Cornerstone- by CA 44th District Assembly candidate Rob McCoy

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By Pastor Rob McCoy (with Dr. Linda Johnston)

Editor’s note: Pastor Rob McCoy announced his intention to run for CA Assembly 44th District after a memorable December 8 sermon at Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, where he is Pastor. We previously provided a link to his sermon video back in December. The transcript is now available, which follows.  Containing insights not usually revealed by conventional politicians, it should be useful in helping to better understand the man and his motives ….

Cornerstone

 

 

Our present world is afflicted with many serious problems, but none is as critical as the recent increase in blatant, uncontested persecution of Christians. It is even safe to say that the other problems our world suffers from have been made worse because Christian influence has been waning by suppression, persecution, distortion and simple neglect.

Christian Persecution and Religious Liberty

In our ‘open-minded’ age of tolerance and multiculturalism, it is shocking to see how much intolerance and overt persecution of Christians there is. We all know the stories of religious institutions being legally coerced to violate their religious precepts by paying for birth control or abortion. Christian cake bakers and photographers are being arrested, fined or jailed for refusing to enter into a private contract for their services when it involved participating in a same sex marriage ceremony. A known Christian television star loses his job for expressing deeply held Biblical truths or quoting Bible passages. Our church is in a lawsuit defending religious liberty. How can it be that we own a Christian school and yet by California law, we are not allowed to hire Christian teachers? Are you kidding me! That is such a flagrant violation of religious liberty! We are standing up and fighting it. There are so many incidences now that hardly a day goes by that another more egregious attack is called to our attention. How can such things happen in a country that has constitutional protection of religious liberty?

Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in such a way that religious freedom was absolutely understood. It was implicit. Our Bill of Rights is even more declarative in the guarantee of religious liberty. Originally the Founding Fathers didn’t even want to add those amendments. Reading the Federalist papers shows that they thought guarantees of religious liberty and the free exercise of religion were already clear enough in the Constitution. Thankfully they agreed to the amendments. Even with those unequivocal protections, Christians are under attack today in America. Imagine what would be happening without them.

Our country was founded and built by people escaping institutionalized religious persecution in England and Europe. Certainly, early Americans were not the first Christians to be persecuted for what they believed. That distinction goes to Jesus Christ himself, whose persecution and suffering transformed the world. Every one of the apostles was persecuted and all but one suffered a martyr’s death. Jesus often warned his disciples they would be persecuted, as he had been. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exclaims that those who are persecuted for His sake would be blessed.  Peter’s first epistle addresses these issues. Written in the first century, it spoke to Christ’s followers of the dispersion, who were living in every nook and cranny of the Roman Empire – in Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Peter writes to advise them how to stay alive during the horrific persecution unleashed under Roman Emperor Nero. If you know history, you would know that Nero was seething with hatred for Christians. They were an easy target for his sadistic insanity. Among other tortures, he would dip them in pitch, impale them on stakes and then line the streets of Rome with them.  Lit on fire, Christians would light up the streets.

Reading Peter’s letter shows the striking similarities between then, 2000 years ago, and now. Granted, at least in America, we are not impaled on stakes and lit on fire but Christianity as a whole is under persecution and attack. This is more now so than at any other time in my 49 years on this Earth. It’s awful. In addition, consider that if we are suffering in the United States of America and religious liberties are under attack here, imagine what is going on in the latitude range of 10-40 where most of the Arab world is. Whenever and wherever there is tyranny, religious tyranny, fascism, socialism or communism our Christian brothers and sisters die and righteousness is oppressed. That’s what’s happening now. Christians are being wiped out, just as they were 2000 years ago.

Rips in the Fabric of Civil Society

If Christian persecution and the wholesale erosion of our constitutionally protected religious liberty weren’t bad enough, they are not our only problems. The very foundations and fabric of our civil society, based as it is on a representative form of government, free market capitalism and rule of law is being undermined and destroyed. Nationwide, there are thousands of examples. One such example, close to home comes to mind. In California 2008 we fought for Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. This ballot measure gave us the opportunity to get engaged in the political process. We worked hard and won. It passed in the November 2008 California state elections, in a clear-cut demarcation between the big city, coastal strip versus the rest of the state.

Then one judge overruled the results of the election. One person’s opinion in an act of judicial tyranny wiped out the will of millions of Californians, both Christians and non-Christians, and undermined the electoral process. Just like that! This is so frustrating!  Yet, it happens over and over. Why participate? What is going on? Why is it so awful? What is going on with our country? Health care is in a freefall. The country’s economy is in a freefall. We are in trillions of dollars in debt. We have no jobs that are worth anything. Everyone is working hourly instead of full-time because companies can’t afford the payroll, benefits and everything else. Gas prices are going through the roof. Inflation is increasing. Government employees are being paid more than anyone else and the only increase in the job market is in the government sector. They get increases and drain everything else. Who wants to go to work anymore? Trying to run a business in California is impossible – – – yaddy yaddy yaya yaya. Yes? I was so discouraged by these things. Everything I’ve voted for in the last election lost. Everything. Everything! Everything! As I looked at this I was so overwhelmed. I thought to myself, what’s the point?  Why bother? It’s a waste of time. You begin to wonder why should I care? Does anyone else ever feel like that? It resonates, doesn’t it?

