John Stonestreet addresses the issue that change is coming to Chistians in America

by Richard Rose 11. January 2013 03:29

Has the Time Come?
Hobby Lobby and the HHS Mandate

John Stonestreet
January 11, 2013

Earlier this month, Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned arts-and-crafts retailer with 500 stores and 13,000 employees nationwide, announced that it would not comply with the HHS mandate.

By doing so, the company has subjected itself to fines that could amount to a staggering $1.3 million a day.

Chuck Colson warned that the day would come when Christians would have to choose between the dictates of their faith and obeying the government.

And he was right.

As we’ve previously described on Breakpoint, the HHS mandate forces employers to fully subsidize services for their employees that, for many, violate deeply held convictions. Although the media has chosen to focus exclusively on the contraception side of the mandate, under the regulations, employers must also provide coverage for sterilization and abortifacients, such as Plan B, the “morning-after pill,” and Ella, the so-called “week after pill.”

Paying for these abortion-inducing drugs is what Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, object to. They’ve endeavored to run their business on Christian principles, including Sunday closures, treating employees fairly, and honoring the sanctity of life. Paying for abortifacients definitely violates those principles.

So they filed a lawsuit against HHS but, unlike plaintiffs in ten other cases, including other businesses, they were denied an injunction. While appealing the denial, they had to choose between complying with the law or refusing to comply and accepting the consequences. To their credit, they’ve chosen the latter.

But what do we need to know in light of this? Well, given the trajectory of our culture, the kind of choice the Green family was forced to make is inevitable for the rest of us too, regardless of who occupies the White House or controls Congress. This was spelled out in the Manhattan Declaration. When it spoke of the “decline in respect for religious values” in the law, it anticipated that non-compliance may be required of those of us who claim Christ.

For Hobby Lobby, that time has come. It may be the first Christian-run institution to choose non-compliance with the HHS mandate, but barring a change in the law, it won’t be the last. This weekend, we’re offering a full update on the issue on BreakPoint this Week. The show features Matt Bowman from the Alliance Defending Freedom and Emily Hardman of the Beckett Fund. Listen on radio, or by coming to BreakPoint.org and clicking on this commentary.

But let’s be clear: non-compliance won’t be limited to the HHS mandate. This is the post-Christian America that Francis Schaeffer, Chuck Colson and many others predicted. For many—not all, but many American Christians, this is new and unsettling territory. We’ve become used to a society that, while officially non-sectarian, paid homage to most of their beliefs and values, even if it didn’t always live by them.

As Alexis de Tocqueville put it, “Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

This has made choosing between God and Caesar unnecessary, unless, as the struggles of the Civil Rights movement showed, you were African-American.

One of the consequences of this close identification was that, for many American Christians, our sense of identity was more shaped by our nation than by our place in the body of Christ. We conceived of ourselves as Christian Americans instead of American Christians.

Now this is in the process of changing. It’s challenging, even painful. And let me be clear: We’re not to give up on America by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve heard far too much despair from Christians since November, as if the Kingdom of God was dependent on the American ballot box.

We’re called to live faithfully and courageously today; to love our neighbor and our country. And the best way to do that is to remember that we first and foremost belong to Christ. And therein, and only therein, lies the hope that gives us the courage for the tough decisions ahead.


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Thoughts on World View from Eric Metaxas

by Richard Rose 8. January 2013 04:41

Not Sermons but Stories
Engaging in Culture the Right Way

Eric Metaxas
January 08, 2013

If you’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia, you know they are loaded with Christian themes and symbols. That’s why many assume that C. S. Lewis wrote them in order to send some kind of Christian message.

But Lewis himself insisted otherwise. The tales, he said, started as a series of pictures that came into his mind and set his imagination working. The result was not sermons, but stories—beautiful stories loved by believers and non-believers alike for decades.

There’s a lesson in here for all of us. Conservative Christians today often feel alienated from the larger society, and for good reason. The vast majority of the stories that permeate our culture are told by people whose worldview is diametrically opposed to ours. We can hardly watch a TV show or read a magazine without seeing ourselves portrayed as villains, and our cultural opponents held up as the epitome of righteousness.

And it’s not hard to see the political impact stories have on our fellow Americans. As National Review Online recently put it: “The fact is, it’s easier to sell a political narrative to America when it comports with the cultural narrative we see and hear every day.”

