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Holden in the Gap II - Off Mission - An Evangelical Response to the Rise of Islam in America.
11 October, 2010, sermon notes addendum to "Holden in the Gap"
A Microsoft Word .DOC file is here.

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"...The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery,
and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap
before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." (Ezekial 22:29-30)





Introduction
Modify on Holden's lead.

Be advised, I am not asked to do anything like this regularly, so don't expect a presentation of the caliber you might be used to from your regular educators. Joe is engaging in some risk hauling a relative unknown in out of the weeds and putting them behind his lectern, but he doesn't think so. I have no formal education; no credentials hanging on a wall. The only reason why I can speak authoritatively on various aspects of the issues and trends we will be addressing today is I have been guilty in times past of engaging in some of the same wrong thinking. So we'll see if the Lord rewards him for his step of faith.

[Newspaper article; Hanadi Jaradat; Maxim restraint suicide bomber; Haifa, Israel contrasts of Islam]

How many of you here were present at the Sept 02 lecture given here in response to the Temecula mosque proposal?

I've been a Christian for thirty years now. Don't read some superior spirituality into that. If I knew half of what I know now twenty years ago I would be much better off. I was brought to the Lord by a girlfriend I had when I was sixteen, not much younger than a lot of you. My mother was a real estate agent and she moved us to Carlsbad for a couple years, where I met this girl in high school. Our family situation was pretty bad for a long time and she was steadily witnessing to me of the things of the Lord. Although our lives as Christians are founded on the truth of the Word of God, when I surrendered my life to the Lord, it was one of the few times I felt something physically happen to me on a spiritual level.

After I was saved, almost immediately the Lord moved me back to Corona where I lived with my step-father who my mother had married when I was about two. I started working in the family business where I drive a truck in route sales. We deliver tortillas. I'm a tortilla guy. During the 1982-83 recession, my step-father was forced to close the business, so the senior driver at that time bought him out. In the end, it was him, his brother and I; last men standing. The senior driver was serving the Lord at that time and was attending Calvary Chapel, Riverside, and had been heavily involved there for a time. He invited me to attend one Sunday morning and I have been going there (now Harvest Christian Fellowship) ever since.

I have had some people criticize me for referring to Harvest and Pastor Greg Laurie a lot when I write. They feel this is at the expense of the many other ministries the Lord is using in these times. I don't debate there are many fine communicators of the Gospel, nor that there are many fine church organizations that are impacting their local communities in a very positive way. I quote Greg because he is right on the issues I have been personally tasked to deal with. Furthermore, Harvest is simply a very visible, high profile example of success in the one thing the Holy Spirit is calling the Church to do in these times—evangelism.

I had lived a pretty secluded life, not so much by choice, so was a little ill prepared to deal with the realities of life once I was out on my own. I remember one time in the early 80's I was asked to drive into East L.A. to pick up a load of "Hojas," the dried corn husk leaves the Mexican people use to make tamales during the holidays. We sold a lot of masa at that time and hojas were integral to the recipe. In the crush of bumper-to-bumper East L.A. traffic, two individuals in front of me were involved in a road rage incident. They were banging into each other with their cars and finally the guy in the rear got out and started punching the guy in the car in front of him through the open window.

I remember being in total shock. This guy got back in his car and then traffic cleared and they both drove off. My first introduction to random American street violence.

Another defining moment that impacted me were the 1992 L.A. street riots in the wake of four LAPD officers charged in the Rodney G. King beating case, who were subsequently acquitted. The riots started on a Monday, in the afternoon. I still recall watching the televised assault on the trucker Reginald Denney. The following Tuesday I was again driving into Los Angeles, on the outskirts of where the riots were happening. I was picking up a very expensive truckload of "Los Pericos" tostadas, a specialty item; the only item manufactured by this company. There was an atmosphere of fear and dread throughout Southern California.

I don't what prompted me, but I had this compelling interest to see for myself what was really going on. Looking back, it was a bit reckless. The truck wasn't mine, and neither was the load. Home was East, and away from the war zone. South Central was just to the West, and South down the 110 to the 91 freeway.

It was like driving through downtown Lebanon. I remember this little mini truck that careened past me, the bed filled up with these guys intent on nothing else but their mayhem. They ignored me as they went by and disappeared down an exit. I was totally amazed and astonished that such a monumental, outrageously violent event could be taking place in America. And even more outrageous was the fact that I didnít see a single law-enforcement unit on the freeway, not a single uniformed officer in sight. I was totally on my own except for God above. It was a strangely isolated feeling. Amazing! I was one of just a few vehicles plying that particular stretch of road. I remember it was a beautiful, sunny day, cruising in and out of the shadows of the huge columns of smoke rising from the burning buildings near and far.

Immediately afterward, I remember a sense of total bewilderment and embarrassment at being completely uninformed in the realities of American life and culture. I entered adulthood under Reagan and Bush senior, so didn't pay much attention to the national political and cultural arena. I just worked, and went to church, and read the Bible everyday for about ten years straight. But I made it a point since the riots to never be uninformed about the world again. I started reading the papers regularly (strangely, through the prism of a Biblical worldview I seemed to have picked up somewhere) and started engaging the culture arena more. I remember the first letter to the editor I had printed in the paper. With the advent of the Internet and AOL's making it more accessible to the general population in the 90's, it only opened up things that much more.

My job has always put me in direct contact with immigrant populations. I grew up around the Mexican people. Like the current owner of the company has said, I'm the token white guy. Being a "minority" many times in an industry or social gatherings gives you a different view than most on many, many issues.

I also have a client, a friend of many, many years. He comes from a Hindu/Indian background and originally immigrated here from India when he was seven. His father was killed in a robbery while running a hotel at that time. His family owns numerous independent convenience stores and gas stations in my route area, and I have served about six of them at any one time. We became friends pretty quick. He and his two sisters trusted, and trust, me completely.

He is college educated enough to be running a fortune 500 company and is slated to take over the family corporation when his grandfather dies. Until then, he's running a little market in the area. We have spent many, many hours talking to each other. Politics, culture, corporate ethics and trends, globalization, immigration, war and terrorism, and religion. Rarely are our conversations unsubstantial. I suppose we cling to each other like buoys in a sea void of intellectual rigor because of our work environment, having no other outlet. Most of the people we deal with every day have no intellectual curiosity outside of trying to provide for themselves and their families. Many of his immigrant family are former farmers with limited education with one purpose here in America: sell cheap beer, lotto tickets, and cigarettes to make money. Seven days a week 10-12 hours a day. When his uncles ask me what we talk about all the time, an answer of national foreign affairs or corporate ethnics is usually met by an uneasy silence, a polite smile and change of subject.

