Prayers for life

Cindy Johanson, director of Central Florida Pregnancy Center, Deland, FL

This morning (January 22) I attended a prayer breakfast hosted by Alpha Women’s Center, a ministry the congregation and I have supported for over seventeen years in Flagler County, FL. I had been invited to say a prayer for the center as well, something I readily agreed to do.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I don’t believe they have had an event like this before. But under the leadership of the current director, Wilma Williams, they are working hard to encourage and expand their footprint in the county.

The event was held in a very small church cafe in Flagler Beach, just barely big enough to hold the thirty folks who attended. At least four other pastors attended, plus representative from a number of other congregations. The meal of quiche, fruit, muffins and oatmeal was just right and delicious.

The guest speaker was Cindy Johanson, the executive director of the Central Florida Pregnancy Center in Deltona, FL. The occasion of her talk was a sober reminder of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade was handed down on January 22, 1973, lifting restrictions on abortion in the United States. Since then, the lives of over 60,000,000 children have been ended by abortion.

Her words were also encouraging. Currently, there are over 3,000 pregnancy centers in the United States. There are 800 abortion clinics. The work of so many for life has increased dramatically.

She pointed out that when someone is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, all they see is a life or death issue. The birth of a child often threatens plans for education, career, and relationships. Those who work to protect and preserve life know that there are many more options, and are glad to speak about the possibilities with any who seek out help. While those who end life make a profit, those who work to save it do not make a penny. Rather, we make great sacrifices to provide these services.

None of what Alpha does would be possible had not God placed a burden for life in each heart who lifted up prayers today. We pray to the God who gives us life and breath and everything else, that he would continue to bring life to our families and communities. We pray to the God who came to sacrifice his own life for us so that we could live. We pray to the God who accompanies us through the valley of the shadow of death to life.

As I was about to leave, I overheard a conversation between a college student and her pastor. She had used her wonderful musical talents to play a few songs for the meeting. But I heard her say, “Remind me again what Roe v. Wade is.” What an important reminder to keep talking about the issues, the history, and our part in it. We cannot assume that all have heard or understand the issues. We cannot assume they know what is at stake. Communication and information are powerful and essential. The opposing side works hard at this. So must we.

Coming around the backstretch: This and that (for March 7, 2015)

We’re halfway through the season of Lent on our way to Easter Sunday. Hopefully I’ll remember to set my clocks ahead tonight so I’m not late for church tomorrow morning. I discovered a bunch of interesting stuff to share this past week.

Amy Carmichael wrote, ““Let nothing be said about anyone unless it passes through the three sieves: Is it true? Is it kind?sieves Is it necessary?” (aka, The Three Sieves of Socrates). Tim Challies reflects on the importance of that wisdom in The 3 Sieves.

Aaron Armstrong recommends these books to Christians who would like to read about Islam. A few more are added in the comments.

Walter Fretz is the name of a baby who survived just a few moments after being born at just 19 weeks’ gestation. He was tiny, but had a powerful message to send about preborn human life in this story from lifenews.com. According to this article from Christianity today, the Guttmacher Institute’s research has 54331found twenty percent of women who have an abortion identify themselves a born-again, evangelical, charismatic, or fundamentalist Christians. That’s reason enough to make sure we (Christians and the Church) frequently and stubbornly speak of God’s mercy and forgiveness as well as His gift of life.

Food updates:

  • I made a batch of Pinot Noir Brownies. They are even more  chocolately and delicious as I had hoped!
  • I like Peeps as much as anyone, but I’m dubious about Peeps flavored milk from Prairie Farms. I’ll let you try it and tell me what you think.
  • Do you like the Lemon Cake at Starbucks? Here’s the recipe you can make at home. They claim it’s even better.
  • Be sure to make the Brownies and Lemon Cake before you read this article from the World Health Organization, which states that we are getting way too many calories from sugar.
  • I have to make one of these for next week’s baby shower. I hope I can find a nice watermelon at this time of the year.

watermelon baby

Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby have been in the news as companies begun by Christians. Here are a few more companies I’ll bet you didn’t know were also started by believers. BTW, the Chick-fil-A in Palm Coast opens March 19!

Picture1

First thoughts on Life Sunday

These are my first thoughts on my sermon for Sanctity of Life Sunday coming up this weekend. I preach on this every year in January, right around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And each year I realize we haven’t talked much about life issues since the last life  We haven’t heard much, either. There was some buzz that health care reform would include some public funding for abortions, but that issue has gotten buried somewhere in the massive bill being worked out in congress. There has been a little news about assisted suicide in some states. But not much.

Now to be fair, we have done a lot with other life issues, being very busy supporting food pantries, the local cold weather shelter, and helping out moms in the local pregnancy center.

Perhaps after 36 years, just about two generations, we’ve just gotten used to it. Which is a shame, because a lot of unborn children have died during that time. A lot of hungry people have died. A lot of older adults have been neglected. God’s word proclaims the truth that all human life is valuable, created by the hand of God and redeemed by the blood of our Savior. Yet, that good news often gets drowned out by political debates, economic considerations, and questions about quality of life. If the good news gets obscured, then life will be lost. So we need to speak the truth about life, speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, and remind each other how important life is.