Posted by & filed under Discipleship.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Christ-follower. It’s hard to be a disciple, a student of Jesus; however, Jesus wants disciples, not just believers. Some people don’t even think it’s worth it to follow Jesus, and they walk away from Him. Others have developed a system where following and learning from Jesus is optional and not essential to their version of the faith. We call this nominal Christianity or one-day-a-week Christians, or practical atheists who believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist. Why do people do this? Because following Jesus demands something and costs something. Jesus said as much in Luke 14:25-34.

But have you ever thought about the cost of not following Jesus as His student? What are the costs of non-discipleship?

  • The soul-nourishing capacity of God’s Word is never learned; therefore, physical appetites dominate and enslave (Deuteronomy 8:3).
  • The fear of the Lord is never learned; therefore, the fear of losing control and the fear of man remain pulling us away from God (Deuteronomy 31:12-13).
  • The spirit of teachability is never learned; therefore, immaturity, pride, and a tendency to repeat mistakes remain in effect (Proverbs 1:1-7).
  • The justice of God is not learned; therefore, either willingly or inadvertently injustice is tolerated and propagated (Isaiah 1:17).
  • The gentle and easy yoke of Jesus is never learned (Matthew 11:28-30); therefore, there is no deliverance from stress, worry, anxiety, and the pressures of life (Matthew 6:27-34).
  • The joy of having no merit and of receiving mercy is never learned; therefore, legalism, lifeless spiritual rituals, prideful judgementalism, and works-based religion remain in force (Matthew 9:12-13).
  • The secret of contentment is never learned; therefore, the forces of greed, materialism, consumerism, and damning prosperity theology continue their deception (Philippians 4:11).
  • The anchoring truths of Christianity are never learned; therefore, susceptibility to false teaching remains, and the soul is left unanchored in the storms of relativism, pluralism, and postmodernism (2 Timothy 3:13-18).
  • The devotion to good works is never learned; therefore, a wasted and unproductive life results (Titus 3:14).
  • The obedience of suffering is never learned; therefore, the example of Jesus is not followed, God’s refining fire is rejected and His method of producing greater perfection in us is denied (Hebrews 5:8-9).

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While I’m not real sure that I like this title, I thought it might get us to consider a reprioritization of our monthly First Wednesday service. For many reasons that I hope to share with you, I believe this service is increasingly critical to the spiritual vitality and power for mission we need at Rock Bridge.

First, let’s answer a more basic question: What is First Wednesday?

Practically, it is a monthly gathered service where we seek to realign (we tend to get out of alignment over the course of 30 days) our minds, hearts, affections, and ambitions to God. We do this by singing more songs than we do during the weekend service because singing truth exalts God and stirs our affections for Him. We also realign through observing the Lord’s Supper as we proclaim the death of Christ and ponder all of its benefits. Finally, we spend dedicated time in prayer as a church for our people who are hurting or in crisis, for power to be His witnesses, and to seek His will and favor over the vision God has for RBCC.

Perhaps, a few analogies will help:

  • First Wednesday is the thermostat of Rock Bridge, when we set our spiritual temperature to be white hot for God.
  • First Wednesday is family time to be together as Rock Bridgers in song, prayer, and communion.
  • First Wednesday is like charging your smart phone when the battery is dead.
  • First Wednesday is immersing ourselves in the ordained channels of God’s grace to be refreshed, reminded, and rejuvenated for all of Who God is for us as loving Father, gracious Savior, and ever-present Spirit.

Here are several reasons for making First Wednesday a priority:

We can move no further than we pray. Back in June, the Holy Spirit impressed this thought upon me: ‘Everything you want to see happen at Rock Bridge can’t happen without prayer.” I was humbled, convicted, and yet excited. I realized that we have a built-in, already-on-the-calendar service to really seek God—First Wednesday. However, the real question is not one of how to pray or when to pray, but do we really believe in prayer? Jesus did. The first churches in Acts did. Rock Bridge, we must too! We want to experience God, and we want to see people healed, lives changed, souls saved, 10,000 connected to life in Christ … so let us pray!

We are leaky vessels and need regular re-fillings. My affections for God wane. I grow self-absorbed. I forget His blessings. My joy grows dim. I forget about lost people and hurting people. I withdraw to my little world. As this happens to me personally, it adversely affects the Body I am a part of corporately. So together we must fight this drift in our souls by enjoying the specific means or channels God has appointed for His grace, presence, and truth to flow through. The Word of God is one of those channels, which we heavily emphasize during the weekend services. However, persistent prayer, communion, and corporate singing are other channels that help us get full of Him and the ones we enjoy at First Wednesday.

