The Oak Weekly Letter - Dec. 02, 2009
Now that Thanksgiving is over, that does not mean that we should stop thanking the Lord! Eternity will not be long enough to thank Him for all that He has done for us. What an awesome, wonderful God we serve! Because we are told in Ps.100 that we enter His gates with thanksgiving, being a thankful person is how we can enter His presence every day.
Let us thank Him that we live in a country where we can still openly worship Him. Even though this freedom is under increasing pressure today, this greatest of freedoms that has been a chief pillar in the building of America has weathered furious storms and to date still stands. This is because of people like you who have joined The Oak Initiative and other similar movements now arising in the land. To join something like the Oak you have to be an aware and proactive person, willing to get engaged in the important issues of the times.
The story of each of the signers of The Declaration of Independence should be studied by every American. During that time of crisis, a group of extraordinary men arose and stood up for their convictions in the face of the greatest possible personal risk. As soon as they signed, they knew they would be hunted down by the armies of the most powerful empire in the world. As soon as they signed, they knew that they would be guilty of treason, a hanging offense, and that their estates and property would likely be confiscated or destroyed, but they resolved to hang rather than suffer under tyranny.
This would have been a remarkable story if those who had signed had all been poor and so oppressed that they did not really have much to lose, but that is not the case. Those who signed The Declaration of Independence were almost all very wealthy, having great fortunes, large estates, or large businesses, but they loved liberty more than they loved their fortunes. Many had been offered large bribes by the crown to turn and swear allegiance to the King. Every single one resisted. Many of the signers then actually lost their great fortunes, had their estates burned, and some laid down their lives for the cause, but not a single one ever wavered from their resolve, and freedom was won.
History often only recounts the most exceptional or glorious events, but the five years of The Revolutionary War were some of the most trying in our history. Foreign armies ravaged the land and the people, burning, raping, and plundering. The fourth year of the war was very devastating and discouraging, and then the next year was even worse. It seemed the most hopeless of all just before the victory that secured American independence. The patient endurance and unwavering resolve of the leaders we now know as the Founding Fathers provided one of the great heroic stories in history.
Immediately after their victory, they had to go to work rebuilding a war-devastated nation based upon principles that had never been tried before. No one but the founding fathers thought that these new principles had a chance to work—the most basic principle being that government should serve the people instead of the people serving the government.
It is probably unique in history that such a revolution would be led by the elite class who had the most to lose and the least to gain from it. They all seemed to believe that their fortunes, their educations, and all of their abilities were given by God for this purpose, as their writings indicate. When years went by and they suffered the loss of battle after battle and had their beloved land ravaged by an intractable enemy, they endured and did not give up. They did not even consider how to get their fortunes to another country where they would be safe—but they used them to help sustain the cause. One of the wealthiest of the founding fathers was Robert Morris, whose credit was better than that of the whole Continental Congress. He borrowed under his own name to sustain the army, even personally funding the Continental Army's march to Yorktown and the defeat of the British Army under Cornwallis.
One of the questions I get asked the most is where people can put their money so that it will be safe or what other country should they move to since this one is becoming so hostile to Christians and to people of means. We may right now be experiencing one of the biggest flights of capital from our nation in history. Wanting to preserve what you have worked so hard for is understandable, but we are in need at this time of those who will resolve to stay and fight with everything that they have been given for what is right—resolving not to lose all that has been handed down to us without expending all that we have been given to try to preserve it.
A few months ago, I was having lunch with a man who had lost a great fortune in the stock market crash of 2008. He was not an unhappy man, but he said that it was worth it to come to know Christ. He only lamented that he had not known Christ before so that he could have given his fortune to the cause of Christ instead of just losing it in the market. I don't know whether this man will ever make his fortune back, and he did not even seem very concerned about it, but he just wanted to make an honest living and do the Lord's will. I know many others who knew Christ when they made their fortunes, and I heard them say often they were given what they had for the purpose of the kingdom, but never seemed to get around to really investing in the kingdom. Their sorrow will be greater than those who have lost all. As Jesus said, "Those who seek to save their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for My sake will find it" (Matt.10:39).
If you are wrestling with these same questions, I ask you to consider that maybe the great fortunes, talents, or other resources you have been entrusted with are for such a time as this. You may be able to send it to another country and preserve it for a time, but the whole world is in crisis. If America falls to the enemies that now threaten her, no Christian or fortune is likely to be safe anywhere. Why not take our stand right here, right now, and resolve like the greatest souls throughout the centuries that we will not retreat before the enemies of the cross, and we will not surrender a single acre of ground to those enemies.
