Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Romans 1:1. The Freedom of Slavery

The Freedom of Slavery

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.  Romans 1:1 (NKJV) 

An Explosive Word

"Slavery" is an explosive word.  This practice nearly destroyed our nation 150 years ago.  We still live with the shame of that era.  The word "slave" carries so much baggage that translators of the New Testament have almost uniformly refused to use it in our English editions.  Instead, they use "servant" or "bondservant."

In a world full of egotists, Paul's first description of himself is radical.  He calls himself a doulos -- a slave. Though he has ample reason to boast of his many accomplishments, he describes himself first in humble, almost humiliating terms.

There are two main words in the New Testament usually translated "servant."  They are diakonos (from which we get the word "deacon") and doulos.  Diakonos means to render service to someone -- literally "to run errands" -- something like a table waiter.  Doulos goes further and carries the meaning of subservience and ownership.  R.C. Trench in his word studies says of doulos, "the will of the servant becomes swallowed up in the will of the master."  

Give Me Some Respect

Doulos challenges us!  Our culture is fueled by hype and hubris.  Self-image, self-respect, and self-worth are center stage.  Self, self, self!  In the words of Andre Agassi, "Image is everything."  We fight for our rights and refuse to be used.  "Nobody is going to tell me what to do!"  "I deserve a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T."

Yet, the greatest apostle of all time calls himself a doulos -- a slave, a bondservant.  Jesus set the pattern.  In Matthew 20:27-28, He says, "27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave (doulos) 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

True Freedom

When we understand the true meaning of doulos -- servanthood -- it is an incredibly liberating truth!  When we bow as slaves to Jesus, He elevates us in ways unknown to the world. When we stop fighting, He fights for us. When we surrender, He defends. When we yield our rights, He upholds our worth.

"Slavery" is transformed from a despised term of humiliation to a cherished description of dignity -- of one owned by the Lord, directed by the Spirit, and controlled by God's Word.  My rights are no longer my own, but God upholds me.  Such is true freedom.

How is servanthood opposite to the way the world operates?
Why are many people afraid to become a doulos?
How can you be a servant to someone today?

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Second Most Controversial Person in the New Testament

The Second Most Controversial Person 
in the New Testament

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.  Romans 1:1 (NKJV)

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.  Romans 1:14 (NKJV)

Some people seem to always be at the center of a storm.  They are lightning rods. The most controversial person of history is Jesus.  He is certainly the most controversial in the New Testament.  The second most divisive has to be the Apostle Paul. Like Jesus, he still stirs strong emotion today.  He is either loved as a great apostle or hated as a pious imposter -- studied as the prime interpreter of the Gospel or disdained as a corrupter of truth.

The Apostle Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna

Paul Then

In the early church, there was a teacher by the name of Marcion who so admired Paul that he re-arranged the entire Bible -- nearly declaring Paul to be divine.  But there were others who called him a devil, accusing him of destroying Moses and the Law.  An entire church council had to be called in Acts 15 to face the fuss Paul was stirring up as he preached to Gentiles.

Paul Today

Today, we find Paul just as provocative.  I have had individuals tell me they simple do not like Paul!  Jesus, YES.  Paul, NO.  (As if you can cut up the New Testament cafeteria-style)  "Paul is anti-women," they say.  "Paul is anti-gay," they shout.  "Paul is anti-Jewish law."  There is a line of thought that says Paul wrote all the divisive parts of the New Testament while Jesus only spoke of love and peace.  So -- AWAY WITH PAUL!

What Do You Think?

So, we must decide.  What will we do with the Apostle Paul?  Here are the facts.  Though not one of the original 12 apostles, yet he wrote 13 of the 27 books we call the New Testament.  He was perhaps the greatest church planter of all time, seeding faith communities across the Roman empire.  He was the driving force that brought Christianity from being a small sect of Judaism to being a free-standing force in the world. Edgar Goodspeed writes, "When Christianity seemed in danger of withering into just another sect of Judaism ... one man appeared who saw far more."  He took Christianity to the nations.

Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne

A Self-Description

Romans is Paul's greatest letter -- his magnus opus.  If we would digest the message of Paul we must know this book.  So we say, "Paul, speak to us!"  The first thing we read is, in fact, Paul's description of himself. He tells us in Chapter 1 three things about himself we should know.