Communion is crucial … it is a regular feast of faith! May we never think of Communion as an extra or a simple symbol that does little more than remind us of the Cross! Communion is a banquet of God’s blessings for us in Christ, and we need to observe it more than we think! First, there is power in “do this in remembrance of Me” (I Corinthians 11:24). We are prone to forget, prone to take for granted, prone to minimize … so God instituted a memory aid that we can touch, taste, and feel. Second, there is power in proclamation (I Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper proclaims, it preaches, and faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). Today we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and deeply need the proclamation found in Communion! Therefore, the supper nourishes the faith that delights in God, strengthens our soul with the joy that Christ is alive in us, deepens our love for Him, and helps weaken the alluring, yet deceitful, satisfaction of sin through the superior satisfaction of Christ.

So Rock Bridgers, would you feast with us at First Wednesday? Would you pray together with your and for your church family? And would you be blessed by the fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit that is promised to those who ask and seek (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 5:18)?

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This past weekend in our message my prayer was to help us see God more clearly in terms of His character and His grace in the Gospel. The key to faithfulness is embracing all of Who God is and all of Who He is for us as loving Father, Savior and King Jesus, and indwelling Holy Spirit. If seeing God correctly is so critical, how do we see Him in High Definition? Here are 5 ways to see Him better …

1. The enemy does NOT want us to see God correctly.

Satan works by blinding us to the glory of God expressed in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, any thought that diminishes God or contemplates sin against Him must be taken captive (2 Cor. 10:5).

2. We see God primarily through faith.

Trying to see God is not like trying to find a four-leaf clover. It’s the opposite of “seeing is believing.”  Faith equals believing is seeing (Hebrews 11:1).

3. The Word of God must become our “eyes.” Faith comes from hearing and, specifically, from hearing the message about Christ (Romans 10:17).

Perhaps an example will help. You go to the grocery store and are checking out. As you stand in line the messages of the magazine rack speak to you that you are what you own, you are how you look, you are what you wear, and your life would be better if you only had ‘X.’ So, you start believing that message and the result is some combination of vanity, materialism, insecurity, bitterness, envy, and/or covetousness.

But then you open the Word of God and read, “…Your faithful love is better than life” (Psalm 63:3b, HCSB). Now you have a crisis of belief/faith. Does People Magazine or Psalm 63:3 win? Which “word” do you trust? This is the fight of faith; this is the fight to see; this is the fight to understand Who God really is and how He is for you.

4. Think about God more. How often do we go without even thinking about God and yet we are told to “set our minds” on Him (Colossians 3:2)? Thinking about God requires effort and intentionality but it is well worth the effort.

5. Think correctly & deeply about God, focusing on His attributes. In church, we often talk about God’s grace and mercy and about His desire to have a personal relationship with us. But what about God makes Him gracious and merciful? What about God makes Him desire a relationship with us? It’s not because He is insufficient, incomplete, lonely, or needy. Press deep. It’s not because He needs us. Press deep. He is totally sufficient in and of Himself. He is totally happy being God. Press deep. From within Himself—not because of us—God is good, just, and loving. Mercy is His goodness meeting us in our pain and guilt; Grace is His goodness directing itself toward our sin debt. All of God’s reasons for creation and redemption come from within His uncreated Being (from Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer)! Ultimately, words like majesty, infinite, and perfection are the only words that start to do justice to Who God really is.

What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

A.W. Tozer

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We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure.

{Hebrews 6:19a}

Chattanooga. San Bernandino. Orlando… And now Dallas.

All too frequently we learn of yet another act of violence, another tragic loss of life, and we wonder what in the world is going on?!?

While the immediate circumstances of these tragedies may differ, the same feelings of fear, helplessness, and anxiety are aroused in us. As Christ-followers, we are certainly not immune to these emotions, but we should not be enslaved to them either. Instead, we can grieve, but with hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). We can light the candle of our faith instead of cursing the darkness these tragedies exemplify (Matthew 5:14; Ephesians 5:8-10).

As we grapple with tragedy, adversity, violence, evil, and all the associated emotions, our faith in God gives us secure, unshakable anchors to weather the storm, endure with hope & joy—not with fear or cynicism—and in humility offer a compelling vision that points to the ultimate solution the collective heart of humanity craves.

