Thursday, January 28, 2010
A group of us will be heading out from Grace Baptist Church in Tahlequah, OK at 7am on Wednesday, February 3. All are welcome to attend.
The schedule for Rose Day is:
Rose Distribution - 10:30am
Pro-Life Rally - 11:45am
Each year, hundreds gather at the Capitol at the beginning of the new legislative session to promote and support the lives of unborn babies by meeting with their state senators and representatives and presenting them red roses, which represent the sanctity of the unborn. Attendees are encouraged to present roses to Governor, Lieutenant Governor and their state senator and representative. Roses will not be provided.
"Invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to join you," said Heidi Wilburn, Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee advisor for the BGCO. "Your voice is important and influential regarding these issues. When Christians do not speak up, legislators believe we are content with the outcome of their decisions. We are overwhelmingly blessed to live in a nation where our voice matters; take part in the political process!"
I hope to see some of you there!
His for life,
This brings us to the book of Proverbs. Here we find abook of wisdom for those who want to find “the good life;” a life worth living.
Well first of all let’s look at the layout of the book. The first nine chapters serve as a kind of preface to the book seeking to convince one to read the book. Then chapters 10-31 contain the collection of wise sayings that we call “proverbs.”
In short, Proverbs is a book of wisdom – containing much of what the Bible teaches about how to live our everyday lives.
How to Read Proverbs
To be quite honest, Proverbs can be confusing. The book is filled with short, pithy statements – small, bite-sized bits of truth that can easily be misunderstood and misused. These statements can be confusing and even dangerous. With this in mind here are some basic principles to help one study this wonderful book.
1) Common sense is required.
For example, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a secular proverb stating that a general rule for health is to eat good food. But what if you don’t eat an apple a day and don’t see bad effects? Does that mean the proverb is false? No, it is generally true and speaks of a bigger principle. Same is true about opening the Bible – you need to keep your common sense.
2) Individual proverbs are always ultimately true.
Proverbs will not always appear to be immediately true (think of above example). For instance, Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Think about what we know about the life of Jesus. He had many enemies who were not at peace with Him, but ultimately God will cause all of His enemies to be a peace with Him when He makes ever knee bow before Him and confess that He is Lord.
3) Individual proverbs are normally true now.
Take the above examples – these teach truths that are normally true even now in this life. In thinking of Proverbs 16:7, listed above, if one seeks to honor God by being kind, generous, loving, forgiving, patient, humble, gentle, etc… then often one will find himself at peace with those around him.
4) Individual proverbs employ poetic imagery.
Proverbs 16:17 says, “The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.” Does this mean that the righteous people have built a highway to travel on so that they don’t have to use the same road as the unrighteous? Of course not. It refers to how the righteous live their lives.
5) Individual proverbs are partial in themselves.
Individual proverbs are only partial. They don’t exhaust all that is involved in a subject. For example Proverbs 17:8, “A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.” So are bribes a good thing? This proverb is merely stating what is often true but not what will honor God by being what is right. Add to this Proverbs 17:23, “The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice.” It is dangerous to merely grab one proverb and think it is telling you all that you need to know on any given subject.
6) Individual proverbs are sometimes obscure.
…because you don’t have an understanding of the cultural background to understand everything that was written three thousand years ago. For example, Proverbs 16:30, “Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.” So is winking bad? Not necessarily. In the author’s day, winking was associated with evil plans. That’s what he was getting at.
7) As a whole, the proverbs are religious.
The book of Proverbs is not simply a book of secular wisdom, like “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” It is a book about our lives before God. It tells us that “the good life” can be found only in wisdom about God and about ourselves.
Why Read the Book of Proverbs?
To answer this question, simply read chapter one of Proverbs. Here we learn that the book was written to help us; to show us how to live so as to avoid great dangers and to find great blessing. The last two verses of chapter one serve as a great summary:
“For the simple are killed by their turning away,In short the book of Proverbs teaches that to ignore this wisdom is to invite great dangers into your life and to seek this wisdom is to invite great blessings into your life. Proverbs is urging us to choose the way of life now!
