Monday, October 31, 2016

Don't go all Betty White....

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”  C.G. Jung

  Okay, I’ll confess. I love Halloween candy. When I was a kid, I loved candy corn and peanut butter kisses…today, not so much. For as long as I can remember, my favorite candy bar has been Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
  Every birthday, Christmas and virtually any other holiday, my wonderful family, knowing my love for them showers me with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in all shapes and sizes. (FYI: November 4th is King Tut Day. Wouldn’t it be nice to honor old Pharaoh by giving Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to me? You may not know that November 13th is World Kindness Day. I’ll kindly take any Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you send my way.)
  The one area Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fails abysmally in though is marketing. They have the worst commercials. They’re nearly as annoying the Kit Kat ones. Hands down, Snickers has the best candy bar commercials. I’m sure you’ve seen them. An individual is acting uncharacteristically irritable or whiny. Finally, someone hands them a Snickers and they transform into just who we’d expect them to be.
  One has some young men playing a pickup game of football. In their midst is Betty White playing poorly and making snide remarks to her teammates. Finally, someone on the sideline tells her to eat a Snickers and we hear the tagline: “You’re not you when you’re hungry. Eat a Snickers.” After eating a Snickers, the individual returns to their authentic self.  
  Authenticity is a popular buzz word. Isn’t authentic what you’re like most of the time? Wouldn’t authentic be what you’re like for 10, 20 or 100 years? What if you were that way for millennia…wouldn’t that be your authentic self? One of the most wonderful summations of authenticity is said of Jesus in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus is authentic. He hasn’t changed and never will. Did you know though that one day soon, every believer will be authentic and you don’t need a Snickers bar?
  Last Sunday we studied Luke 9:27-36. Remember, Moses and Elijah met with Jesus in the Transfiguration. Moses had been dead 1,500 years. Elijah was whisked away alive in a chariot of fire 800 years before. When they met with Jesus on the mount, they were authentic. Neither of them were ever going to change. Moses no longer struggled with anger management. Elijah no longer battled depression. They were in their glorified state.
  Two of the most encouraging verses in Scripture for me as I deal with this earth suit and seek to be authentic are Romans 8:29-30: “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” What those verses simply mean is that in God’s mind because He’s eternal and already living in the future – every believer is already in their glorified state. They are authentically perfect and glorified. In other words, our perfect, glorified state is who we really are. So if you’re a believer, your glorified state is who you really are and it can never be improved on.
  As a child of God, I want to more authentic now in anticipation of the authentic I’ll ultimately and eternally be. Becoming authentic simply means I’m more and more like Jesus. It’s spiritual maturity. It’s not instant or automatic; it’s a gradual, progressive development. Referring to this process, Ephesians 4:13 says, “this will continue until we are…mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like Him” (CEV). Three vital commitments contribute to us being more authentic today.
  Authentic Christians consistently spend time with Jesus. The most precious story of all time is how Jesus loved us and came into the world to die for our sins so we could be forgiven and have a relationship with Him forever. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. As we read the Bible, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to teach us. Every time we open God’s Word, we should pause and ask the Spirit to teach us God’s truth and make us more like Jesus. Sadly, too few Christians actually read their Bibles. Please read your Bible regularly. Not only does it change your relationship with God, it will change your relationship with everyone else.
  Authentic Christians faithfully attend church. There aren’t a lot of things I’d die for. Yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus loved His Church so much He died for her. If you love Jesus, you love what He loves. We’re deluded if we tell ourselves we love Jesus and don’t love His Church. It’s like someone saying, “I love you but can’t stand your son.” It just doesn’t work. God has designed worship and church attendance to help us grow. We sing, pray, and listen to God’s Word together, not alone.
  Most believers have no idea of how frequently they miss church. Look back over the past three months and note how often you missed. It may shock you. If you evaluated it on a percentage scale, comparing it to how often you exercise, go to work or school, you’d know how much that low percentage hurts you. And it’s much more than just attending. It’s being engaged. It’s coming prepared and letting the Spirit work in your heart.
  Authentic Christians value being part of a small group. If you were invited to a weekly group and meeting with them guaranteed you’d increase your income 10%, most would join. The eternal benefits of being in a small group are greater than a 10% income increase. Jesus first chose a small group, the disciples. God has designed us for community. It’s hard to have community other than a small group. They’re crucial to your spiritual growth and authenticity. Personal growth and discovery happens best in a small group. You learn, ask questions, involve yourself in the lives of others, and generally make yourself vulnerable with others who are doing the same. You develop deeper friendships. When people really know you, your life becomes more transparent. There are opportunities to discuss life’s difficult issues with others who hold a biblical worldview. Lives are sharpened and spiritual growth is encouraged. Authenticity happens. 
  Too many Christians are often carnal because they’re spiritually hungry. They’re not authentic. It’s a lot like Snickers…“You’re not you when you’re spiritually hungry. You must consistently spend time with Jesus, faithfully attend church, and be part of a small group.”


Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn and Bullying Churches

“Our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring democracy the tolerance 
it requires to survive” Ronald Reagan

  Recently, I received my expected letter from The Rev. Barry W. Lynn. Each election cycle, I receive a letter from Rev. Lynn advising me to be very, very careful on how I handle political issues or our church will lose our tax exemption. Since 1992, Rev. Lynn has been the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Prior to that, he was the legislative counsel for the ACLU in D.C. About the only thing his letter is missing are a skull and crossbones. He writes with sober, dire and cautionary tones as only a lawyer can.
  For an educated man, either Rev. Lynn does not know his American history or deliberately misconstrues it. Thomas Jefferson’s oft cited line of “building a wall of separation between Church & State” is not part of the Constitution. The letter in which President Jefferson wrote those famous words was to the Danbury Baptist Association in Durham, Connecticut. Jefferson’s purpose was to reassure them that the United States would never establish a State Church as was done in Europe, though leaders like John Adams and others wanted one. It was not to keep the Church from intruding on the State but rather the State from intruding on the Church.
  For some 250 years we’ve enjoyed religious liberty in America and with that, churches have had tax exemption. It’s a wonderful right we have, but it’s not a biblical one. What Rev. Lynn and his ilk misunderstand is that they believe we’re motivated or controlled by money. We’re not! Tax exemption is blessing that we’re thankful for. Yet throughout Christian history and around most of the globe today, it’s not a right believers enjoy. Committed American Christians will sacrifice it in a heartbeat rather than disobey or fail our in responsibility to please King Jesus.
  While at Grace Church, we seek to be a-political in that we will not endorse or become the mouthpiece for any political party. We, also without hesitation love and seek to minister to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and even Nones and faithfully share the only “agenda” which ultimately matters, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you enter our doors, there are no Democrats, Republicans…or any other Party, only Christians.
  But we must “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We will never be intimidated into silence on spiritual, moral or eternal issues. The threat of  taking away our tax-exempt status is meant to frighten us into silence or at least cripple us if we will not goosestep to the tune of political correctness. The Conventional Wisdom is that when tax exemptions are removed, donors will give far less than they now give. Churches will become liable for property taxes, potentially even business income tax. It could mean churches will have to forfeit their property to the government because they won’t be able to afford the taxes. Many wouldn’t be able to pay them now. Churches which reside on valuable properties in urban locations would be immediately vulnerable. Eventually, so would everyone else.
  The silly notion behind this is that government would do a better job than churches at meeting the needs of their community. After all, it “takes a village” not a church. Pardon my cynicism but how many things does government do well? A trip to the DMV will eradicate that foolish thought.  
  Yet, the fact that most Americans and even many church goers can’t explain why churches are tax exempt indicates a forgotten history. It’s emblematic of a society systematically devaluing the Church as a beneficial societal institution. So why should churches be tax exempt?
  There’s the “social benefit” theory of tax exemption. Churches provide great benefits to society by their good works. Churches minister to the poor and needy, provide numerous social services for the downtrodden, and reach out to the disenfranchised in thousands of different ways. The social benefit theory justifies tax exemption for churches as a kind of bargain. Churches provide needed services, so they’re entitled to tax exemption…services government couldn’t afford to replace.
  There’s the “intangible benefit” theory of tax exemption. Churches provide intangible and often unseen benefits to the community – reduced crime rates resulting from transformed lives, suicides prevented when people surrender to Christ, marriages still intact because of encouragement to live out a biblical ethic, individuals with destructive behavioral patterns that harm the community changing into hard-working, contributing citizens for the well-being of the community. It’s impossible to put a price tag on these types of intangible benefits provided by churches, but there’s no question that they exist. Churches provide more social services and intangible benefits to the community than they’d ever pay in taxes. In a very real sense, taxing churches will harm society.
  There is a constitutional reason why churches are tax exempt. Churches were exempt from the very first time the tax code was passed at the federal level. Thus far every State exempts churches from property taxes. When SCOTUS decided a case regarding the property tax exemption of churches, (Walz v. Tax Commission), it stated that providing a tax exemption for churches was a less intrusive option under the Constitution than requiring churches to pay taxes.
  It makes sense if you think about it. As the Supreme Court said in a very early case, “The power to tax involves the power to control.” Taxation is, in essence, a very strong assertion of control by a sovereign over its subjects. Exempting churches is a way to ensure the State can’t control churches.
  Be assured the camel of government will continue to attempt to poke his nose under the tent. It will probably come in seemingly innocuous ways like service fees, where churches are required to pay for street lights, police and fire protection. A service fee is merely a tax by another name. 
  Yet, we must be thankful for the privilege of tax exemption and the benefits from the tax code for charitable giving while we still have it! And we must determine that we will be faithful to the Gospel and Gospel-living, as well as biblical giving even if there are no longer government benefits. 

Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Giving a little talk" just doesn't cut it....

The preacher’s task is to declare what God has said, explain the meaning, and establish the implications so that no one will mistake its relevance.” Alistair Begg

  If later today, you received a phone call from a good friend and they said to you, “I’ve got something fantastic for us to do this week!” As you’re thinking of all the wonderful things they might be about to suggest, they say, “There’s this new preacher in Milwaukee. I thought it would be fantastic if we went to hear him preach.” So what would your response be?
  Would you suddenly remember you needed to give your hamster a bath? Maybe tell them, “I’ve got a big project and can’t. The ceiling tiles in my kitchen need to be recounted. We were debating the number last night and I must prove to my wife I’m right!” Or how about, “I’m trying to be more sensitive so this week I’m observing National ‘Don't Go Out At All Week.’ You haven't heard of that? Really, it’s very popular in Brussels right now!”
  Last Sunday we worked through the feeding of the 5,000 and just prior to that miracle, the interruption by the huge crowd. Remember, Jesus was on an “Us Day” with the disciples, but somehow the crowds learned Jesus was in the area and began to gather.
  So you’re with Jesus, you see this great ministry need, what do you do? What do we think Jesus should do? Organize a new ministry to take care of people? Teach them to care for themselves? At the very least start healing those who need healing (which Jesus does). Yet, it’s all secondary for Jesus. Jesus’ first priority is to preach. It’s to teach. It’s His number one ministry and primary focus: “When the crowds learned it, they followed Him, and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God”
  To be honest, as a preacher it feels a bit disingenuous to talk about the importance of preaching. Yet, this is what the Bible clearly teaches.
  We discovered that when we were in Luke 4. After a big day of healing with record crowds, the disciples come looking for Jesus so they can have another big day. Remember what happened? “And the people sought Jesus and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them, but Jesus said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’ And Jesus was preaching in the synagogues of Judea” (vss. 42-44).
  But preaching is not the focus of ministry of the typical church. It’s the band. It’s the programs. It’s the children’s ministry or youth group. Rarely is it the preaching. We may think drama or films are the way to reach people, to grow the church, but that’s not what the Bible says.
  Think about this. You have a Bible. You can read. Can’t you just study it for yourself? Wouldn’t you do better in a discussion group where you can ask questions and all give input? Preaching seems so old and moldy.
  Yet, preaching was the focus of Jesus’ ministry. We can’t sidestep that fact. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching, to quote 1 Corinthians, because God’s Word has power. It is not the messenger; it’s the Message. God has chosen Spirit empowered preaching to communicate His truth and bring glory to Himself.
