The Best Kept Secret Of Abortion

Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade. Many who will read this will find themselves on the pro-life side of this issue. You will consider yourself a champion or at least a cheerleader for the unborn. You would agree life begins at conception. You would be sensitive to the fact that pregnancies can cause a real harm to the mother and the every measure should be taken to protect both the mother’s health and the baby. You would desire that teenage girls who find themselves pregnant would seek to carry the baby and then find support necessary to help her begin motherhood.

Ah…but here is the best kept secret about abortion; teens are not the ones getting them. That’s right, women ages 30-39 years old have twice as many abortions as teens. Woman ages 20-29 have four times as many abortions as teens. Over 80% of all reported abortions are by those in the college or career phase of life. Teens make up only 15% of all abortions (over age 40 amounts to about 3-4% of abortions). The single largest age group having abortions is 23-27 years old or the first 4 years of post college. The second largest age group is the college ages 19-23 and the third is ages 27-31.[1]

How many of us when we think of abortion think in terms of the teenage girl who because of shame and her young age decides to have an abortion?  While not diminishing or minimizing the reality of such cases, the truth is the real face of abortion is the young career woman (and by association the young career man).

Career Chasing, Delayed Marriage and Wimpy Men

Abortion, as it turns out, has been less about teenagers having sex as it about 20 something’s who want to delay marriage and family for a host of mostly selfish reasons. The selfishness revolves around wanting to enjoy sex but not what sex produces–babies. Babies get in the way. Harsh, but it is a very real truth in the minds of some. Babies complicate relationships. I want to have sex with this guy but I do not want to be tied to him for life; I want my options left open. Maybe I will marry him, but not now. Babies also cramp the career panache of life. Once I’m settled into my career then I will start a family, but, in the meantime I really want to be able to have sex. See a pattern here?

Lest I seem to be piling on the women, men are just as responsible! It is a wimp of a man who cannot own up to responsibility. If you create life, be a man and be responsible for it. Don’t pawn off your spawning. That is weak and selfish. Selfish, because it foists upon a woman the weight of life and death. A real man provides, yes, but he protects. Running from owning your actions leaves a woman vulnerable and unprotected, the antithesis of manhood. If you’re man enough to make a life then be man enough to protect it.

The Bait and Switch

Abortion as it has turned out has undermined the institution of marriage and promoted the pursuit of mammon. For those less inclined to know what mammon is, it is simply money or the stuff of this world. Jesus taught this simple yet profound truth, “You cannot serve two masters.” Abortion tries to say you can. You can have sex, you can pursue a career, you can have a family exactly when you want. You can have it all. Except it comes at a high price no one ever tells you about a head of time. Kind of like buying that cheap printer for $50. You think, “Wow, that was easy and didn’t cost much at all.” Then you go to buy the ink replacement and it costs a small fortune and you say, “Hey, wait a minute, I just wanted a cheap printer I didn’t expect it to be this much.” Too late, gotcha. Once you buy into the lie you can have it all and it won’t cost you anything you have unwittingly bowed to the master of mammon.

Jesus goes on to say, “Either you will love the one or hate the other.” Something is the master of our lives and we can’t have two of them. Jesus means we will either love this world or we will love Him. Now, when He says world2  He is not talking about beautiful sunrises, walks in the park and so on, He is talking about the philosophies of this world that are diametrically opposed to His wisdom. Sex outside of marriage is one of those philosophies diametrically opposed. Murder is as well (I type those words with great care and empathy to those who may have had an abortion!). We must be honest about this issue and what is really going on. We are falling for the old bait and switch. We are too focused on the immediate and the material instead of the eternal and spiritual.

What About Us Christians?

Is the church practicing anything much different? Yes,3 but we too are susceptible to the subtle pull of career chasing and marriage delaying. When we do, or when we encourage our children to; we put them in an almost impossible position of staying pure. Which master are we really following? This is something the church must think deeply about in approaching our youth.

The Now and Then

The issue of abortion is not one woman’s rights or freedom to choose. Those arguments are framed within a too narrow of a view that there is nothing beyond today; there is only the immediate. The issue of abortion really is an eternal one. What is done cannot be undone for all of time. No one can go back and erase anything. Decisions we make must not be dogmatically tied to the here and now but must be tied to the now and then. I decide to do “this”, whatever “this” is, then what? Then I do “that”, whatever “that” is, then what? If you ask the question, “Then what?” enough you get to the ultimate question, “Then I die, then what?” Indeed then what? Life is a sequence of interconnected events and choices that for all of us cease one day. Then what?

While nothing done can be undone and events cannot be erased, everything can be forgiven. If we will by faith believe in Jesus, believe in His sacrifice on the cross, believe that He is the resurrected Son of God and make Him our master instead of mammon all will be forgiven. There will be no condemnation for anything done. Healing will be found. A master who leads us to green pastures awaits us.

Abortion is mostly about a choice to enslave ourselves to a deceptive master; mammon. We want what we want and we are told we can have it but we are not told what it will cost until it’s too late. It’s worse than a well kept secret, it’s a lie.

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1 http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/distribution-of-abortions-by-age/

2 See 1 John 2:15-17

 3 Research by the Center for Reason claims Christians have as many abortions as non-Christians but the research does not delineate between nominal Christians and active born again Christians. This author believes the latter would show lower rates.