The Anchor of Expectation
Modernism encourages us to put all our hopes within our life expectancy—which we are continually seeking to lengthen. When these hopes are threatened or not met, then we experience fear, worry, and anger. But hopes isolated to this world, for our physical bodies, and for circumstantial security are deceptive and bound to disappoint. Christianity is a 100% realistic faith offering the sobering truth that the world is broken, humans are sinful, and earth is not our home. Against this backdrop, God entered this world and defeated death offering a proven hope beyond physical life. So one of the fundamental shifts for the born again Christ-follower is moving most of our expectations & hopes to the future grace of God that will come either after we physically die or after Jesus returns (I Peter 1:3-4).

The Anchor of God’s Sovereignty & Goodness
Remember that God is at war with pride, human independence, and the deception of self-sufficiency (Proverbs 3:34: James 4:6; I Peter 5:5); yet so much of the hope promoted today is in our ability to fix problems we create.

Does watching the news encourage you to hope in politics, public policy, human will or self-improvement? Does taking a look at your own heart with its tendency toward pride, self-centeredness, faithlessness, and self-righteousness encourage you to hope in yourself?

Be humbled and sobered by the fact that the same sin nature found in the Dallas sniper and the ISIS terrorists resides in me and in you. Not popular but true. And these truths can push us to anchor ourselves in God’s sovereign goodness displayed and given through the completely undeserved and 100% free grace of God found in Jesus.
God is in charge even though things He explicitly forbids (like murder and racism) occur in the world. God was in charge even when He died on the Cross. Let’s not fear the mystery of these magnificent truths but embrace the fact His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) and judge His power, goodness, and mercy by the Cross and Resurrection, not by the front page of the paper.

The Anchor of Jesus’ Vision
Jesus did more than die on a cross. In His teaching and living, He offers a vision of what it truly means to be human, of how to live in this world, and of how to move forward in the direction He is taking history. This vision, this life, and this future are all blood-bought, Holy Spirit-empowered, and fully backed by the God who raises the dead. In other words, we are not banking on empty promises from just another talking head in the history of humanity.
But there’s more … we are actually commissioned to work on behalf of Jesus to help bring His vision to fruition. We are enlisted into the King’s army, yet our weapons are not those protected by the 2nd Amendment; our weapons are the Word of God, sacrificial love, and the revelation of Who Jesus is (Colossians 1:13-20). Jesus is alive and only He can change the human heart, heal the soul, inspire eternal allegiance, and teach us to how to live above our circumstances.

Let’s hope in Him and commit anew to His vision of a new community of people brought together by His blood, captivated by His glory, and living lives of sacrificial good deeds done in His Name!

**Rock Bridgers, for more information on demonstrating the hope of Jesus to our communities, visit www.bethehope.cc.

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“What is God currently teaching me?”

This is such a necessary question for those of us who profess to be disciples (or students) of Jesus, but most likely it’s a question that gets overtaken by other questions that seem more urgent and more practical. But this side of heaven, perhaps there is no greater question for us to ask, discern an answer, and then fully cooperate with God who is “working in” us even as we “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12-13).

I have spent four of the past five weeks away in a combination of formal and personal study, seeking to really hear from God on this most important question. All of this is part of what our staff calls, “growth plans”, which are intentional steps we seek to grow as leaders, Christ-followers, and ministers. The Elders graciously granted me a sabbatical-type leave to pursue some academic work as part of my growth plan. I truly believe that slowing down, being still, and setting one’s mind on what is above (Colossians 3:2) is like putting the Hubble telescope on our eyes to really see God better by faith, by the Word, and by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now let me share some of my current answers to the most important question and ask you to pray with me and for me in these areas where God is working in me.

Sin is terrible and wrong because of Who we sin against.

In my seemingly never ending attempts at self-justification, I can easily put a “it’s no big deal” or “no one will know” or “it didn’t hurt anyone” tag line on my sin. However, when I realize that sin is more than what I did (or failed to do) and really about Who I dishonored and grieved, then I know some of what Isaiah felt when he declared in the Lord’s awesome presence, “Woe is me for I am ruined…” This single revelation has brought much needed awareness and repentance into my life.

There are 3 ways to live: inward, outward or God-ward.

When I live inward, I am overly introspective, thinking of myself and how everything—big or small—will affect my world. When I live outward, I am easily swayed by my circumstances, by people’s responses, and by fear of man. But when I live God-ward, I am most aware of God… and living my life before the Audience of One.

