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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May 27, 2013 by Paul Chappell
How do you thank those who willingly place themselves “between their loved home and the war’s desolation”?
And especially, how do you thank those who never returned to their loved home, because they paid the ultimate price for our freedom?
We owe these heroes a tremendous debt of gratitude. As free-men, they chose to stand in the gap to purchase and protect the freedom of their families and country. There is no way to properly eulogize the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.
The least we can do is remember.
Will you take a moment today to remember?
And to thank God for freedom?
Category: Current Events
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March 21, 2013 by Paul Chappell
The Bible instructs in Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
This week the Lord gave us a special opportunity to encourage some of our national leaders and let them know that we, as a church as well as other Christians across the country, are praying for them even in this difficult time in our country.
A year or so ago I began to pray with a friend, Pastor Mike Creed from Clinton, Maryland, regarding his burden for our elected officials and their staff members in our nation’s capital. Brother Creed together with Evangelist Chuck Harding, formed an organization entitled Awake America and asked if I would serve on their advisory board. Over the last year they have been notifying pastors and asking them to pray earnestly for their elected officials.
A few days ago, we met for what was called the Capitol Connection. Hundreds of Christian leaders from autonomous Baptist churches across America joined us from forty-five states. We met for preaching and an organizational time on Monday evening. All of the pastors were reminded that our goal was not to “lobby” but to be a witness for Christ and an encouragement to those in leadership.
On Tuesday morning, we headed to Capitol Hill. The week prior to the visit every congressional member received a copy of the original Aitken Bible—the first American Bible printed in 1782. We let our elected officials know that we had sponsored the Bibles to their offices and that we believe American leaders need to rely, once again, on the Scriptures.
Category: Current Events, Ministry News
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July 4, 2012 by Paul Chappell
- I have freedom—to vote, to speak, to travel, to live. We enjoy a level of freedom people in repressed nations cannot even fathom.
- I pledge to a flag I am proud of. The stars and stripes of Old Glory represent the courage, sacrifice, and patriotism of those who purchased our freedom.
- I have a rich heritage—of courage, faith, honor, and sacrifice. Not only do I have this heritage, but I have been raised in a nation that has taught me to be thankful for it.
- Our government is branched for balance. Yes, it tips out of control at times, but our founding fathers had the wisdom to set three branches of government with checks and balances to encourage the government to serve and protect the people. Again, we do not understand the gift it is to not live under a harsh, repressive government.
- We are friends with Israel. Although our current administration has tried to push Israel, the United States has long committed to stand as Israel’s ally. God promised to bless nations that bless Israel (Genesis 12:3).
- We have a strong military. I’m thankful for the men and women who have staked their lives for my freedom.
- We have a culture that runs deep with Christian values. Not all of our founding fathers were born-again Christians, but many were. And the strong Judeo-Christian heritage they set for us has shaped our nation. Freedom, honesty, hard work, sacrifice, integrity, and generosity are not encouraged, or even applauded, in every culture.
- I have liberty to worship and to witness. I not only can practice my faith, but I can freely share the Gospel with others as well.
- We enjoy prosperity. Even in a lean economy, Americans have more than most of the rest of the world. Even the poorest of us are considered wealthy in developing countries.
- God blesses America. Every item in the list above is a result of God’s blessing on our land. I’m thankful for His favor, and I pray for Americans to turn back to Him.
And a bonus one:
11. I enjoy watermelon, the 4th of July, fireworks…and enjoying it all with my grandchildren!
Category: Current Events
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