Which Messiah Were We Hoping For?

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When the Christian right didn’t get our messiah elected, we resorted to ridiculing the left for getting theirs.

Beware the Constantinian Temptation of hoping an earthly system of governance will produce a divine context.

How often we forget that the word “Christ” is the Greek translation of the word Messiah, literally meaning, “King, Ruler, Lord.”

If we’re so bent out of shape when our personal congressman or senator or president don’t get elected—or so euphorically elated when they do—that we choose to abandon the basic Christian ethics (notably, of kindness and humility), then we stand guilty of idolatry, esteeming man and his system above the one Jesus already paid a heavy price to establish.

Spes autem non est nisi una. Quia non est nisi unum regnum.

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Cælum Occurrat Terra (Heaven Meets Earth)

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When mankind’s ability to govern is perplexed by failure and betrayed by the inevitable exalting of humanism, an old desire awakens, one left long latent in most men, and merely manageable in far fewer. Unnamed and elusive, it longs for a purer form of administration, exempt from corruption, and indefinitely bound to justice. If ever loosed from the taming leash of compromise, the longing of the human soul will wander outside of commonality and tilt heavenward. Man will aim to set a name upon that for which he was meant, and in so doing, discover that for which he was meant was likewise made for him.

Never born to be bound by the frail diatribes of their own making, nor held hostage by the finite capacities of their peers, sentient beings—because of their God-image core—can and will be most free when overseen by a wiser being than himself. Yet it was man’s delight to throw off the perfect restraints of the unseen so as to better manage the yolk of the tangible. The ultimate pride, however, relegated humanity to an inferior existence, exchanging the gift of divine governance for the insatiable appetites of the Incurable Governor. Man exchanged the God he can not see for a king that he can.

But what function does the natural have to beget the supernatural? Hope can never expect to find hidden within a horizontal plane an earthly prize, one which has only ever been and will be firmly ensconced in the realms of the divine. While Earth produces answers singularly from its own origin, Heaven summons prescriptions which appease the divine and mend the secular. Even the noblest of men become agitated if all they’re offered are cerebral remedies to soulical problems.

Disenfranchised and disillusioned, faithful men seek to correct the atrocities they see played out on the national stage, calling for a return to a more rational affair. But never sufficiently enough. So in their pursuit to stay an unyielding and untouchable oligarchy, they become more fanatical, until not even their own reasonings are understood, much less accepted by those they once shared company with. Such is the plight of the Revolutionary, sadly distanced from the center of logic by the very passions that had once justified their beliefs. They succeed neither in waking the Sleeping Majority nor in curbing the Great Conductor of Society, but only in sabotaging their own voice through misguided arguments aimed at rights rather than roots. Such men yearn for something superior, but fall too short in ascertaining the macrocosm within which the plot of their lives has been set.

What all men desire—what all men have the insatiable, constant propensity to look for until it has been found—is the prolific system of divine governance that echoes of the eternal and yet freely manifests itself in the mundane.

This is the Kingdom, God’s perfect plan for man, and man’s ultimate need satisfied. Based in the limitless knowledge of God, it is incorruptible, knowing the right thing for the right person at the right time. It is infinitely just, wholly sufficient and utterly infallible. For in fact, God established it with man in mind, uniquely creation’s own, knowing man would not be complete without a framework, exactly as he is incomplete without a skeleton. And similarly, the Kingdom exists for no one else but those intended to thrive within the construct of its making: namely, man.

In view of the world’s constantly-expanding, ever-dysfunctional constructs for purporting order and justice upon civilizations, the Kingdom stands as a bastion of light, exalting life as the ultimate expression of freedom, and relationship as the epitome of order. Incorruptible, it knows the right thing for the right person at the right time. This is because, fundamentally, the Kingdom is not an it, but a who. To separate the Kingdom from the heart of the one who dreamed it, would be to relegate it to the emergent list of inferior ideologies rooted in the hearts of man. Ideas that have, at their best, hoped to bless man, and, at their worst, destroyed man, and yet together equally missed the mark of esteeming a person above a parameter. For at the center of the Kingdom is a King, one for whom we can never usurp, never vote out, never sufficiently accuse, bribe or manipulate, unimpeachable but that he humbly accepts the inferior, unpredictable but that his grace is surprising, and unreachable yet that he is accessible to the simple. This is Jesus, Creator of the Kingdom, Sacrifice for the World.