The Oak Initiative has already made itself odious to some powerful people. Those people are supported by multi-billionaires who are now in control of much of our media and many of our politicians. We don't have any such benefactors yet. Of course we would like to have such benefactors, or even one, so that we could build a world-class media and accelerate our grassroots organization. However, we are resolved to do all that we can, whether it is with little or considerable material resources. What we do have is far more valuable than material resources—we have strong believers coming together in unity. This gives us a greater potential than all of the world class or state of the art resources in the world can—we can call on our God and He will hear us. The main thing is to be sure we are doing the Lord's will, and if we are, and God is for us, then it does not matter who is against us, or what resources they have.
Last summer when I was on vacation I received the brief from Matt Staver of the Freedom Federation on what was in the proposed health care bill. As I read this brief I was not only shocked, but a great burden came upon me that I could not shake until I had written a Special Bulletin. Both the research and bulletin were done very hastily because they were seeking to ram this bill through congress so quickly no one would have a chance to read it, much less study it. Even though both the research and the bulletin may have been done poorly because of our lack of time, that bulletin went viral immediately. I was told there were 4th generation copies within 24 hours. Though I did not see the stories, I was told that major newspapers had accused me of supplying the talking points for the town hall meetings that stunned and helped awaken the nation last summer. I don't know if that is true. I would be happy if it did, but my point is that we have a Holy Spirit who can trump any media in the world and use the weak and foolish of this world to do it.
Technology is wonderful, and we should appreciate great equipment and resources, but far more than that, we must put our trust in the Holy Spirit. Our resolve cannot be based on how much support we get, but on the righteousness and justice of the cause. Even if we do not see the ultimate victory, as many of the founding fathers of the nation did not live to see their victory, we must have the simple goal of wanting to hear the greatest of all words on that great judgment day—"Well done good and faithful servant." Therefore, our goal must simply be to be obedient.
Presently, we can have great encouragement because what is needed for our victory, and a victory that will last is for God's people to wake up and get engaged, and this is happening now. But even if this was not happening, the greatest souls will stand for truth and not waver, even unto death. That is what has fired the birth, spread, and victory of the truth since the first century, and will do so until the end.
A couple of years ago, I began to say that it would take the same kind of boldness, courage, and endurance to save our country as it did to found it. When I first began to say this, it did not seem that our country was in quite that much jeopardy, but soon it became obvious that this was indeed the case. We are in great need of great souls who are resolved to stand for their convictions without wavering, and with great endurance, even if they have to stand alone at times. We must resolve to stand even if it becomes unpopular or dangerous. We must stand because we love the truth. Loving the truth is more than just having the truth. Anyone will quit except for those who love, which is why we are told in II Thess.2:10 that it is not those who have the truth who will not be deceived, but those who have "a love for the truth." Those who love the truth will also make sacrifices to find the truth. They will search, and search deeply, having a strong foundation for their convictions.
About 3 years ago, I was given a dream in which I was told that if we would honor our fathers, the Lord would bring revival to America within 6 months. With a friend, Paul Keith Davis, we hosted a conference on "Honoring the Fathers," that some felt may have been one of the most important conferences we have ever hosted. We were shown that it was by the dishonoring of fathers and fatherhood that one of the biggest gates of hell had been opened into our nation. A "gate of hell" is a doorway for hell to enter through. This attempt to dishonor fathers and fatherhood has swept our nation and is a dominant theme in movies, television, books, and the media since the 1950's. It has been a very purposeful attack to undermine the core strength of ours or any other nation—the family.
Since then, I have tried to share the message of how we must honor our fathers and mothers everywhere I go. This is the only commandment with a promise which is found in both the Old and New Testaments. The promise is that it will go well with us and that we may dwell long in the land that the Lord has given to us. As we should have learned by now, winning political campaigns is not enough to turn our nation around. We need another Great Awakening.
The First Great Awakening set the spiritual genetic code of our nation and gave birth and definition to the principles that the nation was founded upon, and which have enabled us to become as strong and prosperous as we have. The Second Great Awakening gave birth to a resolve to see one of the great evils of those times, slavery, confronted and defeated. Both victories were at a terrible cost, but they were worth it. The deadly threats to America at this time are not less terrible, but actually far more so. Our most basic freedoms, and the very soul of who we were created to be as a nation, are under the most deadly attack yet in our history. One of the reasons why it is so deadly is because it is so obscure and confusing, coming from some of the most seemingly well meaning people.
You cannot defeat an enemy you cannot see. We need to have a clear vision of what we're fighting. It is not people, but ideas, philosophies, and even religious convictions, on the extreme right and the extreme left, that may seem so benign, and even well intended, but whose history makes clear that their true nature is never manifested until they are in control. These we will address in much more detail in the weeks to come, but for now we need to be concerned about what will attain for us the favor of God.
The Power of Reconciliation
It is noteworthy that nowhere in the Bible that we are given the commandment to honor our fathers and mothers does it say that we are to honor perfect parents, or even good ones. There is only one perfect Father, and He is in heaven, but every father on earth is deserving of honor, regardless of how bad they were, simply because this is a commandment. If we had poor fathers, or even evil ones, we can have an even greater reward for finding any way that we can to honor them, even if they are dead, or as the case with some, we do not even know who they are. Finding a way to honor them is one of the most powerful things we can do to be free ourselves from yokes of bondage that have kept us in chains.
