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Charlottesville – the point that we are missing.

White-Nationalist-Rally-Charlottesville

Trigger warning – you might be offended by this, but hopefully it will bring some clarity to several people who, I think, are missing the point about what happened in Charlottesville.

Here’s my take on the Charlottesville events and what I think the mainstream media is missing. Just FYI – I have listened to Fox News, CNN, Limbaugh, Beck, and other left-leaning media outlets on all this. I have truly tried to listen to all sides.

There are essentially 3 sides to all of this.

#1: The role of confederate statues in America. This is an important debate and dialogue to have.

#2: The role of Black Lives Matter, antifa, and the “alt-left” during the events over the weekend.

#3: The role of Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right during the events over the weekend.

Those are the 3 issues that keep getting discussed. The 3 sides are constantly being mixed together in a way that is not helpful.

What is being missed here is that there is only one side that literally wants to wipe out the race of all non-white people. That is the side of #3 above. Should the alt-right be included in that? I don’t know. Yesterday, Trump seemed to carve out some space for the alt-right being “fine” people that perhaps were mixed in with the neo-Nazis but weren’t really part of them. That’s hard for me to believe. It would seem reasonable that anyone in the alt-right mixed in with the neo-Nazis would remove themselves immediately so as not to be confused with them. But, they didn’t do that.

The fact that there was only one group that wants to wipe out the race of every other group is the primary moral problem in all of this.

Now, as for the role of group #2 above. Are there problems within those groups? Yes, of course. But, as far as I have seen, nobody in those groups wants to wipe out the race of any other group. In fact, they are the ones protesting against racism. Again, they have their own problems, but they aren’t wanting to wipe out an entire race of people.

So what Trump and the media both get wrong is that they constantly deflect attention from the neo-Nazi group by saying, “both sides were wrong and caused conflict.” Is that true? Sure, I think so. But, once again, the two moral planes are not equal. Not even close. What BLM, antifa, and the alt-left stand for might be wrong in their own ideology, but the immorality of the neo-Nazi group is infinitely greater than that of the other groups.

What America needed (and did not get) was a President who has the moral clarity to distinguish between these things, especially when he has already been accused of being too close and cozy with the alt-right (surely, we weren’t tricked into thinking that Trump had much of a moral compass anyway, right?). Remember, perception is often reality for most people. Trump should have taken the moment to recognize the grave immorality of the neo-Nazis and made sure that America knows that there is no room for that in this country. Further, Trump should have made very clear that he has no sympathies for any of these groups. But he didn’t, and that, my friends, is very revealing about what he really believes.

Again, there was only one group that literally wants to wipe out the race of every other group.

Some final thoughts:

First, there is a place to talk about the role of confederate statues in this country, as well as BLM, antifa, and the alt-left. That time should come, and I am sure it will. This moment in history, though, called for something far greater: moral clarity from the leader of the free world, and we did not get that.

Second, what I have feared all along was that conservatives would vote for Trump because they wanted to win a Supreme Court pick, but what would end happening is that Trump would ruin the cause of conservatism, essentially handing the country over to liberals in 2020. I still fear that that is what’s going to happen, and the results will be far worse than if Clinton was elected this time around.

Third, I tend to think that too many people who voted for Trump are silent on this issue because they refuse to listen to all sides here. It’s okay to like some things Trump does while being able to criticize things that are not good. Blindly following his every move is not healthy.

Fourth, Trump’s absolute disdain for the media is ruining both sides in this country. I watched an hour of CNN and an hour of Fox News this morning. I hate to break it to my conservative friends, but CNN right now sounds much more like the moral compass of the nation than Fox News.

Fifth, racism (not white supremacy) is far bigger of a problem than most of my white, conservative friends are willing to admit. If all your friends are white, and all you watch is Fox News, and all you listen to is Rush Limbaugh, then you are getting a very skewed worldview.

There. I said it. Wake up folks. Get out of your bubble and echo chamber, and sort out the realities before you. There is a place to discuss all of these issues, but this moment in history called for something more than what we received.

