Guest Blogger: Ray Burns “Sanctity of Life 2020”

Sanctity of Life 2020

Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been 47 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in America. According to realtime estimates on NumberOfAbortions.com, over 61 million lives have been lost to abortion since 1973. Nothing in the history of the world comes close to this loss of life, with the Holocaust being closest at about 10% of that number.

On January 19th, churches across America will be taking part in “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” an annual day of somberness as we come together and recognize the weight of death that hangs on our country. We use this day to remember that those children weren’t lumps of tissue or potential humans, but complete human beings who were made in the image of God.

It’s not uncommon for those in the pro-choice movement to feel baffled at the pro-life side of the argument. After all, their worldview says that those children were either not human, or were humans whose right to live wasn’t higher than a mother’s right to choose what happens with her body. Regardless,

Last year, I wrote a series of articles that examines these issues from a Christian perspective. If you haven’t read them yet, I’d encourage you to do so this week. With the Sanctity of Life Sunday putting a spotlight on the realities of abortion, we have a wonderful opportunity to not only open discussions about abortion but share the gospel with people who need Jesus Christ. The entire goal of this series was to show how the unborn must be dehumanized in order for abortion to be tolerable.

  • The first article examines the scientific reason why a fetus is a human being, as well as points out the implications Christians must deal with if we truly believe the unborn are human, no matter their stage of development.
  • The second article looks at the logical reasons why the unborn are fully human. I think this is an important one to understand when we’re talking to Christians and non-Christians who aren’t sure where they stand.
  • The third article carefully discusses why the right to live must come before the right to choose.
  • The final article caps things off with the important discussion of why God values human life and why, if the unborn truly are human, we must value them as God does.

January 19th shouldn’t be the only day we consider those who are lost. Indeed, every day we live in a world has so devalued the lives of certain groups that we even have celebrities openly celebrating that they chose to end their child’s life for their own happiness.  

 

Every day, our country adds 125,000 aborted babies to its body count. Worst of all, just like with other atrocities throughout history, we have people celebrating the fact that we’re doing it. It’s heartbreaking that we’re capable of doing this so openly, but it’s also incredibly eye-opening at just how deep our depravity runs, and why we all so desperately need the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

This Sunday, take a moment to remember the human beings who are being killed every day. Regardless of how they look, what they’re physically capable of, or their mental development, these people are no less an image-bearer of God than anyone else. Perhaps even consider donating to a pro-life charity you care about. If you don’t know one, my own church supports a local group called Agape Pregnancy Center that offers counseling and health services to pregnant women, as well as grief counseling for those living through the pain of ending their child’s life.

Let January 19th be a wake-up call for all of us. The greatest loss of human life is happening in our back yards because so few people understand what’s really happening. Let’s be willing to have those uncomfortable conversations by being informed about the issue rather than arguing from emotion.

Yet more than winning arguments, we need to bring people to Jesus Christ. A person’s views on abortion may save lives, but it’s only by understanding their need for Jesus Christ that they can not only view the unborn as God does, but have a right relationship with their savior in all areas of life.

 

From The Desk of the Associate Pastor: “Jesus Loves Me”

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It seems here in Iowa that everyone deals with colds this time of year, and for my kids this has been no exception. Before I was a parent, I just dealt with minor things like colds and didn’t think much of it. Now that I have kids of my own, and with them being so young, it seems that a “minor” sickness to me can really knock them down.

A few nights ago, our three year old boy had a lot of congestion and coughing. I went into his room at bedtime and played my guitar and sang for him (he is the only one in my family who actually appreciates my mediocre musical skills). I played him some of his favorite songs while he laid in bed. After a couple songs, he said, in his nasally and congested voice, “Daddy, play ‘Jesus Loves Me.’” How could I not comply with this wish? When I finished, it brought a smile when he said, “Daddy, sing ‘Jesus Loved Me He Who Died.’” This is the second verse to this famous children’s song. Now while this request made me smile, it also made tears come from my eyes as I sat on his bed and played for him under his night light.

