WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 15, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
'He Gets Us': A Kansas Campaign Spent $20 Million on Super Bowl Ads to Rebrand Jesus Christ
“[On] Sunday, the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign aired two ads during the Super Bowl, spending $20 million to spread the brand of Jesus as a guy who had empathy for the poor, was an activist, or who was just as sick of politics as the rest of us. The campaign, which its creators say will ultimately cost $1 billion, attempts to remove the idea of Jesus as being owned by conservatives or a religious denomination, replacing the hate with a human who loves and forgives.” read more at KCUR News
- Who organized the He Gets Us campaign, and why? It’s an initiative of the Servant Foundation, a nonprofit doing business as The Signatry. The Signatry, which runs a donor-advised fund, partnered with a marketing company to release its first round of He Gets Us ads during March Madness last year. A group of about 50 wealthy families donated to the campaign but stayed mostly anonymous, except for Hobby Lobby co-founder David Green who recently confirmed that his family is among those financially supporting the effort. For the past year, He Gets Us ads have shown up on billboards, YouTube, and TV screens across the country. Organizers plan to spend $1 billion on promotional ads over three years. Their stated agenda is to view Jesus from a modern lens to find new relevance. They say they are a “diverse group of Jesus followers with a wide variety of faith journeys and lived experiences” whose “work represents the input from Christians who believe that Jesus is the son of God as well as many others who, though not Christians, share a deep admiration for the man that Jesus was.”
- My social media feeds were full of comments on the ads with some expressing excitement and appreciation for faith being spotlighted on a worldwide scale and others sharing concerns of the messaging and portrayal of Jesus. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized the campaign saying, “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.” And mainstream media outlets tied the campaign to its donors, saying they were “anti-LTGBQ and anti-abortion” driven.
- He gets us but do we get Him? Discernment is always important (1 John 4:1), especially with spiritual themes intended for broad audiences. In a helpful podcast by Allie Beth Stuckey, she states, “While I pray God uses the He Gets Us ads to bring people to Christ, the campaign represents a false, worldly Jesus instead of pointing people to the true gospel.”
- A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” We read in Psalm 135, “Your name, O LORD, endures forever, Your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. For the LORD will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them!”
The psalmist is saying what you think of God, whether you worship the true God or a false God, will determine what you become. You either worship the true God and you know Him in all His glory, His goodness, His sovereignty, His redemption, or you worship a God you've made up with your own mind. May we seize the opportunity to continue the conversation about Jesus these ads may have sparked and represent Him accurately. Clearly define who the biblical Jesus is and be ready to make a vague message clear.
Do you know Him? Take a moment to use this powerful video as a prayer to encourage you in your understanding and knowledge of the truths that the Bible says He is!
I’m extending to you the challenge that my pastor gave to me and my church on Sunday: connect with someone this week and tell them about Jesus. Ask God to give you an opportunity to share your faith. Ask that person if they know Him. Don’t let momentary uncomfortableness stand in the way of eternity.
South Dakota Bans Sex Change Surgeries, Puberty Blockers for Kids
“South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed a bill into law that bans sex change surgeries and experimental puberty blockers for children and teens who struggle with their sexual identities and can be influenced into having irreversible procedures, such as chemical castration. Noem signed House Bill 1080, also known as the ‘Help Not Harm’ bill, on Monday, days after the state Legislature overwhelmingly passed the legislation.” read more at the Christian Post
- South Dakota is the seventh state to enact such restrictions for minors. Similar bills have been introduced in Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.
- It seems more lawmakers are waking up to their responsibility to protect the young people in their state. Government exists partly to punish those who do evil. It is evil for medical professionals to recklessly encourage a child’s hatred of his or her body and help them permanently damage it.
- If you think that language is too strong, I encourage you to read the account of Jamie Reed, a whistleblower who worked at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital. It is something every parent should read. She started out thinking she was helping kids, but now is sounding the warning. Here are just a few of Reed’s concerns:
- Lack of formal protocols for treatment. “The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: ‘We are building the plane while we are flying it.’ No one should be a passenger on that kind of aircraft,” she stressed.
- Over the years, most patients shifted from young boys, as had previously been common, to adolescent girls with no prior history of gender dysphoria. Some were even from the same school.
- When many of the girls incorrectly claimed to have other disorders, the doctors recognized them as false self-diagnoses. But they didn’t consider that possibility with their claim of gender dysphoria.
- While the doctors admitted that other false self-diagnoses could be the result of social contagion, they never considered that possibility when it came to gender dysphoria.
- The teenagers didn’t fully grasp the gravity of the effects of testosterone, yet the center downplayed the negative consequences, and emphasized the need for transition.
- The center said, “The studies have shown these kids often wind up functioning psychosocially as well as or better than their peers.” Yet, Jamie said, “there are no reliable studies showing this.”
- The Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senator Josh Hawley are investigating the clinic. Reed’s story gives me hope that more potential whistleblowers exist within this industry, which includes psychologists, therapists, and school counselors.
Dear Heavenly Father, I know it breaks Your heart to see children and young adults made in Your image hurt by these procedures. Equip me to help the children in my care see that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by You. (Psalm 139:14) Open the eyes of people around the country to see how wrong we’ve been and move us to protect our young people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ask those you know in the medical fields if they’ve heard of Jamie Reed, and if not, encourage them to read her testimony, “I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle.” Ask if they face pressure at work to affirm a child’s gender confusion. May the Lord bring good things from these conversations!