It is hard to watch these things happen to our country. My dad served three tours in Vietnam and my mother was a conservative, active in politics and grassroots efforts. She used to walk precincts. I remember meeting Ronald Reagan when he had been governor but was not yet president. He was promoting a book and autographed a copy for me. He wrote, “Best wishes Robert McCoy – Ronald Reagan.” I remember my mom campaigning for Nixon and later being so distraught when he was exposed to be such a liar. It broke her heart. They were Christians. They had a love for this nation and wanted to see things done right. Look where we are now.

I called my godfather on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7. He’s 99 years old. He fought in three wars – World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. He is highly decorated. In fact, he is the highest ranking, oldest living survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that day, December 7, 1941, his ship capsized as all the ships in that harbor were being destroyed and sunk. He manned the hoses that put out the fire on the USS Cassin to prevent the next battleship from exploding, for which he received the Silver Star. More than a third of our Pacific Fleet was sunk to the bottom of the ocean. That day it was his generation that started lining up around the block to sign up to go to war against Japan and Germany as we declared war on both those fascist nations. At the time we had the 22nd largest army in the world. We were behind Romania! We had no standing army to speak of. Within two years we raised that fleet of ships from the bottom of the ocean, refitted them and took on a two-fronted war against Japan and Germany. It was his generation that brought both fascist nations to their knees. We were not occupiers; we were liberators. We turned both countries back to their people, installed democratic republics in both and only asked for enough ground to bury our dead.

This heroic, patriotic man, who had sacrificed so much to maintain our liberties, was very discouraged this Pearl Harbor Day. He was not sure he had even made a difference. He told me that earlier that day he had been walking through the streets in downtown Palm Springs wearing his Pearl Harbor hat.  Not one person understood. Nothing. Nobody remembered and no one said, “Thank you.” Not one person. As a nation, we have forgotten. I didn’t see anything on the news about Pearl Harbor. But I hadn’t forgotten. I called him. Yet, I had a hard time reassuring him that all his service for the liberties we enjoy had not been taken for granted. I told him, “That was your generation, Uncle Bob. You stood for ideals that were right and true. You stood on the foundation of Jesus Christ.” Yet, I couldn’t deny that after looking at what our country has become, it is easy to be discouraged.

Exile in Our Own Country

In the midst of all of this, the Lord showed me something that changed my heart – Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  What a lovely verse. Giving a future and a hope! You can’t get any sweeter than that. If you send that to somebody as an encouragement just hope they don’t put it into context. In context, it is awful. The passage in which that verse sits says that the people have been so disobedient and have rejected God that He is sending them into exile into the pagan world of Babylon for 70 years. Jeremiah 29:4, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.” His actions are a response to what they’ve done.

It is easy to think that this old story of being exiled for bad behavior towards God doesn’t apply to us. Really? It applies to everyone, here and now. When I read that passage, I want to be hopeful, but instead I am greatly grieved. I feel that I have been sent into exile within my own country, in my state!  Everything I hold dear lost in the last election, and the election before that and before that. The country that I grew up in is changing before my very eyes. I am in exile in my own nation. I don’t understand it.

Nonetheless, I was consoled by reading the verses about God sanctioning his chosen people to be carried away into captivity. How is that?  My consolation comes from understanding God’s Word and seeing the fulfillment of His promises. God also cautions that if they return to pursuing Him and doing the right things, then we’ll get the encouraging passage of a future and a hope. Quite a difference, yes?  I asked myself the question, “Why did God do that to them? He must have had a reason.” It was not a big leap to begin asking, “Why has God done this to us? Why has God allowed our country to fall apart? Why has God allowed these horrible things to happen to us? He must have His reasons. What are they?

Listen to my fingers snap – click click click click click click – This is why – click click – Every time my finger snaps  – click – a baby is being aborted in America – click click click click – This is why – click click click – It’s like what happened in Nazi Germany when people going to church on a Sunday had to dust the ashes off their cars first – ashes from the crematoriums – click click click – Dust off ashes so you can go to church – click click  – The railcars filled with Jews – click click click  – dying of thirst and hunger  – click click click – and moaning so you must sing louder – click click click click – to make it go away – click click – It’s a stumbling block and an offense  – click click – no one likes to be told that or be reminded of what they did – click click click click  – It’s not pleasant – click – but that’s why we’re in exile – click click click – That’s why we are in freefall  – click click  – We say ‘God bless America’ but we have forgotten about ‘America bless God’ – click click – Children are created in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in their mothers’ wombs – click click click – If we don’t defend them, who will? – click click – We say we are too busy  – click click click – and it’s not a popular political position – click click click – people won’t like us – click click click – so why bother?