Over 1,100 Attend Christmas Cantata At Grace

In the midst of this busy Christmas season over 1,100 people took time out to go back 2,000 years  and experience the night God came to make everything new. From the live nativity scene outside that greeted the crowds as they arrived, to the thematic tenor of the cantata inside; time seemed to tie two nights into one. One night when Jesus Christ was born, to come and make a way for all things to be made new; the other, a cold December eve in 2014 where the message of Jesus is still able to make all things new. God was with us in Bethlehem long ago and God was with us in Batavia this past weekend. One message – powerful, true and lasting, ties the two nights together just like a Christmas bow.

A 65 voice choir along with the testimonies of Steve and Sarah Haynes, sang and spoke of praises to Emmanuel throughout the 1 1/2 hour production. There was no mistaking the reason for the season! Jesus Christ had come to save sinners and give hope to this weary world. In Him all things are indeed made new!

Enjoy some pictures courtesy Charissa Tosh .

 

Here is the testimony of Steve and Sarah Haynes shared.

Here is one piece of music from the cantata.

Friday Frivolity ~ Staff Sled Race Style

A merry competitive heart does good!

Last Sunday our esteemed chairman of the deacons shared an observation about the pastoral team during a presentation to the congregation. The chairman indicated the pastors seemed to enjoy some good-natured competition. We have no idea where he got that idea from. Hehe…

Purposeful Friendships

the-purpose-of-christmasA friend shows himself friendly and many of the folks at Grace Baptist did just that on Sunday. They did so by inviting a friend to church. Nothing fancy, just a “Hey, would love to have you join me for church” offer. Many prayed and made that very offer. Some, perhaps, were declined but apparently many were not.  The auditorium was packed. We gave away 32 “Purpose of Christmas” books. That means at least 32 friends heard the gospel in person and took the gospel home with them in print. Wow, that is a great Sunday!

Now here is the hard part: keep praying for your friends (even the ones who may have said no thanks to your invitation) and keep inviting them. Just around the corner is our annual Ladies Christmas Party (Friday, December 5th), a Men’s Breakfast (Saturday, December 13th) and especially of note, the Christmas Cantata, “Christmas Makes Everything New” (Friday, December 19th005706202 and Sunday, the 21st). The cantata features a 60 voice choir along with purposeful testimonies. The cantata provides another can’t miss opportunity to share the gospel with a friend. What could be more exciting than seeing a friend become a brother or sister in Christ this holiday season? God has used these very events to do just that. Keep being a friend, keep praying and keep inviting!

Move That Dirt

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Two weeks ago we humbly asked the congregation to prayerfully consider making a faith promise to expand our parking. The goal was $30,000 to get the project underway and provide some needed parking in time for winter. The total goal was $60,000 to complete the entire project. In just 2 Sundays, a little over $53,000 was committed towards this project by the people of Grace! Wow, praise God!

Equipment arrived yesterday and soon dirt will be moved, because God’s people were moved. They were moved by a vision that saw more parking would mean more people could hear the gospel. That is sacrificial! Thank you for your commitment to the gospel and reaching people in our community.

Now let’s move some dirt!

Driscoll, Shirk And Appreciating Shepherds

It’s pastor appreciation month, right? So let’s talk about pastors, two in particular: Driscoll and Shirk. In a bit of irony most people reading this blog know the one named Shirk but fewer might know the one named Driscoll. Ironic because Driscoll is what we call a “pastor celebrity” while Shirk is just a regular pastor shepherd. Except one is still a pastor and the other is not.

Pastor Driscoll was (and probably still is to some) an icon to a whole generation of young, restless, and theologically conservative men who were either pastors or were preparing to be one. He was himself young, brash, willing to say the things regular pastors wouldn’t and in ways regular pastors wouldn’t, kind of pastor. This drew a crowd (15,000 attended the weekly services of Mars Hill Church in multiple states) . This piqued the interest of a generation that didn’t want to do church the way their fathers did. He gave theological credibility to being a church culture rebel. Here lies the problem; at heart he was a rebel. This week he resigned due to a lengthy season of turmoil involving investigations and lawsuits over his character in terms of spiritual abuse, plagiarism and questionable business ethics  among other items. I want to be careful and sincere in my very distant and removed critique of Pastor Driscoll but if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck; well, it’s probably a duck. Turns out he was a duck more than a shepherd. Pastor Driscoll can and may still find a shepherds heart, return to feeding and loving a flock, and as Peter was restored, so too can he.

The Apostle Peter was a brash, say things in ways no one else dared, kind of guy too. But all of that was untamed still by Christ and when the heat of ministry got real hot (think of the arrest and trial of Jesus) he leaned on his own bravado and plan. It was a, how shall we say it, “Ministry fail!” Then came a little mentoring moment by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus restored Peter to ministry. What did Peter learn? He tells us in his own words:

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And a few verses later; God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

Hmm. Sounds more like Pastor Shirk than it does Pastor Driscoll. Which, I believe, makes sense why one is still a pastor and the other is not.

Pastor Shirk (in the spirit of full disclosure is my Senior Pastor) models these verses because he has been tamed by Christ. Is he perfect? No, but he has yielded his ministry to the Chief Shepherd. His services draw, umm, 400. But he is an example to those 400. He leads those 400 to green pastures. The church is not about him; it’s about Christ. He is faithful not flashy. I think that is what Jesus taught Peter about being a true spiritual leader.

And perhaps that is what Pastor Driscoll will discover.

So, during pastor appreciation month give appreciation to all those faithful men of God who labor week in and week out to simply and humbly care for souls. They will be hardly be known outside their own community, let alone icons to a generation, but they will bring honor and glory to their Savior.  He will exalt them in due time and give them the crown of glory that will never fade away.  And that will be just fine by them.