The green hills of Brooksville make it one of the prettier landscapes of central Florida, and as we prepared to enter the tidy little house of worship when I saw the vast ferns that were growing on the side of the grand, old live oak reflecting the sun's morning glow, I had to again silently praise God for the lovely flora He’s created at every turn and how He sustains life so beautifully.
The Brooksville congregation, less than an hour north of Tampa, is an active church family who takes a sincere interest in one another’s lives, as seen in their weekly printed prayer list, daily Bible readings together, small group meetings, and men’s studies, as well as their support of preachers from Columbus, Texas; Hollywood, Florida; Branson, Missouri and as far as Nicaragua. One widow Mark spoke with keeps having her invitation accepted by men in their 90s to study the scriptures and come to worship, and several of them have come to Christ at this late stage in their lives. Mark felt this sister to be the complete opposite of the “black widow,” though he doesn’t know what he’d call the opposite of a black widow. All he knows is that she reminds him of that stranger on the road at night who suddenly appears on a dark and rainy highway, waving her hands, and urging you to stop and turn around because the bridge just around the next corner is out.
Needless to say, what I appreciated most about this group was how their interest did not stop in their investment in one another, but extended to their personal involvement in their community. In casual conversations, one sister’s volunteer work with a local service organization would be mentioned in passing, then another couple’s performing charitable work in another nonprofit, and yet another member was serving the community by holding an influential, elected office.
Like the churches throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, this church family walks in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and thus enjoys the edification and peace that come from doing so (Acts 9:31). We found them a hospitable group who made us feel like family every time we visited, for example when I had a good heart-to-heart with a sister sitting near me, as we exchanged encouragement with one another over the cross we had in common that we are both doing our best to bear honorably. We were also delightfully surprised to reunite and worship with a sister, Alice Oritz, whom we hadn’t seen since we were first married so many decades ago. What a blessing to see her also holding strong to the Lord after all these decades!
Mark preached several times for this lovely congregation, and in the course of doing so, we were able to attend a couple of their Bible classes, enabling us to hear some of what was on their minds. During the first class, the teacher asked the following sobering question about the betrayal of Jesus in the garden before His arrest found in Matthew 26:14-16 and Luke 22:39-46: "What did Judah have to sell?" What a convicting reality that sin is, at its root, a betrayal. A selling out. Those who have lived long enough have likely been betrayed at one time or another and thus know what it feels like to have someone you have loved and trusted, essentially sell what you had together to gain something they loved more. There are few things more painful. But like all pain, there’s some utility in it, and in this case, knowing how that feels to be betrayed gives clarity when we ourselves are deciding whether or not to give in to sin, as we pause to think, “How could I, when I know, in essence, that I, like Judas, would be essentially asking ‘What will give me to betray Him?’”
If you are selling, the world is buying, and seems to be offering quite the price lately in exchange for our souls. This was, in essence, the focus of the second Bible class I attended with the Brooksville congregation a few weeks after the first class as we discussed what God says around the elements that compose the Woke Movement.
The scriptures, of course, speak favorably about the genuine state of true spiritual wakefulness: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:10-14)
In this verse, we learn that the truly woke do no one wrong and actively trade self-destructive deeds of darkness in for the character-beautifying the armor of light. (See Ephesians 6:10-18 for more empowering details about the armor of God!)
“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6.
The woke souls in this verse, are serious about the true light that they bear, including the word of God that is said to be a light to our path in Psalm 119:105, for its ability to impart wisdom and give purpose and direction to our lives step by step, day in and day out.
What could be more relevant labor in this world than to shine truth’s light in a place where to the wicked up is down and left is right, where it unceasingly calls “evil good, and good evil” and substitutes darkness for light and light for darkness (Isaiah 5:20). Our mission is to be children of light in a world where the wicked are justified and told “You are righteous” (Proverbs 24:24) while the righteous are condemned (Proverbs 17:15). It’s no wonder then, that the present culture refers to those who are the most asleep to truth and goodness, to be the most “woke”. Instead of worshipping God, and looking to Him to define right from wrong, the Woke Movement systematically “cancels” absolute His truths and moral standards. “Go woke or go broke”, they threaten, and Christians unwilling to “sell out” like Judas, are finding not only their job opportunities, educational choices, or media choices to be farther and fewer between, they can’t even take their preschoolers to the library for the immorality often being pushed there.
The Woke Movement will invariably market themselves as simply doing the good work of being conscientious activists who are on a mission against racial prejudice and discrimination, something, by the way, faithful Christians have been working toward since 33AD (Ephesians 2). In Christianity, we understand from Genesis 1:26-27 that we are, every one of us, all equally a part of one human race, made in the image of God each with a soul more valuable than all the world, and that it is sin alone that is always the problem.
So while the Woke Movement claims to be setting the world right, what it actually does is discriminate against Christians by pushing humanity to engage in a hard and fast sprint toward Sodom and Gomorrah by encouraging everyone, but especially our youth, toward engaging in any and every version of sexual promiscuity they can think of, no matter what how many abortions, sex change surgeries and transition drugs it takes, and through infiltration, pressuring every human and every institution to comply with these objectives, signaling their compliance by displaying a rainbow --- an ironic choice, given the rainbow’s connection with the wrath of God spilled out by reason of wickedness (Genesis 6-9). The Woke Movement’s rainbows are also an ironic choice given God’s promise to destroy the ungodly world one day with fire (2 Peter 3:7) --- a promise that is just as sure as His promise to never again destroy the world with water (Genesis 9:12-17).
Virtue signaling your wokeness may be the fast track to promoting your popularity in the entertainment industry, college, or school, but in some places, it’s still tending to backfire. For example, in seeking his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor, Texas Democrat candidate, Matthew Dowd tweeted not too long ago that Jesus today ‘would be accused of being woke’.
In an examination of this claim, I found Ken Hamm’s reply on his Answers in Genesis website page called “Is Jesus Woke?” to be accurate. There he says,
Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44). This flies in the face of “cancel culture.”
Forgive as Christ has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). “Anti-racism” and “wokeness” don’t even have a category for forgiving others! It’s an endless cycle of victims being victims and oppressors, real or imagined, doing penance for their, or their culture’s, “sin.”
Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). The “woke” crowd tends to love this one, but they never define “love” according to God’s Word! When we do, we see that God defines love as self-sacrifice for the good of another (e.g., 1 Corinthians 13).
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man comes to the Father except by him (John 14:6). In other words—there isn’t “my truth” and “your truth”; there’s only Truth.
Sexual immorality is a serious offense against God, whether that’s lust, adultery, homosexual behavior, etc. (Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:28, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Hebrews 13:4).
Marriage is for one man (male) and one woman (female) (Matthew 19:4–5).
Lay down your life for others (Luke 9:24, 1 John 3:16). Abortion says the opposite—you will die for me.
And so much more!”
The community service projects of this family of God in Brooksville will put them in contact with sleeping souls in this community who may through encountering these bearers of love and light, discover what it truly means to be woke. What’s it like? It’s like being born again (John 3:3), it’s like “walking in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-6), and being a child of light gives one all kinds of new reasons to “love life and see good days” (1 Peter 3:10).
Brooksville Church of Christ
604 W. Fort Dade Avenue
P.O. Box 751
Brooksville, Florida 34605