 

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Morning Roundup – Monday 11/5

Godspeed by Britt Merrick on Kindle today for FREE. I can’t vouch for this book because I haven’t read it, but it certainly captures my attention. Merrick declares, “You were made for this.” In Godspeed, Britt Merrick challenges us to step out of our little, self-centered lives and step into God’s grand mission—His plan to restore, redeem, and renew the world.

A Prayer for America on Election Day – Al Mohler states, “May God grant us mercy and grace as we seek to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens — and our responsibilities as Christians.  This world is not our home, but we do bear responsibilities as followers of Christ as we are living here.” This is a great article that will help you think about how to pray for our nation.

Four Ways a Woman’s Words Can Give Life – Amanda Edmondson, writing for The Resurgence, “As women, we can live out the call to be life givers at any point in our life regardless of our marital status, number of children, or grandchildren. Be a woman who gives life to those around you in your homes, work places, and churches.”

The Polls Tell us Less Than We Think – Kevin DeYoung writes a helpful article about what the polls tell us. If you haven’t figured it out already, the polls are just too close to call.

Missing the Facts on Obama and Faith – Interesting article here on Obama, faith, and liberal Protestantism.

The Gospel Project – The Stolen Blessing

The Stolen Blessing

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Gospel Project for Kids continued its journey through God’s story by learning about a little sibling rivalry. Any child with a sibling can attest to the struggles that sometimes plague this special relationship. Jacob and Esau were no different. Jacob’s name means “heel grabber,” an apt description of who and what he was.

Esau despised his birthright in favor of some tasty stew that Jacob was making. The birthright was an important right in Hebrew culture, and for Esau to look on it with disdain was contrary to all that it was designed to do. Jacob took advantage of his brother and secured for himself a better familial position.

Jacob is a perfect example of why people need a Savior. He tricked his father into blessing him instead of his brother. Jacob lied and was a devious manipulator to gain something that wasn’t rightfully his. Like Jacob, we seek a birthright and a blessing that don’t belong to us, but we can’t lie, cheat, or deceive in order to gain it. Instead, Jesus shared His birthright and blessing with us when He paid for our sins on the cross and gave us His righteousness.

_________________

I’d like to take a moment to encourage everyone to be intentional about the Gospel Project and discipleship. I have come to the realization that discipleship has to be intentional. If it’s just something you try to do every now and then, it won’t work. Discipleship takes time and commitment. One of the reasons I love the Gospel Project is because it makes that process easy to do. If take the time to do the family journal exercise each week, review the cards, and work on the scripture memory with your kids then you are doing a FANTASTIC job. If you want to take it a step further, and you have an iPad, I would highly encourage you to get the Gospel Project Family App. It is a tremendous blessing, full of activities, videos, and games to help your kids solidify what they are learning.

Keep pressing on, parents and grandparents! The kids NEED you to teach them the Bible!

Blessings,

Jon

The Gospel Project – Week 4 – The Tower of Babel

Dear Parents,

The story of the Tower of Babel helps us understand the devastating effects of sin. Even after God had destroyed all life on earth through the flood and graciously saved Noah’s family and the animals, it wasn’t long before people disobeyed God again.

God instructed Noah to spread out and fill the earth. Instead, people decided it best to settle. Rather than bringing glory to God by following God’s plan, people decided to glorify themselves. They built a tower to make a name for themselves.

God’s plan to populate the earth following the flood could not be sidetracked. When God confused the languages of the people, they were forced to move away from one another and into people groups and nations bound by single languages. Eventually one of these nations would become God’s chosen people. Through the nation of Israel, Christ would come to save the world.

Remember to review those Gospel Project cards, and don’t feel the need to make it something “stiff.” Have fun with the cards. Ask your children questions about them. They soak in a lot more than you might think. I am always amazed at how much my kids are learning and how much they remember.

Also don’t forget that the kids will be singing their songs in the morning church service on Sunday, October 7th. They will review the songs on Wednesday nights at 6:30 at the beginning of RAs and GAs. I hope you all have a great week. I’m praying for you!

