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Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

A Christian’s response to the Presidential election

2016The 2016 presidential election season has been like driving past a car wreck on the interstate. You know it is going to be destructive and harmful, but you can’t help looking.

The inundation of news from all of the media outlets that modern technology affords us has put each of us in the crosshairs of observing how rich people fight. It is not pretty and sometimes you find yourself gagging, but the stakes are too high to ignore.

This season has been particularly difficult for Christians and evangelicals due to the lack of choices in candidates. This election cycle has put us in the untenable position of having to choose between a candidate that lacks conservative values historically and one who promises to have conservative values in the future.

I recently returned from the country of Haiti where they had to remove their president because he would not call for an election. The interim president was also removed because he did not meet the timetable of 6 months to get an election set up. Now Haiti has been without a President for more than two years, and there is no end in sight.

In light of the recent election season in America, one could consider the lack of a presidential election as a blessing, but this short-term knee-jerk reaction would fail to take into account how important the selection of our president, regardless of how messy the process.

I was sent to candidacy school in Washington D.C. with all expenses paid more than ten years ago and learned enough to know I never wanted to run for a political office. One day the entire session was spent teaching us about opposition research. Opposition research is the process of digging up dirt on your opponent. Opposition researchers have made a lot of money in the last two years.

This entire political backdrop begs the question of what our response should be as Christians. Do we just turn away our head? Do we embrace the process with unhinged enthusiasm or do we look for a Biblical solution to a secular system? I would suggest the latter.

In the midst of a lot of variables and uncertainties, there are some absolutes that we know. The next President will appoint at least two Supreme Court Justices that will have lifetime tenure to make laws that will govern our nation. The next president will embrace social and economic policies that will determine the future of our country. The stakes are too high to bury our head.

Staying at home and not voting or any vote for someone other than the two major candidates is a vote for the person you would be most likely not to vote for. The reality is that more than ever before whom we are voting for is more about whom we are voting against. Not voting at all is not the moral high ground in this election.

I, like most Christians, choose to vote against the certainty of state protected perversion. I choose to vote against the certainty of killing those who are most vulnerable in our society: the unborn. I choose to vote against the certainty of religious persecution. Even if I have to hold my nose when I pull the lever, it is a small sacrifice when I consider the alternative.

The Book of Romans says, “The powers that be are ordained of God.” Yes, in the end, God directs the outcome, but God’s will does not always prevail over man’s will. God will sometimes give you, “the desires of your heart.” It was not God’s will for Israel to forsake the leadership of a prophet for the selection of a king but God allowed the people to have what was in their heart.

Ultimately, the election is more about what is in the heart and soul of the American people. After all the ads quit running, and the full-color mailers are not filling up our mailboxes, we will have a leader that reflects our moral values as a nation. Will God allow us to get what is in our hearts or will God speed up the clock of prophecy?

Regardless of who our next president is in America, I will continue to serve the King of kings and hold fast to the moral compass of the Word of God. It is the safest route to take in the rocky waters of our immediate future.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

Trickle Down Freedom

freedomAs a young boy, my concept of freedom was when the school bell rang, and classes were dismissed. We were free to play ball and visit our friends. The greatest threat to our freedom was the idea that parents and school officials could set rules and laws requiring us to be in school. At the ripe old age of twelve, we knew what real freedom was, and it became apparent to us that there was a massive conspiracy from authority figures to restrict our freedom. The paradox of such a perspective is this: The very thing that we thought was captivity was, in reality, our ticket to freedom.

In my first year of law school, our criminal procedure professor told us American law is based on the underlying principle that, “It is better for a hundred guilty men to go free than one innocent man to go to prison.” This approach would ensure us of the freedom intended by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the professor explained. I took issue with that interpretation. I countered that this type of thinking restricts our freedom. When people are fearful about walking down the streets of their neighborhood after dark, have we preserved freedom?

History demonstrates that as a culture continues to embrace instant gratification at the expense of future freedom, society begins to unravel morally. The fire hydrant of liberty that propelled America in its infancy was agreement that the preservation of principal comes at the expense of personal prosperity. This freedom fueled the engines of a young nation driven by dreams of democracy and steered by the determination of hard work.

