The Oak Weekly Letter 11/13/2009
November 13, 2009
The Oak Initiative continues to grow daily, so I especially want to welcome all of our new members. Many are joining after being introduced by present OAK members. Thank you very much for all who are sharing about OAK with your friends and relatives. This is the evidence of leadership emerging at the grassroots level that is the hope of this initiative.
Update on OAK Chapters
We are working hard on our home base infrastructure and organization so that after the first of the year we can begin working in earnest on the field organization, opening chapters and recognizing the leadership that is emerging in the field. I have heard from a number of churches that want to host OAK chapters, or field offices. As the basic mission of OAK is to help wake up the church, and strengthen her to be all that she is called to be in these times, to have chapters hosted mostly in local churches is our hope. Not only do we hope to get the present church members engaged as a voice to the important issues of their times, but we also hope to start drawing many of the Christians who are not in fellowship back in and engaging them in the life of the local church.
What will these OAK chapters be like? They will first of all be a fellowship of Christians who are resolved to be the salt and light they are called to be, and to helping mobilize other Christians to do the same. Obviously numerical growth is a basic goal in any mobilization, but we want to grow deeper in knowledge, leadership skills, a sound biblical worldview, and most of all Christian grace, as we grow in size. We are working hard to gather the materials and other aids to support local chapters, and to develop teams that can be sent from strong OAK chapters to help other chapters.
We are encouraged by the momentum and strength of OAK that is building around the country. It is obvious that The Oak Initiative will help mobilize large numbers, but we will always especially appreciate those of you who have the prophetic vision and faith to join even before we have gotten fully organized, and in some ways even fully defined. You also have a special opportunity.
OAK is not yet fully defined on purpose. Since we are not just trying to build an organization, but a living force made of people, we have to know what kind of "building materials" we have before we can fully know what we can build. In this way we must leave room for the leadership that emerges from the grassroots to give much of the definition to what OAK becomes. With core values that are fastened strongly to a biblical worldview, we want to be a living organization that is also flexible and resilient, able to take action, and when needed, react to this fast changing world.
The strongest and most effective OAK Chapters, Bases, or Field Offices will be those built on an uncompromising devotion to the truth, and to a biblical worldview, and yet be free to be creative and flexible in relating to your local region or place of operations. The Truth we serve is a Person, not just facts or principles, and our success will be determined by how closely we follow the King.
Our Creator so loves creativity that He makes every snowflake different, and every person different. He even makes every tree, and they say every leaf on every tree, different. There are no two oak trees that are exactly alike on the whole earth. There are not even any two oak leaves that are exactly alike. There are certain characteristics that are uniform to all oak trees, but they are each unique in many ways too. This is what we expect of The Oak Initiative as well. We will have some guidelines, but also the freedom to enable the leaders raised up in OAK to be free to lead.
This balance of having strong convictions, and guidelines, while also promoting liberty has been very difficult for almost any organization to develop, and yet it is basic to Christianity from the beginning, and is one reason for the success of the spread of the faith in such an unprecedented way around the world. This could be compared to the way the tracks that seemingly confine a train really set it free to be what it was created to be so that it can move forward boldly. The basic Christian guidelines are meant to set us free to be all that we were created to be, not to inhibit us. Therefore, the stronger our foundations are, the greater potential we have for growth.
These weekly letters are now mostly visionary, to state our basic purpose and strategy. Between now and the 1st of the year you will notice a gradual change, and they will become much more devoted to a discussion of current events, strongholds we're facing, and practical strategies for both addressing these and for grassroots organization.
We are also putting together a basic field manual for the field operations in The Oak Initiative. This should be available by our first OAK Congress, which is tentatively planned for this coming February. You will be hearing more about this soon.
