It was one of those great moments in American sports. Maybe some of you remember a baseball player, the center fielder for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs were playing the Dodgers on April 25 in 1976. During the fourth inning William Thomas and his son ran out onto the field and attempted to set fire to the American flag. They doused it with lighter fluid and their first match was blown out by the wind. That gave center fielder Rick Monday just enough time to sprint over and swipe the flag away and carry it to safety. It was a touching moment.
I will always remember what followed as a very proud moment for America. The scoreboard lights congratulated Rick Monday: “Rick Monday…you made a great play.” It was truly a 'goose-bump' moment. A whole stadium filled with patriotic Americans began to sing 'God Bless America'.
Americans have proven throughout their history that times of difficulty bring unity, not division.
• On tax day, April 15th, 2013, Americans rallied to support the families of the innocent who were wounded or killed at the Boston marathon. We all shared the pain.
• I was only a second grader when my father picked me up at school and as we traveled home he told me of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was a devastating moment but Americans came together in our moment of tragedy.
• I will never forget traveling south on 185 toward Baker High School in 1990 and watching our troops from Fort Benning head north in a convoy of busses that stretched for miles. The residents of Columbus lined every bridge from Macon Road to Fort Benning and waved yellow ribbons and cheered as we sent our young soldiers off to war. On that day I was so proud to be an American.
• In 2001 I was teaching at Duluth High School in Atlanta and a teacher came to my room and suggested I turn on the television. The terrorists had struck the twin towers in New York City. The flow of food, water, medical supplies, prayer and sympathy into the streets of New York from all across this nation made me proud to be an American.
• In 2005, hurricane Katrina affected 15 million as it decimated the city of New Orleans. Youth groups from across America traveled to the area to assist in the clean up and show their support for fellow Americans in trouble and I was proud to be an American.
• Americans came together after school shootings in Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. There is something very, very special about Americans.
Now Americans are facing a different kind of crisis. It is covert. It is subtle. It is slowly creeping upon us like a fog in the night. Many Americans are unaware of the danger our country faces.
Let me preface the rest of what I want to say with this: I love America.
• I love the Bill of Rights. There is no other document in history that so adequately defines the limits of government.
• I love the Statue of Liberty. She has always stood with open arms to welcome the oppressed to our shores.
• I love the Constitution because it ensures justice to the accused. It gives us a right to an attorney, a right to protect ourselves, a right to prohibit the government from invading the private space of our homes and offices.
I love America. I love living in the greatest land on earth. I love being a citizen of this great country.
That being said it is with great sadness that I recognize that the America is in deep trouble. Maybe George Carlin captured it well when he wrote:
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years!
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.”
There is a verse in the Bible that summarizes America’s dilemma: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” – Psalm 9:17
Ronald Reagan said this: “If we ever forget that we are 'One Nation Under God,' then we will be a nation gone under.” - Ronald Reagan
There are multiple diseases eating away at the soul of America. We ignore the advice of the Great Physician to our own peril. There are dark clouds gathering on the horizon, not just because we have forgotten God, but because we are in open defiance to God.
"…The Lord spoke to Job out of the storm." The problem is not that God has not spoke, the problem is that we are not listening.
1. We are diseased financially.
America is financially bankrupt. We have placed all our trust in the almighty dollar and we’ve forgotten the slogan we wrote there: “In God we Trust”.
The federal government borrows forty cents for every dollar it spends.
Our government has managed to rack up $15 trillion in debt. A figure so large it has no meaning whatsoever to most Americans. The National Debt is four times the size of the American economy. We are increasing American Debt at a rate of $4 billion per day.
I would suggest to you that what we are doing is immoral and unjust. We are stealing away the money of our children and grandchildren and this act of cowardice will not go unanswered.
We now live in a nation where takers outnumber givers. It was Patrick Henry who said: “Give me liberty or give me death!” It wasn’t long until we were just saying, “Give me liberty”. Now we only say “Give me”.
3. We are diseased morally.
“Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach (a disgrace) to any people.” – Proverbs 14:34 The terrorist will never destroy America but sin very well may.
90% of America’s Christians are sending their children into secular schools. Will you hear a word of caution? If God is the source of all wisdom and the Bible is his method of conveying his wisdom to mankind, and the Bible is prohibited in public schools…how effective can government schools be??
