Sermon Illustrations

iii. Reference the 60 minutes program and the book Tempting Faith by David Kuo. David was convicted of using the name of the Lord for political and personal gain! His experience with a severe brain tumor and near death experience caused him and his wife to repent of their ways.

1. He makes this quote from his book, “We wildly celebrated George w. Bush’s election, because we knew he was one of us. In the process, however, we were all tempted to lose our priorities. Our faith’s mandate was clear: God was to be first, our families were to be second, and our work was to be third. I regularly got the order wrong, putting politics first and second and relegating God and family to the third spot. Many of us did. That includes many of us in George W. Bush’s White House. There I saw the healthy clash between faith and politics resolved as faith submitted itself to the political throne…I heard the mocking of religious conservative leaders by that staff. I learned that votes were “god” even if getting them meant blaspheming God” (xii, xiii).

2. He adds, “Has this trading Jesus for politics worked? ...the president is a sincere Christian. But our political dreams have hardly come true. Teen pregnancy has hardly ceased. Divorces are as common as ever. More people than ever are eschewing marriage in favor of cohabitation. Abortion is as prevalent as ever. Pornography is everywhere. Gambling is, too…” (xiii). He adds another thought at the end of the book to put everything into perspective: Politicians from John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan have been fond of referring to America as the “shining city on a hill.” It is a beautiful metaphor, and fitting in so many ways. America has been one of the greatest forces for good in world history. But we are not the shining city on the hill. When Jesus used the words “as to Solomon’s temple-the dwelling place of God-in Jerusalem. The ancient historian Josephus described it this way: “The outward face of the Temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold or great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendour, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn away their eyes, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. The Temple appeared to strangers, when they were at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow…” The shining city on a hill contained the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat of God, not the seat of government. That was sufficient for Jesus; it should be sufficient for us, too” (268).