The Oak Initiative continues to stir such interest that it does have the potential to be one of the great mobilizations of Christians. That Christians are mobilizing and coming together in unity is itself major news. This is stirring up both great hope and great consternation in many. We will certainly begin drawing fire soon, and probably be accused of many things that are not true, which is how the Lord purifies His people and strengthens what He builds. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, every work of God must be tested by fire. This is evidence of our calling, not rejection. This also reveals the true character like few other things can. Are we doing this out of selfish ambition, seeking recognition in something that looks like it is going to be big and successful, or are we doing this out of principle, seeking to serve the Truth we have resolved to follow at any cost? This will ultimately be tested in every member, and should. Those who cannot take this kind of fire would only weaken the rest.
Gathering large numbers of people is not our main purpose, but is a means to our main purpose, which is to stir the body of Christ to be the salt and light we are called to be in our times. Our goal is to raise up and empower Christians to be proactive and effective in shaping our culture. Ours is not a liberal or a conservative agenda, but a kingdom agenda. The Oak Initiative is called to be a special fellowship of those who are committed to an uncommon depth, and to having an uncommon impact with their life. We are seeking to be a strong company of those who seek to walk in Heb.10:23-35:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
Without apology we are seeking to help release the most powerful force for good the world has ever seen—which is to help the body of Christ, the Church, to become all that she is called to be, and to see our Savior receive a bride that He is worthy of. Even in its weakened, presently divided state, the body of Christ is the most powerful force on earth—by far. With unity this power and authority is dramatically increased.
A fundamental purpose of every OAK unit will be to seek ways to wake up the church in their region, if that is needed, and help empower her to be the salt and light she is called to be. The salt speaks of flavor and preservation. In biblical times, salt was also used to make covenants, and to be the salt we are called to be we should reveal through our lives all of the benefits of the New Covenant we have in Christ. The light speaks of showing the way through the darkness. To be either of these we must have depth of character and knowledge, as well as the wisdom to apply the knowledge correctly to the times.
To have a voice to our times we must have credibility that is based on truth, accuracy, and consistency. For this reason our goal is to see all Christians become an oak of righteousness as described in Isaiah 61, with a root system as deep and wide as their branches, or outreach, that is both high and wide. As we develop the media instruments of The Oak Initiative, we must be absolutely devoted to truth and accuracy, even when it may reflect negatively on us. The Bible is a credible witness of the truth to a large degree because it does not refrain from revealing the flaws and mistakes of even its greatest heroes.
The most esteemed and honored news anchor of all time is still Walter Cronkite. He was very liberal in his personal views, but no one ever knew this until he retired because he was so devoted to telling it "like it is." We are going to have to rise even higher, being unapologetically Christian, devoted to a biblical worldview, and still being so absolutely devoted to truth and accuracy that our integrity cannot be challenged.
One of our goals is to mobilize and train OAK Members to be reporters. We will quickly have the largest media team by far, and be able to have people on the scene in virtually any place at any time. Information and knowledge are considered the most powerful forces in our times, and we intend to use them for good. We will endeavor to establish standards of truth, accuracy, and depth that will compel others, who seek to mold society through media, to measure up to.
A current event reveals our level of deception
The tragic terrorist attack at Fort Hood highlights just what I am talking about. Do you think that for one minute this would not have been called "a hate crime," and a terrorist attack if it had been done by a conservative Christian? With the exception of Fox News, it took most of the media several days to even use the term Muslim in its reporting of this event, and some at this writing still have not used it. Why? Political correctness, which is what killed those 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, and will result in many more deaths until we wake up.
Neither did much of the media ever speak of the fact that the DC sniper was a Muslim, or the man who drove his car into the students at the University of North Carolina. Why? Do you think the same would have been true if these had been conservative Christians? Not a chance. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security basically accused all conservative Christians of being potential terrorists (all who believe in the end times prophecies of The Bible), as well as all veterans. This infamous memo from DHS should have offended every American who believes in freedom, and who appreciates the great sacrifice of those who defend it, and yet the media hardly touched it.
