Monday, May 13, 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like... Part 4

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:47-50). 

Once again we return to the parables of Jesus where he says, "the kingdom of heaven is like..." In  these verses, this is now the third time Jesus begins "once again" linking the previous parables and  the sixth time Jesus uses the phrase in Matthew 13. If we are to enter the Kingdom Life we need to understand these parables together, because Jesus is taking us somewhere and we need to understand how to live in relation to them. We'll do a future recap to considered these parables together. For now let's look at this parable of the net.  

Matthew doesn't use this parable to describe the net itself but to describe the function of the net, being deployed, and the results of that function - gathering fish. There is however an old adage in kitchen design that says "form follows function." While the form of something is important the function should be primary. A beautiful car doesn't serve much good if it doesn't run, although some Duck Dynasty folk might use it as a lawn ornament. But since I was once a kitchen designer I appreciate good form as well, so what can we know about why Jesus might use such a form to describe his Kingdom. It was certainly familiar to his audience as a device essential to their diet.

To begin to unpack this parable, we can note that a net is utilitarian but is there anything about the form we should consider in relation to the Kingdom? In Jesus day, just as nets are still made today, a net is comprised of crisscrossing ropes, tied together at the overlaps. It is the tying together of the many parts that makes the whole functional. Without those binding points the net comes apart, the fish escape, and the function becomes an exercise in futility.

I am reminded of another parable told by my friend Marsha Miles who served as a Bible translator in Papua New Guinea. The women of the tribe she was working with would do the fishing in a river. They used hand held nets that would extend between their outstretched arms, submersed into a river for the catch. This was a team effort as the women would line up in a row along the river bank and proceed together across it in unity of effort and oneness of purpose. If one of the woman didn't have her net placed she left a hole for the fish to escape through.

Likewise, the Kingdom must be bound together, working together, for the uncommon but vital function of people fishing (Matthew 4:18-20). Only then is the "catch" maximized and the Kingdom best advance. If there are holes in the net, or one part of the net is not doing its job, people slip through and what a tragic thing that is. Today, nearly 2000 years after Jesus gave us this parable, 2 billion people still have not heard the Good News of Jesus - even once. Many slip through each day into a Christ-less eternity. The form of the net does matter for Kingdom impact and it is important to note that no piece of the net is more important than another. It is our task to be fishers together in unity of effort and oneness of purpose. The organization I serve with, the Mission America Coalition (U.S. Lausanne Committee), has as our ethos the saying "serving better together" for this exact reason.  

Now with respect to function, let me suggest three ideas we can glean from Jesus' parable of the net: 

First, the net "caught all kinds of fish." A fishing  net is indiscriminate in what it catches. The net doesn't care what comes into it, rather the net captures everything in its path. Likewise, there can be no discrimination by People Fishers when it comes to any part of the spreading Kingdom. We have no right to decide who comes into the net, just as we cannot pick and choose who comes into the Kingdom.  The Church throughout history has not always done a good job of being indiscriminate, from the start (see Acts 15) and to this day. While things are changing, the most segregated place on Sunday morning still remains the Church. We tend to like those who are like us but we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28) and must fish for him with that in mind. 

Second, note that the net will become full. The task of fishing will one day be completed. The task is finish-able when we function together and use the proper form to do the job. There are currently 7,162 unreached people groups (UPGs) in the world who must be gathered in with the Gospel net from every nation, tribe and tongue to one day be gathered around the throne of God, the number of which will be immeasurable (Revelation 7:9). It is not our job to be concerned with the number in the catch but rather that every part of the stream (world) is fished (Matthew 24:14, Acts 1:8). Where the Gospel has not yet gone, someone must go and fish there - that is the missionary task. However there is no reason that someone can't be you, at least to some extent, since many of these unreached "fish" are now swimming in our pond.

Third, it's not our job to judge the catch. According to Jesus, the task of deciding who the good fish are and who bad fish are belongs to angelic fish-mongers. The good fish will be kept but the bad fish will be discarded. We who fish have no part in deciding who is in and who is out when it comes to entering the Kingdom. We are simply to do the fishing. When understood, that should help eliminate the burden of judgmentalism that can and has often kept the Church from the fishing task. We are to cast our net wide and bring to shore the catch the Lord determines. We all must take our place on the net if we're to see the catch brought in sooner rather than later.  