As Christian parents, our greatest desires are for our children’s’ well-being, but at the very top should be our desire that our kids come to know the Lord. As I sang that song to my son, who felt so sick, I could not help but rejoice that not only does he have a desire to sing this praise song, but this simple song reveals profound truth. For many kids, who come to church for the first time, this is the song that they learn first. Here are the words: “Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me, He who died. Heavens’ gates are open wide. He will wash away my sin. Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

Think about the words to this song. How can we not rejoice at the truth communicated? I have been a believer in Christ since I was a very young child, and have rejoiced often at the truth of my salvation. But now that I’m a parent, there is a different level of rejoicing at the truth of this gospel song. Jesus lives! So, there is hope for my children to live too. I have no greater desire than for my children to come to know, love, and serve the Lord. The most humbling thing is to realize that I am not ultimately in control of this outcome. Whenever I think of this, it makes me turn to my Savior and ask Him to just open the eyes of their hearts to receive the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Parents, grandparents, and every Christian, be in prayer for our children. Model the truth of the gospel in your lives and teach it faithfully in your homes. Have your kids in church and make the eternal destiny of your loved ones a top priority in your prayer lives. Do this because it’s really true that Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us to save us from our sins. 

2019 Annual Report From the Lead Pastor

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Dear Members and Friends of Prairie Flower Baptist Church,

As I look back over this last year and decade, I am amazed at all that God has done in us and through us. As a church family, we have been through some incredible times of growth and joy, as well as great seasons of loss and pain. But, through it all, God has remained faithful and we have grown stronger.

For me personally, as I enter this new year, I feel as if I’ve entered a new phase in pastoral ministry. My learning curve isn’t so high anymore, more experience has settled in, and I’m stable, settled, and very much content. Honestly, I never thought I would be this satisfied out here on the prairie, but I am.

A Year In Review:

What a breath of fresh air this past year has been for our church family. We experienced peace, unity, and growth in ways we haven’t felt in a long time. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace and mercy!

The numbers this past year are encouraging. I’m thankful to be part of a church family that continues to see people saved, baptized, and added to the church. This past year, by God’s grace and to His glory, we experienced:

  • 5 – Salvations
  • 8 – Baptisms
  • 2 – Members

This past year also allowed us to bring in a new Associate Pastor, Timothy O’Tool! Pastor Tim and his family have been a wonderful addition to our church family and have fit right in. What a joy to have these new partners in the ministry.

The building of our Pavilion Project was another item that marked our past year. We are nearly finished with this project and are coming in under budget. A big “thank you” to the many generous donors who gave of their time and resources to construct a building that will allow us to do more and better ministry, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months.

A Year of Possibilities:

As we look forward to a new year of life and ministry, so many opportunities and possibilities lie before us. I am eager at all that God might have in store for us out here on the prairie. Here is what I envision I’ll be leading you all toward:

  • Prayer – As a church family, we need to hone our skills at corporate prayer. Yes, many of us are praying individually, but our corporate prayer life is lacking. To help with this deficiency, we will institute monthly Corporate Prayer Nights that will meet the first Sunday night of every month. Please join us!
  • Simplicity – The Church Constitution is in dire need of restructuring. Many parts of our current constitution are simply outdated for our current cultural context. For instance, our constitution stipulates that we must have certain committees, but many of these committees are unnecessary because of our well-placed leadership structure. Another example of our constitution’s deficiencies is in the structuring of the fiscal year that makes financial accountability and communication difficult. Thus, changes will (Lord willing) be forthcoming this year.
  • Renovations – With the construction of our Pavilion Project nearly completed, it’s time to take all of that positive forward momentum and look into some church building renovations. It’s been nearly 25 years since we’ve updated our carpet and pews. I do believe it’s time for a change! The cost of new carpet, and replacing our pews with chairs, will be significantly less than the Pavilion Project and will allow us to accommodate for current and future growth. Ultimately, the membership of PFBC needs to be on board with this and vote it into action, but I think our church is healthy enough (financially and spiritually) to undertake these types of renovations this year.

A Big Thank You:

As I end this report, I just feel the impulse to say, “thank you.” Thank you for allowing me to be your Lead Pastor. Thank you for loving me and my family so well as we seek to love you and your families well. Thank you for working beside me for the spread of the gospel in our area and world.

Let’s continue this great work,

David Cotner

Lead Pastor, PFBC