On our Pastor’s mind (10-26-14)

At the Poles this November (part 3)

For several weeks, I have been trying to inform us concerning Amendment 1 on the election ballot in November. This week, I am providing answers to some frequently asked questions from the resources of yeson1tn.org:

How many abortions are reported in Tennessee?

According to the TN Department of Health, for the most recent year available (2011), there were 12,368 abortions performed on women residing in Tennessee. Additionally, 3,747 abortions were performed on women residing from outside of Tennessee bringing the total to 16,115.

Will Amendment 1 ban abortion in Tennessee?

No, abortion would not be banned and remains legal across the U.S. due to the Roe vs Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973. This Amendment, if passed, would restore the Tennessee Constitution to where it was prior to the 2000 TN State Supreme Court decision by making the constitution neutral on the question of abortion. While not banning abortion, passage of this Amendment will allow passage and enforcement of common-sense policies and regulations.

How does the Amendment process work?

In order to successfully amend the state constitution, a resolution must be introduced and then receive a simple majority of votes in both houses during any given 2-year session of the Legislature. The same resolution must then be reintroduced and passed by a 2/3 “super-majority” of legislators seated during the successive legislative session. Finally, after passing two sessions of the Legislature the language is placed on the ballot for voter approval during the next gubernatorial race.

The SJR 127 was passed by both the TN House and Senate in 2009 and received second passage by the required 2/3 super-majority in 2011. As a result, the language has been placed on the November 2014 ballot for voter approval or rejection as Amendment 1. The language must be approved by 50% of those casting a vote in the Governor’s race plus 1.

From Pastor Gene (10-19-14)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NASB)

I came across a Lutheran Hour daily devotion that I believe has merit for us. One of the new “fears” in our country is the Ebola virus that has already claimed the lives of several thousand people in West Africa. People remain fearful because even though health officials continue to try and ease people’s minds concerning the spread of the Ebola virus, new people keep contracting this virus in our country. Only God knows how many people will become infected in the future.

I wonder what it would be worth to the world if some clinic announced that it had an absolutely fool-proof medicine that would instantly cure anyone who has been infected with the virus. I wonder how appreciative people would be if someone would underwrite the cost of the cure so it would be available to everyone as soon as possible. The answers would be obvious.

There is also an illness of epidemic proportion called sin, and it is one hundred percent fatal. The cure is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and it is one hundred percent effective. I wonder if we as Christians will be as concerned about the lostness in our community. Again, we have the cure; His name is Jesus.

On our Pastor’s mind (10-12-14)

At the Poles this November

Last week, I shared about the September 2000 radical pro-abortion decision by the Tennessee Supreme court in Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist. With their decision, abortion policies in Tennessee have become “abortion of demand,” meaning Tennesseans can no longer enforce common sense regulations concerning abortion.

In the state election coming soon, Amendment 1 to the TN State Constitution has been introduced to help restore some of the protections and safeguards that were stripped away by the courts. One of the safeguards is to provide adequate information and time to think for women and girls seeking abortion.

This amendment will restore TN laws that are still on the books, including a one-parent consent requirement for minors seeking abortions. The amendment will require the licensure, inspection, and regulation of abortion facilities in our state. (Can you imagine what a restaurant would be like if inspections and proper regulations were not required? Now consider not regulating the cleanliness of a medical facility.)

According to the TN Department of Health, for the most recent year available (2011), there were 12,368 abortions performed on women residing in Tennessee. Since Tennessee now boasts the fewest abortion restrictions of any state in the southeast, an additional 3,747 abortions were performed on women residing from outside the state, bringing the total to 16,115 abortions in 2011 alone.

Remember how devastated we were because 2,977 people were killed in the attack on September 11, 2001. Should we not be more devastated by our own TN laws?

Voting “Yes” on this amendment would not ban abortion; however, securing a “Yes” vote on this amendment would allow passage and enforcement of common-sense policies  and regulations.

(More about the amendment and process next week.)

On our Pastor’s mind

Redeem the Time

In Ephesians 5:8-16, Paul explained that as believers, we are no longer darkness. Now we are “light in the Lord.” So Paul tells us to “walk as children of light”…to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph 5:8; 15). We are to be holy. Then he wrote that we as light are to be

redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16).

“Redeeming the time” means to make the most of our time. Question: In what way are we to make the moist of our time?

This week, I was reminded that we come into contact with broken people on a regular basis. Some of them look absolutely broken, while others seem to look like good Christians. But both live in darkness. And so, we need to make the most of every moment and every contact.

We were once darkness; but through Christ Jesus, we are light. That means we can be holy, grow in holiness, and not engage at all with darkness; we can take our light and put it under a basket to keep it pure from the darkness. Or, we can grow in holiness, getting brighter all the time, for the express purpose of glorifying the Father. We can put our light on a lampstand, penetrating the darkness around us. Jesus said,

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

God is going to cause our paths to intersect with broken people whether we want to or not. Some of them will never hear the truth of the Gospel and will end up in prison and then in hell, unless we let the light of Jesus shine through us on their brokenness and darkness.

Others will attend church and participate in Sunday School and TeamKID. They may even participate in our youth ministry and serve on mission trips. But later, they may wander from God and from the church because of their brokenness. And perhaps they will run because in their brokenness, they need the Healer and the Savior, instead of a Band-Aid.

So let us redeem the time, all the time.