Showing Appreciation for Your Pastor

By: Dr. Gary Dull

Note: This article was originally posted on the Christian Post website HERE.

The month of October has been designated as “Pastor Appreciation Month,” and many local congregations will make efforts to show their pastors respect and love. In doing so, various acts of kindness will be conducted, such as having a special service to honor them, giving them nice gifts, sending them on a trip, giving them time off and a list of many good things that could go on and on.

Recently, I saw a list of 30 things a church can do to show appreciation to pastors, all of which were all very kind and good. Certainly, every pastor who is a recipient of these things will be appreciative of the gestures made for them, and it is good for local churches to do so. But showing appreciation to your pastor should be more than just honoring him in a special way once a year. Appreciating your pastor should be a continual attitude with regular actions to express that appreciation.

A study of the Bible gives not only suggestions, but also directives on how a church fellowship should show appreciation for its pastor. Those directives are many, but please allow me to share just a few. I would encourage you then to take some time to consider how you can put these directives to practice with the pastor of your church and in doing so you will be obeying God and honoring the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.      KNOW YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 says, “Know them which LABOR among you, and are OVER you in the Lord, and ADMONISH you.” Without a doubt this verse describes the response to pastors who work spiritually to give godly direction to the flock. Biblically speaking, every congregant is to get to KNOW his pastor. That is, build a relationship with him so as to know his likes and dislikes, as well as his weaknesses and strengths in order to be able to pray for him and encourage him in a more effective way. The more you know your pastor the more you will appreciate his ministry and the more effective his ministry will be to you and your congregation.

2.      LOVE YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 says, “Esteem them VERY highly in LOVE for their work’s sake.” Many pastors are lonely due to the weight of the spiritual leadership they bear. Often, that weight is so heavy, they cannot even share it with their spouse and close friends. Many pastors go to bed at night with tears in their eyes and hurts in their heart. By consistently loving your pastor through acts of kindness, you will be more of an encouragement than you can ever imagine, and he will have a greater motivation to serve the congregation to the glory of God.

3.      SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders (pastors) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOR, especially they who labor in the WORD and DOCTRINE.” The phrase “worthy of double honor” literally means “double remuneration.” In other words, pay your pastor well. Many pastors and their families suffer financially because the congregation does not see the need to pay them adequately. Such a situation does not honor God at all. As a member of your church, do what you can to encourage your fellowship to give your pastor a salary and additional benefits that will enable him to live comfortably so as not to be burdened or get distracted from the ministry to which God has called him. God will bless you if you do so.

4.      PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 says, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the WORD of the Lord may have FREE COURSE, and be GLORIFIED, even as it is with you, and that we may be DELIVERED from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith.” There are many things for which a congregation can pray for their pastor. But that he may be able to preach the Word of God with power and be protected from them that would harm him is a very significant prayer to consistently take to the throne of grace on his behalf. Doing so will guarantee that your pastor will be much more effective in the pulpit and community ministry.

5.      FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR. Hebrews 13:7 says, “REMEMBER them that have the rule (spiritual) over you, who have SPOKEN unto you the word of God: whose FAITH FOLLOW, considering of their conduct.” Pastors who offer genuine spiritual ministry, who preach the Word of God clearly and who manifest biblical faith are to be followed without resistance or rebellion by each member of the congregation. Those who refuse to do so will answer to the Lord and according to Hebrews 13:17, that will be “unprofitable” for them when they stand before the Lord. Churches do not hire their pastors. It is the Lord Jesus Who places pastors in church pulpits. The congregation simply recognizes God’s call to the local assembly as the under-shepherd of Jesus Christ to equip and lead the church into more effective and fruitful Christian service. The congregant who follows the faith of his pastor will be blessed by God on earth will be rewarded by God in heaven and encouraged by his pastor in the church.

