Monday, October 21, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
This past Saturday (the 21st) was an especially difficult day. We set up our speaker, signs, and readied the material to hand out. The clinic had just installed an outdoor speaker in the attempt to drown us out. Fortunately, it was very poor and no match for the one we were using. It was more of an annoyance than a deterrent. The first hour or so very few cars pulled into the parking lot. I was preaching and made note of this in my message praising God that they were at least not as busy as normal.
Suddenly I noticed a young woman walking up the road towards the clinic. She had been dropped off by someone down the street rather than the person bringing her directly to the building (what I would later perceive as an act of cowardliness). The young woman talked with us and told us that she was here for her pre-abortion appointment. She was only 18, had a 1 year old son at home, and was 3 months pregnant. Her justification for wanting to murder her child was "I can't have anymore kids right now". We handed her the 180 movie, a book about the sanctity of life, and other material describing where she could find free services to help. As is also our practice, I even offered her the option to let us adopt her child and assist in medical expenses along the way. My wife chimed in noting that she could even take her baby to a "safe-zone" after birth to drop him/her off and they would not ask any questions. She said that she would not want to just give her child to someone, showing that she had no logical understanding of how loving adoption was in light of murdering the child and it was just an issue of pride for her.
Steven, a fellow Elder at our church, went through numerous explanations of what the current development of the baby was like. His wife, who is 38 weeks pregnant, also pleaded with her in similar fashion. When asked how much they were going to charge her for just today's appointment she stated that it would be $140. We spent a good 10 minutes begging her not to go through with her appointment. During the entire conversation she simply stood there smiling. She slowly began walking to the building as we continued to beg her not to go. Even after she disappeared around the corner I continued to plead with her through the speaker to come back out.
A month before we had received a wonderful report that a young woman in our area decided not to murder her child and went to Albemarle Pregnancy Resource Center where she was given a free ultrasound and information. The center director had called me and said the woman had changed her mind when she heard us preaching at the clinic. God graciously altered the course of this woman's life that day. A few days later as we were outside the clinic we also witnessed another mother changing her mind as well. We were blessed to be able to give her one of our "Welcome Baby" packages as she left smiling.
With these two wonderful praises I think the events of yesterday's outreach were a little more hard hitting. How any mother could stand there, justifying the future murder of her child, and smile the entire time is beyond my comprehension. Towards the end of the morning she came out of the clinic carrying a little brown bag which, I am told, holds medication and information to plan for the day of abortion. I am assuming that the medication helps prepare her womb to make the slaughter a little easier on her. Steven engaged her one last time but she kept walking. When we saw a car stopping to pick her up about 30 yards away Stephen grabbed more material (since it seemed she had discarded what we had given her inside the clinic) and ran towards the car. He was able to talk to whomever was in the vehicle for a few minutes before they left and give them the additional material.
As I think back on our encounter with the young woman a few questions run through my mind:
1) Where was her father? Why did he not protect her from her adulterous actions to begin with? Why was he not there at least after the first pregnancy to help her and call the man who fathered her child into account? If he was not present in the home, then where was her mother or relatives to do this?
2) Who was the driver of the car? Why was this person not brave enough to at least take her to the clinic instead of dropping her off down the road? How cowardly must you be to hind behind a steering wheel and pretend that you are not an accomplice to murder?
Only God knows whether our preaching is still ringing in her ears. Only He can turn her heart from murder and to Christ. While I take comfort in this thought I still grieve knowing that if this woman goes through with the evil act a child's life will be snuffed out before he/she is even given the chance to truly live.
Make no mistake, this form of ministry takes a toll but it is one that is much needed. On the one hand, I praise God that He is using us to reach these women with the Gospel. Yet on the other hand, I am extremely frustrated that not a single church anywhere in our area is willing to do the same. I have numerous friends on my Facebook that profess Christ and live locally. Many of them post about church events, youth gatherings, and how much they love their churches. So, in closing, if you are one of them and you are reading this right now here is my question to you:
WHERE ARE YOU?
Why are you so unwilling to plead for the life of the unborn? What is it that is so important that you would forsake this opportunity to preach the Gospel in front of a house of murder on just one Saturday a month? Why are you willing to spend countless dollars on silly youth events, spend 6 hours listening to pseudo rock music with a few Christian words inserted, travel over an hour to get there, and yet not devote a few hours a month to pour your heart out to these mothers, fathers, and clinic workers who are killing the next generation? Why is it that you will entice the lost to visit your church with games, bounce houses, raffles and other worldly commercial antics and yet not speak out openly against this modern day holocaust? Are you afraid of what other might think more than you are of what Christ commands? Why is it that you are willing to post pictures and quotes on your FB page about Christ and yet not go and share Him with those who are seeking to kill their own children? WHERE ARE YOU?
WHERE ARE YOU?
WHERE ARE YOU?
WHERE ARE YOU?
