Archive for August, 2009

Hearing Set In Germany For Schmidt Family

Our team is headed to Germany in a couple of weeks.  We have a four or five goals for this trip, but the most important goals are to help the 700 Club’s reporter put together a piece on the Schmidt family.  This report is important because it will expose the persecution that many families are facing in Germany from overzealous school and government officials.  It will also put pressure on those local officials who have decided that they can run roughshod over the rights of this incredible Christian family whose only “fault” is that they have chosen to home school their own children in Germany.

 As a result of this decision the family has been fined over $10,000 by the government.  As if that were not enough, they have a hearing scheduled for 22 September 2009.  This hearing is to determine whether the Schmidts keep the legal custody of their one child remaining in school or have the court take that custody and give it to the Youth Welfare Office.

 This is a critical human rights battle and we must be there in order to keep the pressure up.  We have a great team of lawyers preparing to handle this case.  Johannes Hildebrandt is a skilled advocate for families like the Schmidts.  Also, Gabriele and Armin Eckermann have led the fight in the courts of Germany for years.  Together we will do everything in our power to see that the Schmidt family has a chance to educate their son according to their sincerely-held beliefs.

 I will be in the court room as an international human rights observer, making sure the court knows that the world is watching what happens in Germany.  Already we have seen states like California try to import a German style treatment of home school families.  Sweden is currently looking at a law that could be used to make home schooling all but illegal.

 Why is this so important?  It is not just about home schooling.  The real issue is the right of parents to control the upbringing of their children.  One of the fundamental rights of parents is the right to educate their children according to the dictates of their own religious beliefs.  If the state has the right to control education regarding the reading and math curriculum without question, they will soon exercise the right to control the religious education as well.  This is a real threat in an ever increasing secular society.

 Stand with us in prayer!  These trips cost about three hundred dollars a day for two people.  We travel as inexpensively as possible.  Your gift to the ministry will help us make sure we can be there for the Schmidts and others when they need the IHRG!


God Shall Supply All Your Needs?

 The pastor sat on his new Harley, smiling at the camera taking his picture.  The stage in his church had been adapted to become a parking lot for a couple of the motorcycles in the church.  With a flourish, he stepped off the bike, his leather chaps and leather riding jacket creaking with the sound of new leather against the wireless microphone that projected his every word across the air to the thousands packing into the church and even onto the televisions across the country.

 “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.”  We have all heard this verse quoted ad nausea to justify our being wealthy simply because we are Christians.  In doing so we are making one critical error, an error that is natural to all men.  Our mistake is that when we look at scriptures like this our natural inclination is to evaluate them according to our own cultural prejudices.

 We should first begin with the understanding that God is more concerned with our spiritual needs than He is with our physical needs.  King David declared that our lives are merely a breath.  With that in mind, we can see that our physical needs, in comparison to our spiritual needs, are not as critical to a God who understands the role of eternity in our lives.

 Thus, we should always begin our search with the spiritual value of any scripture before we turn to the physical side of God’s word.

 God does supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory.  He supplies the need of eternal security.  He supplies the need of belonging to the greatest family in history.  He supplies the need of knowing that, whatever comes our way, we are equipped for the ultimate survival.  He supplies the need of knowing that no weapon formed against me shall prosper because no matter what happens I will never be separated from the true God.

 This is a proper evaluation of our needs being met by God.

 The pastor in the example above is confusing his wants with his needs—this is a typical American problem.  We are so prosperous we now see things that are merely wants as needs.  We need to have nicer clothes.  We need to have a new car.  We need to have a bigger house.  We need, we need, we need….

 Unfortunately, these things, while nice and there is nothing inherently wrong with them, are not needs.  Needs are more like food, water, clothing, and shelter.  Everything else in this world is a want.  Now, just because something is a want does not make it wrong.  There is nothing wrong with a pastor wanting a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  There is nothing wrong with that same pastor having the motorcycle of his dreams.

 There is, however, something wrong with any man or woman insisting that our wants are our needs and then declaring that God is going to supply our wants because we consider them needs.

 The problem with such thinking is that it distorts the image of who God is.  This means that nonbelievers look at believers and do not see the eternal God who is seeking them out.  When we confuse our wants with our needs we create God in our own image.