When your instructors talk about "building relationships" with people; building bridges for the Gospel, this is how it pencils out in the real world. This friend is searching. He is an intellectual. There have been many times I came in and he mentioned he was watching the T.V. preachers or T.B.N. on the previous Sunday. Just recently he mentioned the Bishop Eddie Long scandal. I have then had to clear away the misconceptions of these gross misrepresentations of the Lord in his eyes, and direct him to more credible resources. Has he given his life to the Lord yet? No, but the Holy Spirit is courting him. And he trusts me. Additionally, his family is huge. I was invited one time to his youngest sister's wedding. It was at a large indoor auditorium in the area. He invited my family and a few other people from the neighborhood around the market he was running at the time. We were the only white people in the midst of what turned out to be over 1,200 plus Indians. It was like being in downtown Bangalore.

Furthermore, these people are all plugged in back home not only through travel but global communication. Joe said, in part, in the statement he released for the Sept 2 lecture, "Today, some estimate as little as 1% of Christian missionaries' minister in Islamic lands due to religious restrictions and the potential for physical reprisals. Therefore, when I look at the Islamic Center of the Temecula Valley issue from this perspective, I quickly realize what a missionary's gift it is when Islam comes to the "land of the free." As a Christian, I see Islam coming to our community as a golden opportunity to love our neighbor and to fulfill the great commission of sharing the Gospel..." Whether me, or you, having a daily access to immigrant communities, it is a small but vivid example of the influence, and indeed global reach, one person like you or me has as a Christian. One of these people gives their life to the Lord and endures the cultural fallout from that decision, it opens the door to a whole field that wasn't there before. It is very sobering. More on that in a minute.

My daughter has some friends from RCC who have a friend named Asra. She is Muslim. I have met her a few times. She is friendly, funny, and outgoing; a real sweetheart. She wears the Hijab. No, she's not menacing, nor has a sinister air about her like some media outlets portray the radical elements of the Muslim world. Although she is a practicing Muslim, you can be sure the friendship with her Christian friends will be used by the Holy Spirit in the time ahead.

These are just a small example of the faceless people who are getting caught up in this sharp political and social fervor around immigrants, these "strangers" in the land. Listen, I understand the illegal immigration issue. I understand the negative impact it has had, and is having, on the social services infrastructure. I understand perfectly the air of lawlessness that prevails along our border towns because of the criminal element involved in illegal immigration and drug smuggling. I have a lot of friends online who are active duty and retired law enforcement officers. These issues need to be addressed because a lot of innocent people are being hurt and even killed. Furthermore, Islamist terrorist elements from overseas continue to exploit out corrupt and broken immigration system.

But I'm not an active duty cop. I'm a Christian first and foremost. I have worked with a lot of Mexicans over the years. I don't make it a point to question them on their immigrant status. I'm not an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer. Most are legal permanent residents and work to achieve their legal citizenship, and if they are not, that is between them, legal civil authority, and God. My primary mandate as a Christian is to present them the Gospel. If these positions make me a "liberal" or I am perceived as biased, then I suppose I will just have to bear that.

£

Pre-9/11 Islam was almost unheard of by the general populace. The first Iraq war (that one of my friends fought in), the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, U.S., Islamic attacks on the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 and, and the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. These were all small skirmishes that "stayed below the radar" until 9/11. 9/11 changed everything. Professor Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum, was already in the academic arena at that point, and was the first looked too in the powerful vacuum of knowledge in the months following. I remember him sharing his first post-9/11 speaking schedule for the year with his email list. It was two and three engagements non-stop for months.

Muslims and Islam was the enemy, although few knew anything about it. The Progressive liberal element within the government was immediately bending over backward to call Islam a religion of peace in a desperate bid to maintain their "diversity/tolerance/religious pluralism" doctrine. We continue to be beat over the head with that to this day. This nation is till sharply divided over 9/11, between Progressive liberalism's assertion Islam is a religion of peace and we just have to understand them, to traditional Conservatism who sees the daily violent fallout globally of this belief system.

I have some confessions to make. The events of the last few months are the tail end of a nine year experience dealing with Islam, and trying to find the proper Christian response as an American Christian, to much of it, as well as to find out what the Lord is doing in the midst of all this unending... clamor. All we hear are the screamers, the fear-hustlers and the rock throwers. These are the ones that have been defining the debate for too many years, especially since the advent of the Ground Zero mosque proposal; especially since the advent of the Islamic Center of the Temecula Valley mosque proposal. Why is the Lord permitting this to happen, within the context of globalization and America's exclusive super-power status and leadership position? How is Bible-believing, washed in the blood, born-again Spirit-filled New Testament Christianity to respond?

I'm an American. At 9/11 I was as infuriated as a vast majority of other Americans were. I flew the American flag 24/7, lit at night, for almost three years afterwards from our balcony. We went through two of them. We were at war and no matter how the government and Progressive liberalism tried to portray it otherwise, we were at war with Muslims and Islam. I recall watching on T.V. some aerial footage one night shot in Iraq at the height of the war. It was obviously shot from a U.S. helicopter. Below, two Marine Corps MI Abrams tanks were situated in staggered position on a bridge, their main guns swung wide and aggressively engaging targets off screen. When those guns go off everybody knows it. I had an immediate sense of satisfaction that we were finally facing this insanity; a sense of revenge for everything that had happened to that point, to the point of not liking what I was seeing in my heart. I think that was the start of the down slope for me.

Since 9/11 I initially studied everything Professor Daniel Pipes had written to that point, which was extensive in itself. Since then, I have read a pretty substantial cross-section of research from many other quarters. This consisted of in depth the Koran and Hadiths, the many strains of Sunni/Shiite Koranic interpretation, as well as ancient/contemporary Middle East/Islamic history and traditions, Arab and Persian culture, and Islamic/Shariah law and finance. I finally had to refrain from buying books because my reading had become repetitive. Remember what I mentioned of my personal policy post-L.A. riots. I wasn't going to be uninformed on this issue either. All this while U.S. armed forces scattered the Taliban in Afghanistan; all this while Coalition forces ousted Saddam Hussein. Because of the wars, Muslims as a mission field wasn't a priority in my daily life.

