As many of you know, I have been out of the country for most of the last ten months. I began a much-needed sabbatical last fall to recover from surgeries and also to be involved in some missionary work in Central America. Through a series of events, our family became the praise and worship leaders at a start-up church aimed at the growing English-speaking population in this particular area. It has been the most incredible experience of our lives.
True, there is always something special about serving the Lord as a family, especially in the setting of foreign missions. However, our experience here has been much more than this. The Christians, with whom we have served side-by-side, have been among the most wonderful, committed, godly people we have ever known. They love the Lord wholeheartedly and are passionate about their faith. Their commitment to Christ is reflected daily through their relationships and Christian service in this Latino community. In short, they practice what they preach!
Gary and Audrey handing out rice and beans to children of very poor families.
I have also been impressed by the fact that they get along so well. While there may be some minor doctrinal differences among these believers, there is a bounty of genuine Christ-centered love that flows between them. This begins with the pastor and his wife whose lives have become a powerful witness for the Lord in this physically and spiritually needy place. Their consistent, caring example is to a large extent being modeled by the rest of the congregation. It has been so heartwarming to see people from the local Spanish community stop our pastor and other church members on the sidewalk to thank them with a hug for all they are doing.
Living by example, without bickering among fellow believers, provides a powerful testimony to unbelievers who watch us closely. The unity that Jesus prayed for in John, chapter 17, is a beautiful thing when it is properly lived out by believers. The teaching of sound doctrine coupled with practical daily application and a loving appreciation for each other’s strengths and patient tolerance of our weaknesses – this is how the Church was meant to be!!
As our sabbatical is nearing an end and our family prepares to return to the U.S., our feelings about leaving this place are bittersweet. After our experience here, we don’t know if we are ready to head back into the storm of “American Christianity.” The love for our homeland runs deep, but so does our frustration and disappointment over developments both within and outside the Church in America.
The latest reliable surveys I have seen reveal that only about 7 percent of U.S. citizens are truly born again and living for the Lord. This alarming, sad number of a dwindling remnant is bad enough. But what is equally disturbing is what is taking place among believers. They are increasingly becoming fractionalized and divided as many of them are following ego-driven leaders who are placing their own importance and agenda above that of the Lord’s. The need for personal repentance is great, not just among Americans as a whole, but within the Church and much of its leadership as well. Repentance, if it is going to occur at this late hour, must begin with the Church! If nothing changes, I believe God will soon allow things to run their course.
Heading Toward a Police State?
Along with my disappointment with American Christianity, I am stunned by how quickly the United States has moved toward becoming a police state during the short time we’ve been gone. Like the sons and daughters of so many immigrants who came to America because of its religious and political freedoms (my parents came from Croatia and Germany), I have loved my country, cherished its Constitution, and been fiercely loyal in every possible way. So it is personally difficult for me to witness the moral and political disintegration taking place.
For these last few months, our family has watched from a distance as the foreign media has covered the unfolding events back home. Even reporters from the normally liberal international press have at times expressed their shock at the enormity and brazenness of the scandals. The cover-up and deception surrounding the Benghazi terrorist assault, the widespread surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA and FBI (even involving the use of drones), and the IRS meddling which has included direct measures against and bias toward conservative political and religious groups, all reflect an administration that is corrupt. The government is overstepping its bounds in every critical area – and ObamaCare hasn’t even officially begun. As we now know, the IRS is to be the main enforcer of the President’s healthcare agenda. This arrangement will bring the medical records of all individuals under the control of a government-run computer system. We all know how secure that will be.
These revelations about the current activities and plans of the Obama Administration are just the tip of the iceberg. This is merely what has become known to the public. I assure you there is much more beneath the surface. Any American with an ounce of discernment should see that a BIG change is underway, and that it is not good. All that is needed for the President to consolidate his power and take control of the situation is a major crisis – such as an unexpected natural disaster, a massive act of terror, a cataclysmic flare-up resulting from clashes in the Mideast, a sudden economic downturn, contrived racial violence or civil unrest, or any combination of fear-inducing events. At this point it would not take much to tip the scales.
God is Sovereign
The question is: Why is God allowing the Administration’s scandals to be made known at this time? Is it to give us more time by making Obama a lame duck president for the remainder of his second term; or is it to enable endtimes events to unfold more quickly by bringing an end to our freedoms? With Obama’s approval ratings down by more than 8 points in the last two months, the increased scrutiny over his administration’s scandals could actually have the effect of forcing his hand – causing him to implement the socialist/globalist agenda before he loses his grip on power!
