Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
DAVID HUME, Essays, Literary, Moral, and Political

I’ve had this article or word in my spirit for quite some time now. Have attempted a couple of times to express it, and each time come up short. Going for it regardless today…

For perhaps the last 35 years or so I have observed, prayed for and participated in two major and what were supposed to be (in the minds of our founding fathers) complimentary institutions in our nation = the church and government. Both are facing challenges today that we are woefully ill prepared and ill equipped to face on our own. Continue reading Accessing Amazing Grace in Our Needy Nation – 11/20/14

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Starting this Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., nine of our area congregations will be joining together to host a 3 night event at our local Middle School Soccer field. Because of its Christian nature, one of our citizens has called our local Nazarene church to express their displeasure at our breaking the ironclad law in our Constitution of “Separation of Church and State”. Sadly – one of the greatest evidences of how uneducated our general populace is (regardless of degrees they may hold) is that so many believe this phrase is in our Constitution.

Typically what folks who get hot and bothered about this are referring to is the First Amendment to the Constitution, which simply states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The words “separation”, “church,” or “state” are not found in the First Amendment, the Constitution, or in any other official founding document. And yet many believe all of these words are found in the First Amendment – largely because someone they trusted said it was in the First Amendment; and because they failed to ever actually read our constitution for themselves. Continue reading Church & State – – Separated?? April 14, 2014

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All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” Mark Twain

Israel has a unique way of pretty much staying in the evening news month after month unlike most any other nation. This will probably never end until the Prince of Peace returns. Few if any nations have ever had so many passionate lovers and passionate haters. This article is mainly for those in between.

For most of my 59 years I have been an active member of a church somewhere in the world. I don’t remember any of the pastors of those congregations speaking much about Israel. I did not grow up with Jewish friends. When I began to discover the wider world out there around the age of 20, I was increasingly drawn to the Chinese, not the Jews in the Bay Area of CA. Most of my 20’s and 30’s was given to preparation to minister to the Chinese and then finally moving to Hong Kong to fulfill our calling. My first two trips overseas after becoming the pastor of the Los Osos Christian Fellowship over 21 years ago was to Hong Kong and China. Continue reading Is God Done with Israel?

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“The most serious problems afflicting our society today are manifestly moral, behavioral, and spiritual, and therefore are remarkably resistant to government cures.” William Bennet – American Enterprise Magazine

I was only 8 years old when John F. Kennedy died, but I can still remember being let out of school early that day, and walking home alone and deeply saddened by this tragedy. I also remember reading a handful of biographies about our earliest presidents in those elementary school years. All of that to say, I have fairly closely followed presidential politics since I was a child. And many years later my sense is not much has changed. We Americans still place way too much hope in our elected leaders. And way too little hope in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

President Dwight Eisenhower was on to something when he declared, “Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism.” While I’m thankful for American Presidents that have made similar statements (until recent times), mere “recognition” will not deliver us from this widespread malady of misplaced hope. Continue reading Of God and Kings

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September 10, 2013

“Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.” William Blake, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”

There is a very intriguing passage in the book of Acts, (the historical account of the early church that Jesus birthed before He ascended to heaven), which informs us that the apostle Paul had an audience with a government ruler named Felix toward the end of his life. Here is what Doctor Luke – the author of the book of Acts says about Paul’s conversation with Felix, “But as he was discussing righteousness, self control and the judgment to come Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”

Now if you had an audience with a government leader, why would you discuss self control with him? Felix was not a Christian, nor a disciple of Jesus Christ. Well here’s my take on that and its relevance for us. Continue reading Why Self Control is So Critical to the Future of the United States

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Monday August 23, 2013

One thing that I have discovered later in life that I wish had been more clear to me in my first twenty years of life is that there are two kingdoms on planet earth that are in fairly non stop and violent opposition to each other; and every person on the planet is born into one of them and never escapes being its slave (see Jn. 8:34) until Jesus Christ rescues him or her from its chains and then places them in His kingdom (Col. 1:13);….. and that one of the mediums that fuels both of these kingdoms is music.

