Take Time to Celebrate

Every healthy organization needs several people in order to make it. You need a visionary leader…someone who can visualize the future and cast a compelling vision that people will follow.

You need some strategy people that can take the vision and create the road map. These are the question askers, Excel users, and dry erase board filler-uppers.

And you need implementers. People who are actually going to do all the work in accomplishing this amazing feat. Implementers don’t want to talk about things, they want to do things. How many more of these useless meetings are we going to have…let’s just go do something.

One of the down sides of being a visionary is that by the time things start happening, I’m usually on to the next thing. Because I’m so far ahead, it’s hard for me to pay attention to what is going on in the here and now.

During the months leading up to Easter of 2009, I believed we needed to prepare for 1,500 people to show up for church. The problem was that we were meeting in a movie theater, and even with the four services we were currently doing, that many people wouldn’t fit.

We decided to put a giant tent in the parking lot and hold two services. By the time Easter weekend came, we’d been planning the services, coordinating the schedule, and working out logistics for months.

It turns out that about 1,600 people showed up that Sunday morning. But I had played out the event so many times in my head, and communicated the vision and the expectations to our staff so often, I forgot to celebrate the win.

I have never understood the post-game interviews with the coaches. Has any coach ever said anything informative or ground-breaking in one of those interviews?

Reporter: Coach, how did you feel about the win?
Coach: It was a solid team effort. I was a little worried about the turnovers, but everybody did their part and it was a good win.
Reporter: You’ve got Denver next week. How do you feel about your team’s chances?
Coach: Yea, they are a good team…they have a good defense. We’re going to celebrate this win on the plane and then we’ll get to work tomorrow on that.

It’s really the same interview over and over again. It just cycles around like the holiday fruit cake.

I’m tempted to be like those football coaches who are happy about the win for a few hours and then drive everyone to prepare for the next opponent. The reality is that we need to take more time to celebrate wins. We need to take more time to tell stories of life change. We need to hit pause for a few minutes and relish the victories.

After all, the Bible says that the angels in heaven celebrate over just one sinner who crosses the line of faith. I’ve never been to heaven, so I can’t effectively comment on the schedule up there. It seems like there would be a lot going on. Random angelic singing. Peter telling some story by the pearly gates. Moses talking to Charleton Heston about the Red Sea.

But if all of heaven can stop to celebrate, then surely we can too.

Organize Your Church with Docs and Forms

You’ve got sermons to write, a staff to lead, and people to help.  It’s hard to step back and work ON the church when you’re so busy working IN the church.  But working ON the church is what can make ministry more effective (and less stressful).


Docs and Forms is a collection of 50+ editable documents that you can use right away. These documents have helped hundreds of churches get more organized and reach more people and there’s no need to start from scratch. It’s just $79.

Nearly all of the documents are editable, meaning you can customize and tweak for your church. These documents will help you lead your staff, organize your ministries, improve your financial systems, organize your volunteers and improve your worship services.

Add to Cart


  • Every church planter needs to run, not walk. to purchase these docs. – @ChrisElrod
  • Church planters that suck at admin unite: @mlukaszewski has countless $$$ worth of documents for $79 -@joshbrickey
  • Years researching -$9999; ER bill from beating head on desk-$300; @mlukaszewski doing it for $79-Priceless. -@chrisyokley
  • @moviepastor: Would you like to hire @mlukaszewski to do 3 years of consulting for only $79 bucks? You can!!!
  • This will literally take our processes & systems to another level. – @henryjudy
  • wowswer! Just got docs & forms from @mlukaszewski! He just saved me 300hrs of work!! – @joshtalks
  • Wow, Unbelievable!  For someone who is not strong in these areas, this stuff is priceless. – Todd
  • Thank you for making this available. We’re about 2 years old and are having to really step up our policies and procedures, so this came at a perfect time! – Jason


