Today marks the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Since that fateful day, millions of unborn babies’ lives have been legally destroyed, and countless mothers (and fathers) have found themselves in painful, guilt-laden places.
Please take a moment to pray over this devastating issue – that laws would be changed, that minds would be changed, and that those expectant mothers in desperate & dark circumstances would find hope and help, ultimately in Christ.
Let’s also be thinking of ways – big and small – that we can help. There are a number of crisis pregnancy centers in the area – in the Twin Cities, New Life Family Services & Amnion Crisis Pregnancy Center come to mind – that are always in need of everything from volunteers to basic baby needs (clothing, diapers, etc.). Just one idea…
John Piper preached an awesome message this weekend at the United for Life conference – I don’t have a direct link to it, but if you go to desiringgod.org, the right-hand side bar has a link to it.
“…you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139
I’m going to say something that may shock and offend some of you (if anyone is, in fact, reading this):
You know the St. Francis quote “Preach always, and if necessary, use words”?
I’m NOT a big fan.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think I get the heart behind this quote, and I do believe that our actions are important, can sometimes say more than mere words can, and are certainly necessary to back up our claims of faith in Christ. But I have been a little disturbed by a trend I’ve noticed lately – in certain Christian organizations, and certainly in my own life – of thinking that merely “doing good” for others is enough – or perhaps more important – than sharing with them the life-changing message of the gospel. I’ve heard that St. Francis quote a LOT, and wonder if people start to use it as license to do good without naming the name of Jesus. After all, THAT’S where the risk is, isn’t it. It’s one thing – and a good thing – to help meet someone’s practical needs. It’s another thing to take it a step further by telling them WHY you’re doing it. To me, this is the really tricky part. When you bring food to the hungry, you’re likely to be met with applause from the world. When you bring food to the hungry and then bring up the name of Jesus, you’re more likely to be met with a critical eye and maybe even accusations of dumping religion down someone’s throat. Yet I think it’s crucial that people understand why we do what we do. We need to stop expecting that people will see us doing good, and automatically know that we are a Christian. Yes, as it says in Matthew, when they see our good deeds, they will praise our Father in heaven – but I don’t think this means that we don’t need to tell them we are Christians – to help make the connection! As the pastor mentioned in the sermon this morning, many Mormons live wonderful lives and do much good in our community – but their message is a far cry from that of a Christian. If we want to be the MOST effective in reaching our world for Christ, the declaration of our faith and the demonstration of our faith must go hand in hand. As was also mentioned in church this morning,
demonstration without declaration = a mystery
declaration without demonstration = hypocrisy
4But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching?(
Romans 10:13-15 (English Standard Version)
What do you all think?
Tonight I picked up a book that I have left far too long on the shelf…I read it (or at least part of it) once years ago, but have since seemed to let much of it slip away, and for awhile now have sensed a growing need to pick it up, dust it off, and read it again. It’s a small book called “The Disciplined Life” by Richard S. Taylor, and was originally penned in 1962. And it’s not a fun book to read – for one like me, at least. One who needs it. It hurts to read! I found myself almost grimacing as I picked it up and began reading it, because it points out SO many things that I struggle with (which I’m sure my husband and others can attest to!), particularly in the area of basic self-discipline (as I’m sure you could gather from the title) — comprised by those seemingly simple things such as promptness, good speech, tidiness, and the like. Things that initially seem so minor, but when lacking can add up devastatingly quickly and can really hinder one’s ability to “make the most of every opportunity” for Christ. Reading this book is sort of like getting a stern lecture from someone — in book form —after you know you’ve done something wrong. It sure stings (in my case with embarrassement at the reality of how undisciplined I’ve been in so many silly ways over the years!) – but you know it’s for your own good, and it inspires you to start making some changes.
A few quotes from the book:
“Much of our restlessness and instability can be traced to this basic fault in modern character [hard core aversion to restraint and control]. Our overflowing asylums and hospitals and jails are but symptoms of an undisciplined age. There may be many secondary causes, and there may be many secondary cures, but somewhere behind them all is the need for discipline…”
“The edge possessed by the disciplined over the undisciplined shows up in many little things. The disciplined person picks up his clothes, the undisciplined lets them lie. One washes the bathtub after himself; the other leaves the highwater mark for someone else to scrub. One plans his work and works to his plan; the other works haphazardly. One his habitually prompt in his appointments; the other is notoriously tardy. Some people are always on time at church, while others never are. Observers of many years’ experience will support the claim that the difference cannot be explained in the greater distance to travel or larger families to hustle. The difference is habit, and habit is character.”
Does any of this resonate with anyone else?