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Thankful for Our Constitution November 26, 2009

Posted by kiernon in Uncategorized.
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On this Thanksgiving day I find myself reflecting on our Constitution. What an amazing and powerful document! It’s made my way of life possible by guaranteeing fundamental freedoms that I so often take for granted. Signed in 1787, this 4,543-word document has stood the test of time and is still with us today. In an age where it’s normal for Congress to pass 4,000-page bills designed to grant us just one right, I think we need to understand what it is that has empowered such a short foundational document to carry the whole weight of America upon it. What is the magic ingredient in those words? Or does the magic consist of more than just the words themselves?

John Adams, former President and co-author of the Constitution, wrote that the Constitution requires something of us: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” In other words, the Constitution was written assuming that Americans are a moral and religious people. That’s why it could be so short and yet so powerful. The founding fathers trusted that Americans would read it and obey not just the words but also the spirit behind the words, rather than parse and reinterpret its words in an attempt to find justification for what they really want to do. But that’s not the America we live in today. And that’s why a 4,000-page congressional bill is not unusual.

The change that’s occurred – moral decline – explains why Americans are grudgingly open to ever increasing amounts of government regulation. We love the freedoms we have, but we also sense that because our nation’s morality is in decline, we need to give the government greater power to to protect us from the consequences of that decline, knowing that little by little we’re exchanging our freedoms for their promise of more security. Take the health care issue as an example. This issue revolves around who we think we can trust if our health fails. Americans aren’t sure they can trust the insurance companies to do what they promised to do. And frankly the insurance companies have earned their poor reputations. Why do insurance companies so often behave poorly? Often the answer is unchecked greed. But be honest: Do you really think the government is going to do a better job than the insurance companies? After all, isn’t the same basic problem – a lack of morality – also lurking in our government? Do we think the House healthcare bill is 4,000 pages long because that’s how many pages it took to guarantee that everyone is going to be taken care of? It’s that long because the government is also protecting their own interests: Their ability to regulate and tax you and the health care industry and to quantify how much healthcare you deserve. We are simply exchanging one manifestation of greed for another – an unchecked profit motive for an insatiable lust for power.

This problem is not a political problem. Neither liberalism nor conservatism will bring America out of the messes we’ve gotten ourselves into: Ever-high taxes, health care, the war in Iraq, the deficit, the environment, etc. We are facing a moral and religious problem. America’s political outlook has always been and will always be a reflection of our religious convictions. Increase Americans’ faith in a power higher than themselves who is interested in and involved in the affairs of men, and the issues we face will be sorted out with more resolve and unity. Erode our faith further and we will see more of what we’re seeing right now until America loses faith in the Constitution and calls for it to change. And if that happens there will be no going back.

Personally I want to keep being thankful for the Constitution. So let me propose another solution. In 2 Chron 7:14 God makes a compelling offer: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I think His offer is worth considering and trying out. What do you think?

Cause for Celebration July 4, 2009

Posted by kiernon in Hope, Uncategorized.
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On this 4th of July many of us may find ourselves disappointed, even discouraged, at the challenges facing our nation. We see in the news so many examples of mismanagement and malfeasance in corporate America and elsewhere. These failures and scandals have shaken our nation’s confidence in itself, and we are searching for answers. We can all feel it: America is at a crossroads. Our way of life is about to change. Many are concerned that much of this change will not be for the better. But there is great cause for celebration.

In this time of change God tells us that there is great hope. In fact, it is God’s Church that has the greatest reasons for celebration today. It is against a backdrop of darkness that God’s light is most visible. Even amongst the most ardent supporters of our new administration, many are realizing that what they asked for isn’t really what they wanted. People are searching for answers, right now. We have a tremendous opportunity to let our light shine brightly.

In Gen 12:2-3, God promised Abraham that He would create a great nation through Abram. He would bless all nations who bless his descendants and curse those who curse them. Jesus deputized all Christians in Mt 28:18-20, making available to us all of His authority on heaven and on earth. God tells us in Gal 3:29 that we are heirs to His promises to Abraham. He says in Jer 29:11 that He has good plans for our future. And in Eph 1:3 He says that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. In short, God has given us Purpose, Power, Protection and Provision. He has held nothing back from His church! We are favored because we are His people! And these promises are available to everybody who would follow Jesus! (John 3:16) That is cause for celebration indeed!

