Ten Types Of Christians

Ask this question in the Bible Belt.

“Are you a Christian?”

98.349% of the time, you’re sure to get the same answer.

“Yes.”

But not everyone means the same thing when they claim to be a Christian. And certainly not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is one. So you need a guide to help you to figure out who’s who. The sheep from the goats, if you will. This should help.

1. The Contradictory Christian

This is the guy who thinks that the Bible is a fairy tale. He puts Jesus in the same category as Luke Skywalker. He hasn’t been to church since his grandma took him to VBS over at the Vestal Goodman Memorial Free Will Baptist Church in Deer Stank, Arkansas back in June of 1983. He could not possibly care less about Jesus or the Church.

Until you say something that he doesn’t agree with.

Then he becomes a Bible-thumping fundamentalist.

You: “________ is wrong” (insert: murder, running a puppy mill, stealing ice cream for a day care, terrorism).

The Contradictory Christian: “Who are you to judge? Jesus said not to judge. Also, Jesus supported communism because the early church was modeled after Stalin’s beliefs. Everything is right, except for you. So deal with it.”

2. The Busy Christian

This guy loves Jesus. Really, he does. Seriously. He’s just too busy to do anything more than talk about Jesus. Between taking the kids to their practices, work, binge-watching Orange Is The New Black, me-time, binge-watching Who’s The Boss?, sleep and binge-watching Magnum P.I., there’s just not enough time left over for obeying Jesus. So the Busy Christian just settles for loving Jesus. By himself. Without the aide of the people Jesus loved enough to die for.

3. The Super Christian

While you were doing silly things like sleeping, eating and watching the Super Bowl, The Super Christian was in a country that you can’t even pronounce digging wells for a small village of blind goat herders. Super Christian’s book about his experiences will be out in the summer. Oh, and Super Christian is twelve-years-old. Remind me again what you did for Jesus today. That’s what I thought.

4. Free In Christ Christian

Don’t tell this guy to watch his language after he spits out 12 cuss words in a four-minute conversation with your three-year old. He’s Free In Christ Christian and he knows that the Bible never directly forbids saying 12 cuss words to your three-year-old during a four-minute conversation. So stop being so legalistic, man.

5. NSA-Proof Christian

He gets this name because even the world’s foremost spy agency can’t find any evidence to prove whether or not this guy really is a Christian. I think he was at church last week. I’m not sure. No one is sure. And he likes it that way. What he does with his life or at your church is his business, not yours. Until he gets sick and has to spend a week in the hospital. If no one from the church that he sort of goes to was able to crack his code and stop by the hospital for a visit things will get real ugly.

6. TMZ Christian

If there was a market for hot celebrity news involving famous Christian authors, pastors and musicians, this guy would be a one man TMZ. For him, God’s work is determined by how many Grammy’s the worship team has won and how many Twitter followers his pastor has. He loves his church. Not so much for the people who go there. More so for the celebrities who lead it. But he’s committed. Until he finds another church in another town with a better band and a more famous pastor. But hey, a church alive is worth the drive, right?

7. Miserable Christian

“Thus the Lord saith unto him, ‘You shall not smile until you get to heaven, you miserable wretch.'” 

That verse isn’t in the Bible.

But I think that it’s in the Miserable Christian’s Bible. Either way, he obeys it with every ounce of his being.

8. The Tragically Happy Christian

She is always fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. When her boyfriend calls off the engagement and takes the dog and the checking account out the door with him, she’s just the same as she would be on her birthday.

Fine.

She too lives by one of those verses that’s not actually in the Bible.

“See thou to it that thou always smile. Even when thou is falling apart at the seems and thou would really like someone else to share thou burdens with. Don’t give in. Fake it if thou has to. Smile. Always.”

9. The Nazi Christian

It’s this guy’s job to remind everyone else what they are doing wrong. His favorite words are heresy, gospel-centered, actually and helpful. Here are some examples of Nazi Christian in action.

You: “Pray for my grandmother. She’s at Methodist Hospital.”

Nazi Christian: “Methodist? Heresy!”

_____

You: “We’re really looking forward to our family vacation to Disney next month.”

Nazi Christian: “Don’t you think that you could find a place that’s a little more gospel-centered than Disney?”

