As I begin this morning, I want to share two very important quotes. The first comes from the Word of God – our text for the next two weeks. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!” The second is a quote that everyone seems to accredit to John Maxwell but I believe he has taken from others. It is this: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” And that is very true. From your house to the church house to the courthouse to the Whitehouse – for every house – in this land we call America, everything rises and falls on leadership.
Now just so that you know that I am somewhat qualified to speak on this topic, I want to share just a brief summary of my qualifications. Most of you have never seen my resume nor have you seen my transcripts. Young people, take note of this. Once you complete your education, the majority of your life will be spent never having to produce a transcript. Now do the best you can to make the best grades that you can, but understand that the most important thing that you need to produce in this life will not be transcripts; it will be character, integrity, and a work ethic. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and received the highest award given from Mobile College. I am not going to bore you with details, but I will tell you, and all of this is verifiable if you are interested, that I have served on various boards, committees, and leadership positions in my 35 years of ministerial service. I have received numerous awards and recognitions for these years of service. My doctoral studies were in the area of leadership, and in those studies I have read scores of scholarly books on the topic and written hundreds of papers all culminating in the writing of this publication that led to my earned doctoral degree.
I say all of this to brag just a little but also to say that when it comes to the area of leadership, I know as much as most and a little more than some, and a great deal more than everybody else when it comes to the kind of leader that God created me to be. You see, one of the keys to leadership is understanding that God has gifted each of us to lead. Yes, every one of us has been created to lead, and God wants to use every one of us to lead for His purposes in one way or another, and the key to leadership is to discover the kind of leader that you are and how God wants to use you. I have discovered that the way of successful leadership is to understand your leadership style, to embrace that style, and to be the leader God created you to be. Only then will you find peace and contentment, and only then will you be successful as a leader.
So this morning, I want to tell you that as we approach this very important election that everything rises and falls on leadership. And I want to make you several promises this morning as we spend the next two weeks dealing with this issue. Promise # 1 — I am not going to come at this from a partisan perspective. I am not preaching these messages as a Republican Pastor nor as a Democratic Pastor. I am preaching these messages as a Christian Pastor, and I am praying for complete freedom, power, and boldness from God Almighty to say all of what He would have me to say but only what He would have me to say. So promise number 2 is this. I am going to be an equal opportunity toe smasher. I promise you that Republicans and Democrats are going to leave these messages offended. Promise number 3 is that I am not going to tell you how to vote. I never have as a pastor, and I never will. I will tell you, however, that I believe that this could very possibly be the most important election in the history of this nation and might very well be the turning point, the deciding factor as to God’s hand of judgment on this nation. The secular world seems to understand this. I could quote several famous people who have made the statement that this could very well be the last election to take place in these United States of America, and they do not even have the benefit of understanding the spiritual ramifications that go along with that statement.
Some of you are saying, “Wow, pastor, how can you say that?” Let me say it this way. Both candidates have made statements that go something like this. They have said that “America is great because America is good.” I have a one word reply to that: hogwash. America was great for almost 200 years not because America was good but because America was blessed by God. Do you know why America was blessed by God? Because Americans had chosen to follow Him. Listen carefully to what I am about to say. The United States of America is not now nor has it ever been the chosen people of God. Did you hear me? The United States of America is not the chosen people of God. We are not. The only reason that America has been blessed is because we are a nation founded on the principles of God’s Word, and as Christian men and women honored God, God honored them. He wasn’t honoring a nation. He wasn’t honoring a government. He was blessing His church. Do you hear me? He was blessing His church. If you look at the last half of Psalm 33:12, the Psalmist nailed it. It is “the people He has chosen as His own inheritance” that God blesses. And now His church in America has grown indifferent to Him. His church in America has turned her back on Him. His church in America has raised her fist to Him just as the people of Israel did 2600 years ago, and just as that resulted in judgment then, it is resulting in judgment now. Listen to me my friends, as long as a people will honor God, God will bless them. But as soon as they turn their backs on Him, the blessings stop, and the hand of judgment begins to fall, and that my friends, is where we are today. I say today without a moment’s hesitation that God’s hand of judgment is falling.
I have made that statement before, and many have said, “Pastor, what’s your proof?” Last year, everyone was talking about blood moons and Jonathan Cahn and folks were expecting the economy to collapse and all kinds of horrible things to happen. Some have mocked and ridiculed and said it was stupid to even think they were right. I’m not so sure they weren’t. Right here in North Alabama, we are in the midst of a drought. Wildfires anyone? Hurricanes. Earthquakes. And folks, I’m telling you that if the government was not artificially propping up the economy we’d be in a mess—and they can’t keep doing it forever. But enough of the doomsday stuff that most of you don’t believe anyway. I don’t need to go there to prove that we are under the hand of God’s judgment. All I have to do is show you this picture.
