Tag Archive | Mike Huckabee

The Lost Art of Reading Billboards

Motel SignBillboards have long been a fixture across the landscape of our country. Just drive down nearly any state highway or interstate, and you will be witness to massive advertisements for any number of businesses, products, services, or causes. From ads for fast food to political candidates to massive marriage proposals, people use billboards to communicate any number of products and ideas.

And in my 70 years on this earth, I don’t ever recall a single time I passed a billboard and witnessed an individual standing on the side of the road, screaming at that billboard while waving a picket sign. A billboard must meet certain community standards in order to be erected in the first place. I see any number of billboards on a daily basis that are advertising something I don’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with.

When I see these, I do what all normal people do… I just keep driving. I don’t stop and scream at the billboard. I stay in my car, maintain my speed, and have probably forgotten about it within a mile.

Wouldn’t it be great if people viewed what they see on the internet and social media the same way they view billboards?

It never ceases to amaze me, the time and energy people put into running something down that they disagree with on the web. In a letter he wrote in 1946, Albert Einstein said something almost prophetic…

“I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives — a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra Culpa (our fault)!”

Even in 1946 — long before home computers, digital technology, and the internet — Einstein saw technology “depersonalizing” our lives as individuals, and the way we interact with each other. Today we witness people say and do things on the internet — and when I say ‘internet’, I am including social media — that they would never have done even 25 years ago. We see “digital courage” on display on a regular basis; people hiding behind a computer screen, espousing their particular brand of hatred and vitriol from the safety of their bedroom… things they would never dream of saying to another person’s face.

Recently, our church had what we called All American Day. Our church has a long history of patriotic events, dating back over 30 years. I love this country, and I am thankful for the grace God has shown us over the last nearly 250 years. I believe the blessings of God on our nation are worth celebrating. This year, we invited former presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee to be our guest speaker. Subsequently, we did a little advertising on social media to promote the event. The text of the ad read…

Governor Mike Huckabee will be speaking this Sunday at Abba’s House in Hixson! Join us for patriotic music and an inspiring message by Gov. Huckabee! The service begins at 10:30am. Abba’s House is located at 5208 Hixson Pike.

No political agenda. No partisanship. No campaigning for a candidate. A former governor, who happens to be a Christian, was speaking about our nation.

What ensued over the next few days was a series of ill-informed, uneducated, judgmental, and even vile posts by people who disagreed with or disliked the idea Governor Huckabee was speaking at our church. While there were many posts that were positive and/or neutral, many crossed the line into absurdity and profanity that we would not even allow on the page. People launched into uninformed and unfounded personal attacks on Governor Huckabee. Others launched into attacks on President Trump. Still others became “Constitutional scholars”, and launched into arguments about the First Amendment, separation of church and state, and the Johnson Amendment (calling into question our church’s tax-exempt status).  I even had one person who proceeded to attack a speaker who spoke at our church several years ago (in an event that was not even sponsored by our church) who has no affiliation to politics, Mike Huckabee, or President Trump.

But what was probably the most disheartening were the attacks commentors made on other commentors, calling them childish and profane names, and belittling total strangers for being hopeful about our nation and our future.

Now normally I don’t respond to comments and criticisms, particularly on my blog. This “conversation”, however, goes to a bigger issue: Decency. I am used to criticism; I’m a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so in a world that is hostile to Him, it comes with the territory. What gets me, though, is the way people instantly become experts about everything they disagree with, which amplifies the idea that, as a believer in Jesus Christ, trying to “fit in” in such a world is not possible.

Here are a few fast facts pertaining to these posts…

  • Former-governor Huckabee is no longer a political candidate. The fact is, before he was Governor Mike Huckabee, he was Pastor Mike Huckabee. More than a decade before he entered politics, he was the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church. One of his former bosses, evangelist James Robison, once said of him…

“His convictions shape his character and his character will shape his policies. His whole life has been shaped by moral absolutes.”

