President Obama's former bodyguard stated last week something many are starting to realize: It's worse than people know. This man has been privy to the most in-depth conversations in the Oval Office and shudders at what he has heard. To this statement, he added, "I'm not trying to scare you either."
Billy Graham just turned 95 and in his final sermon revealed something sobering and sad. "I've wept for America," he said. Recognizing that America is imploding, Graham tried to offer hope by pointing people back to the cross through repentance and faith.
Christians can no longer settle for status-quo religion with neatly packaged, sanitized, inspirational programs and services while living in denial that Western civilization is crumbling. Yet many followers of Jesus Christ repeatedly make statements like, "I just turn off the news and refuse to listen to anything negative. I restrict my spiritual diet to those that bring me happy and inspirational messages that make me feel good."
While I am a firm believer in being an encourager and lifting people to see things through eyes of faith, we defraud people if we don't proclaim the whole counsel of God and prepare them for the difficult times ahead at the end of the age. After all, that's what Jesus did!
Christian researcher George Otis Jr. has traveled to more than 100 countries in the past 20 years documenting more than 800 communities that saw radical transformation by a genuine visitation of the presence of God. His videos displaying the supernatural change that comes when God invades a city are both remarkable and motivational.
His meticulous research identifies three essentials that must be in place before a city can experience supernatural transformation by the power of God:
1. An understanding of the gravity of the situation. People need a real sense of urgency before they will alter their priorities and relationships to seek God in a desperate way.
2. A recognition that time is running out. Individuals must know that time is of the essence and that they must move out of their comfort zone to align with God.
3. An opportunity presented by the living God. In other words, God extends a lifeline so the people can see a turnaround.
Can we honestly say we are seeing these things here in our nation? Are we being brutally honest about our true condition? Are we admitting that God's only answer to a crumbling culture is a spiritual awakening—something Billy Graham says he prays for fervently every day?
From my interaction with individuals nationwide, I know God is starting to stir hearts to recognize we are at a crossroads and that it's time to return to Him in humble desperation. Like the Old Testament prophet prayed, "Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy" (Hab. 3:2, NIV).
Let's grasp the gravity of the situation so we can move toward true revival, transformation and awakening in America. It happened from 1720 to 1760 and then again from 1800 to 1840. Let's start by surveying the scene to see how serious things have really gotten.
10 Major Areas of Cultural Decline in Our Day
1. Divorce. The statistics of divorce have increased from 4 percent to 51 percent since my childhood, with 46,523 happening each week.
2. Cohabitation. An incredible 65 percent of altar-bound singles live together before getting married—a euphemism for a lifestyle of brazen fornication.
3. Abortion. In 40 years, we have killed 55 million unborn babies—almost 10 times the amount of those slaughtered in Hitler's Holocaust.
4. Out-of-wedlock births. For the first time in U.S. history, there are more than 50 percent of out-of-wedlock births, resulting in fatherless households and an orphaned generation.
5. Homosexuality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyles are endorsed and celebrated, even by our president, along with same-sex marriage, school indoctrination and new laws promoting this unnatural lifestyle—even though the gay population is only 1.7 percent of the population, according to a UCLA study.
6. Pornography. Graphic sexual activity and nudity are now just a click away on computers and smartphones, which destroys children's innocence while promoting deviance and immorality.
7. STDs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are now more than 110 million cases of venereal diseases in our population.
8. Drugs and crime. Both are escalating at alarming rates while propaganda to legalize marijuana gains momentum—the latest polls reveal support for legalization has gone from 12 percent in 1969 to 58 percent today.
9. Economic insanity. America's debt and deficits are leading to an inevitable fiscal reckoning—a real economic collapse. The national debt is more than $17 trillion, with $71 trillion in unfunded liabilities. The debt has increased 55 percent under the current administration.
10. Erosion of religious liberties. Secular humanism, progressive socialism and radical Islam have ripped us from the moorings of our Judeo-Christian heritage as we witness the loss of freedoms in our society.
While it is not a pleasant exercise to go through such a list, it is necessary to awaken us. Until we realize how far we have fallen in just one generation, we will not make necessary adjustments to turn ourselves in humility to God.
Here's the deal: A generation ago, the late A.W. Tozer gave this warning: "Historians will conclude that we of the 20th century had the genius to create a great civilization, but we lacked the moral wisdom to preserve it." May we prove him inaccurate, agreeing together that "it's worse than people know," then turning to God in the humility that can bring about the transformation of America for which God and so many of us long.
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.