Most Americans misunderstand God greatly. The god most Americans worship is the man upstairs who doesn’t take much seriously, who will always bow to the desires of his creation, and has the first and foremost goal of giving happiness to everyone. Americans worship a puny god who doesn’t have infinite power, infinite wisdom, or infinite anything. Oh, you wonder how I know this? Well, Americans have said it. Lifeway Research and Ligonier Ministries recently came out with the results of their research entitled, The State of Theology. And the results? Frightening.
Even among self-professing evangelicals, the results are eye-opening and concerning. No longer do evangelicals reference Scripture to find out what God is like. Instead, they consult their own opinions that have been influenced by half-listened-to sermons, documentaries on Netflix, and the latest book by ultra happy, always smiling, good ole Joel. So, the problem doesn’t just stem within the American unchurched. The problem stems in the pews of small church America all the way to the stadium seats of megachurch America.
When numbers get this high, it’s hard to comprehend. We live in a world where, every year, 40-50 million are systematically killed for the worship of self. Individualism is the culprit, manifested specifically through the acts of abortion. Every year, 40-50 million children in the womb are aborted and killed by mothers who have chosen self above them (Source: worldometers citing World Health Org.).
Let’s jump in…
Listen: We’re Causing 7 Times as Many Deaths as the Holocaust Every Year
God then country is a myth for most. In theory, many strive to have their priorities correctly aligned, but all too often, what we are really passionate about and what we really care about come to the surface. And with the implied marriage between political leanings and religious beliefs in America, it’s easy to creep into American first, Christian second. No one will question you. Many will applaud you. But we need to bring clarity to the situation.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that Jesus’ followers covered a broad spectrum of political leanings. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the zealot couldn’t have been more opposite in the political stances they took. The radical left and the radical right, as manifested in the first century, were represented in the ragtag group we know as the disciples. But what we see happen is that when the realization of what Christ’s kingdom is really like, these men with political leanings like you and me made primary the cause of Christ and secondary the cause of their politics.
Along with a hundred million others, last night I looked upon the site of our two leading presidential candidates take part in a debate. It was filled with everything you would come to expect… Lots of fluff without a lot of substance. More than that, it was a loud reminder of what election season magnifies for the Church.
For many people, once January and February of 2017 roll around, life will go back to normal. And for many in the Church, this important lesson will be lost. Let’s grasp this and hold on to it.
Brandon Kelley preaching week 4 of The Circle Maker series at The Crossing.
This coming Monday marks another celebration of Labor Day. What began in 1885 has continued to today. As a result, millions of Americans will enjoy a three-day weekend. In the midst of the sleeping in, the cookouts, the kids playing outside, and all the other stereotypical Labor Day festivities, the Christian worker has something else to consider.
How Christ alters the way we approach our work has been of constant interest to me since becoming a Christ follower. From what I can see in Scripture, it is clear that work is something we were made to do. Adam and Eve were given the task of gardeners and since then, work has been a way of life for mankind. What shall the Christian worker think on and respond with as he celebrates Labor Day? I’m glad you asked…
Rejoice! What causes you joy? What gives you the feeling that something great is happening or is going to happen? Is it football season? Is it your report card? Is it the bonus at the end of the fiscal quarter? Is it family gathering? Is it family dispersing? We may not use the word, rejoice, but it is present in our lives. What we rejoice about the most says a lot about what lies beneath the surface of our lives.
Jesus has a way of teaching us these things with great power and effectiveness. To teach this to the many people who were following Him when He was in the midst of His ministry, He sent 72 of them out into the towns of Israel to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom and to heal the sick and lame.
4:00 a.m. is a popular time in the Kelley household. None of us should be up at this time or want to be up at this time, but most days we are up (at least two of us). Our youngest daughter, Piper, likes to wake up at this time. Sometimes our oldest daughter, Kairea, decides to join her just to make things extra interesting in the morning.
This morning was one of those mornings. I currently sit here at the dining room table in the camper we are staying at in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho which sits next to Sara’s sister and brother in-law’s home. Piper is sleeping in my arms and I’m doing what I do most every morning – writing. It’s now 6 a.m. local time and I’m just reveling in the victory of getting this little girl back to sleep. But our girls aren’t the only ones who don’t always want to do what they need to do. We’re all guilty of this. I certainly am.