Indeed, there are many things I could add to the list of how to show appreciation to pastors. But perhaps the points I have given will be something for you to consider, not only in October, but all 12 months of the year. Because each of the above principles is truly biblical, those who practice them will be truly blessed by God, and in the long run, their pastor will be a more effective shepherd in the local flock where the Lord places him, resulting in the edification of the believers, the strengthening of the church and glory to Almighty God.

Gary Dull is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, board member of the American Pastors Network and co-host of APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program. He pastors Faith Baptist Church of Altoona.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash HERE.

What Is the Biblical Duty of Government Leaders?

As politics take over the majority of news headlines, more Americans may be asking themselves: What is the role of our national leaders?

Leaders at the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, address this question frequently. In fact, APN president and host Sam Rohrer recently published a new editorial for The Christian Post, where he offers biblical insight to the roles and responsibilities of America’s leaders and elected officials.

“According to the Bible, those who serve in government are ministers of God,” Rohrer said. “Many Americans and even American Christians have never considered that distinction and prefer to oppose or avoid political leaders altogether. However, God desires that we encourage governing leaders to serve Him and the people they lead. Romans 13:4 notes, ‘He is God’s minister—or servant—to you for good.’ Therefore, our leaders and officials are to protect those who do what’s morally right, as well as to bring justice against those who do what’s morally wrong. That’s why the highest duty of governing involves creating and implementing laws to enact justice and to maintain peace throughout the land.”

Because the Bible calls governing leaders “ministers” or “servants,” they are to serve both God and the citizens, Rohrer also noted. But what does this mean in today’s culture? Political leaders are to be, to the people they represent, protectors of righteousness and defenders of truth. The word “minister” in Romans 13:6 literally means to be a leader in worship to God. Like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon said after being forced by God to his knees in submission, “I do extol and recognize the God of heaven who is able to raise up and bring down those He will.”

“In other words,” Rohrer said, “according to God’s plan, all politicians possess the distinct obligation to live in the fear of God and cause people to look to God who created life, liberty and all natural rights. Our political leaders should sense a duty to protect the people they serve. And those who lead our nation need our support when they work to protect its citizens. Just imagine if those in office today would acknowledge that God is Supreme and would lead our nation to also acknowledge the God of heaven.”

Additionally, how many Christians are aware that the Bible speaks of political leaders as conduits of truth and justice?

“In our culture,” Rohrer continued, “politicians are often rightly viewed with skepticism and criticism at every turn, yet the Bible says they are ‘sent by God’ to punish lawbreakers and encourage righteousness. In 1 Peter 2, governing leaders are defined as people who should enforce laws against criminals and recognize honorable citizens. As believers, we’re commanded to live as law-abiding citizens as part of God’s will for our lives. Despite our ‘resistance’ culture that often seeks to undermine government and oppose authority, God calls us to consciously live out His principles and ‘silence the ignorance of foolish men.’ We are to submit to governing authorities. As Peter notes in 1 Peter 2:17: ‘Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.’”

Finally, Rohrer concluded, God has provided American citizens the privilege to be involved in the political process.

“Whether through voting, expressing our values or even running for elected office, our liberty offers many ways to participate,” he said. “How would our nation be different if all believers across our nation prayed daily for our leaders, lived godly values and participated in the process of government in a greater way? We would see the Lord bless our nation and bring times of refreshing to our land.”

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

American Pastors Network Focuses on Knowing—and Embracing—God’s View of the Environment

At this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City, hundreds of world leaders will come together to focus on pressing global topics, and the environment and climate change will be key topics of discussion.

In fact, today at the UNGA, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a summit to address the “global climate emergency.” The Summit will seek to “spark the transformation that is urgently needed and propel action that will benefit everyone.”

The American Pastors Network (APN), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, also discussed the environment and climate change earlier this summer on the APN television program, “Stand in the Gap,” which reaches millions of households on several networks.

For the program titled “Embracing the Environment—God’s Way,” APN President and host Sam Rohrer and co-host and millennial pastor Isaac Crockett focused on the overall issue of “the environment and our relationship to it,” while also addressing two core problems—that the contemporary view of the environment has become fatalistic and that God’s purpose and plan for the environment has been lost or rejected.

