A Kingdom View of Memorial Day

As I’ve gotten older and deeper into the kingdom of God, I’ve become more conflicted about Memorial Day.

It is not the acceptance or sometimes glorification of war we see on Memorial Day; In a fallen world war is sometimes necessary, and once one accepts that boundaries will be crossed. That is to be expected.

What has bothered me more is the hyper nationalism Memorial Day seems to inspire, particularly in Evangelical Christians. I wonder what my foreign brothers and sisters living here think when they witness it? I wonder what the Lord thinks.

Anytime we are tempted to elevate cause or country over the Kingdom we should be concerned. The savior of the world is not the United States of America but King Jesus, and the answer to the world’s problems is not democracy or a republican form of government but the Gospel.

Instead we should consider the Lord’s instructions to those living in exile in Jerusalem:

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3 Reasons Christians Don’t Live in Victory over Sin

I’ve always had a high view of the power of the Holy Spirit to enable Christians to live in victory over sin. There is plenty of scripture to demonstrate that those who have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit have the power to resist sin.

The Apostle Paul said that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides in Christians. So, why would I think that Spirit could raise Jesus from the dead but not be powerful enough to enable me to resist sin? Or, why would I think the power of the fall of man was more powerful than the resurrection of Jesus?

That born again, Spirit-filled Christians have the power to live in victory over sin, frankly, should be fundamental and axiomatic. The more interesting question is, “If Christians have the power to live in victory over sin, why don’t they?” I think there are three primary reasons:

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Why Being Available Trumps Being Prepared in the Kingdom of God

I’m a preparer. No, actually, I’m an over-preparer.

I’ve been that way for most of my life, but because I’m hard wired as a hard worker, I’ve been able accomodate my need to prepare.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized that when it comes to the things of the kingdom of God, there is something more important than being prepared, and that is being available.

By being available I mean being willing in the moment with no advanced warning to share the gospel, help, minster, or pray for someone. I rarely tell someone anymore, “Let me think about it and get back to you” because (1) I am far too busy and know I’m likely to forget; and (2) such help is best received by the individual when they make their need known to me. The best time to provide help is usually at the point someone is willing to ask for it.

Being available is more important than being prepared because we exist in a reality cabined by time. While God can and certainly has tampered with time in the past (e.g. Joshua 10:12-14), it certainly appears that His default is to work within the confines of time.

This means it is unlikely another person will present their need to you at a time most convenient for you. It is more likely that the moment when someone needs you to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is a time when you are engaged in something else.

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On Building the Bridges of the Kingdom

I am by nature an introvert. Give me a book and a quiet corner and I’m good for 3-4 hours.

However, over the years I’ve learned the importance of relationships, not because I wanted to surround myself with people but because I wanted to advance the kingdom of God. I came to realize relationships are the bridges of the Kingdom.

Just about every good thing that has happened to me spiritually happened through a relationship. I became a Christian because I knew a football coach in middle school who shared the gospel with me at a Fellowship of Christians Athletes meeting after school. I started to grow as a Christian when an upperclassman I met in college discipled me. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in law school because a guy at a Bible study was bold enough to ask me, and a girl I knew was bold enough to pray for me to receive it.

The relationships Christians build with non-Christians become the means by which non-Christians are invited to church, hear the Gospel, and ultimately cross over the border from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God. It makes sense then that Jesus told Christians to make friends with people who don’t know Him:

“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

Luke 16:9
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C.S Lewis on Politics and His Ministry

We are in the middle of a political season, and I already feel sick to my stomach.

When I went to the polls to vote in the primary a few weeks ago, I was so disappointed with the choices I was given I jokingly told my wife I felt disenfranchised. In reality, I was just sick of politics, I didn’t like being drawn into it, even for the ostensibly virtuous act of voting.

The current rancor though in politics is nothing new. I recently read biographies on Cato and Cicero and was shocked at how vitriolic the political debate of first century B.C. Roman politics had been. Personal attacks on one’s political opponent and the demonizing of an opponent’s policies was all par for the course.

When I recently read Aristotle’s Rhetoric, I should not have been surprised to find he advocated ad hominem arguments in politics; apparently, anything to win was justified when it came to political argument.

What disappoints me is that we are nearly two thousand years into the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth, and the rancor and demonization of one’s opponents so popular amongst pagan Romans seems to be alive and well amongst Christian Americans.

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