On this 4th of July I encourage all of you to thank God for the United States of America. Pray for His blessing to increase on this great nation and all the nations of the world. Do what these scriptures say and believe their promises to be true:

  • 2 Chron 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
  • Mt 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

God gave us everything we need to make the most of today and create a better tomorrow. With that reality in our minds let’s imagine what’s possible and begin living that way. And let’s celebrate today with great hope and faith in our hearts.

The Forgotten Commandment May 1, 2009

Posted by kiernon in Uncategorized.
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When we hear somebody speak of the First Commandment, we immediately think of Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The thing is, that’s not really the first commandment God gave us. It’s the first one He wrote down but certainly not the first. So what’s the actual “First Commandment?” We find it in Genesis 1 where He gives this commandment twice: First to the fish and the birds (vs. 26); and then to man (vs. 28). The command is “Be fruitful and increase in number.” To man He adds, “Fill the earth and subdue it.” In other words, the first thing God told us to do is to have lots of kids so they can take charge of the planet and make it into what He, we and they want it to be.

God chose to make this His first command given to His creation. And way back when He started it all, the reasons were obvious: This big empty planet needed to be populated. And subdued (tamed – made into what we want it to be). But how does it apply today?

A quick sampling of modern Western culture reveals a strong cultural attitude about children: Kids are…

  • Expensive and inconvenient.
  • A distraction (especially to women). You should be focusing on your career and reaching your full potential.
  • The reason the world is overpopulated.
  • Bad for the environment. Disposable diapers, car seats, baby bottles, strollers, big cars, etc. are bad bad things.
  • Cute, when you have only one.

It seems the command to be fruitful and increase in number has been forgotten by most people in Western society. Yet the hidden truth in this “Forgotten Commandment” has always been and always will be true: There is great strength in numbers. This is especially true in democracies, where the majority has the power to shape culture, values, beliefs, laws, and the economy. If you do not have children, you are opting out of shaping the future of your country. And when an entire culture decides not to have (enough) children, they create a vacuum that another culture will fill. It’s so important that God addressed this before anything else. But we’ve been too busy pursuing our own dreams and desires to really think about the implications of not having enough kids.

So let me ask you some questions: What kind of culture do you want for your children? What makes you believe that your children will have the necessary influence to create (or preserve, if you like things just as they are) that kind of culture? Would their chances of success increase if there were more people like them working towards the same kind of culture? If you think so, what do you think you ought to do about it? Do you want more kids? What’s stopping you?

Some readers may think I’m being too dramatic. Whether or not you think that, please watch this video:

When my wife and I married, less than three months later she was in an emergency room after a cardiac arrest. She was 20 years old. Doctors discovered a heart defect that had gone unnoticed her entire life. The doctors’ prognosis was pessimistic. Among other things, they told us that we should never have children of our own because she would probably die. We now had a choice: Drown out our desire for children that was suddenly stronger than ever; or trust the Lord and have children. We agonized and prayed over this for over a year, seeking advice from various people. And most people we talked to agreed with the doctors’ advice. But we found a doctor who helped us put things in perspective. Today we have four beautiful children. And no regrets, only faith that God will carry them further than we will ever go. Why? Because they are us, but multiplied. We kept the Forgotten Commandment and have greater faith in the future because of our kids.

A Most Encouraging Document January 27, 2009

Posted by kiernon in Hope, Unity.
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I just read the most amazing document: An address given by Pope Benedict XVI on Nov 19, 2008. (Yes, the Pope!) The title? The Doctrine of Justification: from Works to Faith. Here’s the link: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

So what’s the big deal? It’s a big deal for two reasons:

  1. The Pope states without qualification that justification is through faith in Christ alone. This doctrine will slowly but undoubtedly call into question the multitude of extra-Biblical traditions that have bogged down the Catholic church for the last thousand years.
  2. The Pope stated twice in this document that Martin Luther was right when he wrote we are “justified by faith alone.” That’s mind-blowing! And very Christian – a significant demonstration of humility.

