I just returned from my now annual trek to Washington, DC for the National Prayer Breakfast with the Louisiana delegation. The Thursday morning breakfast included all the visible amenities including dignitaries like President Obama, First Lady Michelle, Vice-President Biden, the Presidents of Albania and Haiti, Senators and Congressmen, Religious and Political Leaders from 130 countries, Bethany Hamilton (evangelical surfer who lost an arm to a shark) and gospel singers Yolanda Adams and Steve Green. There was no talk of Health Care, Immigration, or Elections. A humble dependence upon God was sensed. Partisanship, Polarization and Division were set aside for 90 minutes.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy
What intrigues and motivates me about the three-day event is not the breakfast but the unmistakable message in conversations behind the scenes in small groups and one-on-one which are invisible to C-SPAN. Our country is in trouble. Everyone senses this. Perhaps we are as divided a nation as any time dating back to the Civil War. Does anyone think that Organized Religion or Disorganized Politics can save the day? Every four years our best candidates debate and share the best solutions they can devise. We invest significant money and technology into solutions. Despite these efforts we have more crime, brokenness and problems. Perhaps the root problem in America and the World is deeper. Perhaps it is a Spiritual and Heart issue?
The unmistakable solution that was offered last week was an invitation to follow Jesus. Knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, following Jesus, depending upon His grace, trusting His guidance, and dying with Him in our everyday lives is the greatest opportunity ever extended to a human being. It wasn’t Christianity that was lifted up. It wasn’t Religion lifted up. It wasn’t Republicanism lifted up or a Democratic Brand. It wasn’t Catholicism that was lifted up or Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostalism. It was Jesus! Jesus wasn’t a Christian and He never asked someone to become a Christian. He said, “Follow Me.” There is a power in this unique gospel, unique person and unique gift that changes lives and in time can turn the world upside down. There is something about Jesus that transcends religious and political barriers. Samaritans who were regarded as heretics and Romans who were thought of as barbarians found themselves around Jesus saying, “I want to follow that man!” Isn’t this the need today for our country and world?
One of the leaders told me a personal haunting story as to our world’s predicament. He was in a South American country and the Ranking National Religious Leaders infighting was front page news. This leader was begged to meet with the Religious Leaders. When he arrived there were five older Religious Leaders present and 25 younger emerging leaders. He started by asking, “Do you have any questions for me?” One of the younger men asked, “Why don’t young people go to church anymore?” He said, “You will probably throw me out of here. They don’t like you and after three days in your country neither do I.” He told them that a new commandment had been given to love one another, that all men will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another, that oneness will demonstrate to the world that God sent the Son. He said that young people are sick of political and religious infighting and though they don’t understand it all theologically…young people are attracted to unconditional love and people who die to themselves. He talked about Jesus and His words, “Follow me.” The older leaders weren’t moved but the younger leaders said, “This is the most exciting thing we have ever heard. We have never heard it before. Where can we get this material?” The answer my friend spoke, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” ~C.S. Lewis on Aslan, the Christ-figure in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Revitalization in our country starts with me and you. Will we re-hear the call of Jesus, “Follow me”? I’m devoting 2014 to sink my teeth into Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I’m going to pray and focus on Relationships. I want friends near and far away to meet Jesus. Grace Adventures is committed to inspiring a network of leaders who are committed to friendship with Jesus and each other.
Praise and Prayer
Praise for personal time last week with three Senators and four Congressmen. We had great conversations about spiritual things.
- The Bible studies at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge with Representatives and Lobbyists start on March 13th. The session runs from March 10-June 2. Pray for open doors.
- Pray for key speaking opportunities this month with the New Orleans Leader Forum and the Christian Legal Society.
- Pray for the rescheduled (due to ice) Third Year Grace Adventures Anniversary Celebration on April 4th. All are welcome to attend. Speakers include a State Senator, two State Representatives, several businessmen, a former New Orleans Saints player and Michael Sprague. Pray God is glorified and people discover there is hope for America.
- Pray for Donna. Last year’s knee surgery has not repaired the problem and she is going in for another MRI.
Betting the Farm on God,
“Follow Me” ~ Jesus