He is ...
1. a bondservant.
2. an apostle.
3. a debtor.

What an introduction.  What do these mean?  If you were describing Paul, would you use these terms?  Let's take a moment to dig into these.  They contain keys to the man -- pictures of his heart.

Questions about Identity:
1. How do you see yourself?  What words would you use to describe yourself?
2. How much does pride figure into the way most folks portray themselves?
3. Why in the world would the first description Paul uses be BONDSERVANT?

Questions about Paul:
1.  Do you accept the apostolic authority of Paul, or do you see him as a little lower on the ladder than the other apostles?
2.  Do you see a disagreement between Paul and Jesus?
3.  Why do you think Jesus chose Paul to do such an important job?

TURNING POINTS: "Turning Points for the Church"

Here are the notes for the message yesterday at New Life Community Church.  If you desire to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at  God bless!

Turning Points, Part 3                                            Sunday, July 20, 2014
“Turning Points for the Church”

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 16:16-19 (ESV)

Jesus has promised that His church will prevail. 
Yet here is the reality:
Researcher David Olson tells us that 3,500 to 4,000 local churches in the United States go out of existence each year.

Decline in church attendance.
1950’s approximately 47%
Today:  a little over 18%
Rise in internet spirituality.

The Passenger Pigeon
Once the most abundant bird in the world.  Accounted for more than a quarter of all birds in North America.  Hunting and habitat destruction led to demise.
One migratory flock in early 20th century:  1 mile wide and 300 miles long – took 14 hours to pass – in excess of 3.5 billion birds.
Last one died Sept. 1, 1914 in Cincinnati Zoo.

Mauritius.  Had no natural enemies.  Did not need to fly.  When man arrived, it was defenseless.

Two Simple Reasons for Extinction:
1.     Could not ADAPT.
2.     Did not REPRODUCE.

Standard replacement for population equilibrium requires that every couple produce two children and that each child does the same when they grow up. However this model is too simple and needs to consider that:
(1)    one or both children may die before adulthood
(2)    one or both children may not marry or live in a relationship, or
(3)    they may have only one child or none at all.

Hence the fertility rate to sustain a culture has to be greater than 2, and research shows it to be 2.11.
So it is stated that:
(1)    a culture can’t survive over generations if the fertility rate drops to below 2.11
(2)    history tells us that even at a fertility rate of 1.9, no previous culture has survived
(3)    at a rate of 1.3, it is impossible to recover.

Pew Research for Europe:
Non-Muslim Fertility Rate: 1.5
Muslim Fertility Rate:  2.2
It is estimated that Germany will be Islamic by 2015 if current trends continue.
The Netherlands will be a 50% muslim country within 15 years (2024), and Belgium by 2025. Even Russia will be 50% Muslim around 2050.

Will the America Church Survive?
In a recent sermon, Pastor James McDonald from Walking in the Word Ministries revealed these shocking numbers about Christianity in America:
1.      Of the 250,000 Protestant churches in America, 200,000 are either stagnant (with no growth) or declining. That is 80% of the churches in America and maybe the one you attend, if you attend at all.
2.      4,000 churches close their doors every single year.
3.      There is less than half of the number of churches today than there were only 100 years ago.
4.      3,500 people leave the church every single day.
5.      Since 1950, there are 1/3rd fewer churches in the U.S.

Look at Western Europe.
Denominational Crises:
United Methodist Church
Episcopal Church
Rise of the Megachurch.
Rise of the None’s

1.     Powered by PRESENCE.

Holy Spirit

16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Ephesians 5:16-20 (ESV)

2.     Built on the BIBLE.

13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.  16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?  I Corinthians 3:13-16 (ESV)

3.     Passionate about PEOPLE.

Birth Rate
Do anything short of sin to win people to Jesus.

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  Matthew 9:35-38 (ESV)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Tolle, lege. Tolle, lege."

“Tolle, lege.  Tolle lege.”

When you think of the book of Romans, what do you think of?  Perhaps you think of dry doctrine – difficult passages – long sentences.  Perhaps your mind goes quickly to Romans 8 and its most famous verse.  We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) 

For many, the book of Romans stands as a fortress defying our approach – a castle containing priceless jewels but locked away from our access.  I suggest that God invites us to conquer this castle.  He bids us walk the Romans road.