Do you know why people do not want to have children? It is because they are inconvenient, messy, demanding and a lot of work. They interfere with your desire to travel or to have a career. They keep you up at night. You want designer children. If they come in a package where there is a chromosome problem or a deformity – click click click click.  Over 90% of Down’s children are gone – click click – a culture of death – click click. Is this how we are meant to live? Could this be what God doesn’t like, a reason for exile?

Living in Exile

How do we live exiled in our own country?  God declares that when you’re in captivity in Babylon or its modern equivalent and the world is doing this – click click click  – You don’t. We are Christians!  We don’t do that! We don’t do that! We are a culture of life.  The Lord says to his people that they are to increase in that city, even while in exile. “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters–that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”

They were mandated, as we are now, to show the world that they were and we are a culture of life! Be fruitful and multiply! Have babies. Stop killing them. Don’t have babies just when they are convenient. You have babies when you have babies. I’m often told, “Pastor, kids are so expensive!” Amen. I can testify to that! I have five and I still can’t afford them. The definition of a father is a man who carries his kids’ pictures in his wallet where his money used to be. If I waited until I could afford to have children, I wouldn’t have any even now. I love them all and I wouldn’t give any of them back even if I had the chance. In fact, I want more! Especially grandchildren!

We are also told to pray for the peace of the city so that we will have peace. How do you pray for the peace of the city? You do it by ushering in the Prince of Peace, Jesus. He’s the alignment. He’s the chief cornerstone. You establish this. You speak of it in the streets and you talk about what life is. You bring it into the civil arena. You don’t contend for the unborn at the city gates. You fight! You get involved!

Will it help? According to God’s word, it is the only thing that will help. In Jeremiah 29:10-14, “For thus says the Lord, after 70 years are completed in Babylon I will visit you and perform my good word towards you and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord.” That is my consolation and it should be yours as well. We know what to do to be restored from exile. He will restore us but we have to stop this  – click click click.

The Silent Pastors

How did we get this way? How did the culture of death and misery become so bold and dominant? One factor is that too many discouraged people said, “Why bother? Why bother?” Somewhere along the line we thought we could compromise our values, serve both God and mammon. We decided to separate fiscally conservative ideas from socially conservative ideas, as though the two could exist apart from each other. The ridiculousness of that is beyond comprehension. It was done because some thought it is too hard to stand up for what is right and maintain them together. Other people didn’t like it, so huge compromises were made. Our country, our younger generation, in fact everyone, are suffering the horrible consequences of those cowardly compromises. Once started, it is much harder to stem that tide.

I can tell you why we must bother! Giving up and being demoralized is exactly what the enemy wants us to think and feel. Over the years, a lot of effort has gone into making sure we do feel so discouraged that we give up. Notably, many actions have been taken to cut us off from our foundation and the very source of our strength, like some big modern day Delilah wielding her shears at the country’s seven locks. Our enemies have successfully managed to paralyze the church. Considering America’s strong Christian foundation and heritage, embedded in the Constitution and woven into our traditions since the nation’s very founding, it has been surprisingly easy to silence the church. In 1954, then Senator Lyndon Johnson, spearheaded a change to the US tax code, called the Johnson Amendment, which prohibited tax-exempt organizations such as churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates, engaging in political activities, conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office or risk loss of status as tax-exempt status. This was self-serving on Johnson’s part, designed to assist him later in his presidential bid.

One stroke of the pen and pastors were no longer “allowed” to talk about politics from behind the pulpit. At the time, no one questioned the government’s lack of authority to declare such a thing. Blatantly unconstitutional, it forbid what was clearly legal and had been done for over 200 years. We have a great tradition of pastors and Christians being involved in the political arena. Jefferson had the Marine Corps band play worship music in the Supreme Court Chambers while they put on worship services in Washington DC. Until 1954 there was an election sermon in every pulpit of America. Clergy supported candidates from the pulpit. Of all places that we should talk about politics, the pulpit is among the most important. Why is that? It is something our Founding Fathers knew the answer to. They are called Founding Fathers because they laid the country’s foundation. The foundation they gave to this country 238 years ago, enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and national traditions, was based unabashedly in Christianity, the Bible and Jesus. On this cornerstone our Founding Fathers sought to establish a government that would glorify God in all we would do as a nation. Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone.

Being Christian men, the Founding Fathers understood that man is innately evil and could not be trusted apart from God. They could not be trusted to have power over other men. The only good thing in man is the Lord. Their contemporary, Samuel Johnson said it this way, “With respect to original sin, the inquiry is not necessary, for whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes.” They protected religious freedom so man would have the freedom to pursue God. They declared, for the first time in history of the world, that rights are not given by man to man but given to man by God alone. In the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, our birth certificate, Thomas Jefferson wrote in bold letters across the top of the page, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”  Sen. Bob McEwan has said this is the Jeffersonian way of saying any idiot can understand this. Blazoned across the top, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among those being Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Why shouldn’t we speak of it? Why wouldn’t we build up every other brick in the edifice of our nation from that foundation of Jesus Christ? Why is He removed from public office?

