It’s ethereal, kind of maxim that we live by that there must be the separation of church and state.
Never will those two concepts be allowed to coexist. They should be totally separate. Nothing about your life of faith should inform your citizenship and nothing about your citizenship should be tinged at all with anything to do with religion, whatever that is.
I was stunned to learn.
Some of the things that I’m going to be sharing with you today, things that I’ve known, but I didn’t realize how clear they really were, but I want to give you a little bit of background.
In a paper just the other day there was this article about the Southern Baptists. Maybe you saw it.
The headline says Southern Baptists blast Bush’s effort to utilize churches.
Nashville, TN is the byline, says the Southern Baptist Convention, a Conservative denomination closely aligned with President Bush, said it was offended by the Bush Cheney campaign’s effort to use church rosters.
For campaign purposes.
Later in that article, the church officer that reported this said it’s one.
For a church member to be motivated by exhortations to exercise his Christian citizenship to go out and decide to work on the Bush campaign or the Kerry campaign, it’s another and totally inappropriate thing for a political campaign to ask workers who may be church members to provide church member information through the use of church directories.
To solicit partisan support.
Now I want to tell you from the the get go this morning. I agree with that that’s wrong.
I want you to know that when you every now and then we put it in the bullet and say would you like your name and information to appear in the church directory?
You get to see the other side of Pastor Jim. If I ever find out that you’re using those directories to market things or to sell stuff to people, that’s not what they’re for.
You know that and so every time we ask you to put the information in the bullet, there’s really only one reason it’s there.
So you can contact each other so we can contact you and let you know if there’s a concert coming up or the men’s breakfast or whatever.
That’s the only reason those things that that that we have a church directory. So I wanna say that I agree with that.
But at the same time, in preparation for what I was going to be sharing with you this morning, I came across another article by a Southern Baptist preacher from Illinois who talks about the relationship between the government and religion. This is one pastor Mark Coppenger from Evanston, IL.
Under U.S. law that was originally proposed by Senator Lyndon Johnson, the Internal Revenue Service will quote Stone a church if it explicitly endorses or opposes a political candidate. Now the church isn’t destroyed, but it takes a hit, losing its tax exemption status.
But why the author posits and we go on to find out, he says the IRS in this instance.
Is reinforcing the woeful impression that the church is only a devotional center.
When not also a base for cultural reformation.
Many in government cherish whatever insulation they can gain from the churches. Meek submission to a pious, sacred slash secular distinction which Martin Luther debunked centuries ago.
To the Hebrew mind, which was the mind that first received God, revelation, his word from the mountain, the 10 Commandments that we talked about to the Hebrew. It was all one.
Your life as a citizen. Your life as a member of the country, your life as a husband. Your life as a dad. Your life as a.
A neighbor your spiritual life, your emotional life, your physical life. It was all one.
There was none of this compartmentalizing that we do in our data where we can separate out our life as a citizen.
Isn’t it interesting that politicians will seek the Christian vote so long as there is no Christian scripture or anything ascribed to it in the public menu? You there knows that.
It’s a schizophrenic kind of tension that we have in this article. The pastor writes by current IRS standards, the Bible prophetic voice can be politically or probably perming the the Bible prophetic voice can be politically deemed illicit.
I suppose it’s always been that way, he writes. Herod didn’t appreciate John the Baptist calling him an adulterer and Jesus calling him a fox.
But do American politicians really want to play the role of Herod? I’m not saying that they’re killing preachers, but they’re trying to kill some edgy preaching that sort that would call a pharaoh or a Jezebel or even a David to task personally.
There was a sermon.
That was written a long time ago is entitled The Voice of Warning to Christians.
The ensuing election of the president. United States.
Now, Can you imagine a title like that being put in the register guard in The Oregonian and have not only just the title of that message, but the entire text printed in the paper they used to do that?
They used to print entire sermon texts in the paper.
The the preacher John Mitchell Mason when he published that sermon entitled The Voice of Warning to Christians on the ensuing election of the president, United States, he says this.
Speaking of congregational business, some would say politics is not the business of a proper church to those people. John Mitchell Mason had this to say no.
