Gospel Power After Roe: Turning the Other Cheek

Are you willing to take a stand for what is right, even if it is unpopular? Will you commit to the truth, even if all around say that it is a lie? What happens if you do what is right, but you end up suffering for doing good? If someone wrongs you, will you strike back, or turn the other cheek?

After the Dobbs court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, Christians have had several issues to consider. Previously, we have seen what God’s Word has to say to the issue of “sanctity of life.” We will want to consider other truths from God’s point-of-view in the future, but now we ponder turning the other cheek.

Michael Lawrence, a pastor with many of our same doctrines, lives and pastors in Portland, OR. Recently, he wrote for The Gospel Coalition on what he and his church experienced after the Supreme Court decision: “When the Mob Shows Up the Monday After Roe.” He records what happened to his church property, the caring pregnancy center they support, and the city block that has their buildings:

After circling the block, a group of well-prepared and fully masked individuals broke off. Using umbrellas and masks to shield their identity from security cameras, they smashed almost every ground-floor window on the side of the building that had not yet been boarded up, and covered the building in vile graffiti aimed specifically at Christians.

The damage was done in just moments. With the rest of the marchers, whose mass largely shielded the vandals from view, they then marched back to the park, shedding their black Antifa-style clothing on the way. They got in their cars and left, but not before some drove around the block, taunting the police, calling them “pigs,” and telling them to solve “real” crimes.

The level of organization and coordination was striking, including sending a “scout” 30 minutes before the rally to photograph the security cameras and note how to avoid being identified.

One reporter covering the event was assaulted by several in the crowd with umbrellas and mace, but thankfully was not seriously hurt. A few window A/C units were damaged, and there’s a lot of glass to replace and graffiti to remove. But in answer to the prayers of many, there was no fire, no serious injuries, and no further attempts to damage the building. We don’t take this for granted. A little more than two weeks ago, one of the centers operated by First Image in a nearby suburb was firebombed and declared a total loss.

When the Mob Shows Up the Monday After Roe
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Following Scripture On Abortion and A Pro-Life Summer

What does the Bible say to pro-life issues and principles around abortion?

Any day now, a ruling from the Supreme Court could change one of the most important decisions that affects abortion and the “sanctity of life” movement in America. On May 3, 2022, a document was leaked from the SCOTUS deliberation process where Justice Alito quoted as perhaps writing for the majority in stating, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled…” If Roe v. Wade, a decision from 1973 that made abortion legal in all 50 states, should be overruled this summer, how should Christians and the Church respond?

Since the leaked document, conversation and hysteria have reached loud decibels in our civic discourse. Many people would argue that Christians should stay out of political issues, and that the Scriptures have nothing to say about abortion.

Recently, progressive Jewish writer Jeffrey Salkin wrote in Religious News Services that Americans must keep religion out of the abortion debate. Asking “Should religion influence abortion policy?”, Salkin argues that theological claims should not become laws for a nation.

Other people would argue that Christians ought to be silent about “sanctity of life” for the unborn due to biblical silence. Not once, across the sixty-six books of the Bible – is the word “abortion” mentioned, and the fact that Jesus and the prophets never talk about this issue is proof that God does not have a final opinion for people to follow.

But is that really true? Does God’s Word really not have anything to say about abortion? The rest of this article will show the overwhelmingly clear Scripture passages that address these important topics.

By showing these Bible verses, we don’t pretend that there are no questions left. Christians of good will can still debate important issues: should laws be left in state’s jurisdiction? How should the medical community regulate doctors who violate the Hippocratic oath? How can we love our neighbors who are devastated or fearful if Roe is overturned (a subject for a future article)? What needs to change in adoption policies?

Despite these questions, the following Scriptures make it clear: we serve the God of the living, who calls us to love our unborn neighbors. Read these verses, followed by a brief explanation, and tell us what questions you still have, or what impression sacred Scripture left on you!

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Genesis 1:27

         [27] So God created man in his own image,
                 in the image of God he created him;
                 male and female he created them.
Every person is created in God’s image, regardless if they are in the womb or out. People’s rights and dignity come from being in His image, not if their mother chooses to give them life, or if they are in the womb or out.

Exodus 20:13

[13] “You shall not murder.”
The Bible allows for manslaughter, accidental death, or capital punishment. Murder is the taking of innocent life with intent, and unborn children do not deserve to be killed.