 Creating God in our own image is the sin of the Israelites in the desert while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the heart of the law from God.  The creation of the Golden Calf was a moment when they created God in their image—we know where that got them.  Why are we so eager to follow them down this path to destruction?

 When we align our understanding of scripture with our spiritual well being we become people who are content with the place where God has placed us rather than constantly fighting to be somewhere different than where God has placed us.  Understanding this scripture in light of our spiritual needs rather than merely seeing our needs as physical is really what God is longing for with His people.

Socialism Equals Racism?

            I miss the good old days when socialists were white, mostly Europeans or even Russians.  Those days also included Orientals.  Man, those were the days.  Then we could be against socialism and not be accused of being racists.  Then we could talk about the evils of socialism without the argument deteriorating into accusations that we were just using cover language for racism.

             Maybe I slept through a couple of years of history, but when did everything become a racial issue?  And why is it that I can vote for Barack because he is black and not be considered a racist, but if I vote for someone running against him who is not black I am a racist?

             I miss the days when we were honest about our politics and not hiding behind the politically correct nonsense to stop those we disagree with.  Let me say it on the record, when I am against a policy of Barack Obama I could care less that he is a black man.  If he were white I would still disagree with policies with which I disagree.  I know it seems like a circular argument but that is what we are reduced to making.  I used to believe that Jimmy Carter was the worst President we ever had.  Take heart Jimma, your incompetence is being challenged.

             I know there are some who will consider me a racist because I do not blindly follow my leaders, and now my leader is a black man.  I guess because he is black I should change my approach to government and trust him.  After all, because he is black he cannot be a racist and therefore I should trust him to look out for me.

            Let me be perfectly clear, I am against socialism.  I do not care what color you are.  I do not care if you are Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, African, or German, I do not think socialism is a good idea.  If that qualifies me as a racist, then it seems we have redefined racism.

            Green is the new red.  Atheism is the new religion. Socialism is the new racism. 

            Somewhere, George Orwell is rolling over in his grave with one thought on his mind—when I wrote 1984 I was not aggressive enough.  I should have had more insight or more courage.  What a fool am I?

            Well, George, you might have foreseen it, but we have to live with it.  Pray for us!

The Danger of Government Interference with Speech

            Government cannot effectively deliver the mail, how can they possibly monitor what is preached in thousands of pulpits?  The only problem with the question posed is that it does not go far enough.  The current free speech battle is not in the pulpits of America, or the rest of the Western World for that matter.  The current free speech battle is being fought in public venues, like our streets, sidewalks, and parks.

             So, the question that really should be on each of our minds is whether the government has the right to decide what preachers preach in any place.  If free speech is going to remain truly free it has to be free everywhere.  It is not enough to relegate it to certain places.  That is not what our founding fathers had in mind when they enshrined our rights in the FIRST Amendment.  Nor is it what other leaders envisioned when they modeled their rights after the American Constitution. 

             Men and women of clear thinking have long understood the value of the free discourse of ideas.  Law makers have understood that freedom of speech only exists when we permit those we disagree with to speak free—not just those who say what we like. 

             This is one of the most problematic areas of the new permission regime we serve under.  This regime has been in place for years. 

             Our founding fathers did not believe in politically correct speech.  They had public and often verbally violent discussions on matters of national and spiritual consequence.  They understood that we can argue today and still have civil conversation later if we truly respect the right of others to agree and disagree with what we are saying.

             If we come to believe that the government does not have a right to control the speech from a pulpit, but limit the free speech on certain issues to the pulpit, then we are signing the death warrant of free speech. 

             It is not important that we respect free speech that occurs in private.  It is important that we respect free speech that occurs in public.  When we prohibit the speech of one, we harm the freedom of all.  That is simply the principle of intended and unintended consequences. 

             If we do not go further than freedom in pulpits we will ultimately find that even our pulpits are not free.  Restrictions to free speech will continue to restrict our lives.  What starts on the street will end in the pulpits.

             Then we will truly be wards of the state in every way.

Christians arrested in Oslo, Norway in 2008 on YouTube

Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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