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Weekly encouraging news and information for Christians in the United States of America.
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American Christian Connection
July 4, 2022


Independence Day: Our Christian Heritage

For over 235 years, America has been blessed as the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. These blessings are not accidental, they are blessings of God. This is evident as we look at the turmoil in other nations and contrast that to the stability we see in America. Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding of the foundations on which this great country was built, and then it depends on preserving the principles on which it was founded.


Rescue Stories Remind Us to Give God Our All

Three stories in today’s news are related in a very encouraging way. American swimmer Anita Alvarez was competing in the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, when she suddenly lost consciousness and sank to the bottom of the pool. John Clements was attending a baseball game with his family at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, when he went into cardiac arrest.  It was four years ago yesterday when a soccer team exploring a cave in Thailand became trapped by rising floodwaters. In each case, those in distress were rescued by people who would say rescuing people is part of their calling


God 'Gave Us This Song,' Jordan Feliz Says of 'Jesus Is Coming Back'

Jordan Feliz's hope-filled song Jesus Is Coming Back may seem like it was written for the turbulent 2020s, but it actually was penned several months before the world fell into a worldwide pandemic that sparked store runs on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. As Feliz sees it, that fact alone proves that God knows what His people will need even before they experience it.

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

Progress is hard sometimes, isn’t it?  I believe that a major part of the difficulty is that progress means change.  And we don’t all adapt to change at the same rate or in the same way.

Only once or twice in all these years have I shared a photo that I did not take.  This is one of those, but it was shared with me to use.  What you see, of course, is a house.  When this photo was taken not too long ago, this house was already in the demolition process.  The 3-bedroom 2-bath home with double carport has since been torn down.  Huge oak trees, hundreds of years old, cut down and cleared away.  This is half of a city block that is being cleared off in order to build another building.

What does this matter?  It is progress, after all.  Well, as I remind us from time to time, it’s all in your perception.  You see, I have a very different vantage point here than the rest of you do with this house.  This is where my brother and I grew up.  This is where our little sister spent her first 8 years or so.  This home was the church’s pastorium, provided for my dad, the pastor, and his family.  This was home.  Seeing these photos, shared with me by another preacher’s kid who happened to live in this very house just before we did, brought a lump to my throat.  Sometimes just seeing progress is difficult.

The neighboring church, which will always hold a very special place in my heart, is preparing for their future.  They are in the plans to build a multi-purpose activity building for their growing congregation.  This means excitement is in the air for them!  And that’s wonderful!  

So, with the difficulty for some, comes excited anticipation for others.  It’s all in our perspective.  You see, God always sees things more clearly than we do.  And whatever difficulties may come this week, whatever destruction, whatever bulldozers may head our way simply represent the progress, growth, and resurgence coming right along behind!

I don’t like seeing my past erased.  But I do love to see the future grow brighter!  And that’s the perspective I choose to have this week.

Just a thought.


Celebrate a Victory for Life While Focusing on Those in Need

by Ryan Kelly

Brothers and sisters,

Today is a day that I have prayed for since the mid 1990's.  

When I was young and first learned about Roe vs. Wade and the consequence of legal abortion of unborn children in our nation, my heart broke.  I was only a young teenager at that time, but I knew that this was something that was far from the Lord's intent.  

When I worked toward my bachelor's and masters' degrees in Medical Biology years later, I took a number of courses respective to genetics, human embryology and development.  The calculated precision of the beginnings of life were fascinating to me and only further cemented my belief and worship of our Creator for His amazing design.  Yet at this same time, I learned of the horrors of what abortion actually is and the exact procedures by which these unborn children were killed and removed from their mothers.  It is enough to sicken even the most fervent of horror movie watchers.  

In the last decade, I have had the opportunity to speak to women who have either had an abortion or thought heavily about having one, and the emotional and spiritual pain that they faced with this decision.  There is no question in my mind, abortion is not an easy decision for the vast majority.  But, so many are misled into believing it to be a viable 'way out' after being pregnant.  The short term decision nearly always creates a lifelong struggle of mental anguish and regret.  It is enough to bring any of us to tears.

As I said, I have been praying for the Lord's hand to reverse the allowance of abortion via the 1973 Supreme Court ruling known as Roe vs. Wade, and upheld and somewhat strengthened in the 1992 ruling known as Casey vs. Planned Parenthood.  I know that many of us have especially been praying in earnest since the filing of Dobbs vs. Jackson.

Today, June 24, 2022, is a day where the Lord has answered many of our prayers.  With this decision, tens of thousands of abortions will not take place.

HOWEVER - this is not the finish line.  In fact, I would argue that today is a starting line for a new race.  This new race is not to overturn a fault Supreme Court decision, but it is a race to fight for the mothers, fathers and children that will be affected by this law and ensure the most positive outcomes.

Our new fight must be to strengthen families, support mothers who are looking to deliver, and support the many young families that will be created.  We must support them with all that we have as the Lord instructs us to support those less fortunate than us.  We must celebrate the choice of life, while coming alongside those who make this choice by helping them to build the life that we know they need and want.  

