Rest in His Sovereignty

August 25, 2021

Leadership Notes


I am a wee bit cranky at the start of this week, so continue to read at your own risk. The caution flag is up!


For starters, it's been too hot and humid for at least a week, with no end in sight. This isn't supposed to happen as we slide into September. If you like this kind of weather, you need to repent of your sin and buy me a cooler full of my favorite cold beverage as penance.


Okay, now I'm starting to feel a little better.


On a more serious note, as we've shared during prayer time these past two Sundays, what is happening in Afghanistan is heartbreaking. For the sacrifice of life and treasure to come to this end reminds us of our need for affirmations such as this from Psalm 47:8:


God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.


Generations will study these past twenty years of adventure abroad. Was nation building the correct big picture response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001? Consider, first, about the lives lost and shattered. Think about those who returned home battered and broken. Great lamentation wells up in the hearts of God's people. The United States has spent $275,000,000 per day on Afghanistan, for 20 years. Heartbreak piled upon heartbreak.


Sohrab Ahmari is an Iranian-American author, columnist, and editor. He is contributing editor for the New York Post, The Catholic Herald, and columnist for First Things. Nearly a decade ago, he wrote a savage Wall Street Journal review of a book by diplomat and foreign policy writer Richard Haass, in which Haass argued that America had overreached after 9/11 and neglected its domestic hearth. Over the weekend, Ahmari issued a public apology to Haass, saying, "Haass was right. I was wrong." We need more reflection like that in our public discourse.


Perhaps this observation by Milton Friedman fits here:


"One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their

intentions rather than their results."


Perhaps, also, a revisit to President Eisenhower's farewell address might prove helpful. In it, he advocated that the nation guard against the potential influence of the military–industrial complex, a term he is credited with coining. He also expressed concerns about planning for the future and the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending, the prospect of the domination of science through federal funding and, conversely, the domination of science-based public policy by what he called a "scientific-technological elite." In many ways, the man was a visionary.


Finally, the last two things that ground my gears were reports from two disparate polls.


The first, from the Pew Research Center, that nearly half of U.S. adults {48%} now say the government should take steps to restrict false information online, even if it means losing some freedom to access and publish content. That is up from 39% in 2018. How far will this go?


The second is from a Religious Views and Practices Survey. In it, over 60% of people between the ages of 18-39 who self-identify as Christian believe that Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus are all valid paths to salvation. Also, over 30% say they believe that Jesus sinned like any other person on earth or aren't sure.


I think a factor contributing to this trend is the fact that many churches are primarily focused on attracting and keeping a crowd. That means so much of church life, especially worship, is driven by putting on a show. Are pastors consistently teaching solid Biblical theology? It's always a good thing to regularly examine why we worship and how.


In another example of churches losing their focus, the Orange County Register did a story on large nondenominational churches in Southern California pushing hard from Trump-brand Republicanism. Those are churches and pastors who have lost their way.


That's but a sampling of where I have drifted these past several days! I apologize for any burden my crankiness hath wrought. I need to tweak something John Mason wrote several weeks ago:


"{Crankiness} is not a fruit of the Spirit. We have already won.

Even in death. Rest in His sovereignty."


I need stuff like that to set me back on track. And now your Moment of Spurgeon:


We are weak and foolish like sheep; but we have a shepherd wise and

strong, who knows the old lion's wiles, and is more than a match for his

force; therefore we will not fear, but rest in safety in the fold.


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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