Encourage a mother this Mother’s Day

Sunday is Mother’s Day 2015.  My Mother’s Day sermon is ready and plans are made to honor our mothers here at Lakeside on Sunday. I am so very grateful for my own mother, Janice Corbin, who raised me to love the Lord and provided for me in countless ways. I am very grateful for my wife, Becky, who is a great mother to our two boys. So, Mother’s Day is a happy occasion at our house.  For some reason, this week I have thought about the fact that Mother’s Day is a hard day for many mothers – or those desperately desiring to be mothers.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy die.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept.” (Genesis 21:14–16, NASB95)

I won’t take the space to go into the details of this particular Old Testament passage, but suffice it to say that Hagar was caught in a very difficult family situation and she was left as a single mother who did not know how she would provide for her son. She wept. Unfortunately, there will be many ladies who are weeping on Mother’s Day.

Single mothers. Whatever the reasons, there will be many mothers in church on Mother’s Day who are single moms. For some, it could be their first Mother’s Day as a single mom.  Many single mothers have been through terribly hurtful situations and struggle financially. The overwhelming majority of single mothers never dreamed they would ever be single mothers, but they are and it is not easy.

Those who have lost their mother. I have known very faithful Christians who stay away from church on Mother’s Day because it is just too painful. Many others come on to church on Mother’s Day, but they fight through their own tears during the entire service.

Those who have lost children. No matter if it was an infant or a grown adult, the trauma of burying a child never goes away. Mother’s Day serves as yet another reminder of their loss.

Those who struggle to have children. The pain of infertility is very real. Mother’s Day is not a joyous day for those couples who want a child more than anything.

Broken relationships. Sometimes we forget that not every son or daughter goes to see or calls their mother on Mother’s Day.  These mothers live with the pain of broken family relationships every day.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but these five scenarios came to mind as the most common reasons that many struggle on Mother’s Day. If your church has more than 50 people in attendance, I will near guarantee you that each of these five scenarios will be represented in the pews on Mother’s Day. Sometimes those of who who look forward to Mother’s Day don’t think about that fact.

So, this Mother’s Day make sure you honor your own mother, but why don’t you take it a step further. Encourage another mother who is hurting this weekend. It could be as simple as a good word of encouragement or it could mean blessing them financially or otherwise. Think about it. Pray about it. Then do something!

Challenging trends in the same-sex marriage debate

As a pastor, I use words every week in my speaking and writing. I am also an observer of the words people use, the arguments people make, and how they make their arguments. In recent months, I have seen a definite shift in terms of the debate regarding same-sex marriage in our culture. As a Christian pastor who believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, I stand solidly and publicly with those who believe that marriage should be defined only as the marriage of one man and one woman for life. This post isn’t arguing that point. This post is about the trends that I have seen develop in how this debate over marriage is playing out in our culture – even here in Alabama. I will not link to any specific articles or blogs. Suffice it to say that I have seen multiple examples of each of these trends. Again, my focus is on the shift of how the argument is being made.

1)  The argument has shifted from the legitimacy of same-sex marriage to calls for opponents to cease opposition.  It wasn’t that long ago that the most common argument in an article supporting same-sex marriage was that same-sex couples deserved the same rights as heterosexual couples. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states (with Alabama briefly becoming #37), those of us who advocate for the Biblical definition of marriage are told to accept the inevitable, get on the right side of history, or “get over it.”  Increasingly, we are told all three of those things in the same column.

2)  The argument is made that opposition to same-sex marriage can only come from bigotry.  I have seen several columns and blog posts recently who leave no room for any sincere opposition to gay marriage. In their worldview, the only possible explanation for opposing it is a deep seated bigotry.  In their worldview, it is not possible to love homosexuals and yet oppose same-sex marriage.

3)  Using Old Testament passages as a club to shame and silence.  Increasingly, I see advocates for same-sex marriage pull a verse from the Old Testament law and say something like, “This is in the Bible too. If you want to take the Bible literally then what do you say about this verse?”  There is no understanding or at least no explanation of Biblical theology, progressive revelation, historical context, scriptural context, etc.  The end result is confusion and silence for many Christians who might not understand the theological issues involved and how the narrative of scripture unfolds.  The clear implication that is intended is that those of us who believe in the Biblical definition of marriage should not be taken seriously because we hold views that are dangerous.

4) Ridicule and disdain in place of a coherent answer.   The scenario is the same over and over again.  A person makes a logical, thoughtful, gracious argument in favor of the traditional definition of marriage, and their arguments aren’t really answered. They are simply mocked and dismissed as being “on the wrong side of history” or “out of touch with civilization.”