We have all been indoctrinated to think that any time a pastor in the pulpit opens his mouth about politics it is wrong and illegal. You are wrong. You have been taught incorrectly. The single most devastating action taken to undermine this country has been that artificial separation between civic life and church life. That began to loosen the very foundations of our country, its laws and way of life. And how successful that has been. What started as an obscure change to the labyrinthian tax code has ended up several decades later as Nativity scenes being forbidden in public, the 10 Commandments removed from court houses and servicemen on a military base told not to utter the word “Christmas.” This frustrates me as a pastor, and as a citizen.

There is absolutely nothing in our founding documents that speaks of a separation of church and state. The often cited, and I must say wrongly cited, authority for the rabid elimination of our country’s Christian heritage is Thomas Jefferson’s private letter to the Danbury Baptist church convention. Read properly it is anything but mandating a separation of church and state. It warns of the urgent need to keep the state out of the church, not the church out of the state. On the backdrop of Jefferson’s authorship of the Declaration of Independence with its acknowledgement of our Creator, any other interpretation is ludicrous in the extreme.

I don’t buy this revisionist history and neither should any right-thinking citizen. The idea of civic discipleship is one that the church needs to embrace. Pastors can no longer be anemic in the arena of civic policy. They need to be involved in great capacity, become knowledgeable about current events and get their congregations involved. We are called to be salt and light. We are moral preservatives and to be that, we need to be involved. We need to encourage godly men and women to run for office, to walk precincts, to stand on street corners and man phone banks. I’m not talking about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. Those are just holding tanks. I’m talking about the body of Christ following God’s direction to participate in civic affairs.

Our Cornerstone

What has happened? How did we get this way? With such a glorious heritage in the Lord, how did we turn away from God and toward ourselves, taking pride in being self-made men, governed by man’s laws, giving license to man’s iniquities and celebrating evil and persecuting goodness? It is not just the Johnson Amendment. We didn’t even fight that at the time. It isn’t just forgotten history. Those kinds of things are merely symptoms of a much deeper problem. The answer is clear and simple. We have lost our foundation, our cornerstone.

What is our cornerstone? Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus himself speaks of it as he quotes Psalm 118: 21  – – “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.”

It is important to understand what this idea of the cornerstone is all about. The word cornerstone is a masonry term. In building construction the cornerstone is the first laid and sets the standard for every other stone. Once the cornerstone is set, every other stone is aligned to that stone. The strength of the edifice is determined by the cornerstone’s strength and proper placement. Jesus is the cornerstone. He is the standard for every other ‘stone’. He’s the standard for our lives and everything we do in society. We build on him, the cornerstone, the foundation.

The concept of cornerstone is reflected continually in Scripture. Peter’s first epistle 2:4-10, written all those years ago gives us deeper insight in this issue, as well as encouragement on what to do. “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.  Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone, which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” When Peter describes Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, he is also saying that we are all stones, precious stones, to be aligned to Jesus Christ.

Romans 9:30 says, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled, at that stumbling stone. As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’”

In Luke 20:17 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees who thought they were eminently righteous and better than the rest of humanity because they observed the law so meticulously. “Then He looked at them and said, ‘What then is this that is written: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.’”

Cornerstone or Stumbling Stone

As noted above in Peter, Romans and Luke, there are two stones – the cornerstone and the stumbling stone. It’s the same stone, Jesus Christ. For some Jesus is a stumbling stone and for others He is the cornerstone of their life. This division is easy to see. If you use the name Jesus in public, suddenly it splits the group. If you praise Jesus, people look at you and say, “He’s one of those.” It divides the room. You are either on one side or the other. You can’t straddle the middle. Jesus himself said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.”

When I said before that our fundamental problem is that we have lost our cornerstone, it was not the most precise way to express what I wanted to say. We can be lost but we can’t ‘lose’ Jesus. Whether we acknowledge Him or not, He is always there. We can, however, make our cornerstone a stumbling stone. That is what has happened to our nation. We have chosen to turn our cornerstone Jesus into a stumbling stone, a rock of offense.

Pride turns Christ from being your cornerstone into a stumbling block. Then the name Jesus is offensive to you. His truth frustrates you. You hate it and Him. This idea of building an edifice with a stone of stumbling and a rock of frustration causes you to be miserable. As a stumbling block, you get humiliated and frustrated. The frustration comes because people tend to want to think themselves as better than others and that they are more righteous because of what they do. Your Bibles are bigger or your clothes are cleaner or your ledger shows how much more you do for others. Your nose is lifted a bit higher so it blocks the sun better. Whatever it is you have or do or are, you use it to think you are more special than the rest. That is how you come to think you more righteous. But you’re not. You are irritating. You have completely missed the mark.

