HB633 Abortion Law Appeal

I received this today in my inbox from one of my favorite pro-life ministries. I urge all champions of life in our state to appeal to our governor to sign the bill sent to him by the legislature.

Dear Pro-Life Friends:

This is quick and easy.  WE CANNOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED!  “Big Abortion” forces in Florida are having a fit and making lots of intimidating “war on women” calls.  We must remind the Governor of his pro-life campaign promises.

Is this worth 5 minutes your time?  You bet!  This law WILL save lives!

Click on this link to email the Governor:

http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor/

AND Call his Tallahassee office and leave a firm but polite message: 850-717-9337

Below is possible text for your email.Feel free to adapt to make it your own.

Dear Governor Scott,

I voted for you because you claimed to be pro-life.  Now is the time to prove that you really are willing to stand up for pre-born babies and protect women from exploitation.

Please sign HB633 into law today! This bill gives women the choice to change their mind within a 24 hour cooling off period before terminating their pregnancy.

Women are often rushed or pressured into abortions. Florida requires a 3-day waiting period to buy a handgun.  Isn’t is reasonable to have a 1-day waiting period before a woman makes a life changing decision for herself and her unborn child?  I believe in empowering women with the facts so they can make an educated and healthy decision.

Thank you, in advance, for doing the right thing!

God bless,

Your Name Here

 

The God of Encouragement in the Fight for Life

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I admitted up front in last Sunday’s sermon, “What To Do About Things Like Abortion and Racism,” that every year I struggle more with this particular message than any other. The challenge of speaking from the Bible to complicated subjects like abortion and racism for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday surpasses any other preaching assignment I know of in terms of degree of difficulty. I never feel adequate for the task, but press ahead nonetheless given the stakes.

However, my heart soared after the service when approached by a newcomer to OGC. She wanted to thank me for the message. She told me she had driven by the building often and considered visiting but felt especially drawn to our service yesterday. The story she told me made the “why” plain.

A single mom, she shared with me with tears in her eyes that just six years ago she visited the abortion clinic up the street where we and folks from other churches engage in sidewalk counseling to offer people like her alternatives to abortion at crisis pregnancy centers. She intended to abort her child. The counselors on sight called out to her and she responded. She turned around that day, spared her baby’s life, and has been raising her child ever since.

I say to every one of us with a burden for the unborn and the dear people so conflicted and bound by idols of the heart that they can somehow justify child-killing that every effort made to intercede and intervene counts. Do not give up. Persevere. Your efforts matter. You never know what God will do. Fight the good fight. Even just one precious life rescued is worth the price.

Two Different Good Friday Observances

Good Friday

Holy Week fast approaches.

Good Friday brings with it two options for observing the day, both unique in their own respects.

First, at 10 AM at the All Women’s Health Center (abortion clinic), there will be an hour of praise and prayer commemorating Jesus’ Preaching at All Women'sdeath on the cross and the advocacy for life at this modern killing field. The service will involve a blend of the regular sidewalk counseling that goes on, singing, Scripture reading, and praying. Furthermore, I have been asked to preach as I did last December for an Advent service. Any and everyone are invited to attend. You do not have to participate in the actual counseling, but your prayer and praise can make a powerful impact on this front-line spiritual battle zone.

Second, at 6 PM at OGC, we will host an agape love feast for our church-wide agape feastobservance of the day. In this we will break our 24 hour fast for conversions, baptisms, and discipleship here in Central Florida. Each household is asked to bring some bread, cheese, and fruit to share. We will have time for community around the tables, sharing, singing, and, of course, the Lord’s Table. I will share a brief homily from Matt. 27:51-54. All are welcome.

May these unusual approaches bring enhanced appreciation for all Jesus has done for us in His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross!

Making a Pro-Life Impact

Abortion Clinic

Last Saturday I participated in the sidewalk counseling ministry at the abortion clinic up the street. As you can see by the number of cars in the parking lot, “business” was way too good. The older I get and the longer I live the more convinced I become of the need for God’s people to be salt and light in the area of advocating life for the unborn.

Randy Alcorn prescribes the following to that end:

1. Pray regularly for prolife ministries, churches, mothers, and babies. If the darkness of child-killing is to be overcome, it will require spiritual warfare, fought with humble and persistent prayer (Ephesians 6:10–20).

2. Give regular visibility to the issue of abortion in conversations and in places such as blogs and social media. Scripture says to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves (Proverbs 31:8–9). It’s vitally important that we approach subjects such as abortion in a Christlike manner, full of grace and truth (see John 1:14).

3. Spearhead a pro-life ministry in your church, or find one in your area (visit www.care-net.org) and consider donating time, money, equipment, clothes, and professional skills.

