Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. – The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Julia Ward Howe penned the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic during the early days of the Civil War. More than 150 years later, America has found itself in the midst of a cultural war for the soul of our Nation. So, it was fitting that this 19th century war song (among others) was featured during the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
The entire week leading up to the inauguration was filled with God-appointed moments, but none as dramatic as the inauguration itself. Amazingly – thanks to the generosity of several donors who made this possible – I was blessed to be able to attend Inauguration Day. I found myself front and center – about 30 feet away from the podium – as one of the most polarizing figures of our time took the oath of office.
I felt like I was in the world’s most powerful Capitol as we were worshipping and praising God. Inauguration Day was the culmination of years of heartfelt prayers by Catholics and Evangelicals who have watched their religious freedoms being systematically eroded during an administration that, at times, appeared hostile to the Christian faith.
I was impressed by the attention to every detail during the inauguration. The actual program featured six members of the clergy who read Scripture and prayed, offering up the name of Jesus at least ten times. The enemy must have been trembling. The mood of the event was Church. The presence of the Holy Spirit was there.
One of the most moving components for me was the weather. Forecasters predicted rain throughout the entire program. But the only time it rained was during President Trump’s inaugural address – and when it ended, the rain stopped. To the world, the rain may have appeared as a political dis to the new president, but Franklin Graham offered up his own observation, telling Trump that rain was a sign of blessing in the Old Testament.
I don’t know if President Trump is a born-again believer, but he’s done more for the Church than many Christian presidents have – and time will tell if he keeps to his promises of combating radical Islamic terrorism and their attacks. I’m hopeful that President Trump’s executive orders to protect Christians will bode well for Christians in the days, weeks, and months to come. He’s a champion of religious liberty and freedom of speech from the pulpits, and pastors need to preach freely and boldly on spiritual topics.
Beyond watching history in motion, the trip was a vital outreach for Church United in that it allowed us to connect with some of our Nation’s most important influencers:
- Trump’s Transition Team: We learned that the new administration has hired more than 4,000 federal employees in strategic positions who have a conservative worldview.
- Newt Gingrich: In a private meeting, Gingrich described President Trump’s personality as being similar to Andrew Jackson’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s – yet, he is uniquely his own person. Hearing Gingrich’s evaluation of Trump was so exhilarating and hopeful.
- Ed Royce (California House of Represenative and Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee)
- Tim Groser (Ambassador): At the New Zealand Embassy, Groser happily declared that “D.C. is no longer P.C.” He explained that there is finally a freedom in D.C. (and America) for diplomats and Americans to speak their minds, speak the truth, and share what needs to be spoken without being concerned about being politically correct. It was fun to enter New Zealand without having to take a boat or a plane!
- Father Andre Mahanna (Catholic Priest from Colorado) & a Vatican Official: They both shared stories about working with the persecuted Church and Christians in the Middle East.
- Former U.S. Navy Seal and Believer: I was able to spend some time with a man who is working to abolish human trafficking using his special ops training to target perpetrators and combat evil. It was inspiring to meet a believer who is committed to combating such atrocities globally.
- Sharren Haskel of the Israeli Knesset (being groomed to become Prime Minister of Israel)
- Elsa Prince Broekhuizen (Mother of Betsy DeVos)
I’m hopeful for America. I believe it’s also divine that we are powering up Church United at the same time that America is under new leadership. We are working diligently here to replicate the new movement in CA. Even though we have a supermajority liberal worldview in Sacramento, I’m hopeful that with Church United we can better partner together to address the spiritual problems affecting our communities so California can be golden once again.
Although the times look bleak in California, I’m reminded of the myriad of times in Scripture (including Gideon’s army of 300) when the Israelites found themselves outnumbered with no opportunity to win, yet the Lord miraculously battled for His people. We’re seeing it in D.C., and this is my hope for California.
I have to keep trusting the Lord and moving in faith and humility because we never know what’s next. But I’m seeing the hand of God move with Church United and I am humbled that I get to experience His moving and share it with those connected with our ministry. God’s not necessarily bringing the mighty, most popular pastors to lead the battle: He’s bringing the lowly, the small, the meek, and the humble to advance His purposes.
Our next step comes at the end of this month when we take 20 pastors of regional influence up to Sacramento for our first-ever Watchmen West. We will also be taking a California contingent to the annual Family Research Council’s Pastors’ Conference, Watchmen on the Wall, in D.C. this May.
It is through your faithful support that we are able to open doors as we strive to equip pastors to take a vital role in helping to shape California and beyond. We are committed to the long-term battle of upholding religious liberty and traditional values, and we’re looking forward to our continued partnership with you.
His truth is marching on.