As difficult as it may be for some to accept, although we are in the midst of a great spiritual battle, no major event happens unless God allows it. I personally believe that God will base His response – what He allows to occur – on the level of repentance He witnesses among the people. If Americans do not repent of their gross immorality and flagrant spiritual sins, I believe God will soon give us what we deserve by allowing the Administration’s agenda to move forward. Everything hinges on our repentance, or lack thereof.
Only God knows exactly how much time we have to repent, as He alone is sovereign. However, it would not be incorrect to say that time is running out. If there is going to be a change of heart – a turning back to the Lord – by the American people, it must come soon.
What We Must Do To Repent
Ego-centric “Christian” leaders must stop slandering and slinging mud at Christian brothers and sisters with whom they disagree the least bit. The personal vendettas must end, and forgiveness must be sought from the Lord and each other. The lack of unity among Bible-believing Christians is a huge stumbling block to those who are unsaved.
Meanwhile, those preachers who proclaim the positive-thinking message without warning their flocks about the consequences of their sins ‒ refusing to take a stand by calling for repentance (because it is an unpopular message) ‒ must themselves repent of their disobedience to God before calling on their followers to do the same.
And the false-teachers of the Emergent Church movement who are promoting interfaith heresies while denying the existence of Hell and teaching universalism (that everyone will go to Heaven), must recant their teachings, lest they be judged by our sovereign Lord for leading millions astray.
Lay people must examine their hearts as well. Is there an area of your life that you haven’t completely surrendered to Christ? If so, confess your sin to Him who is able to forgive, and He will be faithful to do so. He will lovingly redirect your path and give you a fresh start.
If you are not a Christian, you need to receive Jesus as your savior. If you are a follower of Buddha, Muhammad, or any other religious figure, and believe that you will somehow gain immortality through their teachings, you are mistaken. You must accept the fact that there is no other person through whom you can be saved except Jesus, the Messiah (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). He alone carried the weight of your sin upon himself, paying the penalty for your sins by sacrificing himself on a cross. He is the only one whose sacrifice would be sufficient for God, because He alone was perfect. It took an “unblemished lamb” to take our place.
Jesus died and rose victorious over sin and death so that all who believe in Him would be saved and have everlasting life – eternity in Heaven in the presence of the Lord (John 3:16). Christ’s atonement is for all men and women, but here is the key: Only those who believe in and embrace Jesus as their Messiah will be saved (Matthew 10:32; 1 Peter 2:4-10).
If you have willfully rejected Jesus, or simply have never received Him as your personal Savior, I urge you to place your trust in Him today. Please do not delay. Your eternity is hanging in the balance.
In your own words, tell God that you are a sinner. Confess your sins to Him and ask for his forgiveness. Ask Him to help you repent of (abandon or turn away from) your sins. Acknowledge your belief that Jesus is his perfect son and the only one who can save you, because He is the only one who was able to pay the penalty for your sins through his shed blood. Ask God to receive you as his own. Thank Him for forgiving your sins, giving you eternal life, and providing Jesus as your savior.
Finally, ask God to empower you with the Holy Spirit so you will be able to live obediently and submissively from this day forward. Then, make it your heartbeat to love and faithfully serve Him. With the Lord at the helm, your life is firmly in his hands. In the turbulent times that lie ahead, rest assured that no situation or power of the enemy will be able to separate you from the love of Christ. Because of his great love and unmatched power, your eternity with Him is secure.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8:35, 37-39 ■
FOOD FOR THOUGHT – No matter how disgruntled we may be with Barack Obama for embracing non-Christian values and promoting left-wing ideals, he is the leader that we as a nation have been given and deserve at this moment in time. In Romans 13:1-2, God makes clear that He reigns over the world’s governing authorities – which He has instituted (or allowed to come to power because of what we deserve). Therefore, it is important that we pray for President Obama and for all those in positions of authority over us. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul the Apostle gives us the following exhortation:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Update on the Kah Family
A major reason for the Kahs having to cut their sabbatical short is that Gary’s mother recently experienced two separate strokes. She has lost most of her ability to communicate verbally and cannot move much of her right side. They would appreciate your prayers for Gary’s mother, who because of her Alzheimers and recent strokes simply wants to be with the Lord. Also pray for Gary’s father, who is seeing his life partner deteriorate and needs God’s strength. Please pray for Gary and Audrey as well, as they will bear the main responsibility for making medical decisions and for taking care of their mother the rest of the way. (Gary is an only child, and his parents have no other family who can help.) Thanks for your prayers and support!