December 26, 2006

Normal People Don't Change the World

I am obsessed with a terrible fear. It is greater than any fear of torture, burning, drowning, or being kidnapped. It looms larger than my natural fear of death. Fears of falling, of darkness, and of hunger are dwarfed in comparison to it. Beside it, any other fears that I possess are nothing.

I am afraid of being normal.

I am afraid that I will wake up one day and be just like everyone else. I am afraid that I will care about the things that normal people care about. I am afraid that I will live my life like billions of others on this planet do.

I am afraid that, like countless others, I will let life happen to me. I will sink below the waves of life as they crash past me, and eventually, in their wake, I will bounce up again. I will go along bobbing up and down in the sea of time and space, until one day a mighty wave will sweep me under, and I will never pop back up. I will sink to the bottom, disintegrate, and dissolve into the sand at the bottom of the ocean of dreams.

I do not want to be normal. I want to attack life with zest before it attacks me. I want time to be my servant, never my master. I want to run life as though it were a race, pushing back the obstacles and ultimately breaking the tape at the finish line to the cheers of an entire stadium. I want to meet the Master at the end, and hear His commendations on a race well run.

I am afraid of being normal because I've seen what happens to normal people. Normal people live normal lives, and have normal problems. When they die, they'll have the normal for all of eternity. I don't want that.

I want to have a different life. I want to fight bigger problems, and win. Because I have bigger battles, my victories will be sweeter. My joys will be more acute. Yes, my losses will be more tragic, but I will buckle up and try again.

Normal people care about normal things. They care about what they will eat, how they will pay the mortgage, what they will wear, when they can retire, how they can manage to get along with their families. They care mostly about keeping their heads above water.

I want God to plant my feet on higher ground. By His grace, I want to break away from the shallowness of a trite existence.

I don't want to care so much about normal things. I want to care about matters of eternal significance, life versus death and good versus evil. I want to care about things that are deeper than the temporal. Normal people don't change the world, but that's what I must do. It needs changing. Someone must get the ball rolling.

I feel guilty about things that don't even bother most people. I feel guilty because more than 3,000 innocent children are murdered every day in my country. I haven't killed any. I wasn't even alive on January 22, 1973. But still, I feel responsible. The shame is acute. I want to do something about it.

In spite of all this, I am afraid that I will become normal. I am afraid that I will wake up one morning and discover that my life is halfway over and I am just like everyone else I know. This has happened to others. It could happen to me, too.

It must never happen. By God's grace, it never will. I serve a God who is anything but 'normal', and I have no doubt that His plans for my life are not normal in the least.

December 24, 2006

Escaping the Comfort Zone

"There are many places to go in the world, but you will never get there by sitting in your easy chair."

So read a sign that I saw in the airport a few days ago. It's a very simple thought, yet one that relates in profound ways to many other areas of life. It might be re-phrased to read, "There are many things to do for God in life, but you will never be able to do them from your comfort zone."

What is a comfort zone? Webster's defines it as "An environment or situation in which a person feels secure or at ease; also figuratively, an established lifestyle in which a person feels comfortable as long as there is no drastic change"

As long as there is no drastic change. Is that how you feel on occasion? Do you sometimes dread what the future holds? Do you find yourself wishing that you could hold back the sands of time? Do you ever cringe at the thought of the uncomfortable things that God may be calling you to do?

I know I do. No matter how great our zest for life and the future, we often have the desire to keep our lifestyles within the circumference of whatever we feel most comfortable with. Our comfort zone is a place where we can enjoy life without taking too many risks, where we can bask in the 'good life' without taking up the tab. Safe in our comfort zone, we are isolated from ridicule and criticism. We can love and be loved without fear of rejection. We have few responsibilities to bother us.

Are these your dreams? Do you envision a convenient lifestyle? A posh career, a doting family? The good life ? Do you dream of being loved, without the responsibility of loving and sacrificing youself in return?

The good life sounds wonderful, but it cannot be because it is self-centered. It is 'good' because it is comfortable, and comfortable because it is not difficult or challenging. God calls us to live a greater life, a life of duty and committment. He calls us to higher ground. We are asked to surrender ourselves, to die daily (1 Cor 15:31). We must sacrifice ourselves for a cause greater than the temporary.

What could be more wonderful? What could be more exciting? We are here on earth to glorify the Almighty, and nothing could be more fulfilling than giving Him all that we have. The opportunity to invest our talents in something that really matters is a glorious prospect!

It does takes courage to break away from the norm of society to pursue a higher standard. Courage, as someone once said, is simply fear in its proper perspective. It is not the absence of fear, but simply the act of harnessing it and utilizing it to accomplish something worthwhile.