After finishing this parable Jesus asked his disciples, "Have you understood all these things?' 'Yes,' they replied." (Matthew 13:51). Following Jesus resurrection, during the 40 days leading up to Pentecost (which this year is Sunday, May 19th) Jesus taught extensively on the Kingdom (Acts 1:4). Following the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), from a handful of fishermen through the first three centuries the Kingdom grew exponentially to over 25 million.  It seems that the early disciples did understand and then did something amazing with what they understood. Jesus asks the same question of us today. How will we answer? 

One of my favorites Kingdom thinkers died last week, Dallas Williard. One of my favorite quotes from Dallas is this wake-up call to the Kingdom life: 
 “The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.”
May we live the Kingdom life into every part of the stream that remains unfished or inadequately fished.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Reflections from the Journey - 5/10/2013

"For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor 5:7

Friday afternoon again and so its time for some reflecting on the week that has been. The point of these posts is simply to reflect on the high points, and low points, along the journey of each passing week. The question I am asking is what stands out to me as I look back across the previous days? What is helping to shape my personal journey? What was memorable or noteworthy? The picture of Jesus walking on water reminds me that this journey is a faith walk. And, because it is, it's worth learning, which requires reflecting, along the way.

Certainly one high point of the week was the DFW Diaspora Roundtable that the Lord has led me to develop in 2013.  This was our second Roundtable of the year in support of building the DFW Diaspora Missions Alliance. If you're not familiar with this new ministry initiative I invite you to check out This work is indeed a faith-walk that began in 2011 when the Lord started to open my eyes and heart to the many different people he was bringing to DFW and to our nation. I have written about how this came about here. 

While on the way to 121 Community Church in Grapevine, the host site for this Roundtable, my car broke down. I was heading to our gathering expecting over 40 leaders to attend. Additional stress is not something I need, as 2013 has certainly been a rough road health-wise. "Is the enemy doing everything he can to keep this work from moving forward?" I needed to ask myself. My friend Dennis came to my rescue and we arrived 90 minutes later than I had planned. On the drive, I said to Dennis "Sometimes I think I'm crazy for trying to do this," meaning building this ministry network, running these meeting, and seeking to "mobilize DFW to reach DFW."  Who am I after all to be doing this? Wouldn't it be easier just to kick back and focus on rest? I mean, I am in a cancer battle after all, so why spend so much effort on a new ministry initiative?

But then I reflect on a response I received following the meeting from Mike, a local mission pastor who simply said: "This is so needed. thank you." I reflect on the fact that one church had 4 of their staff attend, after sending a couple of folks to our first meeting in January. I reflect on the value of over-hearing one leader who had connected with a another leader for the first time say "I think this was a divine appointment." I reflect on all the positive responses from our time together Wednesday and the traction we've gained in such a short period of time, for an initiative a leading pastor had told me "isn't going to work" back in February. God is up to something and is asking me to live by faith, not by sight. By the way, he asks the same of each of us.

This week, one of my favorite Christian thinker died. Dallas Williard was 77 and succumbed to stage 4 pancreatic cancer. My first introduction to Professor Williard came when I read "Divine Conspiracy" as part of a team reading assignment with Concerts of Prayer Greater New Yorker, I think in 2002. Dallas had a profound understanding of the Kingdom life we are called to live that shaped my own thinking about the Kingdom. My own cancer battle has gotten me both started and then off track in writing more about the Kingdom. I have a mostly finished manuscript I call "Quest for a Kingdom Life" that one day I hope to publish. It gleaned much from Dallas. It has been my personal quest to live as Dallas writes about when he says,
“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.”
Rest in peace, Professor Williard, your wisdom will surely be missed but your work and the hope you express of Christians learning to "live the life of the Kingdom...into every corner of human existence" will live on. In fact, I know a number of people seeking to live this Kingdom life, including my young friend James Harvey who is Kingdom-wise beyond his years. I am learning a lot from James these days, even though he is young enough to be my son. Check out some of what he's doing at and the depth of Kingdom understanding he expresses in this blog post.

Thinking about my friend James, this week I posted a quote from a Barna study on Facebook that said in part:
"Leaders who hope to alter the spiritual journeys of today’s Millennials need to embrace something of a ‘reverse mentoring’ mindset, allowing the next generation to help lead alongside established leaders. Millennials need to find spiritual rootedness, but that’s not simply to preserve old ways of doing church."

As I reflect on this week, yesterday I had coffee with Monnie Brewer who is old enough to be, well my older brother, 12 years old than I am. Monnie is a man wise from many years of serving the Kingdom mission. Over coffee, I told Monnie I want to be learner. That is a value I communicate as much as I can, since as we grow up in age we realize just how much we still have to learn. More than ever, I think, we need to be in an active learning mode so that we can apprehend the Kingdom life Dallas Williard writes about, that James and Monnie live out across their generations, but that too few today seem to spend much time living.

