Saturday, October 29, 2011

Diotrephes- The Destroyer of Ministers

I entered the ministry at the age of nineteen.  I have continued in the ministry these past 43 years.  What I find disheartening is the number of those who started this journey the same time I did.  Many had high hopes of doing great things or the Lord.  The ministry, sad to say is not always under the control of the LORD.  This has been proven tragically over the years by the number of ministers who have left the ministry.  Young pastors and ministers have found themselves on the short end of church politics and then out on the street without an income or place to live. 

Many of my friends listened to our homiletic professor who said, “If God called you to be minister don’t stoop to do secular work”.  The advice given to me by my father-in-law was, “If you are going to marry my daughter you will need to learn a trade.”  By the way, my father-in-law was a minister, having served as a pastor most of his life.  I learned a trade and it has provided my family with the security the church would never have given us.

What I have noticed over the years is that those who depend entirely upon the church for their financial support are at the mercy of those who have not been Spirit-led in years.  Church board members who are more concerned about ruling the church than allowing the Holy Spirit to direct their paths.  The “Diotrephes” have ruined the lives of many good men of God.  Furthermore, the damage done by controlling members within the church has destroyed the confidence of the pastor’s children and often the spouse as well.  The petty actions of the church “Diotrephes” is nothing short of devastating to the pastor’s family.

 (OK, for those who have no idea who I am talking about 3 John 9-11 KJV -I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.  Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.  Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.)

Many ministers are left to simply survive and make it through the next season of life financially, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. They are no more than the foot mat to be trampled upon by the spiritual abusers within the church.  Some have been mistreated so severely they are left thinking that God has abandoned them.  The scars can run especially deep with the children of these pastors and some of them fall away from the Church “if that’s the way the Church really is I want nothing to do with it.”  I have witnessed this first hand with friends and relatives.  The stress, both economically and emotionally, often precipitates the collapse of a marriage.  Several of my friends in Bible College have broken marriages and destroyed families.  Embarrassment and humiliation are, at times, mountains that are never overcome it is better to get out than to continue the suffering.  Many have walked away from the church for good; they have chosen a different vocation altogether.

An observation that I have made over the years is that it is not the majority of people who make the pastors life a living hell; it is only a small fraction and often only one “Diotrephes”.

Over the years I have come to the end of my rope and would come home telling my wife our time was up.  I could no longer lead those who refused to listen.  Her reply was she did not feel it was time for her to go-- so we stayed.  Then, she would come home after a meeting and say she was ready to leave she was tired of being ignored, mistreated, and taken for granted.  My reply, I don’t feel it is time for me to leave—so we stayed.  I don’t know what would have happened had we both agreed at the same time to leave. (We have been at our present church 24 consecutive years.)

The one sustaining factor in my ministry is that I did not depend upon the financial support of the church alone.  I have held a secular job my entire ministry and retired from public education after twenty-eight years of teaching.  It was my choice.  I have had several offers that could have been very enticing, but knowing the fickleness of churches there would be no long range future.  Then where would I be?  I have been determined to fulfill my call regardless of what others do.  I truly believe the call of the ministry is for life-- not just for a period of time in my life.  I am convinced God will provide as long as I do not give away the authority of the calling from God to anyone.  I believe the call is divinely ordained and just as valid whether you “have a church” or not.  

My advice to young preachers is become bi-vocational.  Learn a trade that you can use no matter where you live.  Having an outside income will remove some of the stress of, what do I do if I am asked to leave?  Or, if some member says, “We have hired you and you will do as we say, or you will not be paid.”  You must look out for the care of your family.  There is no church worth the sacrifice of your marriage or children.  God did not call you to the ministry to destroy your family.

Another observation has been when I tell people I am a pastor they look at me in disbelief.  Occasionally, some “Bible scholar” will say, O, you are a tent-maker like Paul!”  Yes, I am a “tent-maker”.  What makes my ministry different than most ministers I know is at the end of a long day of work I do not want to spend my time in a committee meeting or board meeting just talking.  Most members in the church feel the same way, they have worked all day, and they are tired and want to get home.  I know what they deal with and I know what they need to hear from the Bible for encouragement.  Being able to empathize with the members makes a connection that full time ministers never seem to understand. The ministry is not a profession that I choose to enter into it is a calling from God.  No doubt the many young minsters that have left the ministry never really had a calling.  They were seeking a profession and did not have the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit to direct their paths.

