Monday, August 17, 2015

Christians Trump and Election Principles

We are 15 months out from the next election. The primary circus is in full swing. People everywhere are voicing opinions and observations. Polling is being done to reveal the thoughts and directions of all cultural sub groups. And in the cross hairs of this search are Evangelical Christians. A group that not too long ago represented a large voting bloc, is now being shown as a group splintered on thoughts and far less powerful than years gone by. And who they are currently supporting is revealing.

Polling has discovered that people labeled as Evangelical Christians are favoring Trump over all others. The "others" category is important. Several outspoken Evangelical Christians can be found in that group. Among them are Cruze and Huckabee. And yet neither of these two are trending towards the top of the list. Towering above all others stands Trump. A person who is a far cry from social issues and lifestyles of Christians.

How can this be?

The establishment mentality of the parties has no answer for us. Even the Tea Party appears to be diminished at the rise of the ever outspoken Trump. And so Trump soars on. One could say that this is just more evidence of a watered down group who are more into being called Christians than living and making decisions as one. I would say such a thought posits much merit. But is there more to be gleaned from this unusual movement?

A panoramic view of the Democrat options reveals two leading figures who are totally rejected as good for the high office of President of the United States by conservatives and Christians. Sanders is a self proclaimed Socialist. His understanding of Government, along with his desires for Government, would finish off the transformation of America started by the current office holder.

Clinton is... Clinton!

No need to expound much on her character, vision, and beliefs.  True that she will garner support from some left leaning Christians, she is seen by the vast majority as someone who must be prevented from her lifelong quest to lead our nation. The mere idea that someone has so desperately sought to be President for so long reveals the level of narcissism she embraces and lives within.


Here is the real issue. Evangelical Christians are looking at the options in a perspective of "who can prevent Clinton from winning?" This is the primary focus. Not forgotten are the lessons learned from 2008. The victory by Obama was a key point in the American story. I sat in a meeting a few years ago in DC listening as media and political pundits explained how the horror of 2008 occurred. The solutions presented were actually the Republican establishment attempts to transform the party with the thought being that only such a new party could beat and prevent Clinton from achieving her goal. And while much could be said of this disastrous approach, volumes of lessons are now being revealed by the people who do the deciding.

People are tired of politicians and the establishment. Americans still remember that we formed this nation to break free from political classes and ruling elites. Inherit in each of our basic natures is the desire for power and control. Each person reading this would scream is someone moved your mouse or trackpad and changed the page! And so in walks Trump.

Trump is being seen as the best option for an actual win. Trump is not being scrutinized as of yet like others with easy political track records to trek through. Trump is a dynamic personality that speaks his mind and makes more sense at the moment than any of the others. His obvious knowledge of perception and media savvy are causing him to garner support. People like a winner!

Without endorsing Trump, I am simply providing a perspective on his campaign phenomenon and the thoughts of why Christians may be leaning his direction. As Christian bloggers and personalities spend time trying to enlighten each of us on the Trump deficiencies, they might seek to grasp the reasons and answer the real question before such groups prior to penning their righteous indignation darts at us.

Who can beat Clinton?

It is way too early to know. Clinton may beat herself! Time will reveal if even Trump can maintain and continue to win over supporters. But someone must rise and present a dynamic vision for America while showing the charisma to attract supporters - enough to win! Absent this, Trump will press on and so will his supporters.

Trump is seen as the person who has the best position, charisma, and following to keep Clinton out of the White House. The political rules of yesterday no longer apply. Trump is smart enough to know this. And he knows that he can beat Clinton.

And that my friends sums up the goals of many Christians - and all conservatives.

Like it or not. Right or wrong. Keeping Clinton out of the White House is the new Principle of today!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Elections and the future of American Politics

The first debate among hopeful GOP candidates was held last night. Actually, there were two debates. The number of people running for the GOP nominee to be President of the United States is staggering. I have taken some time thinking through the events of last evening and still find it difficult to summarize. Pundits have done their jobs doing the same and as usual they have not been the least bit helpful.