Recently the U.S. participated with several other nations in counter-terrorism exercises, and guess who the terrorists were they practiced defending against—right wing conservatives. When was the last terrorist attack by a right wing conservative? Where have all of the terrorist attacks come from in recent times? At best this is foolishness, and at worst it is both discrimination and persecution by our own government against the largest block of citizens in America—evangelical Christians and conservatives.
Post-modern relativism and political correctness are the main weapons that the enemies of democracy and freedom are using against us. The way that these are being used against us, and their deadly effectiveness should be apparent to all, but the blindness is that deep now. However, the truth is more powerful than any lie, and will ultimately prevail. We just cannot compromise our devotion to truth and integrity, or our power will be lost.
We are going to examine the important issues of our times in a bit more depth each week. The Fort Hood tragedy is full of revelations that we must grasp, and we will discuss this in much more depth later. However, as we do we must keep in mind the basic truth that "love never fails." We do not just want to attack Muslims because Satan will not cast out Satan, and evil responded to with evil will just multiply the evil in the world, but rather we want to grow in a love for them, and all men, so that we can deliver to all men a truth that will set them free.
Elections of 2009
What did the elections last week mean? If you ask the losers, they did not mean anything, and if you ask the winners they meant everything. Of course the truth is somewhere in between these, but where?
Recent studies have shown that if we put America on a 10 point scale, with extreme liberal being a 1, and extreme conservative being a 10, the nation for the last few decades has been between a 5.9 to a 6.5, which is a decisive leaning toward the right. The most recent study tagged us at 5.9, and that is exactly the margin of the Republican Governor's win in Virginia—59%. Virginia is an important state to watch because it had gone so strong for Obama just a year ago that it was projected to be a blue state, or Democratic state for decades to come. For it to have swung so far back to the right in just one year is a very strong indication of the trend.
For New Jersey to have gone Republican, after intense campaigning there by the President himself for the Democratic candidate, going there three times in just the last two weeks of the campaign, this is a very strong rebuke of the President and the Democratic Party. There is simply no other way to spin it, though they certainly have tried to. The country is very obviously rejecting the kind of change that the Obama Administration has been trying to impose on it.
Certainly the Republican Party has a lot to be encouraged about from these elections, and should be allowed to celebrate for a day or two. After basically being counted dead just a few months ago, there is definitely a strong resurgence going on in the Republican Party as the country resists the administrations radical turn to the left, and is already turning back to the more conservative Republican Party. Will this translate into a major shift in next falls elections too? Perhaps, but a year is now considered an eternity in politics.
The Democratic Party candidate for Congress in upstate New York won in what also has to be a serious message to the Republican Party. A high percentage of Republicans are still upset with the party they feel has abandoned many of its basic principles, and this is a clear message that it will lose if it does not run candidates of high quality who are in line with their principles. The candidate the Republican Party ran in that district was more liberal than many Democrats, and finally dropped out since she was running so far behind in the polls. To prove her true values, she then threw her support behind the Democrat. The conservative candidate almost pulled off the upset even without the Republican Party backing him. There is a lot of talk of a third party emerging, or a move for strong candidates to run as independents. Many people think this is not possible, but they forget history. Our present dominant political parties were once third parties.
We also have to note that the elections last week had very little to do with conservative social values, and was almost entirely a referendum on how the Administration is handling, or mishandling, the economy. The number two issue was health care, and this also had to be interpreted as a strong rejection of the direction the Democratic Party has been going on that. Did they get the message? Apparently not, but just continued to reveal disdain for public opinion that is clearly against this agenda.
Many Christians question if it is right for the economy to take such precedence over the crucial social issues of our times. It may not be right for the economy to trump such important social issues as we are facing today, but this will likely be the case for the foreseeable future, so what do we do? We also need to consider that for the economy to be an important issue is certainly not wrong. It has been estimated that between 1/3 and 1/2 of the biblical teachings on morality in Scripture have to do with stewardship—how we manage what the Lord has entrusted to us. For Christians to be the salt and light we are called to be this also must be something we have the heart of the Lord on, and it could well be the main issue that carries the elections for some time to come.
