Monthly Archives: October 2012

Moral Compass Part 2

Peninsula Community Church

October 21, 2012

Moral Compass for the Voting Booth

 Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

We are hearing much rhetoric about finances and the economic stability of our nation and our families which make up this nation today. We hear about the coming financial cliff if Washington does not respond or react to the issues facing America. We hear of looming tax hikes as a result of the enactment of the Health Care law. We hear of business owners who are closing their doors because they can no longer afford to run their businesses. We hear of business men afraid to hire any new employees because they do not know the future costs associated with running their business as a result of health care costs and new regulations that are being passed every day. We are hearing that Social Security and Medicare may be bankrupt as early as 2034 as reported by the current President’s own cabinet if nothing is done. Unemployment continues to be too high. The total number of people unemployed remains at 23 million people. More people are on food stamps and government programs than ever before. We can add to this the reduction in household income and the rise in prices of food, utilities and gas. And interestingly enough, no one republican or democrat is denying or disputing these claims.

While politicians and economists have much to say about finances, the Bible also has a lot to say and what the Bible says can help to realign our compass so that it is pointed to true North. The Bible serves as a guideline for our living as it is the truth that should guide our moral compass.

Let me share a couple of areas where I see the Bible speaking to our finances.

First of all the Bible calls us to an eternal perspective in regard to our finances. Jesus recognized this truth when He stated that “where you heart is there your treasure will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). What He meant here is that we must recognize that we must be good stewards of what we possess but we will not take any of our possessions with us. Solomon said this about a man’s finances “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)?

But when we have an eternal perspective in regard to our finances we will master our finances but we will be sure and not allow our finances to master us. We will not borrow money we cannot pay back. We will not make investments that our children have to repay. We will recognize how blessed we are and how much God has given us. As a result we will strive to honor God with our finances so that the Kingdom is expanded and grown. Our goal and desire is to make deposits in our heavenly bank where moth, rust and corruption cannot harm them.
The perspective of many in political office is an eternal one but usually is a short term vision that is clouded by the desire to be reelected and to get money pouring into their particular district. But our success as a nation cannot be measured in who gets elected but how we steward the resources and the blessings we have as a nation.

Secondly, we have lost our dependency on God. In the early days of America, story after story has been written about how the settlers to this great nation had to trust almighty God to provide and keep them. But in the early 1900’s there was a shift away a dependency on God to a dependency on government to provide our every need. One of the problems experienced by Americans is that they have borrowed money to live the American dream. America as a nation is no different we either borrow more money or the feds print more money. The problem with borrowing money is that according to scripture we become a slave to the one who holds our debt. Currently, we are nearly 16 trillion in debt and China and Japan holds the largest percentage of that debt. The problem with borrowing money from someone is that the relationship changes rather quickly.
One of the unintended outcomes of our nations move toward welfare is that it has created an entitlement program where men and woman become dependent on its resources for their survival. The fact is this is an issue of trust. Who will we trust to provide our needs? Will we trust God “Who will supply all of my needs in Christ Jesus” or will I trust the government to be my provider. Too many today are trusting the government today as their source of provision.

Thirdly, we have a misguided understanding of who we should help. Helping others in need is an individual responsibility not the governments. In many ways the church has fallen short in its role of providing care. It is interesting to note that the Scriptures have a lot to say about helping others but the emphasis is almost always on the widow and the orphan. Nowhere does scripture justify giving assistance to one is able and capable to work. We have become a lazy and entitlement oriented nation. If you don’t work you don’t eat. In fact scripture says that if you don’t work you don’t eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Let’s look at who we have been called to help from a biblical standpoint. First of the church is called to help the widows and orphans. On several occasions the New Testament points to the need to be sure that the widow and orphan are being cared for. We see this when the disciples ordained deacons to care for the widows who felt that their needs were going unattended. Acts 6:1; James 1:27; and 1 Timothy 5 are examples of this. Beyond that the Bible speaks to families helping families as noted by Deuteronomy 15:7-11.

This does not rule out helping others but the focus of the help was to be on those who could not help themselves. In today’s environment there is no balance in this. I can remember when I first moved to NY I was involved in a refugee resettlement program through our church organization. It was interesting that those families that we settled into a home and a job had a remarkable success at being assimilated into the culture but for some who could not find jobs they were forced onto welfare and the result is that many of them never fully acclimated into their surroundings because they were now depend on the government to provide for

Let me say this I am offended by some who would use the Bible to justify giving money to those who do not deserve and have the ability to work for themselves.

And finally, we lack an attitude of contentment and thankfulness. We have been deceived into thinking that the way to satisfy our desires is to borrow more and more money to get what we don’t need for our immediate survival. We have a false idea that borrowing more money and spending more is the way to achieve greatness. The problem is that we borrow more so that we end up spending more not to reduce our debt but to feel secure.

