Sunday, January 22, 2006

Social Justice

Proverbs 24:10-12 says:
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.

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?
On the 33rd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade supreme court decision, this passage of Scripture has increased significance. God is a God who wants his children to rescue those who are being taken away to death, he wants for us to hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. Therefore, our family did something we have never done before. All six of us, along with about 300 people from our church, and about 6,000 people from the Twin Cities, marched on the Minnesota state capital today in protest of the current laws that allow legalized abortion.

When we arrived at 2:00 PM today it was 25 degrees. It dropped to 23 degrees by the time we left. We marched around the capital lawns for about a half hour to the sound of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes. At 2:30, we gathered on the courthouse steps, sang Amazing Grace (6,000 people!) and then heard speeches from various officials. The suprise speaker was the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. It is a good thing to know that our Governor is very much pro-life, and cares deeply for the un-born.

It is our prayer, as parents, that our kids can see what is truly important. In the last two years, we have tried to show them that money and houses and cars and jewelry and stuff is not what matters. Only Jesus Christ matters. And as followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to love others.

When Jesus was asked by a lawyer who was his neighbor, Jesus told a famous parable. The lawyer was trying to test Jesus. Jesus turned the tables on the lawyer and never answered his question. Instead Jesus asked the lawyer, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The lawyer answered, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise" (Luke 10:25-37).

The question then is whether we, as 21st Century Christians, can apply this to a 21st Century problem. The question is not whether unborn babies are our neighbors. Jesus refused to answer that question. The answer is obviously yes. Of course unborn babies are our neighbors, just as much as the man who was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road was.

The question that is of utmost importance is, "Who proved to BE a neighbor?" With 33 years gone by and 46 million babies murdered, who has proved to be a neighbor? Unfortunately, the answer is not me. Until today's miniscule step, I have never been a vocal neighbor to unborn children. Certainly we have given to our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, but anyone can give money. We can also march. Maybe marching isn't for you. Fine. But can you pray? Can you pray that the sovereign God of the Universe would so move that the legal right to abortion is abolished? And then pray how you can be a neighbor in a more bold way.

For, as Proverbs says, "Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sermon and Pastoral Prayer

As I mentioned in the last post, here is a link to the sermon from last Sunday. It is well worth the read.

Before Pastor Piper preached, our Lead Pastor for Life Training prayed over the entire church. The following is his pastoral prayer:
I thank you for these people because of the grace given to them in Christ Jesus. If there's one thing we need, it's enabling grace and you are giving it!

When they don't feel steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, help them know their labor in you is not in vain.

I pray that you would keep them strong to the end, so that they will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are faithful.

Moses prayed that his people would have something to drink, so this morning I want to ask you to slake this people's thirst for you.

Samuel cried out to you on behalf of his people and you thundered against the Philistines, and this morning I want to cry out to you to rescue this people from deeply entrenched habits, untruthful self-talk, accomodation and double-mindedness in world view, wrongful appetites, selfishness, pornography, and our own foolishness.

Elijah prayed and you answered so the people would know that you, O Lord, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again, and this morning I want to ask you to grant the gift of faith so that this people would know that you are, and that you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you.

I feel badly that some here are facing physical pain and deadly diseases. Some encounter great doubts of the soul and demonic oppression. Others are experiencing confusion, perplexity and darkness. There are strained and estranged relationships that ache. This people faces a sea of misery in this fallen world.

Great Shepherd of the sheep, would you grant comfort and hope to those who need it. Give a mighty break through to those who need it. Give a swift kick in the pants to those of us who would profit from that. Put your arm around the lonely. And work all things together for the good of those who love you, those who are the called according to your purpose, and conform them to the image of your son in whose name I pray.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Yesterday: A Great Day

Yesterday was a great day. It was one of those days where everything went right. First off, Pastor Piper recently announced that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and when he preached on Sunday morning, he discussed this in light of the the Christian life and the Word of God. He was in great form and his preaching was superb. Check for this sermon. I will provide a link as soon as it is posted. While Pastor Piper's disease is not a good thing, the word that was preached was fantastic. I wish you all could sit under this kind of teaching.

After church, we went to McDonalds and then traded in last years ice skates for this years ice skates. Play It Again Sports sells used skates, and we were able to trade in last years skates to offset the cost. Then we went to the park a block from our house and skated for an hour or two. All the while is was gently snowing. It was a wonderful time.

After the kids were in bed, Wendy and I finished reading the first section of a book on Pauline Theology.

What a great day!

You may think we are nuts, but such is life in Minnesota.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Here We Are

Here is a picture for those of you who want to see a current image of us. We hope that the first week of your year is going well.

All of last semester, I have been the teacher's assistant for Pastor Tom Steller's two classes on Wednesday nights. Wendy has been taking the classes. Because we have been in these classes, Wendy and I have not been able to attend the regular Wednesday night service. Last night we attended the first Wednesday service of the new year, and our first service in over five months. The Wednesday night services are a lot different than Sunday morning, but they are still wonderful. They are more homey, and we worship, and have some teaching time, and usually, get to watch a few baptisms.

Last night there were two baptisms. It was obvious that both of these people truly understood the magnitude of their sin and the magnitude of the covering afforded to them by Christ's death and resurrection. It was an honor and a joy to hear their testimonies and see them take the step of faith in being baptized.

Next week Wendy and I will be back in classes. That is good, but also sad, because we realized how much we missed the worship services on Wednesday night.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year -- Three Days Late

Happy New Year! We wish you all a wonderful new year. May God bless you as you strive to find your joy in Him. For, as my pastor says, "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." So, find your satisfaction in Christ, and in doing so, you will fulfill your greatest duty to glorify him.

We are a little disappointed in the weather. It is supposed to be cold here in Minnesota, but it hasn't hardly dipped below 32 degrees for the last few weeks. The lakes are starting to thaw. Several trucks have fallen through the ice on one lake. If we have to put up with heat and humidity in the summer, I sure would like to have a worthy winter.

School starts again this coming Monday. However, I have two assignments, plus reading due on that day, so I have started studying again. Please pray for Wendy and I as we try to get back into the swing of TBI and homeschool.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).