Gov’t insurance would allow coverage for abortion

I saw this article this morning on Yahoo that Obama’s health care plan will inculde abortion as a covered medical benefit.

Tragic that we as a nation are now moving in a direction in which abortion is a right.  A right that our government will be obliged to fund and support.

It is grieving to think that in the name of taking care of people and helping preserve their lives, other people will institutionally will be allowed to be terminated.

President Obama has been facing many crazy conspiracy question from paranoid seniors that he is planning to round some of them up, take away their health care and kill them.  While this is wildly absurd and nothing more than fear mongering by those who are adamantly opposed to Obama’s health care agenda; it is becoming increasingly accurate in regards to unborn humans.

ryan

President Obama’s Abortion Contradiction At Notre Dame

President Obama caused a big ruckus this weekend by speaking at Notre Dame’s graduation, and receiving an honorary degree.  Being that Obama is pro-choice (in favor of abortion) and speaking at a Catholic university that is explicitly pro-life, there was bound to be protests about his appearance.  Many in the media who are pro-choice loved Obama’s speech and have deemed it a victorious achievement on his part and one of his best speeches ever.

Yet looking at the actual content of Obama’s speech there is nothing new, fresh, or great about it.  Rather the speech is convoluted in logic and hides misleading content behind flowering rhetoric.  Here are the important lines from his speech.

“(both sides) can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

“So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term.”

Whenever I hear any talk about reducing abortions my brain is frozen with the question; why? If there is nothing immoral about abortion, if it is not killing a human, than why focus on reducing abortions? It is akin to saying lets reduce mole removals, or wisdom teeth removals. Why are there no agendas to limit these surgical procedures?

This question MUST be asked by any thoughtful journalist the next time any politician begins with this kind of reducing abortion talk.

In addition, it is begging the question to move right onto the issue of choice and speaking of the heart wrenching matter of a woman choosing an abortion without first addressing the central question of the whole debate; what is the unborn?  If the unborn are human than talking about choice is simply horrific.  It is akin to saying a woman has a right to murder her toddler if done in the privacy of her own home and she has wrestled with the question.  There is nothing personal or private about abortion, just like it would not be acceptable to say, “I am personally against slavery but I do not want to impose upon others choice to own or not own slaves.”  We must do better than this.

I implore all of you to not fall for this double-speak that is riddled with contradictions from Obama.  He must tell us why someone who is for abortion would want to work to reduce them and not wisdom teeth removal, or mole removal.

ryan

10 Ways to Celebrate Easter without the Bunny

My wife has a GREAT post on her blog about Easter traditions. We are spending our first year as parenting researching and seeking to prayerfully develop traditions that help the deep traditions of our faith become real in the lives of us and our children. Click the picture for 10 Ways to Celebrate Easter without the Bunny.

matt

A Matt Update…

Took my boy to his first UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Basketball game on Sat.

We handled the Utah Runnin’ Utes (yes, they stole our cool nickname) in front of over 10,000 fans.

Notice I did not take Lorelai. That is because I have heeded the unintentional warning of Devin Hudson (6 junior high girls basketball games in 4 days!) and decided she will be taken to ballets instead.

All in all life has been pretty crazy lately. I have a lot to write about but very little time to write. I plan to write a post later this week about my church on this blog, and a post about Family Legacy on my family blog.

Please keep us in prayer as Vicky and I learn how to emotionally and physically handle caring for 2 infants.

Oh, and Ryan has a seminary degree now (congrats!!!) but refuses to use it (booooo!!!). Pray that he will repent. Also, feel free to rebuke him if you feel led.

matt

Now, about making money…

If you have read this post from last week you will remember me talking about the pressing need I feel to make money for my fast growing family. This is an area that has been a phenomenal source of stress as my wife and I are entertaining business opportunities, moving into a new home and continuing my education. Not to mention having two new mouths to feed. This led to the following conversation two nights ago on the back porch of the house we are staying at:

Vicky: You know what we need? (not waiting for a response, proving the question to be neither rhetorical or response intended) We need someone to give us $50,000. That would really help us accomplish all of our goals.

Me: Well, that would be nice. We should ask God for $50,000.

Us: God would you please give us $50,000.

