August 1, 2014 by Paul Chappell
Since the inception of our nation, churches have supported the American military in its efforts to bring and preserve freedom. Since World War I, one way this has been shown has been by placing American flags in our church auditoriums.
While I am aware that there is a larger discussion related to patriotism in the church, I am a patriotic American who is grateful for the biblically-rooted American belief of liberty. And I do believe that expressing that in church has its place.
Yet in a strange twist of logic and the devaluing of American pride, as our nation seems bent on moving as far as possible from God and Christian values, federal leaders of our military apparently feel threatened by churches’ support of the military.
Just last week, a church in Carthage, Missouri, received what amounts to a “no thanks for patriotism” message from the National Guard. In a news article posted a few days ago, reporter Todd Starnes shared a deeply concerning story. A Baptist church who chose a patriotic theme for Vacation Bible School “invited troops from the nearby armory to drop by with one of their Humvees” to honor and thank the service members.
Earlier in the week, local paramedics, the fire department, and the sheriff’s department had all come and visited with the kids. But the National Guard said they couldn’t come. And it wasn’t because they were engaged in other duties. It was because a federal regulation is protecting their freedom from religion. To quote the pastor in Starnes’ article: (more…)
Category: Current Events
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July 4, 2014 by Paul Chappell
In 1776, American patriots pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to sign the Declaration of Independence. And then they gave of themselves in unspeakable sacrifice to birth this great nation.
These men understood that patriotism meant so much more than grabbing the family rifle and charging the red coats. It involved giving whatever was necessary to uphold the God-given values of freedom and equality which they had come to embrace. For many, patriotism meant giving their lives, their families, and their fortunes. They purchased freedom at a heavy personal expense.
I’m thankful for the heritage of these patriots, statesmen, and soldiers who embraced and upheld freedom—even at the expense of themselves.
I’m thankful for men and women around the world today (some from our church family) who are sacrificing for continued freedom.
But more than the patriotism of a soldier, we need another kind of patriotism today. America is in a state of spiritual and moral decline that, frankly, is frightening. We seem to have lost our moral compass and our willingness to sacrifice for the biblical values of truth and righteousness. (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Current Events
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May 1, 2014 by Paul Chappell
Every Bible-believing Christian I know sees the need to pray for our nation. Indeed, I would guess that most Bible-believing Christians know and have referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 multiple times in the past twelve months.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
But knowing we need to pray is not the same as praying. As a friend of mine has well-stated, “Praying is the least that we should do for our nation, and it’s the most that we can do.”
That friend is Colonel John Teichert—a man who has served his nation in the United States Air Force for the past twenty years. When he talks about the most we can do and the least we should do, he knows what he’s talking about. (more…)
Category: Christian Life
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September 11, 2013 by Paul Chappell
Today marks the twelfth anniversary of a date etched into the memory of every American old enough to remember—9/11/01.
I’m so thankful to be an American. I love my country, and I’m thankful for God’s grace upon her.
As I reflect on this tragic day, five thoughts come to mind:
- Heroes are often unsung. Through the horrific and chaotic collapse of the World Trade Centers, an unsung army of heroes revealed their courage and bravery—our first responders. Before 9/11, when I thought of national heroes, I thought of statesmen or our armed forces. But today, I count our first responders in the same list. The events of this day and the answering courage of our first responders should remind us that there are many heroes whose individual names we may never know. Their willingness to sacrifice for others without credit is what makes them so honorable.
- Freedom is still costly. Freedom has never been free. Not in 1776, not in 2001, and not in 2013. I’m thankful for the men and women who fight to preserve our freedom even today. What we endured eleven years ago is regular occurrence for others around the world. Freedom is a costly gift, and I thank God for it.
- Forgetfulness is one of our greatest dangers. I remember the overwhelming sense of vulnerability we felt. Suddenly, churches were full, and people everywhere were praying. But this sense of dependence upon God soon faded. Today, our nation deliberately and boastfully moves further and further from God. Scripture records the tragic consequences when nations forget God. I pray we will remember and turn to Him in a national revival.
- Patriotism comes in many shapes. The overwhelming response of unified patriotism in the wake of 9/11 was stirring. Everyone wanted to help, and many gave to the relief funds set up for families of the victims. From the president to the first responders to the military to the common American citizen, millions showed their patriotic colors in a variety of shapes and sizes. I believe that two of the most patriotic acts we can do for our nation today are not typically thought of as patriotic. They are to pray for revival and to preach the gospel.
- Revival is our greatest need today. I pray we will never again be caught by surprise or endure a terrorist attack on our soil. I don’t believe, however, that our greatest national threat is attack by terrorists. I believe it is the national rejection of God. Psalm 32:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…” I believe that, and I pray our nation will return to the Lord.
As we remember 9/11/01, may we also look forward and pray for God to heal our land—not militarily or politically, but spiritually.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.—2 Chronicles 7:14
Category: Christian Life
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July 4, 2013 by Paul Chappell
The Declaration of Independence was a statement against all odds. To some, it could have been called, The Declaration of Insanity.
How could thirteen fledgling colonies win a war against the mother country?
How could rough pioneers and poor farmers advance against a highly-trained military?
How could an under-paid, poorly-clothed, and ill-fed bunch of soldiers fight the deep pockets of support flowing to the enemy?
But they did. (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Ministry Leadership
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