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Be Not the Serf and Bondman of Sin

June 15, 2022

Leadership Notes

Ben Nichols, our Director of Music and Worship Arts, and I were touching base this morning. We both could not have enough good things to say about the worshiping life of Covenant Church. And I don't mean our roles in it. We were talking about how worshipful this church is. The singing. The responses to various things that happen in worship. It's clear we are here to give God glory and honor…to proclaim His Holiness. And then, after worship, how so many folks hang around to talk and laugh and share. And that includes these summer Sundays without coffee or Danish! God is blessing our community through you.

I've always admired Gerald Ford. How's that for a segue? Comedians were merciless. But he took it in stride, laughing along with them. He was a reasonable, rational leader. He was the right man for the job after Richard Nixon's resignation. He truly was one of the good guys.

I mention him because I recently read something about President Ford that moved him even higher up the respect ladder. This type of introspection was refreshing from a public figure. Clearly, in politics, elected officials and unelected bureaucrats often reveal the worst in

people. The sinful bent toward authoritarianism is particularly strong. I believe, when we begin digging into our response to Covid-19, some of the conclusions will not be flattering, both to reasonableness and rationality.

Anyway, back to Ford. One of the books I'm reading this summer is, "SURPRISE, KILL, VANISH - The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins," by Annie Jacobsen. It is about the rise of the use of secretive agencies and paramilitary organizations to carry out United States foreign policy objectives. For example, did you know that John F. Kennedy was the first U.S. President to issue an executive order authorizing assassination as a legitimate expression of foreign policy? Ironic, right? There are many unsettling stories about elected politicians and unelected bureaucrats run amok. I try not to get too cynical.

Here's where Gerald Ford fits into all this. Jacobsen tells how Ford, facing foreign policy challenges, received advice from differing views. Some advised him to make sweeping changes in key advisors. Later, Ford expressed regret for taking these actions. "I was angry at myself for showing cowardice in not saying {no} to the ultraconservatives," he said. "It was the biggest political mistake of my life. And it was one of the few cowardly things I did in my life."

We all have done things we regret. How refreshing when we admit that and learn from our mistakes. It's never a bad thing to use those moments from our past to inform our present so we have no reason to regret 1, 10, or more years in the future. I love how, in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, after driven to despair, he returns home, saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

Before this week's Spurgeon quote, here's a gem from Ronald Reagan:

"We don't have inflation because the people are living too well,

we have inflation because the government is living too well."

And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:

Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for

iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures

fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the

soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin.



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