When the concept of freedom becomes redefined as the pursuit of pleasure, the underlying tenet loses strength, and the fire hydrant is reduced to a trickle. “Pay now and play later,” is exchanged for “play now and pay later.”

stgIn his book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert Bork explains, “Real freedom is the space in between the walls. It is healthy to discuss how far apart the walls should be, but it is cultural suicide to have all space and no walls.” The walls are rules and laws that keep freedom flowing. Rules and laws do not threaten our freedom. They protect our freedom. Restricting my behavior now will ensure me of freedoms and choices for the rest of my life. A society that believes in handing the next generation more than a higher Dow Jones average will embrace the safety of personal disciplines and the consequences for the lack thereof.

In the Bible, the Old Testament is often criticized for all of its rules and laws. Many Christians will exclaim with a sigh of relief, “We no longer live under the law!” The notion that God’s law brings freedom often produces a chuckle. Some believe that the law puts us in bondage. Nothing could be further from the truth. The law stands as a wall protecting our freedoms and protecting our choices.

The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:24 why God gave us the moral law: “to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” The fire hydrant of freedom that flows from such a holy book is shrouded in laws and commandments. It becomes a trickle when modern day Christianity embraces Grace without the protection of the Law.

What is freedom? Is it the ability to do as we please? Is it the release of ten thousand red, white and blue balloons at a political convention? Is freedom defined as the license to pursue personal fulfillment or is it just the smell of hot dogs and the sight of fireworks on the Fourth of July?

I would suggest the opportunity of choice is a trickle of freedom; the ability to make the right choice is the definition of real freedom. More than two thousand years ago, Jesus had a choice. One option would give him immediate but limited freedom. The other option would bring ultimate freedom to many but cost him his life. The right decision at Calvary ensured that the fountain of liberty and freedom would never run dry for Christians that embrace the law.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Easter Rabbit 

I was ten years old, and my father pastored a small church on the East end of Palm Bay Road.  Easter was approaching and to promote a record attendance my dad offered a free rabbit to everyone that brought a visitor.  It seems that someone associated with the church had offered us a bundle of baby rabbits.

The promotion worked, and we had a record attendance while handing out more than fifty rabbits to those “lucky” families that had brought visitors.  The rabbit I carried home was immediately named Peter, and my father built a sturdy cage for him to live in.

Peter, the rabbit, was a good pet.  We even let him out during the day, and he would hop around the yard and always stay close to his food where we would put him in his cage at night.  One day, I noticed Peter was pulling all of his hair out, and that worried me. He became very ill, and it looked like he might die. Before long, Peter shocked us all and gave birth to several little bunnies.

Peter, whose name was changed to Petress, proved to all of us that it is not easy to determine the gender of a rabbit, but as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”, and when the reproduction started we had to rethink our premise.  Before we knew it, we were building more cages and unable to control the rabbit population.

Ardent Christians often feel that our sacred Biblical stories and holidays are replaced with trivial secular symbols.  Santa Clause and Rudolf, the red-nose reindeer rather than baby Jesus and a long donkey ride to Bethlehem.  Peter Cottontail and Easter baskets rather than a resurrected savior and an empty tomb.  Winter Break and Spring Break rather than Christmas and Easter vacation.

Peter Rabbit may be a living example of what Easter is all about rather than a secular substitute for the aisles of Walmart.  Not just any Peter cotton tail story or rhyme but the Peter Rabbit that I knew as a boy.  One that sacrificed her fur to make life more comfortable for those that would come after her.  One that surprised us by coming back to life from a place of weakness only to produce more life.

The story of the resurrected Savior is one of sacrifice, humility, brokenness, death and new life.  It is more than anything a message of hope and renewal.  The celebration of a resurrected Christ is new life springing forth from unlikely circumstances.

The Old Testament tells us about Jacob whose name changed to Israel after an encounter with a supernatural being.  The New Testament tells us about Saul whose name changed to Paul after an encounter with God.  Not only does our nature change with greater potential when we meet Christ but so does our Identity.

