at election time . . .
Lord, may we
always remember that your kingdom is not of this world but of the world that’s
coming and is not yet here.
May we see
our participation in the world—all of our callings and activities—as a
participation in bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.
Lord, may we
resist the temptation to place ultimate trust in any person, policy, party,
movement, or nation.
remember that all politics, and all platforms, and all leaders are temporary.
Lord, may we
discover our role in the just and merciful governance of the world which God
made good and pursue that cosmos-converting vocation with love amid the world’s
have strength and determination and wisdom as we love our neighbor and our
enemy as Christ has loved us, seeking to bring justice, mercy, and lasting peace
to the world.
Lord, may we
comprehend that our salvation is not dependent on whom we vote for in an
election, or in whether we vote, and that we are under no biblical or
theological or moral obligation to vote for a person or party or proposal or initiative
if that vote violates our conscience.
have empathy for the political decisions of others that we find troubling—particularly
those of family and close friends. May we
have ears to hear what lies at the heart of their political concerns, and eyes
to see the noble but imperfect search for goodness that’s motivating their
choice, especially if we strongly disagree with the candidate, party, or
politics they support.
Lord, may we
be grateful for the opportunity to participate in our government, and if we
choose not to participate in the election, may we find ways to make that
non-participation more than a protest. May
we act to help and protect the poor, oppressed, and defenseless.
realize that the Son of God sets us free even as we vote for whomever our
conscience dictates, without anxiety or fear, for the Spirit the Father gives
us does not make us timid but bestows on us power, love, and self-discipline.
Lord, may our
posture toward every human leader be driven by respectful prayer, and where
protest or nonviolent resistance is needed, may we have the courage to speak,
oppose, and critique—in humility and charity—their ideas and actions that
oppose Christ and his Kingdom.
grant us the grace to affirm the humanity—the image of God—in every political
candidate and leader, and the civility to impartially and energetically embrace
any pursuit of genuine human flourishing they propose.
Lord, may we
perceive God’s love for creation in sending Jesus to embody a New Humanity and
may we join in Christ’s care for the earth and all its creatures and resources.
trust that God is working behind the scenes of history to draw all things to a
good and fitting and proper end with justice and mercy and may we take hope in
I want to
share with you part of Carey Nieuwhof’s blog post: After the US Election: 3 Things the Culture Needs Right Now That the
Church Can Give.
find yourself in a situation where there are so many things you don’t know, it’s
good to anchor yourself in a few things you do know.
1. A Blaming Culture Needs a Confessing Church
rather assign blame than assume responsibility. And I also know there’s zero progress when
bridges the gap between blame and responsibility. If the church got better at confessing and
not blaming, we’d have a better church.
you confess today? Who have you hurt? Who do you hate? Have you mistreated anyone?
worried about your kids watching politicians and mimicking them. Your kids are watching you more closely than
they’re watching any politician. So,
take your personal sins seriously.
them. Repent. Change.
You’ll never address what you don’t confess.
how to do that or resist the urge to post something designed to undermine
someone who thinks differently than you do?
Process privately. Help publicly.
privately can be as simple as praying about it and waiting 24 hours before you
do a thing. Often, that’s enough. Sometimes, you’ll need to talk to a friend. Other times, you may need to go see a
gravitational pull is toward hate, not health.
Healthy doesn’t happen on its own.
church starts to confess more and accuse less, we’ll make more progress.
Divided Nation Needs a United Church
Jesus’ most important prayers was for unity.
The early church was marked (in its best moments) by a completely
If your church
plays the political game, you’ve already alienated half the people you’re
trying to reach. You’re alienating
entire generations looking for an alternative.
Kinnaman and Gabe Lyon’s book UnChristian both explained and predicted a
world in which younger generations would reject Christianity based on, among
other things, our closed-mindedness and division.
living in that reality now. The oldest
Millennials are turning 40 and fewer than ever are showing interest in turning
to the church.
would be an exceptional show of strength to a divided nation. Cave to the deepening divisions and
partisanship that are bound to come, and the church will lose more ground more
quickly than ever.
unifying force around an alternative mission (the Kingdom of God) and the
culture may come running.
Exhausted Culture Needs an Alternative to Itself, Not an Echo of Itself
probably exhausted by the division, tribalization and anger that characterizes
culture today. It’s pretty clear that
the culture is tired of itself too, but it doesn’t quite know how to escape. That’s where the church can help. That’s the perfect opportunity for the church
to simply be the church.
grace-filled, hope-bearing, truthful people are what our friends and neighbors
need. A generation tired of hate, yet
caught in its grip, will only be released from it if there’s a clear
alternative. Hope counters hate better
than hate counters hate. And hope is
what the church, at its best, offers.
in a candidate. Not hope in a political
party. Hope in Christ, someone in the
world who also transcends the world.
echo the culture, you get more of the culture.
