2nd Amendment, Justice vs. Democratic Party Gun Control Agenda
There is a right and wrong to every question—Paying attention to your conscience is what helps you develop good character.
Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right!
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
and with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
~Anonymous; The Psalms of Life, Boston, 1857
Birthright Covenant Series
Excerpt from Book 2, coming in October
In this excerpt from the historical Birthright Covenant series , book 2, college history professor Jacob Nobles uses discovery teaching and ancient ruins at a historic site to lead his students in a discussion of truth, and discerning right from wrong.
“Okay—” Preston spoke with caution. “I’ll give you that the Bible is actually a history. But why does it matter?
“That is the million-dollar question …” Jacob smiled. “And you can find the answer here—for free!”
Jacob held up the Bible. “Now, Preston, you have asked why the Bible matters. Would you agree that the Bible is a history of God’s dealings with man?”
“I guess you could say that. Apparently, somehow God’s version of the creation was given to Moses, and Moses wrote it down,” Preston commented carefully.
“It makes sense to take God’s word for it,” Allison remarked with her usual bluntness. “After all, He was there when it happened—a distinction the rest of us cannot claim.”
Preston shook his head. “Still, none of us were there for the creation process—not even Moses.”
“That’s true.” Jacob chewed thoughtfully on his ham sandwich and inclined his head. “Hmm. So we have here two explanations for the Creation process—to keep it simple, we’ll call them two different stories. Since we were not present for the event, we’re forced to accept either one story or the other—on faith.”
Puzzled, Preston tilted his head.
“Well now, faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true,” Josiah Bianco said.
Folding his arms across his chest, Preston surveyed the surrounding hills and glimpsed a boy leading a few sheep. “Are you saying that everybody just blindly follows …” He paused. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend.”
“No offense taken.”
“Don’t worry,” Ben said. “We all have done the same thing.”
“Of course. It’s called academic freedom.”
“Sure. Bring it on!” Allison took a sip out of her can of grape juice. “Only frauds and liars are afraid to answer questions.”
“Why is Dr. Marlow so afraid of other points of view?” Nola asked.
“He doesn’t want to lose the debate!” Allison interjected.
“Yes. Debate is an important part of academic freedom, but anyone can win an argument without teaching truth. A friendly discussion with free exchange of ideas is more effective in discovering truth.” Jacob chuckled. “However, when you prefer to control what others say and think, truth can get in your way.
“Now that we are away from the university, we can actually look at more than one point of view! We will look at two stories of the Creation—one, in the Bible, and the other, Dr. Marlow’s version.”
“The Bible version seems too simple,” Preston said.
“Well, what is Dr. Marlow’s version called?” Nola inquired.
“Dr. Marlow believes in a theory called Natural Selection which, simply put, proposes that everything somehow creates itself by chance,” Jacob replied.
“That doesn’t make sense.” Nola frowned in disagreement. “The human body—and mind—are complicated. Something can’t be produced by nothing. My experience has shown me that nothing worthwhile happens by chance. Everything takes work, and effort, and planning.
“Yes, Nola. That’s why some scientists say that the Bible history discloses an intelligent design, a purpose, or an orderly plan.”
“Aren’t Bible stories for children?” Preston wondered.
“Men struggle to explain their philosophy. The Bible explains the Creation so a child can understand—so that parents can teach their children through the ages. Who is more intelligent?” Jacob shrugged. “Anyway, the important thing is, who is telling the truth—Man, or God?”
Jacob laughed. “We can look at some evidence. Where is evidence of chance?”
No one answered for a moment.
Josiah Bianco chortled. “Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?” he quipped, quoting Isaiah.
 Isaiah 29:16
“What about evidence of design?”
“The ability to think, for one thing,” Allison said, “ …one of many.”
“As I said, the human body,” Nola added, “and life itself. I know many very intelligent scientists and doctors, but no one can duplicate an eye or an ear.”
Preston’s gaze rested momentarily upon Nola’s face—round blue eyes, delicate sculpted features like a work of art. “All right,” he said. “Let’s say God is the intelligent Creator. Couldn’t He have made man out of apes?”
“Of course, He could, but would He? He is a God of order. As Creator of earth and all living things, He set up the rules for justice and science. Why would He violate His own laws?”
“What do you mean?”
“Okay, if the Bible is really a history, and if it is true that we humans are created in the image of God, how are we different from animals?”
“We can reason, while animals use instinct,” Preston said. “You’ve already established that.”