Pride and self-regard cause you to think you do not have to submit to anyone. “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t need a crutch. I don’t need religion.” Religion is a crutch. Really? You cry out proudly, “Yeah! I’m a self-made man.” I have often asked, “What part of yourself did you make? Who keeps your heart beating and your lungs breathing at night? You don’t. The hairs on your head are numbered. Did you make a single one?” You have been fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together in your mother’s womb. You can’t create life. You never have been able to. You can make forms from existing things but you can’t create out of nothing.

The arrogance of man is such that you would shake your fist at God and say, “You owe me some answers!” Do you know who God is? He’s big and you’re not. He holds the heavens in the span of his hand. Do you know how big you are compared to that? You are nothing, nothing, nothing! You are just little, little, little like the gnat on the behind of an elephant. God could so easily squish you. Squish you! Squish you! That’s the idea; you’re nothing. And yet, to God you are precious.

The only good thing in us is Jesus and his righteousness. He is our cornerstone, to make the edifice of our life holy and full of truth. Christ in us is the hope of glory. There is humility in the body of Christ because the foot of the cross is level ground. No one is above another. We all have to come to Christ. There is no other name under heaven by which anyone can be saved. There’s no other Messiah coming. No one else has declared himself to be God and rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb. You have to deal with the question of who He is? He is either going to be the cornerstone of what you build your life upon or He will be a stumbling block that will crush you into annihilation. He is either going to be your savior or your judge. I would rather have him as a savior. Wouldn’t you?

Religion is Re-linking

The word religion comes from the Latin ‘religare’, which means relink or bind to God. All religions seek to connect with what or whom they consider God.  Christianity is different from every other religion in the world because we are saved by grace as a gift from God. Christians connect to God because He reaches to us first with His gift, not because we have managed to reach him by our good works. You are not saved by your works, “lest any man should boast” about what he has accomplished. You can’t earn salvation. Christ gives it to you and you receive it by faith, which is also a gift from God.

Every other religion requires you to come, to relink, to God, by your good works. They make laws for themselves and try to obtain favor with God by what they do and how they obey laws. The Scripture says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” We cannot earn God’s favor no matter how hard we try. We will never be righteous on our own, not in this fallen world with our fallen nature. The Bible says that even the very best of our so-called righteous acts are filthy rags from God’s holy perspective. In the original Greek, the word used for ‘filthy rags’ means the pus-infested, bloody laden rags that wrap around the leper who’s body is falling apart. Isn’t that delicious! No, not one is righteous!

That’s what Peter is saying in his letter. He is declaring to the church that he lays in Zion a chief cornerstone, who is elect and precious. He who believes in Him will by no means be put to shame. Your life will always be profitable if you trust in Christ. Everything you do will be profitable. This may not necessarily be financially, but in every other way you will be profitable. That is a gift for those who believe Christ is precious. To those who don’t and are disobedient, He frustrates you.

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. You are His own special people and you proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness to this marvelous light. This marvelous light is that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. You bring light into the darkness. You declare to those who are captive to be set free. This is a proclamation.  It is the idea of having a cornerstone to build systematically into your community. It is vital.

Church and State

In Luke chapter 20:19-22, the cornerstone leads to another important aspect of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees who thought they were righteous and better than the rest of humanity because they observed the law. After teaching about the cornerstone of righteousness, “the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people–for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’”

In today’s terms, they are asking Jesus, “Since we are part of the church and have religious liberty are we supposed to pay taxes too, bro?” To continue, “But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, ‘Why do you test Me?  Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?’ They answered and said, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

As this passage shows, Jesus was able to battle profoundly and successfully both in the civic and the ecclesiastical arenas. There are two forms of government – the civic government and the church government. God ordains both. This was established by the Noahic covenant, God’s agreement with Noah. One is about God’s relationship with man and the other is for the protection of man from man. God declares these principles in the books of Romans and Timothy. In them Paul teaches us that God appoints all positions of authority. Furthermore, he says to pray for those in positions of authority so that we may have peaceful and godly lives. We have to remember he was telling his readers to pray for those in authority when Nero was in power. Remember Nero’s Christian street lights? Pray for him? God says we must pray for all those in authority.

This is all to say that the Lord recognizes civic government. He is not limited to His church. He declares and is in charge of civil government. We see this demonstrated when Jesus was contending with the Pharisees about ecclesiastic government as cited above.  He is saying there is temple money but there is also Caesar’s money. Both governments are necessary and we must render each their authority. They are both given to us by God.

