I so appreciate you mentioning Steve. I’ve been married to my wife Holly for 42 years now and to me she is still smoking hot, and I was speaking recently in Washington at the Hilton. About a thousand people were there and I and Holly was able to attend. I introduced her in this politically correct city, I said, I want you all to meet my wife. Holly, stand up and now, you young guys, you want to know what to look for? Stand up wave to these people. This is smoking hot Holly. And people just began to laugh and applaud. I think they like to see people that are still in love after all these years.
Well, you know they give comment cards, and they told me well, two women wrote on their comment cards, out of a thousand people, that they were offended that that was demeaning to women to call your wife smoking hot. I said, I’ll tell you about their lives; it rhymes with which. I remember the first time I saw Holly we were on a Young Life trip. I thought, good Lord, she’s gorgeous, then she turned around and I thought, she’s pretty from the front side as well. Did you want to have a men’s group this morning or not?
We had Richard up to Washington D.C. to speak and he was lights out, home run. Our men loved him. I’m so proud of Richard. I do two events, I go all over the country and out of the country, and in February the Marines have invited me to come to, Bahrain, where is that it’s on the Persian Gulf. Yeah. Dan Roberts, my host here in Birmingham, is gonna go with me to speak to Marines and so, I go around the country and I speak to men and it’s all the same. The message I’m going to share with you today is not going to be a feel-good message. It’s going to be a big boy message because of our country and our culture’s at a serious point and we’re the remnant and in the Scriptures it’s always the remnant that saves the city but that’s why I’m so proud of Richard what he’s done. He is a treasure in my opinion to Birmingham Alabama. My two southern events that I do regularly every year, one’s in Atlanta where my wife’s from and then I do one here in Birmingham in Alabama where I’m from I always loved my Alabama homecoming, but I would ride trail anywhere in the world with Richard Simmons. He is my idea of what a man ought to be, and he introduced his staff but Richard, I’d like the men just to give you a thank you for what you’ve done here in Birmingham.
Well, I got to play golf at Vestavia Country Club. I got out of Washington and came down here to get in this beautiful balmy Alabama weather and sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you think it does. I just read this about a Minnesota couple who decided to vacation in Florida during the winter. They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedule, so the husband left Minnesota, flew to Florida on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife, however, he accidentally left out one letter on the email address and without realizing it, he sent the email. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, Texas, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister of many years who was called home to glory after a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from the relatives and friends and after reading the first message, she fainted and fell right on the floor. The widow’s son rushed in and found his mother on the floor. He walked over to the computer, he looked at the screen which read, “To my loving wife. I have arrived. I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you’re allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I just arrived and I’ve been checked in. I see everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then. Hope your journey is not as uneventful as mine was. P.S. it’s hot as hell down here.
You know when I come home to Alabama, I really have a joy seeing a lot of my old friends. An old, old friend from Montgomery and his buddy, Glenn Draper and Paul Payne, got up at 4:00 something and came up here from Montgomery. Paul, where are you guys? Oh, on the upper deck. Nice seats fellas. Way to go. Losers. I’m always somewhat melancholy. I began to think back, I’ve jotted some things down as I was sitting by my bedside last night. You know, in my mind’s eye I’m once again in Cloverdale in Montgomery Alabama. It was like Mayberry; it really was.
I pine over the days when I walked to school. We went barefoot until the seventh grade in Montgomery. All the windows were open in homes, and I could hear music come out of the homes. If we had a key to our house, I never saw it. Every morning they used to read the Bible to us over the loudspeaker and say a prayer in our classes. Our teachers were true masters and we revered them for their knowledge and their professionalism and their love for us. We all loved our school, we loved our neighborhood, and for the most part we loved each other. Our coaches on our athletic teams were like fathers to us. One of those is here today, Coach Snoozy Jones. I thank him every time I see him. Snoozy was one of my coaches that loved me and believed in me and, as he did all his boys, and you’re his boy forever for life. Children ran through the neighborhood just as they please. No one thought for a moment they weren’t safe. The only rule was home before the streetlights get on. Can you imagine that today? Not even knowing where they are, not even having one thought about it. You know, we slept under fans with open windows. I remember standing on the football field one day around sunset at Cloverdale Junior High watching hundreds of swallows swirl around the smokestack over the cafeteria. There were red and orange clouds behind it, and I thought this was glorious. I would think thoughts like that as a 9th grader. I remember all the clover on the field. That was our home. That was Alabama, but as Margaret Mitchell has so prophetically penned, it’s Gone with the Wind.
