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Glad To Be a Christian
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
20 April 2003

Now you can be whatever religion you want.  But at this particular moment I would like to tell you that I am just so happy to be a Christian.

That’s right. Now you can be whatever religion you want. That’s your right. And I wouldn’t want to take that right away from any mortal. So let’s get that straight at the outset — freedom of religion, freedom of speech and all the rest of the boons that come from living in a democracy.

If you want to call the doorknob your god, go for it. You want to smoke weed and lalala about seeing the dead come to talk, go for it. Everyone to his and her own invisible.

With that covered, then I too have the right to spout off at this particular moment in soul that I am just so happy to be a Christian. Doorknob for you. Crossing over to another. Christian for me.

Therefore, in this April 2003 — such an historic month henceforth for the planet — I thank Jesus for His resurrection from the dead. No other religion, by the way, records a leader who did that. Jesus was murdered but on the next week’s first dawn was seen alive and well. That means a mega to me. And with that fact of faith, one obviously could on and on and on; but I will refrain from sermon-constructing at this juncture.

I am so glad to be a Christian because I have a like fellow in the Oval Office. He too is an out-and-out Christian. He talks about God. He talks about faith. He talks about worship and prayer. But when it comes down to the bottom line of all that, Mr. Bush defines all that as a Christian — no apologies about it. Naturally, just as I, Mr. Bush allows each freedom-loving human to carve out whatever deity one chooses. If not, we’re in big time trouble with a President who doesn’t know how to let an individual make up his or her own mind about the eternal verities.

But back to a companion in the White House. It is so exhilarating to watch that man on TV, knowing that he woke up in the morning reading a devotional book and Bible, then went to his prayer knees before even lifting the morning newspaper. And you can count on it: Laura does the same. So that makes me all the more elated: we have a quality spiritual team there — husband and wife in the same Pennsylvania Avenue residence who lock hearts before Jesus at the start of every day — and you can be sure throughout the rest of their waking hours.

I am glad to be a Christian now in this historic time fleck because there is much hope for the world’s future. Now I realize that biblical prophecy informs us that at the close of the church age there will be very dark days. And God knows they may be next month a-starting. My jubilation then may be short-lived. That could very well be.

Yet let’s flip to the other side. Those dark days of Antichrist and false prophet and tribulation and Armageddon may not be next month a-starting. There were plenty of Christians who just recently were plotting the endtimes prophetic lines for this mid-year. Well, thus far, the gross endtimes prophetic outpourings have not yet come to fruition — a third of the earth burnt up and so forth.

God is doing whatever God does with His prophecies; but the Ezekiel and Daniel and Book of Revelation portents have yet to be. Yes, they will come, for God’s Word says they will come. Yet for this April, they have not yet shown themselves.

So I, concluding that this is the day the Lord has made, am going to rejoice, as Paul tells us. And rejoice evermore, as Paul goes on. Therefore, biblical I am when I simply want to praise Christ this glorious Sunday for what He is doing in this world and also what He means to me, little ol’ me! What He does in the big world is important. What He does in my tiny world is important. The cross and resurrection point to both worlds being eternally significant to the risen Christ, thanks be to God evermore on that score!

We Christians have had a lot thrown at us lately with persecutions of believers in certain parts of the world — the faithful gunned down in their sanctuaries, burnt alive, separated from families, tossed out of their homes. While we in America have munched down our Wendy Burgers, others have been sliced up quite badly. Of course, we have prayed for those persecuted, but we trot off to Wendy’s just the same.

Further, we Christians have had a lot of mud slung at us by the theological and religious liberals. But I can’t spend too much wailing on that point for really what’s new when it comes to the loonies’ attacks? So to give them undue attention is exactly what they crave! Therefore, enough is enough. The liberal stuff has forever been. It will forever be — that is until we get to heaven. Jesus said as much: “They hate me. They will hate you.” So why are we surprised when they do? Just pray for them; that’s what we are to do, as hard at times as it is to do just that. Pray for them. God knows they need it!

Yet Christ has been dishing out a lot of blessing on believers these days. And we had better take note of it and start praising heaven for those blessings, not taking them for granted. A three-week win war, not thousands of body bags brought back to US shores, no Iraqi neighboring countries flattened, no wipe out of Israel, no nuclear weapons set loose, no coalition soldiers scalded to death by chem-biological this-n-that.

Really, it’s been minimal irritation when considering we've been in combat: just a bit of nonsense flack from French and Russians and Germans. But — go figure. And some nuthouse stuff from Hollywood. Again — go figure. And of course the Hillarys and Daschles putting their shoes in their mouths. Well, each to his own menu. Plus the silly queries from reporters, especially targeted at super-intelligent Ari. But then again, what do we expect? The cream of intelligentsia in the politically biased press corps?

Therefore, other than a few frustrating detours for reality checks that we are very much still citizens of a spiritually fallen world, there is much much for which to give Christ praise.



Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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