Dear VSM LifeSharers, June 2010
As I was standing along Mission Boulevard next to that despicable abortion clinic last Monday morning with my big pro-life sign facing east (the beautiful baby picture with the simple caption, “Life”) and the pink banner facing west (“Mom, We Care About You and Your Baby”), I found myself thinking about the Normandy invasion.
It’s not really much of surprise that I was. After all, the day before was June 6th and much of our weekend had been concerned with reflecting on the world-changing event that was D-Day. I had spent most of Saturday reading The Steel Wave, the second in Jeff Shaara’s superb WWII trilogy and it is the volume which concentrates on Operation Overlord.
It’s a thrilling but deeply somber read for, though the Herculean effort was ultimately successful, the invasion of France and the creation of a second front on European soil cost thousandsof lives. Yes, there will always be sacrifices required in the cause of justice but reading Shaara’s brilliant novel reminded me of the debt the free world owes to these brave soldiers, sailors and airmen of D-Day AND of the responsibility I myself bear to insure their sacrifices were not in vain.
But we weren’t done with D-Day just yet. For the next day was the anniversary itself. Claire and I talked more about the Shaara book as well as things we have learned from others: the war memoirs of Omar Bradley and Winston Churchill, and histories by such able writers as Cornelius Ryan, Samuel Eliot Morison, Stephen Ambrose, David Howarth, William Shirer, and so on.
I also shared a few reflections about the anniversary before my sermon at Faith Bible Church that morning. And then that night, after a day spent with church friends and then at my Mom’s, Claire and I watched the monumental 3-hour Hollywood production from 1962, "The Longest Day." It’s quite a movie and it had been a long time since we had seen it.
"The Longest Day" is a remarkable film on many levels, not the least of which is its cast. The film boasts 42 international stars -- and yet they all play relatively small roles, some no more than a cameo appearance. This approach makes D-Day itself the star. Thus, the viewer is pleased to see John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Robert Ryan, Eddie Albert, Richard Todd, Henry Fonda, Stuart Whitman, Kenneth More, Edmund O'Brien, Rod Steiger, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Hunter and those who were teen heartthrobs of the day (Robert Wagner, Tommy Sands, Fabian, Sal Mineo, Paul Anka and Richard Beymer) – but none of them are on screen long enough to steal the spotlight. The viewer is therefore always drawn back to the fact that the invasion was an awesome and huge event, one that involved the hard work, bravery and sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of brave men.
It was a very moving conclusion to the weekend.
So, it was quite natural that I was still thinking of D-Day when early on the morning of June 7th, I was standing on that sidewalk outside the abortion mill to do sidewalk counseling along with the regulars in our team. I couldn’t help but notice too the U.S. flags that the city of Bellevue has hanging from most of the light poles on each side of the street. There are two more stars on those flags than the ones which accompanied those heroes who stormed Omaha and Utah beaches on that fateful day in 1944. But the ideals the U.S. flag represents remain the same.
Or do they?
I couldn’t help but wonder at that question as I recalled the things I’d been pondering over D-Day weekend. My eyes shifted from those waving flags to the ugly and abhorrent structure on my left – that abortion chamber where Leroy Carhart and his minions cruelly destroy babies for profit. In his grisly career, this single thug has killed more people than all who died in the D-Day invasion! For the number killed on D-Day is around 2,500. Carhart has many, many more than that number on his soul. And not a single death is justified – all were innocent, helpless unborn babies.
What a thing to bear when he faces a holy God in judgment!
And what a thing for our country to bear as well.
For it is the U.S. courts that have legalized this holocaust. It is American politicians that have protected abortion, promoted it, peddled it as a constitutional right. It is American businesses that share in the blood money abortion yields. It is American journalists who have protected the abortion industry from hard scrutiny. It is American teachers who have distorted history as well as morality to propagate the myths of “safe sex” and “freedom of choice.”
And it is American churches that, if they haven’t championed abortion themselves, have learned to co-exist with it, finding more to publicly criticize in pro-lifers’ methods than even in the barbarity of the abortionists.
