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Return to Christ

Breaking news: It’s February 1, 2021 and I’m sitting in a coffee shop!

Just one short year ago sitting in a coffee shop was my daily routine, not an occurrence that warranted a breaking news bulletin. But then the virus that shall not be named came on the scene and the whole world flipped upside down. Ever since, nothing has been normal, not even sitting in a coffee shop.

I never imagined such a thing as a shutdown world. It never occurred to me that an entire planet could lock down all at once. What’s more is I never would have believed that the masses would readily submit to the tyranny of it. But here we are. Eleven months into fourteen days to slow the spread and, still, the vast majority of people are willfully going along with it. In fact, many seem to have totally adapted to their new, masked, sanitized, socially distanced world.

And me?

Well, I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a hand sanitizer bottle on the table (placed there by the establishment, not myself), looking around at a few lonely, empty chairs, wondering if and when sanity will ever return to society? When will people miss the connection, community and compassion of our pre-COVID world enough to stand up and say “no more”? When will people stop buying the lie that we must separate from one another, lock ourselves away and become dehumanized in order to survive? When will my fellow man wake up to the truth that the deadliest, most destructive virus isn’t corona – it’s fear.

Employing the word “lie” when discussing COVID19 is controversial and certainly unpopular but it’s true. The COVID shutdown/lockdown was built on a lie. Actually, it was built on two fundamental lies. Lie one is that death is to be feared and lie two is that self-preservation is an admirable obsession.

Satan wants we the people to buy into these two fundamental lies because, if we do, then it makes every other lie an easier sell. Wear a mask? Sure, because I need to preserve my health. Shut down schools, small businesses and churches? Absolutely, because I’m afraid of the virus. You see how this works? The enemy always corrupts our foundation before he deceives us in the details.

To expose these lies for the destructive falsehoods they are isn’t very hard to do – no PhD or theological degree required. With our Bible opened to the life and legacy of Christ, we can plainly see that the fear of death and obsession with self-preservation are not admirable or virtuous qualities. Rather, they are sinful and faithless.

But don’t take my word for it – take Jesus’.

While speaking to His disciples, Jesus addressed the fear of death by warning them, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Jesus knew full well that the lives of His disciples would be threatened by both pestilence and persecution and, yet, He commanded them not to fear anything or anyone but God Himself. And the same is true for you and me today. The only healthy, virtuous fear is the reverent fear of God.

The second foundational lie, that the self must be preserved at all costs, was debunked by Jesus’ own selfless, sacrificial life. Instead of sparing Himself (which He could have done – after all, He is God!) or numbing Himself from the pain of crucifixion, Jesus bore every nail with full awareness and consciousness. He didn’t prioritize self-preservation. He prioritized obeying the will of God and fulfilling His Father’s redemptive plan for humanity that saved a wretch like me and like you.

Furthermore, after Jesus rose from the grave, He gave His disciples one last command: go and make more disciples. “Therefore,” He said, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Notice that Jesus didn’t add a clause to this command stating that such commission is put on pause in the case of a worldwide pandemic. Nor did He note that the command is canceled in the case of physical threat to bodily health. No, Jesus gave no exceptions when He called the redeemed to live as broken bread and poured out wine for the glory and honor of the Lord Most High.

These directives given by Jesus Himself are as true today as they were the day He first spoke them. COVID19 has not changed them. No virus can ever void them. What has changed is society’s willful adherence to a lie. What has been voided by many in our nation and world is unwavering obedience to the word of God.

Which brings me back to the string of questions I posed at the beginning of this post and the one response that answers them all: return to Christ.

The empty chairs will be filled when society returns to Christ.

Connection, community and compassion will be restored when the world returns to Christ. 

Fellowship and relationship will thrive again when people return to Christ.

Fearless, God-honoring freedom will reign again when we return to Christ.

The only hope for this nation and world is for we the people to return to Jesus Christ, for He alone has the power to rescue, redeem and restore. Only His radiant light of Life and Truth can illuminate the darkness and expose every lie. Only His chain breaking power can set the the captives free to live in unbridled liberty.

And that is my prayer for this nation and the nations of the world: that they will throw off the chains that so entangle and stop buying the litany of lies that the enemy is selling. Then they will know the truth and the truth shall set them free.

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Freakishly Clean

America has a new obsession: being freakishly clean.

This isn’t news to anyone who has watched TV or ventured outside in the past year. Every other TV commercial reminds us to wash our hands and wear a mask so we can outsmart our germ nemesis. At every grocery store, pharmacy and Walmart entrance there is a hand sanitizing station standing guard. In restaurants, diners are required to wear masks while entering and being seated, lest they breath unclean air on a nearby diner. At checkout lines there are plexiglass barriers and strategically placed dots on the floor to ensure that all humans remain a respectable and safe six feet apart – to manage rogue droplet transmission, of course.

But not until today, while standing outside at a gas station, did I come to fully comprehend the intensity of America’s cleanliness obsession.

As I waited by my car for the fuel tank to reach full capacity, the pump’s computer screen began to play a little jingle. “It’s freakishly clean… It’s freakishly clean… Can’t be truly clean if it’s not freakishly clean.” As I stood in a trance like state, starting at the screen, I watched as gas station employees danced around wearing gloved hands and masked faces while carrying disinfectant spray bottles. They wiped down door handles to the beat of the music and sanitized computer screens with thespian like enthusiasm. They twirled, spun and skipped all while making every last gas station surface freakishly clean.

And that’s when it hit me: America has become absolutely obsessed with keeping themselves freakishly clean. But the problem is that America isn’t focusing on the kind of clean that really matters.

Jesus put it this way: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26) In other words, if you clean the outside of a dish but not the inside of the dish, it’s still a dirty dish. From a distance it might look alright but if you get up close to this internally grimy cup, plate or bowl, you will discover that it needs a good washing before it can be once again utilized for eating or drinking.