His Kingdom has ever ebbed and flowed throughout the course of humanity. Long after governments have had their day, playing out their games upon the souls of the subjected, his Kingdom survives. It has out-lasted Babylon, out-paced Rome, and out-performed Democracy. It has no adequate competitor, no running mate, no party affiliation; it has no campaign office, no polling station, and no back-up plan; it is never found wanting, never in debt, and only called into question by the irrational. It is divinely invented and perfectly executed, sustaining the long ages of man’s darkest winters, not through propaganda or finance, but by summoning the eternal thirst of man’s soul with a drink from a limitless well. It is the answer to the cry of the wrongly accused, the desperately broken, the hopelessly helpless. It is the universal summons to a succession of precepts that are unable to sustain anything but joy, and the deepest knowing of it.

And yet there is no call for a Theocracy, for even there man interferes with the voice of God. No, such a complete manifestation, as some Fanatics call for, has only ever existed once, in a Garden; and so it will only ever be again when the Garden returns.

Instead, the Kingdom resides within those who wade slowly through the waters of the world’s ways, steadily advancing beneath the sunset of one political leader and into the sunrise of the next. The Kingdom cares not if the ruler of the day is Socialism, Fascism or Democracy. It is undeterred by Communism, Federalism, Feudalism or Imperialism, and cares nothing for their Constitutions, only for their people.

And what other way should we expect the subject and sustenance of the ethereal to permeate the realm of flesh than through the transference of the heart? No better method of osmosis has ever been facilitated, much less invented. For the establishment of the ways and means of the Kingdom comes through Jesus Christ first being established in the heart. While mankind may benefit from proximity to those connected to such divine provision of spirit, they can not intimately know themselves what is reserved for the individual until their own will is bowed in deference to the one who gently asks for permission to lead.

So it is here that the very best of man’s hours must be spent, at least if he is to find purpose in his chest: in manifesting the Kingdom on the earth by example of its qualities and invitation to its benefits.

In this manner of living there is no foundation left unexamined, no frontier left unattended. Every function of life, from artistic to political to recreational to compensational, each has speaking to it the mind of heaven, pointing to a pin prick of light on the horizon when once again mankind will walk with God in a Garden in the cool of the day.

If Christ’s return is summoned by the saturation of the Earth with the news of his sacrifice, then we both harken his return and, in so doing, establish more of his Kingdom by providing the Holy Spirit still greater room for expression in the Earth. Utterly astonishing is it that God’s Creation is the choice vehicle entrusted with seeking out hearts for him to dwell in and bodies for him to move through.

And so we look to cultivate Leaders, not Fanatics, Revolutionaries nor Pacifists, but rather those of noble purpose, slow to speak and quick to listen, who ever move the core of mankind back to its place of belonging, into what it was made for, and what was made for it—Leaders who have tears in their eyes and eternity on their hearts, and know the one for whom they were purposed. It is this superior method of life-living that is our highest calling and our greatest joy, and is the pathway for the Church to abandon her compelling need to be relevant as she becomes relevancy itself.

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Thanks to Nathan Reimer for taking time away from this to proof.

The Post-Election Day Perspective of Christians


As a businessman, a pro-life father, and someone who was taught the fundamental value of self-reliance from an early age – among other politically-oriented attributes – it’s easy to understand that my personal desire to see smaller government in the United States was hindered by this morning’s election results. Meanwhile those who see government taking a larger role in American society, have far more broad social permissions, and put less emphasis on the entrepreneurial prowess as a means for economic advancement, were no doubt elated that our President will be in leadership for another four years.