My views on Islam real quick. Is Islam a religion of peace? Yes and no. It depends on who you are talking to at the moment. It is very schizophrenic and in that lays the dichotomy. I have read beautiful Islamic religious statements by the Muslim "moderates" that would sway any reasonable person and these thinkers are upheld by people like Dr. Daniel Pipes and even Joel Rosenberg in his recent book, "Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson & Jesus Are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World." Then we are all familiar with the overt violence and mayhem promoted by those who adhere to the more fundamental interpretations. I came to the point of not being able to work with any of it and just clearing the whole jumbled mass off the table and holding to the primacy and effectiveness of the Word of God. Some Christian apologists have trended towards witnessing to Muslims from the Koran, where its parts uphold the primacy of Jesus, etc., but at this point I don't see the long term effectiveness of that. The Lord has stated, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb 4:12 (KJV) His Word, not the words of Mohammed in the Koran.

Bottom line, it's a broken belief system, the majority at direct odds with New Testament Christianity—the Gospel. It is not TRUTH. We can argue CONCLUSIVELY from the canon of the New Testament Christianity—the life and teachings of Jesus Christ—is opposed to violence in its dissemination; no one can ever do that with the Koran and Hadiths and Mohammad. The violence is hardwired in. And knowing the nature of unregenerate men, the violence will always get the upper hand in the end, as history proves.

I am likewise well informed in terrorism, counter-terrorism, and related law enforcement issues, as well as American law and Constitutional issues a by-product of my friendships with many Christians in law enforcement circles. I follow the political arena very closely as well.

America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies, by George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR[Mention "America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies" by George Friedman, founder of Startfor Forecasting (2004) for insights into the Bush Administration's over-arching goals in the Middle East. This was during Evangelical Christianity's unprecedented access to the White House.]

Because of all this I am also intimately knowledgeable of the national movements/organizations opposed to the spread of Islam in America, from Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch to Steve Shippert at Threats Watch. This includes ACT! for America, which many, many Christians are getting involved with. As a personal rule, I am leery of movements and media driven personalities. I don't listen to talk radio, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. That's just me.

"I'ts unfortunate many Christian have left the great commission and Christ's love behind for a more militant approach." Joe Holden, in an email dated 7 Sept. 2010

Civil rights groups

Let's talk about a few concepts called "objectivity" and "impartiality" and detachment for a moment. I was fortunate many years back to find myself in the company of a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy who had work as a detective and an Internal Affairs investigator. We corresponded online quite a bit. He wasn't a believer. He was a very, very hard man. Yet, as a secular thinker he was like the Bereans, always searching to see if things were what they appeared to be. Observing him interacting within the online forums we frequented I learned how people are so easily manipulated, impulsive, and easily detoured and distracted, with incendiary, inflammatory exaggerated speech and writing. These are concepts and mental disciplines that will serve you as well in the future in many aspects of life.

There are many self modeled civil rights groups formed in response to the spread of Islam and Shariah law in America that have gained some national prominence in recent years. I am very familiar with ACT! For America because, as I said, so many people professing to be Christians have become involved with them. There were at least four chapter leaders present at the lecture, and they were there as hostile observers. Again, I am not one to get involved with movements and groups because of past experiences, but through a convoluted set of circumstances and curiosity to see what they were all about, I found myself getting entwined with them.

Observations on "rights" groups in America.

Most politically active rights groups in America get started for noble and true reasons. From the NRA to the NAACP, their creation is a response to real or perceived grievances against particular sets of people who feel they are being marginalized or attacked in the culture or political arena. So they organize, engage in leafleting, marches, fund raising and protesting for example, and attempt to change the cultural and political circumstances to, in their view, the betterment of their group's interests or society in general. It is an American tradition with myriad historical examples. This is an outward expression of our Constitutional right to the freedom of speech, right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, etc.

With the altruistic goals, there is ALSO big, big money in lobbying and political "action." This is a big industry in America these days. When that point comes the group's objectives might have been met, or the original threat or enemy diminished, the draw to keep the cash flow moving leads many to engage in basic fear hustling by exaggeration over small, singular events, demonization and outright slander of opponents, and again, incendiary and inflammatory presentation in speech and writing, with the predictable plea for funds so they can continue to "protect and represent you" in Washington or elsewhere.

No enemy, no reason for the organization to exist, therefore no income. That's when truth, impartiality, and objectivity go out the window. Some of these groups are very good at this. There is no end-game solution for actual change. This is also the WORLD'S way of doing things!

The Book of Acts — The Church's way of doing things.

A mentor of mine from way, Roger D. Conner, once said to me:

"I have learned a lot about God—about His personality, character, plans, and reasons—why He does things. I stand in constant and unparalleled awe at His Mighty Works and His unimaginable Wisdom. Constant study and repetition in His Word is the key, but one must also acknowledge whatever God says in His written Word, to gain the most from it."

Our way of doing things? Our way of interacting with and forwarding the interests of God and His outreach to the world? The book of Acts. The parameters, the purposes, the mandates, and our personal presentation. Whenever we start stepping outside of these simple parameters and implementing the ideas of this world to impact our culture and this world, things start to go wrong. Three decades of Christian "political" activism finally gave Evangelical Christianity unequaled access to the White House during much of the George W. Bush administration. Now things are going wrong.

Blinded By Might: Why The Religious Right Can't Save AmericaBlinded by Might by Cal Thomas - Ed Dobson 4/1/1999
"If conservative religious leaders are to be effective, the authors say, they must use radically different strategies than they have until now."

Second, manipulation through fear-mongering. Right now the threats from Islamic radicalism within America are, unfortunately, very real. It is on the front page of the papers almost every day. But it is to be faced RATIONALLY from a Biblical worldview, not under the sway of outside influences to advance a particular group's narrow agenda, raise funds, or swell their member rolls.

Let's talk about fear. Crippling, irrational fear is condemned in the Bible as sin because it implies the individual is standing in question of God's character and abilities. Yet, we don't test God. The biggest issue many of these anti-Islamic groups use to gather followers to themselves of fear of death. My wife, although she will probably never have the opportunity or reason, has this quirky fear of flying. After hearing or seeing a few news accounts of high profile airline crashes, she is aghast at the idea of getting on a plane. She says it is the idea of that few moments before impact, knowing you are going to die that is intolerable in her thinking. I have told her that in the moments after death when you suddenly find yourself in the brilliant presence of the eternal God, any memory of how you just got there will be immediately obliterated from your memory. Like Pastor Greg said in one of his sermons after 9/11, there is no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us. I could walk out of here and the Lord decides, 'That's good. That's a wrap" and I'll drop dead right here. I could step in front of a bus a week from now. I could die in a terrorist attack. Who knows? No use worrying about things you have little control over.

