Crumbling America

Daily, the chasm widens. The fissure deepens.

Each week presents a new crack, a fresh crevice, an added division.

The moral revolution sweeps across our nation dividing, but not in the way you may think. Christians stand caught in the crossfire between an obvious and hostile enemy and one who is pragmatically indistinguishable.

The end is a nation divided, an America crumbling.

Godless Left

This is almost too obvious to point out, almost junior varsity in nature.

I don’t know how any professing believer in the risen Lord Jesus could support the leftist platform.

Safe. Rare. Legal. This used to be the leftist position concerning abortion. We recognize it is a serious issue and just want to preserve the right of a woman in the rare instance she truly needs one.

Now, it’s abortion on demand. Shout your abortion. No apologies. Whenever, wherever and the most honest pro-abortion advocates acknowledge that it’s a baby, a child, just that the woman’s rights supersede any right to life the child may have. Recently, state level lawmakers, starting in New York, have passed legislation authorizing abortion up to birth! They bask in their own audacity.

The governor of Virginia even discussed post-birth abortion on the radio!

Wickedness.

Sexual perversion pervades. They’ve tossed biblical sexual norms and morals, mere relics of a bygone patriarchy.

They’ve destroyed male and female, demolishing the very foundation of God’s created order, denying basic science and reason in the name of inclusivity and tolerance. The militant LGBT+ mob—and they’ve since added an ‘I’ and an ‘A’ which I refuse to learn since I just cannot keep up—demands, not just acquiescence, but celebration.

One cannot even publicly state that adults should not empower 3-year-olds into making decisions about their orientation or gender without being chastised into submission. Leaders, Hollywood, other elites champion the corruption of the sexual ethic ushering in all manner of associated licentiousness.

They champion perverted men, dressing up as women, and frolicking on the floor of our local libraries with children, teaching them to twerk, and all about acceptance, and love, and diversity.

Immoral.

They aggressively dominate the education system, co-opting our actual language. Cisgender. Sex assigned at birth. Cis-heteropatriarchy. Just a few Orwellian terms among many taught as doctrine to school children. Indoctrination begins in Kindergarten and is completed in the university.

Evil.

Identity politics. The destruction and devaluation of the nuclear family. Socialism. The refusal to acknowledge competing ideas. Animosity and violence in the name of all of these.

Godless.

But you know this, even if you are of this.

Godless Right

Until 2005, this was me.

I loved guns, god (ostensibly), and country.

I believed in the values of hard-work and personal responsibility. I favored a strong military and limited government. I cherished capitalism and the idea that anyone can succeed if they work hard enough. I loved the 2nd Amendment though interestingly, I maintained distinct pro-choice views as a function of my own sexual licentiousness. Convenience, you see.

And I saw these liberal loons, and would’ve seen the ones of today, with the scorn and derision that they deserve. We didn’t have the term ‘snowflake’ then and they didn’t seem as prevalent but…

…I hated them and would hate them today. I was as godless as they.

‘Murica.

The American right, today, does not speak for me as a follower of Jesus Christ.

The hatred, the vitriol, the disdain for our fellow man, for those made in the Image of God, betrays Scripture and the heart of God.

The believer is to be known by his love for his brothers. (John 13:35) The Christ-follower is to yield rights to himself and to turn the other cheek, to love his enemies, to bless his enemies. (Matthew 5:39, 44) The disciple of Christ knows our enemy is not the flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) Though men rage against him, revile him, hate him, persecute him, he does not respond in kind. The Christian is to live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:2)

The mind of Christ cuts across the grain of modern conservatism.

The outer fruit is there and the outer fruit is good! I applaud abortion-limiting legislation in Alabama and Georgia and pray for its nationwide proliferation. I am comforted by community pushback against drag queen story time, recent judicial victories of Christian bakers over those who would sue them, the confirmation of conservative Supreme Court justices. But it’s just that, external.

Externally, most conservatives would advocate Christ-like policy, godly ideas…but they don’t know Christ! Their vivid hatred of the openly godless gives it away. I share no more fellowship with them than with any on the left.

They may own two assault rifles, vote Republican in every election, picket Planned Parenthood, and keep the KJV at their bedside, but if they don’t know Christ, none of it matters. Internally, spiritually, they are indistinguishable from their god-hating adversaries. They are the same.

The dwindling American church and its increasing irrelevance testifies to our corporate and collective godlessness.

Caught in the Crossfire

The 2016 election epitomized the Christian dilemma.

I couldn’t vote for Hillary. That much was obvious…but Trump, sheesh. Is this really the only other option, a moral degenerate who advocates some conservative ideas that I happen to agree with? The President’s continual and open flaunting and disregard for his fellow man, including his opponents, testifies to his spirituality.

I am conservative in my view for one reason, and one reason alone. I know the risen Lord Jesus.
And my hope is not in America. My hope is not in the Constitution or the Congress or the President. My hope is not found in rights and protest, guns and flags, judges or laws.

I have a hope, an anchor for my soul, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father as He dispatched the Son to bear His wrath against the sin of men, on behalf of all those who would believe. His Kingdom is an unshakeable kingdom, shattering borders and boundaries, spanning countries and continents, enduring from epochs to eternity. That’s my King and that’s my Kingdom.

I’ll leave the godless on the left and the godless on the right to squabble over the crumbs of a crumbling nation. I love America, but she will one day be but a footnote in the salvation history of man. And I’m okay with that.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Tragedy of Transgender

Let’s shift perspective a bit.

“Hey! Check my nuts!” These were the first coherent words Marine 1st Lt. James Byler could muster after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while patrolling in Afghanistan. His body torn to shreds, his arms ripped open, two bloody stumps above the knees, his primary concern was elsewhere.

“It’s the male instinct, the first thing you care about.” Byler’s genitals were severely damaged, but intact.

Previously, most soldiers with serious injuries to the genitals died on the battlefield. With increased MEDEVAC proficiency, thousands of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan survived catastrophic injuries, including those with Genitourinary (GU) injuries. These injuries include instances of complete genital amputation.

GU injuries generate tremendous psychological impacts, driving many to contemplate or attempt suicide. For a man, losing his ‘junk’ is akin to losing his manhood, the very essence of his being.

What if the enemy could convince a man to save him the trouble and cut off his own junk, to in essence, emasculate himself.

This is the tragedy of transition, of transgender.

The Struggle

I wonder what Bruce Jenner thinks when he looks in the mirror.

The current and perhaps decisive front for the moral revolution is the sexual front. Satan plays chess as the LGBTQ+ mafia—the ‘+’ symbol ought to raise some eyebrows—forces their way into every facet of society. Fundamentally, they’ve taken the very essence of God’s design, male and female and God’s blueprint for sexuality between them, and smeared it into a “spectrum”.

They’ve taken the concrete and made it abstract. They’ve taken that which was very good and perverted it. They’ve taken that which is easily observed and defined and subjected it to the eye of the beholder.

They target kids.

Grown men dress up as women and frolic with children on the floor of the public library, taxpayer funded of course. The public school system increasingly promotes this wickedness in the name of sex education. Hollywood is in their hip pocket as is the democratic party. The church is in their crosshairs.

And they demonize any who stand opposed or even try to remain neutral. The only acceptable response is to champion, to laud, to come on board. It’s to the point where a man, actor Mario Lopez in this case, cannot even publicly state that three-year-olds should not be making transgender decisions. Of course, he tucked his tail and meekly apologized a day later.

The rebellion is complete. All that’s left to do is wait upon the fall-out.

Chess, remember.

Make no mistake, Christians ought to stand firm in resisting this colossal evil by any legitimate means. But, what about those individuals caught up? I wonder about Bruce Jenner…and those like him.