Easter illustrates the changing character of all of us at the point that we sacrifice our life and give our heart to God.  We move from turmoil to triumph, and new life demonstrates all of this.  We are born again, and that transformation is a celebration that started at Calvary.

This year at the First Pentecostal Church, we celebrate this season with a dramatic portrayal of the risen Christ.  “Messiah” 2016 is a 2-hour music drama of live animals, special effects and a cast of more than 150 people.  It will keep you riveted as you journey with Christ through the three years that preceded his death and the days that followed.

“Messiah” 2016 will be presented four times this year.  March 18th (Friday), March 20th (Sunday), March 25th, (Friday) and March 27th (Sunday) at 7:00 pm.  This year it is presented free of charge by going to www.messiahdrama.com for your electronic ticket or calling First Pentecostal Church at 321-723-2030.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm and standby tickets will be given at 6:30 pm each night.

Petress was just a rabbit that I got one Easter, but she taught me to look at life through the lens of possibility rather than through the paradigm of preconceptions.  Easter is more than eggs and baskets; it is life.  New life. Resurrected life.  Impossible life.

 

 

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Original Star: The Force Awakens

On December 18th, after having to wait for over seven years, fans of the Star Wars series were treated to a new movie release that had the “force awaken” and Han Solo put to rest (my son freaked out upon hearing this last detail).  Sci-Fi junkies waited in line for hours, and many dressed up in costumes to commemorate the opening of the movie.

 

Only seven days before Christmas, the movie captured the attention of an American populace that is intrigued with a fictional battle in a far away place.  Imagination has always been a powerful tool for exploration and entertainment.  Rabid moviegoers spend millions as George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, and Disney, the recent purchaser, celebrate their production.

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, thousands of churches in America will celebrate Christmas with children plays, musical cantatas, candlelight communion services and perhaps even a living Christmas tree or a spiritual adaptation of the old Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol”.

 

nativity3Somewhere in between lies an interesting conversation about the power of a Star to lead us, and the intrigue of a battle to save us.  Notwithstanding the fact that many consider the story of Jesus in a manger to be just as fictional as Luke Skywalker and Princess Lea, one must admit that the staying power of the Bethlehem birth of Christ is more revealing than the success of Star Wars.

 

Although, I am probably one of only a few humans on earth that have not ever watched a Star Wars movie, my understanding of the series is that there is a battle between good and evil.  A rebel alliance and a galactic empire.  Then of course, based on my extensive research, there is a war in the stars.  All of which makes me yawn until I think of its spiritual application.

 

The book of Matthew records that wise men over two thousand years ago and from somewhere in the East followed an unusual star for thousands of miles to Jerusalem.  There must have been something special about this star that they followed for such a distance and to King Herod of Israel’s court.  Upon arriving, they announced by asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We have seen His star in the East and are come to worship him.”

 

This declaration did not sit well with the present King of the Jews, Herod.  He concocted a plan to kill the baby Jesus, but when the wise men did not participate in this scheme, Herod had all the infants in Bethlehem killed to remove this threat to his throne.  Not only were the wise men supernaturally warned of the plot, Joseph, the father of Jesus, was also warned and he had already moved his young family to Egypt.

 

Beyond the miracle of God clothing himself in flesh and being born in the most humbling of all circumstances… in a barn and laid in a feeding trough, lies the contrast between the greatest gift bestowed upon humanity and the greatest battle known to man.

 

This story was the original Star Wars.  It was not Han Solo or Darth Vader.  It was not the galactic empire or the rebel alliance.  It was Jesus, Joseph, Herod and wise men from the East.  Sort of a Holy Alliance and an Evil Empire.  The miracle was born in the midst of danger, fear, intrigue, and uncertainty.

 

A star is light, and this Light called Christ was born under the cloak of a pretty serious lampshade. The Star of Light was shrouded with unlikely circumstances and unappealing surroundings.  Although, it was the answer to the prayers of millions of people over a period of thousands of year, it was not obvious.

 

That light is the hope that each of us has in Christ.  It is the real force, and when it awakens, anything is possible.  The lyrics of a Jane Taylor poem in the 19th Century reminds us of the dream and the wonder: “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.  Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky…”

 

The beauty of a star or the wonder of a child is not easy to bottle, and no doubt will always have the adversity of dream killers and naysayers, still it is what illuminates our hearts and brightens our soul.  It is the Christmas message, and it is alive and well.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

Is Thanksgiving a Vanishing Holiday?

I walked into Target the other day with my wife and immediately stopped to get some Starbucks coffee. My wife explained that some holiday-flavored coffee would help me get through a “shopping experience.” I don’t mind coffee as long as it tastes like it has a Snickers bar in it.

The female barista and I got into an interesting conversation about the paper cups that Starbucks is using for the Christmas season and the controversy surrounding it. The nice lady informed us that the previous day a customer had asked her if the barista was allowed to greet them with the words, “Merry Christmas.” She said, “I could, but I would rather say Happy Thanksgiving since it is first.”

We laughed and I walked away thinking that as Christmas continues to grow and expand its calendar boundaries, is Thanksgiving a holiday that is getting swallowed up in the waves of Christmas preparation? It used to be that the lights went up and the house was decorated after Thanksgiving, but now it seems like we immediately go from Halloween to Christmas.

The events of December must be planned further in advance. The shopping starts in early autumn. The planned giving and charitable causes are initiated earlier and earlier in the year as many churches and non-profit organizations depend on end of the year donations. All of this causes Thanksgiving to sort of be an appetizer for the main meal in December.

Perhaps just being thankful is on the decline. Earlier this year on a visit to China, it was explained to me that each of the ancient Chinese dynasties were overthrown after the 20th generation. Apparently, each generation following the one that came to power would become less appreciative and less willing to make the sacrifices to sustain the dynasty.

My generation of baby boomers is not the same as the World War 2 generation. My children are digital natives and I feel like a digital immigrant. Each succeeding generation has greater affluence and greater challenges. One of those challenges is to be intentional in bringing to remembrance the things that we all should be thankful for.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to remember what we should be thankful for. I grew up on the East coast of Florida remembering how communities came together when a hurricane would blow through. I remember how America responded when our World Trade Centers and Pentagon buildings were attacked on September 11th and thousands lost their lives. Everyone paused to be thankful.

Recently, more than 100 people in Paris lost their lives in senseless bombings and shootings. Many were injured and many more families and friends were affected by the loss. The ripple effect of a tragedy is widespread and part of that ripple effect is the sense of thankfulness from people who did not suffer any direct personal loss.

Thanksgiving was a holiday that was established so that we would never forget to remember. We would take time to remember how blessed we are. We would be able to do that without a tragedy to remind us of everything that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Football, food and family are some of my favorite things and they are all on display at Thanksgiving, but perhaps faith has been forced to the outskirts and should be invited back to the dinner table.

Thanksgiving comes in many forms and in many ways through out the year. Any trip to a third world country or a mission’s trip to an overseas orphanage and we are reminded of how blessed we are. But one does not have to go to a foreign land to find thanksgiving.

Why not spend this Thanksgiving volunteering? Serve food to those who are hungry. Provide warmth and encouragement by lending a hand to someone in need. “Hands for Healing” is a community based non-profit organization that exists in Palm Bay to help people who are hurting. They feed almost 500 people a week. You can contact them through their Facebook page, “Hands for Healing International” or their website, www.hands4healing.org.

Help others and you will preserve Thanksgiving. Not just as a holiday but as a special place in your heart.

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Hijacking of Halloween

I was raised in a conservative home with devout Christians as parents.  We did not have a television in our home.  We did not go to movies.  We did not drink alcohol.  Smoking of any kind was forbidden.  We were great at Putt-Putt golf and Ping-Pong.

We had a lot of fun and I have nothing but great memories of my childhood.

The irony of growing up in a conservative home, where my father was a pastor, is that we never thought of Halloween as being evil.  We dressed up.  We went door-to-door trick or treating.  We even had a haunted house in our church.  We decorated the classrooms and scared the kids as they came through.  Looking back, it seems strange that we were devout Christians and did not hyperventilate with hostility towards Halloween.

