Saturday, June 16, 2012

Implosion Conference

Joel Rosenberg has been mentioned here numerous times.  His writings challenge me to my core to be a better Christian and even a better American.  Joel's fiction books are thrilling and inspiring all at once.  His insight into Biblical prophecies is enthralling.  And today, Isaac, Nanny, Dede, and I had the privilege to spend 3 hours being poured into by Joel and then the chance to meet and briefly visit with him.  It was truly exciting and an honor.  Joel is a humble man and such a fabulous teacher.

Joel gave a 3 hour conference at FBC Houston this morning that was broadcast to 43 states, India, Canada, and New Zealand.  The topic was about his new book, Implosion, which I bought today and will post a review as soon as I get a chance to read it.  Many authors, secular and Christian, have recently published both fiction and nonfiction books about what might happen to America if our economy, politics, and/or culture doesn't change soon.  I appreciate Joel's perspective because he keeps himself and his thoughts as firmly grounded in the truth of Scripture as humanly possible.

Here are some facts from today.  I wrote 5 1/2 pages of notes, and I don't have references for each one, but Implosion does site all of the sources.  America is $15.6 trillion in debt.  If Americans paid off the debt at $1 per second, it wouldn't be paid off for over 30 thousand years.  According to a recent FBI report, violent crime is up 400% in America from 1960, and murders in small towns (~1,000-10,000 people) are up 18.6% in the last year. 23% of US teens report using pot as they see it as all natural, unlike cigarettes.  I can vouch for this as we had 2 7th graders busted for having marijuana on campus the last few weeks of school.  1 in 5 teens admit to binge drinking.  The porn industry earns more each year than NBC, ABC, and CBS combined.  America has now aborted more babies than the number of humans the Nazis murdered by more than 10 times.  And here's the thing: lots of this is happening inside the church.  This shouldn't surprise anyone- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 mentions all kinds of sins that we are then told to avoid coming from other believers.  God knew His people would fall away from Him; how many times did the Israelites do it?  We don't seem to have learned anything from their examples.  Oops.  See, this is what I tell my kids over and over-if you don't learn your history, you'll repeat it over and over and over again.  And we have because we don't pay attention.  We aren't willing to trust God alone.  Hmmm...

Ok, that's depressing.   So, where the heck is the hope?  Well, individually, there is always hope through salvation in Christ.  There is also hope of a nation wide revival.  Even secular historians identify two major national Christian revivals in American history.  What's to say God won't reign down His grace and cause a 3rd?  Here's the deal: Joel firmly believes God is shaking America to bits to wake her up so that we stop clinging to earthly things (wealth, 401k's, jobs, status symbols, etc) and learn that our hope is found in Christ alone.  I completely agree.  It makes sense every way I look at it. 

Check out 2 Chronicles 7:14.  This is a promise for Israel, not America, but since God's personality doesn't change, there is reason to hope that He will do the same for us. 

Then visit the story of Jonah.  Is the spiritually strong American church like Jonah-knowing what we need to do to fix our own version of Ninevah but refusing to do it for selfish reasons? Then there's the spiritually dead American church that isn't helping either.  They need the strong church too!

My proposition to all of this, and I was tickled when Joel mentioned this in his own words, is this: the Americans that know Christ must start acting like Christ.  This means being His hands and feet and sharing His hope with our neighbors.  The only way to change D.C. is to change hearts and only Jesus can change hearts.  The world doesn't understand why Christians oppose things like premarital sex, drunkenness, porn, lewdness, and homosexuality because they don't know Christ.  They don't get it.  I'm not going to protest them and yell and scream and avoid them.  I'm going to love on them.  I won't get anywhere with them by telling them they're wrong because they don't see why they are wrong.  If I am an example of Christ and love on them and the Holy Spirit works on their hearts through me, then by the grace of God, come to Christ and understand why I don't do the things I don't do.  See how this works?  Pretty neat, right?  As individuals change, society changes, and it's all through Christ, not me setting up a protest at an abortion clinic or some other such thing. 

Jonah's book is a cool story-redemption instead of judgement is poured out on Ninevah, and all the people delight in God.  Yet, turn a few pages to Nahum.  It's the sequel to Jonah.  Roughly 150 years has passed and Nahum is telling Ninevah of the judgement God is going to pour out on them because they have once again turned from God and His ways.  This time, the Ninevites didn't listen, and Ninevah was destroyed about 600 years before Christ was born.  This can happen to America.  This might never happen to America, but we have seen through God's character that He has in the past destroyed nations that turn against Him.  We can hopefully prevent this through prayer and discipleship.  Too many believers accept Christ but never grow in their faith and never reach out to teach others.  We each need a Paul and we each need a Timothy.  I love that example.

Joel ended the conference with a reminder that too many Christians keep on sinning.  He challenged us that if we have an plans to sin-watch a movie with inappropriate material, listen to music that's against God, use sex inappropriately, hang out with people in ways we shouldn't-to put it off for a long, long time so we can be examples of Christ in the here and now and spend time ministering to those around us.  I loved the use of humor, but he's right.  

I'd love to hear what you think if you read a copy of the book.  Most of the libraries now have it in stock and ready to be devoured!

My hope is found in nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness-maybe it forever be true.

I really want to visit Israel with one of Joel's groups some day!

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