Author: Allan (page 2 of 359)

Move Back From It

I have never read a Beth Moore book and I’ve never heard her speak. I’m not on Facebook and I don’t have Twitter. So I was caught off guard when Carrie-Anne told me last week that Moore’s December tweet against Trumpism in the Church had created a bit of a national stir before Christmas. I had no idea.

Maybe you already know about this and it’s old news. If not, let me fill you in on what I know. From her Twitter account, Moore straight up called out American followers of Jesus for their fevered Christian Nationalism:

“I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”

There are an endless number of things about the insurrection at the U.S. capitol last week that sicken me. It’s a very discouraging thing to consider. What happened in Washington D.C. is tragic. It’s still happening – the threats, the violence, the anger — and it’s scary. It’s terribly sad. But, by far, what disturbs me the most are the Christian flags and symbols that were carried by the insurrectionist mob and the Christian Scriptures they wore and quoted as they stormed the seat of this country’s government.

Wearing a cross while waving confederate flags. Chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” while toting banners that read “Jesus is my Savior, Trump is my President!” A Christian flag was carried into the House chambers as U.S. lawmakers huddled under chairs fearing for their very lives. Hundreds of these violent protesters — some carrying loaded guns, some brandishing clubs and bats, some throwing fire extinguishers,  some breaking glass and stealing government property,  some carrying plastic zip ties, some beating police officers, a couple planting pipe bombs — were carrying out their angry attempt at a violent coup in the name of our Lord Jesus. They erected a cross on the capitol grounds and draped a MAGA flag around it. They also erected a gallows on the same property and called for the execution of government officials who aren’t voting the way they want them to.

More than anything, that is what breaks my heart and causes the tears to run down my face. The American church’s grab for political power over the past forty years, the compromising of our Christian commitments in order to wield influence and pass laws, the idolatrous syncretism of mixing national politics with the Kingdom of our Lord, has turned us into a people whose actions defame the eternal name we claim to wear.

The Kingdom of God is a political Kingdom, but there is no right or left, there is only the straight and narrow; there is no elephant or donkey, there is only the Lamb of God.

When it comes right down to it, the reason Judas betrayed our Lord is that he couldn’t lay down his own agenda to take up the agenda of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. We are called by Christ to be a people of grace and peace, of love and unity. But the banter leading up to last week’s assault on the capitol and the banners that were carried in D.C. betray the agendas of thousands of Christians. Fear and anger, violence and force are not what we are to foment, practice, or endorse. We love and forgive, we embrace diversity and strive toward unity, we consider the needs of others more important than our own, we lay down our rights in order to serve the ones around us. Those are the politics of the Kingdom of God and decidedly not the politics that so many Christians displayed last Wednesday. And Christian leaders need to call it out.

As Beth Moore tweeted last month:

“We will be held responsible for remaining passive in this day of seduction to save our own skin while the saints we’ve been entrusted to serve are being seduced, manipulated, USED and stirred up into a lather of zeal devoid of the Holy Spirit for political gain.”

“And, God help us, we don’t turn from Trumpism to Bidenism. We do not worship flesh and blood. We do not place our faith in mortals. We are the church of the living God. We can’t sanctify idolatry by labeling a leader our Cyrus. We need no Cyrus. We have a king. His name is Jesus.”

An article in Relevant magazine about Moore’s tweet and the reaction from both secular and Christian leaders asks why she’s “the only one brave enough to say this stuff.” She’s not. There are preachers and pastors all over the country who are saying these things in smaller churches in less significant settings. They/We have been preaching and teaching and writing on these things for many years. The question is why more big-name leaders with big-mega-membership churches and big-national-reach platforms aren’t saying this stuff.

The evidence is widespread and overwhelming that, when it comes to people 34-years-old and younger, the American church’s marriage with the politics of this country is the number one biggest turnoff to Jesus. Our lust for power, our endorsement of and participation in the ways and means of the political machine, are driving people away from our Lord. Rightly so. I get it. We have only ourselves to blame.

The anger and violence in the United States is still simmering. What we saw in Washington D.C. last week is not the end of it. There will be more threats made and names called and armed groups gathered and lives lost for the kingdoms of this world. If you wear the name of Jesus and are a member of the Kingdom of God, move back from it.

Peace,

Allan

Roll, Roll, Roll

Alabama could have won the NFC East. They should have been allowed to. Watching the Crimson Tide host Tom Brady’s Buccaneers in Tuscaloosa would have been a lot more interesting than what we watched last night.

Peace,

Allan

Peace, Be Still

Surely we needed no more proof. But if we did, the disturbing events that unfolded at this country’s capitol yesterday illustrate beyond any doubt that we are a deeply divided people. We are divided. And desperate. And afraid. Angry. Hurt. Confused. Violent. Bitter. Outraged. Torn apart.