So where have all the pastors gone?  Many have left not only the ministry but their faith as well.  They were left on the battlefield of life wounded and bleeding with no one to care for them.  If you have a pastor, treat him or her as the servant of the Most High God.  Your respect for God is mirrored in you treatment of his servant.  Don't become a Diotrephes- The Destroyer of Ministers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Change Our Young Children- Change the World

 One year ago this month I wrote my first article for Ramblings of a Country Preacher.  Since then it has been read in thirty five countries.  I have written seventy-two articles covering the spectrum of history, advice, politics, religion and family.  It has been an interesting year both in the world of religion and politics.  I probably have been more political than I should have been but I just couldn’t let injustice go unanswered.  Even though I understand it is the duty of the wicked to bring trouble to the righteous it doesn’t mean I must like it.   
With that said let me change my ramblings to a subject that has been of interest to me--the brain.
Many years ago, two men were working at the same job on the outskirts of a European city.  A stranger asked them, "What are you doing?"  The first man replied, "I'm hauling rocks."  The second man, enthusiastically replied, "I'm building a cathedral!"

 Train up a child in the way he should go: 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov,22:6

We are the products of our families, our culture, and our time-- and of these three, family has the strongest influence.  My parents gave me more than they ever received.  They both had a difficult time growing up in large families.  My mother was the next to the youngest of thirteen and my father the fourth of twelve children.  The primary focus in both families was survival; the primary value was work.  My parents transmitted those values to me.  With the best intentions they did all they could for their nine children.
Many people operate under the assumption that since parenting is a natural function we should know how to do it -- and do it well.  The truth is, effective parenting requires study and practice like any other skilled profession.  Who would even think of allowing an untrained brain surgeon loose in an operating room?  Yet we "operate" on our children's brain every day.  Unless you have studied developmental psychology and family systems, you learned to parent from your parents.  Our parenting skills are much like our marriages, for better or worse.  You were taught by the example your parents set: what they were you learned.
Today we are becoming more and more aware of the impact our choices have on our children's future.  Both negative and positive experiences contribute to the development of our children.
Little children have wonderful memories.  They are, by nature, very impressionable.  It is these impressions that influence the development of their minds.  Many children's minds our endangered because they are living in a chaotic home.  You might ask, "Why do children need a peaceful home?"  Researchers who study the social changes affecting children have found:
Forty-two percent of U.S. families with children start out with three strikes against them--they are: lack of education, lack of commitment, and lack of maturity.  These three areas result in brain damage. Brain damage caused by bad experiences can increase the risk of developing a wide variety of ills.  These include: aggression, language failure, depression, mental disorders, asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure, immune-system dysfunction and diabetes
Let me add, this damage is not caused by a physical blow.  It is caused by the improper wiring of the brain's neurons.  Child stress research has found  developmental experiences determine the capability of the brain to do things.  If you don't change those developmental experiences you’re not going to change the hardware of the brain.
The things that are associated with giving a child the proper developmental experiences are: quality of home life, parent-child relationship, education of the parents and other relationships that provide some security for the child.
Researchers are using terms like enriched environment as the real brain food of children.  In children the IQ's can be raised as much as 20 points by exposure to an enriched environment.  The circuits controlling emotion are laid down before birth.  Then the environment takes over.
Neurons that fire together, wire together.  If a child's emotional responses are consistently mirrored, then the circuits for these emotions are reinforced.  This is done by a chemical reaction in the brain. 
Serotonin is the brain's master impulse modulator for all our emotions and drives.  Serotonin keeps aggression in line.  When serotonin levels fall, violence rises.  When the levels are too high a person becomes fearful.  Lowered levels don't compel you to be aggressive.  It just permits you to be aggressive by lowering the threshold.  That’s why is important to train your child.  Training establishes set points of serotonin.  These are learned levels.
Chemicals which allow brain cells to talk to each other are part of our physiology.  Most people are born with a balance that allows them to act in a reasonable way.  It is the environment which triggers serotonin and noradrenaline to cause an imbalance in people.
Noradrenaline is the alarm hormone which organizes the brain to respond to danger, producing chemical that prepare the body to fight or flee.  Hot blooded people have high noradrenaline levels.  Cold blooded people have low levels.
High levels of noradrenaline are an indicator of Post-traumatic stress disorder.  As parent we are the influences on are children's development.  At 20 months, babies whose mother talk with them daily knew 131 more words than mothers who did not talk with their child.
In the past people taught that the mastery of vocabulary was an innate capacity of the child.  That's not true it has to be learned.  The critical period for learning a spoken language is totally lost by about the age of ten.  You can learn a second language later in life but it is highly unlikely you will speak with the correct accent of the language.  The critical period for learning syntax is before age 3.  Children speak much like their parents.  They model the language and accents.  Movement and muscle control is established by the age of 4.  By the time a child is 3 year of age much of its behavior will be established.
The first few years of a child's development are critical to their emotional and spiritual behavior.  If we are going to shape the direction of the world we must first shape the lives of our young children.
(Information came from a workshop I conducted on Understanding the Brain Development in Young Children)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Freedom FROM Religion-- The American Way

