the breakaway sessions I attended during the Spiritual Leadership Conference in June. All of the preaching sessions were great, but the one that spoke most to my heart was the one that Pastor Chappell preached on Wednesday morning, America Tomorrow (audio link).
I know. I live in Canada. My heart is in Canada. But I grew up in the United States, and I am still a US citizen. I didn't check my love for my home country at the border.
I didn't expect this session to affect me the way it did. I found myself crying about halfway through it, and here's why.
When I was 15, Evangelist Tim Lee, a former Marine, came to our small town and preached. He talked about how the America we knew would not be the same for our children. That night, I knelt during the invitation and prayed for my future children and for the country they would have. I prayed that they would have the same freedoms I did at 15. And then I went and lived my life - got married, had children, raised them. I forgot what I had prayed, because things were going well.
Now my children are beyond their teens; my youngest is 20. As they were growing up, America was mostly the same as when I was growing up, although many things were changing. Now our oldest son is married and will begin a family of his own within the next few years. My grandchildren most definitely will not know the America I knew, or even that my children knew.
America did change, and is changing more every day.
And this is what made me cry during that session last month: if my generation - the young people I prayed with that night back in 1980 - had been vigilant and proactive these past 33 years, maybe - just maybe - my adult children would have more of the America I knew as a teen and young adult. I'm afraid my grandchildren will not have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to defend themselves . . . because my generation didn't think it was right to be involved in politics, or that we buried our heads in the sand and thought things would be ok. Whatever the reason was, we didn't get involved in keeping our freedoms.
That session on Wednesday morning was far from a hopeless mourning for what America used to be! There are men who are beginning to talk with our senators and representatives, to let them know that they're praying for them - whether they see eye-to-eye with them or not - and they're praying for America. They're trying to make a difference now. And there are pastors and church members who are willing to make a difference now.
Pastor Paul Chappell has written a book entitled America Tomorrow, which you can download for free from Striving Together Publications, outlining the steps that pastors can take to engage the culture around us and reach more people for Christ. This was the basis of the Wednesday morning session. I hope you'll get the book, read it and recommend it to your pastors and fellow church members, and listen to the session that outlined the book. I believe we can make a difference for Christ!
The best part? I believe many of the suggestions in America Tomorrow can be used in Canada too. That's why I was so touched by this session. It was geared toward America, but we can do much of these things in Canada to reach this culture for Christ as well! Pray for our two countries!