Categories
Life

Should I Have An Abortion?

One thing that’s certain in our world, we are divided on almost every issue. Roe v. Wade’s overturning after 50 years, isn’t an exception. In fact, I’ve been surprised at the outpouring of celebration and hatred among people in the faith community and abroad.

This issue affects people on different levels. From soon-to-be mothers, soon-to-be fathers, family, and hospital staff. Your experience influences how you respond.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Even though abortion was once federally protected, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. Our sense of right and wrong should come from our creator, not the government.

Before you make this life-altering choice, consider my story.

I shouldn’t have existed.

My father was a man who was in prison, my mother developed a friendship with him through a pen pal program where they would write letters to inmates. Then the day came that my father decided to escape as the inmates were doing a work-release program. He picked up my mother and they crossed state lines.

Running from the police, my mother and father headed south. She was scared. He was taking matters into his own hands. It didn’t last long as they were found by law enforcement.

Stranded in another state, my mother was sick and didn’t know why. Without a way home, she called my grandmother and through her church, they sent the money for my mother to ride the bus home.

I can only imagine being 18 years old and in that situation. This was the beginning of 1983. Times were different. We didn’t have the internet monitoring our every move. You came into the house when the street lights came on. If you were out, there was no way of contacting you unless you knew where the person was going.

She made it home and when she found out she was pregnant, she would then need to make the choice of keeping the child conceived by someone who evaded the law, put her in harm’s way, and was sent back to prison. This same man would cause her to live her life afraid that he would find us and want to take his son away.

If it were 2022, I can imagine the conversation being something to the effect of, “you don’t want a kid by that man. You should get an abortion.” Many women have made this choice for a variety of reasons. They cite reasons like, it’s your body, do what you want.

When I think of this circumstance, I know that with different influences in her life, I shouldn’t be writing this article. There was no reason to keep the child due to the circumstances. She was young and didn’t have a job or the resources to afford caring for a child.

The largest percentage of people who get abortions are those who are trying to erase a mistake by ending the life of an unborn child. It’s not the child’s fault that you put in the time to bring them to life and then chose to arbitrarily end their life before it even had a chance to begin.

A smaller percentage of women are victims of rape and don’t want to birth a child from the person that raped them.

My point is that every child no matter how they came to be has a purpose in the Kingdom of God.

Look at my story, I shouldn’t be here but if you were to look at me today, I have the privilege of helping people. Caring for a congregation and creating content for the world. God’s plan for me was and is bigger than my beginnings.

God created life and gives it meaning. He’s the reason we are all here. We are all created in His image. Take a look at what David said:

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Psalm 139:13-16 NLT

God cares about every hair on our heads and because of that he certainly cares about each and every child that is created whether that creation was on purpose or not.

No matter what the circumstance. If you’re considering an abortion, know that God has a plan for that child. No matter what the circumstances might be. You need support. People to walk with you through the challenges you have in front of you.

Our friends at Option Line can help. Even if you’ve already had an abortion. Please reach out today.

Categories
Church Resources

Scheduling Volunteers in Planning Center Services

Service Types

For several years, I had all my classes using their own Service Type and that worked but was more difficult to manage as I had to go into each service type and schedule people. Then one day it dawned on me. I could put all my teams on the same service type and I could make that work with Limited File Visibility turned on. That way each team only saw the files they needed to see for that weekend. I also found that I could make custom notes so each Plan would have the right information for that weekend.

My Teams look like this for my service type:

For my service order, I have general instructions for anyone wanting to know how the day will go. Each classes lesson plan is different and will be accessed in the files attached to this service.

Here’s how to use one service type for multiple teams:

1. Setup Custom Notes for Lessons

Under your Service Type > Settings you’ll find this area to add custom notes. This is where I put the lesson title for the week.

When I’m scheduling the team, I can use the Plan Notes area to add the lesson title for that week.

2. Limit files to the right teams

One of the challenges is having many files and only a few are necessary for each team.

In order to show each team their own files you’ll need to use Tags.

This setting is not turned on by default.

Go to your teams settings in under Teams > Settings and turn on Limited File Visibility

Now you’ll need to add Tags for each team.

This is found under: Songs > Edit Tags > Files. Setup a category for your ministry and outline the team that you want to setup.

Then you need to attach that tag to the team position. This is under the Team Settings area under Members. I’ve selected the position title on the left and selecting the tag to associate.

Now it’s time to upload or link our files. Because I don’t want our files taking space in our account, I use links to Google Drive, you can choose to upload your files, the process is the same. Give them a name and then tag them to the team they belong.

We really enjoy using PCO Services to schedule an provide a digital way to preview your lesson as you get ready for the weekend. If you have any questions I can answer, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Categories
Faith Life

Owning Your Faith

Have you ever seen small children fight over toys? One child sees another playing with the toy they want, and before you know it, that toy has changed hands often before the owner of the toy realizes what is happening. Usually, tears are shed, and statements are made like, “mine, no it’s mine”. Before you know it, you’re playing referee to two people both claiming ownership.