The 16 chapters of Romans are a treasure house offering soul transformation.  It has been said that most, if not all, great revivals of church history have been directly tied to the book of Romans.  Let me give you a few examples.

It was September of 386 A.D., and a young man sat in turmoil in a small garden in Milan, Italy.  His riotous way of life had led him to emptiness.  He later wrote of that moment, “I was twisting and turning in my chains.”  Then he heard a child singing, “Tolle, lege.  Tolle, lege” – a simple song in Latin meaning “Take it up and read it.” (Incidentally, no such song has been discovered from that time.)

The young man took this unusual song as the voice of God, a divine command.  He found a scroll of Scripture and, opening it, “read in silence the first passage on which my eye lit.”

not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.  Romans 13:13-14 (NASB)

With those words, Aurelius Augustinus later wrote in his Confessions, At once, with the last words of this sentence, it was as if a light of relief from all anxiety flooded into my heart.  All the shadows of doubt were dispelled.”  We know this man as St. Augustine, one of the most important men in church history – in human history – who preserved the faith through the great storms of his times.

St. Augustine

Fast forward a thousand years to Germany.  A young Augustinian monk named Martin Luther sat in a tower at Wittenberg struggling with the demands of a righteous God.  His description of that moment is as follows:
I had greatly longed to understand Paul’s letter to the Romans … night and day I pondered until … I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, He justifies us by faith.  Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn … the whole of Scripture took on a new meaning … this passage (Romans 1:16-17) became to me a gateway to heaven. 

Martin Luther

The light from Romans propelled the revival we now call the Protestant Reformation. 

I could share more and speak of John Wesley and George Whitefield, William Tyndale and Watchman Nee.  Frederic Godet says of Romans, "Every movement of revival in the history of the Christian church has been connected to the teachings set forth in Romans... and it is probable that every great spiritual renovation in the church will always be linked, both in cause and effect, to a deeper knowledge of this book."

Beginning tomorrow and for days ahead, we will both read and digest the jewel this is this great letter from the Apostle Paul.  Please join with me as we discuss truth that transforms. 

The child’s song that struck St. Augustine comes to us today, “Telle, lege. Tolle, lege”  “Take it up and read it.  Take it up and read it.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Better Than Hunting and Fishing and Apple Pie

Better Than Hunting and Fishing and Apple Pie

One of the great joys of life is plumbing the depths of God’s Word.  It’s fantastic.  This might seem strange to some – maybe even peculiar.  You might think this is but my private thing.  After all, I am a pastor and the Bible is a major part of what I do.  It’s expected that I would love and enjoy it in a way that perhaps others would not.  One man loves hunting, another football or golf – I get my kicks out of reading a book – or so they say.

If that’s your view, you’ve missed my point.  I am talking about TRUTH – truth that inspires and transforms – truth that unlocks doors and shines light.  Truth that is beauty – similar to the most brilliant sunset you’ve ever seen – not just for preachers but for everyman.  It is like the night sky with a million stars gazing upon you while fireflies circle your feet.  Truth is the Grand Canyon.  Truth that is God’s Word revealed and applied.

For many, if not most, the Bible is a locked book.  It seems so inaccessible and difficult.  The language and logic can defy understanding.  So we lay it aside and become satisfied with an occasional table scrap. 

Digging Rather than Raking

Why is the Bible so important to us?  Why bother with such a daunting task as Bible study?  I am reminded of the words of John Piper in the Preface to his wonderful book Desiring God.  Thanking one of his seminary professors, he writes, “It was from him that I learned to dig for gold rather than rake leaves when I take up the Scriptures.” 

Properly and correctly understood, the Bible enriches us.  It fortifies and fills.  It corrects even while comforting.  It empowers and propels. 

One of my life-long wishes is for more time to take apart and digest the truths contained in God’s Word.  All of us are somehow formed like sounding boards that spring to life at the spoken word.  The vibrations of God’s voice strike us creating eternal tremors.  We were created to hear God, and it is in Scripture that His voice is most clear.

Taking a Walk through Romans

This past Spring, I went through the Book of Romans.  In the past, I had made interrupted attempts at mastery, but never put it all together.  The results of that study are such that I felt it good to write.  Romans is like the land of Havilah, of which the Bible says, where there is gold.  And the gold of that land is good… (Genesis 2:11-12).

In the next days and weeks, I invite you to join me here as we walk the way of the Gospel – the Romans road.  I will take passages from Romans seeking to expand and explain asking the Holy Spirit for light.  Our aim is to know what God says to us.  For every step we take, there will be communication from heaven.  Like the ladder over sleeping Jacob, our prayers go up, while His words come down.  The result will be grand.  It must be.  When we hear the Word of God, we receive more of God Himself. 

I invite you to respond.  There will questions for reflection and further study.  As we discuss God’s Word, it becomes even more alive to us.  So our prayer is that of David.  In Psalm 119 we read:

“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law … Revive me according to Your word … for Your word has given me life.”  (Ps. 119:18,25,50)

TURNING POINTS: "Turning Points for the Family"

Here are the notes from the message this past Sunday at New Life Community Church.  If you desire to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at  God Bless!

Turning Points, Part 2                                                                                    Sunday, July 13, 2014
 “Turning Points for the Family”

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”  28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the lawMatthew 7:24-29 (NIV)

Current state of the family.
A.  Family values
What are Family Values?
There are several lists, but they generally all include the following:
1.      Promotion and support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
2.      Opposition to all attempts to re-define marriage away from the one man/one woman model.
3.      Opposition to sex outside of marriage.
4.      Support of a complementarian view of role relations in the home.
5.      Belief that parents should have the final say in raising and educating their children.
6.      Opposition to legalized abortion on demand.
7.      Belief in the sanctity and primacy of the home.

B.  Original Design vs. Current Breakdown
1.      Two-career families
2.      Single-parent families
3.      Blended families
4.      Proliferation of no-fault divorce
5.      Abortion
6.      Infant day care
7.      Latchkey children
8.      The rise of same-sex marriage

Like John Denver we’re “coming home to a place he'd never been before.”


Saroo Brierley

In 1986, five-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan and his 14-year-old brother were searching the streets for spare change in their home city of Berhanpur, India. Saroo's older brother Guddu wandered beyond the station and Saroo fell asleep waiting for his brother's return. A few hours later, Saroo woke up 1,500 kilometers away, in Calcutta, eons away from his home and family. He survived on the streets for weeks, was taken into an orphanage, and was adopted by an Australian family and grew up in Hobart, Tasmania.
Twenty-six years later, he found his way back to his hometown with the help of Google Earth. An article explained Saroo's journey back home:
In 2011, using vague memories and Google Earth imagery, Saroo identified his home town. Using the ruler feature in Google Earth, he mapped out a search radius by making an educated guess about how far he traveled by train. After countless hours of scouring this area of Google Earth imagery, he came upon a proverbial needle in a haystack. Saroo spotted one vague landmark that led him to the next, helping him unlock a five-year-old child's memories. He eventually spotted a neighborhood, street, and tin roof that looked familiar.
In Saroo's words, "It was just like being Superman. You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, 'Does this match?' And when you say, 'No,' you keep on going and going and going."
In 2012, Saroo embarked on a trip from Australia back to India. Once he arrived, he shared his story with locals, who helped him find his way back home to his mother and surviving brother and sister. Twenty-six years after accidentally leaving home, he finally found his way back.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24 (ESV)


The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”  Genesis 12:1-3 (NLT)



If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?  Psalm 11:3 (NKJV)

Resist the WORLD’S WAYS.

Luke 19:1-10
1Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.  Luke 19:1-4 (NKJV)

5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.   8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Luke 19:5-10 (NKJV)

He was a God-seeker

He took Jesus home


He made things right

Monday, July 7, 2014

TURNING POINTS: "Turning Points for Our Nation"

Here are the notes from yesterday's message at New Life Community Church.  If you would like to listen to this message you may do so by going to our website at  God bless!

Turning Points, Part 1                                                   Sunday, July 6, 2014
 “Turning Points for Our Nation”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

I swear it's not too late!”

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.  Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NKJV)
It the story of the Bible…and of you and me.
Remaking of a Nation
Turning Points for Our Nation
Turning Points for the Family
Turning Points for the Church
Turning Points for You
1.      Does God judge nations?
2.      Has God abandoned America?
3.      What can be done?

