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Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.  “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring [emphasis mine]

No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last and when we as a church shall be able to gather together again. But as Christians, our commission and commitment ultimately does not depend on our circumstances.  In this time of COVID-19, how are we “making the most of every opportunity”?  How are we spending our time?  Are we living our lives in anxiety or apathy?  Are our decisions marked more by fear than faith?

The COVID-19 is a big wakeup call for everyone, including Christians. This pandemic has reminded us in a big way just how uncertain life is.  What is our response as Christians? More than ever, we need to trust that God is in control, that He is our loving Father, and that we have an opportunity to pause during this season and reflect on what we truly hold to be most important in our lives. I am blessed that my wife and I had intentionally chosen to live simple lives, free from attachment to material possessions and the fleeting pleasures of this world.  We are truly content with the simple and modest lifestyle that we have. I am not saying this to boast, but to testify to the joys of living more simply and more sacrificially. It is a blessed freedom to live by faith and not by FOMO.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph. 5:15-17; NIV)

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Upon hearing of yet another book on Trump (“Fear” by veteran journalist Bob Woodward), I am saddened that so much time and ink continues to flow around him when there are other pressing matters that remain largely unnoticed. But to be honest, most of my attention, angst and anger lies with the American evangelicals who idolize Trump and fawn over him like silly and senseless sycophants.

I confess that I am still unable to muster up enough charity and inner peace to calmly convey my profound disappointment, disgust and disillusionment concerning the state of American evangelicalism.  As such, I am grateful for those voices who are not afraid to tell it like it is and refuse to bow to the Orange Calf.

Let’s survey some of these faithful, eloquent and prophetic voices:

Jim Meisner, Jr. begins his piece with this powerful indictment: “For nearly 40 years, Evangelicals preached dire sermons against a godless, sin-soaked culture focused on wealth, immorality, celebrity, sexual promiscuity and worldly power. On Aug. 27, they celebrated it.” Amen! Stop there, no need to say anymore. The 100 idolatrous “evangelicals”who were there  (Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Ralph Reed and others of their ilk, but also prosperity preachers like Kenneth Copeland and Paula White) prostituting themselves and praising him as if he was the Messiah.

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Franklin Graham, “who will preside at Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president on Jan. 20 will lead a Vancouver crusade that has already been protested by some of the city’s Christian leaders.” The full article can be read here.

I am not going to give into the temptation to comment on Graham’s remarks on Muslims, gays or politics.

On his annual salary ($880,000 ?), I try to keep my eyes on my hero instead: Paul the apostle, who went out of his way to avoid burdening his churches financially by being a tentmaker. Paul’s entire life and ministry was characterized by weakness, foolishness, smallness and suffering — he truly lived a cruciformic life.

I was going to comment on Graham’s evangelistic efforts, but enough has been written about his father and “crusade evangelism” in the past that I need not say anymore. It seems that such mass evangelistic efforts fit in even more in this day of megachurches and CEO super-pastors. Why not bring in the big celebrity “Evangelist”? Why not build on daddy’s brand?

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