Sep 10, 2008

Sleeping In America

By Chuck Missler

Ask any baby boomer "Where were you when JFK was shot?" and they will be quick to give you an answer. On Friday, November 22, 1963 the United States of America was caught up by national tragedy. Those who witnessed that event will always remember how they felt the moment they heard the news. Likewise, the question "Where were you on the morning of September 11th, 2001?" will be echoed for generations. On that morning the world stood still and watched in disbelief as the Pentagon burned and the Twin Towers came tumbling down. For three days following the attacks the major television networks suspended all of their scheduled programming – not since the assassination of John F. Kennedy has any single event captivated the nation's attention in such a way.

This week, as we observe the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, most will acknowledge that the world we live in today is very different than it was seven years ago. The 9/11 attacks changed both our perceptions and our reality. In the weeks and months following the attacks many predicted that our nation would experience a broad revival and that Americans would turn back to the World of God for guidance and comfort. Indeed, some have looked to Christ for answers, but those who hoped for national revival and repentance have been disappointed.

The blood shed on September 11, 2001 became the catalyst in the war on terrorism. That tragic event briefly united Americans in a common cause, however that unity has splintered. Growing differences in values and philosophy have driven a wedge down the middle of American society. We are a divided nation. We are divided by ideologies, worldviews, and politics. We are perhaps no stronger, no better equipped or prepared, today to take on the challenges facing our nation than we were seven years ago.

Sleeper Cells

Today the question looms: will terrorists strike us again on American soil? Some say the likelihood of another attack is almost certain, it is only a matter of time. One of the biggest concerns in the intelligence community are reports of Western-born operatives who have received training in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ted Gistaro, of the National Directorate for Intelligence, has warned that "Al-Qaida is identifying, training and positioning operatives for attacks in the West, likely including in the United States. These operatives include North American and European citizens and legal residents with passports that allow them to travel to the United States without a US visa." Some of these operatives are young Caucasian men that are unlikely to attract the attention.

Last week authorities arrested three German citizens in a bomb plot targeting American military personnel stationed in Europe. Police say the three men, two of which are ethnic Germans, were trained by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. This latest incident is just one example of what intelligence officials say is a growing trend. Al-Qaeda is actively recruiting disaffected Americans and Europeans to join with them in Jihad. The US government believes that Al-Qaeda has trained dozens of Westerners that may even now be part of terrorist cells planning attacks in Europe and North America.

A Wake Up Call

It seems most Americans have closed their eyes to the challenges facing our nation. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once aptly stated that: "September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again."

It has been observed that nations and empires have "life cycles." This has been studied by many historians throughout the years and most have come to the same conclusion: a lifetime of about two centuries. And they all seem to go through the same life cycle: "from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependence back again into bondage (Alexander Tyler, 1750)."

Where are we in this cycle? We, too, have gone from bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage which established our precious liberty, which, in turn, has given us unprecedented abundance that has made us the envy of the world. That abundance, however, has led to complacency and apathy. Ask almost anyone, "What is the biggest problem in America? Is it ignorance or is it apathy?" They are likely to answer, "I don't know and I don't care!"

This apathy will ultimately lead to dependency and then return us to the very bondage that this nation was founded to deliver us from. Robert Bork was right when he said that, "the only hope for America is a grass roots revival." Is America ripe for judgment? Billy Graham quipped many years ago, "If God doesn't judge America He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!" Likewise, Thomas Jefferson summed it up when he said: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever."

This year, on the anniversary of September 11, pray for our nation, pray for our leaders, pray for revival, pray for our enemies, and pray for guidance and correction in your own life.

Related Links:

Fears Grow of Terrorist With 'An American Face' - MSNBC
The Decline of the US - Strategic Trends
Sleeping in America by Avi Lipkin - DVD
Sleeping in America by Avi Lipkin - MP3 Download
Sleeping in America by Avi Lipkin - Audio CD