The prayer was a bit more reverential than that, but you get the point. Our thought behind the prayer was such: God loves us, God will provide our needs, God tells us to ask him for the things we need. God has the right to answer how he wants, we just thought we would ask.

Fast forward to the following evening. Before meeting Vicky’s brother to catch an advanced screening of Pineapple Express Vicky and I decide to meet at In-N-Out for dinner (note: due to an increasing need for iron in her system my wife has been craving double cheeseburgers like crazy). I was in my work clothes and Vicky was dressed casually. Right before our food arrived a woman came up to our table. She leaned in close and put her hand on my shoulder in preparation to say the following:

Lady: I don’t know why but God told me to give you this, and at this point in my life I just want to do what he says and not second guess it.

As she walked away Vicky and I sat speechless as we looked at a check on our table for $50,000.

Just kidding, she handed us a $20 bill. But it might as well have been a check for $50,000.

I am not sure there has ever been a time in my life that God has answered a prayer so quickly and definitively. I half-joked to Vicky that we should expect 249 more ladys with $20 bills, since apparently God has chosen to answer our prayer.

I have chosen to take 2 things away from this –

1. God is our father, he loves us, he hears us. For some reason (only he knows) he chose to put his hand on our shoulder and tell us that he heard us. To tell us that he is our provider and will not let us be without provision.

2. God has called me to be faithful with little. We immediately prayed and thanked God for his provision and asked for wisdom as to how we should steward this blessing. Basically, we are treating that $20 bill like it is a check for $50,000.

I wanted to share this story today because of the joy of my heart, and the rest my soul has taken in God my Father, who is my provider.

On Becoming a Good Daddy…

In preparation of impending fatherhood I have started reading a wonderful book entitled Grace Based Parenting. Vicky thinks I should focus on books that will prepare me for how hard it is going to be with twin babies. I find that idea to be quite superfluous. I mean, I don’t need a book to tell me how much getting kicked in the balls will hurt. Nor do I need a book to tell me how to brace myself for getting kicked in the balls. No, when kicked in the balls, it’s best to ride out the pain and find the best way to move forward (or get off the ground). So I am focusing on books about how to be a good daddy. I’ll just binge on the how-to stuff when the babies get here.

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Grace Based Parenting has been both wonderful and hard to read. It has been wonderful in that it has filled me with much hope and excitement about what being a parent means. You get to teach a kid how to be a human, and really, you get to love them and teach them how to love. This has me bouncing off the wall like a hypoglycemic kid at a candy store. It is hard in that it warns us of all the ways that we can jack up our kids. And let’s be honest, there are a lot of jacked up kids in the world. Just take a trip down to the mall on a Saturday and you’ll see both jacked up teens as well as parents preparing their toddlers to be jacked up teens.

The premise of Grace Based Parenting is that “grace” based parents will helped their kids develop into mature adults who bless society instead of developing into jacked up drains on society. Or to make a more timely reference, it helps us raise Mandy Moores and not Lindsay Lohans. As a future father of a daughter I can say that a daily trip to TMZ.com greatly inflames my desire to be a parent who uses “grace” as a primary parenting tool.

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Grace Based Parenting contends that grace is the best philosophy for parenting in that love is freely given not earned or withheld based on performance. We get this concept from God who, instead of dealing with us as we deserved, lovingly sent Jesus to take our place on the cross, and through his blood, cleanse us of all our sin. Because of this grace of God we receive only love and favor from God instead of his wrath and punishment. This grace provides the basis for our development as children of God.

Here’s a practical thought about being a Grace Based Parent: what would it mean for a child if they knew that nothing they did could make us love them any less?

In processing how to become a Grace Based Parent, I have encountered a MAJOR problem: I cannot say that I am a grace based husband. This is weird considering all that Vicky and I have been through in over five years of marriage. We had to see a counselor our first year just to get through, and then the next few years seemed like a tough climb We have been two passionate, immature people seeking to learn how to become one with one another as we traveled through life.

How we could have continued to grow and yet I still see myself as lacking so much grace in how I interact with my wife?

The answer: we have learned how to accommodate each others sinful behavior, instead of giving grace to each other.