These trends and others like them mean that those of us who advocate for Biblical marriage face increasing difficulty in even having our position heard in the broader culture.  Furthermore, when it is heard, our position is often misrepresented, distorted, and twisted beyond recognition.  On one hand, there is nothing we can do to control what is happening, but on the other hand it is helpful to understand what is going on and seek to be as wise as possible. These are challenging times indeed. None of us know where all of this will end.  However, our response to these issues must be guided by a principle that we do know for sure…

We are not called to be popular, but rather we are called to be faithful.

 

40 Days of Prayer for Moral & Spiritual Awakening

40DaysofPrayer

I am publicly joining Dr. Rick Lance and Dr. Travis Coleman in encouraging Alabama Baptists particularly and all Bible believing Christians generally to pray specifically and daily for moral and spiritual awakening to come in America. Just today the headlines in our nation show our great need for this to happen. On one hand the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the definition of marriage, and on the other hand all of us have seen the tragic situation in Baltimore. Our country is in trouble and the only hope we have is a mighty revival to come in our land.  Here are some excerpts from a blog post Dr. Lance wrote to kick off this emphasis…

Selected Bible Passages relating to Revival & Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by J. Chris Schofield)

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 (HCSB): “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
  • Psalm 85:6 (HCSB): “Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?”
  • Isaiah 64:1 (HCSB): “If only You would tear the heavens open and come down, so that mountains would quake at Your presence.”
  • Psalm 119:37 (HCSB): “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
  • Habakkuk 3:2 (HCSB): “Lord, I have heard the report about You; Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years. In Your wrath remember mercy!”
  • Acts 3:19 (HCSB): “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:1, 3, 4 (HCSB): “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone…This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Prayers for Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by Greg Frizzell)

  • Holy Father, we humble ourselves and acknowledge Your righteous Judgment upon our sins. (2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 85:6)
  • Righteous God, please send overwhelming love, godly fear and genuine repentance among Your people. (Psalm 51:17; Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 22:37-39; 2 Corinthians 7:1, 10)
  • Righteous God, grant to us a mountain-moving faith and a passion for fervent prayer.(Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 21:13; Acts 2:1)
  • Holy Father, please bring us to loving unity in our churches and a deep harmony between our churches. (John 13:34-35; 17:20-22)
  • Gracious Lord, please fill us with a burning passion to pray for and witness to the lost.(Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 19:10; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5, 9:1-3)
  • Lord of the harvest, please call thousands into ministry, missions and Christian witness. (Matthew 9:37-38; Acts 1:8)
  • Holy Lord, we ask You to deepen and purify our very motives in praying for revival and blessing. (Ezekiel 33:32; Hebrews 4:12; James 4:1-4)
  • Righteous Lord, we plead for Your grace upon persecuted saints around the world. (Matthew 26:39; James 4:1-4)
  • Holy Father, we humbly ask for a mighty move of conviction in government and cultural leaders. (Psalm 2:8; 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
  • Sovereign God: We ask You to rend the heavens and show forth Your awesome presence in sweeping revival. (Isaiah 64:1; Ephesians 5:26-27; Revelation 22:17, 20)

Seven Covenant Prayers for Revival and Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by Greg Frizzell)

  • Pray for God to have mercy upon the church and nation–(2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Pray for love, repentance and holy fear to grip God’s people–(Matthew 22:37-39; 2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • Pray for a spirit of faith and intercession in God’s saints–(Matthew 21:13; Acts 2:1; Hebrews 11:6)
  • Pray for holiness, boldness and power in God’s leaders and churches–(Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4)
  • Pray for loving unity and oneness in Christ’s Church–(John 13:34; Acts 2:42-47)
  • Pray for burning passion and power in evangelism and missions–(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)
    Pray for God to “rend the heavens” in sweeping revival and spiritual awakening–(2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 64:1; Psalm85:6)

Being a friend to your pastor (or a staff member)

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, NKJV)

Recently Becky and I went out to dinner with a couple from our church with whom we have become friends.  It was a couple of hours filled with laughter, stories, and great food.  It wasn’t a sermon or a Sunday School class; it was just two couples having dinner like all of the other people in the restaurant.  Like everyone else, pastors and church staff members really need those times. Over the years, I have been blessed to have very good friends in every church I have served. It doesn’t threaten me when I see our staff members developing friendships with church members either. Many readers of this blog do not attend the church I serve. Please let me share a few thoughts about being a friend to your pastor (or a staff member).