Saturday, July 20, 2013
I have found that this can serve to over-encourage a parent to the point of becoming weary from attempting to remain diligent in their faithfulness to the Lord and to the discipling of their children. This leads to not only discouragement but disillusion in the home.
This involves two elements that when combined together create the explosion that is toxic for fathers and mothers alike. The first element comes along as the unintentional assertion to achieve an impossible level of sanctified discipleship at the sole effort of the parents. I love reading soundly biblical authors who exegete Scripture and provide practical application of the text. Many of these brothers and sisters constantly remind their readers that they too are sinners saved by grace and fall short of what they know if complete obedience to Christ. They provide the most honest encouragement by revealing their own struggles within themselves and in their homes. It is those who set a high bar and are not openly honest to their own struggles that paint a picture of perfected sanctification in their homes. This can cause the reader or hearer of such a message to grow weary believing that their efforts fall short, not of the biblical model but of the model of the make-believe fully sanctified and glorified family that does not actually exist. While these proponents may intend to encourage the fathers and mothers of homes to biblical standards, without open honesty of their own shortcomings and continual struggles, they inadvertently turn their encouragement into discouragement as some parents are left thinking they will never attain to that model of the perfect family.
The second element in this combination takes place more in the trenches of biblical parenting in regards to how Christian parents treat other Christian parents. This particular ingredient must be preceded by the other and is the most painful for the struggling parent. Instead of love and exhortation some parents overly criticize other parents for not holding to the pristine model of the smiling family on the cover of the latest parenting book in their local Christian bookstore. What they miss are the struggles of those parents trying to not only raise their children but actually DISCIPLE them to Christ. They miss the fact that God designs each of us uniquely, with personalities and preferences unlike any other. Public schools fail to realize this by modeling an educational standard that only fits one personality type and educational model. Those of us who homeschool rightly criticize such an approach yet we are the one who are almost always guilty of applying the same within our own circles of fellowship. The energetic child is thus expected to fit into the same mold of outward obedience as the introverted child and are not discipled individually based on how God has designed and personalized them. Children should display obedience to their parents (Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 1:8,9) but to suggest that such obedience must be tangibly as apparent every second and exactly the same in every child is to be dishonest regarding the reality of our sin nature and the depravity of all mankind. For a while, I believed that I was the only one who saw this particularly in regard to the this second element, but another blog showed me that I am not.
Believe it or not, your child will never be like my child and my child will never be like the child of those parents over there. Our children have unique skills, weaknesses, and strengths. They should be treated as such!
Is there a perfect Christian home out there that is continually obedient to the commands of Scripture in every area of their walk? Are the parents sanctified in all areas of their lives with a glimmering and unwavering plan for their families laid out in perfect order? None of us would dare say yes...but then why do many of us act like those who do fall short of this are to be treated as heathen and distanced from rather than brought closer to us? What should be the most encouraging of areas in Christian living has often proven to be the most discouraging, critical and, unloving.
Make no mistake, this in no way gives allowance to the slothful father or unfaithful mother who choose to misuse grace for sinful laziness (Romans 6:1-3). Those who willfully and regularly act in disobedience to the commands of Scripture in any area of their life and refuse to repent when such sin is exposed do not fall into this category to which I speak. Such should be lovingly but boldly approached in their disobedience and admonished to repent.
But for the Christian parents whose heart breaks for their children, who desire to see all of their children come to repentance and faith in Christ and live lives to glorify Him, to these parents may I offer a single word of encouragement straight from the sufficient Word of God: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9, ESV) or as Paul restates such in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 "As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good". Do not grow weary brothers and sisters! Let us remain faithful, knowing that none of our children are perfect in their obedience and that we are never perfect in our parenting. God will bring forth the fruit in due time. Let us rely on Him and His grace in our parenting as we should in every area of our lives.
And to the local church: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2) in times of trial and struggle and do not simply pack up and leave just because the families around you are not the perfected model others deceptively portray. Part of being a church is to actually be the church by displaying the loving attributes outlines in Scripture. If you wish to find a perfect church filled with perfect children guided by perfect families, you will certainly be searching until Christ calls you home. Charles Spurgeon once said "If you wait for a perfect church, you must wait until you get to heaven; and even if you could find a perfect church on earth, I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship, for you yourself are not perfect."
Let us never be found guilty of portraying ourselves or others as perfectly sanctified in the discipling of our children. Let us instead strengthen our bounds of unity in our churches, that they may be places of prayer and biblical exhortation.
For the glory of the risen Lord,
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a vital tool in the arsenal of self-defense regarding the church. The information provided within its pages should be openly shared with all members of the local church and digested regularly by its leaders.
We live in a time when the government is encroaching more and more onto individual Christian rights and the autonomy rights of our churches. We must be prepared when these issues come knocking at our doors. They may come in the form of a disgruntled former member or simply as an unbiblical regulation being forced upon us by the government that once swore to protect our inalienable rights. Either way, we must not be found unprepared.