  • The Johnson Amendment (regarding political speech from a pulpit), has to do with the endorsement of a political candidate. Since Mr. Huckabee is neither (at this writing) a political candidate nor endorsing one, this really was a non-issue. In fact, all one has to do is a simple YouTube search, and you will find a variety of politicians (and candidates) who have spoken in churches, from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump.
  • There were several comments about the First Amendment and “separation of church and state.” The fact is that the term “separation of church and state” is not in the First Amendment, or in the Constitution at all for that matter. The phrase separation of church and state came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut. The actual text of the First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Jefferson quote 1

While the First Amendment was never meant to keep the Church out of the State, but in fact, to keep the State out of the Church, liberal interpretations of the First Amendment, combined with a mis-interpretation (lack of context) of Jefferson’s words have led us to where we are today. The fact is, Jefferson’s own writings (as well as the writings of many of the founding fathers) bear witness to not only his belief in God, and to his belief that our liberties as a nation are a gift from God. Does it really stand to reason that we should eliminate, from our public life, the very God credited with making our public life, as we know it, possible?

 

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
~ Thomas Jefferson

 

  • In the social media posts, the word “hypocrite” was bandied about quite a bit. The fact of the matter is, hypocrisy is, by definition, the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. The fact is, nearly everyone exhibits hypocrisy in some form or fashion (if you claim to be a law-abiding citizen, yet you speed, you are, by definition a hypocrite)Monitor 4But here again, for the believer in Christ, fighting against the labels the world attempts to put on us is an untenable position; if we stand unwavering on the tenants of Scripture, particularly with regard to issues of morality, we are labelled “intolerant, bigots, homophobic, judgmental,” etc. But the same people who use such terms to describe people who stand on their Christian moral standards and beliefs are as equally unforgiving of any Christian who appears hypocritical in any way, form, or fashion. Essentially the argument is, “You are going to criticize me if my Christian belief system is counter to your political, social, or moral ideology (ie: if I am NOT a hypocrite), but you are going to criticize me for being a hypocrite if I don’t live my life perfectly in keeping with what I claim to believe.” Are you seeing the absurdity here, in trying to please those who you are never going to please?

I could go on for days, but I would like to bring this all back to the bigger issue I alluded to…

Decency.

While there will always be critics and naysayers, regardless of the topic, there should be an understanding that such “dialogue” is not the acceptable norm. There should be a way, in civil society, that we can “disagree without being disagreeable”, and respond to each other with dignity and respect. It seems that the more tech-saavy we become, the less decent we act. We should be able to have public discourse without the need to go to verbal war. We should be able to have honest debate without vitriolic hate. In the Bible, James implores the believer…

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~ James 1:19-20

In Proverbs, we find this truth…

A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. ~ Proverbs 15:1-2

Someone much wiser than me wrote that. It seems like pretty good advice for all of us. We can be uncompromising in our beliefs without being uncharitable in our speech. We should all strive to be passionate about our convictions without being profane in our words and attitude. It is possible to strongly disagree, but do so with unquestionable love, or at least civility.

Maybe it’s time to view social media the same way we view bilboards…

Read… and keep on driving down the road.

Have a great weekend!

Pastor Ron

Mike Huckabee is in the House for All-American Day!

Mike Huckabee

Anyone who knows me knows how much I care about this country. Throughout my 50+ years of ministry, I have desired for America to come back to God, and for revival to once again burn like a wildfire in our land. I know that, in order for that to happen, it takes the people of God getting up off of their pews, out into their communities, and sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will hear.

img_0184Another thing that it takes for revival to happen is for men and women of God to stand in the public square, and to proclaim unashamedly that Jesus is Lord, that right is right and wrong is wrong, and to be champions of truth, the poor and the unborn, and to be a voice against the ungodliness that has leeched into the walls and halls of our government.

Governor Mike Huckabee is such a man.

