Saturday, December 17, 2016

SMR 176 Thankfulness

Smoky Mountain Reflections #176

            Thankfulness, as we approach the 500th anniversary year of the reformation I would like to ponder the question of gratitude as we wind up the calendar year this Advent season.

            So, what does it mean to be thankful? I think it is to acknowledge, a gift of God and to express gratitude for it. What does that look like? Here is a short list.

-       You live and breathe and are a being
o   Thank your creator by loving Him and your neighbor in accord with His word.
-       You have stuff.
o   Thank God by being a good steward of it.
-       You have technology.
o   Thank God by respecting the generations that did the work to provide it.
-       You have family & loved ones.
o   Thank God by caring for and cherishing all God given relationships.
-       You have creativity.
o   Thank God by using it.
-       You have freedom and peace
o   Thank God by expressing you gratitude to those who work to provide it.
-       You have a faith
o   Thank God by nurturing it with word and sacrament.
-       You have strife, struggle and suffering
o   Thank God by learning growing through it and trusting Him in it.

As I said this is a short list and as you can see all our thanks goes to the provider of everything but we express our gratitude not by feeling warm and fuzzy, but by saying thank you to God in prayer and deed to and through others.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
In Christ Pastor Portier


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

SMR #175

Smoky Mountain Reflections #175

We like to take sides. My dog is better than your dog, my dad can beat up your dad, my team is better than your team. It is appealing or desire to be on the winning side, have the winning team, that I think in many ways affects how we vote and choose our politicians. Sadly, for most of my adult life when I did my civic duty of voting I as most of us have been very disappointed with the options that were available. But if you compare even our worst leaders, even the current options are tame compared to some of the tyrant rulers in world history.

But to help ease your election hangover let me share a few things with you.
Jesus died for all sinners, of all political persuasions, no matter how they voted.
When you vote you are not saying you approve of any of that candidate’s sins.
Voting is simply saying that the political positions of that candidate are most in line with yours.
The sanctity of human life is a biblical principal so it should be high on your priority list.
Casting a vote for whom ever you think has the best chance of being in that office is important.
So they can protect life,
Protect and promote family’s.
Protect the free exercise of faith and conscience,
Protect and defend our nation and promote peace in the world.
            This in my humble opinion is the most God pleasing way to cast your vote.

But whoever you vote or voted for……The church will pray for President Clinton or President Trump and the world will not end because of this election. Trust in God, He is in charge…..Press on.  

In Christ Pastor Portier


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#174 Who is forcing their views on whom?

Smoky Mountain Reflections #174

            We live in a society that has lost it connection with reality and logic while proclaiming to be scientific and factual in all its assertions. This leads to nonsensical realities that we must live with and endure everyday as we seek to speak the truth in love to our neighbor.
            Hormone therapy for aging men and woman is take caution!
            Hormone therapy for athletic performance is bad!
            Hormone therapy for treating whatever ails you bad!
            Hormone therapy for gender reassignment, good????

Our society has divide itself in to two parts
-Those who affirm the 6th commandment as Gods word and seek with God’s help to keep intimacy 
 between one man and one woman in marriage.
-And those who reject the sixth commandment and set self-pleasure above all else, evidence that they  
 have a conscience is the fact that they want to force their views on the first group,

LGBTQ is the new special rights group to which we all must surrender.
            To speak against this special group by calling them sinners like you and me…unacceptable.
            Your conscience and your faith can and will come under their scrutiny.
            Our Government has mandated that in public schools.
The places designed to receive human waste or wash sweaty athletes.
must in essence be genderless…..????????????????
with no regard for the male and female way God has created us.                       

There are those who want to regulate everything and everyone with the strong arm of government.
            Licensing and regulations for fishing, driving, hunting, gun ownership, bicycles, cars, pets…..
            But licensing and simple regulation of clinics that murder babies…..outrageous.
            Most abortion clinics function as a cash only business….they do not accept personal checks.
            Our nation’s largest provider was defunded by most states.
            But still receives 500 million of our tax dollars.
            How then are they able to donate as an organization to political campaigns?
            Why are the laws in our country applied selectively????
            There is a schizophrenic, bipolar nature to our nation.
            And at its source is human sin….

