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The Boston Bombing :The Political Response PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hope Taylor   
Monday, 06 May 2013 20:18
 The Boston Bombings: The Biblical Response    Hope Taylor  If you've had the privilege of visiting Washington, D.C., and had the courage to ride the subway which is know as the Metro, you will recognize the familiar phrase repeated thousands of times daily: "See Something, Say Something." It's a cautionary reminder to the seasoned riders who seem unattached to who may be sitting beside them, as well as those adventuring into the unknown world of subway explorations whose ever-wandering eyes try to capture every detail. The simple words are designed to keep all riders alert for anything that may seem unusual, and therefore a possible danger and threat to everyone's safety. Since the Metro is my preferred method of D.C. transportation, along with walking, I will say there are many unusual sights aboard the train, and so the challenge is deciding what may represent a real threat.    On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:49 p.m., the first of two explosions occurred close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon where some 23,000 runners participated and thousands more had gathered to watch. Three innocent people were murdered while more than 260 people who began their day with plans to enjoy the famous outdoor event were injured. Authorities report Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lowered his prepared weapon of mass destruction backpack to the ground at the feet of the innocent while cowardly distancing himself from the imminent explosion.    There are troubling questions surrounding this tragedy and it seems the investigation continues to reveal new depths of involvement, higher levels of ineptitude among those entrusted to protect the innocent, and a disregard of those simple words: See something, say something. Let's look to the Scriptures for insight, which can help us respond in a Biblically sound way while preparing us to further prevent the death of the innocent on our streets.    The first "city" mentioned in Genesis was called a garden and its citizens were charged by God with two primary responsibilities. Genesis 2:15 states, "The Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it" (NAS). The Hebrew words for cultivate and keep educate us on what the original man was to do, as well as equip us on what we are to do as believers living in the 21st century. The word cultivate is translated Abad, which means to work and therefore develop or bring something into a more productive state. The word keep is translated Shamar, which means to guard and therefore to keep safe. In any setting where people live and interact, their success in "cultivating" is dependent on their effectively "keeping" or "guarding" from whatever may threaten peace, safety and a productive state of mind.    When Adam and Eve, the original ones who walked with God and had been given the responsibility to be good citizens of their community or garden, failed to guard it from danger, there was a shift in their assignment. They were exiled from the garden and told to cultivate or develop the ground while the angels were now assigned to guard the garden (Genesis 3:23-24). If we fail to protect that which God has given us to watch over and develop, we are held responsible. This is a Kingdom principle that we must understand and teach, so as leaders, we are training people who are both spiritually responsible and naturally productive.    Ray Sutton says, "To protect is a priestly function. A priest was fundamentally a guardian of the presence of the Lord" (1). I Peter 2:5 states we are called to be priests and therefore protectors of what God has assigned us to watch over. Can it be that one reason why violence escalates is due to bad theology and teachers who train believers to spend themselves on strictly personal spiritual development while abdicating their role as priests who watch over the family, community and the culture? These pseudo preachers then cite escalating violence as a sign of the times we are living in to mysteriously imply Jesus will reward those who disobey His word to protect and guard with the ultimate payoff, His second coming. With the recent emphasis in the Church on the Ecclesia, we can pray and diligently work in hopes this teaching will turn the eyes of the saints back to Jesus and His eternal Word, which began with two simple charges --- cultivate and guard the city where He placed us.    Given the blurred lines of jurisdictional authority and responsibility between the state and the church, something needs to be communicated here as a warning to the people of God. The Scripture is clear that the principle of division of labor is God-ordained and productive for all involved. Man can't fulfill his role of maturing and cultivating our cities without practicing division of labor. Our families and businesses will not be peaceful and profitable if we blur the lines of whose responsibility it is to do what. With that brief introduction, and in light of the Boston bombings, we seem to be content with entrusting the role of guarding on a local level to the state and its agencies.    Accounts in the media are clear our government knew the possibility of evil the murderous brothers could carry out, and yet they were able to detonate two weapons of mass destruction on our streets. The people, and especially the believing community, must not leave the job of watching, guarding and keeping our cities safe to the state. The Boston bombings can be another cultural wake up call if we will respond. Without speaking from a critical motivation, we must understand the civil authorities can't do this job without help. This presents an awakened Church with a God opportunity to serve our cities and fellow citizens, thereby restoring peace to our streets and ultimately being obedient to God.   Romans 13 states the role of the civil ruler is to punish the evildoer. There are those we describe as "evil with no conscience." While only the civil ruler can punish them with a just sentence, may justice be swift, thorough and decisive. May the Church have clarity in her thinking concerning those who carry out evil with no conscience. Gary North helps us in his book Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus regarding capital punishment. He says, "Capital punishment points to the final judgment as no other civil penalty does. The civil government acknowledges that its most fearful form of punishment is to speed convicted criminals along into the courtroom of the cosmic Judge. The magistrate announces that there is no way to restore the convicted criminal to fellowship in earthly society" (2). This will honor God's word and hopefully deter others from such actions.       We close with a few brief summary thoughts and application points: If we fail to guard our gardens, we will never govern them. Communities are groaning for the Church to be what God called us to be. May this wake up call be effective and the Church respond by working together in our cities to form "watch groups" who not only pray onsite at high profile community events that may be terrorist targets, but also deploy teams who will guard, protect and keep. May the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led people of God step up to a higher level of functioning where they know of an evil attack in advance and can divert it through prayer and intervention.   Every person can practice and train others to practice those simple words heard on the Washington, D.C., Metro: See something, Say something!
 