Bill Jack of Worldview Academy oftens mentions in his lectures the 'interesting' effect that fear has on people. "What you fear", he asserts, "Is what you will worship." When you allow uncertainty and trepidation to control your actions, you are surrending yourself to those emotions as your master. But once you surrender yourself to God, the true Creator, your fear of other entities is dwarfed by your desire to magnify Him in all that you do.

Have you ever heard of a person who said that they did too much for God? Have you ever heard of someone who, on their death bed, regretted having challenged themselves as much as they did? Someone who wished that they had worked a little less, and not taken so many risks? I never have. Instead, there seems to be a completely different universal regret. Most older people look back on their lives with chagrin, thinking longingly of the many wasted moments spent in careless comfort. They long to turn back the clock and try again. They wish that they had accomplished more, taken more risks for the things that matter. They regret hiding in the shadows when their voice was needed. They regret choosing a less challenging lifestyle because it seemed easier.

We have all wasted time in our comfort zones. As long as we live on earth, however, there is a chance for reform. The opportunity to follow God out of our comfort zone always stands open. He is always ready and willing to lead us to heights we never dreamed of.

So what will you choose? Is the American Dream of ease and prosperity good enough for you? Do you dream of a life lived unchallenged, an existence of temporary comfort and happiness? Or are you willing to join God on the adventure of a lifetime? Are you willing to give Him 100%? God's dream for you will be challenging, time consuming, and life altering. It may wound your ego, it will alter your plans, and it will certainly take you out of your comfort zone. But in the end, when you hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant" , it will be worth it all!

First published at

December 23, 2006

Lethargic No Longer

"Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand."

Mr. Williams grabbed another potato chip and leaned back in his lounge chair. "I heard that the US has been buying guillotines," he quipped. "Just goes to prove that this government is hopeless. And Christians still think that they can make a difference by voting!"

Mr. Barnes, sitting on another couch, smiled and took a carrot from a tray on the coffee table. It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and the discussion had turned to politics. "The tribulation is bound to start any time", he agreed, "but instead of getting out of the world, Christians are trying to get back in and change everything! Such apostasy. This whole abortion thing is going to get America God's judgement, and we've got to get ourselves far removed. Say, did you hear about the concentration camps that Bush is building? Some friends of ours were out driving and actually saw one........."

I rolled my eyes and groaned inwardly, tired of complaining and conspiracy theories. Taking my plate, I hurried to the kitchen, passing my sister in the hall. She giggled at the look on my face, knowing that I would be sure to vent my frustrations in a long speech later that day.

The time came soon enough. After arriving home from the visit, I followed my sister to her room and plopped down on the bed. "I can't believe it!" I exclaimed. "They are forever complaining about everything, and they never do anything! If they aren't going to help, they don't have a right to whine about politics. What do they expect, when government is made up of fallible human beings? After all, 'The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!' "

My sister looked at me and laughed, in the provoking way that little sisters do. "So what are you going to do?"

What am I going to do? I'm not an apathetic person, but I don't always want to be proactive about everything. I complain, too, especially about indifferent people who complain. The temptation to hold one's self aloof and grumble at everyone else can be very strong.

Yet I am disgusted with apathy. I hate the apathy that I see in the people around me, but I hate it even more in myself. I feel nauseated at the part of me that wants to take the easy route, the part that prefers a diplomatic solution when such a thing is not possible. As I have been reading the Biblical prophets lately, I have noticed a characteristic of God that eluded me before. He is obsessed with justice. He is passionately opposed to evil, and He uses the strongest of language to express that revulsion. As emissaries of God, can we do any less? How can we calmly discuss such modern atrocities as abortion and genocide without feeling a moral compulsion to go out and do something?

I used to wonder why every election was always said to be so pivotal. Every two years, one was liable to get the impression that the world was going to go down the drain unless so-and-so was elected. Every two years, politicians portrayed America as being on the brink of disaster, but then, until the next election, everything was pretty much fine. Suddenly, though, it was election time again, and this was our country's most crucial election year!

I think I understand now. Politicians, of course, are not above a bit of exaggeration, but as Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same." We often tend to sit back and admire the frontiers that the previous generation has conquered for us, while forgetting that there are those in every generation who would like nothing more than to reclaim those frontiers for the other side. We are in a never-ending battle, and the option of passiveness must never be open.

It has been said that getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you get up and do something. Similarly, our beliefs propel us to action. As Christians, we are not called to pontificate; we are called to act. "...I will show you my faith by my works." James 2:18b

James makes another point in the same chapter that is well worth consideration. "You believe that God is one" he says; "You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." It's as though he was saying to us today, "You believe in God? That's nice. Even Satan does that. Now try doing something about it!"

Perhaps Isaac Watts was thinking along the same lines when he penned his famous hymn, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"
"Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word......."

"Why do I tend to think myself immune from difficulties?" he asks. "Why do I see myself as detached from the spiritual war that other Christians fight? What gives me the right to live in luxury while others give their lives for the sake of the gospel?"

