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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

A Quick Political Thought

Posted by undergroundchurch on October 20, 2010


What is the perfect political landscape?

We have seen in the past 19 months what happens when one party has a virtual super-majority. Say what you want on the political realm, one thing is definitely true, more laws have been written, rules created, taxes taken, debt incurred, money spent, and powers shifted than in any time in recent history and probably all of US history.

So what would we get if the power swung to the right to the same degree over the next couple elections?  Most likely, more of the same… too many new laws written, rules created, money spent, etc.

I propose an alternative.  51/49 split in the Senate to the political Right, 50/50 split in the House, and keep the President. At the next election, reverse it all. Elect a Right sided President, a Left leaning Senate and 50/50 House. Continue this process alternately, indefinitely.

Simple theory here – Only that which really matters will actually get done because it will take actual common ground to do it.

No new theoretical manipulations can be applied to the economy; no pie-in-the-sky dreams can be implemented. We’ll just have a government with little power and a people that are free to fix the economy themselves because the government, for the most part, will be out of the way.

Oh, yeah, and someone in the court that would actually enforce the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

Thoughts anyone?

 

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Can the Star Spangled Banner Stand?

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 25, 2009


The Star Spangled Banner (our national anthem for those unsure of the title) is a very brilliant anthem.

This great anthem is totally written in the form of a question.

Why a question?

Francis Scott Key wrote it so that every time you hear or sing it, you will reevaluate, “Is it still true today as it once was?”  He wrote it in 1814 when the British attacked Ft. McHenry.  When he witnessed the large flag still standing over the fort at the end of the battle, he wrote the poem which would later become the nation’s song titled, “Defense of Fort McHenry.”

Let’s take a look line by line, and while doing so, ask yourself, “Can the Star Spangled Banner Stand as it once did?”

Oh say can you see?

This is question that every American should be asking every day.  Can you see what’s happening to our nation, to our freedom, to the things that made this country great? Is the greatness of this nation and its freedom deteriorating?  Not only that, but are we still the leader of the free world, or are we becoming the follower of the rest of the world that has given up their individual rights and freedoms?

By the dawn’s early light…

What will the “new day” bring?  A progressive view says, “We need to change?” But do we, and if we do… What will that change look like?  Darkness is blackest just before the dawn.  Don’t surrender everything we are just because it seems to be night.  For the light is going to come and show that the flag of freedom is still needed.

What so proudly we hail

I am a believer in Jesus Christ first.  That said… I love the nation God has chosen to allow me to live in.  There is now, nor has there ever been (except for early Israel) a greater nation.  Freedom here has historically been the banner we fly under.  The most known symbol of that freedom stands in a New York harbor.  It’s at the end of our pledge “liberty and justice for all”.  I am a believer first, but while I breathe in this flesh, I am proud to be an American!

At the twilight’s last gleaming

I will be proud to be an American til the last bastion of our freedom still remains.  Once that is gone, I will fight hard at the last twilight to win her back! That day is fast approaching, may God continue to show us the grace we do not deserve for the sake of our children.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars

Thirteen colonies became thirteen states.  The intent to start something that had never been tried (white), the blood of men and women that gave their lives for the freedom of the people (red), the robes of leadership we have shown the world over the past 200 years (blue) and the brightness of 50 states united as one (stars).

Through the perilous fight

A heavy, heavy, heavy HEAVY price has been paid for our freedom.  Freedom is not free and it cannot be legislated from Congress, it is earned by the people willing to stand firm on principle while the truth is the only thing marching on.

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming

Ramparts  represent the walls of defense that must be put up to hold back the tides of change that take us from our position.  We cannot back down and thus let the walls fall else, the flag will cease to stand for anything.

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there

The battle now is not on a battlefield, but in the hearts, minds and souls of every American out there.  We must remember what made us a great nation and never forget.

Glenn Beck has an illustration – In 2001, September 10th, we were apathetic, caught up in our own world. On September 11th, we cried together, our world was shattered and we were broken. But on September 12th, we were united, we lived and loved, we remembered why we were the greatest nation on the earth.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

That day, September 12th, the flag was still there.  Is it still waving today?

O’er the land of the free

Freedom is not, never has been and never will be the government taking care of us.  It has always been people loving people, with the government ensuring that our freedom is not destroyed. Are we still free?

And the home of the brave

You cannot be free without being brave.  Brave men and women died to give it to us, and it will take brave people to hold on to it.