I’m not deceived, they are Christian lips which plead that religion has nothing to do with politics. Where did you learn this maxim?
The Bible is full of directions for your behavior as citizens. It’s plain, pointed and awful in its injunctions on rulers and the ruled. As such, you are commanded quote in all your ways to acknowledge him. Proverbs 3 three.
In everything by prayer and supplication and Thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6.
And finally, whatever you do.
In Word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Colossians Chapter 3 verse 17 yet religion has nothing to do with politics. How astonishing he writes.
The preacher commenting on this said, oh, the government will let churches circle the political arena addressing issues rather than personalities, distributing voting records and such.
What it cannot stand is in Nathan marching right up to the adulterous king and accusing you are the man.
Now before you get too nervous and think oh, what did we launch into? We could have been at the picnic by now.
And before too long, they’re going to pass out voter lists. I told you, Margaret, we shouldn’t have come here this morning. They’re right wing conservative, wacko, crazy people.
But I want to tell you, I feel particularly prompted to say what I’m going to say today.
Because of the times in which we live.
I was coming back from Portland. I took my daughter to the airport last week.
I made myself do something I I did it as an exercise to broaden my thinking on something I wanted to recognize that perhaps I’ve gotten a little bit narrow in my focus.
I thought maybe I’m just listening to people I know I agree with, and that’s real possible so I heard.
That there was a new radio network established for specifically pretty far out left positions on things. Two of the principals are Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, couple comedians miss Saturday Night Live. They’re funded by George Soros and moveon.org group. That’s trying to.
Unseat President Bush and they’re kind of the ones that fund this network, so.
I was going through the dial coming back from Portland and I heard that that was on and part of me wanted to press the button. I said no.
No doggone it I’m gonna broaden my perspective here. I wanna understand this this mindset and say what. What is it that where? Where do we differ?
Here’s what I heard.
First of all.
Three quotes were mentioned in the first two minutes of what I heard.
It was Karl Marx and Engels were the people that were quoted.
And not in a negative way it was we just misunderstood.
What they were really about?
Then they interviewed a Hollywood actress who had been blacklisted during the time of the McCarthy era and she got and talked about how wonderful her Marxist friends were and and how America was just so unfair in how they were treated and actually said that we really did a great disservice to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Who were executed as spies. Some of you may remember.
So I’m listening to that and I thought I’m the the blood going up my neck, but I thought I’m going to handle this. I’m going to get past this and I’m going to understand I’m going to be open minded.
Until I heard this.
Many of you know that.
Presently the Army is doing something that, to my knowledge, has never happened since World War Two. I don’t even know if this category existed in World War Two.
I am in the reserves right now in a category called the Individual Ready reserve, the.
So that means for me that I don’t drill every month. That’s why I’ve gotten pudgy and wear a beard.
And I’m not in a uniform all the time, ’cause not every month. I don’t have to drill, but I’m still subject to recall. I knew that all along.
Well, right now the army because of Manning is staffing issues. Is recalling members of the IR some 6000 of them are going to be recalled to active duty.
These are guys that left they they did their term of active service, but they did when they signed on commit to a period in the IR or where they were subject to recall.
They knew that I knew that. I know that now.
In theory I should have a C bag ready right now in case I go home and there’s a letter waiting for me. I know that.
But don’t listen to what Janeane Garofalo said on this program.
They were first of all, it was some of the crassness humor I’d ever heard about President Bush and what an idiot he was and and not just political disagreement. I mean venomous stuff.
Then finally they said this, Justin.
Any of you in the IRR?
I pulled the car over and I cried.
I cried because.
I know there’s at least two or three people in this congregation or in the orbit of this congregation that may be subject to that very recall.
Justin Hayes just went off. Active duty, has accepted a youth pastor position.
At our church in Salem OR it’s getting ready to go to his first camp at Foursquare and we’re all excited he is in that pool of people who may be called back to active duty after he just got back from Baghdad. He’s married, they have a baby.
And somebody says what a sucker he was.