Just because the Allies showed no quarter to the Nazi’s doesn’t mean they had no compassion for the individual German soldier.

Illness from Perversion

I’ll make a psychological assessment.

My years in the military ought to qualify me, don’t you think?

Men who dress up as women to obtain access to young children are perverts. It’s really that simple. Their sin is sexual desire for young boys or girls.

To be certain, sin is sin. Sexual sin, as it profanes the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, gets a special mention by Paul. (1 Corinthians 6:18) Fornication, adultery, lust, pornography, homosexuality, pick a perversion, all condemn equally.

The homosexual’s lust for the same sex is no worse than your persistent porn abuse. The pedophile’s perversity is in the same family as your wandering eye, though one could biblically argue that sin against an innocent child ups the ante.

But what of deception?

The enemy labors at proliferating a multitude of lies, including the denial of basic human anatomy, biology, and sexuality. What of those who’ve believed these lies, who define themselves by their sin instead of how God sees them? Is there room for mental illness?

When I consider the recent phenomenon of transgender—and until a few years ago, this was not even really a thing—I think of prison, bondage, captivity. At some point, they believed the satanic lie that they could ‘identify’ as whatever they like. Maybe they took steps. Maybe they began hormone therapy, started dressing as a woman, altered their appearance, changed their name.

Maybe they cut off their junk.

Wartime Junk

Back to the battlefield.

I always landed like a cement refrigerator. Every single time.

The T-10D parachute was rated to deliver 360lbs gently to the earth at a bone-shattering rate of 22 to 24 feet per second. Needless to say, the heavier you are, the harder you hit.

I recall my first jump at Benning. My stick leader was a female, pushing 110 pounds max, maybe 120. At 230 pounds without equipment, I was fifth out the door and first to the ground. As I lay there for just a second, shaking, shocked by the impact. I look skyward to behold her still open canopy as she lightly drifted to the ground.

Meanwhile, I’m giving myself a quick once-over. Legs. Not broken. Back. Solid. Junk. Yep, all good.

Lemme ask you a question…if you’re a man of course. An arm or your junk? A leg? Both legs?

David Wood interviewed members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines before they went off to fight in Afghanistan. They spoke quietly of their deepest fear. Not dying. Not losing an arm or a leg. It was having their genitals crushed, ripped off, or burned up in the fiery blast of an improvised explosive device. 

I understand. I truly do.

One Day

Imagine the horror.

You’re a pawn. You’re fodder. You’re a conscript.

Maybe at one point you felt different, or you liked something different. You liked dolls instead of trucks or football instead of ballet. Maybe you liked to wear opposite gender clothing, your mother’s shoes, whatever. You didn’t fit the mold.

Until recently, you would have been affirmed that you were exactly who God made you to be, in His image, male or female. Maybe you have some idiosyncrasies but they are just that, wonderful deviations to God’s design.

I have a friend, a great man of God. He is artsy, a painter, loves flowers and the violin. He is also a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I can imagine what could happen to him today as a young boy with these moderately effeminate propensities.

Back to the hypothetical scenario.

So, the most influential people in your lives, your parents, in the interest of progressiveness, foster your unique characteristics and encourage you to entertain notions of transition and the spectrum. As a youngster, these are fuzzy-sounding terms but as you age, they take on meaning.

You are affirmed at every turn, encouraged to be brave, to be yourself, practically goaded to take further action.

You are injected with hormones and drugs, suppressing growth, permanently altering your body. You take on a new life and at some point, explore a permanent “solution”, sex-change surgery. There’s no such thing as assignment, so I’ll refrain from using the Orwellian term, re-assignment.

Once the surgery is complete, you can now bask and revel in your new identity. There’s only one small problem.

It’s a lie, all of it. At some point, that awful truth will confront you.

You cut off your junk for the sake of a lie.

The lie resonates in its permanency.

Parting Glass

There’s tragedy at the bottom of the slippery slope.

Tragedy abounds.

Kids being subject to the wicked perversions of grown men, forever scarred. Men walking from marriages, wives and children, to pursue shameful lust. Government and societal affirmation. The disintegration of nuclear families. The grooming of the next generation. The continual drift into who knows what is next.

Lost in the broader context of the cutthroat battle for the heart of a nation is the ruined lives and lost souls of people. These are people, lest we forget, made in the image of God, deceived into living a lie, and for the transgender people, perhaps taking a step that can never be reversed. Imagine that day, looking into the mirror in horror and thinking, “What have I done?” Is it any wonder that transgenders commit suicide at an astonishing rate.

Help trans people get the help they need. Yes, but that help is not affirmation. That help is not assurance.

That help is the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus that tells them that they are exactly one thing, who God made them to be, whether they believe it or not.

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Great Desire of a Woman

Shhh.

Don’t tell anyone.

I have a secret. I’d like to share it with you.

It’s a special secret, one written before the foundation of time.

It has to do with women, with your woman.

Would you like to know?

Her great desire…

To be unconditionally loved…

A woman wrestles with worth, value, her sense of security.

Am I pretty?

Am I too fat?

Am I desirable? Am I worthy? How do I compare?

Thoughts like this consume the mind of a woman.

From her youngest days, the mirror is her friend and her enemy, the men in her life, first her father and then her husband, her biggest encouragers or her greatest demoralizers. The system is rigged against her, stacking her up against the others, measuring her worth by that which will slowly and inevitably fade, if it was ever there in the first place according to the godless standards of a dying world.

And as it fades, a satanic question haunts some, “Will he still love me?”

Her father should have instilled in her, from a young age, her internal and external beauty. A father ought to imbue her with a sense of worth independent of that bestowed by a man, that bestowed only by Christ. Maybe you lucked out in that regard. Probably not though.

Scripture tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) At my ugliest, at my worst, I was a hater of God, a wicked slave to self and sin and yet…Christ died for me, while I was yet a sinner! He died for me as I hated Him. What amazing love, what unconditional love.

Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Love her unconditionally.

Love her when you don’t feel like it. Love her when she doesn’t please you. Love her when she isn’t meeting your needs or doing what you perceive she ought to do. Love her when she is at her most unlovable…just like Christ did for you.

A woman’s heart is fragile and delicate, a beautiful ceramic vase. Will you cherish it, protect it, or will you dash it against the wall, shattering it into oblivion?

To be fiercely loved…

Christ possesses a fierce and unwavering love for His people.

He left the 99 to seek out the one, you. (Luke 15:4)

He suffered the brutal death of crucifixion, for you. (1 Peter 3:18)

He willingly drank the full cup of the wrath of God, that you might live. (John 18:11)

Jesus fiercely loves His people. A woman desires to be loved in much the same way. She desires to be loved and pursued, to be sought after because she possesses great value to the pursuer, you.

Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Love her fiercely.

To be gently loved…

Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Great I Am, God incarnate who presently sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. God is in the business of putting all things in subjection to Him and He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, shattering both kings and kingdoms.

And one day, He will return, in power and glory, and He will judge and make war. He will set all things right as He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty, glory hallelujah!

He came first as the Lamb, humbly going to the cross for you.

What is gentleness but power restrained, power rightly channeled. Man, you possess unmerited power, power for great good…or power for great destruction.

There exists today, a general coarsening of society as revealed by our treatment of our women. We have “elevated” them to the position of “equal” with men. Translation: we see nothing special or significant in them at all. We treat them as we treat other men—and if you think that is good, I’d ask how well men treat other men. Most men view aggression and derision as perfectly normal attitudes toward other men and increasingly, toward women.

