WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JANUARY 5, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
2 Missing; Survivors Count Blessings After Colorado Fire
“Search teams looked for two missing people on Sunday in the snow-covered but still smoldering debris from a massive Colorado wildfire, while people who barely escaped the flames sorted through what was left after the blaze and investigators tried to determine its cause. The flames ripped through at least 9.4 square miles (24 square kilometers) and left nearly 1,000 homes and other buildings destroyed in suburbs between Denver and Boulder. It came unusually late in the year following an extremely dry fall and amid a winter nearly devoid of snow. Experts say those conditions, along with high winds, helped the fire spread.” read more at The Associated Press
Just last summer, Colorado experienced the three largest wildfires in the state’s history, the top two burning nearly or above 200,000 acres. Although the Marshall Fire only covered about 1,600 acres, it swept through a heavily populated area, making it the most destructive in Colorado’s history. Over the weekend, authorities executed a search warrant for an undisclosed private property, but Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle declined to say whether investigators suspect arson. They have narrowed their search to a small neighborhood near Boulder where a passerby recorded a viral video of a burning shed the same day the fire started. It is unclear whether the shed may have caused the fire or caught fire from existing flames. No matter the cause, there has been shocking loss for many. Linda Hinkle, who lost her home in the fire said, “Things like your house burning down only happen to other people, until it happens to you. There’s no doubt that losing possessions hurts, especially those with sentimental value. But that loss also has a way of clearing your eyes, letting you see what is of more, even eternal, value.” She continued, “All of these possessions that we cling to … you can’t take them with you anyway. You realize how many people care about you [from the] love of our church, our friends and our family.” Life on earth, even in Christ, is more turbulent and wearying than we often expected. But the presence and persistence of suffering and sorrow does not mean we are not safe. Nor does it not mean we cannot have joy. God is a refuge and strength, but he is far more than protection and power for us. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,” the psalm says (Psalm 46:4). God will not only guard you and deliver you, but he will satisfy you. Even when nations rage and kingdoms crumble, when the earth shakes and fires come, even then he makes his children glad.
Pray the words of Psalm 46 over those who have faced loss from the December tornadoes as well as the wildfires which says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…”
Ascent Community Church in Louisville, the hardest-hit Colorado city, has created a helpful list of resources for those impacted by the fires as well as ways to help those in need. You can find it here.
Schumer Vows Senate Rules Change Vote by Jan. 17 if GOP Blocks Voting Rights
“Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that he will force a vote by Jan. 17 on changing the Senate's rules if Republicans again block voting rights legislation. ‘The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy,’ Schumer wrote in a letter sent to the Senate Democratic Caucus. ‘We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections,’ he added. Republicans have used the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block voting rights and election reforms bills over the past year, arguing that they are a federal overreach. But Schumer, in a separate letter to the caucus last month, vowed to bring up voting legislation and force a debate on changing the filibuster.” read more at The Hill
Here we go again. Senate Democrats tried to bring their “voting rights” bill, which would federalize elections, to a floor vote four times last year, and were repeatedly blocked by Republicans, who made use of the filibuster rule that requires 60 of the 100 senators to agree to advance most legislation. Democrats could change the chamber's rules with just a simple majority, but two centrist members of their party - Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) - have repeatedly voiced objection to doing so. Ironically, while Majority Leader Schumer strongly pushes to change the filibuster now, in 2005, when Senate Democrats were in the minority in Congress, he said ending the filibuster would “be a doomsday for democracy.” Referring to the GOP majority, he said then: “They want, because they can’t get their way on every judge, to change the rules in midstream, to wash away 200 years of history. They want to make this country into a banana republic where if you don’t get your way, you change the rules.” In 2017, a bipartisan group of 61 Senators, including 32 Democrats, signed on to a letter to Senate leadership in an effort to preserve the filibuster. On Monday, Senator James Lankford (OK) released a statement saying, “Schumer’s threat to change the rules of the Senate unless he gets his way is not just a temper tantrum; it is a threat to our Republic. For over two centuries, the Senate is the one place in our government where minority opinions have a voice, unless Senator Schumer gets his way.” The filibuster may be stopping a terrible bill right now, but was the Senate always supposed to function this way? According to a recent article, the Founding Fathers rejected filibusters saying, “Majority rule is the Senate tradition crafted by the Founding Fathers. It prevailed for half a century until 1837, when senators discovered it had been deleted inadvertently from their rulebook decades earlier. In a routine 1805 procedures update, majority rule was accidentally dropped without senators being aware of the mistake for 32 years. Obstructionists soon began to exploit this accident with talkathons to thwart majority rule — including filibustering legislative efforts to restore majority rule.” Whether you look to George Washington or to Thomas Jefferson, they both said the fundamental principle of the Constitution requires that the will of the majority shall prevail. And that’s why elections matter.
Father, I pray according to 1 Timothy 2:1-3 which says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” I pray for the members of the Senate to find Your peace and direction, and for these men and women to act and lead according to Your Word. I pray they receive Your wisdom and act in obedience to that wisdom. A house divided against itself cannot stand, therefore, I pray for them to be unified in righteousness for the sake of the nation.
The importance of elections plays out at every level of leadership - whether an elected official is voted in directly by the vote we cast or selected and appointed by an elected official that has been placed into office by the majority vote of the people. Restoring the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation is not possible without the participation of people of faith. Elections this year provide an opportunity for Christians to rise up, show up, and vote to shape our nation for the better in 2022. Our mission of My Faith Votes to equip and motivate Christians continues to grow and we are adding to our team to meet those needs. Right now, we are hiring for the position of Donor Care Coordinator. If you or someone you know may be interested in joining our team, click here.