In military strategy if you have to fight a battle it is very important to be able to choose the field you fight on. The field of battle can have big advantages, or disadvantages for a military force. However, there are times when you do not have the ability to choose the field of battle, and have to adjust to what you have. It is almost certain that the economy is going to be the main field of battle for the 2010 elections. The only issue that seems to have even a possibility of eclipsing the economy as the main issue would be defense, if there is a major terrorist threat or attack. That chilling prospect seems off the radarscope of most these days, but it is a very real threat to quickly change our focus, just as the Fort Hood shootings prove.
The Oak Initiative has a much bigger vision than politics, or affecting elections. However, there are few barometers that reveal where the hearts and minds of the people are more than politics or the economy. Every Christian can and should know how to read these barometers. It is important for us to be able to lead our families and churches, and to be the light we are called to be in these times for our neighbors; this is about more than evangelism It is also about having answers for the world's pressing problems, and/or wisdom for surviving through them.
Even the Old Testament prophets had a remarkable grasp of these issues, not just for Israel, but even for distant nations. They gained this remarkable depth of knowledge without the Internet, Fox News, email, or even mail. We may tend to think that the Lord just dropped this knowledge on them supernaturally, which to a degree is true, but it is also obvious from their writings that the prophets were educated with an amazing expanse of knowledge of their times and the nations. About one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, Daniel, it was said that he and his associates showed "intelligence in every kind of wisdom, were endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge" (Dan.1:4). This is what we are desperate for in our times.
It was also a basic devotion of Daniel and his friends not to defile themselves. We also have a desperate need for the example of those who are devoted to walking uprightly before the Lord, and who keep their vessels pure from the corruption of the times. These are the ones who will likewise be trusted with the great treasure of true knowledge and wisdom.
A basic deception
Both politics and the economy can seem too complex for the average person to understand. They are not. Any person of average intelligence, or even less, can have a very good understanding of either of these. The reason most politicians dumb down their message to platitudes and clichés has more to do with their own lack of depth and understanding than what the American people can understand. With very little effort we can have a very good understanding of these, and a sound basis for making our own judgments about what we are being told. One of our goals for The Oak Initiative is for every one of our Members to be devoted to depth of understanding, and to have a sound basis of understanding the important factors and issues of our times. As we become deeper in our understanding we will not be blown about by every wind of change, but we can lead with wisdom, clarity and confidence.
The real issue of our times is a void of leadership on every level, and in just about every field. The most successful people in any field are those who do the basics best. We will therefore seek to lay the strongest possible foundation in the basics, first in our knowledge of the Lord and His ways, and then in the important factors and issues of our times. Then we want to sink our roots deeper as our branches, or influence, grows.
As we discussed last week there are other threats to our nation, and possibly the biggest of all does not seem to be on anyone's radar screen at this time. We are going to try to put it there. When we come out with this you will understand why we had to wait, and why we have to be so careful with how it is presented. However, the strength of this threat is mostly because it is not on the radar screen, but is hiding in darkness, mostly because Americans have been made to believe it is something they cannot understand anyway. Do not ever buy that lie about anything. If you are a Christian and have been given the Holy Spirit, which is our seal, the One who created all things lives in us, and He is devoted to leading us into ALL Truth.
A Trumpet for the Truth
Two of the other The Oak Initiative board members, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jerry Boykin, Lou Sheldon, and myself met with about a dozen members of congress a few months ago, and I was especially impressed with several of them, one being Michelle Bachman, Congresswoman from Minnesota. She was sharp, clear, bold, and had an uncommon depth to her that was most encouraging. I felt immediately that she is one to watch to be a voice of truth and clarity. I just wanted to share just a few quotes of hers from a recent press conference:
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann released the following statement as the House of Representatives approached a vote on the Democrats' health care reform proposal:
In His Service,
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