But consider Christ’s great love for you. You deserve one thing, and only one thing, that He slay you in your sins. Yet, He chose to love you, gently, tenderly.

O’ man, sheath your sword, and love your wife in the same way, gently, tenderly, just as Christ loves you.

To be loved…and led.

Many will denounce this aspect but I remain convinced…

…the vast, vast majority of women desire that their men lead them and their families, spiritually speaking. Perhaps this is her greatest desire, maybe her greatest need.

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Paul commands. (Ephesians 5:25) He expounds further, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” (v.26)

Men, lead your wives, your families, in following the Lord.

Today, most of you have abdicated your responsibility to lead. You’ve surrendered it, in the church and in the home. Most families today, even if the father is present, are led by the woman. Today’s caricature of man is a doofus, a beer-guzzling slacker, a limp-wristed coward.

To spiritually lead your family would impose. You come home from a hard day’s work and you just want to chill. By golly, you’ve earned it. Dinner ought to be on the table, kids quiet, maybe some t.v. later or some internet surfing. You don’t really have the time or the energy to make disciples of your kids, or to wash your wife in the water of the word. What does that even mean?

Or, conversely, you refuse to claim that which God has given to you on the basis of fear and cowardice. You’ve bought into gender equality—which I pray we’ve debunked—and consider it condescending to even think about leading. The idea of roles, the idea of leadership, cuts across the grain of our godless hearts. We bristle at the notion of male headship, though God’s word speaks clearly on the matter.

We’ve confused godly submission with secular subjugation.

God commands it and women desire it. Her great desire is that you would lead her in the pursuit of the Lord so, for God’s sake man, lead! 

As Christ loved the church.

Please don’t hear me speak from any position of self-righteousness.

I’ve failed a thousand times. More than that.

I’ve loved selfishly, conditionally. I’ve taken her love for granted. I’ve slandered her grace. I’ve made my wife cry more times than I care to admit, the proverbial bull in the china shop and most of all, I’ve failed to lead. I’ve been too tired, too distracted, too engaged elsewhere and let’s face it, I don’t really know what to do or how to do it.

Like you, I never had this modeled for me.

But I seek to follow Him in this manner. I seek my wife’s heart in this way. When I fail, I confess to Him and ask her for forgiveness and then move ahead, praying that the Spirit would empower me to rise and love her better.

So, where is the problem? Now that you know, what will you do? The problem is this, it’s impossible to give away that which you do not have. It is impossible to lead your wife in following Christ, if you yourself do not follow Christ.

Love your wife as Christ loved the Church, just as He loves you.

Or does He?

Do you know the love of Christ?

You cannot love like Christ without knowing that love yourself. Would you know Him today?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Preaching of a Lawless Gospel

I wanted to simultaneously vomit and punch myself in the testicles.

That was it?

A couple hundred youth sat captive and all we could muster was that?! The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) had approached me about this particular event. The organizers bring in Christian celebrities who preach to high school kids.

“Do they preach the Gospel or is it motivational-type stuff?”

“Oh yeah, they preach it. Kids get saved!” I was reassured. So I agreed to advocate and support the event and with eager anticipation, attended that night. Two hours later, I was thoroughly disappointed. I looked back at a mentor of mine who sat shaking his head.

We missed the mark. We preached a lawless gospel.

“What about your heart?” the speaker, a coach, queried of the students.

The Importance of the Law

The second thing Jesus mentions, in the Sermon on the Mount, is the Law. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

At Sinai, God gave men the Law. We must account for it.

There is vast confusion concerning the Law.

Most people have at least heard of the Ten Commandments, know that they exist, but what of the other confusing commands. Does God really care about the fabric of my shirt and want me to stone my wayward son? (Deuteronomy 22:11, Deuteronomy 21:18-21) Does He forbid tattoos, interest on loans, or a man with a crushed testicle from entering the tabernacle? (Leviticus 19:28, Deuteronomy 23:19, Deuteronomy 23:1)

Many enemies of God wield these same aspects of the Law against unprepared Christians.

“You wearing a synthetic blend? Well, there you go cherry-picking again. Hypocrite.”

As such, apathy governs many Christian’s view of the Law. “It’s irrelevant”, echoing the sentiments of some popular preachers proclaiming that we must “unhitch” from the Old Testament. After all, we’re under grace, not law.

The 2nd century heretic Marcion popularized such beliefs, even going so far as to erase Old Testament quotations from the New and reverse the commands given by Jesus so that it read, “I did not come to [fulfill] the Law, but to [abolish] it.”

As easy as it would be, may we not imitate Marcion, or Stanley, or legions of others who trivialize that which is necessary, vital even.

The Place of the Law

The Law serves a number of functions.

The Law reveals the character of God. The Law distinguished Israel from the Gentile nations. The Law provides useful guidance on how to live but most of all, the Law drives men to Christ.

The moral law, the Ten Commandments, establishes an impossible standard and perfection is that standard!

Jesus confirms this in verse 20 and later as well, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) From James and Paul, if you violate one commandment, you violate them all. (James 2:10, Galatians 3:10) Consider that the Fall occurred because the couple violated a single command.

Allow me to restate: By the violation of one single command, sin doomed billions to death and devastation.

Further, the only suitable penalty for sinning against an eternal God is death, eternal death. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus confirms that this means eternal punishment in hell. (Matthew 5:29-30) John concurs. (Revelation 20:12)

The Law paints man into an impossible corner, a corner from which he cannot escape. The Law confronts man with an impossible standard and inconceivable consequences for failing to meet those same standards.

The Law renders a man helpless and powerless before a wrathful and holy God.

The Law and the Gospel

It is only from this context that the Gospel resonates.

From this foundation, God sends the Redeemer, Jesus, the only One to live a sinless life, to meet the conditions of the Law. As such, Jesus provides a suitable and one time sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe.

Jesus pays the due penalty, propitiating the wrath of God against those who would otherwise be judged. They receive mercy, others receive justice, those who will not believe. No one receives injustice.

It is this base understanding of helplessness, of powerlessness, that drives men to their knees in conviction. That we may be like the tax collector, standing on the corner, who can’t even look to God but can only beat his chest and declare, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” Jesus declares. (Matthew 4:17) How could I repent without first knowing what I must repent from?

The Danger of a Lawless Gospel

“Who owns your heart?”

This question makes sense in terms of the Gospel. If I understand the Gospel, my sin and standing before God, then I understand that my heart is desperately wicked. Who can understand it? I understand that only in regeneration, when the Holy Spirit gives me the promised new heart, may I believe.

He rips my heart of stone from my chest and replaces it with a heart of flesh.

I understand that I don’t give my heart to God. He takes it.

I don’t invite Him into my heart. He kicks in the door.

He crushes it. My heart.

“Who owns your heart?”—a perfectly valid question in the context of the Gospel in its entirety, including the Law. On its own merits, utterly meaningless.

I sat watching. Ten or so youth occupied the table immediately in front of me. “Who owns their heart?” I wondered. They were preoccupied with the chick at the next table, the other guy’s french fries, their shoes, when was this going to be over, anything but the message. The sheer absence of conviction stunned me.

How could anyone believe without the Gospel being preached? (Romans 10:14)

My disappointment was complete.

The celebrity coach issued lots of encouragement. Work hard. Do your best. Set your priorities. Make good decisions. He mentioned his faith, about when he invited Jesus into his heart and got baptized but it was merely in line with everything else, just another way that he excelled, another thing that he did well.

I had a fleeting moment of hope as he concluded. “This is it,” I thought. Now comes the Gospel. I leaned forward in anticipation.

Do your absolute best and don’t forget to be on Team Jesus.

I was crest-fallen. This was an inspirational man.

