Fellow Christian, Trump may need us but we do not need him

donaldtrump_bible_750x455

If I had a dollar for every time a fellow Christian told me we “need Trump”, I could single-handedly fund my church’s next building campaign.

The line of reasoning typically goes something like this —

  • Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice but he is the only good choice remaining.
  • If Hillary wins she will appoint very liberal justices to the Supreme Court and we will “lose many of our freedoms.”
  • Hillary does not believe the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own guns. She will appoint justices who will “take away our guns”.
  • Hillary Clinton wants more Syrian refugees imported into our nation and she wants a country with open borders.
  • Hillary Clinton wants abortion on demand, and at any time during the pregnancy.
  • We “need Donald Trump” to keep President Hillary Clinton and her liberal agenda from becoming a reality.

And to which I respond the following —

  • It only takes 41 U.S. Senators to block an extreme liberal Supreme Court nominee. In this political climate, I hold out that even moderate Republicans will stand against the nomination of an extremely liberal activist judge.
  • Hillary will be gone by 2020, and 3 of the oldest judges are already liberal or liberal leaning (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy). So even if she got 3 picks in 4 years, the balance of power wouldn’t even change.
  • If you don’t think Hillary will be extremely vulnerable in 2020 then you’re not paying attention. The only reason she’s even winning now is because Trump is such a TERRIBLE candidate.
  • If Hillary actually promoted “abortion on demand to the final trimester”, Americans — who have been trending more pro-life in recent years —  would revolt. Same idea in regards to trying to “take away our guns.” If she tried it, the Dems would lose huge in the 2018 midterms, and she would be a lame duck until 2020 (even better).
  • Donald Trump is only pandering to the anti-abortion vote. He doesn’t even mention the Pro-Life issue anywhere on the policies page of his website (trust me, I looked).
  • Open borders produce free markets, but if we just enforced existing immigration law we’d be fine.
  • As Christians we are called to extend a helping hand to the “least of these.” The fear-mongering when it comes to Syrian refugees is maddening.
  • A strong Republican Congress can hold her feet to the fire as the opposition party in DC. If Trump is elected, they have to carry his water — very bad for a generation of Conservatism.
  • Jesus is King, quit with the “we will lose many of our freedoms” scare tactics. You’re being fed a load of crap.
  • Hillary’s policies may result in persecution of the church from the outside, but Trump will poison it from the inside (as he is already doing). I contend the latter would be much worse.

So while Donald Trump knows he needs our votes to win, which is why he shamelessly panders for the pro-life vote and plays to the Christian Right’s need for political power, we do not need him. Vote for him if you want, but please don’t tell me I need to.

If persecution comes and our faith is tested, that just means Jesus was right. Our faith would be affirmed by such trials. Count me in, and onward to 2020!

More reading from others —

So am I not going to vote?

I still plan to vote on November 8th, and will support the Republican and conservative candidates down ballot for Congress, and at the state and local level. For president, I will likely vote for the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld libertarian ticket — not because I agree with everything they stand for, but because every vote they receive helps with ballot access for the Libertarian Party in future elections. The best way forward for this country is to support every effort to break the two-party stranglehold. In Maine, voting for Gary Johnson is the best means toward that end. If you live in Utah, I would encourage you to support Evan McMullin.

Read Next –> My position explained: Why I’m still #NeverTrump and hedging my bets until 2020

Mass shootings, the heart of mankind, and why evil exists

Another mass shooting. Another lament from the media and our president that lack of gun control is the root of the problem.

I first wrote a majority of the content below in the article “Government cannot change the heart of mankind, eliminate evil” after the Sandy Hook tragedies in December 2012. Almost 3 years and numerous mass shootings later, and a day after students were gunned downed at an Oregon Community College, and nothing has changed. The heart of mankind is still lacking, and evil still exists in this world.

People take part in candlelight vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
People take part in candlelight vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

Many have opined what should be done so that all of those innocent lives who were slain do not die in vain. Life is but a vapor (James 4:14), and no amount of human effort can bring those that were lost back to us. As a result, our human instinct is to want to do everything in our power to prevent more incidents like it from occurring again. Those in positions of leadership honestly believe they have the power to do so. And naturally, with a large portion of the people who elect them calling for some type of action, our leaders are inclined to act.

But while government can and should take reasonable steps to protect it’s citizens, one thing it or it’s leaders can never do is change the heart of mankind. The only power that can make such a change is a moral authority outside of ourselves. As a Christian I believe this moral authority is in God the Father- the Creator of the entire universe. But because He knew we could never work our way up to Him, He came down to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And through simple faith in Jesus, the true heart-change of mankind occurs by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. However, the specific beliefs of the Christian faith are outside the scope of this article. I certainly realize and appreciate that many other traditions of faith accomplish the task of keeping evil at bay in our world by way of similar moral authorities.

The specific point that has been on my heart to discuss is that as God has been removed from schools and public places, it seems evil has invaded these same places. I do not believe this is a coincidence. Many people have been wondering why these massacres and other horrible incidents have been increasing in recent years, and their first instinct is to place blame- guns, mental illness, even God for not stopping it from occurring. It seems the only time some people believe in God is when they want to blame him for the bad things that happen in this world.

What’s often ignored and even scoffed at is the very real presence of evil in our world.

As Erick Erickson wrote after Sandy Hook in 2012:

Our society has turned its back on discussing evil. Evil, like God, is mythology to many in our country even when confronted with it at the barrel of a gun… The world is full of sin. It is easy for the non-Christian to look at what happened and rationalize away that the person was mentally ill, we need gun control, etc.

So let’s discuss evil, and it’s root cause- the human heart when left to it’s own devices (i.e, without a moral authority).