Orlando Grace supports such a pro-life ministry in True Life Choice, a crisis pregnancy center. This Saturday they will conduct their annual “Walk for Life” to raise funds for their crucial ministry for women dealing with crisis pregnancies. Most of our folks will participate in the Lake Eola version, but I would encourage anyone who can to head out to either of the other venues in the city, if one or the other proves more convenient.

why-pro-life-147One other way to make a pro-life impact is to educate yourself on the topic of abortion. Alcorn has written and excellent book to that end called Why Pro-Life? We have copies in our resource center for only $2! This is a must read for anyone looking to do number two above when the opportunity arises.

Hope to see an army of supporters out walking for life this Saturday!

WEAPONS FOR WAGING WAR AT A HOUSE OF DEATH

Preaching at All Women's

Believers on mission for Jesus in the places where they live, work, and play wield weapons of warfare that “are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). In the town where I live, right up the street from my church, exists one of the more formidable castles of destruction upon which we at OGC and other churches have declared spiritual war. I mean, of course, the All Women’s Health Center, an abortuary where babies perish regularly in the name of the right to choose. 

This morning a platoon of us gathered on the sidewalk to engage the battle for life yet another time. We employed three mighty weapons for the fray. First, we took up the weapon of praise. We sang Christmas carols within earshot of the waiting room where women prepare for their abortions. They heard carols like “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Away in a Manger,” ” O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and other tunes as well. You could feel the Spirit of God come with power. 

Second, I took up the weapon of preaching. Originally I was asked only to pray. This I was only too happy to do. But then this morning the invitation came to bring the Word of God. I didn’t hesitate. I spoke from John 1:12. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory of the only begotten full of grace and truth.” Once again, I sensed the Spirit come with power as I exhorted the faithful to carry on the campaign for life until the abortion mills in our city close and that the saving of babies would occur through the sidewalk interventions day in and day out. 

Third, and finally, we picked up the weapon of prayer. We pleaded with the Lord of life to save children from destruction. We begged Him to bring down the fortress of death upon which we had descended. We asked Jesus to convict the doctors and nurses within its walls. And we asked for fathers and mothers to choose life over death for their children in the womb.

One never knows just how any of these firefights will go. On this day, the Lord scored a major victory for life. During the battle with its praise, preaching, and prayer, one couple hearkened to the counselors invitation to come over to the sidewalk and talk. They listened to the passionate and informed pleas of the trained advocates for life. AND THEY CHANGED THEIR MINDS! They turned back. They chose not to abort their baby and left the premises. And we rejoiced at the goodness of God to hear our prayers and grant such a merciful encouragement in response to our feeble efforts to subdue evil. 

The One who abhorred not the womb nor the cross, King Jesus, showed up in the fight for life today and granted us a victory. May He be inclined to do so all the more as we carry on the struggle into 2014 and beyond, as long as it takes. 

Not One, But Two

Opportunities, that is.

For what? Bending the gospel outward at OGC this weekend.

The first comes this Friday, December 20, in the form of a free Christmas concert featuring a new group getting airtime on Z88.3 FM in Orlando called “All Things New.” Here’s a sample of what you will hear:

You can go on mission with this option in one of two ways. First, you can volunteer to serve on one of the teams. We need greeters, parking attendants, security, among other things. Contact the church office if you want to get in on the fun. Second, you can bring a friend and use the time together as a chance to connect about spiritual things. For more information about the concert click here.

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The second opportunity takes place the very next morning at 9 AM at the All Women’s Health Center in Altamonte Springs. Various churches from around the city will convene at this abortion center for a twenty minute Christmas caroling and prayer service on the sidewalk. The mill will be open for “business” during this time. I have been asked to lead in prayer as part of the service. For those who can, the group will proceed from there to other abortion clinics in the Orlando area. For more information, contact the church office and ask for me. Ample parking is available at Pharmacy Specialists just north of the center on Maitland Avenue. This is a no brainer mission opportunity for us at OGC since our facility is right down the street from this house of horrors. You won’t have to do anything more than pray and carol and trust God to work in the hearts of some folks that may lead to the rescue of one or more infants in the womb.

Come on church. Let’s bless the city and storm the gates that won’t prevail against the church of King Jesus!

 

How to Pray in Light of Abortion

Another Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is upon us tomorrow.

If you wish to meditate in advance on my text for the sermon, please see Genesis 9:1-7. The title of the sermon is Why God’s Blessing Means Making Babies Not Murdering Them.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to know how to pray redemptively in light of the scourge of abortion beyond the obvious.