But regardless of your present state of happiness as a Christian today, there are some things to be discussed which go beyond politicking. While political activities should and must play a role on the stage of any sober-minded citizen’s heart, these happenings can serve as telltales of a larger wind, one that every Christian should turn their faces toward. For if we properly read the wind, then we’ll always know how to set sail.

But we can not properly assess our direction if we are not first aware of our position.

Here are some reminders for those of us who claim the name of Christ. I challenge you to read these and process each one, asking yourself if you truly believe it, or if you merely mentally subscribe to it.

1.) Jesus’ kingship in my life far outweighs a political leader’s influence outside of my life.

2.) I am a Christian before I’m a party member, not a party member and therefore a Christian.

3.) I will not jeopardize my position among a Royal Priesthood by failing to carry out my superior duties of praying for my leaders. See 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Timothy 2:1.

4.) While no one will care who the President of the United States was in 1,000 years, the Lord will remember my behavior and judge it according to his own for eternity.

As a Christian, the response I’ve glimpsed this morning on social media is sad. In many cases, appalling. And atrociously unbiblical. Much of this post is coming from a motive to gently remind you and me that we are called to a higher level.

“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” -Paul of Tarsus 1 Timothy 2:8

Christians who fail to honor the king with their words prove they cannot be trusted by the Lord in places of high responsibility (as evidenced by their current lack of responsibility). See 1 Peter 2:17, Daniel 4:19.

If the recent exit-poll statistics about our nation are correct, with over 50% of Americans not working, 47% paying no taxes, and only 25% regularly attending any kind of religious service, then I believe this will be the Golden Age of the Church. Not only does a pervasive spirit of entitlement place a demand on others for the fulfillment of personal responsibility, but it numbs the emotions that drive us to be compassionate for others (since it can be presumed that a magnanimous government has already filled the need). This mentality can not be addressed politically, nor can it be mitigated legislatively; the only hope for the heart of the individual is Jesus and the ways of his Kingdom, asserted in love and brought to fruition by the Bride of Christ.

To the spiritually-minded Believer, great need must be answered by superior generosity. And I, for one, am wholly grateful for the need I see before me as it calls me to a place of Christlikeness that I have yet to walk in.

Father, be with President Obama and the First Lady. Grant them tremendous wisdom, discernment and strength for what has to be one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Be with them Lord.

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Anarchy

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I think the shot above sums up the frailty and failings of our political systems well. This is a recent march being conducted by Hamas, among others, in opposition to Israel.

Regardless of your position on Israel, the appearance of a Hamas guard using a club on his own marchers to keep emotions from raging out of control – during an impassioned riot that they themselves have instigated – is as bemusing as it is sad.

But equally sad is a free America who’s companies line the pockets of both sides of the isle (ensuring they’ll have attention from whomever gains temporary control next), who’s special interest groups have the reigns of litigation around the tongues and actions of the majority, and who’s court system can no longer sustain appeasing two differing sides of an ethical debate that, under the assumption of “freedom,” are both correct.

I often wonder if the call for anarchy stems from a dissatisfaction within the human soul, not just a wayward political view reserved for the extreme.

While democracy is the best thing going, and the United States has been the best example of it, it’s still not perfect.

Because its not the Kingdom.

I was reading Isaiah chapter 9 recently, and in the midst of it, I felt my heart swell:

6For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Devoid of God as King, America is the best thing going. But she’s still frail, and inferior.

For all the news I read and listen to (I don’t watch anymore), I’m ever yearning for a better system of government. Yes, I will continue to vote. I will continue to believe that God not only wants America to repent, but to be better than she ever was in her past. But she’s still a system of man that ignores – or at best, misinterprets – exactly what Jesus Christ would do.

Because the only system of government that works perfectly is his system.

That’s why the government is supposed to rest on his shoulders, not our Constitution, our Supreme Court, or our local legislatures.