A few weeks ago, I was in Israel, and while there, we visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum. As I was touring the exhibits, meditating soberly on the apathy displayed by European Christians in those dark days, my eyes were drawn to a display on Hitler's extermination camps for mentally ill persons. I read on half-heartedly, until I noticed suddenly that the camps in one particular area had been shut down permanently. Hitler?? Shut down an entire project? Why? I read eagerly on, then stepped back in surprise when the answer was revealed. Because the churches protested!

Perhaps I should have breathed a sigh of relief. The German Christians weren't so apathetic after all!

But I was horrified. The churches protested? The churches protested, and Hitler shut down the entire program as a result? Through my tears, I saw a pile of children's shoes nearby, their owners exterminated in the Holocaust. I saw the emaciated bodies in the photographs, and in my imagination, I heard the screams of the 6,000,000 innocents who perished. "Why didn't they protest this?? If they were brave enough to challenge Hitler, why did they stop with the victims who were mentally ill? What were they thinking? Could their combined outcry have possibly moved Hitler to end other programs as well?Why did they stop with that??"

In the same way, we face evil today in the 21st century, evil that we must confront. Future generations will look back at us, just as we look back at the Christians during WW II. Youth Evangelist Ron Luce addressed this issue at the Values Voters Summit in September. He reminded his listeners that when people look back at our generation, they will ask "Where were the Christians?" We must be the ones in our generation, he said, who will take the initiative and say "No! Enough of this! The train will not run off the tracks on my watch!" For once the train is off the tracks, it will be off for a long time.

We in the 21st century must not let that happen. We must determine that we will not leave society untouched without making a mark for righteousness. We must not go to our graves without making an impact for Christ, in every area of society. Otherwise, what will we have to say for ourselves, when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ?

It has been said that there are 3 kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who have no idea what is happening. Unfortunately, there are far too many of these last two groups, while those in the former are all too rare.

But I believe, therefore I do. I think, and then I act. I find it impossible to stand on the sidelines while evil reigns unhindered in the arena, to look the other way when it is in my power to do something about the problem. Society has enough lethargic members, and I refuse to join their number. No one will ever say that I stood by and did nothing. I may be accused of many things, but never of apathy. I will use my influence for good in every sector of society. Winning or losing, I will stand for the right, regardless of the cost. Friends, this is a time for action!

First published at

December 22, 2006

Israel vs. Hezbollah: Interview with an Israeli

I conducted the following interview on behalf of in October.

Dennis Avi Lipkin, alias Victor Mordecai, is a popular author and lecturer on Israel and radical Islam. Born in New York, Mr. Lipkin made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel at the age of 19, graduating from the Hebrew University in 1971. A former officer in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force), Mr. Lipkin has held several military and governmental positions in Israel. He also has experience in business, as well as Israeli politics, and is an engaging, dynamic speaker. Since 1990, Mr. Lipkin has been lecturing in synagogues and churches all over the world, as well as appearing often on radio and television interviews. He travels to the US often, and is the author of 4 books and numerous DVD's, including the books "Is Fanatic Islam a Global Threat?" and "Christian Revival for Israel's Survival". More information can be found at

Mr. Lipkin is married to Rachel, who works in Israeli media, and they have 2 sons, Aaron and Jacob, as well as 4 grandchildren. Avi is currently running for the Israeli Knesset, heading a new political party known as the Judeo-Christian Bible Bloc ("Gush Hatanakhi" in Hebrew).

Mr. Lipkin graciously agreed to do an exclusive interview with ROC regarding the current situation between Israel and Hezbollah. He joined us from Jerusalem, and here are some of his thoughts on the issues that Israel faces today.

Sarah: Thank you so much for your willingness to talk with us about some of the major issues affecting Israel at this time. On July 12, Hezbollah kidnapped 2 Israeli soldiers and killed 3 while they were patrolling the Israeli/Lebanon border, provoking a brief yet fiery war between the two countries. Who is Hezbollah and what is their goal? What do they want from Israel?

Mr Lipkin: Hezbollah is a fanatic Shi'ite Islamic organization representing the Shi'ites of Lebanon. They are proxy soldiers for Syria and Iran and their purpose is to promote the agendas of Syria and Lebanon at the expenses of the Sunni Moslems and of course, regarding Israel, the destruction of the Jewish State.

Sarah: Many world leaders have condemned Israel's response to the kidnappings. Was Israel justified in their offensive? Why or why not?

Mr. Lipkin: As for the world's criticism of Israel's response to the kidnappings, Israel does not make its decisions based on "what the world will say" but to ensure the security of its citizens whether in uniform or not. In addition, hundreds of Katyusha rockets were fired all along the Israeli/Lebanon border on that July 12th. It was indeed an act of war against Israel, not just a kidnapping of soldiers.

