Category Archives: National Issues

What shall we liken this generation unto?

But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Matt 11:16-19 KJV

 

It has been twenty-five years or so that I first started working with high school youth. I was barely an “adult” when I started, and now I’m marrying off my first born and have graduated my last born. I think my season of a high school youth leader is wrapping up. I have books to write and other mandates to fulfill, and I sense it’s the closing of this chapter.

I was on the phone earlier today with one of my first students I ministered to. I was her cabin counselor at a week long summer camp in 1992, in the heat of the Midwest in cabins along a lake. She attended a school with a graduating class of thirty in a small farming community about twenty minutes from my town, and thirty minutes from the school I ministered at. Somehow we maintained our relationship that morphed from student/mentor eventually into adult friendship. She’s lived and worked along the Gulf for almost a decade now, and we are still very good friends. She is my son’s godmother.

After twenty-five years of watching teenagers struggle with their identity, search for meaning and purpose, and roll with the inevitable tides of maturing, it is a bittersweet closing. Teens are quite possibly my favorite age group. They have the ability to communicate, but with the uncertainty of knowing their real thoughts and feelings. It’s a constant joy and occasional challenge to exchange ideas and introduce concepts.   I find them fresh and real and relevant, unassuming and still able to take in new or different ideas without being defensive. If they trust you. And that is the key. If they don’t trust you, they don’t listen; they don’t learn; they don’t receive.

And teens have lots of reasons to not trust. Not trust adults, not trust new ideas, not trust peers, not trust themselves…

In the past two and a half decades of working with emerging adults, I have a few observations:

America is a post-Christian culture now. It has been a swift descent into this arena of popular opinion, defiant selfishness, and general unbelief. Twenty-five years ago there was a consciousness in the youth of what God thinks, who God is, what He may want from humanity. That does not exist today in the status quo. The morality of the Bible is ridiculed and rejected. Christianity, by and large, is not respected, adhered to, or sought out.

American teens are tired of American school. They’re tired of the charades and hypocrisy. They are unstimulated, uninterested, and uninvolved in their own education. They find most of school irrelevant to life, and the politics of the school system suffocating. They are burned out on tests and testing, rules and agendas, a form of police state and prison mentality. Very few of them know what they want to do when they leave school or how they’re going to get there.

They cannot tell me where Syria is on a map, what’s going on in the Middle East, or the first Ten Amendments of the US Constitution. They don’t know and they don’t care. If they know, it’s incidental – not because they have an interest. They cannot articulate world events or local concerns. School is a place of survival for some, escape for others, and a necessary evil for others. Very few teens find school preparatory for their future.

Very, very, precious few teens today can think an original thought or critically. Deductive reasoning and common sense are all but absent. There is a herd mentality, but it’s unrecognized within because they think they’re thinking independently. Logical presentation of facts and data points are often lost, as basic deductive reasoning is almost nonexistent. A + B has ten different answers, and none of them are “wrong”.

If they happen to be of the minority that embraces education, they embrace it hook, line and sinker. Every theory that is presented to them they absorb as veritable fact. The system rewards those who don’t question it and punishes those who do, which weeds out the trouble makers in the process. Those who question do not receive the accolades or reward as those who don’t. Bright and subservient students are elevated to leadership roles and pushed up the ladder to the next level, so that by the time they arrive at their “higher education”, they are a virtual classroom of obedient minions, ready to further the cause of whatever field they’ve selected or been selected for.

Teens raised in the church most (or all) of their lives have a basic grid for morality, but question it frequently because of the social pressure to conform. A majority of them reject the Bible’s morality to conform with the status quo. A shocking majority of church-raised teens have limited Bible knowledge and understanding. Their foundations are shaky at best. They could not tell me who Abraham, Moses or David were. They had a sketchy understanding of Noah. (This is generally speaking.)