He’s so good at Counseling, his positional prefix is Wonderful. He knows the right thing at the right time for the right person. And he’s got the perfect ruling for every court case.

As a Mighty God, he alone is worth worshiping, endorsing, promoting, and rallying behind. There’s no need to wade through rhetoric or have to take sides that split families, towns, or states. He’s the only side.

The best part of an Everlasting Father is he’s not going anywhere. He’s got social issues all solved.

And his foreign policy is perfect, as he’s the Prince of Peace.

I think we all cry out for anarchy deep inside, if we’re being honest. If we actually care. If not entirely, at least conceptually toward our systems. Because it’s clear that our systems aren’t working. They’re failing.

And so our hearts cry out for something better, whether we know Jesus or not. That’s why we’re eager for change, and will elect someone – anyone – who runs on that concept alone.

With every vote I cast, my soul longs for perfect government. A perfect once-and-coming King. The one my race rejected so long ago, is the one we desperately need.

So while local, national, and international issues concern me deeply, my supreme mission is not the preservation of the US Constitution, the backing of a candidate, or the signing of a petition. The thing I’m most excited about, the mission which consumes my thought life, absorbs my funds, dictates my schedule, and mandates who my friends are, is pointing people toward God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and the King of kings and Lord of lords, God the Son, Jesus Christ.

There’s a little anarchy in all of us. Not rebellion for rebellion’s sake, but for tiring of man’s system and hungering after the divine.

Until then, I abide and steward, I educate myself and my family, and I vote and obey the laws. But I do so as one who’s eyes are fixed on Jesus’ imminent coming. And I smile, because I know his secrets.

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The Art of Celebrating

Serious question:

How do you feel when someone else wins?

No, stop. Don’t lie. I mean really wins. Like, your best friend wins on a $30 million lottery ticket.

What’s your first thought? OK. And your second?

Ah, see, there it is. “Me.” Somehow, “I” enter the thought process much more quickly than I’d like to admit. “Self” wants to participate. Instead of purely celebrate.

Last night Luik was told he would be heading home to Grandma Jo-Jo’s house.

Alone.

He was thrilled.

His older sister was not.

Parenting boys means keeping after the purely stupid things they do for no other reason than to see what happens. Parenting a girl means keeping after drama. Lots of drama.

When Eva finally started to descend from the delirium of her self-centered throes, I talked her through the concept of celebrating her brother’s blessing.

Now, mind you, Luik is by far our most sensitive, most sincere child.

Here’s what happened:

Eva walked into the living room to see Luik all dressed up and ready to go. She’s hugged him, still half-sobbing, and said, “Congratulations on getting to go to Jo-Jo’s house.”

Without missing a beat, Luik said, “Congratulations on getting to stay home.”

Of course all the adults in the room bit our fingers and held back laughter, trying not to ruin the lesson of the moment.

But what was the lesson? Perhaps there was more than just the obvious.

Learning to celebrate one another’s victories – and identify with defeats – is a core value of the Kingdom (Romans 12:15). In fact, much of the political turmoil I see in our nation could be averted if we’d kill jealousy with a healthy dose of genuine celebration. Entitlements to those who have worked hard to be entitled is a virtuous thing. But further still is the citizen of the Kingdom who understands he/she is entitled to nothing. Breathing is a gift. But the polar opposite is the person who feels they are entitled to anything at the expense of everyone else. This is the attitude of a child who was never properly parented.

But there is another lesson:

Learning to see that right where we’re standing is worth celebrating.

To Eva, going to Jo-Jo’s is going to Disney World. But she failed to see the value of where she was. In a home, with her family, and a new baby brother. Even though Luik was excited to leave, he was genuinely happy for Eva who was able to spend more time with Baby Levi and the family.

I’d say nearly every American – including myself – is so focused on what we wish we had that we fail to see the incredible blessing of what we do have. Correcting such an attitude is at the core of a contently lived life.