“God’s Word gives great clarity and direction on every issue we can possibly consider in our world today,” Rohrer said on the show. “It seems as though we’ve entered a ‘twilight zone’ in America, where the more outrageous the claims about God, life and the environment, the more attention one gets and the more enlightened one seems to be. But this is not necessarily new. In the 1800s, scientific thought leaders like Charles Darwin made popular the view that there is no God, no creation and no sacredness to life, therefore, no purpose in living—all accident and chance. Then around the same time, philosopher, cultural critic and thought leader Friedrich Nietzsche declared that we had killed God—at least in the minds of the people—therefore, there was no need to feel guilty or accountable to God. We could live as we wanted and do as we wished.

“Then came economist and socialist revolutionary thought leader Karl Marx, who said that we will dethrone God,” Rohrer continued. “Combining his atheistic view of God with the thoughts of Darwin, Nietzsche, Georg Hegel and Sigmund Freud put into motion an anti-God plan to collapse America and the Western world. By the mid-20th century, these combined thoughts devolved to the point where judicial thought leaders, including those on the U.S. Supreme Court, arrogantly declared that babies in the womb are not people with sacred lives and, therefore, were dispensable and legal to be murdered at will.”

Later, Rohrer added, came political opportunists such as Al Gore, who cited selected climate “experts” with worldviews similar to these previous thought leaders and predicted the polar ice caps would melt by 2013 due to global warming caused by burning fossil fuels, resulting in a threat to all civilization.

“Not to be outdone and building on this worldview espoused by these previous thought leaders, freshman New York politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went even further in declaring that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change—in effect, starting a countdown clock for life as we know it,” Rohrer continued. “Because certain enlightened individuals make outrageously false claims, they intentionally influenced our culture and our world—and not for the good. So what can we do? Is there a response? Is the godless view of life and the environment that produces nothing but fear to be believed? Or is there a better and truthful way?

“The Bible holds the answers for all issues of life and living,” Rohrer further stated. “God is a god of design and purpose—predictable, uniform and accountability-driven. Christians believe that God established the standards for truth and gave us the guidelines for how mankind should relate to all creation with a promise of blessing and freedom, but only if we follow His guidelines—and this includes the environment.”

According to Rohrer, the modern cultural view of the environment, which is largely fear-driven, leaves out God, His purposes and mankind’s duty toward the environment.

“When Al Gore screams global warming and population annihilation and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez goes further by declaring a moratorium on Earth in 12 years and that cows, planes and more should be banned, what is the logical outcome of these recommendations?” Rohrer added. “And what is the likely motivation of these statements? When the Gores and the AOCs make such statements, seeking to scare all who listen and citing ‘experts’ rather than truth as defined by God, total conflict is the result, with both sides rejecting each other. God’s view of the environment and his stewardship principles could actually address some of the fears of those environmentalists who either intentionally leave out God altogether or perhaps have never heard of God’s superior plan at all.”

Watch the full program here.

Today’s U.N. Climate Summit will center on the theme, “Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.” According to the U.N., “The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.” This past weekend, the UNGA also included a Youth Climate Summit.

Photo by Gustavo Quepón on Unsplash

Has the Substance of the Constitution Been Lost?

APN NEWS UPDATE:

Sept. 17, marks Constitution Day—a time when Americans should look back on the history of the founding document to the nation.

But many, have forgotten what the Constitution means to the fabric of America.

Last week on the daily and popular APN radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on several hundred stations nationwide, APN President and host Sam Rohrer outlined the importance of knowing—and keeping—the Constitution.

