E Pluribus Unum: “Out of the many, one.” This Latin phrase is on our money. Its engraved on many of our buildings and national monuments. It acknowledges that though we are a nation of different originating cultures, languages, skin colors, and beliefs, that somehow we are able to come together in unity to have mutual respect in spite of our differences, often finding strength in those varieties. Although we at times may need to civilly debate our differing beliefs and perspectives, we still hold to a value of peace ability with one another…at least we should.
These past 4+ years have been all about my family and I discovering the “oneness” out of the “many-ness”, so to speak. If you’ve read my blog post “There And Back Again…And Again…A Pastor’s Tale“, you understand where I’m coming from, LITERALLY! Many do not understand our journey of CA to DC to CA to DC to CA to DC to _______________?
Minus the Cytosine and Thymine symbols to finish the lettering for a full DNA protein double-helix in our CA-DC structure, one may observe a pattern here:
We REALLY LIKE California and Washington, DC :-).
Our hearts are in TWO places. Just ask our kids if they prefer living in CA near Disneyland or living in DC with Capitol bike rides or Smithsonian visits with their friends. Depending on their moods, they’d end up saying BOTH/AND! Could it be we just can’t make up our minds? Possibly, in part. But I believe its deeper and more profound than that. I believe God has granted us love for TWO places, on BOTH coasts. We have love for MANY cities: Sacramento, Fresno, Clovis, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Washington, DC, Arlington, VA, but part of ONE nation.
Made in the USA
Ever since the age of 8, I’ve had a deep love for my country. I recall sitting intently in front of the TV in 1984 watching who would become President between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. I was mesmerized as Peter Jennings displayed states turning blue and red on the TV screen. Another “#Merica” warm & fuzzy feeling I received was when I would see an American flag on the wing of the Space Shuttle, or had the fortune of holding one of those little hand held flags you could wave. It would just make me happy to be an American. So much so, that I went door to door selling American Flags that I colored and cut out from paper for .25 cents each! Made in the USA! If that’s not good old fashioned American ingenuity, I don’t know what is!
Then, as I grew older and God got a hold of my heart, He shifted my love for this country from pledging allegiance to the flag, intrigue with presidents, red, white and blue, and “God Bless America”, to allegiance to The Lamb, PRAYING FOR presidents, and seeking to spiritually influence America to bless God! I recall weeping at a church altar of prayer in Orange County, CA, sensing a DEEP Call to reach this country. While my friends around me were nobly being called into the mission field and full-time pastoral ministry and were affirmed and prayed over for such high callings, and they ARE, The Lord was burning a passion for revival in America into my heart! But HOW? That’s an IMPOSSIBLE task!
Another pivotal moment for me was fasting for 12 hours all day, from 6am to 6pm with 400,000+ other believers on the West Side of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on September 2, 2000 at The Call DC. I’ll never forget as we SHOUTED the name of Jesus together at the lead of Pastor Judah Smith, prophetically sang “Let it Rain” with Michael W. Smith, as it rained water from the clouds above, and as then Senator Sam Brownback interceded for LIFE to be valued in our land once again. There were moments of reconciliatory prayer between “the white man” and our Native American brothers & sisters, as well as repentance from racism and sexual promiscuity from our past and national present. In short, it was a picture of that which God had laid upon my heart in dreams, visions, and altar moments years prior.
Build Your Kingdom HERE!
My 3 year old son Caleb sings one song without being prodded: “Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective Experiment. Its like God uses him to remind me to not stop praying and working for revival in this land. I’m not the most influential and/or sought after speaker/pastor personality, but I know what the Good Lord has called me to, and that is to seek the face of God for national spiritual revival! Some days and weeks are more focused than others, but the passion has not died in 16 years, and by God’s grace, we WILL see at least one last Great Awakening in America!
So, if you ever wonder WHY we seem to speak favorably toward BOTH DC and CA, and why it seems we can’t talk about anything but DC while we’re in CA, and we can’t talk about anything but CA while we’re in DC, its because our hearts are in BOTH places, and the Good Lord, in His GREATER wisdom, has allowed us to live, plant, and water on BOTH coasts, many times over. Could it be His word is true when it says in Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps,”? I promise you when we left DC in December of 2011 back to CA, we had NO intentions of moving back to DC! Trust me. 3,000 miles 3 times takes a toll on you, as adventurous as it is!
Lastly, I have a conviction that this desire for NATION-WIDE revival is something we all carry inside…it just needs to be stirred with faith and action. I’m not, and I do not think God is asking you to love more than one city as we have been doing. Prosper where you are planted. This is OUR calling and our journey, and Jesus has seen it fit to allow us to walk it with grace. When its all said and done, may God bring Great Awakening through all of us, one city at a time, as we seek to restore this nation as ONE NATION UNDER GOD.