In closing, I want more than ever to walk by faith, not by sight. Faith-walking requires practice and learning which is why the Lord gives us this journey to walk with him. The very essence of the word disciple is to be a learner. We can only realize the Kingdom life as we learn of Jesus, his ways, his truth and his life, about His Kingdom. I am reminded of what Jesus says to his followers in Matthew 11:29: 
 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven is like...

What's really valuable to you? No doubt, if you're a Christian, you will put your relationship with Jesus at the top of the list, hopefully. But are we being honest with ourselves when we do? Is Jesus really first and foremost, and "I am second?" Or, is there something else that takes priority in our lives, even good things we place before an all out, sold out, and lived out commitment to Jesus first? That's a question we need to ask ourselves frequently, daily is best, to make sure we're really on the narrow way. For as David Platt points...
"I think the one thing that’s abundantly that there are a whole lot of people in our country who think that they are Christians, but they are not. There are scores of people—here and around the world who culturally distinguish themselves as Christians and biblically are not followers of Christ.” (more here.) 

In this Kingdom series we have been looking at the parables of Jesus where he said, "the Kingdom of heaven is like..." (see the 3 prior posts starting here). Today, I want to look at two parables, really similes, that communicate just how valuable the Kingdom is for us to take hold of.  Matthew 13 records in short order these two ideas about what the Kingdom is like:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." (Matthew 13:44) 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:45-46) 
Matthew links these two statements by Jesus in his Gospel for at least three important reasons.

First, both speak to the incredible, immeasurable, incalculable value Jesus understood was inherit in the Kingdom. That much should be obvious from the similes. Jesus is telling us nothing compares to the Kingdom life he wants his followers to live. As we turn our eyes upon Jesus,  "the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace," as the classic old hymn puts its.

Second, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom needs to be intentionally sought, as one would seek something of great value. It is interesting that in Matthew 13:44 Jesus says the "man" found it, seemingly as if he accidentally stumbled upon this hidden treasure in a field. But this was no accident, the treasure was there for the finding, and the Greek word used for "found" implies a search of "thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, to find out by practice and experience." This idea of intentionality becomes clearer in Matthew 13:45-46 and needs to inform our thinking on our quest for a Kingdom life.The Kingdom life requires some effort to understand, enter and appropriate for ourselves.

Third, Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom requires something of us. Actually, more than something it requires everything. The common point in these two similes is that the Kingdom demands our "all" and our "everything" to attain God's all and everything in Christ. 

Can the Christians life be lived without demand for our "all" and "everything?" Some believe it can but as Platt asks, are they really Christians? I read this article late last week, entitled "The ‘new legalism," which referenced a prior comment by the author to the effect that: “Being a ‘radical,’ ‘missional’ Christian is slowly becoming the ‘new legalism." According to this author, "We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40).”

I couldn't agree more with the later, the need for ordinary God loving people who love others is clearly needed today. The author went on however to take issue with David Platt's book 'Radical' as he developed his thesis that living radically had become the "new legalism." He seemed to want to give permission to people, especially millennials, to live un-radical lives for Jesus because they were feeling guilt about their life choices. 

But what is radical? As an adjective, the word means, "relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough." Considering Matthew 13:44-46 and the two examples we have, isn't Jesus doing just that? Jesus calls us to affect change in the fundamental way we live, far-reaching and thorough affect in what we embrace as our "all" and "everything." It seems to me that the author referenced here seeks to give permission to live unradical lives, as long as we do so in accordance with the instructions Paul gives in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 to "live quiet lives," so as long as we love God and love others.

My question is how can we do that apart from a radical transformation of our souls to live as we are called? The fact is we can't and we won't love others without a radical love for God, that surpasses any worldly attachments.  It would be sufficient to seek to live a "quiet life," if we understand that Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 is calling us to do be witnesses of Christ in our daily live (see verse 12). If would be sufficient to consider how radically different "quiet life" is as compared to the busy, hectic, stressed out lives of our culture. Jesus no where tells us that the Kingdom life should be maniacal, rather radically meaningful.

It doesn't really matter where we live out our Kingdom life, in the suburbs as the above author defends or in an urban setting, or some foreign land. What matters is that we do - as a call from God to live radically different lives, sold out for His Kingdom. so others take notice. The quest for a Kingdom life is worth it, that's what Jesus is telling us here.

