Thursday, August 27, 2009

Self Feeders

To be sure, the local church involves fellowship among the saints,
which includes works of service to the household of faith. But we
have confused the priesthood of all believers with the ministry-hood
of all believers, as if Christ had never instituted the offices that
we find in the epistles. In this approach to ministry, every sheep
must be a shepherd. The call to the sheep to become self-feeders is
the natural consequence of this impoverished line of thinking.

Christless Christianity, Michael Horton, p. 228

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

19 Years Ago

…was the best day of my life. On August 25, 1990 Sheri Cross became Mrs. Sheri Southerland. The Lord has carried us through many changes. Through it all He has richly blessed us. She has faithfully followed my lead with each new milestone that God has brought us through. Many women would have grown frustrated long ago. Yet, the Lord blessed me with a wife who understands what it means to trust her husband. While she has always been my faithful counselor, she also knows that God has placed the responsibility to lead our family upon my shoulders. To face this challenge alone would have been an insurmountable burden. But with Sheri by my side, I joyfully embrace each new lesson the Lord is teaching us.

To my sons, seek a wife like your mother. She is a godly lady. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. A wife like her will be the greatest blessing you will ever have in your life.

To my daughters, seek to be like your mother. Her love for her husband and children is striking. Her patience and self sacrificing is honorable. Her undying faith is a beauty beyond compare.

To my beautiful bride, I love you. I am so very blessed to have you by my side.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

His First Rodeo

Here's my son's first attempt at bull (steer) riding. I think he did a great job for his first time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marriage - The Story of the Gospel

Just a quick update as we retire for the evening. My wife and I are currently in Wake Forest, NC where we have just completed the first night of a marriage conference hosted by Scott Brown at his home.

Dan Horn spoke tonight on the picture of marriage as being a picture of the Gospel. What a powerful message! The Lord has really put it on my heart lately of the importance of the Gospel in every message preached from the pulpit, and the primacy of it in every facet of our lives.

Does our marriage, does your marriage show the world a picture of the Gospel? Or is it skewed? The reason sodomite "marriage" is such an abomination is that it blasphemes Christ and His Church. There are not two Christs or two Churches. Yet that is what sodomy tries to declare.

I'll go into more details later next week, Lord willing. But for now I want to say that the messages are powerful and I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend with my bride.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade was the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws prohibiting abortion. I’m going to use a word in this article that I don’t believe is entirely accurate when applied to this case. That term is “legalized.” It is said that Roe v. Wade “legalized” abortion. And in a sense, that is correct. Though if we simply consider the form of government that we have, you will realize that it is not the job of the Supreme Court to make law. That dirty work is supposed to be left to the legislative branch of government. Yet, despite overstepping their jurisdictional boundaries, the Supreme Court has, in effect, legalized elective abortion for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever.

Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973. The plaintiff was an anonymous “Jane Roe.” The defendant was District Attorney of Dallas County Henry Wade. The case revolved around Jane Roe, later identified as Norma McCorvey who claimed she had been raped and desired an abortion. Texas law denied her the abortion. Attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington jumped at the opportunity to advance their own agenda at the expense of McCorvey. They filed suit on her behalf. Norma McCorvey is now an outspoken pro-life advocate, though she was once a worker in an abortion mill. She admits that she lied about being raped. In her book, Won By Love, she details how a little seven year old girl, a daughter of a pro-life protester loved her unconditionally. Emily would constantly tell Norma, “Miss Norma, we’re praying for you.” At the time Norma’s identity was still protected. This small group of protesters had no idea they were talking with the very Roe of Roe v. Wade. The little girl’s persistence finally paid off when Norma McCorvey repented of her sin and turned to Christ. Norma McCorvey now leads a pro-life ministry called “Roe No More.” Listen to her testimony about the effects that this little girl had on her.

As my mind was challenged to consider the truth of the Gospel, God began working on my heart through a 7-year-old girl named Emily, the daughter of O.R. volunteer Ronda Mackey.

Quite understandably, I had difficulty relating to children. I had given birth to three, all of whom had been placed for adoption (one of them against my will). And because I worked in an abortion clinic, I was fearful of bonding with anyone so young. It was part of my denial. When you know what is happening to the children behind closed doors, it's difficult to become attached to them outside.

Emily's blatant affection, frequent hugs, and direct pursuit disarmed me. The little girl's interest was all the more surprising considering Emily made it very clear that her acceptance of me wasn't an acceptance of my lifestyle. Early on in our relationship, I explained to Emily, "I like kids and wouldn't let anyone hurt little kids," to which Emily responded, "Then why do you let them kill the babies at the clinic?"