I said to Virginia Smith, who our office manager here, her son Shane, later this summer or early this fall will complete his training as a helicopter pilot for the army.
You take all the people in the army, you take all the people in the Army Air community and you narrow it down to a window about this big and Shane Smith is one of a handful of people in the world who will be qualified to do what he does, and he’s a volunteer.
And somebody would dare to say.
When I heard that and then I thought.
Religion, politics it shouldn’t mix.
Then I heard another news item.
On the Internet on one of the extreme Islamist webpages, there’s actually a video circulating. Perhaps you heard it on Paul Harvey this week. If you listen to Paul Harvey.
So there’s a video circulating in some of the more extreme Islamist webpages where they have children dress up like terrorists with their face covered up, doing a mock beheading of another small child who plays the part of the infidele. These are six and seven year old kids doing that to a four year old kid.
But the kid can’t mix religion and politics. There cannot listen.
We’re living in a time that the Bible has prophesied where the issues will come into very clear focus over time.
We shouldn’t be surprised that at the beginning there’s going to be a little haze. There’s going to be a little lack of clarity, but make no mistake about it in the Lord’s eyes, statesmanship and politics, and citizenship.
In human relations and sexuality and how you are a neighbor and what you do with your money. It’s all one thing.
It’s always been.
One to him.
Woodrow Wilson said this.
A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.
We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we’ve come from.
Or what we have been about?
Where we’ve come from.
And what we’ve been about.
Stephen Mansfield has written a book my son got me for Father’s Day and I got a chance to read it hastily. In preparation for this week.
I knew some of what was in this book. It’s entitled the faith of George W Bush and it’s about President Bush and how he came to know the Lord.
In the 1st century, in half of our history, most Americans were religious and understood their lives in their country in religious terms.
But by the early decades of the 20th century, however, religion had declined as an influence in the United States.
Presidents still spoke religiously of the nation as a nod to Christian memory in an attempt to baptize the American culture of its day.
But scholars like Robert Bellah and Sidney Mead have called this civil religion a kind of American Shinto, an attempt to weave American ideas into a secular religion.
Of the state.
It is religious language, torn from its original context.
I’ve seen that happen.
I’ve had commanding officers in the military looked me dead in the face and said, Chaplain, we’re going to have a ceremony here and I don’t want you praying in Jesus name.
And I’ve said right back to them, Sir, I respect your opinion. I’m going to pray the way the Lord told me to pray.
Why would that ever even take place? Because separation of church and state you’re going to be amazed when you find out even where the separation of powers came from constitutionally.
In my office I have a prized momento. If you ever can climb over the debris.
In my office right now I’m trying to get it ready for the fall, so I have books out of bookshelves and papers and clippings strewn all over the place. It makes sense to me. I know what’s in every pile.
But if you can climb over the debris, you know, and you can get to actually see what’s on the walls.
In my office there’s a a prized possession that was given to me from a chaplain named Father. Danny Boyle, Roman Catholic Navy chaplain.
Who Denny and I have interacted over the years in a number of different instances most recently was the whole.
September 11th Ministry team.
Denny is just an amazing guy.
The joke in the chaplain core is.
If you’re from a Protestant non liturgical church they will check your blood type, Social Security number and 59 references before you get in.
If you’re a Catholic priest and you have a pulse, they’ll take you.
’cause there are so few Catholic priests released to be chaplains. And so Danny was in his 50s when he went to Chaplain school. I so admire him for that.
That was hard. He and I used to run in the back trying not to have cardiac arrest. While we were training, you know? So we got to be good friends and.
I went once to Cape Cod at Otis Air Force bases where Danny was stationed with the Coast Guard. He was the chaplain, by the way, that was first on scene with the Kennedy family when John Kennedy junior went down and the plane off of Hyannis.
There he was also the first chaplain on the scene when Flight 800 went over New York and went down.
He actually was selected as the military chaplain of the Year for all the services in 2000, and I so admire him for that.
But Danny went after I had done some training at Otis Air Force Base. He gave me this memento to take with me and.
It’s a picture of the Chapel.