When the leader of the Catholic church is willing to say such things in writing, Protestants and charismatics need to pay attention. I think the Catholic church is on the path to orthodoxy and that the Pope is signaling that the church’s official stand is that past grievances are truly in the past. They have many issues to work through, but I believe their work of returning to the faith of their (and our) forefathers is definitely and deliberately underway.

Paul exhorts us in Eph 4 to “…walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (NKJV) It seems to me that the Pope agrees. Encouraging news indeed. Might we live to see a day in which the whole Christian church agrees?

Thoughts?

Free Gospel Report October 10, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Gospel, Hope.
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Our family loves Tim Hawkins. He reminds us that no matter what might be happening, because we are God’s children the joy of the Lord is ours at all times. This is one of his latest songs, which is a unique and hilarious way to present the gospel. Maybe it will help some of us be the bold lions God wants us to be:

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That’s My King! October 9, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Gospel, Hope, Praise.
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I stumbled across this amazing video on GodTube tonight. The late S.M. Lockridge gave an incredible sermon, entitled “That’s My King”. Below is a video containing a section of that great sermon. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. (The audio begins at 00:20)

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Crossing the Jordan Without Getting Wet October 5, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Hope, Tailwind, Uncategorized.
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I have a note on my About Me page about the company I co-founded with my business partner: Tailwind Financial Solutions. Following the calling of God on our lives, Jeff and I started this company last August, and on September 22, 2008, we released our private beta to a group of financial advisors. So far, the feedback has been very positive, and we’ve also received some awesome feature ideas. Hopefully we’ll be able to incorporate a good number of these ideas into the final release of version 1.0.

This summer during a quiet time the Lord led me to Joshua 3. In this chapter the Israelites, led by Joshua, are about to cross the Jordan River. We know how the story ends: The Israelites cross the Jordan and enter the land God promised them. But what is often forgotten is the miraculous way in which God brought them into the promised land. They crossed the Jordan at harvest time – a time when the river is at its highest – but nobody drowned, and they didn’t lose any of their belongings. They didn’t even get wet! How did they do that? Did they bring boats with them?

Most of us are very familiar with the account of God parting the Red Sea (Ex 14:21). But what about the draining of the Jordan River? God instructed the Israelites to follow the ark of the covenant (vs 4) at a distance of 1000 yards, and when the feet of those carrying the ark touched the water, God made the upstream waters stop flowing, and the river dried up (vs 16). Imagine the awe and wonder there must have been over all of Israel as they crossed the Jordan: A growing heap of water in the distance, the land their parents told them was theirs within sight, and Jericho in the not-so-far distance – the people must have been overwhelmed and overjoyed by the realization that the land that God promised to these former Egyptian slaves was about to be right under their feet. What an exciting time!

I share this passage with you because God showed me during that quiet time that this is a picture of our own journey – a journey, if you will, to our own promised land. In our own way, we have crossed a river where, on the other side, is a land with new opportunity. We now have users testing our product. We are getting feedback. They are excited. People are making financial commitments to us. What an exciting time!

So… we’re here! Now what? We have much work to do. Just as Israel had to fight for their promised land, we too have to fight for ours. We have two more major milestones before us on our path to releasing the full product. The book of Joshua contains the accounts of the Israelites’ struggle to claim their promised land, one city at a time, one region at a time. When the Israelites were faithful, they won their battles even when the odds were strongly against them. When the Israelites took matters into their own hands, they lost their battles even when the enemy seemed weak. As a result we are looking forward to the work that lies ahead. 

Joshua’s command to the Israelites in verse 5 is, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” We too are looking forward to the wonders God will do among us. God will do more than we can ever ask or think. (Eph 3:20-21)

PS: Some of you have no doubt noticed that there is a reference in Josh 3 to “2000 cubits” (vs 4). This measure equates to 1000 yards, which is the subdomain for my blog.

