It isn’t often that I get the privilege of doing an early review of an audio recording. Even more rare that it is of a new solo project from a friend and dear brother in Christ (and fellow pastor). But in this case, I get the joy of doing both, and boy what a wonderful experience this one was!
Wade Lentz, who has some fun history singing with various quartets, is releasing his first solo project titled Send the Light. As a bass myself, I always enjoy hearing a solid, skilled bass taking the lead, so when Wade offered the opportunity to get an advance listen – I jumped on the opportunity.
While I have heard hints of Wade’s voice in a few informal settings, this was my first time hearing him really opening up his pipes – and man does he have some! Send The Light is a complilation of mostly hymns and Southern Gospel classics. The styles reflect a range from acapella on There Is a Fountain, to the blues-infused What A Wonderful World, sung as a duet with his also talented wife Amanda.
Though I very much enjoyed the above mentioned rendition of What a Wonderful World, my favorites on this CD include the Gold City classic Turn Your Back, and I’ve Been With Jesus (reminicent of The Cathedrals’ version of this classic and fun song). But in all honesty, I enjoyed this entire project, and found none of the choices to be out-of-place. Each seemes to feature a slightly different character of Wade’s many vocal skills, all while never covering the genuine, underlying joy in the subject matter.
All-in-all, if you enjoy classic quartet singing and Southern Gospel music, you will truly be blessed by this CD. But… and this is a big one – if you are like me and a fan of hearing a bassist take the lead – then you will get a little piece of heaven in Send The Light, the first solo project from Brother Wade Lentz!
*I have not been compensated in any way for this review, other than the privelige of hearing it before the general public!
Just got home from taking a group to see The Pilgrim’s Progress, based on John Bunyan’s classic book that he penned while in prison for his faith. I have been looking forward to seeing this film, but have been cautiously optimistic. Far too often when a film shows real promise, particularly when based on a classic work. The reserved ticketing chart at the theater we booked at is deceptive and we ended up with seats on the VERY front row. I could get upset with the theater – except this is not the first time I’ve made this mistake at this very theater! In-your-face view aside, I have to say – this was a very good rendition of Bunyan’s classic tale of redemption and the Christian journey.
The film opened with Kristyn Getty (of Getty Music) helping to set the stage for this near-epic story. But instead of acting as narrator, Getty introduces by explaining the history of the book and the purpose of allegory and our creative imaginations in the pursuit of God. In my opinion, the intro was a great way to help open up the film to those who are unfamiliar with the book or the concept of pure allegorical writing. Getty also happens to be the voice of “The Interpreter” in the film.
The main character, Christian Pilgrim is voiced by David Thorpe, who does an excellent job at portraying the voice of the on-screen image with a likable performance.
Of course, when making a film version of a fairly long book that takes well over 7 hours in audiobook format, you have to make some hard choices in what to cut or skim over. The producers of this film did an excellent job of splicing the storyline together, holding on to the biggest and most impactful scenes and characters, while keeping the movie to under two hours!
Some words of caution, though – There are some scenes in the movie that might be a bit on the intense side for very young children. All this being said, whether you are familiar with the story, have actually read the book, or are a fan of alegory – this is a film that paints a beautiful picture of the growth and blooming of faith as well as the failings of even those who belong to the King. Remember – stay on the narrow path! Go see this moive!
With some anticipation, I went to see Unplanned, the real-life story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director. Going in, I entered a skeptic, as I generally do when a film is billed as a “Christian”, faith-based film, particularly from the Pure Flix label. As a staunchly pro-life Christian pastor, I enter such films with a thick biblical lens that tends to color my opinion.
Unplanned has received both critical acclaim and vitriolic panning, often based more on subject matter (abortion) than quality. The MPAA assigned an “R” rating to this film despite it containing no nudity, sexual content, or profanity, raising questions of bias. Without giving away spoiler details, rating was based on more than just the subject matter, as the gruesome opening series and multiple brutally honest (and bloody) depictions do beg some caution. This brutal honesty still does not justify the R rating, as many films receive a lower rating with far more blood and objectionable content.
The story unfolds from this opening scene and first-person narration, to a flashback to Abby’s Junior year at Texas A&M as a Psychology major and her first contact with Planned Parenthood at an on-campus event. The story progresses in a well-timed progression of her rising in the ranks of that organization, eventually becoming the director of the Bryan, Texas location.
The drama unfolds with scenes of her own “bad decisions”, as the main character puts in in her narration, and even has a brief scene of church attendance with the familary text of Psalm 139 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Unplanned takes a serious, brutally honest look at the realities of abortion, particularly in the most infamous of provider – Planned Parenthood. The movie depicts the corruption and evil nature of this profit-driven “non-profit” machine. This film also depicts Coalition For Life (now known as 40 Days For Life) in a positive light, in stark contrast to “other” groups (see below).
