3 ways pastors should engage the abortion issue

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With a string of videos coming out of the past few weeks showing Planned Parenthood for what it is. These things are unavoidable for us and the kids we minister to. We have to understand how to logically understand these events so we engage rather shut down. My friend Scott Klusendorf writes the following argument in his book The Case for Life

The SLED Defense of Life

Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. As Stephen Schwarz points out using the acronym SLED, differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant in the way that abortion advocates need them to be.

Size: Yes, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-valuable tissue mass to valuable human being? If the unborn are not already human and valuable, merely changing their location can’t make them so.

Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they share a common human nature. Humans have value simply because of the kind of thing they are, not because of some acquired property they may gain or lose during their lifetimes.

Armed with that understanding what must we do with what we know to be true? What must we do?

5 links to help parents talk about LGBT issues

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My friend Jared Kennedy post a few links via twitter. I thought they were helpful so I’m passing them on to you here. They all deal with how to help parents when talk with their kids about same-sex marriage and same-sex attraction issues. Hope they bring encouragement and strength to you as a parent as they have to me.

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A Children’s Pastor’s Response To The Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage
by Brian Dollar

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Approaching Sexuality in Youth Ministry
By Todd Hill

 

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How will same-sex marriage impact children’s ministry?
By Jared Kennedy

 

 

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5 shifts parents need to make in LGBTQ America
By Sam Luce

7 must add books to your summer reading list

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One of the things I have learned in the past 20 years is when I encounter a problem. A good book usually helps me understand or point me in the right direction. I like reading books in the summer because It makes me feel better about lying lazily in the summer sun. Where I live in New York you have to pay for Vitamin D nine months out of the year. So when it’s free you jump on it. I thought I would share the books I am hoping to finish this summer.

ZPreaching by Keller – Few people have opened my eyes to the beauty of the Gospel like Dr. Keller. Few people can boldly lay out the truth in a way both sides see it clearly like Tim Keller. If you ever want to despair as a preacher. Preach a message then listen to Tim Keller preach the same passage. Looking forward to Dr. Keller’s thoughts on preaching.

 

 

2Q==-1Hand in Hand – Randy Alcorn tackles a very complex topic of Devine Sovereignty and meaningful human choice with clarity, grace and biblical responsibility. Have heard a ton of good things from both side of the argument.

 

 

 

Z-1The Deep things of God. – How the trinity changes everything. I am becoming more and more aware that the difficulty we have in faith and in our day to day lives comes from a flawed view of the trinity. Looking forward to reading Fred Sanders book for his practical take on a very complex issue.

 

 

New Kids Pastor Toolbox

Where you need to start before you start

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One of the reasons I blog here is to be to others what I wish someone was to me when I started. One of the things that would have helped me when I started was knowing where to start. So this post is sort of beginners toolbox for anyone who is new, just starting or about to start in kids or youth ministry. Hope these are helpful to you or to someone you know.

1. Producteev You need a to-do app you can trust that has the flexibility, that is collaborative and free. Preducteev does that all and some.

2. Read Beat the Clock – Drucker said it best.

Everything requires time. It is the one truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.

Jim Wideman’s book on time is a must read for every new kids pastor.

(to see the rest select “continue reading” below)

Teaching the Bible’s Disturbing Stories

by Jack Klumpenhower

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Jack Klumpenhower is the author of Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids His teaching resources can be found at theGospel Teacher website.

I recently read Jack’s book “Show Them Jesus” I so enjoyed it I asked Jack to guest post on my blog about how to teach the parts of the bible that are difficult. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

Teaching the Bible’s Disturbing Stories

I’ve spent much of the past Sunday school year teaching through the book of Genesis for a class of elementary kids at my church. Just a few weeks into this class, I had a decision to make. The published curriculum I’m using as a rough guide had given me the expected lessons about creation and the sin of Adam and Eve, but it skipped the story that comes next in the Bible—where Cain murders his brother Abel.

I suspect the violent content had something to do with the publisher’s decision to skip that story. A bloody family killing does not feel kid-friendly.

But should I teach it anyway? On occasion, I too will decide it’s best to spare the youngest children from particularly rough stories or from certain details. I don’t enjoy shocking kids or telling them horrific tales. But usually I’ll go ahead and teach most Bible stories—including the gory or sinful parts. And in the case of Cain and Abel I hardly had to think about it. I knew I wanted to teach that story, and so I did.

During lesson time, I even drew a stick-figure picture of Cain standing over Abel’s body. Then I added some red smears for blood pooling on the ground. I was as gentle as I could be about it, soberly warning the kids that it was ugly and sad, but still I drew that picture. It was important for them to see it.

So why, of all things, would I want kids to see that? I have three main reasons, each of which applies not only to Cain and Abel but also to many other Bible stories.

  1. It’s good to teach the Bible the way God has given it. If we poke around the Bible looking to use just the cheery parts, we end up skewing its message. We give kids the idea that the Bible is something like Aesop’s fables or after-school cartoons instead of the gritty, soaring, beautifully diverse message from God that it is. We also might miss key themes.

With the Cain and Abel story, I recognized it as part of the Bible’s foundational opening pages and the introduction of a critical theme: the contrast between a bad heart mastered by sin and a good heart devoted to God. I didn’t want to skip over that. I also noticed that the Bible specifically mentions Abel’s blood five times (in four different books). That made the blood a necessary part of my lesson if I was going to be true to the Bible’s own emphasis.