Friday, May 13, 2016

Are you sure?

God bless America.

We've all said it. We've all sung it. It's just part of being a citizen of this country, and it's a big part of our culture and history. If you're like me, you grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school, and really early on, you learned the daunting strains and complicated lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner." I was raised a patriot, and I'm a nine-year US Army veteran. I love living in this country, and I feel very fortunate to have been born here.

So, asking God to bless America seems perfectly natural. But is that what we're asking for, or are we actually assuming we're already blessed? Are we really just saying, "God, keep blessing America?"

And if not - if we're actually asking for a fresh blessing for our nation - have you ever wondered what that would mean for America? Are we sure that's even what we want?

What if the things we think are great about America are not the kind of things God blesses? Read Matthew 5:1-12. If that's what God blesses, do we really want God to bless America? Or would we rather have it just like it is? Would a nation that fits into the beatitudes be a nation we would fight for?

Think about it...
Pastor Ed


Series Title: BLESSED
Message Title: broken
Date: 5/15/16
Main Passages: Matthew 5:1-3

Some questions for reflection or group study (or please comment on them, below):
  • Do we think God loves America more than other countries? Why or why not?
  • Are we called to rugged, American individualism and self-reliance, or to something else? 
  • How would a nation that fit into the beatitudes even work in today's world?


  1. Are we called in some way? You bet we are we are called to be Jesus Like in all our interactions. We should model the actions of our nation on the actions of our Saviour, and the hallmark of Jesus' ministry was volunteerism, everyone that followed him had a choice none were conscripted, and those that thought about following Jesus but chose not to were left in peace. No coercion. Historically and in general God has been seen to have blessed some countries and not others. During the 19'th century it was widely believed that God had indeed blessed America. Compared to the rest of the world it seemed as if the very air in America made one rich. It wasn't the air but the lack of laws and leaders that led to our wealth. Every square inch of Europe was owned and ruled by some King, Count, Duke, Earl or whatever and if you wanted to do anything except what your father did, you had to know someone. The greatness of 19'th century America was in our reliance upon self selected, voluntary organisations to take care of things like roads, bridges and schools. Tocqueville commented on this. Just as Paul organised communities of believers that helped and supported each other in the 1'st century, Americans used similar methods many years later and the results were impressive both times.

  2. Right? When the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus didn't say, "Wait, how about HALF of everything?"

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  4. Regarding Question #1. I don't worship a God who loves America more, because a God like that must love other countries less.

    We must not equate God's love with material blessings. Neither can we say that material blessings are directly linked to our response to God's love. There are Old Testament stories when God withheld a blessing, even a necessity, when the people had turned away from him, like the drought during Ahab's reign; but those stories don't mean that everyone who does evil in God's eyes will suffer famine, drought, or some other calamity. We also know the story of Job, who was a "righteous man" yet suffered all sorts of trouble and disasters.

    I don't think there is any formula for this. Everything takes place in the context of our relationship with God. He is sovereign. His ways are beyond our ways and his thoughts are beyond our thoughts. Yet, somehow we know him and he knows us. God knows both our hearts and our circumstances. He gives and takes away according to his purposes. We are to start with loving him and having no other gods before him.