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

President Trump

The day after and a few thoughts about the election of Donald J Trump. So, no doubt Mr. trump won the White House hands down.  No hanging chads, no recounts, and no court involvement.  No, this election was settled on election night by the people.  Trump may still win at least another state and add to his more than sufficient electoral total.  Full disclosure: I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.  I cast my vote for Johnson.  I am motivated by freedom and a smaller Federal government.

I should say also that all candidates campaign in poetry and rule in prose.  All presidential candidates campaign on promises that in our system of government are impossible for a President to enact without congress. Uninformed members of all parties fall for this trick every election.  I’ll give you an example.  I  am pro-life. I believe people should be able to do whatever they want to do to their own body. That is called personal freedom.  It is their body and they have a God given right to do what they want to do with it as long as what they want to do doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. The reason being a pro-life Libertarian doesn’t make a two faced freak is because an embryo in the womb of a mother while in her body isn’t her body.  That embryo is a separate person than the one who carries it.  Therefore the person who carries the baby has no right to harm that baby because  the baby has the right to life, liberty amongst many other rights. To my original point, many uninformed voters  vote for a candidate because of  promises made during a campaign.  No matter what a candidate says during an electioin he or she cannot  make laws or cancel laws.  There is nothing a pro-life candidate can do to stop abortion.  Abortion is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.  No matter how reprehensible abortion is the fact is a President cannot make it illegal.  FYI that would take an amendamnet to the constution.

I think Trump can and will do many things that I agree with.  If you don’t wanna hear my opinions then don’t read them.  Or better yet start your own blog.

I made a list of what Trump has already done and some of the major promises he made that I agree with.  I will lay these out in what happens to my personal favorite and the most effective tool of classical writing tools the list.

  1.  Slapped the  media in the face.  He has shown the entire world that populism is alive and well.  He reminded us that the government works for us, not the other way around.
  2.   Orchestrated the most unusual and mind blowing campaign and election since 2004 and possibly in all of US election history. I listened to a commentator from DC today talk about how Washington, D.C. today was comatose.  Trump has blown the mind of all of the elites.
  3.  Has shown that being politically correct ( a foul form of dishonesty) does not need to be employed in order to win an election.
  4.  Has shown that it is ok to be proud of America.
  5.  Trump illustrated the contempt in which most of America views the 8 years of President Obama.
  6.  By his win, he has proven what many of us know already: many people view Clinton a dishonest woman at best and at worse a woman who has blood on her hands.
  7. Energy independence
  8. Penalizing companies for keeping money out of our economy.  In other words,  make it  financially beneficial for companies to do business in America and by doing so creating new jobs here not in China.
  9.  Securing the border.  I don’t know if a wall will ever be built.  I do know that we must have a secure border. We cannot allow people into this country that may cause us harm.  The problem is not Mexicans coming over here to look for a better life.  The problem is that open borders are too dangerous in this age of radical Islamic terrorism.  We have to solve this problem.  We are a country of immigrants and must always remain so.  However, keeping terrorists out of America is vital  not only our peace but our very survival.
  10. Verbal support for the 2nd amendment.
  11. Rebuilding and maintaining our armed forces so all of their equipment is top-notch.  Our military must be the strongest and most prepared military on the planet. Peace through strength.

There are  some things I don’t think Trump will or can do.  Even if he does these things they will not be beneficial to our nation.  I am very concerned with freedom as our founding father’s and founding documents declare.  Freedom is not one of those things as Americans we can take or leave.  Freedom is the very reason we are the greatest country on earth.  Freedom is often dangerous.  Having no freedom is more dangerous. To allow freedom to ring we must come to the understanding that by honoring freedom we must by definition allow many things that we may or may not personally agree with.  I was a republican for the first 20 years of my voting life. I have come to believe that the party I was a member of was not interested in freedom any more than the democrats were.  It’s tricky so you have to watch carefully but what  both parties exercise rather than honoring freedom is honoring your freedom to do and act like they think.  Freedom is  the exact opposite.  Freedom is allowing people to do things that you may not agree with.  Freedom is also an individual choosing not to exercse thier freedom by thier own choice.  For example every person in this country that is older than 21 years may consume alcohol.  Many people I know have chosen not to exercise that right for many reasons including issues of faith, issues of overconsumption, etc.

I think on many issues Trump and his opponent are virtually in the same boat when it comes to many rights of individuals.  One of my main concerns is all of the electronic data collection of innocent American citizens.  Freedom stealers alway sell this one with fear and intimidation.  “We have to scan emails and texts becasue we may catcha  terrorist.”  Well I dont want to live in a police state. If you want to listen to my private communoications then you need to secure a warrant for specific items and exercise that warrant like law enforcement has for years. Fear of wrong doing is not a legal reason to violate the 4th amendment.

Will Trump work with Congress to lower taxes and make sure that all citizens pay Federal taxes if they are legally obligated to do so?

How will Trump deal with states rights issues?  The easiest case to examine is the medical and recreational  use of cannabis.  Prohibition does not work.  The thought that people will not ingest cannabis because it is illegal is jackassery. As far as I know prohibition doesn’t work to stop people from ingesting anything.  I could cite issues for many pages but for a primer take a half hour and read and study what lead to the 21st amendment.

At this writing marijuana is legal is some form in 28 states and more people live in those states than the amount of people that voted for either candidate on Tuesday. We could debate the cannabis issue for a long time.  If you would like to debate the issues surrounding cannabis we can certainly do so.  I will say that this debate will follow the Hambone rules for collegial debate!  I know many of you are reading this and saying “Those people don’t have the right to smoke pot!”  Again, we can discuss the many myths that surround cannabis.  How dangerous is pot really?  What is the difference between cause and causation in the age old debate of the false “gateway” drug theory etc and et al.  But, what do those issues have to do with freedom?  What will Trump do to all those states that have legalized cannabis in one form or another.  The toothpaste is already out of the tube.  Will Trump look at those states as laboratories of freedom or will he use his jack booted thugs to somehow try to stomp all of this out?

Will  Trump lead and by allowing freedom to prosper or will he spout off and piss off?  I don’t know.  I love America, want her to succeed and therefore I will support my President, Mr. Trump.  I respect the office and I am hoping Mr. Trump will act in a manner that I can respect him as well.

God Bless America!

Thanks for reading.  I would love to hear your comments.



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! 🙂