I didn’t journal in my first 19 years, so I don’t clearly remember when I began to listen to music and sing along with it on a daily basis…. But it probably coincided with the emergence of the Beatles and the Monkeys – – soon followed by groups like Blood Sweat and Tears, James Taylor, Chicago, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Allman Brothers, etc., etc.. So from about age 9 or 10 for the next 10 years I was immersed in that world of music to the point that today – even though I intentionally stopped listening to those artists when I moved to CA a few months before my 20th birthday – – today if I hear one of those songs in a restaurant or coffee shop or grocery store – – I can still recite the lyrics. Continue reading The Kingdom of God and Corporate Worship

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“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him.” Cher

“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.” Albert Einstein

I’ve been fairly embroiled in the battle to strengthen and sometimes salvage marriages for the last 35 years or so. Sadly I’ve seen a few come to an end. But many have grown and strengthened – some have thrived. Continue reading Marriage and the God Factor

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July 21, 2013

“Be good and you will be lonesome.” Mark Twain

“Children show me in their playful smiles the divine in everyone. This simple goodness shines straight from their hearts and only asks to be loved.” Michael Jackson

I’ve been thinking about the so called goodness of man of late. Many still want to cling to its existence in spite of the ever increasing evidence to the contrary. Continue reading Goodness or Depravity? Some or all?

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July 11, 2013

“I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things,…they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect.” Bill Cosby

I’ve come to the conclusion in recent months that we who know and walk with Jesus Christ should stop using the word “Christian”. It only occurs twice in the Bible – once spoken by the unrighteous King Agrippa (Acts 26:28), the other time by the apostle Peter (I Peter 4:16). “Christians” occurs once in Acts 11:26. It is a word that is in my opinion not useful anymore in Western culture. Continue reading Christians or Disciples??

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June 16, 2013

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”….” The First Amendment of the United States.

I just skimmed through a file of letters to the editor and articles written by normal citizens, editorial boards, journalists, clergy, etc., during the Prop 8 battle here in CA some years back – all seeking to motivate Californians to vote no on prop 8 and thus to support same sex marriage. Interesting how many times “separation of church and state” came up in those letters/articles. In a number of cases, it was either explicitly stated or implied that we pastors and Christians who believe the Bible is the word of God are free to say whatever we want inside the walls of our church buildings, but in the public discourse we should only be observers because of what Thomas Jefferson said in the constitution about the Separation of Church and State. So freedom of speech applies to everyone in America except us I guess. Continue reading Secularism & the Separation of Church and State

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June 2, 2013

“Life is… a B-grade movie. You don’t want to leave in the middle, but you don’t want to see it again.” Media Mogul Ted Turner

“It sounds so trendy, California….but I believe a lot of us feel a kind of hole in our heart – an unfocused ache that’s fixed by some people eating too much, for others with free base. In my case, I’m a romantic junkie.” One time leading Hollywood actress to USA Today

One of the strange things about our culture is how hard our media folk work and angle to interview people who have to be the epitome of emptiness. I have many more quotes like this of “successful” people. But my point is not to trash Hollywood, and there is certainly nothing inherently wrong with being successful. My objective is rather to use their easy to find quotes to illustrate a condition that is true of all of us – – and that is – soul emptiness and spiritual bankruptcy. Continue reading The Danger of Settling for Less

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May 27, 2013
I had already decided earlier last week that I would show a 3-4 min. video clip from Youtube by Toby Keith re: remembering our soldiers’ sacrifices for Memorial Day in our morning service yesterday. When I found out right before the service that my beloved uncle Newton had just died – a month before he turned 91 and a day before Memorial Day, I knew I had to dedicate that song and collage of pictures to him. Uncle Newton, my dad, and my other uncle Bill all served in the military. Uncle Newton lived a decent walk or a quick bike ride from the home I grew up in all my growing up years in Knoxville. He taught me how to shoot basketball with my left hand by humiliating me on the basketball court whenever I started beating him in horse (he would just shoot only with his left hand and make me do the same). Uncle Newton was my Sunday school teacher when I was in early high school years. He loved God, loved our nation, and loved his family and clan. He will be sorely missed.

I’m afraid my generation – and certainly the next one – come to Memorial Day with convoluted emotions if not an absence of emotion altogether. Many of us (excluding some who joined the military) have not fought in any war. If we have obtained our education in public schools we most likely have not given adequate attention to the history of our nation, which would include some history of the condition of Great Britain at the time when our forefathers and mothers chose to leave it for what would eventually become the U.S.A. (One cannot really understand the underlying foundational principles that formed the bedrock of our nation’s identity unless you understand the deteriorating conditions and ideologies that caused our forefathers to leave Great Britain in the first place). Continue reading Fighting for the Soul of our Nation – Happy Memorial Day

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May 18, 2013

“On one issue, at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.” Henry Louis Mencken – American writer, journalist of early 1900’s.

“Last night I was seriously considering whether I was a bisexual or not but I don’t think so though I’m not sure if I’d like to be and argh I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, ….” J.C.S. – contemporary female writer/artist/blogger.

