I almost started off this article with the statement - "Now I don't want to sound preachy." But, then I realized, that is what I do, I preach. So if you don't want to read a preachy article, you can go back to the Food Section. As Christians, we should be looking at everything through the lens of scripture. Whether it's the economy, marriage, culture, music or what have you, our thought should be - What does scripture have to say about this matter? Usually, when we approach a subject, we come at it with our own subjective view and then form an opinion. But, when that opinion does not line up with the Bible, then the Christian needs to admit that they are wrong.


So the question is asked: What do you see as the most pressing issues facing the world, the United States and our community? Here comes the preachy part: When I look at all the issues facing mankind, I always look to the root of the problem. A bad root system produces bad fruit. When an apple tree is dying, you don't treat the apples, you treat the root system. And today, when it comes to dealing with problems, we have been treating the wrong end of the tree. We have thrown money and programs at our crumbing economy, failing educational system, overloaded prisons and on and on.


The root of all mankind's problems is that we have turned our collective back on God. We have adopted a very strong independent spirit. Here in the United States we have successfully kicked God out of the classroom and the world is trying to remove God from almost every aspect of society. And in some churches, God has been replaced with 40 minutes of jokes, stories, movie clips, screaming guitars and fog machines. And man looks to the Heaven's and yells, "No thank you! We can handle it ourselves!"


When we are wronged, we want to get even. When we make a mistake, we blame others. When we are critiqued, we lash out. When we don't like our church, we simply walk away. When we hate our spouse, we commit adultery. When we are judged, we use the famous line, "You can't judge me!" Mankind has not learned this one simple fact, that Jeremiah 17:9 says that man's heart is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..." Our hearts, our opinions and our independence have led us into more problems than we can count. We need to stop following our own emotions and self centeredness, and we need to look to God's wisdom for guidance. And as for the phrase, "Just follow your heart" - I hate to rain on the parade, but Proverbs 28:26 says that the one who trust his own heart, "is a fool."


The Green Bay Packers football team had been losing for almost a decade, and morale and motivation was at an all time low. The new head coach, Vince Lombardy was brought in to turn the team around. After weeks of working with the team he was totally frustrated. During one practice he stopped and blew his whistle "Everybody stop and gather around," he said. Lombardy knelt down, picked up a football, and said, "Let's start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I'm the coach. You are the players." He went on to explain the very basics of football, and from that talk the Packers became champions.


So today I blow a whistle and I say - America, stop and gather around. Let's start at the beginning. This is a Bible, this is prayer....


Rene De La Cruz is pastor of Living Springs Community Church in Hesperia.