Jesus said, “Man loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.” Our nation and much of the church gropes in darkness, stumbling in the pit of defeat, despair, depression and destruction. God is anxious to lead us in His light to reveal His ways in order to bless us and bless through us. He is inviting everyone into the light of His glorious presence.
Spiritual awakening and national repentance has become the burning desire of my heart. Jesus is the light and He seeks to reveal His light through us to a world in darkness. Now is the time for our nation to return to Him so He will “guide her through the night with a light from above.”1 Jesus said that when we come together in love and spiritual unity, we are like a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden.
I see daily in my wife Betty the love and light of Jesus. What a joy and inspiration she is! I hope you will listen to the LIFE Today program which aired Thursday, October 7, and will air again on Tuesday, October 12. You can watch it online at anytime at www.lifetoday.org. You will sense that I was feeling what Jeremiah expressed as “God’s Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” You will especially hear God as Betty shares her truly beautiful broken heart and concern. I preached truth with fervor,and God used Betty to clearly reveal the life and love that must shine through all of us. May God help us to hear, receive and release His truth in love.
As I previously shared, God has led me to call church and ministry leaders together to pray for spiritual awakening and national repentance. Three weeks ago concerned leaders joined together in prayer asking God for wisdom, true unity in the faith, and a return to God. Those in attendance wanted a brief statement sharing common concerns about which all believers should pray. Here is the statement written for us by Jay Richards, expressing the hearts of the leaders in attendance who touch and influence between 20 – 25 million believers here in America. At the end of the statement, you will see the list of those who came together seeking God in prayer confirming the truth: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”
Leadership Summit Statement
“Every preference of a small good to a great, or a partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made…. You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.” – C.S. Lewis
In response to mutual concern over the state of our culture, on September 8 and 9, 2010, a diverse group of Christian leaders convened in Dallas, Texas to intercede and seek God’s guidance and favor on behalf of our nation. We committed before God and each other to model Christian unity on issues of vital national importance.
We seek to live out practically what our Lord prayed on the night of His betrayal— that His followers would be one. We recognize institutional and doctrinal differences. Nevertheless, we pledge to work and pray together for a necessary restoration of our culture and its founding principles.
As part of this effort, we seek to defend perennial principles over partisan politics. These principles include universal moral truths such as the intrinsic dignity and value of each human life, including those that Jesus called “the least of these.” A just state must protect innocent human life at every stage of development. These principles also include the Judeo-Christian moral truths on which our nation is grounded, such as the indispensability of the church, marriage, and family, all of which are pre-political institutions that limit the jurisdiction of the state. These and other Judeo-Christian principles are not merely compatible with American freedom; they are essential foundation stones for the ordered liberty that Americans enjoy. We are convinced that, ultimately, religious, political, and economic freedom are not sustainable one without the other, and must be defended anew in every generation.
We recognize that though we often fail, we must always seek to conform our lives to the timeless principles we profess. No one’s failure nullifies moral truth. Each person has a unique role to play in renewing our culture. Indeed, long-lasting restoration of our culture, of public morality and political sanity, will only come from repentance and spiritual renewal starting with each of us as individuals, then with our families, our churches and religious institutions, our communities, and our political institutions.
We call to mind God’s promise to King Solomon, that if “my people… will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) We believe God is loving and merciful, and seeks to heal our land. The positive effect will manifest itself in God’s time rather than according to our human time schedules, spiritual renewal will bear fruit in the political and economic realms. We should expect greater honesty and integrity in public life, as well as greater compassion from the rich toward the poor, a compassion not satisfied with encouraging dependency or transferring the work of compassion onto distant government bureaucracies poorly equipped to address the specific needs of suffering individuals.
These cultural changes will, in turn, create a business climate more conducive to human flourishing and the creation of new opportunities for rich and poor alike. We will witness a healthier free market driven more by creativity, legitimate self-interest and a desire to serve others, and less by greed and a lust for power.
Human sin will remain a stubborn reality, of course. Indeed, a humble recognition of human weakness and fallibility will help us resist the misguided modern temptation to seek coercive political solutions to every social problem, since we will better remember that every person we might entrust with greater coercive power is himself a limited and fallen creature. Americans must never encourage government to function outside of its constitutionally enumerated powers.