Sarah: As an Israeli, how do you feel about the end result of this war? Did Israel accomplish their objective? Are you pleased with the outcome?

Mr. Lipkin: Personally, most Israelis were very dissatisfied with the results of the war because it was not a military victory. The IDF issued conflicting orders to its troops on the ground and we kind of muddled through. On the positive side, we knew that no matter how many lives of our soldiers we sacrificed, we eventually would have to retreat from Lebanon, so the emphasis was definitely on not losing soldiers. But our Air Force performed superbly and took out much of the Hezbollah infrastructure in Lebanon. Most importantly, the world is now helping to occupy and control the Israeli/Lebanon border, much to the chagrin of the terrorists.

Sarah: On August 14, UN Security Resolution 1701 officially declared a ceasefire to the war. How do you believe this will affect the situation? What exactly does the resolution entail?

Mr. Lipkin: Resolution 1701 was exactly what I was referring to in question 3. The world is now involved and very unhappy with the Hezbollah behavior. Israel was begging the Lebanese government to extend its control of their sovereign territory down to the Israeli border for 40 years. Now the Lebanese army has come down to the Israeli borderline together with the UN troops. We see this as an achievement.

Sarah: The 2 Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped in the north are still in the custody of Hezbollah. Do you think they're still alive? Is there hope for their safe return to Israel?

Mr. Lipkin: Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced today that the two kidnapped soldiers are in good condition.

Sarah: What kind of influence has international opinion had on Israel's foreign policy during this war? Is this influence positive or negative?

Mr. Lipkin: As for foreign opinion, I think it is a given today that the world, led by the US, the West and then even the Sunni Moslem countries realize that Iran was behind the war in Lebanon and that Iran is responsible for much of the instability in the region today. One can even remember that Sunni Moslem countries during the early part of the war blamed the Hezbollah and Iran and not Israel. Iran today is trying to impose its hegemony on the Sunni Islamic world and the latter indeed resented this needless war in Lebanon. It may be that some doors in the Sunni Muslim world are now opening to Israel as a result.

Sarah: Is Israel's war with Hezbollah really over, in your opinion? If so, who won?

Mr. Lipkin: Is the war over with the Hezbollah? Obviously not. The Hezbollah have announced that their men are still on the Israeli border with guns, that they are rearming and the UN is powerless to stop them. The Syrians are also threatening a war to retake the Golan Heights and the Hezbollah is seen as an allied army of Syria in an overall confrontation with Israel.

Sarah: What are your thoughts regarding the UN? How has it affected Israel's war against her enemies? Is the UN justified in their handling of the situation between Israel and Lebanon?

Mr. Lipkin: The UN has never been a friend of Israel, but I like I said before, it was Iran that instigated the war in Lebanon, and most countries, including Sunni Muslim ones support UN efforts at preventing another war between Lebanon and Israel, all this through UN auspices.

Sarah: Moving on to another volatile situation, what do you think of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent speech at the United Nations summit? Is he a serious world threat, a raving madman, or just a leader in need of a peaceful energy source?

Mr. Lipkin: Ahmedinejad is a faithful representative of a crazed, rogue, criminal leadership of a country which used to be allied with the US, Israel and the West and now threatens the world with a nuclear program as well as being a sponsor of international terrorism.

Sarah: You believe that it is in America's best interest to support Israel. Why?

Mr. Lipkin: The US must support Israel because Israel is an ally of the US. Israel was always there for the US during the Cold War with the Soviets. Today, Israel is the land-based "aircraft carrier" for the US military in the Middle East. The US and Israel are the only real democracies in the world based on God's word the Bible. "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you." (Genesis 12:3)

Sarah: Israel and the Jewish people are the target of a great deal of animosity and hate in the world. Why?

Mr. Lipkin: Israel and Jews have always been much the target of animosity throughout the world for millenia just as there is much animosity to the US in many parts of the world. I think this is because both the US and Israel share God as the basis for their civilizations and all those who hate God will therefore hate the Jews and Christians.

Sarah: As an Israeli, you no doubt desire peace for your country. How can this be achieved? Is it even possible?

Mr: Lipkin: As for peace in our time, I see the war between Israel and Islam or the West and Islam or the entire world and Islam as a war between God and Satan, Islam being Satan. There will only be peace on Earth when Islam is defeated and banned forever. This can only happen together with a Christian Revival globally and a strengthened Jewish State of Israel.

December 8, 2006

Election 2006: My Thoughts

Today is December 8, 2006, exactly one month since Americans learned the results of the critical 2006 elections. It's difficult to encapsulate an election with words, to express accurately why a nation voted the way it did. In the case of this election, there have been various suggestions as to the root cause behind the GOP loss, often conflicting ones. I've had a month to gather my thoughts, and there are several things that have stood out to me as I've watched Washington gear up for a change of hands yet again.