  • Administration Documents:  Annual CalendarBoard of DirectorsBylawsCalendar Request,Counseling Confidentiality AgreementCounseling ReferralsEvent Planning ChecklistHead Count Sheet,OrdinationStaff Retreat OverviewStatement of BeliefsTravel GuidelinesTerminologyWeekend Process,Church Planting Philosophy, Church Health Report, Core Values
  • Facility Documents:  Closing Policies and ProceduresFacility Use and Rental PolicyFacility Use Request Form, Building Policies and ProceduresKey and Security System AcknowledgementWedding Policies
  • Family Ministry Documents:  Family Ministry Volunteer Application, Oak Leaf Kids Volunteer Policies and ProceduresOak Leaf Kids Parent HandbookPro-Kids PhilosophyFamily Dedication Philosophy,Student Ministry Philosophy, Release Form
  • Connections Documents: Baptism Monthly Checklist, Membership Philosophy and Application,Discipleship OverviewBaptism ProcessCongratulatory Baptism LetterFirst Time Giver Follow Up ProcessFirst Time Guest Follow Up Process, Giver and Guest Letters, New Christian Process, Three Ways to Get Connected
  • Creative Arts Documents: Guest Musician ExpectationsGuide to the Giving Talk with Giving Talk IdeasGuide to the WelcomeWelcome Philosophy, Intern Responsibilities/ExpectationsSeries Graphic NeedsSeries Launch ChecklistSeries Planning ChecklistStyle GuideService Planning Philosophy,Weekend Master Schedule, Worship Leader/Musician Expectations
  • Financial Documents: Benevolence PolicyBudgeting ProcessChart of AccountsFinance Team Job DescriptionHousing Allowance for PastorsOffering Count SheetsPurchase Order Worksheet,Reimbursement FormSpending ProceduresBudget Philosophy
  • Staff Documents: 6-Month Evaluation360 Degree EvaluationBlank Housing Allowance Form,Confidentiality AgreementEmployee HandbookEmployee Handbook AgreementEmployment ApplicationFiring ProcessHiring ProcessInterview QuestionsMonthly Staff EvaluationNew Hire ChecklistProspective Employee ScreeningResignation AgreementSocial Media PolicyStaff Job Descriptions, Leadership Development Plan, Staff Leave Request Staff, Organizational Chart, Termination Agreement, Org Chart
  • Volunteer Documents: Guest Services HandbookHuddle GuideVolunteer LanyardsParking Handbook, Parking MapSecurity Policies and ProceduresVolunteer Job DescriptionsVolunteer Team Organizational Structure, Small Group Handbook
Get docs and forms now and take a huge step towards creating healthy systems.

Add to Cart

Pastor, You Don’t Have a “Real” Job

The guy working at Waffle House on Saturday morning – the day I’m taking my daughter out to breakfast – has a “real” job. The guy working on spreadsheets in a cubicle all day, with only 45 minutes for lunch, has a real job. The underpaid school teacher and the soldier fighting in Iraq…they have real jobs.

You get to attend meetings and strategize about ways to save the world. You get to study the Bible, read blogs and attend conferences. You can study from an office, go bowling with your staff, and control a good part of your schedule. You can deduct a housing allowance from your taxes, something the stylist can’t do. You get to attend Exponential with your spouse, skipping a day for Disney of course, something the guy working at Jiffy Lube can’t do.

I’m not saying that being a pastor isn’t stressful. I’m not saying you don’t get tired or deserve a vacation. I’m not saying that being a pastor easy. Unless you are a pastor, you may not understand the weight and pressure pastors feel. But I am saying that it’s not the reality facing the normal people sitting in the congregation. You don’t have a real job, in the way that most Americans would define a real job.

This ought to make you thankful. If you’re a church leader, constantly remind yourself that you GET to do what you do. It’s a calling, and it’s an honor. Sure, there are going to be days when you feel like you are relying on your calling, because ministry can be emotionally, spiritually and physically draining. But I still say it’s an honor. If you’re one of those church leaders who is constantly talking about how hard this is…go find a different job.

This ought to keep you from complaining. Complaining about how hard it is to talk to crowded rooms full of people three times in one day sounds like the millionaire athlete complaining about losing a game check. You may actually be tired, but the rest of the world thinks you sound crazy.

This ought to give you perspective. The people in the pews work 40-50 hours a week, and a good many of them still find time to volunteer at church. The guy in the worship band comes to practice after 9 long hours in office – he didn’t get to run home for a couple of hours to see his wife and kids, or he doesn’t get to have a Friday off to spend with his family. The people in your church are real people with “real” jobs…keep that in perspective when planning.

What Pastors Need to Know About Volunteers

I used to tell people all the time that our church was driven by God but fueled by volunteers.  Here’s a few things I learned about working with volunteers:

1. People don’t volunteer because they are bored. They are busy people with jobs, families and hobbies.  They don’t have lots of time for meetings, read all the emails you send, or think about church every day like you do.

