New Hope Notes

Life Essentials

Rick Green
July 5, 2009 - W0927

Congratulations to Raeceen Wolford who was recently crowned Miss Hawaii U.S.A.!  Raeceen is not the first or second, but actually the third Miss Hawaii from our New Hope congregation.  Raeceen is making her debut appearance as Miss Hawaii here at New Hope.  Not only is Raeceen intelligent and beautiful but she has such a heart for God.  She felt it was important to celebrate this achievement here with our church as she felt God’s hand was involved in the pageant process from beginning to end.  As an example, Raeceen’s good friend Ryan was helping her prepare for the question part of the competition.  He told her, “I have a strong feeling that your question will be about Octomom, or Jon and Kate Plus 8.”  Sure enough, her question was exactly that; she was prepared and was able to respond confidently in a way pleasing to God.  Raeceen will be flying off to the Miss America pageant in January 2010 and her participation will be a ministry to the people she encounters every step the way. In fact, God has already started His work through her:  Raeceen’s grandfather attended service for the first time ever Saturday night when he came to see Raeceen perform here at New Hope.


Today’s guest speaker is Rick Green from an organization called WallBuilders.  WallBuilders is dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.  The name WallBuilders comes from a story in the book of Nehemiah.  In the Old Testament, walls around a city represented protection for its inhabitants. At one point, the nation of Israel rallied together in a grassroots movement to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to restore stability, safety, and a promising future to that great city.  The historical concept of "rebuilding the walls" (and therefore the name Wallbuilders) was chosen to represent the call for citizen involvement in rebuilding our nation's foundations, thus restoring stability, safety, and a promising future for our country.


During this time when our nation’s foundation is being seriously attacked and undermined, WallBuilders' goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.


The United States of America is perhaps the greatest nation in the world but in these troubled times, in order to ensure that we remain a great nation, we need to go back to the foundation and values that we were built upon that enabled us to be so successful in the first place. On this Fourth of July weekend, I want to spend time talking about the values country was built upon and what that means for us today.


Most people think the Declaration of Independence – the document that established this country – was signed on July 4, 1776 but that was not true.  John Hancock signed the document that day but most of the other signatures were not collected until the Continental Congress reassembled the next month on August 2, 1776.  Keep in mind that when the forefathers of this nation gathered in Pennsylvania to sign the Declaration of Independence, it was an act of treason, the punishment for which was to be hanged, drawn and quartered.


Imagine being in the room that day as each of the 56 members of the Congress was called up one-by-one to sign their name at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence.


Excerpt from Under God by authors Toby Mac and Michael Tait with WallBuilders:


“A pensive and awful silence filled the room, as one delegate after another signed what many at that time believed to be their own death warrants. The only sound was the calling of the names and the scratch of the pen.


Then the silence and heaviness of the morning were interrupted by the tall, sturdily built Colonel Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, who told the slender Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, ‘I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. With me, it will all be over in a minute, but you, you'll be dancing on air an hour after I'm gone’”

In the end, no signer was hung for treason, though many suffered greatly for their stand. For these men, who mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, this was more than a declaration. It was more than a document. It was a covenant, the most solemn, the most sacred of human agreements. They understood that God himself was a witness of their actions that day.”


The reason I share this story is because I believe it clearly demonstrates these men were well aware of the consequences they faced by signing the Declaration yet they signed it anyway fully expecting God to keep His side of the covenant as they obeyed His Word and followed His Spirit.


The Declaration of Independence is the framework that holds the picture of our lives. The basic principles that make up that framework are found in these words:


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”



Principle 1:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”


This first principle has to do with knowing right from wrong.  This phrase suggests that there is an absolute, moral right and wrong that we all know and understand, as suggested by the words, “self-evident.”  The first principle suggests that we need to have religion and morality in the foundation of our nation.



Principle 2:  “...consent of the governed.”


This second principle suggests that we not only have the privilege, but the responsibility to take part in the governing of our nation.  We need to be involved in the process!  President and Pastor James Garfield (1877) put it this way, “The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature."

In our system of democracy, we are ultimately responsible for what happens in our government so let’s do our duty by getting involved, which would include getting out to vote.



Principle 3:  “…endowed by their Creator


Is God in our frame?  Absolutely, God is in our frame!  Some claim that most of our Founding Fathers were non-religious and that religion has no place in government but that is not true.  95% of the 250 Founding Fathers were outspoken Christians who had much to say:


John Adams:  “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”


George Washington:  In many of the paintings and statues of George Washington, he is depicted kneeling in prayer.  And in diary accounts of some of Washington’s personal friends, they comment about walking in on him and disrupting his prayer.


Reverand John Witherspoon:  Rev. John Witherspoon was an active clergyman when he signed the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, he achieved a greater reputation as a religious leader and educator than as a politician.


Charles Thomson:  In addition to being the only other person than John Hancock to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Thomson was the translator of the Thomsom Bible, the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint.


In fact, 29 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence had Seminary degrees so it is surprising that people would say that our Founding Fathers were non-religious.


One mistake that our Founding Fathers made during the time when establishing this country was to leave the final decision on slavery up to the individual states to decide.  This mistake resulted in several decades of otherwise avoidable conflict and fighting that could have been saved people’s lives if they had just abolished slavery once and for all.  Let’s hope that we avoid that same sort of mistake in our time on issues such as abortion. 



Principle 4:  “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness


The last princple has to do with the pursuit of happiness; the pursuit of happiness is fundamental to our freedom.


The words and principles of the Declaration of Independence are the framework of our lives and freedom:  truths, consent, creator, and the pursuit of happiness.  So what do we do about it?  What is our call to action?


Live Out Your Freedom


So we are called to live out our freedom, but what does that mean?  The first and most obvious things is to…





Remember, the Declaration states, “…from the consent of the governed.”  That’s us.  We are the governed and we make our consent known by voting for those who we think will best represent us.  Now some people say they don’t vote because their vote doesn’t really count or because they don’t really agree with any of the candidates who are running.  Two things on this:


  1. Your vote absolutely counts.  I ran for a political position where the outcome of the race was determined by 20 votes!  You can get about that many votes by just rallying your family out to the polls.  And if that’s not convincing enough, remember that the 2000 Presidential election was won by a spread of just 537 votes.  Your vote counts!


  1. Don’t ever not vote because you can’t find a perfect candidate.  Jesus is not running in the election so there are no perfect candidates but you still need to vote.  Vote based on the candidate’s consistency with the Bible and who you best agree with.  Look for leaders who are able to carry out the job, fear God, and hate covetousness.


In addition to voting, we also live out our freedom when we…





We need to remember that freedom is not free, and that it’s worth fighting for and worth the taking:


The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  (Psalm 24:1)


This scripture reminds us that all of this belongs to Him, and if it’s not where we think it should be, it’s because we have not taken it there.


On this Fourth of July weekend, in these troubled times, we should look back at our history to help us understand what we need to do for our future.   The actions and intentions of our Forefathers secured our freedom and have allowed us to be successful these 233 years.  The core principles of truth, consent, our Creator, and the pursuit of happiness have carried us this far.  Let us be willing to fight to keep those principles alive and working in our families, communities, schools, government, and country – In God We STILL Trust, here in America!





1.      What can you do to “rebuild walls” in your family and your community?


2.      What would you say to someone who says Christianity has no place in our government?


3.      How are you living out your freedom?


4.      What actions can you take or contributions can you make to support the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans?


5.      How will you be different because of what you’ve heard today?