The purpose of a debate is to give opponents the opportunity to share their views and policy decisions all the while defending same against opposing views and challenges. I actually like debates. They are helpful in sharpening how one articulates positions and beliefs. People today often think falsly that debating is personal. It can get rough at times when someone feels they are beginning to lose the fight for their position. A jab at an opponent often throws them off their game allowing for your own recovery. Thus strategy is equally important. Yet debating is needed and helpful.

Last night was hard to ascribe to as a debate. It was more like a question and answer marathon. Very little questions of substance were asked and thus very little substance was gleaned from the evening. The three hosts from FOXNews, though given high marks from their liberal peers, actually flattered the same by lowering the depth of their questions to the level of a social media frenzy. Certainly one could opine that this was the expectation with Facebook co-sponsoring the night. Left with little to chew on, the America people, and more importantly conservative thought and beliefs, were the clear losers.

A wise Pastor tweeted last night that it would be premature for anyone to pick a candidate this early. I totally agree. Not one of the candidates has yet to present a clear vision for America. Not one! There are glimpses of ideas but an obvious lack of meat is missing when you delve into what has been revealed thus far. Two candidates appeared Presidential last night; Huckabee and Ted Cruze. I am not saying I favor them at all. I just thought their appearance was indicative of the office being sought. Rubio was also close to providing the same. Carson is brilliant but slow and thoughtful. In todays world, he will find it tough to gain traction.

Focus group responses from the Luntz play pen were the least bit informative. Luntz knows how to asks questions and so like Trump, I put little stock in what he produces. He was determined to get a "breaking news" story out of that group. Go figure!

So I am still left wondering who will emerge from this cluttered field? How different are their positions from each other? What in fact are their positions? We know what Cruz will do on day one but what about day 2 and on?

American politics has and is failing us. I do not look to politicians to "save" the world, Jesus has that one! But I do look for principled leadership at a time when little if any true leadership can be found. Could it be that we have produced such a lousy political process that leadership is a thing of the past? I hope not but I fear so. Which might explain why Trump is leading the pack. I can assure you that leading a nation is far different than leading your own company. The dramatic difference equals that of Community Organizer to President.

And thus we have the current version of American politics.

Friday, January 30, 2015

NeedtoBreathe "Brother" a needed word for today!

Those who truly know me understand that I love music. I love all genres. Yet I am picky about one aspect of music - the message! I engulf my life in music that reinforces quality traits that are Godly and uplifting. I do the same with movies. I want to be challenged to stand strong and stay the course no matter what.

In today's world it is difficult to find this type of reinforcement.  So difficult that if you were to look at my playlists on my phone, or see the movies and shows I DVR, you might think that I am lost in the oldies.  I am actually just that selective. I know the power of influence. I know that anyone of us can get tripped up in life if we are not careful with what we allow to influence our lives.  So whether it is music from the Southern Gospel world, Praise music, real oldies, Country, or Disco from the 70's, you will find my song selection to be such that encourages me to stand and keep moving forward!

The group NeedtoBreathe just released a new song that I immediately downloaded and have been listening to all day while working. It is playing now as I type this.  The song is named "Brother".  The words of the chorus speak to my thoughts today about so many things:

Brother let me be your shelter
I'll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you're low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

The activity of today in all circles of life is attack and attack some more. Whether you are a Christian or not (and I would love to share with you about the love of Jesus if you do not know Him), you know what I mean. We see people hurting and we kick and hurt them more. Have we forgotten that the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is forgiveness. Are we so caught up in our agendas and ruthless narcissism that we are too prideful to admit that we trample on the Gospel when we fail to live it out?

I tell our people every week that as Christians we MUST be the people who embrace the hurting regardless of their failures, faults, weaknesses etc, and nurture them back to health. That is exactly what God called us to be and do. I am the first to admit that very few in my own life have done this. Most people are left to suffer and scrap their way around the ugly of this world by themselves. And some today love the ease of joining the rock throwing. And often, we may join when our intention is something else. We live in a messed up world where the mess grows by the day. But the failures of others should not stop us from our calling!

