Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Stand & Speak: March for Life 2015

January 22nd, 2015 3 comments

march for life1

I had the privilege today  of speaking at the Northwest Indiana March for Life Rally. Here is a written copy of my speech on behalf of the unborn and those who are courageously standing in their defense.

Stand & Speak
The Prophetic Voice of the Church
Dr. Ron Johnson
Northwest Indiana March for Life
January 22, 2015

I want to thank you for the great privilege of addressing you today as hundreds of thousands of Americans will be gathering in on nation’s Capital and in local communities like ours to be a prophetic voice for the unborn on behalf of Christ and His Church.

It is never pleasant to stand outside this or any other abortion mill. It is sobering and sickening to realize that every week we allow innocent unborn Americans to be slaughtered right in our own backyard. It is sickening to think of the men, women and families that will be devastated by the painful consequences of the lie of pro-choice.

And, like you, I am stunned by the darkness hanging like an ominous dark cloud over our nation, a deception so deep we are unable to recognize the unspeakable injustice and horror of abortion and unwilling to do anything to stop it. How have we become so callous, so cowardly and so complicit to the evil all around us?

I am not standing here today to be a prophet of doom and gloom. As Christians, we forever remain prisoners of hope. God is always on the move. The efforts of the pro-life community are making a huge difference both here and across the nation. I am here today to simply encourage your heart and to challenge us all to be the prophetic voice Christ has called us to be.

I want to direct our attention to the second chapter of Acts. If you know your Bible, you’ll recall this chapter gives the account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ. What I want you to see is the unlikely way God chooses to work to accomplish His purposes.

First of all, why choose Jerusalem as the place to birth the Church? This is the city where the Son of God and the promised Messiah was brutally murdered. It was a placed filled with darkness and deception. After seeing the miracles and the ministry of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), how could they kill the Author of Life? And who would think of planting the Church in such a wicked place? It’s an unlikely choice.

And secondly, why would God allow such an unlikely candidate as Peter to deliver the first sermon? This is the guy who denied Christ three times. Couldn’t Jesus pick a better spokesman for His movement? How will a coward like Peter be able to preach to such a hostile crowd in such a wicked city? Peter is an unlikely choice.

And let’s not overlook the unlikely message he was preaching. A message that says, “No matter what you’ve done, whatever evil acts you have committed, there is forgiveness and mercy in Christ. Jesus not only forgives, he also redeems and transforms. If you repent and place your trust in Him, He will turn you into a new person.” What an unlikely message of good news to a people so undeserving of anything but judgment.

Perhaps that’s exactly why Peter is the preacher. He is the poster child of personal transformation. In Acts 2:14 we read, “Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them…” This verse gives us a model of what our Lord expects from us today.

First, Peter STOOD. This takes COURAGE. Standing for the TRUTH has always taken courage. There are many professing Christians who are content to remain comfortably seated within the safety of our places of worship. They argue we should limit our focus to getting people ready for the next life and not worry about abortion or any of the cultural evils of this life. How quickly they forget the example of Daniel who stood boldly in the face of idolatry and publicly refused to stay seated. He stood boldly for truth and so should we.

However, he didn’t stand alone. The Bible tells us he stood with the eleven. We are reminded to stand for truth in COMMUNITY. We need each other. That’s why events likes these are critical for sustaining the strength and vitality of our cause. Courage is caught before it is taught. We act courageously when we fellowship with courageous people. We can gather with men like Saul or we can join the ranks of leaders like David. David was a giant killer. Saul was a giant talker. David’s men slew giants. Saul’s men ran from giants. Stay connected with men and women who love Jesus and hate evil.

Finally, when Peter stood he had something to say. He spoke with CONVICTION. Do you remember the time when Herod had John the Baptist arrested and thrown in jail? What was John’s crime? He had the courage to tell the King that his sex life was out of bounds and in clear disobedience to God’s commands. John told Herod it was against God’s law for him to marry his brother’s wife (Matthew 14:3-4). Here we see the proper role of the Church being a prophetic voice to government.

It’s why we are here today to boldly declare that the shedding of innocent blood is an abomination to God and a stain on our great nation, and that God’s judgment will fall on our nation if we persist in this great wickedness. We stand here on the basis of our biblical convictions and not on what is culturally convenient or politically correct.

There are those today who mistakenly believe God’s commands apply only to Christians. They argue that abortion may be wrong for you but it is perfectly okay for me. And due to the modern perversion of the founder’s understanding of the separation of church and state, religious people need to keep their mouths shut and mind their own business!

The truth is God’s Word is not true because we choose to believe it. God’s Word is true whether we acknowledge and submit to it or not! Our job, as the Church, is to stand and speak the Truth with courage and conviction.

The good news is that, if we’ll do our part, God will do what only He can do. As Peter declared the good news, the Holy Spirit was moving on the hard, wicked hearts of the people. The Bible says they were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37) and they wanted to know what they needed to do to live a life pleasing to God.

If the Church will stand together in unity and speak the truth, the good news, with love, conviction and courage, God will transform people and transformed people will reform our nation.