_____

You: “And Lord, I pray that you would be with Craig during his surgery tomorrow.”

Nazi Christian (interrupting): “Actually, God is already with Craig so why did you just waste my time with that prayer?”

_____

You: “This is my favorite Rich Mullins song.”

Nazi Christian: “Rich Mullins smoked cigarettes. I find your lack of musical discernment very unhelpful.”

10. The Real Christian

Sometimes the Real Christian shows tendencies of the other nine folks on this list. He’s far from perfect. But perfection isn’t what makes this person’s faith genuine. It’s things like obedience, repentance and genuine love for Jesus.

In the Bible Belt, everyone says that they are a Christian. But not everyone who goes about shouting, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s because following Jesus isn’t about playing a part. It’s about living a life. It’s about surrendering to a Master.

So in reality, there is only one type of Christian.

The one who fails often but who is surrendered to the God who restores.

So, are you a Christian?

Hope For While You Hope

There’s this old church saying that goes, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.”

I usually don’t like old church sayings but whoever came up with this one had a point. I’ve known quite a few people who were so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.

Like the lady I knew when I was a kid who invited people over to her house for prayer and dinner. Without the dinner. Her rationale was that dinner got in the way of prayer. “We don’t eat, we pray,” were her exact words if I remember correctly.

And let’s not forget the folks who are kind enough this time of year to use Facebook to remind us of how many people went to hell while we were watching that last touchdown drive.

Man, I wish that this was just a problem with other people. I’ve got no problem with eating while praying and I’ll definitely be watching the Super Bowl but I’ve got my own ways of being so heavenly minded that I’m no earthly good.

The older I get, the more suffering I see. I hate it.

Parents are diagnosed with ALS.

Divorce ravages a seemingly healthy family.

Suicide.

Wars.

Terrorist attacks.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

I find myself saying that a lot lately. And that’s good. Christians should remember that Jesus has given us a hope beyond this life. But we must also remember that he has given us hope in this life. If we forget that, we’re well on our way to becoming another casualty of the Heavenly Minded Brigade.

In Romans 5, Paul reminds us of what God has given his people, not just in the life to come, but in this one as well.

1. Christian, God has given you victory over fear.

Your boss might fire you. The IRS may audit you. Despite your best efforts, peace with your fellow man is not guaranteed. But, because of Jesus, peace with God is guaranteed. Safe in the care of your Father, you have nothing to fear.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 (ESV)

2. Christian, God is with you.

You have access to him. You don’t need to get to him through a pastor, priest or pope. You don’t have to wait for Sunday to come. Because of Jesus, you can stand before your Father now. And, because of Jesus, you can do so confidently.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2 (ESV)

3. Christian, you have legitimate hope.

This isn’t the, “I hope that the Falcons win the Super Bowl” kind of hope that leaves you disappointed every October when you finally realize that it’s just not going to happen.

It’s a hope that points you to the day when Jesus returns and all things are made right.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2 (ESV)

But Paul tells us that it’s even more than that. It’s a hope that is very much present during your trials.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

In the middle of suicides, divorces, wars, attacks and everything else that comes with life in a fallen world, God is working. He is working over all things. That includes you. He is shaping you to be more like his Son. That is the Christian’s hope even during the most intense times of suffering.

4. Christian, God loves you.

I know. It sounds like another one of those old church sayings. But, again, this one is true. Jesus’ death on the cross is a historical event and a theological fact. But it is so much more. It is proof that God loves you. And God’s love is more than a feeling that we sing about in songs. It is very real. It has been poured into your heart.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 (ESV)

5. Christian, the Holy Spirit is with you.

I’ve been a baptist my whole life. I grew up in a baptist church. I’m now the pastor of a baptist church. I know baptist culture. Part of our culture tends to act as if the Holy Spirit is just for the folks at the weird church down the road where they play with snakes. It’s as if we believe that accepting what the Bible tells us about the Holy Spirit is going to turn us into Benny Hinn or one of the other hucksters on TV.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 (ESV)

Christian, and I’m looking at you, my fellow baptists, when God saved you, he gave you the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit is not some force or good luck charm. He is a person. He is God. And he is working to show you more of Jesus.