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.  Jeremiah 18:5-10 (NKJV)

Carl Sandberg Quote
I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision.
Carl Sandburg
US biographer & poet (1878 - 1967)

America is built on CONVICTIONS.

Convictions vs. Preferences

Conviction versus Preference

Difference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the preference, and can also give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also energetically proselytize others to your preference. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme court may still rule that it is a preference. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him. Preferences aren’t protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover, it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1, 2-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle. To violate a conviction would be a sin.
David C. Gibbs, Jr. Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?  Who may dwell in Your holy hill?  He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things shall never be moved
.  Psalm 15:1-5 (NKJV)
John McCain story from the Daily Beast

John McCain’s Surprising Toast at Kissinger’s 90th Birthday Party
At Henry Kissinger’s 90th birthday party, the assembled VIP guests learned a piece of the past shared by the imprisoned Navy pilot and Nixon’s secretary of state.
Henry Kissinger’s 90th birthday party on Monday night at New York’s most glamorous dining room in Manhattan’s St. Regis Hotel drew an astonishing lineup of luminaries, including former secretaries of state Hillary Clinton andCondoleezza Rice, former French president ValĂ©ry Giscard D’Estaing, former chief of staff James Baker, former secretary of state Colin Powell, Gen. David Petraeus, and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Many of them, such as a visiting French dignitary fresh off a plane from Paris at the age of 103, proved that 90 is the new 30. Former president Bill Clinton, former secretary of state George Shultz, and current Secretary of State John Kerry all came to the podium to toast what Kerry called America’s “indispensable statesman,” as did as Kissinger’s two children, David and Elizabeth.
But it was Sen. John McCain’s remarks that had the room buzzing. McCain, shot down as a bomber pilot over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967, was brutally treated by his captors. He was tortured, beaten incessantly, his arms rebroken in the notorious Hanoi Hilton. Part of the McCain legend has always been how he declined an offer of early release rather than jump ahead of his fellow prisoners on account of his father’s impending promotion to admiral in charge of the U.S. Pacific fleet. On Monday night, for the first time, he told of a role played by Henry Kissinger.
The full text follows.
Sen. John McCain:
To do justice to the life and accomplishments of Henry Kissinger would take—as Henry would be the first to agree—a vehicle longer than my few brief remarks. A mere single-volume biography couldn’t really manage the task competently, could it, Henry?
So I’ll limit my remarks to recalling one anecdote that I think illuminates the character of my friend.
For several years, a long time ago, I struggled to preserve my honor in a situation where it was severely tested. The longer you struggle with something, the more you come to cherish it. And after a while, my honor, which in that situation was entirely invested in my relations and the reputation I had with my fellow POWs, became not just my most cherished possession, it was my only possession. I had nothing else left.
When Henry came to Hanoi to conclude the agreement that would end America’s war in Vietnam, the Vietnamese told him they would send me home with him. He refused the offer. “Commander McCain will return in the same order as the others,” he told them. He knew my early release would be seen as favoritism to my father and a violation of our code of conduct. By rejecting this last attempt to suborn a dereliction of duty, Henry saved my reputation, my honor, my life, really. And I’ve owed him a debt ever since.
So, I salute my friend and benefactor, Henry Kissinger, the classical realist who did so much to make the world safer for his country’s interests, and by so doing safer for the ideals that are its pride and purpose. And who, out of his sense of duty and honor, once saved a man he never met.

America is built on COURAGE.

George Washington’s words prior to the Battle of New York.

George Washington before the Battle of Long Island
“The time is near at hand which must determine 
whether Americans are to be free men or slaves”
This speech was delivered by General Washington to his troops
just before the battle of Long Island, August 26, 1776.*
“The time is now near at hand, which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them.
“The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer, or to die.
“Our own, our country’s honour call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world.
“Let us, then rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions.
“The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny mediated against them. 
“Let us, therefore, animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world that a free man, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
“Liberty, property, life, and honor are all at stake; upon your courage and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country. Our wives, children, and parents expect safety from us alone, and they have every reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause.
“The enemy will endeavor to intimidate by show and appearance; but, remember, they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive – wait for orders and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution.” 

America is built on a DREAM.

Video about Testimonies of Freedom

America is built on FAITH.

Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”  Luke 18:7-8 (NLT)