  Famed Canadian theologian, J.I. Packer, insightfully observed: “We shall never perform a more important task than preaching. If we are not willing to give time to sermon preparation, we are not fit to preach, and have no business in the ministry at all.”
  Too many pastors are CEOs. Some spend the bulk of their time in counseling or head up the local coffee clutch. Perhaps they focus on visitation, being in homes, convalescent centers or hospitals. Did you know the Bible never teaches any of that is the Pastor’s calling or responsibility? Just a side note, Scripture teaches the Deacons are to do the bulk of ministerial care of the church family (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
  Scripture teaches that the pastor is to be a man of the Word and prayer. So if a pastor does not study, if he’s not faithfully in the Word, he should be terminated. He’s failed his biblical calling. Please do not come on Sundays to hear the preacher. Come to hear God’s Word taught. And if God leads you to some other part of the country, look for a church where preaching is central to that ministry. That’s a biblical ministry.
  Jesus knew, much like today, the crowds came seeking other things, in Luke 9, healing. It was miracles they sought; it was divine truth they desperately needed. Preaching is important because God says it’s important—in His God-breathed Word through the Apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:1-5). He says that preaching the Word and hearing the Word are essential for God's people.
  Preaching then is not just a good talk. The purpose is not to be inspiring or even funny. It’s to help us see Jesus. It’s to help us know God. It’s why at Grace we are committed to what is known as systematic, expository preaching. Typically, we work through a book of the Bible, verse by verse…or at least portion by portion. The reason we do that is so we have the context of what God has written for us. It also makes us study some of the tougher, even uncomfortable passages.
  One of the central acts of worship is hearing the Word preached.  John Calvin said that where the Word is not preached and heard, there is no church. To be the Body of Christ and to worship God, we need preaching.
  Yet, a neglected element of faithfulness today, often neglected by preachers is time. A preacher who does not commit the time to study is unfaithful to his calling. Like a great meal, a good sermon requires time to prepare. John Stott in his book for preachers, Between Two Worlds, suggests the preacher needs at least twelve hours to prepare a sermon. Most preachers probably need more time than that and a healthy congregation will encourage the pastor to take that time. 
  Jesus’ and the early church’s example remind us that preaching is vital. It’s the power of God unto salvation. It needs to be valued by the Christian community as a family values food.  Preachers must use the best of their time and abilities to nourish their flocks with the Word of God. It’s what God has called them to do!

Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Would Jesus do business with you?

“The virtue of a man ought to be measured, not by his extra-ordinary exertions, but by his everyday conduct.”  Blaise Pascal 

