The Trump Tornado: the Battle of the “Five C’s”

woody zimmermann 120During the past eleven months, Donald Trump has roared through the Republican Party and the country like a political tornado – routing an entire field of Republican presidential candidates, throwing political correctness and conventions out the window, utterly confounding the high priests of the Republican temple, astonishing media pooh-bahs, and driving his political adversaries crazy. His campaign can be summarized by what I call “The Five C’s,” which I shall discuss in the following paragraphs.

1. Crowded field

After a wild primary campaign that outdid anything ever seen in American politics, Mr. Trump has apparently secured the Republican nomination for the presidency. When the race began, in 2015, several familiar hats were thrown into the ring, early on. Senator Ted Cruz was the first to declare, on March 23. Then came Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, on April 7 and 13, followed by Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee, on May 4 & 5. Rick Santorum and George Pataki declared on May 27 and 28; then Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Rick Perry on June 1 and June 4.

Thus, when Mr. Trump announced his candidacy, ten Republican candidates were already in the race. Eight were well known, experienced politicians. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson were not politicians, but were otherwise well known to the public: Mrs. Fiorina for having been CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Dr. Carson for being a famous surgeon with an international reputation.

After Mr. Trump declared, six more Republican candidates jumped in. Governors Christie and Jindal, and former Governor Jeb Bush declared later in June; Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich, plus former Governor Jim Gilmore, in July. Mr. Trump was famous, too – as a billionaire real-estate developer and reality-TV personality. His name had become a household word – mostly for the popular show, “The Apprentice,” in which many episodes concluded with Mr. Trump dramatically “firing” some underling. (Audiences seemed to love the show – I suspect because someone else got fired, not themselves.)

2. Confusion

Pundits and political wise men scoffed at Mr. Trump’s candidacy, suggesting that it was just a publicity stunt intended to boost Mr. Trump’s media ratings and income. In the early betting, no serious political analyst thought it remotely possible that he could actually win the nomination. The consensus seemed to be that Mr. Trump would stay in the race for a few months, until he said something really stupid that blew up his candidacy, or until he tired of an environment where people didn’t ask, “how high?” when he told them to jump. His candidacy was widely regarded as an elaborate – admittedly expensive – joke. It absolutely couldn’t last.

Democrats ignored Mr. Trump until he began to attract large crowds and media attention for his colorful style and take-no-prisoners treatment of various political “sacred cows” – notably illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism. From the very start of his campaign, Mr. Trump came out swinging with statements that might have destroyed most campaigns. Observing that all terrorists were obviously followers of Islam, he vowed to cut off all immigration of Muslims until we could figure out “what the hell is going on” (a purely religious statement, one pundit joked). He also said we would build a wall on our southern border, declaring that Mexico would pay for it.

In response, big media went absolutely nuts, denouncing his hateful speech and sobbing (sometimes on-air) that “this is not who we are” as “a nation of immigrants.” Politicians of both parties deplored over these “insensitive” and “racist” statements, and scolded Mr. Trump for spouting such political blasphemy. Eager young reporters camped out at Mr. Trump’s rallies, hoping to goad him into saying something off the wall that would finally sink his bizarre campaign. But even when he did say something radical, the frustrating result seemed to be increased public support, not a destroyed campaign.

Most media figures and politicians seemed to miss the fact that many Republicans and independents, and growing numbers of Democrats, agreed with what Mr. Trump was saying and liked hearing straight talk from someone who wasn’t trying the “straddle” issues, as many politicians do. People fear Islamist terrorism, as more of it hits their towns and marketplaces. They feel unsafe rubbing shoulders with Middle-eastern people with unknown political leanings, backgrounds and intentions. Unlike the political class and the faculty-lounge set, who feel immune from bomb-wearing terrorists, ordinary people know that the people who cross our borders and join our communities receive very little scrutiny. They see illegals working for peanuts at jobs their teenagers should be filling. They’re “mad as hell,” and they won’t take it any longer. Mr. Trump speaks to and for them. His message resonates across the “normal culture” of America.