This attitude is at the basis of the entitlement society in which we live. We feel we are entitled to a free education, free phones, free medical, free college and so on and so forth. But the fact is nothing is free it will cost someone something along the way. But we are reaching a point where more people are taking benefits than those who are paying into the system and when that happens we are in trouble.

I recently talked with someone who was in the Navy who related a story to me of a friend of theirs who had been late to work so many times that he staged getting beat up to avoid the consequences of another tardiness. But, if that is not the end of the story, that person is filing a claim for disability from the Navy because they have a provision that if you received a concussion while in the service you are entitled for this benefit. He staged a fight, stated at the hospital that he had passed out, the doctors diagnosed him with a concussion and now he is applying for disability.

To get back to the verse we used this morning when all is said and done who do you trust to provide for you. Do you trust God? Have you given yourself fully to Him? If not you can today. Just this week I was reading a book about evangelistic preaching and the author of the text make a great statement. He stated “The Good News is not just about getting saved but it is about living the saved life.” So how is your trust level? The fact is no matter who is elected this fall they will disappoint and fail us. But the government is not our savior. The government is not the answer to all of our woes only God can be that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Moral Compass to Guide You in The Voting Booth

Peninsula Community Church

Moral Compass To Live By – Unmovable Foundations

October 14, 2012

Text: Psalms 11:3 … if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Psalms 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

As I was preparing for this message I remembered that in the mid 60’s and early 70’s I attended a church that taught the congregation that they should not buck the system and that religion and politics should not be mixed. The result was that prayer was taken from the schools; abortion became legal, and the origination of the current debate on the sanctity of marriage was begun all while many in the church remained silent and disengaged. But we can and should change that today.

I want to say to you that truth is only the moral compass that will lead us in the right direction. As believers, we must remember our faith and our sacred duty under that faith when we cast our vote in November. The separation of Church and State can never mean that the Church must remain silent on issues of faith and morals at the heart of government policy. Faithful citizens must not check their religion at the door to the voting booth. Your faith must be your guiding light and your moral compass as you cast your vote. Your vote gives you tremendous power. You have the ability to help preserve life, the family, and freedom. This is a tremendous power, and it comes with tremendous responsibility.

As we begin to take a look at the moral compass that should guide our decisions in the voting booth, I want to make a couple of comments. First of all the election of the right person into office is not going to change the face of America overnight. It will help chart a course for a better future but the election in itself is not the answer.

This brings me to my second observation and that is as believers we must do our part to make the gospel an integral part of how decisions are made. That means that we must allow the gospel to be the ruling authority over our lives again. It is only as believers allow the gospel to rule that we will see significant changes. This is in keeping with 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God calls His people to prayer, confession and repentance.

And this brings me to my third observation. When we begin to discuss the issue of politics I recognize that in a setting like this that there is no doubt a divergence of views and ideas about who should be elected and why. I am sure that if we polled this group in a way where everyone’s response would be kept private that we would indeed have varying views and sometimes about the same person or ideology.

In the first passage we read, David speaks to an issue that is prevalent in every generation but it seems to be more pronounced in some generations than other. It is my belief that we are living in such a time where the very foundations of our society and culture have lost their moorings and need to be realigned with God’s design and purpose.

It is a tragic thing for the foundation of a building to begin to crumple because it will not be too far down the road that the building on which it is built will begin to feel the impact of that crumbling foundation.

In Psalm 89:14 David reminds us that the foundation of God’s throne is righteousness and justice. When these two characteristics are diminished we are in for changes that will effect generations to come.

We will also note that Psalms 11 begins with the premise that we must trust in God and once we lose trust in a Sovereign, creating and loving God we have begun a spiral away from God’s intentions and therefore our foundations will be shaken.

You might ask how the foundation of America is being impacted. I propose the following:

  • Tolerance VS intolerance – we must accept everyone’s sin and belief system with judgment but too often those that want us to be tolerant of them are not very tolerant of us.
  • Religious pluralism – today every religious belief has equal footing and there is the belief that all religions help us arrive at a new state of consciousness or gets us to heaven but we know as believers that there is only one way to heaven and that is through Christ.
  • Privatizing of religion – there is a move afoot to privatize religion. You can be religious but do so on your own time. There is a separation of the sacred and the secular but the fact is we never stop being a Christian.
  • Shift of morals to values – today we one’s perspective as being more valuable than one’s moral footing. Morals never change while what one values change from day to day and from situation to situation.
  • Entitlement mindset VS work ethic – at one time America’s strength was its work ethic. Men settled the west and farmed the land but today we have a mindset that we are entitled something for nothing.

 Through scripture we know that it is God that established governments to protect and lead in righteousness but governments can err and compromise its moral integrity (Romans 13) but we also know that we can affect the future and change the course of our nation by exercising the right and privilege we have to vote.

  • Vote our conscience
  • Vote intelligently
  • Vote Biblically
  • Vote Prayerfully

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized