In July of 2005, I had the good fortune of attending a workshop on strategic planning hosted by Bethel Church in Redding, California. One of the questions asked of our team was, "What are you building with your ministry?" I've been known to be quick and insightful, only this time it was what I call a "divine download." Before I even had time to think, the words came tumbling out of my mouth "a platform for social reform."
What did this divine download from God mean?
The dictionary had as one of its definitions of platform:
1. a formal declaration of the policy of a group, such as a political party
The Bible declares the government will be upon the Lord's shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6, 7)
Consider the meaning of the key word declaration in this definition:
1. A formal or authoritative statement that creates order
Looking at the definitions for reform, when used as a verb:
1. To improve, as by alteration
2. To abolish malpractice in (malpractice means: improper or negligent conduct or treatment)
3. To give up or cause to abandon immoral practices
Now let’s consider what reform means as a noun (the result of taking the action):
1. A change for the better
2. A movement that attempts to improve social and political conditions without a public revolt
3. Moral improvement
The dictionary offers the following insights related to the word social:
1. relating to human society and how it is organized
2. the way in which people in groups behave and interact
3. living or preferring to live as part of a community or colony rather than alone
4. Relating to human welfare; the organized welfare services that a community provides
Prior to looking at the dictionary definitions, I had considered each word prayerfully and saw other elements of each word that I think are worth consideration.
Coming from a construction background, a platform to me, represents a solid structure that others can stand or build on confidently. Typically, platforms are built to lift up something or someone to a height so that others can easily see or hear what’s being presented. People don't come to see the platform, but platforms are an essential element made to serve a higher calling.
We know that Jesus was all about being social; He brought wine to the wedding, ate with sinners, healed the heathens and corrected the religious leaders while speaking publicly. His secret to always knowing what to say and when: His intense desire to please his Father; our Father too, if we are in Christ. He listened and obeyed, watched and prayed and loved unconditionally. There has never been a greater advocate of social reform then Jesus.
Last, but certainly not least; reform. Simply put, this is our need to form again (re-form) what this nation believes and stands for. Right now, it seems we stand for anything and everything as long as it makes us feel good, feel powerful (safe) and is considered politically correct (acceptable in the eyes of others). To re-align our nation with its Judeo-Christian roots is going to have to happen through a move of God. This will only come to pass through Christ in us the hope of glory as we seek first the Kingdom of God. This is a God sized job, starting from the inside out with folks like you and me.
God’s Word demonstrates He can change a nation in a day. Looking at Jonah’s story, he didn't want God to save the Ninevites, judging them as undeserving of God's grace because of their immoral behaviors. I suspect there are still a few Jonah’s out there today judging sex offenders or even our nation. Perhaps Jonah didn't believe that the Ninevites could change, or that God could change their hearts. Regardless, when Jonah finally was obedient and made the declarations, God told him to, God changed the nation in a day! God can do it again! He can do it to America! Do it through those reading this article! We need to listen and obey, watch and pray and love even our enemies while using His word to make life changing, yes even nation changing declarations.
"He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
Prior to developing the Social Reform Declaration, I felt impressed to meditate on this portion of scripture. As I did, hope for our nation manifested in a vision. I saw three different pieces of legislation being ratified by the leaders of this nation:
All those affected by generations of sexual abuse would be able to pursue healing and reconciliation without the threat of personal or family destruction.
Ours is not a story of victims and perpetrators, but of hearts needing hope and healing. Once we collect enough signatures, we will present our petition to the leaders of this nation; believing for Godly changes and favor. In the meantime, we'll continue to work to influence future legislation that will heal our nation from the devastation of sexual sin.