Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Should Conservatives Approach S. CT. Nomination?

The expected debate is already underway regarding the approach conservatives should use in their approach to President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Understand that most of this "debate" is being framed by the liberally biased media in an effort to squelch any real debate at all. The nomination processes of 2 Justices during President Bush's tenure are not ancient history. We all can remember how vigorously they were attacked by the liberal members of the Senate. There was no outcry at that time for quickly affirming his nominees. More liberal senators did not even consider a conciliatory, or even professionally cordial, approach. In fact, one Senator Obama publicly supported a filibuster in the case of Justice Alito without any substantive reason.

Conservatives should and must vigorously question and examine this nominee. It is imperative for several reason. First, it is necessary to define the sides. The liberal approach is still to mask the far left push currently underway. They do not posses the moral fiber to plainly state their case and let public opinion choose which is right. The vetting of how liberal she is will shed further light on just how far left the President is.

Second, advocacy is necessary to turn the tide in American thought. Ideas are powerful. Truthful ideas are even more powerful. This nominee must be questioned thoughtfully and clearly. The questioning process generates significant discourse in the public view. This discourse forces Americans to learn about vital issues such as judicial philosophy and the contrasting views of the U.S. Constitution between liberals and conservatives. The media, under the influence of the "talking points" being proffered by the White House, will seek "to tell the wonderful story" of Judge Sotomayor instead of present a true picture her opinions and philosophies as a judge. The failure to examine and thereby illuminate who we will have sitting on the highest court in the land will serve their interests by hiding the liberal agenda at work.

Third, people must be reminded that elections are substantive. President Obama was elected because he was popular. He carefully and professionally crafted his public image to be popular and tried, successfully, to hide how disturbingly liberal his views are. Only now are they becoming clear to people who simply liked him and therefore voted for him. Highlighting how far outside the mainstream he and his party are by highlighting how far outside the mainstream his nominee is will serve to remind folks that elections are substantive and have substantive consequences.

This is particularly critical in a state like Arkansas. Our 2 U.S. Senators vote in lockstep with the far left Democratic party. They campaign as "good ole" Arkansans and then support every far left liberal party idea presented by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. Their votes are a forgone conclusion in support of Judge Sotomayor. Senator Lincoln was quoted in an article in the May 27th Arkansas Democrat Gazette lauding the judge's diversity as an asset to the court. She is up for re-election in the next cycle. The only way to impact the liberal movement in Washington is to change who is there. Here is an opportunity to show with clarity that Senator Lincoln's position are far more liberal than her rhetoric when visiting home. This vote is a key opportunity to show people that a change must be made in order to fairly represent what the conservative, salt of the earth residents of Arkansas believe in.

Ultimately, the nomination process cannot be stopped absent the discovery of some unforeseen character failure that would disqualify her. The President has the power to nominate and the Senate has a specific standard by which this process occurs. Elections have consequences. Far left liberals currently control the Senate and the White House. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that conservatives should "roll over." They should question Judge Sotomayor in a professional manner - unlike the actions of the Democratic senators in the last 2 proceedings. They should question her thoroughly and on the important questions at hand.

Contact your senators and articulate your opinion. Encourage them to question strongly this nominee. Encourage them to vote in accordance with our values. This who will must be strengthened and emboldened to speak out. Those who will not vote in accordance with our values must be forced to stand for their liberal beliefs in a public fashion, and in the next election. .

God Made Today for You

Psalm 118:24 states unequivocally that "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." This is a day created by God. Therefore is must have in it much that He has created specifically for you.

In this verse, and even throughout the entire chapter, the covenant name of the Lord is used. In other words, this day was created by the God who keeps His covenant with His people. That is why it is a day for rejoicing -whatever is happening in your today. Be thankful for His covenant and how He is caring for you today.

If it is a tough day, God is keeping His promise to protect you in it. If you have failed today, be thankful for God's promise in I John 1:9 to which He will be faithful to forgive you. If you are searching, be thankful that He will keep His covenant to "show you great and mighty things which you do not know" when you seek Him. (Jeremiah 33:3). If you need wisdom, then be thankful that God is faithful to His promise to give it to you liberally in James 1:5.

