God’s Not Dead! (He’s Not Even Sick!)

God's Not Dead 2April has brought America the highly anticipated sequel to the Pure Flix movie from 2014, GOD’S NOT DEAD. Like the original film, GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 challenges American Christians to grapple with the fact that freedom to express their faith is under fire.

In the two-hour, PG-rated film, Grace Wesley is a conscientious Christian and public high school history teacher. When she answers some honest questions about Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., posed to her in the classroom by a struggling, seeking student, she soon finds herself in trouble and at the forefront of a crusade … to prove that God is still not dead.

When Grace refuses to apologize for her brief classroom response, where she quoted some words of Jesus, from the Gospel of Matthew, the school board votes to suspend her and threatens to revoke her teaching certificate. Finally, a zealous civil liberties group drags her into court, where they seek to leverage her “religious” responses, as a way to drive the anti-religious wedge even deeper than it already is.

The film’s fictional “test case” sheds light on some now commonly held notions and misconceptions about the legal “separation of church and state” and could have effectively expelled God from the classroom–and the public square–once and for all!  However, it is indisputable that current religious freedoms are indeed taking a hit in our culture. The list of real-life, legal challenges, seen scrolling at the end of the credits, aptly illustrates this.

Michael Scott, producer and founding partner of the Christian-film-distribution company Pure Flix, says “Cases where the religious freedoms of everyday men and women are being restricted by courts and government agencies are sadly quite common today.” He went on to explain their purpose for producing this film: “Our hope is that we can start a conversation in the country with this movie, about how critical the right to believe—and to talk about that belief in public—is to our nation.”

Entertainer Pat Boone appears in the film, as a supportive grandfather to the lead character. When “Saturday Night Live” presented a parody skit about “God’s Not Dead 2”, Pat was quick to publicly say he felt it was offensive to Christians, Jews and homosexuals, and thinks the long-running show is feeding cynicism in America.

In this case, he said, “it’s particularly scurrilous and irresponsible because they presented ‘God’s Not Dead 2’ as if we were dealing with homosexuality or in some way with Christian-Judaism conflict and the film has nothing to do with any of that. They made it up totally because they literally wanted to back us (Christians) into a corner on the subject of homosexuality, and of course, the film had nothing whatsoever to do with it.”

In the skit, “God is a Boob Man,” a woman is forced by a Jewish ACLU lawyer to declare that “God is gay.” The 82-year-old singer says, “If I were in the homosexual community, or if I were Jewish, I would be just as irate as being presented fallaciously and ridiculously as the militant homosexuals are in their parody because they are demanding things that would embarrass any responsible homosexual, and I know quite a few,” he said. “They would not like to be presented as being so idiotic as trying to prove in court that God is gay. That presents them in a horrible light and very bigoted light.”

GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 began showings on April 1 and it continues in a limited number of theaters. Stand up for religious freedom. Take someone with you. See it this week!


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Celebrating Our Emancipation!

Did you notice that the tax man came a little later this year? Instead of our income tax returns being due on April 15, we all received a three-day extension, until April 18.

The reason seems to be there is a little known holiday, Emancipation Day, which is observed in the District of Columbia, every April 16. Because that fell this year on a Saturday, it was legally celebrated on Friday, April 15 and treated in D.C. as a federal holiday, for tax filing purposes.

President Lincoln

President Lincoln

The holiday marks the anniversary of the day, in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing about 3,100 slaves, who were living in the Federal District, and compensating their former owners. The following year, he would sign an “executive order,” the Emancipation Proclamation, giving freedom to over three million slaves.

It seems fitting that, this year, the observance of Lincoln’s freeing the D.C. slaves precedes the Jewish annual observance of Moses freeing the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, some 3,000 years ago.

The biblical account of the Exodus begins with a lamb being sacrificed for each Jewish home and its blood being applied to the doorposts and lentil on the entrance to each home. God’s Death Angel came that night and killed the first-born child in each home in Egypt. However, the angel “passed over” the homes where the blood of the lamb had been applied. The Jewish festival which “remembers” that special night is known as the Passover (Pesach).