Did a changing culture force Christians to draw a line in the sand?  The seeming paradox is that as society has become more secular, a Christian’s view of Halloween has become more conservative.  The irony is that if modern culture has dictated that Christ followers take an abolition approach to Halloween, why is that position based on the history of Halloween’s origin?

The answer must be in the changing tides of our culture in the last generation.  There is no doubt that the Christian teaching on Halloween has become more isolationistic. Halloween has been hijacked in modern culture to somehow become the “Devil’s Birthday.”  This position is not biblical as Psalms 118:24 records “every day is made by the Lord and we should rejoice in it.

Notwithstanding the fact that Christians have taken a position of running for the hills, it is undeniable that society has seized this particular celebration to be the cornerstone for all activities and rituals on the dark side. Salem, Massachusetts, a beautiful city on the Northeastern coast, is known historically as the place of witch trials in 1692.

Salem is also where my mother grew up and some of my family still lives.  I remember as a kid visiting my cousins and playing at “Salem Willows”, a beautiful park and carnival like boardwalk on the rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  City officials in recent years have embraced the idea of increasing revenue by celebrating witches and ghosts and pagan rituals during the entire month of October.

You can’t visit St. Augustine, Florida or Savanna, Georgia without someone handing you a pamphlet on ghost tours.  Apparently, it is a big money maker to load people up on buses at night and take them around to the city cemeteries and tell ghost stories.  I have no interest, but does this mean that I should never visit these beautiful, historical cities that have much more to offer than fabled tales?

The point is that secularists have profited on societies’ appetite for the supernatural.  People are not sure what to believe, but they are interested.  Commercial opportunists and secular propagandists have joined forces to create a more hostile environment for Christian families.  Horror and gore used to be on the culture fringe, but now mainstream theme parks have joined the ranks.

The modern trend toward graphic violence and splatter films has created a climate that many people with small children and conservative values are not comfortable with.  They are forced to look for a safe place to attend and participate in this week.  Churches and Christians not wanting to relinquish even one day to the dark side, offer a substitute.

Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats are becoming more popular with Christian churches.  On Saturday, in almost every city, you will find cars in church parking lots, decorated and full of candy.  First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay is hosting a Family Fall Festival on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.  You will find a wholesome environment of games, food, candy, bounce houses, animals, hayrides, and positive music.  It is free and everyone is welcome.

Having fun is not a sin and the last week of October is not exclusive for wrong behavior.  It is a beautiful time of the year to celebrate with your kids and enjoy another day of life.  Don’t let anyone rob you of that!

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

From Failure to Freedom

As imperfect humans, we often fail. Moses had some doozies. Moses was raised in Pharoah’s palace as a son, but one day his passion for his people got the best of him. After seeing many Egyptians beat their Hebrew captives, he finally couldn’t take it anymore. He rose up and struck an Egyptian guard responsible for many beatings and killed him.

Quickly Moses buried the Egyptian in the sand, but others saw it and word got out. Pharaoh learned of it and tried to kill Moses (Exodus 2:15).

Moses ran for his life. He ended up in the wilderness, tending sheep for a living.

He must have replayed that murder scene over and over in his mind. The act that drove him from the palace. The act that drove him out of Egypt.

He must have thought his life was over. But God had a plan. God had seen to it that Moses had identified with the Hebrews, and not with the strong arm of the Egyptian army that he had grown up with. And the Hebrews, because two of them had seen the murder and told their friends about it, came to identify with Moses and view him as their defender.

That “failure” was a successful failure, because God made it so. God used it to free the Hebrew people.

Likewise, God can turn your failure into freedom.

~ Excerpt from “Heaven We Have a Problem”

Pastor David Myers and Aimee Myers

The Supreme God

The supreme God that we serve has the final say in all matters. There is no higher law and there is no greater power. Hebrews 6:13 states, “He could swear by none greater, so He swore by himself.” Since God has a supreme status, When the ideas of man conflict with the laws of God, the ideas of man are doomed. When the concepts of false teachings purvey useless information, they may flounder and flop around on the canvass of human curiosity for some time, but when they rear their ugly head against God’s law they are on a collision course with extinction. ~ From the book Supremacy Clause by Pastor Myers