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Will You Be a Coward Or a Courageous Christian?

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  • Larry Tomczak
    Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience.
By Larry Tomczak, CP Op-Ed Contributor
March 28, 2014|8:26 am

With the unprecedented escalation and celebration of homosexuality, the steamrolling of same-sex marriage, apostasy and compromise in Christian churches, ministries and organizations, the unbelievable governmental assault on our religious freedoms and hostility towards biblical values, the epidemic of out-of-wedlock births, sexual abuse, pornography, divorce, promiscuity, cohabitation and human trafficking; plus, continued execution of unborn babies in the womb every 26 seconds, isn't it obvious that we are at a tipping point as a nation and in a state of moral crisis?

Can we sink deeper into the abyss of depravity? Of course, but how far must we plummet before we collectively rouse ourselves out of the slumber and any cowardice? Are you like multitudes sensing that it is time to not only pray but to engage in Spirit-led action?

Remember in Revelation when it lists the eight groups cast into the lake of fire at the end of the age, first in line are the "cowards" ahead of the "unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars"(Rev.21:8).

I've been a board member of Intercessors for America national prayer ministry for almost four decades. While I encourage prayer and fasting, there is also an urgent need for courageous Christians and engaged churches to emerge who know "faith without deeds is dead" (Jam 2:26). We are presently involved in a civil war for the soul of our nation and it's time for volunteers in the army of the Lord of hosts!

Words God spoke to Moses apply here. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Quit praying and get the people moving!" (Ex. 14:15 TLB)

It is not my purpose here to outline a 10 point action plan for every Christian to follow (my friend Ralph Reed does an excellent job of this in his just released new book, "Awakening") but rather to challenge all of us to seek God individually regarding what part we can play to foster spiritual awakening in the United States of America before it's too late. Time really is of the essence and I don't say this to be dramatic but rather prophetic.

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One life can truly make a difference. As in the magnificent film, God's Not Dead, one student in a class of 60 stood up courageously and served as a change agent on his campus and beyond.

The time for silence, neutrality and retreat must stop. The misguided idea that we must not offend anybody but bend over backwards to make sure everyone likes us has to go.

The "cross is an offense" (Gal.5: 11) and "If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal.1: 10). Overcomers in Scripture are those who "did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" (Rev.12:11).

Of course as Christians we are to be "known by our love," our servant's heart and the winsome way in which we interact with people. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me" (Matt 5:11)--not because we were obnoxious!

Every person who is going back and forth between knowing they should be bolder, engaged and vocal, yet repeatedly succumbing to the fear of man would do well to reflect upon the words of Elijah on Mount Caramel, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him..."(1 Ki.18:21).

And every Christian church, ministry or organization should reflect on recent developments with World Vision International and ponder what they will do when their time of testing comes. James Robison said recently, "Churches and ministries across the country will be forced to face the pressures World Vision faced."

In our generation, every one of us is called to be "salt"--holding back decay--or as Jesus said, we become "no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Matt 5:13). We're also called to be "light" – bringing hope in the darkness. "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house" (Matt 5:15).

God is Looking for Heroes

King David spoke for God when he declared, "I will make the godly of the land my heroes" (Ps.101:6TLB). We may not win a Heisman Trophy, Olympic gold medal, Nobel Peace Prize, or Congressional Medal of Honor, but we can surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and let him use us to make a significant impact through our lives. Our lifestyle should be so courageous in the cause of Christ that it demands an explanation!

"It is an unhappy country that has no heroes," mourned an actor in the 1939 play Galileo. Maybe the only thing worse than having no heroes is having heroes like those paraded before us on the newsstands and the silver screen. That's why Christians must come out of hiding into the light. The same is true for silent shepherds who for too long haven't fully equipped their flocks for effective service in the marketplace of real life.

In this dark hour of our nation's history, what will our children and grandchildren say about us?

• In our personal lives we held a defeatist mentality, believing the inevitability of same-sex marriage and that "loving our neighbor" meant a spineless, nonjudgmental approach of never saying or doing anything that might possibly offend advocates of the radical gay agenda or interfere with their propaganda being distributed to our children in our schools?

• In our churches we avoided speaking directly and Biblically on subjects like abortion, atheism, legalization of marijuana, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, living together before marriage, divorce and remarriage, pornography, Islam, premarital sex, human trafficking and other "hot button" moral issues because we wanted to remain seeker-friendly and nonpolitical?

• In our businesses we thought it prudent to avoid identifying with traditional marriage and conservative positions lest we hurt profit margins and be perceived as intolerant in today's progressive society?

• In our conversations with neighbors, students and associates we steered clear of topics that were "political" or out of step with what the majority probably believed?

Or will it be said of us like Winston Churchill said of the courageous Royal Air Force pilots who arose to save Great Britain from destruction in World War II, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few?"

Someone once said, "A hero and a coward are both scared – but a hero runs in the right direction." Recognizing that courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it, will you join me and countless others in asking God for boldness that this might be "our finest hour?"

Erwin Lutzer, in his book, When a Nation Forgets God, cited a German eyewitness in the 40's who was part of a church flanked by railroad tracks.

"We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because we felt, what could anyone do to stop it?

Each Sunday morning, we would hear the train whistle blowing in the distance, then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars!

Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sounds of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.

We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.

Years have passed and no one talks about it now, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep."

At the pinnacle of his power in the mid 1940s, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party had only 8.5 million members out of almost 80 million Germans. 90 percent of the German population--the workers, the pastors, the teachers, the farmers, the homemakers and the youth--were passive and compliant in the face of the growing evil. When courage was needed to confront the menace, it was too late.

In my study I have these quotes from two of my heroes:

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
--Winston Churchill

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jer.12:5)

Multitudes of us Christians are admittedly discouraged today. We scan the horizon and see what is happening to our nation and the lack of bold outspoken Christians with the fortitude to stand strong and do what's necessary to change course. Yet God can turn things around if we will humble ourselves and pray (2 Chron.7:14) and act courageously as He leads us in these turbulent times. It would do us all good to recall how less than a generation ago at the height of communism, God's people prayed and fasted and a courageous leader named Ronald Reagan emerged to defend the sanctity of life and champion the collapse of a demonic system that enslaved 250 million people in Eastern Europe. In a relatively short period the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed and the "Evil Empire" fell apart! Remember his bold declaration in 1983, "There is sin and evil in the world and we're enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose is with all our might." (To read more of this inspiring history read Ralph Reed's book.) May God do it again as we throw off fear and compromise and rise up in the strength of His might!

Against this backdrop are you a candidate for courageous leadership? Many may be "falling like flies" but others are arising who "know their God and shall be strong and do exploits" (Dan.11:32).

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chron. 17:9).

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.
 

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