Thursday, November 26, 2015
This is the time that many of us see as the season to focus on giving.
Interested in helping to save lives through helping girls and women who face crisis pregnancies?
Here is how the cause I'm raising funds for, works. Save the Storks is a public charity that exists to partner with and empower pregnancy resource centers to expand their lifesaving work. The Storks do these things through providing pregnancy resource centers with grants, mobile medical centers that make them more accessible to more women, and are always developing more high-tech ways to empower pregnancy resource centers to save more babies through helping more pregnant girls and women in crisis. The above photo, and the other photos in this post, are just one example of a pregnancy resource center which has expressed a desire to access a "Stork Bus" (a mobile medical center) to enhance the many practical things they do to assist pregnant women in crisis, and thus empowering many of their clients to choose life for their babies.
Here are what pregnancy resource centers are, for all of those aong my readers who may not be familar with them. That is nothing against you, for our media seldom cover these centers, and it is doubtful that many caring professionals may not be aware of them to be able to recommend them to you. In fact, the media tend to cover these centers only when there have been complaints that they use deceptive or misleading tactics to get clients in their doors. I'm sure that some of these accusations may be true, as these centers are staffed by imperfect people like you and me. In general, though, the evidence for these centers is that they do lifesaving work in many different ways, with often limited resources. Unlike Planned Parenthood facilities, these centers do not get government funds or fat grants from big-name celebrities. They normally depend on many smaller donations from faithful, generous donors, as well as from life-affirming private businesses.
These pregnancy resource centers provide alternatives to abortion. All their services are free and confidential. They typically provide counseling, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, maternity and baby clothes, diapers, toys, prolife books, Bibles, post-abortion support, adoption referrals, parenting classes and support, physician referrals, social services referrals, and other referral services. They do not, however, perform abortions or abortive drugs, or referrals for them. These centers, however, can do even more when they are given grants, mobile medical centers and more. But none of that can be done without funding from us who care about pregnant women in crisis, and their babies.
The photos you see here are only a sample of pregnancy resource centers that Save the Storks exists to empower and extend the lifesaving services of. Many on their staff have been touched in some way, themselves, by abortion. Typically and tradionally, girls and women have had to find these centers on their own. "Stork Buses" bring these centers to them; these mobile medical centers are placed at places where abortion-vulnerable women are most likely to be found, especially at Planned Parenthood facilities or at college campuses. Statistically, over three out of every five women who get on these "Stork Buses" choose life for their babies.
It is now Thanksgiving. Will you give pregnancy resource centers, and the pregnant women in crisis they serve, reason to be thankful for you and your help? You can! Click here to see how you can help!
The above photos are provided courtesy of Mary's Pregnancy Resource Center, a nonprofit I'm not a partner of or affiliated with.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
To Islamic State: You are considered the worst threat this world has. With good reason.
You are feared and hated. With good reason.
You are synonymous with
This past weekend, there was an attack in Paris, France, that has made international headlines. We are told that up to 131 people have been killed in this attack, 352 people injured and many of them seriously injured. Many lives are forever changed; they will never be the same. This attack is being attributed to you.
Now, because of you, refugees are being denied admission in some countries in Europe and in some states in the U.S. and understandably so. Because of you, fear and hatred has struck the hearts of many. You are believed to be infiltrating, if only in small numbers, these many refugees.
Most declared that you are not human, but are monsters and sociopaths with no conscience, no heart and no emotions. I know, however, that all your members were once impressionable, vulnerable children. All of us may wonder: Where has your thirst for killing of the innocent, and bloodshed have come from? Where has your love for cruelty and brutality, and your heartlessness come from? According to research, it comes from something called radicalization that often takes place when you are most vulnerable, as children and in times in life when you feel alienated, without purpose, and cut off. This is no excuse for your horrific acts, of cource. It's only an explanation.
I know that you are responsible for the deaths of many people of faith, especially Christians. I cannot forget the video of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, for example. Certainly I cannot forget the photos of children, from Christian families, whom you have beheaded. I know that you are using social media, not for good, but as a tool for terror. I understand that you are exceptionally skilled and savvy with social media. I do not know if any of your members will see this post. I do not expect it to change you even if any of your members did read this
I pray for you, just as I have been told to do by a God Who alone has the power to transform people. For all of us, including me, possess the same sinful nature that you do. It is just that in the case of most of us, we have not grown up in envirinments where we have been indoctrinated with the notion that the West is the Enemy that is to be destroyed at all costs including your own lives. If more of us had been radicalized, I'm sure we would have been like you.