No one is inspired into the Kingdom of Heaven.

They are convicted into it.

How many false converts occupy American churches as the firstfruits of a lawless Gospel?

The Fruit of a Lawful Gospel

I recall the first time I heard the Gospel, the Gospel message with all of its power, its authority…its teeth.

The Gospel message confronted me with my sin for the very first time. It confronted me with the uncomfortable notion that I was not okay and that I was powerless to change my condition. It confronted me with the wrath of holy and righteous God who was angry at my sin…

…and then it offered me rescue, the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus.

Only when I understand His wrath, does the love of God resonate.

Only when I understand His justice does mercy make sense.

Perhaps so many Christians seem unmoved by the love of God because they are ignorant of the wrath of God. The Law is a hammer that drives us to Christ for justification. A lawless gospel is not really a Gospel at all.

Let us crucify it.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

The Most Masculine Thing Ever

I come from a world of strong men.

Bold men. Brave men. Men of courage. Men of valor.

Warriors.

Fire-breathers.

Many nights, I accompanied such men as we descended from the black onto the unsuspecting heads of the enemies of righteousness, those who would tyrannize their fellow man with whichever brand of wickedness.

These are strong men, men who stare Death in the eye and unflinchingly demand, “Here am I, send me.” I can think of few things more manly, more masculine than closing with and destroying the enemy in battle…

…well, maybe one.

Masculinity Corrupted

Our nation starves for masculinity.

Amid the tumult about ‘toxic masculinity’ resonates a deep misunderstanding masking a deeper need. The term itself is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or French resistance or democratic socialism.

By definition, masculinity could never be toxic. From the curse of the Garden, men stray from the azimuth of masculinity in one of two directions, becoming one of two caricatures:

Caricature 1 (Brash Man): Brash Man takes the perceived characteristics of masculinity and magnifies them. Absent the foundation of these characteristics, Brash Man becomes defined by these same characteristics.

Brash Man exudes self-confidence. Manliness governs his actions.

My upbringing was defined by the action heroes of the 80’s. Think Arnold and Rambo. If you tell me Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, I’ll impugn your manhood right now. “Yippee-ki-yay,”—okay, I’m a pastor so don’t expect me to finish the quote.

          “Well, you gonna do something or just stand there and bleed.”

          “Remember when I promised to kill you last…I lied.”

          “Go ahead, punk, make my day.”

Brash Man exults in conquest, sexual and otherwise. Women swoon, men admire. Brash Man bends others to his unflinching will. Brash Man is capable. He can replace your alternator as easily as he can slap a mean rear-naked choke on your candy rear-end. Brash Man is what you want to be, until you don’t, or can’t.

We thrash young men with this caricature of who they ought to be, exposing deep perceived inadequacies. Some embrace it and pursue, others recoil and become…

Caricature 2 (Neutered Man): Again, from the Garden, Neutered Man simply yields.

Neutered Man gazes upon the worldly connotations of masculinity and rejects them wholesale. He yields his God-given role as the leader of the family and the church, surrendering them to the usurping woman.

Neutered man stands hapless as all that is righteous is stripped away.

The greatest treason of Neutered Man comes in his denial of the existence of his very masculinity and his championing of those who do the same. Gender-bending, gender-fluidity, trans-gender: these are all issues symptomatic of legions of men who’ve lost their way.

So Neutered Man meekly tucks his testicles between his thighs and does the only thing he can. He stands aside, lest he offend anyone with even a hint of testosterone.

Masculinity Demonstrated

I was reading, in the Bible, about the 30 and the Three.

King David had a crew of 30 mighty men, 37 actually, who fought for him, men of extreme valor and reckless courage. From within the 30, three stood apart.

Jashobeam, the chief of the three, killed 300 men at one time, with only his spear. Eleazar stood alone against the charging enemy as everyone else fled. Shammah too, stood strong against certain death as others fled. (2 Samuel 23, 1 Chronicles 11) These were men of renown, men of conviction.

David himself stood astride the fallen giant and removed his head with his own sword and then brandished the head for all to see. An emboldened army charged as the vanquished army fled. (1 Samuel 17)

So don’t hear me minimize courage or valor or strength or conviction. These characteristics ought to resonate from our masculinity.

Yet, masculinity is seemingly so much less than this, but really infinitely more.

Masculinity Defined

If you think you’re church is jacked up, read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church!

In his lengthy exhortation about how the church ought to run, Paul gets to a peculiar section on love, chapter 13, the love chapter.

           Love is patient and kind.

          “Love does not envy or boast.”

          “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Common to see these verses on Hallmark cards or quoted at a wedding. Yet, this is an exhortation to the church. In the middle of directing church-members how to conduct church, Paul exhorts them to love in this way, sacrificially and unconditionally. He concludes this section with one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Paul tells us that the business of a man is to love, sacrificially and unconditionally. Okay, yes, apply it to everyone in the church, but who elsewhere is commanded to lead the church and the family, to set an example but, the man?

It is the child who maintains concern for himself. It is the child who does not love in this manner. It is the child who demands the rights to himself. This is not the business of a man.

The real definition of masculinity resides in self-sacrifice on behalf of love.

This is the business of a man.

Masculinity Exemplified

As always, we find in Christ our perfect example.

Christ defines masculinity.

Consider. The Son of God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Firstborn over all creation, the image of the invisible God, the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of His nature, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah…willingly and humbly went to the cross to save sinners, those who would otherwise hate him.

This is masculinity exemplified, sacrificial love.

There is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Jesus exemplifies the words of Paul to the church at Corinth in His willingness to suffer on behalf of others, even those who would hate him, that they might live. Jesus epitomizes masculinity. Forget closing with and destroying the enemy. Forget cutting the heads off our enemies. Forget a thousand other images of manhood, some biblical, some not.

Self-subordination, the relinquishment of self to others on behalf of love, this is the mark of a man, masculinity, as seen in the work of Jesus on the cross.

Masculinity Demonstrated

O’ man, what do you fence off for yourself?

To which part of yourself and your own desires do you cling?

Have you set aside your childish ways and loved like a man?

Very few of you will ever close with and destroy the enemy in battle, even those of you in the service. Some of you don’t know which end of a screwdriver to hold, much less how to actually work on a vehicle. You can’t tell a truss from a rafter. Maybe you’ve never even (gasp) fired a gun in your life. You’ve never killed anything or even been punched in the face.

Maybe you’re a mid-level office-worker with a boring job and no upward mobility. Life hasn’t turned out how you thought it might.

Guess what? You have an opportunity every single day to be a man of renown, a man of courage and conviction, even valor.

Pour yourself out for those around you, your wife and your children. Give to them what they need and quit worrying about what you need. Find that in Christ and in Christ alone.

Turn off the video games. Cancel the golf outing. Drop out of the fantasy football league.

Quit worrying about “you” time and collapse into bed each night from exhaustion…with nothing left to give, nothing left to offer. Be willing to suffer in love, to relinquish your needs, on behalf of those God has entrusted to you.

Be every bit the Firebreather—this is God’s call in your life, as a man.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Save the American Church—Elect Pete Buttigieg

Maybe VP Biden would work, as a nominal Catholic. Infused grace is no friend to imputation, as history aptly demonstrates.

Senator Booker’s liberation theology could do the trick.

Kamala Harris married a Jew and was raised by a Jamaican Christian and a Hindu mother from India. We should shy away from her as she seems to lean baptist, though her ecumenical roots could push her in a useful direction.

So, let’s stick with Buttigieg. As a married homosexual and avowed member of the ‘religious left’, Mayer Pete is probably the American church’s greatest hope for revival…but maybe not how you think.

