Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blessed Assurance

The next time you’re at a college football game, take a look around at the crowd. A large portion, over 20,000, represents the number of young women and their families with crisis pregnancies Women for Life have helped since 1985.

Assurance Care for Women and Girls, a local pregnancy help center, is my church’s designated home mission agency. We proudly support their work in saving babies and their moms from the devastation of abortion. They also have a wonderful program called Renew that reaches out in love to post-abortion women.

This year at Assurance’s annual Share the Vision fundraising banquet, director Cindy McDaniel presented the agency’s annual report where the bottom line equals lives saved. In 2008, the clinic had:

1766 client visits
310 clients hear the gospel
111 women and their babies
saved from abortion
19 clients give their life to Christ

The 111 women and babies saved from abortion are just the ones the staff knows about. At the banquet, on each table were framed photos of cute babies – babies that were alive today because of the work of Assurance. There were women holding their babies, beaming with pride. Young fathers grinning from ear to ear. These were lives spared – infants and parents alike.

There were some other numbers which are very important:

$1,020 – the cost of the 1020 pregnancy tests given
$83,700 – the cost of the 558 ultrasounds performed - 60% of clients who saw the first beats of their babies hearts choose life

Assurance’s budget for 2008 was $359,099.20 or about $3,235 for each of the 111 choices for life. (Really, it is $1,617 per life saved as both mother and child were spared.)

If you are not involved with a pregnancy help center – get involved. This is the front line in the culture war. If you’re not comfortable with hands on work at the center, get comfortable writing a check. The Lord works through means. Your parents taught you, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” The pregnancy centers around our nation know that all too well and need our support. III John teaches that when we support genuine Christians workers we share in their ministry, by becoming “fellow workers for the truth.”

For more information on Assurance, go here. If you’re pregnant and feel abortion is your only option, please go here. You’ll be met with love, not judgment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol & A British Surprise

Here’s a brief recap:

Allison – “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”. Taking on Steven Tyler, the 16-year- old did a great job. I know she has a deep, raspy speaking voice, but sometimes it sounds like she’s singing in a key that’s too low for her.

Anoop – “Everything I Do”. His best performance to date. Loved it.

Adam – “Born To Be Wild”. His performance was over the top and it worked. He really is all that and change - great voice, great performer.

Matt – “Really Love A Woman”. Nice job, but Matt has gone about as far as he’s gonna go.

Danny – “Endless Love.” This actually brought tears to my eyes. It was a wonderful, heartfelt performance.

Kris – “Falling Slowly.” I wasn’t familiar with this song and didn’t get all the words, but I love this kid.

Lil – “The Rose.” I loved the first part, but when she “changed it up”, she lost me, lost pitch, lost it.

Here’s how I would rate them:


Should be going home? Lil. Might be going home? Matt.

Now, from Britain’s Got Talent, check out this reminder not to judge a book by its cover.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Travel Lessons and Easter

In their book, Just Visiting, George and Karen Grant write of how travel used to be considered an essential part of a person’s education. Traveling to other places gives you a broader perspective on the world than can be developed by staying in your hometown.

Living in Kentucky, my American experience is substantially different than that of a woman growing up in Detroit or someone living in Cody, Wyoming. As you travel across the United States, you discover it’s more than geography that changes, it’s lifestyles. In Kentucky, life pauses for March Madness. (If a Kentucky team is playing, life screeches to a halt.) In New Mexico and other western states, it’s not basketball that causes disruption, but rodeo season. Those growing up in the north might say the same about hockey. The preferred sport and life in general is different from state to state.

Traveling has more to teach us than just lifestyle variances. I spent a week in Magdalena, New Mexico during my summer missionary stint. In 1986, Magdalena was a dying town. Vacant buildings and decay were visible everywhere. Unemployment and other social stressors were the norm. Yet, these vacant buildings once were occupied by thriving businesses. The abandoned motel that served as a skateboard park for local teenagers once had its rooms and parking lots filled with travelers. The same was true of my visit to New Haven, Connecticut in the early 90s. The home of Yale University was boarded-up and economically depressed where it had once been a thriving city.

Travel to Europe and the lesson is more vivid. Travelers visit ruins of once powerful city states. Vienna, now a beautiful tourist stop, was a powerful political force – once. The sun never set on the British Empire – once. Rome was more than a city in Italy; it ruled the known world – once.

There’s a new country music song, “Shutting Detroit Down”. While its lyrics decry the bailout and bonuses of Wall Street, the title struck me as prophetic. Just because Detroit is the Motor City now doesn’t mean it always shall be.

Life is not static. “Panta rhei,” or “Everything flows,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. The river you step into today is not the same river you will step into tomorrow. Things change. How reluctant we are to admit this. We want to believe tomorrow will be like today, only better. Our sense of entitlement to constancy is illusory.

The other component of Heraclitus’ thought, however, was that the Logos was the fundamental order of all. He was on to something. The Logos or the Word is indeed fundamental. When constancy in this world cannot be found and flux and upheaval raise anxiety levels, it’s good to remember with the Apostle John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [overcome] it.”

That’s the power of Easter, the hope and security of putting our trust in the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.