Saturday, June 27, 2015

Unique Voices--Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson was a Planned Parenthood director who is now pro-life. For obvious reasons, she is a unique voice in this ongoing battle regarding abortion.  She worked with Planned Parenthood for eight years and became a clinic director.  She became increasingly disturbed by what she witnessed.  Increasingly, she saw abortion was a product that Planned Parenthood was selling.  As unrest grew within her, she continued in the employ of Planned Parenthood.

On September 26, 2009, Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound- guided abortion.  She watched in horror as a 13 week baby fought and lost its life at the hand of an abortionist.  It was at that moment the full realization of WHAT abortion was and what she had dedicated her life to washed over Abby and a dramatic transformation began.

Abby contacted a local pro-life group.  She swore that she would begin to advocate for life in the womb and expose abortion for what it truly is.  However…Planned Parenthood didn’t take her exodus sitting down.  They are fully aware that workers who leave are their greatest threat.  They immediately took action to silence her with a gag order and took Abby to court.  Thankfully, it was quickly thrown out of court, and the media was, and continues to be, intensely interested in Abby’s story as well as her continued efforts to advocate for the unborn and to help clinic workers escape the abortion industry.  She has written a book titled Unplanned.  She travels around the world sharing her story and educating the public on pro-life issues.  She has also founded an organization that is aimed at reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry called And Then There Were None.  It seeks to help them leave the industry and find healing.

The above is a paraphrase of her bio on her facebook account.  I have been following her for quite some time.  Although there are a few things I disagree with her about (pretty much like every other human being on the planet), I have great appreciation for how I believe God is using her.  I hope you will seek out her voice and give it a listen.
More voices to come…….        

Friday, June 19, 2015

Talk Amongst Ya Selves--Matthew 10:1-23

This is where we get interactive with this here blog thang. Comments are always welcome on any of my posts as long as they are vulgarity free and respectful to other commenters. However this is one of a handful of categories of posts that not only allow for comment but I AM BEGGING for your INPUT peoples. Let's talk about the Bible. We need to develop this habit more. Why not start here? You will find I have thoughts of my own but will purposefully keep them to myself until AFTER others have shared their thoughts first.

These are the ground rules.

I am the moderator. I know this sounds a bit power trippy, but I am pointing out something that is obvious in order to underscore that I will ultimately determine if I think the back and forth is still progressing in a way that is beneficial overall.

Prayer is strongly encouraged before offering a thought about the scripture or someone else’s thoughts about that scripture or about the many, many thoughts that these discussions sometimes lead to.

That’s all the rules about this….. for now.

Here’s the first scripture to discuss.

Matthew 10:1-23

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Saturday, June 06, 2015


In Deuteronomy 4:15-28, Moses makes it clear to the Israelites that they are to STAY away from idols and corrupting the clear teachings of how they were to worship and live with God in the promised land.  He also makes it clear, in this section, what the repercussions will be if they OR their children’s children disobey and disregard this warning.

In Deuteronomy 7:1-11, he further stresses the importance of the people to do this, AND he even makes it clear to them they are in no way to intermingle with the people or culture of those with whom they are dispossessing.

Is this relevant to us today and if so, how?

I will quote these next two verses in my posts again and again because I believe they are two of the most important but overlooked scriptures in the New Testament.

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.  These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (Jesus speaking about the OLD TESTAMENT)
John 5:39-40

“Now these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.” (Paul speaking regarding several examples from the Israelites in the wilderness.)
I Corinthians 10:11

The point I am making with these two passages is that the Old Testament has a purpose for us that is primarily to give us profound insights into our pursuit of Christ and how we as Christians are to live.  It is often relegated to the status of second class scripture by many of us, and this is tragic.  OK, back to the Deuteronomy point… is this relevant to us?

This relates to the role of repentance and obedience in the life of the believer. The Israelites did not get the promised land BECAUSE of their obedience. Moses makes this clear in Deuteronomy 9:5. It is also made abundantly clear in numerous New Testament passages that we are never to believe that we somehow gained our salvation due to our own obedience.  However, what is made equally clear in the previously mentioned passages and many, many others is the CRUCIAL role that their (and our) initial repentance and obedience plays as each generation lives in the land given to them.

I heard a great analogy about this from a pastor I respect named Paul Mowery.  He gives the analogy of an owner of a strip mall who has leased out the various stores to a certain group.  Over time, this group has taken these individual stores in the strip mall and made them into adult bookstores, liquor stores, strip clubs, businesses that are a front for meth and heroine dealing, and other activities that are increasingly not only counter to the agreed upon terms when the lease was signed but types of business that are patently illegal.  The owner of the strip mall has repeatedly tried to get these tenants to return to the agreed upon usage of this space.  It is located directly in the center of preschools, elementary schools, and high schools, as well as residential neighborhoods.  Finally, after much attempt on his part to get them to simply return to the terms of the lease, their lease is revoked, and the people are removed from the premises by force.  He has adopted some kids.  These kids are not saints by any stretch of the imagination.  They have a history of immoral behavior, violence, and all sorts of crime themselves, but he is seeking to teach them the next step in living a life that is both beneficial to the community that they live among as well as a bright future for them and their families in the future.  He allows them to take over the now vacant shops.  There is one CRUCIAL catch.  They must, must, MUST go in and empty out ALL the corrupting contents and COMPLETELY destroy all remnants of what these stores have been allowed to become. WHY? This question wouldn’t even be asked because the answer is so obvious, BUT I want to take a minute and consider it. The obvious part of the answer is that if they don’t remove these things, they themselves will quickly become tempted by and almost surely begin engaging in the same kinds of immoral activities.  This is especially true given their background.  However, perhaps a more thoughtful reason to ask WHY might be, “Why wouldn’t the owner/adopted father just go himself or send someone else in to clear it out instead of getting them to do it given their existing predisposition for criminal activity?”  My answer to this is that this is a crucial turning point for them.  Consider this.  If they were not willing to do this simple and straightforward task in the face of such an amazing gift when the benefits and reasons to do this are
SO obvious, why would we think that they would have stayed away from the criminal path over the long run?? 

I believe this is a great analogy to help us understand the mandate given to the nation of Israel by God by way of Moses.  It also sheds great light on how we can recognize the crucial role that initial repentance and ongoing obedience plays in our lives as believers.

Just as Moses warned the Israelites, John finishes his book 1st John with the warning to “…keep yourselves from idols.”  I fear we have largely removed the word repent from its inextricable link with the gospel.