(1)  Be faithful to pray. Some of the most treasured friends are those we know pray for us on a regular basis. There have been times the Lord has used the encouragement of a praying friend in a great way.

(2) Feel free to have fun & talk about “normal” stuff. Sometimes people think since they are talking with a pastor the conversation must be about spiritual things or the church. Those things are certainly important – eternally important – and we are glad to talk about them.  However, the truth is that we “do church” all the time, but we enjoy far more than just the church. We enjoy talking about college football, favorite vacation spots, hobbies, or a host of other things. We enjoy laughing, hearing your stories, and telling our stories!

(3) Be a “safe place.”    As I write these words I am thinking of a family in a previous church who had us over to their home on several occasions. The very first time we went to their home, the wife told us as soon as we arrived: “Here you are just our friends, Greg & Becky.”  That was her way of saying that they intended for their home to be a safe place for our family, and it was. There was never an agenda and never an expectation of anything other than friendship. Those were times filled with love, laughter, and generosity that I will never forget.

(4) Disagree but remain a friend. In one church I served I could always count on one phone call when the proposed budget for the next year was distributed: a call from one of my best friends. Every year he was bent out of shape about something in the budget and he would give me an earful.  Then it was over. He disagreed, but he remained my close friend. Our friendship meant far more to him than a line item in a budget or an item on the agenda of a business meeting.

(5) Understand when we can’t share.  One time we were having dinner with close friends and a particularly sensitive issue in the church were we serving at that time came up in the conversation. Realizing the position she had put me in, the wife looked at me and said, “I’m sorry; I know you can’t go there.”  Every pastor and staff member has things they cannot share with even their closest friends due to confidentiality, etc. A good friend respects that even if it means we can’t tell them.

Every pastor and staff member needs friends. I am so very grateful for the gift of friends for life.

 

 

A Good Friday prayer

No, I’m not going to write out a prayer for you to pray. I am going to encourage you to pray this Good Friday. Read these passages, meditate on them, and pray this Good Friday.  I will see you in church on Sunday to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ!

But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5, HCSB)

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, HCSB)

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Peter 2:24, HCSB)

 

 

Visiting with an Old Friend – Psalm 27

This week leading up to Easter, I am consciously trying to spend less time looking at a screen (either the TV or my iPad) and more time consciously in the Word.  Tonight as I settled in for the evening and began to catch up on my Bible reading plan, I realized that tonight’s reading would reunite me with an old friend – Psalm 27.

It was July 2002 in Waverly, New York.  I was leading a mission team of 35 people, and my heart was heavy. That particular mission trip was a difficult one in that nothing really went according to plan.  Our group didn’t even get an hour from home before a flat tire delayed us! To be quite honest, about halfway through that trip, I wondered if we had done the right thing in coming. In addition, one of my closest friends in the church &  a well-respected deacon there was in the hospital in Birmingham fighting for his life. It looked bleak, and any moment I was expecting to get the call to fly home.  In addition, I was the full-time pastor of a growing church while also pursuing my doctorate degree from seminary.  Literally, I was working both day and night seven days per week. I was physically & spiritually exhausted.  Finally, I had a pregnant wife and a four year old little boy at home that I missed & worried about. Like I said, my heart was heavy – and my tank was empty!

One morning I went outside to have my Bible reading & prayer time. The sun had just come up enough to give light to read by. It was then that these words gripped my heart…

Davidic. The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell. Though an army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid; though a war breaks out against me, still I am confident. I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple. For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock. Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and make music to the Lord. Lord, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me. My heart says this about You, “You are to seek My face.” Lord, I will seek Your face. Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger. You have been my helper; do not leave me or abandon me, God of my salvation. Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me. Because of my adversaries, show me Your way, Lord, and lead me on a level path. Do not give me over to the will of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence. I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27, HCSB)

It was then the Lord assured me that I would see His goodness even though I couldn’t sense it at that moment. Psalm 27 strengthened me, encouraged me, and convicted me of my lack of faith all at the same time. Since that day almost 13 years ago, I have at key times each year been drawn back to Psalm 27.  It’s like an old friend that visits at just the right time. I am grateful for the visit tonight.