Now when you’re on Cape Cod, they have a thing called the Massachusetts Military Reservation, and that’s where Otis Air Force Base is the Coast Guard Air Station is there.
There’s a National Guard. There’s an Army Reserve and Navy reservist this big monster area in Cape Cod, where all these military components are Co located.
And this is the Chapel that way.
I got to preach in that Chapel to some Air Force personnel and some Coast Guard personnel on the Sunday that I was there. I was there for two weeks filling in, and Denny was my counterpart.
And I went in the Chapel is really not much bigger than this. The whole of it is about as big as this one section of seats and you come in.
And it looks exactly like you’d picture a little Chapel out in the country to be, you know, here’s the church. Here’s the steeple. Twist up your fingers and there’s the people, however, that goes.
Picture that stained glass windows, a Spire of belfry the whole 9. That’s what it looks like.
But there was this one section over here that was Plexiglas off. I thought it was just plexiglass and it was like a three or four rows of things in this big this, you know, totally encapsulated with this glass.
And I thought in a small Chapel like that, I finally asked Denny after I preached there one Sunday, I said, what?
What is that? Why is that? Is that like a cry room for funerals or some they put draperies so you know how sometimes you go to a Funeral Home and they’ll have an area for the family that’s draped off? I thought maybe that was it, he said? Oh no, this is you don’t know what that is.
I said no, he said.
When John Kennedy was the president.
Whenever Air Force One would come to take them to their summer place at Hyannis, remember the Kennedy camp compound is on Cape Cod.
They would fly into Otis Air Force Base and they would go to mass at this Chapel where I was and that was for.
The family it was bulletproof glass.
And so I was standing there, and when I found that out, I just stood behind the pulpit for a long time.
It was an empty thing. The service was already over, but I kept staring. I had one of those moments you ever have. One of those moments.
And I kept thinking.
What did the preacher say when the president was sitting there?
Did he come up with some civil, gooey, non descript philosophy message? Did he preach from the word?
Did he or she preach from the scriptures? Did it wasn’t poetry wasn’t, you know, when John Kennedy was sitting there and literally had his finger on the button of launching the nuclear Holocaust, you realized we came within hours of being incinerated during his administration. What did the preachers say when he had a chance?
I have another friend, Pat McLaughlin, who is also a Navy chaplain.
I don’t know what Pat did or who Pat nude to get this, but he got the plum assignment of all chaplain assignment.
He’s a man, I think in his late 30s, early 40s when I met him who is now. I think he’s probably wrapping up his tour, but he was the chaplain to Camp David and he would preach to the president and his guests every time they were at Camp David.
I got with Pat and I said, you know, we got to be pretty good friends and I said, you know?
It’s gonna ask you straight up. Are you going to tell the truth?
He looked at me. Kind of funny. Like what do you mean?
But he knew, and I knew that there are all sorts of political pressures brought to bear, and even before he was selected, they did security checks on him.
You couldn’t even imagine, and I’m sure the gist of it was when the president’s here. Now we want you to be real careful about what you preach on.
I met one other person who.
Used to preach to presidents.
Lloyd Ogilvie is the former chaplain in the United States Senate.
I had the great honor of meeting him on a couple of occasions and once was a small enough group where we could ask questions. He did a seminar on the Passion for preaching.
Amazing preacher. If you’ve ever heard Lord Ogilvy, God gave him an instrument for a voice.
And I asked him a question. I said, Sir.
You are at the point of the spear here on the whole, debate about church and state. I mean, you live in both worlds.
When you prepare your prayers for the Senate, when you preach, when the President sitting there, do you do you try to tailor make your mark so that they’re nondescript and and not uniquely Christian?
And he said, absolutely not.
He said I preach out of who I am and I preach who the Lord is.
And I’ve never had any trouble.
This whole church state thing was not in the mind of the founding fathers. I don’t know what you’ve heard or what TV things you’ve seen. But listen to this from John Adams.
Nearly four decades after the American Revolution, he reaffirmed this position, stating this the general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were.
The general principles of Christianity.
Now I will avow that I then believed and now believe.
Those general principles of Christianity are eternal and as immutable as the existence and attributes of God himself.