Is this what the heroes of D-Day fought for, bled for, lost limbs for, died for – to defend such a freedom as that which lets abortionists wield their weapons against our own offspring?
Of course not!
Those that gave their all at Bunker Hill and Shiloh and Belleau Wood and Normandy -- and so many other hallowed places where Americans died -- did so for a freedom companionable with justice and faith and truth. Their noble sacrifices were not for the licentiousness, hedonism and godlessness that modern liberals have so malevolently stuffed into the Constitution.
It is therefore up to we the living to fight on for the ideals that motivated them, to keep them from being completely overwhelmed by the socialists, the secularists and all others who seek to destroy the values of our nation's founding fathers.
Therefore, as I stood on that Bellevue street last Monday, I decided to make it a D-Day of my own. I prayed and re-dedicated myself to serve God with a heart of gladness and hope as I “invade” the paganism of the culture that has stolen America from under my feet. I promised the Lord anew to serve Him with boldness, with a willingness to sacrifice, with a keen sense of my dependence upon my fellow warriors, with a humility that uses technology and strategies developed by others…and with confidence that God will reward my every effort tenfold. In my gospel proclamations, in my pro-life ministries, in my praying and preaching, in my writing and blogging, and in every other duty My King sets before me, I will give it all I can.
The inspiration of that D-Day weekend was powerful indeed -- yet another blessing which came from the heroic efforts expended those long decades ago. Thank you, guys.
Now , before I close, let me share just a couple of quick updates on what’s been happening with Vital Signs Ministries since the LifeSharer letter of last month.
* We had a very successful P.A.L. Night in which 66 letters were prayerfully launched. That's right; just a couple of hours with a handful of letter-writers but we produced 66 letters! Those letters went to politicians, diplomats, businessmen, TV producers, and others – but all dealt with important and relevant issues for Christians who want to “shine” instead of just “whine.” We have another coming up on Monday, July 12th and we urge you to be a part. It's fun; it's a lot easier than you think; and it does make a difference!
* Claire and I spent an exciting morning catching up with Dr. Paul Byrne when he was in Omaha a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Byrne has been a good friend and inspirational leader to us ever since we first became involved in pro-life advocacy. He is one of the world’s experts in exposing the various myths of “brain death” and how those myths have fueled the euthanasia movement. He is also one of pioneers in neo-natalogy with several groundbreaking treatments and technologies to his credit. During our talk, I was moved to ask him if we could do some film work with him for use on the internet, in pro-life circles, etc. He was more than willing! So, are you listening, Patrice? Looks like we’ve got some new work ahead of us!
* Even with the general summer slump that affects internet use, the number of page loads on Vital Signs Blog continues to remain high. We are very pleased at how this aspect of the ministry, completely unknown to us just a few years ago, has taken off. We have recently given the blog a new look AND Steve Young's renovation of the official Vital Signs Ministries web site has just been completed too. Great job, Steve! Go check it out at www.vitalsignsministries.org.
* I’ve finished my series of sermons on the book of Colossians at Faith Bible Church. This Sunday we start in on what I hope to be a “special attraction” for those summer months when it seems easier to dodge church. The series is titled “Bible Beasts” and we'll be exploring Balaam’s donkey, Jonah’s great fish, the bears called by the prophet Elisha, the four horses of the Apocalypse, and various other passages dealing with sheep, lambs, dogs, donkeys, oxen, camels, birds, the Leviathan of Job 41 and more.
* Finally, the Mercy Ministries which we’ve seen “resurrected” since my Mom became a resident of Life Care Center are expanding. Now, besides our visits with residents and staff, we’re adding to our repertoire, bird feeders and big band music!
Okay, I’d better go; I’ve still got some bird feeders to fill before I can go home. But at least I can cross the LifeSharer letter off my “To Do” list and move on. Thanks for reading it!
And thanks too for your generous and loyal help in keeping Vital Signs in the fight. Your prayers, encouragement and financial donations are greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!