Holy Nation and Civic Involvement

Here I want to come back to the idea of the cornerstone, and when this cornerstone is a stumbling block.  To those who understand, Jesus Christ is a firm foundation, the cornerstone of our lives.  We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Remember this, we are a holy nation. God has called us to engage in civic government and with our communities in every way, shape and form. We don’t segment or partition our Christianity, relegating it to Sunday morning in church.  If Christ is going to be our cornerstone then He sets the standard for every other stone that is laid upon that so that everything else is aligned. That means our schools are to going to be aligned with Christ, our fire department should be aligned with Christ, our Police Department should be aligned with Christ and our civil government should be aligned with Christ. Everything should be is aligned with Christ, the cornerstone.

I am often asked, “How does that happen Pastor?” It happens because we engage in the culture. We get involved in our community. We take part in God’s civic government. Any of you who say that we shouldn’t bring Christianity into the civil arena don’t appreciate the fullness of Christianity. You have an improper understanding and as a result the pulpits are frozen. So many pastors are ignorant, uninformed, negligent or timid. Regardless of the reason, pastors have abrogated their role in God’s ordained civic life. I love the pastors and I love the church. It is the bride of Christ. Nonetheless, we all have to wake up. Pastors have to mobilize people to understand that Christ wants us to align every stone in our community to make a Godly civic government for a Godly civic life to glorify God by expressing his gifts of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness to their fullest.

Before I go any further, I want to make one thing very clear, and address a question that often comes up when I talk about Christians being involved in government. No, I am not talking about establishing a theocracy. The idea is completely absurd. If you say that you’re revealing your ignorance. You don’t know me, you don’t know my politics and you don’t know history. People who claim that when Christians are involved in the government of their communities or nation they are working for a theocracy, are making a lazy, uninformed and disingenuous swipe at something they obviously do not understand. We are in a representative form of government and I love it. It’s the greatest form of government on the face of the earth and is exactly how we need to operate in a pluralistic society. That settled once and for all, let’s get back to talking about how we honor God by being involved in our system of representative self-government.

Some of you have already been called into that civil arena. I think of Peter Foy, our county supervisor. He is aligned for that purpose. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove brings Christ as a cornerstone into politics at the state level. Everyone has a role to play. I will be like the captain of the aircraft carrier and you are the fighter planes. Through the church, I provide the base, the foundation. You go out and align the stones. When you walk into the room and mention Jesus Christ, that will be offensive to some but for others, it will be a joy. Again, there is the division of the stumbling block and the cornerstone. Nonetheless, just being present in that room may cause others to stop cussing around you because you’re a Christian. Good! Set that stone down! Line it up! We want to get the whole community aligned to that cornerstone.

Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says in 28:14, “ Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem…” He is speaking about civil leaders. He is talking about politics. To continue, “Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Hell itself we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.’ Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Hell will not stand.’”

What a prophet he was! Though he wrote that thousands of years ago, this is exactly how we run politics now.  Politicians and power-brokers work under falsehood, taking refuge in lies and have made bargains with death and evil. A politician just lies and lies until people accept it. We have become a culture of death and lies. We kill babies and boldly lie. We steal and plunder, but it is never enough. Politicians’ creed seems to be, “Whatever you want to hear, I will tell you. I’ll give you whatever you want. Just vote for me!”

A Calling

I have been greatly burdened but all the things of which I have spoken. For several weeks both my wife and I have been mulling this over and struggling. I don’t like the culture anymore than you do. But I’m tired; as I am sure you are too. I’m tired of the lawsuit. I’m tired of not being able to have a Christian school. I’m tired of religious liberty being under attack. I’m tired of watching members of the congregation struggling in their businesses because righteousness is under attack. I’m tired of watching people who don’t work getting paid for something they don’t do by taking money from someone else who does work. I’m tired of entitlement. I’m tired of laziness. I’m tired of governments of man instead of God. I am tired of the government telling me what my rights are when in reality it’s the Lord who establishes my inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. I’m tired of being exiled in my own nation, my own state, my own community.

I got to a place where I just didn’t know what I’m supposed to do. I knew we are called, but I didn’t know called where or for what purpose. I know it is a time we are supposed to be active. Lord, what should I do? Churchill spoke to this when he said, “In critical and baffling situations, it is always best to recur to first principles and simple action.” That helped me plant my two feet firmly on those two things – first principle is Christ and simple action is the Bean Patch.

Bean Patch Politics

The Bean Patch is our community-based, political action. It all came about some months ago when I was reading 2 Samuel 23:11 about Shemmah and his protection of his bean patch. He was one of David’s mighty men. He was told to protect a lentil field from the oncoming Philistines. Lentils were the most worthless crop in all of Israel. Basically, we are talking about a bean patch. However, it was his bean patch and he was tasked with protecting it. When a thousand invading Philistines started coming over the ridge to fight, everybody else bails out on Shemmah. He is the last one there, all alone to fight and protect his patch. Shemmah stayed.

