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Who’s in the Basket    February 18, 2020

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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Saul of Tarsus was the first great persecutor of the church.  In a blaze of glory, he met the resurrected Jesus while on his way to Damascus to attack the church there.  Then, instead of attacking the Church Paul started preaching fearlessly about this Jesus who rose from the grave.  The Jews sought to kill Paul because he was preaching Jesus as the Messiah who bore our sins on the cross, died in our place, and rose from the dead to bring us life.  As the enraged Jews looked everywhere in Damascus for Paul, he was lowered in a basket from the walls to make his escape.  When we share the Gospel with even just one person, and they receive the message and are born again we never know who might’ve just climbed in the basket.

Long long ago and far far away back in the dream time before Facebook, Amazon, and streaming, my wife and I felt the call to hold church services on the campus of a state university.  Everyone told us that would be impossible what with the judiciously manufactured liberal imposed mythical Constitutional separation of church and state doctrine.  I questioned God, “Are you sure?” My wife and I questioned each other, “Are you sure?”  But try to resist as much as we could the calling wouldn’t leave us alone.

I traipsed from office to office asking one bureaucrat after another for permission to hold church services in a public building on the campus of a state university.  Discouragement stalked me as I scuttled from “No,” to “No,” to “No way!”  In the natural I was skeptical when I started and after a month or two of pushing that big rock up that steep hill all I could do was encourage myself in the Lord to keep plodding on.  All we had was prayer.   Happily, that was all we needed.

I finally located the right bureaucrat.  He was the one in charge of renting space to outside groups.  After a diligent search and several misdirected wrong turns, I located his office buried deep beneath a massive pile of bricks and steel.  Then I learned he was never in his office.  Whenever I showed up his secretary would tell me, ‘He just left,” “He’s off for the day,” or “You just missed him.”  I tried coming at every hour of the day on every day of the week.  After a month or so it got to be a running joke between me and the secretary.  I’d pop in and she’d laugh, “He just left,” or one of her other variations of “You’re wasting your time.”

Then one day I walked in and there was the invisible bureaucrat standing in the middle of the room.  Before the Secretary could laugh or say anything I blurted out, “I want to rent a room to hold church services.”

To my surprise he said, “No problem.”  Then as he vanished into his inner sanctum he tossed, “Becky draw up a contract for the second-floor meeting room in the Student Union at the regular rate.”   Within a week we were singing praises to God and preaching the Gospel on the campus of that state university.  Everyone said it couldn’t be done.  I didn’t think it was possible.  But God did it.

For the next six months every Sunday we carried our keyboard, guitar, and a box of Bibles into the upper room.  Every Wednesday, as part of our rental agreement, we had an informational booth in the Student Union inviting people to the service.

The response was underwhelming but as church planters and domestic missionaries we were used to empty seats.  We had some students who came.  We had a few who came more than once.  And we had one who came faithfully time after time.  This one student eventually confessed Jesus as his personal Lord and confessed that God had raised Jesus from the dead.  He stepped from the darkness into the light, from death into life and now twenty-five years later he’s still praising God and trying his best to share the life, the light, and the joy he found with others.

As a couple of believers who’ve devoted most of our lives to preaching the Gospel, if this one born again believer is the totality of all we’ve done and all we will do before the curtain comes down … that’s more than enough.  Thank you, Father, for allowing us to see the fruit from Your vine.

As slim as the attendance was, we praised God every day for the opportunity and gave him glory for opening a door everyone thought could not be opened.  Then they shut us down.  They cancelled our contract and slammed the door shut.

I went to see the long elusive bureaucrat to find out why.  He told me a delegation of local pastors came to the school to complain because we were holding service on campus and they weren’t.  The religious spirit did its best to stop the Spirit.  But we know He opens doors, and no one can shut what He’s opened until the appointed time.  The anointing moved on and we knew God had accomplished what he’d sent us there to do.  Someone had climbed into the basket.