On November 8th, I journaled some of my thoughts regarding the national election results on my flight home from the pro-life campaign I'd been working on:

".....I am thoroughly chagrined at the November 7th results nationally. What happened to the values voters?? What happened to the new era of conservatism, the awakening that was supposed to be taking place in the hearts and minds of the American people? How can Democrats take control of the House, and maybe the Senate, by spouting anti-war rhetoric barely 5 years since September 11th?

How can Arizona refuse to accept that marriage is a union fit only for a one man/one woman partnership? How can the citizens of Arizona reject the sacred institution of marriage, an institution that has been the base of civilization since the world began? What did they think 'marriage' meant?

How can a good, God-fearing leader like Rick Santorum lose by such a wide margin in a state like Pennsylvania? How can the steady values of Jim Talent be traded for the wild-eyed liberal rants of a woman like Claire McCaskill?

How can Missourians approve an Amendment to the MO Constitution that enshrines blasphemous experimentation on human life in Missouri almost forever? How can they allow themselves to be blinded by the lies and slick deception of greedy financial geniuses who stand to gain at the cost of Missouri taxpayers?

How can Republicans have used their years in leadership so poorly? How can 12 years of majority status on Capitol Hill result in larger government, higher deficit, and greater attacks on traditional morality? How has the long arm of government extended its dreadful grasp over the citizenry while self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives crafted the budget and made the calls in Washington?

How can all this have crept up so subtly and quickly? Why is the next generation still being fed the liberal line in America's public schools?......"

Yes, there were questions after November 7th, some of which have been answered, many of which have not been. I read several political commentaries after the election, yet none stood out to me quite so much as this thought from commentator Jan Markell:

"Many Americans wanted change and 'a new direction'. For them, just about any change and/or new direction will do."

True, isn't it? So many voters, disappointed that the current leadership in Congress had not solved their problems, or perhaps disgusted with the present corruption, were ready to move on with whomever offered a fresh start.

It's tragic that we live in a generation who seems ready to follow anyone if they are loud and influential enough. Americans rightly wanted change in government, yet many didn't bother to consider the implications of the direction they were choosing when they took an abrupt u-turn on November 7th. When the facts are not thoroughly investigated, people can easily end up voting against their own interests. Many Americans allowed themselves to be blinded by the left's new face, and will most likely regret that decision in the near future.

Several months ago, I read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and gleaned some fascinating revelations on human nature and the way government works. Near the beginning of the play, Casca and Cassius discussed Caesar's recent abuses of power. Cassius says:

"And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws what trash is Rome...."

Few things have been said more truly. As long as there is law, there will be law-breakers, and as long as government exists, tyrants and immoral leaders will be attracted to it like flies to a picnic dinner. There is one prerequisite, however, for tyrants to exist: they must have followers. They need hoi polloi, the blind masses who will hang on their every word and worship them with the fervor due a god. Without the people, their very livelihood is gone.

"I know he would not be a wolf, but that he sees the Romans are but sheep...."

Passive sheep invite corrupt, unjust leaders. An apathetic, uninformed country lures those who would seek its destruction like little else can.

We cannot eliminate the world's tyrants and misguided leaders, but we can do something about their livelihood, the base on which they thrive. It is not possible for unjust governors to establish themselves in the wake of an informed, educated, active populace. If society is vigilant and wise, tyranny is nearly impossible.

The answers for America's problems are not found in a party, and never will be. The solution to governmental unrest is found in the people. The choices they make determine the course that society will take.

What lesson can America learn from the election results of 2006? Perhaps this: there are enough sheep in this country already. It's time for a new breed.

December 7, 2006

In Defense of God

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Yes, it seems that God has received another piece of hatemail. This one is from Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, a book which ranked #2 on's bestseller list just last month. A few weeks ago, Dr. Dawkins read this quotation from his manuscript in a Massachusetts church. The audience laughed and applauded.

Dawkins is an ardent British anti-creationist, and has authored such books as The Blind Watchmaker to argue for the theory of evolution, which he views as an undeniable fact. He consistently resists opportunities for debates with creationists, claiming that being involved with them in a debate would give creationists the "oxygen of respectability".

There are a great many questions that could be asked of Dr. Dawkins. I might point out that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New, the One who is still worshiped and adored all over the world today. We could ask Dr. Dawkins why he has devoted his life to defeating an entity that he does not believe exists, or what it is about the concept of God that he finds so offensive.

One could ask, "What, if God indeed does not exist, gives you the right to say that such qualities as the ones you listed are objectionable? Who are you to enforce your brand of morality on us by claiming a character trait to be negative, if, in fact, truth is subjective?"

Yes, there are a great many questions that could be asked of Dr. Dawkins. Personally, I would like to know how much time he spent poring over a thesaurus to compile such an egregious list of adjectives.