That is how we feel in California. We are the last ones here. Times are tough. We and our values are attacked, undermined, overruled and depleted. There’s a super majority in the state Assembly and Senate, so they do anything they want. An avowed homosexual heads the Assembly, promoting his favored legislation contrary to our values. Thousands have moved to Texas or elsewhere. Businesses have left for greener pastures. Many people leave because Christians don’t want to or feel incapable of fighting. Bye-bye! Some simply can’t fight. Whatever the reason, we are the last remaining vestiges of Californians who haven’t moved away. Like Shemmah, it is up to us to fight and protect our Bean Patch.

We know that one man and God constitute a majority. Shemmah vanquished them all. He had no fear. In 2 Timothy, we are told, “We are not given the spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind.”  We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. I was moved and encouraged by Shemmah. I said, “Lord I’ll do it!” I drew a line around the Conejo Valley and declared, “This is my Bean Patch.” I am going to lay a firm foundation, Christ, the cornerstone. Every portion, every stone, every brick in this community will be laid on that foundation and our community will be aligned to Christ. We are making a stand to protect our Bean Patch! Amen.

Two hundred and thirty eight years ago our Founding Fathers gave us a gift of this glorious country build on our God-given inalienable rights. They understood that the chief purpose of man is to honor God. They established a government of man that would do that. They had the divine wisdom to make our government a 3-part system, with the executive, legislative and judicial branches forming a check and balance, each branch a check on the other. This ensured that no one would have too much power. They laid a sure foundation. Every stone of our nation was fitted to be with Christ. The result has been a powerful and Godly nation.

Big Things from Small Beginnings

We are watching brick by brick it’s being dismantled. It’s time to put it back together. What are we doing to leave that legacy, the legacy we received, to the coming generation? Some of you are thinking, “That’ll never happen in our lifetime.” If you think that, then you don’t serve a very big God. Your faith is weak. We are called to be a culture of life not death, liberty not bondage and virtue not vice.

The Republican Party was started in 1854 by 19 people who met in Ripon Wisconsin. They had a mission, a seemingly impossible mission.  They wanted to see the abolition of slavery, pure and simple. Everyone laughed at them. At the time more than 70% of the Americans were convinced that slavery would never be removed from the warp and woof of the fabric of United States. Everybody wanted to compromise and to allow it to exist in some way, shape or form. Yet, six years later, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president. The very first Republican primary caucus had nominated Lincoln to represent the newly formed Republican Party and he was ushered in as president of United States. He had one of the lowest approval ratings in the history of United States. To assume his presidency, he had to come into Washington disguised as a woman because of the death threats made against him. Soon after he took office, a multitude of states ceded and the nation started to fall apart. He single-handedly declared the abolition of slavery through executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation. When members of the House of Representatives heard slavery was ended, they stood in a standing ovation for the first time in the history of the United States. It was one of the highest and most endearing moments in our country’s history. It was all brought about because 19 people with a vision to end that miserable institution of slavery. It may have started there, but before it was over and slavery was ended, Lincoln got a bullet to the back of his head and 650,000 people had died on the field of battle.

The Next Generation

On the other hand, we could be like Hezekiah and ask God to give us 15 more years. When it was granted to him, God also gave him a vision of the future that was awful, being filled with all kind of terrible things that were going to happen. Hezekiah didn’t mind because he saw that things were going to be fine in his lifetime. What did he care about things after he would be gone? We do that too. We say, “I don’t worry about the debt. It’s cool because at least I have my retirement. So what if my kids are going to suffer and life will be a bit tough for them?” That is not how we Christians do things. We live for and invest in the next generation. We leave this world better than we found it. Churchill asked the same question, “What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place to live in long after we are gone.”

This poem ‘The Bridge Builder’ by Will Allen Dromgoole touched me and I’ll share it with you. It is all about living and working with our hand extended to the next generation.

An old man going a lone highway,

Came, at the evening cold and gray,

To a chasm vast and deep and wide.

Through which was flowing a sullen tide

The old man crossed in the twilight dim,

The sullen stream had no fear for him;

But he turned when safe on the other side

And built a bridge to span the tide.

 

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,

“You are wasting your strength with building here;

Your journey will end with the ending day,

You never again will pass this way;

You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,

Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

 

The builder lifted his old gray head;

“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,

“There followed after me today

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been as naught to me

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;

Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

 

We want to build an edifice that will stand the test of time; a society that has a culture of life and not death; one that will protect our children; one in which everything we would do will be aligned with Christ. Not that long ago our children used to pray and read the Bible in public schools. Our educational system was aligned with Christ and the Bible. We want that again. We want men and women to establish the cornerstone in politics so this culture of death will stop and our babies will live. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? We are Christians. We will do

The foundation is there and we must each be laying stones aligned with it, of being actively involved. You may say, “I’m tired. I’m stressed and I’m stretched too thin.” Everyone has a role to play, however big or small. There are things you can do, people you can influence and lives you can touch. This – click click click – is not acceptable anymore – click click – we stop it  – click. Lord here I am!  Use me! Use me to be part of the foundation. I can lay stones. I am a holy nation, a chosen people and a holy priesthood – click click click – use me God. I’m aligned to you and I want my community to be aligned with you.