You know, I’ve been meeting with a lot of our senior leaders that know Christ in Washington and I’m just here to tell you this morning, it’s not like you don’t know it, but I want to drive a stake in the ground. We are the remnant now. In the Bible it’s always the remnant that saves the country, but I was haunted by one of the godliest men that I know, a veteran up on Capitol Hill in our United States Congress. I spotted him out in the audience, I was speaking at a large hotel, and he came up he came up to me when it was over, and he threw both his arms over my shoulders and slumped his head and looked at me. This man is revered not only in our country but in many, many places around the world and he said, Jerry, I want you to come up to my office. I need a chaplain. I need somebody to speak to. Apart from a miracle, people just don’t understand, we’re going down.
You know, when I think of Cloverdale, that was the country we used to have, but it’s not like that anymore. Many cultures don’t recover from the place that we’re in. You know, you ask yourself what in the world happened? God bless America. We all want God to bless America, but all of us know that in recent decades, God has been banished from the so-called public square in American Life. He’s been evicted from education, from law, from the workplace. In some schools, children are not allowed to draw picture of the Nativity at Christmas time. Indeed, a couple of years ago a judge told a school valedictorian, if you mention the name Jesus in your valedictory address, you will wish you had never been born. When 9/11 and the terrorist attacks happened, God Bless America signs were up all over our country, on marquees, even on porn shops some were spotted. So, after 9/11, to borrow a phrase from R.C. Sproul, God was allowed off the reservation for a few months to fulfill His responsibility to bless us. His responsibility is to bless us, but once our nation felt secure again, God was safely tucked away. Church attendance declined and the so-called wall of separation of church and state was built a notch higher. God is even less welcome now in the affairs of our public life than he was in 9/11. Recently a little girl wearing a chastity bracelet signifying her intention to be a virgin until she married, it was banned from school, and it was deemed as religious. Clearly the God who was briefly allowed to re-enter the American public life, it’s not the God of the Bible.
Unfortunately, many Christian ministries have actually supported this mythological God and they’ve misrepresented our Lord and we say Lord. In Latin that means boss, commander-in-chief. In all capital letters they’ve represented Jesus as our personal assistant to make your life better. He’s not our personal assistant. He’s God Almighty. He’s the light of the world. He’s not the moon, that’s a reflection. He’s the Sun, that’s the source. He’s the creator. The great Apostle John who wrote five books in the Bible had a vision of Christ and he said, when I saw Christ, His face shone as the Sun in the noonday strength and he said, I fell at his feet as a dead man. Here’s a man who wrote five books in the Bible. He got a glimpse of Jesus and just dropped at his feet. Do you notice in the Bible, if you’ve ever read through the Bible, everybody that gets in the presence of God somehow goes down. All the Roman cohort, which would have been hundreds of soldiers, they thought there could have been a mob scene there that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, they said, whom do you seek, he said, Jesus. I am He, and they fell back to the ground. That’s who Jesus actually is. We’ve tried to make Him our personal assistant. He’s a deity without sovereign R.C. Sproul says, a God without wrath, a judge without judgment, a force without power. The God who was allowed off the reservation was a God that was only allowed to bless us but not to judge us. Listen to the words of Moses. He said, see, today I’m setting before you a blessing and a curse. A blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I commanded you today and a curse if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord but turn aside from that way that I am commanding you today to go after other gods that you have not known. Moses used language there about being blessed or cursed. Now I know in Christian bookstores they sell like a little bread ceramic thing and all these little promises of God. You know, they don’t sell you one with all the curses of God. We don’t want to hear about that. We don’t want to hear about that, but you know, if you go through the scripture, the word blessing is mentioned four hundred-plus times. Do you know the word curse is mentioned two hundred-plus times? Do I believe in curses? I’ve lived one. I really believe with all my heart, and I do counseling with men, and this brother back here that counsels, I’m sure he’d be one of the first to agree with me, I feel my family had been under a generational curse. You see this in families, string and string, generation and generation, of addictions, divorce, violence in my family.
