America’s slow slide to another civil war!

The battle which now rages between the Right and Left here in the States is heading towards a civil war – and I am not just talking ideology.

The reason WHY Trump won the election was because of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Their vitriol and anger against Trump raised up opposition that saw Trump win the White House. Not only did the country ignore these ‘great’ newspaper institutions, showing that their opinion no longer shapes the country – but the democrats lost the House as well. Literally the Democrats could not beat a man who had no political experience and questionable ethics!!

This has led to over a year of ‘incensed’ anger against Trump. Every attempt has been made to undermine the President of the United States – all because they could not believe they lost.

With Democrats and progressive supporters ditching intelligent debate and instead are now employing these tactics in opposing those on the Right, it can only cause more damage to this country. It is incredible that the left cannot see that their behavior is mobilizing opposition. A militant, aggressive left will create a militant aggressive right which will then turn very nasty. If the Left continue to demand that their agenda and their agenda alone must go forward that all other beliefs must be squashed – they will push the Right to respond – and maybe push this country into a civil war.

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Reconciliation without Jesus = South Africa

There was a LOT of press about the truth and reconciliation commission which South Africa set up after apartheid and run by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His famous book No Future Without Forgiveness was a core book in the Reconciliation and Conflict resolution course that I took in the early 2000’s.

But it would appear that any reconciliation without Christ at the center is ultimately doomed for failure. The Daily Wire piece on South Africa and the violent attacks on farm owners shows us that the only reconciliation that is worth anything is the reconciliation between man and God through Jesus Christ.

Al other reconciliations will fail or break down eventually – as in South Africa.

 

 

The Comic Strip that is The Washington Post

A kind and concerned friend has gifted me a years subscription to the Washington Post. It is useful for knowing what is happening in your city and local area. But I have to say, one of the things the Washington Post gives me is a good hearty giggle, and sometimes a loud raucous laugh early in the morning – and I hear from Doctors that a good laugh is great for your health!!

What I find so amusing is how Donald Trump has driven these Democrat reporters into absolute fits of rage, which has switch off all rationale ability to write co-hesively and with coherent arguments. Instead of laying out clear, policy based responses to Trump they simply display a temper tamntrum equal to any 2 year old denied a toy at Toys-r-us. These educated, experienced, skilled writers lose all sense of their craft and allow hatred and sarcasm to drip from their pens. Just this morning on the op-ed page there is a piece telling us that Trump is a Con-man and we need to wise up to Trump’s con’s. Really? Or on the Forum page a headline which reads “If he’s crazy and you know it, clap your hands.”

The Democrats and their supporters seem to forget that the way you beat Trump is in an Election. People need to know WHAT the Democrats believe not what they despise.

I firmly believe that one reason why Trump won in 2016 was because of the hatred of the media – their attacks and dismissal of Trump led people to vote for Trump because Trump said what nearly 50% of Americans believed in their heart and had wanted to say – whether you like or not.

You win elections by changing the Narrative.

The Democrats are desperately looking forward to November ‘18 because they believe they will trounce the Republicans in both houses. They may well. But if they continue to be disrespectful to the Office of the President, present NO counter policies, continue being unreasonable in Congress and refuse to acknowledge or applaud Trump for the things which he has done that ARE RIGHT and good for the country (re State of the Union and refusal to clap) – they are in danger of having another 2016 shock on their hands. I seem to remember that they were certain they wold win that election too!!

 