Adams went on to say these are names. I bet you haven’t heard Reverend Doctor Jonathan Mayhew, the Reverend Doctor Samuel Cooper. Who were they? You don’t see them on coins.
Adams claims that they were two of the most influential preachers George Whitfield, being another one who their preaching so changed the framers of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence that when they made their decisions they were making decisions based on biblical preaching from preachers who weren’t embarrassed to get up and say, thus sayeth the Lord.
Sociologists, these are not theologians. There was a political scientists and sociologists embarked on an ambitious 10 year study to try to analyze some 15,000 writings of the founding era of our country. These writings were examined with the goal of isolating and identifying the specific political sources.
Quoted during the time surrounding the establishment of the American government. Here’s how the rationale went. If the sources of the quotes could be identified, then the origin of the founders political ideas could be determined.
That’s why they did it.
From the 15,000 writings selected.
The researchers isolated some 3154 quotations.
Then they documented the original sources of these quotations.
The research revealed that the single most cited authority in these writings of the founding era.
Was the Bible.
34% of the writings of all of the documents were taken directly.
From the Bible.
A percentage almost four times higher than the next source quoted.
In fact, I bet you didn’t know this separation, separation of church and state separation of powers.
There’s a reason you know how many constitutions Francis had.
You know how many constitutions other countries in this world? Some have one about every three years.
The American Republic stands unique on the planet for the tenure and the stability of its form of government, and not the least of them. Which is the genius of the separation of powers.
Legislative judicial executive.
That whole thing separating that out was unique.
Listen to where it came from.
The signers of the Constitution, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton acknowledged in their letters that the principle undergirding the separation of powers, was the same principle found in Jeremiah Chapter 17, verse nine, which says.
For the hardest deceitfully wicked, above all else, I, the Lord, searched the heart to give each man according to his deeds what they understood was the Bible, because somebody preached the Bible to them when they were making these decisions, they thought biblically they were living in an environment that the Bible informed day-to-day decisions. They said, you know, the human heart is flawed because.
The Lord says.
We had better when we structured this new government separate out these powers and it’s turned out to be the most successful form of government on the planet.
Why, because they were particularly clever? No, because the Lord God had informed the whole process through preachers and through his church.
And yet we say, separation of church and powers. It can’t be. It can’t be. It can’t be.
This is a scary statistic. During the last presidential election.
45% of people being polled who had identified themselves as evangelical Christians.
These are people who, in an exit poll, identified themselves as evangelical Christians. 45% of them said that they believed that economic issues were more important than moral issues.
When Bill Clinton ran for president.
He had a, uh, a little thing that he would put up in all his volunteer offices across the country.
All of the people that worked for him and it was this one saying it was on, and Lily said it’s the economy stupid, remember that.
What that meant was we’re going to focus on the economy, and that’s all that matters. I remember like yesterday, a documentary that I saw where James Carville and George Stephanopoulos were sitting together. They were two of the principal campaign directors for Clinton president.
Do you remember when the Jennifer Flowers story broke and it turned out that he had had an ongoing affair with this woman for a long period of time?
He denied it and all the rest of it they had phone conversations of him telling her deny, deny, deny the whole thing came out.
A senator called the campaign office and they actually had the temerity to show this on the documentary. There was Stephanopoulos sitting there with his feet up on a desk and he had the phone and it was the United States senator talking to him saying what about this? What about your candidate?
Did he do this thing?
And they show Stephanopoulos and he was just wiping his mouth from some fast food that he’d eaten. And he said, listen, he’s gonna win.
He’s got the economic fix. He’s going to win. The only question is, are you coming along for the ride?
Never even dealt with the character issue. Never went near it.
Because we have compartmentalized and separated out and say, well, the church can be a voting bloc, the church can be an agency through which we disseminate information but don’t dare assume that biblical morals would ever impact our public life.
This is how bad it gets when you try to separate it out.
Maybe you remember this. I remember when I heard it, I was stunned. This is a while back now. It’s a Supreme Court case. It was entitled Jane Doe versus the Santa Fe Independent School district. Maybe you remember this.
