Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Houston and Couer d' Alene Serve as Wake-Up Call

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The tragic anti-Christian, anti-religious freedom actions being carried out in Houston, Texas and Couer d' Alene, Idaho over the past few days are stunning.

I've written about both.

It appears these actions, linked with other similar actions, may be just what was needed---a victory, but not necessarily for homosexual activists.

These actions, linked to hundreds of other similar attacks from city hall to public school classrooms to federal government, may be the proverbial "tipping point" that awakens a slumbering Christian community. To put it in biblical terms, it may be the "trumpet" that is finally heard across the nation.

It may be a lesbian mayor in a major city and an over zealous city in a small town by a big lake that finally brings national attention to the relentless attack on religious freedom and biblical beliefs.

Yesterday I mentioned this possibility on our live daily radio program.

That feeling is a consensus of many. It isn't just us.

Mike Huckabee, Senator Ted Cruz and a growing number of leaders are also seeing these incidents as something productive for people of biblical faith.

There at least 7 good things that can come from this.

Huckabee is encouraging people to respond to Houston Mayor Annise Parker. He is suggesting Christians send her a Bible. She has expressed interest in what pastors are preaching, so the Bible will be helpful.

Huckabee, himself an ordained minister, is also encouraging pastors to send the mayor copies of sermons they have preached on the subject of homosexuality. Some pastors may be unable to do so. However, this is her address:

Mayor Annise Parker
901 Bagby St.
Houston, Texas 77002

Senator Ted Cruz says, "I'm proud to stand with the pastors...Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit, and when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena all pastors."

It's becoming apparent the mayor does not have actual legal grounds to carry out her subpoena demands.

Eric Metaxes, writing for Prison Fellowship Ministries' Breakpoint, says Mayor Parker understood this campaign against pastors could not actually be legally carried out from the beginning. However, she sees these actions as helping to further her cause.

How so?

He says, "Their goal was not legal---it was political. The goal was not to prevail in litigation over the petitions but to intimidate their opponents and create what the Supreme Court has called 'a chilling effect' on future challenges to government actions by religiously motivated citizens."

I believe this is true. However, sometimes there are unintended consequences, this, I believe, is one of those times.

Attach these two instances to hundreds of others over recent months, and you may be looking at the "tipping point"---the "sound of the Trumpet."

Thom Rainer has written what many of us are thinking. Seven good things that can come from this:

  1. Churches across the world historically thrive in times of persecution. Christ's Church will not be defeated. Attempts to suppress the gospel message have only lit a fire that burns even brighter.
  2. This action is a needed wake-up call for American churches. Perhaps we will move from our posture of acute apathy to one of making a difference for Christ and His gospel.
  3. Times such as these demonstrate who will really take a stand for Christ. Nominal Christians will continue to have their blasé attitudes. Real Christians will demonstrate their faith boldly.
  4. Times such as these encourage us to participate with other believers of like minds and hearts. We American Christians are good at highlighting every miniscule difference between different Christian groups. The Houston subpoena controversy is making us unite over what we have in common.
  5. We are able to demonstrate the love of Christ in bold ways during times of persecution. If we Christians will be Christ-like even while we protest, it will send a message to the world. Righteous indignation does not conflict with Christian love. Let us show what we are for while we protest what we are against.
  6. Nitpicking criticisms tend to wane in times such as these. Social media specifically has magnified the pettiness of many Christians. Some church members spend more time criticizing others than sharing the gospel. But the Houston subpoena debacle has moved the focus to working together instead of against each other.
  7. The gospel is magnified. Acts 8:1 notes the martyrdom of Stephen and the severe persecution against the church. Note what happens as the persecution begins: " . . . all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria." In the midst of intense persecution, believers scattered throughout other regions and the gospel traveled with them.

Joseph's brothers saw the sale of their brother to a cross country caravan as success. We now know that although they meant it for evil, God meant it for good.

Stand firm. Be Blessed.