My wife has subtlety learned how to accommodate an over-zealous, know it all, bossy, hot-head who must tell everyone around them how everything should be. In some amazing way she has found a way to subvert a hypo-critical theological and grammatical neat-nick. And I have learned to have fewer outbursts, apologize quicker, all the while subverting repentance and change. We aren’t holier or better people, we’re just more accommodating. And a marriage based on accommodation will lead to Accommodation Based Parenting, not Grace Based Parenting.

My prayer is that as I am learning methods to help me be a good father that those principles will find their first fruits in my behavior as a husband. That I would learn to repent of being a selfish control freak and learn to create an environment where grace enables my wife and I to best enjoy each other and God. I pray that you would also consider the ways that you have decided to accommodate instead of being sanctified in your relationships. I pray that we all would commit to repenting of our sin and eagerly showing grace to each other instead of finding ways to hide it, or accept the ways that others accommodate for it. God has dealt with our sin in Jesus, now we get to live in the freedom that grace supplies.

matt

Just Like Mommy and Daddy

Inside my wife’s uterus are two little babies. For some reason they have chosen to rest one on top of the other in a way the medical staff oft refers to as “bunk-bedding.” One baby rests down close to the cervix (Baby A) while the other rests comfortably of top of it’s sibling (Baby B). This might not always be how they are positioned, but it has been this way for 16 weeks, and we kind of think they like it how it is.

27 years ago two babies were born to two different women at the Woman’s Hospital of Southern Nevada on April 10. The first one, myself, came out sometime before 2:00am, while the second one, my wife, came roughly 30 minutes later.

Since Baby A is a boy and Baby B is a girl, it looks like our children are already acting just like their parents (note: the closest baby to the cervix comes out first).

matt

the times they are a changin

So says the Bob Dylan song. So is my life.

11 weeks ago I found out my wife was pregnant. 10 days later I found out that there were two human beings forming inside her belly. Being a father changes one’s outlook on life. I do not know this from experience, I have just been told as much. What I can tell you is that being an expectant father changes you. But first, you go through stages:

Utter Fear (from the moment you see the two embryonic sacs [which is really week 4] until about week 8 )

My jaw literally dropped when I looked at the screen and saw two sacs. As my wife marveled in joy over the next three weeks, laughing and crying with friends, picking out 73 different nursery designs, spending 23 hours a day on babycenter.com and babysrus.com – I freaked out. I considered things like, how can I make more money, how are we going to feed two more people, how can I make more money, do we need to get rid of the dog, how can I make more money, can I emotionally handle two, how can I make more money, what kind of dad will I be and of course how can I make more money. Sometimes this stage comes back in spurts – like when writing a blog about it.

Utter Joy (from week 8 until week 10)

Something clicked around week ten and I started acting like a junior high girl with a new boyfriend. Trips to Babysrus to register – more registering online. Dreaming about names and what they will look like. Touching my wife’s newly and quickly protruding belly whenever I get a chance. Noticing babies everywhere I went and making faces at them. This was fun, it really was. I miss it.

Planning (from week 10 until present)

This stage coincided well with buying a new house, making business deals and determining future plans. This stage is hard because you don’t want to make the wrong decisions. The wrong decisions could have you in the wrong city and/or the wrong church and/or the wrong/job and/or the wrong house, etc. Understandably this has left me a tad bit freaked out considering the track record of decisions Vicky and I have made. Yet, at the same time, it has helped me look at scenarios with a bit more maturity. This has caused me to sell-out, I mean re-look at vocational ministry. SAY WHAT, ah now we get to the meat of the blog post.

When Vicky and I left Campus Crusade for Christ we decided we were God’s hope for Las Vegas and decided it would only be a matter of time before God blessed us just like this guy says in this book.

Um, yeah. Problem is that I am not that guy.

So Vicky and I oriented our life spiritually (church planters), emotionally (full-time work plus trying to be missional and entrepreneurial) and financially (rent a house with a big living room) as if we were 35 years old with over a decade of ministry experience. This left us in debt spiritually, emotionally and financially. To summarize, we oriented our lives as if we were 35 even though we were 25, and it almost ruined us.

The logical next step seemed to be to move into a local church, serve humbly and move into leadership in a short period of time. We balked at a few good communities and once again bit off more than we could chew by joining the leadership of plant/venue/thingy. Once again we had to pull out, this time we were wise enough to do so before any harm came to us. What is the real issue? What were we really hoping for? What did we think God had for us?

