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American Christian Connection
June 13, 2022

'Victory for Free Speech': Pro-Life Counselors Win in Unanimous Court Decision

A trio of pro-life counselors won a major free speech legal victory Thursday when a District of Columbia appeals court ordered a lower court to dismiss a lawsuit against them. The case involves a group of pro-lifers who protested on a sidewalk in front of Two Rivers Public Charter School, which is located in D.C. next to a Planned Parenthood facility that was being built, according to facts listed in the court’s ruling. The pro-lifers held signs of aborted babies and spoke to students and parents entering the school. They also handed out leaflets, according to the court. All total, the pro-lifers held at least four protests.

Jack Graham Endorses Tom Ascol for SBC President: 'He's a Man of the Word'

Texas Pastor Jack Graham, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has endorsed Florida Pastor Tom Ascol for the SBC presidency ahead of the Annual Meeting this week in Anaheim, California. Graham, who leads Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, posted a brief endorsement video on his Twitter account on Sunday, Baptist News reports. As someone who grew up in the SBC, Graham says he has been “prayerfully looking forward to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Anaheim and who will lead us forward as our next president.”

New Lakers Coach Darvin Ham Begins First Press Conference by Praising God: 'He's the Master of All Plans'

During his first press conference as the Los Angeles Lakers' new head coach, Darvin Ham began his remarks by praising God. "First of all, I want to thank God. Coming from where I come from, I was raised in a household with strong, spiritual faith, belief in God and His Son Jesus Christ, so I want to start with that," Ham,48, said after general manager Rob Pelinka introduced him. "Everything I've been able to overcome in my life, along with the people around me, it's been that spirit that was instilled in me as a youngster." He also shared that he believes in the power of God's timing and that the Lord has him exactly where he needs to be, Faithwire reports.

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

Although Sunday is the first day of the week, most of us feel like Monday is the day that begins our week officially.  Every week has a Monday.  Sometimes those Mondays hit harder than at other times.  Think of it this way – without the storms, we wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine.  Without the bad days, we might not be thankful for the good ones.  Without those Mondays, we would never get to the Fridays.

Many folks look forward to Monday because it’s the beginning of something new, a new challenge, a new unknown.  Many others dread Mondays for those very same reasons.  Many folks spend their weekends this time of year on the water or in the woods, and Monday can seem like a let down.  Mondays also bring with them the realities of what was in the week past and what must now be dealt with again this week, and we cringe at the thought.  It’s probably true for other professions as well, but I’ve read that many pastors and church leaders resign on Mondays, having barely recovered, if at all, from the responsibilities or burdens of the previous day.

I’ve shown you pictures of our family cat, Patches.  She rules our roost, albeit outside the house.  Here she sits, eyes closed, shutting out the world.  I think she spends 22 of her 24 daily hours asleep.  The other two hours are either spent eating or begging for dinner.

Have you ever wanted to close your eyes and shut out the world?  Certainly you have.  We all have.  But then what?  Sooner or later we must open our eyes and get back to reality.  I think that’s what Monday is really about.  Opening our eyes, getting back to the reality of a world that is lost and going to hell without Jesus.  We’ve worshipped together, prayed together, and encouraged one another.  Now it’s time to open those eyes wide, face Monday (or whatever day you’re reading this), and get busy.

There’s no time to drag around and belly ache about last week and its problems.  If they’re important enough, they’ll follow us into this week.  If not, then leave them right where they fell.  And remember that Mondays are easier to face when we do it together!

Just a thought.

We Can't Change the World, but God Can

by Jim Denison

Democratic and Republican senators announced an agreement yesterday on a legislative framework aimed at reducing mass shootings in America. The bipartisan group said they were working to write legislation that would give more funding to school security and mental-health programs. It would also provide incentives for states to implement and maintain red-flag laws and would include juvenile records in background checks for people buying guns who are under twenty-one years of age. 

In a vital sign of support, ten Republicans have signed on to the agreement; if all fifty Democrats in the Senate support the legislation, it would then reach the sixty votes needed to advance. According to the Wall Street Journal, the framework puts lawmakers on course to advance the most expansive bipartisan gun violence measure since the assault weapons ban in 1994, which lapsed a decade later.

Their announcement comes a day after rallies and marches across the US advocated for gun reform in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The nationwide event was organized by March for Our Lives, a group founded by student survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting that killed seventeen people in 2018.


Violence and the threat of violence is dominating our news again this morning.

China’s defense minister stated yesterday that his country would “fight to the very end” to stop Taiwan’s independence. His speech came just weeks after President Joe Biden said the US would respond “militarily” if China attacked Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that momentum in Ukraine is shifting in Russia’s favor, as Ukraine lacks the weaponry it needs and Western support for the war effort is fraying in the face of rising gas prices and escalating inflation. Russia’s immoral invasion is turning cities across the Donbas region into ghost towns. Residents are fleeing in droves, leaving behind empty streets. Many who remain have no money to live elsewhere and struggle to find water, food, gas, and power. 

Even preparing for war can be deadly: five US Marines were killed during a training flight crash last week in the California desert. One of them was the son of former Los Angeles Dodgers player Steve Sax, who said of him, “He was my hero and the best man I know. There was no better person to defend our country.”

