- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 25, 2003

Excerpts from a recent sermon given by the Rev. Tim Floyd at Providence Baptist Church in McLean.

I would like to do today something very controversial and I hope very helpful to you. I would like to tell you how to vote in the next election. … What would it take, I wonder sometimes, to make our nation run more efficiently? What would it take for us to really take some big steps forward? …

We need to address the deficit problem in D.C. But I don’t mean the spending deficit, and I don’t mean the trade deficit. I think the way to get progress back into our nation’s capital is if we address the leadership deficit. I don’t think we have enough leaders in D.C. … We’ve got a lot of politicians, and we have a lot of power players. We have a lot of people that are there for what they can get out of it themselves, but it seems that we have a painfully small number of leaders who can really put party second and say: “What’s best for the country? And could we all work together to really take our country a big step forward this year?”

I am concerned because, as you know, we live in an age when our world is undergoing tidal waves of change. Change is happening so quickly all around us. Our world is becoming smaller, and that means weapons are becoming cheaper, and that means conflicts can erupt more quickly. … We need leaders who can look down the pike and see the trends that are coming our way and look deep into those trends and say: “What are the opportunities our nation could seize upon to be a stronger nation?” We need more leaders in our nation and in Richmond in these important days. You can’t convince politicians to be leaders. You have to elect leaders. We have to elect people who are committed to putting our nation first and their party second and to take our nation forward.

When I look at the Bible, I find there are some qualities that mark a leader, and when I go to the polls to send a leader to D.C. or to Richmond I always find that there are some things from God’s word that I can use to help make some good choices. … All these qualities can be based on the life of David in the Old Testament [I Samuel 17:19-31]. … Leaders see opportunities while politicians see obstacles. As Christians, we know that we live in a sinful world. Every nation — big or small — has problems. Vision is the ability to look at a challenge squarely in the eye and spot a possibility, a benefit we can gain by addressing it.

In Verse 23: Young David arrives on the battlefield to deliver food for his three brothers. Almost everybody can see Israel has a big problem. King Saul can see the problem; the soldiers can see the problem. The problem is over 9 feet tall. He is wearing 125 pounds worth of armor. Everybody sees the problem. His name is Goliath. For the last 40 days, he has been taunting the Israelites, calling them cowards and demanding that a champion come out to face him. Every day he is putting down God and the Israelites. King Saul and his generals are all cowering in their tents as this giant warrior insults Israel, the God of Israel, day after day. Yet the Israelites just stand there and say to themselves, “We’ve got a problem and now what are we going to do?”

David arrives and urges the Israelites to seize the opportunity to stand up to this giant and stand up for God. He says that he can rise up to meet this opportunity. He says that there is a chance to stop the abuse of Israel and to stand for God, making the name of God bigger than ever. Politicians see obstacles; leaders see opportunities.

In the 1980s, New York City was world-famous for urban decay. It had 2,000 murders a year. In 1994, Rudy Giuliani came into office with some new ideas. Mr. Giuliani began to crack down on graffiti artists and people who harassed motorists demanding money on the highway. He began to arrest these petty offenders and crack down on these conditions. In six years, murders were cut by two-thirds in New York City. And conservatives and liberals agree that his ideas were crucial in taking New York City forward. Felonies dropped in six years by 75 percent. All the other politicians said, “Crime is just a problem and this is just the way New York City is, you have to live with it.” But Mr. Giuliani said there is an opportunity here. September 11 made Rudy a national hero. He was a leader long before that.

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