Scotty Smith, pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, a frequent blogger for the Gospel Coalition, posted a helpful piece entitled A Prayer of Advocacy for Unborn Children. In it he expresses the following concerns and requests:

  1. For the courage and compassion to live as faithful advocates for human life.
  2. For the gospel compassion necessary to care for the women and men whose stories are marked by abortion – either as victims or agents.
  3. For wisdom to know how to love and serve those who have had to give up their children before birth to the heartbreak of miscarriage and stillbirth.
  4. For grace to open our hearts and homes to the millions of orphaned children who have made it safely into the world – that our zeal against abortion be matched by our zeal for adoption.

To read his entire prayer, which I wholeheartedly commend to you, click here.

A Person’s a Person

By Jon and David Wooten (with apologies to Dr. Seuss and to the regulative principle)

Note: this poem was delivered as an announcement on Sunday morning to promote the TLC Walk for Life.

A person’s a person, no matter how small.
No matter how short and no matter how tall.
True Life Choice cares for women, you see,
Who find themselves now in a pregnancy.
They love and they care and they pray with these people,
Many of whom have never been under a steeple.
They give women resources and tell them their options:
To give life to their child, and to parent or choose adoption.
Some women who come to True Life are abortion-minded,
So I’m here this morning that we might be reminded:

There are certain people, so I’ve been told
Who get no recognition
And these people, if I’m so bold,
Are in quite a tight position.
They can’t say a word, not even a tittle.
They can’t fight for themselves because they’re so little.
They’re unborn babies, and they need your assistance.
They’re up against a bad, mean resistance.
They’re under attack because they’re unborn and labeled a burden.
Some don’t see they’re special, and like them, a person.
We all need to realize God created them all
For a person’s a person, no matter how small.

OGC works with True Life in a wonderful tradition.
On March 24th we’ll take a grand expedition.
Around Lake Eola we will Walk for Life,
And walk we will with all of our might.
You can sponsor a walker or come walk yourself.
Lace up those sneakers sitting up on that shelf.
Bring the whole family: mom, dad, brothers, sisters.
We’ll all walk for life: kids, ladies and misters.
Parents can walk while toddlers toddle.
Strollers can stroll while we strut, jog and waddle.

For the church who gets the most walkers, you see,
There’s a prize! Oh, a prize with a great legacy.
The Sneaker of Silver could be our award!
A treasure so grand, no church could afford.

Now I urge you, my friend, to stand up to the task.
If you want to know more, then come find me and ask.
Sign up at the table as you leave here today.
My announcement is done. Now I’ll just go away,
But not without saying once more to you all
That a person’s a person, no matter how small.

Sanctity of Life & Population Control

Tomorrow is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. I have given over the pulpit to David Wooten, my friend, new member at OGC, and staff member at Embrace By Grace, a Christian adoption ministry in Casselberry. I look forward to what my brother will bring from the word in Genesis tomorrow on the subject of being made in the image of God.

I find it a bit ironic that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, always the third Sunday of January from year to year, coincides with my neighborhood book club on Monday where we will discuss Peter Hessler’s intriguing work River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. The book documents Hessler’s two year stint with the Peace Corps in the city of Fuling, China, teaching English in the local university. The book started slow for me but gradually picked up with the author’s descriptive abilities in writing and the various subjects upon which he touched.

Among them in China, of course, was the matter of the government policy prohibiting the citizens from having more than one child. To exceed that limit, according to Hessler, invites stiff consequences of various kinds. He writes:

The going rate for a second child was More than ten thousand yuan, at least in the countryside close to the college. In the city it was rare that anybody got to the point where she paid this fine–if a woman was pregnant with her second child, she would be threatened with the loss of her job. . . . and having a second child could result in a woman’s being forced to undergo sterilization surgery (p. 261).

Knowing the bent of some of my neighbors, I anticipate that this subject will come up in our discussion. In the interest of preparing for the conversation, I did a bit of research on the question of population control and came across this excellent article entitled, Population Growth as Blessing or Blight. In it E. Calvin Beisner dismisses some of the emotional rhetoric surrounding the controversy with statistical evaluation, biblical exegesis, and sound ethical argumentation. For example, he contends:

People are not machines; they cannot be programmed and expected to behave as ordered. They have imagination, hopes and fears, emotions, volitions, and goals. These and many other determinants of human action change relative to a constantly changing environment. Begetting and bearing babies are human actions, and like all other human actions they are determined by humans’ constantly changing hopes, fears, goals, and choices. In a world in which so many things change so rapidly, it is intellectual suicide for anyone to pretend to predict with accuracy and reliability what large numbers of people will do over long periods of time.

To read the entire article click here.

Tomorrow as we gather for worship on the Lord’s Day may we celebrate the God who made us in Him image AND told us to be fruitful and multiply WITHOUT entertaining fears that somehow obeying God will jeopardize the planet. It never has been the case and never will be.