A major plus, particularly in comparison to the typical releases from Pure Flix: production quality. This is likely one of the best produced films to come out of that company, with solid believable cast performances, quality camera work, and generally believable effects for the abortion scenes.
While Unplanned does provide an honest look at Planned Parenthood, it also depicts those outside the primarily Catholic 40 Days For Life organization as brutal bullies who try to shame abortion “clients”. While this may be true in some cases, this is not an accurate portrayal of the majority of those trying to save lives, though not affiliated with Catholic organizations.
Also, while heavily promoted to churches and Christians across denominational lines, this film is not a “Christian film”. It is not a gospel film. It is not a film that attempts to approach the eternally important themes of redemption, regeneration, or even saving faith. While the main character’s parents are strongly pro-life, even their faith is not specified in the film, nor is the background of Johnson being raised (according to her biography) Southern Baptist, but having fled from that denomination because of the church’s pro-life stan. She and her husband joined the Episcopal Church where she received support in her job at Planned Parenthood (again, not depicted in the film).
What the film also fails to show is that Abby Johnson has directly opposed legislation that would abolish abortion altogether, stating that it risks previous less-restrictive victories. She has also, since converting to Roman Catholicism, strongly denounced groups that proclaim the gospel at abortion mills. This is particularly troubling as it is the gospel itself that changes hearts, it is the gospel that can provide the restoration to God that all the soft-talk and prayers alone can never bring.
Abby’s own “conversion” (on the subject of abortion itself) is followed by tears and the question how she could ever be forgiven and her husband simply says that God loves her and that “He is God”. No mention of repentance or faith. nothing about the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. Indeed, while many articles (including one in Baptist Press) about Abby Johnson include the term “her Christian faith”, no mention in the film nor in any of those articles ever mention any form of spiritual conversion or even a description of what that means, and it certainly doesn’t fit the storyline of a believer who grew up “Southern Baptist” to become a Planned Parenthood clinic director. Neither the film, nor any other record of this story calls abortion “sin” or something that should be repented of. There is “sorrow” expressed, but no illustration of faith or repentance.
SHOULD YOU WATCH?
If one can go with the sole purpose of seeing a film that puts a serious face to the abortion industry, including the very real horrors and deception engaged in on a regular basis, then yes – go see the film. But if you are looking for a film as gospel tool, or as a faith-building experience, this wouldn’t be the movie for you, as you will come away disappointed. I left the theater sensing the lack of the gospel mirrors the real story of Abby Johnson, and a desire to pray for her.
If this review hasn’t jaded you toward this film, and you simply want to see the change of heart of a woman from pro-choice to pro-life (mostly), and to gain a tiny peek into the real world of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry – see it. This film does deal a blow to the pro-choice position and could help change minds. Just don’t go looking for Jesus, because He is left out of the picture.
UPDATE: Clayton Jennings (or more likely a follower/paid hacker) has hacked the web site hosting the evidence in the latest situation – taking down just the pages with Clayton Jennings information. An additional link is provided below with an alternate page withthe evidence – graphic warning still applies).
Biblically, Christ-followers are called to exercise discernment, to warn of sin, and call others to repentance. We should have a particular burden to protect one another, especially the less mature believers.
The hopeful outcome when calling sinners (including professed believers) to repentance is that they would humble themselves before our Holy God and turn from their sins and see restoration.
Sadly, many refuse to repent and continue in their pride-filled sin. This is most destructive when they are in positions of power, especially supposed spiritual leadership, and are using their celebrity status to deceive ever-more literal victims.
Such is the case with the celebrity Clayton Jennings, who has rebelled against the many calls to turn from his wickedness, even threatening the very women he victimized, rejecting the discipline of his church, and walking in extreme evil, while STILL claiming to be a Christian minister. And we now know that the number of victim’s to his perverted actions continue to mount, along with the denials.
So, the below linked page became necessary to counter Mr. Jennings’ verbal, video, and digital denials, threats, and literal attacks. Caution, the linked page is extremely ugly to view. Viewer discretion is advised.
Media is aflame – from network news to social media, everyone is losing their minds over Jussie Smollett’s accusations and now arrest. What we see is an example of hate, racism, and an unregenerate heart deliberately trying to further divide this nation, and it seriously pushes the envelope not just of the law, but truly even sedition.
For those who may somehow not know what is going on:
On January 29, 2019, Jussie (so-called Hip-Hop artist, and star of the TV drama Empire) Smollett’s manager called Chicago PD to report an attack that allegedly occurred at approximately 2AM. Over the course of the next two weeks, many stars and politicians began loudly beating their chests over this alleged hate crime. You see, the allegations were that two white males, wearing MAGA hats, physically and verbally assaulted Smollett, a gay black male, putting a rope noose around his neck, hurling racial and homophobic slurs at him, then pouring bleach on him while chanting “MAGA Country!”.