I was the first to find Jesus Christ or rather He found me. They took me to a Young Life camp out in Colorado. I wasn’t even sure where I was. It was just a free trip to Colorado they invited me on. I heard the Gospel, and it was like a spear that went right through my heart. I left that room that night and I went out in the woods there in Colorado and just wept. I didn’t want another man to see me weep because I was taught men don’t let on, you don’t cry in front of other men. I was always taught, suck it up, don’t cry, but I let it out man. Christ came in and healed me and I went home, and I began to tell everybody in my family about Christ. Now, I didn’t even know you were supposed to be ashamed of Christ. I didn’t even know it was witnessing. I hadn’t been around the Christians to learn that part yet. I was just fired up about Jesus and I didn’t give a damn about what anybody thought about what I said about Jesus. Matter of fact, when you come to think about it, why would you care what anybody going to hell thinks about what you have to say about Jesus. It doesn’t even make sense. You’ve heard me say this before. Well, I said in between visits with you, I always have people come up and say, I can’t believe you believe in hell. I don’t believe in it. I said, well, good for you. You won’t be there three seconds before you entirely change your mind. Let me know how it works out for you. Jesus Christ said don’t fear Him in Luke chapter 12 who could just kill the body, but he can’t cast you into hell. Fear the one who can kill your body and cast you into hell.
I mention hell to people. I don’t want to go to hell. Matter of fact, I saw a bumper sticker on a dairy truck out in Nebraska one time, it said, read the Bible, it’ll scare the hell out of you. I thought that’s pretty good advice from that dude. You know, the lesson I’ve been teaching to a lot of my men recently is from the book of Judges. When Deborah was the judge. It’s interesting; Deborah was like the Israeli’s mother. She was revered. She wasn’t advancing women or anything like that. She was their mother. They had their heart. Deborah was described as a woman being well acquainted with God. You know, reading the story of Deborah reminds me of my wife Holly. She’s well acquainted with God. I want to read a scripture to you from the book of Judges, chapter 4.
When Ehud was dead the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. Ehud was a godly leader and they had had forty years of peace and what happens when you have forty years of peace and you’re just on autopilot? You become complacent. And so, they forgot God. They forgot God and when they forgot God, they begin to do evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord sold them over to the Canaanites. Now that’s very interesting language. Men, I just want to tell you if this is the last time I’m down here in my life, well, that’s what it’ll be, but I’m here to tell you, I am in touch with guys just like me around the country and they all seem to be blowing this same trumpet blast.
I’ve never really given talks like this because I’m such an optimist and then I thought some people are just trying to get attention when they go around try to shake people up and things like that, but I’m here to tell you now, we’re there. I’m blowing the trumpet. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know we have forgotten God as a nation. Our president said the Gettysburg Address the other day and didn’t mention, purposely took God out of the speech. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, guys. I could tell you a lot of things that, as you could guess, I can’t mention on a piece that’s being recorded, but you can imagine, and you know it’s true. They forgot God and God sold them over. Now, this is a form of the wrath of God. When you read the Bible, the wrath of God takes four distinct forms. The first is eternal wrath; it’s the eternal wrath of God. The second is what they call the eschatological wrath of God; that’s the wrath of God that will be unleashed on Judgment Day, the end times. The third form of wrath taught in the Bible is reaping and sowing; you call fire in on yourself, and by the way, when you call fire in on yourself, you call it in on all those around you. It’s never just your life. You call it in on your own family, on your loved ones that are around you. That’s reaping and sowing. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. The fourth type of wrath of God that’s mentioned is abandonment. Abandonment. And that’s what the Israelis were experiencing here. They forgot God, they abandoned God, so God abandoned them. You know the first two kinds of wrath are made very clear in the book of Revelation. It reads like this.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them, and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God and the books were opened.
Plural. Now these books that are opened, they are books that tell everything you’ve ever thought, everything you’ve ever said, or everything you’ve ever done.
The books were opened, and another book was opened which was called the book of life and the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, death and Hades delivered up the dead that were in it, and they were judged each according to his works, then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death, and anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
You can read that in Revelations chapter 20.