God’s Promise of Sleep August 5, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Hope, Rest.
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Undoubtedly most of us who have attended church for some time have heard your pastor quote Psalm 127:1. But what about verse two? It’s not often that I hear a message about this verse. Read together, verses 1 and 2 say:

“Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.”

“It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.”

As we take stock of life in the 21st century, we find that each day there seems to be something new that is demanding our attention. A new television show or movie. Your company laptop. The cell phone you never turn off. The television in the bedroom. Video games. RSS feeds. These demands come in many shapes and sizes. Each new technological marvel that comes along promises to make our lives easier, but the result can be the exact opposite if we aren’t careful. In fact, we are often encouraged to wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honor.

This last weekend my wife and I began watching a show that had actually been on the air for some time. Let me explain: We don’t have broadcast television in our house, so we get our news and media from the internet. And as a result we usually don’t hear about new shows until they’ve been on the air for a while. The show we watched, Lost, has been on the air for several years now, but we just started watching it on the internet. You can actually watch the first four seasons online, which seemed really cool at first, until we found ourselves unable unwilling to stop watching! “Just one more episode,” we would whisper excitedly to one another as we clicked the button for the next episode. Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of sleep last weekend. And not surprisingly, I have been pretty tired this week.

Years ago before our first child was born my wife and I took a parenting course. The instructors taught a concept called parent-directed feeding. In retrospect I think it could have been called parent-directed sleeping, because while they taught that it was important that babies are fed shortly after they wake up, they also taught that the first and most important thing your child needs is adequate and regular sleep. So it is not the baby’s meal that starts their cycle – It is their sleep times. If a child sleeps well, they will eat well. And when they eat well after having slept well, they tend to be happy during their awake time. And when it’s time to sleep, they need to be taught to sleep by placing them in their crib. And thus the cycle repeats.

This cycle is not natural, by the way – It is taught by the parent and learned by the child. I had never before thought of falling asleep as a learned skill, but as I watched my babies initially struggle and cry, then learn how to fall asleep a little better each passing day, I realized that it is indeed a learned skill. If it’s hard to think of falling asleep as a skill, consider this: How many of you remember learning how to go to the bathroom on the toilet? Even though we cannot recall learning it, we acknowledge this as a learned skill. The same is true for learning to fall asleep.

So, what does this have to do with watching Lost late at night? The instructors went on to explain that the same principle also applies to the parents. While they were specifically addressing mom’s needs, what they taught holds true for dads as well. And if you think about it, the truth in what they’re saying is undeniable. If you don’t sleep well, you won’t be at your best when you’re awake. In other words, it’s just as important for mom and dad to get a good night’s sleep as it is for the baby to sleep when they should. I would also like to point out that if the children aren’t sleeping, mom and dad won’t be sleeping either.

As I struggled to be productive yesterday, fighting against the powerful urge to sleep, the Lord brought to mind this passage. I realized in that moment what the Lord was telling me: Proper sleep is not an elusive goal – It is God’s promise for every Christian. Verse 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” It is the Lord, the one who never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:2-4), who builds our house when we are resting. God wants us to sleep so that in the morning we can praise Him for the work He has done building our house when we could not. If we reject His gift of sleep we are in effect trying to build our house while denying ourselves the enhanced mental and physical faculties that sleep brings.

So, what should we do when one of our children is sick and cannot sleep? What should we do when the dog makes a huge mess in the middle of the night? What should we do when we have a big project due way too soon? The answer is we do what we must when those unexpected events occur. Jesus taught that taking care of important needs on the Sabbath (the day of rest) is not a sin (Matthew 12:9-14). It is good and right to get out of bed to take care of an emergency. But it is not good to live in such a way that preventable emergencies happen with regularity. We do not thrive when our diet regularly consists of the bread of sorrows. Our responsibilities are to have faith in Him, believe His promises are true for our lives, and then act in a way consistent with our faith. And God will do the rest.