However, Dr. Dawkin's problems with God stem from one basic character trait: He is just. And, as Thomas Jefferson said, "His justice cannot sleep forever". God has a clearly defined moral standard, and this standard offends Dr. Dawkins because he has violated it. In a desperate attempt to justify himself, Dawkins has thrown labels at God to try to alleviate the labels around his life that all too clearly condemn him as a sinner.

Dr. Dawkins does not want to admit guilt, so he has reassigned it. When he insults God, he feels justified. There is a hole in his life that cannot be filled by his own morality, so he has dedicated his life to fighting God's morality, in hopes that he can silence the voice of conscience forever.

He cannot.

I've found a very different description of God in the Old Testament:

"The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished...."
Exodus 34:6b-7a

This is the God who is waiting for Dr. Dawkins. This is the God that defies description, the God who forgives iniquity and sin. The God who is waiting for all of us, in spite of the fact that we have ignored Him, rejected Him, and insulted Him.

No, God is not vindictive. He is just. He is more than just, because He has offered the opportunity of forgiveness to us, we who have spurned Him. Like Dr. Dawkins, each of us has insulted God, trying His patience times without number.

Still, He has stretched out the arm of forgiveness, offering salvation, hope, and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He has loved us, we who were unlovable.

Why should He care? Why should the God of the universe reach down and care about a lost fugitive such as myself? Why should He extend the hand of friendship to a race that holds Him in nothing but contempt?

Because He is merciful. Kind, benevolent, and loving.

So here's to God, by far the most pleasant character in all of reality. Thanks for being there!

November 30, 2006

Report: Washington Briefing

They've been underestimated countless times. Conversely ignored and courted by politicians, attacked and reverenced in the media, constantly discussed and analyzed, they are without a doubt the most misunderstood voting bloc in America. We call them values voters .

Just who are these people, and what do they stand for? What are the values they allude to, and why?

The answer could be found at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC from September 22-24, 2006, when more than 1,700 conservatives from all over the nation rallied to discuss the issues and learn from the greatest minds in their movement. Hosted by FRC Action, in cooperation with Focus on the Family Action, American Family Association Action, and Americans United to Preserve Marriage, the Washington Briefing: 2006 Values Voter Summit was an extraordinary conference of epic proportions in the Christian conservative movement. Featuring an incredible lineup of the movement's most outstanding intellectuals, the conference served as a morale booster for conservatives nationwide. Speakers included such influential citizens as Dr. James Dobson, Senators George Allen, Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Judge Charles Pickering, Alan Sears, Tony Perkins, Don Wildmon, Bishop Wellington Boone, Representatives Marilyn Musgrave, Mike Pence, and Katherine Harris, Maggie Gallagher, Tony Snow, William J. Bennett, Gary Bauer, and many more. The event also included times of worship, as well as entertainment from Steve Bridges and special music by Larnelle Harris.

I had the privilege of attending the Washington Briefing with TeenPact, and was very blessed and educated by the experience. The issues discussed covered a broad range of socioeconomic and international concerns, from feminism to terrorism, and the Judiciary to the Church.


Indiana Representative Mike Pence addressed the issue of immigration from a Biblical standpoint. Quoting the Biblical directive against mistreating aliens, he reminded his listeners that we are children of immigrants, and America is a nation of immigrants. While stressing his belief that we ought to reject amnesty, he also encouraged compassion toward those who will attempt anything to enter this great country, reminding his listeners that our ancestors once felt the same way. Pence additionally discussed his immigration reform bill, the Hutchinson-Pence plan, which he and Kay Bailey Hutchinson have partnered together to produce.

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee echoed similar statements in a later speech, exclaiming, "Thank God we live in a country that people are trying to break into instead of out of!"

Marriage vs. Homosexuality

Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts, discussed the fight to preserve marriage, stating passionately that children deserve to be raised in a loving, stable environment by a father and mother. Speaking of the fact that the liberals have been trying to use the courts to force gay 'marriage' on America, Romney stated, "Too often liberals love democracy only when the results are certain to be in their favor". He added that marriage is a status, and marriage in one state affects all the states.

Bishop Wellington Boone brought up the recent problem of gay individuals claiming that their fight to legalize same-sex 'marriage' is comparable to the civil rights movement. Himself an African American, Boone found this comparison highly offensive. After passionately reviewing the history of the civil rights movement, he exclaimed, "You telling me you wanna get in on that? Get outta here!"

Boone also made the point that it is not enough to simply blame the homosexual agenda. When Christ comes back, He won't hold merely homosexuals accountable, He will hold us accountable. After all, aren't we the ones who were commanded to be the salt and light? Bishop Boone challenged his audience to get busy fulfilling that mission.
Ann Coulter attacked the homosexual 'right to privacy in the bedroom' argument. Am I allowed to sell drugs in private? Can I hide the money that I owe to the IRS under my mattress, since the government isn't supposed to enter the bedroom? Confronting the homosexual lie with these and similar questions, Coulter made the point that government is most certainly justified in prosecuting sexual crimes.

