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It's a Beautiful Day!

June 21, 2023

Leadership Notes


Greetings on this first day of summer. Wherever we find ourselves, it is a beautiful day. There’s much to look forward to. Vacation travels. 4th of July. Vacation Bible School. The rhythms of the natural year remind us of the joy and wonder of God’s creation. He is good all the time.


Begging your indulgence {BTW, did you hear about the contrarian who lost all his money? Now he has to beg to differ…}, I’m going to wax patriotic. It is almost America’s celebration of independence.


From the beginning, let me firmly establish that I am not a Christian nationalist. As Gillian Richards points out in an article published by The Heritage Foundation, the definition of that phrase is very hard to nail down. Let’s just say, I’m not one.


I’m also neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I identify as Libertarian. Drilling down deeper, I embrace old-fashioned classical liberalism. That’s probably more about my secular worldview than you care to or want to know, but a little transparency rarely hurts.


In order, I love God, my family, and my country. Our form of government and economic system do the most for most people most of the time. In a fallen world {cf. original sin}, we have the best that an imperfect world can offer.


I was chatting with someone the other day about the many economic and social challenges our country faces. I continue to be a firm believer in the kindness, creativity, hard work, and generosity of most Americans, most of the time. It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House or what party is driving Congress, Americans get things done. Most of us, most of the time, do it for faith, family, and commitment to the American ideal. We are gritty, resourceful, and optimistic.


Fifteen days ago, we remembered the selfless sacrifice of the men and women who were part of D-Day, June 6, 1944. That is a powerful representation who the American people are. If I had my way, the entire month of June would be dedicated to honoring and celebrating what they did and what their sacrifice represents. But that’s just me.


In that same vein, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan, in a speech delivered in West Berlin, said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Another great moment in June history.


Here’s the thing. I’m not proud of my country. The same goes for my family. I love my family, and I’d do anything for my family, and I thank God every day for the gift of my family. The same goes for my country. I do my utmost to give the best for my family and nation. But do I take pride in them? That’s a dangerous direction. God’s grace and mercy keep us true to ourselves as we strive to be the best we can be for family and nation.


I love what Proverbs 16:18 says:


“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”


In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis made this keen observation:


“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost

evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that,

are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the

devil became the devil:

Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of

mind…… it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in

every nation and every family since the world began.”


There is great responsibility that comes with being citizens of these united states. We are stewards of this gift from God. Freedom is a gift from God. It is protected and defended by the Constitution of the United States. We must be forever diligent in its pursuit.


Antonio Gramsci is considered by many to be the father of Cultural Marxism. He wrote this in 1935:


“Socialism is precisely that religion that must overwhelm Christianity…In

the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via

infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming

the consciousness of society.”


As we approach July 4, may we remember the sacrifice of those who cherished freedom.

And as strangers living in this strange land, may we reflect in our lives what Paul says in Romans 12:1-3:


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s

mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing

to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to

the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of

your mind. Then you

will be able to test and approve what God’s

will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think

of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of

yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God

has distributed to each of you.


There will only be perfection in the life to come. For now, we do our best to have an impact for Christ in our little corner of God’s world. With liberty, freedom, and justice for all.


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard


And no, I did not forget. Here is your Moment of Spurgeon:


“David and Jonathon were not more closely friends than Christ

and the believer, when the believer lives near to his Lord. Never

seek the friendship of the world, nor allow your love to the

creature to overshadow your friendship with Christ.”

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