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Proverbs 1:32-33)
But Proverbs is not the final word on the subject of wisdom. The way of life, true wisdom, is ultimately found in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and for this we need to look at the New Testament.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,Christ is the perfect wisdom of God. In Him we find wisdom, forgiveness, true friendship, true love. The call for us is to repent of choosing our own way and to trust in the perfect life and substitute death of Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)
The call for everyone of us today is ths: repent of your foolishness and hard-heartedness and for all of the times you have chosen the path of death. And Turn instead to the way of life. Choose what the world calls foolish – the sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross to pay for the sins of all those who would ever repent and believe in Him. He is the way of life; both eternal and now.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
John Mark Reynolds has spoken well concerning the remarks made by Pat Robertson about Haiti being under God's curse. Here is an excerpt:
Robertson has been inhuman in two ways.May our Lord help us to speak the truth. And may we speak the truth in love.
First, even if he were right, he has picked a horrid time to pontificate. When my friends is suffering from cancer, even if it is his fault, it is the wrong time to remind him that I told him he should have stopped smoking. It is ugly and useless.
Heal the sick, bury the dead, feed the hungry and then deal with root spiritual causes. Safe to say every nation, and Haiti is surely one, has made philosophical and practical decisions that help cause tragedy. We can talk about that when the people of Haiti have been helped by the Church.
Second, even if his theology were sound, he has stated it in such a way and at such a time that it will be misunderstood and will be mocked. He has pronounced a “truth” that (he must concede) would be hard for our culture to hear in a way and at a time that brings that “truth” into derision.
If Robertson were right in his theology and philosophy, his timing has fed his pearls to swine on a silver platter.
Recently Robertson faced major health problems and rightly asked for our prayers. It would have been wrong to be facile and associate his problems with sin. Robertson should grant the people of Haiti the same treatment that he demanded in the case of his illness.
Compassion, prayer, help, and charity.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I thought I'd share another great resource. This is from Randy Alcorn.
Direct Personal Involvement
1. Open your home to a pregnant girl. Help her financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
2. Open your home to an unwanted child for foster care or adoption.
3. Volunteer time with organizations helping pregnant women, newborns, drug babies, orphans, the handicapped, elderly, street people, and others in need. Personal care is the most basic prolife activity.
4. Establish a pregnancy counseling and abortion alternative service that offers free pregnancy tests, counseling, and support. You can often get the very first listing in the Yellow Pages as Abortion Alternatives, which precedes Abortion Services. (For help getting started, see "Abortion Alternatives and Support For Women" in Appendix D or K, Prolife Resources, PLA.)
5. Donate materials, office equipment, furniture, baby clothes, professional services, and money to Pregnancy Resource Centers, Birthright, Bethany Christian Services, and other prolife groups.
6. Teach your children and other young people how to say no to premarital sex. Teenage sexual abstinence is not only psychologically healthy, it is the only sure way to prevent teen pregnancies. (Josh McDowell's Why Wait? and How to Teach Your Child to Say No to Sexual Pressures, and James Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence are helpful resources. See also the "Prochastity Curricula" listed in Appendix D or Appendix K, PLA).
Educating Yourself and Others
7. Become thoroughly informed about the abortion issue. Read ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or the condensed version, Why ProLife? There are many other fine prolife books and videos as well as excellent—and usually free—prolife newsletters. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.) There are a large number of quality prolife websites. The one I highly recommend is Abort73.com .This website is one of a kind, cutting edge, informative and appealing in its presentation. Know the facts so you can rehearse in advance the best responses to the prochoice arguments. Be prepared so no opportunities are missed.
8. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the abortion issue. Challenge them to rethink their assumptions, and to be careful not to buy into an illogical or morally untenable position. Give them a copy of this book, with some pages marked for their attention. (Refer women who have had abortions to Appendix A, PLA, "Finding Forgiveness after an Abortion".) Use this book to read and discuss in a class or small group.
9. Volunteer your services as a prolife speaker for schools and church groups. Use the arguments laid out in this book as your presentation outline. Approach a church or Christian school and offer to teach a course in Prolife Logic and Action.
10. Call in and speak up on talk shows, and ask for equal time on television and radio stations that present the prochoice position. They often welcome a variety of positions. To say nothing is to endorse what is often an unchallenged prochoice bandwagon.
11. Students: Write papers, make speeches, and start a campus prolife group. See "Organizing a Student Prolife Organization" under Books on Prolife Strategies in Appendix D or K, PLA.
12. Display attractive prolife posters and information at your office or shop. You may lose a little business, and gain a little. But the truth will be served, and some innocent human lives will be saved.
Literature, Visuals, and Advertising
13. Order and distribute prolife literature. Have it displayed or available at your place of business. Leave it on your coffee table. Distribute literature door to door to influence opinion. An attractive piece left on each porch on a Saturday morning will be read by many. In some areas every home distribution has radically changed community sentiments about abortion. (See Appendix D or K, PLA, for a list of the best literature.)
14. Donate prolife books and magazine subscriptions to public and school libraries. They are usually well-stocked with prochoice literature—point out that you just want to provide a little balance and make sure the other position isn't censored.
15. Use a pre-made prolife slide presentation, assemble your own, or buy a video tape, and offer to show it in schools, churches, to your neighbors and government representatives. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
16. Wear prolife symbols, precious feet pins, buttons, and shirts (Abort73.com sells some attractive prolife apparel). These often stimulate conversations. Use prolife bumper stickers or lawn signs. Place prolife stickers on letters. More than a dozen people see the average piece of mail. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
17. Place newspaper ads, bench ads, and billboard posters. Attractive pre-made ads and beautiful full-size billboard posters are available. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
18. Write letters to the editor. Be courteous, concise, accurate, and memorable. Quote brief references cited in ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. Some local newspapers have a policy of printing every letter to the editor. The opportunity for influence is enormous. Letters to the editor in a major national magazine may be read by a million people.
19. Compile a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of politicians, newspapers, television stations, hospitals, and others in your area that people can contact to express their prolife views. Distribute them widely.
20. Select the most strategic measures and issues and host a prolife letter-writing party. People can help each other compose informed and succinct letters to the right people and places. Since legislators and others assume there are a hundred others who feel the same way for every one that writes, there is considerable impact from each letter.
21. Write letters of encouragement to the sometimes tired and discouraged prolife activists.
22. Refuse any indirect or business support of abortion clinics, and explain your refusal. Boycott proabortion companies, landlords of abortion clinics, and businesses that share space with abortion clinics and abortion-promoters such as Planned Parenthood. Explain your reasons nicely, and they will often take you seriously.
23. Contact physicians and hospitals that perform abortions and insurance companies that cover them and express your convictions. Be polite but firm, stating that you, your family, and your business cannot in good conscience patronize those who contribute to the killing of innocent children. Does your own physician perform abortions? Ask him; you may be surprised to discover he does. If so, tell him you must reluctantly change doctors. Is your doctor prolife? Encourage him to take a public stand and participate in local prolife events. Share this book with him and ask his opinion of it.
24. Talk to journalists about your concern that they accurately represent the prolife side in their reporting. Many have never heard an accurate presentation of the prolife position. Until we present it to them, how can we expect them to be fair? Highlight sections of this book for their interest. Many will read what you provide, and some may use the material in future articles.