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The True Power of Evil

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 11, 2009


9-11

Numbers etched in our conscious for as long as we live.  Those numbers no longer represent a date, but a traumatic event in our country.  To those who do not remember their exact location the day the towers fell, the impact of this day lessens a bit – similar to those of my generation trying to put their minds around a Pearl Harbor, Nazi internment camps and the American Civil War.

The visual nature of our existence fuels our emotions, and as time passes, we want to put the images of that day eight years ago far behind us in order to relieve ourselves from the pain. I understand that desire, but the reality still remains – evil in the hearts of men, still wants to destroy America, and to a greater extent, what America stands for.

Evil is a powerful force bound up in the hearts of all of us.  It always starts with a selfish drive and when unchecked, progresses to a destructive force where the objective evolves into the denigration of those that do not agree with the one birthing the evil thoughts. Before you know it, irrational and ungodly thoughts and actions spew from that person until a greater evil force found in the depths of Hades drives the destroying force in the evil heart to actually destroy one’s own self – e.g. suicide bombers and airplane hijackers.

As powerful as evil seems, it pales in comparison to the true power of good.  Contrary to popular opinion, good and evil are not opposites.  For an opposite to exist, there needs to be equality to the opposing power.  However, only good exists in power, evil prevails only in the absence of good.  Evil loses to good every time like darkness loses to light each you flick a light switch in a darkened room.

Let’s look a little deeper into this idea of light and darkness.  Darkness really doesn’t exist of its own power; it only exists when light disappears.  Darkness cannot stand up one day and say, “I think I’ll defeat light today.” Darkness cannot make that call because light, which operates at a higher plane than darkness, determines whether darkness will exist. This can be said about hot and cold. Cold does not truly exist.  The lack of heat gives the illusion of cold from the reference point you give it. To achieve true cold, you must remove all heat.

If I consider hot above 72 degrees and cold below 72 degrees, then I define the power of cold.  But my definition distorts the reality that cold exists only in the absence of heat. I allow 71 degrees and lower to be the dividing line between hot and cold.  We determine in our minds where to draw the line.

If I define evil as the act of men flying planes into a building in to kill innocent people, then I deceive myself because, though the emotional stirring in me is strong because of such a heinous act, my emotions hide the truth that I raised my evil threshold.  The line I draw to define where evil ends and good begins really defines my understanding of good and not evil.  Living in the culture of the day, we tend to alter our interpretation of that line based on social interpretations.  I might determine that the evil line of those individuals started the day they believed in their hearts that those that didn’t see things their way should die. In doing this, I lower my evil threshold from an act of violence to a heart condition.

For example, once upon a time, the evil threshold stopped at killing children. Today, killing them before they breathe air is societally acceptable.  Tomorrow, that line will move to make it permissible to kill them when someone determines that their quality of life won’t achieve some predetermined level. We are already opening our minds to that concept with our elder population through euthanasia.

The issue isn’t even that fact that we kill babies.  Our problem of evil travels back to the very thought that people THINK that they can justify it in their own minds.  It starts with a selfish thought, progresses to a justifiable belief, and eventually manifests as a heinous act.

The cure to evil exists in the promotion of more good in the hearts of people, and not just human good, but the good found only in the heart of God.  Jesus said it, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” (Mark 10:18)

We are not battling a villain on a battlefield in the Middle East as much as we are waging war against an unseen enemy that prowls around seeking people to devour.  We battle for the hearts, souls and minds of people.  Necessity determines that we must take a physical stand against the tyranny of the devil’s schemes revealed in man’s actions, but on a much higher plane, we need to make war in the spiritual realms.

“Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

If the soldier on the battlefield is the only one doing battle, then our battle is in vain.  However, if we couple that with the spiritual warfare needed in a time of depravity, then there is hope that this evil can be saturated with enough godly good to drown out its perceived power.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

If this generation falls to the evil power that prevails in man’s hearts, then it is not because we did not kill enough “enemy combatants” (terrorists), it is because we did not take seriously enough the power of good that exists in God and that is given freely to his children by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It will be because believers around the world did not vest prayer and fasting and go to war against the real enemy to win the hearts, souls and minds of this generation.  It will not be because we did not have enough “good laws”, it will be because the good law of God’s love was not written on the hearts of men.

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A Martyr’s Death

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 22, 2009


Neda Soultan is becoming a historic icon through nothing that she did, only what was done to her.