She also mentioned the frequently used argument that 'gay marriage doesn't affect me, therefore it must be ok'. Well, neither does someone who sells drugs or does murders in North Carolina, for example, she stated. Some things are just wrong!

Coulter also spoke directly to those who wish to overturn marriage. "If you want to overturn a 3,000 year old institution, you can make the arguments!" she declared, referring to the liberal tendency to put conservatives in the position of defending traditional marriage, as though conservatives were the ones with the radical ideas for social change in that respect.

She also joked about the judges who are supposedly able to find the right to gay 'marriage' in the Constitution. "We should get them out to look for Bin Laden!" she teased.


Dr. James Dobson cited encouraging new statistics, which indicate that 73% of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong, 66% that it should be ended or severely restricted. US Senator Sam Brownback also had an optimistic attitude, suggesting that we now live in a pro-life nation ! He went on to remind his listeners that abortion is extremely painful for the child, and that as conservatives, we fight for life.

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee concured, stating that our ultimate value is that we value people. "Being prolife" , he purported, "Means that I care about people from conception to death".

Bishop Wellington Boone commented on the problem of abortion in the African American community, stating that, although 8% of America's population is African American, 35% of abortions are performed on African American mothers. He issued a challenge to his listeners to make a difference, asking "Why should God have to wait for the next generation to do what we should be doing in this generation?"

Conservative thinker Paul Weyrich agreed. Liberals, he said, think that when they've won something (Roe vs. Wade, for example), they are entitled to it forever. They are wrong!

Ann Coulter also spoke out strongly in defense of life. When you start with a lie, she reminded, it snowballs into more lies. Abortion advocates try to cover up the gruesome reality of abortion by using more pleasing words like procedure, choice, and termination . The fact remains, however, that abortion means death . Its advocates know that, and even those who peddle this so-called 'right' don't want their names associated with it. Ever heard of the "Ted Kennedy abortion clinic"? You never will.

Gary Bauer's remarks on abortion elicited several standing ovations from the crowd. Every day, he reminded the audience, we inflict another 9/11 on ourselves - abortion. He added that the abortion culture is built on a lie: the lie that only some life is valuable. And because it is built on a lie, it will ultimately fall !

Someday, he visualized, we will look back at abortion like we look back at slavery now. One day you will go get your paper in the morning, and it will say, "Roe overturned" !


Media experts Ted Baehr, Don Feder, and Tommy Tenney joined to discuss Hollywood in the Heartland in an interesting panel discussion, moderated by movie director Jonathan Flora. After showing conference attendees a preview of Tommy Tenney's new movie One Night with the King , the three discussed Hollywood's influence on American culture. "If you're a Christian" , Feder remarked, "Hollywood hates you" . He went on to contrast Hollywood's 'religion' with Christianity, showing the drastic differences between the two worldviews.

The three men also shared some enlightening statistics: 149 million Americans attend church every week, while only 26.7 attend movies during the same time period. And while Americans do spend 9.21 billion each year on movies, they give approximately 248.52 billion in charity annually. Tenney reminded listeners that every battle we abandon, we lose by default . Hollywood is desperate to survive, and they are responding to feedback on films. You don't have to view bad movies and TV: life is too short!


Myrna Blyth and two other accomplished conservative women shared their thoughts regarding feminism in What Feminist Majority? , a panel moderated by FRC's Connie Mackey. Referring to such female liberal personas as Clinton, Boxer, and Finestein as the 'liberal sisters of doom', the three commented that people are always telling women what they should want. The media attempts to sell women the idea that they are victims, mistreated creatures who deserve full sympathy.

The three ladies also pointed out that the women employed in media today market themselves as 'girlfriends', thinking that they speak for all women, and assuming that all women agree with them. Such is not the case! According to recent polls, 9 out of 10 high school senior girls want be be married and have children.

"We want to be protected by men, it's ok with us!" one of the women on the panel and mother of nine declared. Their insights were fascinating, and they ended with the remark that "Women still want the things that are near and dear to their hearts".

The War on Terror

Many speakers shared insights on the war on terror, among them Gary Bauer. He quoted a recent speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iranian TV, in which he stated, "Can you imagine a world without America? It will happen soon" . Mr. Bauer reminded conference attendees that Islamo-fascists are a real and serious threat with the will to win. Do we have the will to win?

Bauer contrasted the ideologies in America's war on terror and pointed out that radical Islam worships death, whereas God says, "Choose life!" William J. Bennett agreed, pointing out in his talk that jihadists seek death. Our marines, on the contrary, view death as the last resort, the full measure of devotion. In the difference lies civilization.