Certainly, if true, these allegations should be extremely troubling. Even President Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted how egregious and horrible the alleged attack appeared to be. At the same time, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) tweeted out her feelings on the matter:
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) loudly proclaimed the attack as a “modern day lynching”.
As the story has unfolded over the last week, the Chicago PD has determined that Smollett hired these two men to help him stage the ‘attack”, including buying the rope and literally scripting the entire storyline. The brothers were released, and now, as of today, Jussie Smollett has been arrested and charged with filing a false report, though I suspect further charges are in order.
You see – Mr. Smollett was simply using “whatever means necessary” as so many who want to divide this nation have actually verbalized, to try to further drive a wedge in this already divided nation. What he did was a demonstration of his own hate – not just for this country (that actually provided a means for him to achieve fame and wealth), but against the elected President, and the nation as a whole. But even more concerning to the Christians reading this – is that he was remonstrating his corrupt and unregenerate heart that is in need of a Savior. Jussie Smollett is actually demonstrating the worst that he and the political Left accuse the President of being – a hate-filled biggot. He tried to inflame the nation over race and the new poster child for hate – homosexuality.
Wile I cannot presume to know the darkest corners of this man’s heart, what is glaringly obvious – we need to pray for him. While I pray that the legal justice system uses him as an example, I pray that God will open Jussie’s eyes to his corrupt and broken state, his destination if he remains unrepentant and unregenerate, that the LORD will give Jussie a heart transplant that he would believe and become a child of God, experiencing the genuine love that can only be found in Christ Jesus, that he would repent of his sinful lifestyle, that he would repent of his intentionally-divisive efforts, and that he would leave behind the agenda of division and hate that has become a sadly common commentary on our society.
But Smollett’s false accusations are nothing new. Over the course of the last decades, the number of false reports, hoaxes, and fabricated “racist” or “homophobic” attacks have increased.
Sadly, if we are going to truly become a great nation – it must be recognizing it is only by the Grace of God, that it must be in submission to God, and that we can NEVER achieve the unity that would be required if we continue to use deception, false accusations, and intentional divisiveness as tools.
I am reminded of the old story of the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf. I won’t retell the story here, but the gist of the story is that a little boy, out of the desire to get attention and to entertain himself, cried that a wolf was coming – over and over. Eventually, the townspeople tuned him out and low-and-behold, a real wolf showed up and ate him up. The moral of the story that I believe so clearly should be learned here – when one cries Racism/Homophobia as a weapon, over every single disagreement or issue raised, when you hurl the accusations not just blindly, but knowingly in a lie – you are actually hurting the very cause that you claim to be trying to help. You have demonstrated you are a liar, a divider, and a corrupt soul – all while numbing the general population to your cries of “wolf” – so when the real enemy – the real predator shows up – 1 Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses ad spurns the LORD.4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
For those that don’t know, the ERLC is the social justice wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. Formed under the auspices of helping to promoted the gospel and its power to address social problems, it has become a mouthpiece not for the rank-and-file, Bible-believing Southern Baptist church member, but for the politically-motivated, doctrinally-liberal, Social Justice Warriors. So – I have simply pasted my recent message submitted to the ERLC via their web portal. For my Christian brothers and sisters of the SBC – please take a real look at what Dr. Moore and his ERLC organization is doing with your cooperative funds – including the endorsing of abortion-supporting politicians, as well as cooperating with unabashed racists. Pray for the Southern Baptist Convention.
I am absolutely flabbergasted that the ERLC and your leadership in Russel Moore continue to willingly partner with, associate with, and endorse such radical racists, who are rabidly AGAINST Racial Reconciliation – like Kyle Howard – who’s own tweets exude racist bile and calls for reparations based on race.
As a Christian – I believe what the apostle Paul wrote regarding ethnicities – and none of that mattering under Christ. I abhor racial politics. I escue racial division.
As a Baptist – I do acknowledge past sins that ran very deep, but I also see great strides in addressing said sins – I see a growing passion for actually following Christ’s command to love our neighbors (being an all-inclusive umbrella).
As a Pastor – I proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, which was meant for all people – with efficacy for all who would believe, regardless of race, creed, national origin. I proclaim the power of Christ and His gospel to radically change the most corrupt and sinful heart – to bring love where only hate once existed, and to restore believers not only to God, but to one-another.
Much of what I have seen out of the ERLC and your voluntary association with groups that proclaim quite the opposite view – actually FEEDING the racial divide, re-igniting fires of hate – and the direct (some would call reverse-racism) of your leadership and their ministry associates are the antithesis of the biblical picture of reconciliation.
