The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

America's Abortion Crisis

(The following is an edited version of the message I gave at the January 21, 2011 Rally for Life outside of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The event was sponsored by Broward County Right to Life Foundation. I serve on their Board of Directors.)

In Psalm 106 we read the Psalmist’s account of Israel’s involvement with child sacrifice. ”They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.” (Psalm 106:34-39 NIV)

There is a distinct parallel between Molech worship and abortion. First of all, abortion is the “sacrifice” of the unborn. “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.” Secondly, the unborn are our sons and daughters – our family. Thirdly, abortion sheds innocent blood. Fourthly, the innocent blood of the aborted is sacrificed to demons. And, lastly, the blood of the aborted desecrates the land.

Jeremiah records God’s response to the shedding of innocent blood, “…they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! (Jeremiah 19:4-5 NLT).

Michael Spielman, founder of says, “This is a stunning statement to come from the mouth of a sovereign and all-knowing God!” Then he makes this statement, followed by a question, “The domestication of abortion has made it tragically commonplace, so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is it that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children?”

That is a question the church must answer. In 2009 almost 13,000 babies were killed by abortion in Broward County – about 82,000 statewide. God wasn’t caught by surprise by the sin of His people. Rather these words reflect His horror and dismay in response to the shedding of innocent blood.

How should we respond to America’s abortion crisis? I believe that Satan is the Architect of abortion (John 8:44); that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. Therefore, I believe the church is the only institution (or organism) that is spiritually equipped to engage the satanic forces behind abortion. Therefore, the church must take the lead in the efforts to end abortion.

Flip Benham, Director Operation Save America, in a statement released yesterday, said, “Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end – not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.” Rev. Benham is right. The question is – what will it take for the church to fulfill its role in ending abortion? Let make four suggestions.

First of all the church must repent of abortion in the church. Several years ago Pastor John Ensor of HeartBeat International, speaking to a group of pastors in Davie reminded us that if Christians would stop having abortions, abortion clinics would close. Why? Because, 43% women having abortions identify themselves as Protestant; 27% women as Roman Catholic (AGI, “In Brief” July, 2008); and one in six of women who have an abortion are evangelical Christians (A. Guttmacher Institute.) In other words, in America about 70% of the women aborting their children identify themselves as either Protestant or Catholic. How can this be?

Secondly, Christian pastors must repent for the silence of the pulpit. In Leviticus 20 Moses warned the people of Israel about following their pagan neighbors in sacrificing their children to the demon god Molech. But there was another warning as well. He warned them against looking the other way. When others in the community sacrificed their children, “If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow in prostituting themselves to Molech.” (Leviticus 20:4-5 NIV)

Three things happen when pastors refuse to speak about abortion. First of all, women in the church continue to abort their children. Secondly, the post-abortive continue to live in unresolved shame and guilt. Thirdly, the church fails to fulfill the role that it alone can have in bringing abortion to an end, including providing practical and compassionate help to those at risk for abortion.

Why then the silence? Mississippi African Methodist Episcopal Pastor Joseph Parker has said, “Too many pastors and spiritual leaders have been silent or quiet about the…abortion issue too long due to fear or ignorance and some due to political ties and commitments.”

The American pulpit fears man more than God. I am afraid that many of America’s pastors remain silent because it might conflict with another agenda, their prominence, popularity, prestige, and power. They fear the man and woman in the pew. They fear the scorn, ridicule and criticism of the world. Some of them fear how it will affect their political allegiance or party loyalties.

Listen to these words from a pastor, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the CONSCIENCE of the state. It must be the GUIDE and the CRITIC of the state, and never its TOOL. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” Was he speaking of today’s church? Perhaps prophetically. It was written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (emphasis mine “Strength To Love”) published in 1963. He was assassinated five years later.

Another pastor wrote, “The church is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ. The church must confess that she has desired security and peace, quiet, possession, and honor to which she has no right. She has not born witness to the truth of God and by her silence, she has rendered herself guilty, because of her unwillingness to suffer for what she knows to be right.” I fear that those words describe the twenty-fist century American Church.

Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote those words from a prison cell in 1940 – five years later the Nazis hung him naked with a piano wire in a German concentration camp. Speaking the truth in love often comes at a price. Redemption has always come by way of sacrifice.

