Hope for troubled times

Have you watched the news lately? I can’t say that I blame you if you haven’t. There really is nothing but bad news these days. Whether it’s ISIS or North Korea, it seems like civilization stands on the brink of devastation. The pro-choice lobby is stronger than ever. The euthanasia debate has even come back to the fray in recent years. The faces of hopelessness have become even more real.

Is there a better time than now for the Church to rise up and declare the hope we have?

In Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul begins to reveal his ministry to the church at Colosse. Paul wrote the letter from prison after hearing that the Colosse church had begun to believe a mixture of false doctrines. Among those beliefs was the heresy of Gnosticism.

The Gnostic belief that reduced the role of Jesus from Saviour to just another source of knowledge, had quickly distracted believers in Colosse.

To this attitude, Paul asserted that God was using him to make known the full message of Christ–a message that was hidden in mystery to the Colossians because of their mostly Gentile background and their drift back into heresy.

Paul said the key to the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).”

What we have then in Colosse is a church in which Jesus had become a lesser thing. Christ was now just another means of knowledge unto salvation, rather than the hope of all the world.

It was a church that had become just like its surrounding culture.

Sound familiar?

Could it be that the world is hopeless because much of the church has become hopeless in our day?

Is the Church in America merely an empty shell in today’s culture?

The Church, with Jesus Christ as it’s head is still the hope of the world.
Where Jesus is still the central theme, there’s still hope. Where His Lordship is still celebrated, there’s still hope.

Pastor, if Jesus has become a lesser thing in your sermons, your worship, and your everyday walk, please put Him back where he belongs.

The hopeless world cannot afford to have a hopeless church in this day.

 

This is an updated post that originally appeared on j31.org in 2014. 

Planned Parenthood Video: Grieved but not Hopeless

I’m not really sure what to say about the undercover video of a Planned Parenthood senior director discussing the selling of body parts and tissues from aborted babies in between bites of salad and sips of wine.

The only thing that comes to the surface after watching that horrific video is grief. 
I’m grieved that a human being would utter these words in such a nonchalant manner. I’m grieved that our President has lauded the efforts of such a barbaric organization in the past. I am grieved over the U.S. national media’s non-existent response to the story nearly 24 hours after the video surfaced. 
I’m grieved that there are still some Christians, ministers even, who will not speak out about this issue. I’m grieved that there are still some who believe this is more of a political problem rather than a spiritual problem. 

I’m grieved that taxpayer dollars support an organization whose founder, Margaret Sanger, once wrote, “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

I’m grieved that anyone with a working brain would defend the barbaric practice of selling any body part or organ of an aborted child for profit. 
I’m grieved that this culture has so quickly fallen into such wicked and selfish behavior. I am grieved over the fact that some still believe electing a Republican for president in 2016 will suddenly fix everything that ills this once great nation. 
I am grieved over the lack of revival in our churches. I am grieved that church attendance has been reduced to 45 minutes to an hour, once a week for many American congregations. 
I am grieved that this wake-up call may only last a few days before we go back to business as usual. 
Yes, I am grieved. But I’m not hopeless. 
Even in my grief, I see the hand of God moving. Even in my grief, I still expect a mighty outpouring of the Spirit on my generation. Even in my grief, I see God raising up prophetic voices to proclaim His name among the heathen. 
Even in my grief over the lostness of humanity, I still believe awakening is coming.