October 30, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend,

      Boy, we've had some interesting counsel during our generation's growing-up years. One voice that still rings in my mind - don't even know who it was - says, in a shrill soprano tone, "Just think happy thoughts!" Good advice... unless there are some unhappy realities that need to be factored into one's thinking. Is there power in positive thinking? Sure enough. Does that mean that you avoid assessing the negative news that has a high probability of affecting you? Do that, and all the happy thoughts in the world won't save your bacon.
      I spent last week in Winnipeg, and did my best to conduct myself as a "virtual Canadian." Meaning, for me? The Globe and Mail took the place of the Wall Street Journal for my daily-read. Newsweek and Time were stale and expensive in the hotel shop, so I reached for Maclean's, which is Canada's #1 news magazine. It was already on the counter, rung-up, when the cover story caught my attention. Happy thoughts were no where to be found...
      The headline? "Why the Future Belongs to Islam." Inside, the excerpt from Mark Steyn's new book, America Alone, was the content of the article. The lead paragraph said it succinctly: "The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambitions. The West is growing old and enfeebled, and more and more lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it. It's the end of the world as we've known it."
      Listen, I'm all for happy thoughts and positive thinking... but if one reads this well researched and well written summary of the trend behind the terror, it demands consideration. You may find yourself overwhelmed with making your fourth quarter numbers, or figuring out whether you're going to fly to your family's Christmas reunion this year, or what you're going to do about selling your house now that the bubble may have receded some. All of those are worthy of some thought... but they sure don't scale up to the level of Steyn's urgent message for those included under that very inclusive banner called "the West." Are you ready to be runners-up to a billion-person system who are more unified in their expansive capture of control than the Communists of the last half-century ever managed to be?
      Steyn does the math. One of his striking, confrontative statements:
        Age Welfare = Disaster for you;
        Youth Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way.
      The demographics - and, psychographics - of the two global communities are inarguable. Regarding the critical success factors, the Muslim contingent on Planet Earth seems overwhelmingly advantaged, while "the West" is already bankrupt, on the same measures. He offers no strategy for reversing the current trend; far more, he points to the horizon and warns that the outcomes are already fixed.
      Am I ever glad that I've read tomorrow's headlines already. They aren't in a newspaper or magazine; instead, they're the product of prophecy woven into the pages of the Bible.
      Let me give you the counterpoint to Maclean's feature: the God of the Scriptures, who sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to Earth on a rescue mission, doesn't need the superior human forces to prevail. In fact, he has a history of come-from-behind, won-by-the-underdog victories that can't be explained apart from him and his providential interventions.
      Most of the Western press and politic is trying to placate the population with claims of peace-loving adherents who wouldn't harm a mammal. Others who believe that the threat is real are trying to mobilize the masses with political or military or economic reactions.
      Here's a radical position to claim: 1) Understand the facts of a world that has never been where it is today; 2) Recognize the urgency of pursuing the remaining elements of Jesus' Great Commission - to take the good news of the Gospel to every people group on the planet; and, 3) Fight the battle of the 21st Century with the spiritual weapons that Paul articulated in his Ephesian letter.
      Buddy, this is war... but it won't be won with bombs and bullets. Presenting Jesus as the reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the only strategy that will work ... and it can't lose!

Bob Shank

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