This week I attended a seminar on church management and taxes.  It was very informative as well as disheartening.  There is a growing government intrusion into the affairs of the Church.  It is not only the IRS that has slithered its way into the affairs of the church but now we must contend with Homeland Security, FBI and the State.  These government entities are posing a serious threat to church autonomy and our most basic religious freedoms. Pastors are being censored, the proclamation of God’s Truth is being blocked, and churches are being discriminated against and threatened with punishment.

Where are those who are so adamant about the separation of church and state? They should be crying out about the intrusion of the government into the church.   During this seminar we learned that for a church to be compliant with IRS regulations and to be able to maintain your 501c(3) status an average of 119 forms must be completed each year.  Homeland Security is interested in the missionaries you support and how and where the money is going. The church is responsible to report money paid to evangelist, musician, special speakers, or missionaries.  It is important to understand the criminal liability one faces for not complying with all the regulations. The church is no longer a place where you can gather to worship and conduct the business of the church you must also conduct the business of the government.   To be a recognized church it must conform to the definition of the IRS.  These attributes of a church have been developed by the IRS and by court decisions.  They include:
  • Distinct legal existence
  • Recognized creed and form of worship
  • Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
  • Formal code of doctrine and discipline
  • Distinct religious history
  • Membership not associated with any other church or denomination
  • Organization of ordained ministers
  • Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study
  • Literature of its own
  • Established places of worship
  • Regular congregations
  • Regular religious services
  • Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young
  • Schools for the preparation of its members
The IRS generally uses a combination of these characteristics, together with other facts and circumstances, to determine whether an organization is considered a church for federal tax purposes.  SourcePublication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.

There seems to be two types of ordination one by the church and one by the IRS.  The IRS has defined a minister as individuals who are duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed by a religious body constituting a church or church denomination. They are given the authority to conduct religious worship, perform, and administer ordinances or sacraments according to the prescribed tenets and practices of that church or denomination. 

 Ministers fall into two classifications the first is the licensed minister is one who has been granted a ministerial license by the state or district assembly. The licensed minister is to have completed at least one year of the course of study. The licensed minister who is preparing for ordination is vested with the authority of preaching the gospel, administering the sacraments in his or her own congregation, and officiating at marriages where state law allows. The licensed minister who is preparing for ordination is vested with the authority of using his or her gifts in various associate ministries, administering the sacraments and, on occasion, conducting worship and preaching.

The second is the ordained minister.  They are those who have been ordained to that order, have completed the course of study, and have completed a specified period of assigned ministry. The ordained minister acknowledges a specific call to lifetime ministry. The ordained minister has the authority to administer the sacraments and to conduct worship and to preach.
In the past the courts have rules in defining a minister by the five following factors:
1. Does the individual administer the sacraments?
2. Does the individual conduct worship services?
3. Does the individual perform services in the "control, conduct, or maintenance of a religious organization" under the authority of a church denomination or religious denomination?
4. Is the individual "ordained, commissioned, or licensed?"
5. Is the individual considered a spiritual leader by his or her religious body?
(By this definition that would exclude many of the activist “ministers” we see in the news media.  They fail the definition of who the government recognizes as a minister.  Maybe we should use the same rules to identify minister who are always seeking media attention.)  