  Recently, I had a friend ask me and several other friends for input on a dilemma she was facing. My friend owns her own business (a music studio) and deals with both regenerate and unregenerate people in her business. But this is her dilemma…while the majority of her business is with unbelievers, the majority of her issues are with those who claim to be believers. The problems range from “not paying on time, wanting exceptions to the policies and being unreliable overall.” She said, “The facts are this: for me as a business owner the perceived ‘good’ parents are harder to work with and less respectful to me.”
  Unfortunately, her experience didn’t surprise any of us who responded. All of us are believers, yet many of us have had similar experiences…or worse with Christians. Why? Why would business or work experiences with Christians be worse than working with those who don’t know Jesus?
  First, lost people realize that the money is the glue of the relationship. If you don’t pay them, they bail. If you don’t do the work, they fire you. It’s not to say lost people are more ethical. Yet, when it comes to understanding what holds a relationship together, they’re frequently wiser than “children of light” (Luke 16:8).
  Second, perhaps we notice it more with believers because we expect more…and we should. Some four decades later I still remember being in a Menard’s as a Bible college student writing a check. This was back in the Dark Ages, when before they’d accept your check, they checked the “list” of bad check writers. I happened to glance at the list and was shocked to see the name of a pastor I knew from an area church. There were many other names on the list but his was the only one I noticed. Why was I shocked? I expected more.
  Third, they don’t understand God has called us to the Christian “life,” not just a Christian hour or two on Sundays. Scripture commands us to be wholistic and not compartmentalize, divorcing sacred from secular. Jesus is to be in control of my life Monday through Friday, as much as on Sunday.
  Over and over again Scripture reminds us that regenerate employees don’t work for their employer but for the Lord Jesus. Regenerate bosses have a boss they will ultimately give account to, Jesus Christ. Though it uses the slave/master terminology of the 1st century, the principles found in Ephesians 6:5-9 (and many other places in Scripture), clearly apply to contemporary work circumstances.
  Recently, a missionary colleague was forced to leave the field. It came out he’d been involved in sinful behavior which hurt his testimony and ministry. None of us would question the decision by his board. What we often fail to realize is that as believers, you and I too are missionaries. We’re ambassadors for Christ, even in how we make our money or use it.
  So how you handle your finances, how you pay your bills, your work ethic, how you treat fellow employees, how you treat your boss, how you treat your employees either helps or hinders the Gospel. A lost world is watching. The “preaching” they hear from your life speaks louder than what’s heard from the pulpit on Sundays.  
  For many, this seems so obvious…pay your bills. If you have the funds available, pay it right away, particularly when you owe money to a small business. You’d be shocked how much your initiative will mean to them. They’re not some large corporation like WE Energies with deep pockets.
  If you somehow get behind financially, communicate quickly with your creditors. Sometimes emergencies or the unexpected happens. Everyone knows that. But never make those who you owe money to have to seek you out. Initiate the conversation. Let them know what’s happening and when they can expect to be paid.
  A friend of mine was laid off and going to miss a house payment. He called his bank up, explained the situation and when he’d have the money. They were so appreciative that he was upfront and took the initiative. It never became a problem because he was proactive. While it doesn’t always work out that way, if you’re up front, it frequently does.
  What about business dealings with other Christians? If you follow this advice, it can potentially save you lots of heartache and even prevent a broken relationship. If you enter into a business arrangement with another believer, have everything in writing. A poor memory ruins far too many friendships. It doesn’t have to be formal. It can be as simple as sending an email, outlining your understanding of what the two of you have agreed on.
  And problem-solve, problem-solve, problem-solve. If there is a problem, first pray about the situation. Too many of us talk with all of our other friends and share how we perceive we’ve been mistreated. Instead, graciously appeal to the other person. Perhaps it’s an oversight or even just a poor memory. Too many of us assume the worst, only to find we have a lot of egg on our face later. This would fit the pattern of problem-solving outlined by Jesus for us in Matthew 18:15-20.
  If the two of you can’t resolve it, ask a godly friend to mediate between you. Choose someone who’s mature spiritually and can be objective, not someone who will be your ally. The goal is to problem-solve, not to be right. Don’t allow your ego to cause you to hurt the Body of Christ or jeopardize a relationship with a brother or sister in Christ.
  Our money says, “In God we trust.” Yet, when it comes to money for too many Christians, it’s only our money that says it but not our lives. What does the way you handle money, the way you pay your bills, the way you treat your employer or employers, the way you treat your customers or even the way you tip at a restaurant say about your Christianity? 
  "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

When "Coma" comes to life...


“Is human dignity and human life so cheap that the rights protecting it can be traded away to appease the appetite for intimidation and prejudice of a vicious and self-centered group - for whatever reason, power, politics, nationalism, or unity?”  Christina Engela