Her fame has swept the world as today’s Iranian symbol for freedom. I’m sure that she did not travel into that street thinking that she could be anybody.  She probably had no ambitions of her own to think she could ever lead a revolution. However, her innocent demeanor has landed her on the front pages of a nation’s revolution, and her tragic death by the bullet of a soldier has fueled an entire nation’s rally cry. She is and forever shall be – a martyr for the cause.

Martyrs have always been a catalyst for revolution throughout history.  The word for martyr comes from the Greek and it means “witness”.  Their deaths testify or are witness to some cause, situation or movement and empower people to do more, be more and overcome more.

Most martyrs die never even expecting or possibly imagining the symbolism they would personify. Nevertheless, timing, circumstance and fate expands their seemingly small sphere of influence to a world changing stage.

Some martyrs, like Neda, are unwilling participants that become a symbol; others become a martyr because their passion and drive put them in situations that brought about sheer risk.  Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example of this.  He exposed himself to danger, but it was not his intent to die. He had a passion, a drive and a dream, but they did not including becoming a martyr.  That was for the rest of us to decide.

Still there is a level of martyrdom that even goes beyond this. It is where a cause or purpose is so important that death itself is possibly a byproduct for your belief.  Many people around the world die for a cause because they believe in something. 

Though he did not die that day, “tank man” became a symbol for the freedom in China that fateful day in Tienanmen Square where many others were massacred.

 He simply stood there knowing that it could very well be his last moments of life.  He didn’t really stand a chance against four tanks, but he was going to do everything in his power to make his belief made known to those who would try to kill him.

From a biblical point, Stephen was this type of martyr. He stood before the leaders of the Jews of his day who were accusing him, and testified of Jesus. He knew, as many others who were tossed to lions, burned on stakes and skinned alive, that his words could very well be his last. In fact, Paul the apostle, at that time called Saul, held the coats of the people that murdered Stephen giving his approval.

As powerful as the faith based martyrdom is, there is another more powerful and potent martyrdom that lasts beyond death.

This martyrdom isn’t about ideologies or belief systems, it is not about politics, movements or fate.  This martyrdom is about one thing only… Love.

This is the martyrdom that Jesus says is the greatest love that any person can show another person, “That you lay your life down for your friends.” (John 15:13) This description of perfect love comes right after he challenges his disciples to “love each other as I (Jesus) have loved you”.  He not only tells them to love each other, but he shows them how to do it by laying his own life down for them, you, me and everyone in between through his voluntary death on a cross.

The famous scripture posted at every sporting even (John 3:16) tells the whole story of the love of God.  He loved us, not just in word, not just in life, not just in healing a few people, not just in preaching a good message, making bread out of nothing, turning water into wine, or even creating the heavens and earth.  He loved us “so much”, the verse says, “that he gave us his only son” to die for us, that if we “believe on Him, we will have life everlasting.”

You can tell me you love me, you can write it down, you can live it out, you can do everything for me to show you love me now, but when you die for me, you are showing me that your love is not constrained by our temporal existence, your love is for now and forever and that you are willing to give it all to prove it. That is what Jesus did for you.

He was the greatest martyr the world has ever known.

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Better start praying underground

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 17, 2009


Two students in a California college are threatened with suspension when they prayed for their teacher after asking if they could pray for their teacher in the teacher’s lounge. – see article

The argument was that they were being suspended for “disruptive behavior”. The story in short is that they were alone in the teacher’s lounge praying for the sick teacher when another teacher came in and said, “You can’t do that in here.”  The students stopped and left.

This is just one of many signs of the times of a polictially correct society running amok. 

“Disruptive Behavior?” Fortunately, this time, the students are allowed to take their case to court to prove “that the school treated religious expression more harshly than other speech.”  But for this to even happen is a reality of a new society that is out to crush God.

Freedom of speech is no longer about “freedom of speech” but content of speech. If your content is not “politically correct”, you don’t have the right to speak freely.

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Church! the Tax Man a Cometh!

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 15, 2009


In my previous article, we looked at the reality that the government is going to come looking for new money because it is spending huge amounts of money it doesn’t have, and the church is in its sights.

I ended with two points, the tax man will come looking at the money coming in.  They will tax the church on its income and diminish or remove the tax deductible gift to the non-profit thereby reducing the amount coming in.