Terrible New Inflation Numbers Nullify Biden’s State of the Union Boasts
“President Biden, one week ago, in his State of the Union Address: ‘We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down. Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 a gallon since their peak. Food inflation is coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take home pay has gone up.’ The news today: ‘Inflation turned higher to start 2023, as rising shelter, gas and fuel prices took their toll on consumers,’ the Labor Department reported Tuesday.” read more at National Review
- Every president portrays his leadership as a success in their public addresses, so we must be wise in discerning truth. The economy is one example of a point in Biden’s State of the Union Address where there is more to the story. Other examples include his statements on gun control and immigration.
- A commonality to most of the President’s policy proposals is that they require enormous amounts of money–and position the federal government as a provider of our needs. But many of those proposals go beyond the role God gave government. While Christians can discuss which kinds of taxes are fair and how much each person should be taxed, we know the government should not excessively tax its citizens. Also, it is unwise for government to take over missions that are done better by the church, such as helping the needy.
- Life. While the President's remarks regarding abortion were brief, they were emphatic. Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms. “Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose,” he stated. He also referred to state abortion bans as “extreme.” Proverbs 24:11 tells us, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to the slaughter, Oh hold them back!” Does this not apply to the preborn and their mothers?
- In related news, the Senate confirmed President Biden’s 100th federal judge–15 more than President Trump had appointed at this stage of his presidency. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently advanced 24 nominees which included an attorney who argued for the abortion facility, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in the Dobbs case which overturned Roe v Wade. Based on their statements and actions, many of these nominees take an activist view of judgeship, rather than an impartial arbiter of the law.
- Judges are the legacy of your vote. Many state judges are appointed, and all federal judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, according to the Constitution. It’s a good reminder to consider the downstream implications of your vote. We desire judges who heed Leviticus 19:15: “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
- Note how consistent Biden’s statements are with the Democratic Party platform. Whether you belong to a political party, consider carefully what you believe. The ideas we agree with influence our votes, and our votes influence public policy, which results in consequences for ourselves and our neighbors. How would you describe the state of our union?
I was encouraged to read of one Congresswoman who gifted all the members of her committee with a Bible. U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) challenged her colleagues to read the Bible together, saying it had changed her life. Let’s commit to faithfully praying for our government to be guided by God’s truth, wisdom, and precepts this year.
Do you know what the major political party platforms believe about life, marriage, immigration, national security, the budget, civil rights, and other issues affecting our lives? Visit our website to access party platform comparisons so you can compare those ideas with the Bible’s principles.
All Eyes Focus on Asbury Revival
“Time will tell if the revival unfolding on the campus of Asbury University will have the impact of one from 1970. The comparisons, though, are uncanny. They both broke out during a time of unrest in America and in a normal campus chapel service. They included confession, repentance and testimonies of hundreds of students who gathered at the altar on the first day. Today, the worshiping has not stopped and has begun to spread like wildfire not only on the Asbury campus but throughout the country and even the world, thanks to social media.” read more at Kentucky Today
- Last Wednesday, at the end of a regular Asbury University chapel service, many students remained, with others coming to join, resulting in hours of worship, prayer, and reports of revival that is continuing. A reported 21 universities have either joined at Asbury or are experiencing similar events on their own campuses. I’ve had several friends report from Asbury that what is happening is truly miraculous and a sight to behold. Our friend, Jim Garlow, is posting regular updates on his website.
- Asbury University, a nondenominational evangelical school of 1,639 students has been known through the years for several great revivals, beginning in February 1905. A revival that began in February 1970 lasted for 144 hours of unbroken worship services. Some two thousand witness teams went out from the school to churches and 130 college campuses around the nation as a result. With Methodist and Wesleyan roots, it was pointed out that this revival comes at the same time the Methodist Church is splitting over sexual ethics. That is no small coincidence.
- What is Revival? It refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It encompasses an appreciation of God’s holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and sometimes deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to the truth in a fresh way.
- You can’t fully understand American history without first understanding its revivals. There was the Great Awakening from 1734 to 1760 which laid the foundation for our nation. In fact, the writers of the Constitution, although not all Christian, were all affected by the Great Awakening. Their wisdom about human nature and government came right out of the national experience of the Great Awakening, impacted by the preaching of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, who preached to over 80 percent of America’s colonists.
- Is revival possible in America again? My Faith Votes influencer, Pastor Greg Laurie answers here: “When we see problems in America, everyone wants to point the finger at the White House, but God points his finger at His house, and He says, ‘if my people.’ Do Christians today truly long for revival and awakening? Are we ready to repent and to live out our repentance?... It needn’t have a label, like a movement among a certain denomination. It needn’t be confined to Christians from megachurches or mini churches. It will be where and when and with who God chooses.
Oh, God. Let it be. Let your mercy pour down in genuine revival. And let it not end at Asbury. Many, including those in our own Monday Prayer Calls, having been praying for years for revival to break forth in our young people. We pray that the fundamental components of this revival are humility, confession, and true repentance before You, a Holy God. Allow these roots to go deep. And we pray, in the words of the old hymn, “O Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me!”
Will you pray for a college campus? February 23 is the annual Collegiate Day of Prayer and you can adopt a campus to pray for right here. There are still over 2400 campuses that need to be “adopted in prayer” by individuals, churches or small groups. In God’s incredible timing, months ago Asbury was selected to host the livestream prayer event on February 23. Let’s pray the revival happening on that campus continues through the Collegiate Day of Prayer and beyond!
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.