“This Tuesday, we will mark 232 years since the U.S. Constitution was signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia,” Rohrer said during the program. “This meeting of delegates was but one part of a miraculous birth of a new nation. Over time, the details, the substance of this gathering and the contents of this document, recognized by many as the most inspiring, enduring and life-changing document outside the Bible, have been lost, ignored or rewritten. Now the very essence of this document is under attack by every anti-God and anti-freedom ideology from Marxism, socialism, communism to Islam. All Americans must step back, focus on the essentials and reacquaint themselves with the history of our Constitution—and celebrate it.”

On September 17, 1787, a group of men gathered in a closed meeting room to sign the greatest vision of human freedom in history. Built upon the provisions and vision of divine rights from a Creator God and a submission to God as the Great Judge of the Universe in the Declaration of Independence, signed by 56 in 1776, it was Benjamin Franklin, who at 81 years old, made the motion to sign the guarantor of these rights in a document called the U.S. Constitution.

Rohrer informed radio listeners that George Washington presided over this convention, which featured many of the great minds of the day—Franklin, James Madison, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton and the most important regional leaders in the United States. Notably absent in this final signing meeting were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and John Hancock, among others. The group met to agree how the Constitution would be sent to the Confederation Congress to start the ratification process with the states.

According to James Madison’s notes, the Constitution was first read to the group, there was some debate, and Benjamin Franklin signed the document last, making it official. Upon adoption, the gathering declared a final sini die session, concluding its work and handing over the document to future generations with the obligation to protect, defend and support the provisions of this great guarantor of God-given rights and becoming the model to the world.

“In a letter to Charles Yancey, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be,’” Rohrer noted. “This quote was in relation to the observation that no nation can remain free if the citizens don’t know the basis of freedom—and that true civil freedom comes from God. Last year, a survey of 2,000 adults found that most Americans lack basic knowledge of what rights are specifically protected in the Bill of Rights. As a matter of fact, just 26 percent even know how many amendments make up the Bill of Rights. Another astounding finding was that about half of those surveyed believed ‘liberty’ and the ‘pursuit of happiness’ are included in the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment; these are actually part of the Declaration of Independence.

 

“So based on these facts, we are not in a good position to keep our freedom in America,” Rohrer added. “We are ignorant. The U.S. Constitution did not automatically appear in one day, nor has it remained the same until this day. While under a Judeo-Christian worldview, truth is unchanging, comes from God, is totally embodied within the character and nature of God, and is manifested in Jesus Christ. The development of human laws has been a progression. The U.S. was, in reality, a ‘holy experiment in self-government under God,’ according to Pennsylvania’s William Penn and described in his Frame of Government of 1682.”

“There is hardly one framework of government in the world so poorly designed by its founders that, in good hands, would not function well enough, and the history of the Romans and Jewish states tells us that even with the best framework of government, that in bad hands can do nothing good or great,” Penn had said. That submission to God’s Divine law is necessary for both the citizens and those in authority for freedom to endure.

“It is the broad ignorance or rejection of these simple observations that so imperils freedom in America today,” Rohrer added. “Like all truth—be it divine moral law, as recorded in the Bible, or the highest civil law, our Constitutions, which are based on biblical principles—the documents themselves can neither force themselves on others or defend themselves. That responsibility to know and defend God’s truth and the corresponding civil truth is the duty of every person, regardless of their station in life. That duty to defend and use the truth of God’s Word, for example, is a choice of every person, every parent, every pastor, every politician. The duty to defend and advance the principles of freedom as it relates to our republic is the duty of every member of government, which is why the oath of office exists. But there is more. After the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787, Ben Franklin stated that future Americans had been given ‘a republic—if you can keep it.’ Every American must know what that means and how, indeed, we do ‘keep it.’”

For the program marking Constitution Day, “Stand in the Gap Today” hosts were joined by David New, constitutional attorney, author, speaker. Listen to the program here.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Sam Rohrer Interviews with VCY America on Immigration

A Christian Look at Immigration

On August 29, 2019, VCY host, Jim Schneider, interviewed APN President, Sam Rohrer, on the issue of immigration.

(Audio and copy below was originally posted on the VCY website HERE.)