Santa Fe is a small rural town outside Houston, TX.
It has a long tradition of prayer at graduations and prayer at athletic events like football games. That’s that’s why.
How you’ll probably remember it. Remember the girl used to pray over the PA system at the football games in Texas?
A handful of students in that school were offended by that practice. They didn’t want anybody else praying either, so they went to the federal judge to ask him to force everyone to stop praying.
The judge ruled that he would allow prayer to continue at graduation and athletic events, but only if students prayed the right words.
When they prayed.
This is a direct quote from a federal judge.
The court will allow prayer to be that particular prayer to be a typical non denominational prayer which can refer to God or the Almighty.
The prayer must or that sort of thing God or the Almighty or that sort of thing, but the prayer must never refer to Jesus.
Make no mistake, the court is going to have a United States Marshall in attendance at the graduation and if any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested, face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of court.
Anybody who violates these orders, no kidding, is going to wish that he or she had died as a child. When this court gets through with it.
I remember hearing that when it was on the Evening News and I thought how did we ever get there?
How did we ever get to a point where it would be a contemptuous issue?
For somebody to name the name of Jesus in a public venue.
Now before we go much further, I have to tell you I am not going to launch into America is a Christian nation and everybody has to be born again Christian and we do the very thing that we’re fighting against what the radical Islamists right now who are saying.
There’s only one way to to the Lord, and we’re going to insist on that. Be the national way, yes, there is only one way I will never back.
After that, there’s only one name under heaven, by which men should be said.
But we live in a pluralistic society and I think we can make room for people that believe other things and and respect each other.
As citizens, I agree with that, but never did our founding fathers say that we would ever be in a position where it would be contemptuous to express that faith that is the underpinning that we’re sitting on.
That is not what they meant by separation of church and state.
My daughter emailed me she’s in Australia.
Right now at a worship conference, and she’s shooting back emails and she’s all excited and I’m really happy. But in the last email she, she just blessed me.
She said dad I heard two or three preachers and she said you’re still the best expositor of the word that I know and she said all this. He said I love how you have so much scripture in your messages. So today we’re going to have one verse.
Leviticus chapter 8.
But I think you’ll see that this one verse says a lot.
Leviticus Chapter 8 verse 34.
This is about the priesthood.
Leviticus 834 says.
What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you.
You must stay at the entrance of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, and.
Do what the Lord requires.
So that you may not die.
For that is what I have been commanded, and so Aaron and his sons did everything that the Lord commanded through Moses in my Bible. I write in the margins all the time.
For the person who does, my memorial service is going to have a piece of cake. All my notes are there for them to see in my Bible. If they just grab it.
But in this particular verse in Leviticus Chapter 8 in the King James version, it says keep the charge of the Lord.
Keep the charge of the Lord when it says the duties. Keep the charge of the war.
When George Bush was elected Governor of Texas.
He faced an incumbent who was a very powerful Democratic politician by the name of Ann Richards.
Many of you remember Ann Richards at the Democratic convention that year when his dad was running for president. She’s the one that did that. Famous speeches said poor George. He can’t help it. Remember that that was Ann Richards well.
When George Bush junior took on Ann Richards in a political contest, nobody expected him to even come close. We ended up winning.
And when he became the governor, one of the first things he did was to get a copy of a hymn.
That meant so much to him posted in his office at the Statehouse in Texas, and later when he became the President of the United States, he asked that this him be sung, and this this the words to the hymn be posted in his office, and it’s based on Leviticus Chapter 8 because it’s become sort of a verse for his life. I have a charge to keep.
Matthew Henry, in his commentary on that passage in Leviticus 8 says this.
We have every one of us a charge to keep an eternal God, to glorify and immortal soul, to provide for.
Needful duty to be done our generation to serve and it must be our daily care to keep this charge for it is the charge of our Lord our master, who will shortly call us to account.
And this is at our utmost peril. If we neglect it, keep it, quote that he might not die. That’s what it says in the King James version. Keep this charge, that you might not die.
It is death, eternal death, to betray that trust, we are charged with.