The guys of NeedtoBreathe have highlighted one of the greatest needs of our day. I could post hundreds of verses where the Bible teaches this clearly. But I will highlight this with the following passage:

1 Pet 4:8-11
8    And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
9    Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10    As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11    If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And so I will keep praying as I sing:  "Lord, let me be the love of Christ to all I come in contact with, standing for your truth which means I must hate sin but love the sinner. Let me be a true brother in my actions and words. Thank you Lord for showing me the way! May many more "brothers" rise up in this wicked and perverse day!"

And thank you Bo, Bear and the whole NeedtoBreathe gang for writing this song to remind me of this daily! I needed it today!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

All Americans Must Decry Inciting of Police Killings

I set down in my office to do my normal Saturday evening sermon go over and prayer time. Suddenly alerts began popping up on my phone. Two police officers shot and killed execution style in New York. The disgust boiled over immediately. Words left me. My heart sunk for these officers families and for us as a nation.

What I am writing tonight has been on my heart for some time. I have withheld for concern that I might be misunderstood. But tonight it was clear, it is time many of us who know better speak up and stand up loud and clear.

The Al Sharpton's of this world are out to destroy lives while building their own bank accounts and narcissistic egos. They do not care about race. They do not care about innocent lives who have to pay the price for their gain. They are disgusting human beings. And it is time we let them know there day has come and gone.

The current climate in America is more than dangerous. Our President capitulates to a ruthless dictator.  Our Attorney General (chief law enforcement officer) plays the race card over and over. We have Elected officials in all levels of Government challenging law enforcement as if they are all to blame for the actions of thugs and criminals.

The Christian world does not escape blame. Lately the rhetoric flows from many evangelical circles that somehow this is all our fault. The inequalities of people are more than unfortunate. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ doe not in any shape or form dictate that we Christians should or can correct this. It does speak loud and clear for every Christian to live as Christ. We should live right with all men regardless of race or ethnicity. Coddling criminals and thinking we can somehow apologize for the actions of others is useless.  We can live right. And that is where our focus needs to be. We need to love all. And yet we must strongly condemn lawlessness regardless of race.

Every church I have Pastored has been multiracial including my ministry now. Our people are actually sharing a building with two other churches, both multiracial, while we relocate. We have had zero issues. Why, we live right and love all people.  It is not complicated. It does not require a summit or initiative.

The inciting of the race issue in this country is one of the greatest manipulations America has ever seen. And more than tragic is the price our law enforcement officers are paying. The ones who wake up everyday and go out and deal with the ugliest of ugly are being sacrificed for someones social engineering experiment. That is beyond disgusting. I have had enough. Have you?

We do not have to stand by and allow this garbage. I call on every American citizen to do something NOW! Stand with your law enforcement community. Respect them. Stand up to the discord sowers. Call them what they are. They are cowards seeking monetary gain. They do not care for the blacks, yellows, browns, or whites. They care only for themselves. Just like the bully on the playground, it only takes a few and they will turn, run, and hide!

Will you stand! Enough is enough!  Pray for all law enforcement officials. Thank them! Get behind them! Stand with them!

It is time for action - NOW!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Houston Mayor Pastors and Christians!

While serving as a Youth Pastor in the 1990's I remember a fellow Youth Pastor used a drama during a weekend lock-in that got more attention than he first thought it would. During the evening Worship Service for this event he had armed people storm the worship service and take him out in handcuffs. Why? He was showing the teenagers and adults what could easily happen in America if we Christians did not wake up to the trends that were developing. This Youth Pastor was labeled a radical nut and public opinion from his own church and others followed those lines. In fact, I was instructed by our Pastor to NEVER try something like that with our people.

Today, such a skit is ill advised due to the shootings that have taken place in churches. But the message of this Youth Pastor was indeed spot on. Adults in the early 90's did not see coming what now has arrived. The following article describes the first in America shakedown and intimidation of preachers.

What should we do?

1. Every Pastor needs to stand with these men.  We cannot coward from this moment. Nor should these men fight this fight alone.