Sam Rohrer is the president of American Pastors Network and the Pennsylvania Pastor’s Network.  He’s also host of ‘Stand in the Gap.’ Sam is a former state representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature as he sought to apply biblical principles in all areas of legislation.  He was often referred to as the ‘Conscience of the House’ because of his consistent stance for moral truth in public policy.

Why is immigration such a hot topic amid the current political climate?  Sam believes it’s only because we as a culture and nation have walked away from God’s simple understanding of what constitutes a nation, the purpose of government and government leaders (Romans 13).

Sam defined a nation as an area defined by a common language, worldview, and identifiable boundaries.  God defined those boundaries so they’ve been with us since the beginning of time.

God works through nations for the fulfillment of His plan of redemption.  America, on the other hand, appears to be walking away from God’s plan expressed in the biblical worldview.  So what used to be of no controversy now is controversial. In other words, look at how this nation views human sexuality or marriage.  Sam believes boundaries fall into that same category and hence, that subject is now controversial as well.

Is there a difference between how a government should respond to immigration compared to how the Christian should respond?  Sam referred to what he called the ‘jurisdictional approach.’ What is the purpose of government from God’s perspective? It’s to praise those who do well (protect those who follow God’s moral law) and to punish those who break God’s moral law and the law of the land.

You may wonder what borders have to do with government.  A government has leaders who have a responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens.  So you can’t define ‘citizen’ unless you have borders. This means the fundamental purpose of government is to maintain borders.

As ‘the church’ we are to carry the gospel to all people regardless of whether it’s our next door neighbor or someone in another nation.  However, as Sam noted, ‘…the church and the individual should never be in violation against the purposes that God has established for government which is to protect its people and its borders.’

What is the believers responsibility in all of this?  How should our nation proceed as we navigate this contentious issue?  Doesn’t the text at the Statue of Liberty demand open borders? Are spiritual and political leaders misapplying Scriptures such as Leviticus 19:34 and the story of the Good Samaritan when they try to apply them to the subject of illegal immigration?

These and other questions are examined, and callers weigh in as well, during this critical edition of Crosstalk. (Statue of Liberty – web photo by B. Barker)

‘One Generation Shall Commend Your Works to Another’—Reminding Grandparents of Their Biblical Duty to Pass Down God’s Word

With National Grandparents Day celebrated this Sunday, Sept. 8, the American Pastors Network (APN) is reminding grandparents that the Bible speaks directly to them regarding how to instill biblical precepts to the next generations.

APN President Sam Rohrer, the grandfather to 14 grandchildren and the father of six, says he and his wife of 42 years have strived to be godly influences in their grandchildren’s lives.

“Psalm 145:4 tells us that ‘One generation shall commend your works to another,’” Rohrer said. “This is a clear charge to parents and grandparents to instill the Word of God, His promises, His creation, His good works and the saving grace through His Son, Jesus Christ, to the generations that come after us. If we see that more millennials are becoming ‘nones’ and not embracing any faith at all, that means those millennial parents are not raising their children in the church or with a faith in Jesus Christ. This is alarming for future generations, which also brings to light the need for grandparents to play an integral role in their grandchildren’s faith walk.”

Rohrer also pointed to recent research by Barna that found that a majority of Christians had their faith heritage passed down by a family member—and usually long before adulthood, by the age of 12.

“This study is another indicator of the importance of grandparents who are strong in their faith have in talking to their grandchildren about why it is crucial to keep Christ at the center of their life and to look to the Bible for guidance in every area of life,” Rohrer added.

National Grandparents Day was championed in the 1970s by Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, who had 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. McQuade envisioned the holiday as a family affair, with generations coming together. While working to recognize the holiday on a local level, McQuade was elected Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Committee on Aging and appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1971. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Grandparents Day would occur the Sunday after Labor Day each year. McQuade was married to her husband, Joseph, for 60 years before he died in 2001. Mrs. McQuade passed away in 2008.

