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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 18, 2022


Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Fired for Pro-life Beliefs Is Awarded $5.1 Million in Lawsuit

A former Southwest Airlines flight attendant has won a $5.1 million federal lawsuit in which she argued that she was fired by her former employer for opposing abortion and the use of union dues to support abortion-related causes. On Thursday, the non-profit National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in favor of Charlene Carter, a professing Christian. Per the judge's ruling, Carter will receive $5.1 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages against the Transportation Workers Union of America and Southwest Airlines after the jury concluded that her termination was unlawful.



Thousands Attend Sean Feucht's Worship Event in South Africa

Worship leader and conservative activist Sean Feucht took his “Let Us Worship” concerts to Johannesburg, South Africa, over the weekend. Over 8,000 people attended the event. Feucht celebrated the results of his first “Let Us Worship” event outside the United States in a social media post. He wrote, “Salvations, healings, freedom from addiction and SO MUCH HOPE AND JOY restored today. God is ALIVE and MOVING in South Africa!!!”



'Major Victory for Women's Sports': Judge Blocks Biden Transgender Rule for Schools

A federal judge on Friday handed a major win to a coalition of 20 states when he blocked a Biden administration rule that prohibits sex-specific restrooms within public schools and requires districts to allow biological males to compete on girls' sports teams.In granting a temporary injunction prohibiting the Biden administration from enforcing the rule, U.S. District Judge Charles Edward Atchley Jr. indicated he would eventually make the injunction permanent and side with the 20 states. "In light of these general principles, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their notice and comment claim," Atchley, who was nominated by President Trump, wrote.
 

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

I do enjoy photography somewhat.  That’s one of the reasons why you see one of my pictures with these words each week.  So as I scan back through the photos I’ve saved, looking for another one to share, I sometimes run across some photos I’ve forgotten, like this one.

I give each photo a name of some kind as I save it.  It makes it easier for me to find later, or at least that’s what I tell myself!  This particular picture, I had labeled as “Jefferson ducks.”  Perhaps you have heard of wood ducks, pekin ducks, whistling ducks, and yes, rubber ducks.  But maybe you’ve not heard of the infamous Jefferson ducks.  Of course, if you look at the photo, then you can see why I gave them that name.

These particular ducks are at home in what is known as the tidal basin nearing the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., and in front of the Jefferson Memorial.  I gave the ducks that name because of what I saw when I looked at them.

If your name today was assigned to you based on what those around you saw, who would you be?  Sorry Sam?  Mad Melissa?  Alcoholic Adam?  Speed demon Dan?  Or perhaps others would look your way and see Angelic Amy or Brave Bob.  You and I could all probably admit that we’ve been called names we would rather not repeat.  But what name — Whose Name — will I be given this week?

As a Christian, then I have already taken His name upon myself.  The name Christian literally means to be Christ-like.  But is that what those around me will see this week?  Will my name reflect who I am and Whom I represent?  Or will my name this week come about because of somewhere I should not have been or something I should not have said or done?

Those ducks in front of Thomas Jefferson’s memorial have no idea I gave them the name “Jefferson ducks.”  We may never know the names our neighbors have for us.  But we can live so that whatever name we are given, it will not only represent us as a person, but also represent us as the Christ-follower we claim to be.

What’s your name?

Just a thought.

We Must Trust in God's Omniscient Timing

by Jim Denison

The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most powerful space observatory ever launched. Yesterday, NASA unveiled a series of high-resolution color images revealing what it describes as “cosmic cliffs,” “galaxy evolution,” a “dying star’s final ‘performance,’” and the “steamy atmosphere of a distant planet in detail.” 

NASA administrator Bill Nelson described the significance of this ongoing work: “Put simply, Webb will give humanity a new view of space and fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.”

The more we learn about a work of art, the more we learn about the artist. The better we understand a musical composition, the better we understand and can appreciate the composer.

In the same way, the more we learn about the vastness and complexity of creation, the more we learn about the vastness and complexity of the Creator. Rather than disproving or rendering irrelevant the biblical worldview, scientific discoveries continue to show the genius of the One whose work they study.

NASA scientist Robert Jastrow famously wrote in God and the Astronomers, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

WHY DOESN’T GOD ALWAYS DO WHAT HE SOMETIMES DOES?

However, the “book of nature” is not uniform in its message. We learn from the immensity of space the infinitude of our Father. We see in the microscopic design of a leaf the brilliance of its Designer.

But we also find much in nature that seems to contradict faith in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Creator. For example, today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the COVID-19 BA.5 subvariant is “circulating widely” and “elevates the risk of reinfections and rising case counts.” Meanwhile, yet another variant called BA.2.75 “may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection,” according to the Associated Press. 

A recent study reports that COVID-19 caused one in eight deaths in the US between March 2020 and October 2021. The ongoing pandemic threatens everyone, not just older adults: In 2021, it was the leading cause of death in adults aged forty-five to fifty-four and the fourth-leading cause for those aged fifteen to thirty-four.

As a theologian, I would respond by noting that our world “fell” in the “Fall” (Romans 8:22), producing diseases and disasters that were not in the garden of Eden. Such consequences of sin are not the fault of our sinless Lord.