2. They need clear directions. I’m a huge proponent of a written job description for every volunteer.  It doesn’t have to be long, but let people know how much time a volunteer position takes, and who to call if they have an issue.  Get on the same page on the front end, and you’ll have less confusion on the back end.  For what it’s worth, volunteer job descriptions are included in Docs and Forms.

3. They want to meet your expectations.  Most volunteers are not bad people with bad motives. They really do want to please you.

4. They want to feel good about what they do. Checking boxes and completing tasks aren’t inspiring. They want to be a part of something that leads to results, not plug away without seeing success.

5. Their only reward shouldn’t be in heaven. Appreciating people isn’t expensive.  Recognition and information are two great ways to appreciate people.

6. They need a break. No volunteer should be asked to commit to a position for life. This is especially true for children’s ministry workers. Give the setup team a morning off.

7. Someone needs to care for their soul. You are a shepherd, not just a leader. Personally. Family. Spiritually. Does someone know their kids?

8. You gotta ask people to serve. General requests from the stage get general responses from the audience. Ask people personally. Create specific opportunities for people to serve.  The more specific the position, the more likely you are to find someone.  “We need a 2nd grade small group leader at 9:00″ will get a better response than “we need kids workers.”

9. It’s easy to use people. If you keep asking the same people for stuff, they will feel abused.  People in your church are not a mechanism to help you accomplish your vision. People have goals…help them reach them.

10. They need development. All volunteers are not leaders. Some people are doers; some people are leaders. Teach people skills that they can use in life, not just in church.

Docs and Forms - $79 instant download

It Doesn’t Have to Cost A Lot

Companies and non-profits alike frequently cite the pursuit of excellence as one of their goals. And they just as frequently cite the lack of money as an excuse for falling short.

But excellence doesn’t require a large budget. As a small business, you’ve got to learn to fake it till you make it, or bootstrap your way to success. If you don’t have the cash to pull off excellence, change the game and let creativity be your guide. Here are a few examples of cheap solutions at a young church.

We wanted to give all first time guests to our church a memorable gift. Our solution was a 3″ mailing tube from Uline wrapped in a full-page label purchased from an office store. We stuck some candy, info cards, a water bottle, and occasionally a t-shirt inside and gave them to first time guests who visited our church. It didn’t cost a lot of money and we put them together ourselves.

We wanted a display of current volunteer opportunities, and a few strips of metal, some magnets and homemade cards did the trick. We didn’t have the money to spend on a fancy display, so we chose to play off the metal look in our building.

As we prepared for hundreds of guests on Easter, but struggled with the budget, we decided to put together simple guest bags for everyone who attended. It turned out to be pretty cheap to print our logo on a bunch of brown bags (you could even order a stamp and do it yourself). Candy and a few flyers were all that were inside.

We didn’t have a video department or even a video guy on our team, but we know we wanted to use video. But this little solution worked great for what we wanted to accomplish. The videos that connected most with our church family weren’t the slick motion graphics, but the simple videos that told a story. A flip camera with an external mic did the trick. (Additional Note:  Will kindly left a comment with details on the setup and mic.)

It would have easy to use the lack of money as an excuse not to create video, but a simple solution allowed us to move forward with a “good enough” approach.

Stuff I Starred

Here’s my weekly list of some stuff I clipped into Evernote, starred in Google Reader or Favorited on Twitter.

Book Notes: Necessary Endings

Here are my notes from Necessary Endings, by Henry Cloud

  • Today might be the enemy of tomorrow
  • The good cannot begin until the bad ends
  • Endings are a requirement for living and thriving
  • Growth depends on PRUNING.
  • When Jack Welch took over GE, he decided to get out of any market he couldn’t dominate. And he decided to fire the the bottom 10% every year.
  • All things have life cycles and seasons.
  • Desire along is not enough to keep something going
  • Don’t keep discussing a problem or an idea with a foolish person
  • Show people the vision over time – don’t dump it on them all at once. (Example: When he was moving to a new house, he showed his kids the neighborhood, the backyard, the upstairs – all over time, so when he told them about the move, they were familiar with the destination)
  • There are simple things that work, but they are not always obvious.
  • There is tremendous power and focus in a simple deadline. A deadline is simply creating the ending in advance.
  • There is tremendous clarity in simple measurements.
  • Urgent is the new normal and “later” is a drug.
  • Don’t get too attached to a certain outcome.
  • Face losing things you might want in order to be free to do the right thing.
  • Don’t idealize or romanticize – it keeps you from seeing the whole picture.
  • The best and longest lasting business are the ones in which everyone sees and loves the whole picture.
  • There’s a big difference between a skeptic (someone with real questions) and a “no-no” person (someone who is opposed to any kind of change)
  • Sometimes, you need to set a personal deadline and give yourself a consequence (For example: “If I don’t get a job teaching in 9 months, then I’m going to pursue another field.”
  • What are your goals for a specific conversation? Decide and communicate in advance what you hope to accomplish.