3. Clinching.

At the start of primary-voting, Mr. Trump drew relatively low percentages of Republican voters in each state. “Aha! You see, his candidacy has no traction,” said the pundits. “He’ll fade out; he’ll die on the vine…” In Iowa (Feb. 1), Mr. Trump, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz won 7, 7, and 8 delegates, respectively, apparently confirming the “fadeout” prediction. Reporters began to speculate on when Mr. Trump would pull out. But instead he began to pull away, winning 11 of 19 delegates in New Hampshire (Feb. 9) and all 50 delegates in South Carolina (Feb. 20). Voters began to move toward Mr. Trump as the race progressed, and candidates from the crowded field started to drop out. Senator Cruz won in his home state of Texas (March 1), and Gov. Kasich won in Ohio (March 15). But after Senator Rubio failed to win in his home state of Florida (March 15), he suspended his campaign. Senator Cruz finally left the race on May 3, and Gov. Kasich did the same on May 4. Neither man saw a path to the nomination

At this writing, with only a few states yet to vote, the tally shows Mr. Trump with 1,239 pledged delegates, Senator Cruz with 551, Senator Rubio 167, and Gov. Kasich 161. (1237 are needed to win on the convention’s first ballot.) Only some entirely unforeseen event can deny Mr. Trump the nomination. Senator Cruz and Gov. Kasich had hung on long after it became clear that they couldn’t possibly reach 1237 delegates. They hoped that together they might win enough delegates to deny Mr. Trump a first-ballot victory and force a “brokered” convention in which delegates would be released from their original commitments. Each man – but particularly Gov. Kasich – thought he might be the choice of such a convention if party bigwigs thought Mr. Trump unsuitable.

As the primaries played out, however, Mr. Trump’s strength and appeal – even with voters outside the party – was growing. When this became obvious, the buzz inside the GOP for an open convention to choose an “alternative” to Mr. Trump began to wane. Old pros warned that should Mr. Trump reach the convention just a few delegates short of 1237, denying him the nomination might split the party and guarantee a victory for Hillary Clinton. Although a few holdouts still talked darkly about a third-party candidate, wiser heads finally prevailed. The impossible had happened: Mr. Trump had clinched.

4. Consternation (and non-coronation).

Although she will almost certainly be the Democrats’ candidate, Mrs. Clinton has been unable to put away her pesky opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders. At the start of the primaries, Clinton-strategists probably thought Senator Sanders would be a useful foil for Mrs. Clinton’s steel. But the senator, an avowed socialist and unexpectedly vigorous advocate, has turned out to be much more than that. Drawing huge crowds of young people who wouldn’t know socialism from social studies, he has become a genuine danger to the Hillary Express. This is alarming, since she was counting on the youth vote to carry her to victory. What the socialism the senator is selling sounds to his young acolytes like a wonderful new idea that has never been tried. Collegians who have never worked for a buck think it sounds so fair, so right, so just. They evidently don’t know that it’s an old idea that has been repeatedly tried and found wanting. They are dazzled by the Senator’s promises of free everything – paid for by the filthy rich – and his vow to “change the country,” presumably in their favor. (Haven’t we heard all this before?)

Mrs. Clinton had expected to cruise triumphantly to the nomination, and ultimately to the Oval Office, by posing as the responsible grownup in the room – in contrast to the radical, wild-haired senator and the bombastic Republican billionaire whom she pronounced totally “unfit” for the presidency in both temperament and experience. She would be the sensible, mainstream candidate the country needed. But the senator’s large crowds and repeated primary victories have forced her to veer leftward and stake out positions that won’t make her very attractive to the “God, Bible and guns” crowd who constitute a sizeable bloc of the electorate. She is shaping up to be every bit as radical as President Obama, and hardly distinguishable from Bernie (The Commie) Sanders.

Call me a partisan doom-sayer, but I can’t see this strategy working with an electorate fatigued by a stalled economy, low wages, poor employment-prospects, high medical costs (mostly produced by Obamacare), and a negligent foreign policy that has made them feel less safe than when the silver-tongued Obama was elected. The growing scandal of Mrs. Clinton’s cavalier disregard, while Secretary of State, for security-rules designed to protect sensitive national data from outside exposure, plus the looming threat of a possible indictment by the federal DoJ for her use of an unprotected, private e-mail server, have put Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy in what Ronald Reagan called “deep kimschi.” National polls consistently show that two-thirds of the public distrust her.

Six months ago, Dems were popping champagne-corks and celebrating the total wreck of the Republican Party. They believed Mr. Trump had destroyed the GOP, that the pieces could never be put back together in this election year, and that sizeable numbers of Republican voters would actually come over to their side to avoid supporting (the hated) Trump. Sure, Hillary had a few problems, but the election was still in the bag for her.

