“I Will Preach the Good News…”
Like you, I have endured the many months of back and forth of political debate. There is unrest and division like I’ve never seen among the citizens of our country. Much finger pointing is being done to direct blame as to why “things are the way they are.” It hurts my heart to see this wander into the church. I figured it was just a matter of time before the criticism was directed at pastors because “they don’t preach the truth anymore”; who is they and what truth are you speaking of?
No doubt you can find a preacher who’s misguided here and there but what I see and hear is that people really like their version of truth told. Presently, that seems to be the criticism of some political candidate, party, platform and the endorsement of another.
Let me tell you, your pastor(s) was not called to make you feel good about your political party. They are not called to criticize and make rude jokes about President Obama, Mrs. Clinton or Donald Trump; they are called to build up the church and preach the “Good News.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ affects our lives in a multifaceted way. A good preacher/pastor will preach the entirety of Scripture and not dwell on one area (eg. homosexuality, drinking beer or watching Harry Potter movies). On occasion, the message may be to “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Repentance makes us right with God through his son, Jesus – it’s the Good News (Romans 5:8)!
At the heart of the matter, God is what we are all longing for whether we are religious or not. Much of the anger and unrest we see is because we want comfort, we want to live in peace, we want to be safe, we want our needs provided for, we want….Eden. It was perfect, it was good and God walked with his creation there. Newsflash; Eden is gone because man thought it wasn’t good enough. Our father Adam and mother Eve soon discovered that what they really wanted after all was God. Even now, we still long for that place but our hope is not in a return to the Garden; indeed it’s to be with God!
Stay with me a moment! In our church, like many others, we still have a “response time” at the close of the sermon. We believe that the response continues long after we leave the building and is expressed in how we live our lives. However, I’ve seen many personal commitments begin in those few moments of prayer and reflection when God is speaking to a person. This is not a plea that we should all use the “Alter Call”; God speaks as he wishes. There’s nothing magical about the front steps or the prayer bench at the front of your sanctuary but sometimes God uses our posture and physical perspective to get us out of the norm and hear him. We call this “getting out of our comfort zone.” You should try it sometime; it’s amazing!
Here is my point: I’ve watched many, many times in services when the call was given by the pastor/preacher to come and pray at the “alter” and respond to the Truth. I’ll be honest and say I’ve seen it at my church too; people stand there quietly and stare while the invitation to respond is given. Maybe they gather their Bible and belongings, ready to depart! The look I see on faces screams, “Hurry and sing the other verse, we’ve got somewhere to be.” Week after week, the alter is empty, many times after the pastor has pleaded with “saved, church people” to come and cry out to God to move, work, restore, to heal our land and be with us!
If your knees hurt, okay, I understand; but don’t blame your pastor for the problems in your life and in this country. If you can’t get up and down without breathing hard, okay; but don’t blame your pastor for the problems in your life and in this country. If you don’t like kneeling and praying in front of the congregation, okay; but don’t blame your pastor for the problems in your life and in this country. If you’re afraid that someone will think you have a problem in your life if you go to the front and pray, I get that; but don’t blame your pastor for the problems in your life and in this country. If you’re afraid you’ll miss your seat at the local chicken joint if you go down front to pray, I understand; but don’t blame your pastor for the problems in your life and in this country!
If you’ve never experienced the gospel of Jesus and repented of your sins and turned to him; I pray you’ll do that. I pray God heals you of disease and meets any need you may have. I pray that you’re bold as you follow Jesus and you do the things that he did. I hope you’ll pray for President Obama that he and his family will be blessed and he’ll look to God as he makes decisions. Pray for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that their heart would be set on the Lord. Yes, pray about your decision on November 8, 2016. I’m praying too and preaching the Good News (Isaiah 61:1). By the way, the “alter” is always open at all services at First Baptist Vernon.