Well, Deborah was well acquainted with God. She knew what they needed was national repentance. Repentance. She called a general named Barak and she said you need to raise an army of 10,000 men. We got to defeat the bad guys. God’s told me it’s game on. You know, he went around, and he recruited an army of 10,000 people from all the tribes of Israel, but I want to tell you right now, there were several tribes that declined their service to the Lord. They didn’t join God’s team for God’s purposes and God’s people. They said, no thanks, we’ll stay at home with our sheep, with our boats with our docks, with our sea walls, we’re not going, we decline our service to God, mostly for our businesses and our personal little lives. What’s so damning, they won this battle. God just miraculously gave them a victory. The enemy had nine hundred chariots retrofitted with armor. For that day and age those were like Panzer tanks. Not even a Sherman in World War II could stand up to a tiger. I mean, US soldiers would see tigers coming and if they were in Shermans, they’d get out and run. This would be like foot soldiers encountering tigers. Israelis didn’t even have weapons they had like plows, you know, pitchforks and things like that. God sent a deluge in the rain, the river swelled over, and those heavy iron chariots sunk in the mud, and the Israelis got a miracle that day, and they routed the Canaanites, the king jumped out of one of his precious iron chariots and ran down the road. He was killed by a woman. She took a tent peg and drove it through his ear and basically nailed his head to the ground.
Now here’s what I love about Deborah and her general Barak. When she called the general and said I want you to raise an army. Men, I’m praying God will raise an army of guys just like me and you around our country and we’d stop sitting around on our ass. Those of you that name the name Christ, if you’re double minded playing around, it’s too late for that crap. That’s just rearranging furniture on the deck of the Titanic. This is no time for weak messages from weak messengers. If you go to a church where they’re just playing around entertaining you or giving you candy little messages, you better find somebody else, you better find yourself a wingman and a group of guys to get with that are chasing after Christ, or I’m going to tell you, you’ll remember what I’m telling you this day, you’ll get rolled like dice with what’s coming. Now this general told Deborah, he said, I’ll be the general, I’ll go in the battle if you go with me. Now some of the men I was teaching in a small group, we stopped and discussed that, and I said, what do you think about that, and they said, oh, that general was a wimp. I said no he wasn’t. That general’s me. He knew Deborah was well acquainted with God. He said, if I’m going into battle, I want a Godly, Godly person whispering in my ear, and you know she kept telling him two things that gave the general courage, because he was a tactician. He knew about nine hundred chariots retrofitted with iron. He knew intellectually thirty ways this couldn’t work. His faith was wobbly, but he was wise enough to know to surround himself and adopt for himself a wing man who was well acquainted with God, whose faith just was strong. She kept telling him, general, today’s the day. This is our time. God’s with us.
This really is the time, men of God. If you want to be on Christ’s team this is it, game on. Now if you want to decline your service and just butt-sit back home and you don’t want to join God’s army, those of you that haven’t signed up yet, I’m not mad at you and I’m not putting you down, I’m just telling you the truth, that’s my job. As a minister the Lord, my job is to look in the face of God and come and stand before men like you and remind you who your God is and who you are and who I am. After this battle, Deborah writes the song of Deborah. It’s famous. It was sung for generations upon generations. This happened 3500 plus years ago and in that song, she shames the men who declined the battle. She shames them, and this has been sung for over 3,000 years.
There were great resolves. When did you sit among the sheepfolds to hear the pipings of the flock, the divisions of Reuben?
Reuben said I’m not going, and my boys, we’re just going to stay home.
Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. Why did Dan remain on his ships? Asher continued at the seashore and stayed by his inlets, but Zebulon …
Now she honors the men who were in the battle, active in the battle, not watching through heavy lenses. Zebulon, on the heights of the battlefield, jeopardized their lives to the point of death, and she runs through the men who joined up, put the jersey on and offered God their service, whatever they could do. Men, I’m sent here to call you. If you’re a marginal Christian, if you’re a closet hypocrite, if you’ve never become a Christian, this is the day, for real. If you decide not to do what I’m calling you today in the name of Christ, then you’re like one of these guys. You’re gonna stay home and butt-sit and you’re not gonna offer your services to God and His purposes, His people, His battle, and I’m your best friend today because the truth is your friend. These guys have their names shamed for 3,500 years in the Bible. Thank God for these guys men who have their name honored. I want my name honored if there’s something ever being written about all of us and all our names. Now I just said in Revelation the books will be open. It’s being written somewhere. I’ve joined Christ and I’m wearing His jersey. I don’t even know what I’m doing half the time but I’m on the field. You men that name the name of Christ, if you’re secretly involved in any kind of sin, pornography, something like that, you know what time it is now? Stop it. Good God, what kind of men are we? It’s because we really have tried to make Christ our personal assistant. The Christians, the remnant, have kind of joined the culture.