There are so many false promises coming out of Washington that it is really hard to keep up.  The one most applicable to this article has to do with not raising taxes on 95% of Americans.  This is simply a lie.  5% of America’s popluation, no matter how rich they seem to be, cannot possibly foot an extra 4 trillion plus dollars over the next 10 years on top of what they already spend in taxes.

What will most likely happen is that they will raise taxes on the rich and then look to other areas like non-profits to raise more.  This will delay them raising taxes on everyone else just long enough to get re-elected.

So how are they going to do this? 

They will use the same method they used to tax corporate executives of the bailed out financial firms when they took bonuses.  They will redirect public opinion to look to “waste” in the non-profit sector – specifically churches, and then they will begin taxing them or removing their non-profit status or reducing the deductible amount given to these organizations.

What will happen to the churches?

First, reducing the tax deductible nature of gifts to non-profits will unfortunately reduce giving. We are blessed in this nation to have our gifts deducted from taxes.  However, most other nations do not have this luxury.  Since our government wants to become more like those nations (e.g. nationalized healthcare), it won’t take much to implement this strategy.

In fact, this has already been tried in the first 100 daysof the present administration. Once the government connects to a new source of income, they will never give it up. This is why tobacco is not outlawed.  They have too many taxes depending on it.

Second, they will look at the “wasteful spending” of churches.  To be honest here, churches are not the best managers of money.  Most of their income goes to non-eternal things (e.g. buildings, heating, lighting, sound systems), and all it will take is swaying public opinion against the “waste”.  Something will happen, hit the news and the talk will never cease until something is done to “fix” this problem. What will follow is taxation on church income.

This will then spread locally.  Those churches that still exist will have their properties taxed in areas where property taxes are collected.  The preceding will hit all charities, not just churches and most will fail. 

Now you’re probably asking why I think this would happen. 

It goes far beyond just taxes to power.  The government is not just on a money binge, but a power grab.  Things are being set up in this administration to install a one party system.  For example, bringing the 2010 Census into the Whitehouse control gives the Whitehousecontrol over redistricting.  Whoever draws those lines, can virtually ensure their candidate gets elected. There was not other reason from bring it into the Whitehouse since it has never been part of the executive powers.

Churches and other non-profits are competition to a socialist style government.  The socialist style government needs to make you (the lowly citizen) completely dependent on them.  If you depend on someone else like the church would be a dilemma.  Look at every socialist and communist government over the past century. The first two things they get rid of are guns and churches.

I heard the president say today that he is going to build a “New Foundation“. He said,

We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity – a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest; where we consume less at home and send more exports abroad.

The foundation he speaks of is the capitalist system that made this country great. (But that is for another article in another place.)

But no matter what happens, the core church will remain.  Don’t fret! Our buildings, sound systems and theater seating is going to burn up on the day of Jesus’ return anyway, but when need to be aware that these things are coming. It is a good thing to lose the world and gain your soul.

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The Church vs. the Money Hungry Government

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 12, 2009


Happy Easter!

Ok, I know that the title of this article is a bit strong, but the reality remains; we have a very money hungry government that is about to go on a binge.

Let’s look at some facts:

According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), the recently passed $789 billion spendulus bill that was supposed to stimulate the economy will cost an actual $3.27 Trillion over the next 10 years.  The main reason is that it contains items that will have to be renewed annually and a cool $744 billion in debt servicing (interest and the like). Source

That’s like buying a house for $100,000 which will actually cost you $220,000 over the next thirty years because of interest.  Only the building project ran into overruns and you end up paying $200,000 for the house.  Now it is going to cost you $400,000 for that $100,000 house and you have to pay it back in 10 years, not 30 years. To make matters worse, this is a house that you won’t even use.  You already pay for a house somewhere else that you can’t afford; now you are adding to your debt load.

At some point, you won’t even be able to pay the interest on the loans you have with the money you have coming in.  You will need to find new sources of income. 

This is where the government is right now.  They are adding huge amounts of debt at an astonishing rate.  It will break the bank and the government will be forced to look for new sources of income.  Now where can they look?

The rich are always a nice source to tap.  Only problem there is that there are not a whole lot of them around, and that well is going to run dry eventually.  The rich will only allow themselves to be shafted so long and then is astalavista baby. Don’t forget that it is the rich that employ the rest of us.

We know they will never raise the tax on the lower and middle class.  They are the voters that keep them in office.  They are the recipients of all the government prize money. The only thing they will do is lower the top end of the middle class definition, but not too much.  They want to stay in power. (A little sarcasm I know, but it is true)

What other source is available?  What about groups and organizations that don’t pay taxes like non-profits and churches.  It’s time they step up and contribute.