And so it goes with you and I. Even if we drown our hands in sanitizer, we’ll still be dirty if our hearts aren’t sanctified. We can disinfect every surface we ever touch, but if we’re disconnected from the one true Living God, we will still be terribly unclean. We can buy into the lie that a mask will protect us, but when the breath of the Holy Spirit isn’t filling our soul, we will still be internally contaminated by sin and death.

This obsession with external cleanliness was a trap set by satan back when Jesus walked the earth and it remains a trap set for you and I today. Like the men and women of Jesus’ day who were so fixated on cleaning up the outside that they neglected what was on the inside, we, too have lost sight of what truly matters most – the cleanliness of the heart

Today in America, not only is the world buying into this external cleanliness trap but the churches – God’s people – are, too. The church is standing idly by while sanitization stations are kept open and sanctification centers (ie: the churches) are being closed. Stores are welcoming customers but pastors, who God says should be spiritual shepherds, are keeping their flocks socially distanced and apart. The doors of God’s house are being shuttered in the name of “health and safety” but what could be more dangerous than disobeying God’s Word which clearly states that God’s people are to gather together (Hebrews 10:24-25)?

We’ve silenced worship with masks and rules that forbid God’s people from singing. We’ve replaced handshakes and hugs with elbow bumps and waves exchanged from six feet away. We’ve allowed our churches to become disconnected, detached and, ultimately, disengaged from the power of God all because we’ve followed the world instead of the way, truth and life of Jesus Christ.

We, God’s church, have become completely obsessed with that which our Lord strictly said we are not to become obsessed with. Namely, the outside of the dish. All the while, our freakishly clean world is perishing for a lack of knowledge, human connection and spiritual regeneration. And my question is, when is the church going to recognize what’s happening, repent and recalibrate to the will and Word of God? When is the American church going to break free from the devil’s deception and get back to cleaning the inside of the dish?

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A Letter to Americans…

“In this world you will have trouble…”

Remember back in March when our greatest concern was running out of toilet paper? We searched high and low, rejoicing when we found a four pack of not so soft Angel Soft (I trust I’m not the only one). When Walmart finally started receiving regular shipments of Quilted Northern Ultra, we thought the worst was over.

Oh, how naive we were.

By April, the magnitude of our nation’s crisis was in full view – and I’m not talking about the coronavirus crisis. I’m talking about America’s constitutional crisis. The true COVID19 numbers never supported the 24/7 doomsday panic sold by the media since the mortality rate for the virus is in the same ballpark as the seasonal flu. As April came to a close, this fact was coming into full view and yet that’s when our governors and state leaders doubled down on lock downs, business restrictions and mandates. We all watched as a virus called fear was further manipulated to achieve one end: usurp freedom from we the people and enlarge control of government and corporate entities.

As if that wasn’t trying enough, May came along and with it the case of George Floyd. While rule following, law-abiding citizens were still living under the restrictive thumb of tyrants, those same tyrants joined millions of protesters in the streets. They marched. They chanted. And at night they burned, rioted and looted our nation’s cities.

On the ground of cities such as Minneapolis, Portland and Chicago, the scene was like that of a war zone and, yet, something strange was happening during the violent outbreaks. Media silence. As those of us with the mind to search out the truth tuned into live feeds showing mass destruction and chaos, mainstream sources barely covered or falsely covered the uprisings. Instead, they called the rioters “justified” and classified the protesters as “peaceful” – even when cop cars were ablaze in the news anchor’s camera shot.

In between these major crises, there were murder hornets, talk of UFOs and a strange disappearance of hand soap from the store shelves. At one point, cancel culture went berserk, forcing Aunt Jeremiah and Uncle Ben off pancake mixes and boxes of rice nationwide. Then, in the heat of the summer, strictly enforced mask mandates mounted, despite dramatically falling COVID19 death rates.

And that was all before we said goodbye to August.

By the time September rolled around, devastating “wildfires” were raging all over the west coast. Some sources told us that the cause was global warming but the images of arsonists carrying gas tanks and chain saws revealed the truth. These fires were and continue to be yet another deliberate attempt to destabilize and destroy the land of the free and home of the brave.

Meanwhile, all around the country, families with kids have been steeped in confusion over bizarre school policies. Plexiglass shields, students seated six feet apart in the lunchroom and hybrid learning, we have been told, are all part of the “new normal.” But there never was and never will be anything normal about the dehumanizing rules imposed on man to keep him in an unending state of submission.

There is nothing normal about living in fear of germs, hiding behind plastic shields or being assaulted for dawning an unmasked smile in the grocery store.

There is nothing normal about burning down cities, demonizing and defunding police, and stoking the flames of racial division.

There is nothing normal about normalizing pedophilia and exploiting children’s sexuality (see California’s recent law and Cuties for more about this disturbing development).

If it wasn’t already clear to you, I hope it is now: we are at war.

Without a formal declaration or call to enlist, you and I and every person in America has been thrust into a battle for the heart of our nation and future of our republic. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are in the cross hairs. The fundamental truths that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” are hanging in the balance.

The question is, which side are you fighting for? Are you standing for freedom or are you succumbing to the slavery of fear? Are you defending liberty or kneeling to the tyrants who seek to own and control your destiny?

There is no “GET OUT OF WAR FREE” card or exemption from this fight. There is nowhere to run and no place to hide. Like or not, we are all on one side of the battlefield or the other. There is no in-between or place of neutrality. We must all choose to stand with either the good or the evil; the freedom lovers or the freedom usurpers; the God-fearing or the godless.

Dear Reader, the time to awaken is here. The time to choose a side is upon us. The time to stand is now.

“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus {John 16:33}