In politics, though, a few months can be a lifetime. Today, Mrs. Clinton is (finally) in hot water over her careless handling of classified material at State. She might actually be indicted for security violations. She might not, but she has taken a severe hit for it. Voters have depressingly long memories about her past; Mr. Obama has still not endorsed her; and Senator Sanders is doggedly hanging on, hoping for a convention “miracle.”

Worst of all, the tiny Trump-cloud on the horizon – once no bigger than a man’s hand – has grown into a giant thunderhead that threatens to rain all over Democrats’ coronation-parade to the White House. Rampant on the political field, The Donald is unifying his party. He is leading Mrs. Clinton in some national polls. To say that there is consternation – yea, panic – in the Democrat Party would be the understatement of the year.

5. Consolidation.

As the magic moment of clinching the GOP nomination came into view, Mr. Trump began to soften his rhetoric and make fence-mending overtures to suspicious GOP establishment types and nervous conservatives. The two-toned-shoe-and-blazer crowd was worried that this brash outsider would reshape their party and take away their meal tickets. Many had been plotting to find a way to deny Mr. Trump the brass ring, and some formed a “never Trump” coalition. A faction vowed to sit out the election if this “upstart” headed the ticket, and a (thankfully) much smaller gang said they would actually vote for Mrs. Clinton rather than the “totally unsuitable” Mr. Trump. The Donald had his work of unifying the party cut out for him.

Despite what snooty pols and wet-behind-the-ears reporters say about him, Mr. Trump is not a stupid man. (How could he be at his level of success?) From the beginning he understood that the American people longed for real leadership from someone who not only wanted to set the nation on the right track, but actually looked like he might do it. Mr. Trump’s personal style fit the temper of the times perfectly. He saw that a really brash, bombastic approach would be essential for attracting national attention to his message, so he set out to upset the entire political apple-cart. Fortunately, he possessed that style in abundance. (Over-abundance, some would say.) This approach succeeded – probably beyond even Mr. Trump’s expectations, and certainly far beyond the wildest dreams (or nightmares) of political graybeards in both parties.

Mr. Trump is now busy meeting leaders of the various wings of the Republican Party, taking care to answer their questions and hear their concerns. He has a two-pronged task: (1) showing these leaders that he has a coherent policy in mind; and (2) assuring them that while he does intend to overturn the current administration’s feckless and damaging policies – both foreign and domestic – he doesn’t plan to wreck the Grand Old Party. He wants GOP pros’ help to win the presidency and then to govern the country. As he has said repeatedly from the campaign stump, he wants to “make America great again”, and he wants to put the GOP back in the driver’s seat.

If Mr. Trump can pull the GOP together, he can achieve a historic win in November. He’s not a perfect candidate (who is?), but every sane Republican knows that electing Mrs. Clinton would be disastrous for both the party and the country. I believe they will get behind Mr. Trump and pray that he can prevent it. I’ll do the same.

These are interesting times, and they promise to become even more so. Stay tuned.

 

The Trump Tornado: the Battle of the “Five C’s”

woody zimmermann 120During the past eleven months, Donald Trump has roared through the Republican Party and the country like a political tornado – routing an entire field of Republican presidential candidates, throwing political correctness and conventions out the window, utterly confounding the high priests of the Republican temple, astonishing media pooh-bahs, and driving his political adversaries crazy. His campaign can be summarized by what I call “The Five C’s,” which I shall discuss in the following paragraphs.

1. Crowded field

After a wild primary campaign that outdid anything ever seen in American politics, Mr. Trump has apparently secured the Republican nomination for the presidency. When the race began, in 2015, several familiar hats were thrown into the ring, early on. Senator Ted Cruz was the first to declare, on March 23. Then came Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, on April 7 and 13, followed by Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee, on May 4 & 5. Rick Santorum and George Pataki declared on May 27 and 28; then Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Rick Perry on June 1 and June 4.

Thus, when Mr. Trump announced his candidacy, ten Republican candidates were already in the race. Eight were well known, experienced politicians. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson were not politicians, but were otherwise well known to the public: Mrs. Fiorina for having been CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Dr. Carson for being a famous surgeon with an international reputation.

