Citizen’s Arrest

No citizen should be at rest when far too many children cannot be at ease. When it comes to the subject of human trafficking, we ought to be self-appointed traffic cops.

Last Sunday I showed a video from to the people of First Christian Church. When the video ended, quite a few people who were wiping tears from their eyes.

We learned that human trafficking generates about $32 billion annually. It is incredibly hard for me to think of that as a profit when the loss column is framed with the images of innocent children—children victimized for the pleasure and sexual gratification of others.

Two children are sold into the commercial sex trade every minute of every day. That is 525,600 a year X 2 children, which is over 1 million a year. Not just one year, but year after year.

By the way, how old are you? How many precious lives have been ruined in your lifetime?

Even though President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment declared slavery to be illegal, it continues today.

We need to pray for those who are preyed upon, and we need to support the efforts of those who are fighting the fight to free those who are still in bondage.

If you are interested in getting involved, let me know.

Think About It!

238 Years Ago Today

imagesDuring the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, 700 British Redcoats were on a mission to confiscate the firearms and ammunition of those who were considered a threat to the Crown of England. The morning air was thick with the anxiety and anticipation of the 77 colonial militia were waiting with muskets in hand. They were determined to defend their families, their freedoms and their town.

These men had responded to the call of Captain John Parker and the example of Pastor Jonas Clark. When the British were about a half a mile away, Captain Parker challenged Clark’s congregation and other MinuteMen, to stand as free men in Christ and fight: “Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.”

A British officer drew a line in the sand when he said: “Lay down your arms, ye damned rebels, or you are all dead men.”

Undeterred, Captain John Parker said: “Stand your ground! Don’t fire unless fired upon — but if they mean to have war, let it begin here.”

When this first battle at Lexington was over, 8 MinuteMen had paid the price of freedom as they died on the battlefield. A monument was erected to memorialize their sacrifice. The inscription reads: “On April 19, 1775, the die was cast!! The blood of the martyrs, in the cause of God and their country, was the cement of the Union of these states . . . they nobly dared to be free, and the peace, liberty and independence of the United States of America was their glorious reward!”

The actions of Pastor Clark and the members of his church were evidence of the sentiment and mindset of many of the colonial churches. Many pastors challenged their congregations to join the fight for freedom and even led them from the pulpit to the battlefield.

The patriotic fervor of 1775 is a stark contrast to the insipid response I see in the life of the church today. Too many freedoms are being consumed by the mammoth appetite of the current administration; its ever expanding government programs; its assault on our Second Amendment rights; and, what appears to be an utter disdain for the Christian worldview.

In this past week President Obama has prostituted the grief of the traumatized parents of Sandy Hook. He used Air Force One, at tax payers expense, to fly the parents to Washington and then parade them in and out of offices in an effort to restrict the Second Amendment.

When the President’s legislation was defeated, he angrily whined that it was the fault of a determined minority. The problem wasn’t the minority, it was the fact that the President could not twist enough arms to get a majority. This is the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, and the United States is a Republic.

I doubt I will ever own a BushMaster AR 15, but once you let the government in the hen house, the fox will rule the roost.

I think we have a sly fox who is ransacking too many hen houses.

A Fine Faith or A Faith fined

What did Jesus do when He died on the cross? The first answer that comes to a person’s mind is probably that He paid for our salvation. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul spoke of the death of Jesus this way: He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.

Even though Paul said the Law is dead, buried, and in the grave, people have kept trying to resurrect it. In the years both prior to and after the Revolutionary War, people were demanding strict adherence to Sabbath Laws.

In 1656, a Captain Kimble had returned from a 3 year stint at sea. When he met his wife on the doorstep of their house, he kissed her. Problem was, he kissed her in public and on the Sabbath Day, so he was placed in stocks for 2 hours.

In 1760 the Massachusetts legislature passed a law that fined any able-bodied person 10 shillings if said person was absent from public worship on the Lord’s Day.

One more example: In 1831, a woman was arrested for unnecessary travel on the Sabbath Day. She had violated the law by travelling to her father’s house on the Lord’s Day.

When we read the biblical record, we find that it was not the prostitutes and tax collectors who struggled with repentance, it was the people who were the most religious–the Pharisees.

When were are tempted to look down our long nose of religiosity, and judge others, we would do well to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7: “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. –The Message

When we exhibit a spirit that is pious, self-righteous, and judgmental, we are trying to resurrect what Jesus buried. Jesus nailed the Law to the cross–leave it there!

The Lord is

I think I was in third grade when my teacher emphasized the importance of the letter “S” to me. I was trying to perfect my skill in cursive writing, and she reminded me that both my first and last names begin with the letter “S.” “Stan,” she said, “if your “S” cannot be read, no one will know who you are.”

In the title above, “s” is one of two letters that are of important. The other one is the letter “i,” and I don’t mean “I.” The capital “I” is a pronoun and usually the subject of a sentence.

The two letters I’m speaking of are of little significance when they stand alone. By themselves they are a little “i” and a measly “s.” Put them together, and they add up to something: i + s = is, and I like “is.”

“Is” is present tense: The Lord is . . . not has been, not maybe so, or hope so,or I wish so, but very boldly the Psalmist said: is!

John uses the same two letters when he writes in I John 4:16: “God is . . .” This was comforting to the collective group of believers who had faced the gruesome persecution of Nero and were about to suffer at the hands of Domitian.
When Paul wrote to the church at Rome, he emphasized the Is-ness of God while while facing the troubles and trials of life: Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

So, the next time you feel like you are going it alone, remember the Shepherd-Savior is present.