The western church needs revival.

Every year, the western church cedes a bit more.

Each year, the American church ebbs further into irrelevancy.

The only western churches growing are the large churches, the megachurches. Call it the Walmart effect. The large churches offer programs, resources, facilities, shiny objects, whatever, things that your typical smaller church cannot.

Hundreds of smaller churches shut their doors each year.

Each passing generation becomes more unchurched. Most Americans still identify as Christian, but very few are active in a church in any way. Few ever attend a Sunday service, the most basic of all Christian activities.

Look no further than Europe to see the brimming cesspool of a dead church, a church with no life, a church with no mission, no witness, no Spirit.

“We need revival!” you’ll hear some proclaim. Well roll out the tent, get the praise band fired up, and get to preachin’! If you’re not picking up on my sarcasm, please forgive me. Haven’t we tried this?

The western church needs…something. But what?

The church was born of blood.

The blood of Christ, specifically.

The Gospel has always been accompanied by bloodshed. To the unregenerate man, the Gospel message is a message of death, either way, so why wouldn’t he hate the message as well as the messenger?

History bears this out.

Stephen, standing before the high priest and shouting, “Brothers and Fathers, hear me,” (Acts 7:2) before proclaiming Christ and Him crucified and being summarily stoned to death, Stephen stood first in a long line of those chosen to die for their faith.

Saul went about “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 9:1) He literally went door to door, dragging men, women, and children off to prison and death for being followers of the Way.

John the Baptist – beheaded

James – killed by the sword

Peter – crucified

Paul – beheaded

The list goes on. Despised and hated by both Romans and Jews, Christians wore a target squarely on their backs. The general persecutions of early Roman emperors gave way to the Great Persecution of 304-05 A.D. Christians were burned, stoned, crucified, and yes, thrown to the lions in the arena and amazingly…

…the Church exploded across the Roman empire.

Consider that within a generation of the Resurrection, there was a functioning church in Rome, the very seat of persecution.

Consider that the only thing that distinguished Christians from Jews, to the Romans, was the Christian refusal to rebel or resist. Rebellion doomed the Jews. Their third rebellion, the Bar Kokhba revolt, turned into a practical genocide.

Consider that the more Rome tried to annihilate Christianity, the faster it spread.

Consider that Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D., shortly after the Great Persecution, forbidding all forms of persecution against Christians. In 380 A.D., the Edict of Thessalonica established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. That turned out to be a nearly fatal blow to the church, but the point is, the harder Rome tried to kill the church, the more it thrived, the more it grew.

Persecution purifies the church. Persecution strengthens the church.

It’s always been that way.

Christendom is the enemy of Christianity.

Liberty, though a great blessing, always leads to collusion. The sinful hearts of men guarantee it. Coerced virtue is not really virtue, especially virtue coerced at the hands of government or perceived benefit from that same virtue.

Western Christians revel in luxury.

We benefit from a society founded on Judeo-Christian principles, a society and culture, until recently, largely in cahoots with the Christain faith. A majority of Americans still identify as Christian though the fastest growing demographic is the ‘religiously unaffiliated’.

I may say what I want, preach what I want, proclaim where I like…for now, anyway, and what is the yield?

Comfort. Contentment. Inertia. No urgency. The religious equivalent of a 98-pound-weakling cowering in silence while the bully kicks sand in our face and steals our girlfriend.

The western church is persecuted subtly.

Peter describes Satan as a lion, prowling around to see who he might devour. (1 Peter 5:8) A Lion does not always charge right in for the kill. Sometimes he stalks his prey, encircles it, leads it unwittingly into a favorable position. Sometimes he works in a team.

Satan steadily, obscurely, tightens the noose around the collective neck of the western church.

Daily we feed our children into the fires of ungodly and intentional indoctrination that are our public schools. We send them to the university where the conversion is complete. Young people abandon the faith in droves.

We drown in cultural wickedness, swim in licentiousness.

Much persecution in the west consists of reviling, as the enemies of God leverage LGBTQ+ issues, women’s reproductive rights, and other issues to mischaracterize Christians and slander the Lord. A Christian today can expect to be categorized as hateful, mean, bigoted, spiteful, close-minded, narrow-minded, and discriminatory. The enemies of God will even use our faith against us branding us Un-Christlike, Un-Christian, Hypocrites even.

They grow in their audacity daily as reviling leads to social, political, cultural, and inevitably, legal ostracization. Look no further than to our friends to the north to see into the future of religious liberty in our nation.

At some point, you will be forced off the fence. You will have to pick a side. They will demand it.

And perhaps that is exactly what we need, maybe the sooner the better.

I pray for revival in the western church.

Maybe we need a good dose of hardship to get us there.

I hesitate in saying we ought to pray for persecution.

I pray that we’d utilize the liberty God has afforded us to continue the work of our fathers before us. I pray that we’d embrace political freedom as a tool of spiritual freedom, a means to proclaim truth. In military terminology, we’d use the freedom of maneuver afforded us in the west to advance the Kingdom of God.

It seems like we’re moving in the opposite direction. Chinese Christians, under great duress, literally cry upon receiving the privilege of owning a Bible, the very word of God. Most American Christians would have to blow the dust off of theirs.

God will build His church. Jesus promises it. I believe it.

It’s always been watered by the blood of the martyrs. Why would today be any different?

Maybe Trump has been good for the nation. Perhaps. Perhaps Clinton would have been better for the church, or Kim Jong Un. Perhaps we could’ve moved past collusion and into obvious opposition, which maybe, just maybe, is exactly what we need.

Okay, okay, I don’t know if Mayor Pete would get us there. I don’t know if he would institute outright and obvious persecution against the church, but it’s coming. It’s coming here in the west. Make no mistake. The nets are drawing up around us, even as we speak.

And though I don’t anticipate it, perhaps a healthy dose of hardship and persecution is exactly what the western church needs, to filter out pretension, burn away the chaff, and usher in revival.

Are you ready?

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Jesus is NOT your homeboy…

Who is Jesus?

This is the most important question you’ll ever have to answer. Silence speaks volumes.

Who is the man, Jesus the Christ?

From prison, John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:19) Before his beheading, he sought clarity on the most important question a man may ask.

Each man must answer for himself. Jesus demands it. His existence requires it. No one may answer for you, not a parent or a preacher or a spouse.

          “Who do you say that I am?” – Jesus (Matthew 15:15)

Casual Jesus

“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.” – Cal Naughton, Jr. (Talladega Nights)

Though a silly quote from a blasphemous movie, this line epitomizes the western church’s casual view of Jesus. I can picture Jesus any way I like and I like him casual. Casual Jesus suits my needs.

Jesus is your friend, maybe your best friend. He is friendly and approachable, non-threatening, always smiling. He loves children, probably dogs too. He loves to walk around cradling a lamb, a gentle smile gracing his pleasant countenance.

Jesus is my homeboy.

Casual Jesus spawns a casual God. He is the Big Man upstairs. The Big Guy. You know, me ‘n God, we’re real tight. God is demoted to a grandfatherly type character who just wants us young people to have a good time.

Casual Jesus makes we want to vomit in my mouth.

Immediately following the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the church was inundated with false teachings concerning Jesus. This was the spirit of antichrist. (1 John 2:18-23) The tradition of people teaching false things about Jesus continued throughout the centuries. Gnosticism, modalism, Arianism, just to name a few, all slandered the reality of Jesus.

In response, Paul tells the church in Corinth to destroy strongholds, arguments, and every lofty opinion that teaches false things about Jesus. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) Destroy them. Don’t acknowledge them. Don’t validate them…destroy them.

Today, shades of these heresies persist. We get casual Jesus.