Many people relegate evil, and more specifically Satan, to a myth because they immediately conjure up images of the incorrect human depiction of him — a red devil with horns and a pitchfork. But just as God is unseen, so too is his nemesis in this world. In the Bible, Satan is the representation of evil in this world and is called the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). More specifically, he is given the title “ruler of this world” (John 12:31).

But why does an almighty God, who is ultimately sovereign and definitely good, allow evil to rule this age in which we live? Consider this — how would we even know true good if we had no knowledge of the concept of evil? Said another way — if there was nothing bad in this world, then how would we even grasp the idea of something being defined as good? You can’t know what’s truly good, or have true love, without knowing evil and having a choice to hate.

Bottom line, in order have knowledge of good, God has allowed us to experience and know evil. This truth is communicated to us in the story in the Bible known as “The Fall of Man” (Genesis 3).

No matter what you choose to call it — the devil, Satan, the evil one, “dark forces” — the human vocabulary has it’s limits when attempting to provide a true and accurate representation of something we as mere mortals grasp to understand. Regrettably, when people like the latest gunman in Oregon choose hate, innocent lives are caught in the crossfire, some of whom took a stand for their Christian faith. Political leaders by their own “works” cannot prevent tragedies like this from happening. Only a nation that humbles it’s heart and turns back to God stands a chance at ending these senseless killings.

 

Top 8 things NFL player and UMaine grad Mike DeVito said about Christian Influence

NFL Player and University of Maine grad Mike DeVito recently visited The Rock Church in Bangor as the guest speaker. He spoke on the role of discipleship to influence others as Christians.

Much of what he said resonated with me as I found myself saying “yes, and amen!” many times during his message. Read on for the points that stood out the most for me (full video below).

Mike-Devito-maximize-the-time-we-have

1) 3:10 — The Biblical word for “influence” is “discipleship”, both inside the church and outside the church.

2) 4:05 — Discipleship isn’t just about getting people to heaven. We aren’t just selling “fire insurance.” As important as that is, it’s also about teaching people to operate inside their created purpose. We need to give people this deeper understanding for God’s intent for their lives.

3) 10:00 — We must move from a paradigm of concern to a paradigm of compassion.

4) 13:33 — We need to be so affected by the Gospel — so saturated by the Word of God — that when we enter the world [it] doesn’t effect us, but we can’t do anything but effect the world.

5) 13:53 — The purpose of the [local] church is to prepare us to go out and take on the world. …We don’t just come here to hear a sermon and “be blessed” — we come here to be trained to go out and engage the world.

6) 22:20 — I think there’s a tendency to separate the church and the real world. We come here, we do our spiritual thing, we feel good, we sing, we worship… Then when we get out into the real world we don’t bring what we’ve gained in here out there… We have to combat that [tendency] and recognize that we’re called to bring the Gospel into all situations.

7) 27:04 — We really need to maximize the time that we have, because souls are at stake. One of the greatest deceptions is that we’ll always have the time to do this.

8) 31:20 — For those people that know Jesus personally my question for you is, “what are we doing with ‘the dash'” [between your date of birth, and the day you die]?

Watch the video in full:

INFOGRAPHIC: Church Small Groups with Missional Rhythms

In this infographic I’ve combined about 3 different concepts (using a few different graphics found elsewhere on the web). I’ve taken Missional Community rhythms and looked to make them work with a semester-based weekly small group model. Furthermore, this “missional” small group structure could be used as the backbone for growing your local church — as opposed to small groups just being an outlet for people already at your church to get “plugged in”. I think it can work. Any thoughts? Discuss in the comments below.

(Click to Enlarge)
(Click to Enlarge)

Important: Take special note of the dotted lines around both the “Church Service” and the “Small Groups” — those were intentional. We should never get so insular in either that new people aren’t invited in — or worse yet — don’t feel welcome.

REFERENCE: Missional Community Resources from Reach Church, Seattle (Direct PDF link)

Why church (an informal survey)?

why-church-questions

The purpose of this post is to get your input on this age-old question. Fellow Christian and church-goer, I want YOUR thoughts and opinions!

I am a Christian. I serve on the leadership team of a local church. I believe in Jesus Christ’s Great Commission. I support the local church’s role in helping to fulfill this mission in the world.

But in order to figure out the reason why more local churches should exist, and what we should be doing while we’re at them, I humbly submit some questions as an informal survey for my fellow Christians who are regular local church attenders.

Seriously, what is the point of everything we do as “church goers”? Leave a Reply below and answer as few or as many questions as you like. Be sure to include the question # next to each of your answers.

  1. In a short phrase, what (or who) is the local church?
    ___________________________________
  2. In general, what is the point of the local church?
    ___________________________________
  3. What services, if any, do we expect our local church to provide for us?
    ___________________________________
  4. What do we hope to obtain from attending our local church on Sundays (why do we go)?
    ___________________________________
  5. What do we desire to do with our time the rest of our week (from Sunday to Sunday)?
    ___________________________________
  6. How does/should what we get out of attending our local church on Sunday impact what we do the rest of the week?
    ___________________________________
  7. When you hear the phrase, “a church that the ‘unchurched’ love to attend”, what does that mean to you?
    ___________________________________
  8. Should local churches even be worried about whether so-called “unchurched” people “love to attend them” or not?
    ___________________________________
  9. If “unchurched” people are not attending our churches, what else can and should we be doing to reach those people?
    ___________________________________

These are honest questions as I try to determine what the mission of the local church should be in our communities in Maine and beyond. I thought about doing an online survey, but then felt it would illicit good conversation if everyone could see the responses.

It might help to copy and paste the questions above into the comment box below to get started.

Thanks!