If you live in Michigan, today is voting day for the presidential primary election. And yes I am going to vote. But this blog isn’t going to be about telling you who I think you should vote for.
Don’t worry, whatever side of the aisle you sit yourself on, I’m not taking sides. Instead I’m offering perspective.
We are 245 days away from Election Day. On November 8, 2016 our country will elect a new President of the United States. Will it be Hillary or Bernie? Will it be Donald or Marco or Ted or John or Ben? Or maybe someone else?
On that note, let me ask you a question: in your heart of hearts, what do you believe is the hope of America? The hope of the entire world? Think about it for a minute.
Deep down, what do you believe is our hope? Did you answer… the candidate you are going to vote for in today’s primary and desperately hope becomes your political party’s candidate for president?
Since it is so easy to get caught up in “election fever” during a week like this, we would all do well to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and read this quote from Bill Hybels, lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church:
For 8 years during the decade of the 90’s I went to Washington D.C. every month to meet in the foremost centers of power with some of the highest elected officials in our country. What I discovered was not how powerful those people are, but how limited their power really is. All they can actually do is rearrange the yard markers on the playing field of life. They can’t change a human heart. They can’t heal a wounded soul. They can’t turn hatred into love. They can’t bring about repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace…
I scrolled through every option I could think of, considering what they have to offer. Businessmen can provide sorely needed jobs. Wise educators can teach useful knowledge of the world. Self-help programs can offer effective methods of behavior modification. Advanced psychological techniques can aid self-understanding.
And all of this is good. But can any of it truly transform the human heart?
I believe that only one power exists on this sorry planet that can do that. It’s the power of the love of Jesus Christ, the love that conquers sin and wipes out shame and heals wounds and reconciles enemies and patches broken dreams and ultimately changes the world, one life at a time.
And what grips my heart everyday is the knowledge that the radical message of that transforming love has been given to the church. That means that in a very real way the future of the world rests in the hands of local congregations like yours and mine… The local church is the hope of the world.
Your candidate for President is not the hope of the world. The local church IS. Because that is the primary vehicle Jesus chose to work through to tell the world about Himself.
The hope of the world does not involve what is going to happen in voting booths 245 days from now. The hope of the world is what we will celebrate 18 days from now… what happened in a tomb that first Easter morning.
Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18). And He builds His church through us as we say “yes” to His promptings. To pray for it. To volunteer at it. To be radically generous in your giving to it. To invite others to attend it. To enter into community through it. To serve the poor through its ministries.
Regardless of is going to win the primary TODAY, regardless of who is going to win the Presidential election this November… what are you going to do TODAY and THIS WEEK and THIS MONTH at your local church?
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. We believe in Heaven like we believe that the sky is blue. We know those things are true but have you ever asked yourself WHY? Have you ever wondered why Heaven exists in the first place? Have you ever thought about what the existence of Heaven suggests about your worth in God’s eyes? Please join us this Sunday for my sermon titled “Your Room in God’s House. By the way, don’t forget to “spring forward” one hour on Saturday night! March 13 at 10:30am (EDT). (Don’t forget to “spring forward” on Saturday night!) More info at tevchurch.org***