Most of be thankful today that God has a plan for you that He is working out in you whatever is happening today. Philippians 1:6 makes it clear that "He who began a good work in you WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE IT..." Rejoice in the Lord today because He has designed a day in which He will faithfully grow you, forgive you, bless you, guide you, provide for you, protect you etc. because has by His own covenant to you designed to day to do that for you.

God is an awesome God. His mercy and grace is beyond description. This is the day the covenant keeping God has made; rejoice and be glad in it for you have much to be glad for today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Battle for Our Society Continues

Today has been an interesting day for followers of Christ. In California, the courts upheld Proposition 8 which prohibits the marriage of homosexuals. The day also saw our far-left liberal President nominate for the Supreme Court a far-left appellate judge for the position vacated by Justice David Souter. One event helps our society towards biblical values and one event continues to move us away from biblical values. The dichotomy of these events illustrates that the battle for the heart and mind of our American society is a battle which is still enjoined.

To hear the opinions of far left politicians, you would think that America had moved way to the left. You expect such statements from individuals such as Senator Schumer or Speaker Pelosi. But even erstwhile "moderates" such Colin Powell were making statements that people were ready to pay more taxes for more government. Most assumed the political overturning of Proposition 8 by a liberal and activist court in California was inevitable.

This could not be farther from the truth. Just one week after Californians overwhelmingly rejected higher taxes, their court system affirmed the importance of the will of the people - a will that is no where near as far left as their pundits would have you believe. At the same time, polls are now showing a strong shift against abortion. To proclaim the death of biblical values in our society was far too early.

There is still strong support for biblical values. Take heart fellow followers of Christ because there is much to be done, and fertile ground in which to do it. We must be strong and clear in our advocacy. We should be thoughtful and professional in our explanation of our positions when discussing with our family, friends, and others. We should be loving and compassionate in how we advocate, but we must advocate!

We must be clear that we are in a precarious and difficult situation as a society. The nomination proffered by the President makes it clear that he is engaged aggressively and unabashedly in changing our culture in destructive ways. This should not be a suprise to anyone because his record was clear before he was elected. Nor should it be a suprise when the United States Senators from Arkansas vote in lockstep for this candidate. Their votes are a forgone conclusion in favor of this candidate, as were their liberal votes against the 2 justices proffered by President Bush. They will posture and pontificate, and in the end vote in favor of their President's nominee.

We must realize that we should strongly articulate our position and why. We should let them know where we stand. We should point out their positions by opposing them and highlighting wherre they stand. People in Arkansas can be convinced, but we must consistently take a biblical stand and fight for our beliefs. We must fight because there is another election coming soon. We must fight because we are called to be salt and light in this world. We must fight because there is hope when we take a stand. We must fight because we are called to fight. We must fight because the only way to win is to continue to fight because every victory is accompanied by other defeats. We must continue to fight because our society hangs in the balance.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Vacation for Family, not from Family

God has established certain priorities for us that are designed to make life function properly. After our relationship with Him, our family is our highest priority. Unfortunately in today's world, busyness, stress, pace of life, materialism, and a self-centered philosophy of life is destroying the commitment to family.

Holiday weekends are fun. We all look forward to doing what we want to do. Dads go fishing and to the golf course. Moms go where they want to go. Kids schedule event after event and run themselves ragged. Others will take on some gargantuan "weekend warrior" home project and work themselves to a frazzle. The result is that many of us will say hello when we leave for work and school on Friday morning and will greet each other again Monday evening to ask "How was your holiday weekend."

No doubt recreation is great fun and even has positive life benefits. I played golf yesterday on a beautiful afternoon with a new friend. The fellowship and relational time was great, even if my putting was off a little. ('m still hitting the new Sasquatch driver pretty well however.)

