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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL
Last week, Israel celebrated its 64th birthday and Christians around the world honored the independence of this nation.
David Harris of executive director of the American Jewish Committee, last year wrote a beautiful observance of Israel’s independence. In the column, he wrote, “The psalmist’s remembrance of the tears of exile in Babylon has been replaced by the joy of the return home. A language of old has been restored. A dry, barren soil has become lush with the fruits of the earth. A people decimated by the Nazi Final Solution experienced sovereign regeneration only three years after the Holocaust. A nation confronted by a war of extinction on its very first day — and relentlessly thereafter with more wars, waves of terrorism, economic boycotts, blood-curdling incitement, assaults on its legitimacy, you name it — has never given up or given in.”
During this year’s independence celebration at Har Herzl in Jerusalem, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared that Israel is prepared to guard against “the extremists” who seek to destroy it. “The struggle against those who set mosques on fire is not between leftists and settlers, it is a struggle against zealots,” he said.
With Hamas and Hezbollah committed to the annihilation of Israel, Christians everywhere should be taking seriously the urging of Psalm 122:6, which says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you” (NKJV).
Mark Lashey and his family have lived in Delaware for 11 years now, and they have prayed for some time that God would send someone to start another church in Townsend that would help to meet the spiritual needs of the community. Little did they know, they would serve as the answer to their own prayers.
In October 2010, the Lasheys mailed invitations to their neighborhood for a Bible study in their home; as of the first week, 15 attended. The group continued to grow over the next couple of years, and they soon had around 100 people meeting in several houses. It was at this time that Mark knew that the only solution was for him to plant a church.
Life House held their first service in February of 2012. There were 327 people in attendance, and eight came to Christ. As Mark and I talked later that week, we both agreed that if eternity was changed for those eight people alone, that the effort was worth it. However, we both agreed that we felt that God was not done working in and through Life House. This quickly proved to be true as over 30 people have now professed Christ through the ministry of Life House since February!
Mark highlighted the journey of one of his neighbors. She was very vocal before the launch of the church that she would never be involved in Life House. Well, she has recently come to Christ through Life House, and the church is praying that her husband does the same in the near future.
As I spoke to Mark, he used a few phrases repeatedly. One of those was that he feels as though he keeps waiting “for the dust to settle,” but there are no signs of that in sight. God continues to work greatly through Life House to change both individual lives and the community.
Another phrase he used was “for such a time as this,” as he conveyed his ministry there. Mark said that he never used to cry, but that he finds himself crying every day now as he is simply in awe of God’s activity around him. Mark commented, “This has put me in a position to only rely on God. I don’t have the experience or knowledge to orchestrate the things that are happening right now. Obviously, God is working, and I am growing as a result.”
Mark has asked us to pray for those that need to take their next steps in following Jesus, and that the church would be able to assist them in this process. He also asked for prayer in reference to God’s provision and for increased giving to help meet these needs.
Certainly, God is working in Townsend, Delaware through Life House. LCPN is honored to come alongside Mark and the church there to see not only individual lives changing, but also families and the community as well. Mark is talking of plans to join LCPN “to change the world by planting churches that plant churches” as they are considering plans to plant another church in the near future. We thank you for your part in helping this vision to be experienced on a daily basis in our churches!