The great deceiver has us deceived into calling evil good and good evil.
            Now more than ever we must seek Gods will in our lives.
            As we go through another election season,
            Your pastor suggest that you pray and take seriously your responsibility as a citizen.
            We cannot save the world and have not been called to save the world, Jesus did that.
            We are called to obey the forth commandment and be good citizens.
            Loving God and our Neighbor as best we can with God’s help.
            Fear not, God is in charge, you have been redeemed.
            Trust in Him and press on.

In Christ Pastor Portier


Saturday, August 27, 2016

#173 Feed Your Faith

Smoky Mountain Reflections #173
            What are you doing as a part of your daily, weekly, or monthly routine to enrich your biblical knowledge and application of that truth to your life? Take a moment for a quick inventory; how much time do your spend with God in prayer, worship and study of his truth? Now compare that with the amount of time you spend sleeping (which is very important, and should be ~8 hours a day) and working for pay or in some other way as part of your God-given vocation (a good balance would be 40-50 hours per week). After you subtract all the other things you do during your day (primping, eating, playing, and relaxing), how much time is left?

            If you give to God a minimum of one hour a week in worship so he can give you his word and sacrament in the way he established, then you are already ahead of over 80% of our nation’s population.
That one hour is so nurturing and beneficial that if that is all you do, you are already well equipped to face the week. Scripture does say, though, to remember the Sabbath DAY and make it holy. The last thing God created was a day of rest, and setting a good example for us all, the creator of the universe RESTED for a day. So resting and communing with God and his saints on a weekly basis is very important. But is it enough?

            I would like to suggest that a well-balanced life has a good mix of many God-pleasing practices which take care of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Interestingly enough, while spiritual health is the most important (eternally speaking), it requires perhaps the smallest amount of your time, and provides the greatest good. For example, “prayer without ceasing” does not mean 24/7 active prayer, it means taking whatever time is required a few times a day to pray about the things going on in your life and the people that are important to you, and in between those prayers, do all that you are doing for God and make the most of the time, skills, and resources he has given you, so that what you do to the Glory of God will be the first and best you can give to him.

            Here at Saint Paul, we want to make sure we do our best as your family in Christ to help you make the most of every moment that feeds your spiritual well-being. We have 3 divine worship opportunities each week, and your newsletter and announcements tell you what text will be preached on at those services so you can study them ahead of time; this will enrich your worship experience! You also have 3 adult bible study times to choose from, not to mention the mountain of written materials in our narthex designed to answer just about any question you might have on current events, issues of faith, and congregational activities and schedules. We also have many resources available online. You can receive the newsletter electronically in color, our website and Facebook page have current sermons for you to watch or listen to, not to mention other video, audio, and written information available there.

            I hope you survive the summer heat this year, and I also hope you make full use of the resources available to you, and as your pastor, let me assure you that I am never too busy for or bothered by questions of faith or scripture, but the 5 minutes preceding worship are usually pretty full. J


Pastor Portier            

Monday, June 27, 2016

SMR #172 Biblical Christians DO NOT MURDER GAY PEOPLE!!!