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21 (KJV) When people attempt to saddle you with fear in a bid to coerce or manipulate you, leave it right at the curb. Keep that in mind. The greatest freedom as a Christian is coming face to face with your own mortality and knowing Jesus utterly defeated death and Heaven waits, and today is just another day to prevail in your walk with Jesus.

Further on, there are a few former Muslims who have come out of Islam and the Arab world and immigrated to the West. Some have become Christians, others have not. They have written books, started organizations and gone on speaking tours. The founder of/and ACT! For America are really making inroads into American culture. I don't know the founder's heart or where she is with the Lord and I don't question her motivation. But I am certainly able to draw spiritual conclusions from simple observation. Most speakers you will listen to who have come from a background scarred by Islam are very motivated for the simple reason they have witnessed first hand the oppression of dealing with Islamic dominated cultures or fighting the terrorism produced by a literal reading of the Koran. But it is a thin line between motivation and incitement.

"Thou shalt not follow a multitude (mob) to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment." Ex 23:2 (KJV) Why did God list that in the law in the first place? Because He knew the tendency for people to be swayed by a mob mentality.

She says in her promotional videos she was "born" into a Christian home. That piques my curiosity because after sitting through a half-dozen ACT! For America meetings, their local level leadership makes clear they are a "non-sectarian" organization where every reference to prayer, Christianity, and Jesus are stripped out. I believe a lot of this world view is founded in Lebanese culture and the Lebanon 1943 Pact, a sectarian political system reinforced with the declaration of independence in 1943 following the collapse of the French mandate.

Christianity in Lebanon isn't like what we understand growing up in America, with a nation and government founded on Judeo/Christian principles. A lot of what is understood as Christianity is ancient, cultural and external religion and not the personal relationship we have through Jesus Christ and His atonement. For many in Middle East cultures, you are a Christian because you were born a Christian, into a Christian home with Christian parents and community. Being "born again" and what that means on the spiritual level is foreign. Evangelism as we understand it? No. You also don't get to pick up on these little nuances unless you are talking to people from the region and culture directly, either face to face or online. This invaluable understanding is another casualty of this divisive atmosphere being whipped up in all quarters.

Islam got its legs back under it post-fall of the Ottoman Empire, and walked right through Lebanon. We see the same thing happening all through the European Union as Christianity has been crippled by their spiritual apathy and the new politically correct orthodoxy that has co-opted truth. And we are going to implement the same world views and politically active "non-sectarian" policies here? As we can see already, it is a recipe for FAILURE. Islam in Europe is feeding off the remains of a tepid and institutionalized Christianity that completely lost the model of evangelism many, many years ago. We should reject any presentation to the Church opposing Islam that does not proclaim the Gospel. To denounce or hide Christ on that cross - is why Lebanon failed. First century book of Acts evangelism is the only thing that can stop the Islamization of America and the spread of Shariah law. The rest is wasted time.

Furthermore, the Spirit-filled Church is NOT some anti-Islamic terror organization. It is His body; it is His Bride, being prepared for an eternity on a completely different plane.

This year, this mid-term election cycle, they are already predicting record breaking sums of money being spent within the political arena. Where do they seem to be getting all this money? Lobbying groups and political action committees are working overtime in fund-raising, and Christian people, even after enduring the betrayal and the witnessing the almost complete collapse of their political influence in fickle Washington during the first eight years of the Millennium, are falling AGAIN for the same game and sending these people money. And it's nothing but a big game to the people running it.

A former mentor of mine named Tom Pardue Sr. blasted this world view years back, this drive to find salvation in politics and Washington and "top down" social reform, instead of at the "grass roots" level, in the pulpits of American Christianity. He stated:

"The American culture is obsessed with salvation by politics. We as a corporate body cannot comprehend any other way of changing the culture. They do not understand that God changes cultures by the preaching of the Word. Nineveh's culture was not changed by Jonah getting elected king or arguing that Nineveh stop socialism or stealing from her citizens. It was changed when God ordered him to preach."

He continues:

"Instead of praying for just a few more republicans in Congress or a republican President to bring about salvation by laws, Christians should be praying that God will send revival. Only He can save us. So saith the Scripture."

Yet, the Harvest Crusades are only running three outreaches this season, after staging six and seven events through the early 2000's. Because these "free" events cost money to put in the field. Big money. The Harvest Crusades is the POINT OF THE SPEAR for the Calvary Chapel community right now. The Harvest Crusades, at this point in history, in these tumultuous times, should be leap-frogging, fully funded, from major city to major city like the WWII era Marines leap-frogging the Pacific Islands from Guadalcanal, Tarawa to Okinawa, this even WITH the extended reach of the Internet and new media.

Seminaries just like Veritas should be fully funded with grants and donations to prepare and train young Christian people in theology, leadership, and church administration, especially those who might not be able to afford it, to prevail in this nation and world at this critical point in history. Funds that should be going into the storehouse of the Lord are being horribly miss-appropriated in this manner. What happened to all the millions spent over the last decade; all the man hours spent on the political process by Christians? Most went down the drain. Now people are spending money and time in a bid to corral Islam in American culture in the same manner. It's a rear-guard action. It is measured retreat. It is blindness.

£

"Where has the great commission gone amongst Christians?" Joe Holden, in an email dated 19 Sept. 2010

Where indeed....

Some thoughts. First, bible prophecy, since Hal Lindsey's "Late, Great Planet Earth was published in 1970, the "prophecy movement" has had a tremendous impact on the psyche of the Church in America, not necessarily good. The idea behind prophecy fulfilled is to validate the Word of God in the eyes of the unbelieving world, as well as motivate the Church to prepare for the future and engage in aggressive evangelism to the world. Unfortunately, through the last forty years there have been many "hirelings"—not necessarily ordained Pastors/Teachers—who have grievously mishandled the subject, primarily to sell merchandise. Bible prophecy can tend to be sensational and when presented in a lurid or unbalanced manner, not in context with the rest of Biblical truth, be quite damaging to a persona's world view, engendering fatalism, nihilism, resignation to overwhelming temporal events, and finally, despondency and fear. I saw this modeled clearly in the hysteria pre-Millennium and in the face of the Y2K threat. Remember the Y2K computer bug? It was supposed to be the meltdown of Western civilization. People like Gary Demar were predicting tanks in the streets of America and the suspension of the Constitution by Clinton. The mood was out of control. I see this same tone thriving again in some quarters.