God is not just to be chosen and obeyed; He is to be cherished and prized!

We talk about enjoying summer, but we should talk more about enjoying God. This lesson will change everything about how you view worship services and time in God’s Word. Worship is simply the right response to Who God really is. We sing because He has put a song of joy in our hearts, and Scripture is our eyes through which we see our Prize and cherish Him here, now and forever!

Matt

Posted by & filed under Apologetics, Ask Anything.

There is no more important an issue for the Christian (or the non-Christian) than the resurrection of Jesus… for Christianity rests on the reality of it. In the words of Apostle Paul, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless …” (I Corinthians 15:17).

Christians understand the reality of the resurrection as they experience and enjoy an interactive relationship with Jesus through His Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18). However, some might chalk this up to merely a subjective religious experience. Are there any “facts” that can help us show people the historical accuracy of the resurrection?

William Lane Craig is an outstanding apologist for the Christian faith. In Chapter 8 of his book, Reasonable Faith (2008), he shares three, independently established facts for the resurrection.

#1: The Empty Tomb

The fact of the empty tomb is supported by numerous historical sources, including no less than six independent ones. Some of these sources can be dated to within a few years of the resurrection event, making it very difficult for a myth to develop. Additionally, the fact that women were the first to discover the empty tomb is significant. In the first century, women would have been considered unreliable as witnesses, which begs the question, “If the Gospel writers were making these stories up, why not make them be as believable as possible by having men discover the empty tomb?”

#2: The Post-Resurrection Appearances

In the four Gospels, as well as in Paul’s letters, numerous eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus are listed. The accounts of these eyewitnesses describe physical appearances of Jesus, not merely visions or hallucinations. In fact, in I Corinthians 15, Paul tells us that at least 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus. Paul then mentions that most of those 500 are still alive; it’s as if Paul is saying, “If you don’t believe me, then go ask other people.” He is essentially offering multiple testimonies to corroborate the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

#3:  The Beginning of Christianity

The launching of Christianity itself was based on Jesus’ resurrection. This event alone firmly established the new religion or faith as distinct from Judaism and from various pagan religions. Craig makes the point that if the resurrection is denied, then the explanation of Christianity’s origins must come from either pre-existing Christian beliefs or pagan or Jewish influences. However, none of these offer credible explanations for the origin of Christianity (389-390).

So what is the best and most logical explanation for the empty tomb, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and the start of Christianity? The resurrection of Jesus from the dead actually happened … and we celebrate that fact and all that it means this weekend!

Join us and invite someone to one of our Easter services this weekend. See all the After Party service times and locations here.

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We’re all missionaries, and we should live our lives in such a way that we will:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” [I Peter 3:15, NIV]

At Work:

  1. Get to work early and pray for the people you work with and the day.
  2. Don’t eat alone: intentionally eat with your co-workers and learn their story.
  3. Put “Christ” in the Weekend Question: on Friday you get asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” On Monday you get asked, “What did you do this weekend?” Don’t dance around it—always mention time with God, highlight something from church, etc.
  4. Birthdays/anniversaries: know people’s birthdays and anniversaries. When appropriate, ask, “What is one thing I can be praying for you/your marriage this year?”
  5. Avoid gossip. Be positive. Be thankful. Be kind. Be respectful/submissive toward authority.
  6. When you learn someone is going through a tough time, offer to pray for them right then and there. Pray the Gospel.
  7. Be a servant. Do the work no one wants to do: cleaning up after a party, taking out the trash, or cleaning the coffee pot.
  8. Display Scripture or other appropriate Christian symbols and be ready when people ask about it; however, don’t be tacky or cheesy. Be tasteful.
  9. Look for the overlooked. Who doesn’t get appreciated? Whose job is sometimes behind-the-scenes or out of sight (i.e. cleaning workers, night shift, etc)? Seek to bless and appreciate them.
  10. Invite people to service projects, like a HOPE expression. This is often an easier first step than coming to church, and it will create questions.
  11. When others are in need, lead the way in organizing others to help out with meals, visits, etc…

In restaurants:

  1. Pray a meaningful prayer over your meal. Don’t rush this. Demonstrate God’s worth and value that eating is secondary to giving thanks to the One you owe everything!
  2. Before you pray, ask your server, “We are going to thank God for this meal. Is there anything we can pray for you about?”
  3. Be a regular: same place, same time. People are creatures of habit. Perhaps you’ll get the same waiter/waitress or see the same people. Seek to get to know them over time.
  4. When appropriate, leave a BIG tip along with a note or invite card to church.