So try wishing yourself “congratulations” today. Not for where you’re headed. Or what you someday want. But for where you are right now.

Congratulations! ch:

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Healthcare, the Church, and the Kingdom

Is helping people who are suffering right? Absolutely. Does our current system of meeting peoples’ medical needs in the US require drastic change? Unarguably, yes. And as Christians, both of these statements directly incorporate us, and if we’re creative, will be our platform to show a divine system for solving them.

While I could list numerous issues I see with the bill that is about to be voted on today–from the general lack of popularity, to the fact that few if any of those voting on it have reportedly even read it, to portions such as the “slaughter provision” (page 1,000, Section 3403) forever prohibiting a repeal from future legislative bodies–there are two main objections I have. Simple. Concise.

1.) Public Funding of Abortion. While I recognize and support our system of taxation with representation–albeit a little thick for my taste at the moment–and see it as something our founding fathers believed in as well, I am deeply troubled that percentages of my income would, in principle, be assisting mothers with medical procedures of their choosing, namely ending the lives of their children.

2.) Gross Financial Irresponsibility. When I was a boy, my father taught me how to save and responsibly spend money. On my way to becoming an Eagle Scout, one of the core values of our Scout Law was and still is being thrifty. Yet our government–displayed by both sides, mind you–has rarely, if ever, shown that it holds to these same principles, approving measure after measure that spends money we do not have. While the initial bill is just under $1 trillion, the second-year estimate is closer to $2.5 trillion. Even if the later is falsely cited, I can not grasp how anyone sees such spending as frugal. For all the talk of making a brighter future for our children, I’m astounded that the financial burden they’ll carry has not been part of that consideration.

As I’ve always said, pointing a finger is easy, as it removes you from the equation; and do not criticize in your blog unless you have a better idea. While I’m far from offering a concise proposal for how to handle what is undoubtedly an epic undertaking–of which I prayer for deep wisdom and understanding for those that eventually take it on–I do see a way out. On a purely human level, a capitalistic, free market economy, if truly left manipulation-free by large government, has within it the power to provide insurances that all people can afford through the private sector. Granted, that same economy must be run by heads who are not tyrants, nor self-seeking, nor greedy–a stumbling block to all good ideas. But the masses will gravitate to the best product if given the opportunity. But as a Christian, I must confess that not even Capitalism is the way out, even though I think it’s the best thing going on Earth thus far. Rather, the Kingdom should be our aim.

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus announced his mission statement. We have built altars to Calvary, to Baptism, to Communion, and to Pentecost, yet when Jesus proclaimed why He had come, Luke 4 is not the first thing that comes to mind. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, and in it was God’s complete answer to man’s total need: Christ in the form of restoring the spiritually and physically poor, the socially, politically, and emotionally disenfranchised, the wounded, and declaring a redistribution of wealth according to His limitless standards (the Jubilee year of the Lord). If the Church will maintain her focus on what the Kingdom of God truly is, then the Church needs not worry about staying relevant: she will become relevancy itself. ch:

Where do you stand? Let the opinions roll!

Gospart Church

Gospart Worship

The thing I think Jennifer likes the most about Spain? 11:30am Sunday morning church services.

Our old friends Fabio & Yael Fernandez have teamed up with their brother and sister-in-law to start a brand new church in the outskirts of Madrid (Brunete), named Gospart. The focus of the church? Reaching the lost through practical love and using their gifts of artistic expression to be glorious for Jesus! And at only 6-months old, they are off to an incredible start.

Jenny and I had the honor of not only joining them in worship, but preaching as well. Jesus spoke more about “the Kingdom” than any other subject in scripture, yet it tends to be the thing we know least about as Christians, imagining it to be some mystical parable rather than a way of life. I spoke on three manifestations of a true Kingdom lifestyle: transformation of thought, health, and resources. The Holy Spirit gave me words of knowledge for all the new people (if you’re not freaked out now, then you probably will be just fine here at Gospart), and the church as a whole said they were deeply encouraged.