According to LegacyProject.com, “On a societal level, National Grandparents Day gives us a chance to publicly affirm the identity and importance of grandparents, that they do play a vital role in families.”

Photo by Nikoline Arns on Unsplash

American Pastors Network: Health Care Should Be Biblical, Too

Many Christians are careful to ensure that their giving, spending, investing and even shopping aligns with their biblical values. But what about their health care?

The American Pastors Network says this major component of the American culture and the political sphere should also be in concert with God’s Word.

To discuss the biblical ties to health care, APN President Sam Rohrer recently welcomed a director for one of the nation’s leading health care sharing ministries.

Rohrer and his “Stand in the Gap TV” co-host, millennial pastor Isaac Crockett, spoke with Anthony Hopp, vice president of external relations for Samaritan Ministries, through which more than a quarter of a million Christians worldwide engage in health care sharing—a God-honoring model of health care whereby members directly share in each other’s health care needs through monthly financial shares, while also sending encouraging notes and lifting up their brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer.

“The American health care system is being dismantled, yet the provision for health care sharing is growing,” Rohrer said on the program. “Socialistic policies are replacing what should be a Bible-based system of health care. The issue of health care in America is important to each of us. When we need quality care at an affordable price, we’ve come to expect that we can get it nearly immediately. We’ve become accustomed to the finest of care and the most professional of physicians. Steeped in a Judeo-Christian mindset of compassion, health care and helping those in need has become the norm both on the part of the patient and the provider. Yet, the push for socialized healthcare with less care, higher costs and diminished doctor-patient relationships is increasing, with many people believing it will somehow be better.”

The co-hosts and Hopp discussed, however, that the socialization of health care is one of the major problems in the field, along with growing costs, greater government involvement, a lack of price transparency and heightened third-party interference. Health care sharing through Samaritan Ministries, Hopp said, addresses these concerns by enabling members to pay less for quality health care, move away from government involvement and intrusive third parties, and experience price transparency and even discounts.

Additionally, Rohrer and Hopp noted, members of Christian health care sharing ministries do not pay for abortions or gender reassignment procedures/treatment with their financial shares.

Rohrer also detailed America’s health care spending problems by the numbers.

  • According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as a percentage of the total U.S. economy in 2017, health care represented 17.9%, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person.
  • National health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5% per year for 2018-2027 and reach nearly $6 trillion by 2027, Reuters reported, raising the health care total percentage of the U.S. economy from 17.9% to 19.4%.

“These numbers are almost too large to understand, especially when we realize that Congress recently voted to increase U.S. spending by $320 billion and remove the debt ceiling cap until 2021,” Rohrer said. “The size and scope of spending, be it on health care or anything is else, is out of control and increasing. But rising health care costs and spending can be curbed with health care sharing. Certainly, not every problem with the current health care controversy in this nation can be solved by health care sharing, but for Christian people who choose this legal option and who want to as much as possible follow biblical principles and models, it can be a welcome, God-sent path.”

Rohrer added that with the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the drive toward socialized medicine and destruction of the American health care system was greatly accelerated.

“The ongoing presidential debates are also focusing much of the discussion on health care, with nearly every candidate trying to out-promise the others from the standpoint of who and what will be covered by a universal, single-payer government plan,” he said. “Yet in the midst of all this is a bright spot in health care sharing. It is growing and flourishing, as more families are finding affordable health care, biblical community and are able to continue being treating by the doctors they trust—all while they honor God.”

View the two “Stand in the Gap TV” programs on health care sharing below:

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Israel Continues to Be One of President Trump’s Most Critical Election Issues for 2020

Israel last week announced that the nation would ban two American Congresswomen from visiting because of their anti-Semitic stances—then reversed the decision, stating Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was approved for a “humanitarian” visit. Friday afternoon, however, reported Fox News, Tlaib confirmed she would not be visiting her grandmother in Israel after all, citing “oppressive conditions.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is still banned from visiting.