Is there great value in a "quiet life?" How could be better cultivate?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections from the Journey

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor 13:12

The above has become one of my favorite verses. It speaks to my heart about all that I want to know and how little I truly do - of God, of life, of the journey I am on. But that's okay. I have come to a place in my life we're it's okay not to know, not to be so certain of what I think I do know, but to simply rest in the knowledge that I live by faith and by knowing God, even as imperfectly as I may. But I cling to "the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philippians 3:8) 

It's been said, life is a journey. Maybe that's cliche but the truth is that our time here on this rock is one of discovering all God wants us to know - of him. That is the journey. That is different than knowing about him. How often though we rush through our appointed days, week to week, years passing steadily by, taking little time to consider where we've been and what we've learned along the way. Some journal daily and it's a good spiritual practice, I guess, though I have never found any Scripture to support it. :-) That may be why I don't, but probably more like a lack of daily self-discipline. However, we do need to take time to reflect on our journey.

I'm at a point now in my life however where I want to reflect more on knowing and being fully known by God.  Our journey is not about what we come to know about God. Rather our journey is about what we know of our God, his abiding presence with us along the way, and what he wants us to know as he directs us. Our journey is not simply what we can learn from the Bible. The Bible only serves as a reference for what the Living God is teaching us. Rather our journey is about what we can learn through living our lives in him, through him and for him, especially as we listen to others who do it well.

It's for this reason, I am blogging about my journey, will be reflecting weekly on the lessons God is teaching me through each passing week as I follow where he leads, listen to the people he puts in my path and walk with him daily. I'm don't know if I'll do these reflective blog posts weekly but I sure hope it's not weakly. The following is the first entry for the week of May 3rd.

This Tuesday, I met with a new friend, Samson, for lunch. Samson is an Urdu speaking American-Pakistani with a wonderful ministry using radio to reach Urdu speaking Pakistani, who are mostly Muslims, in Dallas and Toronto. God has given Samson a wonderful heart for Muslims and over lunch he told me how he approaches his listeners - "human to human." My immediate thought was: "that's it' isn't it." I don't think I had heard the task of evangelism, and Samson is an evangelist, put in those terms. Samson has a deep abiding love for Muslims that came through in our discussion and I think is rooted in this idea of "human to human."

How often we think we are better, as Christians. That perception is prevalent in much of our cross-cultural apologetic today but it does little to connect people with Christ. We know what's right and others need to know what we think we know. Rather than take the time to connect "human to human," evangelism has become akin to selling Jesus. The kind of approach won't attract many people of a different culture because it doesn't communicate their values. But what is winning Muslims to Christ is the approach my friend Samson is using. Statistically, 84% of Muslims who come to faith in Christ say they did so because of the love of a Christian. 

But Samson's "human to human" thinking goes further still. Too often we objectify people as we stereotype them into neat categories instead of seeing the individual created in the image of God. Then the Boston Bombers are only Islamic Jihadists, "just like all Muslims," rather than two radicalized brothers, who happen to be Muslim. Ed Stetzer made a comment this week that is noteworthy on this subject: "You don't like to be stereotyped. Neither do I. So let's not do it to Muslims."

This idea of humanness means at least a few things: First, and most importantly it should keep the common bond, the fact we are created in the image of God, foremost in our minds. Only on this basis can we love others as ourselves. Two, our shared humanness also speaks to our common fallen condition. Each of us are in need of the redemptive grace of our God. And, third, because of our shared condition, we who know Christ, are obligated to make him known to others. Doing less would be less than the human thing to do.  

Also this week, a new Barna study found that only 14% of Christians are Christlike in attitude and action. My friend, Samson, is clearly within that 14%, loving Muslims as he does, from a basis of humanness. And then there was this quote I came across this week that is worth reflecting on: 
 "Christians aren't better than Muslims. Christians aren't better than Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We all share in the same fallenness. We must love them like Christ. We must talk to them like Christ. We must invite them to Christ. But doing all of that requires that we first start thinking like Christ."
This week I also started rereading AW Tozers "Pursuit of God." I want my journey to be just that. So by thinking like Christ and living our shared humanness, in all its gore and glory, I hope others can see where God is leading and we'll pursue God together. 

That's it for this week. TGIF! 