Monday was spent at the home of one of the families in the church, the mother having been healed right out of her wheel chair four years ago! And today, we are heading to probably my favorite city anywhere on the planet, home of the greatest sword-smiths ever known: Toldeo. ch:

Scotland: Days 2 & 3

ch-ichat-logo.png Saturday found Jenny and I headed northeast, across the Firth of Forth (that’s “The River of Forth” to all you non-Scottish speakers) to famed St. Andrews. As in the recent pic, we met up with more of the Meldrum clan and toured the sites of the beloved town where David and Helen met during their time at university together.

From traipsing through cathedral ruins over 900 years old, to standing beside stonework indicating the exact places where Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, to overlooking castle ruins, it was a wonderful and yet profound experience. Following a delicious open-air lunch of trout and mullet (no, not the hair-cut), I had the chance to walk on the fairway of St. Andrews’ “Old Course” (birthplace of golf) and have my picture taken on the Swilcan Bridge. (Kirk, Noel and Steve…wish you were here!). While anyone can play (for about $350+ per game), it’s only by chance that you’ll get a go at it; want-to-be golfers enter their names into a daily lottery (given the fact that so many people want to play). If you’re one of the lucky few, your name and start time are posted on a board. Fore!

We returned later that day and David, Philip and I enjoyed a beautiful walk through a nearby forest here in Dalkeith and explored a local abbey, now turned college.

I am completely amazed at the sheer amount of history here–something I could get caught up in for weeks and still only have scratched the surface. The very ground leaks with profound legacy and tradition. But the Christians here are quick to point out that they are not proud of it all.

Their founding and world-wide exportation of Freemasonry is something they are grievously aware of. And the tentacles of the occult, witchcraft and ancient druidism have left their mark. We’ve discussed, however, that while the US lacks the length of years to wager the same atrocities, we are guilty of our own exportation of filth, just in different avenues; namely our movies and TV programing.

Regardless of the negatives, the Kingdom of the Lord is forcefully advancing here and Jennifer and I are overjoyed to share in its movement–no matter how small our roll may be.

Sunday we had the honor of taking the entire morning service at the Full Gospel Church (AG) in Dalkeith. The sanctuary was packed out as a youth dance team started off with Matt Redman’s “Dancing Generation,” a song that I believe speaks prophetically of what’s on the horizon for Scotland as a whole. Jennifer and I led worship for the next hour, the people easily entering with us into the presence of the Lord; their obvious hunger and experience made them one of the easiest congregations we’ve ministered to in a while. We could tell they’ve been well taught and genuinely desire to see a move of God in their midst.

I preached a short introductory message on being hungry for Jesus to be revealed fully in our lives, so that “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) may have His way in the county here.

After meeting the people, and being truly showered with love and warmth, we returned to the Meldrum’s home for a delightful lunch (not before spraying the boys next door with high-powered squirt guns!). Here we dined with a new friend, John, who was recently miraculously saved and turned around from a hard life on the streets. This guy has such a tender and kind heart, proving that the Lord doesn’t wish that even one would perish, but that all would have eternal life!

Then, last evening, Jennifer and I returned to the church and spent a longer time in worship, singing prophetically over the people and watching the Holy Spirit meet with those present in marvelous ways. Once we felt the Lord wanted to move on, I shared on maturing in Christ, speaking out of Ephesians 4 and Philippians 3.

It’s clear that there has been a solid foundation laid in this church, and from everything David has shared with us, the pastor here, the people are very much ready for what God has for them next. While I was in the shower Friday night, the Holy Spirit spoke the word “building” into my heart and, unless God changes the direction, I really feel that we’re going to continue in the vain of taking your county for Christ. We want to see souls saved, the culture changed and the society at large affected by Believers who are being obedient to the Holy Spirit in their lives.

May the Kingdom of God be advanced because of the seeds we sow here and more so beacuse of His everlasting faithfulness!

Thanks for reading and for your continued prayers,

CH