25. Talk to teachers, especially junior high, high school, and college teachers. Express your desire that they understand and be able to represent the prolife position rather than ignore or distort it. Whatever a teacher believes is multiplied a hundred times over in his students and those they in turn influence. Give them a copy of ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or Why ProLife? or other prolife books or videos. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
26. Write to representatives and others in government at local, state, and national levels. Be respectful, legible, straightforward, brief, and nondefensive. Enclose attractive prolife literature. The more personal your letter the better. Pre-printed postcards are not as effective.
27. Personally phone or set up a meeting with your representatives to share your views on abortion. Groups of three are most effective. If possible include a prolife doctor or other professional. Be careful how you come across; show them prolifers are intelligent and rational.
28. Draft, circulate, and sign petitions for prolife ballot measures, school board members, and so on.
29. Run for political office, school board, or precinct chairman. Or stand by other prolife candidates with your time and money. The only possibility for there to be long-term restrictions on abortion is if our state legislatures have a prolife majority. Churches and prolife groups should identify and support character-qualified, knowledgeable, and skilled candidates.
30. Help a bright young prolifer through law school. Challenge him or her to set a goal of becoming a judge. The legal and judicial arenas, as well as the medical and political, desperately need intelligent and skilled prolifers.
31. Picket abortion clinics, hospitals, and physicians who perform abortions. Write a brochure or fact sheet documenting their performance of abortions. When abortions are only part of their practice they are much more inclined to eliminate them to preserve their reputation in the community. But until they are exposed they usually won't stop.
32. Make prolife signs for yourself and others. Make them large and attractive, with concise messages such as: Abortion Kills Babies. Adoption, not Abortion. Every Child Is Wanted by Someone. Give Your Baby a Chance to Choose. Please Let Your Baby Live. Equal Rights for Unborn Women. She's a Baby, not a Blob. We Care; Talk to Us. We'll Help Financially If You'll Let Your Baby Live.
33. Organize or participate in a Life Chain, where hundreds or thousands of prolifers stand on public sidewalks and display signs supporting the unborn and opposing abortion. This is an extremely effective means of mobilizing prolifers and making a clear statement for the children. Many who begin with Life Chain will solidify a prolife commitment and get involved in future prolife activities. (See Life Chain under "Prolife Event and Action Organizations", in Appendix D or K, PLA.)
34. Join prolife rallies and marches to galvanize prolife efforts. Have walk-a-thons and other projects to earn money for prolife groups. Get your children involved. They'll love it, and it's a great education as well as a family activity.
35. Attend prochoice rallies as a counter-demonstrator. Be peaceful. The quiet presence of your group and your signs will make others think and lead to conversations with passersby.
36. Participate in peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience at the doorways of abortion clinics. Or do the legal sidewalk counseling, singing, or praying in conjunction with other prolife activities.
Abortion Clinic Strategies
37. Research and write a brochure on your local abortion clinic, citing specific lawsuits and health code violations, which are a matter of public record. Write a leaflet or brochure asking something like, "What Do You Know about the Third Street Abortion Clinic"? Make it neat and attractive, perhaps with a photo of the clinic on the front. Give this brochure to women coming to the clinic, neighbors, nearby businesses, and passersby. Include information from this book on physical and psychological risks of abortion. Or use pre-made brochures specially designed for women entering abortion clinics. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
38. Collect information and initiate lawsuits against abortion clinics. Place newspaper or billboard ads asking, "Problems after an abortion?" Give a local or national phone number to call for medical, legal, or emotional help. (1-800-634-2224, the American Rights Coalition, is already set up for this purpose.) Many abortion clinics have been shut down by successful lawsuits.
39. Hand out questionnaires and legal information to women entering and leaving clinics. Did you have a doctor-patient relationship? Did the doctor ask you for a complete medical history? Did he explain to you the possible complications of abortion? Did he show you a picture or explain to you the state of development of your unborn child? This will encourage them to reconsider their decision, to seek other counsel, or—if the abortion is over—not to come back for another abortion, and possibly to initiate legal action against the clinic. Include the number of an alternative pregnancy center where they can get complete and accurate information the clinic won't give them.