After Mr. Trump declared, six more Republican candidates jumped in. Governors Christie and Jindal, and former Governor Jeb Bush declared later in June; Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich, plus former Governor Jim Gilmore, in July. Mr. Trump was famous, too – as a billionaire real-estate developer and reality-TV personality. His name had become a household word – mostly for the popular show, “The Apprentice,” in which many episodes concluded with Mr. Trump dramatically “firing” some underling. (Audiences seemed to love the show – I suspect because someone else got fired, not themselves.)

2. Confusion

Pundits and political wise men scoffed at Mr. Trump’s candidacy, suggesting that it was just a publicity stunt intended to boost Mr. Trump’s media ratings and income. In the early betting, no serious political analyst thought it remotely possible that he could actually win the nomination. The consensus seemed to be that Mr. Trump would stay in the race for a few months, until he said something really stupid that blew up his candidacy, or until he tired of an environment where people didn’t ask, “how high?” when he told them to jump. His candidacy was widely regarded as an elaborate – admittedly expensive – joke. It absolutely couldn’t last.

Democrats ignored Mr. Trump until he began to attract large crowds and media attention for his colorful style and take-no-prisoners treatment of various political “sacred cows” – notably illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism. From the very start of his campaign, Mr. Trump came out swinging with statements that might have destroyed most campaigns. Observing that all terrorists were obviously followers of Islam, he vowed to cut off all immigration of Muslims until we could figure out “what the hell is going on” (a purely religious statement, one pundit joked). He also said we would build a wall on our southern border, declaring that Mexico would pay for it.

In response, big media went absolutely nuts, denouncing his hateful speech and sobbing (sometimes on-air) that “this is not who we are” as “a nation of immigrants.” Politicians of both parties deplored over these “insensitive” and “racist” statements, and scolded Mr. Trump for spouting such political blasphemy. Eager young reporters camped out at Mr. Trump’s rallies, hoping to goad him into saying something off the wall that would finally sink his bizarre campaign. But even when he did say something radical, the frustrating result seemed to be increased public support, not a destroyed campaign.

Most media figures and politicians seemed to miss the fact that many Republicans and independents, and growing numbers of Democrats, agreed with what Mr. Trump was saying and liked hearing straight talk from someone who wasn’t trying the “straddle” issues, as many politicians do. People fear Islamist terrorism, as more of it hits their towns and marketplaces. They feel unsafe rubbing shoulders with Middle-eastern people with unknown political leanings, backgrounds and intentions. Unlike the political class and the faculty-lounge set, who feel immune from bomb-wearing terrorists, ordinary people know that the people who cross our borders and join our communities receive very little scrutiny. They see illegals working for peanuts at jobs their teenagers should be filling. They’re “mad as hell,” and they won’t take it any longer. Mr. Trump speaks to and for them. His message resonates across the “normal culture” of America.

3. Clinching.

At the start of primary-voting, Mr. Trump drew relatively low percentages of Republican voters in each state. “Aha! You see, his candidacy has no traction,” said the pundits. “He’ll fade out; he’ll die on the vine…” In Iowa (Feb. 1), Mr. Trump, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz won 7, 7, and 8 delegates, respectively, apparently confirming the “fadeout” prediction. Reporters began to speculate on when Mr. Trump would pull out. But instead he began to pull away, winning 11 of 19 delegates in New Hampshire (Feb. 9) and all 50 delegates in South Carolina (Feb. 20). Voters began to move toward Mr. Trump as the race progressed, and candidates from the crowded field started to drop out. Senator Cruz won in his home state of Texas (March 1), and Gov. Kasich won in Ohio (March 15). But after Senator Rubio failed to win in his home state of Florida (March 15), he suspended his campaign. Senator Cruz finally left the race on May 3, and Gov. Kasich did the same on May 4. Neither man saw a path to the nomination

At this writing, with only a few states yet to vote, the tally shows Mr. Trump with 1,239 pledged delegates, Senator Cruz with 551, Senator Rubio 167, and Gov. Kasich 161. (1237 are needed to win on the convention’s first ballot.) Only some entirely unforeseen event can deny Mr. Trump the nomination. Senator Cruz and Gov. Kasich had hung on long after it became clear that they couldn’t possibly reach 1237 delegates. They hoped that together they might win enough delegates to deny Mr. Trump a first-ballot victory and force a “brokered” convention in which delegates would be released from their original commitments. Each man – but particularly Gov. Kasich – thought he might be the choice of such a convention if party bigwigs thought Mr. Trump unsuitable.

