I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I’m sure you do too. I was just walking into my 9:00 Exodus Book Study class at North Greenville College. Dr. Pete Wilbanks gave us the news about the attacks on the Twin Towers, we prayed, and then he dismissed class. My Dad was in Brazil on a mission trip. All international flights shut down to and from the US. He was stuck.
Confusion. Betrayal. Anger. Unbelief. Fear. Uncertainty. The whole gamut of emotions ran through every ounce of my being. The feeling of powerlessness was stifling. As the news unfolded throughout the day, the images we saw forever changed the landscape, make-up and temperament of America. Church doors flew open for around-the-clock prayer. The Sunday after 9.11, pews were packed with people who had not stepped foot in a church in years, perhaps ever. In the midst of the tragedy, there were glimmers of hope for a country that had in many ways turned her back on God. There was the prevailing feeling, at least among most Christian evangelicals, that these events would soon act as a catalyst to bring America back to Christ. But you know what happened.
As soon as some semblance of stability and structure was reintroduced, the American dream based on secular humanism and extreme individualism reared its ugly head once again. America no longer needed God. He was the crutch to get her through the initial pain and shock, but He was no longer needed. He was no longer necessary. America was dealing with her enemies. America was standing on her own two feet. America was her own counselor, her own defense, her own support system. God was obsolete.
This vicious cycle is repeated throughout history—both biblical and non-biblical history. A nation turns from God. Tragedy strikes. The nation seeks God again. God brings healing and restoration. The nation no longer needs God. Over and over. It’s a cycle that seems to always divorce itself from lessons learned, thus they are never really learned. Only flirted with. Only petted and stroked on the surface. But they never take root.
There’s another mistake that happens, though. And it happens by those who call themselves followers of Christ. The mistake is this: While hastily pointing out the sins and errors of a nation, the church of Christ becomes blind to her own sin. This, perhaps more than any other reason, is why the Lord burned such a passion in my heart to write the songs that make up our new worship album, “The Healing.” At first glance, the record seems to be an indictment against the culture in which we live—the fact that we need the healing hand of God in our nation and in our land. But as you probe deeper, hopefully this message will come through even louder: We need revival, healing, and spiritual awakening in the church. We, the bride of Christ, need to return to our first love. A love that we’ve lost many times because we’ve been too preoccupied with pointing the finger at a lost world, instead of pointing them to the God who loves them. Here’s what the insert to our new CD says about the purpose of this album:
“In a culture that is becoming increasingly apathetic and antagonistic to the message of the Gospel, how quickly and easily it is to fall victim to the sin of point-the-fingerism. Sometimes a preoccupation with the darkness surrounding us blinds us to our own darkness. And though unquestionably the darkness that surrounds must be penetrated by the light of the Gospel, unless our own sin is first confronted we are rendered useless and pathetic in the advancement of God’s Kingdom here on earth. The ground is fallow in America. But so is it equally fallow in our churches. So is it equally fallow in our own hearts much of the time. Hosea desperately begged God’s people to “break up your untilled ground. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like rain.” (Hosea 10:12) If there was one plea for this album, that would be it—to break up your untilled ground. Allow the Holy Spirit of God access to the dark pits of heinous anarchy in your soul that stand in forward opposition to the coming King of Kings. And allow Him to clean you out. Allow Him to heal and soften the dry and hardened ground—that salvation may spring forth—that righteousness may rain down. And when that happens, we can stand as a unified, collective body of Christ holding high His royal banner proclaiming with urgency the soon return of our High King. Our prayer is that this album will be a catalyst to drive you to your knees in repentance, to help stand you up with arms held high in surrender, and to move you out to the frontlines of the battle.”
May we, as Christ’s bride, return to our first love so that we may have the legitimacy and the non-hypocritical voice to speak the truth of the gospel to a lost world. Amen.