That Age-Old Question for Grads

Graduation 2015With graduation for high school and college seniors just a few days away, I thought Ali Ray’s post, “That Age-Old Question for Grads” would be encouraging for those of you preparing for the next chapter of your life.

Ray writes:

“What are you doing after graduation?”

You might think that I have an answer to that question by now. After all, I am graduating from college in two weeks. While I have words to use as a response, the underlying answer is much more complex. I am graduating with two incredible opportunities provided by the Lord. I have a job and a man that will soon say “I do” to by my side. I am overjoyed and incredibly thankful for both of these things. However…

I don’t know how to be a wife. I don’t know how to be an employee. I don’t have any idea how I’m going to influence people for Jesus in the work place or have a gentle and quiet spirit in my future married life.

But what I do know is that I have the Holy Spirit in me. I have the Creator of the universe on my side. He fights for me, He cherishes me, He teaches me to live a life worthy of His kingdom. In my four years of college I have come to the realization that you can work for perfection and you can work to be everyone’s favorite person, but all you will achieve is pure exhaustion. All you can do is love the Lord your God with all you have, and because of Jesus, that will always be enough.

I have learned that I need to live out of the love that God has for me instead of out of the fear that sin generates. I have in no way perfected these things, but The Navigators have given me the tools to hopefully reach this place of wisdom and peace one day. The women who have poured into my life have taught me so much. They have taught me how to be moved by the Word, not just to read it. They have taught me how to pray like life depends on it, because if we are honest, it often does. They have taught me how to become more like Christ by living a life like His. Finally, they have taught me that nothing short of leading by example will help people come to know Christ more. They are my friends, not just people who disciple me. And for that genuine friendship I will be forever grateful. 

Now, do I know how to do all of these things in the “real world”? Nope. I have no idea. How could I? I’ve never done it before. However, what I do know is that I have the tools and knowledge to continue to deepen my relationship with God and hopefully help others come to know Him too. I am so thankful for all I have learned in these past four years. I am thankful for the highs and the lows because they helped me learn to rely on the Lord – not on the world, not on myself, but on Him alone.

The Navigators have had a wonder impact on my life for over thirty years. You can find more out about their ministries and resources at WWW.Navigators.org.

Love is the Solution

Love is the Solution

Have you ever wondered if you will ever find something in life that makes you happy? What is it that will fill the void in your life? Is there anything that can bring lasting joy, fulfillment, or contentment?

To find what your heart is searching for, listen to this week’s message, “Love is the Solution.”

 

“We Know They Are Killing Children” by John Piper

sanctity of lifeOne biblical principle of justice is that the more knowledge we have that our action is wrong, the more guilty we are, and the more deserving of punishment (Luke 12:47–48). The point of this blog post is that we know what we are doing — all America knows. We are killing children. Pro-choice and Pro-life people both know this.

But before I show that, let’s clarify what the Supreme Court did forty years ago today. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court in effect made abortion on demand untouchable by law. The way this was done was with two steps.

One step was to say, laws may not prevent abortion, even during the full nine months, if the abortion is “to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The other step was to define “health” as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”

For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.

Many simply say it is the lesser of two evils. I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.” Which means women should be no more encumbered by the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy than men. That equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children is the basis for abortion that President Obama refers to again and again when he talks about equal rights for women. We know we are killing children.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.

We know what we are doing because 38 States (including Minnesota) treat the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide. They have what are called “fetal homicide laws.”

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.

Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.

High risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. Steve Calvin, in a letter some years ago to the Arizona Daily Star, wrote, “There is inescapable schizophrenia in aborting a perfectly normal 22 week fetus while at the same hospital, performing intra-uterine surgery on its cousin.” When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are not wanted, they are not children. We know what we are doing.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.

The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother’s arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.

A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother’s breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.

Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.

We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.

(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)

8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.

The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know.

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.

At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.

10. We have seen the photographs.

The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.

We know the principle of justice that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being on time or getting thrills. The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. We know what we are doing when we kill a child.

For Christians who believe the Bible, we could add at least ten more reasons why we know what is happening in abortion, and why it is wrong. But the aim here is threefold.

  1. To make clear that we will not be able to defend ourselves with the claim of ignorance. We knew. All of us.
  2. To solidify our conviction to resist this horrific evil.
  3. To intensify our prayer and our preaching toward gospel-based soul-renovation in our land, because hardness of heart, not ignorance, is at the root of this carnage.