The reason for all of this – the ERLC is simply another fork of the growing Social Justice Warrior anti-gospel. the ERLC and its leadership need to repent and turn to the gospel of Christ Jesus, not the man-centered social gospel, for it is only the True Gospel that will destroy the strongholds of racism and bring true repentance and restoration to broken mankind.
These are the posts that Kyle Howard loves (Kyle bills himself as a Racial Trauma Counselor – whatever that is), and has himself quite publicly claimed that white people cannot be victims of racism, nor are they capable of even empathizing with blacks. his primary “solution” being the paying of reparations. But one of Mr. Howard’s favorite people on Twitter – and to who he often agrees 100% with:
Howard not only completely agrees and follows such an racist individual, but he also makes every single situation into a race-based catastrophe –
For additional information on the ERLC and its radical agenda (that is anti-Bible, anti-gospel):
I have waited to pen this post for my emotions and news to settle down.Yet despite a couple of days passing and even allowing myself to vent a bit on social media via various memes and shot statements, my emotions and my burden have not diminished.
You see, just this week, on the 48th Anniversary of the most divisive and evil decisions the US Supreme Court has ever issued – the Roe v Wade decision that with the stroke of judge’s gavels, opened the door the toe slaughter of over 60 million babies in this nation. Sixty million children never given the opportunity to experience life (for better or worse). It was that date in 1973 that the official seal of the United States was affixed by the justices of that dark court on the condemnation papers of this nation – officially rejecting God and any possible claim to “Christian Nation”.
On January 21, 2019, the New York State Legislature celebrated that evil day by passing a bill that had failed many times going all the way back to 2006.Touted as the “New York Reproductive Health Act” (Senate Bill 2796, now Act 1748, having been signed proudly into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on January 22), this piece of far-reaching legislation not only removes all criminal penalties and even the definition of a crime from the death of infants from conception to natural childbirth, it seals the “right” to abort a baby for any reason a woman deems justifies her act in the State Constitution. Some argue that this law requires the pregnancy to be danger to the mother’s health to terminate in the last weeks of gestation – yet this caveat has been proven ineffective in many previous cases and state laws. pregnancy, by its nature, is a “risk to a mother’s health”. Childbirth itself still holds some risk to a mother’s health, and women really have died in childbirth. Therefore, the state of New York took a 48 year-old decision that already proclaimed a nation’s hate for God, and built a cathedral to the pagan god Moloch and is now laying shredded unborn babies on the high altar.
In the early days of Israel, the people were often led astray – pursuing the pagan gods of their neighbors. Among those pagan false gods was Moloch, a demonic religion that is believed to originated with the Phoenicians who lived in the area now known as Israel between 1550 BC and 300BC. Moloch was symbolized by a giant medal statue of a man with a bull’s head. Each statue had a hole in the abdomen and had outstretched arms that made a ramp into that hole.The leaders of this religion would light a fire in the statue and babies were placed in the statue’s arms and pushed into the hole. The greatest sacrifice was believed to be that of the firstborn, and by offering that firstborn, the couple beloved Moloch would promise them financial prosperity.
Sadly, the Israelites failed to root out this pagan religion when they were led back to the Promised Land and they quickly began incorporating Moloch into their own traditions. God specifically forbade such practice (Leviticus 18:21), but remnants continued even through King Solomon, who set up high places for Moloch and other pagan idols (1 Kings 11:1-8). In fact, Moloch worship wasn’t truly eradicated from the Israelite practices until they were carried away in the Babylonian captivity. You see – it took repeated and incredible judgement befalling Israel before they finally turned from this evil practice.
While you won’t generally hear purveyors and supporters of abortion refer to Moloch – you do hear the mantra “my body” – self worship – lifting themselves up as their own god. You will hear “its just a mass of cells” – completely ignoring scientific fact, biology, and genetics proving that even the freshly-conceived is a unique human being. They definitely ignore Scripture that plainly says that God knows us in our mother’s womb, that He Himself knits us together with His Divine hand (Psalm 139:13-14).
Indeed, if you want to discover why racism and hatred doesn’t seem to ever really die out? It is the root disregard for human life that has been systematically sustained via the practice of abortion. A practice that has so radically affected the Black community as to be on -par with the most egregious genocides in history.When in New York State, a Black baby more likely to be aborted than born! Between 2012 and 2016 black mothers in New York City terminated 136,426 pregnancies and gave birth to 118,127 babies (Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2018). Staggering – yet exactly the kind of outcome Margaret Sanger was looking for when she founded Planned Parenthood. She was a proud purveyor of eugenics, and an avowed racist.