Smoky Mountain Reflections #172
            Biblical Christians DO NOT MURDER GAY PEOPLE!!! The various commands issued by God throughout scripture can be broken into three classes: ceremonial, civil & moral. These distinctions are not enumerated for us in scripture but are very helpful in applying God’s law to our lives. We can use God’s word to untangle them just like we use it to provide a clear understanding of the Holy Trinity. The distinctions are important to understand, not only because they help us to properly apply God’s will in our lives and to love God and our neighbor in accord with His will, but because Christ himself tells us in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Let’s look at these three ‘classes’ or categories, and define and apply them.
            The clearest category of the three is the ceremonial law. Old Testament religious regulations/rules fall in this class. These are the commands which deal with the temple or tabernacle. This law directs temple tools and accoutrements, priests and their garments, temple ceremonies, feasts and festivals, and includes dietary and clothing restrictions for the people. Ceremonial laws are called “hukkim” or “chuqqah” in Hebrew, which literally means “custom of the nation”; these words are often translated as “statutes”. These statutes/laws point to the coming Messiah, and were fulfilled/completed in Him. For example, the shedding of Christ’s innocent blood for the atonement of sins on Good Friday fulfills what all the temple sacrifices before him pointed to. No need for further sacrifices. Many books are filled with clear explanations of how “customs of the nation” were fulfilled in Christ. Even Jewish scholars (who of course do not see Christ as a fulfillment) agree there is a definite distinction between ceremonial and moral laws.
            The civil, or legal, category of commands we see in the OT is not accepted by Jewish scholars, and actually has a mixed reception within Christendom. But the majority of Christian scholars agree that such a class or category of commands is helpful in understanding history. Civil laws are those which applied directly and exclusively to the nation of Israel from 1446 BC to 586 BC while remnants of that nation-state existed in exile. These were laws regarding issues such as slavery, punishment of multiple forms of sin (by stoning), and other issues applicable to the time. Similar to ceremonial law, they functioned to point to the coming Christ, keeping God’s people separate and distinct because the promised Messiah, the savior of all would come from them. God fulfilled this in Christ through Mary and His step father Joseph. However, the kingdom for which those civil laws were written no longer exists. Today’s nation-state of Israel, being a modern construct of the UN, cannot legitimately claim a real connection to the kingdom that fell in 586 BC.
Since the civil and ceremonial laws functioned to point to, prepare for, and announce the coming Messiah, the purpose for which God established those laws has come to pass. It would be a denial of Christ as the Messiah to continue adhering to those types of laws. The metaphor here is that the concert is over; one does not put up posters and hand out flyers for a concert that has already taken place. In accord with biblical principal, Christians have never and should never resort to vigilante mob justice, which (apart from God’s word to the Israelites in that particular time and place) is what stoning is. Instead, we trust God to execute civil judgment through the authorities He puts in place, and He calls us to be good citizens of whatever worldly kingdom we live in.
            Finally, moral laws. These are the laws of God which scripture speaks of in Matthew 5:18 as not passing away. The 10 commandments are a clear example of these timeless moral laws. To be sure, there are laws within the two previously mentioned categories which carry moral content that still applies but they are then ‘moral’ laws.
            Let’s look at commandments 3 through 6 for some clarification on this. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy” actually fits in all three categories but because the ceremonial and civil natures of the law were fulfilled in Christ, we are free to worship on any day if the week (1 in 7 is the moral element which requires weekly worship). For 2000 years Christians have chosen the day of Easter (a Sunday) to be their primary day of worship; some must work on Sundays but they have six other days to make use of for spiritual and physical nourishment and rest. “Honor your father and mother” speaks to all authority in our lives, though when the law of a civil government violates God’s law, Christians must follow God rather than man (Acts 5:29). “You shall not murder” does not prohibit all killing; war and capital punishment can justify the taking of life by a government. Murder is the taking of innocent life. Gunning down an abortion doctor or strangers in a gay bar fits this definition and is murder. The sixth commandment makes clear that sex belongs in marriage, which is between one man and one woman. This is an undeniable biblical principal that Christians are called to speak the truth in love about. Not to mention a biological reproductive truth.
Speaking the truth in love, incidentally, does not include shooting, yelling at, or shunning anyone. It means being kind and loving toward one’s neighbor (and all people are your neighbors). Tell them that violating God’s moral law is not good for them, and that Jesus paid the price for all our violations by perfectly fulfilling the moral law on our behalf. Eternity is sure for those who do not reject this truth. Therefore, continue to live out your faith in their presence, being kind, generous, friendly, and hospitable. That is what the “love your neighbor” part of the moral law looks like. Jesus does not force himself on anyone and neither should we.

In Christ,
Pastor Portier

For further reading on this topic I recommend the following links

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SMR 171 Everyone believes in something

Smoky Mountain Reflections #171

            Who is your God? Comparative religion classes on university campuses lack analyses of some belief systems that therefore avoid being studied critically. While not normally referred to as “religions”, they should be addressed because they, just like all other religions, have an ultimate authority and a system of beliefs driving their worldviews. Here are four ‘belief systems’ which I think should be added to the studied list and a summarization of their beliefs as I see them.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It follows naturally then, that the atheist views himself as the ultimate source of authority in his own world; functionally speaking, his own god. Psalm 14:1 says “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (It would be logical to celebrate Atheist day on April 1st.) J

Secular Humanism embraces human reason, ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making. To a secular humanist, the ultimate source of authority is the collective goodness of mankind. Therefore, one can logically deduce that functionally speaking, in this view, mankind is the benevolent god of the universe. This, however, is a fantasy. World history flies in the face of the idea that mankind is capable of moral decision-making.  Romans 3:23 tells us “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”

Scientism is the belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or the most valuable part of human learning, to the exclusion of other viewpoints. To someone who holds to this view, the scientific process is god. In the not-so-famous words of Esqulieto of the movie Nacho Libre, “I believe in science”.

