Prayer and The Supreme Court
 By: Jeff Arnold

Chapter and Verse
June 2, 2014
Prayer & The Supreme Court
Jeff Arnold; South Hutchinson Christian Church

In a recent front page article in “The Hutchinson News” - May 6, 2014, it
was reported that “a narrowly divided Supreme Court upheld decidedly Christian prayers at the start of local council meetings on Monday (May 5, 2014), declaring them in line with long national traditions though the country has grown more religiously diverse.” And in another article published along side of this, it was reported that the three commissioners probably should discuss the decision in a public meeting and decide whether they want to return to their previous policy. Their present policy was to allow only generic prayers before the start of council meetings.

As a Christian and as a Christian minister of the gospel, I would encourage our community to support our commissioners to return to the policy that allows Christian prayers at the local level of government. The majority of our folk would agree that faith in God is transparent, transcendent, and transformational. Faith equips us to cross over obstacles, shout down walls, break through crowds, and walk on the impossible, even in the midst of storms.

Faith in God encourages us to survive the fires of life, overcome the den of lions, silence the serpents, and outwit the fox. Faith empowers us to see the invisible, embrace the impossible, and hope for the incredible.

Faith in God exhorts us to care for the poor, speak for the marginalized, welcome the stranger all while doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before God. This is how faith affects my life and how it should affect all Christians’ lives who make Hutchinson and South Hutchinson their home. This is the perspective for which the ministers supply their articles in “Chapter and Verse.”

We cannot afford to be silent on this issue. For to silence faith is to silence the moral conscience of our nation. To obstruct religious liberty is to obstruct the forces that reconcile righteousness with justice, covenant with community, sanctification with service, and faith with action.

Our founding fathers, whether Deists or Christians, inscribed a faith narrative that cannot be denied. From the beginning, faith, spirituality, and the actual practice of Biblical principles have affected public discourse, elections, politics, and foreign affairs, maybe not usually as the centerpiece of policy, but almost always as one of the elements that shapes the norms and mores by which policy is written. One cannot extract from our distinguishing character the spiritual thread woven into the American personality.

Our freedoms stem not from the legislative, executive, or judicial branches. Ultimately our freedoms come from our Creator from whom all blessings flow. Moreover, our nation’s greatest gift to the world lies embedded in a 200 year demonstration of our religious freedom serving as the proverbial firewall against secular tyranny.

So, let us pray . . . in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Chapter and Verse
May 2, 2016
Lack of Faith  Or  Will of God?
Jeff Arnold; South Hutchinson Christian Church

There have been and always will be times when you are desperately praying to God for answers to some very important issues.  You wait and wait and nothing seems to be happening.But what is it?  “Am I not praying hard enough?”  Perhaps it’s because I’m not good enough.  Or maybe my faith is too weak.  Or is it just the will of God that I go through this?

Most of us believe that it is “us.”  We believe that it is our lack of faith and/or that our lives are not pure enough for God to acknowledge our prayers.  And it it’s the will of God, how can we be sure?  We don’t know what God is up to.  Does He want us to grow up before He answers our prayer?  Perhaps He’s testing our faith.  Or maybe our request is just not good for us.  And maybe our prayers are fine, but we’re praying for something that isn’t the will of God.  Some events have to occur before some change or growth can take place.

One question to ask is, “Are you active in solving the issues that are challenging you?”  For example, you may be praying for spiritual revival to sweep your town, but then are you doing things to help bring it about?  Or just expecting God to take care of it without you?  Or perhaps you’re praying for the healing of a person, but are you caring for him/her.  And if you’re praying for a relationship to be reconciled, are you doing everything you can to promote reconciliation?

 Many prayers seem to be in accordance with what is good and it would seem only logical that God would acknowledge our prayers for goodness, healing and righteousness.  After all, many of our prayers are about serving Him, healing of loved ones and relationships, spreading the gospel, etc.; all things God desires to see accomplished.  Or are we stepping over our boundaries and being presumptuous when we start deciding what God wants?

I’ve come to realize that God likes to leave a bit of mystery.  Miracles are always a little hidden, to give a little room for doubt.  Something to consider when praying:  What is your motive for your prayer?  Do you hate inconvenience in your life?  Do you want to see if you have enough faith to channel God’s energy?  And then, if no evident answer to prayer occurs, are you easily disappointed in God, scratching your head, trying to figure out how you missed the mark?

Realize that when you’re in prayer, you need to leave room for God.  Even if it’s for healing of another person.  Perhaps God has allowed an illness for someone so they will seek Him.  God has a plan and purpose.

So which is it?  Faith or the will of God?  I suspect a little of both. Don’t see anything happening?  Don’t worry, He’s on it.  Your faith has pleased Him and He is sending out angels to bring about His will.  Having faith also involves learning patience.  We don’t always know what’s on God’s mind, but I think that’s the way He likes it for now – His will.  Our faith is not just in believing that God will answer our prayers, but also that He will answer our prayers in a greater way than we can imagine!

Have faith in the will of God.  Amen!