But we cannot stop at pointing fingers at New York for this recent abominable legislation, for abortion is still legal in all 50 states. Yes, some states have passed, or are trying to pass legislation to restrict the practice by age of the unborn, and some have gone so far as to try to ban them from the moment a heartbeat can be discerned (a threshold just as nebulous and stretchable as “health of the mother”). At the same time, another state (Vermont) is actively trying to pass a bill that is very similar to New York’s law, also making abortion legal from conception through natural childbirth. But lets be honest – one major factor in the abomination we are seeing unfold is that many churches have failed to proclaim the value of human life, or have selectively chosen which lives have value. How many so-called Christians have decried the inhumanity of deporting immigrant children brought into this nation illegally, have fought to pass laws regarding the protection of children from a variety of ills – yet refuse to call abortion what it is: murder? Abortion has gone from dark secret and shameful sin, to today’s “SHOUT YOUR ABORTION!” gleeful and open rebellion against God. And many Christian leaders have sat idle by, many of which only feigning grief over the issue. Further, entire denominations within the (overly-broad) umbrella of “Christianity” have chosen to throw their proverbial hat to support so-called “choice”, among them are the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church (according to the Pew Research Center). Even the traditionally “staunchly Pro-Life” Catholic Church is seeing major rifts.
And when you combine what can only be accurately labeled as the American Holocaust of Abortion with the other paths our nation has chosen to run in direct opposition to God’s revealed will and design (not the least of which is the LGBTQetc… capitulations), and American has truly given the worst of Old Testament Israel and its neighbors a real run for the title of most ungodly and begging for judgement. Indeed, while I pray God withholds judgment on this nation, I cannot help but identify with the psalmists who wrote imprecatory psalms, crying out for God to judge the wicked, to squash the unrighteous and oppressors, for His namesake. And the sad truth is – just as happened in the Old Testament judgements, it isn’t’ just those practicing the worst of the unrighteous behavior that suffered.Famine, pestilence, sieges, and captivity affected all, even those who were passionately pursing God.Men, women, and children all suffered when judgement came.
How much longer might God stay His hand of judgment on this nation? And with abortion becoming the #1 cause of death worldwide in 2018, we shouldn’t be surprised if we see God’s wrath poured out in a global sense.
And to those who still insist on calling the United States of America a “Christian Nation” – Please spare me the rhetoric. No nation has the right to call itself “Christian” when it kills 60 million of the most innocent of all humanity.
So – what is a genuine believer to do?Should we just chew our nails and cry ourselves to sleep?Far from it.God calls His people to be watchmen on the wall – to cry out when danger is approaching. We are called to reveal the evil, to shine the Light on darkness.And yes, to even share the Hope of Christ Jesus, even to the woman has has exercise “choice”. For the Grace of God is sufficient to redeem all who would believe (John 3:16) giving eternal life to all who come to genuine faith, who repent and believe the good news – and who experience the heart transplant only God can perform. And indeed, while we should be yelling from the rooftops, and in the hallways of capital buildings for real justice – we must also genuinely humble ourselves on our knees, repenting of our own sins, and begging God to send a revival across our land, beginning with US – those who profess to be His.Because we cannot forget1 Peter 4:17
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
What’s in a date change? Beyond some business and personal fiscal year change (particularly tax year) stuff – the change from one year to the next is little more than the turn of a page on a calendar (or the putting up of a new calendar).
Yet we have made the year change into something bigger – though maybe with the wrong motives! The calendar change doesn’t by some miraculous action “close out” any pains or griefs you experienced the year before (in this case, 2018). The page turn doesn’t suddenly set you up for some grand spiritual “breakthrough” as some are posting. And the changed digit in the year designation does not somehow give special powers to some grand and optimistic “resolution” you might make to undertake any number of changes (weight loss/health improvement, financial renovations, relationship adjustments, etc.). But the flipping of a number does give us an opportunity to reflect on the past year – to give an honest evaluation to where we have been, where we went, and where we are today – all in preparation for setting our eyes every more on the goals, aims, and purpose GOD has set before us in the new year.
But let me begin with a caution – don’t set some unrealistic goals and resolutions that you won’t keep! You are simply adding to the burden society and the world in general throws at you and you are setting yourself up to fail – and year-after-year, what have the countless “resolutions” done for you? For most people, these repeated failures have done little more than to add defeat and disappointment.