A needed lesson on Baptist polity

This week the Madison Baptist Association in Huntsville has made the news because of the action they took on Tuesday to remove Weatherly Heights Baptist Church from fellowship in the association. This action stemmed from the support of and participation in gay weddings by some ministers from the church.  As I watched & read the media reports of this story, I was reminded again that the news media struggles to understand Southern Baptist polity – that is how our denomination is governed.  In addition, over the years I have found that many Southern Baptists do not understand our polity.  On a number of occasions, I have had church members who had heard about actions taken by another Southern Baptist church and came to my office saying, “Our denomination is going liberal. Someone should have stopped that church from ordaining that person or calling that pastor.”  So, please keep reading for a brief but much needed lesson on Baptist polity. One point before I go further: I am writing here about my own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention and its churches. There are other “varieties” of Baptists that I am not addressing in this post.

(1)   Every Southern Baptist church is fully independent & autonomous.   Each of 45,000+ Southern Baptist churches owns its own property, calls it own pastors, and makes its own decisions. The national Southern Baptist Convention and the Alabama Baptist State Convention have no authority to tell a local church to do (or not do) anything.  This is much different than how other denominations are governed. For instance, in the United Methodist Church, the denominational leadership appoints the pastors of the local churches, and it is my understanding that the denomination owns the property of each local congregation.

(2)   Southern Baptists have organized to cooperate for missions & ministry on three levels.   Local Baptist associations are groups of churches that cooperate together for ministry in a local geographic area.  In the South, local associations are often organized by county since there tend to be a large number of SBC churches in each county, while associations in other parts of the country might comprise several counties.  State Conventions were also formed to provide avenues for ministry & missions on a statewide level.  Many state conventions have entities that no church or local association could support by themselves, such as colleges, children’s homes, conference centers, etc.  Finally, the national Southern Baptist Convention is where the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and our six SBC seminaries are governed.  As a result, the church I serve is a cooperating member of the Birmingham Baptist Association, the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and the national Southern Baptist Convention.

(3)  Participation in & contribution to these three levels is determined by each local church. Since every church is autonomous and makes its own decisions, each church decides its level of missions giving. Cooperation is voluntary – never forced. If a church reduces or stops giving its money, they are not sent a “bill” or otherwise pressured to restore the funding. This is why I have heard the Southern Baptist Convention described as “a rope of sand” because there is no top down authority for funding and participation.

(4) Baptist cooperation goes both ways.  Like the situation up in Huntsville shows, Baptist polity also means that local associations, state conventions, and the national SBC have the right to determine who they are cooperating with.  That local association decided that Weatherly Heights Baptist Church no longer was in agreement with the beliefs & practices of the association, so they voted to withdraw fellowship from them.  This action does not violate principle # 1 above because no one is questioning that local church’s right to believe and practice their faith as they see fit.  The autonomy of the local church is still very much alive and well. No one is saying that Weatherly Heights must remove the word “Baptist” from its name, etc. Weatherly Heights still owns its own buildings, calls its own pastors, and makes its own decisions, but so does the Madison Baptist Association.  Cooperation goes both ways.  If the Madison Baptist Association had chosen to do nothing or to endorse the church’s position, then every other church would have autonomously decided if they wished to continue participating in the association.

Finally, there is no perfect model for church or denominational government. There are “pros & cons” to each of the different models. It is not the intent of this post to discuss those, but rather to help us understand in a more clear way how the denomination I am part of operates. The Southern Baptist Convention is not perfect, but it is my home and the home of the church I serve.

 

A Powerful Word in a Changing World

It’s so wonderful when the Word of God speaks to us in a new and fresh way. Over the weekend in my personal Bible reading Psalm 12 jumped off the page for me. As many times as I have read it, it is more meaningful to me today than ever before. First please allow me to share a little background.

To be perfectly honest, every Biblically faithful pastor and every serious Christian in the United States is wrestling with some difficult questions: How do we live as Christians in a culture that is increasingly hostile to what we believe?  How do we have a Biblically faithful church going forward in the cultural realities of today’s world?  How do we reach people for Christ in our culture?  Those are just three examples of many questions that I (and many others) am asking.  While I have not been in despair over them, I am burdened by these questions.  Every single day these questions are on my heart. Now you can understand why Psalm 12 spoke to me in such a profound way. Here it is…

For the choir director: according to Sheminith. A Davidic psalm. Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains; the loyal have disappeared from the human race. They lie to one another; they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaks boastfully. They say, “Through our tongues we have power; our lips are our own—who can be our master?” “Because of the oppression of the afflicted and the groaning of the poor, I will now rise up,” says the Lord. “I will put the one who longs for it in a safe place.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times. You, Lord, will guard us; You will protect us from this generation forever. The wicked wander everywhere, and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.” (Psalm 12, HCSB)