I’ll leave you with another old church saying.

“There’s a better home awaiting.”

That one is right too.

But it makes no sense for us to live defeated in our current home while we await our new one. God loves you. He is with you. He is not done with you.

You have hope. Even now.

So act like it.

A Question Everyone Will Answer Today

On his final attempt of the day, he swung for the fences. It was all or nothing. And it was the kind of bold move you would only expect from an evil mastermind.

But this was more than just any evil mastermind.

So far, all of Satan’s attempts to lure Jesus away from the cross had failed. He came up empty after trying to get a hungry Jesus to avoid suffering by turning rocks into a meal. Jesus would have nothing of this. He counterpunched the Enemy with Scripture.

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (ESV)

But the Enemy came back. This time, with Scripture of his own. You should never assume that God’s holy and perfect word cannot be used for evil purposes. Just turn your TV to the peddlers on religious television shows who use the Bible to steal money from the old and poor. This technique comes from Satan. He used Scripture to try to convince Jesus to put God the Father to the test.

But again, the attempt was futile. Jesus again fought back with Scripture. And won the round.

Satan 0. Jesus 2.

It was time for the nuclear option.

With his first two attacks, Satan was trying to get Jesus to misuse his Lordship. On this final attempt, Satan was boldly asking Jesus to put aside his Lordship and become a devil worshiper.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9 (ESV)

Worship.

It’s the issue at the heart of every temptation that you will face.

Who or what will be the object of your worship? You might not know it but you answer that question each time you face temptation. When you give in, you say with Adam, “Does God really care for me?” When you resist, you say with Jesus, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”

You don’t have a problem with pornography.

Or meth.

Or your temper.

Or gossip.

No one does. Those are just the symptoms of a heart that has decided to worship someone other than the God of the universe.

You have a worship problem.

Take the Internet away from the sex addict and he’ll just find another addiction.

Throw the drug addict in jail, away from his drug of choice, and he’ll find something else to get high on.

Listen to all of the calming music you want but the evil within your heart will find another way to express itself.

The same is true with gossip or any other sin that we are confronted with when we look into the mirror of our soul each day.

Who is your god?

We have to answer that question multiple times a day. Sadly, we often give the wrong answer. Sex. Meth. Control. Comfort. Anything but the real God. And then sin. And then death.

“Be gone, Satan!”

Those are the words that Jesus spoke that put an end to his wilderness encounter with the Enemy. Satan left immediately. He had failed. The Messiah would still be the Savior.

But, even after his victory, his death and his resurrection, Jesus is not done speaking those words.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 (ESV)

Our standing before the real God is not dependent upon our ability to resist the Enemy. Our father Adam already proved man’s inability to do that long ago. And since then, we have been confirming that inability through our own sins.

That’s why we need a Savior. He did what we couldn’t do. He stared down the Enemy. And won.

On your own, when you say, “Be gone, Satan!” the Enemy laughs and comes harder, reminding you of your shortcomings with meth, sex, temper or whatever other traps he’s gotten to work on you in the past.

But thanks to God’s grace, Christians have another voice to speak for them. And he speaks on our behalf regularly (Romans 8:34).

So who will you worship today?

Will it be the victorious Son who loves you and stands where you cannot?

Or will it be the Liar who is bent on your destruction?

Christian, be encouraged. Even when your heart answers those questions the wrong way, you have a Savior who forgives and restores.

You have a Savior who prays for you.

You have a Savior who speaks on your behalf.

Be gone, Satan.

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:11 (ESV)

 

Jesus Didn’t Stay

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Was it?

He had just been baptized. Life isn’t supposed to be tough right after you get baptized. Is it?

Just after what had to have been one of the most satisfying moments of Jesus’ life on earth, he would enter into a time of intense suffering that would only be surpassed by his time on the cross. In the Jordan, Jesus heard his Father’s voice proclaiming his love and affirmation for his only Son. In the desert, Jesus heard his enemy’s voice questioning all that he had come to do.

But how did this happen?

How did Jesus walk out of the peaceful waters of the Jordan and into the brutal wilderness?

The answer is shocking.