NRO’s solution was for cultural conservatives to start taking back the culture by telling and promoting stories of our own. They argue that we can’t “keep ignoring the importance of story.”

And that much is true. But we have to be careful that we understand what stories really are, and why people tell them.

Which brings us back to Lewis and Narnia. Remember that Lewis didn’t tell stories to push an agenda. His stories grew naturally out of his worldview, and because he was a gifted storyteller, they expressed that worldview beautifully.

As Alex Wainer explains in a recent article at BreakPoint.org, this is true of all the best-told stories. We may be tempted to think that secularist celebrities went into show business simply to indoctrinate the public; many of them certainly act like that.

But that is not the case. Wainer writes, “Entertainers often work from childhood to develop [their] talents, and go through years of arduous dues-paying . . . [and] rejection, working menial jobs while pursuing endless auditions and practicing their craft.”

For the most popular artists and entertainers today—just as it was for Lewis—their art grows naturally out of their worldview. It just so happens that today, we have far fewer C. S. Lewises and far more Jon Stewarts.

This is why conservative Christians need to be wary of engaging in cultural efforts just to push a message. As Wainer reminds us, “Jon Stewart knows comedy in his bones; he happens to be liberal . . . but he mainly wants to make people laugh. When conservatives start telling stories to express their ideology, they have missed the motive that will sustain them through the years of … setbacks common to anyone in the entertainment industry.” And audiences will know the difference—and stay away.

Christians produced great art and culture for centuries, and we can do it again. But there are no shortcuts. The church needs to teach its members a strong and consistent Christian worldview, and then support and encourage those with artistic gifts to pursue their calling.

Please, come to BreakPoint.org and read Alex Wainer’s article, “Creating a Conservative Counterculture: Harder than it sounds.”

Re-shaping the culture is a noble goal. But our first goal should be to be so soaked in the Christian faith and worldview that the stories we tell—and the lives we live—will naturally speak of the beauty, and goodness and love of Christ


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Happy New Year

by Richard Rose 4. January 2013 01:32

Well, I hope your New Year started off well. We didn't go over the "fiscal cliff", at least not yet. And 2013 is rolling along already. I started out with a mild case of pnemonia which has slowed me down this week, but I am on the road to recovery and excited about what God will have for us this year. We are having new Members classes on January 13 & 20 with new members being received on January 27th during the second service. Attending the class will help folks better understhand church membership and decide if Dover Alliance is the right fit for them so I encourage all who have not joined to attend the classes. Please let me know if you will be coming so that I can plan accordingly. The classes will be in the GYM during the Sunday School hour 9:15 - 10:15 and both classes are required although we will work with you if you would like to join but have a conflict.



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Razi Zacharias on the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut

by Richard Rose 19. December 2012 06:17

I appologize for not being present recently, but my intent is to do better as the New Year begins. A friend emailed this to me this morning and I felt it to be something worthy of sharing.

Dear Friend,

The tragedy that shookNewtown,Connecticut, and indeed the entire nation, defies analysis. What must have gone on in the mind of this young man for him to walk into a school of little children and wreak such devastating carnage numbs the soul. At the same time this was happening, I was under the surgeon’s blade for minor surgery. When I left the recovery room and returned home, among the first pieces of news on my phone was the news of this mass killing. Something within me hoped that I was still not clear-headed, but I knew deep inside that I was reading an unfolding story of horror and tragedy. What does one say? What is even appropriate without violating somebody’s sacred space and their right to scream in protest?

I am a father and a grandfather. I simply cannot fathom the unbearable weight within a parent’s or grandparent’s heart at such a personal loss. It has often been said that the loss of a child is the heaviest loss to bear. I have no doubt that those parents and grandparents must wonder if this is real or simply a terrifying nightmare. My heart and my prayers are for them and, indeed, for the family of the assassin. How his father will navigate through this will be a lifelong journey.

