Essays & Activities
Dear LifeSharers, March 2015
This month’s letter combines three things. The first is a quick update of our activity to date. The second is a quick rundown of upcoming activities. And third? Three brief essays I wrote and recently posted on Vital Signs Blog. Because of space, I’ll have to zip through the update but there has been an awful lot going on. For amid the regular duties with the internet outreaches, the abortion mill prayer presence, speaking, writing, and the “When Swing Was King” presentations, we’ve had some extra stuff to deal with. That has included the L’Abri Conference in Rochester, Minnesota where I gave two lectures; preaching at Tabernacle Baptist Church in George, Iowa; also doing two “When Swing Was King” shows there; and doing three chapel services at Omaha Christian Academy.
We also sent out to our e-mail list the pro-life mini-drama I had written many years ago, “The Appointment.” Responses included “That was awesome. It gave me goosebumps the whole way through.” And “I listened to the audio. Wow! That is powerful!” (You can find that play and even the audio version on the Vital Signs Ministries website.)
We also prepared an itinerary (and our home) for a four-day visit from our Belarusian friend and ministry colleague, Hleb Yermakou. That resulted in Hleb doing two radio programs, preaching the Sunday morning service at Herman Community Church, teaching two high school classes, speaking at three chapel services, having a lunch discussion with pastors from Country Bible Church in Blair, and serving as the guest of honor for three home meetings.
All of this while adding a new regimen of physical exercise to our day. Whew!
And upcoming activities? Two that are on the immediate calendar are another letter-writing party on Tuesday, March 24 and the next Book It! Evening on Friday, April 10 where we will discuss Chelsen Vicari’s book, Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith. Okay, enough update. Now to those blog posts.
Must A Child Be "Wanted" In Order To Be Priceless?
“Every child a wanted child.” It is one of the pro-abortion forces most common slogans because it sounds so soft and loving yet it’s logical conclusion is as cold and ruthless as...well, as an abortionist’s curette.
You see, the phrase “every child a wanted child” operates out of several intellectual and moral errors, all of which presuppose that a child’s worth is based solely on the affections of others. It reduces children to objects whose only value is in their desirability as others evaluate it.
“Wantedness” is at the very least a silly term but in the worst case, like when it is used in this pro-abortion slogan, it measures merely a bystander’s feelings, not the intrinsic value of another human being.
As I often declare, I am a pro-life activist because I am a Christian, one who knows from Holy Scripture that any child, regardless of health, gender, race, or any descriptive condition of his parents, is created in the image and likeness of Almighty God. That child is therefore immeasurably sacred and valuable.
The child’s worth is part of his very existence; it is something bestowed by God and no slogan or evil attitude or law can deny it without the most horrible of divine judgments.
And, oh yes, one more error that is related to this slogan is the assumption that an unwanted pregnancy inevitably leads to an unwanted child. Ask perhaps the majority of real-life moms about how that works.
How Can My Friends and I Serve Seniors?
Dear friends, Thanks for your note and for your interest in serving senior citizens and others who tend to be marginalized by our culture. Claire and I would certainly find time to talk to your friends about ministries to seniors if you'd like. But let me start by listing a few of the basic possibilities.
1) Visitation and friendship development.
One of the best ways to begin this kind of ministry is to start with a relative or maybe someone from your church who resides in a nursing home or senior living facility. Just go visit. Talk. Share. Pray together. Listen to the stories of their lives. Read the Bible or the newspaper to them, maybe poetry. And then naturally branch out to that resident's roommate and other friends.
Another option is to contact the pastor of your church and ask him if he'd like some company when he visits the senior care facility (if he does.)
You can meet people that way. And you can always contact the activities director of the facility and ask about people living there who most need a little diversion, a little encouragement, a little friendship.
2) Helping out
Just about any nursing home or other senior facility needs help in carrying out its programs and volunteers willing to help are a great treasure. Examples? Transporting wheelchair-bound residents to events. Providing company while the resident goes through therapy. Helping with parties, meals, bingo games, playing cards, worship services, special holiday events, shopping excursions, etc.
Singing and/or helping with sing along events. Playing an instrument. Dancing. Short skits. Reading aloud. Sharing hobbies. Coming along with us to visit when we present "When Swing Was King" shows. All kinds of things. Talk to your friends and pray about these opportunities to decide on what you'd most like to do. Then make sure you contact the activities director of the facility for permission and guidance.
