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Threat Level - Red?
1 Chronicles 12:32
Skip Heitzig

1 Chronicles 12 (NKJV™)
32 of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command;

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 attack. Designed to inform the public as to the threat of terrorism by color-coded levels, it has now become part of our culture. But radical terrorism isn't our only challenge. In this series we will consider the dangers we face personally, culturally, with our family, nationally and globally. In a culture conditioned by fear, how can we have peace?

We live in a country that is on constant guard to preserve the democracy and freedom of its current state. But do we pay as much attention to the security of our souls as we do the security of our nation?

Pastor Skip Heitzig breaks apart the basic components of today's society and looks at the threats that believers face at every level: personally, family, communally, nationally, and globally. This series focuses on what God's word says about each of these levels of society and how we can best follow God's original plan for our lives, our family, and the rest of the world.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series

Outline

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I. Realize Your Position, "The sons of Issachar"
A. Ordinary People

B. An Extraordinary Battle

II. Recognize the Peril "Understanding of the Times'
A. Eternal Insecurity
B. Family Irresponsibility
C. Cultural Conformity
D. Spiritual Animosity
E. International Instability

III. Respond to The Prospect "To know what Israel ought to do"
A. Be Informed
B. Be Equipped
C. Be Engaged

Security Briefing:
1. Why is our present age unique historically? What do you understand about biblical prophecy that makes our present era distinctive? Read Matthew 16:1-3
2. Look at Esther 1:13-14. How can we become more aware & helpful?

Transcript

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

Just before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast shore, a lone forecaster saw the storm's approach and set out warnings that were largely ignored. Today, our families and our country face severe threats of moral, spiritual, and global terror. Will we see the warnings? Will we respond before it's too late? Homeland Security is a series by Skip Heitzig that will reveal how God's word addresses these current issues. Find out more at homelandsecurity08.org. On this site, we have resources for you to send to family and friends. You can send e-card alerts, audio messages, and much more. And at Security Centers at Calvary, you can get postcards, spiritual survival kits, and copies of each message in this Homeland Security Series. Homeland Security-- we can't have peace in times of terror.

Well, good morning. Some of you I haven't seen since last year. It's great to see you this year. I think these t-shirts-- the mask, I don't know where they found that weird '50s vibe mask, but that's such a great, funny thing. I actually want to buy one of those masks and preach with it. No, but if you wear those t-shirts that are out there, I guarantee you if you wore one, somebody would ask you, what is that all about? And that would be a great opportunity to tell them what it's all about. It's just another-- not just a cool t-shirt, but another way-- as a witnessing tool evangelism-- to get into people's conversations.

Well, the reason I'm sitting down is because I like stools. No, seriously, I just wanted to share with you something before we begin our Homeland Security study today. And it's a letter. And it comes to us from a listener in Sao Paulo, Brazil. And her name is Anna. And she writes, she says, I've been learning a lot from the Bible from 30,000 Feet-- which is our Wednesday study-- and I love it. Thank you so much for your sermons online and the whole world-- sharing your sermons with the whole world. I'm an English teacher and I've told my students that in order to improve their listening skills, that they should listen to sermons live.

And then she says, the truth is, I'm mainly aiming for their spiritual improvement. So she tells these students who want to learn English, hey, you ought to listen to a few different speakers. Sometimes, she says, I watch two or three messages a day. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. And I'm very happy to know that even though I live so far away, I, too, can learn from Skip's teachings. I've been a Christian all my life. I'm 66 years old. And I studied the Bible all these years, but I've never been on a tour, as such. And the best thing, it's available on the internet and I can go back and watch it again and again. I feel like somebody who's found an endless goldmine. And I thank God for you and for the work that you're doing.

Well, she wrote this letter to Sam in our internet department, because she didn't know that she could podcast this. And Sam explained what podcasting is, that if she has an iPod, she can get it delivered to her iPod once a week. It just updates it. And she can have a video of the service downloaded to her computer and an iPod every week, no matter where you are in the world. So she just wrote back and she goes, I'm going to figure this out and then hook up my iPod to my television, so I can watch it on television at home every week. Well, what's great is that God has given us technology to reach different people in the world. And they're watching it and they're listening.

And for us, we can do that. But better yet, we can have it live. You can actually come on Wednesday nights, instead of saying, wow, I can watch it on a computer. Yeah, but you don't need to, because we're here. And so, I'm inviting you, re-inviting you out for the Wednesday night Bible study. We've been on hiatus for about a month. We call it a flight delay. It's been a long delay. And we're kicking it back up this Wednesday night through the book of 1 Kings. So we invite you to come out, Bible in hand, as we overview the book of 1 Kings and then on into 2 Kings. And we're making great progress through the Bible.

Now, we're beginning a new series today. And about 15 minutes before last night's service, I decided, boy, it would be fun if we could interact a little more. So Saturday night, after the service-- not that this has a lot to do with you at this service, but we have a Saturday night, which is a mirror image of this one. It's the first of four services on the weekend. And after Saturday night's service at 8:00 o'clock, I'm going to be live on the radio on 107.1 and let the people who just listened-- or those who will be the next day-- talk about these issues, interact with these issues, ask questions about them, and bring more of an involvement. So we're going to start doing that next week. And it should be a lot of fun. That's going to be 8:00 o'clock on the radio.

Anyway, let's open our bibles this morning, shall we? To 1 Chronicles chapter 12. 1 Chronicles chapter 12. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we continue our worship with the listening of your word-- our hearts, our minds focused-- to say, we want you to speak and have free reign. We want to let down the guard in our heart. We want to let down our walls, if we have any of them at all, and give you the freedom to deal plainly, candidly with us. We live in interesting days. And we need to frame what those days are with a biblical context, a biblical world view. Make out of us those who are like what we're about to read-- the sons and daughters of Issachar. In Jesus' name, Amen.

The other night I was watching the news and election coverage. It was the caucus in Iowa coverage. And I was very interested in what the pundits were saying. And one of the reporters was filmed by the network, standing with his microphone. Behind him was a crowd of people. And behind the crowd of people was a huge sign like this-- only much bigger-- that said change on it. And he was using that as sort of a prop. And he was saying, the word behind me sums up what the nation is looking for. We're looking for change to occur.

But what would it be like if change occurred and you didn't know about it? I'll give you an illustration. In the 1912 presidential elections, Woodrow Wilson-- who was elected president-- went to visit his elderly aunt. He hadn't seen her in a long time. He walked in and she said, well, Woodrow, what have you been doing lately? And he said, well, Auntie, I've just been elected the president. And she said, oh? Of what? He said, of the United States of America. And she bristled back and said, oh, don't be silly.

That's hard to imagine in this day and age. Everybody would know. His own aunt didn't know that he was the president. That's cute and innocent in that context. But what if it's warfare? What if it's a battle and you don't know who your enemy is? You don't know that a change is taking place. You're unaware. It could be fatal. Another illustration, 1917. You've heard this name, Lawrence of Arabia conquered the city of Aqaba at the port of the Red Sea, over in the Middle East.

The Gulf of Aqaba and the port city of Aqaba was considered impregnable by the Turks who ran it at the time. And for good cause. They had these huge naval guns in the hills behind the city pointed out toward the port, so any ship coming in to attack would be annihilated. Behind the city, all around, was inhospitable barren desert. No one would attack from the desert, they thought. Then comes Lawrence of Arabia with his warring tribes of citizenry through the desert and flanks them on the north side-- their blind side-- past the naval guns and attacks defeats the city.

Well, the Turks made two mistakes. Number one, they didn't know who their enemy was. Number two, they didn't have the right weapons. Go back in time. Go back to September 10, 2001. Was anybody in our country talking about the war on terror? Nope. No one. No one knew what al-Qaeda was. No one knew this idea of terrorism in our borders. September 11, of course, everything changed. A new enemy surfaced. And now, we're catching up with the idea that, you mean there's people out there who don't like us? There's really people who want to destroy us? Who are they? Why?

This is a series that we've called Homeland Security, but it's not what you might think. We're not going to do a briefing every week on terrorism around the world. Though our country is in danger of terrorist attack-- and we will touch on that in this series-- we have a greater enemy than that. Yes, our homeland is under attack, but our homes are under attack. Your family is under attack. Your children, churches in this country are under attack. And your souls are also under attack.

It was Paul the Apostle who gave us the battle briefing in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12. He writes, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world. The real enemies, said Paul, is a host of demonic beings, including the devil himself. Now, when the average person hears that, their response is much like Woodrow Wilson's aunt. Oh, don't be silly. That's not real. That's not the real problem.

We do have, in our country, a Department of Homeland Security. It's surfaced since the attacks on the World Trade Center. There's 200,000 employees in that federal government department. The idea is to assess and respond to terrorist threats for the public. And so, they've come up with a color coded system, all the way from green to red. These are the levels of threat. Red is the most severe, green is the most mild, I suppose. Currently in America, they've rated us at the yellow level, elevated. And that means there is a significant terrorist threat in our country.

If you were to fly on an airplane, whether domestically or internationally, it goes up to the orange level. It's a more severe threat, a high risk of terrorism. What would the color be on the chart if we were dealing with spiritual issues, the spiritual battle? It could be that it would be in this severe zone, especially for some of us. 1 Chronicles chapter 12 is where I've asked you to turn this morning. I know it sounds and looks like an odd chapter to begin this series with. If you've glanced over the chapter, you see a list of names. It's an obituary at this point. And there are hard to pronounce names. And I wouldn't suggest this chapter for bedside reading, unless you want to fall asleep quickly.

And so, you wonder, why turn to this chapter? Because these were David's mighty men. To David, this was a very important chapter. This was his first string. They helped him get into the kingdom as the King. And so, let's look at just a few verses. And there's one in particular that I'll end with. Verse 1-- now, these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul, the son of Kish. And they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war.

Verse 8-- some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness. Mighty men of valor, trained for battle, who could handle the shield and the spear. Whose faces were like the faces of lions and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains. Verse 23-- now, these were the number of the divisions that were equipped for war and came to David at Hebron to turn over the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord. Verse 30-- of the sons of Ephraim, 20,800 mighty men of valor, famous men throughout their father's house. Of the half tribe of Manasseh, 18,000 who were designated by name to come and make David king.

And of the sons of Issachar-- who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do-- their chiefs were 200. And all their brethren were at their command. That 30 second verse is one of those verses that, in my reading, reached out and grabbed me. If you have a tendency just to read through it, as I do, it's one of the verses that said, wait a minute. Don't you go anywhere. You stay right here and notice me. Because there are some lessons here I want you to learn.

And there are some good ones. We want to camp on this verse today and launch the whole series with verse 32 to become sons and daughters of Issachar ourselves. How do you get discernment and direction with conviction in aimless times, like the ones we are living in presently? How do you think clearly and live with faith and peace in times such as ours? Well, that's what we're going to discover this morning. And I put it in three positive commands, three positive things to do in threatening times.

Number one, realize. Number two, recognize. And number three, respond. We want to realize our position. Here we are. We want to recognize the perils that are around us. And then, knowing that, do something about it, respond to that prospect or the opportunity. Go back to verse 32 and let's look at our position in this battle and this time, this era. It calls them here, sons of Issachar. Now, that doesn't mean much to us. It might simply be best looked at as, these were just ordinary guys in this tribe. That's all. Ordinary people who made themselves available at an extraordinary time for extraordinary purposes. Ordinary people used by God extraordinarily.

Now, notice there's only 200 of them. It's a small group in comparison to the previous two verses. It's not the 20,800 from the tribe of Ephraim in verse 30. It's not the 18,000, verse 31, from the half tribe of Manasseh. That's a large bunch. This is a much smaller group. But they understood their times and they knew what Israel ought to do. A few regular folk with insight and direction. We need some more. We need more sons and daughters of Issachar, more people who understand what's going on and then what to do about it.

And they can be anybody, really. Anybody that dares to have the kind of insight and vision that God provides. There's a great old Chinese legend about a group of men, Chinese men. Elderly, cultured gentleman who like to meet together periodically. And they would drink tea and share wisdom with each other. And it was always one of the men in the group's opportunity to display the tea. And the goal was not only to share wisdom, but to find the most exotic blends of tea-- the rarest, most costly teas-- and to impress their fellows.

Well, when it fell the turn of a most venerated and respected gentleman in that group to have the tea party, he did it up with ceremony and pomp. And he had the tea in a little gold box and measured it out with a gold spoon and just made it, like, a wow presentation. And all of these old guys drank the tea and commented on how exquisite and unlike anything they had ever tasted was this tea. At which point, the elderly gentleman in the group said, the tea that you have found so delightful is the same tea that our peasants drink. No difference.

I hope this is a reminder to you that all good things in life are not necessarily the rarest or the most costly. There's great wisdom in that. You are sons of Issachar. Let's call you that. You're ordinary, plain folk. But you're sons and daughters of God, that makes you extraordinary. That gives you an edge that other people don't have. And God will use anyone who will say, God use me, who make themselves available.

1 Corinthians 126, this fellowship knows that verse almost by heart by now. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise, according to the flesh. Not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world and the weak things and the base things. Here's my point. God isn't necessarily looking for the Phi Beta Kappas, the politicians, the nobility, the world famous athlete and statesman. He'll take anyone. He'll use all of them as well, but he's not saying, I hang my hat on that kind of person. I just want anyone. Anyone who, as my son or daughter, will step into this, this arena of insight and vision and doing something about it. So that's our position. Sons of the flesh, daughters in the flesh, but sons and daughters of the living God.

Let's move on in that verse, verse 32. Let's recognize the peril. These sons of Issachar, it says, had understanding of the times. What does that mean? It means they understood exactly what they were up against. They knew the dangers of the time in which they were living. They knew that Saul was king and he was jealous and angry and vengeful. They knew that Saul wanted to kill David. And they were in danger as well, because they aligned with David. They knew and understood that David-- not Saul-- David was going to be the king. And they knew that they should step into helping David become the king, even though that choice meant possible death for them. That's what they understood. They understood their times.

We also need to understand our time, who the real enemy is. What he's up to, what attacks and assaults are being mounted around us. We need to know that. Because the world is confused. They don't know who the real enemy is. They don't really know what's going on. And they don't know what to do about it. You do, or at least you should. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day in Matthew 16, how is it that you guys can discern the face of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times? You're great at weather maps, he said. You can forecast the weather. But you can't foresee the future or even focus on the present. You don't know what's happening around you. They should.

Well, what are we to understand about our times? What are the big issues that we face? I have given you a smidgen, a small little list of some of the things we're going to be looking at in the next several weeks in this series on Homeland Security. Some of the things of our time that we should be aware of. And I'll begin with the most important, eternal insecurity. That tops the list, eternal insecurity. Let me explain. Most people in this community, in this country, most people around us don't really care about eternity. They're thinking about their kids, their college for their kids, or their future plans, or their security, physically. But nobody-- except a few people-- are thinking about eternity, right?

So there's a big question mark. And many of them will call themselves people of the question mark. Well, they call themselves agnostics. I just don't know. So there's an eternal insecurity. Half of American adults say that if a person is generally good or does good things, they'll earn a place in heaven. Half of Americans believe it. Just be a good person, do good things, and you'll get to heaven. Even though they're a little at loss to define heaven. But 36% of Americans say they're searching for meaning and purpose in life. And a third of Americans, about the same amount, are unchurched. Most of whom believe Satan is not real but simply a symbol of evil, not a real entity.

So they-- and I mean they, the world without Christ-- feel eternally insecure, most of them. Because they are eternally insecure. There is no security outside of Christ, none. They should feel that way. The danger is that some of them don't feel that way, because they have a false sense of security. I'll be a good person, I'll make it. Then there are those within the church who are eternally insecure. What I mean is, they are insecure about their own faith, their own relationship with God, and their own salvation. I know I was saved. I don't know if I still am saved. I think I lost it, maybe under the couch. Where is my salv-- I can't find it.

And this is the person who feels they have to get born again and again and again and again and again. Because they haven't done all of those works that make them a good person. I found an interesting study from Kentucky. It says-- this leader was talking about the study. 64%, he says, of Kentucky Southern Baptists believe we need to continually work toward salvation or risk losing it. And the leader commented, we have just not done a great job in teaching one of the key doctrines of our faith.

So we have, in the world, an eternal insecurity or a false sense of security. And even among Christians, a great insecurity, not even knowing where they stand with God. And that's tragic, because John said there should be certainty. In 1 John, chapter 5, these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. You need to know that you're secure in Christ.

Second on this list that I've given to you deals with the family. Not just eternal insecurity, if that wasn't bad enough, but family irresponsibility. I don't need to tell you this, your family's under attack. Has been for some time. But I fear some of us are caving in to the pressure. Here we are, worried about border security. Who's crawling over the fence? Who's getting under the fence? And all those are viable concerns, valuable concerns. Don't get me wrong. But here we are, worried about that kind of security with the borders and the fences and we're not really worried enough about real homeland security. Our homes, our families, our marriages. That ought to worry us more than the border.

Sociologist or social scientist, James Wilson said, we are witnessing-- his words, we're witnessing-- a profound, worldwide, long-term change in the family that's likely to continue for a long time, He said, the scale of marital breakdown in the West since the 1960s has no historical precedent. You understand what that means? He says, I can't find any other period of time in history that parallels the kind of time we're seeing in the West, in terms of the marriage and family breakdown. None.

When I was a kid-- and before you think, oh, here it goes, but I think you'll agree with this statement. When I was a kid, everybody knew what a family was. You didn't have to define it. A family is a husband and a wife with or without children. That's a family. Today, it's not so easy, is it? Politicians can't even agree on the definition of a family. And they're so skittish about saying what they believe it is, because they want to include everybody, which is impossible.

I want to read something to you. It's enlightening. It's written by a sociologist and historian named Carl Zimmerman. Here's what's odd. He wrote these words in 1947. And let me tell you where he's going with this, because it looks prophetic. I mean, he was talking about what he was seeing in the cultures. He studied civilizations, several of them in the world. And he noticed that when civilizations decline, that there is an interesting parallel-- declining of the family. It parallels it. And he said, there are things endemic in any civilization that is going down the tubes. There are certain patterns that are the same. Let me share some of these ideas.

Marriage loses its sacredness. It's frequently broken by divorce. Traditional meaning of marriage ceremony is lost. Feminine movements abound. There is an increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general. There is a growing desire for acceptance, a desire for an acceptance of adultery. There is an increased interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes. And a refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities. If that isn't a wake up call from 1947 for 2008, I don't know what is.

Third on the list is cultural conformity. We're believers in the kingdom of Christ. And we're called to live different lives, right? And Paul writes in Romans chapter 12, verse 2, be not conformed to this world, but-- but? Transformed by the renewing of your minds. Don't do what the world does. Don't let the world squeeze you into its own mold, says the Moffatt translation. Live differently. Don't be conformed. How are we doing in that department as a church, as a group of believers? Ironic.

We spend thousands of dollars on home security systems, right? Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with protecting the home, that's wise. But they're elaborate. There's triggers on windows and doors and the alarm goes off. And everybody in the neighborhood, their dogs bark. And the police comes. And it's elaborate. But here's what's ironic. Hear me out. We spend thousands of dollars on protecting our stuff, but not the people that live in that home.

Example. You have holes in your house. I mean that literally, I'm not speaking figuratively here. You have little holes that go through your walls. And through those holes, little-- I'm going to call them-- soul thieves are running. They steal souls. You go, Skip, you've lost it. No, no, no. Hear me out. Through those little holes goes a cable that carries cable television into your house-- And the internet, through another hole-- into your house that displays all sorts of values and ideas and humor and images that is being pumped toward your children and stealing their souls. And yours, in some respects.

I found out that Christians-- now, listen. Christians spend seven times as much time on entertainment as on spiritual activities. I got to say, it shows. Because 1/3 is the statistic from George Barna group. 1/3 of born again Christians, of born again adults say abortion is morally acceptable. And a large number of these born again believers feel that living with someone outside of the bonds of marriage is perfectly acceptable. And then, those little soul thieves that come in, some of them are attached to the porn industry. It's a huge problem. And it's getting worse. And it will get much worse.

Did you know that the porn industry is a $13.3 billion-per-year industry? I'm going to let that sink in. $13.3 billion. That's just a number. Men, let me frame that for you. That means that the porn industry-- at $13.3 billion-- is bigger in revenue than the NBA, the NFL, and Major League Baseball combined. And some of you are watching it. And you need to stop it. Because it's eroding at families and at people's hearts.

Let's talk about another one that we'll get to. Spiritual animosity is next on the list. Spiritual animosity. What do I mean? What I mean is while we are whatever we are in the walls of the church, there is an aggressive vocal group of people that are becoming more aggressive and more vocal against us. Now, persecution in the world is worse than ever before. It's worse in the 20th century than all centuries combined in persecuted nations. But I'm talking about the United States of America now.

Books like The God Delusion, books like God Isn't Great, or the film The Golden Compass are engineered to dismantle any faith in God, especially in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, I saw this coming right after September 11, 2001. I noticed this. And it was in its beginning stages, but I heard the rhetoric going back and forth. These fundamentalist groups attacking our country and these towers falling and who are these people? And then I started hearing their rhetoric about fundamentalism, fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalists and these radicals who really believe in their book. And I thought, very soon they're going to lump us all together. Fundamentalist anything is all evil, all bad. And I was right.

I discovered also this statistic. Over half, 56% of the atheists and agnostics in America-- over half-- believe that radical Christianity is as threatening to America as is radical Islam. You know what that means? That means if you dare believe this book is real and you live by it, you are suspect. So there is spiritual animosity. The typical profile of the atheist is he's young, educated, and vocal. So my question is, why aren't we? We're so afraid to be vocal. Well we don't want to say Jesus is the only way, it could offend someone.

Boy, everybody seems to be OK about being vocal these days. Whether it's radical Islam or the homosexual community or whatever community, the atheistic community now. Why can't Christians say, this is what I believe and I won't change. But God can change you. And God loves you. And God has a plan for you. And God-- just don't back down. Finally, we'll touch on the rest later, as we go through this one by one.

There is international instability. We do want to talk about that. There is international instability. There really are people out there who desire to destroy us. What do we do when we hear of wars and rumors of wars, as Jesus said? What are we to make of it all? And can we find peace, stability, security in that kind of a time? And what about Islam? What about it? Is there an agenda or not? Is it fabricated? What are Christians to know about that? And how are we to reasonably and righteously respond?

By the way, I don't know if you caught this or not. It just happened a few days ago in Great Britain. Just last week, the end of December, the government of Great Britain decided to banish the term War on Terror. They can't say it anymore. It's too discriminating. We don't want to nail down a certain group or a persuasion or a religion, even though they've had several terrorist attacks. They say that these are random murders, many unrelated. Well, I know where they're coming from. But toning down the rhetoric won't make this problem go away. It won't go away.

We'll look at that. We want to understand it. And something about all of these trends, that there is a common thread in them. All of them are real. We need to understand them. But all of them are slow, they're slow-growing. They happen simultaneous to taking our kids to school and getting the job promotion and moving to a different town. Those are slow but steady trends that occur. And they're erosive. If you've lived on any coast, you understand erosion. You're at the-- you get the best ocean view. But everybody who lives there knows that today's ocean view may be tomorrow's ocean. You could go down. The coastline erodes. These things have an eroding effect in our culture.

So let's finish up with just that last point that I've given you. We need to realize our position. We're just ordinary people being enlisted for an extraordinary task by God. We're sons and daughters of God. Then, we need to recognize the perils, things that are going on. We get it. We want to get the picture and be informed. But then, we need to respond, right? We don't want to just say, yeah, I'm doing a whole bunch of reading here and it's bad stuff out there. What are you going to do about it? Respond to the prospect. That's the last part of verse 32, to know what Israel ought to do.

OK, put it all together. Here's a group of guys, 200 of them. They have vision, they have perspective, they have insight, perception. And then they craft a strategy-- a coherent strategy-- based on what they see, based on their vision. That's what I hope we can do over the next few weeks, as we go through the series. So we need to be informed, be equipped, and be engaged. Be informed. Read. Remember that word? Read. Yeah, it's a word we used to use in this country a long time ago. You know that the print has been usurped by the visual image. People don't read as much anymore. I'm asking you to read more. Find out what's going on. And especially, read your bibles and find out what's going on in the big picture.

And then, be equipped. Let's discover together, through this series, how to protect ourselves but how to promote Christ. So you don't want to stop with just, I've got to know what to do to protect myself and my family. That's good, but beyond that, we don't want to be a fortress mentality here. We want to know how do we, in the midst of that, promote Christ? What ways can we creatively insert the gospel message in all of this stuff? And then, be engaged. You're in this, folks. We're in this together.

And I'll remind you of a saying that probably everybody I know has quoted, what Edmund Burke once said. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Back in the 1950s, Tommy Bolt was a professional golfer. And that name resonated among golfers in our country. He was up there. He was playing a match in Los Angeles. He had a caddy and everybody in golf knew that, at that time, Tommy Bolt's caddy was a chatterbox. He'd just talk through the whole game.

So before Tommy teed off, he turned to his caddy and said, OK. In this game, you don't say a word unless I ask you. And then you say either yes or no. Got it? Yes. So he swung, took his tee shot. Then he walked out to the fairway to find the ball and he found the ball under a tree. It was off the fairway a bit. And to make the shot, he had to shoot underneath the tree, over a lake, and onto the green. It was a tough shot. And he looked at it and he said, a five iron, don't you think? He said to his caddy. And the caddy stood there and said, no.

And Tommy Bolt said, what do you mean, not a five iron? Watch this. He grabbed the five iron and he shot. Perfect shot, by the way-- under the tree, over the lake, on the green, two feet from the cup. Handed the club to his caddy and said, what do you think of that? You can talk now. Caddy said, Mr. Bolt, you just hit the wrong ball. Can you imagine making a perfect shot with the other guy's golf ball?

I close with that to say that it's time for God's people to get into the right game. I think a lot of us are just swinging at stuff. Find what you're to aim at. Get in the game. Evaluate your life. Some of you are very good at what you do in your lives professionally and in the community. And I'm glad for that. I'm just asking you, in this series, to evaluate what you do and ask this question. Am I making an eternal impact?

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for the briefing this morning from your word. It's clear that there was a group of men, different tribes represented. Ones that had skill on a different skill set and area than another tribe. But this one is remarkable. 200 that understood their times and knew what Israel ought to do.

I pray, Lord, that we would understand our times and know what we, in America, in our culture, in our world ought to do with the little time that we have in securing our borders, securing our family, our marriage, our children, our church, and our very soul against the very real attacks of Satan. Make us wise. And in the midst of it all, would you give us a sense of peace and confidence and that outlook that only faith can bring, of somebody who can live victoriously in these days? In Jesus' name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/13/2008
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Securing the Foundations
Matthew 7:21-27
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued an important statement, "We [speak] often about protecting our nation, protecting our states, protecting our cities. [But we need] to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes." He acknowledged that the country's foundation is the individual and individual homes. But what about the foundation of the home? What about the foundation of each person? How can you be personally secure--forever?
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1/20/2008
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Heaven-Bound and Enjoying the Ride
1 John 5:13
Skip Heitzig
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Having the assurance of salvation is a prerequisite for enjoying the Christian life. Some don't have that certainty and it shows--they are weighed down by insecurity. Others feel certain that they're saved but they're delusional. Why is it important to know your eternal destination and how can we know? Let's shore up the security of our souls.
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1/27/2008
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Fractured Families-Broken Lives
2 Samuel 13-18
Skip Heitzig
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The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.
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2/3/2008
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Stop the Dominoes!
Joshua 24:14-15
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Joshua's last State-of-the-Union address to Israel was timely. As leader of that nation he knew his people, and he knew there were forces threatening their spiritual survival. He could already begin to see the "domino effect" of compromise happening in his own day. "Put away the gods your fathers served" (vs14), he admonished them. Then as a leader, both of the country and of his own home, he made his own resolve to serve God with his family. Let's consider what this same kind of steadfast determination could mean today for securing our families. Find out how you can help stop the Dominoes.
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2/10/2008
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How to Prevent Soul Thieves!
Nehemiah 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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The Christian is not to be "conformed to this world, but transformed" (Romans 12:2). This value system that the Bible calls the "world" imposes itself on us twenty-four-seven. It beckons to us to lower our standards of righteousness and conform to its unrighteous standard. Just as enemies and thieves were threatening to invade Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah, "soul thieves" are breaching the walls of our homes and eroding the souls of those inside. What can we do? Find out how to prevent Soul Thieves.
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2/17/2008
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Is the Church Secure?
Luke 21:12-19
Skip Heitzig
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There is an aggressive, consistently growing, vocal and active attack on the church in our culture. In a society where every viewpoint is tolerated and every ideology is celebrated, there is one that is becoming unacceptable--the Christian viewpoint. Once we were marginalized; now we are attacked. What are we to make of this? How secure is the church of Christ? What can we expect in the future and how should we respond to those who want to silence us?
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2/24/2008
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Casualties on the Battlefield of Truth
2 Timothy 4:1-4
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most probing questions Jesus asked about His future return was this, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Today the historic Christian faith is being attacked, not just by outsiders, but insiders--by so-called Christians! Emergent-church philosophies espouse sentiments like, "Well, your truth isn't everyone else's truth." The idea of absolute truth is considered to be passe and harsh. What are we to make of all this?
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3/2/2008
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The Slippery Slope
2 Timothy 4:2-8
Skip Heitzig
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Here's a question: Is everyone who can say "Baahhh" necessarily a sheep? Is every person who throws around the name of Jesus a disciple? In our series on Homeland Security we have considered how to be secure spiritually, relationally, morally and even socially. But what about the future of the church? What kind of Christian legacy are we passing on to the next generation?
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3/9/2008
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Abraham's Other Son
Genesis 16
Skip Heitzig
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Every Muslim reveres Ishmael as the son of Abraham more so than Isaac (whom the Bible calls the son of promise). In fact, Muslims claim that Islam began with Abraham and his son Ishmael, thus claiming that it is older than both Judaism and Christianity. According to the Koran, Ishmael is called both, "an apostle and a prophet". How does this biblical story relate to the modern threat of radical Islam? How does this ancient account in Genesis 16 tie in with the spread of extremist ideas of jihad?
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3/16/2008
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Testimony of a First-Century Terrorist
Acts 9:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Historians still talk about the amazing transformation of Saul of Tarsus. He was once rabidly hostile to the early Christians, terrorizing them in Jerusalem and in attempting to do the same in Syria. Paul's life shouts to us that no one is too hard, too lost or too far-gone to be saved. If we could really believe that last sentence, it would change forever how we deal with people. Let's consider how God might use us to reach out to the Islamic world with the gospel.
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3/30/2008
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What Now?
Romans 12:1-2
Skip Heitzig
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For the past 11 weeks we have probed the scriptures to find peace in times of terror. We've considered the dangers we face personally, culturally, nationally and within our own family. Today we bring all the pieces together to wrap up with a final application. I'll be joined with a few friends of mine to help me as we think about what to do now!
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There are 11 additional messages in this series.