Consider adding some priority to your fun and recreation this weekend. What could be more important than a vacation FOR your family? A date with your husband or wife, a card game or night with the Wii with the whole family, a marathon movie day with snacks and a series of movies such as Star Wars, Star Trek, a season of 24, etc. Go camping. Have a cookout with badminton or go to a baseball game together.

Recognize that the life forces trying to damage your family are not going to take a vacation this weekend. In many ways, they will have a field day by having tools at their disposal not normally available in a regular weekend. Take a vacation FOR your family. Nothing is more important than the strength of your family. In fact, God even designed your family to be a strengthening factor for your spiritual life.

Focus on your family. Prioritize being together and create time to be together as a family. Find something to engage in as a family. The kids may whine at first, but they will love you for it and be stronger because you did. The real purpose of rest and recreation is to do that - rejuvenate yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. By resting and rejuvenating as a family you truly will do this for your self and for them. Take a vacation for the family!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Preparations for Memorial Day

Since Memorial Day is approaching, I have been trying to pray through an appropriate message for Sunday that would connect the dots with the heart of Memorial Day. Being a World War II history buff makes this both interesting and a bit overwhelming. I have perused a few of my favorite books in my WW II library and reviewed some of my favorite events. Intertwined with this research is a review of the numerous times in scripture that soldiers are used as a positive teaching analogy for followers of Jesus Christ. This has created a different approach for me in preparing for this year's Memorial Day than in the past.

It is always a favorite pastime of mine to watch my favorite war movies and documentaries as a part of this weekend. The final scene in Battleground is one of my favorite moments of in all of cinema. It gives great honor to the fighting spirit and character of the generation of Americans who were truly great and defeated the rise of fascism in Europe. Movies like this are rousing and stir our patriotism, and affirm our positive perspectives of everything that is honorable in the service of our country.

This year somehow has become different. This is yet another year that I know a number of friends who are serving overseas. Scores of others have only just returned or are preparing to deploy. Our church staff has been visiting bases in the area, connecting with chaplains, and learning how to more strategically minister to those who serve us and their families. This year more than ever their service and sacrifices are becoming very personal to me. More than ever in watching the History channel, Discovery, or my favorite "war movies", I am reminded that "I know a person who does that."

Their service is honorable, so much so in fact that God uses them as role models to challenge us to be more in our spiritual lives. He challenges us to train ourselves as they do, fight with honor as they do, have the same type of passion that drives them, to be vigilant in the same manner, and to conduct ourselves with the same focus and purposefulness. In short, I have been challenged to be more like them.

The most important action, of many that I should do, is to pray for them. They never stop being vigilant on our behalf. We should learn to be like them. We should learn their level of vigilance and pray for them with the same focus, passion, and commitment that drives them to serve us. That is what God has challenged us to do. So get ready for this year's Memorial Day by praying!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Middle Ground on Abortion

This weekend President Obama delivered him much debated about address at Notre Dame. He dove right into the debate on abortion, which was obviously the point of controversy over his invitation to speak. In typical fashion, the President donned a smile and read from his teleprompter. And as is typical for all of his addresses, he attempted to get us to follow him with sophistry and illusion while trying to hide the far-left, extreme liberality of his consistently pro-abortion positions.

He is smart in his approach, as well as being disingenuous. He works hard to sound moderate by trying to validate proper discourse and honoring both sides of the issue. He attempted to sound conciliatory and reasonable by stating a desire to find "middle ground." At best, this is nothing more than pointless and meaningless liberal speak. However, President Obama is far too smooth a politician to make meaningless statements without a purpose to his blather. He is not looking for middle ground, but cover to advance his agenda. He is smart enough to know that if people like he and he does not offend them then he can move things farther and faster in his agenda - it has absolutely NOTHING to do with middle ground. Such is modern politics. It is not lying if it sounds nice to others.

Obviously, there is no such thing as middle ground for anyone who believes that life begins at conception. What is middle ground for me? You can abort babies if you do it in a more humane way than by partial-birth abortion? This is a procedure he has always affirmed by the way. The destruction of a life is the destruction of a life. There is no middle ground. There is only life and death. President Obama knows this to be true.