Evangelism is the Gospel and the Gospel is Evangelism

The word evangelism is a loaded word for Christians. It can conjure up a myriad of feelings – guilt, fear, inadequacy, pressure etc as well as certain images – knocking on doors, standing on street corners, getting into arguments with people who are hostile to the faith.
One of the common I responses I have heard the concept of evangelism is raised is “I do not have the gift of evangelism.” When I hear that response I know that the person has been taught a wrong view of evangelism. The same person would never think of saying “I do not have the gift of the gospel”
And yet I would suggest to you that evangelism and the gospel are inextricably linked – they go together and you cannot separate them – the gospel cannot be given without evangelism and evangelism is about the gospel.
Yes, the scripture speaks of those who may have the gift of evangelism. But that is referring the person who has been called to a lifetime of doing evangelism AS THEIR VOCATION. Christians who are called to the be doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, physicists, analysts, soldiers, bankers etc etc, are called to their vocation – but IN their vocation they are called to witness.
Today I want us to understand that we have put evangelism into a far too narrow band of door knocking, car washes, street corner preaching, intense debates with atheists.
I want to reframe what evangelism is using our passages this morning and to restate what is really important.
The first thing I want to say today is that evangelism should never be done for our advantage. The thought of performing the work of evangelism for money or for prestige or for advancing his reputation or the size of the church was repugnant to Paul. Now he is not saying that workers for the gospel should never be paid – thank goodness!!! He later says a worker for the gospel is worth his wages. His point is that this should not be our motivation or driving force. Nor should the driving force of evangelism be to increase our church numbers. The motive for evangelism IS THE GOSPEL ITSELF. Paul worked for the sake of the gospel and to see it’s increasing influence in the world.
In order for evangelism to be effective, truly effective, we need to understand that the gospel is the GREATEST GIFT GOD HAS EVER GIVEN AND WILL EVER GIVE – and therefore as a Christian it is the greatest gift we have ever received.
Do you know that there is nothing on this earth that you could possibly be given that could match or be greater that the gift of the Gospel.
And it is from THIS base, from this motive, from this feeling that we are to evangelize.
Paul says that Christians can evangelize in two ways – you can do it because of duty – because you are told to – or because of guilt (which is why people say “I do not have there gift of evangelism) OR you do evangelism from the deep, inward passion to share the greatest gift you and I will ever receive in our lifetime – offer of the cleansing of sin, the adoption into God’s family, the eternity of heaven, the privilege to call God Father and be called sons of the Father.
Paul’s passion and love for God is that he will do what ever he can, and be whatever he can, to share the greatest gift ever given to humanity so that some might receive this precious gift.
So, the first thing we must establish is that we evangelize not for us, not because it’s our job, or because it might increase numbers in the church but because it is the greatest gift God has ever given and we should want to share that gift.
Secondly, evangelism should be about involvement not just proclamation. Paul would come and get involved in the life of the people. He lived amongst them – he got to know them, he was involved with them day to day. I love 1 Thessalonians 2:8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. An evangelism which just proclaims a message to people is not true evangelism. An evangelism immersed in the daily lives of those whom you seek to reach IS more authentic. Hence evangelism and the proclamation of the gospel should be done in the daily life of each church member – at work, at the gym, at the grocery store, at Costco our walmart or Starbucks, or over bbq on a Sunday afternoon.
Thirdly, the goal of the gospel, the gift of the gospel is not health, or wealth, or material things but eternal life and the promise that death will not be victorious over us. Yes, God delights in giving us good gifts to us. Yes, God delights in doing wonderful things for us – He delights to heal us and to bless us and to guide us. God does these wonderful things for us to show us his love for us as a Father. BUT these things are secondary to the gift of the gospel. What do I mean?
Our story from 2 Kings illustrates this for us. Elisha strikes up a relationship with a Shunammite woman. He passed her house regularly to the point that she first feeds him and then provides a room for him. We are told something very important about this woman – she is wealthy. In other words she has NO needs materially. She is happy and she appears to know God – or at least she knows that Elisha is a man of God.
In his desire to reward the woman’s kindness Elisha wants to know what he could do for this woman. It turn out the woman has no son and her husband is old. This is significant because a husband and a son where no just providers (although she appears independently wealthy) but they were protectors and when the husband died she would have no protector. Elisha states she will have a child.
We are then told that later this child dies suddenly. There is a very important point to remember in this story – This wealthy woman had no needs when she meets Elisha. But the gift God gave her made her needy when he took it away. When we read an account like this for many the question is why would God give her the wonderful gift of the child only for the child to die? What is the point of allowing this woman to go though the emotional rollercoaster from needing nothing, to rejoicing in the miracle of a child she thought she would never have, to falling into the depths of anguish at seeing her beloved child die, and then to have the child restored to her. Why is this in the Bible? Remember 2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness – this story is profitable for teaching and for training in righteous – but in what way?
This story is her to show us that gifts and our loved ones can be taken away from us – BUT the gospel never can. A miracle child given to a woman who was unable to have a child is wonderful – but it’s not the gospel. The woman, the husband and the child will eventually die. Their house will eventually fall apart. The dream job will come to an end. Wealth may be lost in a stock market crash. Popularity, fame, good looks will all fade. We have all to a greater or lesser extent experienced something of what this woman went through in 2 Kings – we have all asked – Why would God give this to only take it away again? This story is here to teach us that our dependence and security must NEVER be on what we are, on who we are, or on material things of this world – but on the security of the promise of the gospel.
The gospel can not be destroyed, fade, be stolen or diminish is any way. It is the greatest gift – it is an eternal gift. It is a forever gift. It is not dependent on what events or tragedy’s happen in life.
Jesus’ healings are wonderful. The church should expect God’s power to move through it and so we should expect to see God heal, do miracles, cast our demons.
BUT – even healings are secondary to the gospel. Notice in our reading this morning that Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law – and in the evening Jesus heals all who come to him.
But note what he says when the disciples find him the next morning having spent time in prayer – They disciples excitedly say “Everyone is looking for you.” In other words – Jesus you are so popular, you have started something wonderful, come on let’s take advantage of this. But Jesus says this 38 “Let us go on to the next towns, ….and so what? Does he say to Heal the sick, raise those with fevers? No, Jesus says that they need to go to other towns so that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Yes Jesus will do healings and cure fevers, and cast our demons and raise the dead – but the main issue is that he came to preach The gospel. Healing is a pat of the gospel – but let me tell you that I have personally seen people be miraculously healed by God – a clear miracle – only to refuse the offer of the gospel – the offer to give their life to Christ – and that is a tragic and terrible fate.
So, to recap – evangelism should never be done for our advantage; evangelism is about involvement not just proclamation and the goal of evangelism is the gospel which is eternal life.
I firmly believe that the corporate church does not do evangelism – no where in the Bible does the church of Corinth, or the church of Ephesus or the church in Galatia do community out reach. Evangelism is done on a one to one basis, getting involved with the joys and tragedies of peoples lives, not with any agenda to get them on the membership roles of a church, but to lead them into an understanding of the true gospel – eternal life, forgiveness of sin, and being back in a relationship with God.
That means here in this church we have 50-55 evangelists – 55 places where you can talk with friends, work colleagues, neighbors and those whom you bump into at the grocery store. 55 people who every day can gossip the gospel – offer to pray with people – offer to tell them the reason for the hope you have.
This is evangelism.

