Month: August 2015

Your Voice. Let It Be Heard For Christ.

As many of you know, in the last few months we have seen undercover videos released documenting the thinking and practices that drive Planned Parenthood. The latest in these videos, released a few days ago, has an ex-employee describing  a procurement of a baby’s brain. To do so, she and another technician had to cut out the baby’s face to get to the brain. This, after observing that the baby’s heart would still beat if the chest was tapped on. Imagine, a man has a heart attack and collapses and instead of giving CPR and chest compression, a medic takes out scissors and removes his brains. Yes, that is the generation we live in.

How should we as a church respond? How should we as individual followers of Jesus respond? One verse this sheds light is Proverbs 24:11-12

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11–12, ESV)

John Piper explains it this way

The duty of verse 11 could be stated like this: ‘If a group of humans is being taken away to death who ought not be taken away to death, the people who fear God ought to try to rescue them.’ Or, to use the words of the second half of the verse, ‘If there is a group of humans who are stumbling (literally: slipping) to the slaughter who ought not to be slipping to the slaughter, the people who fear God ought to try to hold them back from the slaughter.’ What is being command here is some kind of intervention from us when we become aware of humans being killed who ought not to be killed

No longer can we say we do not know. We can say we didn’t care, we can say we didn’t bother or it didn’t bother us, but we can’t say we did not know.

I’m reaching out to each of you to consider joining us this Saturday as we participate in a peaceful protest against Planned Parenthood. We will be joining many others to let the truth be known. Yes, we will be holding signs. Yes, we will be praying. Yes, we will love and do our best to care for those deceived in the lies of abortion. And yes, we want to see Planned Parenthood defunded and closed. My plea to you is to not see this as a political stand, but as a Christian duty. It is our duty in the culture we participate in to stand for those led to the slaughter. Here’s the link to the event. Come out. Share it. Bring others.

Protesting Planned Parenthood

One final thought for you comes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as he wrote from prison about the resistance of Christians against Hitler’s genoicide of Jews:

“”We have been silent witnesses to evil deeds. We have become cunning and learnt the arts of obfuscation and equivocal speech. Experience has rendered us suspicious of human beings and often we have failed to speak to them a true and open word. Unbearable conflicts have worn us down or even made us cynical. Are we still of any use? Geniuses, cynics, people who feel contempt for others, or cunning tacticians, are not what we will need but simple, uncomplicated and honest human beings. Will our inner strength to resist what has been forced on us have remained strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves blunt enough, to find our way back to simplicity and honesty?” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters From Prison, pg 17

Simplicity and honesty. Babies are being killed. God’s people ought to speak.

A Hunger For God: Intro

Last night I started on “A Hunger For God” by John Piper. This is in prep for the upcoming sermon series I’ll be preaching in September – “Awaken: Teach Us To Pray”. These quotes stood out to me:

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18–20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. Pg. 18

Now here was a radical kind of fast: the sacrifice of a son. God did not call for this “fast” because Isaac was evil. On the contrary, it was because in Abraham’s eyes he was so good. Indeed he seemed indispensable for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Fasting is not the forfeit of evil but of good. pg 20

And many small acts of preferring fellowship with God above food can form a habit of communion and contentment that makes one ready for the ultimate sacrifice. This is one way that fasting serves all our acts of love to God. It keeps the preferring faculty on alert and sharp. It does not let the issue rest. It forces us to ask repeatedly: do I really hunger for God? Do I miss him? Do I long for him? Or have I begun to be content with his gifts? Christian fasting is a test to see what desires control us. What are our bottom-line passions? pg 21

In the heart of the saint both eating and fasting are worship. Both magnify Christ. Both send the heart—grateful and yearning—to the Giver. Each has its appointed place, and each has its danger. The danger of eating is that we fall in love with the gift; the danger of fasting is that we belittle the gift and glory in our willpower. pg 24

If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. God did not create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry, and to say with some simple fast: “This much, O God, I want you.” pg 25

One of the prayers I’ve been praying lately has been this:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

How does one measure revival and renewal? My guess would be hunger for Christ.