As the primaries played out, however, Mr. Trump’s strength and appeal – even with voters outside the party – was growing. When this became obvious, the buzz inside the GOP for an open convention to choose an “alternative” to Mr. Trump began to wane. Old pros warned that should Mr. Trump reach the convention just a few delegates short of 1237, denying him the nomination might split the party and guarantee a victory for Hillary Clinton. Although a few holdouts still talked darkly about a third-party candidate, wiser heads finally prevailed. The impossible had happened: Mr. Trump had clinched.

4. Consternation (and non-coronation).

Although she will almost certainly be the Democrats’ candidate, Mrs. Clinton has been unable to put away her pesky opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders. At the start of the primaries, Clinton-strategists probably thought Senator Sanders would be a useful foil for Mrs. Clinton’s steel. But the senator, an avowed socialist and unexpectedly vigorous advocate, has turned out to be much more than that. Drawing huge crowds of young people who wouldn’t know socialism from social studies, he has become a genuine danger to the Hillary Express. This is alarming, since she was counting on the youth vote to carry her to victory. What the socialism the senator is selling sounds to his young acolytes like a wonderful new idea that has never been tried. Collegians who have never worked for a buck think it sounds so fair, so right, so just. They evidently don’t know that it’s an old idea that has been repeatedly tried and found wanting. They are dazzled by the Senator’s promises of free everything – paid for by the filthy rich – and his vow to “change the country,” presumably in their favor. (Haven’t we heard all this before?)

Mrs. Clinton had expected to cruise triumphantly to the nomination, and ultimately to the Oval Office, by posing as the responsible grownup in the room – in contrast to the radical, wild-haired senator and the bombastic Republican billionaire whom she pronounced totally “unfit” for the presidency in both temperament and experience. She would be the sensible, mainstream candidate the country needed. But the senator’s large crowds and repeated primary victories have forced her to veer leftward and stake out positions that won’t make her very attractive to the “God, Bible and guns” crowd who constitute a sizeable bloc of the electorate. She is shaping up to be every bit as radical as President Obama, and hardly distinguishable from Bernie (The Commie) Sanders.

Call me a partisan doom-sayer, but I can’t see this strategy working with an electorate fatigued by a stalled economy, low wages, poor employment-prospects, high medical costs (mostly produced by Obamacare), and a negligent foreign policy that has made them feel less safe than when the silver-tongued Obama was elected. The growing scandal of Mrs. Clinton’s cavalier disregard, while Secretary of State, for security-rules designed to protect sensitive national data from outside exposure, plus the looming threat of a possible indictment by the federal DoJ for her use of an unprotected, private e-mail server, have put Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy in what Ronald Reagan called “deep kimschi.” National polls consistently show that two-thirds of the public distrust her.

Six months ago, Dems were popping champagne-corks and celebrating the total wreck of the Republican Party. They believed Mr. Trump had destroyed the GOP, that the pieces could never be put back together in this election year, and that sizeable numbers of Republican voters would actually come over to their side to avoid supporting (the hated) Trump. Sure, Hillary had a few problems, but the election was still in the bag for her.

In politics, though, a few months can be a lifetime. Today, Mrs. Clinton is (finally) in hot water over her careless handling of classified material at State. She might actually be indicted for security violations. She might not, but she has taken a severe hit for it. Voters have depressingly long memories about her past; Mr. Obama has still not endorsed her; and Senator Sanders is doggedly hanging on, hoping for a convention “miracle.”

Worst of all, the tiny Trump-cloud on the horizon – once no bigger than a man’s hand – has grown into a giant thunderhead that threatens to rain all over Democrats’ coronation-parade to the White House. Rampant on the political field, The Donald is unifying his party. He is leading Mrs. Clinton in some national polls. To say that there is consternation – yea, panic – in the Democrat Party would be the understatement of the year.

5. Consolidation.

As the magic moment of clinching the GOP nomination came into view, Mr. Trump began to soften his rhetoric and make fence-mending overtures to suspicious GOP establishment types and nervous conservatives. The two-toned-shoe-and-blazer crowd was worried that this brash outsider would reshape their party and take away their meal tickets. Many had been plotting to find a way to deny Mr. Trump the brass ring, and some formed a “never Trump” coalition. A faction vowed to sit out the election if this “upstart” headed the ticket, and a (thankfully) much smaller gang said they would actually vote for Mrs. Clinton rather than the “totally unsuitable” Mr. Trump. The Donald had his work of unifying the party cut out for him.

