“Did they do that to my baby?” A response to the Planned Parenthood videos

You are likely familiar with the recent scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood’s policy of selling organs and body parts of aborted babies.

The undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress have sparked fierce reactions from both sides of the debate.  Pro-life and pro-choice advocates alike are calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The idea that somehow baby parts have more value than the baby itself is shocking, revolting, and immoral.

But shock without action is easy for those of us just reading the news.  Day after day there are people serving women and offering them options to help save the unborn.

I asked Deborah Hayes, Director of Pregnancy Resources of Doraville just outside Atlanta, how the news of Planned Parenthood has impacted PROD and what their response is to the uproar.  Here’s what she wrote:

Yes, the news of the day is opening the eyes of women who are post abortive and we are getting calls about, “Did they do that stuff to the baby I aborted?”
                                                                                                                                           I wish I could give them a definite “NO”, but I can’t.  It seems the women who have recently come with the idea that they want an abortion are more open to other options we provide.
                                                                                                                                          I am happy to say that we are having more inquiries about the adoption option these last couple of weeks.  As my children’s favorite book says, “Aslan is on the move!”  God has allowed this light to be shown so the world will know how dark the darkness of PP and even private abortion providers is.
                                                                                                                                     Gov. Deal is addressing the issue with some investigations of his own.  Time will tell how politicians deal with the truth of abortion.  My prayer is that abortion will be taken out of the political arena and shown for what it really is, sin and moral depravity.
Mrs. Hayes went on to add that their ministry is in constant need of loving volunteers to work with clients and do general office work.  If you are interested, you can call PROD from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM Monday thru Thursday or simply email Deborah@prdoraville.org.
                                                                                                                                                                       The PP videos are shocking for sure.  But these revelations do not change the calling of those committed to supporting moms and ensuring unborn babies have a future.  A ministry like PROD is a great place to start making a difference.
                                                                                                                                                               Search your community for places to volunteer or check out PROD at  www.prdoraville.org

Dreams from Our Father

Dreams from Our FatherPeace on earth, good will toward men.”

“and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”      Luke 9:2

Everyone has a dream of a perfect world.

Some dreams come from culture.  Some dreams come from parents.

Christians also live with a dream.

And contrary to what it might seem, the dream is not for everyone to look the same, talk the same, vote the same way, go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, never see R movies, never cuss, or generally avoid fun altogether.

And the dream is not just about heaven, though it would seem that “going to heaven when you die” seems to be the main goal for many.

No this dream goes beyond behavior and where you would go if you died tonight, as important as both of these things are. This dream is about something much bigger and much more transformational.

The dream encompasses not just human behavior and individual destiny, but also creation and the remaking of all things.

In fact, what I am about to share might be surprising to some Christians themselves.

You see, we Christians have a secret which we either have forgotten or are unsure how to share.

The secret is a dream for the world and everyone in it.

Like so many, we want a world without hunger, disease, poverty, where people live generous lives, the environment is clean, and more. And you can find Christians working toward these goals all over the world. I can name many.

But we believe such a world can only come about ultimately by a power greater than us.

We dream of a world set right by God, not by us. We dream of a world where the real flaw behind all the problems we see is solved. We dream of a world where God is King and makes all things new.

“the gospel, in the New Testament, is the good news that God (the world’s creator) is at last becoming king and that Jesus, whom this God raised from the dead, is the world’s true lord.” NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

This is a dream not from us (as if we could imagine a truly perfect world) but given by God through Jesus.

As Christians we seek and work for a world that Jesus wanted – a world where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. And if God’s will is done on earth as in heaven, that means that God is the ultimate authority.

But what does this look like?

Aha.  We look to Jesus.

Jesus spoke about a world where God is King more than anything else. He taught and modeled what life is like when love of God and others is at the center, where God rather than self is ruling. In short, Jesus taught us about life in the kingdom of God.  And through his death and resurrection, by the defeat of death, Jesus launched this kingdom!

But our problem is we have made ourselves king and put our hope in kings. And this has affected everything.

 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

All along, though, we were meant for another kingdom, which is why we want to change things in the first place!

Sadly, the dream of God being King, of His will on earth as in heaven, gets lost in smaller dreams of growing churches, shallow moralism, individualism, and disembodied “life after death” where all you have to do is say a particular prayer and you are good to go.

To recapture the dream, we ask ourselves, what kind of world does God want? Not just what we want, which can be fickle and ill informed at best.

We have been given a dream from our Father to come home to Him, repent and put Him back as the ruler of our lives and this world. And as we work to relieve the suffering we see, as we seek to embody His will on earth as in heaven, we are actually living the dream He has given us!

So forgive us if we give you only part of the story, if we only tell you what to say to avoid hell or just get you busy doing stuff.

The real hope we want you to know is a world made new (and you made new) by God through Jesus.   And this hope is made possible not by new rules, regulations, or religions, but only by what God has done in Christ.  One day the work He began in Christ will be completed.  All things will be new.

For this is the message our Father whispers in any ear willing to hear and boldly proclaims in Christ for any eyes willing to see.  This is the dream from our Father.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21

The 8 Levels of Charity

giving image

photo credit: Mindful One via photopin cc

From Maimonides, a 12th century Jewish philosopher whose reflections on “charity” still ring true today.

“There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

[1] The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .(Did I hear an Amen from the authors of “Toxic Charity” and “When Helping Hurts?”)

[2] A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple [in Jerusalem]. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator…

[3] A lesser level of charity than this is when one knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to walk about in secret and put coins in the doors of the poor. It is worthy and truly good to do this, if those who are responsible for distributing charity are not trustworthy.

[4] A lesser level of charity than this is when one does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to tie coins into their robes and throw them behind their backs, and the poor would come up and pick the coins out of their robes, so that they would not be ashamed.

[5] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.

[6] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person after being asked.

[7] A lesser level than this is when one gives inadequately, but gives gladly and with a smile.

[8] A lesser level than this is when one gives unwillingly.”

A Poem for Father’s Day

Only a Dad

By Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.
From “The Book of Man” compiled by Bill Bennett