Thirdly, Christians must repent of their support of politicians, judges, officials and institutions that support and promote the killing of the unborn. In Psalm 94:20-21 (ESV), the Psalmist asks God this rhetorical question; “Can wicked rulers (throne of iniquity NKJV) be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.” Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton legalized wickedness! Christians cannot in good conscience support legislation, court rulings or politicians that support the killing of the unborn. How do you explain the fact that in the 2010 general election one in four Evangelicals and one of every two Roman Catholics voted for a radically pro-abortion presidential candidate? Could it be related to the silence of the pulpit?

Fourthly, pray for God’s mercy. Remember Psalm 106 that spoke of the sacrifice of children to Molech? Listen to what followed the verses I read at the outset of this message: “Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.” (Psalm 106:40-42 NIV)

It is foolish for us to believe that America will not face God’s judgment for the slaughter of the unborn. I believe that we are under His judgment as we speak. Only a small remnant of the church (like those here today) are responding appropriately to the abortion holocaust. The church has largely remained silent, immobilized by its own self- indulgence and fear of persecution and public opinion. By its neglect, the Church is leading this nation in turning its back on God’s truth and His warning of judgment.

In his book, Answering the Call, Pastor John Ensor writes, “Because God loves, and he gets angry. Because he cherishes innocent human life with a burning heart and commands all men everywhere to do the same, his revulsion at the murder of innocents knows no limit, nor does His wrath when it is finally unleashed….For God to warn us of His wrath is another sign of His love. For us to ignore it is a sign of how hardened we have become and how ripe we are to receive His wrath.”

Ultimately, the gospel of Jesus Christ it the solution to America’s abortion crisis. Innocent blood has polluted the land and profaned the name of the Lord. But there is a greater blood shed at Mount Calvary that can transform the heart of a mother so she will choose life for her child that can cleanse the guilty, forgive, heal and restore those involved in abortion. What America needs to hear is God’s truth about abortion wrapped in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God always responds to repentance. Psalm 106 ends on a note of revival. As God’s people turned to the Lord, He heard their cry and verse 45 says, “…for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.” (NIV)

Church we can win this battle! Christ has won the victory! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV) “…having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians. 2:15 NIV) “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)

Dr. Herb Lusk II, is the pastor of an African American church in an abortion clinic infested neighborhood in Philadelphia. His church opened a pregnancy resource center shortly before he spoke at CarNet’s annual conference in October 2008. He said, “If you don’t do anything about the horrors of abortion you’re not part of the solution, which means that you’re part of the problem…as long as a baby is in danger we’re in war. As long as the life of one infant is threatened, the war rages on.” May God help us and God bless America.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

History Does Repeat Itself

Israel slaughtered their children by placing them alive on the outstretched arms of the demon god Molech (Psalm 106:37) where the child fell into a burning inferno in the belly of the idol. God's reaction was recorded by Jeremiah:

"...they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children...They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin." (Jeremiah 19:4, 32:35) 

Michael Spielman, founder of, makes this comment,

"This is a stunning statement to come from the mouth of a sovereign and all-knowing God!...The domestication of abortion has made it tragically common place so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is is that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children." ("A Biblical Mandate to do Something About Abortion")

There is a distinct parallel between child sacrifice to Molech and abortion. Rev. Thomas Euteneuer draws the connection when he writes,

"The spiritual dimension of...[abortion] its systematizing of ritual blood sacrifice to the god of child murder, Moloch...This demon of murder appears in many forms and cultures through history (Phoenician, Carthaginian, Canaanite, Celt, Indian, Aztec and others) but is always the same bloodthirsty beast that demands the killing of children as his form or worship.

“This demon is not content with a single act of murder here and there. His insatiable appetite for the death of innocents seeks public endorsement to justify his gruesome deeds, and he needs a systematic expression of it to increase his worship. The modern abortion industry offers ritual blood sacrifice to the ancient abortion demon. it is in every way a demonic religion.

May I suggest the Church, either by benign neglect or by design, has failed to recognize  and or acknowledge the spiritual context in which one must place abortion in response to the Biblical evidence. Abortion is a satanic enterprise (John 8:44, 10:10) and our failure to acknowledge this fact has contributed to the silence, and at best, marginal response of the Church to America’s abortion crisis.

If abortion is demonic, there is only one conclusion for the Church. The Body of Christ, the Church, is the only organism (institution) spiritually equipped to engage the satanic forces behind abortion. Therefore the Church must take the lead in the effort to end abortion.

It is also noteworthy that God claimed the children sacrificed to Molech belonged to Him.