Let us demolish casual Jesus.

The most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament is Psalm 110:1. God the Father, speaking to God the Son says, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.

The Lord Jesus is presently sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and He is about the business of putting all things in subjection to Him. At present, we do not yet see all things in subjection to Him, but they are, and they will be.

Jesus will…

…“shatter kings on the day of his wrath,”

…“execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses.” (Psalm 110:5-6)

Jesus is not my homeboy. Nowhere in Scripture is Jesus referred to as my friend. He is not my buddy or my chum.

He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and one day, every knee in heaven and on the earth will bow before Him, either in submission or subjugation, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Who is Jesus?

          “Truly this man was the Son of God!” – centurion (Mark 15:39)

Let us bow before Him in reverence.

Tolerant Jesus

You’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve said it.

“Quit being so darn judgy. Jesus would never judge like that. Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Besides, Jesus hung out with sinners, eating and drinking wine. He was the life of the party. Just for the love of God, quit being so judgmental!

Please allow me to destroy the latter half of this fallacy first.

Jesus did not “hang out”. Jesus, God incarnate, existed in the flesh to accomplish the will of the Father, to redeem a people for Himself. Yes, Jesus went where sinners and tax collectors were. He dined with them. He lodged with them. He spent time with them…for a very specific reason, to call them to repentance, to call them to faith. This idea that we should just hang around ungodly people just because that’s what Jesus did is anathema to the Christian ethic and if we’re honest, it’s merely an attempt to justify our own desire to continue sinful living.

By all means, be like Jesus. Go to sinners and tax collectors, but go in the name of Jesus, preaching and proclaiming the Gospel of salvation.

And quit marking out entire passages of Scripture to forge a Jesus of your own understanding, one who would readily overlook a man’s sin, and again, if we’re honest, overlook your sins.

Yes, “judge not”, comes from Jesus. He’s talking about hypocrisy and judgement with a right spirit. Don’t be looking for the sin in others. Examine yourself first, remove the log from your own eye before you are concerned with the speck in another’s eye, and then you will be able to take the speck out of your brother’s eye, to restore him from his sin. (Matthew 7:5)

Tolerant Jesus is the Jesus we want. He is the Jesus we seek to invent. He is safe, friendly, and married to casual Jesus.

Scripture knows nothing of this tolerant Jesus. He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42) One day, all men will stand before Him.

But, who is He?

          “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!” – Nathanael (John 1:49)

Let the reality of Jesus drive us to our knees.

Pitiable Jesus

I hate pitiable Jesus the most.

From the cross, Jesus cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

From this, people feel pity for Jesus. They feel sorry for Jesus. Poor, poor Jesus…and this becomes a theology of a pitiable Jesus, a weak Jesus, a neutered Jesus…a pleading Jesus.

He’s yearning for you and he’s standing impotent, gently knocking on the door of your heart, begging you to open it and invite him in. He is a gentleman. He never forces himself upon anyone.

Please.

Jesus was quoting Psalm 22, a psalm of trust that the Pharisees would have known cold. It triumphantly concludes that all shall bow before Him, that posterity itself shall serve Him, that His righteousness will be proclaimed to the people yet unborn!

One day, every tongue will confess that He is the Lord. Do you really think He needs your pity or even, gulp, your cooperation?

          “You are the Christ, the Son of God,” – Martha (John 11:27)

Liberal Jesus

Just as the religious right slaughters the person of Jesus, so too does the left.

They’ve invented a liberal Jesus to shame us religious zealots. Jesus was a brown-skinned rebel, an iconoclast, a socialist. He preached love and acceptance and tolerance and rebellion against authority.

I’ve come to hate this caricature of Jesus as much as pitiable Jesus.

Jesus is so much more than any of this. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15) He is the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature. (Hebrews 1:3) Upon witnessing the reality of the glorified Christ, John “fell at his feet as though dead.” (Revelation 1:17)

One day, He will destroy any doubts. One day, He will return, in glory and power, and He will strike down the nations and rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. He will judge and make war! (Revelation 19:11-16)

He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

          “Who do you say that I am?” – Jesus

           “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” – Peter (Matthew 16:16)

Let us surrender to Him today.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Sadly, Most American Christians Do Believe Good Works Will Save Them

It’s frustrating.

I didn’t want to believe it at first. I still don’t.

But me wishing it weren’t true doesn’t change the uncomfortable fact. Many American Christians remain imprisoned by the very idea Jesus came to demolish…

     …that we they may somehow earn the favor of God, our way into Heaven.

In recent weeks, I’ve become much more aware of the prevalence of this misconception. Rather, I’ve become personally aware of it.

It’s become personal.

What I’ve Seen

Photos of Jesus with KidsI’ve been blessed with wonderful church experiences.

I’ve been a member of three fellowships (two churches and the chapel while I attended Command and General Staff College). What I heard was faithful, biblical exposition. All three fellowships were led by faithful men of God who preached the full counsel of God’s word. They did not shy away from hard truths or tough topics.

At some point, I came to know the doctrines of grace, the beautiful and blessed doctrines that reveal the character of God, the heart of the Lord. The doctrines of grace describe the mercy and love by which a holy and righteous God saves men from their sin.

God saves sinners—the crux of the Gospel.

Once I came to know them, my desire to proclaim the Gospel, the true Gospel, became a blazing furnace in my soul. I could nevermore keep silent upon knowing and understanding the saving grace I had received some years before, though at the time of my conversion, I could scarcely fathom the depth or the source of the grace I had received.

Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – Jesus (John 3:3)

Jesus uses an appropriate metaphor to describe the new birth that is necessary for salvation, for seeing the kingdom of God.

Birth requires nothing on my behalf. I did not decide to be born. I did not seek to be born. There are no steps given to being born again. It happens completely independent of me. I am a recipient of birth. I am acted upon in birth. I am born or, in this case, reborn. This is the regeneration, the giving of the new heart, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel centuries before.

God removes the onus for salvation entirely from human hands. It has to be this way. It’s supernatural. It doesn’t make sense to us, but my total depravity demands it.

The unregenerate heart hates it.

The idea of surrendering every shred of ability to save myself or even participate in my salvation grates against my human spirit. I’m sorry masses of evangelicals, but I don’t even participate 1% or .05% or less. You get the idea.

I am a corpse, was.

God breathed life into me. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

No dead man has ever willed himself to life, but that is exactly what many church-attenders believe.

What I Hear

I have not personally observed this, but I hear anecdotal accounts and it’s disturbing.

As we live in highly-transient military community, people ‘passing through’ frequent our congregation. By the time they get to us, many have visited numerous churches and the reports are similar. Watered-down, sugar-coated preaching. Shallow theology. Topical messages of personal empowerment.

You are enough. You are better. You deserve. You are powerful. You are worthy. And worst of all…you can and you will.

Be good. God would never condemn a ‘good’ person to hell. You know ‘good’ people. You are a ‘good’ person. You pay your taxes. You help people. You’ve never murdered anyone. You try to do ‘good’ things. You have a ‘good’ heart.

Why would God condemn someone as sincerely ‘good’ as you?

This is practical universalism and everything I hear tells me it’s growing in prevalence. The numbers back it up.

What Reality Says

Decades ago, the second best-selling book in the United States, after the Bible, was The New England Primer. From this short text, all children learned to read and write, but really learned the truth of the Gospel, reinforcing that which their parents were already teaching them.

Consider some of the sentences they had to write:

     – God having out of his mere good pleasure from all eternity elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of a state of sin and misery, and to bring them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer.

     – We are made partakes of the redemption purchased by Christ by the effectual application of it to us by his holy Spirit.

