Are you tired of the political conventions yet? When do we get back to real life: Survivor, American Idol, the Voice, Dancing with the Stars ... ??? (Sorry if I missed your favorite!) ... oh, the Race ... how could I forget that? "Run, Charla, run!!" We Americans sometimes seem to have a hard time separating fact from fiction; so when someone handed me a book to read last night, a book of fiction, I debated whether to take a look at it before I went to bed last night after getting home from a meeting a little after 9:00 p.m. I put the book down somewhere around midnight and will probably finish it tonight. Why? Because it is fiction, yet fact. The name of the book, for those of you who may be wondering, is "The Harbinger" - The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future. That's all I'm going to say about the book, so you'll have to read it for yourself.
The book is intriguing, however, because the "fiction" (or is it FACT?!) is based on a little-known verse of Scripture that appears to have a connection to our present and our future as a nation. Those at the political conventions try to convince you and me that our future rests in electing them. While I believe it is our duty to vote, I am increasingly convinced that it may not make a whole lot of difference. About fifty years ago, in my lifetime, America turned a corner (described in the book!). Certain decisions have been made; certain things have happened, and they are all tied together. The events going on around us are not mere coincidences. God is at work. Now we stand on the precipice of not only national, but global disaster. There is no hope, unless we change ... and by "we," I mean the entire nation. I'm not holding my breath. I thank God for this nation and the freedoms we have - freedoms fought for by my father and so many others. But "we" have changed, as a nation ... and not for the good. Anyone who denies that has serious issues with their vision!
Our patriotism today is no longer based on "In GOD we trust," even though it is still on our currency. We are no longer "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." We just aren't. God's judgment is falling on us as a nation, and we deserve it. And here at Lighthouse we have become increasingly aware of the problems in the ONE group of people who have the answer to America's problems, indeed, to the problems of every individual and every nation on the planet: the church. In a recent message I explained that the word, "church," does not appear in the Bible. The word in the original Greek is, "ekklesia," which means, literally, "called-out ones." The true Church, the one body of Christ, consists of those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and who have been "called-out" of the world. "Come out from among them, and be separate," says the Lord (II Corinthians 6:17). God's promise follows in verse 18: "Then I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters."
As citizens of these United States of America, we who believe have a higher calling, for we are also citizens of God's kingdom. In our present sermon series we are looking at God's plan to establish His reign on the earth, from Genesis through Revelation. What young people, and people of all ages, need today is a calling, a sense of purpose that transcends politics and everything else that so easily grabs our attention. It is the calling to be ambassadors of a kingdom the world knows nothing about - the kingdom of God. Knowing Jesus Christ, the King whom God has appointed to rule over all things, means that He guides my thoughts, my affections and my actions. God is an everlasting God and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
I pray that you have come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ and that you know the hope of trusting in Him every day, no matter what goes on in your life and in His world. I pray that you are one of the "called-out ones," and that you take that calling seriously. I think of the words of an old hymn, "This is my Father's world, oh let me ne'er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet!" That's where your hope today and in the future lies. However the election turns out, God has determined and will determine our future. And even though judgment will eventually befall our nation, even more than today, you can be at peace in knowing that "if our God is for us, who can be against us?" Our God is able; therefore, we will overcome!!