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Friday, August 31, 2012

#Republican National Convention concluded in Tampa, Florida

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that we're in the midst of campaign
season.
Last night the Republican National Convention concluded in Tampa, Florida.
Next
Tuesday the Democrats will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina for their
convention. Other lesser-known parties will conduct their campaigns in
various
ways, though their chances for electing a President are considerably
smaller.

I find that "campaign" is a word from the French. Literally it means "open
country". It envisions groups of people - armies, for example - that leave
their homes and take to the open country on a mission. The word "camp", not
surprisingly, is derived from "campaign".

For many, it requires a special goal to lure them from the comforts of their
home to the open country. Political campaigns apparently meet those
criteria.
Thousands of people take time to travel to the convention site at
significant
personal expense, crowding into noisy venues to cheer on their favorite
candidate. If you watch any of the political conventions, you know that
enthusiasm runs high.

Similar campaigns are about to begin, though quite different in nature.
College
and professional football teams are gearing up for the beginning of this
year's
"campaigns". The goal is to win a championship. Along the course of the
season, millions will be swept out into the open country (football stadiums)
to
cheer on their favorite teams and players.

The greatest campaign of all time was launched nearly two thousand years
ago.
Though Jesus spent only about three years in His earthly ministry, His
impact
was huge. As He prepared to depart the planet, He gave this charge to those
who
would carry on His mission: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature" (Mark 16:15). I can't think of a more expansive open
country
than the entire world, can you? This is The Campaign of all times!

An outside observer would think The Campaign got off to a rocky start. Yes,
the
opening day was dramatic; three thousand who heard Peter's first
proclamation of
the gospel responded by being baptized into Christ (Acts 2:41). But just
two
chapters later the disciples of Jesus got their first taste of opposition.
By
chapter 7 of Acts we meet the first Christian to die for his faith, Stephen.
The first verses of chapter 8 speak of an official backlash to Christianity.
This would surely put a damper on The Campaign; probably even squelch it,
right?

Acts 8:4 makes a most surprising declaration: "Therefore those who were
scattered went everywhere preaching the word". Instead of smothering the
excitement of following Christ, persecution actually fanned the flames! As
Tertullian wrote in 197 AD, "the blood of martyrs is the seed of the
church".
The Campaign just would not be shut down.

How does The Campaign fare in 2012 AD? That's a question that can only be
answered by each individual follower of Jesus. Do I dare to compare my
faith
with that of the apostle Paul? "For this reason I also suffer these things;
nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am
persuaded
that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day" (2
Timothy
1:12). We serve the same Lord that Paul served. Do we carry on The
Campaign
with his fervor?

Timothy D. Hall

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