Saturday, October 27, 2018

7 ways we can end abortion in churches and society.

More and more, I feel led to be a better voice in advocating for the life of unborn children.  While we debate the place of guns, war, or capital punishment, another life is snuffed out, dismembered, and vacuumed down a tube in the name of women's health and reproductive rights.  We can't overturn Roe v. Wade until we change the culture.  But we must change the culture and I need people with better EQ than me to help me.  Here is how we can start.

1. Talk about sex regularly in church.  Do you know that 1 in 4 women in your church pews have had an abortion as regular church-going Christians?  This needs to stop.  We need to reduce this number.  If churches were more open about sex and its results and the positives of marital sex, maybe our culture would not be so confused.

2. Promote adoption, share positive stories, and even champion open adoptions where the birth mother can watch her child grow up and have a relationship with the adoptive parents of her child.  We need to erase the stigma that was attached to adoption before 1973.  Before then, if a child got pregnant, they would take her far away for her to have the baby and then take the child away and send it to be adopted before she could even decide what to do.  This should not be. It doesn't happen any more, and people need to continue to make this possible.

3.  Recommend abstinence over contraceptions.  Just because people in your church are going to have sex no matter what does not mean you need to say, "Kids will be kids" and give them birth control.  They need to learn self control and their rights to not be used by their friends to satisfy sexual curiosity.  Contraception actually increases teen pregnancy and is promoted by the abortionists so that they can get teens pregnant and to come into their clinics.  Let’s tell the kids both young and old that they don’t have to follow their strong desires and to deny themselves of things they don’t need, and they will be happier and less heart-broken.

4. Support Pregnancy Resource Centers.  PRCs debunk the argument that pro-lifers don’t care about children after they are born.  They provide clothes and diapers and food for the kids, classes for the mothers and even GED classes and job-hunting skills.  No we can’t end war or crime.  We can barely keep our lights on sometimes.  But churches need to promote these centers the way they promote other charities and without shame. 

5.  Let’s get political.  Don’t vote democrat.  You don’t have to vote Republican, but don’t vote for the party that takes my tax money and gives it to Planned Parenthood, wants to remove all restrictions on abortions we’ve made thus far, and also believe in socialism.  It’s not the government’s job to solve everything.  It’s the church’s.  If the church isn’t doing it, it should, but the government cannot solve the problems.  But don’t vote for the Democrats.

6.  If there are parents in the church who have a girl in their house who is pregnant, tell them to not go for abortion as the first thing in their minds.  Shame the dads who want to kick their girl out of the house if she continues in her pregnancy.  They parents did not get the girl pregnant.  The girl made her own decision.  They should be proud for loving their girl anyway and promoting life.  They should not be in an environment where they feel like they have to hide the situation.

7.  The intersection.  If you care about the intersection, you should care about ending abortion and voting pro-life.  The intersection is the meeting of any class of people who have been considered oppressed.  Secular society considers black people, women, and even gay people to be oppressed.  If there is a black woman who happens to be a lesbian, then society considers her to have the greatest voice in matters. Abortion attacks both black people and women the most.  I will talk about that in later blogs. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

SS lesson: Unknown God

Today we went around, said our names and somebody we like best in the world and why.

God is like that but much more.  For example, one of my favorite people is a woman named Debbie.  She would call me and have lunch with me and do things for me.  She gave me my green hoodie and her late husband let me be a children’s minister at his church for three years, and she even did the major job of helping me plan my wedding.  She knows about all my problems and loves me anyway.  Jesus is even better than that.  Debbie can’t always be there for me.  She has two kids and two grandkids, one of which should be born the next month.  She has a job and is always traveling.  Since I moved to Locust Grove I haven’t seen her in over year though I have talked to her.  

Jesus can always be there for me even though I’ve never seen him.  He will never die or change or not love me as much as before.

We don’t know how wonderful he is and won’t until we will finally see him.

Next we started a KWL chart.  It has three columns: Things you Know, things you Want to know, and things you Learned.  The subject is God.

I had two very insightful young ladies in my class today and one brilliant teen helper, and among the four of us, we Know that God is our Savior, that he died on the cross, that he made us, and that he knows everything.  We Want to know how he is God and what he looks like.  We held off on the "Learned" column for later (and I remembered it at the end.)

Next we talked about Paul.  He was on a mission trip to Athens, Greece.  He wanted to teach them about God and Jesus who he sent.  The people in Athens believed that God was real, but they also believed that all of the other gods of false religions were real as well.  When Paul arrived in Athens he called the people out and taught them that there is only one God. 