Purpose-Driven Deployment

I’ve been touched by watching the life of my mother and father, and servicemen I know who gave unstintingly to preserve the country our Founding Fathers inaugurated.  I have been inspired by my godfather, especially as his namesake. As I mentioned, I called him to give him thanks on Pearl Harbor day. I said,  “Uncle Bob I want to wish you happy Pearl Harbor day. I’m also calling to tell you that you have made a difference and made an enormous impact in my life. I’m Robert McCoy and I’m proud that I am named after you. I want you to know that I am going to do my part. I have long recognized there is a battle raging. I think now maybe it is the time to be deployed to fight.”

A few days after that call, I went to go see him in person because he was one of the folks from which I needed approval. He said he would pray for me. I told him I was considering running for the California State assembly 44th district. Yesterday I told him I’m going to run. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 9,  “Run in such a way as to win.” The outcome is up to Him. Doing what is right is up to me.

I want to tell you what the purpose is. Our politicians are destroying our state. We are governed by ungodly people using ungodly means to enact ungodly laws based in ungodly ideas. Your God-given inalienable rights have been decimated. You know it and I know it.

A California Assemblyman makes $95,000 a year plus $150 per diem plus a car allowance. That’s almost $130,000 a year we pay each legislator. In the Texas assembly, each member makes $7500 a year. They are a part-time legislature. The state of Texas is flourishing. We are collapsing. There is a relationship there. The first thing I want to do is get rid of those ridiculous salaries and make our legislature part-time. Any citizen should be able to serve in that capacity. These government servants should have a regular job or business that supports them. They should have to work under the laws they pass and have real life experience of business and earning a living like the citizens they govern.

I will fight for personhood for children in the womb. They must be declared what they are – a person. I want to end abortion in our state. I know it’s not popular.  But because it’s unpopular doesn’t mean we should abandon the effort. We’re going to do it. Winston Churchill echoed biblical principles when he said, “People who are not prepared to do unpopular things and to defy clamor are not fit to be ministers in time of stress.”  We are the party of character. Morality is simply not doing what’s wrong. Character is doing what’s right. God did not call us to be moral people; He called us to be men and women of character. We stand upon that. If we don’t want to stand upon that, then we shame the tradition from which we’ve come. There will be no more babies dying on our watch. It is unacceptable as men and women of character. I think about 6 million Jews dying in Nazi Germany.  Where were the people of character to stop them? It is unconscionable. We won’t allow this any longer.

I’ll leave you with this. My primary calling is to be a pastor of this church. I don’t need anything else on my plate. But I have been called.  I want to prove to every pastor in this country that they can make a difference, and should be making a difference. They can stand up on both sides of the spectrum – in the church and in the government house. Both are acceptable, actually essential for our society.

I want to focus on the idea being aligned to the cornerstone. Where do we fit? How do we align with the cornerstone, Jesus? How can we get this community aligning with Christ? You know you have a calling. Where does He have you? Let’s be about His business. We are the chosen people, royal priesthood and holy nation. Align yourself with the cornerstone. Let’s ask Him, “Here I am. Lord use me.” Let’s get busy for Christ. Amen.

Dec 8, 2013

© 2013 Robert McCoy and Linda Johnston (republished with permission on Citizensjournal.us)

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Pastor Rob McCoy was born and raised in Coronado California. Being from a family of a conservative Naval officer father and an activist Republican mother, he was exposed to grassroots politics and duty to country from his youth. He walked precincts and saw the real meaning of the adage, “All politics is local.” A highlight was his meeting with then Governor Reagan, whose personal well wishes to Rob are still alive today.

He attended California State Fresno earning a Bachelor of Arts in history. During his high school and college years he was an All-American water polo player and a national finalist in swimming. Later he was an assistant swimming coach for Fresno State University.

After graduating Rob entered the working world in a variety of sales and managerial capacities, with such notable companies as Helene Curtis, Chesbrough Ponds, as an area manager, and as a divisional manager with Unilever, largest consumer product company into world.

Rob was raised enveloped in Biblical principles but for many years did not attribute those values to their source, Christianity. It was not long into his adult years, that Rob recognized the importance of Christianity and found his calling to be a pastor. His seminary education was at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno. He was ordained at Calvary Chapel in 1995 and has been senior pastor at GodSpeak Calvary Chapel for 12 years. Pastor Rob was on the board of the Conejo Pregnancy Center and has served as the chaplain for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Pastor Rob is married to Michelle, “my greatest blessing”, has 5 children and lives in Newbury Park.

 

2 Responses to Cornerstone- by CA 44th District Assembly candidate Rob McCoy

  1. elo boosting placement matches March 12, 2014 at 4:40 am

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    • Citizen Reporter March 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      It sure is, but we wanted the public to see more writings directly from candidates for office. Such things are not easy to come by.

      Reply

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