The American Pastors Network (APN) follows news about Israel closely, especially as it relates to American politics and American Christians—and in light of the fact that Israel will be one of the most important 2020 election issues. In fact, APN focuses on Israel at least once a week on its daily “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program, which airs on about 400 stations nationwide, as well as addresses news coming out of the Middle East from a biblical and constitutional perspective.

To one of these recent programs, APN President Sam Rohrer welcomed former Minnesota U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, with whom Rohrer attended the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast earlier this summer; Bachmann also co-chairs the event. On “Stand in the Gap Today,” Bachmann made bold statements about President Donald Trump and his ongoing commitment to Israel, stating “never before” has she seen a “more pro-Israel president.”

In many respects, Rohrer agrees, stating that President Trump has indeed kept his promise to Christians that he would advocate for Israel on behalf of America.

“Over the past several years, presidential actions have been overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, which should be important to all Christians,” Rohrer said. “Those who support Israel will be put onto a path of blessing—to that, the Bible is clear. Those who bless Israel, God will bless, and those who curse Israel, God will curse. And in these end days, there will be a sifting to either sheep nations or goat nations. That distinction will be led by those nations’ leaders and how they relate to the principle of God’s plan for Israel. Few would deny that this president has taken strong positions in relation to Israel.”

But to whom should this presidential commitment to Israel be meaningful?

“People who are Remnant Christians and believe that Israel is a nation blessed by God will be on board with this administration’s actions and commitments,” Rohrer said. “Certainly, President Trump’s moves and counter-moves concerning the Holy Land do not matter to those who think God is done with Israel, and his support for Israel upsets the Islamists among us.

“But undeniably, all of this brings into context that there is a prevailing, sovereign God who is at work,” Rohrer added. “He is not out of the picture. And many Christians should get Him back into the picture. The fact is that God’s plan for Israel supersedes and is bigger than the U.S. It’s from the beginning of time and directly reflects what God says in the Bible.”

Photo by Joe Pregadio on Unsplash

Back to School Gives Children and Parents a Chance to Go ‘Back to God’

by Sam Rohrer

It’s approaching fast! We’ll soon be sending our kids and grandkids back to school! But where is our emphasis? New classes? School supplies? Clothing? God’s emphasis starts with how we’re preparing our children spiritually. In Deuteronomy 6, God commanded His people to teach His ways to their children. This includes a God focus in the morning, throughout the day and in the evening. Are we approaching God’s mandate strategically and intentionally in our child’s education and life the best we can be?

Consider starting each morning with your kids in prayer, committing to Christ-like decisions and behaviors. Next, encourage this daily. Uplifting lunchbox notes or text messages may be just what’s needed to overcome anxiety or temptation. Finally, end each day thanking God for His protection and wisdom, then close with Scripture and prayer. Character is not formed in a day; it’s formed day by day to train up a godly next generation.

Likewise, a new school year should motivate us to more intentionally develop our children’s complete God-centered education. Even our Lord Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man. So, how can we encourage our children as they enter a new school year? Scripture describes God’s design for parents and children as a loving relationship. Joseph and Mary invested in the life of Jesus, providing both His physical and learning needs. Helping our children with an assignment communicates the importance of them and their education. Turning off the television, computers and cell phones to read together increases knowledge as well the relationship with our children. Just talking with your son or daughter about their day as you share a meal can open conversations to encourage learning in ways often overlooked. Other people and resources can help too, but nothing compares to a loving parent committed to the whole education of their child.

This Christian parental involvement is critical, because sadly, according to a 2018 Barna and Impact 360 Institute Research study, 96% of Generation Z have a failed education if we consider that just 4% hold a biblical worldview. But this tragic fact can change if parents live biblically. First, remember that making disciples starts in the home. Second, purposely address the difficult issues of our culture, whether these involve sex, gender or evolution. God’s Word addresses these matters, and so can parents. Third, make worldview development a daily effort. Living obediently, reading your Bible and praying, loving your spouse and faithfully attending church sets a compelling example for children.