Similar to eastern mysticism, one can hold one or all three of the aforementioned views simultaneously, and since they each have logical inconsistencies, they can all occupy the same mind and not be concerned enough with each other to cause any conflict. We then come to the last on my list today.

Agnosticism is the view that the truth of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine, or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable. This position sits on the fence between theism and atheism. It expresses skepticism, but is not foolish enough to assert atheism because logic, history, and truth demand the existence of a god.

            Most other religions claim the existence of one or more gods or at least some form of divine consciousness, and are therefore addressed in comparative religion classes. Let me conclude with this thought: Christianity rests on the evidence of real events testified to by witnesses who saw the risen Lord. Many of them gave their lives rather than deny that witness and thousands of copies were made of their firsthand accounts. The truth of the Bible’s claims are affirmed by the findings of history, archeology, and science, and the unique nature of that truth is this: the goal of the individual in non-Christian belief systems is to get themselves to whatever their version of god is, while the metanarrative of Holy Scripture is how God came to you in the person and work of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of redeeming you to Himself. He is the only way, not one among many. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Have a blessed summer
In Christ,

Pastor Portier

Saturday, May 14, 2016

SMR #170

Smoky Mountain Reflections #170

          “I am personally against abortion but it is the law of the land”. “I am for traditional marriage but the Obergefell v Hodges case made genderless marriage the “law of the land”. “It’s the law of the land” seems to be a popular phrase among politicians who want to excuse themselves from inconvenient protests against such laws. As Christians, however, we don’t obey laws simply because they are the law of the land, we obey laws because God has placed the governments and officials who make the laws where they are for our good. He admonishes us in His word to obey the ruling authorities to the extent that we can, without violating His laws.  Luther stood against Rome, pointing out that Popes and Councils erred whenever they departed from scriptural truth; in the same way, we as Christians must stand against laws that depart from God’s truth. In our democratic system, through good citizenship, we can and should attempt to effect positive change when our leaders go astray. We have done it before and we have been called by our Creator in our time to stand for His truth as we speak it in love (in accord with Ephesians 4:15) regarding life and family ethics. We obey God rather than men (in accord with Acts 5:29).

            When the Supreme Court gets it wrong, dedicated Christian citizens need to speak the truth in love to uphold God’s moral standard of truth.  The separation of church and state does not remove our freedom to live and act in
accord with our faith. The first amendment protects our right as American citizens to exercise our faith and speak freely about it in any setting, even on the campuses of our schools. We as Christian citizens are called to speak the truth in love to our neighbors when the Supreme Court gets it wrong as they have numerous times in the past. We are to seek, with the help of God, to set things right so that our laws would promote and protect lives and families in accordance with God’s word. Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court can only be overturned or superseded in two ways: constitutional amendment, or by the Supreme Court overruling itself.

            There are actually many examples of the court reversing its decisions. Many have nothing to do with morals or faith, but it shows there is a process to correct poor decisions made by previous courts. When the Supreme Court changes its position it changes US legal precedence; sometimes making things better and sometimes making them worse. We will avoid a list of good decisions that later were overturned and focus on the times the Supreme Court ruled wrongly and was corrected later by one of the aforementioned mechanisms.

      -1857: The Dred Scott decision declared that black people were inferior to whites, weren't and couldn't be U.S.
             citizens, and had no rights. It took the Emancipation Proclamation, a civil war and two amendments to fix.
      -1883: The Supreme Court upheld a law forbidding mixed marriage, then overturned it in 1967.
      -1896: The Supreme Court upheld “Separate but Equal” laws, then overturned the decision in 1954.
And some not yet corrected:
      -1944: The Supreme Court upheld Japanese internment camps (some reparations were made but this decision is
            still in force today as we sacrifice civil liberties for safety).
      -1973: The Roe v Wade decision declared that the unborn are not people and had no rights. In the words of one of
             the current presidential candidates, “unborn persons have no rights under the law”.
      -2015: Obergefell v Hodges declared genderless marriage the law of the land.