So if you find yourself stuck in a pattern where you aren’t normally getting the sleep you need, consider God’s promise to you in this psalm. He loves you and knows what you need. He tells you that He has plans for a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11) He also says those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. (Is 40:31) Jesus promises a more abundant life. (John 10:10) Claim His promises for your life. Believe they are for you. Then ask God to show you what the obstacles are that prevent you from getting the sleep He promises. Remove those obstacles in faith, believing that as you sleep He will continue to build your house. Turn off the TV. Turn off the laptop. Turn off your cell phone. Go to sleep. And watch expectantly tomorrow as He proves Himself faithful and true.

The City of God July 25, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Hope.
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Sometimes we need to glimpse how bad mankind can really be to gain a heightened understanding of how good God really is. In the C-FAM article entitled, “New Book Exposes Eugenics Mandate in Reproductive Rights Agenda” we see some of the fruit of modern man’s first transnational movement. (Be warned: It may be difficult to read.) The horrors mentioned are at such a massive scale that you may have to read some parts more than once to convince your mind this is in fact real.

Once you’ve read this article, take a moment to read Gen 11:1-9, about the first United Nations.

Before tonight I wondered at the motivations and meaning of this passage. Did God perceive mankind’s impending unity as some kind of threat to His sovereignty? Does He just want us to need Him? Against the backdrop of the indescribable horror of man’s “achievements” I realize now that God showed unequaled and prescient love for us by preventing us from achieving whatever we set our sinful minds to do. He was not protecting His sovereignty at all (as if it needed protection). He was, in fact, protecting us from ourselves.

At Pentecost (Acts 2) we see the Holy Spirit speak to people from all over the world, through the apostles, in the peoples’ native tongues, to spread the gospel and save people’s souls. By sending the Holy Spirit, God transcended the confusion of languages He long ago established for our own protection. Finally, in Revelation 21:1-8 we see that the Lord builds a single city for all who believe in Him to live in. And in this city which reaches “out of heaven from God, … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

It is when God lives among us that we can achieve anything – anything that is worth achieving, that is. When we reject the foolishness of man and embrace the wisdom of God, that is when we are able to do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We are called as the Church to realize the same kind of unity embodied in the New Jerusalem. In Eph 4 Paul exhorts us to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” until the day  comes when “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.” Why? In Eph 3:10 Paul says, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” We declare the wisdom of God to the extent we are unified as a Church. We declare it not just to man. We declare it to those we battle: “The spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)

In 1971 we were challenged to “Imagine there’s no heaven.” Rolling Stones Magazine even calls it the third greatest song of all time. A testament to its influence on the world is its popularity to this day. It’s difficult to find anyone who hasn’t heard the song at least once. Since 1971 the world has not witnessed a reduction in the number of wars waged around the world. In fact one may argue that war is more popular than ever. This may be why the UN leaders feel it is the best course to praise the results they’re looking for while ignoring the means by which they are achieved.

I think it’s time for a new challenge: Imagine the City of God.

Imagine if Christians en-masse took to heart the call for unity. According to Eph 3:10, the devil would see the wisdom of God, and though he would fight, his efforts would inevitably result in retreat. Imagine how things could change: We could realistically look forward to a day when American Christians control the agenda in both political parties to the extent that we would rejoice and give thanks whether a Democrat or a Republican was in office. (By the way, I’m not a big fan of either party, especially right now, though I’m determined to make a difference where I can) We would know that no matter who was in office, they would advance an agenda supportive of Christian values. We could look forward to a day when the same type of thing would happen in other countries. We could look forward to a day when these same nations would acknowledge the foolishness of these types of UN efforts and withdraw their support for them. All of this is possible, through unity in Christ, when God lives among us. Imagine.

Hello everyone July 25, 2008

Posted by kiernon in Greeting.
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Hello! This is my first post to my new blog. In this blog I hope to collect and share my thoughts about my relationship with God and how it enhances my relationship with those I know and love. My hope and prayer is that the readers of this blog will come away with a heightened sense of hope, knowing that in Christ our lives have sanctity, dignity and destiny.

As this blog is new I expect that there won’t be much of a pattern to the entries. Over time a pattern of sorts will emerge I’m sure. So here goes!