A few years back I worked for Daystar Television in Ashland Kentucky as the host of an afternoon program called Tri State Celebration. It was a talk show format with guests from every realm of life, politics and entertainment. The exciting part was always the “live” component! I mean to tell you there are many a story of unplanned interruptions from dropped staging to insect interference, from guests tripping coming on set to the host loosing his grip on laughter during a humorous moment.
It was live TV, it happened fast and making adjustments, responding to circumstances beyond our control was a way of life! I’ve thought much about this dynamic since in June of this year the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision was handed down. I sense that something fundamentally changed and with that change has come a mountain of questions, rulings, responses and outcomes that quite frankly has many very concerned. Questions of legalities influencing religious freedom has many scholars scratching their heads and many American uncertain of what’s ahead. Not one weeks goes by without a number of people in the church asking… Pastor, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen to my children and grandchildren? What’s coming next? I’m not sure what is next but there are some things I am completely sure of, among which is this… We can still stand firm in a very shaky world!
There is an incredible passage of scripture from the New Testament book of Jude that resonates loudly in this present moment of time we find ourselves in. its the last verse of this short book… “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” First, The book of Jude gives us a number of strong and clear “Musts” such as “It matters what you believe.”
Jude says that we MUST understand our relationship with Jesus Christ. We MUST get a firm grasp on the tenets of the Christian Faith and lastly we MUST allow nothing compromise our walk of faith. Secondly Jude reminds us that “It Matters How You Finish!” He underlines this with three important principles. Principle #1, A great start matters little when followed by a poor finish. Principle #2 We are imagining things if we think that our behavior doesn’t affect our finish.
And principle #3 A great finish is accomplished by careful attention to Godly things. With that being said and in answer to the question what’s next, allow me to make three observations. First, We must make a difference because others are depending on us.
How we respond in this season of our culture will resonate far beyond the moment we are in!
Secondly, We must make a difference because there is no greater joy to be found than in the perfect will of God. We have been chosen by the creator of the universe, God himself to be alive and serving the Kingdom in these challenging days.
Lastly, We must make a difference because God requires it! Again Jude’s closing words… “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” I am not sure what is ahead but I am boldly confident that God will strongly support all that we do in His name!
I have observed and truly believe that each and every American citizen has an understanding and an opinion of each headline issue that permeates the news cycles as well as the realm of social media today. And that understanding and opinion is based on something… whether it be the lead stories on cable news or talk radio or the long range of online social outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and beyond. It could be the host of sitcoms or drama programming that is absorbed for endless hours by our culture or perhaps, just perhaps, understanding and opinion of Americans is based on truth!
It was Martin Luther who before turning himself in, after being warned by his friends not to do so said, “You ask me what I shall do if I am called by the emperor. I will go even if I am too sick to stand on my feet. If Caesar calls me, God calls me. If violence is used, as well it may be, I commend my cause to God. He lives and reigns who saved the three youths from the fiery furnace of the king of Babylon, and if He will not save me, my head is worth nothing compared with Christ. This is no time to think of safety I must take care that the gospel is not brought into contempt by our fear to confess and seal our teaching with our blood.”
We are called and empowered to hold fast and strong to the uncompromising absolute standard of Biblical truth with the incredible love of Christ alive in our hearts. Remember, this is live and heaven is tuned in!