When it comes to a biblical worldview, more is “caught” than “taught.” Allowing children to see an obedient walk with God in our lives will confirm that God is real, personal, just and loving. It’s the hope and confidence the next generation needs.

But with cultural challenges evident, can children really spiritually succeed in school? The apostle Paul addressed this challenge to young Timothy when he wrote in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” The greatest test of our children’s faith will be to live it out at school. When Paul taught Timothy to set an example through his speech and actions, he knew the young man’s life would impact others.

Whether to a classmate or teacher, the words our children use display their attitudes. Their actions come next. Together, their speech and actions determine their example, and that example can be powerful. Parents and grandparents, our words and choices set a powerful example to the kids we love. So let’s make a renewed effort to set the highest possible standard for our words and actions. In turn, our children will be encouraged to do the same.

Finally, let’s remember the most important things to send with our children to school. How many times have we reminded, “Don’t forget your lunch!” as kids head out the door? And I wonder how many children have heard it over the years. As parents, we work hard to make sure our children have everything they need to succeed in school. This includes their lunch as well as homework, but what do our children need to succeed spiritually? If we’re intentional in living a biblical worldview, making disciples, speaking of God when they get up, through the day and at the end of the day, children will be prepared to make the choices that result in spiritual success.

Training up a child in the way they should go is God’s plan. Praying faithfully for them, as James 5:16 reminds us, is also part of God’s plan and more important than we may ever understand. Prayer is the glue that cements biblical training, a godly example and a biblical worldview into place.

Note: This article was originally published on the Christian Post website HERE.

Photo by Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio on Unsplash

Seven Prayers-Seven Judgments: A Stand in the Gap Minute Series Based on II Chronicles 6

Can We Know if God’s Judgment is on America?

As I crisscross this nation and interface with pastors and Christian leaders, it’s apparent that crippling paralysis and impotence grip most Christians as well as the Church at large in America. When our pulpits should be flaming with the preaching of righteousness, repentance, and God’s anger with personal and national sin, most are silent. Instead of calling attention to God’s judgment, many pastors deny that we can even know if God is judging America. Seeking ‘comfort’ rather than ‘engagement,’ most pastors are inadvertently contributing to the destruction of our nation by infusing their people with lethargy rather than with an urgency for righteous living.

This paralysis exists in part because leading pastors and church leaders are not certain themselves if God’s judgment is on America or if anyone can or should legitimately declare what God is doing or not doing. Some well-known pastors recently declared this position, with one even telling me directly that 2 Chron. 7:14, which speaks to the issue of national judgment, is not for America or any nation today. They’ve actually said that to speak of the certainty of judgment, to offer the requirements for repentance, and to tell of God’s promise to ‘hear our prayer, forgive our sins, and heal our land’ is to offer a fraudulent hope!

I contend that claiming we cannot know if God’s judgment is on our nation is but a feeble attempt to justify the failure of pastors convincingly to preach on the reality of sin, God’s anger with sin, His holiness, and the need for repentance. The cost of not preaching on the reality of God’s judgment is great. The failure to preach on the need for repentance now will guarantee God’s final judgment on America.  I contend that if we can recognize God’s blessing on our nation, we can with as much certainty know when His hand of judgment is on us. In this week’s Stand in the Gap Minutes, I will identify the seven marks of national judgment that precipitated God’s answer to King Solomon in 2 Chron. 7:14. The correlations to America are undeniable. 

Please click on the links below:

  1. The First Mark of God’s Judgment on America: The Removal of God’s Blessing
  2. The Second Mark of God’s Judgment on America: Government Sanctioned Injustice
  3. The Third Mark of God’s Judgment on America: Military Defeat
  4. The Fourth Mark of God’s Judgment on America: Drought
  5. The Fifth Mark of God’s Judgment on America: Extreme Weather and Internal Attacks
  6. The Sixth Mark of God’s Judgment on America: Abused Immigrants
  7. The Seventh Mark of God’s Judgment on America: War and National Collapse