On another occasion, I invited Emily into my office. As I made appointments, Emily kept herself occupied. During one phone call, I lost my temper and said to a caller, "I'd just as soon see you in hell as see you in here," and Emily responded, "You don't have to go to hell, Miss Norma. You can pray right now and Jesus will forgive you."

This childlike faith cut open my heart, making me receptive to the truth being shared by the adult volunteers at Rescue. I wasn't won over by compelling apologetics. I had a ninth grade education and a very soft heart. While the O.R. adults targeted my mind, Emily went straight for the heart. And over time, Emily began to personify the issue of abortion--especially when Ronda broke down and told me that Emily had almost been aborted.

If any of you are familiar with this case, or you have been told that Roe v. Wade only prohibited abortions in the first three months, you have been fed a half truth. Roe indeed declares that abortion is legal for any reason for the first three months. However, it also allows for abortions after the three month time period for reasons of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. There is a much less publicized companion case, Doe v. Bolton that was also decided on the same day as Roe. This case defined “health of the mother” to be anything that a woman and her doctor decide it to be, including psychological health. Here is the official statement:

Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court… that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.

So, with the supported of the companion case, Roe indeed legalizes abortion for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. This is also why pro-lifers are so adamant about not including exceptions in any pro-life legislation that is proposed. We are particularly opposed to any language that makes “health of the mother” a valid exception. As a side note, “Mary Doe,” later identified as Sandra Cano, identifies herself as pro-life and claims that her attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, lied to her in order to have a plantiff.

Roe v. Wade did not come to us in a vacuum. Like most bad law, it came from bad precedent. In 1965 another egregious case was decided in Griswold v. Connecticut. This is the Supreme Court decision that struck down state prohibitions on birth control. In this decision the Supreme Court somehow “discovered” a secret “right to privacy” that had been hidden in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections besides the original Bill of Rights. What most of the American people do not understand is that chemical forms of birth control often cause spontaneous abortion. How appropriate then, for it to be the precedent used for the outright killing of children through mechanical means. This assertion is thoroughly documented in Randy Alcorn’s book, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortion? Sadly, just like the abortion issue today, the churches of 1965 had already failed to speak out against the deadly effects of chemical birth control. When God’s people are silent, depraved human nature takes over and commits terrible sins.

Friday, August 07, 2009

As Christ Loved the Church

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Eph 5:25-27)

When I think of that admonition that I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church, I am overwhelmed. I do love my wife. But do I love her to that degree? I am mere mortal. Christ is divine. I can't possibly love my wife like Christ loved His church. Christ lived a sinless life for His church. Then He bled and died on her behalf. He took her place. He who was without sin died for me! This He did so that she (I) should have no spot or wrinkle, but that she (I) should be holy and without blemish.

Yet, the very thing that Christ did for me (as a member of His church) is the only thing that enables me to do the same for my wife. No, I can't live a sinless life for her. But when I walk in the spirit, I'll not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I can't make her pure and holy, but as I admonish her through the scriptures I lead her to the One who can.

Lord, wash me in your Word, so that I can wash her in your Word. Amen.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lessons Learned

There's nothing so devastating to a parent than losing a child. Yet the Lord has been pleased to bring us through that trial twice this year. The world may consider it no great loss. After all, these children were lost very early. We never were able to hold them in our arms. We never even knew if they were boys or girls.

I've found that when the Lord brings you through a trial He will teach you things, if you are willing to learn. I share these with you in hopes that it may help another hurting soul and draw you closer to our Father God.

1) In times of great heartbreak and trial, pour your heart out to the Lord. Tell Him your sorrows and your griefs. He tells us in His word that He is familiar with suffering.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isa 53:3)

Our Lord can relate. Christ suffered greatly on our behalf. He has a compassionate heart to those who are going through hardship.

2) Turn to the scriptures for your comfort and guide. The Psalms are replete with passages exhorting us to trust in the Lord. For this particular trial Job 1:21 helped me to face it.

And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21)

3) Realize that all of our children belong to the Lord. He has only entrusted us as stewards to care for them here on Earth. If He takes them home, then He is within His right to do so.

4) Use this as an occasion to draw near to your spouse. I am a husband. So I mainly speak through that perspective. When the miscarriage is going on I feel so helpless. I've found that often the best thing I can do is to pray for my wife, hold her, and comfort her.

5) Love your other children. If you don't have other children, then this may not apply to you, but in my case the Lord has blessed us with seven beautiful children. Hold them close. Praise the Lord that He gave you the ones that you do have. Give them grace as they grieve in their own way.

6) Finally, appreciate the church universal. I received a great outpouring of support from Christians around the world. Technology has brought us together. The Lord has provided the bond.