brothers.

I have a dream that one day even the A.M.E. denomination, a denomination sweltering with the heat of its heritage, sweltering with the heat of tradition, will drop its racially identifiable name because of its love for the brethren.

I have a dream that my niece and nephews will one day visit a black church where they will not be taught about their African heritage but will be taught the transforming truths of sacred scripture.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, over in New York, with its liberal seminary, with its professors having their lips dripping with the words of ‘the social gospel’ and ‘Black Theology’ — one day right there in New York liberal black pastors and theologians will embrace true biblical teaching and join hands with evangelical pastors and theologians as followers of Christ.

I have a dream today!”

For more information, and to see the video presentation of ‘I Have a Dream for the Black Church’ visit the home page of

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When Political Persuasion Trumps Biblical Teaching

One of the reasons I pursued a theological education at Liberty University (LU) years ago was because of their unwavering commitment to biblical truth. Founded by the late Jerry Falwell in 1971, LU has grown to become the largest Christian university in the world. Because of its fundamentalist roots, all faculty members are required to be in agreement with the university’s doctrinal statement. Yet, emphasizing this standard of biblical orthodoxy unfortunately does not extend to everyone, provided they are associated with the ‘correct’ political party.

Such is the case with Mitt Romney, the former Governor and Republican presidential candidate who is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at LU in May 2012. Romney is a member of the Mormon Church, and few Christians recognize the incompatible nature of evangelical teaching with Mormon doctrine. Consider the following teachings from his Church:

• Jesus is the Brother of Lucifer
• Men can become gods in the future
• Those with black skin are accursed by God
• Blacks were not allowed to enter the Mormon priesthood until 1978
• The Book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible
• The Mormon Church is the one true Church
• Evangelical Christians are said to be part of apostate Christendom

In light of these (and other) teachings, the question must be asked: why was Romney invited to give the commencement address in the first place? Is there a shortage of qualified evangelical leaders that lead to this tragic compromise? I believe the answer is indicated in the title. This is an example of how political affiliation trumps doctrinal integrity and truth.

Why would a Christian university invite a Mormon to speak at their commencement? The President of the Mormon Church would not officially endorse the doctrinal statement of LU. Maybe the chancellor of LU believes that Romney’s commitment to pro-life values and his opposition to same-sex marriage are the most important issues of our day. After all, who cares what Romney believes about the Bible, as long as he is against abortion? It doesn’t matter what Romney thinks about Jesus having malevolent siblings, as long as he is against same-sex marriage. How Romney’s Church feels about blacks is irrelevant, insofar as he upholds middle-class American values. My friend, this is an abomination to Christ and His Church!

I pray that LU will receive the necessary criticism over this decision and avoid such a heinous compromise in the future. It is true that Romney can offer graduates a word of encouragement as they venture into their respective career options. However, the university is implicitly endorsing him for the presidency, even to the point of giving him a platform to speak at a university that has traditionally regarded his Church as a cult.

According to the apostle John, those who repudiate the teachings of the Church should not be given platforms to encourage the Christian community:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
(2 John 1:10-11, NIV)

It is a shame that Mitt Romney’s biblical beliefs are esteemed as less important than his political views. And when politics becomes more significant than Christian teaching, divine dishonor is inevitable.

May the Lord convict those at LU who authorized this arrangement.

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No Rest for the Weary

Do you ever get tired of living for Christ? Have you ever grown weary of trying to please God all the time? Are there days when you just want to throw in the towel? In some sense, any seasoned believer has had to honestly answer ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions. Yet, we continue pressing on, knowing that we are disciples of the One Who gave His life for us (Gal. 2:20).

I know it gets tough at times, especially when we are striving to do our best. Even when we give our due diligence, life does not always turn out the way we would like. In those moments, we must remind ourselves that it is not for this life that we live, but for that which is to come. No matter how bleak our circumstances become, we cannot afford to turn away from the One Who is always with us (Heb. 13:5). We have made an irrevocable commitment to follow Christ until the end, and we must live up to that commitment regardless of the struggles and strains of life. Why? We have been given hearts of discipleship.

Speaking of which, I came across an anonymous essay entitled ‘The Disciple’s Heart’ several years ago, and I held onto it for obvious reasons. I have included it below for your edification, encouragement, and as a model for the Christian mind. I pray that it will bless you as it blessed me.

The Disciple’s Heart

I want to be a follower of Christ. I want to be one of His disciples. I want to walk in the newness of life, just let me be a follower of Christ. What do I have to do? What do I have to say? How do I have to walk each and every day?

Tell me, what does it cost if I follow the cross? Just let me be a follower of Christ?

I am a member of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed vision, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live in faith, lean on his presence, walk in his patience, live by prayer, labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide reliable.

My mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, and preached up the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.

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