It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into a face to face showdown with Satan.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 (ESV)

But this was no act of treason among the members of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit wasn’t setting Jesus up for failure. No, he was confirming Jesus as the only perfect Savior who was qualified to save his people from Satan’s grip of sin, destruction and death. But that confirmation required a confrontation with the enemy. One that had already been proven to be too much for us to handle.

I have an addiction. My drug isn’t a strange powder. It can’t be smoked. It’s not illegal. I am addicted to comfort.

Chances are, you are too.

I’d love to make it through each day without having a confrontation with Satan. While I’ve never stood face to face with the devil, I have looked in the eye of some of his servants. And I have felt the impact of his weapons and schemes. If it’s all up to me, I’ll be just fine in some Christian room with my Christian, organic, gluten-free breakfast and my Christian family and friends close by. Just us comfortable Jesus-followers. No evil. No devil. No pain or discomfort.

But what if that means no Jesus either?

We must trust that following God into the dark and demonic wilderness is better than being in a nice, comfortable place without God. Sometimes following the Sprit means having a good time in the river. Sometimes it means staring down the enemy in the wilderness. But no matter where the Spirit takes us, we can trust that it will work out for our good.

Satan is a their, a liar and a killer. When temptations and trials come your way, Satan’s aim is your destruction. But we must be careful with our theology here. Satan, though powerful, is not sovereign. God rules over him. Satan aims to tempt you for your destruction. God’s plan is to test you for your good. He takes Satan’s momentum and uses it for good. Your good. So follow him in confidence that wherever he takes you, the ultimate destination will be good. But whatever you do, when the Spirit leads you into the wilderness, don’t stay behind in the river. Follow the example of your Savior.

Jesus didn’t stay in heaven. He came to earth.

Jesus didn’t stay in the Jordan. He went to meet the devil in the wilderness.

Jesus didn’t stay seated around a table with his friends. He went to the cross.

Praise God, Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He rose up victorious to go back to his Father.

And Jesus won’t stay there either. He’s coming back for those who rely on him in their daily battles against that old wilderness foe.

Jesus didn’t stay. Instead, he lived his life on mission to do his Father’s will.

May the same be said of us.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (ESV)

Happy Monday! What Hasn’t Happened To Me

Every now and then, it’s good to stop and think about the things that you never think about. The things that you take for granted. The things that you think you are entitled to. The blessings that God could take away from you right now if he wanted to. Here are some of those blessings that I have enjoyed, not just over the past few days but, as far as I can tell, pretty much every day of my life.

1. Whether through a letter in the mail, a face to face conversation, a phone call, or an e-mail, I can’t remember ever going a day without a friend or family member telling me that they love me.

2. I’ve never truly been hungry or gone without food. There were times when we had to put water over our cereal but the cereal was still there.

3. Unlike a lot of people, even American citizens, I’ve never been thrown in jail for something that I didn’t do.

4. I’ve never had to be fed through a tube or an IV.

5. I’ve never spent the night in the hospital as a patient. There have been plenty of nights that I’ve done that as a family member but never as a customer.

6. I’ve never had to worry about a rainstorm washing away my house.

All of this could change tomorrow. I could go without hearing the words I love you. I could starve. I could lose my freedom, health and home. As easy as it is to forget this, I don’t deserve those things. God doesn’t owe me.

But he has blessed me.

However his blessings come and go for us, there is at least one thing that we can count on.

God’s people will never know what it’s like to be ignored, abandoned or condemned by him.

Even on a Monday.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV)

Ten Manly Man Truths That Every Man Should Man Up And Follow

Being a man can be difficult. For some people, the simple fact that you were born as a male automatically makes you a predator. Many men try to fight back against this stereotype by wearing capri pants, drinking everything through a straw and listening to Wilson Philips.

Gentlemen, this is no way for you to live. There is a better way. Behold, I give you Ten Manly Man Truths That Every Man Should Man Up And Follow.

1. When you go someplace to get your haircut it should never take you more than 4.7 seconds to tell the person how you would like your hair to be cut.

Not Manly: “Well, I was looking at the book of hairstyles on your front table and I saw one that looked a little like a fusion between Kenny Loggins and Keith Urban. I’d like something sort of like that but my friends at work say that my face is too long. What do you think? I just don’t want to get something that I’ll regret by the time I go to the Rascal Flats concert tomorrow.”