His call for discourse and middle ground is a falsehood and lacks credibility on many levels. Undoubtedly, he will nominate a justice for the United States Supreme Court who is far-left. He has already chosen numerous candidates who no only favor abortion, but favor extreme positions such as the freedom of a 14 year old to have an abortion without parental notification. Where is the middle ground in that position? He has by Executive Order thrown over abstinence teaching in our schools in favor of passing out contraceptives. He has removed the restrictions on stem-cell research. He has funnelled millions for abortions both nationally and internationally in a unilateral fashion. Where is the "middle-ground?" His claims are false and disingenuous.

My challenge to the President, and his liberal cohorts, is to have the integrity to say what you are really wanting to see done. Engage in a real debate instead of this nonsense. Have the moral courage to advocate clearly for what you believe. Have the intestinal fortitude to engage in substance instead of this chicanery. He will not and they will not. The reason is obvious. If we move to some "middle-ground" then we have done nothing but compromise our beliefs and give way to their real agenda. That is his goal and his party's goal. He tries to appear nice and he tries to challenge people who believe in right and wrong and the right to life to "play nice with them." But they are not wanting nice and they are not playing nice at all.

If he really and truly thinks an abortion is a tragedy, then why not fund an ultrasound for each pregnant woman asking for an abortion rather than millions to Planned Parenthood? It is less expensive. He wants to take over our health care system anyway - so add that as a part of prenatal care and as a middle ground on the abortion issue. Why would he and they never do this? Because they know that over 75% of the women who have an ultrasound, never have the abortion! That would be destructive their agenda.

We must listen even when the liberals in both parties talk. They may refuse to communicate, but we can listen and think for ourselves. We can choose what is right. We can choose life.

The Importance of Communicating

Why start a blog? It is not because I am bored and have nothing else to do. I am a pastor, father, husband, and these roles keep me extremely busy as you can both relate to and understand. It is not because there is a severe lack of blogs in the world. The explosion of the blogosphere is changing our culture.

I am starting my own blog because of the need to communicate. Today's world is filled with information, but very little communication. The internet is filled with information, both good and bad. We are inundated with information. People forward emails with information, but seldom do they communicate. Technology has exploded and fuels the exchange of information. People text and twitter, but seldom communicate.

Technology allows us to see and hear people who talk and write. We can get on the internet or satellite/cable television and watch politicians, preachers, and pundits opine. What is clear is that they do not communicate. Words have become meaningless because they no longer communicate specific meaning. The current political climate contributes greatly to this phenomenon. Politicians use words to hide who they are and what they stand for instead of clarifying their beliefs. Preachers are not helping. They use meaningless symbols and speak only of niceties so people feel good. They salve emotions but do not challenge actions and philosophies. Television and traditional print media outlets have lost most of their credibility because they broadcast but no longer communicate in a truthful or credible way.

Never before has the importance of actually communicating been more important. Communication is presenting an idea or fact that is clear and credible, enabling the listener to comprehend it and make a choice whether to believe it or reject it. Therein lies the problem. Those who are speaking in today's world have other agendas. Leaders such as President Obama, Joel Osteen, Chris Matthews, etc. want you to accept and follow them without knowing where they are actually going to take you. They recognize taking a clearly articulated position will cause some to reject and some to accept. The goal is not communicating, but their own position and power. So they use words to obfuscate and create the illusion of intellect and trust rather than to clarify and articulate. Those who have chosen lifestyles outside of the mainstream of life - Hollywood "stars", homosexuals, far-left liberals- use words and images to criticize and degrade. They do not want to communciate, but to justify themselves and their choices. They also seek to avoid criticism by employing the old truism "the best defense is a good offense." They attack rather than be attacked.

I will attempt to communicate. I will make things clear. I recognize people will accept or reject (based upon the gargantuan risk of presuming someone might actually read what I have to say) what I communicate. But I will do my best to communicate. Jesus said very clearly, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." I want to communicate so the truth is clear because that is waht ultimately makes a difference in people's lives.