We honor the work of the American Founders even while recognizing that they too were fallen human beings who sometimes fell short of their own ideals. We also recognize, as they did, that our constitutional system is not self-sustaining. George Washington, in his farewell address, described religion and morality as indispensable supports of the American order. And John Adams insisted that our constitution was made “for a moral and religious people” and “wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” We are convinced that our liberty, including our religious, political, and economic liberty, depends in the long run upon spiritual renewal and cultural reformation.
We support and affirm the good work of similar endeavors, including the Manhattan Declaration, the Pray & Act campaign, and the Mt. Vernon Statement, and encourage all people of good will to join these efforts.
Some may be tempted to despair that our culture is in permanent decline; but we believe that if we put first things first, we can see our culture restored. For with God, all things are possible. We invite all who are concerned to join us in prayer that our land might be healed.
I hope you will encourage your church leaders to join with us in prayer and God-led action. Listed below are the names of the ministry and church leaders who helped organize the Summit event and joined together to pray for the nation and approve the message in the statement above:
· Stephen Broden, Pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship (TX)
· Bishop Keith Butler, Founder & Senior Pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center (MI & TX)
· Kenneth Copeland, Founder of Kenneth Copeland Ministries (TX)
· Creflo Dollar, Founder & Senior Pastor of World Changers Church International (GA)
· Greg Dumas, Pastor of The Crossing Church (FL)
· Dr. Tony Evans, Founder & Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (TX)
· Father Joseph Fessio, Professor of Theology & Theologian in Residence Ave Maria University (FL); Founder and Editor of Ignatius Press
· Maggie Gallagher, President of Institute for Marriage & Public Policy, Editor of MarriageDebate.com (NY)
· Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church, Chairman of Renewing American Leadership, Founding Director of prayandact.com(CA)
· Craig Groeschel, Founding and Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv (OK)
· Chris Hodges, Founding and Senior Pastor of Church of the Highlands (AL)
· Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church (DC)
· Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission(TN)
· Dr. Richard Lee, Founding Pastor of First Redeemer Church (GA)
· Miles McPherson, Pastor of The Rock Church (CA)
· Dr. Andy McQuitty, Senior Pastor of Irving Bible Church (TX)
· John Meador, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Euless (TX)
· Dave, Joyce & David Meyer, Joyce Meyer Ministries (MO)
· Gene Mills, Executive Director of Louisiana Family Forum (LA)
· Johnnie Moore, Vice President for Executive Projects and Media Relations Campus Pastor at Liberty University (VA)
· Robert Morris, Founding Senior Pastor of Gateway Church (TX)
· Dr. Tom Mullins, Founder of Christ Fellowship (FL)
· Doug Napier, Senior Legal Counsel for Alliance Defense Fund (AZ)
· Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (TX)
· Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council (DC)
· Gary W. Phillips, Administrative Pastor of First Baptist Euless (TX)
· Buddy Pilgrim, Founder and CEO of Integrity Leadership (TX)
· Jay Richards, Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute (WA)
· Dino Rizzo, Founding Pastor of Healing Place Church (LA)
· James Robison, Founder & President of LIFE Outreach International (TX)
· Dave Roever, Founder, Chairman, and President of Roever and Associates, and Roever Educational Assistance Programs (TX)
· Dr. Mark Rutland, President of Oral Roberts University (OK)
· Toby Slough, Founder and Pastor of Cross Timbers Community Church (TX)
· Larry Stockstill, Senior Pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center, LA
· Dave Stone, Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church (KY)
· Stu Weber, Senior Pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church (OR)
The following participated in organizing the Summit, but their schedules prevented their attendance:
· Tommy Barnett, Senior Pastor of Phoenix First (AZ)
· Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University (VA)
· Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church (TX)
· O.S. Hawkins, President and CEO of GuideStone Financial Resources (TX)
· Dr. Jack Hayford, Founder of Church on the Way, and Founder and Chancellor of The King’s Seminary (CA)
· Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries(GA)
1God Bless America, written by Irving Berlin