I hope you’ll hear this message and not just get personally angry with me today. I’m not angry with you. I have grandchildren. This matters to me. Does it matter to you? Are you with me with the thought like we’ve got to put down all the silly crap, we got to get red hot. Red hot, red hot. I’m going down on the kickoff team and I’m all in. I’m either going to knock the living crap out of somebody or they’re gonna, I’ll wake up on a stretcher leaving the stadium, but I’m all in. You know, people ask me a lot, where is the United States in prophecy. We’re not. We don’t seem to be mentioned. You know, there are three thoughts about that. One, America would be, just not, you don’t hear because we’re going to be incorporated into the European Confederation. I don’t think that’s it. Two, we’re going to be invaded by terrorists. I don’t think that’s it; we’re too big and they don’t have enough of what it takes to invade us. Three, we’re going to be completely overrun with moral decay. That’s the one I pick because I see it. The average lifespan of the world’s greatest civilizations, we know this, it’s about 200 years, and during that two-century span, each nation progressed through the following sequence. I know Richard has probably shared this with you. Bondage to spiritual faith, spiritual faith to great courage, great courage to liberty, liberty to abundance, and abundance to complacency, and from complacency to apathy, boredom, from apathy to dependence, and from dependence back into bondage. At what point is America in this cycle? Popular blogger LaShawn Barber answers this question in an article titled, “America on the Decline.”
“In the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, author Edward Gibbon discusses several reasons for great civilizations’ demise, including the undermining and the dignity and the sanctity of the home, the decay of religion. America has been compared to the Roman Empire in secular in religious ways. Regardless of its ultimate legacy, America is a civilization on the decline. A couple of centuries from now, or sooner, some will have meant the loss of a once great civilization that brought prosperity to the world and tried to make it safe for democracy, the glory that was the United States will lay in ruins, brought down not by terrorists but by its own debauchery and complacency.”
Well, Barber’s right on the money with one exception. Given the present situation in our world, a couple of centuries from now, that’s off the table. America is not in that equation, nevertheless, her analysis is very perceptive.
In 1947, forward-looking sociologist Karl Zimmermann wrote this about family and civilization. He identified eleven symptoms of final decay in ’47 observable in the fall of the Greek and the Roman civilizations, so it’s not just theory, it’s observable history, to what we call a precedent.
1: no-fault divorce. Now this was in the ancient Greek and Roman culture.
2: a birth dearth. Increased disrespect for parenthood and parents.
3: meaningless marriage ceremonies.
4: defamation of past national heroes.
5: acceptance of alternative marriage forms.
6: widespread attitudes of feminism, narcissism, and hedonism.
7: propagation of anti-family sentiment.
8: acceptance of most forms of adultery.
9: rebellious children
10: increased juvenile delinquency
11: common acceptance of all form of sexual perversion
You can’t read this and doubt that America is throwing away its treasured position, treasured position, as, listen to this, “the most blessed nation in the history of the world, more than Rome.” Wouldn’t you agree with that? We’ve had more life and more blessings than any nation in history and we’re throwing it away.
Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Prayer has been excised from schools, suits have been filed to force Congress to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, displays of The Ten Commandments have been removed from public buildings, the motto “In God We Trust” is in danger of execution, teachers are forbidden to carry a personal Bible in the view of their students, Christian literature has been removed from the library shelves, religious Christmas carols banned from school programs, spring break has replaced Easter vacation.
Now I want to read something to you that’s just eerie because that has described what we all know is has been going on in our culture.
“Hitler came to power in Germany in the thirties. Right from the beginning, Hitler sought to marginalize the church.”
That’s one of the things that worries me the most is how weak the churches are in the United States, and I don’t say this out of a critical spirit but they’re so weak, many have become apostate.
So, right from the beginning, Hitler sought to marginalize the church to guarantee that no Christian influence would have, be allowed to inform government policy, worship would have to be a private matter between man and his God at all costs. The official state policy would have to be based on humanistic principles of government. Hitler gave freedom as long as it fell under the umbrella of what is best “for Germany”. He said that the churches must be forbidden from interfering with temporal matters. The state would have to be scrubbed clean of all Christian convictions and values. Since Germans had for centuries celebrated Christmas and Easter – you know most of our Christmas traditions are from where? Germany. Hitler had to reinterpret the meaning of Christmas and Easter. This is by design. Who do you think the ultimate architect of this is? The devil himself. Hitler was just the pawn. Whose pawn are you? My mentor used to say, Jerry, I’m a fool for Christ, whose fool are you? We’re all fools for somebody. Christmas was turned into a totally pagan festival in Germany. The fact that the SS troops, the date was changed to December 21st, the winter solstice, school prayers were banned, Christmas carols and Nativity plays were forbidden in schools in Germany. Does this sound familiar to you? Crucifixes were eliminated from the classrooms. Easter was turned into a holiday that heralded the arrival of spring. If religion was tolerated it had to be secularized so that it would be compatible with the state’s commitment to the greater good of a revived Germany. It was called positive Christianity. Children were indoctrinated in the state schools and thanks to the cultural pressure, the churches were not equipping members to stand against the abuses that were developing around them.
