Illegal Aliens Redux

HOW SHOULD THE CHURCH TREAT ILLEGAL ALIENS IN 2016?

**Note: This was previously published in November of 2011. I have only done minor editing.  My intended audience was and still is the Church. I am not directly addressing the issue of the executive orders that President Trump has signed.  However, I think the Church should set our default to mercy.  When the battle over the current immigration directives subsides the church should still ALWAYS act with love and mercy.***

Deuteronomy 10:18-19

18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

There is no basis in scripture for granting someone mercy or not showing them mercy because of their legal status.  No matter how we feel about immigration on a personal level it is clear that we are to act with kindness and compassion when dealing with illegal aliens. When dealing with old or young people finding themselves here without documentation we ought to be extra sure we act with the kindness of Jesus.

Deuteronomy 24:19-22

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

God specifically calls us to share with the alien.  As Christians, if mercy toward the alien isn’t our first inclination, a spiritual check up is more than likely in order.

What it comes down to is understanding that we as Christians are called to show mercy (James 2:13, Proverbs 21:13.)  I am a proud American.  However, if I have to choose between my personal political beliefs and following the counsel of Jesus I will always do my best to be in step with Jesus.  It is an issue of our hearts.  I am not asking any of us to do anything else than to make being ourselves a mirror of the grace of Jesus.

This is a short thumbnail glance at a complex issue.  Christians are called to welcome the alien; to comfort the alien, bind up their wounds, feed them, etc.

Oh, one thing I am sure of: God is not pleased when He sees his followers putting up signs, billboards, internet posts that make it seem like illegals are not welcome and will be hunted down, all in the guise of “law and order!”  The vast majority of the time that is an excuse for bigotry. We can be wise about possible threats to our nation while still being people who reflect the mercy of Christ.

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A Prayer For Our New President

As we prepare to inaugurate the 45th president of the United States we echo this prayer that Billy Graham prayed at the inauguration of George H W Bush.
“And now we come to a new era in our history. In Thy sovereignty Thou hast permitted {Donald J. Trump} to lead us at this momentous hour of our history for the next four years. As he today places his hand upon the Bible and solemnly swears before Thee to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, give him the wisdom, integrity and courage to help this become a nation that is gentle and kind. Protect him from physical danger, and in the lonely moments of decision grant him Thy wisdom to know what is morally right and an uncompromising courage to do it. Give him a cool head and a warm heart. Give him a compassion for those in physical, moral and spiritual need. O God, we consecrate today George Herbert Walker Bush to the presidency of these United States with the assurance that from this hour on, as he and his family move into the White House, they will have the presence and power of the One who said, “I will never leave thee or forsake thee. [Hebrews 13:5]”—Billy Graham, 1989 inaugural invocation

Abraham Lincoln and Turkey

Not much commentary is needed on this following piece of classic American history.  The words of President Lincoln ring as true today as they did in 1863.  Given this particular time in History that we find ourselves Lincoln’s words are prophetic and wise.

Happy Thanksgiving!  This day is special. We should not  forget those that for various reasons are away from the families they love.  Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, first responders,  the ill and those who care for them and the prisoner and the oppressed.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Coming Soon-The marijuana smack down!

Recently,  a popular online Christian website published an article about why teens should not smoke pot.  It was one of the most ludicrous, laugh out loud funny and journalistically dishonest pieces I have read in a long time.  Full disclosure I am a practicing follower of Jesus Christ.  Look for this article to come out sometime in the next week.

Oil and the Red Man

Oil Pipeline Press

Oil is not new.  Native Americans are not new.  The U.S. government screwing the Native Americans are not new.

We need oil.  Despite what many of my “I don’t need oil!” friends say we genuinely need petroleum.  I won’t bore you but oil is in most of the items we use or have in our homes. Oil is not going anywhere at least for a long time.

We need Native Americans.  The many tribes of NA’s that fell victim to the white man’s greed, murder, rape, and pillaging is well documented and cannot be argued with (if you are interested in facts.) We nearly killed them off.  We destroyed their society.  Ponder that for a second.  We tried to erase the memory of these great people. Not to mention the buffalo OMG the buffalo.  Now, NA’s who want to live a traditional life are locked in cages called reservations.  These prison camps are filled with alcoholism and all sorts of health issues. Often, the reservations are the poorest area in their respective counties and even states.

Given my need for oil and my love for NA’s I have a solution to the problem of the four-state, $3.8 billion oil pipeline.  Are you ready for my solution?  Here it is:

SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY TO MAKE THE PIPELINE GO AROUND THE DISPUTED AREAS.