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Summer Book Club

For the summer of 2022, Pastor Brian will lead a discussion through Carl Trueman’s new book, Strange New World. This book is provided free while supplies last. Want to grab a book? Let us know!

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June 2022 Newsletter & Calendar

Our June edition of the Zion Chronicle can be viewed and downloaded here. The Zion calendar for the month can be viewed here.

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Preparing for Worship Jun 5

We will be using the following songs and passages from the Word of God in our corporate gathering this Lord’s Day. Please prayerfully use these resources to prepare your hearts to “come into His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4).

The Word of the Lord:
Ezekiel 36:27
Romans 8:5 – 9
Acts 2:1 – 4
Ephesians 1:13, 5:18
Numbers 6:24 – 26

Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs:
Come Thou Fount
Spirit of the Living God, Fall Fresh On Me
Behold The Lamb
Doxology

Means of Grace:
Holy Baptism
Congregational Prayer
Sermon: Spirit in Ephesus and Zion
Holy Communion

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To the Lord and Giver of Life: Pentecost Hymn

Sometimes art so perfectly marries music and the message, it can almost take your breath away. The Spirit of God is the breath of God, and this hymn, Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God is a sensational testament to this beauty of God’s truth and art.

On Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, when God poured out His Spirit on His Church in Acts 2. In the fire of purifying judgment, the tongues that proclaimed the Gospel in every language, and the supernatural power, the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for each of us individually, and the Church as well.

Do you have God’s Spirit for yourself? Have you been born again (John 3:3), born of the Spirit (John 3:8), been made a new creation (II Cor 5:17), received regeneration (Matt 19:28), been born of God (I John 5:1)? We cannot be saved, and we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven, without the new birth. Pray for God to make this change within you! Attend church worship, Bible studies, give your heart & mind to His Word, and behold how God transforms you!

And Zion as a church needs the Spirit as well! We need God’s Spirit to discern the truth and be led into life, and not to succumb to the flesh and death (Rom 8:5 – 8). It is the Spirit Who produces His fruit of love, joy, peace, life, self-control, and so much more, as opposed to the fruit of the flesh (Gal 5:19 – 26). The Spirit and the Church bid us follow into eternal life (Rev 22:17), so ask yourself this: is the Holy Spirit and His Church of the highest priority in your life?

Good worship music helps us orient our minds & hearts to the above truths, so may we sing the following words with such zeal. As the Nicene Creed reminds us, the Holy Spirit is “the Lord and Giver of Life,” so may our souls live in the Spirit as encouraged by this hymn.

Holy Spirit, living breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Let the presence of the risen Lord,
Come renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see,
Give me passion for Your purity;
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within,
May Your joy be seen in all I do.
Love enough to cover every sin,
In each thought and deed and attitude.
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my strivings into works of grace;
Breath of God show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show Your power once again on earth,
Cause Your church to hunger for your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise;
Lead us on the road of sacrifice,
That in unity the face of Christ
May be clear for all the world to see.

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RISEFest 2022

This year’s music festival, from June 10 – 11, features some amazing bands for audiences to appreciate! As always, we are encouraging our youth groups and families to take advantage of this opportunity.

This year’s schedule is headlined by TobyMac and For King & Country. You can see some of these bands biggest hits below. Want to see the entire RISEFest schedule? Go here.

TobyMac has so many hits it is impossible to choose one, but “Speak Life” (above) is a good representative.

for King & Country has many well known hits, but they are probably best known for their Christmas album and rock version of “Little Drummer Boy.” You can listen to some of their biggest hits here.

Anyone is encouraged to make their own arrangements to enjoy RISEFest 2022, but if you would like to go through Zion and the youth group for discounted tickets, contact us!

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April 2022 Update & Calendar

Our April edition of the Zion Chronicle can be viewed and downloaded here. The Zion calendar for the month can be viewed here.

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Soldiers For Christ In the Ukraine Conflict

Plastered across the news, shadowing every conversation, flitting around in the back of our minds, is the worrying news surrounding the border between Russia and Ukraine. Reports swirl, social media is a buzz, and Christians pray for God’s mercy in this threatening time. As soldiers of Christ, how should we engage this challenging time?