Blessings,

Jon

 

The Gospel Project – Week 3 – Noah’s Ark

Dear Parents,

It was another exciting week of The Gospel Project for Kids! God’s gospel story continued this week as boys and girls learned that God is serious about sin. People were sinning so much that God sent a flood to completely destroy all life on earth … all life, that is, except for one man, his family, and a complement of animals.

Noah was a righteous man and God was gracious to him. God gave specific instructions on how Noah was to build an ark that would be used to rescue Noah, his family, and the animals. Noah was obedient to all God commanded.

As the story of Noah unfolds, we see shadows of Jesus. Sin caused separation between God and man, but God had graciously provided a way of salvation for Noah and his family through the ark. Our sin separates us from a holy God, but God provides a way of salvation in the person of Jesus. Also, as Noah’s obedience and God’s grace saved his family and the animals, Jesus’ perfect obedience to God’s plan provides the way of salvation for people. When we trust His act of obedience, we are saved from the punishment our sin deserves.

Remember to review those cards and go over your family journals! In the meantime check out this video released just today on The Gospel Project. You may have seen the first 3 minutes already. If you have, just move forward to the 3 minute mark.

 

Blessings,

Jon

An announcement about The Gospel Project

Dear Parents,
On September 2nd we started a new project for Sunday school called The Gospel Project for Kids. The Gospel Project for Kids is a Christ-centered Bible study resource that follows a chronological timeline of Bible events that presents the story of redemption through Jesus like kids have never seen it before! Each week, these stories are coming to life through video, music, activities, and more.

So far, the kids are loving it, and I hope they are coming home each week talking about The Gospel Project. We have had higher attendance in Sunday school these last two weeks for the children than we have had in two years – exciting days are definitely ahead! Remember to review the Big Picture Question and Answer cards with your kids to help reinforce the lesson at home.

I want to make you aware of one addition to The Gospel Project for Kids and ask for your help as well. On Wednesday nights the kids have always gathered together at 6:30pm for RA’s and GA’s. Each week, beginning September 12th, we will take the first 10 minutes of RA’s and GA’s to help teach the kids the songs they are learning in The Gospel Project. On Sunday morning October 7th, they will present those songs in the morning worship service. Make sure you bring your camera or camcorder to capture that moment!

Now for why I need your help. On October 14th, we are going to have “Bring a Family Sunday” to The Gospel Project. We want as many kids as we can to go through The Gospel Project with us. This requires lots of help and lots of inviting. I would encourage you to ask your children who they might like to invite. Then, invite them AND their family to church on Sunday, October 14th. Following that morning service, we will be taking the kids to a corn maze and pumpkin patch (details TBA). Start thinking now of you would like to invite!

Blessings,

Jon

The Gospel Project – Week 1

Dear Parents,

We are so excited your child was able to join us this week for the kickoff of The Gospel Project for Kids! This week began a three-year chronological study of Scripture. Each week’s study will build upon the previous week, and we can’t wait to help boys and girls discover the big picture of God’s story.

God’s story begins with creation. This week we learned what God made during the six days of creation—from light and stars to birds and people! Everything God made is good. Have you ever wondered why butterflies exist or why the sky explodes with vivid color when the sun sets? The Bible says that all things were created for Jesus (Colossians 1:16-17).

We also found out that God didn’t just create people for no reason. He created people with a purpose: to know, love and glorify Him. Colossians 1:15-22 reveals that Christ is ruler over all of God’s creation. All of creation was created by Him, through Him, and for Him. It’s all about Jesus! Everything was created to give glory to God, but people would choose not to give Him glory. The rest of the Bible reveals how Jesus would restore the relationship between God and man.

Remember to use the cards you were given to review the Big Picture Question and Answer with your kids. These cards are one of my favorite things about The Gospel Project. They will help make remembering their lessons easy, and it will provide the building blocks they need for fully understanding the Bible in its proper context. Also, you should have received a family journal page. The family journal page is just another way to reinforce the lesson.

Finally, I am extremely excited that the kids loved it. I heard several of the kids say they had lots of fun, wanted to stay all the way through big church, and that they can’t wait to come back next week. Invite a friend this week to be a part of The Gospel Project.

Blessings,

Jon

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