Monday, September 08, 2014
Pastor Asked To Become "Life Coach" Instead
Pastor Troy Schmidt was preparing to start his 7th year as volunteer chaplain for the Olympia High School football team when he got the phone call.
His jaw dropped.
The Christian cleansing of Orange County schools was under way, and the school year was only beginning.
Troy listened as he was told he could no longer "open a Bible on school property, talk about the Bible, talk about God or have prayer with individual members of the football team.
However, Pastor Troy Schmidt was offered a solution---a compromise that would allow him to continue to have a relationship with the school district and the football players...a relationship that has helped so many so often over the many years this relationship has existed.
With so much at stake, what should he do?
Todd Starnes, with Fox News says the "crackdown on Christianity is a result of a threat filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation."
Keep in mind the atheist organization sends out about a 1,000 threatening letters each year, but does not have the budget to actually litigate their threats in court.
I mentioned last week in one of my articles that Hiram Sasser with the Christian Liberty Institute law firm says the atheists are only able to litigate about a dozen of their 1,000 threats due to the size of their budget.
The Florida school district is so fearful of a lawsuit they can't afford, that they, as many are doing, have caved in to the threat. The district is also now banning references to the Bible on school property. Bible verses are prohibited on clothing provided by the school and songs with any religious lyrics may not be used in school related videos, presentations, etc.
That would apparently eliminate the singing of God Bless America, or even the recital of the Pledge as "one nation under God."
The school, the community and the church has had a long and meaningful relationship. One that has helped countless kids to excel, and to find help in times of personal difficulty.
From all that I have read, the school district is not trying to sever the relationship, they are simply frozen by fear. This is often the case and the atheists know it.
For years the church has provided a huge meal for the football team and all the coaches before each game. In Florida, faith, family and football are an important part of the community.
Now the atheists from Wisconsin are tearing the fabric of the community by taking this action, and it is at tremendous loss to all in the community.
However, the school came up with what they considered a solution...a compromise that would allow things to continue as they have been...sort of.
They asked Pastor Schmidt to put aside the role of pastor and become a "Life Coach." The school district told him he could still motivate the kids and inspire them, except he would just use all secular references, stories and illustrations, with no reference to the Bible.
Schmidt says it was an easy decision for him.
"It's not me," he said.
"I don't get any inspiration besides what I get from the Bible. My heroes come from the Bible..."
He says the church will continue to serve the school and the football kids and coaches with the big meal, but he's out as a "Life Coach," it's not what God has called him to do.
The argument, of course, is that he should become a "Life Coach" so he could continue to have contact with the kids and help them.
He feels that would be a distraction---a detour from what he is supposed to be doing.
Perhaps this reflects a greater problem in our culture. Is being a "Life Coach" the path more traveled in today's culture, because it creates less difficulties and personal challenges than actually preaching the gospel and its transforming power to a lost and confused culture?
Is this the equivalent to the seeker friendly church that never takes a stand regarding what the Bible teaches for fear of not relating to the culture?
Apparently Pastor Schmidt thinks so. Schmidt is also a writer for the television show "Bible Quiz", He says he will not bow down to the notion of becoming a "Life Coach" when God has called him to greater things.
As I have been following this story for the last couple of weeks, I was reminded of a story most everyone is familiar with...or at least has heard about.
King Nebuchadnezzar was on a roll. The whole kingdom worshiped him as though he was a god---or else. Laws were passed to further elevate the worship---an image was created as the object of worship, laws were passed to enforce the worship and if your biblical beliefs differed from the new norm you were required to conform, or at least be silent---sounds familiar doesn't it?
Three Hebrew youth said that he wasn't their God, and they wouldn't worship him. There were dozens of reasons why it would have been "Okay" to slide by and not challenge the laws. They were from out of town, it would have allowed them to live instead of die in an overheated furnace, thus allowing them to live longer and be a more effective witness for God, they could have pretended to worship the image, but not really done so in their heart etc., etc.
The King became enraged by their convictions. While threatening to throw them in the furnace, he asked, "What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?"
The three Hebrew youth said, "We do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter"---our God is able to deliver us, and we believe He will---but even if He doesn't, be advised, "We are not going to serve your gods or worship your image anyway."
Not at all. These were deeply held beliefs that their God was able, and they were willing to stand on that Truth. They refused to compromise.
There is too often a "life coach" mentality when people actually need deliverance and restoration, not "how to" suggestions. They need to witness the power of God, rather than discuss or dialog about it.
Mentoring and motivational speaking has its place, but mentoring and motivation is not the "message."
Personal lives and our culture are in chaos, we desperately need to see a demonstration of God's redeeming power. Only the gospel is the power of God to salvation.
This is a time to stand, not sit; and to speak, not be silent. A time to trust not compromise.
Stand firm. God will deliver us, but regardless....we will stand firm anyway.
Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Bold. Be Courageous. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.