The greatest hindrance to believing teenagers’ faith walk is distraction. Their day is so full of activity and pleasure seeking that there is little to no time or energy left to pursue weightier matters of the spirit, or to develop a personal relationship with God. Technology has taught this generation instant gratification on a level prior generations knew nothing of. Waiting on God is laborious for those who can instantly stream the latest movie. Straining to hear His still small voice is too much work for those who communicate via InstaGram and SnapChat. They quite simply don’t have a grid for how to listen, wait, watch, or learn. They struggle to see the relevance in reading an ancient manuscript because they’ve not been taught the value in seeking knowledge.

And they are dying. Dying to be heard. Dying to be understood. They spend eight or more hours a day being told what to do, what to think, what to believe. Their social interactions are a competitive field of jockeying for acceptance and position. Their home lives are often chaotically out of control or controlling to the point of suffocation. Very few people have taken the time to hear their hearts, help them with their thoughts, substantiate their worth, quell their fears, or explore their talents. They don’t know who they are or what to do. Our most powerful meetings are small groups, when they have to soul search and share their hearts. They need help articulating their thoughts and sorting through their emotions. They are consistently confused or discouraged or both.

They care about a lot of things and they want to care, but they’re woefully misinformed by society. An hour or even a two hour youth meeting once a week is not enough to change the tidal wave that covers them almost every other waking hour of every day.

Over the last 25 years, unequivocally the most profound moments I’ve witnessed youth having are a couple things:

When they unplug from society for more than 48 hours, they are able to witness God first hand. They can sense Him; they can feel Him; they can hear Him. They encounter Him when they unplug. I honestly know of no exceptions. Every single teen I’ve ministered to over the last two and half decades, when they remove themselves from social media, phones, computers, TVS, and daily routine and have an atmosphere of nature and the Word of God, encounter God. Unbelief is silenced in that atmosphere. Doubts are stilled. The world fades and God becomes real.

And they know it. They want to get back to it. It becomes an altar in their memory of the time or the place they encountered God.

We have to teach this. We have to demonstrate this. We have to give opportunities for this.

The other profound moments are when they get a glimpse of their worth. When they finally grasp the enormity of their deliberate place in life, when they feel like someone has heard them, understood them, and loved them anyway, they are changed. The very act of listening to them without judging them begins to dismantle the hardness of all the years of striving. They need to explore ideas in a way that helps them learn about themselves, rather than dictates to them.

If you’re on the outside (i.e. they are not your teen), you can help them by asking them what they think about things. Give them time to think about it before they answer, and then acknowledge and validate their answer. If their thinking is off (and it often is), ask gentle questions that will help them see things differently without criticizing where they are right now. Help them articulate their feelings by giving them permission to feel authentically, and not how they think they’re supposed to feel. Don’t tell them what to think and don’t invalidate their feelings. Ever. Don’t do it. Don’t give them answers to questions they aren’t asking, and don’t give them answers to the questions you may have asked. Let them formulate their own answers and only give your opinion when they seek it. They need to be heard by adults more than hear them, at least for awhile. Help them find their voice, and as they learn how to articulate, their thinking will clear up along the way. After awhile (varies by teen and their life circumstances), they will begin to trust you. When they begin to trust you, they will want to know your thoughts, and that is when you can make the most impact in their life. Don’t rush this process.

If you’re on the inside, if the teen is your own, evaluate their trust in you. If it is low or nonexistent, follow the advice in the above paragraph, but with hypersensitivity. Accompany this process with humility and acknowledge any failure or mistakes of your own as they come up. Genuinely seek forgiveness. Seek to understand more than to be understood. Listen to their thoughts without criticism, validate their feelings, and let them be who they need to be. You do not have to agree with them to love them. You do not need to make a stand on every issue you think they’re off on. If you can prove yourself trustworthy, if you can demonstrate you care about their feelings more than being “right”, if you can listen more than talk, you have a chance at building their trust. They will test you. They will say outlandish things that may not even be what they really think or feel, just to see if they can trust you to not overreact or come down hard on them. Let them sort out their thoughts and feelings without prejudice on your part. Believe in them. If you are consistent and patient, they will begin to value their exchanges with you, and you will gain opportunities to speak into their lives.