This reminds me of another time God called me to do something.  He called me to stand in front of an abortion mill.  I am the ever-remorseful father of four aborted babies.  Forgiven but ashamed of what I did, but not too ashamed to confess my sin publicly if there’s even the slightest chance doing so might save a life and save someone else from living with the pain and emptiness I feel.  For about six months several days a week I stood a lonely vigil in all types of weather with a handmade sign reading, “I repent for aborting my children” on one side and “God Forgave me” on the other.

People would drive by and honk.  Some would give me the thumbs up.  Others would use another digit to send a different message.  The police came and told me I had to leave.  But I was on public property and I refused.  The people from the abortion mill tried several tactics to chase me away.  Some people on their way in to end the lives of their children stopped to berate me and call me everything except a child of God.

No matter what the weather, no matter how vile the abuse I stayed there because I felt God called me to bear witness, so I stood my ground.  Then one day a couple stopped by on their way into the abortion mill and read me the riot act.  They told me what a terrible person I was.  They told me it was their choice.  They yelled and gestured as loudly as any one ever did.  Then about a half hour later they came back and in tears told me God had convicted them and they’d changed their mind.  They were going to keep their baby.

Immediately I felt released from that call.  Someone had climbed into the basket.

You might not know who’s in the basket.  You may never know.  All we need to know is that when God says stand there and hold the rope, we need to do our part and leave the results up to Him because it’s not about who we are and what we do.  It’s all about who He is and what He’s done.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2020 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Trump Brings Home the Bacon  February 11, 2020

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Uncategorized.
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According to the December report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and despite what we’re told by the democrats in politics and those disguised as journalists, the wages of America’s low-income workers are rising faster than the democrat’s designated villains: America’s top-earners.  The report contains a graph which shows the median wage growth for the bottom 25% of workers hit 4.5% for the 12-month period ending in November.

According to CBS News, this exceeded the 2.9% gain in median earnings for the top 25% of earners.  CBS also said, “With unemployment at a 50-year low and the minimum wage rising in states and cities across the country, employers are now opening their wallets to attract low-wage employees.”

And this cannot be attributed to that age-old stalking horse, mandated increases in the minimum wage by the central planning bureaucrats.  John Robertson, a senior policy adviser in the Atlanta Fed’s research department said, “The increased tightness of labor markets, or some other factor than hikes in state minimum wages, is playing a role in pushing up the pay for those in lower-wage jobs.”

After conducting a poll CNBC said, “Every economic indicator in the poll of 800 Americans throughout the country is at or near a post-recession high. Half of all Americans judge the economy as good or excellent, the only time the percentage has been above 50 for two-straight quarters in the 11-year history of the poll.  In addition, 38 percent expect the economy to improve in the next year, the second highest number since the Great Recession. And 41 percent of homeowners expect the value of their homes to increase in the next year, the highest mark since 2007.”

According to US News and World Report, “Approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the economy has risen 7 percentage points since the impeachment inquiry began, reaching its highest level in a year.”  The paper also quoted a CNBC poll saying, “According to the poll, the president’s net approval on economic issues rebounded from a minus-8% in September, the first negative of his presidency, to plus-9% in December. The 17-point jump is good for Trump, who ran on promises to improve the economy and who has continuously touted strong job numbers as part of his reelection campaign.”

These figures are higher than Trump’s overall approval rating.  This may indicate that record low unemployment levels, stable gas prices, a roaring stock market even in the face of a hostile and abusive media could still help get the president across the finish line in November.  Gallup Polling puts it this way, “Americans are more upbeat about their personal finances today than at any time in the past 10 years, with 49% saying they are financially better off than they were a year ago. This is up from the 44% who felt financially better off at the same time last year and from a low of 23% in 2009.”

Some attribute this rise in wages for the lowest income bracket to be a result of President Trump’s immigration policies.   When there’s less low-skilled foreign competition against Americans through increased interior immigration enforcement these most vulnerable Americans experience a labor market that now resembles the labor market of top-tier workers.  Nick Bunker an economist with Indeed.com pointed this out when he told the Wall Street Journal, “A strong labor market makes the bargaining power of lower-paid workers more like the labor market higher-wage workers experience during good times and bad.”