“Humans can draw, read, and write,” Allison said. “I have yet to see an animal who could carve something like this creature.” She poked her finger into the big teeth of the dragon carving, but withdrew her hand quickly. “Yikes! I don’t think an animal would make something this weird, even if it could!”
Jacob grinned. “True. Also, you chose to come here today, others did not. Ruben left early; the rest of you stayed. What does that mean?”
“People have the power to choose,” Ben said.
“Yes, that’s called Free Will. We have no empirical evidence of such a thing, but let’s suppose we have here a creature who is half man and half ape—by whose laws would this creature live—by the laws of man or nature? You’re the law student here, Preston. What do you think?”
“If the creature is half man, would it be fair to make him live like an animal? Or if he is half animal, and cannot reason fully as a man, would it be just to impose upon him the laws of men?”
“This is really getting confusing!”
“Yes, Preston, it is confusing. But when He had completed the creation, God blessed human beings and all living things to multiply, each after their own kind. There is nothing confusing about that.”
A flutter of wings announced the arrival of a dove which lit next to his mate upon a limb of the tall tree.
“The human soul can never die. So you see, it is created, not evolved, because God is not the author of confusion. Therefore, to avoid confusion, would you agree we need some kind of law to bring order and justice to our lives?”
“Absolutely,” Preston said. “We must have justice.”
“Let’s think for a moment about the two kinds of laws—which law provides true justice? Dr. Marlow makes no distinction between humans and animals. His law is simple: those who are strong rule and prevail over everything and everyone else.” Jacob placed his right hand firmly upon the rock and continued. “The law of Nature requires animals to kill other animals for food. In the law of the Bible, on the other hand, God tells us not to kill or eat other people. Why not?”
“It’s wrong!” The students exclaimed indignantly, in vigorous unison.
“How do you know it’s wrong?”
“Well,” Preston began slowly. “There simply is no justice in murder and cannibalism. I don’t know why … Somehow I just know that.”
“Men often create laws to try to change God’s commandments,” Jacob continued, “but God’s laws never change. When He created our eternal souls, He planted those unchangeable moral laws in our minds and hearts. It’s called—”
“Our conscience.” Preston nodded. “Of course! I see that now.”
“Yes. The Bible contains our true moral compass in writing. And that, Preston, is why the Bible matters.”
 Isaiah 29:16
 John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Great Books of the Western World, vol.35
 These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:59-60
 Genesis 1:22,24
 1 Corinthians 14:33
Obedience to law, fairness in work and play. An understanding of natural consequences and the law of the harvest. A grasp of mercy and forgiveness and an understanding of the futility (and bitter poison) of carrying a grudge.
Sample Method for Preschool Age: Turn Taking
Begin to establish the idea of fairness. One of the first words that toddlers should learn is turn. Two year olds (and even pre-two’s) can understand this most basic form of sharing. Help them to take a short turn with a toy and then say, “Jamie’s turn,” as they pass it to the other child. Then help them to watch and wait for a moment until it is their turn again.
Praise them generously every time they give a turn to the other child. As mentioned earlier, some sort of timing device makes “turns” work better. Use an oven clock or egg timer to help small children take turns of two or three minutes. Explain that equal time is fair.
Sample Method of Elementary Age: The Sun and Cloud Game
This will help younger elementary-age children see that they can make themselves happy or miserable depending on their ability to repent and to forgive. Cut a yellow sun and a black cloud out of construction paper, along with two stick men or figures labeled “Billy” and “Eddy.” Set Billy and Eddy on a table or on the floor and tell the following situations. Have the children put the sun over the head of the child who will be made happy by his actions and the cloud over the child whose actions will make him sad.
Sample Method for Adolescents: Discussion: Accepting Justice, Giving Mercy:
This will help older adolescents see the importance of both values and the relationship between the two. At an appropriate time ask older adolescents which they would rather receive — justice or mercy. Try to evolve this into a discussion where you are able to understand together that justice is something we should all be prepared to accept — for justice will always come, in some form, sooner or later. It is the law of the harvest and of cause and effect. Discuss the following quote by Emerson:
“Cause and effect are two sides of one fact. Every secret is told, every crime is punished. Every virtue is rewarded, every wrong is redressed, silence and certainty . . . cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”
After discussing justice, turn to mercy. Explain that while we should accept justice, we should try to give mercy. Do not be interested in making others “pay” for their mistakes. Do not hold grudges or carry a chip on our shoulder. Discuss how these tendencies make us vindictive and vengeful and cause us to poison ourselves and our outlook.
Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention.
There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him. ~D. Todd Christofferson
Cecil Frances Alexander
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at this feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
By Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.