Political Envy DisgracesRepublic

President Trump took part in the yearly theatre of what is known as the State of the Union last night. It is a purely theatrical event. Bold statements; visual illustrations; heart tugging stories. All Presidents do it – and unless you are a political commentator, professor or constitutional expert no-one remembers what you say at a State of the Union.

But what is remembered – whether it is a Democratic President or a Republican President – is the pouting, angry, and defiant looks of the opposition party when the senators and congressman of the ruling party are giving their obligatory standing ovations. Even when the news is neutral and beneficial to the nation, they will stay seated, driven by a political envy that draws the very worst of the spoilt child out of people. It happened yesterday, it happened in Barack Obama’s SOTU address – and it is disgraceful. And it is why this nation is in a mess. The Democrats body language communicated loud and clear that they would prefer the president to fail and thus the nation to fail before they would stand and applaud even a good initiative. That is appalling and that is why the Democrats who do this and the Republicans who do this are beyond contempt.

Roy Moore Deserved to Lose

It was inconceivable that Roy Moore was going to win in Alabama. And it showed the arrogance of Trump and some GOP people that they could put someone like Moore on the ballot and expect Alabama to simply vote for him because he was GOP. While Doug Jones holds some ridiculous and terrible beliefs with regards to abortion, by all  accounts he is a reasonable and respectable man.

Also, the conservative Christians who voted for Moore have done damage to the gospel. The only option for a conservative Christians was to not vote or write in a candidate – many did just that – but too many actually voted for Moore.

Trump & the GOP are on the road to anniliation in the mid terms of 2018.

Each child is unique by Bob Gass

Monday November 27

“Before you were born I set you apart.” Jer 1:5 NIV

Does a baby come into the world with a complex personality, or is that child a blank slate on which experience will write? In the past, behavioral scientists believed newborns had no temperamental or emotional characteristics upon arrival from the womb. Their little personalities were supposedly formed entirely by the experiences that came their way in ensuing years. But most parents knew better. Every mother of two or more children was convinced that each of her infants had a different personality—a different feel—from the very first time they were held. Now, after years of research, numerous authorities in child development acknowledge that those mothers were right. One important study identified nine characteristics that varied in babies—such as moodiness, level of activity, and responsiveness. They also found that the differences from child to child tended to persist into later life. Indeed, babies do differ in infinite ways that define our humanness and our individuality. If every snowflake that falls has its own design, and if every grain of sand at the seashore is unique, it makes no sense to suppose that children are assembly-line products stamped out by the same giant cookie cutter. There’s no denying the importance of environment and human experience in shaping who we are and how we think. But there can be no doubt that each person on earth is a one-of-a-kind creation from the earliest moments of life. As God told Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” You need to know that about your children.

By Bob Gass