            Today, the last two decisions on that list especially put your first amendment right to exercise your faith and speak freely under attack.  Make no mistake about it, the abortion industry wants to use the government to make you pay directly and indirectly for what they do. The radical LGBT agenda is to get everyone to celebrate who they are and what they stand for. Human sin does not want to simply live and let live. As we try to speak the truth in love we will be condemned as judgmental, bigoted, homophobic, and misogynistic, even while the very people who make these accusations do so in a judgmental, bigoted way. Take comfort though; there is nothing new under the sun. God will prevail; He is in control of all things even though we do not understand how. Keep Matthew 7:24-27 in mind as you pursue God's truth.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Press on, be wise, and seek to do His will in your life.
In Christ

Pastor Portier

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Smoky Mountain Reflections #169

            We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. Signaling emergency when there is not an emergency teaches people to ignore or simply be annoyed by an alarm. There is no such thing as a good time for an emergency, even if an alarm is really for an emergency most alarms are still annoying. By their very nature they are designed to get your attention, make you stop what you are doing, and get you to react appropriately to the emergency.

            Proper use of drills to keep people on task is vital and likewise improper use can be very costly. Regular drills had become common place in the US Navy in the 1930’s so when the alarms went off on December 7th 1941 many thought they were just drills that did not concern them, and it was Sunday morning, sleep-in time. Because of the poor response many lives that could have been saved, had people responded properly, were lost. Since then, all Navy drills have a phrase tacked on the end of the announcement; either “This is a drill” or “This is not a drill” This may seem to be a simple precaution but it keeps people from risking their lives for a ‘drill’ and lets them treat it like the training it is. Proper announcements also get people to react properly when there is a real emergency.

            You may be familiar with the warning sign of a canary in a mine. If the breathable air gets too low the canary falls over and that is the sign to get out of the shaft quickly before the workers fall over due to the lack of breathable air.  Why all this talk of warnings and alarms? Well I find myself puzzled when I look at our world that overtly rejects the simple warnings, alarms, of God’s truth while labeling those who speak this truth in love and kindness in concern for others as homophobic, bigoted, hate mongers.

            There used to be a ‘live and let live’ motto in our society, ‘you have your opinions and convictions and I have mine’, but in the past decade the tone has shifted. What used to be labeled as politically correct (PC) correctly directed what was acceptable to be said in the public square. PC has now taken on an aggressive nature. The PC police are not only regulating acceptable speech they are dictating thought. Freedom of speech and religion has become freedom from offensive speech and freedom of worship (not religion). We might like to retreat into our own little world and escape all this madness but we as Christians are called to be in but not of the world. So brothers and sisters in Christ press on!

            If you saw a building on fire the loving thing to do would be to pull the fire alarm. Now there may be people in that building who will be upset and angry with you for interrupting their sleep. Maybe the smoke turns out to be from a BBQ pit, leading to a false alarm. Or it could be that someone in the building is in the middle of robbing or harming their neighbor and they don’t want to be found out. Even as you tell some of the people to get out for their safety they may growl at you saying; “that fire alarm is really irritating, make it stop and go away”. Still the loving thing to do is to continue to sound the alarm, even if they do not like what you have to say.

            Free speech and freedom of religion are under attack as never before in our society. Freedom of worship is a new phrase used to keep you and your faith out of the public square. They say “Feel free to worship as you wish but do not try to live out your faith in public”. If the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandates that your company help abort unborn children…..shut up and do as you are told or we will fine you out of business and if that does not work we will imprison you for violating the civil rights of others who are offended by your convictions. Does that sound like some fictitious communist novel (?)…. Well, though we are currently free to be faithful, we need to be ready to take it on the chin for our faith if things continue the way they are going.

            Do not despair! There is nothing new under the sun (!). Even as our college campuses post warnings against trigger words (words that are off limits because they cause fear in others); even as the halls of higher education shift from teaching critical thinking to PC indoctrination clubs, God is still in charge. He can and will work for your good according to His purpose….I know because His word says so. Have a blessed spring, boldly living out your faith in your daily life despite the naysayers.

In Christ

Pastor Portier

Friday, March 25, 2016

#168 how do we great guest?

Smoky Mountain Reflections #168

            It is often difficult for us to be good hosts. When others are in our home, we sometimes act differently or become a bit self-conscious about little things that we normally overlook. The same thing can occur in church; in many congregations, guests are only an occasional occurrence, so a number of awkward behaviors sometimes surface. For example, the rude look shot at someone sitting in “MY” pew, the expectation for a stranger to know that we “have always done it that way” here, and of course, the overly friendly crowd pouncing on a new face in a way that would drive even the most confident person to hyperventilation and a mild panic attack. Here at St. Paul, we rarely have a Sunday without a guest; 80% of the time they are vacationing Lutherans, but regardless, this reality keeps us on our toes, always seeking to be good hosts.