     – The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

Children once learned to read and write by reading and writing the doctrines of grace, the truest expression of the Gospel message. In this way, they hid the sacred words of Scripture in their hearts.

The average Christian today could not articulate what these sentences actually mean. Biblical literacy declines continually as biblical error proliferates and perhaps the greatest error of all, a lie straight from the pit of Hell, is that a man can earn his way to Heaven or even that he must or may cooperate with God in that salvation.

False religions (all religions apart from Christianity) have this as the central tenet of their doctrine. I have to do things and once I do things, I may attain things such as the favor of God, even Heaven.

This teaching is anathema to biblical Christianity.

Yet, the numbers demonstrate a troubling trend. Increasingly, professing American Christians believe these lies:

     – Reincarnation.

     – Many different roads can lead to Heaven, including other religions.

     – If I do enough ‘good’ God will let me into Heaven, even without Jesus.

The last one, it’s what I want to believe, in my flesh. I want, at the very least, to have some say in my salvation. The idea of complete surrender of the rights to me and my livelihood is unsettling.

And the church cooperates in the propagation of this tragic misinformation.

Who I Know

A family member I love is caught in this trap.

I had suspected this relative of only being a church-attender for some time. Whenever he spoke of his faith he spoke of ‘it’, as in religion, instead of ‘him’, as in Jesus.

He is a good man. He helped build the new fellowship hall. He played in the worship band for years. He helped out whenever possible. He worked in the community on service projects. He attended, religiously.

He could not articulate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

This man had been a regular church-attender for the last thirty years or so and He could not tell me the first thing about grace and mercy. He felt no burden of sin. He saw himself as a ‘good’ man, a righteous man. He saw the sins and shortcomings of others and declared, thank God I’m not like that other man.

In short, He doesn’t know Jesus and as he is nearing 80 years of age, time is of the essence. He articulated to me the gospel of the western church when he said,

     “I try to be a good man. I try to do good.”

     “I feel like it [religion]  has made me better.”

For over two hours we talked and I shared Christ with him in any way I could. If nothing else, he heard the Gospel at least once but how could a man attend the same church for thirty years and at least not understand the grace of God on an academic level?

My spirit tells me this is far from unique to him.

This is the new/old norm, the elevation of works, even if in a seemingly minor way, that slanders the grace of our heavenly Father. May the true Gospel demolish these strongholds in our nation. May we repent of allowing this false gospel to flourish.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

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This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Mount Everest, Mercy, My Friend Ken

I love it when people get what they deserve.

So do others apparently.

“Instant Karma!” the video title trumpets. Scan Youtube or any social media and consider the wealth of uploads portraying people getting exactly what they deserve.

There’s the young disrespectful punk getting knocked out by the old man. An angry dude yells at a woman and promptly walks into a stop sign headfirst. A motorist cuts in line only to get pulled over by a policeman.

We love comeuppance. We gloat. We bask. We tingle inside. We love it when people get exactly what they deserve…

…except when it’s us.

A Deserving Son

We all have that friend with that son, or maybe you have that son, or maybe you are that son.

My friend Ken’s son had been straying for years, decades even. He fell into drug addiction and all that comes along with that. He committed crimes to support his habit, spent time in jail. He impregnated his girlfriend and abandoned his daughter.

But this wasn’t how he was raised.

Ken raised him in a loving, Christian home. He gave him everything—love, discipline, affection, opportunity—and he rejected it all in the name of sin and self. Yet, time and again, Ken was there.

His son would come back from a season of affliction and he’d hire him to work in his shop or help him get back on his feet only to be rejected and betrayed again. Time and again, his son received and then rebelled.

I cannot fathom his sense of betrayal, maybe his righteous indignation, certainly his grief. He deserved so much more.

Or did he?

A Deserving Father

All men receive either mercy or justice.

There is no injustice.

Peter writes for believers, “once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10b) Consider the mercy of our heavenly Father.

In my sin, I rejected Him entirely. I knew there was a God and was therefore without excuse but still I exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the created thing rather than the Creator. (Romans 1)

I deserved justice, eternal justice for rejecting an eternal Creator.

But still, in His mercy, He reconciled me to Him by the shed blood of Christ on the cross. God saves sinners. God saved me. I did nothing to deserve it, nothing to merit it. I never could have earned it by any ‘good’ deeds. The only thing I deserved was justice, condemnation…

….but in His mercy, He gave me infinitely more than I ever deserved.

God is, “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6) I have lived this truth, known it, rested in it. If you are of Christ, you have as well.

My friend Ken lives these truths. He knew exactly what he deserved and in light of that, exactly what he had received—everything!

What could he himself give, but mercy?

No Mercy on the Mountain

Who ever thought mountain climbing would entail moral considerations.

Eleven climbers have perished on Mount Everest during 2019’s climbing season, a record, and why? They perished because of mercy, or a distinct lack thereof.

The world’s highest mountain presents climbers with some unlikely challenges. It takes roughly two months to make the ascent and weather only allows a handful of opportunities around the middle of May.

The last base camp is around 26,000 feet. From there, climbers make a brutal push into the “death zone” and the final summit at 29,029 feet. The one narrow path to the summit, the severest conditions on earth, and the demand for oxygen to survive provide a tiny window to attain the summit and descend. Only the slimmest of margins separates climbers from death.

Severe crowding complicates the issue.

The unscrupulous Nepali government issues hundreds of climbing permits, with no qualifications required, to anyone who can afford the $11,000 fee. Everest is a cash cow and the result is an ascent flooded with people who have no business being on Mount Everest.

This year’s ascent saw a several hour delay to get to the summit, a flat area roughly the size of two ping-pong tables, where climbers jockeyed for position, snapped selfies…stepped over dead bodies. People died waiting in line to get to the top.

Eleven people succumbed to the elements this year, many on the way down. They ran out of oxygen or became too fatigued to continue and collapsed on the path.

Many of them died of arrogance or hubris. Their Sherpas urged them that they were going too slow, that they would run out of oxygen, that they wouldn’t make it, and still they pressed on until collapse…

…and people stepped over them to continue.

If they stopped to help, they might risk their own lives or worse…not make the ascent, not get the selfie from the summit, not be able to say, “I did it!”. Besides, these people should not have been there in the first place. They were warned. It’s their own fault.

They needed mercy, in spite of their faulty actions, and did not receive it.

I wonder if you are as troubled by this as I am.

Mercy Received

My relationship with God governs my relationship with people.

My relationship with people testifies to my relationship with God.

What is God’s will for my life? Should I buy the blue minivan or the red one? Should I work here or should I work there? What would God have me do?

I cannot comment definitively on all of these questions. However, the word of God offers explicit commands, expectations God has of His people.

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:26)

Blessed are the merciful…” (Matthew 5:7)

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13, 12:7, Hosea 6:6)

As God has poured out His mercy upon us and lavished us with love, love that we did not deserve in any way, so too ought we to pour out mercy upon others. We who have been forgiven much ought to, in the same way, forgive much, forgive quickly, forgive often.

Our words, our actions, our thoughts ought to drip with mercy, just as the Bible drips with the mercy of our heavenly Father. And every single human interaction we have is an opportunity to show mercy.

We ought to give that which others need, even if they don’t deserve it. What are you worried about, your rights? Our rights no longer matter. We’ve given the rights to ourselves over to the Lord and as such, can pour out mercy with no regard for self.

Who needs mercy in your life?

A lazy husband. An unappreciative wife. Your needy children. Your incompetent boss. A hateful relative. A gossipy neighbor. The rude dude at the grocery store.

A wayward son.

