Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Amid the Fears that Oppress Our Day...Our God is Sovereign Still

The Pastor’s Perspective
“Amid the Fears that Oppress Our Day...Our God is Sovereign Still”
First Published: November 30, 2000

Well, we are creeping closer to the end of the year, and here we are at the last of November – and still no finality as to the presidential election. Little did I know what a cliffhanger we’d be in when I penned my thoughts just a few hours before the election – “there is not a little anticipation (dare I say anxiety) on my part regarding the outcome,” I mused. The same is true today, and one of my besetting sins is to think that if I just worry about something enough, everything will be okay.

The pundits are having a field day, and I wouldn’t mind expressing a few thoughts of my own! But let’s remind ourselves again that God is sovereign. It has been an especial comfort to me to be studying through the first chapters of Exodus with you during these uncertain times. This section of God’s word repeatedly reminds us that God is in control of kings and nations, for the good of His people. And again, let’s remind ourselves of our Christian duty to pray for all those who rule and are in authority (whether we like them or not, and whether they are personally deserving of respect or not). And, finally, let’s remind ourselves to commit to a robust involvement in our country’s civic process as Christians.

If we have learned anything this week, surely we have learned that: (1) citizens (and especially Christian ones) ought to be thoroughly familiar with the first principles of our Republic. (2) Christian citizens ought to be very concerned to see civic officials elected and judges appointed who are knowledgeable of and committed to the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence. It is not enough to call for “Strict Constitutionalism” or for “a strict constructionist interpretation of our Constitution” by our executives, legislators and judges. Unless the principles of the Declaration are honored, the Constitution is an amendable wax nose. (3) We have a crying need for men of principle to seek for and serve in political office. The reign of self-serving men will bring down this Republic.

Now, on to something else. November has afforded a rich feast for my soul. It began with an extraordinary season of prayer at our annual Officer’s Retreat. Then I was blessed by two powerful messages by our friend Geoffrey Thomas of Aberystwyth, Wales. Especially on Sunday evening, he was ablaze with love for Christ and almost mesmeric as he described Christ’s appearing.

Many of you, too, have commented on how you were moved by Geoff’s ministry. We thank God for his faithful preaching. He left me with so many memorable phrases, such as: “There is no such thing as secret holiness, secret discipleship, secret grace. Either the grace will kill the secrecy or the secrecy will kill the grace.”

More blessing followed on the next Wednesday evening, Friday evening and Sunday, as Iain D. Campbell of Scotland preached our annual Prayer Conference. He surpassed all expectations. What stood out to me was the consuming focus upon Christ himself in all his messages. At every point of instruction, Christ’s person and work were our point of departure. At every point of application, Christ’s person and work were our exemplar. Iain, too, left me with so many memorable sentences, like: “The cross is a place of prayer for Jesus. If ever there was a moment when prayer was least likely and most necessary, it was at this moment.”

As I write these words, I am anticipating the blessings of John Blanchard’s ministry during our special midweek service, and silently thanking God in my heart for the rich feast he has provided us this November. And in this season of thanks, I am thanking him for this congregation. You are an inestimable blessing to me.

Your friend,
Ligon Duncan

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