Kristina and I spent the first seven years of our marriage running a discipleship house. Some of the young men and women we helped became pastors and leaders. Others left us and ended up going to jail. We helped people transform their lives through the grace of God, but we also learned our limitations. When we did for people what they should have been doing for themselves we didn’t help them at all.

A dysfunctional concept of love permeates our society. This was evident when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana and other states voted to legalize gay marriage. Giving people what they want rather than what is good for them is a flawed concept of love. The last thing we should be doing in a time of financial crisis is to make drugs that diminish mental capacity more widely available. Do we want our doctors, car repairmen, computer technicians and airline pilots to get stoned? We should also know that marriage was established by God for a man and a woman. Healthy marriages are the foundation of healthy families and a strong society.

While our government provides many vital services for those in need, it is also like a dysfunctional parent who provides benefits even to those who don’t want to work. If we do for others what they should do for themselves, we are hindering their development, not enhancing it.

America has over 16 trillion dollars in federal debt, and trillions more in unfunded entitlements (Google the national debt clock). It’s going to be a painful mess when interest rates start to rise, inflation increases and another economic down turn begins.

Our twelve year war in Afghanistan exemplifies dysfunction. Our soldiers are being shot by the very people we are trying to help. We cannot be a savior to the Afghans. We should have defeated the Taliban and left their country ten years ago. America needs to cut military spending, cut domestic spending and change our attitude about the responsibility of the government. It is not righteous to keep borrowing from the next generation to fund our current budget.

I had a heavy heart one day as I contemplated these realities. I laid down on a rug in our living room to pray. Within a few minutes the Holy Spirit began to refresh and encourage me. The storm clouds of spiritual warfare parted, and the light of God’s grace gave me a fresh perspective. The Holy Spirit comes to us because Jesus has risen from the dead. Every trial shrinks in the light of the glory that God reveals when we experience the reality that Jesus is alive.

Kristina and I prepared our children to face the trials of life, but each of them has to fight their own spiritual giants as they go through life. Likewise, every generation faces unique challenges which help people see their need to turn to God. The dysfunction in society gives us an opportunity to share God’s word and bring the gospel of Christ to those who are open. Some people look for scapegoats when their lives fall apart. Others look for solutions. The Word of God has wisdom for the problems people face.

I have been meeting with pastors from some of the largest churches in Arizona. We are working together in unity to glorify God. We want to mobilize the Church to help vulnerable children. Networks of pastors have formed all over the country to work in unity to serve our communities in Jesus name.

The Church of Jesus Christ is filled with people who love God and care for each other. We help each other triumph over the trials of life. We bring healing to the brokenhearted and hope to the discouraged. There is nothing better in life than the forgiveness of sins and the grace of God that Jesus gives to everyone who calls on his name. Living Streams has helped plant five churches in the last several years and all are thriving. Churches where the grace and power of God are present bear fruit regardless of political circumstances, because Jesus is the head of all authority, and Lord over all creation.

Sunday Preview

November 3, 2012

We are starting a new series this weekend called, “Sex, Love and Marriage” (not necessarily in that order). David Stockton will focus on this theme on Saturday nights as will Nathan Bentley in our high school ministry. My sermon this Sunday is called, “Love that Never Fails” from 1 Corinthians 13, Hebrews 8 and 1 John 4. God’s love is covenantal, sacrificial and holy. When the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), it is talking about a sacrificial love that is patient, kind, and giving. Confusion about the nature of love causes confusion about the nature and will of God. Like a wise and loving parent, God’s love is always directed to what is in a person’s best long-term interest.

I hope you plan to vote by Tuesday because this is a critical election for America. The next four years will be vital to the economic and moral condition of our nation. There is a Poll to Poll worship and prayer meeting going on in our worship center next Tuesday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Regardless of who wins the various races, we have the privilege and responsibility to preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to this generation. The Kingdom of God is the only government that can bring salvation and eternal life to its citizens.

Last night Kristina and I took turns bringing a large bowl filled with candy to the front door whenever a new group of trick or treaters arrived at our house. As I dropped pieces of candy into one young boy’s outstretched bag he gave me a big smile and said, “I couldn’t wait to get to this house!” When he said that, I reached back into the bowl and took out more candy for him. He expected blessings at our house and I wanted to make sure he received everything he hoped for and more.

I’m looking forward to joining you in God’s house on Sunday. When we come together to seek Him, he makes sure that we receive everything we need from his treasure of grace in Christ. My desire is that each of us will prosper and flourish in life, as we follow Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life.