The Egyptian Pharaoh relented and urged Moses and the Hebrew slaves to leave, in hopes the Hebrew God Jehovah would end the plagues/judgments, on the Egyptian people. But then, Pharaoh and his army pursued the Hebrews (and converts to their faith), who were miraculously saved, as they were able to cross the Red Sea on dry ground. Shortly afterwards, the Hebrews watched as Pharaoh and his army drowned, as the water-walls collapsed over them.

This Jewish “emancipation day” is a picture of Jesus’ sacrificial and substitutional death on the cross. The Hebrews’ miraculous deliverance from the enemy army pictures for us our emancipation from the slavery of Satan’s control and into the freedoms of God’s Kingdom!

Hallelujah! Let’s celebrate! “…if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed!”

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Christ is Risen–Indeed!

Easter LillyThese beautiful days of spring cause me to smile—just to be alive! Here in California, my rose bushes are already blooming and my fig tree is starting to show fruit!

I also found these recent days of Lent, leading up to Resurrection Sunday, were so spiritually significant, as well. We were reminded that God knows us personally. He loves us and cares for us each day. He desires the very best for us! He really does!

He is not surprised by our sins and failures. In fact, He knows our weaknesses better than we do ourselves! And, He has provided an infinitely adequate remedy in the Person of His Son—who lived for us; who died for us; who rose again from the dead, FOR US!

Now, God has given His Holy Spirit to indwell us—to live the life of God in us—to produce the life of Christ through us: to empower us to be what we ought to be and what we sincerely desire to be. All the resources we need for life here and now—and in the eternal future—God has given us in His Son! Join me in rejoicing in these truths during this post-Easter season, as we now look forward toward Pentecost Sunday!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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California could decide the Republican winner!

Presidential SealFox News has announced it has cancelled a GOP debate that had been scheduled for Monday, March 20 in Salt Lake City. With Donald Trump preferring to focus on speeches, rather than more debates, the number-three-Republican-candidate John Kasich also pulled out. Ted Cruz said he would be happy to debate either or both of the other candidates, but Fox decided to fold up its debate stage.

This means that there will be no further Republican debates before the June 7th primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. With California’s winner-take-all-of-the-172-delegates primary as the biggest prize of all the states, the Golden State could decide the Republican winner!

So, to vote in the “closed” Republican primary election on June 7, one must be a registered Republican. You can do this online, on or before May 23rd, on the Secretary of State’s website: www.sos.ca.gov/. Also, voters who have moved to a new, permanent residence, changed their names or political party choice must RE-REGISTER.

Because of the high level of emotion and interest in the candidates and issues this year, some Democrats are reported to be re-registering as Republicans, so they can affect that party’s decisions. That may help push a candidate to the top of the ticket, who may or may not be able to beat her majesty Hillary or even the socialist Sanders.

Bi-partisan concerns abound for pro-life and pro-family voters of both parties concerning marriage, morals and children. A “Presidential Report Card on the Natural Family,” comparing Republican candidates on such issues as protecting marriage for one man and one woman, protecting your constitutional rights of conscience, and upholding good role models for kids.

Let’s have high-turnout, highly-informed and honest primary elections this year! Register. Pray. VOTE.


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America Decides its Future

U_S_-Constitution-U_S_-Flag As the political processes of both parties proceed and America decides its future, Franklin Graham, son of respected evangelist Billy Graham, is holding prayer rallies in all 50 state capitals this year. He and his team will be in Sacramento on March 31, as part of this unprecedented Decision America Tour.

Mr. Graham is concerned for our country and its future and says, “No political party or candidate is capable of providing the solution. Only God can turn our nation and the hearts of its people.” That why he has initiated this spiritual tour across America to “call churches and Christians to repentance and prayer for our land.”

While the evangelist neither demonizes nor deifies any candidate, he does believe “a secular worldview, hostile to biblical values, has overrun our culture and permeated our government…This cannot continue if our children and grandchildren are to live in a country that still recognizes God and upholds religious liberty.”

With over 40 state capitals still scheduled on this 2016 Decision America Tour, the outreach reports that thousands of people, at each stop, have pledged to pray fervently and faithfully for our nation, take an active stand for Jesus Christ in their homes and communities, and vote for the candidates they believe are most likely to uphold biblical values and the principles of religious freedom.

Will you do the same? Pray. Vote. Engage.

