Odessa

Heritage Church

Pastor Jon Hayashi

Heritage Church
302 S 1st
PO Box 509
Odessa, WA 99159
(509) 982-2951
Pre-K thru Adult
Education 9:00
Sunday Service 10:30

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Pastor’s Musings – October 2019

 

On October 6th, we had our first Hometown Heroes service and luncheon. It went remarkably well. The idea was presented to the church leadership team by Vickey Melcher last year. There is a church in Moses Lake that does the same thing and she was invited to it as a member of the Moses Lake school board. She walked away so impressed by it, that she thought maybe we could do something similar for our town’s public servants.

Plans started then were brought to pass earlier this month and we had 15 people respond to the RSVP and 16 show up. I tailored a message specifically targeted to them and us and then afterwards we had a great luncheon downstairs with just those public servants and their spouses.

I had so many compliments on the service and so many thank-you’s for doing it, it was very encouraging. I also had several from our church and from our special guests comment on how they wished everyone could have heard the message, because it was so good. So I thought to myself, “I’ll stick in the newsletter and the pastor’s corner in the newspaper.” So here’s the slightly expanded version from the newspaper’s version, only because there were a couple points I missed in the newspaper’s version that I wanted to make sure got in somewhere.

It’s oft been said: “Two things you don’t talk about in public is Religion and Politics.” Why? Because both tend to end in arguments, finger waving, and hurt feelings. Literal wars have been started by both, so caution is the better part of prudence here. It’s one thing to discuss them in private with friends or in pre-arranged forums with a moderator, like what occurred this last week at the Town Hall, but posting something on social media is dangerous at best.

That being said, I’m stepping out here because the Bible talks about politics.  Maybe not in the way you’re thinking. It doesn’t tell us who we should vote for, or which referendum on the agenda is better than another. It doesn’t tell us how many dogs we can have or which ordinances need to be fixed. But it does give us a few principles to follow that will help keep our attitudes right and our discussions civil.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him…Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:13–14, 17)

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God…for it is a minister (servant) of God to you for good…Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath (punishment for breaking the law), but also for conscience’ sake. (Romans 13:1–5)

It is important to remember that God has established all governing authorities and those that rebel against them are rebelling against what God has established. Government is a good thing and is in place to help bring order from chaos, and ultimately strive to serve the public for the common good. Granted, not all governments are good, but it’s interesting to note that Peter and Paul wrote these things around the time of Nero’s reign in Rome. He persecuting Christians and put many to death. In that context, Peter and Paul say to Christians, “Submit to the authorities.”

Here are three principles that come from those Scriptures:

1)    It is right to submit to the governing authorities. The proper definition of submit here is “to willingly place yourself under them and their authority, to abide by their decisions, and not to do things that make their job difficult”. Why? Because they are described as God’s servants. God has placed a great responsibility upon them as they are tasked with the job of trying to help society do what is right and just and good.

2)    To honor the king means to show them the respect they deserve because of the position they are in. You may not like the person, you may not agree with what the person has done, but you respect their POSITION. We are called to show respect even if we disagree.

3)    If we do not agree with their decisions, we can still have our opinions and vote accordingly, but we live by the decisions made. If we have a problem or issue with them, we need to lovingly share those thoughts with them. If they reject them outright without at least listening to them, that’s on them. But once you’ve said your piece, you need to live in peace. The Apostle Peter’s final words on this is that we if bear up under unjust suffering, it is a good thing and finds favor with God.

For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (1 Peter 2:19–20)

One final principle, which I might argue is the most important one, is that we are commanded to pray for our leaders. It doesn’t say only pray for the good leaders, or the leaders we agree with. We are to pray for kings and those in authority, period. The reason? So that the decisions they make allow us to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Read the verse below.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1–4, NIV84)

The ultimate purpose in our prayers for them is that they might come to know Jesus. And when times are good and peaceful it’s easier to communicate the Gospel. So, my prayer always is this: “Father, if so and so does not know you, I pray they come to know you. Please help them make wise decisions that will enable us to live in peace with one another and provide opportunities for sharing the Gospel (insert “religious liberty” here).

God also places expectations and principles for leaders to follow. Four of them are:

1)    Fear God, that is, have a healthy respect for your creator who gave you this position to do what’s right. Keep Him in the forefront of your mind at all times.

2)    Remember you are serving the Lord and not men. Don’t just do things to “look” good, do what is good and right and honorable. Our ultimate reward for our work is in heaven, not on earth.

3)    Do not “lord” your position over others. Don’t intimidate, bully, or get prideful. Serve the public in humility knowing it is a great privilege to serve in the capacity in which you have been given.

4)    Do not use your authority as a cover-up for evil. Unfortunately, the saying that power corrupts is true and when we feel threatened sometimes we are tempted to abuse or misuse that power. Do Not! Check your motivations before you act on your emotions.

All these principles apply not just to our town, now, but everywhere and at all times, including the upcoming 2020 national elections. Please keep this in mind next November as well.

Finally, may you be blessed in your voting AND living as a citizen of this great nation. May God Bless the town of Odessa, Heritage Church, the people of Heritage Church, and the USA.

 

Until next time, I think, therefore I have thought and I share those musings with you (Psm. 77:11-14, NASB).

Pastor Jon Hayashi