Hey, a common sense solution.  YES, it can be done.  It is bullshit to say it cannot be done.  Some issues are worthy of strong words and even some anger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Black and a Fat Vineyard Youth Pastor

I was a young Vineyard youth pastor with a growing youth group and a healthy speaking ministry in the works.  The Lord was changing young people’s lives and in powerful ways.  Kids were set free from drug abuse, neo satanism, sexual brokenness and any other number of horrible issues.  Myself and the people I worked with at the Quad Cities Vineyard were doing the best we could to provide a genuine alternative to the despair and hopelessness so many of the youth of the Quad Cities were experiencing.  We had a weekly service with between 60 and 100 young people where people regularly made commitments to Jesus with a bunch a mostly healthy, reproducing YOUTH lead cell groups.  Jesus was very present.  I say it often and I am not joking when I say that God moved and ministered in spite of myself.

Around 1997 anyone in the Charismatic or Third wave friendly world knew the buzz around Rock the Nations and what eventually became Prayer Storm.  To make a long story short many of my leaders began to get quite involved in the ministry of RTN.  (Please excuse me if I use the Rock the Nations and/or Prayer Storm interchangeably. My research assistant is on vacation.)  RTN was so cool.  They would have these weekend long bashes that were full of the Holy Spirit and young people who were being moved to lay down their dreams and entire life to Jesus.  It was infectious.

When I first started bringing the kids in my youth group to RTN events I really thought they were cool.  But I  was a religious bigot and was a bit peeved that they didn’t seem to use the same words or phrases that I used and that I was taught about in the Vineyard.  After one Prayer Storm event in Colorado Springs I brought a whole bunch of kids to the event and God really showed up for a period of days.  I know people whose lives were completely changed over that week.

During one event I began to judge what the Lord was doing in my kids and through Gary and the Prayer Storm team.  THEY DID NOTHING WRONG AT ALL.  But I judged them nonetheless.  Great things were being done in the heart of my kids and seeds of service to the Lord were being planted in their hearts.  I somehow just thought that I knew how to lead kids better.  It also bothered me that the movement wasn’t based in the “local church”-that was an excuse I made and told myself many times when any of my ‘leader” type kids would begin to get involved in anything that smelled para church at all.  Just for the record I believe the local church is the tool that God has chosen to change the world and proclaim the gospel.  But all of this was in my mind.  The bottom line was that I had judged the work of the Holy Spirit and I needed to repent and I felt that I should apologize in person to Gary.

There was really no way that I could apologize to him at the event.  For one thing I was just beginning to process what was happening in my own heart and secondly running a youth event with world recognized speakers and more than a thousand young people seemed to take most of Gary’s time. 🙂  So I drove back to the Quad Cities but I couldn’t shake the fact that I needed to repent and apologize to Gary.  I gave Gary a call and just briefly explained what I was wanting to do.  He explained that he was more than happy to meet with me but he had a killer travel schedule coming up and I really didn’t want to wait to get this off of my chest.  I ended up  driving non stop to Gary’s office from western Iowa to Colorado Springs. WOW!  What a drive…I began to think “Man, you should have just waited because this drive is way too long!”  Thankfully, I kept driving.

I was a bit apprehensive about my meeting with Gary.  What was I supposed to say?  Here is was a successful youth pastor and a denominational strategist on his way to apologize to a guy for judging how the Lord had moved through him to minister to my kids.  It all just seemed so strange and I knew it was going to be hard to do-to actually say what I needed to say to Gary.  But I checked in to my Roadway Inn room and got a couple hours of sleep.  Finally it was time to meet Gary.  I showered up and went around the block to his office.  We went out to lunch or to coffee I cannot remember but this was the obligatory social foreplay…Gary knew I had something to say and I wanted to say it.  We drove back to the office and I repented.  I confessed all that I  had thought about Gary and the jealousy I felt toward him because of the influence he had on the kids in my youth group.   I remember it was a sweet time.  Gary and his intern prayed and prophesied over me and my young son (who was not with me at the time).

I was so accepted and felt so loved.  It has been a long road since that day years ago but  I will never forget the graciousness in which Gary accepted my apology and was more concerned with the fact that I had to drive back to Iowa than he was about anything I had or hadn’t said.  Gary and I have remained friends via the web for years.  A little business here, a few jokes there but always a concern for people and what they knew about Jesus…this is what we shared and still do!

When I heard the news about MRB my heart broke for my friend Gary!  But God is faithful and loves a family like the Black family that just continues to say YES to what they sense He is saying to do.  I have no doubt that MRB’s death is just the beginning…the beginning of people having an eternity changing experience with Jesus.  Jesus is the one who never messed up, never had secrets He was ashamed to share He was  A PERFECT MAN!  A perfect man that longs to know you and love you just as you are!  Come Lord Jesus!

Some things have changed….I am not a pastor anymore and not as fat! 🙂