Christians who have no other choice than to send their kids to government schools must be actively providing their children with an alternative, biblical worldview.
There are symptoms of crisis in America when:
• A child is punished at school for saying grace over a meal.
• A teacher’s job is terminated because he used the Bible as a resource in the classroom.
Noah Webster, the father of American Education once said that education is “useless without the Bible.”
There are symptoms of a moral crisis in America when:
• Our textbooks condemn Hitler for the bloody murder of 6 million Jews but we indoctrinate our young women to believe that aborting their unborn is a noble and admirable thing to do.
• We have murdered as many as 55 million babies over the last 40 years since our Supreme Court twisted and warped the constitution in order to condone such an atrocity.
I remember when an unborn child within the womb was a precious, human life. Now it is disposable material to be eliminated at our own convenience. The unborn baby is looked upon as an inconvenience that is intruding upon our lifestyle rather than a miraculous event where God has planted one human life within another.
Jesus said, “If any of you cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for you to be cast into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck.” – Matthew 8:6
Our young girls are being told by a godless culture that if they don’t offer themselves sexually they will never be loved. The music our young men listen to badgers them to use drugs and become violent and disrespect women and the female body.
We are suffering a moral crisis in America:
• Pornography now produces more money than all the sports events in the entire nation combined.
• 30% of women, 79% of men and 54% of pastors view porn on television or the internet. Pornography shatters marriages and destroys the God-sanctioned institution of family.
NEA spokesman to the United Nations, Dianne Schneider, said that the only way to combat heterosexism is to teach sexual pleasure and tolerance to “every middle and high school student.” She said that those opposed to homosexuality are “stuck in a “binary box that religion and family create.”
We have redefined marriage to be what we want it to be rather than what God wants it to be. We have redefined love to mean: I accept you the way you are and you can stay the way you are.
God’s definition of love is: I accept you as a sinner but I demand a change in your life. To those who embrace the immorality of the present age may we say this: “God loves you as you are but he loves you too much to leave you as you are.”
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
3. We are diseased spiritually.
"America wants God's blessing but not God. Our nation has systematically pushed Him out of the national consciousness -- rejecting biblical morality, ignoring His Word, and relying on the political and entertainment arenas for moral guidance." – John MacArthur
Youth are abandoning the church by droves. 46% of Americans between ages 18 to 34 say they have no religion. Many who call themselves Christians no longer hold the traditional Christian beliefs.
Paul advised Timothy to avoid those who “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” – 2 Tim. 3:5
Oprah Winfrey has done a fabulous job of convincing 52% of American Christians that eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Jesus Christ. 57% of American Christians believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life.”
But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:6
We are living in a culture spiritually depraved. 45% of Americans say they seldom read the scriptures and yet they claim to know truth. We are diseased spiritually because we are not reading the word, we are not praying and we are not attending church. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” - 2 Tim. 4:3
We have been in moments of crisis many times before and we successfully survived. This is what we must do:
1. We must express individual repentance. We must look into our own hearts and confess sin, confess hatred, bigotry and pride.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
2. We need pastors who are willing to redefine what a successful church looks like. We are not just trying to get people into church. We are trying to get souls into the kingdom. We don’t want to build our churches on marketing schemes. We want to build our churches on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. We need to humble ourselves and fall on our knees and ask God to restore and revive America. God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for 10 righteous men. He wants desperately to spare America.
Ronald Reagan once said, “No matter where we live we have a promise that can make all the difference. A promise from Jesus to soothe our sorrows, heal our hearts and drive away our fears. He promised there would never be a dark night that does not end. ‘Our sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’”
Reagan continued: “Now I realize that it is fashionable in some circles to believe that no one in government should encourage others to read the Bible that we are told that we will violate the constitution of church and state established by the founding fathers in the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values, it was written to protect those values from government tyranny…we must be cautious claiming that God is on our side, I think the real question that we must answer is, are we on God’s side.”
If the Americans will turn away from humanism and back to God then the very gates of hell cannot prevail against her!
I appreciate the excellence of your article Kevin. You are spot on in your observations and we join you in prayer for our nation and most importantly for Truth to be proclaimed and souls to be drawn to Jesus.