There are two ways the government will do this.  First, they will lower or remove altogether the tax deductible nature of the charitable donation.  Second, they will tax non-profits (including churches) according to their income. 

We will discuss how this is going to unfold in my next article.

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Political Challenges for the Church: Introduction

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 11, 2009


The church today is going to quickly find themselves in a new world.

Fifty years ago, the church mattered.  Society actually listened to what came from churches.  There was a fear of God (albeit not very grand), but it was evidenced in the way society looked at the church.

Pastors were respected in society.  In fact, I remember only 30 years ago pastors getting free rounds of golf on golf courses so that they could use the opportunity to minister to people they invited.  It was good for golf courses and good for the poorly paid pastor.

People even considered what they said in front of pastors.  They would instinctively ask forgiveness when they’d swear in a pastor’s presence. There was a respect even from people that weren’t believers.

The influence of the church began a downward trend about 40 years ago when the Bible was taken out of schools.  The church, which up to the fifties, was a huge help to society through homeless shelters, pantries, medical, and other social needs as well as a spiritual help to people, began to lose sight of it’s social ministry in lieu of the easier spiritual ministry.  The spiritual arena is what mattered, and they left the newly created “New Deal” of the Roosevelt administration to meet the physical needs of society.

While there are smatterings of social ministries through local churches, most focus exclusively on spiritual ministry.  While there is nothing wrong with that at all, they should not have neglected the social while building the spiritual.

Today, many churches make no physical impact to society.  In fact, if they wanted to they couldn’t do it because they have adopted worldly manners of building businesses to build the local church.

The local church began taking on debt… huge debt. I know of small churches with a 100 people and a half-million dollar loan for a building.  When you have a huge monthy building payment (mostly interest), how are you supposed to meet needs of people when you only have a few hundred dollars a month to left over play with.  We have for quite a long time not been the picture of efficiency with our financial resources as we should be. We fork over huge amounts of money into things that will burn up and very little in people, they only thing we can take with us.

Very few churches live fiscally by the principles they try to teach their people.  Actually, come to think of it, very few churches actually teach people the Godly principles of managing money. 

I remember going to Bible college for 5 years without one class, one teaching, one Bible study on how to scriptually manage money. I heard over a thousand sermons in college. Bible college was about spiritual things. Those other matters would take care of themselves if you just got right spiritually.  It took me almost twenty years to discover that the way I was managing my money was not Biblical at all and that I was not honoring God with my money. Yes, I gave, but giving and managing are two different things.

We have also let society govern the way we do ministry.  I remember 20 years ago that no public school would dream of having any sports on a Wednesday night because that was when churches had mid-week services.

Fifteen years ago, they wouldn’t dream of having events on a Sunday at all; now they have meetings and banquets on Sunday evening.  Ten years ago they wouldn’t dream of having sports on Sunday morning, but I know now of soccer, baseball and softball leagues that meet at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.  People in the churches joined these leagues and thus began missing more and more services. It crept up on us as a church and took us by surprise.  Now we wonder why we can’t get people to come out consistently.

Today, most churches have gone to one service per week – maybe two.  People have managed their lives in the way the world dictated and they struggle to find enough free time to eat dinner at home let alone go to church on Sunday.

The scripturalprinciple of rest is gone from the vocabulary so much so that pe0ple don’t go to our Sunday morning services because it is the one day they don’t have to get up at 5 or 6 a.m. to do something.

These things I have written about in this blog have been on the increase lately.  They are coming faster and more furious.  God is not even on the top ten list of important things for Americans to be concerned about.

We have gone from a nation under God to a un-godly nation. We have states left and right passing ungodly and immoral laws under the guise of “tolerance”. What little the church says about it is usually shot down by the world with the ammo of “intolerance”.  We have become anemic in our societal impact, and when we have no impact on society, society will see no need for what we stand for and for the God we serve.

We are coming to a crossroads.  We are going to have to make some critical decisions and choices that will transform the way we do things.  We are going to have to step outside of our walls and walk the streets as Jesus did and become relevant to our society. 

They need to see the miracles God promised.  They need to see the hope in our eyes.  They need to feel the touch of God’s concern through the hands of His people.  We need to get the train back on track with the proper balance of the Spiritual and the Social. This will be the call of the last days church.

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