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Thoughts for Super Tuesday:

Is Donald Trump Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Republican?

donald-trump-Planned Parenthood doctors have been caught in a series of 10 videos about or actually arranging to sell human organs harvested from aborted human babies. Apparently these baby body parts are more valuable, if the methods of delivery and dismemberment are more controlled and “less crunchy,” as in excruciatingly painful “partial birth abortions.”

Planned Parenthood proponents stress the smaller non-abortion component of Women’s Services, when seeking taxpayer funding of over $1 million dollars each and every day to this agency. Some presidential candidates, like Donald Trump, are deluded to think that PP tests for, “you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer” and that is sufficient to continue the controversial federal funding of the nation’s largest, private, abortion agency. Has this made him Planned Parenthood’s favorite Republican?

Even the liberal Washington Post has pointed out the mammogram misconceptions. “The problem here is that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms or even possess the necessary equipment to do so,” the politically progressive paper reported. “As such, the organization certainly does not ‘provide’ mammograms in the strict sense. Instead, its clinics provide referrals and direct low-income women toward resources to help pay for the procedure. These services are by no means unique to Planned Parenthood. In fact, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society provide them, as well.”

Though Mr. Trump has said he “doesn’t think” he has donated to Planned Parenthood, the fact that he has not released his tax information, as other Republican candidates have, may suggest there are some “baby-parts bombshells” to be unearthed. Such has been suggested by his opponents.

With Super Tuesday and other primaries later in March, all of this makes professing Christians (both Republicans and Democrats) caught between the proverbial “rock and a hard spot.” With some polls showing 49-51% of Republican’s prepared to vote for the “ridiculously-offensive” Mr. Trump, how do Christians condone the past and present peccadillos of this candidate? Especially, when committed Christian candidates are “at hand.”

The popular Christian author Max Lucado recently wrote “I don’t know Mr. Trump. But I’ve been chagrined at his antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to the former first lady, Barbara Bush as “mommy,” and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people “stupid,” “loser,” and “dummy.” These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded, and presented.  Such insensitivities wouldn’t even be acceptable even for a middle school student body election. But for the Oval Office? And to do so, while brandishing a Bible and boasting of his Christian faith? I’m bewildered, both by his behavior and the public’s support of it.”

Indeed, we must pray for sincere believers to seek the “mind of Christ” in these critical matters!


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Don’t Do It, Charlotte!

Last year the Charlotte, North Carolina City Council voted against a proposed, non-discrimination ordinance based on “marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” Since then, new elections have brought pro-LGBTQ representatives to the city’s chambers and the new City Council is set to take the measure up again, yet this month.


These non-discrimination ordinances (sometimes called “Bathroom Laws” or LGBT Favoritism Laws, by opponents) are being pushed in many locales across the nation. Sounding very tolerant and helpful, they seek to regulate “public accommodations laws, the vehicles for hire ordinances, and the ordinances governing businesses that contract with a city.” When studied further, diligent observers notice these laws give enforcement control over these public matters to a non-elected Human Relations Committee. In so doing, the Committee will require many businesses to provide their “goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations” to promote messages or ideas (speech) that are contrary to their religious and conscience beliefs about human sexual behavior.

If passed, these proposed ordinances will lead to men being given legal access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, businesses being sued for declining to participate in same-sex weddings, and undoubtedly, widespread discrimination against people of faith. Furthermore, if citizens object, they will be subject to fines. Our government will be reaching into private business, churches and all places of accommodation, increasing the costs of doing business and discouraging businesses from starting up or locating in these cities.

Business and Faith leaders, along with concerned citizens of Charlotte, have identified at least four ways these “non-discrimination” laws actually discriminate and negatively impact their city:

  • Puts children and women in danger and violates their sense of privacy and security.
  • Creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses and unnecessarily exposes them to lawsuits and liability by requiring them to promote messages or ideas that are contrary to their religious beliefs.
  • Requires the City of Charlotte to engage in impermissible discrimination on the basis of religion when it chooses businesses with which to contract and do business.
  • Violates Article II, Section 24 (j) of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, by creating a local non-discrimination ordinance regulating labor and trade.

Every American should be free to live and work according to their faith without fear of unjust punishment by the government. We must “watch and pray!”


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