But a skeptic could counter: What about times when God intervenes in his fallen world? What about biblical miracles that stop diseases and plagues (cf. 2 Samuel 24:16), prevent natural disasters (cf. Matthew 8:23-27), and heal the sick (cf. Matthew 8:14-17) and raise the dead (cf. John 11:43-44)?

Since God can still do all he has ever done (cf. Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), why doesn’t he always do what he sometimes does?

"THE WATERS ROSE UP IN A HEAP"

This week, we’ve been exploring ways to trust God when it’s hard to trust God. On Monday, we chose to remember our Lord’s provision in the past as we trust him with our needs in the present. Yesterday, we responded to his call to trust not in “chariots” and “horses” but in their Maker.

Today, let’s consider the fact that God’s timing is often confusing and frustrating to time-bound humans. Apparent denials or delays are actually manifestations of omniscient grace. If we knew what God knows, we would agree with what God does. 

Here’s an example: I am reading through the book of Joshua in my personal Bible study these days and came upon the crossing of the flooded Jordan River, an event the ESV Study Bible calls “no less miraculous than crossing the Red Sea.”

The river, swollen by snowmelt from Mt. Hermon and spring rains, was impassible to the Jewish people as they sought to cross it to enter their Promised Land. However, God called their priests bearing the ark of the covenant to step into the river, promising that in that moment, “the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap” (Joshua 3:13).

This is precisely what happened: when the priests set foot in the river, “the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off” (v. 16).

This occurred eighteen miles upstream from where the people were crossing. A flash flood typically moves at nine feet per second, which calculates to just over six miles per hour. In other words, God began stopping the flooded Jordan River three hours before the priests set foot on its banks.

WHEN GOD’S TIMING IS NOT OURS

Let’s close where we began. Scientists estimate that there are two hundred billion trillion stars in the universe now being explored by the James Webb Space Telescope. And yet, our Father “determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4). 

Commenting on this fact, Charles Spurgeon observed, “He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting his own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature he ever made or the only saint he ever loved.”

It can be hard in hard times to believe that this is true, but Paul agreed: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, my emphasis). So did Peter: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7, my emphases).

What “anxieties” do you need to trust to the timing and grace of your Father today?

Alistair Begg: We Must Not 'Rewrite the Bible' to 'Accommodate' the World

by Michael Foust

Pastor and author Alistair Begg on Sunday urged Christians in the U.S. to maintain a biblical worldview as they live in a culture that has "dismissed" their beliefs, saying today's church is under constant pressure to affirm sin and secularism. 

Begg, the voice behind the Truth for Life radio broadcasts and the pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, made the comments nine days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The high court's decision and the backlash against it, he said, underscored a major clash of worldviews. Begg quoted a BBC article that said the United States is inhabited by "two tribes that have completely different values, beliefs and goals."

"We are increasingly aware of the reality that we are living as sojourners and exiles ... in a world that was once very, very familiar to us, and one in which we felt increasingly at home," Begg said, referencing Christians.

Believers today, he said, are increasingly asking themselves: "What does it look like to live in a Christian country that doesn't like what Christians believe?"

Begg based his sermon on 1 Peter 2:11-12, noting that the Apostle Peter called the Christians of his day "sojourners and exiles."

"There is no social benefit now to being a Christian in North America," Begg said. "... There is a prevailing hostility against the teaching of the Bible, and therefore against those who will affirm the teaching of the Bible," Begg said. "… We're living in a culture that has actually dismissed Biblical Christianity."

The modern debate over pronouns and terms such as "marriage," Begg said, is another example of the clash of worldviews. The modern worldview, he said, is based on relativistic beliefs that prioritize what the individual feels. 

"The self, the you, the me … is actually at the center of the [modern] moral universe," Begg said. "... Young people are growing up being told [that] how you think, and how you feel, and what you desire is the key to your entire existence.

"... Either we are operating from a worldview that is framed by the thought-forms of the age or by a worldview that is grounded in the will of God – no possibility of compromise," Begg said.

It is essential, Begg said, that Christians love individuals who promote unbiblical beliefs. Referencing individuals within the LGBT community, Begg said, "We do not hate but nor do we affirm."

"We cannot hate because of God's Word. And we cannot affirm because of God's Word. And we have to be prepared to say that we are unprepared to rewrite the Bible in order to accommodate a society that needs the Bible – and that needs the Jesus who is the focus of the Bible." 

Christian during Peter's day, Begg said, also faced a clash of worldviews.

"Our focus is not on a kingdom on this Earth – not a British kingdom, American Kingdom, Chinese kingdom … but on the kingdom of heaven," Begg said. "Our enemy is not a tyrant, not an emperor, not a president. Our enemy is the great dragon, Satan, the evil one.

"Let's make sure that we understand our identity, people of God, people who are free servants of God, sojourners and exiles. Let's make sure that we engage in the activity that we're called to engage in – abstaining from that which may bolster our self-esteem and destroy our souls. And instead, let's make sure that we are an advert for the gospel."

 

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