4) Seniors outside of "the system."
Be careful to not overlook the possibility of making friends and helping out with the elderly (or others with special needs like the physically or mentally challenged) who still live on their own. There's probably a lot of grandparents among your circle of friends who would love to have a visit and make some young friends. The same is true with other seniors from your various church congregations.
We will say a prayer for you and your friends, asking our Lord to carefully guide and bless your decisions. And again, thanks so much for your note.
Why A Pro-Life Witness Outside Abortion Clinics?
Giving public witness to the sanctity of life in this culture is certainly not easy. And testifying against the horror that is abortion outside a business where preborn boys and girls are actually killed? Well, that is particularly disheartening, disgusting, and disillusioning.
So why do I do it? Indeed, why have Claire and I and many of our close friends participated in sidewalk counseling and pro-life witness outside abortion mills for 32 years and counting? Here are 5 quick reasons -- in reverse order.
5) The presence of peaceful, prayerful pro-life advocates outside an abortion clinic has a profound and ongoing effect on those going inside, on the workers, on the people walking or driving by. It provides multiple and memorable messages regarding the wrongness of abortion, the availability of alternatives, and the offer of forgiveness through Christ’s gospel.
4) A pro-life witness outside an abortion business insures that men and women – even those who ultimately decide to commit the abortion – will forever remember that someone was there to plead with them, “no, don’t do this.” They will retain in the memory of their abortion experience that someone was standing up for their child…and for the mother’s spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. That provides a tremendous incentive for repentance, a motivation to seek forgiveness and healing from the God Who delivered His Son to die for mankind’s sins.
3) Being regularly at an abortion clinic and coming face to face with the persons availing themselves of the demonic opportunities for child sacrifice fuels, as nothing else can, one’s zeal and commitment to fight against abortion on all other fronts. Political action? Spiritual intercession? Crisis pregnancy work? Pro-life education?
Chastity campaigns? Efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood? Conversion of the arts to provide for effective sanctity of life expressions? All of these (and more) are powerfully stimulated by being there at the very doors of death, being regularly challenged by what the stakes are in this fight.
2) Pro-lifers outside abortion mills save lives by dissuading people from aborting their children. Even when they are not aware of their impact, pro-life advocates provide an impressive force for life that changes minds. Would-be abortion clients are challenged in their conscience and end up driving by. Even clients inside the place change their minds and leave. And, among the dozens or hundreds or thousands who drive by and see peaceful protestors who carry pictures of babies and words like “Choose Life” and “Mother and Child: Love Them Both” and “Life: What a Beautiful Choice,” there are countless numbers of people whose consciences are challenged. Do you not expect that the Lord will tend those seeds of winsome truth and that they will not be relevant in future meditations, conversations, and especially when people are pressed by abortion temptations? Oh yes, the presence of pro-life advocates provides illumination and spiritual challenge that goes far beyond what we can imagine.
1) Because my honor as a Christian is at stake. Where such brazen, violent injustice is occurring, how can I refuse the opportunity to testify against it? What does it mean to the reputation of the Church (not to mention her sense of moral priority) if children are brutally murdered in our neighborhoods without us raising our voices in principled protest? How much is our evangelism and discipleship tarnished and weakened if we do not take seriously such charges as Jeremiah 22:3 and Isaiah 1:16-17: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.’” And “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Reprove the ruthless. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow.”
Fewer and fewer American Christians bother nowadays to go in front of abortion mills to pray and give pro-life witness. That is an ominous warning of how far we have been co-opted by the world around us. We have become indifferent, callous, distracted, and cowardly. Nevertheless, the grace of God remains available to us all – grace that forgives and cleanses, grace that yields wisdom and strength, grace that yet can bring personal and cultural revolution.
Our marching orders are quite clear. We read them in the Scriptures already listed. And in others like Psalm 82:3,4: “Vindicate the weak and fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” And Proverbs 24: 11,12: “Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.” And James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
As I said at the beginning of this column, giving public witness to the sanctity of life in this culture is certainly not easy. But it remains extremely high in the values expressed by our Lord.
And that’s why, by the grace of God, we continue to do it.
That’s it for this month. Please keep us in your prayers. And know too that every prayer, every financial donation, every encouraging note or e-mail, is greatly appreciated.