I pray that God will change your hearts and minds. God sent His Son, Jesus, into this world, to live the perfect life that none of us could live and then die in our place. Our sins, all of them,in thought, word and deed, are against God and bring on His wrath. Jesus, in dying on a cross, took our place and God's wrath at our sin. So we can be saved from sin and its penalty, death and hell.
So, of any ISIS members are reading this, I ask you: Repent of your sin (change your mind and agree with God that you have sinned against Him) and trust Jesus and embrace Him as Your Savior from sin and its power. He can take your zeal for killing and bloodshed, and re-channel it to zeal to make Jesus known to people and to save lives instead of destroying them.
Will you respond to God's call even to you?
Thursday, November 12, 2015
This book is like a spiritual motivational call to action and commitment. It contains profiles of members of the milennial generation and the expressed target audience is this generation. Each person, deemed as a profile in courage by this author, is linked with a Scriptural character who was called to take actions requiring courage and these Scriptural heroes are profiled after the the modern character. At the end of each chapter are questions that require soul-search and self-examination, and relate to the chapter material. This book begins with a Preface by the author Tony Perkin's father, who shares about his son and his own example of courage. This book is arranged into 13 chapters. The author ends this book with Acknowledgments of those who made this book possible. He wraps up this book with an author bio. Tony Perkins is the President of Family Research Council of Washington, D.C.. Family research Council is a politically conservative "think tank."
This book is the opposite, speaking of content, of the MIDNIGHT JESUS book I had reviewed recently. I found myself getting turned off by some of the material in NO FEAR and in the unspoken messages of this book. The author accomplishes his goal of motivating today's milennial generation to courageous and public advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable, as well as letting God be God in the public square. We are commanded in Scripture, if we follow Jesus, to be bold and open in our faith and in being voices for the voiceless. The author uses much Scripture, as well as Scriptural examples linked to each of his modern profiles, to drive his point home. I agree with his principles that underly this book, that we should uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, as well as the sanctity of traditional marriage. I guess my issue with this book lies in how this book is written, in the messages it sends and who is left out of these profiles in courage. For example, almost all of the people profiled grew up in Christian homes, had spiritual foundations laid early in life, and most grew up in comfortable, middle-class backgrounds. All of them did/do show courage, but they had the advantages of parents or others who lifted them in prayer, and laid strong foundations in their youths. Also, the principles these people profiled, stood for, are those that are considered conservative. I was not surprised by who was included in this book, as I know that the author heads a conservative "think tank." I was disappointed that the author left out any profiles in courage among those from disadvantaged backgrounds, from working-class or poor backgrounds, or among the kind of people who showed up in MIDNIGHT JESUS. Most of what is wrong with this book is what is left out. I do commend the author for presenting the Gospel at the end of his book.
I recommend this book for pastors and church leaders in "progressive" local churches. The issues stressed in the book are those they are typically silent on and should not be. I recommend this book for any and all middle-class young people and milennials (twenty-somethings). I do not recommend this book for those from disadvantaged backgounds, the sick, the poor, those with disabilities, or others who would be turned off by all the stress on "conservative values" and the profiling of persons who fit the conservative criteria of what constitues a person of courage. This book would discourage many people, as I found it could have had such an effect on me if I was not aware of the bias of the author. This book may especially trigger many who have not resolved past abortions, as well as members of the LGBT community.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for books, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
This book reads like pure fiction. It has been fictionalized in the sense of changing everything that can possible identify any chacter, so that the author, Jamie Blaine, starts out with a disclaimer and states that any resemblance any of his chapter has to anyone living or dead is purely a co-incidence. Blaine includes an author's note to introduce what he is about and his introduction gives the reader the flavor of this book. This book occurs in three parts and includes 43 chapters. He includes an After the Credits Roll where he updates the reader on the latest on the characters. He includes a short list of acknowledgments of those who made this book possible and then he includes his endnotes, not of sources consulted but to explain Biblical verses or others' interpretations of these verses. This author, Jamie Blaine, is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis interventionalist who has worked in mental hospitals, megachurches, rehabs, radio stations and roller rinks.
