Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 28, 2014

Thought for the Week October 26, 2014

Next week one of the most important days in the calendar rolls around – election day. I say it’s one of the most important because this is the day when you and I, as American citizens and as followers of Christ get to have a say regarding those who make decisions that affect everyone in our country. What privilege we have to live in a country that still gives us this opportunity without coercion or threat of violence. On the other hand, what a sacred duty is entrusted to us on this day when we can choose public servants who best reflect the moral and spiritual values that we so strongly believe and live by.

One of the most pressing issues of our day is the erosion of religious liberty. Our constitution guarantees everyone in the U.S. the right to freedom of religion. This is such a marvelous freedom. The Soviet Union, under communist rule guaranteed freedom of worship, but not freedom of religion. The difference is we are not only allowed to gather to worship as we please but we are guaranteed the right to live our lives, even in the public square, according to our beliefs. That is freedom of religion and that is being slowly stripped away. Eric Metaxas who wrote the most compelling biography I’ve ever read, that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and who co-hosts Breakpoint, a daily radio broadcast that provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print, wrote an article last week, entitled 2 Simple Ways to Help Save Religious Liberty, that illustrates this and offers an idea for standing up for our rights. I present it to you in its entirety.

“Last week I told you that Houston’s Mayor, Annise Parker, demanded to see the sermons of a group of five pastors and threatened them with a subpoena. Why? Because the pastors had objected to a new so-called ‘equal rights’ ordinance that would allow self-identified ‘transgendered’ men to use women’s restrooms. That’s an issue all its own. But as bad as that is, the Houston mayor’s shocking and outrageous trampling on the religious liberty of these pastors is far, far more disturbing. In fact, for someone in government to demand that pastors turn over their sermons is almost beyond belief. I confess I almost thought I was reading something out of my own book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, where I describe how the Gestapo tried to harass and intimidate Martin Niemoller and other German pastors speaking the truth from their pulpits. But this happened in America, a country that was founded on religious liberty.

“Now let me be clear: I don’t like to get people excited over nothing. But if ever there was a time to get excited—if ever there was a time to stand up and shout—folks, this is it. The Houston Mayor’s office has crossed a bold red line—and it has walked all over religious freedom in an act so brazen that it demands a response. And not just for religious liberty. Religious liberty is the canary in the coal mine. If this inexcusable act goes unanswered, it will open the door to government threatening other liberties. So this is not just about Christians and the church in America—it’s about all Americans. And it’s about America itself.

“So if we don’t act on this, we can’t complain when we lose further liberties and eventually we aren’t able to act at all. This is our chance. Whatever voice and liberties we have now, we must use. So what am I suggesting we do? Well, my friends at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission had a great idea. They urged pastors all across America to send their sermons to the Houston Mayor’s office. In fact, why don’t we all send sermons? But then I had another idea: we should send Bibles as well.

“Why Bibles? Because we need to say that this is the Word of God and in America it is not subject to governmental oversight or regulation. Those who value this book answer to a higher authority than the State. I’m happy to say that I emailed my thoughts to Mike Huckabee, and he repeated the call on his TV show Saturday.

“I’ll have that address of the Mayor’s office in a moment, but won’t you please join us and send a sermon or a Bible or even a card with a scripture verse to Mayor Parker? Pray over it and send it in love. Pray that God would show Mayor Parker and every politician in America that religious freedom is sacred and we cannot allow the State to trample upon it — and by God’s grace, we won’t.

“As I’ve said, the church has to answer this mayor’s outrageous and deeply un-American action. We’ve got to forcefully remind those in government that the church in America has been free since 1776—and the Founders intended it to stay that way. And we do too.

“Just recently I was jogging along the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts, not far from Boston—the ‘Cradle of Liberty’—and near Lexington and Concord. And I was thinking about when Paul Revere rode through the night, sounding the alarm. In a way that’s what this is. We must do the same—sound the alarm. So please do send a sermon or a Bible. And please do it if you can TODAY. If you’ve got a pencil, the address is: Mayor Parker, City Hall, 901 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002. If the American church does not rise up and stand against this, there is no American church. So won’t you please stand and be the church? God bless you. And God bless America.”

I thought that Eric’s idea of sending a Bible to the Mayor was fantastic. I am going to send at least one set of sermon notes along with a Bible and a note telling her that I am going to pray for her and for Houston.

Beloved friends, we must stand for religious liberty and a huge part of that is voting. Will you make it a point to get to the polls next Tuesday? And when you do, let the righteousness of Christ inform the candidates you choose. Thanks.


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