Originally I sought out to write a post about our need to call a spade a spade. You know, rather than say, “water cooler talk” call it, “gossip.” Instead of “strong personality,” call it “pride;” “Promotion,” “demotion and changing of the guard.” “Retirement” “Fired.” Unfortunately Christians, even the finest churches and institutes, can and do become subject to doublespeak. You know, that amazing ability to spin biblically defined sinful actions into “weaknesses.” This is a grave tragedy in our world. The best of men, are in fact, men at best. Now, this does not excuse doublespeak, nor does it remove culpability from lies (which doublespeak is). But we must remember, that often situations change over time. Environment changes and an institutionalization happens where corporately there are blind spots justified by redefined terms so the appearance of sin is not sin, but a deficiency. Increasing the problem comes from a lack of work and focus on the vision and ministry. Take our eyes off the prize and we become subject to the world around us . . .
Then, in the blink of an eye, the Christian world seemed to be upset by a candidate’s bowing out of the race and suspending his campaign. On the one hand, I want to remind everyone God is sovereign. But I realize most my friends upset by this news already understand He is sovereign and saying it isn’t really comforting. As snarky as I can be and enjoy a good laugh, I also realize we need to comfort and mourn with those who mourn. It’s tough to watch your candidate whom you’ve pulled for, associate with, and would like to support and submit to as President lose the race and bow out.
In the end, I don’t really have much to say. I feel bad for his supporters. But I also realize the government is bigger than the President. No matter who is elected in November, he or she has to work with congress. It’s not a dictatorship . . . this isn’t Russia is it? Is this Russia? No, then what’s the problem. Senate has to ratify the Supreme Court nomination. Laws have to be created and passed by Congress then signed by the President. This is our government. As far as I can tell, there is wisdom in the way it was set up. I mean what else we going to do, grant someone as king because some woman distributes weaponry to someone? “Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government” — Dennis the Peasant.
But no matter who is king . . . err President 😉 He or she is culpable before the Lord for his or her actions. Now, let’s get a little crazy here . . . what if evangelicals were as passionate over the salvation and discipleship of our political leaders as we are about who leads the polls? I’d call that “Radical,” but in lieu of the fact that someone already wrote a book by that title, and not wanting to mar his book and confuse our ideas, let’s just call it, biblical.
What if we looked at Hilary Clinton and saw a human being in need of the Gospel? Crazy, right? “Go into the world and make disciples” (Matt 28:19). I read this text probably 2 – 3 times a month in our benediction. Yet to find a loop hole that says, “unless he or she is a Democrat or in the opposite party.” “Make disciples” is the key here, right? We know this. Well, that means our goal is to evangelize and train people to be more like Jesus Christ.
Grammatically, this is an important object to our actions. The action is “make disciples.” But what does a disciple look like? Interestingly enough, Scripture doesn’t say, “make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Republican party.” . . . Now, I’ll admit, my Greek is a little rusty, but I’m about 78.6% sure that’s not in the original language. (Of course, 49.5% of all stats are made up on the spot . . . so??? #doublespeak? #snarky? #badsenseofhumor? #notenoughcoffee? #stop #okay #). So, our disciples must look like Jesus, the One the Father actively conforms believers to look like!
Where were we? Oh yes, waxing less-than-eloquently about disciple-making. I tend to think “make disciples” is like a vision statement . . . God, the Son, before ascending to heaven called a meeting. One of those meetings where the disciples thought, “Yeah, couldn’t handle this one in an email.” It’s a meeting that changed the world. Go out there and get to work making disciples. What if we woke up every day with this vision? Time out, see what I did there, I went all vision statement on us . . . what if we decided we were going to organize our lives to be obedient to this command? What would your week look like?
To be a disciple, one must first be saved. Then once someone fears the Lord, they can begin to have wisdom (Prov 1:7). This is our role, go make disciples. Apply this command to your mundane life. Are you a Starbucks morning junky? Remember the first time your coffee shop peeps remembered your name? Great feeling right? Is he or she a person to you? If we asked them about you, what would they say? Is the great commission an ingredient to your morning coffee run? You know, are you praying for the staff? Engaging as best as you can, loving him or her like a family member in Christ, showing respect as someone made in the image of God? If yes, keep it up. If no, repent and change focus. If you’re one of THOSE people who disrespects “customer service” employees, then please walk in tomorrow and ask forgiveness for your rudeness and buy them lunch out of love. Then, remember his or her name and use it! You know, treat them like they are Jesus (Yes, I know they are not Jesus literally), “I say to you, to the extent you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me” (Matt 25:45).
Soccer practice? Time to get to know parents practice. Learn how to pray and serve them. Grocery store? Time to get bacon. Be a regular there so you can get to know people there and learn them. Be a light. Love them. Use his or her first name. May they know you primarily for your love. Neighbors? What are their names? Don’t know? embarrassed? You should be. Go find out. Coworkers? Mission field. Children? Primary opportunity to make disciples. Spouse? Yep, the Gospel is central.
Why don’t we do this? Answer: Doublespeak. We don’t know the mission or we get sidetracked into a routine, going through the motions visionless. We become sidetracked by life . . . sometimes difficult life issues. Then we begin to justify watching practice in the car with, “I need 30 minutes to myself to do [insert hobby].” We don’t pray because “The Lord has me occupied with other responsibilities.” Unbeliever spouse, “You don’t know how bad he is . . . no one could live with him” — Doublespeak. We’re saying one thing to justify our disobedience and failed perspective. Unbeliever spouse? God put you here to minister to him (or her). Your spouse’s soul is at stake . . . recount your last argument and ask this, “Was there ANY eternal value to it?” Go ask forgiveness. . .. like now, don’t keep reading, this bloggy thing will be here all day . . . promise . . . GO!
Oh, see what I did there, I brought my initial starting paragraph about doublespeak back around and integrated the topics. I guess even without coffee, these topics relate. We cannot get caught up in our own doublespeak and think politics (or personal agenda) so important that it replaces the great commission. “But there are grave political decisions ahead.” Of course there are, but we can’t think cultural environment influences or destroys the Gospel. I mean, if we understand salvation is the Lord’s work, then we need to rest assured He will save His children and trust our obedience to proclaim Him will honor Him.
On behalf of your lost neighbors, family members, coworkers, and Starbucks employees, get oriented. Candidates, Presidents, pop culture teeny-bopper popular books, and music rise and fall. None of these changes our mission — make disciples. Your candidate lost? I really am sorry for this. But please, don’t despair. Instead reach people for the Gospel and make him or her a disciple. That’s where our energy needs to be. Already doing it? Great, I pray the Lord would spur you on all the more to love and good deeds. May you abound plentiful in love and works!
And May the 4th be with you