How do you know whether you’ve given in to merely echoing the culture? If God has all the same opinions you do,
you’re probably not worshipping God.
if in your church:
disagree but not be disagreeable.
focused on what united people, not on what divided people.
divided culture, Christians should be the help and the hope, not the hate.”
to Francis Schaeffer, love is the mark of the Christian. He wrote:
“Not just a feeling of love or an acknowledgment of love, rather a
demonstration of love. It is the litmus
test Jesus gave to the world as to whether we really reflect Him. Upon His authority He gives the world the
right to judge whether you and I are Christians on the basis of our observable
love toward all. That’s pretty
then added that the world cares little for doctrine. The one thing that will arrest the attention
of a world that has disavowed the very idea of truth is: “The love that true Christians show for each
other and not just for their own party.”
says that during this moment in history, we can either be a shining light to
the world—another example of how the Christian faith creates radical community
even in the midst of honest disagreement—or we can allow our faith to be shoved
aside in the name of politics and, as a result, have unloving attitudes and
words cause a stench that the world can smell and destroy our witness before a
White asks: “Why are so many Christians
behaving so badly, in ways that are no better than those who are not Christians
or even worse? We don’t know how to
disagree with someone agreeably. We
don’t try to empathize with others, enter into understanding, or put love ahead
blogs or chat rooms, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, we spew out caustic,
mean-spirited words, actions and attitudes as if they are not reprehensible
before heaven. But they are. According to Jesus, this is likened to
second-degree murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
thing we must not do as followers of Christ is to give ourselves over to
partisan bickering in such a way that we put party before faith. We are not primarily Republicans or Democrats.
We are first and foremost followers of
Christ. And as followers of Christ, we
should bear the mark of our Savior. And
the mark of the Christian is love.”
tumultuous time in our nation—how are you and I doing in distinctively
demonstrating the love of Jesus to others—especially those with whom we
disagree? The Lord is watching.
Thanksgiving season. How are “thanks”
and “giving” related?
writes: “It’s been said that the last
thing that gets converted in a Christian’s life is their wallet. But we also know that the Bible teaches
generosity, and specifically, to the local church of which we are a part.
give. Many don’t. Why is that?
Here are four reasons for each, beginning with why people do give:
want to obey out of love.
commands to give are clear and unambiguous. Obedience in the Christ life is always about
the heart. It’s wanting to find out what
God wants, and then wanting to do it. Giving is always a reflection of where your
heart is positioned.
want to express gratitude.
If, as the
Scriptures teach, “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17),
then every good and perfect gift in your life is from God. That’s a lot to be grateful for. This includes a child’s love, a roof over your
head, your very next breath.
want to experience God’s love poured out through blessing.
I do not
believe in the ‘health and wealth’ idea that if you give, you can expect to get
rich. I do believe that there is direct
blessing on our lives that can very well be financial in nature when we give
the way God asks. The larger picture is
to want everything God would bring to bear on our life that is in the
“blessing” category, and there is arguably more in the Bible about blessings
flowing into human lives through financial obedience than almost any other
submission we offer.
want to make a difference for the One they love and the ones they’ve been
called to love.
called to us to serve the least and the lost and to do it through the church of
which we are a part. That has a dollar
sign attached to it, and appropriately so. There are homes to build, food to supply,
clean water to provide… there is outreach to be made, creative strategies to be
pursued, resources to be put in hands. The
check you write is arguably among the greatest differences you can make with
your life for Christ and the ones He’s called us to care about.
So why on
earth would anyone not give? That’s
easy, but not pleasant.
don’t love enough to obey.
don’t appreciate enough to be grateful.
don’t care about God’s financial blessing.
don’t want to make a difference with their life.
Thanksgiving week is a good time to reflect on what choices you are making in
light of all you’ve been given.”
study found happiness in life is not correlated mainly with self-development
but is rooted in the quality and quantity of friendships in a person’s life. Elizabeth Bernstein found in The Science
of Making Friends: “From early
adulthood on, the number of friends decreases steadily—though there are ways to
reverse the tide.”
us for community. Connecting with
friends in meaningful relationships should be a crucial part of our lives
(that’s why at Journey we have multiple groups for people to connect).
differing kinds of friends.
friends are people we hang out with.
They are there for the big events in our lives. They are the people we can discuss big-life
questions with as we spend quality time with them.
friends are “fun” friends who we laugh with, who recharge us when we’re around
them. They help us not get depleted or
stuck in a funk.
help us at crossroads in our lives when we have decisions to make. They share life experiences with us and can
help us when we find ourselves in sticky situations.
are people we have relationships with that are deeply rooted in the love of God. We’re connected to them by Christ himself in
ways that go beyond the friendships of this world.
“friends” are “false friends”. These relationships
are alliances for superficial benefits or grounded in the pursuit of some vice
or motivated by monetary gain. Be wary
suggestions for cultivating friends:
1. Be selective.
Be picky. Choose friends based on
shared life experiences, values, interests.
2. Test it out.
Test character before committing.
Disclose a confidence and see if the potential friend keeps it. Trust but verify.
3. Be honest.
Always assume positive intent, never question loyalty, but when honesty
calls for correction instead of comfort, conduct hard conversations genuinely
13:20 says: “Wise friends make you wise,
but you hurt yourself by going around with fools.” (CEV) So, choose friends wisely.
have friends you could call in the middle of the night if you really needed
them? If you do, this week call or
message them in some way to let them know you’re thankful for their friendship.
thing. What kind of friend are you? Are there people who could call you in the
middle of the night, and you’d be there for them? If not, what are you going to do about it?