American idol and freedom of religion

We Americans enjoy our freedoms. Freedom of religion is a cherished right of our citizenship here for which many have died and I am truly thankful for. This freedom is allowing me to speak of Christ in my blog and proclaim his name each Sunday at Eden Bible Church without governmental interference. But with privilege there comes responsibility, so ponder with me for a moment where freedom of religion has led us.

Have you ever considered that this very freedom that we enjoy has led America into idolatry? Every form of religion imaginable has been practiced under the safety of the stars and stripes. People are free to choose their faith, or we can choose atheism, or be agnostic and indifferent.  We all have a chosen belief system that governs our thinking and behavior, it is inescapable.

Whatever choice we make, as with all life choices, we are never free from the consequences of them. Our liberties have brewed for us a cauldron of religious alphabet soup in this land. Americans sit at a buffet table of religion and are confused in the mixed up mess. I believe we are now reaping the consequences of our freedom of religion which has led us into idolatry.

Most become politically correct, indifferent, tolerant, and “loving” by accepting every form of worship as legit and say, “If it’s good for you who am I to so anything to the contrary.”

What should my Christian response be to a society that has a synagogue, a temple, a shrine a mosque and a myriad of churches in every village, town and city of this land? Are we to rejoice in religious diversity or be provoked in our spirits at how idolatrous this country we has become? America and ancient Athens have much in common for we both have a pantheon of gods. What message does a Christian have today in an America that is up to its eyebrows in gods and religion?

Paul was moved to speak to the Athenians and I believe he would be declaring the same message to American’s today as well. (Acts 17:22-34) He preaches that God is Creator and has gives life and breath to all things. (sadly, creationism is widely rejected among “Christians” today) He announces his sovereign rule over men and  nations. (Jesus is Lord and Christ is also rejected today) He also informs them that God is not found in icons and idols. Paul adds that there was a time when God overlooked what they were doing in Athens and what America is currently doing today, but no more. Indifference, apathy and freedom of religion was permanently done away with by God after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus his Son.So Paul says this to Athens and to Americans “The times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands (Yes, he commands!) all people everywhere to repent.” Why Paul? “Because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) That’s right, we will all stand before Judge Jesus and he does not tolerate any other gods before him. We are only free to worship him and no other.


Freedom of religion is a lie. All men are commanded to bow to Jesus and all men will bow eventually in this life or in the judgement that is to come. “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) Bow now….bow later…but all will bow and confess him as Lord to the praise of God.

I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God – Isaiah 45:5a

The face of addiction

Overdose. What does that word conjure up in your mind? Put a face to the word overdose and who do you see?


The face of our Jacob; a college freshman addicted to prescription pain medication

I know what it means for me because that is how my son and nephew died. Just ten months apart Justin overdosed on heroin and Jacob overdosed on prescription meds.

I have asked myself the question,”Where did I fail as a father?” I didn’t fail to love my son nor did I fail to educate him about the dangers of drug abuse. As parents we provided every opportunity possible for him to live a productive and wholesome life. He was involved in school musicals, choir, football and wrestling. He was a good student and he was active in church youth group. We lived our Christian faith in front of him as best as our frail flesh could. Jesus sat with us at the dinner table and we gave him thanks for his provision. Yet here I sit, my son is gone and I ask myself again, “Where did I fail as a father?” One concerned but totally ignorant older man asked me if I failed to educated him about the dangers of drugs at a young age. As if that would have prevented the March 26th 2014 overdose in the basement of our home. That is just stupid.

I wish… (I only think this and never would 😉 say it) I wish ignorant people would shut their big yappers. Nothing inflames me more than hearing people pontificate about an issue they are truly ignorant about. I have discovered these are generally older people who have created a false stereotype of drug addicts. (Yes, I just profiled and stereotyped some old people) They read a pamphlet or watch a documentary and have decided that there is a solution to the problem. So they go on a crusade  and campaign against drug use to stop the madness. They assume there was a failure in the home, or perhaps they missed out on the DARE program and demand more education, laws, and law enforcement from their senators. Surely money, education and activism will slow and stop this societal blight.

My son did not die of an overdose because he lacked education, or love, or nurturing. Will education, law enforcement, governmental regulations and programs stop overdoses? It may curb the problem but there will never be enough money, police, or rehab centers to end this deadly issue that seeps into all places of our society. Love can’t stop it, government can’t stop it, money, law enforcement, education and whatever other method devised by man may curb it but drug overdoses are here to stay. I am pretty sure the statistics are telling us that overdoses are on the rise despite all the money thrown at it to slow it down. So I just refuse to join that parade around the block.

Don’t get me wrong, I reach out where I can and I support education, legislation, law enforcement and rehab centers. But as a Christian who has lost a son to an overdose I do not deeply involve myself in battles that offer little change and no lasting hope. For me it’s like shadow boxing with the expectation of landing a knockout punch on a phantom opponent. I am in a fight however but my strategy is very different from most. I am offering hope over more than drug addition. I present real lasting hope for all people over every addiction known to man through the chain breaking power of Jesus Christ. He alone beat death. It was foretold to us, it came to pass and now he offers all people freedom from the chains and abundant life in his name. This is good news and available to everyone by faith in his name.

Let’s face it; we all are addicts, we are all slaves to something. The following is God’s diagnosis of our slavish condition. “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)  We are terminal but God prescribed the cure; faith in his Son, which is a difficult pill to swallow for most.

Our addictions are just symptoms of the disease that is killing us. We are all born with a spiritual and terminal disease called unbelief that manifests its symptoms in many fleshly ways. Jesus offered the cure to the religious leaders of his day but they refused it. He said to them,  “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24)

We are all slaves to our passions and pleasures until the shackles are unlocked and the chains drop away never to bind us again. Paul explains, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves to sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17)

When Jesus sets us free we are truly free for the first time. Free from guilt, free from shame, free from hiding, free from sin and alive to God.

There are only two kinds of people in the world. Slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness; slaves to hedonism or slaves to Jesus. Every man will someday overdose, oh maybe not on drugs but we will all die because our preferred addictions. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

But God has provided a cure…”but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Any other treatment plan for the disease has no power to deliver anybody from death.

I offer hope, this is my crusade if you will. It is my calling and it is my primary duty as a believer. Jesus is the bondage breaker, he defeated death and is seated at the right hand of God offering life and liberty by grace through faith in him. Believe on him, trust him, seek his face. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8)

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:25-26)