Manly: “Number two up top, number one on the sides and if you touch the ponytail I’ll kill you.”

2. A gentleman’s club is never frequented by gentlemen.

3. When given the option between watching professional wrestling or the State of the Union Address, a real man will always go with professional wrestling. Either way, you’re watching a show where people are pretending to hate each other only to go out to dinner together with your money when the cameras are off. But, in professional wrestling, at least it’s easier to spot the good guys.

4. Never get your taxes done in a building that was selling Halloween costumes four months earlier.

5. Any man who feels the need to prove that he is a man by attaching something that looks like male genitalia to the back of his truck is, in fact, not a man.

6. A vacuum cleaner is never an acceptable Christmas present for the special lady in your life. Professional wrestling tickets are a much safer bet.

7. Never, under any circumstances, open another man’s grill. There are 40 states in this great country of ours where killing a man for opening your grill while you’re cooking something on it is considered justifiable homicide.

8. When a woman tells you that she is having surgery, never ask her why. Just trust me on this one.

9. Never ask a woman when her baby is due. Never. Even if she’s already in labor.

10. Always open the door for a lady. But you’ll have to be careful on this one. There are some places in our country where a lady will take offense to a man opening the door for her. That’s okay. If you happen to encounter one of these women, as soon as she’s done yelling at you, ask her when her baby is due.

So there you have it, gentlemen. Now you don’t have to navigate your way through the dangerous waters of manhood all alone. Put your straws and Wilson Philips records away. Man up and embrace who you are. Get outside, kill something, throw it on your grill and eat it.

But while you’re grilling, just keep your eye on the fellow in the capri pants.

He’s getting a little too close for comfort to your grill.

Is Your Church Okay With You?

What if, when it’s all said and done, there’s nothing cool about your church? Would that be okay with you?

Would it be okay if people made fun of your church building because it looks like, well, a church building instead of a giant Apple store?

Would it be okay if there were zero celebrities at your church? No Grammy award-winning worship team. No best-selling author for a pastor. No NFL Hall of Famers on the front row.

Would it be okay if, in spite of all of your best efforts, your church never makes it over that 500 people tipping point? Or 200 people tipping point. Or 15 people tipping point.

Would it be okay with you if there were still older people in suits who went to your church?

Would it be okay if your church goes about its mission with little to no fanfare? No conferences hosted there. No seminary halls named after it. No lectures about it.

Would it be okay with you if, when people ask you where you go to church, they look at you like you just started speaking Vulcan when you tell them? Would it be okay with you if visitors didn’t come back to your church because it wasn’t big enough, white enough, black enough, trendy enough, tolerant enough, traditional enough or entertaining enough for their liking? Would it be okay with you if your church wasn’t okay with a lot of other people?

Could you stay at a church if all of the above were true about it? Would you continue to “be fed” there if all of the above were true along with the following?

Would you stay if your church, as allegedly irrelevant as it may be, was still devoted to what the Bible said and living it out together in prayer (Acts 2:42)?

Would you stay if Sunday mornings didn’t involve a light show, a funny preacher or a really good band but just the power of the Holy Spirit on display (Acts 2:43)?

Would your needs still be met at that church if there were really no members who knew a whole lot about starting non-profits but who just really cared for and served their neighbors as best as they knew how (Acts 2:44-45)?

Would you be happy at your supposedly intolerant and closed-minded church if people were repenting of their sins and lives were being changed (Acts 2:46-47)?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a large church where sermons are preached by a very engaging celebrity pastor and songs are sung by a talented group of Grammy award-winning musicians. In fact, that can be a blessing.

But what if that’s a blessing that, for whatever reason, God doesn’t decide to send your way? What if he wants to keep you somewhat small and seemingly irrelevant? What if the best gift that he ever sends your church’s way is the kind of activity, change and wonder that could only be attributed to the Holy Spirit?

Would that be okay with you?

If not, maybe it’s not Jesus or his Church that you’re really in love with after all.

But if so, there will only be one question that matters for you and your church.

Is your church okay with Jesus?