I would propose a different tact this year as you begin trying to look forward to this new year: Focus on the LORD. In Mark 12:30, Jesus responded to a Scribe who was questioning Him on which was the greatest of commandments with “…AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” The focus of God’s commands all go back to giving everything to the LORD – and trusting HIM with what comes. It’s the spirit behind Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
One of the most difficult parts of life we face doesn’t’ come from the outside world, from those we work with, or those in positions of authority and leadership. No – among the most difficult parts to deal with are those set up by our failure to heed these words! We don’t place God at the very top and unquestioned position of priority in our lives. Because of our low view of God, we don’t “trust in the LORD with all our hearts” – we trust in “ME” – until I fail… again. Then we seek those in which to place blame, or even worse – we mess it up then blame God! But what do we actually see here in this passage? An incredible promise made when you quit relying on yourself and our own (in)ability to grasp the whole picture and to actually make good judgement in directing your path – and instead you acknowledge HIM in ALL your ways: acknowledge isn’t just naming or giving God credit, but literally means to KNOW Him – an intimate, close, life-changing, life-directing relationship with HIM where you are constantly seeking HIM and His will in everything you do. Thus bringing a promise that if we will quit doing it “our way”, quit trying to be masters of our own fate – and simply seek HIM in all things, in all ways – He WILL “make your paths straight”. What is a straight path here? It simply means that He will – just as we can see over-and-ver in the conquest of the Promised Land in the book of Joshua – when Joshua and the people committed everything to God’s will and plan – they experienced 100% victory. When they deviated from God’s direction -they often stumbled and suffered greatly. And in every single time – when they completely sought God’s will and followed it – God always delivered – and He still does today! We just have to realize that HIs answers and direction may very well run contradictory to our own desires and opinions!
Life is a minefield – and God has not promised us a smooth, explosion-proof journey. He has promised to direct our paths and to guide us IN that minefield. But sometimes we are in a minefield to make a difference for others – especially those who have deviated from God’s path and stepped on those mines! And lest we forget – helping people (truly loving our neighbors) can be a dirty and messy endeavor! But if we are there WITH God – following God with everything in our being – trusting HIM and HIS way over our own – He will see us through, and ultimately – see us Home!
So – regardless of what your flesh and culture are telling you to focus on in 2019 – or the resolutions that you may be mulling around in your brain – how about being resolived first and foremost – in truly KNOWING the LORD as never before, fully trusting in HIS grace – and following HIM in all things as He directs your path!
I have been putting off going to see the recently-released movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. I knew that it would be emotionally draining, and likely would even trigger primal anger. But this week, as I saw yet more reports from pro-life groups such as lifesitenews.com, savethe1.com, as well as many Christian news sources who not posted glowing reports regarding the movie itself, but also what appears to be an effort to shut the movie out of theaters, even though it rated in the top 10 movies for its opening weekend. So this week, I committed to carving out a window of time to endure the movie.
The first thing those who haven’t seen the movie need to know – though supported and promoted by several Christian and para-Christian groups, this is not a “Christian film”. There is some profanity as well as some pretty graphic descriptions and depictions of some of the horrific actions of this real-life human monster’s evil actions. Indeed, despite the claims by some that this movie is an attempt at a Bible-thumping pro-life masterpiece, the reality is – the closest it gets to “Christian” is the casual mention of the Catholic faith of a police investigator. Indeed, the two main characters – Assistant D.A. Alexis McGuire (played by Sarah Jane Morris), and Detective James Wood (played by Dean Cain) both are accurately portrayed as pro-choice – matching the real-life figures).
The second thing that is important to know before seeing this film is that this is a true story. The details of the investigation came directly from the pages of investigator’s notes, court records, and eye-witness testimony. This means that there are some very graphic descriptions of the procedures used by Kermit Gosnell and his ill-trained staff.
From a mechanical/production perspective, the movie is fairly well made. Sarah Jane Morris turns in a heartfelt, believable performance as Assistant D.A Alexis McGuire, who becomes emotionally invested in the trial of her life.
Dean Cain does an adequate job as Detective James “Woody” Wood, a narcotics investigator who stumbles into the murder investigation while chasing illegal prescriptions that originated from Dr. Gosnell’s office.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell is eerily portrayed by Earl Billings, who’s smug, bizarre behaviors and
mannerisms help you to truly be disgusted with him, even before the evidence mounts.
Nick Searcy plays the infamous defense attorney Mike Cohan and his efforts to keep his client, Dr. Gosnell out of prison. Searcy has a real talent for playing a cold-hearted, thick-skinned attorney.
The surprise figure to me personally was AlfonZo Rachel who played Detective Stark (a supporting role). AlfonZo is better known to many as a political commentator, speaker, and even as a musical with ongoing YouTube episodes. While his acting is not yet quite up to top-billing, his character does provide decent supporting work.
And the final bit of information about this movie that sets it apart from most others (beyond the subject matter) is that it is the most successful crowdfunded film in history with nearly 30,000 people donating over $2.3million in just 45 days!
I won’t get into the details of the movie and its base storyline, other than to say that this film simply is telling of the investigation and trial of the man who should have been the most infamous serial killer in US History, yet was a case that received relatively little media attention. Further, the sick and twisted underbelly of much fo the abortion industry is laid bare through this film, despite the fact that those involved in prosecuting the real case specifically tried to avoid bringing abortion in general into question.
