Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Abortion Is Racism

Today in our society the worst thing you can call anyone is “racist.” It denotes that a person is prejudice against people of other races and shows or feels discrimination and believes that a particular race is superior to another. To combat racism we have seen a proliferation of diversity classes being included in educational curriculum and job training. We are taught today about micro-aggressions or the little ways we show racism toward a different race. No matter how much micro-aggression there is, the most reprehensible form of racism on the planet is abortion. This is a racism that murders little defenseless lives before they ever see the light of day. It is a racism that says these lives don’t matter.

It is precisely what Hillary Clinton stated on national television in the last Presidential Debate of 2016. She unmistakably stated she supported the killing of babies through the entire period of gestation and delivery. She made it crystal clear that these little babies have no rights whatsoever, as long as they are inside their mothers’ bodies, even if they are seconds from being born. Americans listening to her were horrified, and it is one of the reasons she lost the election. People deep down know that her remarks are completely racist toward this vulnerable group of Americans.

The Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case of 1857 that took place right here in St. Louis was dead wrong. That case stated Black slaves were property without rights as free persons.  When Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office as our 16th president, he was determined to see that the dreaded institution of slavery end. He, along with many other Americans, knew that the Supreme Court was wrong on that ruling, just as they were wrong in Roe v. Wade of 1973 which did not give the unborn the rights of free persons. The day, however, is coming when this decision will be overturned. It took a civil war and 600,000 soldiers dying to free the slaves, and reversing Roe v. Wade will not be easy. We cannot, however, give up until these little ones are also free to live the lives God ordained for them.

Little by little people are beginning to see that abortion is a horrible thing. Thanks to the advances in technology no one dares argue that life begins at conception. Young women now see their little babies before their eyes and decide to keep them. People are even beginning to see abortion as the form of racism that it truly is.

Let us pray that this racism against the unborn will come to an end. Let us pray that more Crisis Pregnancy Centers will be established in the inner cities of America. Let us pray that these little babies will be given to the millions of Americans who want to adopt them and give them a loving home.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A True Shepherd

Who doesn’t love a person who can succinctly say what needs to be said in a timely manner. Nobody was better at that than Jesus. In Luke 15 Jesus used the opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding.
The Pharisees saw themselves as God’s representatives on earth, but that is not how Jesus saw them. Most of all he wanted people to see how God really is, so he gave us three word pictures of God.

The very religious Pharisees found it puzzling that Jesus spent time with sinners (Luke 15:1-2). It was repugnant to them that Jesus actually welcomed sinners into his life and that he went so far as to eat with them. Anyone knows that you eat with friends and not enemies like these. If the Pharisees were disgusted at Jesus’ attitude toward the sinners, Jesus was repulsed by their attitudes toward the sinners. This is the setting for the three parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son. Not only did the Pharisees not care about the tax collectors and other sinners, it also angered them that Jesus cared so much.

They looked down on sinners and consequently, would not associate with them in anyway. They saw sinners as hopeless and deserving of any misery. However, the problem is that Jesus didn’t see the Pharisees as representing God at all. He was a masterful story teller, and he told three stories to shed light on this very important subject of how his Father feels about sinners.

First, the parables deal with loss, the loss of a sheep, a coin and a son. People everywhere feel lost and are overwhelmed by the sense of loss. They have dreams they never realized. There are failed marriages, failed goals, failed health, depleted hope, and they feel so very alone. They look back over their life and feel that is not what they wanted. They feel they have made so many mistakes and inflicted so much harm on themselves and others. The burden of loss is often a burden too great for some to carry, and they resort to depression, sadness and even the taking of their own life.

In the first two stories the search was relentless for what was lost. The shepherd cannot allow himself to rest - the lost must be found! The woman cannot stop until the coin is found. This is not a perfunctory search but an all-out-search until it is found. The story points to Jesus as the true shepherd who searches for us. These parables give us a picture of God that is very different than most people have of him. Here we see him celebrating the recovery of what was lost. He laughs and rejoices and all of heaven with him.

I have on my office shelf a carving from Ecuador of the Shepherd carrying the lost sheep back to the fold.  I think that was a beautiful moment when the shepherd, with deliberate effort, finds the lost sheep and hoists it to his shoulders and carries it home. That is what Jesus does for us. He did that on the cross when he carried our sins on his shoulders. The Apostle Peter said it like this: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet 2:24-25).

Pastor Peter Lewis and his wife, Valerie, were reading through the love messages published in their local paper on Valentine’s Day. They came across a touching note from some adult children to their parents.  The message was short and sweet.  It read: “The rebels failed, for our Utopia was the home we fought to leave.”  Have you been lost from your Heavenly Father? Maybe it’s time to go back home. His arms are wide open and waiting to receive you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

My House Shall Be Filled

In the parable of The Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24) Jesus talks about the real reason people reject Christ. It is certainly not the lame excuses they offer as they did in the parable. It is that they have no appetite for spiritual things. They have no appetite for Christ. They feel no conviction to examine their life in the light of what the Bible says. It seems incredible that people would turn down the offer of God’s forgiveness, peace and eternal life, but they do. It is because there is a problem with their ability to actually think straight. They have learned to think almost entirely about this earth and the temporal stuff they love leaving them almost no ability at all to think about eternal things.

In the parable the servant came back and reported that the invitations were being ignored, so the master ordered his servant to go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor. He said bring them even if they are crippled, blind, or lame, or in other words bring in the outcasts.

The servant came back and reported what you ordered has been done, but there is still room. Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:22-23). This is a missions statement if there ever was one. According to the U.S. State Department there are 196 official countries in the world that speak over 6,900 languages. Jesus is making clear that there will always be people that will respond to the invitation. When one group doesn’t, he sends his servants out in the remote areas of the world where someone will be glad to hear the news. This parable underscores The Great Commission that Jesus gave to the church to go, make, baptize and teach in all the world.

The parable speaks to us of the danger of people rejecting the message of the Gospel the way the religious leaders did in Jesus’ day. However, it also speaks to us of the need to take the message to everyone so that God’s House will be filled. This is a clear picture of how much God loves the world and wants them to come to his eternal banquet.