Dear Listening American Church – What Will We Inaugurate in the Days to Come

Dear Listening American Church (those who have ears, let them hear),

This week, our country will witness another transition of power at the highest level. The election was brutal on the entire nation but the Christian church took hits from within and without. Many are feeling, at the very least, beat up, battered, or bewildered. Others are resentful and angry. Still others harbor self-righteousness and smug pride. All of us are weary and wondering what the future holds. Now is an opportunity for the church to facilitate healing, restoration of truth, and reconciliation within the body of Christ.

We know we live in the time of war – the war for souls – and the first casualty of war is often the truth. When deception abounds, it’s easy to lose heart, to lose our way, and to lose the will to live up to our calling in Jesus Christ. This is a good week to reflect and to remember what is true.

  • God’s people are ruled by God no matter who sits in power on earth. When the leadership of the Israelites transitioned from Moses to Joshua, the people were about to embark on a battle to enter the Promised Land. They would face a violent and merciless foe and the odds were against them but Moses reminded them of the truth with this charge in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Whether you’re excited about the new president or apprehensive, you can know that God still sits on His throne. There is no transition of power on the highest seat.
  • God sets up and removes world leaders. Whether they believe in Him or not, God exists and rules over the rulers of the earth. Daniel was a prophet in captivity serving a hostile nation and subjected to foreign powers and yet he writes, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” Daniel 2:20b-22 We have every reason to continue to live in the confidence of God’s sovereign leadership in our lives and over our world no matter who is at the helm.
  • Our actions matter. While the leaders of nations have an impact and the speeches of actresses are heard round the world, most people will be most greatly influenced by those who directly touch their lives. The choices made in obscurity by individuals have power and the possibility of wide-reaching, even eternal effect. Our biggest problem isn’t that we are powerless, it’s that we don’t appropriate the power we have to affect the lives God’s assigned us to affect. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus didn’t say “Seek to reach the widest audience.” Or “Aim to obtain power at the highest level in my name.” He said, “’The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:29-31 If we focus on obeying God’s greatest commandments, our witness will impact earth and heaven as well.
  • Transition provides opportunity. The country is ripe for conversation. Conflict and crisis are more conducive to deep spiritual dialog than comfort and complacency. We feel our need of salvation right now. We feel our limitations. We feel how far we have to go with racial reconciliation, addressing the needs of the poor, defending against evil, and protecting freedom. The church has an opportunity to engage in the ministry of listening and reflecting what we hear. Of speaking truth and light into dark conversations steeped in deception. Of representing Jesus who laid down His life to reconcile all humanity with God and charged the church with the ongoing work of reconciliation and furthering the kingdom. Take direction from God’s Word. Pray for guidance. Intercede for others. Worship with zeal. Seek opportunities to serve. I believe as Tolkien did that “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” To love others in these times is to shine brighter than every star in Hollywood.
  • We were designed for these times. It’s popular to romanticize other times and places but the Bible says God determines where and when we live. We were designed for these times. Little House on the Prairie is a lovely book to read but God meant you and me for now. He further promises that we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:1-10). That doesn’t mean it isn’t work or isn’t challenging or that all our efforts will produce immediate success but it does mean we shouldn’t spend our minutes looking backwards or whining. We should rally in prayer and in service at our section of this outpost of glory. Other generations have faced trying times and God was present with them as He is present with us now – this truth alone should fortify our spirits. Tolkien penned these words, “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 Will you spend your time re-posting whiny articles on Facebook or will you engage with the world around you in Jesus’ name and light a lamp on the hill where you live?

To inaugurate is to begin, to commence, to initiate. This week, we’ll witness the inauguration of a new president. May it also be the inauguration of an era of the church where obscure individuals remember that God’s eye is on the small and unknown as much as He is aware of the powerful and the great. May we commence to revive our efforts to further His kingdom through love, through sacrifice, through listening, through speaking truth, and through laying down our lives.

The truth is not that our lives don’t matter. The truth is that they matter so much it sometimes paralyzes us with fear. Dr. Martin Luther King once stated “”Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” We, the listening church (may those who have ears to hear, hear), are called to enact our faith no matter the challenges of the times. May we greet this transition of power on our knees and prepare to stand in the name of Christ in the days to come.

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3 Comments

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  1. Powerful, Poignant, & necessary message for the church. I know you have your hand on the pulse of God’s heart. You are His messenger, my friend. I tweeted this to Mike Pence and Donald Trump separately. Praying for you.

  2. Lori, thank you for articulating, so well, the call of the body of Christ at this hour. Yes, indeed, “We should rally in prayer and in service at our section of this outpost of glory.”
    God bless you!

  3. Kim Wilbanks says:

    Amen! What an important message. I love the picture of the statue of Abraham Lincoln and the young man. Powerful.