2. Every Christian in America needs to join in this fight. Your spiritual lives are being threatened.

3.  We need to fight and stand in a Christian manner. This is not a time to go off on tangents. Passion is needed. But controlled passion will show the real nature and character of Christ in this battle. We need people to see Christians stand in a Christian manner thus showing them the message of salvation found in Jesus.

4.  We need not politicize this moment. Certainly the Mayor of Houston is doing just that. But should we join in his methods the real message of the issue at hand will be lost.

5.  Pastors everywhere need to educate their people on what is taking place. This education must be delivered with a passion for heaven sent revival among ourselves. We have trusted in the "American" system and history for far too long. Apathy is present in American Christianity and we need to once again beg people to cry out to God for revival.

6.  Pastors must continue to preach showing no fear. But our preaching must be Biblical, including love for all and desiring all to be saved. Hate speech and emotional rants are not found in the Bible nor should they come from us Pastors.

7.  We must fervently pray! And then fervently pray more!

America has changed and is changing. We may lose more freedoms than we ever dreamed. We may be able to prevent the loss of many freedoms. But more important than that, are the lives entrusted to each of us Pastors to teach, preach, and disciple with the Truths of God's Word.   And it is here that we are being called to faithfulness. Children and adults in other parts of the world are standing for Christ to the point of death!

What will we do?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Open letter to Pastors - Stop Ministry Bullying!

I have written this letter in my thoughts hundreds of times in the last few years. I have tried to write this several times in the immediate past few months. And finally this evening while mowing my lawn with my boys assisting me, did I get the freedom within my spirit to actually write it and post it.  The words written flow from a heart that is broken. The theme of this letter finds motivation in part of the calling that God has placed on my life - to help Pastors.

There are two ladies who write at Wartburg Watch who have done an incredible job of connecting some sad dots among a small sampling of men who claim to be ministers that portray a very sad and horrific picture. It is a picture that should never exist among Godly leaders. But it does. And it is time for good men to stand up and say enough is enough! The words of the Irish Philosopher Edmond Burke ring true at such a time as this: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

The Wartburg Watch article above clearly shows that a small group of men have participated in Cyber Stalking for several years. These two ladies may be the first to connect the dots in print highlighting the devastation that has been occurring disguised as standing for truth.  Anyone who has been targeted by this group knows the pain and agony they shovel. And it is this agony that now must be repudiated once and for all by Pastors of churches in every size.

Their Tactics
They bully people using social media and web sites. Ironically, their main approach finds them using anonymous twitter accounts and websites to bring about their desired action, usually "repentance" of their targets.

This small group will even speak against themselves on twitter and social media, using multiple twitter sites etc. while no one else knows its just one person talking to himself. They know how the internet works. They understand how to raise their pages in the search engine rankings. Their methods result in drawing attention to themselves so that if someone googles your name (their target), their material will be front and center. It is intimidation like many have never seen nor heard. They can ruin your online repetition without you their target person realizing it until it is too late. But there is more!

This group will call your office. They will contact your church staff. They will hack into computers and steal emails and files. They will break the law to accomplish their so called righteous activity. I have personally been attacked in such ways. They are evil! Alerts will be sent to their army and the target declared. All of this done in the name of ministry. No one escapes their wrath. If you go against them, you will pay dearly. They will reach out to your friends, co-workers, church members etc. No rock will be left unturned. You are marked and they never let up.

Their Out
This group knows how to score points and then how to hide. Their master teacher, James White, is known for his debates. Everything White does is done to score points and prove his super intelligence while remaining free from blame. The ugly is hidden. They walk away and hide. It is always the sin of their target. They never do wrong. The bogus attacks and anonymous web sites cannot be tracked unless authorities are brought in. They hide via fake IP addresses. They are in America, Canada, and London. They partner with Muslims. They partner with thugs. They care about one thing, the destruction of their target. If you want to know the real truth of James White, ask his sister. She can tell you the tactics used against her, a family member. They are identical to the one's being used today against Caner and others. They will attack anyone who associates with someone they deem evil! There is zero grace in anything they do.

