A Lethal Weapon

The ultimate lethal weapon is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment assures the rights of Americans to own lethal weapons.  And within the past year those lethal weapons have been used to kill massive number of innocent people who had nothing to do with being a part of a well-regulated militia.

• 9 in a church

• 23 in a restaurant

• 26 in an elementary school

• 49 in a nightclub

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

While the death tolls and the places may change there is one common denominator the lethal weapon.

The other common denominator is the Second Amendment right of the American who carried out the shooting which was given to him the by the Second Amendment which says: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The New York Times reports that mass killings in the United States are most often carried out with guns.

Usually handguns, most of them obtained legally and some not however, the right to have all of these lethal weapons are protected by the Second Amendment which says: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Times also reports that none of the shooters in these mass killings were members of any government sponsored militia.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

While many Americans own lethal weapons, as part of their Second Amendment rights.

The ultimate lethal weapon is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.      

Paul in Romans 1:16, said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

In Hebrews 4:12 Paul is even more specific about the capabilities of the lethal weapon of the Gospel when he said “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

While guns have killed many the Gospel has saved more.   

However, as disciples of Christ we have the duty to use the lethal weapon of the Gospel to bring people to salvation.  As we complete the commands of the great commission to make disciples of all nations.

When was the last time you used the ultimate lethal weapon of the Gospel of Jesus?

Therefore, the question I have for you this morning is this?  How are you using the lethal weapon of the Gospel?        

When was the last time you used the lethal weapon of giving your testimony to win a person to Christ?

When was the last time you used the lethal weapon of scripture study and to equip yourself to become a better witness for Christ?

When was the last time you used the lethal weapon of the invite, to ask others to bible study, to church or any event where they can experience the good news of Christ?    

When was the last time you used the ultimate lethal weapon of the Gospel of Jesus?

The good news this this: unlike a gun the lethal weapon of the Gospel of Jesus does not need the NRA or the GOP to the DNC protect it.

However, the lethal weapon of the Gospel of Jesus does need you and me to spread it.

We get our marching orders to use the lethal weapon of the Gospel from Jesus Himself in Matthew 28:16-20 which has been called the Great Commission.

 

Then Jesus came to the eleven disciples and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As disciples we are in a militia the army of God, and while we do not have a Second Amendment giving us cover for the use of our lethal weapon we have something much better the authority of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, let us use the ultimate lethal weapon the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives and to save the lost.

A Lifetime of Opportunities

“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

The Christian evangelist and author Leonard Ravenhill said, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

It is difficult to believe that it has been nearly ten years since my son Chandler graduated from high school.

In the near decade since he crossed that high school stage he has attended college, gotten married, and with his amazing wife Erika they are raising three lovely girls.

It is difficult to believe how fast a decade can pass.  How fast twenty years can pass, how fast a lifetime can pass.

In James 4:14, God reminds us how fast life really is when he tells us: Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 

God wants you to use your mist of time, and the gifts given to you to achieve the opportunities of your life within the lifetime of the opportunities.

What are the opportunities of your life that you have not fulfilled?

• Is it an unfulfilled educational opportunity?

• Is it an unfulfilled career opportunity?

• Is it an unfulfilled relationship, personal or leadership opportunity?

• Is it an unfulfilled opportunity regarding your health, your weight, lifestyle or some other situation?

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.74 years.

Therefore, the question is this: “What are you doing with the opportunities of your life?”

God tells us in Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Achievement of our opportunities are untimely shallow and lack meaning without a relationship with Jesus.

Neither money, nor success in business, nor a house, a car nor other material thing will give us the peace that will make achievement of our opportunities worthwhile.

Only Jesus can give us the peace, the courage and all the things needed to achieve the opportunities of our lives.

Turn your life over to Jesus and the opportunities of your heart and life will be achieved.

For with Jesus the opportunities of a lifetime will be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.

The Talk Revisited

“The Talk” is a conversation that parents of young African American men have given about the way they are to conduct themselves when dealing with the police and the larger American society.

We have all been moved by the events of the past few weeks: The deaths of two black men in police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.  Along with the carnage in Texas where five Dallas police officers were assassinated as a black man targeted white police officers for murder simply because of the color of their skin.

These events moved me to revisit and to re-give “The Talk” to my son Chandler and my nephew Benjamin.

“The Talk” is a conversation that parents of young African American men have given about the way they are to conduct themselves when dealing with the police and the larger American society.

The reasons we parent’s give this talk is bigger than the events of last week.  We give “The Talk not only because we love our children, but because of these cold hard facts recounted in a recent speech by President Obama.

According to various studies:

  • African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over.
  • After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched.
  • Last year, African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites.
  • African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites.
  • African American defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums.  They receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.
  • The African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population.

 

Given the higher than average chance that they could be stopped by the police.  I gave the gave “The Talk” to the Benjamin and Chandler just like my father gave “The Talk” to my brothers and I years ago.

However, unlike my father who only had to give “The Talk” once.  Today’s world of cell phone captured and social media live video of police encounters requires that parents have an ongoing dialogue about the dangers that are out there.

These were my talking points

Sons both of you are a wonderful people made in the image of a great God and I am very proud of the men that you are becoming.

You have seen the news and you know about what happened in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas however, let me assure you not all police offices are bad.

The vast majority of police officers in this country are good people and I would be proud to see you become one.  They have difficult jobs and they deserve our respect.

