Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 



Recently friends have told me about four different problems, and the problems puzzled me. Maybe they’re related, but I can’t figure out how.


A.  At a recent wedding, the sermon was bad. The minister preached on love—Hollywood-type love—ooey, gooey, affection based on a lot of sexual attraction. If the new husband and wife take the minister seriously, I fear that they’ve been programmed for divorce.


B.   Fritz gets together with his son, Dean, at least once a week, usually for a lunch or dinner. They talk. Fritz has deep faith in the LORD. Dean is a skeptic and won’t talk about Jesus.

      Dean had a difficult life as a boy. Fritz and his wife are both scholars. Dean isn’t. He was a gifted athlete—especially at soccer—but Dean never followed through to become a professional. He was a high school dropout, but passed his GED after a night of partying and three hours sleep. 

Now Dean is an adult and a trucker. At nearly every meal together, Dean finds some reason to browbeat his Dad. Fritz told me that he would never choose his Son as a friend, but if Fritz has a problem, Dean is there for him. Also, Fritz has been there for Dean. After each meal, when they say goodbye, they always tell each other, “I love you.”


C.   My friend, Al, is 66. His wife, Delores, is 68. Al recently told me, “You won’t believe what’s going on with Delores—at our age. She wants to start sex therapy. I thought it was always the man who campaigned for sex therapy—in our twenties and thirties—when the wife was demanding marriage counseling for emotional revision. But sex therapy for sexagenarians? I’m not interested.”


D.  Marella and Georgianna were BFF’s in grade school. However, they went to different schools in junior high, senior high, and college. After college, they both worked on the Seattle Post-Intelligencerand renewed their friendship. However, they fell out over the issue of abortion, and quit talking to each other. That was twenty-two years ago.

     Now Marella has learned that Georgie and her family have moved to a new house only four blocks away. Marella realizes they were both immature in the old days on the PI, and she has learned since that the fact that you disagree with someone doesn’t mean that she’s your enemy. Marella wants to renew their friendship. She phoned Georgie, but Georgie hung up on her.


With each puzzlement, what are the relevant Scriptural passages?

What would you pray?

What would you say?

What would you do?

 What is the Gospel message?