Despite the fact that this film is not a “Christian” film, I do recommend that everyone see this that can. It tells the story of a handful of victims of Dr. Kermit Gosnell that has long needed to be told – first to honor his victims, especially the babies he murdered, yet has long been swept under the rug. The movie will likely cause even the heard-hearted to at least seriously think about the practices described.
I also stand amazed at the stories of many having their views of abortion turned from pro-choice to pro-life. I am in awe of those who have been inspired to help women to “Choose Life“.
So again, my advice – go see this while you still can. The film is worth seeing not only for the film itself but because it honors the memory of those whose lives were ended by the evil and scissors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. And while you are at it, take someone with you who is pro-choice. The movie will help them to see more of the reality behind abortion (and especially late-term abortion).
I went in expecting a kick to the guts. But what I ended up getting out of this film was a cruel and real-life view into just how evil the business of killing babies really is. I believe anyone who watches the film will likely be at a loss for words, will be frustrated (angry even) over the abject refusal for most media to even cover this trial, much less the revelations in the Grand Jury testimonies regarding just how such a “clinic” could continue to operate without regular inspections and intervention when dozens of complaints came. And while I didn’t want to post the image directly, you can click this link to see the actual image of “Baby Boy A” that was shown in court and helped seal the result of the trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.
OK – now that I have your attention, I wanted to post related to the ongoing and intentional division being inflicted on our nation, mostly based on engineered circumstances and blind willingness to believe everything one hears and reads, mostly because of our presuppositions (see HERE from last time).
I have seen, with the approaching mid-term elections here in the US, an increase in the stoking of old claims and hatred – all with the purpose of attempting to influence the election. Yes, it is normal to tie mid-term elections to the sitting President – especially if the President’s political party matches the party in the majority in Congress. If said President’s policies and legislative victories are good in your eyes, then, in theory, you would vote for the congressional candidates that would most likely continue that trend. In contrast, if the current president’s actions and “achievements” in conjunction with the current Congress are in opposition to what you see as positive progress for this nation, you would most likely vote for a candidate that would present an opportunity to change that direction. It seems like a fairly simple and logical concept.
But we have a problem: I am seeing a huge swath of Americans who are basing their voting (mirrored by their social media and public interaction) not on actual agenda or facts, but on what they have heard or read – often times turning a complete blind eye to reality and facts.
One of the largest targets of all today is President Donald Trump (Twitter: @realDonaldTrump). I have been quite candid about my views on Mr. Trump. He disgusted me as a candidate, and his hot head and fast trigger finger (at least on Twitter) drive me insane. I have directly addressed him on several issues and have remained less than thrilled at him as a person. BUT…
The vitriol that is being hurled at President Donald Trump, and by extension, towards those who do support him and his America First ideology is mind-numbing and has grown to the point that it is far more offensive than the language the man has used himself over the years.
The headline topic – racismhas always been a hot button issue in this country. We do, indeed have a history that is rife with abuses. At the same time, the US made huge strides in racial relations, and it has been just the last 10 years or so that have reopened wounds – and somehow Donald Trump is responsible for it all (despite the rips opening up long before he was a candidate or even in a position to affect race relations).
So – let us take a look at Donald Trump and his label as a racist. After all, this tops the list for most people as to why they hate him so deeply. Exactly what are these claims based on?
Is it based on some alt-right/White-nationalist websites endorsing him for office in 2016? Much like several radical Left-wing Black-Power racist websites and organizations wildly supported candidate Barack Obama for President in 2008 and again in 2012? The New Black Panthers even exercised voter intimidation at polling places to prevent white and senior citizens from voting. Donald Trump quickly distanced himself from these brazen white-supremacist groups. So then his campaign connection to Steve Bannon, who himself, because of his association with Breitbart News was connected, indirectly to “alt-right” entities. Yet that argument fails to make Donald Trump a racist.
So his comments regarding illegal immigration must be the sure-fire reason he is a “racist” – after all, he campaigned all along on reigning in illegal immigration (never mind that he has never negatively mentioned LEGAL immigration, and in fact has been quite vocal in supporting legal immigration and improving the system that gets so bogged down). Then-candidate and now President Trump has been so brazen to suggest that we need to take control of the border and that people should be screened and vetted prior to coming in. That they should not “cut in line” before those who are following the law. President Trump has (accurately) stated that dangerous street gangs are filling our streets via illegal immigration (MS-13 being a long-documented and well-known problem across several administrations). The President has suggested that employers who knowingly employ those here illegally should be held accountable. Somehow, these comments about illegal immigration and the need to control it are glaring evidence that Donald Trump is an “Evil Racist”. I find it amazing that the very people leaning on Trump’s illegal immigrant position and statements are the very same peopel who have been (and continue to be) huge fans of previous presidents who have said essentially the exact same things!
This sounds incredibly like the vast majority of Donald Trump’s speeches on the issue – even the language used is very similar.
