Kingdom Come.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

You hear a lot of talk these days of the desire for Christ to build His kingdom here. But I believe it has just become a shallow proclamation and just a phrase christians say and do not know what it really means. Stumbling blocks are stacking up on each other around every corner and it looks as if this world has no hope. This culture seems to be the most godless in modern history and the church idly sits by fighting battles, that are  rooted in spirituality, with carnal weapons while it happens.

The church should stop pretending it has any significant influence on today’s culture. Mostly because the modern church looks and acts more like a political party or lobby group than it does a divinely led institution. Instead of showing love in situations we sputter out party talking points or regurgitate political rhetoric we have learned from our favorite talking head. Far too often ministers are calling for more political action than they are for corporate prayer. But Jesus never encouraged legislative means for a Godly end. You never saw an instance in scripture where the apostles picketed, boycotted, campaigned against (or for) the folly of the Roman government; even under bitter persecution. It seems Christians enthusiastically support almost every government mandate from wars to social engineering, especially under a Republican administration. The calls from pulpits for soldiers to invade the Middle-East are louder than the calls for missionaries to go. But the United States military is not God’s army and the President, regardless of party affiliation, is not God’s general. At election time you see ministers very publicly endorsing their candidate of choice regardless of the candidates voting record, religion, or moral failures. It seems many pastors today are pimps, whoring out the church to a political party or pet cause. The church is seen by the non-Christians as just a voting block or a Political Action Commitee. The sad reality is you will NEVER legislate your idea of morality or boycott someone into Heaven. We are failing future generations by being known more for what we hate than what we love, and being known more for what we are against than we are for.

“Heavenly places” occurs five times in the book of Ephesians. He has called us to heavenly places far above the things of this world. Ephesians 2:6 says, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The death of Jesus is the death of our old nature. Christ’s resurrection is our resurrection and His ascension is our legal access to heavenly places! We should be invading this culture with a standard of holiness. We should not try and achieve Godly ends through worldly means. We are so quick to support knee-jerk reactions to situations that can only be dealt with by the Holy Spirit through prayer. Jesus Christ gives us our blueprint of prayer in Matthew with the Lord’s prayer. He begins with “Your Kingdom Come.” We are to begin our prayers by acknowledging His will…not with self indulgence and selfish desires. If we desire His kingdom here then His kingdom business should be a way of life. We should be dwelling in heavenly places and projecting His kingdom from there to here. We should be foreigners invading the culture, but, more often times than not, the culture has invaded the church. It appears we are losing a battle that has already been won.

Your kingdom come oh Lord!

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Would Jesus Drop An Atomic Bomb?

The old cliche is true; history really does repeat itself. And so, the wars roll on. With each generation humanity travels much of the same old road. The mistakes and atrocities of each generation seem to disappear in the annals of time with subsequent generations failing to learn or choosing to ignore, for whatever reason, the mistakes of their fathers. This Saturday, August 9, is the anniversary for the lesser discussed, and often forgotten, bombing on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. Nagasaki was the second city in two equally barbaric and aggressive atomic bombings on defenseless civilian populations that took the war torn Japanese people to the brink of extinction and further crippled their fascist government.

The original target was the city of Kokura, not Nagasaki. Kokura, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki had been mostly spared from the US bombing raids that burned nearly sixty other Japanese cities to the ground. The reason for mostly excluding these cities from conventional bombings was to see the affects on undamaged buildings with living inhabitants when an atomic bomb, the world’s first WMD, was exploded. In effect, the atomic bombings in Japan were nothing short of a nuclear science experiment.

On the morning of August 9, 1945 a bomber called Bockscar, with an all Christian crew, took off from Tinian Island and had been blessed by the prayers of several Christian chaplains. The crew was instructed to drop the bomb through visually siting the city but upon arrival to Kokura the cloud cover was so dense that the crew headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki. Most historians estimate the death toll in Nagasaki at 50,000. Children playing in the streets and innocent men and women were instantly vaporized while others that survived the initial blast lived to develop excruciating diseases and cancers. Tens of thousands suffered from radiation poisoning and chromosomal defects. One eyewitness account from a lady who survived the attack recalled a horrifying experience as two figures, what she thought were lizards, crawled on the hillside where she found shelter. It turns out they were two survivors who had their skin flash burned from their bodies. The hell dropped from the sky that morning is unimaginable, even in nightmares.