Referring to the left's impatience with the situation in Iraq, Ann Coulter compared liberals to little children on a long car drive, constantly complaining, "Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?" She pointed out that it took 50 years to reinstall democracy in Germany after WWII, and America's progress in Iraq has really been astounding in the history of warfare.

Coulter also ridiculed the appeasement mentality that so many in the left have towards terrorists. Their logic goes something like this: "If we make war against those who seek our destruction, they might get mad and seek our destruction!" .


Judge Charles Pickering, former Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and author of Supreme Chaos: The Politics of Judicial Confirmation and the Culture War , spoke on the increasing problem of judicial tyranny. He commented that the judiciary was never intended to be a 'political' branch of government, but that is what it has become. Reminding conservatives that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, he emphasized the fact that judges are not all-knowing: they are human and often make mistakes.

According to the liberal position that the Constitution is continually evolving, Pickering stated that, in that case, no one would ever know what it means except for 5 Justices on the Supreme Court, and we the people could never know unless they tell us. He added that if it is possible for 5 Justices to change the Constitution, it certainly ought to be possible for the American people to do so!


"Don't apologize for believing in the things that matter", White House spokesman Tony Snow admonished. He challenged Christians to: 1) acknowledge evil and swear to fight it, 2) defend the definition of the family, and 3) teach the next generation well. This nation, he commented, has barely begun to scratch the surface of our potential. When they look back at us 50 years from now, our children will not ask, "What did the polls say that day?", they will ask, "What did you do about it?".

TeenPact founder Tim Echols conducted a breakout session on training the next generation. Along with other things on the topic of family, he commented that we live in the age of child-centered families. Parents have too often become accustomed to doing what their children tell them to do. America's students, he added, need to be inspired. They need a higher standard to live by.

Church/State Relations

Rev. Dr. John Guest, Dr. Richard Land, and Rev. Herb Lusk joined a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Kenyn Cureton, titled The Role of Churches in Political Issues . Pastors, they explained, have an obligation to speak prophetically to their churches regarding current issues. The three gave details on tax exempt status and the rights that pastors have as far as political action is concerned. God has a side on current issues, they reminded, and therefore His church will have one, too. "Stand tall and preach the truth!" they admonished pastors. "The gospel is for the world" .

Not On My Watch!

Ron Luce, Founder of Teen Mania Ministries, gave a passionate speech on the effects of sin in our generation and the deep responsibility that we have to make a difference. "If we can pass laws to stop trash from being dumped in the rivers, why can't we pass laws to stop trash from being dumped in the minds of our children?" he demanded. When people look back at the atrocities that occurred in our generation, they will ask, "Where were the Christians?" We must be the ones at this moment in history who will rise up and say, "NO! This will not happen on my watch. This train will not run off the tracks!" If the train of Christianity is derailed, it will be off of the tracks for a long time.

Here We Stand

"We don't endorse candidates" , Pastor Herb Lusk stated emphatically, referring to Christian values voters. "We look for candidates who endorse us. We don't endorse platforms, we look for platforms that endorse us" . He alluded to the Biblical example of Nehemiah, who, after agonizing over his nation's political problems, organized and activized . Encouraging Christians to the same, Pastor Lusk reminded them that "God will never assign you to a task that He will not give you the resources to perform" .

Tony Perkins, president of FRC, echoed similar thoughts. "We need fewer politicians, and more statesmen" , he asserted. Perkins defined a politician as someone who takes a poll to see where the people are, and then runs out in front of them. A statesman, on the contrary, leads the citizenry in truth regardless of the consequences.

Bishop Boone also mentioned the need for moral leaders. "How can someone that doesn't feel a need for God lead me (in government)?" he queried.

America's Glorious Future

Throughout the conference, speakers displayed an enduring optimism for America's future. Attendees were constantly encouraged by the fact that conservatism works , and reminded of the potential that the values voters have for making a positive difference in American society.

Governor Huckabee mentioned the joy and purpose that Christian conservatives display. Sean Hannity contrasted liberalism and conservatism and spoke of Reagan's vision for America: a shining city on a hill, a blessing to all the earth. Governor Romney quoted Abigail Adams: "Great necessities call out great virtues" , and said that America's greatness is found in her people. William Bennett voiced his firm belief that America is the world's last best hope, and encouraged conservatives to stay on the offensive in the culture war.

Bishop Boone probably said it best, however, at the end of his rousing speech. "Go on! Go on!" he shouted passionately. "The victory is already assured!"

This article was first published at

November 25, 2006


Welcome to Excelsior! I'm excited about this opportunity to share some of my writings and thoughts. Thank you for visiting.

We live in a world today that is in desperate need of renewal, and now, perhaps more than ever before, we as the younger generation have a responsibility to do our part to make a difference, to travel 'ever upward' on the long journey of life. As Joab told the men under his command before a strategic battle, "Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight." -2 Samuel 10:12

I look forward to exploring how we can best do just that.