            So what is a congregation to do? How should we treat our guests? I prefer the word guest because that is what they are; would you call someone who came to your home a visitor or a guest? This is of course a simple word preference issue, but I do believe that the word “guest”, in a way, lifts the bar regarding our behavior. One of the first things we often do in answering these questions is to confuse our priorities. Oftentimes, we base our actions on a man-centered approach, like a marketing strategy. There are two problems here: first, we as Christians gather to receive God’s gifts to us and focus on our savior, not ourselves. Second, we are faced with the reality that we are not able to please everyone; what is appealing to one guest can be offensive to another and vice-versa.

            Let’s examine a few pitfalls of man-centered greeting practices. In my youth and early adulthood I was a guest in many worship services because my family moved often. In my early days it was a common practice to ask guests to stand and introduce themselves. While this was a great way to greet people in the 60s through the 80s, to make such a suggestion today sends chills of fear down the spines of some. I have heard people speak of not visiting churches due to their fear of this practice. On the flip-side, a church may try not to call attention to the new face for fear of scaring them off, but to the point that the guest feels ignored and wonders why everyone at that church is so cold and unfriendly. There are, however, some people who would like to quietly enter and exit church unseen because they dislike interacting with crowds and strangers. In their cases, greeting someone to make them feel welcome could be seen as too friendly, and I have even heard that said about a congregation that I was once a member of! Besides all of these, there is also that messy practice in most of our churches of sharing the peace of the Lord… “Eeeewww that spreads germs! The next thing you know we will all be in the hospital!” In my youth, seeking to be a chivalrous gentleman, I held a door for a young woman only to be told in a not-so-kind tone, “I am capable of opening the door for myself, young man!” Unfortunately, if we base our actions on the changing desires of mankind’s sinfully schizophrenic appetite, we will only succeed in, as the saying goes “pleasing some of the people some of the time”.

            However, if we base our actions on a biblical strategy, of loving God and our neighbor in accord with His word, we are always guaranteed to at least please God. That is, of course, if we succeed in treating others as He would have us treat them; with love and respect, with the motive of fellowship and the sharing of His truth.
So, regardless of how the world responds to your attempts at being kind and loving, you can always take comfort in remaining faithful to loving God and neighbor in accord with His will.

In Christ,

Pastor Portier

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

# 167 Be a Champion for Life

Smoky Mountain Reflections #167

            Sometimes our Church body stands on the front line on issues of great importance. That was the case on Friday the 22nd of January just hours before a great blizzard hit the DC area. The group that was scheduled to carry the lead banner for the national march for life did not show up, and our contingent seen here in yellow ponchos and lime green caps was called to take their place. It is times like this that I am proud to be an LCMS Lutheran.

            As I reflect on the sanctity of human life, I have a few questions to ask those who would argue that the prochoice movement is about woman’s health. Please feel free to use these question with speaking the truth in love to your prochoice friends and family.  If abortion is just a simple medical procedure, but when a state tries to pass laws treating it as a medical procedure the prochoice movement fights it as infringement on the rights of woman. why are there so many inconsistencies in practice and application of the prochoice position?

Here are just a few examples: Licensing: you need a license to cut hair, drive a car, hunt, or fish, but there are still places in our country that do not require licensing for abortion clinics. Why? If this is a simple medical procedure would it not be in the best interest of woman if every person and location that did these invasive medical procedures that can have complications that lead to death, would simply be licensed, and inspected like any other medical facility.

            In an era of electronic payment methods most planned parenthood clinics take payments in cash only. Why you may ask? Because those the charge “these fees for service” are often very unhappy with the negative and painful side effects of this decision and they cancel checks, and stop payment or contest payment and often this “not for profit organization” loses the chance to make a buck.

            Hospital admission privileges: In order for a Doctor to have such privileges they must meet certain medical standards that are in the best interest of their patients. Sadly, there are abortionist who cannot meet those standards that are legally conducting abortions and collecting fees today. How does this protect woman?

            And finally if our church were to donate funds to a political campaign we would justifiably have our 501c3 status revoked. Why can Planned Parenthood give money to political campaigns? And not have their non-profit status questioned. While at the same time receiving over 50 million in tax dollars.

            It really is time for us to stand and be counted among those who champion the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. In this month of Love and candy hearts remember that speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, regardless of the consequences is a truly selfless act of love.

In Christ

Pastor Portier