Celebrate America at TRBC – July 1

On July 1, Thomas Road Baptist Church will conduct its annual Celebrate America event in Lynchburg, Va., and I would like to invite all my Falwell Confidential friends to join us.  We will have loads of fun for the entire family, including: “Slidezilla” (a four-story-tall water slide), rock-climbing wall; inflatable moonwalks; an obstacle course; a caterpillar maze; pony rides; a petting zoo; a car show; and much more.  Once it is dark, we will also stage the largest fireworks display in Central Virginia that will shake the surrounding mountains.

The day will also feature our God & Country music program that will honor our veterans and the Judeo-Christian founding of our nation.  Further, there will be lots of food and fellowship with people from all over the country throughout the day.  Best of all, it’s all free (other than the food) and there’s no charge for parking.

It all takes place on July 1 from 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  So if you’re looking for a great day of family fun and fellowship, join us in Lynchburg as we celebrate America.

The Ten Commandments At School

Here in Virginia, a county school board recently voted to provisionally remove a Ten Commandments display at a public high school, substituting a page from a history textbook.  The Board for Giles County Public Schools made the decision because a lawsuit against the American Law and Government display is underway.

Our friends at Liberty Counsel say the page being used depicts the “Roots of Democracy” and begins with the Ten Commandments stone tablets.  The books states, “The values found in the Bible including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus inspired American ideas about government and morality.”  Liberty Counsel says the Virginia Standards of Learning requires students to learn about the foundational principles of civilizations and the foundations of law and government.

“A display on the foundations of American law and government would be incomplete and inaccurate without the Ten Commandments.  Any student of history knows this basic truth,” said Mat Staver.  He’s absolutely right.  But many in our nation want to conceal the importance of the Ten Commandments in the foundation of our law.  Remember that John Jay, the first U.S. Chief Justice of the United States, stated, “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next.  Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”  Those are wise words but they are considered offensive to modern secularists who want to purge such expressions from the public square.

The IRS and Churches

This week, an IRS official told pastors in Washington to be careful about political activities that might endanger a church’s tax-exempt status.  The Associated Press reported that Peter Lorenzetti told the Faith Leaders Summit that pastors should avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or making contributions to their campaigns.  Lorenzetti said that churches were free to distribute voter guides that inform voters on political issues as long as they do not favor a particular candidate.

This can be a confusing issue for pastors and church leaders.  Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, had this to say about this topic. “Not one church has ever lost tax-exempt status for supporting or opposing a candidate for public office.”  Mat added, “Pastors can always speak on biblical issues.  Further, pastors and churches can encourage members to register to vote, urge them to vote, and educate members about the views of candidates on a variety of issues.”

I know this to be true because Thomas Road Baptist Church has held voter-registration drives and distributed legal voter guides for many years.  There is a lot of scare-mongering on this issue, but pastors should feel free to be vocal in educating their congregations on important political-social issues.  Remember, as believers, we are to pray for our leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2) and be wise in all that we do (Matthew 10:16), including voting.

REACHING KIDS FOR JESUS

Thomas Road Baptist Church will hold Vacation Bible School June 10-14 (6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.).  This year’s theme is “The Quest for the Silver Knight.”  Any of my readers with children or grandchildren in the Central Virginia area are invited to bring the kids for this special week.  Our VBS programs are renowned for their creative programs that feature great songs, games, skits and Bible stories that teach kids about the importance of personally knowing Jesus.  Our church website (www.trbc.org) has an information and registration site for all who are interested.

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO GAVE ALL

My father loved Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  He had a CD of some of the general’s speeches and often listened to them in his vehicle.  On May 12, 1962, in his farewell speech (his “final roll call,” as he called it) at the U.S. Military Academy, Gen. MacArthur gave tribute to the many who have given their lives to protect freedom.  I would like to recall a portion of that speech as we celebrate Memorial Day.

In stirring fashion, Gen. MacArthur stated, “Their story is known to all of you.  It is the story of the American man at arms.  My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago and has never changed.  I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures — not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.”

He continued, “But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words.  He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism … From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage.  As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

“I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death.  They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.  Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country.  Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.”

On this Memorial Day, I encourage my friends across this nation to recall the sacrifices of the men and women who have preserved freedom on our shores and in foreign lands.  May our hearts be filled with gratitude as we remember those who gave all.  I encourage you this year to shake the hands of veterans, give out a few hugs, and convey your thanks to them for their service.  Our veterans are the true heroes of our nation.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR PRO-LIFE AMERICANS

A new Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” has hit a record low (41 percent), while the number of pro-life Americans registered 50 percent.   The organization has been conducting this poll since 1995.

The website, lifenet.net, noted that the poll’s results “are a stunning turnaround from the first survey to ask this question.  In 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as ‘pro-choice,’ and only 33 percent of Americans were ‘pro-life.’”  This is indeed wonderful news.  The key, of course, is continuing to convince new generations of young Americans that abortion takes the life of a living being.

This poll could have a significant political impact, as well.  With critical elections on the horizon, let’s pray that these poll numbers embolden pro-life lawmakers and candidates to be unflinching in voicing their support of life.

 

DAY OF PRAYER IS TOO ‘RELIGIOUS’

A three-judge panel of the Colorado state court of appeals ruled this week that the state’s annual Day of Prayer proclamation is unconstitutional.  The prayer proclamations by both Republican and Democrat governors between 2004 and 2009 are “predominately religious,” the court ruled, adding that they “undermine the premise that the government serves believers and nonbelievers equally.”  The Freedom From Religion Foundation brought suit against the Colorado proclamation.

It never ceases to amaze me that activist judges either do not understand or seemingly ignore our nation’s extensive history of national days of prayer.  From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War II and beyond, the people of America have united in calls for the blessings of Almighty God.  This history seems not to matter, though, and America is rapidly becoming a nation of intolerance toward public expressions of faith — expressions that were common and cherished in the days of our founding.

It is a modern tragedy that our courts are purging public prayer and depictions of Christianity from the public square.  Our Founders would be astonished that their beloved nation has arrived at such a point.

 

Jason Crabb at TRBC on May 20

I’m so excited to have Jason Crabb at TRBC on Sunday, May 20.  He’ll be in all of the morning services and will be in concert (FREE) on Sunday night at 6:30pm in the Worship Center.  Jason was recently named the male vocalist of the year and the artist of the year at the 2012 Dove Awards.

Same-Sex Marriage A Front Burner Issue

Now that President Obama has come out in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, saying his opinion on the issue has “evolved,” the conservative Christian community must continue to respectfully stand for traditional marriage in our nation.  I say that we must be respectful for two reasons: (1) because Jesus, our example, was never unkind when addressing people and (2) there are many people in our nation who passionately disagree with us on this issue.  We must stand unequivocally on God’s Word and be dependent on God’s wisdom at all times when we are involved with this type of divisive issue.  We must speak the truth, but speak it in love.

Marriage was established by God as being between a man and a woman and, as such, is the foundational pattern for the family.  History and studies have shown that the best way for kids to be raised is by a mother and father.  The church must be at work to strengthen the traditional family in our nation.  We need to empower fathers and mothers to raise their children, together, so that they become followers of Christ and examples of the faith in their own families and within the culture.  Our society wants to change established truths, so we must be forever on guard to follow God’s truth, even when we are reviled for championing to age-old principles.

Remember that God loves homosexuals just as much as He loves Baptists.  Let us, as His followers, commit to being bold yet gracious representatives for Him in all we say and do.