All the men I’m coaching now, one of the things that God has clearly told me to do is prepare them for some hard stuff, toughen them up, it’s time. I don’t spend a lot of times like, are you contented, are you just so happy? No, I’m getting them ready to go through the tough stuff. When the Communists came in China, the church just fell in a heartbeat. When they interviewed pastors later, they said, you know, we really weren’t getting our people ready for the tough stuff. They just wilted immediately. If there’s ever been a candy generation, it’s ours in the United States now. This generation just cries uncle instantly, no toughness, no fortitude; it’s because of no conviction. You’ll die for your convictions. You won’t die for your opinions.
Listen, you all know I’m a chaplain at Fox News. Last Sunday, Brit Hume and Fred and a bunch of us sat around and watched The Redskins, but they’ll be the first to tell you, Fox News can’t save you, the Republicans can’t save you, the Democrats can’t save you. Only God almighty and His return, His return blessing to this country will save us. I’m convinced of that. I’m not guessing.
Now listen to this. Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some of you probably read a recent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, they garnered opposition from Hitler’s intrusion to the affair of the church. This is what we need now. We need some Niemöllers and we need some Bonhoeffers in this room. I got one sitting right in front of me. I’m hoping he’ll be more emboldened, more convicted today. They opposed Hitler’s intrusion to the affairs of the church of Jesus Christ. When Hitler heard that there might be a church split because some of the pastors objected to his agenda, he summoned the leaders of the churches to a personal conference which Niemöller was included. January 25, 1934, Niemöller and other members of the clergy walked past the SS guards to the right Chancellery in Berlin. They were soon ushered into Hitler’s study. Hitler began by reproaching his guests, treating them to a tirade about he was misunderstood. Peace, he said, is all he wanted. Peace between the church and state. He blamed them for obstructing him and sabotaging his efforts to achieve peace. Niemöller was waiting for a chance to speak to the Fuhrer. When he had the opportunity, he explained that the only hope was the welfare of the church, the state, the German people. Hitler listened in silence. You confine yourself to the church, I’ll take care of the German people. The conversation then drifted to other things and when it was over, Hitler shook hands with the clergy members present at that meeting. Niemöller realized this would be his last opportunity to speak his mind. Carefully choosing his words, he said to Hitler, “you said that I will take care of the German people but we too as Christians and churchmen have responsibility towards the German people. That responsibility was entrusted to us by God and neither you nor anyone in this world has the power to take that away from us.”
Hitler turned away without a word. That same evening, eight Gestapo men ransacked Niemöller’s rectory at the church for incriminating material. A few days later, a homemade bomb exploded in the hall. These threats were easier for Niemöller to bear than some of the criticism he received from his colleagues in the clergy for his strong words for Hitler. Clearly, the majority of the clergy had adopted a safety-first policy. Safety first. Safety first. It’s all about my personal peace and my safety. I love me. I love myself. I love my picture on the shelf. They’d adopted, the pastors had adopted a policy of safety first, listen to this, “more than 2,000 pastors who had stood with Niemöller and Bonhoeffer withdrew their support. They believed appeasement was the best strategy and they thought that if they remain silent, they could live with Hitler’s intrusion into the church.”
I want to give you an eyewitness account of someone who refused to get into the battle, who declined his support to the Lord. This is an eyewitness account.
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust.”
I would say an eyewitness confession.
“I considered myself a Christian. We’d heard stories of what was happening to the Jews but we tried to distance ourselves from it because what could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance and then the wheels coming over the tracks and we became disturbed when we heard cries and screams coming from the train as it passed by. We realized it was carrying Jews like cattle in cars. Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew we would hear the cries of the Jews enroute to the death camp. Their screams tormented us. We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly so we could hear them no more. Years have passed. No one talks about it anymore, but I still hear that train in my sleep. God forgive me, forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and did nothing to intervene.”
