One year ago, we struggled with the question how to best deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The choice was between adopting Dr. Anthony Fauci's "flattening the curve" strategy or following Dr. Knut Wittkowski's medical advice and recommendation to "Get the old and frail people out of the way, get the kids in school, run your businesses and carry on with life as usual and in 4-6 weeks the virus will have run its course and been eliminated by the only the thing that kills such viruses: herd immunity."
An internal warning light flashed "the Gibeonite deception," an issue that we discussed in our opinion piece of Friday, March 20, 2020.
The Gibeonites from Joshua 9 pretended to be ambassadors from a distant country who arrived with "old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves. And all the bread of their provision was dry and crumbly" (v.4b-5a). In reality they had come from just the other side of the hill.
In the last few weeks, it seems as if, almost every day, there has been a mass shooting in America. That's why this headline didn't surprise me at all: "The US has reported at least 45 mass shootings in the last month."
Yet as tragic as this news is (and it is horrifically tragic), I don't believe that guns are our biggest problem—and I write this as someone who is neither a gun owner nor a member of the NRA. Instead, I write this based on common sense.
For those of you who have followed my writings or radio broadcasts over the years, you know that I do not major on Second Amendment rights. They are simply not a focus of mine, regardless of their importance. And I have frequently decried the Christian call to prepare to take up arms against the government. (Most recently, see here.)
Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer, says Christians are experiencing increasing levels of bias against their beliefs, even persecution—a trend he says is foretold in Scripture.
"I'm convinced it's already starting in a mild way," Bickle says. "For the folks who are getting hit, it doesn't feel mild, but it's a small number right now. But I see that number increasing dramatically."
Bickle says his book, God's Answer to the Growing Crisis, details the Psalm 2 prophecy from 3,000 years ago:
"Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us'" (Ps. 2:1-3, ESV).
The coming announcement would change our lives forever.
On that somber Sunday morning, my brother, sister and I didn't park in a marked space near the church entryway, and we didn't sit in reserved seats up front. No, our dad and mom discouraged such things. They believed servanthood was the key to true leadership. As a family, we had served on mission fields from Brazil to India, and for decades our parents had touched hearts and lives in spiritual and practical ways. In the mid-1980s, this pioneer church of theirs became one of the fasting growing in the Pacific Northwest, and we Wilson kids couldn't go anywhere without being recognized.
Despite our place in the spotlight, my siblings and I learned as teenagers to put others' needs before our own. We were no better than anyone else. As believers, all of us were ministers of the gospel, all of us sinners saved by grace.
Static crackled in the mic as the assistant pastor faced the crowd.
Here it came.
In the aftermath of our church scandal, my sister stayed put after graduation and served on staff at our parents' church. My brother and I moved a thousand miles south with our mom. I paid the bills while my brother finished high school. Eventually, our parents divorced. Though Mom was never the same, she did missions, spoke at churches and shared Jesus with any who would listen.
Feeling exiled far from home, I took many long walks, crying, yelling, pleading with God. I held nothing back. If He couldn't handle my darkest moments when I needed Him most, then I would have walked away for good. Instead, He spoke to me through song and Scriptures. He assured me He would never leave me nor forsake me. I was made in His image, even if others saw only my father in my angular features.
I read in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NLT) that we should "test everything that is said" and "hold on to what is good." There was no reason to toss everything Dad had taught me growing up. When I examined his instructions through the lens of God's Word, I realized the amount of wisdom and truth which permeated Dad's words.
Yes, serving others is the key to true leadership.
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