  Sometimes I feel so na├»ve. Sometimes I don’t want to know. Too many times, I just wish I didn’t know. In 1977, popular author, Robin Cook, wrote a suspenseful science fiction book, Coma which was later made into a movie. It was one of the most frightening movies I’ve ever seen.
  Coma is the story of a third year medical student working as a trainee at Boston Memorial Hospital. When patients begin mysteriously going into comas and disappearing, she begins to investigate, only to discover they’re being kept alive until their healthy organs can be harvested.
  Welcome to the new brave new world! Coma is no longer fiction. Lifenews.com recently reported (09/22-16) that religious minorities and political dissidents are being imprisoned in China, sometimes without reason. While imprisoned some are taken to surgical facilities where their organs are harvested while they’re still alive. Tragically, this takes place in other countries (Iran, Philippines), but China, unlike anywhere else in the world, is the only nation where systematic forced organ harvesting occurs on a mass, state-sanctioned level.
  The foundation of this atrocity, of course, is worldview. The Chinese Communist Party believe that people’s very bodies are in the domain of the state. Whether it’s forcing women to abort babies or forcibly harvesting organs, the Chinese government believes it “owns” people, including their very bodies and internal organs. It’s a culture of death.
  But it’s not just China. If someone says, I have “eternal gratefulness,” one would think they were talking about something spiritual…someone saving their life, or at least something truly wonderful. The last thing you’d think they were talking about is an abortion. Yet, that’s the phraseology Andy Richter, Conan O’Brien’s longtime sidekick, used as he bragged about the abortion his then girlfriend and later wife had when he spoke at a recent fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. Richter went on to credit her abortion back in 1992 with allowing them to live the lives they wanted. His justification: “My girlfriend knew that she was not ready for motherhood, and I knew that I was in no way prepared to be a father.” But who is ready to be a parent?
  The Richters have two other children. As their living children grow and become adults, will this choice make sense to them? An obvious question for them would be: “If I’d been conceived earlier, maybe I would have been aborted…because Dad and Mom weren’t prepared to be parents.”
  I appreciate the Richters at least acknowledge they had some remorse for their decision and were sad about it. Tragically, they only saw a temporary circumstance and made permanent decisions.
  Where are we as a culture when we see a baby as “ruining your future?” Aren’t there other options? Abortion permanently ruined the chance for that child to ever have an opportunity at life. It’s something no one should be “eternally grateful” for. It’s a culture of death.
  Last July, Betsy Davis, had a euthanasia party, celebrating her decision to take her own life, becoming one of the first people under California’s assisted suicide law to kill herself with a lethal cocktail. It’s a culture of death. Disability rights groups, many in the medical community, are upset by the new law because of the potential for horrendous abuses of human life. One primary concern is that doctors aren’t required to be present when the patient takes the deadly medicine, so there’s no way of knowing whether the person is taking the poison of their own free will.
  The culture of death for a hopeless world is becoming normative and there are potential ramifications which are horrifying. For example, on average 50% of healthcare costs occur during the last 6 months of life. From an economical perspective, what’s an obvious way to cut costs, particularly if your worldview is contaminated by a culture of death? Cut out or at least dramatically reduce that last six months.
  Phraseology like “good death,” “death with dignity” or “quality of life” erode our upholding of the sanctity of life. The Bible calls death “the last enemy.” There is no such thing as a “good death.” Consider this, does world renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, truly have “quality of life”? Not according to the accepted standard in the culture of death.
  A Coma world can be overwhelming. You and I though can make a difference – we must not just accept the status quo.
  There are 700,000 abortions annually in the United States alone and well over a million couples waiting to adopt each year. Add to that, there are another 500,000 children trapped in the foster care system. Do the math.  There’s no need to murder a baby. If anything, there is a wonderful opportunity for a greater good and the gift of great joy in giving that baby up for adoption to a desperate couple longing for a child. Many in foster care should be given a chance at life and be allowed to be adopted.
  Our broken system protects horrible parents at the expense of innocent children. Give those children a chance at a fulfilling life! They should have the right to a future. Parents who demonstrate continued irresponsibility should lose their parental rights and children. Scripture teaches people are accountable for their choices, so let’s hold them accountable.
  The Bible does make provision for birth control. When an unplanned child is conceived, that baby is never unwanted. Abortion needs to end.
  The US must stop worshiping at the altar of economics and cease doing business with countries who butcher their citizens, like China. At the very least, products should be labeled showing where they’re manufactured. Pro-life consumers could choose to buy products from nations who don’t murder their citizens. “Distributed by Bensenville, AR” just doesn’t cut it. 
  As Christians and churches, we must be pro-active in support of those at the beginning of life and those at the end of life. The early church believed that. Those early believers also lived in a culture of death. They sacrificed and gave of themselves to preserve life so they could share the message of eternal life. May we have their same love and commitment! 

Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address.