Mercy Given

My friend celebrated his birthday recently by posting to social media a video of him talking.

Amid the ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ and other comments, one stood out. His son remarked, “Happy belated birthday pops” followed by, “I look very bad.”

What would the world say but, “Well man, it’s your own fault”? You had everything, you had a father who loved you. You’ve had a home and opportunity. You are the one who wasted this. You are the one who has walked away from what you know to be right, time and time again.

What did you expect? When will you learn?

It serves you right.

My friend looked at his son and his affliction, his suffering, and responded…in mercy

          I see you as my son!

This is the exact thing my heavenly Father said to me, as I turned to Him in my sin and affliction. May we all be moved to mercy.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

Fight for your Country—Die for your Brother

No man dies for his country.

Forget about it.

It doesn’t happen.

Despite what the powers that be, the forces that shape attitudes and opinions in our country, would have you believe, patriotism only gets you so far. At some point, the glaring red rockets fade, the bombs no longer burst, and Old Glory falls limp in the dwindling breeze.

Patriotic fervor may drive a man to sacrifice…to a point.

Yet, no man dies for his country.

He may fight for it.

Why Fight (part I)

I’ve fought for our country, certainly.

It’s a train wreck. A dumpster fire. A disaster. Still I’ve fought.

Daily our country marches deeper into godlessness, abandoning the very foundation of the fabric of our society. Some cling desperately, but in vain, to a fading ethic. Others cling to the outworking of the Source, while denying the Source itself. “Righteousness” apart from He who is righteous, is no less godless than the outright rebellion of those who openly reject God.

America is a post-Christian nation, and has been for some time.

Still I fight.

America systematically slaughters the unborn to the tune of more than 60 million to date. Convenience and the abandonment of the biblical sexual ethic drives the slaughter. Can you imagine the deception of mothers fighting for the right to murder their babies? Still I’ll fight.

America defies the Creator and His created order at every turn. We reject the basic tenets of reality. Who could’ve foreseen pervasive gender confusion, this Orwellian idea that I can “identify” as whatever I like? God speaks early and clear, “Male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) How could we have anticipated the normalization of sin and the desecration of even marriage. I must actually stipulate when talking about it…a union between one man and one woman. Sheesh.

Still I’ll fight.

We don’t normalize sin, we celebrate it…and you must too. Tolerance is not an acceptable middle-ground. We won’t accept a you-do-you-and-I’ll-do-me compromise. Nope. Not gonna work. We demand acclaim, not acquiescence. Laud them. Shower them with praise. Give them awards. Revere their courage. This is the only acceptable end-state.

Our nation sits under the judgement of God in our collective resolve to worship and serve the created thing rather than the Creator.

Our nation sits divided by an impossible ideological chasm, several of them actually. Yet, many remain convinced of God’s favor, a lingering manifest destiny that ignores the reality that America will one day be but a footnote in the salvation history of men.

And I’d fight again. It’s my country after all.

But die…C’mon.

Why Fight (Part II)

Where else you gonna go?

Seriously?

Granted, my world travels have taken me to quite a few garden spots around the globe, but I remain convinced of America’s greatness and why? My family lives here, for starters.

I don’t know much about the rest of the world, but I do love this nation. I just don’t like what she’s becoming. It’s not a sin, you know, to love your country. I love biscuits and gravy and country music. I love that we actually have tractor pulling contests. I love our great cities and vast countryside. I love that English spoken in rural Louisiana might not sound anything like English spoken in Boston.

I love the idea of America, the great hope she embodies. I love the American dream, that if I work hard I can become whatever I set out to be. I cherish rugged American individualism.

For all her flaws, all her warts, all her imperfections, I remain convinced of America’s greatness. Perhaps I’m biased.

But I’d fight for her again.

No matter your thoughts upon America’s greatness, wicked men conspire for her destruction. Evil men plot continuously to visit their destructive beliefs upon our families, our neighborhoods, our society and we have a choice, either stand opposed or yield. They’ll not relent.

I have fought, willingly, and would do so again.

Many others also may fight for their country.

No man dies for it. It’s much deeper than that.

Why Die (Part I)

I’ve never felt more alive than when marching lock-step into combat with my brothers.

The gruff, guttural chorus of engines coming on line. The whirring rotors. The driving sand. The airframes trembling in anticipation as the throttles are advanced to fly. The boys loading up, casually climbing aboard as if they were not about to descend from the dark sky onto the unsuspecting heads of our enemies, visiting death and judgement. Radio checks complete and the uneasy silence as the cocked fist of martial supremacy prepares to unleash hell and hellfire.

But it’s the men.

It’s the quiet confidence of the man on my left, the man on my right. It’s the company of heroes, the community of steel, the legion of warriors, those past, present, and future, warriors that embody an ideal, a code, a distinctive.

It’s the brotherhood.

It’s cliché, but it’s the brotherhood.

I recall, vividly, the details of a handful of combat missions. The rest blend into a nebulous morass of fuzzy memories punctuated by a few surprising details.

I recall the best stick of chewing gum I ever chewed, given to me by one of the boys while blasting across the Afghan desert, heading home after a long and hot day marauding.

Ice cold Rip-its taking the dust off an uber-sticky night. When hitching a ride in the back of a Chinook, the Ground Force Sergeant Major grabbing my cluelessly wandering self, sitting me down exactly where he wanted me, and plopping unceremoniously right into my lap. The wonderful taste of a ham-and-cheese omelet at the end of a long night.

Sleeping like the dead on an Army cot in an ice-cold sleep tent in the middle of the bright, desert day.

But, it’s really my brothers.

Why Die (Part II)

How could I ever capture the bond between fighting men?

How could I ever do justice to the sanctity of shared hardship, the mutual shedding of blood, the sacred fetters that these men have always known?

The kids name was Justin, a former infantryman, and now, for this mission, my crew chief. Put the boys in. Simple. Panjwai district, broad daylight, on top of 6-foot-tall hedgerows. No-so-simple.

Less than an hour later, we descended from the bright, desert sky onto the hedges, only one wheel down, maybe. Maybe we hovered. The boys jumped and disappeared into the foliage below. Less than a rotor disc away was one of those weird mud structures, easy to shoot from.

“Steady, steady,” Justin soothed over the ICS. “Hold, hold.” I could see nothing. My entire world shrunk to the few inches surrounding the flight controls. My eyes fixed on the building, a single plant blowing in the rotor wash. Time froze.

At that moment, at that time, Justin became my eyes. His bounced from the descending boys to the surrounding terrain, mini-gun ready to unleash fury. He was my eyes, my ears, my conscience, the rock of my existence.

My life rested in his hands…and his in mine. Completely, unambiguously, without hesitation.

I waited for the tell-tale crack, the spiral of an RPG. An eternity.

Those few eternal seconds embodied the sacred trust between men, the lifeblood of the brotherhood. I never doubted for an instant. I never waivered, what if Justin faltered? No. Our shared fellowship transcended concern for personal welfare.

In that moment, our country was the furthest thing from my mind. My only thought, in that instant, was to do my part for my brother, who was doing his part for me.

You see, no men die for their country. That’s for sentimentality and ceremonies.

But he may just die for his friend…or maybe his brother.

The Brave Rifles Series
Brave Rifles: The Problem of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: The Danger of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: Sex in a Godless Army (part 1)

Sex in a Godless Army (part 2): The Illusion of Gender Equality

Sex in a Godless Army (part 3): Do We Really Want Equality?

Affliction in a Godless Army: The Sins of Generals

Affliction in a Godless Army: An Army of Junkies

Affliction in a Godless Army: Suicide in the Heavy Rain

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford’s third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

FOLLOW THE 413!

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