Sorrowful, yet Rejoicing

2 Corinthians 6:2-4, 10a 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.“  Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: … 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…

As I watch and listen to the followers of Christ, I sense that many share the inner struggle that repeatedly pulls at me as I think about election day and the future of the U.S.  I admit that I have moments that border on despair as I ponder on what looks like a dead end road.  Other times my heart fills with great hope.  I have searched the Scripture for answers as to how to respond and walk in faithfulness.  2 Corinthians 6 continues to encourage my heart and give light for what lies ahead.  As I observe the now and consider the future, I find my heart both sorrowful and rejoicing.  

  • I am sorrowful that the two main presidential candidates represent impropriety, situational ethics, and a vindictive spirit.  My heart grieves that the nation has to choose between people who obviously lack character.  As a result, one can only conclude that character does not matter for most Americans…disheartening.
  • I am sorrowful that North Carolina has become the battleground for what appears to be a win/lose situation for the transgender bathroom issue.  How has a state in the heart of what was once the Bible Belt become a tipping point on the issue of whether we are male and female?  With a grieving heart, I confess that we are clearly exchanging the Truth of God for a lie.  (I hope that the presidential confusion does not overshadow this important issue on election day.)
  • I am sorrowful that the people of God have attacked one another over the issues surrounding this election.  Brothers and sisters, we of all people should be able to show a divided nation how to disagree and have civil debate without turning on one another and giving into name calling.  

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Trump, Clinton, and the Christian Voter

The coming election dominates the headlines and the conversations of many.  I am asked daily about the election and my thoughts on the candidates.  Like you, I confess that I am often perplexed and confused.  I have prayed, read the Scripture closely, conversed with thoughtful believers, and read widely.  I would like to share with you several guiding principles, some of what I have been reading and a few conclusions that I have come to personally.


Guiding Principles

  1. As a follower of Christ, I must seek to think about these things biblically.  I must not simply turn on my favorite news program and draw conclusions and make my decisions solely off what I hear.  I must not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
  2. As a citizen of the United States, I must seek to understand the candidates, their platform, worldview, and stance on the issues facing our Nation.  Do not make decisions from one source or based on your impressions of a candidate.  Educate yourself.  Further, I remind you there is far more going on in this election cycle than the election of a President.
  3. As a follower of Christ, I must not separate my faith from my responsibilities as a citizen of this Nation.  I do not lay down one and take up the other.  I must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.  What is God’s?  Everything!  I must love and serve Him with all my being, mind, heart, life and vote.  Here lies the dilemma that many are facing and rightly so.  How can I love God and walk in faithfulness to Him and vote for one of the Presidential candidates that will be on the ballot in November?
  4. As a part of the Body of Christ, I must not attack my brothers and sisters personally in conversation or collectively on social media.  We should be marked with a sober humility and prayerful, thoughtful discussion as we move through these days together.  Whoever is elected President will come and go.  Life will go on good or bad until Jesus comes.  Then, He will set all things in order.  As followers of Christ, we will do all of this together.

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Christian Call to Citizenship

God’s call on the Christian certainly includes a call to citizenship. A government of representation is a blessing, and the Bible makes clear that with blessing comes responsibility (Luke 12:48). The responsibility of citizenship applies therefore to the Christian who must be a faithful steward in every area of life, in his finances, in his time, and no less in his citizenship. Faithful stewardship of citizenship is a significant aspect of the Christian’s life because our Creator God has established government and for his good purpose (Romans 13). The same God and our Heavenly Father has righteously and sovereignly placed the Christian in the society and under the government in which he lives. Political faithfulness that is rendered in the public square is thereby rendered first to God. The Christian’s faithful stewardship of citizenship is also a gospel issue, as he is given the mandate to seek the peace of the city for the sake of the gospel and the salvation of leaders and fellow citizens. (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Citizenship, then, is not a responsibility that we may lightly set aside, for God calls us to faithful stewardship. Why would this stewardship apply any less in the public square?

In light of this calling to faithful citizenship, Parkwood’s Culture Impact Team has drafted the following statement:

Are You Registered to Vote? The deadline for 2016 Primary Elections Voter Registration is February 19. 

There are 90 million Christians in America and 39 million of them don’t vote or are not even registered to vote. Imagine the impact that Christians could have on the future of our nation if we made our voices heard by exercising our right to vote. By bringing our biblical view into the voting booth, we can exert overwhelming influence on issues like right to life, traditional marriage, religious freedom, ethics and morality, and public prayer. Who you vote for makes a difference! Are you registered to vote? Have you registered again if you changed your name or legal residence? Will you be 18 by November 8? Then plan to vote in the Primary Election on March 15.

Questions? Contact the Gaston County Board of Elections (410 W. Franklin Avenue, Gastonia NC 28052) at 704-852-6005 or, or any member of the Parkwood Culture Impact Team: Henry Hall, Sarah Falls, John Howren, Chris Edwards, and Nancy Brandon. If you are outside of the Parkwood faith family and have questions, this team has made themselves available for assistance and may be contacted through the church office: 704-864-3681 or

If you are confused about or oppose the reasons for political stewardship stated in short above, then I would commend two resources for consumption and consideration: an article from The Gospel Coalition, and a second article from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. 

Getting the Facts straight

As to be expected, those in opposition of the Marriage Amendment have launched a negative campaign against what they call Amendment One.  The name change is one of many methods used to confuse the issue.  The media has picked up the phrase as well.  However, the name change is mild compared to the false rhetoric and outlandish TV ads that began airing in the past few weeks.  The accusations concerning the desire to harm the elderly and take away health care from children have nothing to do with the Marriage Amendment.

The Marriage Protection Amendment is simply a constitutional provision to protect the laws that are already in place in North Carolina.  The Amendment clearly states  “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”  In an effort to clarify the very things that those who oppose the amendment are claiming it will harm, the amendment clearly protects individuals and businesses from choosing to enter into a contract with one another regardless of whether they are married.  Let’s simply be clear.  The opposition knew that they could not argue for homosexual union in the public square in North Carolina.  Therefore, they have devised a carefully crafted plan to play on the fears and the unfortunate realities in the lives of many in N.C.  As result, many clear minded, Bible believing Christians are being confused.

Do not be deceived.  Educate yourselves.  I have provided a link to several articles that are worth you time to read.  They are not from preachers.  The following articles were written by lawyers.  The first was written by Paul Stam, a member of the NC House of Representatives and a practicing attorney who is a constitutional litigator.  The second post is from a group of law professors from Campbell Law School.

Last, I wanted you to see a TV ad that is for the amendment and refutes the false ads.  Vote FOR Marriage NC Launches New TV Ad Refuting False Claims About Amendment – YouTube

I encourage you to post on Facebook and other avenues to share this information with as many as possible.  Remember, the crucial thing that we must all do is vote FOR the Marriage Amendment.