If you can get to this point, you are at a great place. You will find they may change your life more than you change theirs. You may find your ways of thinking change as well.   You may find they challenge you in ways to make you more real, and you may be the better person for it. You may find God in new and different ways you have not known Him before.

Generally speaking, this generation does not trust anyone. They have been betrayed by their peers, their parents, their authority figures, even themselves. If you can teach them how to trust God, the years and years of deception will begin to unravel. That formerly angry or rebellious or indifferent teenager may very well become the truth seeking radical that does not settle for the status quo any longer. They may be the confident adult that questions the trite answers of a corrupt system and causes the ripples of change this world desperately needs.

Trump, Globalism & National Sovereignty…

Surely we are living in the immediate days before Christ’s return.  The signs are everywhere, and just as Christ and the prophets foretold, the mass of the people are ignorant of it.   The subject in this paper is globalism vs. national sovereignty, and the ongoing battle for control of the United States of America.

America seems about as divided as it could be, perhaps equaling the days leading up to and involving the Civil War.  The battle lines are not as clear, and the battle ground is muddy from propaganda, lies and half-truths.  I’m going to tell it like I see it and it will be difficult for some people to receive and/or even understand.  Regardless, this is my current viewpoint and understanding of what we’re facing, as 2017 kicks off with Trump at the helm and a fury of antagonists raging across our land.

Simply put, there are people who want to control the world as they see fit.  Money and power go hand in hand.  Money buys and corrupts power, and power takes money.  It’s an epic game of rock, paper, scissors, with two of the powers trying to eliminate the third.  If the third can be eliminated, really only one will remain.  For the sake of this allegory we’ll call it money, power and freedom.  If money and power can eliminate freedom, the battle is over because the money and power merge and there’s nothing left to overcome.  If freedom can manage the money and/or power, freedom will keep things better balanced, or at least keep money and/or power at bay.

Today, January 25, 2017 in America, we have a five-day old President who at his inauguration declared war on the establishment of political power in Washington D.C.  He said, and I quote,

“…today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”

Why, oh why, did a huge percentage of Americans NOT rejoice at those words??  This is the closest thing to the American spirit that I have heard in my lifetime, and in my studies of history, I can’t recall a time so epic.  (And there are some epic times in America’s history!)

This President has basically waged war on the establishment.  To understand the ramifications of this, you have to have some understanding of what the “establishment” is.  The establishment is not the Democratic Party and it’s not the Republican Party.  It’s a small group of people who may identify with one of those parties or the other, but their agenda is the same.  Their agenda is to own the wealth of the world and control its population.  And they have a massive game plan to accomplish this.  They don’t care which political party is in the White House.  It’s irrelevant to them.  They use their wealth and their power to control, intimidate, bribe, blackmail, or kill to meet their objectives.  From my own studies, there hasn’t been an American President since Woodrow Wilson that was not controlled and/or run by them.

IF Trump cannot be controlled by them, America is in the best place it has been since the early 1900s.  Their tentacles are far-reaching and they have agents in almost every possible sphere they can (CIA, FBI, NASA, military, House, Senate, DHS, etc.)  Some of Trump’s appointments seem weak (comparatively) or controversial, but at a nominal glance I’m encouraged because they seem to be outside the establishment circle.

In a perfect world, globalism would make sense:  “the belief or advocacy that political policies should take worldwide issues into account before focusing on national or state concerns”.  [Encarta]  If all nations and all areas of the world had the same objectives of honoring life, personal liberty, and the overall well-being of humanity, this would be somewhat simpler to do.  However, this is not the case.  Realistically, personal responsibility MUST take place before a corporate vision can be successful.

Our family decided to adopt a child out of the state system.  We brought the child into our home.  The child refused to follow our rules.  The child was violent and destructive, deceptive and two-faced.  The child began very damaging behaviors to our children already in the home.  It was with excruciating emotional angst that we had to discuss the possibility that maybe we should NOT take this child in.  We wanted to give the child a home.  Our family was willing to love and support this child, but this child was unwilling to alter behavior or thoughts to be healthy in our home.  We made the extremely difficult and painful choice to NOT adopt this child after all.  The health of our family was at stake.  The lives of other children would be so altered (was already happening) as to change their course.  We simply could not do it.  Globalism would have done it.  That’s the difference between globalism and national sovereignty.

