Friday, July 03, 2015

Simple, Straight Facts on Abortion

by GoTandem Books
by GoTandem Books)
Let's assume you're convinced that aborton is (a) illogical or (b) scripturally wrong. What in the world can you do about it? How can you lead your friends in the right direction, and exactly what do you say? Use these facts about abortion from 10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School as your guide for making a case about this hot-button issue.

A fetus is not just another part of a woman's body.
A body part is defined by the common genetic code it shares with the rest of its body. The unborn's genetic code differs from the mother's, even to the extent that some unborn babies are male, while their moms are female.

An unborn human is not just a blob of tissue.
From the moment of conception, the unborn is what it is. . .a separate, living human being. At six weeks, you can see a beating heart. At twelve weeks, eyes and hands can be observed.

A fetus is not just a blueprint or a potential human.
A fetus is a person at a particular stage of development—much like a toddler or an adolescent. The fact is, something nonhuman does not become human by getting older and bigger.

Life does not begin at birth.
Science has shown us that human life begins at conception. All genetic characteristics of a distinct individual are present from the moment of conception. Our recognition of birthdays is cultural, not scientific.

Denying abortion does not step all over a woman's rights and freedoms.
The onetime choice of abortion robs someone else of a lifetime of choices and creates pain for the mother, not to mention others involved. Furthermore, responsible societies must deny choices that would harm others.

If abortion is made illegal, thousands of women won't die from rusty hangers.
Prior to the legalization of abortion, 90 percent of abortions were done not in back alleys but by physicians in their offices. In fact, women in America still die from legal abortions.

The early stage of human life is as meaningful as any other stage.
But if we listened to abortionists, who base human value on size and intelligence, then we'd also have to dehumanize other members of society: dwarfs, basketball centers, the obese, the mentally disabled. And when we dehumanize the beginning of life, we dehumanize the end of it as well.

Since human life is valuable, every human is wanted.
A pregnancy may be unwanted, but there is no such thing as an unwanted child. The list of couples wanting to adopt runs into the millions. And if we destroy all human beings we believe are "unwanted," then any segment of society is at risk: AIDS victims, the elderly, derelicts, etc.

. . .For more advice for teens on how to react when you're in a tight spot,
CLICK HERE for a free preview of 10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School
on our Resources page.

10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School will Enable Readers to:

Survive and Thrive During Their Teen years
Better Handle Peer Pressure
Share Faith with Confidence
Find Real Friends and Avoid Lethal People
Navigate "Landmines" Like Impurity, Drugs, and Drinking


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Helpful Ways to Help

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. (‭2 Kings‬ ‭4‬:‭1-3‬ NIV)

Elisha shows Jesus-like wisdom here as he helps this family in need.

Their needs needs seem obvious but he doesn't presume to know what to do or how to respond. He is seeking direction from the Lord by asking the wife questions.

Most specifically, it's interesting to me that he asks her what she already has that may help, as opposed to just giving her something that he has or can get.

In addition to that, he asks her to ask for help from her neighbors. His direction is specific and intentionally in calling her own community to become part of the solution. This would have been natural for them to do in that day (and for most cultures except the more individualized western cultures like the US) but not necessarily easy under these shameful circumstances.

My takeaway is, when helping people in need, to ask questions. These questions seem like good ones to have handy whenever someone asks for your help:

How can I help you?
What do you already have that may help?
How might your neighbors or local family help?

What is God saying to you?

What are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What are you holding onto?

This video illustrates how we can get trapped by the things we hold onto. God wants us to let go and trust him with everything--our whole lives. Like this baboon, however, we hold onto people, places and things that keep us from fully relying on God. The result is we lose our freedom and are enslaved to whatever it is we're holding onto.

What are you holding onto?

What is God saying to you right now?

What are you going to do about it?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Who is the Enemy in Church Shooting?

A few thoughts on the shooting this week in Charleston at the Emmanuel AME Church prayer meeting. 

True Enemy

The true enemy is behind this. (Ephesians 6:10-13The shooter isn't the real enemy here. The powers behind his evil deed are.

The shooter could have done this on a Sunday morning when there was a much bigger crowd. He could have killed more people and made a bigger headline. Why did he seemingly go small and murder the few in a prayer meeting of about 13?

I believe he was sent to go after those battling the true enemy on their knees. Our enemy knows where the battle is fought and won.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Serving with Integrity

Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭4-5‬ NIV)

This is a picture of a leader taking appropriate action so that his officials and he can serve with integrity.

The picture is of a silversmith crafting a valuable serving piece (like a silver wine goblet).

Dross is made up of other minerals and corrosion that pollutes the silver making it look dull and ugly. They pollute the silver making it hard to recognize and unusable as a serving piece.

Dross is removed through fire. The silver is heated to a high temperature, liquifying it. The lighter dross floats to the top and is easily skimmed off (while liquid) or scraped/sanded/polished off (while solid). The result is beautiful, pure silver that is fit for a king. This is silver of integrity because the impurities are removed.

Speaking of kings and rulers, the point of this visual is that Solomon wants to impress on his son that wicked officials in the king's court are like dross on silver. They mar and undermine the integrity of the king and his staff greatly reducing their ability to serve well.

Removing--not rehabilitating or reforming--is the solution. It's the equivalent of purifying silver through fire.

Compassionate hearts want to give people second chances. This is good! However, discipline is the heat that is needed when wickedness is present. The wicked do not respect authority as seen in their lack of fear of the LORD. This can be costly to leadership. Solomon indicates that wisdom requires the removal of the wicked plain and simple. There's no place for compassion towards one who's heart is far from God even when they are in the presence of God's king or leader.

To serve with integrity is to diligently remove the wicked from your presence giving them no influence on your people.

What is God saying to you?

What are you going to do about it?

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Gospel and Poverty: Live Simply and Generously

To live counter culturally is to live and proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion and courage. This is challenged greatly when we consider the impoverished people of our world.

We were all challenged, sobered and, hopefully, moved with compassion by the numbers we heard Sunday (at Grace Christian Fellowship):

7.3 billion people on the planet

2.6 billion live on < $2/day
1 billion live on < $1/day

In contrast...

The average American lives on >$90/day

1,700 children die/day from water borne illness (lack of clean drinking water)
20,000 children die/day from lack of food

These numbers should awaken us to the reality that lies beyond our borders. We aren’t faced with this normally so it’s easy to not see it as real. It is. 

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul challenges “The rich”  (that would be most Americans) to “godliness and contentment” because these are “great gain.” Paul further challenged his hearers to share, give and give sacrificially. 

Our Savior lived this way no matter what standard you use. And he gave his life this way too. If we say we follow Jesus, should we do no less?

The sobering reality is that we’ll have the poor with us until Jesus comes back and makes everything right. In the meantime, God calls us to live simply and generously. This leads to great contentment.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Response SC: Praying for our Nation

The Response SC (theresponsesc.com) begins this morning. I will go and serve wherever they need me. I'm looking forward to it.

This event feels different than the other large-scale prayer events I've seen promoted in the past. For one, it's not being led with an ecumenical emphasis which tends to water down the Gospel. Also, while this was initiated (it appears) by the Governor, there will be no speeches. No one stands before the people more than 45 seconds either. No introductions or logos or egos. Just prayer. I love it!

We'll see how it plays out. But I love the idea that our Governor cares enough about what God thinks to actually call for the Church in SC to have a day of solemn assembly--to pray for our state and nation. We need God!

May God hear our prayers and meet with us.

In God we trust.