They who truly come to God for mercy, come as beggars, and not as creditors: they come for mere mercy, for sovereign grace, and not for anything that is due.
– Jonathan Edwards
I took this photo last June while on a nighttime walk with my daughters. We were on the High Trestle Trail Bridge near Madrid, IA at night. If you’ve never been to this trail and its bridge, I highly encourage you to go both during the day so you can see the scenic Des Moines River valley and at night so you can experience it lit up.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
– John 16:33, ESV
Well, it has been a week since I published my last round-up. I have been blogging, but I haven’t been so great at blogging here. Here are my submissions at Caffeinated Thoughts and Truth in American Education over the last week.
From Caffeinated Thoughts:
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds set the date for a special election in Iowa Senate District 25 for Tuesday, April 10, 2018. This follows the resignation of former Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock).
Iowa Democrats hope for a historic blue wave in 2018 due to President Trump’s unpopularity, a competitive gubernatorial race, a good turnout for the mid-term Iowa Caucuses, the potential to flip Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, and the number of Republican state legislators retiring.
The Iowa House Human Resources Committee passed the fetal heartbeat abortion ban by a 12 to 9 vote just before the second funnel deadline of the 2018 legislative session.
Both chambers of the Iowa Legislature in bipartisan fashion rejected the Iowa Department of Education’s choice for a statewide assessment in favor of one developed by the University of Iowa’s Iowa Testing Program.
Theresa Greenfield, a leading Democrat candidate in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race, failed to make the June 5th primary ballot after attempting to resubmit her nomination petition upon learning her campaign manager forged some signatures.
Twenty-one Iowa Legislators have decided not to run for reelection in 2018. The Iowa House will have 16 members retire after this session. Twelve Republicans and four Democrats will leave the House. The Iowa Senate Republicans will have two retirements and Democrats will see three.
Before State Representative Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) hurls insults at Iowa House Republicans it would be wise for him to 1. remember what chamber he is in, and 2. remember what party he is in.
8. Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment Passes Iowa House
The Iowa House passed HJR 2009, a “right to keep and bear arms” amendment that would amend the Iowa Constitution to add language affirming the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, by a 54 to 42 vote.
The Iowa Secretary of State released the final uncertified list of candidates that will appear on the June 5th primary ballot. Iowa Republicans wil11.l have 19 contested primaries with five incumbents receiving a challenge.
Boys are in crisis. On the Caffeinated Thoughts Podcast, I discuss this with Mark Hancock, the CEO of Trail Life USA, who explains how his ministry helps to address this crisis and the good it does for the boys it serves, as well as, the men who lead local chapters.
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said President Trump would cause a constitutional crisis if he fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller and then Congress would have no recourse but to impeach. Senator Flake has that backward, Congress would be the cause, not President Trump.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s nomination petition signatures for Iowa’s June 5th Republican Gubernatorial Primary have been formally challenged putting his place on the ballot in doubt.
From Truth in American Education:
This year, Louisiana elementary schools are now required to teach cursive. Louisiana joins 15 other states that require the same and their students will be better off.
With the standards and accountability movement in education, along with its hyper-focus on testing, recess has become a luxury instead of a necessity for elementary school students.
The South Dakota Board of Education Standards adopted new academic standards in subjects such as math and ELA after no public comment during their last four public meetings held at 9:00a in various parts of the state.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable,” (Isaiah 40:28, ESV).
Christ is not truly prized at all — unless He is prized above all.
– Nathaniel Vincent (1639-1697)
For The Church that was an adapted excerpt from Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides by Scott Sauls. Sauls is the senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. His church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America.
He addresses politics and the church and this is a topic I’ve pondered for a number of years which is ironic as I’ve written a political blog for almost 12 years. I started engaging in politics while I was in full-time vocational ministry, but not while I was ministering.
Church and state so to speak. That does not mean that I shied away from politically-charged topics when the Bible addresses them, but I never wanted to be partisan. I never wanted to preach politics. I wanted to preach the Gospel. From a liberty point-of-view, I believe churches should have the freedom to engage in the political realm and the government, via the IRS, should not regulate the pulpit. Saying that, when I was a pastor, I would never dream of making an endorsement from the pulpit or allow partisan politics to impact my ministry. (I have endorsed candidates as a private citizen on my own time.)
My main thing was the proclamation of the law and gospel. I was focused on the word of God, and if I am preaching the whole counsel of God then eventually topics like abortion, marriage, immigration (sojourners), poverty, etc. will come up and pastors need to handle those topics faithfully.
I wanted to highlight a couple of things that Sauls said that resonated with me.
As is the case with every paradox associated with Christianity, there is a both/and and a neither/nor component as it relates to political loyalties. Unless a human system is fully centered on God (no human system is), Jesus will have things to affirm and things to critique about it. The political left and the political right are no exception.
If we believe when Jesus returns that He is going to side 100 percent with every political position we have taken on every issue then we are sorely mistaken. (I’m sure we will also find out we are wrong about some of those minor theological positions we can be dogmatic about. This is not an invitation to debate which ones.)
I am conservative, but conservatism is a flawed, human-based political ideology. Conservatism is not inerrant. Scripture is. For those brothers and sisters who identify with the political left the same is true. If you happen to be in the political middle, guess what? Your ideology is just as flawed.
But when it comes to politics, the Bible gives us no reason to believe that Jesus would side completely with one political viewpoint over another. Rather, when it comes to kings and kingdoms, Jesus sides with himself.
Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. As author and pastor, Dr. Tony Evans once said, when Jesus returns He will not come to take sides, but to take over.
Far too often we put our trust in candidates and in ideologies. That is misplaced trust. Scripture exhorts us: “Put not our trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish,” (Psalm 146:3-4, ESV).
So the question we need to ask, Sauls says, is not whether God is on our side, but rather are we on His?
In our churches, yes even in faithful, Bible-teaching, evangelical churches there will be people of all political persuasions and parties who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sauls provides us a challenge:
We should feel “at home” with people who share our faith but not our politics even more than we do with people who share our politics but not our faith. If this is not our experience, then we very well may be rendering to Caesar what belongs to God.
People from varying political persuasions can (and should) experience unity under a single, first allegiance to Jesus the King, who on the cross removed and even “killed” the dividing wall of hostility between people on the far left, people on the far right, and people everywhere in between.
If that isn’t our attitude, then we need to repent.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen,” (2 Peter 3:18, ESV).