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With much talk of rising persecution against Christians, some are forecasting bad times ahead. I have never truly known REAL persecution, so I do not want to minimize how painful that could be. I do, however, want to stress that Christians losing cultural power is a beginning — not an end!

When Christians lose cultural power, we are forced to dig deep roots into our faith and make it real. We find a deeper dependency upon the Holy Spirit. We “cry out” to God like King David did. We discover the peace of humility and surrender. We give up. We “lose our life” but “gain” HIS life in us. And when HE lives more powerfully within us, HE flows more fully and authentically through us.

When we Christians had cultural power, we did not exactly look like Jesus. We looked like politicians, warriors and Pharisees. We used power as a hammer, rather than laying down our lives for people the way Jesus does.

When we had power, we were NOT very creative about including people. Funny, because Jesus did that ALL the time. And for centuries, missionaries all over the world have considered it “success” when they included people outside the biblical box. That’s what missionaries do. That’s what Christ-followers do.

Here is a reality check: We did not notice gay teens being bullied and teased and dying from anti-gay violence and suicide for decades. Those were the decades when we had power. That is REAL pain. Now, I hear evangelicals complaining that people are treating them poorly — calling them names. And we complain about this treatment? We should not be so wimpy.

If bad times rise in the coming years, let us dive into Jesus. When we abide in Him, we will find His Kingdom forcefully coming on earth as it is in Heaven. The END could always be right around the corner, but until then let these days represent a new beginning…to live out Christ living in us. Amen.

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