In General:

  1. Pray for opportunities. (In my experience, this is one of the prayers that God answers the quickest in my life.)
  2. Listen and ask a lot of questions. Listen for their story, their problems, their pain, their hopes and dreams.
  3. There is great power and witness in living a consistently kind, thankful, and joyful life before others. At some point, people might ask you, “Why?
  4. When given the chance, pray for people on the spot. Let them hear your love for God and your faith in His character.
  5. Keep resources available such as church invite cards, books such as More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, Bibles, etc.
  6. Don’t get frustrated or annoyed with people’s doubts or objections. If you don’t know something, tell them you will find out. Don’t get sidetracked with evolution, dinosaurs, or people’s bad experiences with church or Christians; keep coming back to Jesus and the resurrection. Remember there is plenty of evidence that Jesus did RISE from the dead!
  7. Keep in mind that many people are practical atheists, meaning they believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist or is not relevant to their lives. Demonstrate by your life that God is the most relevant Reality, the most personal Being, and the most treasured Companion… and be sure to use the Name Jesus!

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If you haven’t, read Part 1 and Part 2. In today’s political world, pro-choice is often equated with being pro-women. If you are pro-choice, then you are for a woman’s right to privacy, for a woman’s reproductive rights, and for a woman’s advancement. However, in a bit of historical irony, Alice Paul who helped get the 19th Amendment passed (giving women the right to vote), called abortion the “ultimate exploitation of women.” Why does she call what today is deemed a “right” exploitation?[1]   In summary, the legalization of abortion came about as a result of men who convinced leaders of the women’s rights movement in America that equality with men in the workforce would only come about when the inconvenience of pregnancy was solved. Their solution: abortion on demand. We need to understand that abortion rights began as a movement to betray women by telling them that to achieve equality with men professionally, socially, and educationally they had to not be pregnant.[2] Fundamentally, this robs women of the God-given dignity they possess as being made in God’s image and as a co-heir with men in the Kingdom of Jesus (1 Peter 4:7).   Perhaps Alice Paul foresaw the sick logic of abortion as actually devaluing women because it devalues a fundamental, God-given female capacity for pregnancy. Abortion follows the sick logic of “her body, her choice; her problem”, telling a woman that after the abortion her “problem” will be over.

Abortion has created a sick and false dichotomy that it is EITHER the woman or the child.[3]

  Another effect of the exploitative abortion logic is that it actually encourages less responsibility among men. Men do not have to bear the responsibility of fatherhood and can easily begin to see (and relate) to women as a sexual commodity. If sex results in pregnancy, get an abortion; and if she won’t … well then, he doesn’t have to stay and bear responsibility, he can simply leave her … after all, it’s her body and therefore, her problem.   So while we should not encourage sexual promiscuity or sex outside of the bounds of marriage, we should look at women who have unintended pregnancies with compassion and love. Pregnancy—no matter under what circumstances conception occurred—must be celebrated as something that occurs under the sovereignty of God. Life is not a mistake.  

Church, we must take a stand for LIFE for the rest of our lives.

  Abortion will not go away simply because a pro-life president is elected and a constitutionalist judge is appointed to the Supreme Court. Protecting, promoting, and valuing life is a constant posture for the Christ-follower. But we can begin to assume this posture at the ballot box by voting for the unborn.   [1] “The Feminist Case Against Abortion,” America Magazine, last modified January 7, 2015, accessed February 22, 2016, http://americamagazine.org/issue/feminist-case-against-abortion. [2] “Feminists for Life | Women Deserve Better® than Abortion,” accessed February 22, 2016, http://www.feministsforlife.org/. [3] Ibid.

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In Part 1 of this series of posts, we discussed voting for the most vulnerable people in our nation—the 1,000,000 unborn who most likely will be aborted. Like most issues, the subject of abortion cannot and should not be reduced to a slogan or a ballot box only issue. One of the underlying causes of abortion is that for many pregnant women, abortion seems like their only realistic choice … but not all choices are created equal … and many women believe they simply do not have the resources to a make a different choice.

Why is this so?