By the consideration of this, we must be kept in awe.
Years later, John Wesley would write a hymn.
Based on this verse.
And he entitled it a charge to keep 1/2. These are the words.
A charge to keep I have.
A God to glorify.
A never dying soul to save and fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill oh may it all my powers engaged to do my masters will.
Army was jealous care as in Digsite to live. And although I servant Lord prepare a strict account to give.
Help me to watch and pray and on thyself rely assuredly. If I my trust betray, I shall forever die.
That him so influenced Bush that he made this placard to be in his office that he would see that every day of his presidency, a charge to keep I have. But when he became the governor in Texas, somebody heard that that was one of his favorite hymns.
He made this.
And they found a painting. Believe it or not, that was painted by an artist that was entitled a charge to keep.
Here’s the description of that.
The painting and the him are linked and Bush is mine, says a great deal about his own sense of calling of destiny of leadership.
Have you heard some of the belittling remarks depressive made about the fact that Bush has said on a couple of occasions he felt the Lord prompting him to do something how they built little him for that?
The painting is by 1 WHD Koerner, a German immigrant who is often compared to Frederic Remington. In his depictions of the American West in the same tradition, a charge to keep shows a western rider spurring his horse up a difficult hill alone.
After the painting was hung in the governor’s office, Bush sent a memo to his staff. He said I thought I would share this with you. A recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission.
When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of their horsemen determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail.
This Is Us.
What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley.
That we serve one greater than ourselves.
A charge to keep I have.
Now I’ll bet you I I will just I, I’m confident in saying you never heard this ’cause I never heard it.
And the days surrounding September 11th.
Will be forever etched in my mind as things that I will not forget. I remember detail about that day.
I remember detail about the days after it and I will remember every detail, sight, sound and smell that I experienced when I went back there as a chaplain.
I never heard this. I’ll bet you didn’t hear it either.
Since the President is a born again Christian.
He has a devotional habit of reading the Bible every day and he has like many of you, probably have a thing that you open up in your Bible, tells you where you’re going to read today.
He has that he has a devotional book that he reads side by side with it. Many of you may have the same devotional book. How many of you have Oswald Chambers? My utmost for his highest?
It’s a very popular devotional book.
You’ve probably never heard our reporter say this. Guess what George Bush read September 11th in the morning when he woke up.
Before he went to the elementary school and before Mr Card handed him the note saying a plane has hit the World Trade Center, he read in his devotional book these words.
Earlier that morning, the president’s regular habit of reading from Oswald Chambers, my utmost for his highest, would have led him to a very telling passage. How telling he could not have known at the time.
The short reading, entitled Missionary Munitions.
Describes the model of servant leadership from the Gospel of John and perhaps portrayed the path the president would have to take in the days ahead.
Here’s a quote from Oswald Chambers.
Ministering as opportunity surrounds us does not mean selecting our surroundings.
It means being very selectively gods in any haphazard surroundings in which he engineers for us.
The characteristics we manifest in our immediate surroundings are indications of what we will be like in other surroundings.
He would indeed soon find himself in haphazard surroundings. The passage continued even more dramatically. Here’s more of the quote.
Towels and dishes and sandals and all the ordinary, sordid things of our lives reveal more quickly than anything what we’re made of.
It takes God almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.
And finally, Chambers writes we have to go the second mile with God. Some of us get played out in the 1st 10 yards because God compels us to go where we cannot see the way, and we say.
I will wait till I get nearer the big crisis.
If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways, we shall do nothing in the crisis.
He read that the morning of September 11.
Church and state must be separate.
I think Presidents say all sorts of things and.
All sorts of presidents say different things.
I love how Harry Truman put it. How would you like to be? Harry Truman?
The decision came to him. How would you like this to be your decision? I have to decide sometime you know, am I going to pay this much on the water bill?
You know, am I going to respond to this junk mail and will I try to clean my office? I have heavy things that I decided.
Somebody came to Harry Truman one day and said Mr. President.
The project is complete. We now have a weapon that will incinerate an entire city. Here are the numbers, Sir.
