Right Here Right Now

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How we define church has a lot to do with what we do outside the church. Continue reading “Right Here Right Now”

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What We Can Do

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   The state of New York passed abortion legislation on January 22nd, 2019 legalizing  abortion up to 9 months gestation. Ironically, this date also marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Social media is in full attack mode…

      I have read many conversations, most of which would not pass for conversation but instead people on both sides of the issue yelling at each other through social media. This issue is deeply personal for some and deeply emotional for most, and one post I read on Facebook summed up what I think many probably feel: pro-choice individuals feel like pro-life individuals  couldn’t care less about women who have been raped or face the choice of carrying a baby full term that will have little or no chance of any quality of life, and pro-life individuals believe that it is the agenda of pro-choice individuals to, simply put, murder babies.

       I think that neither of these statements represent what most people think about this issue. While there are always extremes on either side pro-choice or pro-life, I believe people on one side struggle with deciding if it’s okay to end the life of a child, and people on the other side care about the mother who faces a difficult, devastating decision.

I am pro-life.

I believe that all life is precious.

     However, if I care about the mom who faces a difficult choice or has perhaps made a choice that would not align with what I believe to be right, I think that’s where I and everyone else who feels strongly about the right for a child to see life, can ask the question “what can I do?” The next question should be “what can we do, if we believe that these little ones are precious and should be protected?” How do we we speak as scripture instructs for those “who cannot speak for themselves”?

        Maybe we begin by showing compassion.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that even if we speak with the language of men and angels or (my emphasis added) we are sure that we represent the right view, if we do not do it with love we are just making noise. I believe there are several areas where we have the opportunity to show compassion.

When we as Christians (followers of Christ) are the loudest voice in the room (or Facebook), announcing our convictions to whoever may be listening, is our conversation guided by compassion? When we speak through a variety of medias to let everyone know what we think, do we really know who our audience is?

Possibly, it’s someone who is pregnant due to a variety of circumstances, maybe by choice, maybe not…

                        Possibly, it’s someone who is in conflict over what to do…

 Possibly, it’s someone who has received the news that their baby has medical conditions that will make a normal quality of life impossible .

Possibly, it is someone who has already had an abortion, devastated by the choices that they made, whatever the reason.

 

If it were you in any of these situations, who would you want to confide in and discuss your situation with? Is it the person who shouts the loudest that you are wrong and possibly bound for hell because of your choices? Is it the person who can back up their thoughts with chapter and verse, but offer little in the way of understanding and grace? (See John 8:1-11) Or is it the people who support your decision and are willing to go to the mat to defend it? Sadly as people who have received much grace and forgiveness we often find ourselves in the seat of the first two scenarios. And leave support to those are the other side.

I am not defending abortion.

As I stated earlier, I am pro-life. But in one of the biggest issues of our time really for the last 45 years I believe that this issue should be approached with the same grace and love that we have all been extended for our shortcomings.

What can we do?

Compassion is the most important but there are practical things as well.

1. Whether it be your daughter, a friend, or someone you don’t even know, be that person they can confide in. We live in a sexually-charged culture. Hooking up is a big part of our social scene regardless of age. Pregnancies are often not intended but they happen. We the followers of Christ need to be the ones that people feel comfortable talking to when that happens.

2. Get involved. Do you know where the local Pregnancy Care Centers are? People have been quick to picket Planned Parenthood, but are you just as willing to volunteer and support your local alternatives to Planned Parenthood? Are you willing to get involved in youth groups or  young adult groups in any forum where you have the opportunity to listen and to help?

3. Adopt – if you are in a place where you can do it. If you can’t, become a foster parent. Many young women elect to carry their children to conception but find themselves unable to care for them once the baby is born. There are many groups that advocate and prepare you for adoption or foster care.

4. Pray. Pray for your pastors and church leaders that they would have the courage to speak up in a way that is welcoming and not condemning to those who may be considering abortion or who have already had one. There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness. Pray for leaders in our nation that would be willing to stand for the rights of the unborn and not be swayed by opinion or votes.

And finally, remember everyone is precious and loved even those you don’t agree with. We cannot cease to fight for the life of these little ones. But if want a voice to speak we have to do things differently.

Your opinion may be right, but does it make a difference?

emoji by the Babylon Bee. Great Christian satire.

Continue reading “What We Can Do”

Will You Let Him In?

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There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

It’s notable that the events that change the course of history, that capture our attention and emotion gradually fade away, almost forgotten. The anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor rivaled only in our time by the attacks of September 11th 2001 came and went this past week with little notice.

But the story of Jesus over 2000 years later remains to the critic the most controversial, but to the believer the most important event in history. It is the event that transcends time. However you may feel about the celebration of Christmas it serves the purpose of keeping the story alive. But the important question to consider whatever you may believe about Jesus is will you let Him in?

Three central events in the story of His birth ask this question. In our reading of scripture we see God ask this question to three different groups of people.

The Innkeeper- Imagine for a moment that you own a hotel in the city where the Olympics or the Super Bowl or some other national or international event is to be held. Rooms are booked months if not years ahead of time. History does not provide us with a record of the number of people who traveled to Bethlehem but the census ordered by Caesar Augustus would almost certainly overloaded this small village with people. Scripture reads in those days a census was demanded of the entire Roman world which at that time included Israel. Late in the day two weary travelers one heavy with child shows up at at the innkeeper’s front desk asking, “Do you have a room?” Possibly there was simply no room available. Maybe in the Jewish world of that time heavy with class distinction the couple was recognized as, “not from around here.” Whatever the reason the answer was no.

The Shepherds- Being a shepherd was no easy job. It required long hours away from home, sleepless nights guarding the flock from predators. Shepherds were also on the lower end of the pecking order in society that valued status. But this night as they watched over their flocks something completely unexpected was about to happen. The birth of the baby king who would change the world was not announced to Herod in his palace or to the religious order in their temple. The announcement was made to those who probably would have been considered the most unworthy. The quiet night was interrupted by an angel telling them “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be assigned to you you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Magi- These men had traveled a great distance to find a king. Not a full-grown King but a baby king. This would have been very unusual in that time as most kings would be a prince before their promotion to king. Nevertheless the Magi had studied the patterns of the stars that predicted the birth of this king, looking for the time this event would be fulfilled. In their journey they encountered a want to be king who was really no King at all. Who tried to convince them to come back and tell him after they found the baby king that he might worship to. They found the baby and were overjoyed. Scripture tells us  after worshipping Him they presented him with gifts. And then after being warned in a dream to not return to Herod they returned to their country by a different way.

If we look close enough we can see ourselves in these three stories. We know the story. We know about Jesus. Even those who deny the gift He came to bring know.

Sometimes we’re going about life’s business.  Sometimes we’re just living day to day. But one day hidden in the busyness, in the events of  day to day life there appears a divine appointment.

The innkeeper turned Him away.

The Magi keep searching until they found Him.

The shepherds went, observed and believed.

In our world we still see all of these. But however He may come to you it is still the most important question you will ever answer. Will you let Him in?