Had we gone ahead with the adoption, the dynamics of our family would have changed drastically and dramatically in the coming months and years, altered actually for the rest of our time on earth.  Abuse was a part of this scenario, and abuse carries afflicters and victims with their varying circumstances.  Our family identity would not be the same.  Ever.  As the head of our home, we had to decide to take care of the needs in our family first, and not damn the needs of our family for the sake of the destruction that would come simply from embracing things counter to our convictions.

Nations are nations because of cultural needs and identities.  A people group that associate with one another form a nation, set up a boundary and governing laws, and then protect those boundaries in an effort to protect its citizens.  That’s healthy.  Boundaries are enforced and protected from those with harmful or destructive intentions.  That’s healthy.  The needs of my family may not be the same as the needs for yours.  Am I supposed to alter my family’s needs to accommodate yours?  I happen to follow the God of ancient Israel, the Creator of earth.  If you follow the gods of Egypt, should I have to embrace your gods in my family?  It would change the construction and fabric of our identity.  Liberty tells me I should be able to worship my God and not have to worship yours.  Globalism tells me I have to incorporate your beliefs into my own.  And whoever is in power can then tell everyone what beliefs are to be adhered to.

Now if I decide I don’t like my current beliefs but like yours, then I can change my mind and I might want to move to become your close family friend to appease my new beliefs.  That’s called changing citizenship.  With personal autonomy and national sovereignty, we can do that.  We have that choice.  I just move to the country, state or neighborhood that aligns better with my new convictions.  With globalism, that change is unnecessary and not possible because we’re put under one umbrella and must placate and acquiesce to whatever the standing rule is.  There’s no protection for personal liberty in globalism.  There’s no room for personal growth.  The rule of thumb becomes what’s best for the community, and what’s best for the community is dictated by the ones with the power (which usually equates to those with the money).

America was the great experiment in personal liberty.  And that experiment has afforded generations of Americans to exercise their rights in ways other parts of the world had never had the opportunity to do.  It grew a nation of inventors and creators and scientists and authors (and the list goes on and on), and a nation that quickly rose to the top of affordable living, affluence, accessibility to needs and wants, and was dubbed the “land of opportunity” because it was founded on personal liberty.  [And yes, many of those liberties were fought for, i.e. race and gender issues, etc., and yes there is much blight on our record, but our record still stands above every other nation of the world.]

Freedom is the enemy of absolute power.  Period.  And there is a growing group of people who want absolute power.  They have diligently passed this baton on down several generations in the ultimate desire to have ultimate control for personal gain, at the expense of those they are attempting to control or govern.

As a Christian this is so easily identified in God.  God is the ultimate power.  He created all things and has power over all things.  Yet He has given His creation freedom and chooses to not intervene with His power just to be “in control”.  We are not His puppets.  We are not killed or waylaid if we do not act in accordance with His character.  My belief or unbelief in Him does not change His purposes or His plans.  As Christ said, “He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.”

The spirit behind those who would want ultimate power and control is completely contradictory to God, who has ultimate power and control yet chooses to yield it in favor of personal liberty.  (This is why Christianity is so offensive to Islam.  We do not require your beliefs and we do not demand your allegiance.  We give you the information we have and let you choose.)  The spirit of globalism is the antithesis of freedom.  It destroys individuality and creativity.  Its agenda is power and control over people, but it masquerades as a “community” idea.

Globalism is the spirit of Babylon.  This is Genesis 11 and Revelation 17-18.  It is a people who do not want the rule of God.  They want to call the shots, and they don’t want anyone to tell them their shots are in conflict with God.  So they silence, contain, and/or eliminate the opposition.  The American spirit and the Constitution of the U.S. give its citizens the freedom to believe as they believe and do as they are convicted, as long as their beliefs and convictions don’t harm another.  The globalist spirit will dictate beliefs by dictating laws aimed at behaviors, and this works well if you’re of the same convictions as the globalists’ laws.  If not, you have no liberty to do or believe differently.