I remember again my friend Tom Pardue contending online pre-Millennium with a high-profile Militia commander who was wielding some influence in social Conservative circles at that time. By some fluke the email list of the small circle of friends I corresponded with regularly were added to this man's private email list and he had sent out this especially hysterical email commentary predicting the impending demise of the American nation. I remember asking Tom how we should respond to this foolish nonsense. Tom proceeded to engage him in a lengthy debate that was absolutely riveting. All through private email. I captured the whole debate and still have it posted on my site. It was my first realization the potential influence the Internet had in impacting the American cultural arena. Tom was a Presbyterian Calvinist and an elder in his church as well as a proponent of Amillennialism. Over the years, there was a LOT we disagreed over. But at one point Tom told him, in part:

"...It may be God's will to grant reformation of His church instead of the pandemonium you predict. It is our duty to pray for the governing authorities that we might live in peace. Concurrently we pray that He will judge our magistrates to repentance, if that is His will. If not His will then He will judge them to destruction. This is the Christian's imprecatory prayer; that God will judge to repentance or destruction and replace ungodly men with godly men who will judge justly.

You don't know what He will do. He has granted repentance and reformation in the past. You, in your walk by sight, just pessimistically assume the worst. You are commanded to walk in the faith that God will keep His promises and protect you and your family and sustain you in whatever situation He wills to put you in. God's will be done in spite of your efforts to thwart it."

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT HE WILL DO!

Sure enough, the Y2K issue was solved [By the Asian/Indians] and many spear-heading the hysteria slinked off red-faced, embarrassed and discredited.

Let's see where else the Holy Spirit is unsettling His Church. If predictive Bible prophecies concerning particular events in the latter days scenario are true, they will certainly be visible and irrefutable.

I will assume you are well versed in the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog/Magog prophecies concerning Israel. A Russian backed Marxist/Islamist federation of nations is going to attempt to invade Israel. My personal view is that this will be triggered by some self-defense action Israel will engage in to shield themselves from the mortal threat of the Islamist bomb. The global outcry from the world, steeped in contemporary Jew hate, will then trigger a U.N. endorsed Iranian/Russian invasion under the umbrella of the same precedent setting rhetoric the Bush Administration and the "coalition of the willing" used to invade Iraq. If Bush could do it, they can do it too in the face of our current weak foreign policy posture.

Islamic Economics - Author David Jonsson[Refer to: "Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad" by David J. Jonsson, (2006) for insights into the economic influence behind the coming invasion and war.]

This is the Aug/Sept issue of the Atlantic magazine, one of the more well known national Progressive magazines. This article, "The Point of No Return — Israel is getting ready to bomb Iran, How, Why — and What It Means," by Jeffrey Goldberg has to be one of the more prescient of a half dozen papers written in recent months facing the reality of an Israeli strike on Iran and their burgeoning nuclear weapons program. I suggest you read it. It is also available online.

What impacted me about this article was the fact this a mainstream, politically left of center, secular resource, straightforwardly addressing what will be the most critical foreign policy challenge of our times. The Bible warned this was going to happen. The whole world sees this coming. We know the Bible also states how it turns out.

If this impending scenario is true, and all impartial observation and objective evidence says it is, this Islamist/Marxist alliance is about to smash themselves on the rocks of Jewish reality in the Middle East and God's plan for the nation of Israel. We need to keep in mind the gravity of this reality. These prophecies are casually tossed about in teaching and conversation with little regard to the human cost. True, these armies represent nations who have willingly aligned themselves against God and His purposes for Israel and the world. Yet, they are fathers, sons, and husbands who will enter eternity lost, and leave behind broken families and lives. Do we, knowing the grace, compassion, and forgiveness of the Lord, seriously think He will not engage in an extraordinary outreach to these nations and cultures before this happens? Seriously. And He is. Joel Rosenberg and his friends from Iran Alive ministries are already tearing up the joint out there through radio and the Internet!

It goes further.

[Direct intervention by the Holy Spirit in Middle East outreach.]

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out (Hardcover) by Ibn Warraq.Here's an interesting trend I've noticed in the Holy Spirit's work in the Middle East. I put up my AMERICA AT WAR site right after 9/11. It has since become a compilation of pretty much everything I have read (books, relevant news articles, academic papers, etc.), observed, and been involved in since then. I started receiving some weird emails from Middle East servers, most I couldn't make heads or tails of. I came to find out my web site had been listed in Ibn Warraq's "Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out." It is included in the "Sites Critical of Islam" area under the appendices, and included my personal email address.

Ibn Warraq's book is, itself, a compilation of various personal essays from people who have escaped Islam. One essay that stood out was a story of a young girl who in her personal experience had been prompted one night to "call on the name of Jesus" and subsequently gave her life to the Lord and became a Christian. Since then I have read numerous other accounts like this as well. Some of the more notable are chronicled by Joel Rosenberg in his book, "Inside the Revolution." It is clear the Holy Spirit is intervening directly in the lives of people caught right in the middle of this intractable spiritual situation in the Middle East.

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37 (KJV) They shall come to Him, with us or without is! It is a privilege to partner with the Holy Spirit in effecting that life saving relationship.

What would happen if not a single Christian in the world took up the mandate to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel? What would happen if the most vibrant, capable aspect of the Spirit-filled Church in the world today, in America, with the full resources to do otherwise, completely abandoned the Islamic Middle East as a mission field? Right, the Holy Spirit would intervene directly to reach out to the lost, just as during the Tribulation angels are proclaiming the Gospel directly to the earth. (Rev 14:6)

That being said, in recent months I have been seeing some pretty pretentious commentary generated from Christian sources here in the states that run along these lines, "Well, we don't believe this is the Spirit of God doing this, and who is this "Jesus" they are calling on, because Romans 10:14 clearly states, '' How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 (KJV)" Theological point taken.

In this impossible situation where a massive number of people are by and large walled off behind a "putrid Green Curtain," as President George Bush termed it, and the Muslim world is ignored as a mission field, the Lord is faithful, saving souls in that spiritual wasteland through direct action. I cannot imagine the embarrassment of those "tut-tutting" these stories so at the judgment of the believer's works as a gracious Father explains the need for such unorthodox measures because, perhaps, the American Church, with a global reach at their disposal and immigrant populations right in their backyard, were largely sitting on their hands at this critical point in history.

The very last ACT! For America meeting I went to, where a local author of a book making the rounds was speaking, I stopped to talk a minute with one of the organizers who is a retired pastor. The meeting had been especially incendiary against Islam and Muslims and I was on the way out for the last time. This old pastor was a little riled up and said how he was ready to "start doing a little bit more." I mentioned to him the importance of the Gospel in reaching people and he was kind of taken aback, and said yes, that was an aspect that had to do with persuasion or words to that effect. Basically, he dismissed the idea. I was truly incredulous that a man who purportedly taught the Word of God his whole life has now become so dismissive of its transformative power on people's lives. But I'm seeing and hearing this dismissive attitude from Christians every where out here.

