Tomorrow we will swear into office our 45th President of the United States.
People are excited. People are scared.
People are hopeful. People are angry.
And I can't say that I don't understand them.
We have people who are upset at the current status quo, looking expectantly to new leaders and rulers to change their situation; whether it's growing the job market, securing boarders, or handling the federal budget deficit.
We also have those who are unsure of what the future holds for them and their family. Nervous about changes in healthcare, concerned about foreign policy, worried that loved ones may be deported, or simply scared about the changes a new administration will bring to their way of life.
I truly do wish President Trump the best. Not just for his sake, but for the sake of all the people on who he will have an impact (ie. everyone).
I will continue to pray that he leads well; living with integrity and good character, listening to wisdom and wise counsel, and working earnestly for the betterment of people everywhere.
But no matter what happens in the next four years, the role of the church has never been more clear.
We have to be brilliant reflections of Christ to all of our brothers and sisters in our global community, working to transform and reform our our world for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ followers are dual-citizens. We live in the world, but we are not from the world. We may live in the U.S. but when it's all said and done, we don't fully belong to the U.S. As Christians, we are more than just citizens in our respective governments. We are members of the Kingdom of Heaven, and we have been charged with a special task: to work on behalf of God in creation.
Working as Citizens of the Kingdom
Jesus once said;
"You are the light of the word. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
As dual-citizens, we are called to act differently from the world around us. To act in such a way that that will make people stop and look, and think "what's different about them." Christians need to be dedicated to pointing to the righteousness of God; laboring to restore and recreate the world as God intended it to be at creation.
This means actively standing up and against injustices against our neighbors.
Speaking out against wrongdoing.
Hungering to heal cultural, economic, and racial divides.
Caring for the sick.
Taking in the outcasts.
Dealing with all people in an unconditional and Godly love that bares witness to the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior.
We are living in a time where people are scared of what may happen next; and though we may not know what's around the corner, we do know that the world is in God's hands. No matter what is going on in our country, no matter what is happening in our government, the Kingdom of God is going to be forever constant.
We are called — or even elected — to act as catalysts for change on behalf of Heaven, boldly acting as modern day prophets and disciples for the betterment of all people, because all people are a part of the creation God has given us.
Staying Rooted in God
The followers of Jesus, after he ascended to heaven, were gifted with the Holy Spirit, which gave them great courage to act and speak boldly in the name of Christ. They preached the gospel of redemption; they healed the sick and disabled; they baptized people and added to their numbers everyday.
Their bold words and actions brought the attention of other religious leaders and political leaders, which in turn brought persecution. Early Christians were thrown in jail, stoned, or run out of town because of what they were doing. And when they came up against opposition, they didn't change the way they did things, or censor the words they said. Instead they went to their knees in prayer.
In Acts 4, after a few of the disciples are released from the custody of the religious leaders, they gather together petitioning God against the threats from Pontius Pilate, Herod, the Gentiles and the religious leaders.
" And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” — Acts 4:29-30 (NLT)
The disciples prayed for the strength to continue their mission in the world; asking for boldness to press on with their message of life-change and truth.
If we too are committed to acting and speaking on behalf of the Kingdom of God, we need to make sure we are staying rooted in God.
Like the early Christians, we need to be bold in the face of opposition, humiliation, shame, and danger. We cannot face those trials without being aligned with God, working in tandem with the Holy Spirit. We need to remain aligned with God in order to maintain our boldness and authority.
I believe people's excitements and fears about tomorrow are valid.
Tomorrow is a turning point in American history, and no one knows what lies ahead. It's the end of one eight year chapter, and the beginning of a new one. Changes are certainly in front of us.
The thing I want Christians in America to remember is that we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven first. We can't just be flag waiving patriots of the United States. We are ambassadors to the world on behalf of Christ, and we need to live in a manner worthy of that call.
That means to act and speak boldly.
To stand up against injustice.
To feed the hungry,
To clothe the naked,
To provide for the poor,
To walk with the outcast,
To love the sinner.
To do good in our nation on behalf of our other Kingdom because that is what we were elected for.