I Wish That President Obama Would Have Given This State Of The Union Address Last Night

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress and my fellow Americans,

I’ll spare you the stories about a hypothetical teacher who spent extra time with her students or a woman who was able to start a business, all because of my policies. I want to get right to the point.

America, you’re on your own.

I know that that doesn’t sound very presidential. It certainly doesn’t sound like something that this president would say. But I’ve had a change of heart. As you know, I’ve changed my mind on important policies before. I’m doing it again.

You are on your own when it comes to going to college. I will not be paying for your first two years. Honestly, I wasn’t going to be paying for it anyway. Your neighbors were. But not anymore. If you really want to go to college, save up for it. Come to grips with the fact that you might have to go to college later in life. Better yet, accept the possibility that you might not go to college at all. A college diploma, while noble, isn’t quite the savior we’ve made it out to be. The work of a welder, truck driver and stay-at-home mother is just as noble. Whatever path you take, I wish the best for you. But, when it comes to getting help from me, you are on your own.

That is why, beginning in July of this year, there will no longer be a United States Department of Education. From now on, the education of our nation’s children will be up to states, private institutions and, most of all, families. You are on your own. Make the most of it.

You are on your own when it comes to taxes. There will be no tax increase for the wealthy, as you might have heard I was planning on proposing. In fact, there will be a tax decrease for the wealthy. And the middle class. That’s because, beginning in January of 2016, there will no longer be an Internal Revenue Service or Federal Reserve.

It has been said that my presidency has been hard on jobs. I suppose that I am proving that true. If you work for the IRS, you have a little less than a year to find a new job. And then you will be on your own. I wish you the best.

The Federal Reserve will be a completely different animal considering the fact that it isn’t even a government agency and it answers to no one. In fact, for far too long, presidents have been answering to the unaccountable bankers who are running the Federal Reserve and controlling your money. That stops now. I may not be able to shut this agency down but I can stop serving to it.

Citizens of America, when you are driving in your car, working on your computers and resting in your home, I want you to know that you are on your own. The government will not be there anymore. We will stop reading your e-mails in the name of liberty. We will stop listening to your phone calls in the name of fighting terrorism. We will stop watching you from above in the name of national security. That is why I am announcing a massive overhaul to the NSA and CIA. Every American citizen should live in the confidence that they are being left alone. For the remainder of my presidency, this will be the case. You are on your own.

Finally, there will be one area of your life where I will not leave you alone. When it comes to protecting your constitutional rights, I will be with you. I realize that I have done my fair share to harm those rights. Many of my colleagues on the right side of the aisle have been just as eager to trample your rights. I guess you could say that for the past several years, the one thing that us politicians in D.C. could agree on is taking away your liberty. While I cannot speak for those on the right, or even my own party, those days are over for me.

I took an oath to protect you from enemies foreign and domestic. I didn’t take an oath to give you cell phones, manage your kid’s school lunches or spy on you.

My fellow Americans, there are people who want you to have less liberty. Some of those people live in far away lands. Some of them are in this room. As they work to chip away at your rights, I want you to know that you are not on your own. You have a president who is working on your behalf. But I can’t do it alone. I need you to take responsibility. If this system is to work, it has to be more about you and your family and neighbors loving each other and working together than it does any sort of bipartisan effort here in D.C.

Let me be clear, when politicians in D.C. get together to do something in a bipartisan manner, it’s usually bad for you. But when regular American citizens come together, without the assistance of government, to accomplish a task, good things happen.

I believe that good things can still happen in the United States of America. But I will need your prayers. And you can count on mine.

God bless you.

And God bless the United States of America.

Child Protective Services

Dannielle and Alexander Meitiv could be forced to hand their children over to the government.

What was their crime?

The two Meitiv children were allowed to walk home, without adult supervision, from the park where they were playing. Their journey was about a mile. Well, it should have been about a mile. It wasn’t. That’s because an allegedly well-meaning neighbor thought that the sight of two kids walking on a sidewalk warranted a call to the police.

So halfway home, the two Meitiv children were stopped by police and given a free ride home where Alexander was questioned and threatened. Later, there was a visit from Child Protective Services. The kind people of CPS continued the show of power by threatening to take the Meitiv children away if Dannielle and Alexander did not agree to never let their children walk home from the park alone again.