If you meet some but not all of these factors, the IRS may or may not consider you a minister.  Under the 1989 tax court case, not all factors had to be satisfied. It should be noted that only factor 4 that one be "licensed, ordained, or commissioned," needs to be present in every case. The more of the remaining criteria that one can meet, the more likely one is to fulfill the definition of "minister of the Gospel." However, some more recent court cases and an IRS Private Letter Ruling have required that all factors be satisfied

This was not the intention of our Founding Fathers, who established our country on religious freedom and who enshrined this precious God-given right in the U.S. Constitution. And throughout our nation’s history, churches have been recognized as the moral leaders of our society and Christians have enjoyed the freedom to express their religious beliefs.  But all of that is changing very quickly. At the urging of anti-Christian groups seeking to secularize America, courts and government are increasingly treating our churches more as nuisances than as pillars of the community. And some are treated not just as nuisances, but as criminals for exercising their Christian faith!  

During the seminar we were given examples where individuals are now spending time in federal prison for non-compliance of IRS regulations.  These individual were not intentional in their actions they just failed to do their due diligence in meeting government requirements.  Freedom of religion has become freedom from religion.

What really concerns me is not so much that the IRS, Homeland Security and the FBI are forcing their influence on the church but the number of “ministers” who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ that are reporting fellow Christians to the government for non-compliance.  Individuals who claim to be ministers but fail even the IRS’s definition of a minister are trying to destroy the church.  Charlatans like the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  Supposedly, The Americans for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization supposedly educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom but their actions are more directed to establishing the goal of their executive director that of a "godless America."  

I guess it is for the purpose of seeking respectability in the media, that these false-ministers like to use the title "reverend," even though there is no record of the name and location of any church the present executive director of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State has ever been a pastor, or the location and time where he ever delivered an actual sermon.  I would recommend that AUS remove the beam from their own eye before they attempt to remove the splinter from others. They should also stop lying about protecting religious freedom they are the arm of evil against the Kingdom of God.  

When the government gets out of the business of the church and allows to the church to carry out its duty to be the watchdog on the moral and ethical actions of the government our country will again be blessed of God.  But when good people are judged to be criminal, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we are all in danger of being oppressed by those who are anti-church, secular humanist, progressive proponents and a  tyrannical government.  If you have bought into the myth of separation of church and state you are part of the problem.

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
– President Ronald Reagan

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Political Sermon-Pulpit Freedom Sunday!

Text: Isaiah 3:1-15
"God allowed the prophets to anoint the kings and once men had accepted their kings they were supposed to show them respect, to obey the authority they had set up. To obey, that is, as long as it did not go against the Law of God. St. Peter was ordered by lawful authority not to preach in the name of Jesus, and he said he had to obey God rather than man, and he left prison to go out again to the market place and preach the Gospel. Over and over again, men had to disobey lawful authority to follow the voice of their conscience. The Apostle Paul spent his life going to or coming from prison because he spoke out against evil.  Peter and John were beaten for preaching Jesus Christ.   

In Iran this week a Christian Pastor is under the death penalty because he will not renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.  The same religion or ideology that has put a sentence of death on the Iranian pastor is the same religion that many of our political leaders are slowly forcing us to accept. It is time to speak out against the evil being done by our political leaders. Leaders who support or favor a religion that demands the death of all Christians and Jews should be removed from office for failure to honor their oath to uphold the Constitution.  

Obedience to God and disobedience to the State has over and over again happened throughout history. Foxes Book of Martyrs records the faithful who chose to obey God rather than man. 

As Quakers we have a history of speaking out against the evil practiced by the government upon those who would worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience.  They cried out against the evil rulers of their day and it is time to examine our "leaders," to question whether or not they are evil men or righteous men."  This generation is well described in the message of the prophet Isaiah.

 10His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  11Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Isaiah 56:10-11 King James Version (KJV)

Have we forgotten who we are as the people called Quakers?  Quakers were not meek and mild innocents.  They were as righteous a group of zealots as most Puritans, and when they entered a Massachusetts town they tried to wreak maximum havoc: bursting into church services, yelling in the streets, banging pots and pans together and calling both religious and political leaders to repent.  In Virginia Quakers were driven out of the state.  Many were charged as criminals because of speaking out against the injustice that was taking place in the government. 

During the American Revolution, Christians, and especially pastors, were in the forefront of the fight for liberty, freedom, and liberation from tyranny. These pastors were not afraid to risk their lives, their reputations, and everything they had to take a stand for God and country - and against the evils of their day. Some were imprisoned, impoverished and even hanged for “treason” against the crown.