Despite what snooty pols and wet-behind-the-ears reporters say about him, Mr. Trump is not a stupid man. (How could he be at his level of success?) From the beginning he understood that the American people longed for real leadership from someone who not only wanted to set the nation on the right track, but actually looked like he might do it. Mr. Trump’s personal style fit the temper of the times perfectly. He saw that a really brash, bombastic approach would be essential for attracting national attention to his message, so he set out to upset the entire political apple-cart. Fortunately, he possessed that style in abundance. (Over-abundance, some would say.) This approach succeeded – probably beyond even Mr. Trump’s expectations, and certainly far beyond the wildest dreams (or nightmares) of political graybeards in both parties.

Mr. Trump is now busy meeting leaders of the various wings of the Republican Party, taking care to answer their questions and hear their concerns. He has a two-pronged task: (1) showing these leaders that he has a coherent policy in mind; and (2) assuring them that while he does intend to overturn the current administration’s feckless and damaging policies – both foreign and domestic – he doesn’t plan to wreck the Grand Old Party. He wants GOP pros’ help to win the presidency and then to govern the country. As he has said repeatedly from the campaign stump, he wants to “make America great again”, and he wants to put the GOP back in the driver’s seat.

If Mr. Trump can pull the GOP together, he can achieve a historic win in November. He’s not a perfect candidate (who is?), but every sane Republican knows that electing Mrs. Clinton would be disastrous for both the party and the country. I believe they will get behind Mr. Trump and pray that he can prevent it. I’ll do the same.

These are interesting times, and they promise to become even more so. Stay tuned.

 

Let God Go In Front Of You!

george hancock stefanOur church is reading through the Bible in one year. When you get into that practice, some familiar passages stand out. These are the passages that created the foundation for those people who walked a life of obedience with God and learned from their walk. One of our songs tells us to “take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; and run not before Him, whatever betide.”

King David was victorious in one battle and as he prepared for the second battle, he asked the Lord about the method of attacking. Through the prophet, the Lord gave him tactical advice: “As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean that the Lord has gone in front of you to strike the Philistine army” (2 Sam. 5:24). It is because of this inquiry that the Psalmist was able to write, “Some trust in their horses and some trust in their armies, but we trust in the Lord” (Psalm 20:7).

Even though David had experienced victory, he knew that he needed to follow God’s lead. Godly people before him followed the same pattern. When Moses prepared the people to go and conquer the land of Canaan, he asked the Lord to go before them and said, “We will not go unless you go before us.”

Throughout the Scriptures, God the Father and Jesus teach us that we must follow their leading and depend on their help. In one very startling passage, Jesus tells his disciples (and therefore us), “Without me, you can do nothing.” One can take this passage to mean that is by the grace of God that we live and breathe, but one can also understand it that without the power and protection of God we will do anything of eternal value. The things that are done on this earth for Christ and by His power will last eternally.

It is in that context that we read the instruction of Jesus Christ to the Twelve Apostles to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit. The work of the church cannot have transformative and lasting impact unless the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. In conjunction with this reality, we also find the word favor throughout the Bible. We read about it often in the OT, but we also find that Jesus grew up in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. If we let God lead us, we too will grow in favor.

The author of Hebrews writes that Jesus has freed his people from their fear of death by tasting death for everyone. He tasted death, He defeated death, and we as His followers believe that likewise we shall defeat death because we are following where He led.

A beloved hymn tells us that “anywhere with Jesus, we can safely go.” This means that we can even follow Him to the throne of the God of the universe. One of my favorite verses is found in the book of Hebrews where the author is challenging us to come with boldness before the throne of grace because Jesus Christ has gone before us. 

I pray that in my life I will wait upon the Lord, I will follow the Lord, and I will move in the fullness of the Holy Spirit which God the Father and God the Son sent to guide us.

 

Let God Go In Front Of You!

george hancock stefanOur church is reading through the Bible in one year. When you get into that practice, some familiar passages stand out. These are the passages that created the foundation for those people who walked a life of obedience with God and learned from their walk. One of our songs tells us to “take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; and run not before Him, whatever betide.”

