Archive for the 'America' Category
I was not present this past Saturday afternoon when answered prayer was celebrated in the White House. However, because of live television, I watched Pastor Andrew Brunson, in the presence of the President of the United States, openly and unashamedly proclaim that his freedom from Turkish imprisonment of two years is the result of answered prayer. Members of the cabinet, United States Senate, and United States House of Representatives celebrated the power of answered prayer before the world via television.
This open celebration resulted in Pastor Brunson and his wife both praying for President Donald Trump before the entire world. The power of Jesus Christ was lifted up, the name of Jesus was proclaimed, and expressions of Christ and His message were proclaimed across the world from America.
Dear Friends, let’s not shy away from this moment, but celebrate it. Let’s see this great moment as a major victory for international religious freedom and as a moment to bring our nation together. This is not about political parties in this moment of history, but the people of the world being able to worship God without the threat of abuse or persecution.
However, we cannot ignore this reality: We are in this moment because President Trump and his administration have stood strong for religious freedom internationally. Their words have made great advances to specific actions that reaped results for the benefit of the world. For this, I am grateful.
From 1,183 miles away from the White House in Washington, DC, sitting in our home in Springdale, Arkansas, we celebrated this great moment for religious freedom. We believe God answers prayer.
When God answers prayer, we celebrate. I celebrate personally as a Christian. As a pastor of a local church, I celebrate with my Cross Church family publicly. And as the President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, I celebrate nationally and internationally with all Christians across the entire world.
Therefore, we say to the pastor we have never had the pleasure to meet but have regularly prayed for both privately and publicly…
Welcome home, Pastor Brunson.
Now is the Time to Lead,
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I don’t know about you, but the past three weeks have been some of the worst I have seen in my lifetime.
Rarely have I witnessed so much unrestrained hate and vitriol on social media. Shouting matches, offensive retorts and extreme profanity were not an uncommon sight.
One professor went as far as to call for the “miserable deaths” and torture of senators in a grotesquely graphic and violent way, while celebrities cursed off our elected officials with the foulest language.
Even if you were off social media, you couldn’t escape the chaos. It followed us into our workplaces, churches and homes and even invaded our most intimate relationships. It pitted men against women, conservatives against liberals, celebrities against politicians — you name it.
At some point, we lost sight of how to engage with each other in a sincere pursuit of truth. We worked feverishly to prove ourselves right, but we didn’t make an effort to understand each other.
Whatever your inclination on the whole issue — whether the confirmation should or should not have taken place — our infighting has left America divided more than ever before. It has left us more hurt, more tribalized and more cynical than ever before.
Sadly, when our opinions become more important than people, we all lose relationally.
So how do we move forward from here?
I believe there’s now one — and only one — way forward for America: we must pray earnestly for unity and work intentionally toward reconciliation.
It’s incumbent upon the church of Jesus Christ to be a force of unity, love and civility both within and without. Jesus appealed to us that we are to be distinguished from others by one thing alone: our love. “Love one another, just as I have loved you,” he instructed his disciples (John 13:34).
In fact, Jesus took it a step further and taught us that we ought to love and pray for not only those who agree with us but also those who oppose us. He put it this way: ‘If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?’, and ‘If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?’ Matthew 5:46-47 NLT
But it has to start with us, the followers of Jesus Christ. The fellowship within each of our churches and our fellowship together as Christ-followers needs to be one that binds us together in love and unity.
This does not grant us a permission slip for moral compromise or an excuse for not standing strongly for our convictions. We have these and should have these even in this turbulent moment in history. But, in the following days and weeks, as tensions will continue to flare up across America, our greatest force needs to be the constancy of Christ’s love in and through us.
And remember: It is never enough just to do the right thing, but we must do the right thing in the right way.
If we want to see unity in America, we cannot only talk about it. We have to live it out — in our workplaces, our churches, our homes and in our own relationships. A divided church cannot call a divided nation to unity.
I hope that if you’re reading this you will take it to heart and resolve to pray for our nation’s unity and to work for reconciliation. We are only as strong as we are united.
Now is the Time to Pray,
Ronnie W. Floyd