When a mass-killer like this ends by taking his own life, there is an even deeper sense of loss. Everyone wants to know, “Why?” Not that the answer would soften the blow but it would at least give some clue, some release to speak, to hear, to try to work through. But all we are left with is twenty-eight funerals and lifelong grief. To all of those who have suffered such loss, may the Lord carry you in His strength and bear you in your grief. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

My own attempt at saying something here is feeble but carries a hope that somebody listening will make this world a better place. My heart goes back to Angola Prison inBaton Rougewhere I met such people whose savagery took them to that destination. It was interesting to see a Bible in every cell and to hear many talk of how it had become their only means of life and hope. Someone with me said, “If we had more Bibles in our schools maybe we would need less of them here.” To the skeptic and the despiser of belief in God, I know what they will respond. I am quite convinced that the one who argues against this ends up playing God and is ultimately unable to defend any absolutes. Hate is the opposite of love and while one breathes death, the other breathes life. That is what we need to be addressing here. The seeds of hate sooner or later bear fruit in murder and destruction. Killers are not born in a moment. Deep beneath brews thinking and the animus that in a moment is uncorked. We are living in a society that nurtures hate on many sides with the result that lawlessness triumphs.

Even in ideal settings, killing can take place. Murder began in the first family when a brother could not stand the success of his sibling. The entire history of the Middle East–five millennia–is a tale of two brothers. Centuries of killing has not settled the score. Maybe in Adam Lanza’s case we will find a deep psychological reason behind what he did. But that does not diminish the reality that there lurks many a killer whose moment will come and the nation will be brought to tears again. We can almost be certain of that. Yes, we can discuss all the symptomatic issues—security, gun control, early detection signs, and so on. These are all worthy of discussion. But it’s always easier to deal with the symptoms rather than with the cause.

I wish to share what I think we must address or we head down the slope to a precipitous edge of brutality. The fiscal cliff is tame by comparison to the moral devastation ahead if we do not recognize the malady for what it is. Hate is the precursor to murder. Jesus made that very clear. Playing God is the dangerous second step where we feel we are the ultimate judge of all things and that we have the right to level the score.

Here, I would like to address our political leaders and media elite: You may personally have the moral strength to restrict your ideas to mere words but many who listen to you do not. To take the most sacred privilege of democracy and transform it into the language of aggression plays right into the hands of hate-mongers. This is not the language of a civil society or of wise leadership. It is not the ethos of a culture of co-existence. It is not the verbal coinage with which we can spend our way into the future. Our political rhetoric is fraught with division, hate, blame, and verbal murder. Our young are listening. Remember that what you win them with is what you win them to.

As for the entertainment world, what does one even say at a time like this? Calling for gun control and then entertaining the masses with bloodshed is only shifting the locus from law to entertainment. Do our entertainers ever pause to ask what debased values emerge from their stories? The death of decency is audible and visible in what passes as movie entertainment and political speech. This is the same culture that wishes to take away Nativity scenes and Christmas carols from our children. God is evicted from our culture and then He is blamed for our carnages.Americais lost on the high seas of time, without chart or compass. The storms that await us will sink this nation beyond recognition if we do not awaken to the rapid repudiation of the values that shaped this nation. The handwriting is on the wall. Freedom is not just destroyed by its retraction. It is destroyed even more painfully by its abuse.

There is one more thing. It is so obvious but is seldom ever addressed. All these recent mass murders have been done by men. Many of them young men, yes, even mere boys. Jonesboro, Columbine, Virginia Tech, nowNewtown. Is there something within our culture that doesn’t know how to raise strength with dignity and respect? Is this how boys are meant to be? From bloodletting in hockey games while thousands cheer to savagery in school shootings while thousands weep, we must ask ourselves what has gone wrong with us men? Where are the role models in the home? Is knocking somebody down the only test left for strength? Is there no demonstration now of kindness, gentleness, courtesy, and respect for our fellow human beings? One young man on death row in Angola Prison told me that he started his carnage as a teenager. Now in his thirties with the end of the road in sight, he reached his hand out to me and asked me to pray with him. Life was lost at the altar of power and strength.

The Bible only speaks of one remedy for this: the transformation of the heart by making Christ the center. Those who mock the simplicity of the remedy have made evil more complex and unexplainable. Every heart has the potential for murder. Every heart needs a redeemer. That is the message of Christmas. The world took that child and crucified Him. But by his triumph over death He brings life to our dead souls and begins the transformation within. Unto us a child is born and He shall save us from our sins.

