Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Churches Placing US Flag in Second Position

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WBTV in Charlotte, NC is reporting that a church in Shelby is reassessing its priorities regarding the US flag.

Last Sunday, the 4th of July weekend, the pastor and the congregation met at the flag pole in front of the church and together raised the Christian flag up the pole, then the American flag to wave just below it. Following the ceremony, they proceeded with their scheduled worship service.

Now others, a lot of others, are doing the same. In fact churches are posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter #GodBeforeGovernment.

A website has been set up to help direct and accommodate the interest of others in doing the same.

While some news reports are trying to cast this move as rebellion or civil disobedience, the pastors say it's neither.

It's a positive and historically correct statement about Christianity in America.

WBTV reported that in "Cleveland County, Old Glory flies high. From shops, to homes, to places of worship---the red white and blue can be spotted from every street corner."

"But this Fourth of July weekend, one Shelby flag pole will be reassessing its priorities. On Sunday, Pastor Rit Varriale will raise the Christian flag above the American flag in front of the Elizabeth Baptist Church."

WBTV, and now other news sources, are referring to this as a "controversial" move.

The pastor told WBTV, "Our typical flag etiquette is to have the American flag above the Christian flag. But when you stop and think about it, it should be our commitment to God first and country second."

He says he actually noticed another pastor had done the same a couple of months ago at a church down the road--Pastor Walter Wilson at Focus Missionary Baptist Church.

Pastor Wilson says, "As I was changing the rope one day, the Lord just laid on me that He is first, and when He told me that, I switched the flags around."

Pastor Varriale told WBTV he thinks Christians should stand up like the LGBT people have done.

He says, "The reality is, they have been willing to sacrifice more and be more bold for their cause than the church of Jesus Christ for serving God, and that's got to change."

His action and that of Pastor Wilson has sparked change.

The response from other pastors and other churches is substantial---and growing.

A website, God Before Government,has been set up to accommodate and direct their desire to make the same statement.

WBTV and others are doing what the press does---reporting, "The decision is getting push back online from some saying the move is disrespectful and unpatriotic."

Pastor Varriale says, "I don't really need a lecture on patriotism, I'm willing to give my life for my country. When you think of the military motto's, for example, God and country, God first and then country."

The pastor is a former Army Ranger.

I agree. He doesn't need a lecture on patriotism.

Pastor Wilson says, "We know not everyone is going to agree with that. But that's not going to make us sit down and stop talking about what's important."

The God Before Government site says in part, "Welcome to the God Before Government website. If there was ever a time when people need to stand up for traditional values and beliefs, it is now....This new approach to flag etiquette symbolizes that our commitment to God is greater than our service to and commitment to government---especially a government that coerces us to violate our commitments to God."

Now others are following their lead.

If leaders will lead, people will follow.

I'm reminded of the story of Pastor Peter Muhlenberg. His response was to a nation waiting to be born in freedom and liberty, under God.

It was Sunday morning in 1776.

It was a regular Sunday morning service, except that it would ultimately play a role in the birth of the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Pastor Muhlenberg's sermon was from the text in Ecclesiastics 3 which says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die: a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted..."

Near the end of his sermon, Pastor Peter Muhlenberg turned to his congregation and said, "In the language of the holy writ, there is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away."

He had everyone's attention.

He continued: "There is a time to fight, and that time has now come."

He then proceeded to remove his clerical robe to reveal, to the shock of some, a military uniform.

Marching to the back of the church he declared, "Who among you is with me?"

On that day 300 men from his church stood and marched off with him to give birth to the greatest nation in history. The pastor and his men eventually became known as the 8th Virginia Brigade, as they fought for liberty together, as they had worshiped together.

Things are different in 2015---reversed from that Sunday 239 years ago.

A government birthed from an undying commitment to God, His Word, values and principles has now become predatory toward those who still hold those same biblical beliefs and celebrate our Christian, biblical heritage by living out their faith in the public square.

Perhaps a new generation of pastors will lead against this assault on liberty and freedom.

Two pastors in North Carolina are on the Internet asking your pastor and congregants to join them in their effort to mobilize believers and restore a nation that has departed from its founding principles and Christian foundations.

Will you stand for righteousness when our government is refusing to govern "under God?"

Abraham Lincoln said, "Be sure you put your feet in the right place then stand firm."

A couple in Ephrata who support this ministry sent this to me a few days ago: "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.

Be Strong. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.