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Huckabee pauses book tour to preach

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (BP)–In the midst of a turbulent economy which may “tank” and in a world where safety is an issue, there remains Good News, Mike Huckabee said Dec. 7 at Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville, Fla.

It’s not hope found in change, but rather it’s the hope found in something — or Someone — that won’t change. The hope is found in Christ, he said.

The former governor of Arkansas who made an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Huckabee spoke to about 900 in the worship center on his 51st stop of a 57-city tour promoting his new book, “Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America.”

A dark horse candidate who earned victories in eight primaries and caucuses, Huckabee withdrew from the campaign trail in March.

In Gainesville, Huckabee, himself a one-time Baptist pastor, shared the spotlight with Westside’s senior pastor Gary Crawford in an introduction that had both men in the pulpit for a short question and answer session.

“What’s in your pocket?” Crawford asked, smiling.

Huckabee reached into his pocket and pulled out a photo of Elisha Lancaster. The photo was given to him by the girl’s mother who adopted the child as a frozen embryo and carried her to birth after implantation, he said. The embryo had been frozen for four years, and children resulting from embryo adoptions are referred to as “snowflake babies.”

Elisha is now five, and her mother challenged him to carry the photo, Huckabee said, to show to people who argue over whether an embryo is a human life. They should look at the woman’s daughter and “tell her she’s not real,” Huckabee said the woman told him.

“I was so touched and so moved by the power of that testimony that I placed this photo in my wallet and said I would carry it,” Huckabee recalled.

Asking a question he said he’s wondered about since Rick Warren’s forum with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at Saddleback Church, Crawford didn’t blink an eye when he asked: “What authority should the Bible hold in the life of a president who professes Christ as Savior?”

Huckabee said simply: “The same authority that it would hold in a life of any believer. It ought to be the guide; it ought to be the light by which we see the path.”

Offering more of an explanation, Huckabee said indeed, it would be improper to use any official position to “impose” one’s faith on somebody or to use one’s authority incorrectly. The Holy Spirit is the one at work in a person’s life to transform, he said.

“One thing that I said throughout the process in campaigning is that I worry about people more who claim to have a faith that has no bearing at all on their life than I do people who don’t even claim to have a faith,” Huckabee said.

Preaching from Philippians 2, Huckabee said many people spend their entire lives wishing they could be like someone else. Keeping things lighthearted with quips throughout his sermon, Huckabee said God in His sovereign wisdom likely sent Jesus at a time when there were no pictures.

“If we had photos of Jesus some people would think if they took on his hair style or his clothing style, that’s what it would be to be like him and we would try to emulate his external qualities or his external appearance when frankly that’s irrelevant,” Huckabee said. “Just as it is that your external qualities or appearance is irrelevant, too.”

Fashioning oneself after Jesus’ eternal character is what is important, Huckabee said, and this means learning more about Jesus who “is love, compassion, encouragement and tenderness” according to Philippians 2:1-2.

In a world where the economy is in turmoil and people are discouraged and afraid they are going to lose their jobs, there is a lot of anxiety, Huckabee admitted. “There is encouragement in Christ,” Huckabee said. “I don’t know what the economy is going to do…. It may totally tank. The economy may totally fold. But here’s what I know, that my future, my hope, my faith, my everything is not based on the stock market or the economy — my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Following steady and growing applause, Huckabee said whether or not people live to be “rich or poor” should not affect their most important relationship, the one with Christ.

“We need to quit worrying so much about the things that can change and instead have our hope … on the things that can’t,” Huckabee said. “To be like Jesus means that we are like Him in the substance and we don’t let ourselves get completely worried about the things that we cannot control. We put our focus on the One who controls all things ultimately.”

In three more points, Huckabee further explored Philippians 2, speaking of Christ’s “selflessness,” “servanthood,” and “sacrifice.”

“Sometimes we try to live our lives trying to cling and hold on to the things that really don’t matter that much when we need to remember that Jesus sacrificed everything so that we would have eternal life,” Huckabee said. “He did not go to the cross so that somehow we would have a nest egg…. [I]f the whole nest falls out of the tree and every egg breaks, the Good News is, Jesus still is hanging on to every last one of us.”

Even in troubled times, Huckabee said, there is hope.

“Jesus will never leave you and He’ll never forsake you and the best news in the whole world, particularly in a turbulent economy and in a dangerous, insecure world, is that there is never a moment in your life where He doesn’t know you, He can’t find you, and can’t deliver you,” Huckabee said. “That’s not a political statement, but that’s the statement better than all the politics of all the Democrats and all the Republicans and all the Independents in the world — and I hope it’s a reality in your life and in your heart.”
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, on the Web at www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com.

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