Before I decided to use these two quotes, I looked at many others on the subject of sexes or gender. All confirmed why this subject has been on my mind so much this week, and that we have a real problem on our hands. Continue reading Gender – What’s the Big Deal??

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May 9, 2013

After two weeks of roaming the streets of Israel, there are a number of lasting impressions Anne and I had. One of them for sure is the abundance of children we witnessed everywhere we went. The birth rate in Israel is around 3.5, which puts it far ahead of much of the world – especially in the West where the birthrate continues to drop. It was also a great joy while there to Skype with our son and his precious wife and hear she is pregnant! Go Marina!

One of the reasons the birth rate continues to drop in the West is because of the erroneous idea that the world is being over populated and it is going to explode if we don’t exercise some restraint. On March 1st, the L.A. Times reported, “Nearly two-thirds of American voters believe that human population growth is driving other animal species to extinction and that if the situation gets worse, society has a “moral responsibility to address the problem,” according to a new national public opinion poll. Continue reading Give Us More Multiplying Mothers!

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May 8, 2013

When I was a few months away from my 20th Birthday I made a very desperate and seemingly unwise move from my beloved family and home in Knoxville, TN to San Jose, CA. I only knew one person in the western 2/3rds of our nation, but I was very desperate, and needed an overhaul in the way I thought, operated, and looked at life (including the way I perceived God). Soon after I moved there, having my social networks all removed from me, I began to seriously read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. Because of all of the failure I had experienced in most areas of life by that point, certain verses in the Bible became very precious to me. One of those in particular is Lamentations 3:22,23 wherein Jeremiah the prophet says of life and its God, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Continue reading Banking on God’s Covenant Faithfulness

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August 21, 2012

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24

“It is not marriage that fails; it is people that fail. All that marriage does is to show people up.” Harry Emerson Fosdick – late Baptist pastor/preacher/author

Harry Emerson Fosdick in many ways is not a pastor I would seek to emulate, but even almost a century ago, he had enough insight to see that the God created, foundation laying institution of marriage has not failed. Rather many who have tried to carry it out by their own devices have failed. Marriage, unlike almost anything else I can think of, can quickly help us see how deficient we are in many departments, and how much we need God’s grace and strength and wisdom if we are to actually pull off His design and will for marriage with someone of the opposite sex.

Because marriage continues to be one of the great debates of our day, I wanted to refresh you on a few facts that all of us should be aware of and able to access. Continue reading Marriage in the U.S.A.

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I haven’t had much time to read about Wade Michael Page, the man who carried out the shooting rampage at the Sihk Temple in Wisconsin. But I do know that he was an active participant in the “hate music movement”, and fairly closely tied to the white supremacist movement. Hate particularly of non whites seems to have fueled his murderous actions, along with the growing rage he had about how non whites are taking over the world (in his opinion).

Much of the focus in the media of his actions were on the guns he used. Few seem to be focusing on the sinful passions that caused him to purchase and use the guns.

Anger and rage is an increasing problem in our society as hopelessness grows – primarily due to our stagnant economy, and our idolatrous obsession with our material comfort and pleasure.

Jesus Christ says that as the end and His return draws near, “…many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) Hate and rage are two sides of a coin. It will get easier and easier to get drawn into this awful sickness as things in our society continue to shake. Continue reading Healing Rage in America

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In this last (July 22nd) Sunday’s Tribune editorial page, seven members of the “People of Faith for Justice” (one of whom is the pastor of the Methodist church in Morro Bay) wrote a letter to the editor appealing to all of us to deny support for the Boy Scouts because of their stand against allowing homosexual men to lead their chapters, and allowing openly gay boys to join their chapters or clubs. The letter is full of religious double speak. I submitted my letter of response below to the Tribune that afternoon, and so far it has not been published, which if they choose not to publish it, will be in keeping with how they normally choose to deal with my letters. (BTW – They never published it). Continue reading Support for Boy Scouts’ Courageous Stand

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June 16, 2012

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Since the original purpose of my very sporadic blog was to provide a resource for those who have God’s heart for their cities and want to see their cities thrive and prosper – I thought I would say a few words about the role of fathers in this effort. I’m one of those increasingly rare people in the U.S.A. who grew up with an intact engaged loving father, who 56 years later is still a positive force in my life, and who is still married to and in love with my mother after 66 years of marriage.