  We must keep in mind that most women of childbearing age only know a post-Roe v. Wade (1973) America; they only know abortion as an option or choice. When an abortion-minded woman becomes pregnant she most likely will face one or more of the following:
  • economic distresses and financial challenges to raising her child;
  • failure of the father to take any responsibility for the child he helped conceive;
  • lack of healthcare;
  • work place discrimination (YES this still happens to some pregnant women);
  • inadequate emotional and relational support;
  • lack of childcare opportunities or options.
So increasingly many pregnant women see abortion as their only choice.

Ironically, we can ponder if a pregnant woman in America really even has a choice?

However, if we are going to be pro-life, we must be for both the unborn child and his or her mother, less we be guilty of this description: Anti-choice people often call themselves “pro-life.” But the only life many of them are concerned with is the life of the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus. They are much less concerned about the life of women who have unintended pregnancies or the welfare of the children after they are born.[1] So to be fully pro-life, we must also be FOR the would-be, could-be mothers. We must learn how to serve them so they can not only see the value of the life that develops within them, but also help them see how they can raise that child to its God-given potential. Or show them that adoption is also a noble, viable, and in some cases, best choice for their child. This is why the work of agencies like the Women’s Enrichment Center in Dalton and Chatsworth and the Calhoun Pregnancy Center is so important.

This is why we as Christ-followers must be open to adoption in our families and must support legislation that makes adoption easier.

  And finally, this is why we must also consider how best to vote for the millions and millions of women who wonder if they really have a choice in how to handle their unintended pregnancy. [1] http://newantichoicerhetoric.web.unc.edu/thewords/the-feminist-case-against-abortion/, as quoted from Planned Parenthood web site.

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There is no doubt about it—politics is polarizing. Perhaps that is why I’ve been reluctant as a pastor to say too much about candidates, elections, and how to vote… other than that we should vote. However, this year is going to be different because I’m going to tell you who I think you should vote for. Not only that, I’m going further—I’m going to tell you who I think biblically you should vote for. I know that sounds bold, maybe even a bit pushy and presumptuous, but bear with me.

Consider the “Father” heart of God.

God is often called a “Father” in Scripture. This form of address speaks to His desire to oversee a large and diverse family, His steadfast love, and His all-encompassing goodness. We see this “Father” heart—even for wayward children—in the Story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). The psalmist even says God is “father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5).

Let’s ask, “Who might God be for in 2016?”

Luke records that Jesus’ public ministry began with Him quoting the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18). This Scripture clearly indicates that God is for the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable.

This most vulnerable group of people will number about 1,000,000 in 2016.

Approximately 1,000,000 children will be aborted this year in the United States. Since 1973, this group numbers over 58 million! They have no voice, no vote, and no protection unless we vote for them. Let me be clear: in the church we can debate over poverty solutions, immigration policy, ISIS, taxes… and Christians can love Jesus and disagree on these issues (without being disagreeable). However, as best I can tell there is only one issue that has black and white biblical clarity: God values all human life from the moment that life is conceived and all life is stamped with the dignity of bearing the image of God; therefore, God is for life. Now, I understand some will argue that a fetus is not yet a human. However, can we really define at what point in the developmental process a fertilized egg moves from “non-human” to “human”? In reality, that point is defined by the choice of the mother isn’t it? If a woman who is trying to get pregnant finds out she is now expecting a few weeks or a few months after conception, she believes what is growing inside her is a human—full of value, dignity, and potential. She looks forward to raising that child. However, if the woman who did not intend to get pregnant determines—for a variety of reasons—she does not want or cannot raise the child, then she can legally choose abortion because what grows inside her is “non-human.”[1] Either way, the woman is allowed to make this determination of personhood, under the legal justification that her right to privacy is worth more than the child’s right to life. But hasn’t God humanized His children from before He created the world (Ephesians 1:4), which certainly includes from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13)? Therefore, the unborn child is not tissue or a fetus or a mistake; the unborn child is God’s will.

To the mothers who may have had abortions, God’s will is equally clear: He loves you.

  He will forgive you in Christ just as in Christ your child is precious and eternally with Him. In Christ one day we will be reunited with the millions of unborn who were taken from this life and marvel at the grace and power of God. But until that day, we must pray and labor for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So before you vote in the 2016 primaries and the general election in the Fall, make a commitment to vote for the voiceless lives that have no protection under our current laws—yet they still are made in the image of God. (This is part 1 in a series of posts on abortion and the election.)   [1] Most studies indicate that women having abortions do so because pregnancy would interfere with work or school; inability to afford the costs of raising a child; or lack of support/involvement from the father.