My teen helper mentioned that the Greeks believed there was a god for every town.  I think that is insightful for what Paul says next.  Next, I showed the kids a graphic of the altar to the "Unknown God."  The Greeks had an altar just in case they missed some God.  And Paul said, "I'm going to show you this God."

Starting in Acts 17:24 -

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

So from reading this, what are things that we can know about God

-Made the world and everything in it (creator)
-Lord (he rules) heaven and earth (ruler)
-Is not confined to temples or altars (this would go with my helper mentioning the local gods for each town.  The true God is God of all of them)
-He doesn’t need people to serve him
-He gives all people life and breath and everything (He sustains us)
-He made from one man and woman (Adam and Eve) every person on earth. 
-He decided how long everyone would live and where they would live.  (Judge)
-He decided that they would seek God and find him. 
-He is near everyone. (Father)

Next, I had the girls make a mobile out of hangers, string, and paper about who God is.  While they were working, I moved on to a lesson from John 4. 

Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Samaria, a land they didn’t like.  His disciples went to get food and Jesus rested at a well.  He spoke to a woman who was there by herself in a time when good Jewish people didn’t talk to Samaritans, and good men did not talk to women.  While they talked, Jesus made known that he knew about her five husbands and now a man who is not her husband is in her life.  She was impressed and decided to ask about where it was alright to worship. 

John 4:19-24
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Jesus saw a woman who didn’t know God and showed her God, himself.  People who don’t know our God imagine that he is this distant entity beyond the mountains who doesn’t really care what’s going on.  But he does, so he sent Jesus.  Jesus is the Messiah who would solve the problem of our separation from God.  Why are we separated?  Because of sin.  What did Jesus do?  He died on the cross to take that sin for himself.  Then he came back to life, giving us his righteousness.  Since he was God, he was the only good human being to ever live.  And you can only come to God by knowing and loving Jesus.  

Finally, we filled in the Learned column.  We learned that God is our Keeper, our Father, and that he decided where and when I would live.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Reckless Love and My Reformed Presbyterian Beliefs - how I reconcile them

The song, "Reckless Love", causes many passions in the Christian world these days.  There's people that love the passionate lyrics of God's relentless love and people who don't like that it describes God as reckless and relies too much on emotions.  I echo all sentiments but I mostly like the song as a Reformed Presbyterian Christian.

Why?  Mostly because it captures in lyrical form God's irresistible grace, the concept of Reformed soteriology that if God has called you to salvation, then he will send his Holy Spirit to change your heart until you come to believe in Jesus and surrender your life to him.

It also debunks the false notion that God will not tamper with your free will.  I tell you, I'm glad that he very much does that, and here's the lyric from "Reckless Love" that backs it up:

"There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me"

and you also have the verses that say, "Before I spoke a word, you were singing over me."  "Before I took a breath, you breathed your life in me."

My beliefs aren't really popular.  One, people love their free wills and protest, "So we don't have a choice in our salvation?"  I say that people have wills and will follow them, but our wills aren't free.  Without God's intervention, we can choose God, but we won't because we love ourselves and our ways so much more.  Our hearts need to be changed by none other than the Holy Spirit.  It's like and illustration I've used before of me going to a graveyard and inviting people there to a party.  They have the choice to go, but they can't make that choice - they're dead.  They must be made alive.

The other objection is the idea that not all people will be saved.  What about 2 Peter 3:9 which says, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance"?

I honestly believe Peter is directing that sentence to all people that God has called to salvation, the elect.  He will not will any of them to perish, and they won't perish.  But if God means that he wills all people everywhere to be saved, then everyone will be saved.  But not everyone will be saved, so he must just mean that God doesn't will his elect to perish.  This idea is backed by Jesus's prayer in John 17:9, "I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me."  

God wants us to share the Gospel of Jesus to all people, but only those he has called will respond and believe, and those are the people he will chase down recklessly until they turn to him.  And he will wait until the last one of them repents before he finally sends Jesus back and ends this current age.  

And if you are one of the believers, you have a lot to be thankful for.  You should not be proud or complacent.  You must be humble knowing that God's grace is not obligated, and you must not be complacent because you must still work your salvation with fear and trembling.  You must spread the Gospel to all people and you must work for justice and you must watch yourself so that you don't sin, but you go knowing you won't be alone and that you will see the fruit of your labors because God plans the means as well as the ends.  The idea of a universe where something is outside of God's control is not possible because God must be absolutely sovereign, even when we don't understand it or are comfortable with it.  But he's also good and loves his creation more than we ever could.  These things we will never quite understand because we are not him.  And for that I am glad.