"And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore TO ME and sacrificed them as food to the dols...You slaughtered MY children and sacrificed them to idols." 
(Ezekiel 16:20-21 emphasis mine) 

I believe that one reason even those in the pro-life Church, in the words of Spielman, "...seem to have lost our ability to be outraged” by the ritual sacrifice of the unborn in America today, is that we have failed to acknowledge God’s view of the shedding of innocent blood of HIS children. His words, recorded by Ezekiel convey his sentiments. We do well to consider them.

Psalm 106 records the inevitable response of God to the shedding of innocent blood to Molech,

“Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.” (Psalm 106:40-42) 

You can read Jeremiah’s prophecy of the gruesome siege of Jerusalem in chapter 19 of the book of Jeremiah.

Lou Engle draws this sobering conclusion from the Biblical record,

“Blood pollution comes on the land when innocent blood is shed. That sacrificing of babies is fueling the demonization of our nation. A day of reckoning is coming to USA without God’s mercy and through intercessors and action to stop abortion.”

History has warned us. History does repeat itself.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mothers - labor on!

In my opinion, there is no job more valuable nor important than mothers who make birthing, caring, nurturing, educating and raising their children their first priority. The energy and sacrifice required to fulfill that task is inestimable. The mother-child relationship provides the first experience of sacrificial love in the child's development. Other than the Father's gift of His Son Jesus Christ for our salvation, children are the most precious gift we have from the Lord. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." (Psalm 127:3 ESV) Children belong to God, in whose image they have been created and the mother's care of them and sacrifice for them does not go unnoticed by the Lord. Mothers - labor on! Don't let the voices of ignorance, deceived by the evil one, undermine your commitment to your family. They have been been blinded by the god of this world. They and those who embrace their ideology need the truth of the gospel.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Making Jesus Visible

Alice Patterson, author of Bridging The Racial & Political Divide - How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation, writes,

"In a meeting I attended, a Black pastor friend who had supported Governor Mike Huckabee in the Primary Election, reported that he voted for President Obama. I was stunned. This pastor was a Republican. He was pro-life. He couldn't even talk about abortion without weeping, yet he voted for Barack Obama. His actions showed me that the breach between Blacks and Whites in the political arena was much wider and deeper than I could ever imagine. Given a choice between two White candidates, he would have chosen the pro-life one. But given a choice between a Black candidate who supports abortion and a White candidate who opposes abortion, he chose the Black one. Is it a stretch to say that for many Black voters race trumps values?"

I've read the book, it delves into a subject few care to talk about, but we all need to talk about and should be willing to address personally - the wide racial and political chasm that separates White and Black evangelicals.

I use the term “racial” reluctantly only because it is the term widely used to describe the differences that separate Whites and other minorities based on skin color, cultural and other ethnic differences. I believe that “race” is poor choice because there is but one race according to Acts 17:26, “...and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.” Like it or not we all come from the same blood line. There is only one race!

I believe that this “divide” between White and Black evangelicals is of great concern to Jesus Christ. He said as much when he prayed for us over two thousand years ago,

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message [that’s us]. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:20-21 NLT)

Do we understand the standard to which we are being held? The oneness between believers is to parallel the oneness between the Father and the Son. It is not merely a matter of “getting along.” No, it’s far more organic than that. Our unity is grounded in the act of regeneration common to each believer whereby we “have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT).

Do we understand what is at stake here? The racial and political divide is deep between Black and White evangelical leaders. It is keeping us apart. It has fragmented the Church of Jesus Christ. It is presenting the world with a distorted, if not ungodly picture of the Body of Christ.

Three observations that relate to this divide,

First, our disunity must be an affront to God. As Jesus points out, when the world sees the Body of Christ as "one," the world will believe He was sent by God the Father. In other words, they will recognize He is God. Nothing can be more central to evangelism than the recognition of who Jesus Christ is. Our disunity, our divisiveness, the fact that we choose to remain apart from one another, and are content to remain apart, hinders the world from understanding who Jesus Christ is. That is a serious indictment.

Let me put it another way. As long as the Church of Jesus Christ is divided by “race” and politics, we do not incarnate Jesus to a lost world. They don't see Jesus Christ as the only one who can meet their need for salvation, forgiveness, healing and restoration. In other words, as long as we are divided, no matter what we say, we do not provide a compelling redemptive message to those outside of the Church. I wonder if the word hypocrisy comes to their mind at this point.

In my dialogue with White and Black pastors, I have suggested that we will not see the spiritual awakening in America we claim to long for, until we purpose to intentionally address this divide and are reconciled to one another!