John MacArthur Urges Pastors to Preach on Sexual Morality to Protest Conversion Therapy Ban
“Pastor and theologian John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles is calling on pastors to preach about the ‘biblical view of sexual morality’ on Jan 16 in opposition to a Canadian law banning therapy for unwanted sexual attractions and gender confusion — what is often derisively referred to as conversion therapy — set to take effect next month. MacArthur, known for his syndicated broadcast program ‘Grace to You,” published an open letter on the Grace Community Church website Tuesday calling on ‘ministers of the Gospel’ to join him on the third Sunday of the new year in preaching about ‘a biblical view of sexual morality.’” read more at the Christian Post
Marty Moore, an attorney with the Canada-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, called this law, C-4, “the broadest ban enacted in the name of conversion therapy anywhere in the world.” The law, which we encourage you to read, bans any “practice, treatment or service” aimed at helping someone live in accordance with their biological gender or walk in sexual holiness. Marty noted, “It really bans the conversations that an individual would even have with their own faith leader.” Further, the ban prohibits parents from seeking help for their own children with same-sex attraction or gender confusion, since it criminalizes anyone who “knowingly causes another person to undergo conversion therapy” or even promotes conversion therapy. It essentially requires Christians to be silent where the Bible clearly speaks. Of course, when it comes to obeying man or God, the choice is clear. Andrew DeBartolo, the teaching elder at Encounter Church in Kingston, wrote in his letter to Pastor MacArthur, “On January 16, 2022, faithful men across this country (and many in the United States as well) will be preaching on God’s design for marriage and a biblical ethic of sexuality. We will be doing so illegally, declaring to the State that there is one God and one Lord over His church, and that Christ alone gets to both define marriage and dictate what is required in the pulpit. We are honored that our American brothers will be joining us in this.” Unless legal challenges prevail, it appears that this law will make obedience to Christ not simply unpopular, but illegal in Canada. However, the implications extend to the United States. Albert Mohler noted that although this legislation was passed by Canada’s liberal party, it was aided by lack of opposition from the conservative party, which has become quite pro-LGBT. We should take note, because the same tension exists within the conservative movement here in America: Is it permissible to compromise our stand on moral principles for the sake of perceived political gain? Is it enough to simply believe in limited government? Will that sort of political ideology sustain a free society? The ominous answer from our neighbors to the north appears to be, “no.”
Historically, persecution has served to strengthen the church and weed out superficial fans of Christ. Pray that our brothers and sisters in Canada will stand “firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by [their] opponents.” (Philippians 1:27-28) Pray that their faithfulness through this test will be a powerful witness of our eternal hope of heaven in Christ, and convict unbelievers, offering them a chance to repent. Pray that the church in America will follow their example.
Restored Hope Network is a coalition of ministries serving those who desire to overcome sinful relational and sexual issues in their lives and those impacted by homosexuality. They connect those seeking help with local ministries and other resources that are available, as well as support, equip and connect the local member ministries. We encourage you to check out the life-changing work in which they are involved, and read some testimonies of those who have found freedom in Christ.
Abortion Was the Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2021, Killing 42.6 million People
“More human beings died in abortions than any other cause of death in 2021. A heartbreaking reminder about the prevalence of abortion, statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were over 42.6 million abortions world-wide in 2021. The independent site collects data from governments and other reputable organizations and then reports the data, along with estimates and projections, based on those numbers. It reveals 42,640,209 people died from abortions in 2021. When contrasting the abortion numbers to other causes of death, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, traffic accidents and suicide, abortions far outnumbered every other cause.” read more at LifeNews.com
Abortions accounted for 42% of every death around the world. Even the act of referring to abortion as a cause of death is controversial. Due to the secular worldview of those who record such statistics, abortions are not acknowledged in the total count of human deaths. Women who have had abortions are told by society that what they did is “no big deal”, and even “good.” However, this narrative doesn’t match up with the feelings of guilt and emotional distress they often experience. It is much more compassionate to acknowledge abortion for what it is–the death of a human life–so that women can properly grieve, repent, and find healing. The language also matters for another reason. If abortion causes the death of innocent humans, and this death is legally protected, then we are obligated to fight to stop it. It is not simply a private matter, it is a matter of human rights, and should be considered whenever we vote for elected officials and engage in the public square. On that note, last year was a good year for state pro-life laws. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research and policy organization, called 2021, “The Worst Year for Abortion Rights in Almost Half a Century.” With 106 abortion restrictions in 19 states, it marked the highest yearly total since Roe v. Wade. One such law in Arizona banned abortions of unborn babies because they are diagnosed with genetic abnormalities. This is particularly relevant in light of a shocking report by the New York Times revealing that certain prenatal blood tests that detect rare genetic disorders are wrong 85 percent of the time. Many babies who receive severe diagnoses from a blood test are aborted. Laws like Arizona’s may not only prevent abortion of babies with genetic disorders; it may also save healthy babies who were misdiagnosed. 2022 could be a landmark year for the sanctity of life. In a recent TED Talk, pro-abortionist attorney Kathryn Kolbert revealed that she believes “Roe v. Wade will be dead within the year.” However, her speech also outlined a determined plan of action to preserve abortion “rights.” Whatever this year holds, let’s pray that abortion will be unthinkable.
The Guttmacher report estimated that if Roe were overturned by the Supreme Court this year, twenty-six states “are certain or likely to ban abortion.” Pray for the justices as they consider and write their decision on Dobbs v. Jackson, which was heard in December. Pray that the number of those standing and advocating for life will grow, and that we as Christians will continue to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
On January 21, 2022, the annual March for Life will be held in Washington, D.C. My Faith Votes will be there, and we are organizing a group to meet and walk together in the march. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you would like to come to D.C. and join us.
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.