Here are the candidates God has given us for the Presidency of the United States of America. With all the great statesmen and women out there. With all the potential candidates, wise men and women, mature candidates who could represent the true morals and values of this great land and this is what we get? Let’s be honest for just a minute. How could this possibly happen? There is only one answer. When God gets ready to judge the people that turn their backs on Him, He allows them to be deceived. “Seeing they will not see. Hearing they will not hear.” Over and over and over again throughout His Word, He makes it clear. Look at God’s call to Isaiah, His prophet, at a time when His hand of judgment was about to fall on Israel.
Isaiah 6:9-11 (NKJV)
9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’10 “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate,
He tells Isaiah, “Go and preach My Word to My people, but understand, they will not listen.” And Isaiah asks, “How long am I to do this?” And God replies, “Until the nation is completely destroyed.” In Amos 8:11, God tells us that ultimately there comes a time when He gets so fed up with His people that He sends a famine of the hearing of His Word. Understand, that doesn’t mean that the Word stops being preached. It means people stop hearing and understanding. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4 that it is going to happen in the last days. My friends, that’s where America is today. All over the world, revival is breaking out. Millions of Muslims, Communists, and pagans are being saved. Countries we have been sending missionaries to for decades are now sending missionaries by the hundreds to us praying that we would experience revival, and the church in America is leading this country down the path to God’s judgment.
But there is one more passage I want you to see about God’s judgment before I talk to you about the leaders God uses, and this is important. You see, not only does God send His messengers but allows His people’s hearts to be dull and their eyes to be blinded because they have turned their backs on Him and ignored the discipline that He has brought into their lives to draw them back to Himself. Not only does He allow the famine of hearing to come because they have come to the point that they are willing to follow the ways of the world ignoring the pleas of the Holy Spirit to repent of their sin and return to the path of righteousness, rejecting the Word of God for the word of men, rejecting the Leadership that God has provided for the leadership of godless men, bullies that would have their way and destroy a church and lead God’s people into destruction, but then there is a passage in 1 Kings 22:22 when the prophet Micaiah is given a glimpse of the Heavenly Council. Sometimes, when God’s judgment needs to fall on a single man, a godless man leading other people into the path of ruin, look at what He does:
1 Kings 22:19-23 (NKJV)
19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.20 And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.
21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’
22 The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’23 Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”
My friends, this is what is happening in the United States of America today. We are under the hand of God’s judgment, and God has turned us over to godless men and women to lead us. Men and women who have been deceived and are deceivers. And many in this nation are following them blindly.
I truly believe that this may be the last election we have before we face the wrath of God. I am not a prophet, and I am not making a prediction. All I know is that this next president will have the power to place several justices on our Supreme Court and considering the judicial tyranny of the past several years, they will shape the future of this country in ways we cannot imagine and will determine whether we will be great again, and that greatness will be determined by whether or not we receive God’s blessings, and those blessings will only come if God is our Lord.
So what kind of Leaders does God use. Well first, God uses Perfect Leaders. This point won’t take too long because as you know there has only ever been one perfect leader. His name was Jesus Christ. We would all love to have the perfect president, the perfect pastor, the perfect father, the perfect husband. By the way ladies, according to Sonya, she has the only one of those. Unfortunately, perfection, though we are called to strive for perfection, on this side of heaven, will not be found. So if you require perfection in your president, you might as well not vote. But Jesus’ model is the model that we should all strive to follow, but for some reason we cast it aside as too weak and risky. And perhaps that is understandable since it leads to sacrifice and death, but it is the model to which I ascribe as a pastor. It is the model of Servant Leadership. Jesus said, I came to serve and not to be served. That’s what leading is all about. When we find a president that will serve like that, we know that we have found the right person for the job. One that is more concerned for the people of this country than for themselves. One who is willing to sacrifice for the good of others.
One of the problems in any body, from a family to a church to a nation is division. As I mentioned last Sunday, divisions destroy, and they break the heart of God. Abraham Lincoln recognized this truth when he quoted the words of Jesus: “A house divided cannot stand.” A true servant leader does everything they can to heal divisions, and yet both of our candidates for president seem bound and determined to divide us further from calling each other names to placing their opponents’ supporters into baskets. True leaders don’t do that. They make every effort to go to those who oppose them and seek reconciliation, and when that doesn’t work, they reach out to others and ask for their help to bridge the gap and bring peace. Believe me, I know a little about that myself.