John Binder of Breitbart observes, “For the first year in decades, the U.S. economy has tipped toward American workers rather than employers in terms of the labor market. Today, due to less foreign competition, workers have more chances to seek out the highest-paying job.  For decades, it was employers who would bid on workers.”  Now its employers trying to attract workers.

On a recent broadcast of the New York City-based radio show “Cats Roundtable,” White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy director Peter Navarro said “Under President Donald Trump, everybody who wants a job can get a job.”

The current casting call of presidential wanabees tries to gain center stage by out bidding each other to buy our votes; “I’ll give everyone a thousand dollars a month and free healthcare!”  “I’ll give every retiree $250 extra per month, free healthcare for everyone, and forgive all student loans!”  “I’ll give free healthcare for everyone, free college, forgive all student loans, and get the banks to write off debts.” Blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum.

Meanwhile President Trump with little fanfare and totally ignored by the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media brings home the bacon.  This may be bad news for the bi-coastal elites but it’s good news for those of us out here in fly-over country thinking about paying the rent and putting food on the table.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2020 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

 

Time is of the Essence  February 4, 2020

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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According to the Business Dictionary the title of this essay is a provision often included in construction, supply, transport, and other types of contracts to stress the punctual completion of the job (or repayment of a loan) as a vital element of the performance of the contract. Any failure to complete the work (or to pay the sums) within stated time limits may constitute breach of the contract.

Salvation is not a transaction based on a contract.  It’s a gift.  It isn’t earned.  It’s based upon the grace of God extended to all and accepted through faith.  And while this gift shines from the cross of Christ through the meandering corridors of History, each of us has but a fleeting moment upon the world’s stage.  When it’s done it’s done.  It’s just the opposite of a concert; when the curtain comes down, we face the music.  Or as the Word of God puts it, “Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.”

The world tells us, “Opportunity only knocks once” meaning if you miss your chance it won’t come again.  Looking at the totality of life that’s true, but looking within the fragile bubble of time that is our here-today-gone-today life we have opportunity after opportunity.  We had last week, and yesterday, today, and God willing tomorrow.  At any moment we can make an altar of our prayers and confess Jesus as our Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead.  If we’ll do those two things the Word of God promises, “You will be saved.”  If the curtain comes down before we do so we might not like the sequel.

The whole of the Old Testament points to Christ: the fulcrum of History.  And throughout the New Testament God points back to examples and signposts of what was to come.  To the Jews there is no more powerful story than their exodus from Egypt.  Because they refused to believe God they wandered in the wilderness for forty years.  These people who witnessed the miracles of Moses, crossed the Red Sea on dry land, ate the manna from heaven, and drank from the rock which followed them refused to worship God.  Instead they followed the trinket gods of their own imagination.  And God left their bodies in the dust as a testimony to their hardheartedness.

Their rebellion and their lack of faith becomes a warning to us when the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us, “Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in ‘the bitter uprising,’ that time of wilderness testing!  Even though they watched me at work for forty years, your ancestors refused to let me do it my way over and over they tried my patience.  And I was provoked, oh, so provoked I said, ‘They’ll never keep their minds on God; they refuse to walk down my road.’  Exasperated, I vowed, ‘They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.’”

Today is all we have.  No one promised us tomorrow.  If we miss our chance, if we refuse to follow God and instead embrace the world we should be prepared for a hand full of ashes.  The Apostle John put it like this, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out.”

But John didn’t leave it there.  He finished the passage with a promise, “but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”

And when it comes to the promises of God we need to realize, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

Sometimes life seems like a long time.  It always feels like we have hours to kill but not a moment to spare.  Our fleeting moment upon this stage is rushing by.  Like flowers in the field we sprout, bloom, and fade away.  For most of us one or two generations at the most and no one will remember we were here.  So grab the chance and remember time is of the essence and listen to these words ringing in our ears, “Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.”

It’s never too late.  Until it is.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2020 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

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