Their Mistake
This group led by White and JD Hall have mounted a barrage of activity that included a failed attempt at making a video to expose their primary target, Ergun Caner. Their narcissism got the best of them when they openly showed video of White and Hall collaborating on the mission with one of Halls thugs.  A second mistake was made when Whites President of his ministry actually participated in the attacks on Braxton Caner with JD Hall. Yes, we have those tweets also. They could now no longer hide. Their cover was blown. Grown men were now caught in their own devious actions like mere children. They tried to hide it. The cleaning of their twitter feeds was not fast enough. And more obvious, the track record was clear for all to see. Ask Pastor Bucky Kennedy about the contacts his High School son received when Caner was about to be hired at Brewton Parker. They allowed their plan to become an obsession.

Obsession will destroy. These men have become obsessed with the destruction of the ministry of Ergun Caner. And their obsession led them down a path so disgusting and vile that it went as far as trying to divide a son and his father twice. They have become so pure in their own eyes in their pursuit that they could even know of a tragedy involving Caner before his family knew. They were stalking young Braxton's friends in an effort to rack up more dirt for points. They have become worse than the Pharisees.

The Tragedy
One son has taken his life. No one knows the effects of the obsession on this young life. No one can claim zero effect while no one can claim total effect. It obviously effected him in some way. It affects everyone they target. No rational person can say otherwise.

The Need
Good men must rise and say enough is enough! James White, JD Hall, and their thugs must be told ENOUGH! Ministry is not about attacking other ministers. Dr. Al Mohler, Dr. John Macarthur, and leaders of the every group of Pastors involved can and should speak with one loud and strong voice and say NO MORE! It is not enough to distance oneself from these workers of evil. They must be repudiated!

The Why
So ugly are the tactics that just one week and two days after the tragedy the tweets and harassment continue. Anyone who writes about the evil that has occurred is immediately the recipient of phone calls and emails. It was bad enough for James White to post a blog within one hour of the tragedy involving Braxton. It is beyond comprehension that this post threatened that more was to come after a period of time if Caner continued in ministry (“I, for one, will not pursue the issues relating to Caner’s past claims until after a meaningful period of time has passed, and they become relevant to his future actions,” White wrote.)  He proudly displays this post even today. His ministry President has bragged on twitter that he is taking notes and that his silence will end soon. Men tied to JD Hall have ramped up twitter accusing Ergun of being responsible for the tragedy. No time to grieve. All done in the name of ministry. And so it continues. Evil upon evil.

The Call
Pastors, it is time for us to speak out in one strong voice against the evil of this day. Ministry is about reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ministry is not about destruction and unlawful behavior. Ministry is not about bullying anyone, especially children. If a minister disagrees with another, so be it. God has not delegated His role as Judge to James White, JD Hall, nor any of the the rest of us. We need to stand for what is right and Godly. As Braxton rests from his labors, we good men who are on this earth charged to lead in reaching this world for Christ must speak out and not stop until the bully tactics cease.

It is time for good men to do something! Bully's must not be tolerated!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Indeed Jesus is Weeping! Thank you Todd Starnes

The following is written by FoxNews writer Todd Starnes taken from his Facebook Page. He presents the disgusting reality that few have dared to share.
(Note: The Caner family asked me to share my commentary with you. I am honored to do so.)

I did not know Braxton Caner. But I knew his father - Ergun - a Muslim convert who became a Christian preacher.

For years Ergun has been hounded by unrelenting critics accusing him of all sorts of ministerial misdeeds. They hunted him like prey -- as if it was some sort of spiritual sport.

In early July - they found a new target -- Ergun's teenage son - Braxton.

The 15-year-old was a son and a brother. He played football, dated a girl and drove a pickup truck. The young man's supposed "crime" was defending his father.

They wrote terrible things about the 15-year-old - beyond the pale. It was theological thuggery.

And last week - Braxton ended his life.

We do not know what led young Braxton to do the unthinkable. We do not know if the postings of these online agitators pushed this young child over the edge. But these are the facts.

A 15 year old boy was bullied. His reputation tarnished at the hands of grown men who professed to be doing God's work. And now Braxton Caner is gone. Bullied in the name of Christ.

Twitter allows us to express our thoughts in 140 characters.

But I only need nine.

Jesus Wept.