When you read Romans chapter 1, it says that I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it’s the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes. Faith to faith, the just shall live by faith, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, towards men who suppress the truth, that’s political correctness, they don’t want truth tellers, people are shocked by the truth in our culture these days, the truth of unrighteousness, because what may be known about God is clear to them, since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clear. Although they knew God, they didn’t recognize Him as God, nor were they thankful. This goes on to talk about sexual perversion and it says that God gave them over.
Here’s our final question as we close. Now many great theologians conservative theologians that believe the Bible, they believe in Christ, they’re now saying that they believe God has already abandoned America and we are now already experiencing the judgment of God. I used to talk with Chuck Colson about this a lot when I traveled with him and carried his bag, and he believed that the day would come when God would remove the covering from our country and sell us over. I don’t know if the abandonment of a culture just dissipates like water evaporating or if it just goes like that, I don’t know. But that’s my biggest fear that God has abandoned us. Many people think that He has.
Let me just close and tell you this thought. I’ve been with Joel Rosenberg who’s written many books, we were on the Ted Koppel show together and Koppel was asking us questions about Jesus Christ. He’s written a book called Implosion, and he says, Joel says, “apart from a third awakening in our country, it’s over.” That’s a spiritual revival. The first one was with the Puritans and the second one was in John and Charles Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, a supernatural revival and men, I want to tell you, it’s been this bad before in our country. After the Revolutionary War, only 10% of the people in the United States said that they were associated with any church. Alcoholism, illegitimate births, were higher than even today. I mean, the country was gone back then, and we had an awakening.
I want to mention a couple of things as we cross the finish line. I’ve been studying revivals and awakenings and one of the signs is personal repentance by the Christians, not the Christians just sitting around talking about all the slimeballs out there. Personal repentance, us crying out to God, repenting of our sins, playing around with our faith. Prayer as never-before. Men, I’m going to ask you to pray in this next year of your life as you have never prayed in your life. This is the way you don’t forget God. I pray at night. It’s the last thing I do. The first thing I do in the morning before I get up and take a leak, I slide off the bed and hit my knees on the floor and I say a brief prayer to the Lord in the morning. I pray at midday to copy Daniel. He was told to stop praying. I love this guy. He said, yeah, I’ll stop praying and he opened the window and began to pray in front of that three times a day facing Jerusalem. Many times, midday I’ll just find a little private place, kneel down, say, dear Lord, I offer you midday prayers. At all my kids games I pray for them with my hat off. A man shouldn’t pray with a hat on. When they’re on the field, if they look and see my hat on, they’re not happy with me. We pray in the driveway. We huddle up when people come to visit us, and when they leave, we pray in the car. My longest times of prayer are in the car. Turn the radio off, turn talk radio off. It’s amazing how long you can pray when you’re just driving in a car. Dan and I prayed all the way from his house to here this morning and it seemed like five seconds. I pray for my children. I feel that’s the most important thing I do. I don’t even care if I’m in the ministry. I’m only in it because God wants me to. I’m not worthy to be a minister but I’m proud to be and I’m not ashamed of it but praying for my family and children is the most important thing I do. I don’t want to mess around with pornography or any of that crap because I want to have power in prayer because I love my family more than I love myself. I stand in the hallway when they’re asleep and wherever I think their bed is, I’ll just point my hand through the wall and pray for them at night. Every time I talk to them, I say, pop prays for y’all every day, on the floor a couple of times. You might as well send me your prayer requests because I’m praying for you anyway every day/ and they call in weekly with their prayer request. I give, the last thing I do at night is I say a prayer and I lay in bed, and I put my hand on Holly’s head and I give her a blessing and we go to sleep. Men, I want you to begin to pray, purify yourself, the Bible says let everyone who has this hope, purify himself; if you want to be part of the remnant, and I say again, it’s always the remnant that saves the city, purify yourselves, God is calling you today. If you hear His voice today, don’t harden your heart. Personal repentance, prayer. Pray for a revival of the shepherds in our country that the preachers would come back to Jesus Christ, stop being safe, building their little fiefdoms, and start preaching the red-hot Gospel of Christ. I don’t mean fanaticism; I mean the truth.
