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influence marijuana reputation

420

Neal Pollard

Missouri has “The Arches,” California, “The Golden Gate Bridge,” New York, “The Statue Of Liberty,” Georgia, “Stone Mountain,” and Minnesota, “The Mall of America.” For years, Colorado was most renowned for our glorious views of the Rocky Mountains.  More and more, our nation’s fellow citizens associate us as “the state that legalized marijuana.”  Although Washington legalized pot the same day Colorado did, somehow the fame (infamy?) of this move is more associated with our great state.

Today, April 20th, is known by many as the marijuana holiday.  Many theories abound as to the origin of this number being associated as a code word for smoking weed—the most educated guess being a group of High School pot smokers from the early 1970s in San Rafael, California, known as “The Waldos”—but the mainstream public is now quickly catching on to the implications of its use.  Say “420” and a growing number of non-users will think “marijuana.”

Association is a powerful thing.  Whatever we think, people associate us, as a church and as individual Christians, with something.  Think about it.  Did you know people will speak of our congregation and say, “That church is _____________”?  Chilling, isn’t it?  What goes in the blank?  Evangelistic? Friendly? Active? Dead? Cold? Out-Of-Touch?  The same thing happens with us.  They say, “He (she) is so ___________.”  How sobering!

If I could choose, I’d want to be associated with a number like one of these:  (Philippians) 2:1-4, (John) 13:34-35, (Hebrews) 13:1, (Mark) 16:15, (Matthew) 16:24, (John) 15:14.  But, try as I might to manufacture a reputation, that’s ultimately not my call.  I earn that by what I practice, avoid, value, and prioritize.  We take a lifetime to build it, one conversation, one deed at a time.  It will be our memorial, standing well after we are gone.  What’s your number? What do people associate you with? If, by chance, you don’t like the answer, get busy repairing or rebuilding. It’s never too late to start.

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NO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN EVER!

Neal Pollard

Depending on your point of view, “government shutdown” may mean an undermining to your livelihood, a reduction of Washington interference, or a symbol of partisan politics.  Questions arise as to what government services and civilian activities will be impacted, and tensions are ratcheted from Pennsylvania Avenue to Wall Street.  A government shut down is so rare that it is headline newsworthy.

Of course we know that the strongest, largest empires the world has ever known have toppled, in some cases forever shutting down their governments.  Even countries that were once the seat of world power are now led by a much-weakened and much-reduced governmental authority.  Did you know that there is one government not in danger of ever facing a shutdown? It is not China, Russia, or Switzerland, either.  In fact, this government is ever-increasing and that is even a good thing.  Isaiah foresaw this, prophesying, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;  And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this” (9:6-7).

The Holy Spirit through Isaiah looked ahead to the birth and reign of Christ.  He refers to Him by a couple of names that reveal His Deity–Mighty God and Eternal Father.  He refers to Him by a couple of names that demonstrate His work–Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace.  Then, He turns to His coming reign as King.  Words like peace, justice and righteousness describe it.  In this, He also says “there will be no end to the increase of His government.”  Jesus wants to reign and rule over His creation.  The more He has control of our lives, the better our lives become.  The more fully we submit to Him, the greater good can be accomplished to His glory!  The best news is that, so long as He lives (and that’s FOREVER!), His reign will continue (cf. Dan. 2:44).  No matter which side of the aisle of American politics you stand, you should agree that this is the kind of “Big Government” we should all enthusiastically support!