In addition, I believe there must be a renewed fight to show that sex before marriage is not what the Lord intends, and that abstinence before marriage is the ideal path toward purity and proper reflection of God's intent for each of us, male and female alike.  To this extent, we have a huge mountain in front of us...driven largely by mass media, social media, and our culture.  

When we can fight for the viability and sustainability of the family, we do so as a direct reflection of the relationship of Jesus and the Church.  We must fight for loving, positive, nuclear families where the child is loved and all are supported by fellow brothers and sisters who want the best for them.

This starts with each of us.  The effort will take all of us.  But praise the Lord for the opportunity to show love and compassion on those around us!  And lastly, please be in prayer for our nation in the wake of this Supreme Court ruling.  God bless you all.

We Are Missionaries to This Time in History

by Jim Denison

Howard Stern is considering a presidential bid. He says his platform will be simple: to amend the Electoral College and to add five more Supreme Court justices. 

Stern is heavily critical of the Supreme Court, calling Justice Clarence Thomas a “lightweight” who has been “sitting there like Darth Vader, dormant” while waiting for other conservative justices to join him. Stern would add more Supreme Court justices to “overturn all this” and thus to prevent “back alley abortion.”

In related news, the Atlantic is running an article by sports journalist Jemele Hill in which she describes choosing an abortion at the age of twenty-six because she “simply had no desire to give birth to a child.” She explains that she “wanted the freedom to live wherever I wanted and to navigate my career without having to factor a child into my plans.”

She seems to have no questions about the nature of the life she ended, repeatedly calling it a “child.” However, she claims, “That’s the meaningful thing about choice: You have the right to make a decision based purely on what you think is best for yourself.”

Hill concludes, “No woman needs to think of herself as immoral because she had an abortion or wants an abortion. What’s immoral is telling women that they don’t deserve bodily autonomy.”

A BRILLIANT RESPONSE

Anglican priest and New York Times opinion writer Tish Harrison Warren would disagree. In her response to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe, she critiques the myth of “bodily autonomy” that Hill claims and defends. Warren makes three arguments in response:

One: “Bodily autonomy is limited by our obligation to not harm others.”

Warren illustrates this with the fact that one cannot go seventy-five miles an hour in a school zone even if slowing down poses a burden on the driver. She reports that the Supreme Court’s majority opinion describes an appeal to autonomy as possibly licensing “fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like.” 

Two: “The term ‘autonomy’ denies the deep interdependence and limitations of every human body.”

Warren notes that “no human has complete bodily autonomy from birth to death” and reminds us that “the only reason any of us is alive today is that someone cared for us as children in the womb and then as infants and toddlers.” She adds, “Abortion seems to punish a fetus for its lack of bodily autonomy and deny the profound reliance that all of us who have bodies hold.”

Three: “The pressing issue when it comes to abortion is whether championing bodily autonomy requires us to override or undo biological realities.”

Warren notes that the state does not impose the risk of pregnancy as a result of sex, “biology does.” And she adds, “Except in the horrible circumstances of rape or incest, which account for 1 percent of abortions, women and men both have bodily agency and choices about whether they will have sex and therefore if they are willing to accept the risk of new life inherent in it.”

Jemele Hill admits that she freely made the choice to have sex with her boyfriend, but she was clearly unwilling to accept the consequences of her choice. Now she demands the “bodily autonomy” she denied the child produced by her decision.

According to Warren, “For both men and women, bodily autonomy can’t mean that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, with our own bodies without natural consequences or obligations to others. If this is what we mean by ‘autonomy,’ then no one can champion bodily autonomy without ultimately advocating harm.” 

HOWARD STERN AND THE "NEW NORMAL"

We’ve been discussing this week the urgency and privilege of being empowered every day by God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). How does today’s conversation contribute to this theme?

Though she is a priest, Tish Harrison Warren makes her case without using Christian terms or biblical references. As a result, her argument is far more likely to be persuasive for someone who rejects Christian beliefs and biblical truth claims.

Paul followed a similar strategy. He quoted the Hebrew Scriptures when speaking to a Jewish audience in Pisidia, leading several to faith in Christ (cf. Acts 13:13-43). However, he cited Greek philosophers when speaking to Greek philosophers in Athens, again leading several to faith (Acts 17:22-34).

Their examples call us to respond to the increasing adversity of our culture with reasoned persuasion. Howard Stern’s enduring popularity (it is estimated that he has about ten million active listeners today) illustrates the new “normal” of our post-Christian, even anti-Christian culture. We can expect this “normal” to be even more normalized as the “culture wars” intensify.

You and I are missionaries to this time in history. Like other missionaries, we must learn the language of those we are called to reach. In a skeptical, secularized age, the fact that we believe the Bible is not enough—we must “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, my emphasis).

Would you ask the Holy Spirit right now to help you be “prepared” for conversations he intends you to have today? 

William Carey, the founder of the modern missions movement, made famous two imperatives: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

Let’s obey both, in that order, today.

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