Lastly, I want to I want to appeal to you. You need to cultivate an inner circle of guys that are chasing after Christ. Most men don’t even have an inner circle, they just have acquaintances. You need a wingman. If you don’t have one, you need to pray for one. If you got one, you all need to have a talk of what kind of men are we going to be from here on in. You better get in the group. You better have a wingman. On Omaha Beach, when I was there, I asked the commander how in the world did they get off the beach. He said they banned themselves into little groups of men, they designated leaders, and they got off the beach because they realized there were only two kinds of men on the beach, dead men and men who were going to get the hell off the beach. Get with some brothers who love Jesus Christ and are serious. Iron sharpens iron. Your fear will go down. They will buffet evil in your life, they will influence you from doing really stupid things, and your power, your personal power and your potential for Godliness will increase. You better find a wingman. The last thing is we must hear God and obey.
I want to close by reading just a few verses and then we’ll have a prayer. In Psalm 81 it said, “My people would not heed My voice. Israel would have none of Me, so I gave them over.”
There it is. He abandoned them.
“I gave them over to their own stubborn heart to walk in their own counsel. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways.”
And you know what will happen? God can turn this around. Maybe you’ve lost faith He can. I’m convicted, I’m fired up, but I’m not afraid.
“I would soon subdue their enemies if they would turn. I would turn my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord would pretend to be submissive to him. Their fate would be, it would endure forever. He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat, with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
Men, if we’ll turn, the Lord if He comes back, He can turn this around in a heartbeat. You go, no He can’t, the economy, this, that, no, He can turn it around in a heartbeat in ways we can’t even figure out.
Now, here’s my final question. What is the desire of your heart this morning? I’m not raising money. I’m not in a building program. I don’t have anything for you to join except join Jesus Christ, put His jersey on and get out here on the battlefield with the men, offer your service to the Lord, whatever that would mean, He’ll tell you, but you got to be all-in.
Now men, I’m gonna ask you to do something. I’m gonna call you to do something. I remember when we went to war at Desert Storm, we didn’t know we were gonna roll those guys like dice, we didn’t know what would happen, but I remember Doctor Stanley came to Washington and I was in the Hilton Ballroom, Dr. Stanley was there, and he said, we’re sending our boys over there. There must have been 4,000 people in this ballroom. He said, let’s have a prayer for our country and a prayer for our boys. I don’t know what to tell the Marines when they have Q and A’s over in Bahrain. They’re fighting against terrorism, but can we actually win it unless our people repent, and God gets back with us. Dr. Stanley said, we need to pray for our country, and he asked all 4,000 people in that ballroom, let’s get on our knees and humble ourselves before God. Men, I’m gonna ask you, I want you to pull back your chairs, I don’t know if this has ever been done in the Birmingham Country Club, and I love this place, it will be the first, if it’s in your heart with me, I’m gonna kneel here, Richard’s gonna kneel here, and Richard and I are gonna have prayers. I want you to pull back your chair if it’s in your heart with us men. I want us to kneel. I want God to see this and put this in the book. Well, it’s all going to hell in a handbasket, but hey, you angels, look at my boys down there in Birmingham. They’re on their knees in the Birmingham Club and they’re crying out to you. Now, you in or you out? Pull your chairs back and let’s get on our knees.
We want this to go down in whatever those books are that are gonna be opened. We’re in little old Alabama, God, but we’re a band of brothers this morning and we kneel down, we’re crying out to You. Lord, I have grandbabies that I adore, was out of those children and you know it. They can have anything I have, including my life. Lord, they’re young, they’re innocent, I don’t want them to live in this crap, in this perversion. Forgive us Lord. I want to repent of my sin. I’m just, from time to time, dabbling around and being double-minded, I can’t be perfect Lord, I just want to be all in. I don’t want to go down in history dishonored. I want to be on the battlefield with the men. I’m not boasting in my own strength. I’m just begging you Lord, help us, help us! Come to us. Lord please, we’re sorry. Please don’t leave us. Lord, we ask for a supernatural awakening of our people that You rekindle a love for our country and a love for You God. Forgive us for being double-minded. I’m not self-denigrating myself or anybody in this room. I’m just saying I’m crying out that You would just come to us. I don’t even know what to say Lord, I’m just a child, I don’t know how to go out and I don’t know how to come in, but You hear my heart.
(Richard) Father, you have told us that if my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and confess their sins that You will heal our land and Father we claim that promise as we come before You, humbling ourselves asking that you would unleash Your power in our lives and that we might be lights in this dark world that we live in. And we do pray for revival, we pray that You would move in our land, and that you would heal us, and that You would not abandon us, and we thank You for that. For it’s in Christ’s name we pray, Amen.