This Sunday is going to be a special time at Abba’s House as we welcome Governor Huckabee for 🇺🇸AllAmerican Day🇺🇸. There will be stars and stripes, Patriotic music by our choir and orchestra, fireworks, and a special word for this hour by Governor Huckabee.

So join us THIS SUNDAY (July 2) at Abba’s House for 🇺🇸AllAmerican Day🇺🇸! I would love for you to be my special guest. Service begins at 10:30am.

P.S. If you can make it earlier, come at 9:15 and check out our LifeGroups. There’s always room for one more, and you’re always welcome at Abba’s House!

All American Day

Election 2016: In Search of The Perfect Candidate

One has only to watch the news, drive down the street, or look at social media for 2.7 seconds to realize one singular fact…

It is an election year in America.

KS77849That’s right, folks. Election Year! Placards wallpapering the roadside, political television and radio spots with the flip of every channel, unbridled rhetoric filling the walls and news feeds of Facebook and Twitter. We seem to have about every conceivable viewpoint, every imaginable ideology, and every possible position covered. We all have in our minds the perfect candidate; the one that we agree with on 99.9999% of the issues important to our nation. And while the Democratic side of the nation has far fewer candidates to choose from than the Republican side, it would seem that just about every possible ideology is represented.

Everything except, perhaps… reality.

Candidate XThe reality of the situation, particularly on the conservative side of things, is that we are looking for someone who does not exist: The perfect candidate. We want to believe that we agree with a certain candidate about everything when we really don’t because he (or she) is “our guy”. We want to not agree with a certain candidate because they are not “our guy”. The fact of the matter is that there is not really that much that separates most of the candidates on either side. Most Republicans agree on most issues. Most Democrats agree on most issues.

So how do we pick? How do we choose the best person for the job? How do we make peace with ourselves and our ideology when “our guy” is not our nominee of choice?

There is the saying that “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And while we view the Bible from a theological standpoint, we sometimes forget the fact that it is also a book of historical events. In reading the Bible, we learn that God oftentimes used unlikely people to accomplish His purposes.

Cyrus II, King of Persia

“Cyrus the Great” was king of Persia, and was what most of us would consider “a heathen”. He was brought up in the worship of the idols of the Medes and Persians. Yet, here is what God had to say about Cyrus in Isaiah 45…

Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.

God anointed King Cyrus to free his people from the Babylonians. Not only did Cyrus allow God’s people to return to Jerusalem to rebuild, but he charged the people living in the lands where the children of Israel lived to assist them with donations of “silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings…” (Ezra 1)

God used a person of questionable spiritual standing to change the lives and destiny of His people. God didn’t just USE him… God ANOINTED Cyrus for the task. While Cyrus (followed by Darius and Artaxerxes after him) did not have the “desired” spiritual knowledge and background, what he did have were the practical knowledge, ability, resources, and authority to rebuild the temple of God, and eventually, Jerusalem itself. In Proverbs 21:1, we read…

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

 This verse doesn’t say “the Christian king” or “the Spirit-filled king”… it simply says “the king” — ANY king. Take a look at Romans 13:1…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,
for there is no authority except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God. (NIV)

God puts people into authority for His purposes. Sometimes it is to judge His people. Sometimes to chastise His people. Sometimes to encourage His people. Sometimes to challenge His people. Regardless of His reason or purpose for elevating any individual, You can rest assured He has one.

And while some candidates come across as “Cyrus-like” (which, honestly, is how I view someone like Mr. Trump), still others have unabashedly courted the “evangelical vote”. While each candidate, at least on the Republican side, has expressed their belief in God, some have been more forceful about their commitment to Him. Candidates like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Marco Rubio have professed their Christianity in no uncertain terms. Yet even so, we have seen backbiting, personal attacks, and “dirty politics” emerge from some of these camps. We see, on both sides, candidates who have spoken favorably about one another in the past now tearing each other down on a daily basis. However, Galatians 5:15 warns us…

But if you bite and devour one another,
beware lest you be consumed by one another!