A crushing sense of defeat and despair enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and His body was placed lifeless in the tomb. Despite what the Savior had repeatedly said of His death and subsequent rising again, they had not understood. The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection. But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible—it was something so totally unprecedented.
Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning, bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulchre before the approaching Sabbath. On this morning of mornings, they were greeted by an open sepulchre, the covering stone having been rolled away, and two angels who declared:
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?
“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
“Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”1
“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”2
As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, but it seems that all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone. She hurried to report to the Apostles and, finding Peter and John, said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”3 Peter and John ran to the place and verified that indeed the tomb was empty, seeing “the linen clothes lying … and the napkin, that was about his head, … wrapped together in a place by itself.”4 John apparently was the first to comprehend the magnificent message of resurrection. He writes that “he saw, and believed,” whereas the others to that point “knew not the scripture, that [Jesus] must rise again from the dead.”5
Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind, still in mourning. In the meantime the angels had returned and tenderly asked her, “Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”6 At that moment the resurrected Savior, now standing behind her, spoke, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”7
Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “It was Jesus to whom she spake, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not. One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Mary.’ The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk. She turned, and saw the Lord. In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, ‘Rabboni,’ meaning My beloved Master.”8
And so this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. Later that same day He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem;9 to two disciples on the road to Emmaus;10 and in the evening to 10 of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”11 Then to further convince them “while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered,”12 He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them.13 Later He instructed them, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”14
Beyond these confirmed witnesses in Jerusalem, we have the incomparable ministry of the risen Lord to ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. In the land Bountiful, He descended from heaven and invited the assembled throng, some 2,500, to come forward one by one until they had all gone forth, thrusting their hands into His side and feeling the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet.15
“And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
“Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.”16
Christ’s Resurrection shows that His existence is independent and everlasting. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”17 Jesus said:
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”18
The Savior is not dependent on food or water or oxygen or any other substance or power or person for life. Both as Jehovah and Messiah, He is the great I Am, the self-existing God.19 He simply is and ever will be.
By His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome all aspects of the Fall. Physical death will be temporary, and even spiritual death has an end, in that all come back into the presence of God, at least temporarily, to be judged. We can have ultimate trust and confidence in His power to overcome all else and grant us everlasting life.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”20
In the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Christ’s victory over death ended the human predicament. Now there are only personal predicaments, and from these too we may be rescued by following the teachings of him who rescued us from general extinction.”21
Having satisfied the demands of justice, Christ now steps into the place of justice; or we might say He is justice, just as He is love.22 Likewise, besides being a “perfect, just God,” He is a perfect, merciful God.23 Thus, the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.
By the same token, we are all accountable to Him for our lives, our choices, and our actions, even our thoughts. Because He redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His. He declared:
“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works.”24
Consider for a moment the significance of the Resurrection in resolving once and for all the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth and the great philosophical contests and questions of life. If Jesus was in fact literally resurrected, it necessarily follows that He is a divine being. No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying. Because He was resurrected, Jesus cannot have been only a carpenter, a teacher, a rabbi, or a prophet. Because He was resurrected, Jesus had to have been a God, even the Only Begotten Son of the Father.
Therefore, what He taught is true; God cannot lie.25
Therefore, He was the Creator of the earth, as He said.26
Therefore, heaven and hell are real, as He taught.27
Therefore, there is a world of spirits, which He visited after His death.28
Therefore, there is a resurrection and a final judgment for all.31
Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence of God the Father—who gave His Only Begotten Son for the redemption of the world—are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded. Jesus Christ is in fact the only name or way by which salvation can come to mankind. The grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner. Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention. There is ultimate and universal truth, and there are objective and unchanging moral standards, as taught by Him.
Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, repentance of any violation of His law and commandments is both possible and urgent. The Savior’s miracles were real, as is His promise to His disciples that they might do the same and even greater works.32 His priesthood is necessarily a real power that “administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”33 Given the reality of the Resurrection of Christ, death is not our end, and though “skin worms destroy [our bodies], yet in [our] flesh shall [we] see God.”34
President Thomas S. Monson tells of a Robert Blatchford who, 100 years ago “in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs, such as God, Christ, prayer, and immortality. He boldly asserted, ‘I claim to have proved everything I set out to prove so fully and decisively that no Christian, however great or able he may be, can answer my arguments or shake my case.’ He surrounded himself with a wall of skepticism. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall suddenly crumbled to dust. … Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had scorned and ridiculed. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife [had] died. With a broken heart, he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: ‘It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?’”35
Did the Lord in reality die and rise again? Yes. “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”36
As the prophesied birth of Jesus drew near, there were those among the ancient Nephite and Lamanite peoples who believed, though most doubted. In due course, the sign of His birth arrived—a day and a night and a day without darkness—and all knew.37 Even so today, some believe in the literal Resurrection of Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve. But some know. In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him.”38
Until then, I believe the many witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection whose experiences and testimonies are found in the New Testament—Peter and his companions of the Twelve and dear, pure Mary of Magdala, among others. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.”39 Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.