John Kilpatrick shared a remarkable story about this with our congregation a few months ago. There was a young man in his church that he could never get close enough to even meet. He seemed to dress and carry himself in a way that would purposely repel other people, but he would come faithfully and sit in the back of the church. Then one day he showed up, shaven, clean, well dressed, and with a remarkable new confidence. This time he did not avoid John but actually came up to him after the service to talk. John was obviously interested to know what had happened to him.
This young man came to thank John for his message on blessing. He had taken it to heart and returned home to try to get his father's blessing. His father had been cruel to his son his entire life. Even at the sight of him at his door, he raged and told him to get off his property. The son held his ground and said he would leave if his father would do just one thing for him. The father, caught off guard, asked what he wanted. When his son said that if he would just give him his blessing, he would leave and not come back, the father, obviously stunned, asked him how he was supposed to do that. The son said that if he would just pray a simple prayer of blessing over him, it was all he wanted from his father. To make a long, but wonderful story short, this led to a remarkable reconciliation between the father and son and the transformation of both of them.
In the last two verses in the Old Testament, Malachi 4:4-5, the Lord says, "Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse."
Right now, there are many such seemingly impossible divisions in the country, but probably the most devastating is the one between fathers and their children, especially with all of the broken homes we now have. The ultimate purpose of God in the earth is the restoration of the earth and mankind from all of the consequences of the fall. This restoration includes redemption and reconciliation. Could it be that the restoration of the hearts of the fathers to their children could help us heal many other divisions among us? Could it be that this is the curse that we have been smitten by that can only be healed if we go to the root by healing the divisions between fathers and their children?
It seems that this is at least one reason why the Lord could so honor King David so as to establish for him a throne that He promised would last forever. As ruthless, cruel, and unjust as King Saul was toward David, he never dishonored Saul, but rather did the opposite even after he was dead. One of the most remarkable things about this relationship was how David referred to Saul as his father. David was not even treated very well by his own father Jesse, but he never complained about it, he just rose above it. True greatness comes from overcoming problems not from not having them.
Whether we accept it or not, our personal problems are not the result of bad potty training, or anything else bad that happened to us, but are probably much more the result of how poorly we reacted to them. We are promised by the sure word of God that He causes all things to work together for good for us, so how could we possibly complain about anything that happens to us? Everything that happens will either make us better, or bitter, depending on how we react to it.
Another factor may be that this was a remarkable gathering of some of the most extraordinary men. One of their company, Philip Livingstone, a lover of the classics and the great thinkers, made this comment about The Continental Congress: "I must declare and affirm, that in all my reading and study... and having admired the master spirits of the world, that the solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such a complication of circumstances, no nation, or body of men, can stand in preference to the General Congress at Philadelphia." When you read the notes of the dialog, their wisdom was stunning and profound. It almost seemed to be like a council of the greatest minds and thinkers of all time. This brought a remarkable synthesis and strength that would endure the fire.
It was reported that when Napoleon read the Gospel of John he declared, "Either Jesus is the Son of God, or the one who wrote this gospel is, because I know men, and no man could have made up anything like this." Not to in anyway compare the founding fathers to the apostles, or their documents to the Scriptures, but when reading them you simply have to conclude that the hand that guided them was the same—the wisdom contained in them is simply beyond human genius.
Though the United States has had many flaws, and made many mistakes, including some bad ones, there has not to date been a more powerful, prosperous, and benevolent nation in history. When America could have dominated the world as the lone possessor of nuclear weapons, she refused to even dominate her conquered enemies, but rather helped to rebuild them, and then set them free. When even our sworn enemies are struck by natural disasters or other crises, American relief is almost always the first on the scene with help. There are many, many reasons to be thankful to be Americans. Now, at what appears to be the closing decades of this age, we cannot let this great nation be lost on our watch.
Thanks for all who are wanting to start OAK chapters in your churches, businesses, and neighborhoods. We have been pressing ahead with a few of these to learn how some of our basic strategies for starting these chapters would actually play out, and to date it has been most encouraging. We felt that since we are in the holiday season, we should keep most of our communications more foundational in regard to our beliefs and principles, but we will hit the New Year running. As every oak tree must put down some roots before sprouting upward, we are building a strong foundation so that as we branch out, we can not only do this fast, but with strength.
Starting the first of the year, these weekly letters will change and emphasize much more practical strategies for building. We are already storehousing some great resources that will help in this effort. 2010 may be one of the most critical years in our history. I was told by a Chinese friend that the word for "crisis" in Chinese is the same word for "opportunity." This may be the greatest opportunity in our lifetimes to do good. Enjoy the holidays, but get some rest, too. We are going to need it.
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