In 1980, George H.W. Bush won the Iowa caucus against former California Governor (and former Democrat) Ronald Reagan. Yet, in the end, Mr. Reagan was chosen as the Republican candidate for president. And while during the primary both candidates had their differences, they never went so far afield in their attacks that they were unable to come together, join as eventual running mates, and serve two terms together, with Mr. Bush going on to serve one more term, this time as president.

I have said all of this to encourage you… get out and vote. Be a part of the process. Make your voice heard.

But…

Someone once said, “In the primary, vote your conscience. In the general election, vote your party.” While this idea does hold some exceptions, there is some truth in it. Most every one that has a political ideology is a member of their party — Republican or Democrat — for a reason. Generally, you choose a party because of that party’s platform; the core values of the party itself. Even many “Independents” tend to lean one way or the other for the same reason. So while you go about supporting the candidate of your choice, remember these three things:

#1. Listen beyond the bluster and personalities of the candidates. We all have different personalities. Some are extroverted and loud. Some are meek and introverted. We have a tendency to want to vote for people who are like us. If that is you, just remember…

Abraham Lincoln had no denominational affiliation. Considered to be the father of the Republican party, Lincoln’s name, legacy, and words are invoked probably more than any other politician.

Harry Truman was known for his profanity. Bill Clinton was alleged to be a womanizer. Both of these men were allegedly Baptists.

Regardless of the criticism leveled at a candidate, be careful to avoid extremes in your own criticism. I have seen an amazing amount of rhetoric and vitriol leveled at certain candidates in the media, as well as on social media. You may be forced to have to swallow your pride and eat your words if your candidate is not your party’s nominee. What you should consider heavily is the candidate’s track record of success and failure, and their position on the issues that are important to you and the nation.

#2. Remember we are ALL human. We all make mistakes. We all misspeak, and say things that we wish we could take back the moment the words leave our lips. Candidates, just like the rest of us, change their minds and positions. Personally, I would rather have a leader who recognizes and is honest about his or her mistakes than someone who doubles-down on a bad position or bad decision because of pride. While we should always be wise in our choices of leaders, we need to also recognize their humanity and fallibility as well. Personally, I would love to see a born-again, Spirit-filled person elevated to office of President, but that may not be the person God has ANOINTED for the task (remember Cyrus).

KS77810#3. Vote. Abraham Lincoln once said, “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.” As much as I hate to say this, sometimes voting is not about picking the person who will do the most good. Sometimes, it is about picking the person who will do the least harm. Sometimes, neither candidate is ideal. Sometimes, you may feel like you are just choosing between the lesser of two evils. However, by choosing not to vote, you have voted — you chose not to support the candidate who had the best chance of success.

In Jeremiah 29:7, God told the exiled children of Israel…

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (ESV)

While this world is not our home, and we serve a higher King, we have a responsibility to be good citizens of the place where God has planted us. That means being a good neighbor, caring for our communities, and getting involved in the decision-making process — a big part of which is exercising our right to vote.

I have a friend who is recovering from cancer. In the last three years, he has been diagnosed with three different types of cancer, so it is safe to say he has been through a variety of treatments and procedures. In the last year, he has undergone five surgeries. We were recently discussing the political landscape and the election, and he put it to me this way:

“When you are going through cancer, you choose the treatment that has the best track record, the one that is going to have the best chance of saving your life. None of them are pleasant. Every treatment I have undergone has had its side-effects, pain, and associated misery. However, in the end, I just had to go with the best option, and trust God with the results. Sure, I had the choice to just do nothing, but that decision probably would have cost me my life.”

We as believers have the opportunity to be a part of turning our nation around. The candidate you get may not be the one you want, but may be the one God anointed. The next four years may not fix every ill in our nation, but may simply be a small step in the right direction. If we do our part and vote, there is still the chance we could fail.

However, if we as believers in Jesus do nothing at all, failure is guaranteed.

Why?

Because “… faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” ~ James 2:17

May America bless God once again,
Pastor Ron