This book reads like a novel. I found it interesting and fast-moving. We need books that make clear that Jesus came to serve and help those who don't have life together, who are sinners, who are broken, who have issues and who have deep emotional and spiritual needs. I was not disappointed with this part of the book and it is the opposite of so much of organized Christianity where hypocrisy is the result of the unspoken code of silence that makes those in our local churches afraid, ashamed, and inhibited from sharing about our sins, our hurts and our emotional and spiritual needs. Even in our small groups, the sharing and the prayer requests go no deeper than illnesses and deaths in the family from natural causes. Maybe sometimes unemployment will be shared, but sharing about social and spiritual needs is quite rare in our local churches. In fact, in my current local church when I was given the guidelines for small group leaders, included in the guidelines was that these groups were not to become "support groups" and that members who share about deep emotional or spiritual needs were to be referred for "extra support" and "outside help." This kind of church policy encourages and fosters pretense. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus spent most of His time with those who would be considered as "needing extra support"! However, nowhere in this book is the Gospel of the need to repent from sin and trust in Jesus alone to save one, presented in any form. The tone and feeling I got in this entire book was that Jesus is our "Homeboy" and is our buddy. Yes, in a deep and real sense, Jesus is our friend, but He also our Savior from sin sin and hell, and is the Lord of all and desires to reign in our lives. This book shows the love of Jesus but not the fullness of His power, His holiness or His majesty. We need to be reminded of the love and grace of God, but the approach of this book is not the way to go about it. So, I cannot give it a five-star rating.
I mainly recommend this book as wholesome entertainment. I feel uncomfortable recommending it for pastors and church leaders of "seeker-sensitive church fellowships as this book just encourages their views. It is for the same reason that I feel uncomfortable encouraging it for the many who attend such churches unless for wholesome entertainment. It would only confuse and mislead those who do not know Jesus as it does not give the reader a balanced view of Jesus. The notes in the back of the book with the Scripture references, if read, can get readers into the Bible itself and so is the main reason I could recommend this book for "non-religious" people.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers.com. I was not required to give a positive review of the book.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
It is that time of year again.
Most children look forward to it.
Most parents are ambivalent about it, unless this blogger is mistaken.
Many young-hearted adults enjoy it and wear costumes, even into their jobs.
Families with children with special needs often dread it.
Many child advocates warn us about its dangers and its opportunties for predators to prey on children.
More and more dedicated Christians are denouncing this day as Satan's day, unScriptural and antiChrist.
Survivors of Satanic ritual abuse dread this day.
I was raised to believe that Halloween was no more than a fun, harmless holidy. It was not an offical holiday like Thanks giving or Christmas but still a holiday. Fast forward a few decades later and still Halloween is seen in this way. Though I did not like it and would have opposed celebrating Halloween, I still felt I had to go along with my family so that our daughter "would not feel a misfit." The connections with occultic symbols, the opportunity Halloween provides child sex offenders and predators, and the waste of money for candy with little or no nutritional value, convinced me that Halloween was a waste of a holiday. The candy my daughter typically got were cheapie Tootsie Rolls and hard candies. A dentist's dream! More seriously, in the media, I heard more and more about how pedophiles and predators were using this day to lure unsuspecting children through handing them candy. Most seriously, the occultic imagery especially though witch, warlock, ghosts and goblins costumes and accessories, to many in the faith community, just gives the Devil an open door to prey on people and a place in people's life through demonic oppression that can take many forms from depression to addictions as so many of us celebrate this day as a day of harmless fun. More and more, it is being suggested that Halloween is anything but harmless.
Should This Day Be Observed?
Yes, many families still celebrate Halloween. But should it be observed? That is the question. With the common sense observation that Halloween candy is bad for our teeth and has little nutritional value, and that it costs money that can go on other things, is an opportunity for predators and has occultic ties, I do not recommend it for anyone. That is, it should not be celebrated in the traditional way, if we wish to keep our children safe, stay healthy, save money, and avoid ties with the occult--even seeminly harmless ties. Our culture has told us that for our children to "fit in" and not be "misfits," they have to do the things they see their peers doing, including celebrating Halloween. But are the highest goals in life to fit in and to conform to the status quo?
Alternatives to Halloween?
Only the strictest people of faith oppose alternatives to Halloween that many congregations and other outreach services offer. These people have valid concerns, citing the reason that even the appearance or association with Halloween does not eliminate the risks of predators or occultic involvement. But when these events are done in controlled, wholesome venues, they reduce these risks. We are not obligated to celebrate Halloween or any other holiday. We have no right, however, to criticize or judge people who celebrate this day in a wholesome, safe way just as they have no right to criticize those among us who do not like Halloween, think it is evil and pagan and occultic, and choose not to even have anything to do with alternatives.