If we use the weapon, this many people will be spared if we use the weapon this many people will be killed. Would you decide now?
How to make a decision like that?
That must have been one of the most horrific decisions a human being ever had to make, because if the invasion of Japan went the way they thought it was going to be 10s of thousands of Allied servicemen would have been lost because the Japanese would have fought to the last man they knew that their experience on Okinawa and Tara that it showed him what they were facing, and he made that horrific.
Decision listen what Harry Truman said once.
I have the feeling.
That God created us.
And brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose.
And up to now.
We have been shrinking from it.
When I read that.
When I read all of what we talked about today.
I thought about this whole thing about separation of church and state and.
The founding of our Republic and why it is that we have the day off tomorrow.
It’s much more than getting the opportunity to go to the mall and buy barbecue briquettes.
It’s about the fact that God had a purpose in the Earth for his church.
And people who loved his name and people who followed after him made a decision to flee from tyranny and come to this place.
This place that was frontier place that nobody knew about America.
That America would be a place where you could worship God freely without the king looking over your shoulder.
Or you could be free of tyranny where you are free to express yourself politically and disagree with those in authority America that would allow a Janeane Garofalo, and would allow an Al Franken and some of this stuff.
That kind of America where somebody could even get up and say something stupid like military members who volunteer to the IRRRRR losers.
The Lord had a purpose and has a purpose.
For the merging of his church with the national life and the affairs of men.
Doesn’t mean we have to be activists. It doesn’t mean that we have to be insensitive or rude or crude, or just bull people over with our faith.
It does mean this. You should never and I will never again apologize for the fact that I am an American. I am a service member. I love this country, but I love my Lord.
First, he is the Lord of the universe, and I will never apologize in the public discourse for mentioning his name again.
And I think.
Do we all have to adopt A position?
Is the study?
Are the last things it has to do with the second coming.
The end of the world.
Whatever your eschatology might embrace, Jesus clearly has told us in Luke chapter 19, verse 13.
Until he comes, remember that verse.
Occupy until he comes.
Therefore, we should heed the warning delivered to the citizens in 1803, when one Reverend Mathias Burnett.
Gave people this charge.
Who’s hyper ogat? If it is to invest with office and authority, or to withhold them?
And in whose power it is to save or destroy your country? Consider well.
The important trust.
Which God has placed in your hands?
To God and posterity, you are accountable for them.
Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights or prostrating those institutions.
That your father delivered to you.
In the first service, he’s always back here.
You’d never see Floyd. He doesn’t draw any attention to himself at all.
I remember Floyd sitting there describing to me one time when he talks. He’s just so sweet. I love him. He’s my grandpa. I want him for my grandpa.
Sat down one time in his house. It’s kind of all disheveled now since his wife died. He’s just so lost without her and.
Missed by himself and one day I asked him to tell me the story and he said Pastor.
I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be shot.
It was in the Battle of the Bulge. He got shot in the chest and left in the snow to die. The snow probably saved his life. It was so cold he didn’t bleed out.
And they came and got him and took him to a hospital.
See Fred back there.
Remember long chats. Fred and I have talked about the ambiguity that was Vietnam.
The horrific risks that he and other young men took only to come back and be called baby killers and be rejected by the citizenry. That’s center.
And yet all of it. But you know what, it there wasn’t comment about it all.
There was something bigger than ourselves that something the Lord had to do with.
That resulted in this place that we call America.
And when I I thought of Floyd and I. I see Fred nice. There’s others that I could mention here. I think of Shane getting ready to train and almost ready to graduate.
And I thought of Justin Hayes, who’s probably going to be in that list of people who gets recalled to active duty right after he just got back from Baghdad.
And all and I I you know, Josh and all these guys that are just I think about it. And I think this.
We don’t have to be weird.
We don’t have to be aggressive.
But the Lord commands us to be salt and light in this world.
And that includes the political process.
I will not tell you how to vote. I’m not going to press 1 candidate over the other, but I will tell you in Jesus name vote I will tell you in Jesus name find out what they believe and find out how it squares.
With the God of the Bible.
A charge to keep.