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Encouragement for Cultural Warriors from the Coach

January 12th, 2014 3 comments


Vince Lombardi, the storied coach of the Green Bay Packers, was an astute student of human nature. He was familiar with the weaknesses of mere humans and possessed a special ability to inspire the men he led to achieve great accomplishments, both on and off of the football field. His inspirational life was filled with pithy nuggets of wisdom. One of my personal favorites is this one:

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Have you ever been there? It’s so easy to get weary in well-doing, especially when there seems to be an unrelenting assault on our most cherished values accompanied by overwhelming feelings of helplessness as to what I can actually do about it!

In his book, Dream Energy, author and business consultant, Bobb Biehl, addresses the problems we face when we are fatigued. He writes, “Not only do humans get cowardly and timid and security-oriented when they’re fatigued, they also tend to get introspective and negative. They question, ‘Can I do it? Am I going to make it? Will it work?’ As a result, they begin settling for the “realities of life” or “the way things are.”

For those who have been actively engaged in the cultural battles before us, Biehl’s analysis is all too accurate. In fact, there are many good people who have thrown in the towel and chosen a more restful and reflective life rather than jumping back into the ring to re-join the cause. They are tired. They can’t add another thing to their plates. What difference does it make, anyway?

If that’s you, listen up! Recognize the root of your problem. You have grown weary. You’re tired. Fatigued. Be encouraged! There’s a solution for fatigue. Here’s a few practical things I do to keep my battery charged and my head, and heart, in the game.

1. Honor the Lord’s Day: Honor the Lord and set aside Sunday to worship Him and to unplug. No work. No calls. No emails. Re-connect with Jesus. Make sure your relationship with Him is fresh and current.

2. Prioritize Time with Your Spouse: Your spouse should be a source of encouragement and refreshing. Every soldier needs to be able to retreat from the front lines to a place of renewal safely away from the bullets and bombs of life. Schedule time to be alone with your spouse.

3. Exercise: This is a hard one. As your responsibilities increase so do the complexities of life. I have a large family and multiple hats. Life is crazy. Time is at a premium. Yet I must prioritize the care of my body or everything literally shuts down. What you like to do varies. The point is, do something. It will relieve stress, clear your mind and renew your strength.

4. Pray About Everything: When the battle gets intense, pray. Seek the Lord at the start of each day. Give your efforts to Him. Seek His wisdom and favor. And then trust Him for all you need. Or you can just freak out, throw something and scream until you have a stroke or a nervous breakdown!

5. Meditate on God’s Word First: Some people begin their day reading the newspaper or listening to the talking heads on the news. Then they wonder why they are becoming increasingly cynical and jaded. Instead of listening to the ones who report on the news, why not learn from the One who is the Lord of History itself. Listen to what the Creator and Ruler of the planet has to say. Place greater value in His perspective. Learn to see life through His eyes. Hear what He says about the issue. This will fill you with faith as you head out to face Goliath.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it represents five best practices, five smooth stones,  that have helped me avoid cowardice by staying in a place of ongoing refreshing. Where’s that giant?!

The Face of Courage (4)

December 9th, 2011 1 comment

In the book of Job (39:19-25, Message), we see a powerful description of a stallion that has been trained for the battle. This account helps to put a “face” on courage. The first ingredient we discussed was “Righteous Anger.” We must have a holy hatred for sin before we have the courage to stand against it. The second face of courage is involves “Radical Preparation.” Courageous people are prepared. Preparation is the breeding ground of courage. Our third point was that the courageous “Radiate Confidence.” This confidence makes them cool under the pressures of war.

This leads to our final “face.” The courageous “Rejoice in the Day of Battle.” Once again, look at the example of the war horse:

He quivers with excitement, and at the trumpet blast
races off at a gallop.
At the sound of the trumpet he neighs mightily,
smelling the excitement of battle from a long way off,
catching the rolling thunder of the war cries.

When conflict or opposition arises, many Christians look for the bomb shelter! They want nothing to do with warfare. They love churches that make them feel comfortable, safe and secure.

However, this is not the apostolic, overcoming, militant Church which Jesus purchased at the price of His own blood. God is looking for a people who look forward to engaging in God’s battles. While we all would prefer times of peace over seasons of war (Ecclesiastes 3:8), we nonetheless are called to put on the armor of God so that we can stand strong in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13).

And make no mistake, we are living in evil days. The signs of cultural decay are all around us. We have leaders actively promoting wickedness, calling “good” what God has clearly marked “evil.” It’s time for the Church of Jesus Christ to recapture our zeal for righteousness and our excitement at the smell of a worthy battle.

It’s time for courageous men to lead! The Bible tells us,

“When the princes in Israel take the lead,
when the people willingly offer themselves—
praise the LORD! (Judges 5:1, 2)

When men of God lead the way, the people will follow. Courage, like fear, is a spirit that can be caught by those around us. Are you inspiring people to live bold, courageous lives for Christ or are you living a “play-it-safe”, fear-bound, maintain the status quo, bury your head in the sand, “sure hope Jesus comes soon”, cultural Christianity?

It’s time to run to the battle!

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