Awaken PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hope Taylor   
Thursday, 07 February 2013 22:32

United Strategies Solve Local Problems     The year was 1973 when a gifted gospel singer named Andraé Crouch and his sister Sandra released the song “Jesus Is The Answer.” As a young believer in my late teens, the combination of their beautiful voices and simple, yet powerful lyrics ministered needed comfort to my soul. As it is with many great songs, they continue to bring hope, encouragement and faith to thousands of listeners. The chorus says: Jesus is the answer For the world today Above Him there’s no other Jesus is the way (1)   Fast forward to 2013 and Andraé’s words are still true. On the 40th anniversary of this song, America is reminded of another 40th anniversary — Roe v. Wade. It’s quite interesting that while believers segregated themselves into monasteries otherwise known as local congregations, held one another’s hands, or in some cases, lifted their hands toward heaven and sang “Jesus Is The Answer,” the well organized decision makers who drive culture were legalizing the 70s version of terrorism perpetrated on the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Peering into the 1980s, we see another stark contrast. Many sources report the late 80s as the birth of the terrorist group Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, which was led by Osama Bin Laden. Al Qaeda means “The Base” and it utilizes what is commonly known as cells to operate and carry out their evil influence around the world. In the United States, there was significant emphasis on the use of cells or small groups in the church as a model and method for ministry. Our purpose here is not to diminish or evaluate cell-based ministry, but simply to make the observation that while much of the Christian Church was clustered in cell groups, radical Islamists birthed a movement of terror and death influencing nations.       While Jesus is the answer, our generation must take calculated and bold measures to turn the direction of our culture in the United States. The disconnect from personal faith and societal stewardship rampant in past decades is over. As Apostle Paul dealt with those propagating a different or altered gospel in Galatians due to it being a counterfeit, so today those who teach the faux gospel of believers isolated from culture should receive the verdict: “Let him be accursed.”   This move from isolation to influence demands two prominent pieces church leaders must employ. The first is an emphasis on unity within cities and regions. The second is a blend of prophetic and tactical strategies. Families, communities, churches and America are in a crisis! Out of crisis a cause is born. In the midst of this crisis the people of God are presented with an opportune moment of history. God uses pressure to promote His purposes in people and people groups. As leaders and believers partner with His purpose and buy into the cooperative cause, those things many have prayed and hoped for will become reality. Let’s examine unity and strategy to gain insight, which produces influence. The original failure in the garden where God set the first family and those assigned to influence all culture as representatives of His covenant with man was not dietary in nature. Adam and Eve failed to live in unity with God and one another, and therefore fell from their position of bringing influence for good to their community. We point this out to help us count the cost of true unity so we understand that unity at its root is spiritual. The Body of Christ has seen efforts toward unity in recent history. Most will remember Promise Keepers where stadiums filled with men across the United States spread the powerful message of brotherhood and unity. We salute two well known prayer ministries — Reformation Prayer Network led by Mike and Cindy Jacobs and Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network led by John Benefiel — for their efforts to work together on prayer assignments affecting the nation. On a regional level there is a group of leaders on the Western Slope in Colorado known as the Colorado Coalition for Regional Transformation that has made measurable progress. Approximately twenty churches and ministers spanning 150 miles meet on a frequent basis for worship, prayer and cooperative efforts. This has brought Anglos, Hispanics and Native Americans into relationships and partnerships. A noteworthy accomplishment of this group is they view the region as a corporate responsibility and therefore demonstrate a significant level of cooperation.     God is calling His Church to higher levels of cooperation within communities and regions throughout America. For communication purposes, we’ll subjectively classify efforts to work together in cities and regions for the most part at the freshman level. The next two years present a window to move into at least a junior level, which is where we need to be given our cultural challenges. Serious Kingdom-based efforts toward unity will be as a modern day ark, a vessel of salvation for regions in the midst of the rising levels of economic and cultural pressures. Regions where unity has matured will be likened to the Old Testament cities of refuge, whereas regions and leaders who refuse to cooperate will be likened to what happened with Korah and his isolationist associates in Numbers 16.   Unity is a scriptural truth, but never the end goal. John 17:21 records the words of Jesus who expressed unity as a vehicle taking us toward a destination. The journey of unity among the Trinity and the Church will lead to people having faith and revelation. Therefore in our generation, unity efforts will lead to effective strategies. Success or effectiveness can no longer simply be measured by how many people participated, how “good” the worship, message or prayer time was, or if the budget was met. Success will be measured by a new standard which is, “What have our united strategies accomplished on a local level in solving community problems?” Spiritual meccas with high crime, unemployment, housing foreclosures and poverty rates are simply unacceptable. Such scenarios where thousands of believers migrate to a central location for personal spiritual pleasure for an extended period of time is typical of the 1973 atmosphere in America when we sang, “Jesus is the answer for the world today” while evil paraded down main street. The spiritual leaders of our cities are being pressed into action, armed with a firm commitment for unity, and are using their resources for the common good while employing fine tuned strategies. Here are some questions to ponder: • What is the plan of God for your city? • Who are those gifted with prophetic eyes and ears and what are they saying over your city? • What are the pressing issues confronting your region? • Who are the leaders needing to play on the team in your region? • What steps can be taken? • What strategies are needed? As we enter 2013, the stakes are higher than before. The hour is here for bold and calculated strategies to be employed by leaders who prioritize unity in each region.       Prayer Point:   Pray for those in your region who carry the mantle for unity to be emboldened for this season and assignment.                                     Action Step:   Get involved with those in your city who are working together and discover what your contribution is.       Works Cited   1) Andraé Crouch. “Jesus Is the Answer.” Light Records, 1973.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 15:38
 
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