Source: We Know They Are Killing Children—All of Us Know

Everyone Deserves a Chance

Garrett Kell’s post “The Great Tragedy of the 2012 Election” gives a wonderful perspective of the church’s responsibility to promote life. Please take time to prayerfully read this article and then pass it on to your friends. Regardless of the policies on abortion that come from the White House, Christians should make every effort to inform others of God’s love for everyone ever conceived.

Kell writes:

A great tragedy unfolded less than one week ago on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

The tragedy was not found in the celebrations of elected officials or the concessions of defeat. It was not colored red or blue, and it wasn’t wrapped up in meaningless campaign promises.

The tragedy of the 2012 election is that in this land of the free and home of the brave, many people were not allowed to vote. Their voices were silenced. Their votes were not cast. Their opinions not expressed. Why?

Because they were dead.

The great tragedy of the 2012 election is that roughly 33 million would-be voters had been murdered. From 1973 to 1994, roughly 35 million babies were aborted. That’s roughly 35 million 18- to 39-year-olds who could not vote from the grave.

This is an unspeakable tragedy.

They did not have the chance to learn what makes our nation so great. They did not have the chance to watch the results roll in with their friends and family. They did not have the chance to rest their heads on a pillow in the land of the free.

But this tragedy is not over.

In 2016, roughly 5 million more voices will be unheard. Why? Because more than 3,500 babies will be killed today. And each day leading up to Tuesday, November 8, 2016. In the three minutes it takes you to read this article, seven babies will have been aborted in the United States of America. Their voices silenced. Their freedom robbed. Their bravery unknown.

Close to Home

This is a tragedy that hits close to home. When I was 19, I chose to end the life of my first child through an abortion. My friend and I were in a scary place, we didn’t plan to get married, and we had nowhere else to go. So we opted to end the life of our child.

That child would be 16 today. They’d be excited about driving a car and, in just a couple of years, they’d be excited about voting. But they won’t be doing any of that. We won’t be sitting down together as I explain how to think about policies and the candidates who represent them. I won’t be able to tell them about freedom and justice for all. I took that freedom away with my injustice.

I cannot undo what I’ve done in the past. None of us can. Only Jesus, who shed his blood for sinners like me, can heal those wounds. Jesus gives us great hope in the midst of this tragedy, and all the other tragedies we face in this life.

Refuge in Jesus

If you have committed an abortion, I want you to know there is a refuge in Jesus. He will heal your wounds. There is no sin so great that he cannot forgive and no sin so small that does not need to be forgiven. If you will confess your sins and turn to him in faith, he will wash away all your guilt and all your shame. Come to Christ.

If you support abortion, I encourage you to spend time in prayer and ask God to show you if abortion pleases him or not. Ask a Christian to help you learn what God’s Word says. I know you already have deeply rooted ideas. I did too. But I encourage you to take the time to read what God says about life and who has the right to give and take it away. I encourage you to start with Psalm 139.

Difficult Choice

If you are a Christian, be patient with those who view things differently. But also speak truth in love to those who are in need. Find ways to help those who are struggling through unplanned pregnancies. Investigate options for adoption and invest in the lives of those who are facing difficult choices.

I have on my wall a picture of a 3-year-old boy in cowboy boots. He nearly wasn’t with us today because his mother was in a difficult place. She was unmarried, pregnant, and scared. But my wife met with her, prayed with her, and took her to a Christian doctor who showed her the baby in her womb through a sonogram. That young mother had the courage to keep her child.

That young boy’s smile reminds me that God can save children, one at a time. He does this by using his people to come alongside the struggling to lovingly show them the Christ who can walk them through any terrifying situation—even an unplanned pregnancy.

I believe the only hope to turn the trend of this tragedy is for people to turn their hearts toward the God who made them through the way paved by his Son Jesus. Jesus changes hearts, and changed hearts can change a nation. May God give us grace as a country, and may God give us courage to stand up in the midst of this tragedy so that, if he tarries, many more will cast votes in 2030.

Lord Jesus, we need your help.

True Rest from Our Labors

A one day holiday every September is not enough to give us true rest from all of life’s labors. However, when we humbly approach Jesus in faith He gives us an abundantly restful peace throughout all our days.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11.28),

Living the Dream

This morning on my way to the church I heard this song. It put a smile on my face as I considered the song’s message. Life is quite different from what I dreamed it would be thirty years ago in highschool; nevertheless, I am living the dream!

I hope this uplifting song puts a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and moves you to go out today and live the dream.