It’s the Church, Stupid

clouds hands dt29In Bill Clinton’s first campaign for president, chief advisor George Stephanopoulos, famously wrote, IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID in a prominent place on a markerboard. By keeping the main thing the main thing, he kept the campaign on message and won the victory.

As a Christian, I look at a world in its accelerating swirl down the toilet. It’s enough to make you dig a fallout shelter in the back yard and join the Preppers. Economic collapse. Impending austerity measures. Domestic terrorism. Wars and rumors of wars. Sexual mores abandoned on an epic scale. Christianity under attack. The rise of false religion. Bold-faced corruption in the highest places in our land.

Hand me an antacid, please. Continue reading

When all else fails, seek revival…

americanflagOur nation faces a host of problems, and they are not, at root, political. Nor are they economic, racial, financial, moral or ecological. These are symptoms, not the root problem.  Our root problem is spiritual: we need a large-scale “come to Jesus” revival. And I’m talking about within the church… among the people of God.

Don’t get me wrong… God’s people should be involved in politics, economics, racial reconciliation, affirming biblical morality, and environmental stewardship; we’re the salt of the earth. But it’s a mistake to think that we can fix these superficial issues without a profund return to God. Without revival, for every problem we fix, two more will pop up to take its place.

Washington D.C. will not fix our nation, no matter who’s in power.

johnbaptistWe need to become modern day John the Baptists, crying out “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Six centuries before Christ, God personally dried up the economy of Israel. He literally ate their wealth with an army of locuts. Lush vineyards and fields of grain devoured in a matter of weeks.

Joel 1:6 “For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.” This is a poetic description of locusts.  Cool, huh.

The country went bankrupt. Jobs dried up. Savings evaporated. The nation spiraled into depression. The priests were unable to offer the daily sacrifices because oil, wine, and grain were in such sort supply.

locusts“America, America, God shed his grace on thee…” And then we turned around and collectively forgot him.

Oh, I’m not talking about all those “bad people” outside the church walls. I’m talking about God’s own people. Born again people. Saved people. Honest to goodness believers in the Lord Jesus people. We turned around and forgot him.

  • We got caught up in the American dream.
  • We cared more about our worship wars than about lost people and their destiny.
  • We dethroned Christ Jesus as the world’s only Savior.
  • We set up impossibly high hurdles of legalism and demanded spiritual cripples to leap them.
  • We turned the good news of Christ into bad news of self-reformation.
  • We splashed in the Bible’s shallow end and never plumbed its depths.
  • We flocked to teachers who tickled our funny bone (2 Tim 2:3,4).
  • We let our Inner Mess rule our spirits…
  • We unleashed our Inner Pharisee on an unsuspecting culture.
  • We turned prayer into a narcissistic playground.
  • We pouted when God ignored us.
  • We turned Bible study into sermonettes for Christianettes.
  • We turned church into a competitive sport.
  • We neglected the widow and orphan in our narcissistic busy-ness.
  • We ignored our vast portfolio of spiritual resources, and faked the WWJD lifestyle by human power instead of divine.

We, the church, did all that, and so much more. Our problem is not the immoral majority, our problem is the moral minority–the people of God–who have “a[n outward] form of godliness, but deny its [inward] power” (2 Tim 3:5).

Sorry for getting preachy, but I love our country, and I’m passionate that spiritual problems demand spiritual solutions.

There is great hope.

Joel 2:12, 13 ““Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.”

God can turn around generations of faithlessness. God can heal our land. God can restore our economy. God can bring peace to our turmoil. God can pour out a blessing on his people, and on our land.

And it won’t take an Act of Congress, an Executive Decree, a Supreme Court Ruling, or a statistical swing toward biblical morality.

It will only take the Church being the Church.

biblestudy2Let the Church arise. Let the people of God return the Lord. Let us go Back to the Bible!  Back to the deep things of God. Back to heartfelt worship of a God who is known by his attributes and works and names.  Back to the gospel of grace, the message of Jesus, the world’s ONLY Savior. Back to self-giving service in the name of Jesus. Back to prayer.

Joel 2:19 “The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.”

When all else fails, seek revival. Revival made this country. Revival gave us the greatest prosperity world history has seen. Revival in the church fundamentally alters the fortunes of a nation. When the church returns to the Lord, God will heal our land. There is no political hope–we need revival.

When all else fails, seek the Lord.

Lord, revive your church! Lord, revive me!

Can I get an Amen?