In what ways does this statement, "Christians aren't better than Muslims," help you to see your own humanness? 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thoughts for the National Day of Prayer 2013 - Blessing the Nations Among Us

On this National Day of Prayer many are asking God to bless us as a nation. And there is nothing wrong with that. The fact is, God has blessed us more than any nation in the history of mankind. But isn’t it time, we instead ask God how we can be a blessing to others, especially to the nations among us? The fact is, we are blessed to be a blessing to the nations.
Our nation faces many difficult challenges today. But what has been in the news and on my minds in past few weeks is what may well be a defining issue of how God will, or won't, bless our nation again. The Boston bombing brings front and center the fact that we are a land of immigrants, some of whom hate us or at least what they think America stands for. Immigration reform is also a major issue before Congress. What should our response be as Christians to our changing demographics, the growing pluralism, the multiculturalism and the growing diaspora population of our land? 

As Christ follower we need to put aside the political debate and focus on a Biblical answers. I am however often saddened by what I see from those who claim to be Christians. The all too common vitriolic response, especially to Muslims, as expressed on social media, by Christians is most unChrist-like. Something has got to change. Here’s a quote that I read yesterday that shapes it well:
"Christians aren't better than Muslims. Christians aren't better than Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We all share in the same fallenness. We must love them like Christ. We must talk to them like Christ. We must invite them to Christ. But doing all of that requires that we first start thinking like Christ."
Let me unpack this a little further. With our position in Christ, there is a difference between being better and being better off. We are immeasurably better off knowing Christ, with Christ, for Christ, then we could ever be without him. That needs to inform how we relate to others since we are no better than anyone, apart from Christ. Human to human we are no better than anyone. Only in Christ do we find our difference (Romans 3:23), which then must compel us to love others as he does. As we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) we must think differently and we can but our thinking must align with what our Lord says is important to him - the essence of repentance. 
As a God of justice and mercy, when the Lord began to lay out the social responsibilities of his people, immediately after liberating them from Egypt, treatment of the immigrant was at the top of his list. 

In Exodus 22:2 we read: "Do not ill-treat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt."

In Exodus 23:9 we read: "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt."
Immediately following the Exodus the Lord tells his newly liberated people, who had not even yet been formed as a nation, who had not yet encountered a foreigner, how important he thinks treating other "nations" in their midst was to him. The Lord gives instruction - not once but twice.

When the Lord says something once it is important, when he repeats himself we need to understand how important it is to him, and when he repeatedly directs his people concerning a matter we had best listen and obey. God's global witness is at stake through how the foreigner is treated by God's people.

Recently, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists did a study of Muslims in the Bible-belt.  Most Muslims reported that they had never met a Christian. How could that be in our "Christian nation?" Many Muslims feel alienated, marginalized and oppressed in America. We may think we are justified in our negative attitudes, even animosity, toward Muslims due to people like the Tsarnaev brothers, but Biblically, we have no right to such thinking.

Moses clearly got the memo, understood and instructs this new nation, Israel, saying in Deuteronomy 10:18

“He (the Lord) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”

And in Deuteronomy 10:19, Moses takes it even further:

“And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

Moses reminds the people of their blessings of liberty and tells the Israelites they were not only to care for but to love the foreigner. How often we think they are one and the same – providing care and love. But are they really? Giving a handout is easy. Loving the foreigner, especially one like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is much more difficult. 

We need to think better about what it means to love our neighbor. Our blessings are not simply to be shared out of obligation but out of compassion, mercy, and lovingkindness. We are to think like Christ toward those the Lord has brought to our nation. And, when we respond our motives are as important to our God as our obedience. We are to love others as ourselves.

Love requires relationship and that’s hard work. But it must be done. That is the life we are called to as Christians but one that we don’t seem to live well as Americans, especially when it comes to loving our cross-cultural neighbors. We should know that God ties his blessing to his people’s obedience and gives us a choice to make.

 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy
We are blessed to be a blessing and how we handle our blessings makes all the difference in the world. God leaves the choice up to us, that is the free will he gives us, of how we will live in relationship to others. But here's some questions to answer to flush this out even more:  

Does God change?
Has God’s heart for the foreigner changed?
Does God still bless obedience? 

How you answer those questions should inform what you do next. On this National Day of Prayer, I think it is important to consider how we have been so richly blessed but more so how we have too frequently taken for granted our blessings, so now what?

At the end of the Old Testament account, we read in Malachi, a charge brought by the Lord against his people for they had deprived the foreigners of justice and did not fear the Lord (Malachi 3:5). Malachi closes out the Biblical record of how the Lord dealt with a people who refused to obey his commands to love the foreigner as themselves. They had turned to all manner of false idols and neglected the commands of God. Where are we today?   

Let’s pray God has mercy upon our nation. Let’s start thinking like Christ. Let's bless the nations among us!