This is a far cry from our pastors and Christian leaders of today, who have zero understanding of the times in which we live or discernment regarding the rising tide of evil in our country.  As Christians we are indifferent and complacent toward evil; as ministers we have failed to understand the seriousness of the evil within our own country and we have not shown the courage to speak out against it. 

Restrictions were placed on churches and non-profit organizations in 1954 by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson. Prior to 1954, churches and non-profit organizations had no such restrictions on their freedom of speech or their right to speak out in favor or against political issues or candidates.

The history of Johnson’s IRS gag order is important to understand. It began with what some historians believe to be a fraudulent election of Johnson to the Senate in 1948. Both conservative and liberal historians agree that Lyndon Johnson’s election to the Senate in 1948 was won by massive voter fraud. Known as “Landslide Lyndon,” this aspiring politician was “elected” by only 87 votes. His challenger, Coke Stevenson, challenged his election and presented credible evidence that hundreds of votes for Johnson had been faked. Johnson, however, was successful in blocking Stevenson’s effort by the clever use of “cooperative” court injunctions. 

In 1954, Johnson was facing re-election to the Senate and was being aggressively opposed by two non-profit anti-Communist groups that were attacking Johnson’s liberal agenda. In retaliation, Johnson inserted language into the IRS code that prohibited non-profits, including churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. In effect, Senator Johnson used the power of the go-along Congress and the IRS to silence his opposition. Unfortunately, it worked. Some in Johnson’s staff claimed that Johnson never intended to go after churches, only the two “nonprofits” in Texas. Nevertheless, his sly amendment to the tax code affected every church in America, and it is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
There have been attempts to overturn Johnson’s vindictive gag order that now penalizes churches. There is no reason for this gag order to remain in effect, but Congress apparently thinks it must perpetuate bad public policy simply because it exists.
Organizations like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, People for the American Way, and The American Civil Liberties Union continue to claim that this Johnson gag order must be upheld to protect “church/state separation.”
Before and after the American Revolution-our nation’s pastors spoke out on the political and moral issues of the day. It was their duty and their right under the Constitution to preach against immorality and corruption in the political and the moral realm. It should be noted that the House of Representatives sponsored church services in its chambers for nearly 100 years. 

On June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin said, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel . . . I therefore beg leave to move— that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.

The Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives continues today to bring a dimension of faith to human events, giving praise and thanks to God for what God is doing in the world, in the nation, and in and through leaders and ordinary citizens, to meet representatives of other nations to discuss how religion and politics interface on Capitol Hill. (What restrictions are put on the Chaplain by the IRS?)
It is interesting to observe that our Founding Fathers and our first elected officials didn’t have any notion of “church/state separation,” so vehemently endorsed by anti-American groups. Our Founders valued religion and wrote the First Amendment to protect the free expression of religious beliefs-and the freedom to speak out on the moral issues-including those involving politics and politicians.
The disservice that Lyndon B. Johnson did to religious freedom has yet to be undone and churches in America are to remain silent on moral issues of the day that are now considered political.  Whether we are considering the termination of life of over one and a half million babies per year; same sex marriage; restrictions on the free speech of Christians, or speaking for or against a political leader we are to keep silent.
Evangelical pastors and minister are so silent on the issues of the day that we are perceived as not caring about the direction this country is going.   Many Christians have bought into the liberal definition of “separation of church and state” propaganda.  We are so afraid we will offend church members by being “political” and possibly see church attendance or financial support decline.  We are afraid of losing tax exempt.  By the way, the liberal politicians have no problem going to churches and speaking on what is considered political issues and even using hate speech in their message without fear of government reprisal. 

The religious leaders of Germany in the 1930s and ‘40s both Catholic and Protestant ignored the great evil of the Third Reich.  Some religious leaders actually supported Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, until 1942 - when the evil was no longer possible to deny or condone some Christian begin to speak out.  But it was at the cost of millions of lives lost and the total destruction of cities, towns, and nations.  What would have happened if more ministers had become political and spoke out against this evil?  

There were some ministers who took an active part in trying to stop the spread of Hitler’s Nazism. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. Bonhoeffer saw the social chaos and a decline of traditional values along with the financial crisis facing Germany, and became critical of the church as being insensitive to the  needs of the world around it.  Bonhoeffer's life was dramatically changed with Nazi rise to power on January 30, 1933.  Two days after Hitler was installed as Chancellor. Bonhoeffer gave a radio address in which he attacked Hitler and warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Führer (leader), who could very well turn out to be Verführer (mis-leader, or seducer), he was cut off the air in the middle of a sentence. In April, Bonhoeffer was a lone voice for church resistance to Hitler's persecution of Jews, declaring that the church must not simply "bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself." He took part in the resistance movement and was involved in plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler which resulted in his arrest and execution just 23 days before the surrender of Germany. 