Before the first murder was committed, the Lord said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” To gain mastery over sin there is only one way. Just as Victoria Soto put herself in the way so that the children in her class might live, Jesus Christ put himself in the way that we all might live. That is the beginning of the cure for us as individuals and as a nation. All the laws in the world will never change the heart. Only God is big enough for that.
 
Ravi Zacharias

RaviZacharias


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Post Election Thoughts

by Richard Rose 9. November 2012 01:08

Last night, I was able to attend  an Eric Mataxas event in Cleveland with some of our church family and about 1400 others from the area. Eric is the man who wrote  the book "Bonhoeffer" you have heard me mention. His primary topic was the Bonhoeffer book, but he tied in thoughts from one of his previous books, "Wilberforce" and other pertinent information. The take away I want to leave with you this morning is that God is still on His throne even after the election. It may not have turned out like you would have liked, but God hasn't forgotten us. Eric's talk on the life of William Wilberfoce, a man who literally changed the world, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who fought against Hitler, reminded me that the role of the church may be changing a bit in America. It may begin to cost us more to maintain our religious freedom if that is important to us, and it certainly should be. Are we willing to seek God concerning our role in keeping religious freedom alive in America, which has certainly been challenged by Mr. Obama and his administration in the past four years and may get worse in the days to come. Eric sees tremendous parallels between what is happening in America today and what happened in Germany as Hitler and the Nazi party took over. Something to think about. Let me hear from you.



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Mike Huckabee's thoughts

by Richard Rose 31. October 2012 10:03

Dear Friend,

You and I both know the upcoming elections are critical and getting pro-life and pro-family voters engaged and to the polls in large numbers will determine the outcome.

I firmly believe our very republic is in danger. Those of us who love liberty must rally together for a better future that does not include Barack Obama as President.

For four years, we've given a chance to a man with very limited experience in governing, no experience in business whatsoever and since taking office, mostly interested in campaigning, blaming and aiming excuses at his predecessor, the Republicans and people in business. We've stagnated into an economy that has taken all that hope right down the slope and has left millions without jobs. Our neighbors have been forced out of their homes by foreclosure and herded into dependency.

We must never forget that Barack Obama supports changing the definition of marriage, believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb, even beyond the womb. And he tells people of faith that they have to bow their knees to the God of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls, health care.

You joined with me on August 1 for "Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.” We grew an idea into an event where the silent majority came forward and stood together in support of free speech. Today, I am asking that these same Americans, and their friends and family rally together once again for America. The goal is simple: Let's stand together and vote together on Election Day. We stood in line for a chicken sandwich. Now we need to stand in line to vote and keep this country from falling further towards socialism.

Let's make this viral. Make it your own platform—not mine. Please share this email with your personal networks of friends and family. It is important that we show how unified we are in this mission so that we can’t be dismissed as only a few.

To commit your vote on Election Day visit my website here. Over 50,000 patriots already have committed their votes and we are adding thousands of supporters by the hour. Our goal is to identify at least 500,000 voters by Election Day. So your help is needed to grow 50,000 into 500,000 voters.

The President has asked America for four more years. I say enough is enough. Let's vote him out. Our Vote Decides!

Sincerely,

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Mike Huckabee



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Who to vote for.

by Richard Rose 27. October 2012 03:34

One of our members forwarded this link to me. It is a message by Dr. David Jeremiah which I encourage all of you to watch before you vote on Novmember 6.

http://vimeo.com/52163082



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Prayer for the upcoming Elections

by Richard Rose 17. October 2012 03:13

This is from Eric Metaxis on Today's Breakpoint.

Twenty Days to Go
Fasting and Praying for America

Eric Metaxas
October 17, 2012


Back on September 27, my colleague John Stonestreet told you on BreakPoint that I would be fasting and praying for 40 days prior to the elections.

And, I have been. Have you? I want to urge you to join me in praying for our nation.

Let me remind you how this came about. I was about to address a conference in Castle Rock, Colorado, when a keen awareness came upon me that I should invite the audience to join me in fasting and prayer.

Folks, that kind of awareness does not come upon me often. I’m convinced it was the Lord.

So I invited the attendees to pray and fast with me. And I launched a Facebook page so folks could sign up to let me know that they’re in. If you come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary; I’ll link to you to the Facebook page. Or of course, you can always come to ericmetaxas.com where there’s more information, and that will also link you to the Facebook page.