Ten Things You Can Do To Get Organized NOW

You started off with a dream, passion and vision, but the idea has quickly become mundane amid the pressures of the everyday.  You struggle to find time to do the things that you ought to do.  You know you should step back and work ON it, but it’s tough to get ahead.

A big reason why you feel the way you do is because you’re not as organized as you should be.  Here’s ten things you can do to take a GIANT leap forward.

  1. Create a health report spreadsheet with all the important metrics and start updating it once a week.  You’ve got to stop making decisions based on how things feel and start looking at real numbers.
  2. Write a “new email” sequence to send to every new email address you obtain.  Opt for a three-part sequence rather than one giant email.  Welcome new people to your tribe and educate them in the process.
  3. Create an annual calendar.  I wrote about this here. And it’s one of the workshops I can lead for your team. Hands down, this will be one of the most effective uses of a day.
  4. Write 140-character or less job descriptions for everyone on your team.  People need to know their bottom line reason for being on the team.
  5. Read this book.
  6. Read these posts from Michael Hyatt and start using Evernote.
  7. Schedule six month performance reviews with everyone on your team.  Schedule them right now, and let every employee know the date and time of their meeting.  An extensive performance review is a part of Docs and Forms.
  8. Email your staff or key leaders every Monday and share two or three things that you’re thinking about as the leader.  Make this a recurring task on your calendar.
  9. Schedule a two day staff retreat.  Tell everyone on your team that it’s required.  Maybe a workshop could be a part of it.
  10. Bring in someone from the outside to evaluate what you’re doing.  You’re stuck in the middle of it, and that causes you to lose some perspective.  I’d love to help if I can.

I am Not Planing a Church

I don’t know why exactly I feel the need to clarify this, but here goes…

A couple of months ago, me and my family moved to Atlanta.  We’ve got our kids in a new school and we’re really enjoying city living.

But I did NOT move here to start a church, and I don’t have any plans to start another church.  I’m not working on anything, raising money, or networking.  Right now, I’m focusing on my faith and my family, and we’re attending church.

I recently started working with Giving Rocket, and I’m fired up about this opportunity.  I don’t know exactly what I do – it ranges from writing to organizing to producing – but I enjoy it.  I’m grateful to Casey and his family – He’s become a good friend to me over the past few years, and especially over the last few months.  While I have no desire to be on a stage or get credit for anything, I care about the local church and want to help behind the scenes.

I believe in what Giving Rocket is doing to help churches fully fund their mission, and I’m excited about helping launch some new things in the coming year.

Free Online Conference Focused on Church Finances

Pete Wilson speaking at Fund Your Church Now

If you’ve attended The Nines or any other online conference, you’ll know how this works.  This free online event is focused on church finances.  It’s called Fund Your Church Now and it takes places on October 20.  Here are the details:

What is it? Fund Your Church Now is a FREE online event to help your church go from financial breakeven to breakthrough.  Some of the top church leaders in North America will talk about the practical things they have done to fully fund the church or ministry they help lead.  No travel required…just watch from your computer.

When is it?  October 20, 2011 from 1pm – 4pm EST.  Register here.

Who is speaking?  Bob Franquiz, Dino Rizzo, Carey Nieuwhof, Shaun King, Joe Sangl, Tim Stevens , Pete Wilson, Casey Graham, Robert Morris, and others.

Who is behind it?  Fund Your Church Now is hosted by Giving Rocket.

If you are a church leader, this free online conference looks like it’s worth your time.

Sunday Sermon Notes: Recovery Road Part 5

Here are my notes from week five of a series called Recovery Road, by Andy Stanley.  I took these notes at Buckhead Church this morning.