King David was victorious in one battle and as he prepared for the second battle, he asked the Lord about the method of attacking. Through the prophet, the Lord gave him tactical advice: “As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean that the Lord has gone in front of you to strike the Philistine army” (2 Sam. 5:24). It is because of this inquiry that the Psalmist was able to write, “Some trust in their horses and some trust in their armies, but we trust in the Lord” (Psalm 20:7).

Even though David had experienced victory, he knew that he needed to follow God’s lead. Godly people before him followed the same pattern. When Moses prepared the people to go and conquer the land of Canaan, he asked the Lord to go before them and said, “We will not go unless you go before us.”

Throughout the Scriptures, God the Father and Jesus teach us that we must follow their leading and depend on their help. In one very startling passage, Jesus tells his disciples (and therefore us), “Without me, you can do nothing.” One can take this passage to mean that is by the grace of God that we live and breathe, but one can also understand it that without the power and protection of God we will do anything of eternal value. The things that are done on this earth for Christ and by His power will last eternally.

It is in that context that we read the instruction of Jesus Christ to the Twelve Apostles to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit. The work of the church cannot have transformative and lasting impact unless the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. In conjunction with this reality, we also find the word favor throughout the Bible. We read about it often in the OT, but we also find that Jesus grew up in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. If we let God lead us, we too will grow in favor.

The author of Hebrews writes that Jesus has freed his people from their fear of death by tasting death for everyone. He tasted death, He defeated death, and we as His followers believe that likewise we shall defeat death because we are following where He led.

A beloved hymn tells us that “anywhere with Jesus, we can safely go.” This means that we can even follow Him to the throne of the God of the universe. One of my favorite verses is found in the book of Hebrews where the author is challenging us to come with boldness before the throne of grace because Jesus Christ has gone before us. 

I pray that in my life I will wait upon the Lord, I will follow the Lord, and I will move in the fullness of the Holy Spirit which God the Father and God the Son sent to guide us.

 

Polling Location Changes for Upcoming Elections

In Asbury Park, Freehold Township and Ocean Township

FREEHOLD, NJ – County Clerk Christine Hanlon announced that some polling locations have changed in Asbury Park, Freehold Township and Ocean Township for the June 7 primary election and the November 8 general election. Hanlon is urging voters to check their sample ballots for the new locations, or visit her new website, MonmouthCountyVotes.com for information about the changes.

Changes to polling locations are made by the County Board of Elections, in cooperation with the local municipalities. “The County Board of Elections works with local municipalities to decide which polling places are convenient, ADA compliant and can accommodate the anticipated turnout,” said Hanlon. “Voters in Asbury Park, Freehold and Ocean Township should pay special attention when their sample ballot arrives and verify their polling places.”

In Asbury Park, Districts 1 and 9, formerly voting at the Lumley Homes, will now vote at 1143 Asbury Avenue.

For voters in Freehold Township, six polling locations have changed. In Districts 4 and 20, where the Daniels Way Fire House was the place to vote, the iPlay America Event Center entrance (on Schanck Road), will now be used. In District 6, where ballots were cast in the Laura Donovan School, the new location will also be the iPlay America Event Center. Similarly, the voting location for District 8, formerly held at the County Health Department on Route 9, will be held at the iPlay America Event Center.

Also in Freehold Township, District 13’s former polling location at Eisenhower School will move to the Monmouth County Agriculture Building on Kozloski Road. District 15 voters, who formerly cast ballots at the West Freehold School, will now go to the iPlay America Event Center to vote.

In Ocean Township, Districts 16 and 22, where votes were cast at the Township of Ocean Community Gym and Sports Complex, are now changing locations to the Presbyterian Church on the Hill on Cold Spring Road. District 19, whose previous venue was also the Township of Ocean Community Gym and Sports Complex, is now moving to the St. George Orthodox Church on West Park Avenue. In District 21, where voting occurred at the Presbyterian Church on the Hill, the new location will be St. George Greek Orthodox Church on West Park Avenue.

“All pertinent information on voting such as registering, polling locations and election results can be accessed at the Monmouth County Votes website provided by the Monmouth County Clerk’s office, in collaboration with the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections,” explained Hanlon. “Monmouth County Votes is the resource which answers many questions voters have and provides additional contact information if a question cannot be answered.”

Voters can also contact their municipal clerks, or the County Board of Elections office at 732-431-7802.