As citizens of heaven, our earthly citizenships – whether in America, or Ukraine – are secondary (Philippians 3:20). Nevertheless, our heavenly citizenship does not keep us from seeking the good of nations and cities the Lord has placed us in (Jeremiah 29:4 – 7). Christians pray for political leaders, for the safety of our soldiers, and for the cause of righteousness and justice in our world. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in foreign countries as they face these amazing challenges.

As soldiers of Christ, our weapons are spiritual, not physical. We fight for love, not victory. But fight we must, and the Church is our spiritual training ground.

The Church in Ukraine

How are Christians getting along in Ukraine and Russia? There are as many stories as there are believers in those countries. Some are fleeing. Some are hiding.

I was personally amazed by the following video, which records Ukrainian Christians singing “He Will Hold Me Fast” as they await their fate in the midst of violence and conflict. Do you know why this is especially meaningful to me? We sang this same song in worship last Sunday, in very different circumstances. How thankful we are for our freedoms. How we pray for God to hold us fast. This is a beautiful reminder of the communion of saints around the world, lifting up the same song of praise to our Glorious Savior.

Here’s one story of a pastor who has chosen to stay and minister in the midst of war. He writes,
In recent weeks, nearly all the missionaries have been told to leave Ukraine. Western nations evacuated their embassies and citizens. Traffic in the capital of Kyiv is disappearing… My wife and I have decided to remain in our city near Kyiv… How should the church respond when there is a growing threat of war? When there is constant fear in society? I’m convinced that if the church is not relevant at a time of crisis, then it is not relevant in a time of peace.”
You can read the entire article, “To Stay And Serve” at the link below:

We are thankful for the faith of our spiritual siblings, and their example of steadfast courage in the face of difficulty.

What Can I Do?

  • The Executive Director for a Ukrainian ministry called Mulberry encourages Christians to be in prayer. Pray for:
  • Peace and security for so many who are being deprived. That the Prince of Peace would bring His peace
  • People who are trapped by the conflict, either locally or in their situations
  • Provisions for those who are without food & water, or electricity, or communications, or other goods that the conflict has stripped from them
  • For the Church of the Lord Jesus in all nations, both Ukraine and Russia, to be faithful to the Gospel and to love in Christian charity

Get in touch with others who have a ministry presence in Ukraine. We are grateful for our partnership with International Messengers, who have a number of ministry contacts in Ukraine. IM has a designated link for donations that will go directly to ministry relief, which you can learn more about here.

You can find advice about how to talk to your children about the conflict. Understand how spiritual struggles like lust even inform missions efforts in Ukraine. Learn about church planting in Ukraine.

Finally, pray for God to grant you wisdom to follow His Spirit in this time. Perhaps God will lead you to your own way to support Christians in Ukraine, or to respond in another way. Let’s ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, and for even this conflict to spread the Gospel of Jesus, the hope of all nations.

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Doubt and Faith Event

On January 16th, 2022, you are invited to join us Sunday night at 7pm to wrestle with our faith, receive encouragement as we deal with doubt, and look to Jesus who is the Author of our faith (Hebrews 12:1 – 2).

Do you ever wonder about God’s role in your life? If He’s even real, or if this whole faith thing is made up? Do you struggle with particular aspects of the Christian faith, or wrestle with what it means to be faithful to Jesus in a world that lacks faith? Do you feel guilty about doubts and questions, or do you feel anger about what God has allowed to happen? Our Doubt & Faith Event is for you!

With opportunities to come and listen, read and reflect, sing and listen, or probe and pray, our Doubt & Faith event will be a wonderful opportunity for you to bring you deepest doubts to a place where you can find help and Love. Talk with others and ask questions, or sit back silently and listen; either way, you are invited to consider the role of doubt and faith in your life.

Follow Along On Line

Someone may wish to attend/participate, but your schedule or health prevents you. Others may feel that their doubts and questions are so personal and painful, that appearing in person would be impossible. Either way, follow along the livestream below!

Submit A Question – There Or Away

You can participate in our event and ask your question, whether in person or from your phone! If you can join us in person, there will be question forms you can fill out anonymously to submit your thought, doubt, or question. If you want to ask a question online, click here and submit your anonymous question. If you want to ask a question from your phone, text 22333 and place “ZIONCHURCH556” in the body of your text. You’ll be ready to send in your question!

Have a question? Don’t hesitate to ask about the event, or submit a question or doubt with which you are struggling. Anonymous questions should follow this link. Or, you can simply email your question to Pastor Brian here. See you January 16th!

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