Note: Members will continue to leave the church as long as they continue to look for “what’s in it for me.” The Millennial generation needs to learn that a disciple of Jesus Christ only grows in faith and character by sacrifice and service. It has been proven repeatedly that the “warm fuzzies” will result from service. ~C.A. Davidson
They actually want justice from the Attorney General …
RUSH LIMBAUGH: “A coalition of black pastors announced on Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, that they are launching a campaign to gather one million signatures on a petition calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder…”
Black preachers are going after the first African-American attorney general, Eric Holder. You know why? They claim on their petition for impeachment that he has been violating his oath of office by trying “to coerce states to fall in line with the same-sex ‘marriage’ agenda. ‘President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have turned their backs on the values the American people hold dear, values particularly cherished in the black community:
“Values like marriage, which should be strengthened and promoted, rather than weakened and undermined,” says a statement by the Coalition of African American Pastors that has been posted online with their impeachment petition.” That’s what they claim. I think this is amazing. Black pastors get this! There’s not one Republican. Maybe they get it. They don’t have the… the… the desire. Let’s just leave it at that. They don’t have the desire to go after Obama on his extra-constitutionality.
They don’t have the desire to go after Eric Holder on his behavior outside the Constitution. In addition, there are 100 pastors here in Michigan. These guys, these black pastors want to impeach Holder. Here’s a pull quote: “I write today to urge you to take immediate action against the Attorney General of the United States for his lawless attempts to undermine states sovereign laws regarding marriage.
“Attorney General Holder should be impeached for abandoning his duty to uphold and defend the law and for pushing a radical agenda on the states in a manner out of keeping with the obligations of his office. I urge you to bring impeachment against Eric Holder for his reckless attempts to undermine our states’ constitutional marriage laws and the voices and values of millions of voters.” As a sideline related issue, are you aware of what’s going on in Uganda?
Uganda, of course, is a nation of black people in Africa. “A Ugandan newspaper has published a list of what it called the country’s 200 top homosexuals, outing some who previously had not identified themselves as gay, a day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said the signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday marked ‘a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights’, and warned that Washington could cut aid.
“The Ugandan law — which came just over a month after Nigeria passed a similar measure against gays — has been condemned around the world, although it is widely popular among Ugandans.”
So, so the plot thickens here. What’s Obama gonna do? They’re gonna cut ‘em off. No more aid to Uganda. I mean, these guys might actually be wishing for the old days, with Idi Amin Dada. Idi Amin was nothing compared to this. But Uganda’s being singled out. They’re a Christian nation, but Uganda’s not the only nation with laws like this.
It’s just the selective outrage. Perfectly fine to be mad at the backwards, all of a sudden backwards, antiquated African-American nation of Uganda, but we’re gonna leave alone every Muslim nation which has the same, for all practical purposes, laws.
Ed Vitagliano, American Family Association Journal
Into the breach
There is no other way to fulfill the Great Commission [of Jesus Christ] than for Christians to take the light of the gospel into every dark corner of the earth – and into every cultural battle once they get there.
Who will plunge into the breach, risking all, to save those spiritual captives being led to death? It must be Christians. There is no one else. Christians have the message that saves.
But there will be backlash. There will be retaliation. Idols are entrenched, and the demons behind them do not yield without a fight.
This is why Paul in Romans 8:35-36 says we are like sheep being led to the slaughter. When Christians enter the darkness holding a lamp, they encounter tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword.
Nevertheless, for centuries missionaries have shouldered their packs, left the warmth of kith and kin and marched off to continents that were spiritually pitch black, filled with people held hopeless in demonic chains and oppressed by innumerable idols and false religions.
Can we in America, with our churches well established, do anything less against the secular and pagan ideologies springing up in our land like poisonous mushrooms?
“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,” it says in Matthew 4:16.
We have the light of God. Let’s boldly shine it in the darkest corners of our culture.
