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 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!


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. 

A Sure Cure for Evil Boasting & Temporal Arrogance

On Saturday, as we dressed for our third funeral in as many weeks, Nancy, my wife, said to me, “We’re dressing in back a little too often lately.” Indeed. Three funerals in three weeks even for a couple hovering around sixty years of age seems a bit much. It has me thinking a lot lately of those words in James 4:13-17 where that concept of life as a vapor appears in the writer’s plea for a certain kind of attitude shaping all of life.

Essentially James warns us about the folly of a certain kind of talk – “Come now you who say” (v. 13, emphasis added) – that talks big about the future, immediate and distant. He describes it in terms of saying things like “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit” (v. 13). It’s not the planning James objects to; it’s the arrogance that presumes certain outcomes he has a problem with (v. 16). He probably has Proverbs 27:1 in the back of his mind: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

He objects for three reasons. First, boasting ignores the uncertainty of life (v. 14). Life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. The word for vapor in Greek is atmis from where we get the English atmosphere. What figure could better communicate the uncertainty of life? Nobody has any gilt edge guarantees about what tomorrow may bring. We number our lives in terms of years each birthday celebration, but God tells us in Psalm 90:12 “Lord, teach us to number our days aright” (emphasis added).

Second, boasting denies the sovereignty of God (v. 15). Here James describes how we ought to talk in all our planning, personal or business: “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” Perhaps James has another proverb in view: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand” (19:21). A well-placed, meaningful “If the Lord wills” that prefaces all our dreams for the future communicates intentional dependence upon God for the outcome in anything we endeavor and confidence that His purposes shall prevail.

Third, boasting constitutes the epitome of evil (vv. 16-17). James minces no words here: “All such boasting is evil” (v.16). The word evil is pornea from where we get pornographic. In other words it is obscene in God’s eyes when we make grandiose plans probably born of greed (notice the emphasis on buy and sell and make a profit in v. 13) that take no account of God in the process. That he calls plainly “sin” in v. 14.

Tomorrow I mark the seventh anniversary of my surgery on my tongue and neck and the joy of that many years cancer-free. On April 29 we hope to dedicate a new church building to the glory of God. That God would give me any additional years of service and that He would be pleased to let us have decades of prosperous ministry to come in our facility at 872 Maitland Avenue, and everything else we presume upon Him for the future, must come with the qualifier if the Lord wills, so that we might avoid evil boasting and temporal arrogance, sins that greatly offend Him.

Update on Our Brother Rick

After service today I traveled to Winter Park hospital to visit with Rick and Barb in ICU. Our brother remains on the respirator with his bride at his side.

The doctors have assured her that given his condition, they expect him to pass quite soon. Short of a miracle they see no hope of recovery. Certain complications have developed that make that prospect medically impossible in their opinion.

Barb remains firm in her trust on the solid rock, Jesus. Abby, Lord willing, will arrive from Singapore at 5 PM EST tomorrow night.

We spoke of things related to memorial services and the like. I assured her that OGC would supply everything she needs in the way of assistance as she walks with Rick through the valley of the shadow.

I suspect this week to make other updates as necessary from the office through email with Teddie’s help, but wanted to provide some outlet of information knowing that many have been praying. This seemed to be the most efficient way on a Sunday.

Please continue to pray for God’s grace to abound in every way in this hard providence in the lives of one of our covenant families.

Many thanks.

Where Did This Jesus of Christmas Come From & Where Did He Go?

In this morning’s message I made much of the fact that the same words of Jesus get repeated verbatim in a very short span of verses in the text of John 7:34-36. 

34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” 

You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come. 

That’s one of the few places in the gospels where this phenomenon happens and for good reason. He uses such a literary device for emphasis given the importance of his purpose. Not to get this, not to understand the answer to the questions where did He come from – the Father in heaven who sent him, and where did He go – back to the Father in heaven – not to get that, not to embrace it, believe it, that He came to die for you and take the punishment of your sins on His head is to consign you to death and everlasting punishment in hell for those sins. Do not be overly hasty in the conclusions you draw in answer to these all-important questions, was the gist of my exhortation. 

I also drew attention to the way the people speculated about the answer to the second question they raised in v. 35. Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? That’s more of John’s irony. The dispersion was the term for the Jews who didn’t settle in Palestine, but went throughout the empire among the Greeks, the Gentiles, the non-Jews. In one sense that, as we saw, is not what He meant, but in another way it points to the future. They unwittingly prophesied here that Jesus was, to use the words of Luke 2:32 – a light of revelation to the Gentiles. 

Upon His resurrection and commission to His disciples and His ascension to the Father’s right hand He would send His Holy Spirit upon the apostles and they would go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even the uttermost parts of the earth with the answers to the questions where did he come from and where did He go? He came from God and went back to God. Repent, believe these things, and live.