In an ironically tragic picture of our times, ministries devoted to saving the unborn are being firebombed, attacked, and vandalized. According to a US Conference of Bishops report, there have been at least 134 arson and vandalism attacks on churches in thirty-five states and the District of Columbia in the last two years.


If the day’s news causes you to doubt whether there is anything you can do to make a difference, you’re right. You cannot convict Vladimir Putin, an arsonist, or anyone else of their sins or save their souls. Neither can I.

However, our Lord “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Able translates the Greek dynamai, from which we get “dynamite.” Far more abundantly could be translated, “immeasurably more than.” The “power at work within us” is again dynamis.

A literal translation of Paul’s proclamation would therefore assure us that God “has the explosive power to do immeasurably more than anything we can ask and think according to the same explosive power that is already at work in us.” This “power at work within us” is the Holy Spirit. 

When you trusted Christ as your Lord, his Spirit came to live in you as his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) with the very power that created the world (Genesis 1:1), “convict[s] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8), empowered Jesus’ ministry (Acts 10:38), “gives life” (John 6:63), and will “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). He will empower us and use us in ways beyond anything “that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

The secret to changing the world is admitting that we cannot change the world, then submitting to the only One who can.


St. Ephrem of Syria (AD 306–73) was a prolific poet, teacher, orator, and defender of the faith. He is especially known as one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as a means of instructing the faithful. He often took popular songs of heretical groups, used their melodies, and changed their words to embody orthodox doctrine. His many hymns earned him the title, “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”

What was the secret to such a remarkably effective ministry?

In Epistle to a Disciple, Ephrem wrote: “My beloved in the Lord, before every other thing set humility in thy mouth when thou art ready to make answer, for ... thou knowest that by humility all the power of the Enemy is brought to naught. ... My son, array thyself in humility, and thou shalt make the virtues of God be with thee. And if, my son, thou art in a state of humility, no passion whatsoever shall have power to draw nigh thee.”

Are you in “a state of humility” today?

Marry Slessor: Changing the World One Child at a Time

by John Stonestreet and Glenn Sunshine

Mary Slessor was born to a Scottish working-class family in 1848. At an early age, Mary joined her parents in the Dundee mills, working half a day while going to school the other half. By age 14, Mary was working 12-hour shifts. Ever an avid reader, she kept a book propped up on her loom so she could read while working. 

Mary’s mother, a devout Presbyterian with an interest in missions, saw that her children were raised in the Faith. When a local mission to the poor opened in Dundee, Mary volunteered to be a teacher. Her sense of humor and sympathy made her popular among her pupils.

At age 27, Mary learned of the death of famous missionary, David Livingstone. Inspired to join her church’s mission in what is now southern Nigeria, Mary taught and worked in the dispensary. With her devotion to learn the local language, plus by cutting her hair and abandoning the traditional Victorian dress as impractical in the hot climate, Mary quickly set herself apart from the other missionaries. She began eating local foods as a cost-cutting measure.

Finding the mission hierarchy frustrating, she welcomed opportunities to go upriver into inland areas. The need for workers in these regions with fewer missionaries was significant, so she asked to be stationed there. However, since male missionaries had been killed in those areas, her request as a single woman was turned down as too dangerous.

After a medical furlough for malaria, Mary was stationed in a region where shamans dominated much of life. These men conducted trials in which guilt or innocence was determined by whether or not the accused died after taking poison. Slavery was also rampant among the powerful, and slaves were often sacrificed on their owner’s death to be their servants in the afterlife. Women’s rights were virtually nonexistent.

Despite these challenges, Mary was able to integrate into the community and earn the trust of the local people. As a woman, she was not seen as the threat that male missionaries were. And, her ability to speak Efik and her embrace of local lifestyles in clothing, housing, and food endeared her to the native peoples. 

It was in Okoyong that Mary began the work for which she is now best known. The locals believed that when twins were born, one of them must be the child of a demon. The mothers were ostracized, and, since there was no way to tell which was cursed, both children would be abandoned to death by starvation or wild animals.

Like the earliest Christians who rescued victims of attempted infanticide by exposure, Mary began rescuing twins. She saved hundreds of children and, against the advice of her mission agency, adopted nine as her own.

Like the earliest Christians whose example she emulated, the actions of Mary Slessor not only saved lives but played a major role in changing the local culture. Her understanding of the language, history, and customs — plus her standing in the community –enabled her to work as a mediator and give judgments in local tribal courts.

When the British attempted to set up a court system in the area, Mary warned them it would be a disaster. So, the British consul appointed Mary as vice-consul in Okoyong, making her the first female magistrate in the British Empire. In this position, Mary continued to mediate disputes, while acting as liaison with the colonial government, continuing to care for children and continuing  her work as a missionary.

At age 66, Mary finally lost a long fight with malaria. She was given a state funeral, which was attended by many people who travelled from the tribal regions in order to honor her. She was nicknamed the “Queen of Okoyong.” 

Mary Slessor’s story is a wonderful part of the larger, ongoing Story of restoration, accomplished by Christ through His people within the time and place they are called. Slessor offers yet another example for Christ-followers that taking the Gospel to pagan cultures will typically involve protecting children. Our calling is no different.

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