 

Polling Location Changes for Upcoming Elections

In Asbury Park, Freehold Township and Ocean Township

FREEHOLD, NJ – County Clerk Christine Hanlon announced that some polling locations have changed in Asbury Park, Freehold Township and Ocean Township for the June 7 primary election and the November 8 general election. Hanlon is urging voters to check their sample ballots for the new locations, or visit her new website, MonmouthCountyVotes.com for information about the changes.

Changes to polling locations are made by the County Board of Elections, in cooperation with the local municipalities. “The County Board of Elections works with local municipalities to decide which polling places are convenient, ADA compliant and can accommodate the anticipated turnout,” said Hanlon. “Voters in Asbury Park, Freehold and Ocean Township should pay special attention when their sample ballot arrives and verify their polling places.”

In Asbury Park, Districts 1 and 9, formerly voting at the Lumley Homes, will now vote at 1143 Asbury Avenue.

For voters in Freehold Township, six polling locations have changed. In Districts 4 and 20, where the Daniels Way Fire House was the place to vote, the iPlay America Event Center entrance (on Schanck Road), will now be used. In District 6, where ballots were cast in the Laura Donovan School, the new location will also be the iPlay America Event Center. Similarly, the voting location for District 8, formerly held at the County Health Department on Route 9, will be held at the iPlay America Event Center.

Also in Freehold Township, District 13’s former polling location at Eisenhower School will move to the Monmouth County Agriculture Building on Kozloski Road. District 15 voters, who formerly cast ballots at the West Freehold School, will now go to the iPlay America Event Center to vote.

In Ocean Township, Districts 16 and 22, where votes were cast at the Township of Ocean Community Gym and Sports Complex, are now changing locations to the Presbyterian Church on the Hill on Cold Spring Road. District 19, whose previous venue was also the Township of Ocean Community Gym and Sports Complex, is now moving to the St. George Orthodox Church on West Park Avenue. In District 21, where voting occurred at the Presbyterian Church on the Hill, the new location will be St. George Greek Orthodox Church on West Park Avenue.

“All pertinent information on voting such as registering, polling locations and election results can be accessed at the Monmouth County Votes website provided by the Monmouth County Clerk’s office, in collaboration with the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections,” explained Hanlon. “Monmouth County Votes is the resource which answers many questions voters have and provides additional contact information if a question cannot be answered.”

Voters can also contact their municipal clerks, or the County Board of Elections office at 732-431-7802.

 

National Elementary Honor Society Launched at AHES and HES

nehs highlands 2016PHOTO:  Highlands Inductees to the National Elementary Honor Society

HIGHLANDS, NJ – As part of her vision to elevate the standard of excellence in the tri-district elementary schools, Dr. Susan Compton, Superintendent of Tri-District Schools, launched chapters of the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) at Atlantic Highlands Elementary (AHES) and Highlands Elementary Schools (HES).

Continue reading National Elementary Honor Society Launched at AHES and HES

National Elementary Honor Society Launched at AHES and HES

nehs highlands 2016PHOTO:  Highlands Inductees to the National Elementary Honor Society

HIGHLANDS, NJ – As part of her vision to elevate the standard of excellence in the tri-district elementary schools, Dr. Susan Compton, Superintendent of Tri-District Schools, launched chapters of the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) at Atlantic Highlands Elementary (AHES) and Highlands Elementary Schools (HES).

Continue reading National Elementary Honor Society Launched at AHES and HES

NSA to Host GenCyber Camp at Brookdale

bcc cybersecurity campLINCROFT, NJ  – Brookdale Community College is accepting applications for the new GenCyber Jersey Blues program, a free, two-week cybersecurity training camp opening this July on the college’s Lincroft campus.

The program, funded by grants from the National Security Administration and National Science Foundation, is open to local high school students and provides enrollees with an introduction to the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

Continue reading NSA to Host GenCyber Camp at Brookdale

NSA to Host GenCyber Camp at Brookdale

bcc cybersecurity campLINCROFT, NJ  – Brookdale Community College is accepting applications for the new GenCyber Jersey Blues program, a free, two-week cybersecurity training camp opening this July on the college’s Lincroft campus.

The program, funded by grants from the National Security Administration and National Science Foundation, is open to local high school students and provides enrollees with an introduction to the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

Continue reading NSA to Host GenCyber Camp at Brookdale