Monthly Archives: May 2012

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.

Christian Post Article On Redefining Sin

The Christian Post website shared some of my sermon from May 13, 2012, on their website. During the sermon, I was talking about how sin is attacking the church and the culture.  Also, I addressed the current controversy over same sex marriage.  You can read the article here.

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.

The Prayer of FDR

This week, supporters of the D-Day Landing Prayer Act celebrated Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) introduction of this legislation which would add President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day Landing Prayer in its entirety to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Sen. Portman has encouraged his colleagues to quickly pass the legislation.

The senator stated, “On D-Day, courageous Americans risked and sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms and end tyranny abroad.  That morning, President Roosevelt asked our nation to come together to pray for the men overseas.  His words brought strength and comfort to many during one of the most challenging times for our nation and will forever be etched in our history.”

He continued, “This bill ensures that FDR’s prayer will become a permanent reminder of the sacrifice of those who fought in World War II, and of the power of prayer through difficult times.”

I think this is important legislation particularly because there are many in our nation who seek to wipe out our nation’s history of prayer and dependence on God.  It is important that future generations are aware of the fact that many of our nation’s leaders, both Democrat and Republican, had a desire to bring Almighty God into the equation, especially when our nation was facing severe challenges.

FDR’s prayer was read over the radio airwaves during the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when about 160,000 American, British and Canadian troops landed on five beaches of vast coastline in France’s Normandy region.  The website for the National D-Day Memorial (www.dday.org) reports that the landing “included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.”  It was a horrific day, with the Allied Forces suffering nearly 10,000 casualties, including more than 4,000 dead.  However, as the Memorial website declares, “Somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.”  Thank God for these men who gave all to defend liberty, and thank God for the President who encouraged a nation to its knees.  May we never forget that day, the terrible sacrifice, and the President’s prayer.

Traditional Marriage Wins Again

Voters in North Carolina voted this week (61 percent to 39 percent) to place these words in the state Constitution: “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”  North Carolina is now the 36th state to pass an amendment to its constitution affirming traditional marriage.

Our friend Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “When the issue goes before the American people, the natural definition of marriage wins every time.  These voters understand that the family is the backbone of a healthy society.  They appreciate the benefits of a mom and dad raising their children to be good citizens.  Americans can see results of the destruction of the family, and they are using the ballot box to build stronger homes.”

The organization Vote for Marriage NC (www.voteformarriagenc.com) noted that passage of this amendment ensures that the people of state, and not activist judges or politicians, determine how to define marriage.

The organization stated, “Without a marriage amendment in our constitution, activist judges can substitute their values for those of the people of North Carolina.  This is exactly what happened in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California.  Similarly, legislators can redefine marriage without the permission of the people, as was done in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  The marriage amendment ensures that if activists want to redefine marriage in the future, they must receive the approval of voters to do so.”

A New Kind of Bullying

Last week, at a Seattle high school journalism gathering, anti-bullying and gay-rights organizer Dan Savage went on an anti-Bible assault, taking direct aim on kids in the audience who revere God’s Word, even cursing the Bible and using profanity to describe its contents.  After about 100 students walked out on the speaker, Savage cursed them, as well.

The Fox News Channel says that Savage is the founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying crusade that has gained the support of President Obama.  Savage, Fox News reported, “also writes a sex advice column called Savage Love.”  CitizenLink.com, an affiliate ministry of Focus On The Family, interviewed the father of one of the Christian students who walked out.  He stated, “If Dan Savage was a teacher, they’d suspend him without pay for this behavior … How many of the kids who didn’t walk out felt backed into a corner?  To me, that’s bullying behavior.  It has all the symptoms, as far as I’m concerned.”

Even though Mr. Savage’s behavior was shocking and unacceptable, I do support the effort to halt all bullying in our nation.  As Christians, we must be ever-ready to defend the Bible and affirm that it is the supernaturally-inspired Word of God and that all its contents are the true revelation of God.  We must never be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).  However, we must also remember that we need to be compassionate and respectful to all.  I personally denounce any Christian who bullies a homosexual; that is not what God intends.  Jesus, our example, was always kind to everyone he met, and we must reflect Him in all we do and say as we point to Him as the loving Savior.

John MacArthur, in his book Titus, gave us a great reminder on how we, as followers of Christ, must always behave.  He wrote, “We must not be so engulfed in trying to force social behavior to conform to our standards that we become enemies of those our Lord has called us to win to Himself.  We must reject sin and never compromise God’s standards of righteousness.  But we also must never engage in defamation and denigration of the lost sinners who make up our corrupt culture.  When Christians become political, sinners become the enemy instead of the mission field.”

 

Anti-Religion Group Targets The Cross

In Woonsocket, R.I., the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wants to oust another Christian symbol, this one a cross that sits atop a historic war memorial.  The Providence Journal reported that Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine and the city council are fighting to protect the memorial, while state Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said he “applauded” their work “to fight the attack by the group Freedom From Religion Foundation.”

Last week, more than 1,000 people, many of them veterans, participated in a rally to safeguard the memorial; it was organized by former head of the Rhode Island National Guard Gen. Reginald Centracchio and WPRO radio’s John DePetro to.  At the event, Mayor Fontaine stated that the 1921 monument is not about the establishment of religion, but solely about recalling the sacrifices of four local residents killed in WW I and WWII, including three brothers: Alexandre, Henri and Louis Gagne.

The Wisconsin-based FFRF has been targeting such memorials since 1978.  The organization presently has a petition drive urging the termination of our nation’s annual National Day of Prayer.  The petition reads: “We petition the Obama Administration to: End the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer, which violates the 1st Amendment.  God & government are a dangerous mix.”  I think what’s more dangerous is the fact that these anti-religion groups ignore our nation’s observable history of offering thanks to God for His blessings and protections.  As George Washington stated in his Thanksgiving proclamation of 1789, “… it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”  If we’re not careful, one day, Mr. Washington’s words might be purged from our nation’s record because they are too offensive.