There is a growing (more in terms of influence, than numbers) movement led by radical homosexuals that is desperately trying to convince Americans that women can do just as good a job as men can in fathering or parenting children. They claim that children do not need a male father to grow up healthy and whole.
Well as one who has been fathered for 56 years; and who has fathered two children for 26 years & 21 years; and who has sought to encourage and help fathers over the last 30 or so years in my ministry in various places around the world; and who has for all those years stayed up on relevant writings and research about this issue… I want to share some reasons why this has to be one of the most foolish and foundation less claims in the history of our nation. Continue reading The Crucial Role of Fathers

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May 15, 2012

Quite the uproar last week re: our President’s confession of what we all already knew = he supports gay marriage. How in the world could one have watched all of his policies and appointments and practices over these last 3 + years and not have known that? The question is where do we as a nation go from here after the uproar dies down?

Those in liberal media outlets, liberal churches (most of which are very small and limited in influence), and in ultra liberal Hollywood tell us that our society is evolving, and soon we will all – or the overwhelming majority of Americans will get in line with full support of gay marriage.
This in spite of the fact that every single time (32 x’s to be exact) a state has been able to vote on whether marriage should be defined as and limited to a relationship between a man and a woman – – they have voted yes. The last state to do so was North Carolina where as usual the pro traditional marriage side was outspent two to one (some states have been outspent by far more than that), but N.C. still had a resounding majority vote for traditional marriage (62 to 38 %). And lest you write this off as just another southern traditional bigoted state, Obama carried North Carolina in the presidential election 3 + years ago. Continue reading Same Sex Marriage Realities

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This letter – submitted on 2/13/12 in response to Joe Tarica’s Article of 2/12/12 in the Tribune has so far (2/19) not been published. My little editing team and I worked for hours to get it where we all felt good about it and it was not over 200 words. Joe’s article on the front page of the Sunday Local section was a classic bullying kind of article trying to convince traditional marriage folk that our cause is doomed and our motives are hate and fear based.

The battle some of us have been fighting for decades is a difficult battle, but certainly not a “losing one”. The fact that 63 million people in all 31 states that have voted on this issue have sided with traditional marriage doesn’t exactly spell defeat does it?

One of the many reasons why some of us in this nation have been defending traditional marriage is because of what the preponderance of social science reveals regarding the impact a female mother and a male father have on their children. Growing up in a home where both the mother and father are intact and working together results in a child’s best chance to live a healthy and prosperous and productive life. Therefore educators and pastors and therapists need to be able to pursue and encourage this model without being labeled “homophobic” or “fear mongering.”

Finally comparing one’s chosen behavior to another’s immutable characteristics such as being born as an African American is getting wearisome. People continue to leave or depart from their homosexual lifestyle. No African American that I am aware of has been able to depart from the ethnicity they were born in.

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Feb. 7, 2012

This was a letter I sent to the Tribune, New Times and Bay News on Monday Jan. 23rd. None of them published it as of today = Feb. 7th – my 31st wedding anniversary. (The New Times & Bay News both published this letter on Feb. 9th).

You could have heard a pin drop….I asked the ladies in our congregation yesterday (Jan. 22) if they would be willing to share why they are pro-life; and why we should protect the unborn and discourage abortion. No one knew this was coming, and no one knew what to expect. Continue reading Latest non published letter to area newspapers re: Abortion

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Tonight at the dinner table with my wife, mother in law, and daughter I learned that none of them had ever read my blog. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I rarely mention it around the house. And I rarely write in it.

One of the reasons I write with such rarity is because as someone has so aptly said, “History belongs to the intercessors.” If I only have so much time during a day and I haven’t prayed sufficiently, I usually am going to choose to pray rather than write. The writer of the Proverbs said in ch. 10 vs. 19, “Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Another Proverb has also challenged me in this regard, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (14:23) I see prayer or intercession as the highest form of work and the most productive.

Now lest I mislead you, I do not pray as I should, though I pray every day and throughout the day.
Anyways you can learn a lot at the dinner table if you listen in between bites. 🙂

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August 17, 2010

I’m not sure if it was while running for President or as President that Jimmy Carter decided to give an interview to Playboy Magazine. But I remember that one of the things people got all worked up about (besides the fact that he gave an interview to Playboy) was his admission or confession that he at times struggles with lust. I guess most men in public office do not make such admissions (until perhaps they get caught acting out on it with someone other than their spouse). But I want to ponder today the relationship with lust and gay or same sex marriage. Continue reading Jimmy Carter, Jesus, Lust and Gay Marriage

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December 19, 2007

I woke up this morning with three heroes on my mind – thinking about cities – and how we are going to overcome the overwhelming problems most of our cities are facing today. No these heroes will not be found on NBC’s hit show “Heroes”. Each of them lived thousands of years ago in cities and nations that faced all kinds of enemies within and without. Their names are: Joseph, Esther and Daniel. And while they were all Jewish, none of them served and made their amazing contributions to society in Jewish communities. In fact they lived and served in cities and empires where the Jewish God and faith were not known or respected.

