...which was pretty cool. It wasn't an official visit. He wasn't the scheduled speaker or anything. He just came to worship the Lord on a Sunday morning with fellow believers. We attend the 9:00 service, which is the only service he was at, and usually sit on the 2nd or 3rd row slightly to the right of center stage. Pastor Joe and staff sit at center stage in the middle of the first row and that's where Gov. Perry sat, about 10 seats away from us. We had a direct line of vision to him and I have to confess that my eyes drifted over to that area more than once during the singing. Did he sing the songs? Yep. Did he get into the beat? Yep. He really seemed to enjoy the worship. And when he got up to briefly address the congregation, I saw a man--not the governor of Texas but just a man named Rick Perry--who loves the Lord. I don't always agree with his politics or his decisions, but I believe Rick Perry is my Brother in Christ.
Former President George Bush is too. Again, we may not always agree with his politics or his decisions, but there is no doubt in my mind that George W. Bush loves Jesus Christ! If you have never read his testimony or heard him speak of his relationship with Christ, then you've missed a huge part of knowing who the man is deep down inside. It was easy to pray for President Bush when he was in office, knowing that he knows and worships the same God I do. I think I will now find it easier to pray for Rick Perry as he leads our state, having seen him worship, heard him speak of the Lord and watched him taking notes on Pastor Joe Champion's inspiring message about having a radical encounter with God. (You can watch his message and probably Gov. Perry's address later this week at www.CelebrationChurchTX.com.)
But I'll be honest: I find it difficult to pray for President Obama, though the need to do just that is great. I am not here to judge the man, nor is it something any of us are called to do, but I will admit that I'm not completely convinced that President Obama has, as Pastor Joe said today, had a radical encounter with God. I just don't see the evidence in the public man that President Obama presents to the world. I hope he is and I hope he'll make it more obvious in the future if he is. Because God, I believe, isn't impressed with titles or offices. He looks at our hearts and his question to each and every one of us--including President's and Governor's--is going to be: "What did you do with my Son?"
So starting today, I'm going to put forth real effort to remember to pray for our leaders. For our President. For our Governor. For our Senators and Legislators. They have a big job on their shoulders and we certainly don't want them to try to do it without God's help.