  • We don’t primarily have a financial crisis in this country; we have a discipline problem.
  • There are two kinds of people: those that pay interest and those that make interest.
  • Andy and his wife decided long ago that they would give, save and spend (in that order).  That’s a counter-cultural and un-American way to do things and it leads to several problems.  1: You can’t have everything you want. 2: You can’t even have everything you can “afford.” 3: You have to live on a budget.  4: When the money is gone, you have to stop spending.
  • But in America, you can reach into the future and grab cash and bring it back into the present…it’s like MAGIC.  But eventually, credit or time will catch up with you and you’ll have several problems:  1: You can’t have everything you want. 2: You can’t even have everything you can “afford.” 3: You have to live on a budget.  4: When the money is gone, you have to stop spending. (THE SAME PROBLEMS!)
Scripture:  Deuteronomy 28:12.
When God started a nation, He actually gave them rules about money and borrowing.  He says that wealthy nations loan money, not borrow it.
100 years ago, credit was actually a sign of poverty.  If you didn’t have cash for something, you could be embarrassed and use layaway.  Today, the wealthier you are, the more you owe.  Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) said, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7.  This is why you have a bad attitude towards your mortgage company or bank.  When you owe money, you feel like a slave in some regards.
The American economy is fueled by debt.  As the rich and middle class dove into debt, people came up with sub-prime loans to entrap the poor and the young.  Read the Old Testament, and you’ll see that very few things anger God as much as the rich taking advantage of the poor and the young.  “We should be ashamed of ourselves,” Andy said.
The shortest path to financial strength is generally the best path.  Stop blaming others and start taking responsibility.  Tough decisions aren’t always fair (fair is where they have the merry-go-round).  When it comes to politics, vote for the person who will require something of you rather than promise something to you.  Anyone who promises blessings without talking about sacrifice is either uninformed or lying.
The most blessed nation in the world should be the biggest blessing to the world.

Stuff I Starred

Here’s a list of some of the stuff I starred in Google Reader, favorited on Twitter or clipped into Evernote.

  • Hospitals in the UK have banned Crocs – those terrible plastic, sandal shoes.  Maybe the rest of the world will follow along.
  • We can create faster than they can copy. – Walt Disney
  • i unapologetically fire people for extra-marital affairs. If their spouse can’t trust them, how can I? – @DaveRamsey  (I wrote a pretty long blog post on this, but I’m not sure if I will publish it)
  • “If people don’t know their pastor, it’s easy to put the pastor on a pedestal and depersonalize him or her. It’s also easy for pastors, who don’t know their congregations, simply to classify congregants as saved or unsaved, involved or not involved, tithers or non-tithers. These impersonal designations allow you to treat people not as they are, but as sociological or psychological categories.” - Eugene Peterson, addressing. the modern temptation to depersonalize ministry. Excerpted from “Pastor in the Present Tense” in the Summer 2011 issue of the Leadership Journal.
  • Great post from Jonathan Herron about Thomas Edison and bad luck.
  • Superman’s underwear reminds us that some people just don’t like change.
  • Growing up my family was always humiliated and laughed at. That’s why I wanted to appear as fearless and mean, even though I am not. – @miketyson
  • When you say less, & say it more clearly, people remember more of it – & longer. -Quentin E. Wood
  • Creative ways to tell your story.  This would be good for a small group, or anything where people needed to introduce themselves.

Schedule a Workshop for You and Your Team

I added a new page at the top of this blog describing four workshops I’ve developed for you and your team. Those workshops are:

  • The Right Seat on the Bus: You and your team will walk away with clear and meaningful job descriptions and knowledge of how their bottom line affects the overall mission of the church.  Get your staff on the same page.
  • Annual Series Planning: We’ll spend our time together looking at content, brainstorming ideas, and placing everything on a calendar. You’ll walk away with a teaching plan for the upcoming year.
  • Creating an Annual Calendar: After a few pre-workshop assignments, we’ll lay out all the major activities and events on a master calendar. You’ll walk away with a plan for the year, and your entire team will know when to talk about what.
  • Structuring Your Volunteer Teams for Maximum Impact: In this workshop, you will learn ways to attract, develop and KEEP volunteers across all of your ministries. You’ll walk away from this workshop with a volunteer team structure that makes sense and a written job description for every key volunteer position.

For more information on these workshops and to get answers to your frequently asked questions, visit the workshop page.

