Happy Birthday, ‘Murica!


The nation whose True God is the Eternal is truly blessed;
    fortunate are all whom He chooses to inherit His legacy” (Psalm 33:12, The Voice).

Well, America is 239 years old today. And she doesn’t look a day over 190. Tops.

Today is the day we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, which said that we would no longer be colonies of Great Britain, but that we would indeed be the United States of America.

Today is a good day to remember all the freedoms that we normally take for granted.

The freedom to worship as you choose? Or not to worship at all? Don’t take that for granted.

The freedom to live as you choose? Don’t take that for granted either.

The freedom to disagree with each other (and hopefully be civil about it) and to even disagree with the powers that be? Definitely do not take that one for granted.

Many have fought and died for your freedoms. People through the ages have sacrificed greatly so that they could come to this great land of opportunity to find new lives here.

Is America perfect? Of course not.

Does she have a lot in her past to be ashamed of? Yes.

Does she also have a lot in her past to be proud of? Absolutely.

Remember this — as believers, we are ultimately not citizens of America (or any other country). We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. When all other kingdoms have fallen (including the one under the red, white, and blue flag), this Kingdom will stand.

Your ultimate allegiance isn’t to a flag or to a president or to a political party or to an ideal.

Your ultimate allegiance is to a King and a Kingdom. to Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Now go be patriotic and eat lots of grilled meats and drink lots of carbonated beverages!

“All religious and political systems, Right and Left alike, are the work of human beings. Abba’s children will not sell their birthright for any mess of pottage, conservative or liberal. They hold fast to their freedom in Christ to live the gospel-uncontaminated by cultural junk, political wreckage, and the complex hypocrisies of a bullying religion” (Brennan Manning).

Another Great Awakening

“I have heard the reports about You,
    and I am in awe when I consider all You have done.
O Eternal One, revive Your work in our lifetime;
    reveal it among us in our times.
As You unleash Your wrath, remember Your compassion” (Hab. 3:2).

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in and amongst the American churches in general.

We’ve lost the uniqueness that made us different from everybody else. The salt has lost its saltiness and the light has been hidden under a bushel of tolerance.

We know that the Bible calls us to love everybody and we’ve mistakenly believed that loving people means accepting any and all of their behaviors and lifestyle choices. We take the admonition not to judge to mean that we can never ever call out a person’s sin, even when that sin will ultimately lead to their destruction.

We haven’t spoken the truth, and when we have, we haven’t spoken it in love.

We’ve toned down or eliminated from our vocabulary those words deemed offensive by the culture around us. Very rarely anymore will you hear about the wrath of God or hell or sin or any of those topics. We assume that love would never do that.

We’ve tried so hard to fit in and be relevant that we’re no longer recognizable as a separate entity. The love we teach and preach isn’t the Agape Love of the Bible, but a touchy-feely love that is more transient than transcendent.

There has been at least one great revival in every century of this nation. Maybe if enough of us decide that the status quo of nice religion and self-help style of morality no longer works, we will seek with tears and sighs another great revival and not rest praying for one until the fire falls from heaven again.

I know that too often I am apathetic when it comes to God. I also know that I am far from being alone in this. We’ve grown too accustomed to the things of God that we no longer hold them as sacred. We no longer meditate on the glory and holiness of God and we forget that He is the Holy Other, not a bigger, stronger, faster, smarter version of us.

I write this with fear and trembling, hoping to err on the side of grace yet knowing that the church can only blame herself for the state of the nation. I don’t claim to have all the answers or to have it all figured out. I do know that more than someone telling us that “I’m okay,  you’re okay,” we need someone telling us of our great need for repentance.

I do know that I need Jesus. I know that we all need Jesus, especially in these desperate times.



My Takeaways

Here’s what I’m taking away from the Supreme Court’s decision to essentially legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

1) I don’t agree with the decision, but I’m not going to bash those who disagree with me. It doesn’t accomplish anything and is counterproductive to how Jesus told me to love people regardless of whether they agree with me or even love me back.

2) Just because I disagree with someone’s beliefs or lifestyle doesn’t mean that I hate that person. The old adage stands true that you can love the sinner (a category which includes all of us) while hating the sin, or more accurately, what the sin does to the person.

3) If you’re my friend and you’re gay, know that I won’t love you any less or be any less of a friend to you. I may not agree with you on everything, but I’m sure you wouldn’t agree with me (or anyone) 100%. Jesus Himself chose to dine with sinners and said that He didn’t come for those who were righteous, but for those who know they need lots of help.

4) Jesus died for sinners. Period. There were no exclusions or exceptions to who Jesus went to the cross for. If you believe in Jesus with your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved. Period. PS You won’t just be saved from hell, but saved to an incredible, amazing, everlasting and full life.

5) If you believe in Jesus sincerely and solely for your salvation, you are saved, whether you are gay, straight, bipolar, alcoholic, prideful, arrogant, drug-addicted, lazy, or anything else. Jesus doesn’t ask for anybody to clean up his act and get his life together before salvation can take place. Jesus will meet you where you are,  but He won’t leave you there.

6) There will be a lot of people who will use this as an excuse to condemn other people and pronounce judgment on them. I won’t be one of those. I know that if anyone has a right to judge and condemn, it’s God. I also know that God could very easily judge and condemn me for what I’ve done and said and thought in the past. So I choose grace instead.

I think that about covers it.



“And I ain’t no communist

And I ain’t no capitalist

And I ain’t no socialist

And I ain’t no imperialist

And I ain’t no democrat

And I ain’t no republican

I only know one party

And it is freedom
I am, I am, I am

I am a patriot

And I love my country

Because my county is all I know” (as recorded by Jackson Browne)
Today is the day we spend remembering those men and women who gave their lives defending the freedom and values we hold dear in this country.

It’s more than just another three-day weekend. It’s more than just another day to get together with family and friends and grill out on the patio.

This day, we remember those who didn’t get to come home– who will never get to come home– because they chose to fight for a way of life that many of us take for granted every day. That I take for granted every day.

I’m not a prophet. I don’t know what the future holds for this country. I hear a lot of the doomsday-ers saying that this country is headed to hell in a handbasket. I don’t know about that.

I do know that when we take our gifts for granted for too long. what we’re granted often gets taken.

So I’m expressing my thanks to all of you who have served in the military, are married to someone in the military, or are sons and daughters of those in the military. Thank you.