Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So You Voted...Now What?

(To my non-christian friends, this is a word of encouragement to my Christian friends. I pray you find it a hopeful word.)

So you voted...GOOD! You vote because it is your civic duty. You vote out of respect for the thousands who died to give you the right to vote. You vote because you care about America and her future. You vote because you don't like a certain candidate. You vote because you like a certain candidate. You vote because you want to make a difference. All of these are commendable reasons to vote, but now what?

I don't know if your candidate won or lost...but now what?

Answer: be the Church.

The influential tentacles of the U.S. government reach far and wide. Its decisions affect the lives of millions of people, but in the end the government regulates behavior. It cannot transform hearts. Jesus Christ transforms hearts, and God has entrusted the Church as the community to embody his presence. Thankfully, he has empowered the Church for the task with his Spirit. Yes, governments legislate, dictate, protect, and shape but Jesus is the only one who redeems and resurrects. Real and lasting change comes not with a change in government but in the number of "Jesus clones" released in the world. Some of you are saying, "Charlton, you are so naive to think that all the world could be a disciple of Christ?" But this is not my idea; it is God's idea (Matthew 28:18-20).

So now what? Be the Church.
  • We believe God has a tender spot for the poor and oppressed. Don't rely on legislation. Let's support non-profits who have the structure to make a lasting impact in the lives of the poor. Let's make a presence in the poverty stricken regions of their community: a presence of food, health, shelter, hope.
  • We believe God values the sanctity of life. Don't wait on the law. Let's find unwed, pregnant teenagers and women in our communities, bring them in, throw them baby showers, teach them about motherhood, help them raise their children, adopt their children, and journey through the pregnancy alongside them.
  • We believe God desires peace. Don't wait on gun control and stronger drug policies. Let's plant Jesus followers as residents in the "darker" barrios of our cities as a redeeming presence.
  • We believe God designed marriage for heterosexual relationships. Don't wait on the Senate. Let's build bridges with the homosexual community in our area, build relationships, establish trust, show genuine love and concern for the individual, and be willing to understand the struggle and journey of those who battle same-sex attraction.
  • We believe (fill in the ______), so let's be the Church.
 I'm not trying to minimize the role of government and civic duty in your life; I AM trying to emphasize the POWER of God in the Church. Jesus did not change the world by becoming the Roman emperor. He did not make Peter Caesar. Jesus changed the world by grabbing a handful of average Joe's and saying, "Come, follow me!" So...let's be the Church and follow Jesus!

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably GREAT POWER for us who believe. That POWER is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he RAISED CHRIST from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed ALL things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, the FULLNESS of him who fills everything in every way. 
 - Paul, on the Church

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