The Holy Spirit

Some observations on how the Holy Spirit works. When all is said and done and the intellectual debate has come to a stand off, the one thing you, me, and the rest of the Church in this world has that the world does not is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, not only for the unbeliever, but ministering to other Christians.

Jesus described the Holy Spirit as a "comforter." He is also described as a "counselor." He is also described as a Spirit of Judgment and a Spirit of Fire (Isaiah 4:4) I think most people's familiarity with the Holy Spirit is of calm and quiet nuance as your spirit and the Spirit of the living God interacts, whether as you read the Bible, go to church, or just move through the day.

When I was a real young Christian, about eighteen, I was in contact again with a friend I had in elementary school. Actually, I had a crush on his older sister. Her name was Mary Lou and she was a Christian as well, a few years older than me. One night I was over at their house, for dinner I believe. As I recall, it was her, I and a few other people. She was sitting across the table from me. At that point I had a lot of hostility towards a family member because of a long train of circumstances that led to the breakup of our family a few years before—circumstances that had ultimately led me to the Lord. No matter, within the context of our conversation that evening I had made a few flippant comments about this person and Mary Lou started very quietly counseling me on the need to forgive, and no matter what they did, I should forgive them still. It was boilerplate Biblical counseling.

Now, I am not in any way exaggerating, embellishing, or overstating what happened next. I came under an immediate, overwhelming, and very violent conviction of the Holy Spirit right where I sat. My spirit, and indeed my physical heart was being squeezed like an lemon in a vice. I knew she was still talking but I really didn't comprehending what she was saying. A few moments and I had my head on my arm down on the table. I remember her asking me at one point if I was all right, and I muttered something and said I had to go home. I walked out of there feeling like Calvin after Hobbes has jumped him at the door when he gets home from school.

A few days later I found myself in a position where I had no choice but to face this family member. We made our peace. I guess it was an issue in my life the Lord was short on patience for and wasn't going to mess around with.

I'm still traumatized from that! And it's never, ever happened again. Anytime I sense the Holy Spirit crowding me because I'm out of line in something, it's like "allright allright allright!"

No one can tell me the Holy Spirit can't reach people, wayward Christians or the hardest Muslim. That is contrary to Biblical truth and precedent and personal experience.

Pastor Greg said in an interview pre-Crusade, "...We have something even more significant than a cure for cancer. We have the cure to sin, and guilt and the cure for hell and the hope for heaven." ... "How much more urgently do we need to get this message out...." He's right! We also have the hope of effectively answering Islam and the UNCERTAINTY of Heaven the people trapped in it have, with the Good News. Yet Christians—Christians!—are joining with the rest of a lost world; the mixed multitude, and are standing across the street from mosques protesting, holding signs and screaming threats at them!

We have Christian Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, and Armenian speakers, qualified communicators of the Gospel, possessing the skills to defeat the language barriers to the Middle East cultures, yet they are aligned with secular rights organizations and joining in on this disorder! This is outrageous. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be on God's short list right now. But not much further down on His list today are many Christians engaged in this completely unBiblical world view and ABANDONMENT of New Testament evangelism, especially to our own nation, at this critical time.

One comment I read in an article in response to this mosque controversy said, "...there have been people in Southwest County who have said that if the center builds the mosque, they will try and convert the Muslims to Christianity."

What? On what basis of trust? They have burned pretty much every potential bridge of outreach to them in sight!

Do you see what Satan is doing?

£

Pastor Greg has stated many times before, "If I am in the middle of a trial, I want to find out exactly what the Lord is trying to teach me so I can get out!"

On the way to the protest. "Pray for the Muslims? The Gospel? No, that won't work. I have my torch and pitchfork. I got a little sign and a little flag to wave. I'm just going to stand on the curb and yell at the cars going by." Yeah, that will change lives and minds. Under the crush of daily threatening news and impending calamities many are certain that America's demise is imminent. The Ground Zero mosque down to the ICTV mosque proposals have only brought to the surface again, the negative, the cynical, and the retreatest air of inevitability; of doom. Do you think God is going to destroy America? Seriously.

NO, God isn't going to destroy America! After Y2K and 9/11, many have been waiting around for the other shoe to drop, living carelessly. What wasted time! God didn't just spend 200 plus years building the most powerful nation in the recorded history of man as a "shining city on a hill," in Reagan's words, to collapse now in a fractured heap.

Listen to this; impose the American experience over this. Sir Thomas Hodgkin, in his extensive work, "Huns, Vandals, and the Fall of the Roman Empire," written almost a hundred years ago, addresses the purposes of nations; specifically Rome, from what caused the fall of the Roman Empire, the Lord's reasons for bringing Rome on the scene, comparisons to his homeland England, and counsel to America. He writes, in part:

"Why did the Roman Empire Fall? An adequate answer to that question would fill many volumes, and would need to spring from a deep and minute knowledge of the Roman mind, and Roman laws, and the Roman armaments, to which no pretension is here made. The answer suggested in the following pages will be confessedly imperfect and inadequate, but even the fragments of a reply to such a question can hardly be quite devoid of interest.

The Roman Empire of the West fell because it had completed its work, the time had come for it to be cut down, and to cumber the ground no longer. Its rise, its extension over nearly the whole civilized world, had been a vast blessing to humanity; its prolonged existence, even had it been governed by an endless succession of Emperors like Trajan and Marcus, would have been a bane as great as the blessing. To all the nations around the Mediterranean sea it had brought peace, discipline, the reign of law, the preparation for Christianity; but it had robbed them of liberty, and as century was added to century, the virtues of the free man were being more and more effaced by the habit of blind submission to authority ... In short, both as to the building up, and as to the pulling down of the world-Empire of Rome, we have a right to say, 'It was because the Lord God willed it so.'

