January 2017 Mind of the Missionary

We have just celebrated the birth of the king of kings. Later this month we will inaugurate our new US president, Donald Trump. We are commanded to pray for him and for our other leaders. Recently, while worshiping with Hebron, pastor Randy Gray took as his text Ezra 9:8, “a little space of grace.” His point was that in years past we have been heading in ways that are not pleasing to God, as a nation, as churches and as individuals. Hopefully, the coming years will be a time when there can be correction and getting back on course as a nation, as churches and as individuals.

Life is about, he continued, seeking and doing the will of God as individuals, as churches, and as nations. Perhaps you, like me, were troubled about how little attention was given to the topic of God’s will in the recent political campaign.  He was mentioned only as a postscript, a request for his blessings on the nation. I heard no mention of the fact that blessings seem to be conditional on our being in compliance with his will.  You and I, our church, and our nation will not be truly blessed unless we are doing the will of God.

Jesus taught that the core will of God is for us to love him, totally, and that we love our neighbors as well as we love ourselves. Mention of this truth was missing from the campaign rhetoric. Rather, the will of Satan that we love money, sex, and power was the focus of both campaigns. These are the idols that Jesus came to destroy. If we worship any, or all of them, they will destroy us as individuals, churches and as a nation.

Our popular culture teaches us to worship these three idols. Often they are in harmony with one another. Position of lots of money is touted as the means to sex and power. The same is true for each of the others. Movies, television shows, music, and products all promote the worship of this satanic trinity. Take for example Sunday night NFL football.  Millionaires  pushing one another around to the cheers of the beautiful cheerleaders.

Please join me in committing to pray for our town, county, state and national political leaders. Pray that they focus on the common good, religious freedom, opportunities for each citizen to be involved and contributing to the well-being of others. Pray that we will have a period of peace, that diseases will be conquered, that hatred will fade. Pray that we will come to appreciate the gifts and graces of others. Pray that attitudes of exploiting others will die. Pray that serving others, not being served, will be the goal of each one of us.

Pray that the next few years will prove to be “a little space of grace” and that each of us will take advantage of the opportunities it provides.  In the current age, the church is God’s primary agent. Pray that our churches will focus on their true head, Jesus Christ, will know his will, and work to carry it out. If I read the book of Ephesians correctly, God’s general will for each church is that it be pure and holy, characterized by mutual submission and fighting against Satan, not one another. God also has a specific will for each church. Make that a matter of prayer regularly in your church meetings.

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