When They Say The Sermon Isn’t Deep Enough

Yesterday, I shared with you I responded to the few people that said that the music was too loud.  Today, let me tell you how we respond to the few people who say that the teaching isn’t deep enough for them.  Keep in mind that this complaint is fairly rare.  Here’s my typical response to this issue:

Thanks for your feedback about the teaching style at Oak Leaf Church.  I really appreciate your comment and wanted to take a quick moment to answer your concerns.

We didn’t begin Oak Leaf Church five years ago because Christians couldn’t find a great church to attend.  There are some GREAT churches in our area led by some GREAT pastors.  Instead, we wanted to start a church determined to reach the 75% of the population who did not go to church anywhere.  That single decision really affects much of what we do.

In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul writes that his goal was to preach the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it’s power.”  For me, preaching isn’t about how smart I am or how much I know, it’s about connecting people with the Gospel of Jesus.

J. Vernon McGee once said “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Feed my giraffes.’ He said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ Put the hay on the lower shelf so God’s sheep can get to it.” Every week, I prepare messages knowing that there are Christians and non-Christians from all walks of life in the service.   I heard someone once say that great teachers take complex material and make it simple, while bad teachers take simple ideas and make them complex.   I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying to be in that first list.

Simple sermons aren’t the same things as simplistic sermons.  We want to connect with people, making a deep truth understandable to those who haven’t grown up in church and those who don’t have religious education. Love God and love others – what some have called the great commandments – are really quite simple.  It’s following them that’s tough.

I’ve been a Christian for more than 20 years, and I’ve learned so much about the Bible.  I love theology – the study of God and I love discussing the deeper truths of Christianity.  I love reading books, taking classes and listening to sermons that deepen my faith and feed my soul.  We live in a day and age where this information is readily available.

I remember learning as a kid that Jesus loved me.  And like Paul challenged his readers, I’ve moved on from milk and learned to feed myself with the meat of God’s Word.  But I’ve never graduated from the deep truth that Jesus loves me and Jesus chose me.

I say all of that to say this:  We design our church services to be the front door to our church.  It’s a broad environment designed to help people take steps in their faith – it’s not designed to be the end-all and only source of teaching in your life.

On the weekend, we’re teaching Christians and non-Christians – young, old and everywhere in between, to take simple steps to follow Jesus.  We have several other environments designed to help you go “deeper” in your faith.  There are small groups that study the Bible – some go verse by verse.  In the summer, we offer classes on subjects like theology, church history, and books of the Bible.  These “next level environments” might interest you.

I’d be happy to connect you with someone who can get you more information on groups, classes, or service opportunities.  I’m also attaching a list of recommended sermons, books and resources that will help you grow in your faith.

Finally, there are several great churches in our area with preachers who teach verse by verse through books of the Bible.  I have the honor of calling several of them my friends and would be happy to recommend a church that might be more in line with your style.  At any rate, I’m happy to call you a brother in Christ.

Sunday Sermon Notes: Recovery Road – In God We Trust

Here are my notes from Buckhead Church last weekend, the fourth message in a series called Recovery Road by Andy Stanley.

The Big Idea: Recovery begins with a declaration of dependence.

Ten years ago, more prayers were prayed from New York than probably any other city on earth. Today, our nation is unwilling or uneasy with acknowledging a dependence or gratitude towards God. And it’s easy to camouflage this prideful behavior with a concern for offending others.

We would rather run the risk of offending God than the 8% of the United States population who say they don’t believe in God.

Two funny comments: Maybe Congress should just read a quarter (“In God We Trust”) before every session. You can’t pray in school, but you can pray in NASCAR. And nobody ever drops out of NASCAR.

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 6:12 describes the dedication of Solomon’s temple at the height of Israel’s wealth and power. In this great time of national favor, when the country was NOT under attack, Solomon knelt before the entire assembly to acknowledge their dependence on God. In 6:22-33, he asks God to hear the prayers of foreigners as well.

There is a powerful connection between humility and blessing. Maybe Americans need to stop saying, “We’ll get through this because we’re Americans” and start acknowledging our dependence on God.

In 1863, in the midst of a civil war, James Harlan called for a National Day of prayer and fasting. Lincoln called for prayer, and called the nation back to obedience to God’s Word. Congress approved it and President Lincoln signed it. Can you imagine if Congress would talk about such things today?

The Bible says that God resists the proud.  I wonder if God resists arrogant national leadership as well.  We need a declaration of dependence.