Secondly, earlier in the same prayer Jesus prayed that God would protect His Church "from the evil one." He went on to state that "They are not of the world even as I am not of it.” (John 17:15,16 NIV)

Then He identified His strategy for their preservation, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV)

With the Holy Spirit indwelling us, His truth should be that which draws us and keeps us together. Perhaps I expose myself to the charge of being naive or idealistic when I suggest that there is but one “right” answer to many of the issues on which we disagree. In other words, on any political, theological, social or moral issue, God’s truth will always draw us together in consensus, not separate us in dissension. The challenge we face is to come to an understanding of what that truth is - together.

When speaking to pastors or others with whom I am seeking to bridge the divide, I have often asked them to speak into my life regarding issues where we have differences. I have often phrased it something like this. “I am on a learning curve in my efforts to gain insight into how Blacks think on this issue. I recognize that I do not understand the collective experience that shapes the Black perspective on this matter, so I need you to speak into my life. I am listening.”

I suspect that one factor hindering us coming to a consensus on some of the issues, is the fact that we view the issue from different vantage points. However, the nature of God’s truth is that it is both transcendent and absolute. Therefore I believe that a starting point for dialogue might be to work together in identifying and formulating a Biblical worldview through which to examine the social, political, economic, and moral issues where there has been disagreement.

For this to happen, we must purpose to build meaningful relationships. We must take deliberate steps to open up a conversation and dialogue. That means spending time together in open and honest interaction.

I believe that a safe place for that process to begin is praying together. Prayer in itself is a recognition that we need the Lord’s help. What better posture from which to begin the dialogue.

In prayer we can voice our agreement with Jesus’ two thousand year old prayer for us. I have had the privilege to be part of a weekly pastors prayer group of mostly African American pastors and leaders for the last four years now. In my experience, prayer has been the ideal setting in which to develop relationships. When you bow in prayer in the Lord’s presence regularly, love and trust eventually bind your hearts together in spite of the differences. I believe this might be the only context in which we have the opportunity to begin the healing process.

Thirdly, this is first and foremost a spiritual issue - a matter of the heart. The healing will take a work of God the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus was interceding with God the Father on our behalf to that end over two thousand years ago. Based on Jesus’ prayer I believe that His Spirit would take delight in facilitating such a healing.

In my personal journey on this road to reconciliation nothing has been more helpful than the realization that to experience reconciliation with my brothers and sisters, will first of all require a work of God’s grace in my heart and life.

The truth that has impacted me more than anything else in this effort, is repeated throughout the Scriptures. Simply put, humility before God releases His grace. The posture from which God will pour out his grace, is the humbling of ourselves before Him, followed by humility before those with whom there has been disagreement, mistrust and misunderstanding.

Over and over again I have turned to 1 Peter 5:4 and Philippians 2:3-4.
Peter wrote,

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (NIV)

and in a similar vein, Paul admonishes us,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility consider others better than yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (NIV)

Humility is the great equalizer. It allows us to defer to others. It allows us to see ourselves and others from a godly perspective - as equals in Christ. God’s grace becomes the oil that dissolves our self-righteousness and lubricates the friction caused by of our differences.

As Alice Patterson has put it,

“The Lord places His anointing on those attempting to bring unity across racial, denominational, and political barriers, because it is an answer to his last prayer in John 17:21 that we would be one.”

Patterson's book is a resource I am using in my effort to foster dialogue among Black and White pastors and leaders. I wrote these words on the inside cover of a copy I recently gave to a nationally prominent African American preacher,

John 17:20-21 is burning in my soul.
It is for us today!
It is needed today!
It is God’s will for us today!
Let’s let Him make it happen today!
Verse 20 He is praying for us - [for it] to happen!
You have my ear.
(my cell number)

Mrs. Patterson frames the challenge before us,

“Are you willing to be the one who satisfies the Lord’s longing to find someone that He can use to heal our land? Saying yes requires that you climb down into the gully. Into this wide political and racial divide. Into this broken place. You will be required to stand in this place of brokenness long enough to deal with tough issues so the Lord can heal His body and eventually our nation. It sounds easy, but it must be challenging or the Lord wouldn’t need to search for such a person. He could just choose from the millions waiting in line for the assignment. ‘Choose me, Lord. over here! I’ll be the one.’” take up the challenge to make Jesus visible. Will you?

(You can order or find more about Alice Patterson’s book at her website

Friday, April 6, 2012

Instead of bunnies...

Instead of Easter bunnies, baskets and colored eggs, why not just tell it like it is. Jesus died a cruel death on the cross for our sins, was buried and resurrected from the grave. "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this...? (John 11:25,26 NLT)