Ownership can be a powerful thing. You feel things like love, pride, responsibility, and even jealousy. Bottom line: You feel differently about things that are yours versus things that are not yours. Have you noticed that people tend to care about their own things?

Your actions are often informed by your ownership of an item. People tend to take better care of their own stuff than the stuff they rent. Things you own matter to you. Ownership can also be applied to living things like pets. We all know that person who treats their pets as members of the family.

Children who are victims of abuse are born with an ability to love their parents, simply because they are theirs, regardless of how horribly they are treated. Parents feel a deep sense of ownership for their kids, not the slave/owner type of relationship(like some children might believe), but one that instills an enormous degree of love and pride that only your kids can receive, no matter how much they may or may not deserve it.

People often join the military to protect their families. They take the mission to protect our country personally and apply it to their own families. Most of us will agree that when something is yours it becomes immediately more important to you than something that is not yours.

Not all ownership has to do with the legal right to control or do whatever you want with what you own. Ownership can also apply to the state of your heart. This is aligning what you say with what you do.

Many of us take our faith cues from our parents, Pastors, or other influential people. When this person makes a statement, you accept it as fact, because your faith is rooted in what they believe.
Owning your faith is a completely different concept and means that those influencers are not the primary source of what you believe – you are. When you allow others to determine what you believe, you are essentially “renting” or borrowing your faith.

Now the real question is, are you renting or owning your faith?

If you’re owning it, that’s awesome, but if you feel that you don’t really know what you believe, it’s time to pick up a hammer and do some demo work on your faith house before you can make it your own.

What should you do?

1. Dedicate yourself to reading the Bible

The Bible is full of amazing truth and transforming power — anywhere in the Bible! Commit yourself to read the Bible. When you come across something that doesn’t make sense. Ask questions. Your Pastors would LOVE to answer your questions. There’s nothing that warms a Pastor’s heart like answer questions about the Bible. The main thing is that you read, understand, and apply what you’ve read. God’s word is transformative in that the more we know, the more we can live like Christ.

2. Get connected

Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Your church has many areas to be involved in. I would highly suggest getting involved in a small group.

Join a ministry. There are many great ways to give back to your community. The main point is to spend time with other believers. This will challenge you in your faith journey as hearing perspectives from other believers will help you to grow. Don’t take everything they say as hard-truth, just consider and read God’s word before you make their perspective part of your belief.

3. Learn how to pray

Prayer is such a huge part of your growth as a believer. Learning to talk to God in every circumstance will help you to rely on God. The main point here is to not overthink it. The Holy Spirit prays when we pray too. Even if we don’t know what to say.

Romans 8:26 – “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

If you don’t have the words, it’s ok. Just pray. Talk to God. Think about God as your very best friend who is waiting to hear about your day, how you feel, and what your thoughts and dreams are.

Let’s turn in that rented faith and choose to own our faith. We all need God’s power to live righteously in this world. Your faith is a big part of that and belief rooted in God’s word will allow God to work in ways that you’ve never imagined.

Categories
Faith Life

Fear or Faith

There are so many things going on in our world today where we experience fear or faith. The struggle between fear and faith is real for all of us. It’s like a bipolar nature of every Christian who still has sin inside of them. It doesn’t seem to matter how long we’ve walked with Jesus or how many times we’ve seen Him do miraculous things.

Categories
Uncategorized

How to Leave a Church

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve watched hundreds of people leave a church for reasons I didn’t understand and some that I did. Churches can be easy to walk away from for people dealing with stress, offense, sin or something else. I want to believe that everyone attending our church will be a part of our church family forever, but rarely does that happen.

Categories
Faith Life

How to Write Your Testimony

Writing your testimony can be difficult because talking about yourself is something we don’t often do and it’s especially hard when trying to record your testimony.

Categories
Faith Leadership Life

Are You A Lazy Leader?

I’ve learned something interesting this week. Do you know that moment when a light bulb goes off in your brain?

Categories
Faith Life

Why I Believe In God

I don’t pretend to know the answers to every question. As I write these words, I have an anxious feeling inside. Not because I am unsure of what I believe, but because with that belief comes persecution from those who think their opinions are right and yours are, well…, wrong.

Categories
Forgiveness

How to Forgive When You’ve Been Left Out

Do you find that you become offended often?  Are you constantly sharing your negative experiences with those close to you?

Categories
Leadership Life

How to Reach Your Goals This Year

Every year we make those lofty goals like, “get in shape, make more money, work on that project…” and then we get 30, 60, or 90 days into it and then like a bad pair of shoes, they go out with the trash. Goal setting isn’t necessarily hard, but reaching those goals is harder when we don’t set ourselves up for success.