Presdident Obama also had strong words regarding illegal immigration (then Senator):
Whether one agerees with any of these viewpoints, we cannot ignore the fact that both of these previous Presidents sound a whole lot like Donald Trump. If it is “racist” for President Trump to say it, then why was it ok for then Senator/President Obama to say it, or for President Clinton to say it? What has changed? The person saying it.
Or maybe it is the statement that some claimed Prsident Trump said in a meeting regarding DACA and the lottery system of immigration. Depending on who you as – either the vast majority who were in the meeting who say he did not use the phrase in question (“S**thole countries”), though he did admit to using “tough language”, or the a couple in the room who, at the time, were in the throwes of political battle with the President. But lets say that Trump used the offensive term in the meeting (because we have no recordings or other proof) – before it was even “verified” by Dick Durban, when the story was simply from a single Democrat congerssional aid – the biggest talking heads on CNN and company were blasting Trump as a blatant racist. No context. No wait for verification – the ruling was made: Donald Trump Is an Evil Racist. Never mind that at leats one of the talking heads, Don Lemmon, has a history of his own racial bias and willingness to yell the term from the rooftops for every situation in the world.
I am willing to accept that President used ugly language, regardless of the actual terms, to describe several nations that make up a large portion of our current immigration numbers – nations that are often also hotbeds of crime, violence, corruption, drugs, and growing terrorist activity (especially on the African continent). While I don’t necessarily agree completely with his views on revamping the immigration policy – his intent is to shift to a more merit-based system.
Assuming this one incedent is an accurate portrayal of Donald Trump’s real heart – then certainly we can use the same standard regarding Hillary Clinton, who’s infamous outbirsts while first lady (both in Arkansas and the Whitehouse) are epic. We surely can guage her thoughts by such statements towards campaign manager Paul Fray as a “F__ing Jew Ba*tard!“. And of course, her comment in support of her husband’s crime policies that black men are “super predators” wouldn’t be overlooked? Even her 2016 opponent Bernie Sanders called her out for her racism. And of course, her off-color remarks regarding Mahatmah Ghandi as running a gas station in St. Louis really was harmless, correct? And never mind her scripted and rehearsed skit for a Democrat fundraiser with Mayor DeBlasio where they openly mocked “CPT” – a well known anacronym for “Colored People’s Time” (even the African-American actor on stage was offended).
All of this while the same media blasting Donald Trump as a racist, have ignored a long history of a Donald Trump that was hailed as a friend of minorities, who received numerous awards and accolades for his efforts for minorities, and who was, until running for office as a Republican, was considered a friend of African-Americans and other minorities.
But lets pause for a moment. Regardless of all that is posted above – the hypocricy on display, the claims of racism (whether merited or not), have you ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, that NONE of the supposedly “racist” claims against either party or any listed- were actually as “racist” as they appear – but are being blown out of proportion simply to inflame hate towards one side or another? Have you considered that each episode above is beign selectively swept under the rug or broadcast wtih tears and claims as a tool set to promote division?
Could it be that the long-time “trump card” (no pun intended) of racism might be simply noise to distract from the actual positive accomplishments that the current President and Congress have delivered? That maybe, just maybe, if voters were not constantly bombarded with engineered or artificially inflamed stories of negativeity, they might actually look at what has REALLY been done, and make voting decisions contrary to how those controlling the narrative (especially in the media) are trying to drown us with? Regardless of whether Donald Trump is actually a certifiable racist or not, the following cannot be described as anything but positive for this nation (unless you really do hate the USA):
Through some pretty unconventional means, Donald Trump was able to get the North Korean dictator to the negotiating table, to actually take measurable steps to end and destroy his nuclear program, and – a comfort to many service member families, to return the remains of some 200 military remains. All of this is far beyond what ANY president since the Korean Conflict has been able to do.
ISIS/ISIL has been dramatically shrunk, a feat that President Obama said was impossible.
Economic Growth – Despite recent claims by former President Obama that the current economic growth was his doing, the documented reality is – President Obama said that sub 1.8% growth was the “new normal”. Yet we now see well over 4.6% growth. With the reduction in regulation and the tax overhaul, we are seeing record low unemployment numbers, with African-Americans seeing the lowest rate of unemployment in recorded history. Further, people across income bands all are seeing more money in their pockets from the tax changes as well as personal income is rising rapidly.
Manufacturing is returning, with announcements by major manufacturers of reopening factories, expansion of existing facilities, and entirely new production lines.
No, positive accomplishments do not erase Donald Trump’s character flaws, of which he has plenty. The sad reality is, our nation has had very few presidents that have been genuine men of character. Some have been relatively decent, others have been pretty rotten by pretty much any standard. We have had serious racists as President, as well as men who fought for freedom ultimately costing their lives.