Joseph was the youngest of 12 brothers, and was known and despised by his brothers as a dreamer. Not the kind of dreamer that day dreamed in class while the teacher was instructing. But Joseph received dreams from God, and later on was able to interpret dreams from God that others received. He landed in Egypt at an early age because his older brothers out of envy and spite sold him to a group of Midianite traders, who later sold him to Potiphar – Pharoah’s officer and the captain of the bodyguard. Joseph was not only ripped away from his family, but also after a time of faithful service, falsely accused of attempted rape of Pharoah’s officer’s wife, and unjustly imprisoned for two years. His divine ability to interpret dreams (a gift that I believe is still given and needed today) eventually was his ticket to get out of prison since no one else could interpret the dream God gave to Pharoah but Joseph. In the dream God communicated that seven good fruitful years were coming, but after that seven years of famine. It was a warning dream sent by a merciful God of the need to prepare for the coming hard times. Joseph by this time was marked by his wisdom and discernment. Pharoah saw it and promoted him to be his right hand man – next in command only to him. Joseph then led Egypt – a pagan nation- to prepare for this seven year famine. And because of his favor with Pharoah, he was able to eventually bring his family there so they (and their descendants) might be preserved through this famine as well.

In my last blog, I talked about how God, (who is infinite in wisdom by the way), invites cities to look to Him for that wisdom to solve the myriad problems they are facing. One of the ways He avails that wisdom to cities is through individuals like Joseph. I would submit today that one of the great needs of our cities is wise men and women. There is no challenge or obstacle or crisis that wisdom cannot help us overcome or get through. So what can we learn from Joseph’s example? Well let me suggest four things.

First, by the time Joseph was exalted to his position with Pharoah – he was a humble man. Prov. 11:12 says, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Joseph had a pride problem in the beginning with his brothers that led to their ridding themselves of him. But by the time he had been thrown in a pit by them, sold as a slave by them, and unjustly been thrown in prison by the Egyptians, he had a much more humble view of himself. Life was no longer about him. He realized now that the gifts he had were just that – gifts (e.g. receiving and interpreting dreams from God).

Second, Joseph was a forgiving man. Here is a man who had been thrown in a pit and sold to Midianite (non Jewish) slave traders by his own brothers. Then he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife of attempting to rape her. Then he was unjustly thrown in prison because of that. And while in prison, he helped two fellow prisoners understand their dreams and destiny, who once out of prison failed to keep their commitment to speak a good word of him to Pharoah. Prov. 9:10 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Part of fearing the Lord is obeying what he says. And one of the things he is adamant about is that we forgive every one of every offense against us. One cannot effectively lead in today’s society who hasn’t learned to forgive. It is almost a daily necessity for those who work with people.

Third, Joseph was a focused and disciplined man. He knew that if he pursued wisdom he would be able to walk in it. But if he was sloppy and gave into his passions and the pleasures of the world, he would possibly lose everything precious to him. We are told in the account of his life and service in Egypt in the book of Genesis (39:1-18) that he had free access and reign over Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s wife quickly began to lust after him and entice him, and this went on for quite some time. Because Joseph had developed a lifestyle of pursuing wisdom and seeking God’s favor and blessing, he had the inner strength to resist her advances. Prov. 7:4,5 says, “Say to wisdom, You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend; That they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.” How many public servants (and priests and pastors) initially brought a great gift to their cities, but then lost it all because they could not control their passions. Cities need men and women who can stay focused on the task at hand, and not be side-railed because their passions are out of control.

Fourth, Joseph though a young man, had the favor and blessing of God on him. (see Gen. 39:2 & 23). We often tend to think that wisdom lies only in older men or women. But Job 32:9 says, “the abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.” Age should be an advantage in our service in our cities, but it is not necessarily so. A young man (or woman) with the favor and blessing of God on him because of the qualities mentioned above is of far more value to a city or a leadership team, than a man or woman with years under their belt, but little to no wisdom.

Parents, school teachers and administrators, therapists, coaches, priests and pastors – – if we are going to overcome the daunting challenges our cities are facing, we are going to have to devote more of our energies to developing this kind of character in our young people, and when they step forward we need to get out of the way and let them lead. I don’t know about your city, but mine is in dire need of some heroes right now like Joseph.

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