Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 11, 2012

Thought for the Week September 16, 2012

I received one very thoughtful and helpful feedback message from last week’s posting. I am always interested in what you think about the things over which I ponder and since I’ve taken the direction of trying to offer some basic teaching I’m even more interested in whether it is helping any of you to grow in your passion for Christ and love for people.

We had a great Sunday at Christian Chapel this week. Our initial focus on children, Kid’s Day, in my thinking, was a huge success. We were able to give the parents an opportunity to think about what they appreciated about each of their children and then to tell the kids just how much we truly believe that they are a real gift from God. So many pitched in to help with the logistics of this endeavor. It was actually bigger than Mother’s or Father’s Day!

I don’t know if you have noticed but we are less than two months from a major event in the political process of the United States, the presidential election. In addition to our president, we will be electing members to serve in both houses of congress and in some local elected positions. It would be hard not to see how much money, time, creative effort, etc., is going in to the campaign to win your vote and mine.

My very esteemed colleague, friend, and former Student Ministries pastor at Christian Chapel, Adrian Schoonmaker, shared an exceptionally thoughtful message at the church where he currently serves last Sunday. If you would like to listen you can link to the podcast at Adrian’s blog Let me share some highlights.

The main focus of Adrian’s message was not to endorse any political party or ideology but to point us to what is most important to us as Christians. While elections, candidates, rule of law, etc., are important to peaceful living, public safety, and orderly conduct, Christians must never place their hope for finally getting everything right on earth in the right president, policies, laws, etc., that man can devise. Adrian says while billions are being spent to convince us to “vote for me and I’ll fix everything” (my paraphrase) the book of Hebrews calls us back to a city whose builder and maker is God (He. 11:10) and to remember that our hope is for “a better country, that is, a heavenly…” (He. 11:16). Jesus, Himself, told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world.

Adrian pointed out Jesus’ words to the disciples in Acts 1, after they asked Him if He would now set up His kingdom (a new political empire). Jesus response was in Acts 1:7-8, It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends] of the earth. In other words, we are not to put our main focus on earthly political kingdoms but to focus on the main thing – bringing the kingdom of God to earth as we spread the good news of Jesus Christ and bring about real spiritual renewal one life at a time. This is our first priority. This is the mission Jesus gave us – the freedom of the human soul not an earthly government. Destroy the works of the devil and promote a new spiritual order that makes “new creatures” made in God’s image. Adrian said profoundly, “Jesus came to plunder hell and populate heaven!”

The news media and all the politicians on both sides want us to think that the fate of the world rides on what happens on November 6th, but that is not true. The only date that really makes all the difference in the fate of the world was a date on which the Savior of the world hung on a cruel cross and shed His blood for “whosoever will believe in Him” so that we could become citizens of a different kingdom, we could be marked by a different name. It’s not Republican or Democrat or any other party for that matter. It is the name of Jesus.

We, as citizens of that kingdom, have been commissioned as change agents. Adrian said that God breathed the family into existence in Genesis and breathed the church into existence in Acts. These are the true agents of change. If we are on His mission sharing the culture changing power of the love of Jesus and pointing people all over the nation to freedom in Christ, we are changing the culture and nation one person at a time.

I’ve tried to give you the main idea Adrian shared but you’ll have to listen yourself to get the full benefit of his well thought out and articulate message. I believe that it is important for whom we cast our ballot. Chuck Colson says that when citizens of His kingdom bring His light to bear on the institutions of the earth it makes a difference. But we must be careful, as Adrian says, not to put words into God’s mouth by saying “God wants so and so to be president,” or “God sides with the Democrat/Republican/Constitutional/whatever party.” We must let our focus and hope rest not in men or women who run for office nor in their perceived abilities to “fix” everything, but in God alone who alone has the power to really effect any meaningful change here.

So, for whom do we vote? I don’t think Adrian really told us nor do I think that was his intention. Neither would I attempt to influence you towards a certain candidate. I do believe it is very important, as Christians, to know the candidates and to evaluate them based on issues that are fundamental to life and ethical living. That being said, Adrian points us to the most important question before we ever cast a vote – who is your Savior and where is your hope? Paul says in Colossians 3:1-3, 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. If my focus is on Christ and I am seeking things which are above, rather than political party affiliation, personal likes or dislikes of candidates, trust in man, I am confident that I will evaluate properly and make the right decision. What about you? Have you set your mind on things above? Merely a thought to ponder.

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