We need a peace that surpasses all understanding and can come only from our Lord. We need healing that only God through the righteous life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus can provide. We need forgiveness. We need comfort. Reconciliation. Acceptance. Unity. Compassion. Empathy. Grace. Love.

We certainly needed no more evidence. But if we did, what happened yesterday affirms for all of us that our hope does not rest in politicians or parties, platforms or partisan posturing. Our prayers are not answered in Austin or Washington D.C. Our salvation does not come from elections or laws, flags or speeches.

We have a King and his name is Jesus. He has become for us our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Despite what’s happening all around us, he alone is making everything new. And he calls his followers to practice peace. And healing. And forgiveness. Comfort. Reconciliation. Acceptance. Unity. Compassion. Empathy. Grace. Love.

May our God bless us quickly and richly with his peace. And may his people behave in the name and manner of our risen and coming King.

Peace,

Allan

Make Me Blessable

You might be asking God to bless you in 2021. That may be what you’re praying right now. Lord, bless me in this new year. Bless my health, bless my finances, bless my relationships. God, please bless me.

I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks that it might be good to pray, “Lord, please make me blessable.” Maybe something like this.

Lord, please make me blessable.
Move me to the place where I am able to receive your blessings.
Draw me closer to you; push me closer to your people;
bring me to your Word; bring me to your worship.
I want to be with you in the place where you are.
Father, give me the strength and the resolve to move to you
and to the place of your blessings.

Peace,

Allan

A Delicious Win-Win

Which would be more of a devastating gut-punch to the Cowboys? To lose to the Giants at the very last second in a dramatic catastrophic collapse? Or to come from behind to beat the Giants, pack up and fly to DFW, think about the next week’s potential playoff opponent during the flight, drive home, sit down in front of the TV, and watch the Eagles jump offsides on Washington’s fourth-and-one to hand WFT the NFC East and get knocked out of the playoffs at 10:30 at night?

I think scenario #2 would have been a lot more fun, but history dictates it was always going to be scenario #1.

Either way. So juicy.

Trailing by four points a little over midway through the fourth quarter, Dallas started at their own 25-yard line and methodically marched to the Giants seven. Confidently. Triumphantly. The Cowboys overcame three third downs and converted a fourth-and-two on what was an unheard of 17-play drive. It felt like some kind of devilish destiny. The Cowboys are terrible, but the Giants, yes, are probably worse. It looked like Dallas was going to win this lousy game and subject all of us to another week of the Mike McCarthy inspiration tour. In the driving sleet in an empty Giants Stadium, Dallas had a first-and-goal at the New York seven yard line. I felt sick to my stomach.

But, then, history took over and all was made right in the football world.

1st down – shotgun formation, Dalton sacked for a ten yard loss
2nd down – shotgun formation, Dalton incomplete across the middle to CeeDee Lamb
3rd down – shotgun formation, Dalton pressured, forced to his left, lofts a dying duck to the middle of the end zone that is intercepted by Giants rookie Xavier McKinney

Dalton said after the game he was throwing it up for grabs, hoping somebody would make a play. He told reporters he wishes he had thrown the ball out of bounds since it was only third down. Hmm. Sounds reasonable.

We all should have seen it coming. We knew the Cowboys weren’t going to punch it in there. Of the myriad Cowboys issues this season, one of the more glaring is their inability to score touchdowns inside the Red Zone. Dallas took four trips inside the New York 20-yard line yesterday and came away with only one touchdown. Each of the other three trips was stymied by a Dalton sack. Dallas scored touchdowns on only 27 of their 54 Red Zone opportunities this year. Too many field goals. Too little imagination.

The longer historical narrative should also have comforted us. The Cowboys always lose when they’re playing a divisional opponent in the season finale with a playoff spot on the line. Five times since 2008, Dallas has needed a win against another NFC East team on the last day of the season to qualify for the playoffs, and all five times they have lost.

2008 Philadelphia 44-6
2011 New York 31-14
2012 Washington 28-18
2013 Philadelphia 24-22
2020 New York 23-19

So, the next time it happens, maybe as early as next season, you can bet on Dallas to lose to WFT or WFC or whatever Snyder’s calling that outfit then. And it’ll be just as satisfying.

Peace,

Allan

Everything New!

These are the five most exciting words in all of Scripture:

“I am making everything new!” ~Revelation 21:5

This is the divine promise. This is the holy guarantee. This is the dramatic climax to the Gospel story we’re living right now in Jesus Christ. Not new like an existing breakfast cereal that adds additional marshmallow moons, not new like a laundry detergent that features a unique cleaning agent. It’s not a different label, a brighter color, or a longer lasting battery.

This is new heaven and new earth new. This is no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain, no more death new. This is mourning being turned into dancing new. Emptiness to fullness new. Bitterness to joy new. Death to life new. Our Lord is making everything new!

May our Lord move you into his “new” as he moves you and yours into 2021.

“The old order of things has passed away! I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true!” ~Revelation 21:4-5

Peace!

Allan

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