Call to prayer Aug. 21

Pastors and church leaders, please accept my personal invitation to a Heartland Prayer Summit Aug. 21. Our facilitators are SBC President Ronnie Floyd and OneCry leader Bill Elliff. We are meeting at Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Included is a light lunch.

There is no cost for the event other than to arrive with an anxious heart to call out to the Lord. We do need you to register online or by calling Betty Benz Pulliam at 573.636.0400 ext. 302.

I believe our nation faces a desperate loss of divine purpose, and desperate times call for extraordinary measures by men of God. I want to ask every pastor of every sized congregation to consider the priority of such a meeting. Is it God’s desire to ignite a sweeping revival in the heartland?

In the classic Lord of the Rings, we are reminded that we are small, fallen creatures entrusted with an impossible task to rescue people from unimaginable evil. Like a dark cloud pouring out onto the landscape of our culture, the enemy advances in the courts, the city halls, the educational institutions, the media, our homes, and our relationships. He is constantly organizing to steal, kill and destroy.

When darkness envelopes the people we love and the people in ministry and their families, we may sometimes be like the discouraged Frodo and whimper, “I wish the Ring had never come to me.” But Gandalf the Christ-figure says, “So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world.”

Other forces indeed! The primary force is the people of God who understand 2 Cor. 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In our weakness, our mighty God wants to reveal His glory through His people who humble themselves, repent and call upon Him.

As I listen to church leaders from every corner of our state, my heart rejoices and simultaneously grieves. God’s Word tells us that our difficulties are God’s opportunities. Instead of throwing up our hands in defeat, the redeemed need to call upon the Lord with uncommon humility and extraordinary faith.

I know we can call on the Lord any time and any place. However, our mighty God often responds most powerfully when His people gather together to petition Him.

Remember, I need you to register so that we know how to prepare for lunch. Come and call upon the Lord. This is our time to be the men and women of God who convene with other men and women to seek the Lord. Please register today.

Something’s missing

Have you ever read a great article that gives some really substantive information, yet you know something was left unspoken? Such was the case in the July 8 edition of The Wall Street Journal – its 125th edition. As a prominent feature to this anniversary edition, the editors posted the following question to some contributors: “If you could propose one change in American policy, society or culture to revive prosperity and self-confidence, what would it be and why?”

Eleven contributors offered thoughtful insights. George Shultz, former secretary of Labor, Treasury and State, proposed a return to governing based on the Constitution. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, believes reformation of the tax code will produce a flourishing economy. Darcy Olsen, CEO of the Goldwater Institute, wants to reintroduce federalism transforming the nation into fifty autonomous states with clear national expectations. Leadership author George Gilder says the best thing to do is listen to Peter Drucker who recommended expiration dates on regulations.

Interestingly, only two contributors addressed in any way the social issues that are underneath the plethora of observable problems. Michelle Rhee, CEO of StudentsFirst, says that improvement in the public education systems will have an eventual impact on the potential of the economy. Heather MacDonald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, moves closer to the core issue plaguing our nation by suggesting there is a direct co-relationship between two-parent families and the economy. She states, “Family decline will be stemmed only when it is widely understood that care provided by both biological parents is the most powerful social and economic advantage that any child can enjoy.”

While I know that I am reading some of the best suggested solutions for the prosperity of our nation a premier news source can distribute, I believe there are some solutions totally ignored by secular media, economists and statespersons.

What they don’t get is the direct link between moral character and economics. Or, to state in the negative, there is a direct relationship between immorality and economic demise.

After studying not only global trends but also Scripture, it is quite clear that our nation’s guilt for shedding innocent blood will not be ignored by the God who made us. There is no way we in our right minds can possibly think God will somehow look the other way while our national policies have excused the termination of over 51 million children. Furthermore, are we so dull that we do not understand the economic link to this holocaust?

In multiple locations in God’s word, He explains through His prophets who spoke to national leaders that judgment and national economic loss are linked to the shedding of innocent blood.

He also gives promises of hope to those peoples who repent. Our hope of prosperity for our children’s children is not in government regulations or political solutions or public organizations. Our hope is to plead for God’s mercy.