Verse 1 is clear that David went through a time when he felt as if the faithful had largely disappeared. Then in the verses that follow, David tells us why he felt that way.  Many committed Christians feel this way in our day.  The parallels between our culture and what David describes here are uncanny.  For instance, look at verse 4. We live in a day when politicians, media icons, entertainers, and other influential people use the power of words to shape the culture – in the wrong direction!  Like those described in verse 4, they steadfastly believe they are their own master and determine their own destiny. While there have always been people like this in America, it seems that now they are almost totally in control of every lever of influence in our culture. Yes, times are changing quickly. Like David, we see it. We feel it. It’s easy to begin to feel despair and doubt.

Did you notice where David went when confronted with these realities?  He went back to the pure words of the Lord and His protection. The cultural realities that David faced drove him back to the Lord and the Word.  That is where the answers to his struggle were found.  In the same way, as we wrestle with very real questions today, it is my prayer that we too are driven back to where the answers to our struggle are found.

HE is faithful!

 

The Greatest Generation

This week I visited a church member in the ICU of a local hospital. Even though he had been through a rough time, he was able to talk with me and in our conversation he referred to his time in combat during World War II.  As I talked with him, I was humbled and a little overwhelmed to be the pastor of a man who had given so much for his country.  As I walked to my car, I couldn’t help but think of others in the church I serve who are also World War II veterans.  In the short time I have been pastor here, we have buried several of these veterans.  A number of years back, news anchor Tom Brokaw wrote a book about the World War II generation and he titled it “The Greatest Generation.”   I believe Tom Brokaw had it right; this generation is the greatest generation in American history.  Please allow me to share why I believe this statement is true.

1)  The World War II generation is a generation of deep faith.  Not every member of this generation is a born again Christian, but many are. Some came to faith during the war, while others came to Christ later in life, but the reality is that many of this generation came to a deep and abiding Christian faith. Practically every evangelical church in the post World War II decades has been filled with faithful members from this generation.

2) The World War II generation is a generation of hard work & sacrifice.  Many of them were children during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and grew up in families working hard just to survive. After the war was over, they came home, got married and began their careers and families.  In a very real sense, this generation built the America we know today. They built businesses, communities, churches, etc. Even in their retirement years, the World War II generation has stayed busy. They have worked until they were not physically able to work any more. That is no coincidence. Work is all they have known.

3)  The World War II generation is a generation of a healthy patriotism. I have never met a World War II veteran who thought America was perfect. However, each one loves their country.  Many of them have seen first hand the results of evil and despotism.  They take the phrase “land of the free and the home of the brave” to heart.  They came up in a time when the American flag transcended Democrat or Republican  – it was a symbol of our whole country and what it stands for. Certainly, we do not worship America, but the Greatest Generation shows us how to love America in a healthy way.

According to the National World War II museum, 16 million Americans served in World War II.  Today only about 855,000 remain alive. They are dying at the rate of 492 each day.  In Alabama, there are only 12,700 left alive in the entire state.   Let’s take the time to thank and honor those members of the Greatest Generation that we know. Unfortunately, we do not have very long to do so.

Clash of the worldviews

Dr. Del Tackett who helped produce Focus on the Family’s excellent series “The Truth Project” defines a person’s worldview in this way…

A person’s worldview consists of the values, ideas or the fundamental belief system that determines his attitudes, beliefs and ultimately, actions.

It’s important to understand that there are many worldviews in operation today. Very often these worldviews are shaped by religion.  For instance, the worldview of a Bible believing evangelical Christian in Alabama is very different from the worldview of a Muslim in Egypt.  However, if a person is an atheist or if they make decisions as if there is no god, then that is a worldview as well.

A quick glance at the world headlines reveals that we are watching a clash of worldviews play out in international affairs. The rise of ISIS and Iran’s continuing march toward a nuclear weapon all reflect worldviews in operation. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflects a clash of worldviews. China is operating out of its worldview – very different from the Middle Eastern worldview but still a very definite worldview.

Here at home in the United States we are seeing a clash of worldviews that is no less real.  Over the last few decades, the United States has gradually replaced the Christian worldview with a secular worldview.  The moral revolution that our nation has experienced is the direct result of this change.  The clash of worldviews is playing out in every segment of American culture right now.  The cultural elites look at Bible believing evangelical Christians and wonder why we do not just “go along” and “get on the right side of history.”  They do not understand that we are operating under a worldview that values the approval of the Lord above the approval of men.

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1–2, HCSB)