These rules that we are about to discuss again are to help those officers who are good and to protect you from those officers who are bad.

  1. Keep your car in good repair. Make certain your tail and head lights and other parts are properly working.  If you need money fix them let me know.
  2. If stopped by an officer be polite, address the officer by saying yes and no sir. Put your hands on the top of the steering wheel where they can be seen.  If it is at night turn on the light.  At any time of the day turn off the music, tell people in the car to be quite, put their hands in plane site and let you do all the talking.  Again be polite.
  3. Remember to always take your drivers licensee picture in a coat and tie. Reason, it allows the officer to see you as professional, not the hip hop thug that the clothing you may currently have on may indicate.
  4. Place your insurance card and registration in the clear plastic folder that I gave you. When ask for it, ask the officer if you can retrieve them from the glove compartment.
  5. Unclutter your glove compartment so that you will not have to fumble for the clear plastic folder. The longer you take the retrieve those items the more the officer may think you are going for a gun.
  6. When the stop is over get to a safe place and call me we will discuss what took place and figure out next steps.
  7. If you are arrested call me. I will bail you out no questions asked.
  8. Always know that you are a wonderful person made in the image of a great God I love you and I am very proud of the men you are becoming. Also always remember that our police officers have difficult jobs follow these rules so that we can support them and that you can come out of a traffic stop alive.

 

The source documents for what we know as the New Testament were written in Greek.  The Greek word for police is Aστυνομία which means citizenship, administration, civil order and authority.

Police officers take an oath to protect and defend. Part of that oath is the wiliness of an officer to die in the protection of their fellow citizen.

Jesus said in John 15:13: Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The five officers who died in Dallas laid down their lives for the protection of their friends. The citizens at a protest march highlighting possible misconduct by the police in Louisiana, and Minnesota.

I ended “The Talk” with something I had never said before; I said sons, “remember the police are our friends let’s do everything we can to keep the friendship going.”

As we continue to absorb what has happened let us seek accountability, let us seek justice and let us continue to seek to be friends.

The Original American Sin

The majority of the social, economic and political problems of The United States of America stems from America’s Original Sin.

 

America awoke this morning in shock.

  • Shocked at the assassination of 5 police officers in Dallas.
  • Shocked at the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights.
  • Shocked at the fact that these killings; were streamed directly into our cell phones.

The question is why is this happening?

Is it because of a breakdown in law enforcement?

Is it because we live in a violent society; where the gun is the ultimate expression of our fear, rage and insecurity?

Or, could it be because America has failed to deal with its Original Sin?

  • The enslavement of the African.
  • The legal segregation of the freed slave.
  • The continued discrimination of our African-American citizens.

My prayer is that we go beyond the talking points of political gamesmanship, and outright denial to truly understand that the majority of the social, economic and political problems of The United States of America stems from America’s Original Sin.

God has commanded us to love our neighbors. Consequently, White lives matter, Black lives matter, Hispanic lives matter and Police Officers lives matter, yes all lives matter.

God has commanded and we should acknowledge that all lives matter, and the time has long passed that we should behave that way.

America’s Original Sin, like all the sin in our lives must be exposed and rooted out.  However, we will not defeat this sin without the leadership of the Lord.

Therefore, as we pray for the families of the dead in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, let us pray for calm and peaceful protests.

And let us pray for God’s grace, mercy and leadership as we deal with America’s Original Sin.

A Shocking Exodus

We serve a God that delivers the shocking exodus

The shocking exodus of the United Kingdom from the European Union has produced a worldwide drop in stock markets, a deep devaluation of the British Pound, and the unprecedented resignation of Prime Minster David Cameron.

Still to play out are the terms of Britain’s separation from the now 27 member EU along with the political ramifications as both the Labor and Conservative parties scramble for new leaders.

Additionally, some in Scotland which voted by large majorities to stay in the European Union are now calling for a redo of their recent vote, to remain a part of the UK.

Indeed it has been a shocking exodus.

The Israelites, lead by God through Moses, engineered another shocking exodus as they stunned Pharaoh and his army. They left Egypt in dramatic fashion after four hundred plus years of harsh slavery.

Grateful for what God had done, the Israelites praised the Lord in a song of deliverance in Exodus 15:1-7:

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver, he has hurled into the sea.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army, he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

Many of us are in need of a shocking exodus:

  • We are in need of a shocking exodus from sinful habits that keep us away from full fellowship with God.
  • We are in need of a shocking exodus from a bad relationship that has taken our joy.
  • We are in need of a shocking exodus from fear that keeps us away from achieving God’s fullest potential for us.

We serve a God that delivers the shocking exodus:

  • Job – With the shocking exodus that he had lost everything but the deliverance of faith that gave him everything back and more
  • Esther – With the shocking exodus that she must risk death at the hands of the Pharaoh to save her people. For God put Ester in a royal position for such a time as this
  • Jesus – With the shocking exodus that God would actually send His son to earth to be brutally killed to atone for the sins of the world and then to rise up to give the world a hope and a future.

Regardless of our age, status or condition, God is calling on us to make a shocking exodus in service to Him.

Take a moment today, and ask God to reveal the things that he wants you to do. While your shocking exodus may not be as famous as the United Kingdom’s exodus from the European Union, it will be just and perhaps more impactful.

For the Lord wants us to have a shocking exodus