Recommended Christian ministries that help equip believers to engage the culture in the area of worldview:
Living Waters Ministries
9818 Arkansas St.
Bellflower, CA 90706
Toll free: 800-437-1893
From American Family Association Journal
Note: Members will continue to leave the church as long as they continue to look for “what’s in it for me.” The Millennial generation needs to learn that a disciple of Jesus Christ only grows in faith and character by sacrifice and service. It has been proven repeatedly that the “warm fuzzies” will result from service.
By Nicholas Dean, a senior at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He worked as an AFA Journal intern last summer.
In a culture that encourages shallow encounters and fleeting romances, relationships too often do not reflect any modicum of commitment. But personal relationships are not the only relationships falling short. Church involvement and relationships with fellow believers often follow this same model of surface level encounters and short-term participation.
In his book The Wisdom of Stability, author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove shares a brief anecdote of Will, a young family man who had spent the past year at a new church. After having moved his family in search of a “church that takes community seriously,” Will was grateful for his year at the new church.
However, he still felt he wasn’t experiencing what he expected. As Wilson-Hartgrove put it, “Frankly, Will had hoped for more.”
Now, this young man might have had misgivings for a number of reasons, but one thing is certain: the warm fuzzy feelings had worn off.
And so it is with church going these days. Church involvement seems to be following the same model as modern dating and marriage conventions, which is to say self-serving. When the warm fuzzy feelings go, so too does the would-be faithful church member. And church is thus reduced to a revolving door.
Over just the past 24 hours, the battle to free Justina Pelletier and return the 15-year-old Connecticut girl to her family has deteriorated. So much so that Grassfire is calling on ALL of our team members to pressure elected officials in both Connecticut and Massachusetts — urging them to intercede on behalf of the Pelletier family.
On Monday, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Justina be placed in court-ordered “foster care” at a non-medical facility where she will receive limited, if any, treatment for her mitochondrial disease — even though her condition continues to deteriorate! (Some reports indicate that Justina is being sent to an off-site psychiatric ward overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families).
Imagine the terror and confusion this precious teenager must feel every day that she’s away from the comfort of her home and unable to see her family, friends or even clergy!
Instead, as a ward of the state (a state in which she doesn’t reside), Justina has become a virtual guinea pig to doctors and state bureaucrats, who seem intent on destroying this child and her loving family.
+ + Sign The “Free Justina Now!” Petition
Hurting to helping
It is in our Christian nature to help those in need. And there are times when giving money and resources is absolutely necessary and appropriate. But there are also times when giving charity can hurt the very ones it is trying to help.
That is the concept discussed in part one, “Charity that Hurts.” Rev. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, the organization that produced Poverty Cure, said, “We need to [take the emotional, moral] impulse to do something good and mature it.”
And that is the heart of the DVD study. Miller, the host of Poverty Cure, takes an honest look at the global problem of poverty, asking entrepreneurs, politicians, religious leaders and others how charity has affected local and national economies and what is being done successfully to draw the most people out of poverty.
Helping to investing
Poverty Cure focuses on the idea that people are image bearers of God and thus, are creative and innovative. Every person Miller speaks to says essentially the same thing, “Invest in us, invest in our enterprise, don’t just give us aid.”
One businessman said, “I’ve never heard about a country that developed on aid. I have heard of a country developing on innovation.”
Through the course of the study, Miller spotlights several ministries and organizations that specialize in micro financing, a way of giving small loans to small to medium enterprises. The reason is simple – in developed countries, around 65% of the work force is employed by small to medium enterprises. In poor countries, that number is often below 10%. But building wealth is not the end goal of Poverty Cure.
Investing to reaching
Peter Greer, president of HOPE International, a Christian organization specializing in micro financing and spreading the gospel, tells the story of helping a man get a job and escape poverty. When Greer visited him a year later, his home had not changed and his children were still not in school. Greer learned that he was taking his money and spending it on alcohol and women other than his wife.
He said, “I remember recognizing at that moment there’s got to be more than just a change in a wallet for significant change to happen. I think that is where the church and faith community has something materially different to offer than just another loan, just another job. When you have the opportunity to touch hearts, to touch meaning, to touch identity, while helping an individual get out of physical poverty, that’s where you see incredible transformation.”
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (acton.org) spent three years producing Poverty Cure. The organization focuses on both building wealth and the kingdom of God, as well as articulating its vision by producing projects like Poverty Cure.
This DVD study is ideal for a small group or Sunday School study, with each lesson lasting around 30 minutes. It is also a great tool for families who want to get involved in fighting global poverty. Cost: $59.99. Available at povertycure.org.