... Meantime, therefore, we hold the two unreconciled beliefs, in the Almightiness of God and in the existence of evil which is his enemy. To discard either of these beliefs, or to harmonize them, we find equally impossible, and therefore we desist from the attempt, and let both grow together till the harvest. If this be true in the Universal, of the whole 'scheme and constitution of things,' we may reasonably expect to find in the Particular—for instance, in the course of European history—some events of which we may confidently say, 'God brought them to pass in order to promote the welfare of Humanity,' and others of which we can only say, 'Why this irretrievable ruin, in which apparently there lurked no germ of benefit to the Human Race, was permitted, is a mystery.' To apply these general principles to the case before us, we assert with confidence that both the arising and the fall of the Roman Empire were blessings to the human race, and that we are justified in regarding them as the handiwork of an Unseen Power, the Maker and the Friend of Man." That was up to this point one of the most eloquent observations I've read by a man stating the purposes of nations in God's story of mankind. His observations on the Roman Empire are no different for America. God has a purpose for America. Today our influence is global, for both good and bad. We are the new Rome. And new media and the Internet is the new Roman Road. Even as the first century Roman roads paved the way for the spread of the Gospel to the developed world of that time, so to the Holy Spirit is using the American developed global Internet to spread the Gospel in these latter days.

America is still here today because He is not finished with her yet; specifically, He is not done seeing the American Church's mission fulfilled yet! Yet people stand crying about the end. The American experience is all but over. There was a cook at one of the Mexican restaurants I serviced years back. He was a strange little man, like one of those characters from a Star Wars movie. From time to time I would come in and he would ask "How's it going, güerro?" and I would say something about business being slow or the weather was too hot. He would always say, "Oh, crycrycry. All the time, crycrycry" and laugh. I finally figured it out and would say things are great, and he would just laugh with this knowing look in his eyes. That guy was annoying. Oh, crycrycry.

God the Father, thundering across history to us today, ordered Moses in Exodus ..."Why do you cry unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go FORWARD...." Ex 14:15 (KJV)

Moving forward, the warning from the Lord to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation in part was:

"...Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the FIRST WORKS; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Rev 2:1-5 (KJV)

The FIRST works! The last thing Jesus directed His disciples before He left this earth was, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15 (KJV) Nothing has changed. Nothing. There is no time limit on this mandate, no special circumstances for suspension. The Marine Corps Eleven General Orders are set in stone. If you violate even one, they drop the hammer on you. Number Five states: "...To quit my post only when properly relieved." The primary mandate, from the first century to today, to the Church to preach the Gospel is no less inviolable. To be properly relieved from this mandate, we will be caught up in the rapture, or dead. That's why I have always liked the world view Pastor Greg has instilled in Harvest. In the Marines, everybody is a rifleman; trained as a rifleman. It doesn't matter who you are. Likewise at Harvest, everybody is an evangelist, no matter who you are.

Jesus told His disciples specifically, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matt 25:13 (KJV) What have people done? Continued to be pre-occupied predicting the day and the hour of Jesus' return. It has severely undermined the validity of Bible prophecy in the eyes of many people while burning up more time and precious resources.

Jesus said in the parable of the servants and talents, "...Occupy till I come." Luke 19:13 (KJV) Biblically, it means in the sense of "being taken up with a thing," "to go about," "to trade," "to exchange," and "to walk." In the words of a young Jesus, to "be about our Father's business."

Going further, Jesus said, "...Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." Matt 24:45-46 (KJV)

SO DOING. Wise and faithful shepherds and servants giving meat to His household in due season. Daily administration of the Church and preaching the Gospel to a lost and dying world, no matter the circumstances. And knowing America's recovery is in our Christian pulpits, changing hearts and minds, and by that, changing the culture, just like the Church did over two millennia ago. Why bother? Because we are ordered to.

For the Church in America? Many have completely abandoned the mandate of evangelism. "Hey, these things were predicted in scripture years back; Jesus is going to come back any moment now, so no use trying to do anything about it." This sense of selfish inevitability has led to a cultural posture of simple INACTION on the part of the Evangelicalism in America. Joe mentioned at the lecture: "Only two percent of believers in America regularly share their faith in Christ with others." (quote attributed to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, "The Coming Revival," New Life Publications, p. 65) Furthermore, The Truth Project web site gives the statistic "...Only 9 percent of professing Christians have a biblical world view. Because of this, today's believers live very similarly to non-believers. A personal sense of significance is rarely experienced, we spend our money and time on things that fail to satisfy and we begin to wonder what life's ultimate purpose really is. We are, in short, losing our bearings as a people and a nation." These are abysmal figures.

[Mention: Perhaps endorse The Truth Project. Dr. Del Tackett defines the roles between the various aspects of society; Church, government, family, law enforcement, etc.]

And Christians wonder why in this spiritually destitute environment, as we have largely FAILED to be individually obedient to our primary mandate to, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," (yet strangely find the time and energy to show up at the local protest or rally) mosques are popping up like mushrooms in the middle of the night all across America. Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Matt 5:13 (KJV)

And now a mosque promoting a belief system in direct opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and grace is being proposed to be built right across the street from a Calvary Baptist Church and CHRISTIAN people are FAILING to see the connection.

Is the Church in America laboring under divine correction right now? Yes it is. Ever growing threats without and internal troubles within. A nation that was originally founded on Judeo/Christian ideas has now grown increasingly hostile towards Biblical Christianity, and what is not Christianity will continue to be supported and grow.

£

Let's go Global

My little personal web site generates hits from all over the world every month, most from Western nations, but many from Middle East servers. The "Green Revolution," the protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and in support of opposition candidate Mousavi was Twittered from downtown Tehran as it happened. The death of Neda Agha-Soltan on the streets of Tehran was immediately uploaded to YouTube as it happened as well.

Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Councilís 2020 ProjectIn the CIA's National Intelligence Council (NIC), "Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project," (December, 2004, a government publication I recommend to anybody in leadership of any type today for its insights) the writers detail the growing influence of the Internet in the next ten/fifteen years. Quote:

· China is experiencing among the fastest rates of increase of Internet and mobile phone users in the world, according to the International Telecommunications Union, and is the leading market for broadband communication.

· Reports of growing investment by many Middle Eastern governments in developing high-speed information infrastructures, although they are not yet widely available to the population nor well-connected to the larger world, show obvious potential for the spread of democratic—and undemocratic—ideas.

· Some states will seek to control the Internet and its contents, but they will face increasing challenges as new networks offer multiple means of communicating.

· Growing connectivity also will be accompanied by the proliferation of transnational virtual communities of interest, a trend which may complicate the ability of state and global institutions to generate internal consensus and enforce decisions and could even challenge their authority and legitimacy. Groups based on common religious, cultural, ethnic or other affiliations may be torn between their national loyalties and other identities. The potential is considerable for such groups to drive national and even global political decision making on a wide range of issues normally the purview of governments.

The Internet in particular will spur the creation of global movements, which may emerge even more as a robust force in international affairs.

[Mention the resources sold through the Government Printing Office? Secular resource; invaluable insights!]

