Pastor's Blog

Subpoenaed Sermons Posted 10.17.2014

I was disturbed this week to read of the actions of the mayor of Houston to subpoena the sermons of four or five pastors in her city.  I guess she wanted to know their role in stirring up sentiment against an issue dear to her – whether a man can use a woman’s restroom if he wants, due to his gender identification.

The legal rationale was that the mayor thought she needed to make sure that the churches had not crossed the mythical line between church and state.  If they had, I’m not sure what a local mayor is going to do about it.  But she wanted to do something.  Tee issue is (to my non-legal mind) a federal one, not local.  The church’s tax-exempt status is given by the feds, not the mayor of Houston.


Now, I don’t want to wade too deeply into the legal quagmire, but I do want to tread into an area highlighted by this persecution, an area we may get way too familiar with in the years to come.  Persecution and loss.


The day may come when churches are told what to preach and not to preach.  We will fight it, of course.  And we won’t bend.  It may come under the cloak of antidiscrimination.  Or maybe our non-profit status.  But if that days comes, I will lean on the promises of God and preach as the Spirit leads, not the mayor.  Or governor.  Or president.  That’s a given.


But in that day, I also have to be prepared to submit to those leaders.  I will need a reservoir of biblical truth on which to stand in such a day.  I need to know my Savior better than I know my rights. 


Loss is a issue for us all. It is so much a part of the human condition that it can fade into the background, and we only identify it when we experience life-changing events like death or disease or subpoenas.  But the day to prepare for loss is….yesterday. 


What I need as I face any loss is a supply of the promises of God.  We all will face trouble in the days ahead, but we also all have the presence of Jesus.  No matter what.   We have the Spirit.  We have the hope of a future spent in the presence of the King of Kings. Read the book of Revelation again, only as a reader struggling with intense persecution….and loss…and listen to John.  Really listen.


The further from God our culture moves, the closer we move to Jesus.  We dig deeper into His Word.  And what to we discover?  “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Ps. 73:25-26)  Are we willing to give up everything – that we may gain Christ?  Mayors don’t have the last word.  Either do courts.  Follow God.  Know His Word.  Live His promises.

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