By Pastor Ben Hiwale
America became a free country on July 4, 1776; however, what many may not know - or remember - is that America is also a nation under God founded on Christian principles.
54 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christians, 27 held theology degrees. Our first president, George Washington, took the oath of office and put his hand on what? (The Bible). What was his first official act as President? (Kissed the Bible, then held a 2-hour praise & worship session in Congress). How did they determine to open sessions of Congress? (Prayer). Who would lead in those prayers? (Chaplains). How would they be paid? (Tax dollars). Does all of that sound like they wanted to keep God out of government? By the way, opening in prayer is a mystery to investigate. Why is it that the little boys and girls cannot, but the big Congressmen can? Who decided to put “In God We Trust” on our coins? (Because they pulled a fast one on a government that wanted to keep God out of government!) Congress adopted it in 1956!
In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office. In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation. The GETTYSBURG ADDRESS states "...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..." 94% OF THE WRITINGS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE U.S. CONTAINED QUOTATIONS FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS OF ALL 50 STATES MENTION GOD.
On that First "Thanksgiving", who do you think the people were giving thanks to? To God!
The famous "Liberty Bell" has part of Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on it: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”Read more...
By today’s standards in the American church, Jesus wasn’t cut out to be a pastor, nor would His ministry be highlighted as a model for church planters. Consider these facts:
Jesus had the greatest preaching, teaching and healing ministry in history. Thousands came to hear Him, followed His every move and lined the streets to get a glimpse of Him or simply touch Him. Yet amid His rock-star popularity, He intentionally offended religious leaders, challenged potential mega-donors and weeded out casual followers with tough teachings. Not exactly the textbook strategy you’d find today to grow your church, much less your Facebook likes and Twitter followers.
After Jesus spent three and a half years ministering to thousands, His church consisted of only 120 disciples gathered in the upper room. And even that was a low turnout, considering He had appeared to more than 500 people after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6).
But we know the rest of the story: how the 120 quickly became 3,120 and grew daily to where even unbelievers credited Jesus’ followers as those “who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). The truth is, we know that Jesus’ divine church-growth tactics surpass all others—with the proof being a global church that, 2,000 years later, refuses to die while it works to fulfill His Great Commission.
Why, then, do we in the 21st-century American church focus on all the elements that Jesus didn’t? He focused on training and equipping 12 disciples; we focus on growing our crowds and spheres of influence, regardless of whether those people follow Jesus. He preached an uncompromising message of truth; we sugarcoat the gospel until we’re saccharine-high on deception. He walked among His enemies in love; we ostracize our enemies by blasting them for all their sins.
Indeed, most of the U.S. church is enamored with size over substance and microwave growth over true reproduction. Research shows that while 235 million people call themselves Christians, only 40 percent of those meet regularly with fellow believers and only a fourth (at most) read the Bible on a regular basis. It’s time we discovered the marks of the real church, measured by Jesus’ standards rather than our own trendy metrics.Read more...