At the August 2010 Harvest Crusade, on the final night, almost 90,000 people were logged on over the Internet through the live feed server. My jaw dropped! That was almost a two-to-one ratio to those in attendance. After the Chicago Harvest Crusade, they reported the same ratio.

The Spirit-filled, Evangelical Christian in America, active in a nation with a global visibility and their private citizens with a global reach through new media, still has the original Biblical mandate, "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) The American nation has its cultural heritage founded in that mandate.

We have relatively sure safety and security from Islamic terrorism as Local and Federal law enforcement continues to patiently disrupt terrorist cells both here and abroad.

We have the social and political freedom to operate on behalf of the Gospel of Jesus Christ without harm or relative persecutionónon-existent persecution in comparison with Christians in other parts of the world who are dying daily for their faith—snarky comments directed against you on Twitter are NOT persecution. We have extraordinary opportunity as the Lord spiritually "plows the ground" in these very troubled times, both locally, nationally and globally, as people continue to look for credible answers to the challenges of our times; for credible leadership for our times. People know, even unbelievers, something is going on. People are watching us!

Nonetheless, we have this vast ideological and spiritual standoff evident all across this nation, these battle lines in this war of world-views. On the opposing side is Islamism's relationship of convenience with the varied aspects of cultural Marxism; blind proponents of religious pluralism and Progressive liberalism, and on the other Christianity and American traditionalism, with a large part of Evangelical Christianity detoured into ineffective protesting and activism, political organizing, burning up precious time and wasting huge amounts of money and endeavoring to corral thorough legislation an ever encroaching darkness while the Gospel and evangelism is largely abandoned Ö and losing ground fast, as if the Lord will destroy the land. With everything the Lord has led me through the last few months, the final observation and conclusion is a large segment of the Spirit-filled Church in America has gone so far off mission it has careened into the pathetic. And no one to stand in the gap.

£

Out of this chaotic and confused state of affairs I found myself here on that Thursday night of the lecture. I had never heard of Joe Holden and Veritas. Joe Holden, and Robert Heckler, and Steve Keeney, and by default all of Veritas Evangelical Seminary, proceeded to step into that gap between these warring factions and delivered what I still believe to be to this point the most clear Biblical response to, not only the ICTV issue, but the Ground Zero mosque; to the rise of Islam in America. I couldn't get a hold of the microphone at the question and answer session because it was being monopolized by the local activists with their political statements so at the end muscled through the crowd and accosted Joe at the podium to get his email address. I don't remember the drive home. It felt like ten minutes. I am a witness yet again the Lord provides exactly what you need, at exactly the right time you need it.

A promise of God states "...So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." Isaiah 59:19 (KJV) The Lord raised His flag, His starndard right here at Veritas on that Thursday night; I think that is a big deal!

That I was expected by the Lord to back these guys up went without saying. It was like, "YEAH!" The Lord would not have had me there otherwise. I had a number of people who were waiting for a debriefing on the evening, so over the next couple days I wrote "Holden in the Gap." I remember when I ran it by Joe, I simply said "Well, here it is. A few loaves and fishes." All we got. It's not much, but the Lord has done more with less.

After we did a little editing I posted it on my site and emailed it out. There were a few very positive responses. But with them there were the typical and not surprising from some of the people I had been affiliated with. One wrote a bitter public rebuttal to the article on an email list we are on, saying, "Based on your report, It appears that Mr. Holden is either passive, ignorant, PC and/or or a compromiser. Or perhaps all of the above." This one individual and I had words and I had to cut off communications with him. We had known each other a long time, but after a long history of the same unBiblical conduct concerning dealing with Islam and other issues, the Proverbial directive to "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge" came into play. You'll find that sometimes in life, you will have to do that with some people, even friends; these one sided relationships. It gets to the point they are more a hindrance than a help. Within the reality of today's socio-political convergence of so many negative factors that have brought us to the borders of civil conflict, with no easy answers to those rebelling against God's correction, it is the qualified, and the equipped, and the professional once again taking the lead.

When we started I mentioned my lack of academic credentials and documented training. I was just messing with you. Actually, I am credentialed, just nothing tangible. But the Lord knows. Joe; he knows. I am a sworn officer and an enlisted soldier in the unseen army of the kingdom of Heaven; battle tested. I am an ambassador of the kingdom of Heaven in His foreign service. And so are you. These are Biblical designations I hold with gravity knowing one day I will stand before the Lord and answer for my conduct in these fields. Oh my, I've seen Him like Moses and Isaiah did. Others have lost that perspective.

More than these, I am a son in my Father's house, responsible for the well-being of my eternal family. As a son, it is my hope to convey a sense of urgency concerning these times and trends not only to you but everyone who will read this afterward. Yes, the Church is facing perilous times. Yes, the threat from Islam and Islamist inspired terrorism is real. Yet the Lord, from way back to the vanishing point knew that you, me, every Christian alive today here in America was going to be here facing these huge challenges we are facing. The logical conclusion is that He would provide for, protect, and most importantly equip us, not only to survive, but to thrive in these times.

But as the persecution that started with the nascent Church in Jerusalem had a purpose to drive them out from their comfort zones and into the wider world; likewise the pressure the Lord is bringing to bear on the Church here in fortress America these past few decades is serving that same purpose. We as American Christians have a mission today that is unique and exceptional at this time which is incapable of being completed by any other element of the Spirit-filled church in the world today. The Church in China? South America? Europe? Think about that. WE have a global mic; WE have a global audience in these latter days. From Temecula to Tennessee, to New York to the heart of Tehran, Iran. May we step up to that mic!

I sure hope you stand with me and Joe and the rest of the senior staff here to see the value to these things and at the least pray that the Holy Spirit moves powerfully in the days and weeks ahead to align His Church here in America with His latter days purposes. The clock is ticking. Joe said in his initial statement as this Islamic Center of the Temecula Valley issue started heating up this was a golden opportunity to share the Gospel. Actually, that was an understatement. This opportunity is unprecedented! In Church history; in world history. Whether in the next few weeks as the ICTV issue plays out in the city council, or the Ground Zero mosque and its high profile position plays out nationally, may Evangelical Christianity dump all this other trash we just waded through and return to their New Testament model in the book of Acts to be the Lord's clear voice of appeal to the nation and world at this critical time.

I said earlier the Lord always provides exactly what you need at exactly the right time. This is true. I really, REALLY needed to be here today. I appreciate your hospitality.                [END]





[.PDF of original community lecture debriefing]












This document is the sermon notes to the 11 October, 2010, lecture I was
asked to give by Joe Holden to his Evangelism and World Religions class.




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