America is at a turning point today just as Germany was in 1933.  I was not born at the time and did not experience what the ordinary Christian German must have felt when a smooth-talking, rabble-rouser from the streets of Germany came on the scene.  He was a man the average German knew nothing about.  Had they known he was associated with thugs that shouted, shoved, and pushed people around with whom they disagreed, they might have been more cautious in following him.  Hitler worked his way into the political arena by being a great orator. 

Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs hundreds were living in the streets and everyone was hungry.  Hitler seized the control of the government during the Great Depression.  He placed his cronies in positions of power and slowly took over the entire government.

The question is how did he get the people on his side?  He promised jobs and money to the have-nots.  The media was compliant with his grab for power.  He would be the savior of Germany.  And all this was done in the name of justice, change and hope.  And the people got what they voted for.

In 1932 the unemployment in Germany was 25%.  Hitler promised that if he gained power he would abolish unemployment. He was lucky that the German economy was starting to recover when he came into office. However, the policies that Hitler introduced did help to reduce the number of people unemployed in Germany.  Hitler introduced policies that would change the economic condition of Germany.  These policies often involved taking away certain freedoms from employers. (Like when our government took over General Motors.)  The government banned the introduction of some labor-saving machinery. Employers also had to get government permission before reducing their labor force. The government also tended to give work contracts to those companies that relied on manual labor rather than machines. (The technology has changed, but the process is the same as seen by the awarding of contracts to companies that support the president such as the half-a-billion dollar contract to Solyndra.)   This was especially true of the government's massive infrastructure and roads program. (Not unlike our “Shovel Ready Project”) As a result of his schemes Germany developed the most efficient road system in Europe.  The entire country was behind him.

There is a change not only in America today but all over the world.  Something big is about to happen.  In 1932 the world was in turmoil and the church was quite. The world was in a financial collapse and millions were homeless and hungry.  There was no hope.  People were looking for someone to give them hope and change.

Today, American leaders who call Americans that disagree with them enemies, traitors, racist, and even question the conduct of their mothers, in addition to threatening American lives and condemning them to Hell which is happening daily, has divided our country.  All this sounds similar to what took place in 1933.  People in 1933 were being encouraged to spy on one another and report on their neighbors.  Just like in America today with our president wanting Americans to report any negative comments that are made about him on his Attack website.

The dividing of the country has taken place.  Our political process has been usurped by unelected judges who write laws rather than interpret them.   The mortgage industry has collapsed, people are losing their homes every day and the banking system is on the verge of collapse.  Over 15 million Americans are unemployed without the hope of finding employment.  The real unemployment rate is 16.9% and climbing every month.  The approval rate of the congress and the president are at an all-time low.  Americans are looking for someone to solve the problems we are faced with.  The entire world is in the same position—looking for someone to solve our problems.

It becomes important that as Christians we are not complacent in whom we place to rule over us.  We have a responsibility to know the people we choose to run this country.  It is not Republican, Democrat, Independent or Libertarian that should be the basis of our support but the character, integrity, and accountability to the American people.

Those running for the office of the President are bringing questionable baggage to the campaign.  Among the top three there are issues with healthcare, immigration, and the Federal Reserve.  Others have their own baggage one resigned from House of Representative because of ethics issues, one continues to be ignored because of his literal interpretation of the   Constitutional, one is so set on America’s role as the policeman of the world that he would ignore the sovereignty of other countries, and one even though the lone woman has many positive characteristics, she has surrounded herself with questionable people.  

Will we find the perfect candidate?   No!  But we must be careful to examine the character of the individual and those they choose as advisers who will influence them in setting policy.  It may be more important to examine the people behind the candidate than the candidate. 

Do your due diligence in researching those who wish to run this country.  This may be the most important election of your life.  What happens next year may change the course of this entire country or even the entire world.  Not everyone is what they say they are.  It is time that the message is proclaimed from every pulpit in America that judgment must first begin in the house of the LORD and the ministers must proclaim the TRUTH and cry out against the evil that is upon us regardless of our tax status.