Obviously, we are not dealing with perfect leaders in this presidential race, and that’s okay because God also uses Passionate Leaders. Now I use the word passionate because I mean that we sometimes get very emotional as we lead, but God still uses us. And I am so glad He does because that makes up the balance of the rest of us. As I was looking through the Scripture, I discovered something. The Bible is full of passionate leaders who because of their passion are sometimes Struggling Leaders – a long line of them from King David to the Apostle Paul. And while I strive to emulate the leadership style of Jesus, I come closer to that of the Apostle Paul who had to say that the things that I long to do I don’t do and the things that I don’t want to do I do. That could very well be the definition of a struggling leader. And yet we find that God used the Apostle Paul to establish churches throughout Asia Minor and to write the majority of our New Testament. Some would say, well, his flaws couldn’t have been all that bad. Well, I don’t know, but I can tell you that there were at least three public confrontations that were so heated that on at least one occasion there was such dissension that it caused a split between Paul and Barnabas that as far as we know was never healed. On another occasion Paul publicly rebuked Peter for being a hypocrite in front of some Gentile Christians and only at a later date did Peter come back and apologize for his behavior. Then Paul criticized the High Priest and got slapped for it.
Here’s the thing. Even ministers of the gospel are human. Paul and Peter messed up. They made mistakes. All leaders do. And I can tell you as a minister of the gospel, no one holds us to a higher standard than we do. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t go home and beat ourselves up for saying or doing something or not saying or doing something. But the good news is that our God is a God of grace and mercy and he still uses flawed leaders. When you can find a presidential candidate that will admit that they have messed up, made a mistake, and ask for forgiveness for that mistake, then you have found the man or woman who should be leading this country.
I want to share with you this morning one more leader that God uses – male or female, it matters not. But one of my favorite leaders in all of the Bible just happens to be a woman. Her name is Deborah, and she is one in a long line of women leaders. I must say that God uses Powerful Leaders many of whom happen to be women. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not making any predictions here, but I do believe one day, I hope not this election cycle, that we will have a woman as president. Throughout the Bible there were many strong women who were leaders like Deborah. Women like Miriam, Huldah the Prophetess, Priscilla, Anna, Phillip’s daughters, the prophetesses at Pentecost, and so many others. Women have kept the church strong through the years because men have been unwilling to be the leaders God commanded them to be, just like Barak in the time of Deborah.
But I have to tell you that Deborah wouldn’t have fit in to a Baptist church because of her outspokenness. They would have pulled out Paul’s verse in 1 Co. 14:34 that says, “Let the women keep silent in the churches….” Now, I have to tell you that I am of the opinion that Paul was quoting from a letter written to him by the Corinthians and basically is mocking them in his reply because he tells us in other places that in Christ Jesus there is no male or female. And in Acts 18, it’s Priscilla that helps Aquila teach Apollos about the gospel. And the next time somebody brings that verse up to you and suggests that Southern Baptists aren’t living up to the Scriptures, ask them if they have women singing in their choirs, and if they have women serving on their committees, or taking part in any other ways cause being silent is being silent, amen?
We need strong leaders in our nation today. Men and women who will stand for the truth boldly. Who will not back down when it comes to what needs to be said when it needs to be said. And that’s why I am going to say to you today what needs to be said. Any candidate that supports partial-birth abortion should never be elected as the president of the United States of America because every time we as Christians endorse that horrific practice, we shake our fist in God’s face and invite His wrath.
Sadly, there are really only two viable candidates for president on Nov. 8. As much as it pains me to say it, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are it. One is a misogynistic, foul-mouthed, billionaire who has gone bankrupt more times than most people have ever bought an automobile, and two years ago most of us would never have thought that he would have been the Republican candidate for President. The other is a pro-abortion, gun-control advocate guilty of covering up for her husband doing what her opponent talked about doing, and if you believe what we are hearing, possibly criminal Democratic candidate. And I hope that you can see this one very important truth. Both are sinners and unless they have cried out in repentance to a Holy God, they are in need of a Savior. Just like you and me, they will stand before God and answer to Him for their words and for their deeds. So when you go into that voting booth to vote, understand you are not voting Republican. You are not voting Democrat. You are not voting Donald. You are not voting Hillary. You are voting Christian. Ted Cruz said that in the last election cycle 54 million evangelical Christians didn’t even vote. Can you imagine what would have happened if they had voted their convictions. When you vote, child of God, you aren’t voting your convictions, you should be voting your calling. You should be praying, “God, for whom should I cast my ballot? Which of these candidates are more likely to turn this nation back in the direction where life will be cherished and you will be honored?”