40. Keep new abortion clinics out of your community by informing the public, writing letters to council members, and contacting potential landlords and real estate agents. Abortion clinics mean loss of business and declining property values to everyone due to public sentiment and frequent demonstrations. Those who do not respond to moral reasoning often do respond to public opinion and even more to financial loss. It is usually easier to keep a clinic out of an area than to shut it down once it's there.
41. Rent space as close as possible to an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood office and establish a pregnancy counseling clinic or prolife information center.
Influencing Your Church
42. Organize a prolife task force and target key church leaders for influence. Identify pastors and other strategic leaders and speak with them one by one. Give them literature and ask them to watch a video. Recruit prolife activists in your church who will help you formulate and implement a plan of education and mobilization. Ask your church leaders to include prolife activities and literature in the budget.
43. Set up a prolife table at church with the best prolife literature and materials. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.) The presence of the table itself is a vital reminder of the prolife cause.
44. Show in church services or classes prolife films and videos such as The Abortion Providers, The Hard Truth, and The Eclipse of Reason. Offer to pay the film rental yourself. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
45. Place a prolife newspaper ad, bench ad, or billboard with your church's name and phone number, offering your help to pregnant girls. (See Appendix D or K, PLA, for pre-made ads.)
46. Take your church bus to prolife activities. Many people who won't go alone will go with a group. Some will discover an aptitude for regular prolife ministry they would otherwise never have realized.
47. Have prolife emphasis Sundays, with special music, speakers, films, and literature. This should include, but not be limited to, the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in mid-January. (Special bulletin inserts and materials are available from CareNet www.care-net.org and Right to Life of Michigan, www.rtl.org, listed in Appendix D or K, PLA.)
48. Bring prolife issues and opportunities to the attention of your pastor, Sunday school class, Bible study, or men's, women's, or youth group. Show them one of the videos listed in Appendix D or K, PLA. Provide relevant newspaper clippings and other information to inform your pastor and provide him with sermon ideas and illustrations. Give him ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or Why Pro-Life? as a resource. Instead of expecting him to fulfill your prolife agenda, help him out by offering to be a resource and facilitator for him.
49. Start a group of sidewalk counselors from your church that go once or twice a week to talk to women outside abortion clinics. This is hard but rewarding work, and you need the camaraderie of others by your side. Some excellent sidewalk counseling materials are listed in Appendix D or K, PLA.
50. Pray daily for prolife ministries and victimized mothers and babies. Organize your own prayer group, perhaps combining prolife concerns with other vital needs, such as missions. Go to prolife rallies or sidewalk counseling and focus on the ministry of prayer. If the darkness of child-killing is to be overcome with the light of truth and compassion, it will require spiritual warfare, fought with humble and consistent prayer (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Permissions: Feel free to reproduce and distribute any articles written by Randy Alcorn, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this information, not protect or restrict it. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org, www.randyalcorn.blogspot.com
I have been listening to a sermon by Mark Dever taken from 1 Samuel 8-15. During his conclusion he shared the following story..."It was customary for the itinerant and local preachers back in John Wesley’s day to take breakfast together in City Road, where they had their main meeting place. On one occasion when Wesley was present a young man rose and found fault with one of his seniors. And the biographer says the Scotch blood of Thomas Rankin was roused and he sharply rebuked the juvenile for his impertinence. But in turn was sharply rebuked himself, Wesley instantly replied, ‘I will thank the youngest man among you to tell me of any fault you see in me. In doing so I will consider him my best friend.’"
I pray that my Lord continues to soften me and break my pride. "The LORD is near to the borkenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 35:18). The King of glory is magnified in our weakness, not in our strength. See your sin; see the Savior.
p.s. If you are interested in being helped and challenged in the area of your pride I would encourage you to read C. J. Mahaney's book, Humility: True Greatness.