I cannot emphasize enough how important I think this is. As I tour the country, I speak a lot about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In his day, Bonhoeffer pleaded with the Church to wake up—to understand the times. And he pleaded with the Church to be the Church. And being the Church means more than going to a worship service on Sunday, and it means more than believing a certain way. It means living out our faith, putting our beliefs into action.

And the first action should always be turning to God in prayer. Or, as Chuck Colson used to say, “getting on our knees.”

Do you believe 2 Chronicles 7:14, that if God’s people will “humble themselves” and seek God’s face “and turn from their wicked ways,” that God “will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”? If you do, please pray.

I hear from so many Christians who are discouraged about the direction our country is going in, and who are so fed up with politics, or who simply wring their hands and say, “What can we do?”

Well, do you believe with Paul in Philippians that we should not “be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,” that we should “present our requests to God”?

Do you believe that? Do you believe what the Word of God says? If we’re to be the people of God then we must believe the Word of God. And believing the Word of God in this case means praying. So please pray.

Now of course, I’m not going to tell you how to pray or how often to pray, and I certainly don’t want to tell you how to fast. That of course is between you and the Lord. But please take a moment and think about this. Make a commitment that you can keep to pray and to fast in some way for the next twenty days as we approach these incredibly important elections. Folks, that’s the least we as the Church can do.

And then, if you would, let me know you’re praying and fasting or how. Go to BreakPoint.org again and follow the link to my Facebook page or go to ericmetaxas.com.

Ultimately, when we commit to this kind of prayer, we are telling God and showing God and affirming to each other where and in Whom we are placing our trust for the future of our land. We will not trust in “horses and chariots,” we will not place our hope and trust in the political process, or in our favorite candidate or political party. We will be involved in politics, but we will not make an idol of politics. We, the Church, the body of Christ, must and will place our hope and our trust “in the name of the Lord Our God” (Psalm 20:7).

And we will pray that God will bless His Church, and will bless this our country where He has placed us, for His purposes—so that we will be a blessing to the rest of the world.



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Who to vote for!

by Richard Rose 12. October 2012 07:01

Last Sunday I preached a message on how to discern the will of God and applied it to the upcoming election. I outlined 5 steps that were shared with me by David Chotka from Canada at our Central District Conference a few weeks ago, on how to do that. The steps are to Know the Word of God, Listen for the Witness of the Spirit of God, Get the counsel of other Workers of God, Worship God in the process, and finally Do the Will of God. In this message (Posted under Sermons), I mentioned that the Democratic party has adopted a "platform" that contains several elements that are clearly contrary to the Word of God. I received a You Tube video clip this week of Rev. E. W. Jackson addressing the Press Club in September shortly after the Democratic National Convention. In the video clip, he calls all Christians, Jews, and blacks to leave the Democratic Party because of their clear stance against the Word of God and Biblical morals. I believe this should certainly be something that all of us should consider as we go to the polls. If the Democratic Platform is clearly against the Bible on several points (Same sex marriage, homosexuality, abortion, etc.) shouldn't everyone considering voting for a Democratic candidate find out where the individual candidate stands on the issues? I believe we should. Check it out a be much in prayer for the upcoming election.



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Encouragement for the Day

by Richard Rose 4. September 2012 03:57

As we move into another Fall season of Church activities and programs, I am excited to watch God work in our hearts and lives. At times we may feel as if our lives aren't making a difference, but it it good to be reminded that by investing in people and programs with a view of introducing them to Christ or helping them to understand Him better is no small matter. As Christ followers we have a head start on those who have not yet come to understand events within a biblical world view. The more time we spend praying, studying His Word, fellowshipping and learning in church, etc., the better prepared we are to answer the questions people may ask us.

Not too long ago I was asked what happens to people when they die. That is a great question and it allowed me to talk about God's promise of eternal life to those who will follow Him in relationship and obedience. It also gave me the opportunity to speak about those who chose not to: the Bible proclaims that they will be eternally separated from God and that will include conscious suffering. Knowing the Bible allows us to speak with compassion and authority to issues that concern people.

Thanks for being involved and may I encourage you to continue on the path of following Jesus and leading others.

 



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