Nagasaki had the largest concentration of Christians along with the largest cathedral in the entire Orient. The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier had established a mission church there in 1549 and the Christian community flourished for several generations. Unfortunately, around sixty years after Xavier founded the mission the Japanese government began persecution of the burgeoning community. They were tortured, murdered, and even crucified. The faith was all but extinguished. But was it?

In the 1850s, unbeknownst to the government, it was realized there were thousands of Christians in Nagasaki covertly practicing their faith. This rekindled another round of persecution, but due to international pressure the abuse stopped and the church emerged triumphant, even building a massive church building named St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Christians onboard Bockscar, when making visual conformation on the city, recognized their target by identifying the cathedral.

At 11:02 in the morning, the entire Nagasaki Christian community was annihilated by a Christian crew on behest of a Christian nation. The Japanese tried for 200 years to stamp out Christianity in their pagan nation; and what they could not do, American Christians did in less than a minute.

So I ask you, would Jesus Christ drop an atomic bomb?

Jesus Christ The God of War?

The American Christian church has a war fever. It is a cheerleader for every undeclared, illegal, immoral, preemptive, and unjust war the US government or its allies involves itself in. This seems to be one issue that crosses denominational boundaries and unites the modern church. Instead of praying for peace, church leaders and lay-persons are unilaterally praying for a swift and deadly defeat for every “foe” at the end of the American saber at any cost. The church collective is even far more supportive of sending troops to the Middle-East than they are missionaries. There are Christian populations in the Middle-East that have been free to worship since Christ walked the earth that are now being eradicated, prosecuted, tortured, and silenced as a direct result of U.S. interventionist foreign policy, with the full support of the American church.

The church will often justify every posture of US foreign policy by referencing Old Testament scripture. But the American military is not God’s Army and the Commander and Chief, regardless of party affiliation, is NOT God’s appointed Priest. An anonymous Baptist preacher from the 1800’s said it this way: “It should be remembered, that in no case, even under the Old Testament, was war appointed to decide doubtful questions, or to settle quarrels, but to inflict national punishment. They were intended, as are pestilence and famine, to chastise nations guilty of provoking God. Such is never the pretext of modern war; and if it were, it would require divine authority, which, as has just been said, would induce even members of the Peace Society to fight.”

The same Christians singing “Build Your Kingdom Here” are the most boisterous protagonists for every conflict. We are ambassadors for Christ on earth called to invade the world, not with tanks and bullets, but with the glorious Gospel that Jesus Christ is Lord. In His kingdom there is no war or death, so we should not advocate it here. Jesus said to let His Father’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We live in the age of grace not under the old law. Give me one, just one example in the New Testament of an instance Jesus Christ advocated, encourages, or promotes war. The Baptist minister further wrote: War “contradicts the genius and intention of Christianity,” “sets at nought the example of Jesus,” and “is inconsistent not only with the general structure and nature of Christianity and the example of Jesus, but it violates all the express precepts of the New Testament.”

The message of peace and the compassion for those lost should not be a difficult or confusing truth to embrace but the church is far more willing to believe American media than they are the timeless truths of God’s Word. So let the horror of war burn in your soul the next time the media mentions “collateral damage” which is simply newsspeak for innocent men, women, children, and YOUR brothers and sisters in Christ being bombed, maimed, and murdered.

In Romans 14:17-19 the Living Word says: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” If we are Christians and Christian means to be Christ-like then we should emulate Christ the peacemaker and stop cheerleading and electing the politicians and governments who send other people’s children to kill and be killed in war. We should pray for governments to seek peaceful ends not violent recourse on behest of lobbyists with the blind support of the church.

My prayer is that my brothers and sisters in Christ come to a true revelation of the Gospel of our Lord and they come to know Jesus Christ for who he is;
The Prince of Peace not The God of War.