Scott Brown could be the worst thing for Christians

I know a lot of Christians who are reveling this week in the Massachusetts surprise election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate. This has the potential to be the worst thing to happen to Christians in America in a very long time.

So many of the pundits and Republican leaders touted Mr. Brown’s victory as a hopeful sign of things to come. “Look how the American people rallied to defeat the elitists in the bluest of the blue states. Look how conservatives can take back Washington. Just you wait until November 2010 when we will all be able to shout for joy around the whole US because if a Republican can win in Massachusetts, they can win any seat in the Senate!” Of course I’m paraphrasing but that’s clearly been the sentiment the past few days.

Here are some of the problems:

The people who are most elated now are the same ones who were most despondent after President Obama won the White House and Democrats got the large majorities in both houses of Congress. God was on His throne a year ago and He’s on his throne now. Different reactions to the course of human events based on our preferences of the outcomes show an incredible lack of faith in God’s loving sovereignty.

I agree that the country will be far better without the malignant healthcare bill that was being proposed. It cost a fortune and didn’t solve any of the real big problems. But Christians ultimately shouldn’t care so much about how people get healthcare. They should care whether whatever happens provides more or less access to the Gospel. It ultimately doesn’t even matter if in opening doors for the Gospel it creates harder times for Christians. We are called to suffer as Christ suffered. The question we should be asking isn’t whether universal healthcare will bankrupt America, but how we can exploit the political system to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, even as Paul did by appealing his treatment to Caesar so he could give the Gospel to Nero.

Another reason for concern is that the elation for Mr. Brown does show where many professing Christians have their hope. Washington was not our hope when George Bush was the President and it’s not our hope now. Our hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Civil governments will come and go but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.

Many Christians not only have put their hope in Washington politicians, but in what can happen in November 2010. This is a sign that people who think like us (most of whom are not genuine Christians) are rallying to a cause we believe in! Yippee! What if November 2010 never comes? What if Jesus comes back in October. Will all the work they are pouring into a political campaign in produce for them crowns of glory that they will lay at our Lord’s feet? Will Jesus look at them and say “Well done good and faithful servant. I called you to be the salt and light of the world and to redeem the days and you did such a great job getting Republicans elected.” I honestly don’t think so.

If Christians keep their eyes on a conservative political uprising we will see less focus on the Gospel and less urgency to be ones who bring good news to a world that is dying from their love of sin, not of Democrats. I will be praying that Christians keep their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith and not on politicians.

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God’s Love in Haiti

I have been spending a lot of time in 1 John these days. I’m reminded of a time when a teenager I was working with wanted to look at all the 3:16 verses in the New Testament. He figured that John 3:16 got all the attention but there must be some other great 3:16s around as well.

One of the 3:16 verses that I’ve been reminded of is 1 John 3:16. It explains how we should identify and measure love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” There is even a Steve Green song based on it, but that never occurred to me until recently. Our responsibility is to follow in the Master’s footsteps and lay down our lives for the brothers. It’s actually incredible to think how far I fall short of doing just that – often choosing to pursue my own leisure or hobby to really giving of myself in a way that costs me something.

That passage goes on. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. Our love should be demonstrated in such a way that it is visible to those around us. After all, they’re supposed to be able to see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16) It’s kind of hard for unbelievers to see our love when it is invisible or so modest in its application that it is essentially unnoticeable. If you are a Christian and you demonstrate your “love’ in the same way an unbeliever would you are simply not doing it right. You are capable of so much more and God demands much more.

How does this involve Haiti? After all, Haiti is a spiritually dark place famous for voodoo dolls and corrupt government. The people there are heathen who have rejected every aspect of the Gospel, and don’t deserve our help, right?

Not exactly. There are lots of good Christians in Haiti who are suffering a lot. There is a good chance they have suffered more in the last week than you have in your entire life. We have friends in the Dominican Republic who work with Haitian churches. Here is a recent report:

A church of about 500 collapsed while having special meetings as the earthquake hit. Most people are still in the rubble. Some have gotten out.
They were singing “God will take care of you” when the building collapsed. This is very moving personally to those who know and have met these people in previous ministry.

Also, of the 150 pastors who Pastor Angel works with in Haiti and who were involved in previous training, 70 of those pastors are now dead.

Pastor Angel said there are a bunch of dead bodies, and people dying in the streets. For the people he already helps and knows, there is an immediate need for food, water, bandages, first aid help. There are many with broken bones. A team of Christian doctors from the DR are going to help him. They have a good set up to help. Any money sent below will help him buy food, water, and supplies. He is bringing food and a large gas stove from the DR to come and cook for all these. He said people who survived are all gathering in certain areas but need for basics are lacking. He is mobilizing Christian doctors to help the injured. He said there is need for disinfectant and all.

We have a duty to these Christians to love them with our resources even if we have never met them. Read the book of Acts and see how much time the first century church spent generating resources for brothers and sisters in Jerusalem who were struggling. In most of these cases the recipients were total strangers. I encourage you to support relief efforts for this reason, even if there were no other reason. World Relief is a Christian relief ministry committed to delivering resources through local churches. Additionally, our church will funnel resources to our sister church in the Dominican Republic to support their hands on efforts in Haiti.

But there is a greater point to make. To see the people of Haiti in this light is to forget where we were before God arrested our hearts and drew us to Himself. As bad as the Haitians may be as a nation, they compare much more favorably to us than we did to a perfectly holy God who loved us enough to send His Son to die a horrible death simply so we could be reconciled to Him. There is simply no comparison at all. We should be gracious because our Heavenly Father is gracious. Do the corrupt and spiritually dark Haitians “deserve” our support? Of course they don’t, but we deserved salvation from our sins much less and God paid an infinitely higher price than we would by opening our checkbook and sending some of our savings.

If you are inclined to support the Haiti relief through our sister church in the Dominican Republic there is information below.

Faith Bible Church, has multiple families from a large, like-minded church on the other side of the island and with which Josue has long-term relationships. It is apparent that relief, at least for some time, may be channeled through Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on the other side of the island from Port-au-Prince. Together, they are surveying the situation and seeking to minister to and mobilize local Haitian congregations for church-centered and Christ-honoring relief ministry. We are all concerned that God receive glory in the midst of this catastrophic tragedy. Doing so through good local churches should solidify a witnessing presence and Christ-honoring testimony in the recipient communities as well as place sound Haitian churches in a leading role in expressing Christ’s love to a hurting nation on all our behalf.

Faith Bible Church has agreed to be a channel for relief funds to be channeled by Josue and administered under the general oversight of our church, locally, and, on site, Josue along with leaders from our sister church (IBSJ) in Santo Domingo for Haitian relief. At this point, funds can be sent to Faith Bible Church earmarked for “Haiti Relief”. We will try to set up a PayPal donation web page by Sunday (Jan. 17th) so that people can give from overseas or through credit/debit cards and bank checks. A link our our church Internet home page (www.FaithBibleChurch.us) will go to the donation page and from there, as the Lord enables, further news updates and financial accountability information.

Faith Bible Church
Haiti Relief
4907 E. Highway 34
Sharpsburg, GA 30277