Trump’s first actions were to secure national sovereignty.  He removed the U.S. from TPP, which gives America sovereignty back in its trade policies, and not under the rule of a non-American entity.  He is renegotiating (with the threat of removing America altogether) NAFTA to restore America’s sovereignty to dictate its own trade arrangements.  He instated a temporary ban on Middle East refugees in order to vet the immigration process more diligently for the security of America.  These are areas the prior POTUS and the establishment set out to strip America of its power and wealth.  If America can be stripped of its power and wealth (remember the rock, paper, scissors analogy?), it can be stripped of its ability to ensure freedom and can be removed as a hindrance to the globalist agenda to rule the world.

Unfortunately, the screaming tantrum voices of an ignorant population of Americans are insistent on making this election about personal pet issues.  Obamacare was designed to ultimately fail, but not until it had stripped Americans of their wealth and the federal budget of its wealth.  Trump wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with healthcare that is not contingent solely on the federal government.  He wants to enable states to meet the need of its citizens’ healthcare.  We’ve mastered the art of being offended in America this past decade.  We’re so busy being offended we’re unable to see what’s really going on.  Obamacare was never about providing healthcare to American citizens.  It was about removing autonomy from doctors, removing wealth from citizens and private sectors, and dictating mandates while stripping its citizens of their voice.

The media is owned and run by the establishment.  They direct our attention where they want it to be and deliberately misinform areas they can’t completely hide or control.  There is a deliberate effort to divide Americans, and depicting scenarios that trigger emotional responses to people’s pet issues (that have really just become idols) seems the easiest way to fool the people.  People jump on these bandwagons with personal offenses and neglect to see they’ve played right into the establishment’s hands, like puppets on a string.

As Christians, we need to seize this opportunity before us as the Israelites did when Cyrus proclaimed Jerusalem was to rebuild the house of the Lord.  The Scripture plainly says “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus” and the people were called to respond.  Not everyone responded, just those who understood the significance of the moment.  While the details are different, the essence is the same.  God has moved to stay the hand of the globalist agenda in America; we must respond.  The spirit of globalism will prevail until our Lord’s return, but He plainly says He will bring this spirit down.  (Revelation 18)  We do not need to declare America a “Christian nation”.  That is unnecessary and will stir up the opposition faster than anything.  We simply need to BE a nation of Christians.  We need to live according to the mandates of our faith.  We are to be the city on a hill, the light of the world, the salt of the earth.  Then those who are lost will go to the hill, those who are blind will go to the light, and those who are tired of the drudgery of the world will go get salt.

The Scriptures are pretty clear about how this is going to go down.  We’re going to be co-laboring for Christ at the same time the world is partnering with darkness.  It’s all going to be going on at the same time when He returns.  (Matthew 24:36-51) Christians are ambassadors of Christ.  (Ephesians 6:20)  We represent Him, His interests, and His Kingdom in the nation we’re a foreigner to.  We don’t really have the same customs as the world we’re posited in, but we exist there anyway until Christ brings our Kingdom.  God ordained the nations and gave them their boundaries (Deut 32:8, Acts 17:26), and America is ours.  We are to “occupy until He [Jesus] comes” (Luke 19:13) – and “occupy” there means “to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade” (Strong’s).  So we’re to be busy with our trades, our gifts and abilities, being light and salt, declaring the Kingdom of God as we know it, and representing Christ here in America.

Time is short.  Let’s be about our King’s business.

 

 

 

 

 

illegal activities of the POTUS

The list is getting so long…  But November 20, 2014 marks an unprecedented move with severe consequences, both presently and in the future.  No one has said it quite as well as Matt Walsh.  Please take the time to look at it here:

http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/11/21/hey-obama-just-hurt-daughters/

Please click on the link to read his full essay entitled, “Dear Obama, it must be good to be king”.