The answer:
A leadership position within a church that I had neither the wisdom, experience or maturity to deserve.

My justification for such: the church needs me. It needs guys like me who care about the gospel and who care about being authentic and all the like. Those people doing it now have it all wrong. The church needs me.

The church needs me. Right.

As Colin Cowherd says, “Say it out loud. See if it still sounds like a good idea.”

This has caused me to approach/view the local church with a different lens. Seeking ways to bless the church faithfully from the inside, rather than being the rogue outside agent taking it on by force. Perhaps, people get to be 35 and qualified emotionally, spiritually and financially by growing in those areas. Even the best engineers work their way up to management by showing themselves faithful. Why should I get a pass? Why should the church suffer by letting punk mid-twenties guys with entitlement issues go right into senior management? Why should they not be blessed by letting faithful pastors prove their faithfulness with little, so that the church has proven godly men leading it?

So what is my next step? Do I re-enter vocational ministry? I’m not sure. But my entire perspective of the church is changing. Hopefully I will be so focused on serving and blessing the church that I won’t even resemble that old punk. Yeah, well at least in my attitude. The times they are a changin, and thankfully, so am I.

Shawn Kemp’s Retirement Plan

If you do not remember Shawn Kemp he was one of the best basketball players of the early nineties.  His nickname was “The Rainman” and he led the Seattle Supersoncis to the NBA Finals.  In his heyday he was truly one of the most athletically gifted players to ever play the game.  He could jump out of the gym and take over games.  He was also a trailblazer in athletes going from high school to the pros, although his route was a bit more circuitous.

Yet Shawn Kemp was also a trailblazer in another athletic area; rampant fertility.  Shawn Kemp would become the butt of many Bill Simmons jokes for fathering 8 kids by 6 different women.  Athletes such as Holyfield and Travis Henry have since followed in his misguided footsteps.  In fact I know they even had Shawn Kemp come into the NBA rookie forum a time or two, and caution them about sleeping with every women you meet.

Well Shawn Kemp eventually ate himself out of the NBA and looked like he had swallowed a hot air ballon.  His career fizzled and the bank accounts dried up.  While I doubt he ever has run out of money I bet the millions of dollars in child support payments he has had to dole out have not helped his financial situation.

But have no fear for Shawn Kemp, it looks like the eldest of his 8 kids is now a big time college prospect and could have a bright NBA career ahead of him.

Maybe Lon Kruger can give him a call for UNLV?

So while Kemp may have gone broke paying child support payments for all those kids, he now has a son who likely has a million dollar future in front of him.  Let’s just hope his son does not fully follow in his father’s footsteps…

Teen Pregnancy pact, Juno, and Jamie Lynn Spears

Has teen pregnancy become chic?  Well Jamie Lynn Spears just had her baby the other day and the movie Juno, which was a massive hit, conveyed a nonchalant attitude toward teen sex and pregnancy, and now we have a cluster of high school girls making a pact to all get pregnant.  So what is going on here?

Much of this can now be seen in the language used to describe a sexual encounter.  What most young people refer to as “hooking up.”  Do you hear what a casual tone that has to it?  Its kind of like going for a walk, grabbing a cup of coffee, hanging out.  All imply that sexual activity is no real big deal and nothing is really at stake.  Of course I realize that teen sex is not a new thing, one could easily argue that it was much more of an issue during the free love 60’s of Adam’s youth.

But the culture we live in today is more celebrity driven than any culture has ever been.  A “baby bump” has almost become a new fashion accessorie that is splattered all over the cover of People magazine and its counterparts.  It has somehow become cool to have a baby.  And this is the saddest part of it all, the paradigm shift between thinking about procreation from a standpoint of servant, and what is best for the life that is being created; to the mindset of neediness, asking what need this life being created will serve for me.

I know a group of girls making a pregnancy pact goes deeper than just watching Juno and following in the footsteps of Jamie Lynn Spears.  Yet the cultural milieu which strangles silent any moral voice that would constrain anyone’s sexaul activity, is left exasperated in moments like this.  There are no real comments to be made in situations except those of the utilitarian variety.

ryan