Remember, the Meitiv family wasn’t running a crime syndicate. The kids weren’t terrorizing their school. All they did was what most people over the age of 30 did when they were children. They walked home without parents hovering above them, examining their every move to make sure that their kids weren’t the subject of the next Lifetime Original Movie.

This tragic incident is the result of parents who are growing increasingly afraid because of the aforementioned Lifetime Original Movies and a government that is grabbing for more power because, well, that’s what most governments do.

Make no mistake, there are frightening possibilities that await us with each new day. Most every parent is aware of this. But the answer to those frightening possibilities is not a tighter parental clamp. And especially not a tighter government one.

And make no mistake, as a whole, the government isn’t as concerned with protecting children as we are led to believe. If the government really cared about protecting children, it wouldn’t be killing so many of them before they even have a chance to experience being born.

The real issue here is control. I’ll be accused of being a raging, anti-government conspiracy theorist for what I’m about to say. But that’s okay. You’re not really living until you’re called a raging, anti-government conspiracy theorist. So here goes.

The government wants your children.

Sure, they may not be knocking on your door and threatening to take them away. Their approach is usually more subtle. They’re not so concerned with having your child physically present with them. Just having control over the child’s mind will do just fine.

They want to tell your kids that 2+2=5.

They want to tell your kids that parents don’t know what they are doing.

They want to teach your kids about love and so-called safe sex by showing them how to put condoms on bananas.

And if children are brought up with the independent spirit that it takes to walk home from the park alone, their minds will be harder to program.

The government isn’t coming for the Meitiv children because they are victims of bad parenting. The government is coming after them because they aren’t playing the game the right way. You see, if the little Meitiv children would simply stay inside with their video games and government approved children’s educational programming, none of this would have happened.

The biggest threat to a power-hungry government is a family that has gone off the grid, so to speak. A family where kids see authority lovingly displayed in the home is one where the government is not needed. And if there’s one thing that a corrupt and power-hungry government can’t stand, it’s not being needed.

Parents, someone will raise your kids. It can either be you or it can be some combination of the government and the lady across the street with one hand slightly pulling back the curtains and the other hand holding a phone with 911 on speed dial.

Parents, there are no better people on the planet for raising your kids than you. So do it. Stop just being their friend and stop being their 24-hour body guard. And, if you care anything about your children, stop allowing the government to do the job that only you can do.

The best child protective services are the ones that are provided by parents to their own children. It’s just a shame that sometimes it’s the government that we have to protect our children from.

Happy Monday: I Never Got To Meet Martin Luther King Jr.

The world is on fire. Everyone is mad at someone. Riots are all the rage. Tensions are high. Wars are trendy. And it’s Monday.

With all of that, it’s hard to find a reason to be thankful. Unless you stop to take a look at the things you’ll never see on the news.

1. At dinner earlier this week my son said the blessing. He thanked God for Martin Luther King standing up for what’s right. While he was praying, George Strait was playing on our radio. I’m thankful for that small but significant piece of diversity and the conversation it produced.

2. A friend at church is a retired cop from a major American city. When he was on the force he answered to a sergeant who did not like him. My friend is white. His boss was black. Both assumed that the other was a racist. One day my friend waited outside of his boss’ office. He wanted to make things right. His boss finally came in wearing only half of his uniform. His plan that day was to get dressed in his office. Instead, he had to deal with my friend, the man he didn’t like.

“How can I make things right so that we can get along?” my friend asked his sergeant.

“We’re okay,” the sergeant replied. And then he hugged my friend.

My friend was worried what people might think if they walked by and saw him hugging his partially clothed boss.

But those worries were no match for the peace that came with that small reconciliation between the races.

We could use another Martin Luther King Jr. these days. Until someone like him comes along, we can celebrate the seemingly insignificant.

I’ll probably never give a memorable speech from Washington D.C. But, at my kitchen table, I can teach my sons about men who stood up for justice.

I never got to meet Martin Luther King Jr. but I’m glad that I know a former cop who has been so impacted by the gospel that he can’t settle for the same old racial tensions that King stood against.

I’m thankful for Dr. King.

But I’m also thankful for the thousands of others who are seeking to live out his dream – one seemingly insignificant moment at a time.

Happy Monday!